Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Real Thing by Baraba Delinsky

This book was too easy to predict, but it was light, easy and fast reading.  A good distraction from everyday doldrums.

They were complete strangers searching for the same thing— solitude. But thanks to a matchmaking friend, Deirdre Joyce and Neil Hersey found themselves stranded on an island off the coast of Maine. Forced to coexist, they discovered there was no escaping the inevitable—irresistible attraction. The idea of living alone again was unimaginable, and so a marriage of "convenience" seemed like the perfect solution—he would run her family's company and she would pursue her career. But could their feelings survive the forces of the outside world?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ghost Moon by Heather Graham

This is the 3rd book in the Bone Island Trilogy.  
The gang of friends living in Key West are still together along with their resident ghost.  This book is a fast read with never a dull moment.

Kelsey Donovan's grandfather, collector Cutter Merlin, has died in his Key West home. Merlin was known for being reclusive, and Kelsey hadn't seen him for years; not since her mother died mysteriously and her father took her away from Key West. Now she's back, ready to take care of the numerous artifacts, which include a well-talked-about mummy.

Officer Liam Beckett has the horrible job of phoning Kelsey and telling her that her grandfather has passed away. When he hears her voice he remembers her very well from when they were younger and she lived on the island with her grandfather and parents, and when she arrives Liam's instantly attracted to her. He tries to discourage her from staying in her grandfather's house, which has already experienced two break-ins since his death. But Kelsey is determined to stay there, despite the widespread belief that the house is cursed. She has a lot to do, she says, in order to sort out the artifacts in the house and follow her grandfather's wishes as to their distribution to museums.

But strange things start happening. Kelsey can't get over the idea she's being watched, and the house has an ever-present smell of death. Despite the things that keep happening, though, Kelsey can't deny the attraction she feels for Liam. It will take Kelsey and Liam, and a group of their friends, to figure out what's really happening, and uncover the truth about the Merlin home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wishes & Stitches by Rachael Herron

This is book 3 in the Cypress Hollow Yarns.
Cypress Hollow is a small town filled with caring people.  Unfortunately, Naomi Fontaine is so shy and so inept at making small talk, she has a hard time fitting in.
She is practicing family doctor and even though her patients come to her for their illnesses she doesn't feel accepted into the tight knit community.

In walks Dr. Rig Keller who is filling in for Naomi partner and if he likes the medical practice plans on buying her partner's half of the business.  When Rig moves into town he is easy going and has the gift of chatting it up with everyone.

The reader can't help but feel sorry for Naomi who is so pathetically dysfunctional in public.  Rig is easy to like, he's friendly and caring and see's Naomi's problems for what they are.

This book never slows down, there is a lot of twists and turns and an unexpected ending. 
I love this series.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dollars to Donuts by Kathleen Kole

This is a giveaway tour featuring author Kathleen Kole.  You can find out how to enter the giveaway and more blogs on the book tour for author Kathleen Kole hosted by Chick Lit Plus HERE.
For more information on Kathleen Kole you can visit her website HERE
and here Twitter link is HERE.
Kathleen Kole was born in Edmonton AB and graduated from college with a Diploma in Radio and Television Arts.  Her career path has included writing in the fields of advertising, television and newspaper - and most recently novel writing.  Kathleen relocated from Edmonton to Kelowna BC and resides there with her beloved husband, adored son and their happy-go-lucky dog.  Dollars to Donuts is Kathleen's second published novel and she is currently working on her third, to be published in December.

Dollars to Donuts is a quick, easy book to read.  I enjoyed the little mystery twisted in with a tight knit neighborhood, but also the closeness two sisters April and Jessica share.  There is also a bit of flirting and what if going on reminiscent of high school dramas.
It's just a fun story.
Take one newspaper columnist; move her from the anonymity of her home city to a sleepy, small town; add a dollop of nosey, suspicious and just plain odd neighbors;

a dash of mystery in the form of a stained garbage can and a rodent and, finally, a large pinch of unsettling attraction to a virtual stranger and you’ll find yourself with a recipe that imitates April Patterson’s life.

April Patterson had no idea that when she decided to follow the path of family and love, she would find herself an unwitting player in an eyebrow raising cul-de-sac mystery, grasping for her privacy as she plays “Dodge the Neighbor” and being forced to examine her relationship motives ... all before she had unpacked her last box!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guest Blog Author Irene Woodbury

Today I would like to welcome author Irene Woodbury to my reading blog.

This is a 'guest post' that Irene has kindly written for my blog.
thank you Irene.

Wendy’s Parents Post
“A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis”      
Irene Woodbury

In Chapter 9 of “A Slot Machine Ate My Midlife Crisis,” Wendy makes the following comment to Roger during one of their phone fights:   “I barely knew either of my parents, even though we lived in the same house for twenty years.”  What, exactly, does she mean?  Who were these people?  What kind of marriage did they have, and what kind of parents were they?
            Wendy’s mother, Laura, was an artist.  Her father, Charlie, owned a successful diner in downtown Denver called Cantrell’s that his father had owned.  Both of them were very involved with their careers.  Wendy’s mother spent most of her time locked away in an upstairs bedroom painting, sketching, and chain-smoking.  Her father worked 10 hours a day, seven days a week.  Wendy didn’t see much of them, and when she did, they weren’t very attentive.  They were much more interested in her younger brother, Tom, who started working at the family restaurant when he was a child, and would ultimately take over when his father died.
            The only time Wendy seemed to bond with her mother was on their yearly shopping trip to New York.  On these extravagant, mother-daughter jaunts, the sky was the limit, as she explains in this passage from the book that was cut because of length:
What can I say?  Our relationship was never a normal, day-in-day-out kind of thing.  We were either in the same house but on different planets, in separate cities, or together 24/7.  Like on our annual shopping trips to New York during my grade and middle-school years.  On these week-long fashion binges, we were more like two little girls playing in the same sand box than mother-daughter.  After settling into a posh suite at the Plaza, we’d spend hours each day roaming around Bergdorf’s, Saks, I. Magnin  and Bloomingdales, trying things on, and buying clothes, handbags, and shoes.   By 4 or 4:30, we’d be seated at a linen-covered table in the Plaza’s sumptuous Palm Court for tea.    As we nibbled crustless finger sandwiches and delicate pastries, we’d chat about art, fashion, theater.   It was all so grown-up and glamorous, so Auntie Mame meets Breakfast At Tiffany’s.  Mummy would come alive on these fabulous retail flings, morphing from a self-absorbed artist into a stylish, vibrant fashionista..  
But the minute we got back to Denver, the glass coach would promptly shatter and turn into a pumpkin.   Mummy would cram her pretty new clothes into her already-bulging closets, revert to her withdrawn self, and schlep around the house in baggy pants and  paint-stained work shirts.  I would basically become Cinderella again--invisible.   And my father would rant about the bills for a day or two and complain  bitterly that my mother never went to his restaurant,  refused all invitations, shunned the neighbors, and made an effort to look as unattractive  as possible at all times.   

When Wendy was a teenager, she learned some things about her parents’
marriage that helped her understand why they were so unhappy.   According to Cousin Linda, Wendy’s mother had married her father on the rebound after her high-school sweetheart eloped with her younger sister.  Laura never spoke to either one of them again.  Six months later, she married Charlie Cantrell.  It was never a happy or loving union.  He may have loved her at one time, but it is unlikely that she ever returned the sentiment.
            Cousin Linda also tells Wendy that her father had a long-term romantic relationship with a pretty blond hostess at Cantrell’s named Kay.  Wendy’s mother looked the other way and ignored it until one summer when she left for an artists’ tour of Europe, came back, and spotted Kay wearing one of the designer discards from her Big Apple shopping trips.  Laura was furious.  She didn’t care that Kay was sleeping with her husband.  She was more upset that he’d given her one of her never-worn jackets.
            This incident provides a glimpse into Laura’s skewed values.  No wonder Wendy turns out the way she does.  She equates shopping with Mother Love, and worships designer clothes.  This makes her a brilliant success at Panache, but it also instills values that are sometimes hard for others, including Roger, to fathom.
            In 1980, when Wendy is 20, she leaves Denver and moves to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actress.  Before she can achieve any real success, she takes a job at Panache so she can pay her rent and meet expenses.  At Panache, she bonds with Carol and Paul Guthrie, the store’s owners, who become her surrogate parents.  Years go by before she sees her mother and father again.  When her mother dies of lung cancer in 1989, Wendy is in Paris for Fashion Week and can’t get back to Denver for the funeral.  Her brother criticizes her to the family for not attending, and Wendy cuts all ties to him.   I think she’s hurt because they always favored him, so this is the final straw for her.
            As Wendy experiences a period of confusion with her marital problems and the loss of her job and friendship with Carol, she finds herself looking back on her unhappy, unfulfilled relationship with her parents.  In the following excerpt, she fantasizes about what it would be like to have loving parents to turn to for guidance and support.
As I tried to cope with the loss of my job, my marital problems, and Carol’s disappearing act, my gaping lack of parental support was especially painful because there was nowhere to turn for guidance, perspective, reassurance.   My father, who died in 1995, and I hadn’t been close either, and now, for the first time, I found myself longing for a warm and loving fantasy-surrogate who would put his big, strong arm around me and say, with absolute conviction, “It’s their loss, sweetheart.  You’ll find a better job with more money.  Just wait and see, they’ll be sorry.”   
Standing beside him would be this equally mythic gray-haired maternal being with my eyes and bone structure, a Miss-Manners-type swathed in comfy cashmeres and tweeds who would pat my hand reassuringly and whisper in sweet, dulcet tones,  “Don’t worry, honey.  You and Roger are going through an awkward period of adjustment.  He loves you.  You love him.  Everything will work out.   You’ll see.   Now come into the kitchen and I’ll make us both a nice cup of tea.”
Did anyone actually have parents like these anymore?    Or were they nostalgic relics from some bygone era?   Mythic figures from a lost civilization?   Maybe it would have been more realistic to conjure up some Botox-Babe-Collagen-Cougar with a better body than mine who wouldn’t hesitate to seduce my husband just for kicks while I was out of town?
My neediness frustrated and disgusted me.  I couldn’t believe how vulnerable I still was in the parent department.   When would it end?   I was a 45-year-old newlywed.   Why couldn’t I just get on with my life and be happy?    Why did I still long for parents, or my fantasy-version of them:  endlessly warm, loving beings who would advise, support, and comfort me forever?

            As 45-year-old Wendy suddenly finds herself without the comfortable world she has thrived in for 25 years, she feels the need to reach out for support from the people she has always been too busy to contact, 
Now, years later, with my personal and professional lives in flux, I felt vulnerable, isolated, and more aware of my lack of family.   Without parents to lean on or children to nurture, I was a member of the sandwich generation--without the bread.   Where was my support system?   Friends, bosses and co-workers had always filled the void, but now they, along with my career, seemed lost, scattered, elusive.   Illusions, really.  I suddenly felt the need to get in touch with people who’d been important to me--to reconnect with them and find a part of myself that I’d denied and neglected for years. 

It was sad, but true, that as I pursued my career and my relationship with Roger, I failed to maintain regular contact with family and friends.  I didn’t make enough of an effort to let them know what I was doing, or to find out what they were doing.  Maybe I was busy?   Maybe I was lazy?   Maybe I didn’t think it was important?   Maybe I was waiting for them to make the first move?   I don’t know.   But whatever the reasons, it had gone on long enough, and I now felt the need to get in touch.  

In the next chapter, Wendy makes an effort to contact Cousin Linda; her childhood best friend, Erin, in Denver, and Kelly, her former assistant at Panache in L.A.  The results are dismal.  In these tragically comic phone calls, Linda, Erin, and Kelly bombard Wendy with their problems, while she never brings up hers.   She’s too embarrassed to even admit what’s going on with her and Roger—and they won’t let her get a word in.  Each call makes Wendy feel more lost and alone.  A darkly funny chapter that helps propel Wendy into her midlife crisis.  She’s not totally comfortable in Las Vegas yet, but she doesn’t know where else to go.  Maybe you really can’t go home again? 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dead by Midnight by Carolyn Hart

This is another installment of the Death on Demand bookstore mysteries.  Annie Darling is the owner of the book shop and once again helps solve the mystery of another murder on the small island of Broward's Rock.

It doesn't matter that the island is small - I still enjoy following Annie and her husband Max around the island and listen in as they slowly solve the mystery.  Max, although not a private eye, runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.
A recent death of one of the bookstores just hired part time worker appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder.  In her deceased employees phone she finds a photo of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo which start her on the search for more clues.  The lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst are all part of the mystery.

Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer until her cell phone rings and Death keeps her talking on the phone.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ghost NIGHT by Heather Graham

Heather Graham is one of my new favorite authors.  I recently discovered her.  I should have known when I saw her on a Sex and the City episode that her books would be great.  and yet, I hesitated because of the titles.  "They" always say "never" judge a book by its cover..... there you go.

I just finished ghost NIGHT and wasn't disappointed. 
There were plenty of ghosts and pirates and pirate ghosts.  ghost NIGHT is the second installment in the Bone Island trilogy.   Even though there is death and gore they are handled delicately so I don't end up with nightmares.

A slasher movie turns real when two young actors are brutally murdered on a remote island film set. Their severed heads and arms are posed in macabre homage to a nineteenth-century pirate massacre.

Two years later, survivor Vanessa Loren is drawn back to South Bimini by a documentary being made about the storied region. Filmmaker Sean O'Hara can see the unsolved crime haunts her…and Sean knows more than a little about ghosts.

Lured by visions of a spectral figurehead, Vanessa discovers authentic pirate treasures that only deepen the mystery.  As Vanessa and Sean grow closer, the killer prepares to resume the slaughter…unless the ghosts can help.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Pub Across the Pond by Mary Carter

Imagine if you won an Irish pub.  Would you leave your home to go run it.  Will the people in that town accept you?
This is a wonderful book about taking chances, learning to trust people and learning to love.

Carlene Rivers, at thirty, is living a stifling existence in Cleveland, Ohio. Then one day, Carlene buys a raffle ticket. The prize: a pub on the west coast of Ireland. Carlene is stunned when she wins. Everyone else is stunned when she actually goes. As soon as she arrives in Ballybeog, Carlene is smitten not just by the town's beguiling mix of ancient and modern, but by the welcome she receives.

In this small town near Galway Bay, strife is no stranger, strangers are family, and no one is ever too busy for a cup of tea or a pint. And though her new job presents challenges - from a meddling neighbour to the pub's colourful regulars - there are compensations galore. Like the freedom to sing, joke, and tell stories, and in doing so, find her own voice. And in her flirtation with Ronan McBride, the pub's charming, reckless former owner, she just may find the freedom to follow where impulse leads and trust her heart - and her luck - for the very first time.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

This is a quirky book about a quirky family.  I found myself enjoying this book more than I expected to.
On hiatus from her parents’ detective firm, Izzy ponders the suspicious behavior of her straitlaced, type-A brother David, who has traded his Brooks Brothers suits for a bathrobe and taken to calling in sick to work. (He has no clue Izzy has been living in the basement apartment of his house.)

Izzy also looks into the life of Linda Black, whose husband, Ernie, is certain she’s cheating on him. Or could that expensive clothing and perfume she’s been bringing home simply be the sign of a serious shoplifting problem? Izzy must once again contend with Rae, her troublemaking, Twizzler-chomping teenage sister, who’s been “relocating” Izzy’s car to various spots around the city. (Izzy has enough trouble finding her wheels when she parks them herself.)

Then there’s Henry Stone, Izzy’s police inspector ex-boyfriend, who has an annoyingly likable new squeeze. Rounding out this mordant mix is Izzy herself, whose court-mandated therapy sessions boast more quips than a Groucho Marx retrospective.