Monthly Archives: August 2015

August 29, 2015

It’s been an excellent week for reading – too hot to do anything else. Some days I read at the beach. Some days I stayed inside with the air conditioning on. Six of the books I read were 5 star books! Truly a great week for reading! Next week I must get back to work no matter how hot it is.

The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles – Two orphaned sisters, both excellent seamstresses, take wildly divergent paths to adulthood in 1920’s Brazil. One makes a disastrous marriage to a wealthy man and the other becomes an outlaw. Full of vivid detail, some parts of this book are excellent and some are just overly long. ***

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler – This is my favorite Tyler book. I’ve read it several times because I love these characters. It’s a story of a totally trustworthy young man who no one trusts. It always makes me feel good when I read this book. *****

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg – I’m and Elizabeth Berg fan so even though I knew this was a departure from her usual style, I knew it was about George Sand and I thought it would be fascinating – but – it wasn’t. How Berg managed to make Sand boring I don’t know but I really can’t recommend this book. But I’m still a Berg fan and I appreciate the fact that she stepped out of her comfort zone and gave this a try. *

After You by Julie Buxbaum – an emotional story about devastating loss. It starts a bit slow but keep reading – it’s actually a well told story that will make you cry and cheer. *****

Swimming Upstream by Ruth Mancini – I thought this would be simple “chick lit” but I gave it a try because it was free on Kindle and I was happily surprised. This is a book about friendship, and rejection, and love, and mental illness and it totally surprised me in the epilogue. Give it a try. *****

Then and Always by Dani Atkins – I have to say this book was Great! I thought it would be okay but it was surprisingly wonderful. It begins with a terrible accident that disfigures a young woman and changes her life but then another accident seems to show an entirely different life – it will keep you guessing right to the end as to which life is real. *****

In The Mirror by Kaira Rouda – a serious look at a young women who is facing her imminent death from breast cancer. But while it is a serious, sad, topic, Jennifer is funny and bright and still thinking clearly. I started this book with trepidation but I loved, and throughly enjoyed, every minute of the read. *****

Defending Jacob by William Landay – this is a well written legal thriller. A normal teenager is charged with murder and his family reacts. The father is an attorney who totally believes in his son’s innocence but as evidence mounts it is hard to hold the family together. *****

Fun in Tacoma

Review The Splendid Things We Planned

I’ve just returned from a wonderful vacation with family in Seattle, WA area.  Despite the fun I found plenty of time to read and review  – but – I didn’t write a single word of book three of the Augustus Family Trilogy. So…. I’m posting this and then I’m not even going to glance at Facebook until I’ve accomplished at least a 1000 new words.   FYI – FAMILY LIES is on promotion only a few more days if you want a free Kindle download. (Over 1000 people have downloaded books 1 and 2 during this BookDaily promotion and I’m hoping for some reviews!)

The Splendid Things We Planned by Blake Bailey – A autobiography – the often sad story of a family that struggles with everything. Told by the younger brother, this is a tough look at a dysfunctional family. *****

In The Mirror by Kaira Rouda – A women’s heartfelt, first person story of the devastation of her life as she struggles with breast cancer. I was surprised at how much I liked this book, the narrator (Jennifer for most chapters) is tough and funny and loving and awful.  She faces things head on and then allows herself to slide away from the truth as we often do. *****

Me  Before You by JoJo Moyes – I think I read this when it first came out but if I did I loved it this time (and maybe last time, too). Exploring the ‘death with  dignity issue is a tough subject.  Moyes manages to make it warm and loving.  Lou (the narrator) is smart and funny and a bit quirky – my favorite kind of person. *****

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom – this story takes place in the southern states in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. It is, of course, about the evils of slavery and indentured servitude but it is more about the evils of damaged individuals and the wide ripples they create by their actions, about the love people feel for the families they create no matter the color of their skin and about the dangers of miscommunication and secret keeping. ****

15 Minutes by Jill Cooper – A young adult time travel book.  The beginning of a series.  New the near future we are able to travel into the past – but not to touch it. While each stay is limited to 15 minutes it is astounding what a difference changing any 15 minutes in the past will make in your life.  The editing could use a little polish but I enjoyed this book.  **** This book is currently free as a Kindle download.

We Never Asked For WIngs  by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I liked the thought-provoking nature of this book. Immigration is a difficult subject and Diffenbaugh treats it with grace. The youngest child, Luna, is not believable but the teenagers Alex and Yesenia are well written. Single mom, Letty and her male interests, Wes and Rick, often made me impatient but – overall – it’s a simple read that will remind you of how hard it can be to “make it” in the USA. ****

View all my GOODREADS reviews

2015 Jan 18 Square 4 (2)

BookDaily Promotion

This has been an exciting and a very stressful week all at the same time.  If you are a BookDaily subscriber you may have seen that my book FAMILY MATTERS was promoted.  (I still haven’t seen the email that went out.) It was exciting because so many of you downloaded the book but stressful because they were supposed to be promoting FAMILY LIES.  If you downloaded Book 2 FAMILY MATTERS but would like to read Book 1 FAMILY LIES before you read book 2 I think it will be promoted for a few days next week. I’m not sure because I can get no response from the BookDaily people!  Anyway, thanks again to those of you who are reading.  Please leave me a review on Amazon, it really is fun for me to know what you are thinking.  If you’d like to see any of my Amazon books visit my Author Page or search Amazon for my books by name or author name.  FAMILY LIES, FAMILY MATTERS, SUBTLE DIFFERENCES

August 8, 2015

My reading list is a bit short and I forgot to post last week because my hours have been spent working on FAMILY MYTHS, the third book in my Augustus Family Trilogy.  I’m having a great time watching the family come to grips with their lies and relationships as their words and actions flow through my brain, into my computer and then on to the page. This week I’m off to Seattle for a quick family vacation but Elizabeth and Michael Augustus will definitely be traveling with me.

Sky of Red Poppies by Zohreh Ghahremani – An interesting, well written story of family in 1960’s Iran.  Told from the schoolgirl’s view point this book will make you think about what it really feels like to live in country in turmoil. ****

The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – I loved this book.  I found it to be laugh out loud funny.  A light-hearted look at serious topics. The wide range of experiences in a 100 year old Allan’s life are a bit ‘Forest Gump’ but that doesn’t distract in any way from the adventure.  *****

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriquez McRobbie – real stories from real history – Forget the fairy tale ending of happily ever after, these brief biographies are all about real women – who just happen to be princesses.  I found it fun to read. ****

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon – A very scary book.  I had never heard of the monster known as mares and now I look at all my weird friends differently – just checking to sure they are all who they appear to be.  Written in 3 generations flashbacks I definitely recommend this to anyone who like a good scary story. *****

Durable Goods by Elizabeth Berg – an early book by Berg and I think one of her best.  Growing up is never easy and when you are an Army Brat in a sad, lonely, abusive family it’s even harder. Not also a comfortable read but a well drawn story of family dysfunction and function.  *****

Worth The Risk by Cathy Wilson – a new self published author that I found on BookDaily.  Her female characters are drawn using ‘real’ dialogue and while there are some bumps in the story and the ebook formatting needs some work, this is an author to watch.  ***