Tag Archives: fiction

Review: What Alice Forgot

Thirty-nine year old Alice falls and bumps her head in the health club. When she comes to, she’s lost the last ten years of her life. She doesn’t remember her three children, that she’s separated from her husband Nick or that her relationship with her sister is strained. When she looks in the mirror, she hardly recognizes the woman reflected back. She’s obsessed with working out and in the middle of a bitter divorce.

As Alice stumbles through her days discovering who she’s become, she starts to question her life. Things that were so important become less so.

This book features wonderfully quirky characters. I loved the character of Tom, her son, in particular. The passages with him just made me laugh and smile.

All in all this book is a delightful read. It makes you think about the little decisions along the way can change the direction of your life. I highly recommend it.


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Review: Maine

Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan, is the perfect summer read. But don’t be fooled by the cover of the book, this is not your typical light beach read. It’s about family, secrets, relationships and the complications that occur in every day life.

The story of three generations of women from one Irish-Catholic family, the Kellehers, Maine weaves together events from the past and present to illustrate how the characters came to be. We meet Alice, the matriarch; who is struggling against a profound sense of guilt over the death of her sister. Kathleen, the oldest daughter, is divorced and a recovering alcoholic who fled to California where she owns a successful worm farm with her hippy boyfriend. Her family doesn’t understand her and is embarrassed by her chosen profession.  Ann Marie, the daughter-in-law, has the perfect life. She lives in a huge house, belongs to the right clubs, and her husband is very successful. But she can’t escape that fact that she was born on the wrong side of town, one of her perfect children is a mess and she is attracted to her neighbor. Maggie, the granddaughter, lives in New York City. Her boyfriend is a bit of a loser and and she’s about to have a huge change in her life.

During the course of one summer events occur which bring the four generations of women to live together. Secrets are revealed. There is so much which could be said about this book. The character of Ann Marie alone could keep me busy for days.

As someone from a dysfunctional Irish-Catholic family I found it easy to relate to the story. While my grandmother passed away when I was young, we still have tales of people who were put “in the book” and never spoken about again. What I liked about this book is that it reminds us that while our family can be highly flawed, they are family. We must accept them for who they are. And sometimes, they might just surprise us.

If you are looking for a good summer read, I’d recommend Maine.

4 stars

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Waiting On Wednesday: The Violets of March

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

I have DevourerofBooks to thank for this one.Tonight on twitter she gushing about this book. Based on the description I’m just going to go ahead and preorder this one because it looks like a gem.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio is out on April 26th.

A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily’s good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

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Teaser Tuesdays: A Moveable Feast

teasertuesdays31 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, The Restored Edition, page 163.

“Forget what Zelda said,” I told him. “Zelda is crazy. There’s nothing wrong with you. Just have the confidence and do what the girl wants. Zelda just wants to destroy you.”

I swear I honestly just came to this part in the book! I didn’t go looking for a part including Fitzgerald and certainly not this section of the book.

I am LOVING this book and really wish that someone had encouraged me to read it before now. I had no idea that Hemingway could write like this.

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Review: The Weird Sisters

I cannot begin to tell you how much I adored Eleanor Brown’s book, The Weird Sisters.

The centers around the Andreas Sisters: Rose (Rosalind), Bean (Bianca), and Cody (Cordelia) named by their  father, a professor of Shakespeare, who communicates almost exclusively in verse. Their mother is an absent minded house wife. Books and reading played an enormous part in their lives.

All three find themselves back in their home town of Barnwell, Ohio at a crossroads. On the surface they claim to be home to help care for their mother as she battles breast cancer. But each of the sisters is battling their own struggle. Rose appears to be the successful sister. She is a Math Professor but she was just told that her position was being eliminated and her fiance Jonathan, also an academic, just earned a fellowship at Oxford. Jonathan wants Rose to move to England but Rose worries what that would mean. Who would take care of her family? Where would her next job come?

Bean was fired from her job in New York for stealing. She may appear to be glamorous but her life is anything but. Up to her eyes in debt, she flees New York for home. Feeling trapped in the small town and struggling to find herself, she begins an affair with a married man. Cordy, the baby, has traveled the United States for the last several years living in less than desirable places taking odd jobs just to get by. When she discovers she is pregnant she realizes that she needs to do something and moves home.

Over the next few months, we learn more about the sisters through flashbacks. We see how they took on their specific roles in the family. We see them struggle against their role. And finally we get a glimpse of how things are going to be in the future.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the narration. It was one of the things that I enjoyed most. The sisters (plural) serve as the narrator. It sounds strange, but it really works. It’s almost like you are getting insight into their world at the same time you are sitting back and watching everything unfold.

I highly recommend this book. I look forward to reading more from Eleanor Brown.


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. It is hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books so stop by and join in!

I finally feel like I accomplished something. Last week I finished Melanie Rose’s Finding Home and Julie James is A Lot Like Love (review to come). Julie’s book was fabulous!

I almost finished Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters. I think part of me is enjoying the book too much that I hesitated in finishing it off yesterday. But alas, all good things must come to an end and I will finish this book today. Continue reading

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Review: Finding Home

Melanie Rose’s novel, Finding Home, centers around a woman, “Kate”, who gets in a car accident during a New England blizzard. She is rescued and finds herself in the house of Vincent James unable to remember who she is or where she was going. Vincent’s daughter, Jadie, takes an instant liking to her and breaks her two year silence by talking to Kate. Jadie, who has cystic fibrosis, tells Kate that Amber, her dead sister, told her that Kate was coming. Jadie’s nanny, Tara, takes an instant dislike to Kate. Kate plays with Jadie treating her like any other child while Tara is so concern with her health that she treats her like a rare collectible doll.

Tara’s brother Colin is a therapist and attempts to hypnotize Kate in effort to discover her true identity. Instead Kate begins to recount the life of “Kitty” a woman who lived in the area over 100 years ago. Though Kate’s sessions with Colin the reader is treated to tales of what it was like to live in New England in the early 1900s.

There are other rich characters including a neighbor, Maria, a single mother trying to raise her teenage son after her doctor husband left them. Maria is convinced that ghosts occupy her home. There’s also another neighbor, Adam, who lives with his elderly grandparents taking care of them and their farm. Vincent’s mother also makes an appearance. As the story progresses we find out what exactly happened to Vincent’s wife two years ago when she “left” and what exactly happened to Kitty all those years ago.

I began reading this book on my flight back from Florida last week and I have to say it made for the perfect reading. I was able to get lost in the story. Though the book is over 400 pages, it is a fast read.  I had read half the book by the time I landed at O’Hare. There are several twists and turns. Just when you think you have the story figured out, Rose tosses another curve ball.

If I had one complaint it was that I felt Kate’s great love affair happened so quickly and I didn’t quick see what exactly drew them together.  Was it their past lives?

This book might have not been very realistic, but it was a good read and helped me to escape the drudgery of air travel.

4/5 stars

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