Thursday, January 29, 2015

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

January can be such a cold and bleak month, I guess that's why I search out books that are warm and comforting and have hints of magic.  First Frost continues the story of the Waverley sisters from Allen's Garden Spells (although if you didn't read that you can still enjoy this as a stand alone).  I love these characters so much with their flaws and quirks and shades of magic...a perfect winter read.

Overview via Barnes & Nobles

From the New York Times bestselling author of GARDEN SPELLS comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves...
It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly.  As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.
Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies.  Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts.
Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has.
Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke?
When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before.  And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost.
Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag

I adore books with magical realism, I attribute this to the class I took senior year in college on Latin American literature, hands down my favorite class.  And when you couple magical realism with a dress shop AND bookstore, I am hooked.  This is a perfect read to get you through these cold and dreary nights.

Book Description via Amazon

For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Dress Shop of Dreams is a captivating novel of enduring hopes, second chances, and the life-changing magic of true love.

Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Stories we Tell by Patti Callahan Henri

I really liked this book...the characters, the setting, the story and all very well written.  A good choice for lover's of women's fiction.

From Booklist

Eve Morrison owns a successful letterpress studio known for a greeting card line she and her sister, Willa, devised while growing up in a fundamentalist household. Her marriage to old-money southern gentleman Teddy is already under stress, but the tension ratchets up unbearably when Teddy is involved in a car accident in which Willa is seriously injured. Eve can’t figure out what actually happened that night. Is Teddy having an affair? Were the two involved in the death of a homeless man? Was Willa, a recovering alcoholic, drinking? Henry paints an intriguing portrait of a woman surrounded by people who may have something to hide. Eventually, Eve is forced to recognize and face the problems in her marriage even if that means losing someone she loves. The themes of marriage, motherhood, and the price of success are standard for women’s fiction, but Henry has mastered the art of the slow reveal, leading the reader down unexpected paths. Readers who enjoy southern women’s fiction à la Joshilyn Jackson (Someone Else’s Love Story, 2013) will appreciate this emotionally satisfying novel. --Nanette Donohue

Friday, January 9, 2015

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

I just didn't love this was sad and depressing, which given the story line I expected, but I just didn't like *any* of the characters.  I felt so bad for the main character but I just couldn't connect with her and well him I hated.  This just wasn't a book for me :(

Book Description via Amazon

From the bestselling author of The Comfort of Lies, an engrossing look at the darker side of a marriage—and at how an ordinary family responds to an extraordinary crisis.

Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids—which works to keep a fragile peace—until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

There is just so much to love about this book...the writing, the characters, the pacing, the story.  Doerr managed to take a very well covered topic and come up with a complete original, completely beautiful, and utterly heartbreaking, story. Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, May 2014: Does the world need yet another novel about WWII? It does when the novel is as inventive and beautiful as this one by Anthony Doerr. In fact, All the Light We Cannot See--while set mostly in Germany and France before and during the war--is not really a “war novel”. Yes, there is fear and fighting and disappearance and death, but the author’s focus is on the interior lives of his two characters. Marie Laure is a blind 14-year-old French girl who flees to the countryside when her father disappears from Nazi-occupied Paris. Werner is a gadget-obsessed German orphan whose skills admit him to a brutal branch of Hitler Youth. Never mind that their paths don’t cross until very late in the novel, this is not a book you read for plot (although there is a wonderful, mysterious subplot about a stolen gem). This is a book you read for the beauty of Doerr’s writing-- “Abyss in her gut, desert in her throat, Marie-Laure takes one of the cans of food…”--and for the way he understands and cherishes the magical obsessions of childhood. Marie Laure and Werner are never quaint or twee. Instead they are powerful examples of the way average people in trying times must decide daily between morality and survival. --Sara Nelson