THE NEXT BEST THING

THE NEXT BEST THING

I GUESS I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN FROM THE COVER – this was total trash.  It’s a nice romance but I guess I’m losing my taste for romance – that sounds very sad!!  A girl who likes murder more that romance – UGH!  It was a very easy summer read that left me less than satisfied…

Here is a synopsis of the book:

She’s looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who’ll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important: someone who won’t inspire the slightest stirring in her heart…or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can’t risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn’t enough either. So it’s goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate “friend with privileges” and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn’t going anywhere. As far as he’s concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

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VANISHING GIRLS

VANISHING GIRLS

OF COURSE I LOVED IT!  It’s a great murder mystery with a twisting plot!  Here is a synopsis from the library:

  • For two years the “Working Girl Killer” hunted in Manhattan, brutally slaughtering nine city prostitutes.And now the fiend has crossed the river.Former cop-turned-p.i. Karin Schaeffer receives the call meant for her detective husband Mac on a Sunday night: two females found on a Brooklyn street. The first is an eleven-year-old girl, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run. But it’s the second body that truly chills the blood—a young corpse bearing the grisly, unmistakable signature of a serial slayer who has eluded the NYPD for years.But there’s something frighteningly different about these latest atrocities—a kink that is leading Schaeffer’s unofficial investigation down strange and twisting alleys where nothing is as it originally seems. And the haunted p.i., who once lost everything to a psychopath, is suddenly facing the darkness once again . . . when the horror strikes too close to home and those she loves are in danger of vanishing forever.

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JUST BREATHE

Just Breathe

Another good summer read!  Not a difficult plot  – I know, I complain when the plot’s too deep and if there isn’t much of one at all.  I guess my favorite books are murder mysteries – things move fast and the plot twists and turns.  Romance is OK, but whose marriage falls apart and they just happen to have an aunt who has an ocean front house they can stay in for nothing?!

Here’s a brief look at the story:

Sarah Moon tackles life’s issues with a sharp wit in her syndicated comic strip, Just Breathe. With both Sarah and her cartoon heroine undergoing fertility treatments, her fiction often reflects her reality. However, she hadn’t scripted her husband’s infidelity.

In the wake of her shattered marriage, Sarah flees to the coastal town in California where she grew up. There, she revisits her troubling past: an emotionally distant father, the loss of her mother and an unexpected connection with Will Bonner, the high school heartthrob skewered mercilessly in her comics. But he’s been through some changes himself. And just as her heart is about to reawaken, Sarah makes a most startling discovery. She’s pregnant. With her ex’s twins.

The winds of change have led Sarah to this surprising new beginning. All she can do is just close her eyes…and breathe.

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CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY

CLARA AND MR. TIFFANY

This was a very sweet story – a love story but also a story about women’s sturggles entering in the work force in the late 1800’s.  I loved learning about how the stained glass windows were designed especially since I work with beach glass.  I  found it intriguing that so much has changed yet so much is still the same.  For example, do you suppose there are still any boarding houses in Manhattan?  If so do they accept male and female boarders and serve meals and leave the doors unlockedAnd today, over 100 years later, women are still struggling in the work force for equal treatment and wages and there is still so much poverty especially for women and minorities.

Here is a synopsis of the book from the library:

It’s 1893, and at the Chicago World’s Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows that he hopes will earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division, who conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which Tiffany will long be remembered. Never publicly acknowledged, Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces a strict policy: He does not employ married women. Ultimately, Clara must decide what makes her happiest–the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

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A WEEK IN SUMMER

A WEEK IN SUMMER

THIS WAS A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE VERY SHORT STORY!  I didn’t realize it was a short story when I borrowed it from the library so when I finished it within 30 minutes I was a bit shocked.  I would have liked it to be a full length story so I could grow with the characters a bit more.  Maeve did a great job, though, giving you just enough to become engaged with Brian and Kathleen and enjoy this heartfelt story.  ENJOY!

After many happy years of marriage and raising a family, Brian and Kathleen suddenly find themselves a bit lost in life. (Perhaps some empty nest syndrome and career disappointments leading to a loss of self-worth.) Midwesterners who’ve never traveled, Kathleen decides that what she and Brian need is a vacation, and with the help of an enthusiastic travel agent she plans a trip to Ireland in search of her roots. In beautiful, quaint Lisdoonvarna, to the couple’s surprise, they find themselves in the midst of a joyous yearly gathering dedicated to celebrating the life and work of a late Irish poet, and they rediscover something much more important than evidence of long-dead ancestors: their love for each other and for life itself.

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MUDWOMAN

Mudwoman

I had a hard time getting through this book and had to read several chapters twice and three times to try and make some sense of it.  I didn’t really get into the story until about page 425!  The end was not satisfying because there were so many loose ends left just hanging.  Was there ever any investigation into the disappearance of G. Leddy Heidemann?  Did Mudwoman return to Charter House and resume the presidency after her leave of absence?  Did her “secret lover” move in with her?  Did her father come live with her as well?  I guess it was too serious for these hot summer days!

Here is a synopsis of the book:

  • A riveting novel that explores the high price of success in the life of one woman–the first female president of a lauded ivy league institution–and her hold upon her self-identity in the face of personal and professional demons. Mudgirl is a child abandoned by her mother in the silty flats of the Black Snake River. Cast aside, Mudgirl survives by an accident of fate--or destiny. After her rescue, the well-meaning couple who adopt Mudgirl quarantine her poisonous history behind the barrier of their middle-class values, seemingly sealing it off forever. But the bulwark of the present proves surprisingly vulnerable to the agents of the past.
  • Meredith “M.R.” Neukirchen is the first woman president of an Ivy League university. Her commitment to her career and moral fervor for her role are all-consuming. Involved with a secret lover whose feelings for her are teasingly undefined, and concerned with the intensifying crisis of the American political climate as the United States edges toward war with Iraq, M.R. is confronted with challenges to her leadership that test her in ways she could not have anticipated. The fierce idealism and intelligence that delivered her from a more conventional life in her upstate New York hometown now threaten to undo her.
  • A reckless trip upstate thrusts M.R. Neukirchen into an unexpected psychic collision with Mudgirl and the life M.R. believes she has left behind. A powerful exploration of the enduring claims of the past, Mudwoman is at once a psychic ghost story and an intimate portrait of a woman cracking the glass ceiling at enormous personal cost, which explores the tension between childhood and adulthood, the real and the imagined, and the “public” and “private” in the life of a highly complex contemporary woman.

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15 SECONDS

15-seconds

This was s super fun read – action packed from start to finish!  Andrew Gross did a great job of revealing who is framing Henry Steadman and why.  

Here is an excerpt about the book – it’ll grab you and you’ll have to read the book!

15 seconds can tear your life apart . . .

Henry Steadman didn’t know what was about to hit him when he pulled up to a red light. A successful Florida plastic surgeon, he is in town to deliver a keynote address at a conference when suddenly his life becomes an unrelenting chase to stay alive.

Stopped by the police for a minor traffic violation, the situation escalates and he is pulled from his vehicle, handcuffed and told he is under arrest. Several other police cars arrive and the questioning turns scary, but just as Henry is released and about to move on, a blue sedan pulls up and the officer is suddenly killed. As the car speeds away, there is only one suspect left behind–Henry. In that moment, his idyllic life becomes a free fall into hell as he becomes the target of a police manhunt, as well as being pursued by a cunning, unnamed perpetrator bent on some kind of vengeance.

When Henry turns to a close friend for help, and he, too, ends up dead, Henry realizes he’s being elaborately framed. But in a chilling twist, the stakes grow even darker, and he is unable to go to the police to clear his name, without bringing on dire and deadly consequences.

With breakneck pacing and nonstop action, 15 Seconds shows what can happen when even the best life is turned upside down in an instant. It is also the story of an innocent man, framed for murder, who has to save the person he loves the most, all while being drawn closer and closer to an inevitable face-to-face standoff with a man determined to destroy his life.