MEMORY HOUSE

HAVEN’T READ A BOOK BY BETTE LEE CROSBY THAT I DIDN’T FALL IN LOVE WITH!
MEMORY HOUSE
IS DUE TO COME OUT 4/14/15 AND THE KINDLE PRICE ON AMAZON IS ONLY $.99!

MEMORY HOUSE IS A QUAINT TALE OF A BED AND BREAKFAST OWNER, OPHELIA, WHO IS NEARING 90.  SHE BEFRIENDS A YOUNG GUEST, ANNIE,  WHO SHOWS PROMISE OF BEING ABLE TO STIR UP MEMORIES FROM OBJECTS THAT OPHELIA HAS KEPT.  ANNIE IS STRUGGLING WITH A BROKEN RELATIONSHIP THAT HAS SOME POSSIBILITY OF BEING REKINDLED BUT SHE IS SO UNSURE.  SHE IS ALSO FED UP WITH HER DEAD-END JOB.  ANNIE TRULY ENJOYS SPENDING TIME WITH OPHELIA KEEPING MEMORIES ALIVE.

WHILE I WAS READING THE BOOK, I REALIZED THE MEMORIES STARTED TO SEEM FAMILIAR TO ME – ALMOST IF I TOO WERE KEEPING MEMORIES ALIVE.  THIS WAS BECAUSE BETTE LEE WOVE MEMORIES OF CHARACTERS FROM HER OTHER BOOKS I HAD READ INTO THE STORY.  THE BIKE FROM SPARE CHANGE THAT ETHAN ALLEN RODE, THE LANNIGAN FAMILY BIBLE AND SNOW GLOBE FROM THE TWELFTH CHILD AND DELIA’S LOCKET FROM PASSING THROUGH PERFECT WHERE ANNIE FINDS THAT ALL MEMORIES ARE NOT HAPPY.

THE SETTING IS BEAUTIFUL, THE CHARACTERS ARE SO REAL THEY COME ALIVE AND THE STORY, WRITTEN AS STORIES WITHIN THE STORY, IS TOLD SO WELL YOU ARE SAD TO COME TO THE END.

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF BETTE LEE CROSBY’S NOVELS!

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A MEMORY TO OUTLIVE ITS OWNER?

Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.

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SUMMER OF FIREFLY MEMORIES

SUMMER OF FIREFLY MEMORIES

SUMMER OF FIREFLY MEMORIES IS A FUN AND EASY READ.  SAMANTHA REUNITES WITH HER THREE SISTERS FOR THE SUMMER IN THE SAME RESORT THEIR FAMILY USED TO GO TO WHEN THEY WERE KIDS.  IT IS TWENTY YEARS AFTER THEIR PARENT’S TRAGIC ACCIDENT BUT EACH HAS BEEN CHANGED BY THIS HORRIFIC EVENT.  MUCH DRAMA UNFOLDS AS THE SISTERS TRY TO COME TO TERMS WITH THE ACCIDENT, WITH THEIR LIFE CHOICES AND EACH OTHER.  THE SISTERS AND SMALL TOWN FOLK SHARE FLASHES FROM THE PAST (FIREFLY MEMORIES) OF THEIR SUMMERS AT THE LAKE.  THERE IS SOME ROMANCE BUT IT IS NOT SYRUPY AND THE VACATION ENDS WITH NEW BEGINNINGS FOR ALL!  IT IS NOT DEEP BUT IT IS FUN – A GREAT SUMMER READ!

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

Imagine spending an entire summer in a cabin on a lake – simply because you can.

That’s exactly what Samantha McGreggor, a thirtysomething eco-journalist, does in SUMMER OF FIREFLY MEMORIES. She trades Arizona’s summer heat for Minnesota’s cool lake breezes by spending her summer at the same resort her family used to go to when she was young.

Her summer agenda – relaxation, beach reads, soul-searching, bonding with her three grown sisters.

Her concerns – she and her sisters haven’t been back to the resort since their parents’ death twenty years ago when they were all practically teenagers, and, well, they tend to act like emotional teenagers when they’re all together.

Her summer reality – fun in the sun, secrets, sibling rivalries, lost memories, new love, hope.

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HARBORED SECRETS

HARBORED SECRETS

IT HAS TAKEN ME DAYS TO BEGIN TO WRITE THIS REVIEW.  I GUESS THIS BOOK JUST DIDN’T GRAB ME LIKE I THOUGHT IT WOULD.  THERE WERE JUST SO MANY SECRETS KEPT IN THIS PRAIRIE FAMILY!  I’M STILL NOT SURE IF THE FATHER IN THE STORY ACTUALLY FATHERED ANY OF HIS CHILDREN – SO MUCH INFIDELITY AND PROMISCUITY IN SUCH A SMALL TOWN.  HE WAS SO DIFFICULT AND HARD ON OTHERS – IT IS A WONDER ANY WOMAN WANTED TO BE WITH HIM!

HE SENT HIS “DAUGHTERS” AWAY AFTER THE DEATH OF THEIR BROTHER IN A FIRE AND THE SUBSEQUENT DEATH OF THEIR MOTHER.  AT EIGHT AND THREE YEARS OF AGE THEY TRAVELED HUNDREDS OF MILES BY TRAIN ALONE TO LIVE WITH THEIR UNCLES WHO DID THE BEST THEY COULD TO RAISE THE GIRLS.  BUT THEY WERE TOO OLD AND EVENTUALLY PAPA HAD TO BRING THE GIRLS HOME.  THIS IS WHEN BLINNY BEGAN TO UNCOVER THE SECRETS THE FAMILY HAD HIDDEN SO WELL.  SHE HAD BEEN TOO YOUNG AND NAIVE TO REALIZE WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE TIME BUT AS SHE MATURED, SHE BEGAN TO SEE THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE FIT TOGETHER.

SHE AND HER SISTER, WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH TOGETHER, FINALLY BEGIN TO  COME TO TERMS WITH EACH OTHER, THEIR FAMILY, THEIR SECRETS AND THEIR ROAD TO THE FUTURE.

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

In May of 1935, Blinny Platt’s homestead shack burns to the ground forever leaving her family asunder, scattering them like the embers flew on the Montana wind. She was only eight-years-old, sent away and in charge of her little sister. She could handle that because Platts take care of Platts.

However, it is the hidden secrets of her parents smoldering beneath the charred remains that haunts Blinny until 1982. She once again leaves the home place to build a house for herself. As the foundation is poured and the walls go up, each of the hurtful memories are uncovered. Finally the mystery, left in the ashes of the burned home, is revealed. How could her mother do what she did?

 

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WHAT SHE SAW

WHAT SHE SAW

JENNA, OR IS IT JESSICA, DOESN’T KNOW WHO SHE IS OR WHERE SHE HAS BEEN SAVE FOR AN APPOINTMENT CARD FOR A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT.  THIS IS WHERE SHE BEGINS TO PIECE HER LIFE BACK TOGETHER.  UNDER HYPNOSIS, MEMORIES START TO RETURN THAT ARE DARK AND DESTRUCTIVE.  SOME OF THE THINGS SHE DISCOVERS ABOUT HERSELF, SHE CANNOT BELIEVE SHE WOULD DO – AN AFFAIR WITH A MARRIED MAN?!  SHE HAS TWO DRIVERS LICENSES WITH TWO DIFFERENT NAMES AND CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT OTHER SINISTER THINGS SHE HAS DONE!  A GREAT READ TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH!

WHAT THE PUBLISHER HAS TO SAY:

Imagine waking to the shock of finding yourself on a train and realizing that you don’t know who you are, where you are coming from, where you are going. And with the certain knowledge that you cannot afford to reveal your plight to anyone, least of all the police.

A story of psychological suspense that follows a young woman through the terrifying labyrinth of amnesia, where no one is who or what they appear to be. Claudia Rose, Detective Joel Jovanic, and Dr. Zebediah Gold from Sheila Lowe’s

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THE POISONWOOD BIBLE

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE

THIS IS A WONDERFUL STORY ABOUT LIFE AND LIFE CHOICES.  IT DOES NOT ONLY DEPICT THE AFRICAN CONGO OVER A 30 YEAR STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE BUT HOW OUR FAITH IS SHAPED; HOW ONE MAN’S CHOICES AFFECTED THE LIVES OF HIS WIFE AND FOUR CHILDREN.  IT IS ABOUT FAMILY, LOVE AND LOSS, SURVIVAL!  IT MADE ME APPRECIATE THE LIFE I HAVE – UNDERSTANDING IT IS NOT THE POSSESSIONS OR MONEY OR STATUS THAT IS IMPORTANT BUT THE PERSON I HAVE BECOME AND THOSE I CHOOSE TO LOVE AND SHARE LIFE WITH.  AS ZAK BROWN PUT IT “FORGET THE THINGS THAT YOU CAN’T CHANGE, FORGIVE THE ONES YOU CAN…YOU GOTTA LET IT GO!”

HERE IS THE LIBRARY SYNOPSIS OF THE BOOK:

  • The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it–from garden seeds to Scripture–is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters–the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver’s previous work, and extends this beloved writer’s vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.
WHILE I WAS READING THIS STORY, MY HUSBAND AND I WATCHED AN OLD BOB HOPE MOVIE (Call Me Bwana
1963 Film) WHERE HE WAS SENT ON A MISSION IN AFRICA.  TWO THINGS STRUCK ME – HOW SIMPLISTIC MOVIES WERE BACK THEN AND EVEN THOUGH IT WAS MEANT TO BE A COMEDY, HOW RIDICULOUS THEIR DEPICTION OF AFRICA WAS!

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THE BURGESS BOYS

THE BURGESS BOYS

I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK – A GREAT STORY FROM START TO FINISH.  IT FEELS SO TRUE BECAUSE EVERY FAMILY HAS A “STORY”!  OH! IT WOULD BE FUN TO WRITE OURS!

HERE IS THE LIBRARY SYNOPSIS:

Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” wrote The New Yorker on the publication of her Pulitzer Prize–winning Olive Kitteridge. The San Francisco Chronicle praised Strout’s “magnificent gift for humanizing characters.” Now the acclaimed author returns with a stunning novel as powerful and moving as any work in contemporary literature.

Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan–the Burgess sibling who stayed behind–urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.

With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.

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NOT JUST A LOVE STORY – OFF SEASON

OFF SEASON

This was not only a love story but also the story of a woman’s life and the challenges she has overcome from a young age onward.  Another story that brings out women’s passions and strengths!  A very enjoyable read!

Here is the library synopsis:

Acclaimed novelist Anne Rivers Siddons’s new novel is a stunning tale of love and loss.

For as long as she can remember, they were Cam and Lilly–happily married, totally in love with each other, parents of a beautiful family, and partners in life. Then, after decades of marriage, it ended as every great love story does…in loss. After Cam’s death, Lilly takes a lone road trip to her and Cam’s favorite spot on the remote coast of Maine, the place where they fell in love over and over again, where their ghosts still dance. There, she looks hard to her past–to a first love that ended in tragedy; to falling in love with Cam; to a marriage filled with exuberance, sheer life, and safety– to try to figure out her future.

It is a journey begun with tender memories and culminating in a revelation that will make Lilly re-evaluate everything she thought was true about her husband and her marriage.

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5 NEW FICTION RELEASES

RECOMMENDED BY GOODREADS:

THE GRAVITY OF BIRDS

Sisters Natalie and Alice Kessler were close, until adolescence wrenched them apart. Natalie is headstrong, manipulative—and beautiful; Alice is a dreamer who loves books and birds. During their family’s summer holiday at the lake, Alice falls under the thrall of a struggling young painter, Thomas Bayber, in whom she finds a kindred spirit. Natalie, however, remains strangely unmoved, sitting for a family portrait with surprising indifference. But by the end of the summer, three lives are shattered.

Decades later, Bayber, now a reclusive, world-renowned artist, unveils a never-before-seen work, Kessler Sisters—a provocative painting depicting the young Thomas, Natalie, and Alice. Bayber asks Dennis Finch, an art history professor, and Stephen Jameson, an eccentric young art authenticator, to sell the painting for him. That task becomes more complicated when the artist requires that they first locate Natalie and Alice, who seem to have vanished. And Finch finds himself wondering why Thomas is suddenly so intent on resurrecting the past.

In The Gravity of Birds histories and memories refuse to stay buried; in the end only the excavation of the past will enable its survivors to love again.

THE PEOPLE IN THE TREES

Readers of exciting, challenging and visionary literary fiction-including admirers of Norman Rush’s Mating, Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and Peter Matthiessen’s At Play in the Fields of the Lord-will be drawn to this astonishingly gripping and accomplished first novel. A decade in the writing, this is an anthropological adventure story that combines the visceral allure of a thriller with a profound and tragic vision of what happens when cultures collide. It is a book that instantly catapults Hanya Yanagihara into the company of young novelists who really, really matter.

In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

THE BOOKSTORE

A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.

Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.

The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

CLAIRE OF THE SEA LIGHT

From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing.

Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.

But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself. Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.

PARIS WAS THE PLACE

“Sensual and seductive, Paris Was the Place pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. Find your nearest chair and start reading. With her poet’s eye, Conley has woven a vivid, masterful tale of love and its costs.” —Lily King, author of Father of the Rain

When Willie Pears begins teaching at a center for immigrant girls who are all hoping for French asylum, she has no idea it will change her life. As she learns their stories, the lines between teaching and mothering quickly begin to blur. Willie has fled to Paris to create a new family for herself by reaching out to her beloved brother, Luke, and her straight-talking friend, Sara. She soon falls for Macon, a charming, passionate French lawyer, and her new family circle seems complete. But Gita, a young girl at the detention center, is determined to escape her circumstances, no matter the cost. And just as Willie is faced with a decision that could have potentially dire consequences for both her relationship with Macon and the future of the center, Luke is taken with a serious, as-yet-unnamed illness, forcing Willie to reconcile with her father and examine the lengths we will go to for the people we care the most about.

In Paris Was the Place, Conley has given us a beautiful portrait of on how much it matters to belong: to a family, to a country, to any one place, and how this belonging can mean the difference in our survival. This is a profoundly moving portrait of some of the most complicated and glorious aspects of the human existence: love and sex and parenthood and the extraordinary bonds of brothers and sisters. It is a story that reaffirms the ties that bind us to one another.

TRY THESE OUT AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!