Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chicky is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House’s big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms.
Maeve Binchy has always been good for characters you like. You find yourself hoping they'll have good lives after the book is over, but she leaves you certain that they will. The book is predictable but pleasant.
In Tokyo, 16-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century. A diary is Nao's only solace - and will touch lives in ways she can scarcely imagine. Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox - possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami.
I've looked at this book many times, always deciding that it was probably too abstract for me. There are abstract parts, but most of the book is a multi-layered story featuring two characters separated by space and time. There's a touch of magical realism and characters that you can really get attached to. I loved the book. I'm going to buy a print copy and read it again.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
When high-powered fine-art agent Flora Sykes is called in to assess objets d'art in a Paris apartment that has been abandoned since WWII, she is skeptical at first - until she discovers that under decades of dust the treasure trove of paintings is myriad...and priceless. The powerful Vermeil family to whom they belong is eager to learn more and asks Flora to trace the history of each and every painting.
A mystery/romance that was well-written fluff. Wealthy people with wealthy-people problems in places wealthy people go. A good romance read with a little mystery thrown in.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colors of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons.
Celeste Ng has written a compelling, satisfying novel. The story of an artist and her daughter who move to a quiet suburb and change and challenge everyone's comfortable truths. I couldn't wait to see how it came out, even though you catch some of the ending at the very beginning of the book. (Which was an interesting surprise.) I also want to compliment the narration. You can see what a good actor does in interpreting a book, and Jennifer Lim did a superb job. One of my favorite "readings" of a novel, ever.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, her eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs - the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store's overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey McGinty, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore's back room, Lydia's life comes unglued.
A wonderfully written mystery about a young man who commits suicide in a Denver bookstore, and the woman who works out the mystery surrounding his life and death. I could not have predicted the ending at all. It had me listening eagerly up until the last minute. Wonderful book.
The narrator did a great job of general narration, but when she voiced the male characters, she managed to make them all sound slow and rather stupid.
If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned 40, the year that altered all of their lives in ways big and small - and get the opportunity to change their future. But it doesn't take long for all three women to learn that reliving a life and making different decisions leads only to new problems and consequences and that the mistakes they made may in fact have been the best choices.
I rarely give up on a book before I've finished it, but I couldn't make it through this one. Shallow female characters who only care about clothes, exercise and "putting a baby in there". (Who actually says they want a "baby in there"?) These are characters out of a bad reality tv show, not real women. (At least not real thinking women.) I'd rather wait until Ann Patchett or Anne Tyler write more books than read this.
Natalie is a Bloomingdale's salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend, who's engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her boss for 17 years and has one night to finally make the feeling mutual. Andie is a private detective who specializes in gathering evidence on cheating husbands - a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life - and lands a case that may restore her faith in true love.
This would be a great beach-read. It was a clever story-telling device, some heart-warming stories, not demanding. Not great literature, but it was adequately written and fun.
In her best-selling memoirs, Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.
While I'm not a "foodie" per se, I do appreciate a good meal. I appreciate good characters even more, and a good mystery is an added bonus. This novel gave me more than I expected on all counts. It was fun--the writing is good and the plot moved along well. Good light read.
Grandpa and Noah are sitting on a bench in a square that keeps getting smaller every day. The square is strange but also familiar, full of the odds and ends that have made up their lives: Grandpa's work desk, the stuffed dragon that Grandpa once gave to Noah, the sweet-smelling hyacinths that Grandma loved to grow in her garden.
I love Fredrik Backman's books in general, but this latest book, a novella, totally captured me. It's difficult to describe because it doesn't have a classic plot, but it's about aging and how we change as we age and how the people who love us continue to love us even when our memories fade and shift. It's a very short book, so I listened to it twice in one evening, and my husband read a Kindle copy in one sitting, and we were both totally drawn into it. I'll read it again later and recommend it to people I care for. It's truly a novel that helps the changes we'll all go through as we change. A wonderful book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
In a not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure that has been promised to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. So when Briddey Flannigan's fiancé proposes that he and Briddey undergo the procedure, she is delighted! Only, the results aren't quite as expected. Instead of gaining an increased empathetic link with her fiancé, Briddey finds herself hearing the actual thoughts of one of the nerdiest techs in her office. And that's the least of her problems.
Connie Willis is adept at the witty, fast-moving story and Crosstalk is no exception. Well-written with good characters (some of whom you want to come to harm), it held my attention and kept me coming back. This isn't of the same caliber as the WWII stories, but it's good. More similar to To Say Nothing of the Dog than Blackout or All Clear, but good.
My one problem is with the narrator. She doesn't know how to say "Notre Dame" (Not-ra-dom?) or Kathleen (Kath-a-leen?) and "a western cavalry fort" became a "western calvary fort"--not the same thing at all. If you can those things go, she did a good enough job, but those mispronunciations are sort of hard for me to hear.
Good book, though.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful