CONNECTIONS THAT HEAL — A REVIEW

 

 

“No man is an island…”

The famous quote is a reminder of the connections between people, no matter what their circumstances, and no matter how much they may isolate themselves.

In Island Apart, Claire, a book editor, stays in the cottage owned by her friends after her husband leaves her. She is already struggling with cancer treatment and needs the time away. Time to heal.

The island of Chappaquiddick seems like the perfect spot.

Meanwhile, a mysterious “hermit” moves around the perimeter of the islanders’ lives, quietly taking his own respite from whatever life has hurled at him.

Beautifully portrayed, the island setting, the people, and the foods they prepare draw the reader into what can best be described as a portrait of the sparks that unite people in unexpected ways.

But just when everything begins to seem wonderful again for the two lost souls, a secret from the past threatens their newly developing connections. What will happen to heal the breach between Claire and the Hermit? Will they find a way to get past their mistakes?

I couldn’t put this book down…it was a quick and delightful read that earned four stars from me. The uplifting premise and the beautiful language kept me reading throughout the day.

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SPINNING NEW CONNECTIONS — A REVIEW

When your life is spinning out of control, you might have to take a leap of faith to put a new spin on things.

Or so Katie Sanford thinks, when pushed up against the wall. It all started when she appears for her dream job interview still drunk from the night before. The night when she was just going to have one drink, and that one led to so many that she blacked out.

She is surprised to get that call a few weeks later from someone at the magazine where she interviewed. But the proposition before her is so astounding she isn’t sure she can do it. Go into rehab on the company’s “dime,” and get the scoop on a celebrity who has just entered that very center.

But she goes for it, feeling as if she can pull off the big act. But what surprises Katie the most is that the stories she hears in group and the insights she develops in individual sessions tell the truth about who she is and what her life has become. More drunken nights than she cares to count and more lies than she can recall.

During the thirty days of rehab and the first few days afterwards, Katie struggles with what she has learned about herself, and about her budding connection to the target of her story. Yes, she and celebrity target Amber have become friends.

What will happen when Katie has to turn in her story? What would happen if she doesn’t? And how will Henry, a man she is beginning to care about, feel when he learns of her betrayal?

Finding out what happens after, and what Katie’s decisions will do to her life kept me turning pages. I have a bit of an understanding of the rehab process from the work I did for many years, so the lingo, the process, and what it feels like to be confined were all authentically captured by the author. Kudos to McKenzie…and I loved every minute of the descriptions of New York life from the scene setting, the characters, and the repartee between the characters. I felt almost like I was right there with them. Five stars for Spin.


WOW — ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART — JAN. 4

 

Welcome to another edition of Waiting on Wednesday, our opportunity to shout out about the wonderful books we are anticipating.  Hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine, you can join in, too; just follow the link.

Today I’m excited about a book by one of my favorite authors, Jane Green; Another Piece of My Heart is due out on 3/13/12.

From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet:  a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood.

Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she’s finally found him.  Ethan—divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia—is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts. ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.

***

I have already preordered this one…so I am very excited about it.  What are you drooling over today?  Come on by and share….

TEASER TUESDAYS — PICTURES OF YOU — APRIL 5

Good morning, and welcome to our weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B, at Should Be Reading.

Here’s how it works:

  • 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.

Today I’m spotlighting a book that I’ll be diving into some time in the next couple of days.  Pictures of You, by Caroline Leavitt, is a story about two women, fleeing their marriages, who collide on a foggy, deserted stretch of road.

The Boston Globe describes Pictures of You “as part literary mystery, part domestic drama, and part psychological examination,” and, indeed, the novel kept most critics on their toes the entire time. A novel of loss, redemption, forgiveness, and self-discovery, the intertwining stories grapple not only with the tragedy but also with the mystery of April’s hasty departure from her family. Reviewers commented that what could have been a maudlin, predictable storyline instead becomes fresh with Leavitt’s direct, unsentimental writing; her you-are-here details; and her fully convincing characters. Readers who enjoy both fine storytelling and writing will be sure to savor this novel…

In this excerpt, we see the bits and pieces of the aftermath.

Teaser:  It began to seem like the worst kind of cruelty that her job was to photograph kids.  She fell in love with their faces and got upset when parents didn’t fuss over them enough, or hug them, or seem to realize what a blessing it was to have children.  p. 104

What moments did you excerpt this week?  I hope you’ll stop by and share your thoughts.

FRIDAY MEMES: BOOK BEGINNINGS & FRIDAY 56 — MARCH 25

Welcome to our Friday memes, in which we excerpt passages from books we’re reading (or about to read).

Book Beginnings is hosted by A Few More Pages, and in this meme, we share the opening lines of a book…and then react to it.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, and we grab an excerpt on p. 56…and then link to our host’s site.

My spotlighted book has been on my TBR stacks for awhileIn Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, is all about a horrific crime that took place in Kansas in the late 1950s.

Product Description: Controversial and compelling, “In Cold Blood” reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote’s comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The book that made Capote’s name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative.

Beginning:  The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.”  Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert-clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far West than Middle West.

This opener doesn’t really grab me, but it does lay the foundation and the setting of this book that tells about an unusually terrible crime that completely blindsided the residents of the town.

Friday 56:  Nancy was invariably the last of the family to retire; as she had once informed her friend and home-economics teacher, Mrs. Polly Stringer, the midnight hours were her “time to be selfish and vain.”  It was then that she went through her beauty routine, a cleansing, creaming ritual, which on Saturday nights included washing her hair.  p. 56

This gives me the chills.  The sheer normalcy of those moments…followed by what came next.

What are the rest of you sharing this week?  I hope you’ll stop by with your comments and links.

CAT THURSDAY — MARCH 10

 

Good morning!  Welcome to our Cat Thursday event, hosted by Michelle, at The True Book Addict. Join us for the sharing of hilarious and loving moments with our cat friends.

Today’s spotlight goes to this cat, who seems a bit…well, scared.

 

 

What about you?  What did you find?  I hope you’ll pop in and share some comments and links.

And have a great day!

 

BOOKING THROUGH THURSDAY — CHEATING — MARCH 3

Good morning!  Today, on Booking on Thursday, we’re responding to this question:

Do you cheat and peek at the ends of books? (Come on, be honest.)

Okay, we’re talking serious reading behavior here!  LOL

Fairytale Endings

Mainly, I’ll glance at the end to see how many pages are in the book…and maybe to see the last line.  But then I hastily move back to my place.  I don’t want to spoil the book for myself, and knowing how it ends might just do that.

Usually the actual last line is something that doesn’t tell much.  It’s all the words leading up to that last line that reveal how things end.  Yesterday I finished a book that had this for a last line:

Slipping her arms around him, she took strength from the sound of his heartbeat for a poignant moment, before kissing him lightly and going back inside.

Even after reading the entire book, I decided that this line didn’t really tell me much about this couple’s future.  For one thing, the kiss was “light,” and for another, she went back inside.  They didn’t walk off into the sunset.

I actually like this ending, because it hints at more, but it doesn’t promise that “happily-ever-after,” which we all know is bs anyway.  Right?

Or maybe you do love a happy ending.  I prefer hopeful endings.

So, long story short, I prefer to be surprised by the ending, but even if I peek, I don’t necessarily know how it ends.

What about the rest of you?  Peeking?  Cheating, if you will?  I hope you’ll stop by and share.

A BIT OF ME (ME) — THE WRITER’S LIFE — FEB. 26

 

 

 

Good morning, and welcome to A Bit of Me (Me), the event that allows us to share bits and pieces of our lives—outside the blogging world.  Hosted by There’s A Book, each week we are presented with questions to ponder.

This Weeks Question: What would your dream job be?

That’s a good one, isn’t it?  Would you be surprised to know that I’m actually doing my “dream job” now? From the time I was a kid, I wanted to write.  I had to put that dream on the back burner while I worked for more than three decades at a profession that paid the bills.  Not that I hated that career, or anything, but it wasn’t what I’d dreamed about…back in the day while I read and imagined my own name on a book cover.
Here is one of my earliest visual images of the writing life…probably gleaned from the pages of old favorite books like Little Women.
The Writer’s Life
Later, my vision expanded and here’s the writer’s world I imagined.
Gorgeous Writer’s Den
Actually, now that I look at it, that chair doesn’t look too comfy!
But here’s what I actually have, and here are some of my creations.
My Daily World
MY CREATIONS – Click image to visit my website
My favorite part is waking up, hurrying to the computer, and, still wearing pajamas, beginning my day, with only my coffee, my computer, and the world inside my head.
Of course, now that blogging is also part of that picture, I can connect to others, too.  Writing and blogging…my dream life!
What about you?  What do you imagine as the best possible job for you?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….

FRIDAY MEMES: BEGINNINGS & FRIDAY 56 — FEB. 11

 

Is it Friday already?  Oh, my, what a week!  The good news:  time for Book Beginnings, hosted by A Few More Pages, and The Friday 56, led by Freda’s Voice.

Here’s how it works:

For Beginnings, excerpt the first line or two from your book, sharing the title and author; then link up at the host blog.

56:  Grab a sentence or two from page 56, link the title and list the author; then hop on over to the host page.

Visit all the others to see what they’re excerpting.  It’s fun!

Today, my book is an ARC, so the final printing might be slightly different.  The Book of Tomorrow, by Cecelia Ahern, is “a sweet, life-affirming tale…with a liberal sprinkling of magic.”  Marie Claire UK

From Amazon:

“[Ahern] takes a more gothic turn in her latest, recasting herself as a lost Bronte sister for the Facebook set. . . . Lovers of stories involving crumbling castles, nefarious family secrets . . . will be ecstatic.” (Entertainment Weekly )

“A veritable modern-day Gothic, Ahern’s engrossing new novel is filled with family secrets, intrigue, and magic aplenty.” (Booklist )

“Ahern’s tale-spinning prowess keeps the reader riveted.” (Publishers Weekly )

 

Beginning:  They say a story loses something with each telling.  If that is the case, this story has lost nothing, for it’s the first time it’s been told.

Wow!  I like that…I’m very curious to dive in and find out more about this story that’s never been told.

In this next excerpt, our character is exploring a room filled with books.

P. 56:  The floor felt like it was uneven, sloping from the fireplace to the bookshelves, making me feel a little seasick.  The busiest area seemed to be around the fireplace; an open fire that made me shudder with its contraptions that looked like something out of a medieval torture chamber:  wrought-iron pokers with animal heads, coal shovels of different sizes, an ancient bellows, a black cast-iron fireguard with an animal of some sort emblazoned on the front.

 

Ooh, I’m getting that creepy, crawly feeling!

 

What have you found today?  I hope you’ll stop by and share…..

 

A BIT OF ME (ME): I SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM! — JAN. 29

 

Today’s topic for A Bit of Me (Me), hosted by There’s A Book, is near and dear to me.

Yes, that’s exactly what I said!

This Weeks Question: What is your favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor? Do you have more than one? Can’t narrow it down, tell us all about the ones you love!

Now ice cream is my favorite thing.  I love it so much, that a day without ice cream is pale and boring.  Well, almost.
My friends and family know that I love Coconut Ice Cream best of all…but Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t have that flavor.  At least I couldn’t find it on the list.  So my next favorite, of course, is anything with chocolate.  Like Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  Yummy!
I SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!
Has anyone out there heard that little ditty “I scream for ice cream”? Well, when I was a kid, we used to sing it while my uncle turned the crank on the ice cream maker. Yes, homemade ice cream is the best thing ever! And I haven’t had any in eons!!
What are you drooling over this morning?  And yes, I could even eat ice cream for breakfast! Please stop by and share some tidbits.
Noah and a Milkshake