Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book # 33 "French Fried" by Chris Dolley

I won this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewer and it's the first book I've read on my husband's Nook. It's a great find on both. I won't give my opinion of the Nook here except to say I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Now on to "French Fried". I'll start by saying it's not my favorite book title and that's the only negative about this book.

Chris and his wife Shelagh have decided to move from their farm in England to a farm in France. If you've ever moved from one side of town to the other you know it's a stressful process. I think moving is right up there with divorce and death in the amount of stress involved. Now imagine moving from one country to the other, when you're not fluent in the language, and you're bringing along two cat who don't get along, a puppy with all the energy a puppy has, and more then one horse. Add on horrible weather, the need to take a ferry with a giant horse trailer, and a series of, well, let's just say events and you'll never want to move again.

Sadly things don't get much easier as they settle in. Funnier, yes easier, not so much. Whether it's trying to buy a used car or getting mistaken (and signed) for a soccer pro by the local football team thins are definitely not boring for the Dolleys. Oh, and through in a house that was apparently built by Rube Goldberg. Their pain is our laughs.

Throw in a mystery involving identity theft that will keep you guess and "French Fried" makes for a can't put down read. At one point (my favorite part of the book) Chris says about having his identity stolen that he's not the person this kind of thing happens to only to realize he is exactly that person. (Trust me, his realization is much funnier than I've just stated here) With apologies to the poor Dolley family and very happy they're the kind of people this happens to because I had great fun in their misery.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book # 32 "The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" by Tiffany Baker

You've got to love a great book title. I sometimes wonder if books we (or at least I) think of as iconic where thought to have great titles when the first came out. Did people think "To Kill a Mockingbird" was a great title in 1960 or was it just another title until they found out how great the book was? There are some books where you just know the title rocked from the beginning. I mean, come on, "Lord of the Rings" is a great title.

In my humble opinion "The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" is a great title. And the book cover just got me. I love good cover art. There are books where the cover art just seems to be an afterthought and then there are books that just suck you in. I have found entire series off the cover of just one of the books. "The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" had on of those covers. I saw the cover on a book blog I was reading and just had to find out more about the book itself.

So, I went into this book predisposed to love it. This is the story of Truly massive at birth and growing larger every day we follow her through her life in Aberdeen, a small town in New York. Truly's mother dies giving birth to her, something her father never quite forgives her for. Her older sister Serena Jane is her polar opposite petite, beautiful, and delicate. When their father too dies they are each sent to live drastically different lives. Serena Jane one of apparent privilege and Truly one of deprivation.

Along the way the long line of town doctors all named Robert Morgan play and important role in both Truly and Serena Jane's life. We hear of the Morgan's ancestor Tabitha, the town witch and the legend of her shadow book. The book of potions and cures hidden these many years from the long line of Robert Morgans who looked for them.

As I said everything was set for me to love this book yet when I started I had a very hard time getting into the book. I think I was expecting it to be a light and airy story following Truly's life. I had just finished a magical light and lovely story and thought this would follow in it's footsteps. This wasn't that book

What is was was a beautifully told tale of a girl living through the obstacals life has thrown at her with a grace her size beligns. After the first few chapters I was completely involved in Truly's life and struggle. I was fully invested in what became of her and of those she loved and who love her. And the book had it's own magic as Truly discovers her place in the world and that there were those around her that love her.

I'm so glad I didn't give up on this book. There was so much to love. It has a depth and humanity it was a joy to read. This is Tiffany Baker's first book and I really hope she's working on another. I want to read more of what this woman creates.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Two, two, two books at once.

I haven't really done the two books at once thing for the reading challenge. Which is unusual because I often have two books going at the same time. But I guess because I want to finish reading in a timely manner I guess I'm not bouncing back and forth.

Anyway, I have two books going right no because I won an Ebook copy of "French Fried" which is subtitled "one man's move to France with his wife, too many animals, and an identity thief".

This is going to be my first complete read on Nook and I hate to say I'm really not hating it right now. I've been kind of vocal around the house about my distaste for electronic readers. I believe they could spell the end of actual, physical books. I love reading and by that I mean the physical act of reading. I love holding a book, I love turning pages, I love the smell of a book, I love book covers, I love the weight books have, and the way a soft cover book bends in your hand when you're reading it. There's something about the process of working my way through a book, seeing where I am (and don't get me started on book marks ~ I have a weird kind of love for those that borders on, well, never mind) and seeing how much I have left. So the whole e-reader thing rubbed me the wrong way.

Then I got one for my DH for his birthday. Hey, just cause I don't like it doesn't mean he has to dislike it. He likes tech and this was right up his ally. And then last week I won this ebook for one of my book blog web sites so I thought what the hey.

I've only been reading last night and I've only gotten about 20 pages in but I have to say I'm not hating it. It's light weight and kind of cool tech-y feel to it. The only thing I've noticed so far is that I aware of reading it on the device so I'm not as deep into the story but I'm thinking that will wear off as I get use to reading on it. For now I guess I'll being getting two books down for my quest and that's always good.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book # 31 "The Girl Who Chased the Moon" by Sarah Addison Allen

Mullaby, North Carolina is the kind of small southern town that makes my readers heart beat a little faster. Come on, what's not to love? There's the mysterious Coffey family who never venture out at night and their handsome son Win who wants to break free from the family secret. Then there's the lovely Julia who bakes wonderful cakes in the hopes they'll bring back a love she lost long ago. Hoping to repair his past relationship with Julia is Sawyer who has a "sweet sense", the ability to see the sweet scents of Julia's cake. Enter into this Emily Benedict, who's come Mullaby to live with her grandfather, a gentle giant prone to checking the dryer several times a day in a house where the wallpaper can change at anytime.

"The Girl Who Chased the Moon" is now ranked among my favorite books. I just loved everything about it. The mystery and magic jump off the page and pulled my right into the story. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. In fact had to stay up till 2 am the second night of reading it to find out what would happen to these wonderful characters. What would happen with Julia and Sawyer? Would they overcome past pain to find true happiness? Would Emily find out about her mother and the reasons she never told Emily about her life in Mullaby?

Everything in this story rung pitch perfect for me. I couldn't wait to finish and then was so sorry it was over. I cared what happened to each of the characters and the magic of Mullaby definitely cast a spell over me.

I'm always excited to find a new to me author and Sarah Addison Allen is a wonderful, enchanting find for me. She is ranking up there with my favorite author Adriana Trigiani. I've added the rest of her books to my "to be read" stack" and, with apologizes to the other authors in my stack, Ms. Allen's books have been moved to the top.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book # 30 "Beachcombers" by Nancy Thayer

Abbie, Emma, and Lily Fox are all home in Nantucket for the summer. Lilly had been home working for the local magazine, Abbie has come home from her Nanny job in London to help Emma who has come home after losing her job and her fiance. They're all a little lost having lost their mother when Abbie was 15, Emma was 13, and Lily only 7 they all need to find their way.

Enter Marina also nursing a broken heart after her husband leaves her for her best friend who is pregnant with a baby, a baby Marina herself desperately wanted. She's come to Nantucket to heal and decide what to do next.

Over the course of the summer these four women will find love and themselves and what they all really want out of life.

This was a great summer read with just enough drama and heartache to keep the story going and all the love and romance of a good summer page turner. After finishing the book I wanted to spend a leisurely summer on a wonderful east coast island.

Nancy Thayer can tell a good story. There are ups and downs and love and heartache. While there are no big twist or turns, if you've read enough summer beach books you'll see what's coming. But you won't really care because you're having a darn good time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book # 29 "Commuters" by Emily Gray Tedrowe

The idea of love in the Autumn/Winter of life is a very hopeful thing. The idea of marriage in the same stage of life is very brave. Here's the story of Winnie and Jerry and their decision to get married at well into their 70s and the repercussions that decision has on those around them.

Told from the points of view of Winnie, her daughter Rachel, and her step-grandson Avery ~ Commuters tells the story of our commute through life and how each of our commutes effects the others in our life.

I love how this story didn't shy away and, in fact, dealt head on with what it means to get married again late in life and taking on the responsibility of not only a new marriage but a new home. How family and friends react to these decisions and what happens to you in what may be the short time you have left.

Along the way we hear the story of a family trying to rebound from a devastating accident and a young man trying to find his way back from drug addiction. There are many complicated emotions and actions taking place in this story and they're all told with great depth and compassion. Tedrowe does a great job of dealing with the messy, uneven, wonky connections made in life, love, and family. By the end I was left happy I took the commute with her.