September Books

September was a good reading month:

The Book of Joe  (J. Tropper)
8 Sandpiper Way (D. Macomber)
The Sugar Queen (S. Addison Allen)
Run (A. Patchett)
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (L. Viera Rigler)
Keeping the House (E. Baker)
High Five (J. Evanovich)
Hot Six (J. Evanovich)
Skylight Confessions (A. Hoffman)

Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman

Back of the book: John is cool, practical, and deliberate – the polar opposite of dreamy Arlyn – yet the two are drawn powerfully together even when it is clear they are bound to bring each other grief. Their marriage traces a map no one should follow, leading them and their children to a house made of glass in the Connecticut countryside, to the avenues of Manhattan, and to the blue waters of Long Island Sound. Glass breaks, love hurts, and, like all families, John and Arlyn’s makes its own rules. Ultimately, it falls to their grandson, Will, to walk a path of ruin and redemption in order to solve the emotional puzzle of his family.
Skylight Confessions is a novel full of symbolism that portrays a family so stuck in their situation they can’t see more than one way out. Arlyn and John know they probably weren’t meant for each other but don’t try to change the fact. Children feel the effect of that kind of union. Some more than others and that is how it is for the Moody children. We follow this family to different ends, some excruciatingly painful and sad. Why read this book? Well, there is a final message of hope – that you can change your situation in life if you want it badly enough.

This was not an easy book to read – meaning the lives of the children were so emotionally difficult. Hoffman’s pace is fast and her writing is very smooth so the actual reading is easy – it’s just that I had a tough time with how one of the children dealt with his life.

High Five/Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

When I began reading the Stephanie Plum series everyone told me to have Hot Six ready to read after finishing High Five. That time was this week and they were right! I enjoyed both books. They were so entertaining that I’m very tempted to jump into Seven Up. But I’ll wait. I made an exception this month in that I read two Plum books when my rule has been only one per month.

I’ve felt like the last reader on the planet to discover this series so I’m glad I finally got on board. Hot Six made me laugh out loud more than any book I’ve ever read. Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur moves in with her for a short while and the hilarity ensues. One more thing, you may be familiar with the Edward/Jacob choice that Bella has in the Twilight series. Well, that doesn’t hold a candle to Stephanie’s choice between Morelli and Ranger. Glad I don’t have to make that one!

Keeping the House by Ellen Baker

Back book cover: When Dolly Magnuson moves to Pine Rapids, Wisconsin, in 1950, she discovers that making marriage work is harder than it looks in the pages of the Ladies’ Home Journal. Dolly tries to adapt to her new life by keeping the house, supporting her husband’s career, and joining the Ladies Aid quilting circle. Soon her loneliness and restless imagination are seized by a vacant house, owned by the once-prominent Mickelson family. As Dolly’s life and marriage become increasingly difficult, she begins to lose herself in piecing together the story of the Mickelson men and women – and unravels dark secrets woven through the generations of a family. As Keeping the House moves back and forth in time, it eloquently explores themes of heroism and passion, of men’s struggles with fatherhood and war, and of women’s conflicts with issues of conformity, identity, forbidden dreams, and love.
Keeping the House is an old-fashioned family saga that takes place over the first half of the last century. It tells the story of three generations of the Mickelson family. Author Ellen Baker made me feel as though I was part of the quilting circle – learning the story of the most prominent family in Pine Rapids. It was a page-turner that kept me wondering ’til the last page how things would turn out. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good story.

You’re getting hungry, very hungry

I’ve been thinking about this topic all summer.  Have you noticed how many novels include recipes?  When did that start?  I’ve been known at times to use reading as a way to avoid eating!  I picked up a beach read a few months ago and found it offering scrumptious sounding Italian recipes.   Made me want to toss the book and find the nearest pasta palace!  I’m not against recipes in books (you should see my cookbook collection) but I’m wondering when it became so popular?  What’s next – should I expect Ina Garten to try her hand at chick lit??

The pic of Comfort Food was just for show.  I reviewed it here earlier this year.

Newest member of the family

Last week my daughters adopted Murphy, a 12 year old West Highland Terrier, from a Chicago area shelter. I haven’t met Murphy in person yet but I think he’s a cutie!
We’re all looking forward to Murphy meeting Bailey (whose photo is at the very lower right if you scroll down). Bailey is ten years old and has lived at my house for all ten years.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Cover Image

From the book cover: After nursing a broken engagement with Jane Austen novels and Absolut, Courtney Stone wakes up and finds herself not in her Los Angeles bedroom or even in her own body, but inside the bedchamber of a woman in Regency England. Who but an Austen addict like herself could concoct such a fantasy?
From the first time I heard of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict I knew I would buy this book. I finally got around to reading it this week and have to say I enjoyed my time with Courtney Stone in Regency England. I liked experiencing the smells and tastes and feel of the time through the heroine. There are a couple of minor issues I had but none moved me enough to write about here. That said, I would have liked the book to go on past the 288 pages. It was a different and fun novel.
Follow this link to an interview of the author by Book Club Girl.

Run by Ann Patchett

From the book jacket: Since their mother’s death, Tip and Teddy Doyle have been raised by their loving, possessive, and ambitious father. As the former mayor of Boston Bernard Doyle wants to see his sons in politics, a dream the boys have never shared. But when an argument in a blinding New England snowstorm inadvertently causes an accident that involves a stranger and her child, all Bernard cares about is his ability to keep his children – all his children – safe.
The title Run comes into play in a few different ways: run from a life, run for life, and even run for political office. The story takes place over a couple of days. Author Ann Patchett stays true to form in her easy, smooth way of supplying detail so realistic that I shivered along with the characters in the snowstorm.

The edition I read included a P.S. section. Patchett explains why she wrote Run.

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

From the book jacket: Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…Until she finds her closet harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis – and two parts fairy godmother…
The Sugar Queen is Sarah Addison Allen’s second novel – following the bestselling Garden Spells. I found it to be as enchanting as the first. I hesitate to explain the plot as I think it takes away from the wonderful experience of reading the book for the first time. I borrowed it from the library but will probably buy when the trade pb is published. I was happy to read that the author’s next book will be out in 2009. I’m a fan.

8 Sandpiper Way by Debbie Macomber

8 Sandpiper Way continues the saga of Cedar Cove – a charming small town near Seattle. Actually, Cedar Cove is a fictional town but loosely based on the author’s hometown of Port Orchard, Washington. If you haven’t read this series I suggest you begin with the first (16 Lighthouse Road) and work your way through.

This installment finds major characters dealing with breast cancer, the grief of losing a husband/father, and suspected foul-play among other issues. This could definitely be a Lifetime series. 3/5 stars.

August Books

Stone Creek  by V. Lustbader
Drinking Problems at the Fountain of Youth (ARC) by B. Teitell
Breaking Dawn by S. Meyer
Horseplay by J.R. Singer
Lakeside Cottage by S. Wiggs
The Winter Lodge by S. Wiggs
Bridge of Sighs by R. Russo
The Guernsey and Potato Peel Pie Society by M.A. Shaffer and A. Barrows

That’s 8 for the month and 60 for the year.  I enjoyed each book and the favorite was Guernsey.