- Pub. Date: January 05, 2010
- Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Format: Hardcover, 288pp
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page.
It’s 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he’ll never forget.
LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone’s turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade—easier said than done when scary movies still give you nightmares and you bear a striking resemblance to a certain adorable cartoon boy.
Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial School—where Mother Filomina’s word is law and goody-two-shoes Rosalie Twerski is sure to be minding everyone’s business. But grammar and arithmetic move to the back burner this holiday season with the sudden arrivals of substitute teacher Madame Frechette, straight from Québec, and feisty Russian student Zhenya Kabakova. While Felix learns the meaning of French kissing, cultural misunderstanding, and tableaux vivants, Wishin’ and Hopin’ barrels toward one outrageous Christmas.
From the Funicello family’s bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin’ and Hopin’ is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we’ve been—and how far we’ve come.
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My thoughts: Wishin’ and Hopin’ is an amusing novel about Felix Funicello (Annette is his third cousin) and his 5th grade year at St. Aloysius Gonzaga.
I really enjoyed reading about Felix and his classmates, teachers, and family. I went to Catholic elementary school (in the 1960s) and could relate to much of the story. Wally Lamb infused humor throughout the book. That said, there were a few times when I really felt sympathy for a couple of Felix’s classmates. The class is guided through the first semester by a memorable substitute teacher. Lamb’s story culminates in a hilarious Christmas program.
I recommend placing Wishin’ and Hopin’ on your reading list this season.
Review copy from HarperCollins
Architect Francesca Moretti has always been taught to aim high, work hard and finish what you start. So when it falls to her–the baby of the family and only daughter–to head up the family construction business and see a high-profile project through to completion, there is no question of bailing out.
Still, it won’t be easy. Construction is a guys’ game–Franci will have to prove she’s just as comfortable in steel-toed work boots as in peep-toe heels. To make matters worse, the financing company has sent a glorified babysitter to oversee the project: nitpicking workaholic Kyle Jagger. The human watchdog is constantly looking over Franci’s shoulder–and not always at the blueprints. And Franci’s getting the distinct impression that Kyle is interested in a little more than just the bottom line.
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My thoughts: When I post a review I usually include the synopsis from the book or one found on BN.com or Amazon.com. I’m not sure if the person who wrote this synopsis actually read the book but I want to say Kyle didn’t seem like a “nitpicking workaholic” or “human watchdog”.
I really liked All the Right Angles. It’s the first of three books. Franci and Kyle’s story was fun to watch unfold. I enjoyed reading about the Moretti family and can imagine a few possible story lines for the books that follow. Although I thought the ending was a bit too abrupt, this is a feel-good romantic novel and I recommend it.
- Pub. Date: January 18, 2010
- Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
- Format: Hardcover, 320pp
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Piper Pickwick tries to live a good and honest life but, like most of us, she has things she needs to work on. When she is called back to her hometown she gets the opportunity and time to work on correcting past wrongs. It took me several pages to get into the rhythm of Leaving Carolina but once I did, the pace picked up and I quickly finished reading the book.
Two of my favorite characters in the book help Piper realize that life can be good when you face your past instead of run from it. Those two are Uncle Obe and Axel Smith. Obe has received a diagnosis of dementia and wants to make things right in his own life. Piper has always been his favorite relative and she feels the same about him. Axel is Obe’s godson and works as gardener on Obe’s estate. Obe thinks Axel (who has had several challenges in his life) could be a good match for his niece. The story moves in several directions and never failed to keep my attention.
There are several interesting characters in addition to my favorites. Two of them will be featured in a second book due out in 2010. I would recommend this novel to readers who enjoy Chick Lit and Contemporary Christian Fiction.
You can find more information about Leaving Carolina here.
Review book fromWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group