Wendy Wax Book Club Giveaway – Ten Beach Road

 

ENDS OCTOBER 31 AT MIDNIGHT

READ PINKTM WITH THE WENDY WAX BOOK CLUB GIVEAWAY!

♦  ♦  ♦

Wendy is offering one book club the opportunity to receive 10 copies of the READ PINK ™ edition of TEN BEACH ROAD for their group and a visit with Wendy at an upcoming meeting via Skype or by phone. The winning club will be chosen at random. Please be prepared to share your group’s name and some history about your group. Enter

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The Shortest Way Home by Juliette Fay

Title:  The Shortest Way Home

Author:  Juliette Fay

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Published:  October 2012 – Penguin

Paperback: 416 pages

Synopsis:  Sean has spent twenty years in Third World war zones and natural disaster areas, fully embracing what he’d always felt was his life’s mission. But when burnout sets in, Sean is reluctantly drawn home to Belham, Massachusetts, the setting of Fay’s much-loved Shelter Me. There, he discovers that his steely aunt, overly dramatic sister, and quirky nephew are having a little natural disaster of their own. When he reconnects with a woman from his past, Sean has to wonder if the bonds of love and loyalty might just rewrite his destiny. Completely relatable, The Shortest Way Home is another perfect serving of a slice of life from the irresistible Fay.

My take:  Sean Doran’s back is killing him and he’s feeling burnt out after years of nursing in third world countries. He takes a break and heads home to Belham, Mass. What he finds when he arrives home are family members who need him just as much, if not more, than the people he left in Africa. He also has to face the reason why he left home to begin with: Huntington’s disease – the cause of his mother’s early death. Has he managed to escape it? Will other family members be diagnosed with it? It hangs over him constantly.

Juliette Fay’s characters stole my heart from the first page. I understood Sean’s motivation, his sister Deirdre’s frustration, and his nephew Kevin’s issues. I loved Aunt Vivvy, Cormac the baker, and Rebecca, a former classmate and friend. By the time I finished reading The Shortest Way Home I felt like they were all family members – that’s how real they seemed. Completely relatable – as stated in the synopsis.

It really is a slice of life novel and it left me hoping Juliette Fay will write another “Belham novel” someday soon. I’m going to want an update on all of the Dorans!

Disclosure:  Review copy provided by the publisher. I was not compensated for my review.

Sunday Post

The past week was a good one. I’ve been reading some wonderful books – actually, 2012 has been a great year for fiction, hasn’t it? I posted my thoughts about Love Anthony by Lisa Genova. For fun I listened to an older Lisa Kleypas novel. I also read Joanne DeMaio’s lovely Whole Latte Life for an upcoming blog tour.

Earlier in the week I drove across state to visit my parents. The fall colors were fantastic. Here are a couple of pics my dad took:

The house on the right is where I grew up

A view of the back yard. See the green space after the sidewalk ends?

There was a swimming pool in that spot for thirty years!

What have you been reading lately that you recommend? If you’re in the path of Hurricane Sandy, stay safe!

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova (audiobook)

Title:  Love Anthony

Author:  Lisa Genova

Narrator:  Debra Messing

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Published:  September 2012 – Simon & Schuster Audio

8 cds – approximately 9 hours

Synopsis:  Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died.

Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.

Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.” Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. She had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself.

In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, New York Times bestselling author Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women on the verge of change and the irrepressible young boy whose unique wisdom helps them both find the courage to move on.

My take:  My first experience with Lisa Genova’s books was Still Alice. Genova took the reader into the life of a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. In Love Anthony the main character is Olivia whose son (on the autism spectrum) has passed away. She feels incredible guilt for various reasons – not the least of which is how her son died.

Love Anthony is also about another woman – Beth. Her life has done a 180 and she’s working through how to go forward. Genova connects the two woman in an intriguing way. They help each other discover that unconditional love is not a one way street and forgiveness may be part of healing.

I liked how Genova’s story wrapped up – maybe not with a beautiful bow but tied up nicely just the same. I appreciated the author’s comments about autism at the end of the book. Recommended.

Debra Messing’s performance was good. Her voice was easy to listen to and I thought she voiced the characters adequately.

Disclosure:  I received a review copy of the audiobook from the publisher via Audiobook Jukebox. I was not compensated for my review.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

Title:  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake

Author:  Jenny Wingfield

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  July 2012 – Random House Trade Paperbacks – 352 pages

Synopsis:  Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father’s congregation; for Willadee it’s a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John’s untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel’s parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan’s undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father.

With characters who spring to life as vividly as if they were members of one’s own family, and with the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield emerges as one of the most vital, engaging storytellers writing today. In The Homecoming of Samuel Lake she has created a memorable and lasting work of fiction.

My brief take:  Oh my goodness! What a wonderful novel! I loved being immersed in the southern setting and I loved the Lake family. Jenny Wingfield’s characters and story completely pulled me in.

My heart was captured by Swan. She had a remarkably mature empathy for the people in her life but expressed it in such an age-appropriate way that it made me smile. My heart went out to her as shocking events unfolded but I was left feeling uplifted and optimistic for what the future would hold for her.

Swan is the main character but the other members of her family (immediate and extended) are interesting and endearing. They could probably each have their own novel – and I would want to read them!

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake will be on my 2012 Favorites list. Highly recommended.

Disclosure:  I received this book from the publisher. I was not compensated for my review.