Treadmill Reads: A Year at 32 September Way by Mary Ylisela

32 September

Synopsis (publisher):  What happens when five people from three different countries move to the same apartment building in Italy for one year? One thing’s for sure–their lives will never be the same. Meet Carlisle, Nicolette, Josh, Charles, Eva and their landlord Senor Benedetto as they spend a year at 32 September Way. Whether they hope to find something in Verona or wish to leave something behind, the City of Love manages to change each one of them in ways they never expected.

My take:  I read this novel with a group of online friends. It’s a fast read and I enjoyed it. The author developed the characters just enough to make them interesting and somewhat relatable. 

The setting was great. 32 September Way is a charming 4-apartment house in Verona, Italy. Mary Ylisela’s detailed descriptions of the house and surrounding neighborhood really brought the novel to life. I found it easy to visualize it all.

As I read, I wondered if I could ever live in another country for a year without knowing anyone (no family, no friends) before I arrived. My favorite character did just that which made her and the book that much more interesting. I liked how the author brought each one  of the characters through their challenges and ended on a hopeful note. After I finished reading the book I found out there’s a sequel. I will definitely read it!

  • Title:  A Year at 32 September Way
  • Author:  Mary Ylisela
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  November 2012 – CreateSpace; Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Source:  I bought it.

Thin Rich Bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn

Title:  Thin Rich Bitches

Author:  Janet Eve Josselyn

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  March 2012 – Amazon

Synopsis:  Leaving her cheating husband in Boston with the paralegal he impregnated, Pippin Snowe and her son move to a ramshackle farmhouse that she inherited in the exclusive community of Dover, Massachusetts. Pippin finds employment with a local architect, designing kitchen renovations for wealthy Dover women who treat her as they treat the rest of the hired help. Concluding that social climbing is just another sport that she is no good at, Pippin opens a country club for dogs that offers services that the Dover women didn’t know they wanted until they found out that admission was required and spaces were limited.

My take:  Janet Eve Josselyn’s peek inside the lives of people with (some would say) too much money is entertaining, snarky, and had me cheering Pippin on as she learned the ropes of her new world. About a third of the way in I was wishing I’d started a character list but, little by little, the characters distinguished themselves.

If snark bothers you then this may not be the book for you. Most of the time it made me laugh. The pace of the book was pretty good. I thought the first half was mostly explaining the characters and setting up the story but the second half of the book picked up steam and I was kind of sorry to turn the final page. There’s definitely reasons for a sequel – and I’d read that book!

This was a fun summer read – a good one to read poolside or on the beach.

Source:  Thanks to the author for sending me a review copy!

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Spotlight on Paul Levine’s Solomon Vs Lord Series plus a giveaway

Paul Levine’s acclaimed series of thrillers feature lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. Originally published in the 2000s by Bantam, books from this suspenseful and humorous series were nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller and James Thurber awards.

All four books in the series — Solomon vs. LordThe Deep Blue AlibiKill All the Lawyers and Habeas Porpoise (formerly titled Trial & Error) — are now available in Kindle editions:

   

Solomon Vs. Lord
Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A. and soon to be married. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her incredibly wealthy, incredibly kinky husband. With all three tangled in the steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream—and opposites attract. Read More

Deep Blue Alibi

They are Florida’s most mismatched legal duo–one a glamorous Miami blue blood, the other a Coconut Grove beach bum. And when they get together, you can throw every law right out the window…Read More

Kill All The Lawyers

Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. They’re the legal world’s oddest couple—a shorts-and-sandals beach bum and a Coral Gables blue blood. Maybe the only thing keeping them from killing each other is that they’re on the same side. Read More

Habeas Porpoise 
HABEAS PORPOISE opens when Steve is awakened in the middle of the night with a panicked phone call from his 12 year-old nephew, Bobby. Before he can even realize it is not dream, Steve is on a high-speed chase against animal liberation fanatics who have kidnapped two dolphins from the local water park… Read More

Giveaway!

I have Kindle editions of Levine’s Solomon vs. Lord

and his short story “Solomon & Lord Sink or Swim”

for one lucky winner!

Please click here for giveaway details.

Giveaway is closed

Short Story: The Cupcake Witch by Sharon Galligar Chance

Title:  The Cupcake Witch

Author:  Sharon Galligar Chance

Genre:  Short Story

Published:  October 2011

My take:  Summer Garner owns the Sweet Tops bakery. Her cupcakes are known for the effect they have on anyone who eats one – it’s magical! Summer senses that change is in the air so she’s not surprised when she discovers that customer Nick Wilson is a private investigator sent to check out her shop. What she doesn’t know is who sent him and why.

The Cupcake Witch is a cute short story. Sharon Galligar Chance’s descriptions created an exact picture in my mind of the shop, the characters, and the cupcakes. I seriously wanted to find a bakery and indulge my sweet tooth while reading!

The story itself is sweet and the premise is fun. As a reader I’d love to see it developed more – possibly as a cozy novel but for now it was a great way to spend time in a bakery without the calories 🙂

Source:  I bought it

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Title:  What Alice Forgot

Author:  Liane Moriarty

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Published:  April 2011 – Putnam

About:  (Goodreads synopsis)  Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she’s actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. 

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn’t sure she likes who she’s become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.

My take:  What Alice Forgot is one of the more enjoyable novels I’ve read this year. It started slowly which I appreciated since it let me experience what the main character must have felt – she was not quite sure of completely confused by what was going on. As the story moved along I became invested and before the half-way point I knew how I wanted it to end – but I wasn’t sure it would.

Liane Moriarty wrote characters I could relate to or, at the very least, I could understand their actions. The person I identified with most was Alice. I can’t imagine not remembering the births of my children, a change in my relationship with my husband, or a drastic change in my persona. That’s what Alice has to deal with and I was pulling for her the whole time. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. Except – I think you should read it 🙂

I’m so glad my book club selected What Alice Forgot. Highly recommended to anyone who loves to get lost in an entertaining novel.

Source:  I bought it.

Too Big To Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Title:  Too Big To Miss

Odelia Grey Mystery #1

Author:  Sue Ann Jaffarian

Genre:  Mystery

Published:  2006

About:  (from the book description) Too big to miss – that’s Odelia Grey. A never-married, middle-aged, plus-sized woman who makes no excuses for her weight. She’s not super woman – just a mere mortal standing on the precipice of menopause, trying to cruise in an ill-fitting bra. She struggles with her relationships, her crazy family, and her crazier boss. And then there’s her knack for being in close proximity to dead people…

My take:  I first want to thank Lynne from Lynne’s Little Corner of the World who loaned me her Kindle edition of Too Big To Miss. She really liked this book and so did I. Odelia is a lovable character – admirable for the strength of her convictions as well as her humor. She’s the kind of person you’d like to be your friend.

When Odelia’s close friend Sophie turns up dead it’s ruled a suicide. This is something Odelia and her other close friend, Zee, cannot accept. They know she’d never kill herself! What they didn’t know until now is that Sophie had a bit of a secret life – one that allowed some people to view her death. That’s all I’m going to say about that. You’ll have to read this fast-paced book to find out the what, how, and whodunit.

Too Big To Miss is the first book in the Odelia Grey mystery series. I look forward to reading the next!

Source: I borrowed it.

Eden Lake by Jane Roper

Title:  Eden Lake

Author:  Jane Roper

Genre:  Fiction

Synopsis:  (from Goodreads) When the visionary director of a nontraditional children’s summer camp in Maine dies unexpectedly, his adult children are left to sort out the future of the camp and, in so doing, their own lives. Family dynamics and long-buried secrets, love affairs, and the day-to-day antics of Eden Lake’s campers intertwine and overlap during the course of the summer in this engaging debut novel.

My brief take:  Eden Lake is a novel about a summer camp in Maine and the family who run it.  The camp was founded in 1969 on the ideal of spreading peace and love.  As the years passed the founders Clay and Carol, parents of the main characters, found that life gets messy and people can change.

“…sometimes that the two of you, you and Dad, could be such idealists – the way you created this place and wanted to change the world – and at the same time be so …”

“So human?”

“Yeah,” Abe said. “Yeah, I guess that’s right.”

“I’m sorry,” his mother said. “I hope you can forgive us.”

“I can,” he said. “I mean, I will. Eventually.”

Set in the ’90s Eden Lake is not exactly a light-hearted read. It addresses the effects adults’ actions can have on children – specifically the adult children of the camp owners.

There are also some laugh-out-loud moments.If you’ve ever gone to a summer camp you may find that reading Eden Lake will make you feel nostalgia for those good old days. It brought back a few good memories for me.

Source:  I bought it.