Monday, August 30, 2010


A crime novel involving NO vampires and NO werewolves? How can this be? Believe it or not, this is a GOOD thing. I promise. Take a little breather from the undead and give The Wolves of Fairmount Park by Dennis Tafoya a whirl. (Yes, the title mentions wolves, but it's not what you think - it's better).

Two teenage boys outside of a dope house. A drive-by shooting leaves one dead and one comatose. Tragic? You bet, especially since neither boy is the drug user or dealer type. Of course there was a chain of events that lead these two boys to their awful fate. The big question is why? Why were two middle-class white boys on the wrong side of the tracks? And why would someone shoot them? The answers are sought by two diametrically opposed characters: Danny Ramirez, a young star detective in the Violent Crimes unit, and Orlando Kevin Donovan, a junkie and uncle of the boy in a coma, who lives just blocks away from the crime scene.

Tafoya unfolds this story is such a way that it is dark yet sweet. Lives are taken, and others are changed forever. The Wolves of Farimount Park will be the best mystery you read this year.

Friday, August 27, 2010

is fame really that fabulous?

If you enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada you will absolutely LOVE Lauren Weisberger's latest novel, Last Night at Chateau Marmont.

I love our married couple main characters Brooke and Julian. There story is not unlike many others. New York City, musician Julian trying to break into the music industry in the big bad city. Brooke, trying to be supportive of her husbands dreams financially and emotionally. It's not hard to relate to even if their dreams are different than yours. Dreams are dreams.

Everything changes when Julian lands a record deal and before they know it, the seemingly normal New York City couple are thrown into a world of celebrities and fame. It happens so fast, that it takes Brooke a while to look over the fame, and into a life that is not what she expected. Fame comes with consequences. Now it is Julian that she sees when she reads her guilty pleasure tabloids. Will this new found fame ruin her marriage like so many other famous couples? (I am still not over Brad and Jen, fyi).

Monday, August 23, 2010

light and funny.

Ladies! Forget the fast approaching fall months ahead and hold on to summer by continuing to read summer novels. Yes, it will still get colder outside, but you can just pretend it's not by picking up a copy of The Summer We Read Gatsby and living vicariously through author Danielle Ganek's fabulous characters.

Half-sisters Cassie and Pecksland (aka Peck) have very little in common and they don't know each other very well as adults. Their lives are slammed together by their dead Aunt Lydia who left them a cottage, named Fools House in Southampton. The girls couldn't be more different; Peck an extrovert, a wannabee actress who thinks the world is her stage. Cassie, the sensible, responsible sister, who is wanting to quickly get Fools House sold and get on with her life. But, there beloved Aunt Lydia was a devotee of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (thus the title), and she instilled that same love in her nieces. The book, and all their aunt loved about it, is the source of Peck and Cassie's greatest memories of their aunt and the cottage.

Throughout the summer, the girls live together in Fools House, finding love, finding mystery, and ultimately finding the importance of being sisters. With long-lost loves, an unwelcome house guest, over aggressive real estate agents, and posh Hampton parties, the sisters find enough adventure to keep you intrigued throughout.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

magic venom.

I enjoy when an author brings certain characters from one book to the next. Joan Brady does this with ex-con character, David Marion in her newest thriller, Venom. Many of you will recognize him from her book, Bleedout.

In Venom, David must disappear after an explosive encounter with a hit man. David's efforts to discover who is trying to kill him eventually leads him back into the arms of Helen Freyl, friend and lover.

Wealthy Springfield, Illinois resident physicist Helen Freyl owns a farm in Caton, Alabama. On her farm is a special honeybee hive that produces a type of honey, which can heal people. Helen accepts a fellowship working for the Follaton Medical Foundation in London, where she joins a team on the verge of developing a cure for radiation poisoning.

Helen has thought all of this time that David was dead, and has been grieving the loss of him. She finds him again after realizing that her life is in serious danger because of her medical venom. Together they fight for their lives against a background of corruption and industrial espionage. You will learn how far one will go with their greed, when a venom which should be used to save lives, only causes tragedy.

eat, pray, love.

So I read Eat Pray Love as fast as I could because I had a date to see the movie with my mother. I don't work well under pressure, so of course I didn't finish it in time. I made it through Italy and India, but was in the dark when it came to Indonesia while watching the movie. I kind of liked it like that though because then I finished up the book when I came home - and was extremely happy with both.

Author Liz Gilbert went on a journey to find pleasure, God, and a way to balance the two in her life. She went to Italy, India and Indonesia through the course of a year to find this balance. Italy was her search for pleasure, which she found in the language and the food. India was her search for God, which she found in an Ashram with the help of her guru, and other lovable characters. Indonesia was her search to find balance between pleasure and religion; a way to have them both equally in her life.

Liz was very detailed while writing about her journey. There was a history lesson through every place she visited, which a lot of you will enjoy. She very open about her personal life. I laughed out loud and cringed equally. It was extremely spiritual, I chose to use that word because being spiritual isn't scary. It's not filled with pressure to believe a certain way. It is a book that shows you to be open to all kinds of prayer, so that you can choose how you will talk to God (whichever God you prefer).

We all need to find balance in our crazy lives - Eat Pray Love is a true story that may help you find the right balance in yours.

i'm backkkk.

Forgive me friends, and my lack of writing anything on this blog. I have been traipsing around Europe, I'm sure you understand.

I always have good luck buying books in airports. It's a tradition at this point. When I have a long flight, or a long layover - I will purchase a book from one of the many bookstores around, to help pass the time. I am well aware that the reason why I am lucky in loving these books is because they are all bestsellers. But shh, it's a fun thing I do with myself.

Before boarding my flight to London, I grabbed a copy of Charlie St. Cloud - which is also a movie coming out soon, (another bonus because I adore book-to-movie novels). It was actually a slow start in reading because I didn't realize I was going to have a TV/Movie on demand type situation on my plane, (thank God for that). Throughout my journey, I read bits and pieces - traveling country to country. I ended up finishing it while being stuck in the God-awful Philadelphia airport for a million hours because my flight was delayed. I still hate Philly, but I am glad I got to finish reading Charlie's story...

Charlie and Sam were brothers and best friends. Being three years apart in age did not keep them from doing everything together. On the way home from a Red Sox game, where Charlie was driving illegally with Sam and Oscar (their beagle) in tow, there was a terrible accident. The three of them crossed over to the other side, and Charlie was the only one to return to this world.

Charlie spent a lot of years blaming himself. The death of his brother stopped his world from spinning, and he simply stayed put. He grew up, of course, started working at the cemetary, which was a little morbid if you ask me. After a few years he was in charge of the entire grounds keeping of the place. He lived in a little cottage on the property - and every night as the sun set, Charlie would go deep into the woods and play catch with Sam. Yes, his dead brother, Sam.

Charlie was different the most people, his moment on the other side of life brought him a gift. He was able to see the dead before they crossed over. He saw them at their funerals, he saw them for as long as they decided to stay - to watch over their loved ones. He saw them when they were ready to cross over themselves, and leave earth behind. Charlie and Sam made a promise to each other. Charlie would meet him every night to play catch, and Sam would not cross over. This kept them both in limbo - not able to move on with their lives.

Things changed once Charlie met Tess. He had other women in his life before, but none ever understood why Charlie wouldn't go away for a weekend, or spend the night. He found it a bit hard to explain that he had to be home in time to play a round of catch with his brother, who was long dead. Tess was different though, she was beautiful and daring. She understood the feeling of losing someone, not being able to let go.

There was one thing that was strange about Tess, she could see Sam, just as clearly as Charlie could.

Monday, August 2, 2010

poor bree.

I am sure many of you have heard of a little series of books called the Twilight Saga. Well, in Eclipse (the movie was released in June), there was a big vampire war. If you read the book, you will remember a little vampire named Bree who made it to the end of the battle because the Cullens took pity on her. She ends up being killed by the Volturi, and I remember while reading, feeling sad. Not that I'm a vampire freak, but I enjoy Stephanie Myers characters so much, I felt like Bree's story ended too soon.

Myers felt the same way - as she explains in the introduction of her latest short novel, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. A very short life indeed. I read the book in a few hours. I am really glad Myers took the time to give us a little insight on Bree's past along with her short lived vampire life. Bree wasn't a typical newborn, she was tame and smart. She knew how to stay alive and be discrete. Other characters were mentioned - ones we never got to meet in the saga. They were wild vampires, but Myers didn't get gory in the details of their feedings, which was nice. And, we get to see how our favorite vampire coven from a different perspective.

It's definitely worth the read, even though we know how it ends.

characters with lots of character.

As an author, one of the smartest things you can do is develop characters that a vast amount of readers can relate to. Jennifer Weiner did an excellent job of this in her novel, Fly Away Home. Each chapter reflected one woman's person journal - past and present throughout the story. Our main ladies are Sylvie - 57 year old Senator's wife and her daughters Diana - 30 year old doctor in a loveless marriage and Lizzie - 24 year old addict trying to get her life back on track. It's very women only club.

And no, the men did not get a chance to defend themselves.

Sylvie has spent her entire adult life in a marriage where her husbands feelings were always put before her own. She did everything for him, and he would not be the successful politician that he was if she had not been at this side. Sylvie loved her life. She didn't mind waiting for Richard's eggs, or running his errands, or editing his speeches. She loved him and would do anything for him. So, of course he decided to cheat on her.

Diana never wanted her mothers life. She never wanted to lose herself in her marriage - she was scared to fall so much in love that she lost sight of her goals. That is why she decided to pick Gary to marry. He was nice, decent to look at - not controlling. Not much of anything really but a person to share a house with. It's not too surprising when she finds herself looking for the passion she is missing elsewhere.

Lizzie (my favorite) the misunderstood little sister who got into drugs early in life and has never been taken seriously as an adult. She ends up working for Diana - watching her son Milo - trying to prove herself. Her struggles with addiction go far behind a simple high. She has never really lived her life sober. Seeing everything so clearly is scary, which is why she hides behind her camera lens a lot. You'll like her.

Individually these characters stand on their own. They are beautifully developed and interesting to get to know. Together, they turn this novel into a must-read masterpiece.