Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry—lonely, friendless, not too good at sports—spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele—a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.

But all that changes on the Thursday before Labor Day, when a mysterious bleeding man named Frank approaches Henry and asks for a hand. Over the next five days, Henry will learn some of life's most valuable lessons: how to throw a baseball, the secret to perfect piecrust, the breathless pain of jealousy, the power of betrayal, and the importance of putting others—especially those we love—above ourselves. And the knowledge that real love is worth waiting for. (Goodreads)

My book clubs were chosen to review this book and also the soon to be released movie. Both my clubs meet later this month but I wanted to post my own review of the book since I just recently finished it.

I really enjoyed it overall. Very easy to read. I have never read Joyce Maynard before and this was smooth writing at its best. At the heart you have a love story; at first between a son and his mother, and then his mother and the stranger and then the son and a girl. It's very honest writing, told in the voice of the son; a son at the age of puberty, ripe with his own thoughts and desires and opinions. You get some back story of his mother and the relationship she had with his father and what brought her to the solitude that she lived in for most of the novel. And the presence of this stranger that they keep in their home is tantalizing, strange, tense and comfortable all at the same time. 

The stranger feels at home right away and the relationship between him and the mother is obvious from the very beginning;love. This book is now a movie with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. I had those actors in mind when I read the book because of the movie-tie-in version that was sent to me. They fit perfectly; mysterious and beautiful. I am very much excited to see the movie and how they bring it to life. So much happens in such a short period of time that the movie will pack a punch, I'm sure.

I spread the copies of the books to both of my book clubs. One meets tomorrow and the other next Monday. I will include in another post their feelings and then eventually our group review of the movie.

I highly recommend this book. It's a fast read, though emotional. The ending is a bit abrupt but I think it had to be for where the story needed to go. 

Overall, a good book club choice.

Author Website:
Joyce Maynard

Movie Website:
Labor Day

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner

My name is Dr. Adeline Glen. Due to a genetic condition, I can’t feel pain. I never have. I never will.

The last thing Boston Detective D.D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear… She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work.

My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

Six weeks later, a second woman is discovered murdered in her own bed, her room containing the same calling cards from the first: a bottle of champagne and a single red rose. The only person who may have seen the killer: Detective D.D. Warren, who still can’t lift her child, load her gun, or recall a single detail from the night that may have cost her everything.

Our father was Harry Day, an infamous serial killer who buried young women beneath the floor of our home. He has been dead for forty years. Except the Rose Killer knows things about my father he shouldn’t. My sister claims she can help catch him. I think just because I can’t feel pain, doesn’t mean my family can’t hurt me.

D.D. may not be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women; he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down:

Fear nothing. (Goodreads)

I have grown to look forward to a new book by Lisa Gardner each year. I have read a few of hers now and she is definitely a favorite and one of the best thriller writers out there. I like that her books are set in Boston, where I once lived and I love her detective character D.D. Warren.

All of her books have twists in them that you don't seem coming, which I love. This new one features two sisters, one that suffers from a condition where she doesn't feel pain and the other who is a notorious serial killer known for inflicting pain. They also just happen to be the daughters of Harry Day, a notorious killer in his own right. Talk about crazy plotting!

D.D. is injured in the beginning so her character is struggling with keeping up with her limited body while trying to catch a killer that is targeting one of the sisters and copying the styles of their father. This brings on a different twist because D.D. character is generally such a force to be reckoned with. Here you see her weaknesses.

What you get is a wicked fast paced psychological thriller. Told from the perspective of Adeline, the sister who can't feel pain and D.D., you follow this twisted story to its climatic conclusion. I would say this one has to be one of my favorites so far. Gardner really knows her characters, knows how to write from both sides of the coin (good and evil) and knows how to wrap it up nicely.

I will eagerly wait for another book next year and read it right away. She has definitely topped my list of thriller writers to watch for. HIghly recommended.

Author Website:
Lisa Gardner

Release Date:
January 4, 2014
Purchase at Indie Bound

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Audio Book Challenge

Here's the challenge link 
@ Teresa's Reading Corner.

Here are the rules per her blog.

There are five levels to the challenge
  • Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
  • Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
  • Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
  • Married-Listen to more than 25 Audio Books
  • You Define the Relationship- Create your own challenge (choose your own name and level starting as low or going as high as you’d like)
This challenge is completely laid back. I want it to be as enjoyable as possible.
  • Audio Books can be any genre
  • You can cross challenges
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate. You can tell us about what you are listening to in the comments of the monthly link up.

I plan on doing Going Steady again since that worked out so nicely for me last year. I love this challenge. I love Teresa's blog. I love audio books!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

2013 Audio Book Challenge Update

I gave myself the goal of 12 audio books and I did it! 

Here is what I listened to last year.
Motherland by Amy Sohn
I, Rhoda by valerie Harper
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett
Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A Story Lately Told by Anjelica Houston
Orange is the New Black by Pier Kerman

DNF (Did Not Finished)
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (yuck, couldn't do it)
True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt (I love Lyle Lovett as a musician but as a narrator he put me to sleep!)

I'm excited for a new year challenge. I absolutely adore audio books!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 A-Z Mystery Author Challenge

Happy 2014 Everyone! 

I am doing this challenge again this year because I have a few of you out there who really love it. (Thanks Bev!) I will always strive to read as many mysteries and thrillers as I can. It is one of my favorite genres. Over the last few years my reading pace has slowed. I am listening to as many books as I am reading so last year's stats puts me at 6 new mysteries read. I only challenged myself to read 24 books so I think that's doing okay in my book!

I'm not going to do a linky this year. Please save this post and leave your review links in the comments below. As always, have fun and discover new authors or read those that you have been wanting to for too long!

I'm going to continue to explore and go from there. No goal. Just discover and go with it!

  • A-Z represents the LAST name of the author in the mystery, thriller, suspense, cozy, noir, etc. genre.
  • Read as many or as little as you want.
  • Post your links here for your Challenge post and your reviews!
  • Challenge Runs January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2014
  • Have fun!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

TLC Book Tour: The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

For over a hundred years, the Angelini Shoe Company in Greenwich Village has relied on the leather produced by Vechiarelli & Son in Tuscany. This historic business partnership provides the twist of fate for Valentine Roncalli, the school teacher turned shoemaker, to fall in love with Gianluca Vechiarelli, a tanner with a complex past . . . and a secret. 

A piece of surprising news is revealed at The Feast of the Seven Fishes when Valentine and Gianluca join her extended family on a fateful Christmas Eve. Now faced with life altering choices, Valentine remembers the wise words that inspired her in the early days of her beloved Angelini Shoe Company: "A person who can build a pair of shoes can do just about anything." The proud, passionate Valentine is going to fight for everything she wants and savor all she deserves-the bitter and the sweetness of life itself.

Romantic and poignant, told with humor and warmth, and bursting with a cast of endearing characters, The Supreme Macaroni Company is a sumptuous feast of delights: a portrait of a woman and the man she loves, her passion for craftsmanship, and the sacrifices it takes to build and sustain a family business while keeping love and laughter at the center of everything. (Goodreads)

I have been eagerly awaiting this conclusion to the Valentine books. I read Very Valentine and Brava Valentine almost back to back a few years ago and absolutely loved them. It took a sec to catch up with Valentine and where she was again in her life but after a few chapters, I was once again comfortable and familiar with her and her interesting Italian/New York family.

The one thing I really like about Trigani's books is her description of the Italian family; the relationships, the history, the drama and the FOOD and fashion. I just get so wrapped up in those little things because you feel so at home. Obviously Trigiani pulls from her own life and her own history. It just makes it a much more personable read.

Valentine is at a different place at the beginning of this book. She is about to get married. Her business is doing well. But there are a lot of what ifs. I enjoyed it all. It was an easy yet still a bit emotional read. I will always enjoy her books and miss Valentine and her family.

I would recommend starting at Very Valentine and enjoying the whole series, if you can call it that. It's necessary to see the evolution of the characters to feel more involved.

Tour Stops:

Monday, November 11th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Tuesday, November 12th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, November 13th: Becca’s Byline
Thursday, November 14th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, November 18th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, November 19th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, November 21st: Always With a Book
Monday, November 25th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, November 26th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, November 27th: Bibliophilia, Please
Friday, November 29th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Monday, December 2nd: Book Addict Katie
Tuesday, December 3rd: Alison’s Book Marks
Wednesday, December 4th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Sunday, December 8th: Lavish Bookshelf
Monday, December 9th: Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, December 11th: Love at First Book
Thursday, December 12th: A Book Geek
Thursday, December 12th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, December 13th: Books and Movies
Tuesday, December 17th: Lisa’s Yarns
Wednesday, December 18th: Col Reads
Friday, December 20th: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, January 1st: The Lost Entwife
Wednesday, January 1st: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Thursday, January 2nd: Book-alicious Mama
Monday, January 6th: Reflections of a Bookaholic
Tuesday, January 7th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, January 8th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, January 8th: Stephany Writes
Thursday, January 9th: Walking With Nora

Author Website:
Adriana Trigiani

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child