Review: Go Ask Fannie by Elisabeth Hyde

Three siblings visit their father in New Hampshire. They all have different ideas about how to help him as he ages. They have different ideas about how to help each other (or not). What they have in common is love for their dad, and an ache in their hearts missing their mom.

I generally enjoy books about families and New England, so this was right up my alley. The siblings’ relationships with each other and their spouses was true to life, and I identified with the frustration of having so many opinions in one space!

My favorite part of the story was watching the mom’s secrets unfold. It really goes to show you that you can’t know everything about even your family. We all hold back a tiny part of ourselves — and unless we write cookbook marginalia or we have a secret room, well, those secrets might stay hidden forever.

Well done, Elisabeth Hyde.

-calliope

Buy GO ASK FANNIE

Advertisements

Review: The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been going through a bit of a reading funk lately. Work is busy, free time is rare, so nothing has really caught my attention for the last couple of weeks. When a recent road trip came up, though, I knew I needed something good. So I went to this one on my TBR list. Because Chris Bohjalian hasn’t disappointed me yet.

The story starts off with a bang with Cassie, aka the flight attendant, waking up in a strange hotel room in Dubai. But wait…there’s more. *See what I did there?* There’s also a very dead man next to her. She knows who he is, sure. And she even knows how she ended up in his room. Beyond that? It’s all lost in an alcohol-induced blackout. So she does what any logical person would do. She cleans up any evidence of her presence and flees back to her hotel just in time to board her next flight and get out of Dodge.

Of course the story can’t end there. Once back in the states, Cassie finds herself in deeper than she could ever have imagined. And her erratic behavior combined with a dependency on drinking make matters so much worse. She’s in trouble on all fronts. Everything is at stake-her career, her freedom, even her life.

This was definitely one of those books I just couldn’t put down. From the very beginning until the last page, I was completely hooked. It has everything. Family drama, Russian spies, suspense, a few nice little twists…

Trust me when I say this one needs to be on your summer reading list!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Flight Attendant

Review: Gun Love by Jennifer Clement

Sometimes the most unusual stories are the ones that you most enjoy. And that was the case for me with this one. It’s odd, but in an intriguing way. Part commentary on the state of guns in America, but also a reflection of social divisions, it’s one young girl’s tale of living life on the fringe of mainstream society.

Pearl and her mother are homeless. Have been for as long as Pearl can remember. Well, technically they’re homeless. They do have a very large car to live in. Parked outside a trailer park in Florida, it holds everything they own in the world.

During Pearl’s young life she’s witnessed far too much. All around her she sees poverty and deceit and crime. Oh and the guns. They’re everywhere. Her relationships, and some friendships, with the residents of the trailer part are very much entwined with the presence of guns. There’s no way this kind of a story can have a happy ending.

This is a very different kind of story. It’s lyrical with beautiful language throughout. Farfetched and improbable? Maybe. But most stories are.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Gun Love

Review: Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

I should have expected it. Every book I’ve read by Lisa Genova has pulled on my heartstrings, tugged at something inside me. But she still throws me for a loop every single time. I think it’s because she writes stories that could happen to anyone, tales of heartbreak that are far too real.

Richard and Katrina were in love once, the deep kind of love that’s supposed to last forever. Their love didn’t last, though. Richard became a world-renowned pianist. And Katrina? She gave up her dreams so that he could follow his. Eventually they drifted apart, and then finally their love was no more. In fact, it became a deep hate on both sides.

And then Richard becomes ill. More than just ill, however. He’s diagnosed with ALS. Denial at first, but that’s not enough to keep its progression at bay. When Katrina finds out she’s torn. She wants to feel compassion for him but it’s hard. Soon enough, the day comes when Richard can no longer live on his own. To her surprise, Katrina does the only thing she knows to do. She moves Richard and all of his medical equipment back home, to the home they once shared. And thus begins their journey to the end.

This story makes you feel so many things. It could easily happen to any of us. And how would we react? Would I be able to put my feelings of resentment and anger aside as Katrina did? Would I be able to put my life on hold to care for a person who I once loved but now hated? The answer is, I don’t know. None of us do until we are in that situation. And if we’re lucky, we never will be.

~ Thalia

Buy It Now: Every Note Played

Review: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is so darn good. I’ve enjoyed every single one of her books. From the very first pages until the last word she keeps you guessing. And this one is no exception.

Maggie has a happy life. Her handsome husband, Noah, is a successful doctor. She adores her stepson Caleb. Together the three of them are living the American dream. There’s just one piece missing for Maggie. She has a daughter, Anna, who she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. But now Anna is back in her life and everything seems perfect. Until it’s not so perfect anymore.

Things begin to quickly go wrong. However, it goes from bad to the absolute worst when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Did he or didn’t he? And what was going on with Anna in the weeks leading up to her death? These are the questions that Maggie is faced with as she tries to cope with the loss of Anna while at the same time Noah is on trial for his life.

Besides the fact that the author is simply brilliant, I loved the way this one was written. Noah’s story begins with the conclusion of his trial and works its way backwards. We hear Maggie’s story going forward from the time she’s reunited with Anna. The two collide in a dramatic finish when Noah’s fate is revealed. Grab this one and be ready for quite a ride!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: After Anna

Review: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

I told myself I wasn’t going to read this one. The school shooting that sets the whole story in motion would hit too close to home for me, would bring out too many thoughts and fears that I’d rather not confront when losing myself in a story. Of course, I didn’t listen to that inner voice…

Six-year-old Zach has faced the worst thing imaginable. Huddled in a closet with his teacher and classmates while hearing the sounds of gunfire, he is the survivor of a school shooting. But surviving such a tragedy isn’t without consequences, and Zach and his family run the gamut during the aftermath. We hear the entire story in Zach’s voice, from his perspective. Because in such a horrible situation, isn’t that the one that truly matters?

I’m not going to lie, the first few chapters of this book were very difficult to get through. I almost set it aside more than once. To me, though, that is the mark of a truly gifted author telling a truly remarkable story. This is a very real, very relevant tale. It’s a harsh reminder that the ripples of such an event are far-reaching and long-lasting.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Only Child

Review: Middlemarch by George Eliot

This is a book I wish I had read a very long time ago. I wish I was reading it over and over again. There are just so many characters involved and I know I missed out on bits…but never fear, I am already starting it over again!

This book is just so delightful. I was so angry at some of these people. I adored some of these people. I was totally exasperated with some of these people. With some of them, I was all three things at different points within the novel.

When I started this novel, I won’t lie, I thought Dorothea was a bit silly. However, by the end of the book I loved every single thing about her. I wouldn’t change a single thing about her.

There are just so many things going on in this novel! So many little storylines that all make up the day-to-day life in Middlemarch…I feel as if I really MUST do a re-read to make sure I have not neglected or overlooked anyone.

I wish I could recommend this book to every single person in the universe. There just aren’t words enough to express how much I enjoyed it. At the same time, it makes me a bit sad because I know most of my friends would ask me what the big deal was and they found it boring.

So these feelings just leave me a bit dejected and I don’t even know how to deal with that.

This is how much this book means to me…I am heartbroken over a perceived notion that my mates won’t enjoy it that much…how crazy is that…

although I must say….many of the problems the characters of Middlemarch found themselves in could have just been avoided entirely if people had just spoken their minds…

So I say now…Go forth and read this book…Love it as much as I do…and if you don’t like it…well….shame on you!!!

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Middlemarch by George Eliot