Monday, September 8, 2014

The Story Hour: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of The World We Found and The Space Between Us comes a profound, heartbreakingly honest novel about friendship, love, and second chances.

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshmi’s plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions in Maggie’s home office, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend. Determined to empower Lakshmi as a woman who feels valued in her own right, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close. Even though they seemingly have nothing in common, both women are haunted by loss and truths that they are afraid to reveal.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi’s relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.

With Thrity Umrigar’s remarkable sensitivity and singular gift for an absorbing narrative, The Story Hour explores the bonds of friendship and the margins of forgiveness.

my thoughts:

The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar is utterly fantastic!  It is a slow-going, mesmerizing read that deftly explores the themes of friendship, secrecy, betrayal, and loyalty.  I absolutely loved it!

Maggie and Lakshmi are two very different women whose lives intersect upon a chance meeting.  Lakshmi hates her life - she works for her husband, has no contact with her family in India, and endures the aching pain of loneliness.  Maggie is confused about her life - she's a successful shrink, has a terrific husband, but finds herself committing adultery.  Both women meet when Lakshmi winds up under Maggie's care at the local hospital.  At first, Lakshmi is determined to ignore Maggie - she doesn't trust her - but sooner than you can imagine she is spilling the beans about her unhappy life in America.  As the story progresses and the lines of doctor/patient are blurred, we find ourselves learning more and more about these two strong women and the horribly wrong choices they have made in their lives - its riveting!

Umrigar has written a quiet and powerful story about two unforgettable characters, Maggie and Lakshmi.  Their differences and similarities were spellbinding, heartbreaking, and shocking at times. 
I really enjoyed getting to know them and learning about their past mistakes and their hopes for the future.  I really loved this book - Umrigar's writing style and voice is a revelation to me.   I would happily recommend The Story Hour to fans of Umrigar's works and fans of literature - you will love this book!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tours schedule for: The Story Hour
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Debutante Divorcee: A Novel by Plum Sykes

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

From New York Times bestselling author Plum Sykes comes the delicious follow-up to Bergdorf Blondes, a hilarious tale of marriage, friendship, and divorce.

Filled with wit and charm, The Debutante DivorcĂ©e stars Sylvie Mortimer, a recently married socialite who is quick to discover that her marriage is far from photo-perfect. Her best friend, Lauren Blount, the chic-est of the Debutante DivorcĂ©es, is basking in her freedom, taking solo honeymoons, having divorce showers, and pursuing any man she chooses as part of her “Make-Out Challenge.” And Sylvie’s perfect Town & Country life is about to be rocked by a divine and dangerous predator—the very rich, very young, very thin, and very divorced Husband Huntress.

my thoughts:

I loved Plum Sykes' novel, Bergdorf Blondes, because it was funny, smart, and entertaining.  It was the epitome of a chick lit book, which is a genre I love.  So, color me surprised when I had to declare her second novel, The Debutante Divorcee, a DNF -  a book I did not finish!  Ugh! I was so disappointed.  I was all set to read another engaging book by Sykes, but instead found myself faced with an annoying and rather dull read.  The story was too superficial in all aspects - the characters were stereotypical caricatures of socialites (they were beyond vapid) and the insipid story line had me rolling my eyes from the very beginning (this was not a good sign).  So, I stopped reading.  This book just wasn't for me.  However, I think you should find out what other bloggers have to say about this book before you decide if you want to give a read.  Here's the link for the TLC Book Tour schedule of: The Debutante Divorcee

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

R.I.P. IX is nigh...Hurrah!

Its almost time for everyone's favorite reading challenge - R.I.P. IX!!  How exciting, eh?  I know that I can't wait to dive into some spooky reads that will keep me up late at night.  In fact, I've been trying to figure out which books I want to read for this challenge.  I'm thinking of the following ones:
What do you think?  Any suggestions?  Part of me wouldn't mind reading something gothic, but I'm just not sure what to read.  Leave me a comment if you know of any great scary reads.  And for those of you who are wondering what R.I.P. IX is, here's some information:

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, or R.I.P. for short, is a participatory event created by Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings, wherein we the people spend however little, or much, time we want over the months of September and October imbibing all things ghastly and ghostly.

The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as:
Dark Fantasy.
Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

There are two simple goals for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril IX
1. Have fun reading.
2. Share that fun with others.

There are multiple levels of participation (Perils) that allow you to be a part of R.I.P. IX without adding the burden of another commitment to your already busy lives. There is even a one book only option for those who feel that this sort of reading is not their cup of tea (or who have many other commitments) but want to participate all the same. And there is a group read, too - (September 1st thru October 1st) a read-a-long of   The Haunting of Hill House.  For details on the various Perils check out Carl's site.  And, just so you know, there is a review site where you can add a link to your R.I.P. IX posts and check out what everyone else is reading or watching!

So, there you have it folks, all the pertinent details regarding one of the blogosphere's funnest reading experiences - R.I.P. IX.  Pick out your books or movies and have fun! I know I'm excited to dive right in. And now, I'm off to finish reading The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar, so that I can start reading something spooky sooner rather than later.  Happy reading!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Desire Lines: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train comes a novel about friendship and the memories that haunt us.

On the night of her high school graduation, Kathryn Campbell sits around a bonfire with her four closest friends, including the beautiful but erratic Jennifer. “I’ll be fine,” Jennifer says, as she walks away from the dying embers and towards the darkness of the woods. She never comes back.

Ten years later, Kathryn has tried to build a life for herself, with a marriage and a career as a journalist, but she still feels the conspicuous void of Jennifer’s disappearance. When her divorce sends her reeling back to the Maine town where she grew up, she finds herself plunged into a sea of memories. With nothing left to lose, she is determined to answer one simple question: What happened to Jennifer Pelletier?

my thoughts:

Desire Lines is the third book I've read by Christina Baker Kline and I'm ready to declare myself an avid fan of her work.  She's an author who can create engrossing stories involving families, friends, lovers and doesn't shy away from taboo topics (kissing cousins!).  Kline writes women's fiction with such realistic details, relatable experiences, and fully developed characters that you can't but find yourself getting lost in one of her novels - they are fantastically riveting!  

In Desire Lines we get to know Kathryn, a woman whose life is a bit of a mess.  She's returned to her hometown just in time for her ten-year high school reunion.  Inundated with memories from her past, she begins to work through the problems crowding her life and eventually discovers what path she should be on.  Kathryn also manages to utilize her journalistic instincts to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her high school friend, Jennifer Pelletier (she disappeared the night they graduated).  Filled with 80s flashbacks, family drama, and red herrings this book kept me up late at night - and I loved it!

I would definitely recommend Desire Lines to fans of Kline's works and fans of women's fiction.  To find out what other bloggers are saying about this book, check out the link for the TLC Book Tour schedule of: Desire Lines
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Three Story House: A Novel by Courtney Miller Santo

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

As they renovate a historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel reminiscent of The Postmistress and The Secret Life of Bees.

Approaching thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone’s expectations as well as their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi River.

As they work to restore the nearly condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about her own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in their grandmother’s jumble of mementos and the home’s hidden spaces. Elyse’s obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister’s wedding. And Isobel’s quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that could irreparably damage her two cousins.

This sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite but filled with memories of love is also a tale of friendship and a lesson in how relying on one another’s insights and strengths provides the women with a way to get what they need instead of what they want.

my thoughts:

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo is a family drama through and through.  Its chock full of relatives who love each other too much and too little at times.  There are family secrets, a run-down family home to repair, and personal issues to confront - all of which make for one spellbinding read.

Santo has written a terrific new story about three cousins who are best friends, nearly thirty, and searching for direction in their lives.  She brings them together to work on restoring their grandmother's old Spite House.  As each woman attempts to salvage a part of the home, they begin to mend the broken parts of their lives.  The book is broken into three sections, each one representing a different cousin, Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel.  I love when authors provide us with each character's perspective on their own lives and the lives of those around them - its fascinating to see how differently everyone remembers the past or views the present.  I found myself hooked from the beginning when Lizzie is first introduced to her new cousins, Elyse and Isobel - she discovers a whole new world of family and friendship that will last a lifetime.

Three Story House is a book that I knew I would love, because of its focus on family dynamics.  I felt that Santo really explored the ways in which families support, encourage one another, while also looking at the ways in which families can fall apart.  This story had an interesting cast of characters that were realistic and very relatable.  I loved getting to know these best friends. 

I would definitely recommend Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo to fans of women's fiction, specifically those about family dramas.  You will love this book!  And if you want to find out what everyone else has to say about this great book, here's the link for the TLC Book Tour schedule:
Three Story House
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!