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  • Cristina Merrill 4:00 pm on 2018/06/13 Permalink
    Tags: all we ever wanted, by invitation only, calypso, cottage by the sea, , , , , , , , , love and ruin, , , , rainy day friends, , summer reads, the cast, , the perfect couple   

    10 Beach Reads to Get You into That Summer State of Mind 

    Summer is nearly here! That means plenty of time for lounging about in the great outdoors. Here are 10 page-turning stories to enjoy as you soak up the sun. Some are light and breezy, and others are a bit darker—covering everything from murders to social media scandals. There are fresh starts and betrayals and secrets. They all have one thing in common, though: They’re each filled with beautiful, colorful characters who will make you want to keep turning the pages, even when the going gets rough. (Especially when the going gets rough, actually.)

    So put on your biggest shades, slather on the SPF-whatever-you-need, and enjoy! Just don’t forget to turn over once in a while.

    The Cast, by Danielle Steel
    Hoping to dip your toes into a glamorous, Hollywood-esque story? Seek no further! Steel’s yarn is about a woman, Kait Whittier, who has a respectable magazine writing career. After meeting Zack Winter, a television producer, Kait becomes inspired to write a TV series based on her grandmother’s life. She soon finds herself in the middle of a major production filled with all kinds of people. All is going quite well, until she is confronted with a major maternal-related issue. Will she be able to get through it? And will her new inner circle help her?

    The Perfect Couple, by Elin Hilderbrand
    Fans of The Castaways and A Summer Affair will have a chance to revisit some of their favorite characters in this novel! It’s wedding season on Nantucket, which doesn’t exactly thrill the locals. (So. Many. Tourists.) Then a bride-to-be is found dead just a few hours before the ceremony was supposed to begin, and many of those who were close to her are prime suspects. Chief of Police Ed Kapenash is on the case, and he soon realizes that no lovey-dovey couple—or family, for that matter—is perfect. He’s going to have to ask some difficult questions in order to solve this case and bring the bride’s loved ones closure.

    All We Ever Wanted, by Emily Giffin
    Giffin’s latest tale is about a major incident that goes viral on social media. Nina Browning is living the good life in Nashville. Her wealthy husband just sold his tech company for a major profit, and their son got accepted to Princeton. Living a very different life is Tom Volpe, a single dad working multiple jobs to raise his daughter, Lyla, while making sure she doesn’t screw things up at her new prep school. One night, at a wild party, a scandalous photo is taken that can shake up everything these two families have worked for. Can they manage to survive the scandal and pick up the pieces of their lives?

    Calypso, by David Sedaris
    Humor book alert! Funnyman David Sedaris’s latest book is about his purchase of a beach house. This may seem like The Dream for just about anyone, but, as Sedaris learns, it’s not all fun and games. He thought it would be a relaxing retreat, but he still can’t escape the facts of life, such as middle age and mortality. There are plenty of his patented and hilarious ruminations on both in this volume, so be prepared for lots of belly laughs in spite of yourself—and maybe some stares from the people sitting nearby.

    Shelter in Place, by Nora Roberts
    Roberts’ latest book deals with a mass shooting at a mall, and how it affects the lives of the survivors for years to come. One man decides to go into law enforcement, while one woman finds a much-needed outlet in her art. Years have passed since that horrible night, but the pain still lingers, and it may not even be over yet. Let’s just say that someone bad is waiting to cause more chaos. Fans know that Roberts (and her alter writing ego, J.D. Robb) consistently delivers thrillers filled with the most wonderful human characters.   

    The High Tide Club, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Attorney Brooke Trappnell has been summoned by 99-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick to the old lady’s beach home. Josephine wants to make things right with the descendants of her old girl gang. They called themselves The High Tide Club back in the day, and let’s just say they used to have oodles of fun together. (Case in point: They went skinny dipping. A lot.) Of course, many things have happened since those days. Oh, and Josephine also wants Brooke to help her protect her land from greedy hands. Brooke soon finds herself in the middle of decades-old drama as she reunites everyone at Josephine’s home.

    Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain
    McLain is at it again! After the success of The Paris Wife, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson, his first of multiple marriages, this new tome delves into Hemingway’s marriage with journalist Martha Gellhorn. Martha travels to Madrid to report on the Spanish Civil War and ends up crossing paths with the soon-to-be-super-famous writer. Throughout their relationship, one of her main struggles is to make sure she remains her own person, which many a modern reader can appreciate. Hemingway scholars know how this particular love story ends, but it’s still fun to read about a romance between two interesting and intelligent people with lots of inner turmoil.

    By Invitation Only, by Dorothea Benton Frank
    A wedding is about to take place, and let’s just say the bride and groom come from very different backgrounds. Fred’s family are Southern peach farmers, while Shelby comes from a wealthy Chicago family. One side is very hardworking, while the other side—or certain folks on it—have a bit of a sense of entitlement. Everyone is feeling a little bit out of their element, especially the two mothers. Will Fred and Shelby’s relationship survive class differences? And will everyone be feeling the love when Fred and Shelby say “I do?” (That is, IF they do?)

    Cottage by the Sea, by Debbie Macomber
    Annie Marlow has been through some pretty painful experiences, so she decides to hightail it to the Pacific Northwest. There she meets a colorful cast of characters, including Keaton, who helps her fix up her seaside rental cottage. He’s a very nice, zen kind of guy, which Annie really needs right now. Life is going smoothly, and then Annie gets a major opportunity thrown her way. Add to that a landlady with some major emotional walls around her and a teenager who might be in desperate need of Annie’s help, and you’ve got a page turner you won’t be able to put down.

    Rainy Day Friends, by Jill Shalvis
    Lanie Jacobs’ husband recently passed away, and she’s still getting over her grief when she discovers that she wasn’t his only wife. She’s devastated, to say the least, and she decides to make a fresh start for herself by working at the Capriotti Winery. It’s a family-run venture, and Lanie gets plenty of distraction from the noisy Capriotti family. There’s also the matter of Mark Capriotti, an Air Force veteran who is now the deputy sheriff. He and Lanie soon realize that they really like each other. Then a 21-year-old newcomer with some dark secrets shows up, which just might ruin everything that Lanie has worked for.

    The post 10 Beach Reads to Get You into That Summer State of Mind appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Monique Alice 7:37 pm on 2015/06/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , summer reads   

    Sweeping Sagas to Lose a Weekend To 

    Sometimes we crave a light, quick read—a momentary distraction from life’s hustle. Other times, we want to fall down the rabbit hole of a truly epic tale that will immerse us in another world. Stunning in scope, the stories below will transport you forward and back through time, across continents and over seas, and leave an indelible footprint on the landscape of your mind. Clear your calendar for a day or two, and don’t forget to allow some time for holding the book to your chest and gazing wistfully into the distance.

    The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
    Set in early 19th-century Charleston, The Invention of Wings centers on 11-year-old Sarah Grimke and 10-year-old “Handful,” Sarah’s enslaved handmaid. We follow the two for the next 35 years, bearing witness to the ways in which each woman’s destiny is shaped by the cultural restrictions and expectations of the day. The relationship between Handful and Sarah is essentially the story’s third main character; the women are bound by duty, history, and even love, but are equally repelled by resentment and guilt. Historic Charleston is the grand, tragically flawed backdrop against which each woman fights to attain her true potential. Inspired by the true story of early abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sarah Grimke, this tale brings a dark chapter of American history to vivid life. Readers will be as horrified by the injustices of slavery as they are awed by the heroism of those who fought against it.

    Revival, by Stephen King
    Jamie Morton is a young boy when the Reverend Charles Jacobs comes to town. The reverend and his charming wife seem to have a dazzling effect on all the townspeople, but a particular bond is formed between the reverend and Jamie. When tragedy strikes the town, somehow the charismatic reverend is at the center of the chaos. Jacobs is exiled from the town and disappears from Jamie’s life. While trying to drown his sorrows in a rock’n’roll lifestyle years later, Jamie crosses paths with the good reverend once again. What follows is the culmination of years of longing, grief, and desperation, and is sure to leave both men irrevocably changed. This is King’s writing at its absolute best—eerie, purposeful, and with a palpable sense of urgency that paves the way for a sucker punch of an ending.

    The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant
    Have you ever asked a grandparent to tell you a story? This book will inspire you to do just that, if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity. In The Boston Girl, 85-year-old Addie Baum’s granddaughter does, and she doesn’t regret it. Addie’s tale begins in 1915, when she has just begun to come into her own as the daughter of immigrant parents in Boston’s rough-and-tumble North End. As a young girl whose parents are distrustful of life in America, Addie tries to straddle two worlds: that of an obedient daughter and a modern girl who longs for all life has to offer. Despite poverty, discrimination, and crushing heartache, Addie learns to find her voice. This novel boasts stunning attention to historical detail as well as a poignant, heartfelt narrative voice.

    We are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas
    When Eileen Tumulty meets Ed Leary, she’s certain their union will mean a better life than the one she grew up with. Under the weight of poverty and alcoholism that plagued her family in post–World War II New York, she vowed to strive for more than her humble roots could afford. But Ed doesn’t share Eileen’s vision, or her hunger for the finer trappings of the American dream. Their marriage is not without love, but for Eileen, that love seems forever on the brink of a losing battle with frustration and despair. Eileen, Ed, and their son Connell must strive to find happiness in a changing world. Thomas’s masterful first novel pulls no punches—i’s a profoundly honest account of the imperfections that make us human.

    A Fall of Marigolds, by Susan Meissner
    A Fall of Marigolds tells the story of two women harrowed by grief a century apart, their lives connected by an ornate scarf. Clara Wood loses her husband in a tragic factory fire in 1911, and in 2011, Taryn Michaels continues to grieve her husband’s death in the collapse of the Twin Towers a decade earlier. Each woman wrestles with the weight of her sorrow, struggling to balance the pain of mourning with the joy of living. The threads of the scarf connect the two across an ocean of time, weaving Clara and Taryn’s stories together into a shared portrait of the human struggle for redemption. A Fall of Marigolds is an elegant love letter to love itself: nurturing, laced with sorrow, and possessed of awe-inspiring beauty.

     
  • Monique Alice 7:37 pm on 2015/06/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , summer reads   

    Sweeping Sagas to Lose a Weekend To 

    Sometimes we crave a light, quick read—a momentary distraction from life’s hustle. Other times, we want to fall down the rabbit hole of a truly epic tale that will immerse us in another world. Stunning in scope, the stories below will transport you forward and back through time, across continents and over seas, and leave an indelible footprint on the landscape of your mind. Clear your calendar for a day or two, and don’t forget to allow some time for holding the book to your chest and gazing wistfully into the distance.

    The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
    Set in early 19th-century Charleston, The Invention of Wings centers on 11-year-old Sarah Grimke and 10-year-old “Handful,” Sarah’s enslaved handmaid. We follow the two for the next 35 years, bearing witness to the ways in which each woman’s destiny is shaped by the cultural restrictions and expectations of the day. The relationship between Handful and Sarah is essentially the story’s third main character; the women are bound by duty, history, and even love, but are equally repelled by resentment and guilt. Historic Charleston is the grand, tragically flawed backdrop against which each woman fights to attain her true potential. Inspired by the true story of early abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sarah Grimke, this tale brings a dark chapter of American history to vivid life. Readers will be as horrified by the injustices of slavery as they are awed by the heroism of those who fought against it.

    Revival, by Stephen King
    Jamie Morton is a young boy when the Reverend Charles Jacobs comes to town. The reverend and his charming wife seem to have a dazzling effect on all the townspeople, but a particular bond is formed between the reverend and Jamie. When tragedy strikes the town, somehow the charismatic reverend is at the center of the chaos. Jacobs is exiled from the town and disappears from Jamie’s life. While trying to drown his sorrows in a rock’n’roll lifestyle years later, Jamie crosses paths with the good reverend once again. What follows is the culmination of years of longing, grief, and desperation, and is sure to leave both men irrevocably changed. This is King’s writing at its absolute best—eerie, purposeful, and with a palpable sense of urgency that paves the way for a sucker punch of an ending.

    The Boston Girl, by Anita Diamant
    Have you ever asked a grandparent to tell you a story? This book will inspire you to do just that, if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity. In The Boston Girl, 85-year-old Addie Baum’s granddaughter does, and she doesn’t regret it. Addie’s tale begins in 1915, when she has just begun to come into her own as the daughter of immigrant parents in Boston’s rough-and-tumble North End. As a young girl whose parents are distrustful of life in America, Addie tries to straddle two worlds: that of an obedient daughter and a modern girl who longs for all life has to offer. Despite poverty, discrimination, and crushing heartache, Addie learns to find her voice. This novel boasts stunning attention to historical detail as well as a poignant, heartfelt narrative voice.

    We are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas
    When Eileen Tumulty meets Ed Leary, she’s certain their union will mean a better life than the one she grew up with. Under the weight of poverty and alcoholism that plagued her family in post–World War II New York, she vowed to strive for more than her humble roots could afford. But Ed doesn’t share Eileen’s vision, or her hunger for the finer trappings of the American dream. Their marriage is not without love, but for Eileen, that love seems forever on the brink of a losing battle with frustration and despair. Eileen, Ed, and their son Connell must strive to find happiness in a changing world. Thomas’s masterful first novel pulls no punches—i’s a profoundly honest account of the imperfections that make us human.

    A Fall of Marigolds, by Susan Meissner
    A Fall of Marigolds tells the story of two women harrowed by grief a century apart, their lives connected by an ornate scarf. Clara Wood loses her husband in a tragic factory fire in 1911, and in 2011, Taryn Michaels continues to grieve her husband’s death in the collapse of the Twin Towers a decade earlier. Each woman wrestles with the weight of her sorrow, struggling to balance the pain of mourning with the joy of living. The threads of the scarf connect the two across an ocean of time, weaving Clara and Taryn’s stories together into a shared portrait of the human struggle for redemption. A Fall of Marigolds is an elegant love letter to love itself: nurturing, laced with sorrow, and possessed of awe-inspiring beauty.

     
  • Melissa Albert 5:23 pm on 2015/04/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , eliza kennedy, , karen white, , , lucy sykes, , , , , summer reads   

    May’s Top Picks in Fiction 

    In May’s most exciting fiction releases, Kate Atkinson returns to characters introduced in her masterful award winner Life After Life, Chuck Palahniuk’s stories are collected for the first time, and Matthew Pearl writes a literary caper you won’t be able to resist.

    A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
    A God in Ruins is the companion novel to Atkinson’s astonishing Life After Life, which follows Ursula Todd from birth to death again and again, tracking the progression of her soul as she lives out her life in countless iterations. Now Atkinson turns her focus to Ursula’s beloved brother, Teddy, whose safe return from World War II was one of the first novel’s emotional high points. The focus is on his postwar life, which Teddy, as a former RAF pilot, didn’t really expect to be granted. In telling his story, Atkinson again bends time and tests the boundaries of traditional narration; she’s a master storyteller, and A God in Ruins is not to be missed.

    I Take You, by Eliza Kennedy
    Reluctant bride-to-be Lily is many things: a lawyer, a New Yorker, a party girl who can drink you under the table. What she’s sure she won’t be, though, is a model wife. In the weeks leading up to her wedding to the perfect man, Lily questions everything, from her tendency to cheat to her willingness to give up her freewheeling life of no-strings-attached fun and bad decisions. When her future mother-in-law threatens to tell her secrets and spoil her chance at marital happiness, Lily must figure out—fast—if promiscuity can exist side by side with conjugal love.

    Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread, by Chuck Palahniuk
    When it comes attached to a collection of Palahniuk stories, you can’t take this subtitle lightly. The author is known for his power to disturb, but his ability to delight and engross are equally on display in these 21 tales plus a novella. Fight Club‘s Tyler Durden makes an appearance in “Expedition,” and “Cannibal,” true to its title, takes its place beside Palahniuk’s more difficult-to-shake grotesqueries. The stories are ripe with the twisted and the macabre, with strange magic and humor, and with passages that are difficult to bear.

    Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
    Haruf returns to Holt, Colorado, in his final novel, a tender tale about a widow and widower using each other as a balm against loneliness, and the love that blooms once they’ve dropped their defenses. Despite gossiping neighbors and disapproving family members, Addie Moore and Louis Waters start spending their nights together, in a not-quite-plantonic, not-yet-romantic way. As they talk the late-night hours away, they discover an intimacy that infuses their twilight years with an unforeseen joy, one that’s worth fighting for.

    The Scarlet Gospels, by Clive Barker
    Two of Barker’s most iconic characters face off in this follow-up tale to The Hellbound Heart and Barker’s Hellraiser films. Long-suffering detective Harry D’Amour and Pinhead, king of hell, finally reach their final chapter together, in a gory grand guignol that will thrill old fans and win a score of new ones. To save a kidnapped friend, Harry must follow Pinhead into his underworld domain, where their last stand plays out against an epic background of monsters, violence, and the landscape of hell itself.

    The Last Bookaneer, by Matthew Pearl
    In this rollicking page-turner, Pearl shines light on the shocking and little-known historical practice of stealing authors’ work, publishing it without their permission, then selling it for cheap, wrapping it up into an imagined account of crafty “bookaneer” Pen Davenport. At the end of the 19th century, just as the law was cracking down on these manuscript thefts, Pen races to reach a dying Robert Louis Stevenson—and steal what might be his final book—before his nemesis does. This grand literary adventure will sweep you off your feet.

    The Sound of Glass, by Karen White
    Maine widow Merritt Heyward finds her life upended by an unexpected inheritance: her late husband’s aunt has left her the family home, in Beaufort, South Carolina. Once there, Merritt’s outsider status is complicated further by the arrival of unwanted houseguests, a brother-in-law who’s too charming for Merritt’s own good, and a web of Heyward family secrets that have more to do with Merritt than she ever would have guessed. This atmospheric Southern story pairs best with summer heat and a tall glass of iced tea.

    Beach Town, by Mary Kay Andrews
    Disgraced location scout Greer Hennessy knows her latest assignment just might be her last shot: she must find the perfect untouched beach to serve as a backdrop for a big-budget movie. But when the beach she has in her sights—an idyllic stretch of Florida sand—puts her in direct opposition to environmentalist mayor Eben Thinadeaux, sparks, good and bad, start to fly.

    The Guest Cottage, by Nancy Thayer
    Two bruised people—Sophie, left reeling by her husband’s announcement that he’s leaving her, and Trevor, a newly single father following his wife’s death—make a fortuitous error when they rent the same summer guest house at the same time. Against the backdrop of the Nantucket shoreline, Sophie comes to terms with her husband’s betrayal, and attempts to relocate her center after a marriage spent putting his needs ahead of her own. In the meantime, Trevor tries to imagine a life in which he raises his sensitive, closed-off son on his own. As the families blend and a romance grows, readers will settle into this well-wrought tale as comfortably as they would a seaside hammock.

    The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes
    In this dishy modern riff on All About Eve, fashion magazine editor Imogen Tate is in danger of being pushed out of the picture by ambitious, backstabbing assistant Eve Morton. On returning from a six-month medical leave, Imogen is confronted with evil Eve’s youthful team of tech addicts, who’ve turned her magazine into a website. We’re already fantasy casting the film adaptation of this fresh, funny satire, which follows technophobe Imogen’s attempts to claw her way back to the top of the heap.

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