Monthly Archives: July 2013

And you think you have family problems…

widow   This is a story of the Krause family that spans from 1890-2012, and let me tell you there is a ton of hostility in the men which is  then women then transferred onto the daughter-in-laws. Yikes!  I know we have all heard of mother-in-law horror stories.  This is one of them.  Luckily for me, I have the most fabulous mother-in-law possible….no, I am not kidding or trying to kiss up.  I have been very blessed to have Donna….there is no drama there…just support and love.  However, Kate is not so lucky.  She meets Joe Krause through an online dating site, and they fall in love.  She quickly becomes pregnant and they marry despite the disapproval of Joe’s mother, Trudy as well as Kate’s domineering grandmother.  Kate knows little about Joe and his family, yet she agrees to move to Iowa to live on his family farm that has housed generations of Krause families.

Upon her arrival, she discovers she will be sharing her house with her mother-in-law who does not like her one little bit.   Quickly, Joe begins to turn into another person…someone angry, controlling and abusive.  Kate is scared and alone….she discovers the house holds secrets…a murder that happened years ago that started the Krause Curse.  Now with her arrival, things begin to happen as they did 120 years earlier.  Kate is in serious danger….can she find someone to help her?  Can she escape Joe’s madness?  Can she put an end to the curse?

I enjoyed the book…though I must admit I got a bit confused when they would talk about the past and which character they were talking about.  All the men seemed to be named Joe, Joseph, Jacob or Will….I was easily confused as to who was who.  I would just go back and reread and figure it out.  I am good like that.

I liked Kate’s transformation though I questioned how she truly did a 180 from the timid girl who came to Iowa to a headstrong, determined woman.  I am glad she did….it just happened rather quickly.  Then again, it is fiction and sometimes it is best just did enjoy the story without dissecting it entirely.

 

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Easy, fun read

wife  This is my first experience of  reading a Dorothea Benton Frank book, and it was not too bad.  It was a fun read with some spunky wives and a few really chauvinistic husbands.  It had a few flaws, but none that I felt were impossible to get over.

Flaw #1:  The cover pictures a woman on a beach.  I guess Leslie (main character) went to the beach a few times in the book, but it was not a focal point of the book or the main setting.  The book takes place in the South….Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.

Flaw #2: The ages of the characters seem to be skewed.  Leslie turns 60 in the book, and she had to drop out of college because she became pregnant with her first child.  I believe her first child is in her 20’s….the math does not add up.

Flaw #3:  The male characters are wealthy and educated, but are one of the most self-centered bunch of men I have ever read about….why did these seemingly strong-willed women marry them in the first place?  Do people truly change that much?

 

Anyway, despite these flaws, I enjoyed reading the story of Les and Wes (corny names) who have been married for 30 years, they belong to a golf club (where Wes’ priority in life is), and they have raised two children who have become whiny, lazy and dependent children.  Well, after a horrible golfing trip to Scotland, Les finally comes to her senses in regards to her marriage and more important to her life.  A light bulb has clicked on.   The couple had traveled to Scotland with two other couples….both of the husbands have remarried younger trophy wives.  Harold had an affair with his personal trainer (cliché) and Paolo’s wife died….but he remarried months later.  This leaves Les the last original wife…get it?  OK…we can move on.

The new wives are catty and superficial, and Les cannot relate.  Wes sees his wife as a maid and a mother… someone who takes care of him, rotates his underwear, cooks his meals and cleans the house.   He is no longer attracted to her and wishes she was more like the trophy wives..  This is where the hookers enter the picture.  But they are just for sex…so it is OK.  Wes has kept Leslie on a tight leash especially when it comes to the budget.  She has not been allowed new clothes, new furnishings or a new car even though Wes gets a new car every two years and he is able to spend thousands on golf trips.  It makes you wonder why she never questioned him or has put up with it for 30 years.  The final straw comes when she finds their bank statement…..together they have more money they she ever imagined.  This sets her mind ablaze.

She quickly packs a bag, and she books a flight to Charleston where her gay brother, Harlan, lives in the house of famous author Josephine Pinckney…she was a real person…look her up, I did.  Her brother is a wonderful character and the two of them have a enduring relationship…one in which I was envious.  It is here that she undergoes a transformation while Wes discovers just how far he has pushed Leslie away and wants her back.  The story continues with cat fights, romance, a wedding and even some spirits that reside in the house.  An easy, fun read….it won’t make you smarter or think on any higher level, but it might just make you laugh.

 

 

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A great beach/lake read

stargazey

 

This book by Shelley Noble is a perfect book to read while sitting on the sand with a view of the ocean, or perhaps while you are sitting on a pier overlooking  quiet, serene lake.  I prefer the latter. Hey, each to their own.  It is called STARGAZEY POINT.  It takes place in a small town along the ocean in South Carolina.  Once the town was  a tourist’s dream, but it has since been beaten down by several hurricanes.  It has seen better days….still it has all the charm and romance one could wish. Enter Abbie Sinclair.   She has just gone through a traumatic event in her life and is in search of some peace….a change…and a chance to clear her mind and find out where she belongs.  One of her close friends has family that lives in Stargazey Point, so Abbie is invited to stay with them at the Crispin plantation home.  It is here she meets the three octogenarians: Beau, Marnie and Millie (great characters by the way) and becomes caught up in the beauty and charm of the town.  However, looming taxes and eroded beaches have made it difficult to maintain a life there.

Abbie grows close to the people in town, and she begins to find her place despite her attempts to stifle that feeling of belonging.  She meets Sarah who is a headstrong student working in the community center, Bethanne who owns the local inn and has experienced tragedy as well, Ervina who is the town’s wisest albeit a bit unorthodox character, and then she meets Cab Reynolds.  Cab has moved back to Stargazey and has inherited his uncle’s carousel which has seen better days, but Cab’s experience as an architect has enabled him to be the man to bring life back to the carousel….but it will cost time and sacrifice…all which he is willing to give up.  When the Abbie and Cab meet, there is a connect between two people who have been hurt in the past and two people who have a desire to save a dying town….can they find a way to move forward…together?

The book was a quick read…very sweet…very enjoyable.  It was a bit predictable, but you know….sometimes I need something predictable.  Something that will make me smile and feel happy inside without having to think too much or be troubled after I have read it.  I am looking forward to more of Abbie and Cab, and I hope there will be another one soon.

I know there is a novella I can download that is a prequel to this book about Cab’s arrival at Stargazey, and I will be downloading that later today.  It is called STARGAZEY NIGHTS.

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Help for the Haunted

haunted   While reading this  fantastically creepy, spooky book, I would found myself checking under my bed to make sure my slippers were not haunted, and I would watch my boys stuffed toys to make sure they were not taunting me with their forever pasted-on grins. After an hour or so of reading,  I would set the book aside carefully as if it were alive…only to return to it quickly…not wanting to neglect it.  I finished it last night with Benny asleep on my stomach…..I had to finish it.

Ghost stories are something I craved as a child and young adult…I was drawn to them…looking for indisputable proof of their existence.   Ghosts intrigue both believers and nonbelievers.  A flash of light where there was none moments before, a clock that starts working after years of disrepair or a shadow that appears in a photograph where there was nothing….people seek an explanation for these sudden and unusual occurrences.   And this is where the supernatural….ghosts enter the picture.

Searles has created a ghost story like nothing I have read before, and I recommend it highly.  It is the 1980’s and we meet the Mason Family.  Sylvie is the youngest daughter of Rose and Sylvester Mason whose profession is to help the haunted.  Her mother has this calmness that helps her bring about peace for these individuals and her father has a “gift” for seeing things that others miss.  Sylvie is a quiet, intelligent girl who tried to please her parents and teachers while her older sister has a dark secret and rebels against them.  One night, the phone rings and the Mr. and Mrs. Mason are called to a small church in town for a meeting.  It is snowing, it is dark and it is cold….they take Sylvie with them and leave her in the car.  After a time, Sylvie begins to drift to sleep, but then she hears it.  Gunshots….she heads into the church and discovers her parents have been murdered.

The story picks up a few months later with a possible suspect for the murders, and Sylvie is living with her sister who is now her legal guardian.  Sylvie has become the only witness to the crime, and yet she has little memory of what she truly saw.   She is determined to discover what  happened that night in the church and the truth to her parents’ occupation.  The reader is taken on a journey throughout the past.  Through this journey we learn how the Mason’s have acquired possessed objects that now reside  in their basement…especially the old raggedy doll named Penny who has to be kept in a rabbit cage with a sign that tells you not to open under any circumstance.  Creepy.  We discover how Sylvester and Rose first became “helpers” for the haunted.  Sylvie’s journey leads her to answers for questions she didn’t know she had….

This book does not go on sale until September, but if you go to this site and pre-order, you will be entered into a chance to win tickets to see the musical MATILDA.

http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Help-for-the-Haunted-John-Searles?isbn=9780060779634&HCHP=TB_Help+for+the+Haunted

For more info on John Searles and his books:

http://john-searles.com/index.shtml

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Favorite by far of…..

ocean  So I quickly devoured Neil Gaiman’s latest book called The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and it is truly my favorite.  He seems to have a way to create the most original story with the most vivid and outlandish characters, and he has done it again.  This is a quick read…just under 200 pages.  It is a fairy tale…no a fable…no a myth….or perhaps something altogether new and different.

The story presents itself in a form of a flashback when an older man returns to his home in England to attend a funeral. It is during this visit that he is reminded of a time 40 years earlier.  It was when he was seven years old, and Lettie Hempstock enters his life.  He had just discovered the suicide of a most unusual man when Lettie appears. This sets off a series of wonderfully bizarre events which lead them both on a mission both terrifying and intriguing.  Lettie is a bit older than this oddly refreshing boy, and she seems to understand him like no one else.  Quickly they form a friendship because she knows “things”, and he does not doubt her knowledge and her magic.

Gaiman’s storytelling ability is so rich that I fell in love with the characters and then ultimately the story.  Truthfully, it is the characters, we as readers,  first care about and their story is secondary.  Please do yourself a favor….if you love magic, believe it something that you can not always see and know there is good and evil around us….then please pick up this book and lose yourself for an afternoon.

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