This week brought a bonanza of books: two review books in the mail; one e-book for review; and two purchased e-books.
1. The Engagements, by J. Courtney Sullivan (Amazon Vine)
From the New York Times best-selling author of Commencement and Maine comes a gorgeous, sprawling novel about marriage—about those who marry in a white heat of passion, those who marry for partnership and comfort, and those who live together, love each other, and have absolutely no intention of ruining it all with a wedding.
Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years—forty years since he slipped off her first wedding ring and put his own in its place. Delphine has seen both sides of love—the ecstatic, glorious highs of seduction, and the bitter, spiteful fury that descends when it’s over. James, a paramedic who works the night shift, knows his wife’s family thinks she could have done better; while Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding—beach weddings, backyard weddings, castle weddings—and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own.
As these lives and marriages unfold in surprising ways, we meet Frances Gerety, a young advertising copywriter in 1947. Frances is working on the De Beers campaign and she needs a signature line, so, one night before bed, she scribbles a phrase on a scrap of paper: “A Diamond Is Forever.” And that line changes everything.
A rich, layered, exhilarating novel spanning nearly a hundred years, The Engagements captures four wholly unique marriages, while tracing the story of diamonds in America, and the way—for better or for worse—these glittering stones have come to symbolize our deepest hopes for everlasting love.
2. Fly Away, by Kristin Hannah (Amazon Vine)
Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .
Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate—to be there for Kate’s children—but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.
Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.
Dorothy Hart—the woman who once called herself Cloud—is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.
A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another—and maybe a miracle—to transform their lives.
An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day.
3. Some Are Sicker Than Others (e-book), by Andrew Seaward (Author Request)
ADDICTION: CUNNING, BAFFLING, & POWERFUL
In this gripping debut novel by Andrew Seaward, the lives of three addicts converge following an accidental and horrific death.
Monty Miller, a self-destructive, codependent alcoholic, is wracked by an obsession to drink himself to death as punishment for a fatal car accident he didn’t cause.
Dave Bell, a former all-American track star turned washed-up high school volleyball coach, routinely chauffeurs his bus full of teens on a belly full of liquor and head full of crack.
Angie Mallard, a recently divorced housewife with three estranged children, will go to any lengths to restore the family she lost to crystal meth.
All three are court-mandated to a secluded drug rehab high in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. There, they learn the universal truth among alcoholics and addicts:
Though they may all be sick…SOME ARE SICKER THAN OTHERS.
Based on the author’s own personal experience with substance abuse and twelve-step programs, Some Are Sicker Than Others, transcends the clichés of the typical recovery story by exploring the insidiousness of addiction and the harrowing effect it has on not just the afflicted, but everyone it touches.
With the harsh realism of Brett Easton Ellis and the dark, confrontational humor of Chuck Palahniuk, Mr. Seaward takes the reader deep inside the psyche of the addict and portrays, in very explicit details, the psychological and physiological effects of withdrawal and the various stages of recovery.
4. Somewhere off the Coast of Maine (e-book), by Ann Hood (My Purchase)
“Brilliant….[The Vietnam era] is vividly captured by Ann Hood.”—New York Times Book Review
In 1969, as Peter, Paul and Mary croon on the radio and poster paints are splashing the latest antiwar slogans, three friends find love. Suzanne, a poet, lives in a Maine beach house awaiting the birth of a child she will call Sparrow. Claudia, who weds a farmer during college, plans to raise three strong sons. Elizabeth and her husband marry, organize protests, and try to rear two children with their hippy values. By 1985, things have changed: Suzanne, now with an MBA, calls Sparrow “Susan.” Claudia spirals backward into her sixties world—and into madness. And Elizabeth, fatally ill, watches despairingly as her children yearn for a split-level house and a gleaming station wagon. Reading group guide included.
5. Don’t Go (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline (My Purchase)
Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline has thrilled millions with her emotionally-charged novels that feature strong women exploring the boundaries of family, justice, and love. In Don’t Go, she breaks new ground and delivers the story of a soldier who discovers what it means to be a man, a father, and ultimately, a hero.
When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.
However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left – his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.
Ultimately, Mike realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front and he’ll have to put it all on the line to save what’s dearest to him – his family. Gripping, thrilling, and profoundly emotional, Don’t Go is Lisa Scottoline at her finest.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
Welcome to our weekly bookish place where we share our adventures in reading. Come along and join us as we explore other blogs and feel a community spirit.
I’ve done quite a bit of reading, a little blogging, and yesterday I took a break to see a movie I’ve been eagerly awaiting.
The Company You Keep, with a wonderful cast that includes Robert Redford, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, and many others, took me back to a time in my life….and I just sat there absorbing it all. I haven’t been buying as many DVDs lately (I have 800+ on my shelves!), but this is one I’m going to add.
So after a nice respite, I grabbed my book again.
My Week on the Blogs:
Reading-Click Titles for Reviews:
Drinking with Men, by Rosie Schaap
The Smart One, by Jennifer Close
The Good House (e-book), by Ann Leary
Lucky Me (Memoir), by Sachi Parker
Tapestry of Fortunes, by Elizabeth Berg
What’s Up Next? (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)
The Engagements, by J. Courtney Sullivan
Summer on Blossom Street, by Debbie Macomber
Cocktail Hour (e-bo0k), by Tara McTiernan
Finding Lily (e-book), by Lisa D. Ellis
And that’s how my week is unfolding….stop on by and let’s chat!