"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, October 31, 2021

October Books


The Riviera House by Natasha Lester -- A book mixing World War II in France where a group of Parisians work to catalog artwork stolen from Jewish families by the Nazis. Also in contemporary times Remy meets Adam and his family while Remy is trying to recover from grief after the loss of her husband and daughter. A pretty good story. 

The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones -- Rachel, Jack, Paige, Noah, and Ali are headed to Portugal from the UK for Ali and Will's destination wedding. Will is there waiting already. There is a lot of drama between the bride-to-be and the ladies, and even Jack who used to employ Ali is not a fan of his upcoming sister in law. A pretty good story. Took a bit for me to get into, and I was stunned to see the word "y'all" used by an English guy (pg. 42) as I tend to think of that as a Southern USA thing. 

If It Rains by Jennifer L. Wright -- A rather cute book taking place in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, told by alternative perspectives of Melissa who married a Mayfield, the rich family in town, and her younger sister Kathryn who lives with her dad and stepmother in a dugout. At times this might have seen a bit fanciful, but most novels are to some degree or another, and  I liked this one!

Where the Grass Is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger -- Peyton is a popular TV host known by millions around the country, but when a financial scandal involving someone putting in a good word for her daughter to get into Princeton all the for the price of a check to a education charity surfaces, her family seems to fall apart. Meanwhile her daughter Max (short for Mackensie) is trying to figure out what to do now that her future seems ruined. An ok story. 

When I Was You by Amber Garza -- Kelly Medina answers the phone and her pediatrician's office is confirming her well-baby check. Only her "baby" is 19 years old. She realizes there is another Kelly Medina in her area, and she becomes obsessed with this. She finagles a way to meet the younger Kelly and her young son, Sullivan, and the story goes from there. Pretty good even if older Kelly M isn't the nicest of main characters.

Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen -- first in the Sedgwick County Chronicles; a pretty good, clean book about contemporary life of Sloane, adopted at birth and now historical museum curator, and her friendship with Garrett and Lauren who are finding old diaries in their grandmother's house. This book also follows the life of Annabelle, the writer of those diaries.

Another Woman's Husband by Gill Paul -- Around last Christmas or my birthday, I received several books by this author and read all of them except this one. I think I started getting a bunch of library books and took a break from reading my own stash of unread books. Anyway, this one is about Wallis Simpson with a more contemporary twist of a couple from England who happened to be in Paris the night Princess Diana had her fatal car crash. It was interesting to learn more about Wallis's life as she's been a minor character in a few books I've read. This book focused a lot on her best friend Mary Kirk and her perspective of Bessie Wallis Warfield. 

Cul-De-Sac by Joy Fielding -- An interesting story about the families who live near one another, and the secrets they have behind closed doors. I enjoyed this one!

Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde -- When Abby witnesses a man throw a bag into the river, she dives to rescue the things moving inside the bag, and finds seven adorable puppies. She decides to keep them at the shed outside a seemingly-abandoned cabin where later she meets Elliot who is getting over the death of his wife. Pretty cute story.

All the Children Are Home by Patry Francis -- A sweet story about the Moscatelli family, Louie and Dahlia, and their foster children, Jimmy, Zaidie, Anges, and Jon. I admire good families who take in children and treat them well. 

The Pact by Jodi Picoult -- Although this book was published in the era of beepers instead of cell phones (1998), I either have never read it, or read it so long ago, I forgot what it was about. I saw it listed on a Staff's Favorite list on the library's website so I put it on hold. Emily and Chris were friends as long as either could remember, and as teenagers they began dating. Yet when they are both taken to the emergency room one night, Emily is dead while Chris has a head injury. Later Chris is put in jail for Emily's murder despite the fact he told a detective about a suicide pact.  Pretty interesting story.

Any Given Day: the Life and Times of Jessie Lee Brown Foveaux by Jessie Lee Brown Foveaux -- This is "A Memoir of Twentieth-Century America" about a lady born in 1899.  My mom read this in May 2020, and I wrote it down to read eventually. She liked it so I figured I'd read it at some point. It was ok...nothing great, but a decent story about a lady's reflections of her life mostly in Kansas. When she was about 18 years old, and working at Ft. Riley during World War I, she mentioned that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they had to get vaccinated for smallpox. I found that apropos to current events with people taking the covid vaccine in order to keep their jobs.  This book seemed a bit preachy at times, especially towards the end as she talked to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but I agree with most of what she had to say.   I looked her up and she died at age 100 after selling her memoir at age 98 for $1 million. 

All the Wrong Places by Joy Fielding -- I read this author recently and decided to get another one from her. This one is about Paige who is looking for a job while living with her mother. Paige recently lost her live-in boyfriend to her cousin Heather so that's fun. She is signed up on several dating apps, and is in touch with Mr. Right Now, a very handsome guy. Pretty good book. 

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover -- Sometimes I read a book and wonder what the title had to do with the content of the book, but this book spoke of breaking patterns - whether it is not falling into the steps of your father and grandfather in being abusive, or not drinking or using drugs like your mom - not that those were necessarily the themes of this book. Must say: I really didn't like this book all that well in the beginning. I almost stopped reading it in favor of another few books that I recently checked out of the library, but the story of Lily as a teenager and her friendship with the homeless boy Atlas kept me reading. The other story line (with the neurosurgeon Ryle) initially stunk, in my opinion, and that's the part that nearly made me put this book down. However, this book redeemed itself rather nicely and I found tears in my eyes as I read the Author's Note of how this book was loosely based on her own family story.

The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice -- I enjoyed this mystery about Claire who is on the run from her ambitious husband, Griffin, who is running for governor of Connecticut. Pretty good story.

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead -- It took me a while to get into this book about Jessica Miller returning to Duquette University in Winston-Salem, NC, for her ten year college reunion. There she had plans to wow everyone with how beautiful and successful she had become. The story follows the Now timeline as well as college days with her group - Heather, Mint (Mark Mintner), Coop (Brandon Cooper), Caro, Francis, Jack, and Courtney. An OK book.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell -- Three storylines going on in this book: Libby, adopted as a baby, inherits a big house in Chelsea at the age of 25; Henry, who lived in this big house as a preteen and teen with his parents and sister, and then a bunch of others who ended up living there in something like a commune; and thirdly, Lucy and her children trying to make their way from France back to London. Pretty good story.