Beautiful Ruins

There’s nothing like a trip to the Italian coast when the temps plummet into winter. Beautiful Ruins is a lovely, lovely tale—taking the best parts of an intricate tale like The Casual Vacancy and blending it with sweeping, emotionally wrought stories of love, such as in The Light Between Oceans. Were I a single girl in 1962, I just may have fought Amedea for Pasquale’s heart. Oh, Pasquale … What you need to know before you dive in—the reader is jostled back and forth between 1962 in Italy and “Recently” in the States. Most of the characters figure prominently in … Continue reading Beautiful Ruins

Heading Out to Wonderful

Liked A Reliable Wife? So did I. But I liked this better. Author Robert Goolrick’s sophomore effort, Heading Out to Wonderful, is worth your time on a long, rainy weekend. Or a road trip. Or the doctor’s office. It doesn’t take very many pages before you are completely engrossed in the tale of Charlie Beale, and his journey to Brownsburg, where his life intersects with that of Will and Alma Haislett, their son Sam, and the residents of this tiny town in Virgina in the late 1940s. Here’s what you need to know—it’s historical fiction, it’s a love story, and … Continue reading Heading Out to Wonderful

The Sandcastle Girls

You know the term “investment piece?” We hear it a lot in fashion and furniture. Sure, it’s not exactly trendy, and it costs more, but it lasts longer. You’ll use it forever. It’s well-worth the larger financial and/or emotional investment. That’s “The Sandcastle Girls.” This book isn’t going to blow up the summer reading charts in the same fashion as the “50 Shades” trilogy or Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” But it certainly isn’t any less worthy of accolades. It’s simply a really tough read. It is about a love affair, but it’s not traditionally romantic. Set in the early 1900s … Continue reading The Sandcastle Girls

Rules of Civility

I absolutely adore books that include moments I never saw coming. So is the case of “Rules of Civility.” The story of friends Katya “Katey” Kontent and Evelyn “Evey” Ross, it almost reads like a “Sex and the City” meets “The Great Gatsby.” Kate and Eve are fast friends in late 30s NYC, rooming together at a boardinghouse and living life the best as they can on a little money and a lot of ingenuity. It’s New Year’s Eve when their “Big” comes calling—big time banker Tinker Grey. Just a week into their friendship, their lives all take a dramatic … Continue reading Rules of Civility

The Fault in our Stars

Hmmm … “The Fault in our Stars” made it to my reading list primarily because I had several good friends tell me how wonderful it was. And it was the book’s legion of fans insisting it should have won the Pulitzer that has me wondering just how good it could be. (My fangirl Pulitzer vote was all about The Art of Fielding.) So I dived right in and … well, I don’t think one could ever say they “enjoy” a story about people dying from cancer, but, it is a very well-written, moving tale of two teens and their doomed … Continue reading The Fault in our Stars

To Be Sung Underwater

Ah, well. If you have even the teeniest bone in your body that belongs to a hopeless romantic, THIS is the book you should read. The story of Judith and Willy is the story of anyone who experienced an all-encompassing first love—the kind that lives in your heart long past it makes sense for it to reside there. Judith Whitman is a wife. A wife, and a mom, and a film editor. While to outsiders she may appear to be living the stuff of dreams, her life isn’t much different from anyone else’s, and Tom McNeal’s writing is such that … Continue reading To Be Sung Underwater