Monday, August 23, 2010

A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham

A Desirable Residence, by Madeline Wickham, is a story with multiple characters and a hazy ending.  The story centers on the Chambers family.  Liz and Jonathan buy a tutorial college taking out several loans to do so.  They are both teachers and are anxious to get going on their new venture.  Their daughter Alice is a sulky teen who smokes in the garage of the house she no longer lives in.  Other characters include Marcus the realtor who is attempting to help Liz rent her house,  and Ginny and Piers, the new tenants.  We also get to see the story through the eyes of Marcus's stressed out wife and his two sons.

The lives of these characters intertwine in a very believable way.  There are affairs, crushes, obsessions, and career failures that color the few months time in which the book takes place.  We are ultimately left with a bit of hope and a bit of heartbreak.  The story never really ends.  There isn't a neat and tidy ending for any of them.  I'm still wondering where Ginny and Piers went.

All in all, the story was entertaining enough to keep me reading.  I was hoping for a happy ending.  Every book I read lately has an open ending.  I need to find a happy ever after book to read next!  It's a good book but not a great one.  It's worth a read.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

I had high hopes for One Day, by David Nicholls, and most of them were met.  The story is about a man and a woman who meet on July 15, 1988.  Every chapter takes place on July 15, year by year, for twenty years.  Emma wants to be a writer who changes the world.  She's a bit of an idealist at times.  Dexter just wants to have fun.  He wants to travel and do things that are exciting.

Despite their differences, their friendship thrives.  They have years where they don't talk at all.  They have years where they lean heavily on each other.  There are some chapters when I hated Dexter.  I hated that he drank too much, partied too much, and didn't realize that Emma was there for him.  There were chapters where I hated Emma.  She was too complacent and accepting of her dull life.  I, being the hopeless romantic, wanted them to fall in love from the start.

As frustrating as the story was at times, I couldn't help but want to know what was going to happen next.  A year in their lives would go by as I moved to a new chapter, but talented writing filled in the gaps.  Ultimately, the book left me heartbroken - but in a good way.  I miss Dex and Em.  Em and Dex.  I look forward to meeting them again in the upcoming movie.

One Day is a very high concept novel that really works.  It's just right.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin is one of those books that is completely frustrating and yet completely readable. The story is a triangle of sorts, two women, one man.

Tessa and Nick have been married for years, with two small children. By all accounts, they have a satisfying, happy marriage. Nick is a surgeon and works odd hours, something the family is used to. When Nick meets Valerie, the mother of a young boy in his care, he is instantly attracted.

The reader is treated to two views. We see the story through Tessa's eyes as she begins to doubt her husband's faithfulness. We see the story through Valerie's eyes as a woman who is falling fast for the good looking doctor. Personally, I liked both women. That's what made it all so difficult. I also kind of liked Nick despite him being a cheating husband.

I've read a few other books by Emily Giffin and recognized some of the characters from past books. I always enjoy those little connections. Heart of the Matter is a solid read with believable characters and a believable situation. I recommend it

On Shadow Beach by Barbara Freethy

My mother is very picky about books, movies, etc.  When she likes something, I take notice.  She enjoyed On Shadow Beach, by Barbara Freethy, and I did too.  It's always nice to read a romance novel with some substance.  Solving a murder that took place thirteen years prior, is good substance, especially when you care about the characters and don't figure out who "did it" until the end of the book.  I didn't even read ahead!  That's an accomplishment for me.

Lauren returns to Angel's Bay thirteen years after her sister was violently murdered.  Lauren had turned her back on the town and the people in it, including her father and her ex-boyfriend, Shane.   When Lauren and Shane meet again, their old attraction remains, despite the rift between them, and the lingering suspicion that he had something to do with Abby's death.  They join forces to finally solve Abby's murder and clear Shane's name.

The book was a quick and very satisfying read.  I found out later that it is the second in a series which upsets me because I'm very linear in my thinking.  I don't like reading books out of order!  That being said, I will definitely be looking for the first book and will continue the series.  I'm excited to find a new author that I enjoy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Finally!  I've been on a hunt for a young adult novel that was satisfying, and I finally read one!  Infinite Days, by Rebecca Maizel, is yet another vampire story.  The good thing is that it's new and different - at least to me.  The story is about Lenah, a 500 year old vampire who becomes human again - as a sixteen year old high school student.  She tries to find her place at the exclusive boarding school she's attending, while getting used to being mortal. There is danger lurking as her coven eagerly awaits for her awakening, unaware that she is human.

One thing that I appreciated about this novel is that Lenah wasn't terribly sorry for her life of murder and viciousness.  She accepted it.  She wasn't tortured by her past -at least at first.  I appreciate that she wasn't a tortured soul.  Lenah's romance with Justin was a bit rushed and didn't quite feel genuine to me.  I'm hoping that in the future books in the series, he will become more defined, and that we will learn what he's truly about.  I found myself quite suspicious of him but at this point there is no reason for that.

I definitely recommend this book to fans of the supernatural.  As I prove, you don't have to be a teen to appreciate a good young adult book.  I do recommend this for older teens as there is a bit of violence and a fairly casual attitude toward sex.