March 29, 2011 · 7:18 am
Night Road by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press; $27.99; 400 pages)
For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices. To hold on… To let go… To forget… To forgive… Which road will you take?
In a compelling novel of love, loss, hope and understanding, author Kristin Hannah redefines the pluses and minuses – challenges, tenderness and empowerment – of motherhood.
Jude Farrady has everything. She lives the ideal life; a loving husband, a custom-built home, friends that support and love her, and twins that have an extraordinarily close relationship. Her life revolves around her twins, ensuring that they have everything they need to be happy and successful.
Lexi Baill has nothing. The orphan of a drug addict, she has grown up living in multiple foster homes, without a family, abandoned and alone. With a heart of gold she selflessly carries hope that someday things will turn out differently.
When Lexi befriends Jude’s daughter Mia on their first day of high school, their lives are forever changed. Lexi brings out the best in the shy sister of the most popular boy in town. The bond between the twins and Lexi encourages the Farraday’s to treat Lexi like one of their own. Finally finding a permanent home with the aunt she never knew she had combined with the love she is shown from the Farraday’s, Lexi feels she has finally found the life she has always dreamed of.
Yet tragedy finds a way into the lives of even those with the most fortunate of circumstances. The resulting loss forces everyone to reevaluate the future of their relationships and life beyond the boundaries of the predictable.
Author Hannah presents an endearing and engaging story that uncovers a path of unpredictable events… Events that will leave you laughing, crying, wishing and hoping but above all feeling fully appreciative of the love, devotion and trials that come with the territory of being a mother.
A review copy was received from the publisher. Night Road was released on March 22, 2011. “Longtime fans will love this rich, multilayered reading experience, and it’s an easy recommendation for book clubs.” Library Journal
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Tagged as a novel, Bestselling author, book review, CSN&Y, devotion, empowerment, engaging story, family drama, female protagonists, fiction, forgiveness, foster homes, hardbound release, high school, hope, Joseph's Reviews, Jude Farraday, Kelly Monson, Kindle Edition, Kristin Hannah, Library Journal, life lessons, life's challenges, Love, mother and children, motherhood, new release, orphan, popular fiction, Preloaded Digital Audio Player, recommended books, relationships, Seattle, St. Martin's Press, Teach Your Children, tragedy, twins, unabridged audiobook, unpredictable events, Washington State, Winter Garden, wishing and hoping, women's literature
February 8, 2011 · 9:07 am
Mothers & Other Liars: A Novel by Amy Bourret (St. Martin’s Griffin; $13.99; 320 pages)
The street is empty, but she can feel it out there, the past, the truth, hurtling toward them, a boulder crashing down her mountainside, snapping trees, devastating everything in its path.
Ruby Leander is an orphan and a runaway nineteen-year-old traveling to find her life’s purpose when her journey takes a drastic turn… she comes upon a baby thrown away at a rest stop. Remembering the feeling of loss and abandonment in her own childhood, Ruby raises this baby girl as her own. Ruby creates a life for her daughter with a family of close friends and for nine years raises her daughter Lark in the only home she has ever known.
During this time, Ruby falls in love and now pregnant, is prepared to create a family with her boyfriend and police officer, Chaz, who knows nothing about Lark’s story or the true details of her own past. Then, by chance, Ruby learns the truth behind the story of Lark’s abandonment and is faced with the biggest decision of her life. She is challenged to determine what the right path is and which sacrifices are worth making to preserve the life of the child she has raised.
With that memory searing in her scalp and baby fingers gripping her hand, only one thought was possible: save this child, protect her.
Although the story line becomes somewhat predictable, Bourret interwines circumstances of love and loss among her characters that makes the outcome a joy to read. You may find yourself reevaluating your own code of ethics and redefining the true definition of family as you consider what you would be willing to sacrifice for the benefit of your own children.
Written in detailed poetic prose, Bourret describes the bond that exists between mother and child and the internal struggles one faces when trying to protect her child and provide her with the best possible life. This novel is a beautiful read and is Well Recommended.
This review was written by Kelly Monson. A review copy was provided by the publisher. “An unpredictable, gripping story of love and sacrifice.” Jacqueline Sheehan, New York Times bestselling author of Lost and Found and Now & Then.
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Tagged as a novel, abandonment, Amy Bourret, beautiful story, Bernie Taupin, book review, childhood, Elton John, family, family novel, female protagonist, fiction, internal struggles, Jacqueline Sheehan, Joseph's Reviews, Kelly Monson, life lessons, life's purpose, loss, Lost & Found, Love, moral dilemma, Mothers & Other Liars, novels, Now & Then, orphan, personal ethics, personal sacrifices, poetic prose, recommended books, Ruby Leander, runaway, Sacrifice, St. Martin's Griffin, trade paperback, truth
November 17, 2010 · 5:42 pm
Cat Coming Home by Shirley Rousseau Murphy (William Morrow; $19.99; 354 pages)
This latest Joe Grey mystery oozes with picturesque Carmel charm. Shirley Rousseau Murphy extolls the architectural beauty of her coastal hometown in the thinly veiled story location, Molina Point. The plot revolves around Joe, Dulcie and Kit – three cats who speak to their pet parents and sometimes unsuspecting people. The characters in the mystery that the cats solve are a grandma named Maudie, her six-year-old grandson Benny and, of course, the evil doers. It’s not fair to describe the villains as their identities are the key to the mystery. Keep in mind that appearances can be very deceiving!
The story opens with a ghastly double murder that devastates a perfectly lovely family. Benny’s dad, his new wife, her two children, Benny and his grandma are driving up a mountain road on their way to an Easter weekend of relaxation at Lake Arrowhead when a vehicle pulls up alongside them and shoots the dad and stepmom. Chaos follows as their car tumbles off the road and everyone is tossed about. After being rescued, Maudie becomes so distraught that she decides to leave her home in Los Angeles, bringing Benny with her to Molina Point, her childhood home.
Joe Grey and his buddies become part of the story when a series of home invasion crimes occur in Molina Point not long after Maudie and Benny arrive in town. Added to the intrigue is the presence of an older yellow tom cat that lurks nearby and seems to have something important in mind. Kit is fascinated by this stranger and makes it her business to find out what he’s doing in town. Kit’s need for a focus in her life seems to be a continuing thread in these books.
The home invasions are targeted at ladies who are home alone. They are being viciously attacked by intruders, the interiors of their homes are trashed, but not much is stolen. One of the home invasions happens on Maddie’s block. To make matters worse, Molina Point’s dedicated chief of police, Max Harper, is being singled out in the local newspaper for failing to bring the crime wave to a halt. As usual, the cats are quick-witted and fleet of foot as they race around town just a paw or two behind the villains.
Whether the setting for a mystery novel is a big city or a small town, human frailties are usually at the core of the story. This tale (or tail) is no exception. Author Murphy does a wonderful job of developing her characters and providing insight into human nature and feline nature as well. She refrains from rehashing the premise of her Joe Grey series which allows for more action and intrigue.
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. This book was purchased for the reviewer.
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Tagged as A Joe Grey Mystery, animals, architectural beauty, California, Carmel, cat book, Cat Coming Home, Cat Deck the Halls, cat detectives, Cat Playing Cupid, cat sleuths, Cat Striking Back, cats, charm, Christmas Eve, crime, Dead Man's Curve, deceiving appearances, Dulcie the cat, Easter, evil doers, felines, Harper Collins, heartwarming story, holiday mystery, home invasions, human frailties, human nature, Jan and Dean, Joe Grey, Joseph's Reviews, Kindle Edition, Kit the cat, Lake Arrowhead, Los Angeles, Max Harper, Molena Point, murders, mystery novel, orphan, recommended books, Ruta Arellano, satisfying tale, Shirley Rousseau Murphy, stray cat, tails, tales, talking cats, the Toola twosome, thinly veiled, tomcat, villains, William Morrow, Yuletide cheer