The Tumble Inn- a review

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The Tumble Inn

by William Loizeaux

published by Syracuse University Press

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I admit it- I chose this book TOTALLY based on the cover.  Look at it- so peaceful, adirondack chair right on the lake, a little sepia tone.  The summary intrigued me too- pretty much turning in your boring life to do something so different and challenging- so exciting.  I loved journeying through the first few years at the Tumble Inn with Mark and Fran.  This was the fasted and lightest part of the book.  When their child, Nat, becomes a teenager, the story slows down and becomes a little deeper.  Then tragedy strikes this small family and the pain and sadness seeps through to the reader.  I finished this book quickly, as the story moves fast at first, and the writing is very smooth.  Though not exactly what I was expecting- something a little lighter, like an early Tom Hanks movie?-I would definitely recommend this.  Have you read this book?  What were your thoughts?

Summary

Tired of their high school teaching jobs and discouraged by their failed attempts at conceiving a child, Mark and Fran Finley decide they need a change in their lives. Abruptly, they leave their friends and family in suburban New Jersey to begin anew as innkeepers on a secluded lake in the Adirondack Mountains. There they muddle through their first season at the inn, serving barely edible dinners to guests, stranding themselves in chest-deep snowdrifts, and somehow, miraculously, amid swarms of ravenous black flies, conceiving a child, a girl they name Nat. Years later, when Mark and Fran are nearing middle age and Nat is a troubled teenager, Mark’s life is ripped apart, forever changed, and he must choose between returning to his old home in New Jersey or trying to rebuild what is left of his life and family in the place of his greatest joy and deepest sorrow.

The Tumble Inn is a moving drama about home and about the fragility and resilience of love

A Wedding in Provence by Ellen Sussman

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A Wedding in Provence

by Ellen Sussman

published by Balantine Books

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I was very excited to read this book, but about half way in I lost a little.  I love the premise of a family gathering in France for a wedding- must be so many interesting characters and scenes!  Olivia is marrying Brody at her best friends’ inn in Provence, and is expecting her two adult daughters and Brody’s mother to attend.  Her daughters Nell and Carly as as different as night and day and really don’t get along that well.  As the weekend unfolds there are many tears and revelations.

This was a fun book to read and it went very quickly. At first, I really didn’t like any of the characters- Olivia and Brady weren’t really fleshed out, and Carley and Nell just annoyed me.  As the story moved on, I found the characters of the sisters develop and open up and this made the book worth reading.

Summary

What could be more idyllic than a wedding in Provence? That’s what Olivia and Brody think when they invite their closest friends and family to spend their wedding weekend with them. But when Olivia’s older daughter from her first marriage invites a man she met on the plane to join her, the delicate balance of the entire weekend is upset. Soon Olivia’s best friend, the owner of the inn who is hosting the wedding, discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Then Brody’s mother shows up without his father, who has gone into hiding. How can one choose love in the midst of chaos? Told from the point of view of Olivia and her two daughters, A Wedding in Provence is a moving novel about love, trust, secrets and family.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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The House We Grew Up In

by Lisa Jewell

published by Atria Books

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

This is the story of the Bird family that live in a beautiful cottage in Cotswolds- Lorelei and Colin, and their four children.  We begin on Easter Sunday, 1981 and when life seemed perfect and the following 30 years.  The story is told in flashbacks from the perspectives of different characters and always at the heart is tragic Lorelei.  Death, trauma, and mental illness plague the family and the different relationships that make it up are show to the reader in glaring honesty.

When I started reading this book, I thought it would be like many others I have come across- odd family, tragedy, and growth- but it was SO much more.  Lisa Jewell has woven a fascinating story here and I didn’t want it to end.  This is definitely a book to read.

Summary

Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in — and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.

Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home

Bookish (& Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

Haven’t been able to join in for so long!!

1.  I finally cave and bought my own Kindle.  Teen daughter was not very keen on sharing any longer, and I cracked my iPad trying to kill a fly.  I had about 5 ebooks waiting to be reviewed, so I gave in and bought a refurbed paperwhite.  I REALLy wish I didn’t like it.

2.  On the same topic, I actually got my mom to start using a Kindle.  I gave her my daughter’s old one (while I was happy with my as yet uncracked iPad) and loaded tons of books on there for her.  This was on Mother’s Day, and she just now read a book on it.  Mind you, she reads about 4-6 books a week.  She hates change.  Now I know where I get it from.

3.  My yellow Lab,Katie, is getting on in years (11+) and has started showing signs of advanced arthritis in her back legs, so at the last vet visit, we put her on Glucosamine and Prevacox (an NSAID).  Now she is a BAD BAD dog again.  She ran away from us while we were vacationing in Maryland (sorry grumpy farmer who was not happy she came to visit) and just last night she got into a pretty nasty fight with a raccoon.  No blood was drawn, but there was lots of hissing and plenty of hurt feelings.  I think we were better off when she wasn’t so spry.  This is the dog I thought Marley was based on, only a little worse behaved and not as cute.

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4.  I know I am about a year behind, but I am finally reading The Cuckoo’s Calling and I love it!  I had my doubts about Rowling’s future after The Casual Vacancy :-0, but this is great.  What is the sequel called??

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5.  I am thinking about signing up for Bout of Books this August.   The dates work very much in my favor, as that is the week that practice starts for fall sports at the kids’ high school, and they are playing field hockey and football.  Their practices are over 3 hours each and the school is about 45 minutes away, so I see myself with LOTS of time to kill.

6.  I thought the polar vortex was only supposed to happen in the winter!  Yesterday there high only reached 75 here, and it went down to 53 at night!  This is supposed to be the hottest part of the summer.  Upside is of course the lower electric bill-love open windows!!

7.  We recently vacationed in a small town in Maryland called Cambridge, where we happened upon a little shop called A Few of My Favorite Things.  They sell wine, gourmet cheese, and gourmet chocolates.  Heaven!  We went back almost every day.  Now if  only they sold books too, I would never have left.

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The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

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The Girls of August

by Anne Rivers Siddons

published by Grand Central Publishing

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

This was a fun, very quick read (2 days max).  I enjoy the flow of Siddons’ writing and usually like the work itself quite a bit, but I felt like this book was missing something.  It takes place on a small Gullah island off of Charleston, SC.  Three women who became friends years before when their husbands were in medical school together used to vacation every August together, but stopped a few years earlier after the sudden death of their fourth friend.  They are now taking another vacation, with the new wife of their late friend’s husband, a 23 year old whom they all hate.  Each of these women are struggling with their own personal demons.  I liked the premise, but it seemed strange to me why these women would spend two whole weeks with a young girl they really dislike, and were pretty mean to.  I almost wish the author would have given us the first half of these women’s story- how they met, their early friendship, and their yearly reunions.  This was enjoyable, but it definitely left me wanting more from the story.

Summary

Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.

About the Author

Born Sybil Anne Rivers in Atlanta, Georgia, she was raised in Fairburn, Georgia, and attended Auburn University, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority.
While at Auburn she wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Auburn Plainsman, that favored integration. The university administration attempted to suppress the column, and ultimately fired her, and the column garnered national attention. She later became a senior editor for Atlanta magazine. At the age of thirty she married Heyward Siddons, and she and her husband now live in Charleston, South Carolina, and spend summers in Maine.

I love them most!- a Top Ten List

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is-

Ten Authors I own the most books from

In size order-

1.  J.K. Rowling- 10

2.  Stephen King-9

3.  Carol Keene-9

4.  C.S. Lewis-7

5.  Jane Austen-6

6.  J.R.R Tolkien-5

7.  George R.R. Martin-5

8.  Anne Rice-5

9.  Jojo Moyes- 4

10.  A Tie: Stieg Larsson-3, Suzanne Collins-3

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

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One Plus One

by Jojo Moyes

published by Pamela Dorman Books

2014

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I am a big fan of this author and have enjoyed her books in the past, so I was really looking forward to reading this.  It honestly started a little slow for me.  I could not really believe what a mess Jess’s life was, or how royally Ed could screw up without someone stopping him.  Once they actually got on the road and headed to Scotland on their crazy road trip to the Math Olympiad, I was totally hooked.  I loved these two main characters and how funny they were when they interacted.  I also love how good of a mom Jess is trying to be and how she is always thinking things will work out.  This is a lite and fun read- a little different from Moyes’ other work, but very well written and engaging.

Summary

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

My Rating

4 out of 5