If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison

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If I Could Turn Back Time

by Beth Harbison

Published by St. Martin Press

July 28, 2015 release date

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

My Review

Ramie Phillips is celebrating her 37 birth day with friends on a yacht and thinks she has it all.  Single, wealthy and successful, she has never regretted the decisions she mad that led her where she is.  The joyful pregnancy announcement sends Ramie reeling and she proceeds to get good and drunk.  When she her drunken dive winds up smashing her head on the boat, Ramie wakes up- not 37, but 18 and in high school.  As she relives the days leading up to her high school graduation, she begins to second guess her big choices- what  and where to study in college, breaking up with her high school sweetheart, etc.

This was a fun, fast book that I really enjoyed.  I loved the beginning and the end, but felt the middle  became bogged down with too much “reflection” that really didn’t tie into the story or the main character.  It felt like it disrupted the flow of the story in order to make it major meaningful.  Once past that, it was really terrific, and I loved the ending (no spoilers).  I love the idea of revising major life decisions and possibly seeing the aftermath of the path not taken.

Summary

Thirty-seven year old Ramie Phillips has led a very successful life. She made her fortune and now she hob nobs with the very rich and occasionally the semi-famous, and she enjoys luxuries she only dreamed of as a middle-class kid growing up in Potomac, Maryland. But despite it all, she can’t ignore the fact that she isn’t necessarily happy. In fact, lately Ramie has begun to feel more than a little empty.

On a boat with friends off the Florida coast, she tries to fight her feelings of discontent with steel will and hard liquor. No one even notices as she gets up and goes to the diving board and dives off…

Suddenly Ramie is waking up, straining to understand a voice calling in the distance…It’s her mother: “Wake up! You’re going to be late for school again. I’m not writing a note this time…”

Ramie finds herself back on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, with a second chance to see the people she’s lost and change the choices she regrets. How did she get back here? Has she gone off the deep end? Is she really back in time? Above all, she’ll have to answer the question that no one else can: What it is that she really wants from the past, and for her future?

 

 

 

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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Circling the Sun

by Paula McLain

published by Ballantine Books

July 28, 2015

I received this book as an advance review copy from the publisher through net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I loved McLains’ The Paris Wife so much and I was so happy to receive Circling The Sun from the publishers.  I was not disappointed!  First- this makes me want to read, and then watch Out of Africa, which I never have.  Then I want to read Markham’s own memoir West with the Night.  The author has presented an amazing description of aAfrica in the early 20th century, as well as one of the Europeans who either treated it as a part of heaven, or a playground for the wealthy and bored.

Beryl Markham lived an amazing life.  She grew up on a farm in Kenya, raised only by her somewhat neglectful father after her mother leaves them to return to England.  She was permitted to run wild, learning how to hunt and shoot with the native boys.  When her father tries to send her to school in her teens, she repeatedly runs away until she is kicked out.  She lived her life in such an unconventional way, at at time when there weren’t many choices for women living on their own.  She did marry two times- both were very unhappy and ended quickly.  Markham had many affairs, but was only made truly happy but three things- horses, Denys Finch- Hatton, and flying.

This might be one of my favorite books of the year so far.  The writing was wonderful and the author obviously did a meticulous job with her research.  My favorite part of the book is the descriptions of Africa, and the obvious love Markham had for it.  I would definitely recommend this book.  A big thank you to Ballantine Books and Net Galley for sharing it with me!

Summary

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

To learn more about Beryl Markham, check out some of these site-

http://scandalouswoman.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-many-lives-of-beryl-markham.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beryl_Markham

http://womanpilot.com/?p=67

Go Set A Watchman-Are You Going To Read It?

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The much talked about, much anticipated prequel to To Kill A Mockingbird is set to be released tomorrow and there is already a whole lot of talk out there.  I have not read the first chapter, but I have heard that Watchman portrays our beloved Atticus Finch in a less than flattering light.

This comes on top of the debate over whether author Harper Lee really wanted Watchman to ever be published, or if she has been manipulated by lawyers/publisher just to make $$.

So, I am asking everyone out there- what are your thoughts here?  Will everyone read it?

If you haven’t heard the buzz, you can read here-

Cnn

NY Times

The Guardian

I Can’t Wait! 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

Top Ten Mostly Anticipated New Releases

1.  Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

1.  Finders Keepers by Stephen King

A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes.

3.  Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

4.  No Better Friend by Robert Weintraub

Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp in the Pacific. Judy was a fiercely loyal dog, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair’s relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would repeatedly risk her life to intervene. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon not only for Frank but for all the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own.

5.  The Rumor by Elin Hildebrand

A friendship is tested in this irresistible page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand. 

6.  The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

In this adrenaline-charged thriller, genius-hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist face a dangerous new threat and must again join forces. 

7.  Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

A breakout novel from an author who “positively shines with wisdom and intelligence” (Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I leave You). “Laura Dave writes with humor and insight about relationships in all their complexity, whether she’s describing siblings or fiancés or a couple long-married. Eight Hundred Grapesis a captivating story about the power of family, the limitations of love, and what becomes of a life’s work”

8.  The Truth According to Us by Anne Barrow

From the co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes a wise, witty, and exuberant novel, perfect for fans of Lee Smith, that illuminates the power of loyalty and forgiveness, memory and truth, and the courage it takes to do what’s right






Off to the Outer Banks

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I am off to the Outer Banks for a week with the family!!  We are renting a home in Carova- the 4 X 4  area of OBX where the horses roam free.

The kids’ school lets out early and this is actually the only week we are able to go for the WHOLE summer!

Between classes, work, business trips, and preseason, we are all booked up.

So, I might not be posting as much this week, but here is a fun little fact-

Before I had the chance to download King’s newest- Finders Keepers, I ran some errands.  As I walked into the library- BAM- there it was just waiting for me.  This should make that 8 hour drive go by nicely.  

The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell

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The Third Wife

by Lisa Jewell

published by Atria Books

June 9, 2015

I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher through net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

 

I jumped at the chance to review the newest Lisa Jewell Book, The Third Wife.  I haven’t read that much by the author, but I loved The House We Grew Up In so much that I had to read her newest, and I was very excited to receive it through net Galley.  It was one of those magical times where you accept a book for review (or you are accepted) and you love it!  I raised this book in about 7 hours- taking time out for “life” and I was sad to put it down, though very satisfied.

The story centers around Adrian and his large extended family as they deal with the loss of his third wife, Maya.  Adrian has two, mostly grown children with his first wife Susie, and three young children with his second wife, Caroline.  Along with Maya, this family has seemingly embraced their large non traditional life.  When Maya is hit by a bus, Adrian is immersed in grief.  Almost a year goes by before a chance encounter forces him to take a really close look at Maya’s death and his family.

I really don’t want to give anymore into since this story unfolds perfectly.  I though Jewell did a wonderful job here creating a family that seems so perfect until you start looking closer.  I loved the pace- not too fast or too slow.  Adrian is an interesting character, and the reader has a chance to actually see him grow and come to certain painful realizations.  This is a great- very fast – read, and I would definitely recommend it.

Summary

In the early hours of an April morning, Maya stumbles into the path of an oncoming bus.

A tragic accident? Or suicide?

Her grief-stricken husband, Adrian, is determined to find out.

Maya had a job she enjoyed; she had friends. They’d been in love.

She even got on with his two previous wives and their children. In fact, they’d all been one big happy family.

But before long Adrian starts to identify the dark cracks in his perfect life.
Because everyone has secrets.
And secrets have consequences.
Some of which can be devastating.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

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The Little Paris Bookshop

by Nina George

published by Crown Publishing

June 23, 2015

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Review

When I received this book, I was excited because I really enjoy reading about booksellers.  It turns out this book was quite different then I expected it to be.  This isn’t just about a person who loved books, and is lucky enough to spend his day matching them to the right person from a barge on the Seine.

Monsieur Perdu considers himself a “literary apothecary” or a book healer.  He feels that he can talk to a person, and then choose a book that will heal what pains them in their lives.  But Perdu has a secret- he is the one who needs healing.  He is living an empty life, haven given up on everything for the past 20 years while mourning the loss of his great love.  All he has the letter she wrote when she left him- which he has never opened.  When circumstances force him to read it, he pulls anchor on his barge/bookstore, and sails towards the South of France.  This novel is a love song to books and the magic they can bring.  It is all about how boos can affect your life.  But it is also an emotional, mystical trek through grief and the fear of living.  It reads almost like a song, the rhythm and lilt of the prose is beautiful.  Do not let the title fool you- this is not just about a little bookshop in Paris.

Quotes-

“Books are more than doctors, of course. Some novels are loving, lifelong companions;some give you a clip around the ear; others are friends who wrap you in warm towels when you’ve got those autumn blues. And some…well, some are pink candy floss that tingles in your brain for three seconds and leaves a blissful voice. Like a short, torrid love affair.”

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Summary

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.