Saturday, July 2, 2011

June 2011

June was a month chock full of memorable characters and luscious covers. With one exception, I was book elated through the entire month!

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
(4/5 Fiction Scale)
Leave your need to ask "Really?" at the door and just sit back and enjoy this story of family, friends, and secrets all around.
First line:  "I guess this is it," Joel said, leaning into the doorway of our apartment.

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson
(3.5/5 Fiction Scale)
Again, secrets…possibly the hardest to bear--secrets of survivors of war. This story of a post WWII reunion reveals in heartbreaking detail what it took to come to the house at 22 Britannia Road and the lengths a desperate family will go to to preserve its promise. The revelation begins with the opening line: "The boy was everything to her."

Vision in White by Nora Roberts (1st in Brides Quartet)
(3.5/5 Fiction Scale)
First in a quartet of books featuring four lifelong friends who own Vows, an all-inclusive wedding service. Light romantic read and a good inbetween book.
First line:  By the time she was eight, Mackensie Elliot had been married fourteen times.

Beach Roses by Jean Stone
(3.5/5 Fiction Scale)
My "this is really over the top" initial reaction to this book was soon overcome as the story of each one of the strong (even if she didn't realize it in the midst of overwhelming problems) women unfolded.
First line:  Dexa-scans and mammo-scans and ultra-scans and everything.

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
(4/5 Mystery Scale)
Series came highly recommended by another reader whose opinion I value, and this first installment didn't disappoint! Russ Van Alstyne, police chief of Millers Kill, and Clare Fergusson, new-to-town Episcopal priest, first meet when she reports a baby abandoned at the church. And so the story begins with mysteries of wrong doing and personal conflict. Very much looking forward to the next in the series, A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD.
First line:  It was one hell of a night to throw away a baby.

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood
(4.5/5 Fiction Scale)
McAllaster, described as a beautiful and hardscrabble town on the southern edge of Lake Superior, is the setting for the story of Madeline Stone and how she comes to find the meaning of "tzadik." The characters jump of the pages and invite you into their world, and you go willingly with hope of finding out their secrets. Best last line of a book ever.
First line:  The letter from Gladys Hansen was written in blue ink in an angular hand, on one sheet of plain white paper.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
(5/5 Fiction Scale)
For me, this book had it all--characters and setting that jump off the page and grab you while telling a story that leaves you gasping as it unfolds before your reading eyes.
First line:  The news of Anders Eckman's death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the stationery and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope.

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
(3/5 Fiction Scale)
Lifelong friends with secrets + one newcomer on the run + one hunky neighbor (with a secret, of course) + "charming" rental cottage in Nags Head = typical, if sometimes tedious, summer beach read.
First line:  It was not an auspicious beginning for a vacation, let alone for a new life.

Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
(2/5 Fiction Scale)
That it took me three days to read 238 pages of fluff is a good clue to my feeling about this book. I liked Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook; I really liked Multiple Choice by Claire Cook. Her more recent efforts have been, well, meh. Best Staged Plans struggled to achieve "meh" status for me.
First line:  Okay, so I accidentally wrapped my reading glasses in one of the packages I mailed.

State of Wonder was tops for the month. I'm still pondering some of the conflicts that confronted the characters in this book. Sadly, Best Staged Plans just didn't do it for me--not even sure I would go back and give it a second try just to see if it wasn't the book for me at this time. Too many cutsey asides and too little story to suit my fancy.

So, I'm off to Folly Beach by Dorothea Benton Frank to start July.


Les said...

I've added The Violets of March,22 Britannia Road, and South of Superior to my TBR List. I already have State of Wonder and won't wait too long to get to it, since you gave it such a high rating!

I haven't been too impressed with Claire Cook's recent novels, so I'll pass on this one.

I tried to read Summer Rental (my first attempt at Mary Kay Andrews), but gave up after a few chapters. Felt a little too fluffy for my taste.

I'm having fun catching up on all your posts. I've been away from your blog far too long!

Marcia said...

It made me very happy to see your comments on my blog today, Les. Thanks for stopping by!

Les said...

I spent quite a while reading all your posts while I was walking on the treadmill. I saved the commenting for after my walk, though. ;)