Month: April 2012

What I’m Reading Now: The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

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It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.

Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter’s voice.

Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

My Thoughts On Before Ever After by Sotto

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I really liked this book.  It was much better than the book cover summary.  I thought that the main character, Max, was a time traveler who would settle down for awhile and then move along, leaving heartbreak behind him.

Instead, this was a really beautiful love story.  I love Max.  I love his humor.  I love his kindness.  He finds Shelley when she joins up on his travel tour across Europe.  He takes her from offbeat to offbeat destinations, and she realizes later that he is sharing portions of his life, telling his story to her.

By the end of the tour, they are engaged and ready for their Happily Ever After. . .until. . .well, you’ll have to read the book.

Just as a warning for sensitive eyes and ears, among the tour’s attendants is a gay couple.  Some readers may not like that.  And there are a few “action” scenes between Shelly and Max.  If you can get past that, then enjoy!


What I’m Reading Now: Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

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From Reviewer & Author Melissa Senate:

Before Ever After is my favorite kind of book: magical. It is a book in which the every day of life, of marriage, of calling a husband to ask him to pick up something on his way home, are forever changed by the extraordinary, the unexpected, the impossible.

Three years after the death of her quirky, wonderful husband, Max, Shelley is a young widow barely able to get through the day. Until a knock on the door brings a thirty-two-year-old man who claims to be her thirty-two-year-old husband’s grandson–yes, grandson–into her life. And he tells her that her beloved husband Max is still very much alive and living halfway across the world. It sounds impossible, but that is part of the joy of this novel: it is about a search for answers to the critical, and most basic, questions about life. It is about what should be impossible but because of the transformative power of love, isn’t.

Samantha Sotto takes readers on a journey–from London to the Philippines, and all over Europe–as Shelley and the grandson set off to track down Max. Along the way, Shelley recounts the package tour where she and Max met, years ago. Anyone who has booked a EuroRail pass or tried to live out of a backpack for more than a few days can relate to Shelley’s trip, and for those who have never had the chance, this is your next best shot. Most of us, bouncing about from Père Lachaise to St. Mark’s Basilica, return home with little more than a few tchotchkes and some great stories, but for Shelley, her life was changed from the moment Max’s tour-guide flyer caught on the heel of her shoe on a windy, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life kind of day. Had this flyer caught on my shoe, I would have been on that tour bus with Max in a heartbeat too:

Fancy Getting Lost? The Slight Detour: Veer away from the unexpected and lose yourself to the back roads of history on a road trip across Europe. Not for the prissy or the daft. Nutters most welcome. Good fun and excellent egg breakfasts included.

I went on that irresistible journey with Shelley and then on several more over the course of this remarkable novel. A journey of adventure, romance, history, magic. Long after the last page of this book, that beautiful journey has stayed with me



My Thoughts On Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later

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Being a fan of the Sweet Valley High books way back when, I was a little giggly as I picked up this book from the library.  Hello!  Elizabeth and Jessica ten years later!  What fun!

Okay, it was not fun.  Life got in the way for Elizabeth’s happily ever after and her ever constant, ever true, ever faithful high school boyfriend, Todd, who later becomes her fiance, cheats on her with her twin, Jessica, and the two of them are now living together while Elizabeth ran away to New York to escape the betrayl of it all.

Ew.  This one is a serious skimmer of a book and is just not true to what I remember the characters to be.

What I’m Reading Now: Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal

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Now with this striking new adult novel from author and creator Francine Pascal, millions of devoted fans can finally return to the idyllic Sweet Valley, home of the phenomenally successful book series and franchise. Iconic and beloved identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are back and all grown up, dealing with the complicated adult world of love, careers, betrayal, and sisterhood.