Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Once upon a time a young and bright law school student named Sylvie Serfer met handsome and ambitious law student Richard Woodruff. Back then she had opinions and goals of her own. He wanted to be President.

Now decades later, Sylvie has remade herself into the ideal politician's wife. Her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband: the senator.

All of their hopes and dreams come crashing down one day when Richard is spotlighted on the news about his extramarital affair with a young woman, his former assistant, for whom he'd obtained a prestigious job at an illustrious law firm.

Suddenly Sylvie and her two daughters, Diana and Lizzie, are drawn into the eye of the hurricane with the philandering husband.

What they each do next makes the story. We follow Sylvie's journey as she tries to figure out what she wants and what will happen next. Her travels take her to a small beach town in Connecticut, to an old family house. There she tries to find herself again—that person she was before she became the woman who took care of Richard Woodruff's needs and ignored her own.

In Philadelphia, daughter Diana is married with a six-year-old child. She's a doctor and on the surface appears to have it all. But underneath, she is increasingly unhappy with her life, her marriage, and the empty places inside. Which makes her ripe for an illicit affair.

Then there's Lizzie, who considers herself the family screw-up. A recovering addict, she struggles daily to stay clean and sober and to find something worthwhile of her own to do with her life.

During the summer following the disgrace, Lizzie moves in with Diana, to help with her nephew Milo and to figure out what she wants to do. She always carries a camera around her neck—some say her penchant for snapping photos is her way of distancing herself from life.

Each of these characters is revealed in alternating chapters that dig a little bit more with each page, until we come to feel as though we know them. Their thoughts, their feelings, and their motivations.

When Sylvie invites her daughters to join her in Connecticut, the timing couldn't be better. Diana and Lizzie have each reached turning points in their lives and need a respite of their own. As they all come together, they gradually begin to find refuge in one another.

I loved Fly Away Home: A Novel, a story of scandal, pain, and the after-effects of tragic events...until the very end, I couldn't be sure what each of the women would decide to do. Each had choices to make and changes to create. Like real life individuals, nothing was simple or predictable, but implicit in the ending moments was the promise or hint that maybe things could work out in some way for each of them; that no matter what they decided, they would all be okay.

Five stars.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As promised, I won't be celebrating ALL of my blogoversaries on all my blogs, but this one deserves a bit of happiness.  This particular blog is all about the panacea for those blues.  You know, rainy days and Mondays make me blue...well, in this particular site, we are determined to fight the blues with BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS.

So, in the spirit of that prescription, the giveaway today is all about that.  From August 16-31.

1)  To enter, please leave a comment telling us what book or kind of books do you turn to when you're feeling a bit blue?  Also, choose which of the books below you would like to win.  Please leave your e-mail address;

2)  For an extra point, add a comment about whether or not you follow this blog; you'll get that extra entry if you become a follower;

3)  Another entry for blogging or tweeting about this giveaway;

4)  Contest open to U.S. and Canada only.

Here are the books up for grabs (some are ARCs, others are not -- all gently used)

1)  The Peppered Moth, by Margaret Drabble

2)  Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, by Meghan Daum

3)  The Swimming Pool, by Holly LeCraw

4)  Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin

5)  Red Hook Road, by Ayelet Waldman

6)  A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan



Monday, August 9, 2010


A series of events triggers a metamorphosis of untold dimensions when Melba Burns witnesses the hit-and-run death of a cyclist. With the tragedy unfolding before her, she then sets in motion a whole parade of circumstances, beginning with her refusal to drive any longer. She also quits her job and holes up in her old farmhouse. Her uneasy peace is then disrupted by a new roommate, JoLee Garry, who introduces an odd assortment of "guests" into Melba's home.

Before too much time passes, her life is thoroughly shaken up.

We meet these characters one by one, from JoLee to her son Matt and then to his father Gene. JoLee also begins a romance with a man named Bill, and her own games ensue. Manipulation is only the first of these.

I enjoyed getting to know each of these characters and imagining how tranquil Melba's house would have been without them. It isn't easy inviting strangers into one's own home. In fact some might say she has taken leave of her senses. One could speculate that Melba's own identity has been shaken to the core, which leaves her vulnerable to the intruders. But one guest in particular adds something special and unique to her life—JoLee's son Matt. Caring for and nurturing Matt, when his parents fail at this task, somehow creates a layer of strength and richness to her life.

In the end, we can root for how her presence in this boy's life has also enriched his.

Guest House is one of those tales that resonates and lingers in the reader's memory for a very long time. The story reminds us that we are all connected in one way or another, by circumstances or fate. How we react to the events shaped by destiny tells us more about ourselves than almost anything else. The twist of fate can reveal much about our own strengths and weaknesses.

Five stars.


Sunday, August 1, 2010


Good Morning, and welcome to our Monday meme hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey.  In this weekly meme, we celebrate what we've achieved in the past week and share our plans for the upcoming week.

Bloggy things for me included a few more makeovers (yes, seriously!), plus I have moved my Web of Tyranny Chronicles blog to Word Press.  Click the title of the blog to find it.

I extended my Blogoversary Giveaway one more day, so if you hurry, you can still make it.

On Wednesday, check in at Dames of Dialogue, where I'll be interviewing Denise Verrico (paranormal author)

Now for the reading. 

Books Read This Week (Click the Titles for the Reviews)

1)  The Sea Lady, by Margaret Drabble

2)  Hush, by Kate White

Ongoing Read:

Beachcombers, by Nancy Thayer

Books Planned for This Week:

1)  It's Murder, My Son, by Lauren Carr --  A Review Copy from the Author (An interview will accompany my review)

Here's one tidbit on Amazon:

"With it's tight plot, well-crafted and believable characters, and complex mystery, It's Murder, My Son is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to many more Mac Faraday mysteries."  John J. Lamb, author of the Bear Collector Mysteries "A most unusual and surprising plot, intriguing characters, snappy dialogue, great settings and a dog named Gnarly are the prime ingredients in Lauren Carr's terrific new mystery, It's Murder, My Son."

2)  Guest House, by  Barbara K. Richardson

Here's a snippet from Amazon:

On a summer afternoon, Melba Burns witnesses a nightmare collision. The unknown bicyclist dies in her arms, ending Melba's desire for success at any cost. She settles into her boxy old farmhouse trying to find a simpler peace. But Melba's stunning new roommate JoLee Garry only magnetizes messes and trouble-she brings a series of unexpected guests who transform Melba's fruitful solo life into something different, darker, and better.

That's it!  I'm hoping to see some of you here, sharing your links and comments.  Happy Monday!



When you think the worst has happened, how will you cope with something even more malevolent? These are questions for our heroine Lake Warren. Finding out that her estranged husband Jack is suing for custody of their children seemingly pales when, after a one-night stand with a colleague, Lake finds him murdered in the bed. And from there, things turn even more deadly.

She knows that her presence at the victim's apartment will arouse suspicion, so she doesn't turn to the police...Her custody case and all. But as everything spirals out of control and she finds herself smack in the middle of a dark mystery at the fertility clinic where she works, she feels totally alone. And who can she trust? Everyone she knows could be part of some scandalous dealings at the clinic.

From the first sentences in this story, I was hooked. Lake was a well-drawn and believable character who just kept stepping into the midst of one kind of jeopardy or another. As each character entered the storyline, I found myself wary of each one. Even the kindest of characters was suspect in my mind...the story unfolded in such a way as to enhance the suspense and save the telling details until the very end. Flipping pages as rapidly as possible, I finally reached the satisfying conclusion.

When it comes to thrillers, Hush: A Novel was definitely a winner, and so is Kate White. Five stars for the suspense, the thrill rides, and the vivid characters that brought the plot to a grand finale.

For more about my work, visit LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

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Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City NovelHanna's DaughtersMiss Hildreth Wore BrownElizabethSolomon's OakSolomon's Oak

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