Wednesday, October 23, 2013


"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks tells a remarkable story of two couples, one old and one young whose lives intersect in surprising ways.

Ira Levinson, 90 years old, slides off the road becoming injured and barely conscious.  His wife, Ruth, who died several years ago, returns to him in blurry images trying to keep him alert until he can become rescued.  They reminisce over the beautiful paintings of now famous artists they collected over the years.  Luke, the young sexy, good looking competitive bull rider who works on his mother's small ranch, meets a beautiful college student, Sophia Danko, studying art history, at a cowboy style barn dance.  The story winds through their struggles of staying together since they have very little in common.  Their relationship slowly develops into a very special romance. 

This romantic story is described with an old-fashioned tenderness and devotion.  Ira and Ruth, Sophia and Luke have little in common but their lives all intertwine in an extraordinary journal.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mothers and Daughters

Her Mother's Hope, by Francine Rivers.  This is the first of a two-book saga that you won't be able to put down.  Based on her own mother's and grandmother's stories, Francine writes an enthralling story of the frictions and misunderstandings between a mother and her daughter. You'll love the exposure to history as well as the deep and troubling stories of each woman who you will come to know so well. Book one, Her Mother's Hope, begins with Marta, a young girl at the turn of the century, whose cruel, controlling, abusive father, and submissive, quiet mother form her character as well as her great determination to survive. Marta leaves home, spreads her wings and flies, as her mother encouraged her to do. She makes her own way, falls in love and has children. Having learned that only the strong survive, Marta raises one of her three children with more tough love than the others, fearful that this one, Hildemara Rose, won't make it if she doesn't do just that.  You will hear Hildemara's story too, from her perspective. You will cry for them both - mainly because of the wall between them.  This is a book about "why we are like we are" and forgiveness.  Her Daughter's Dream is the second book, which continues on to Hildemara's story and her daughter's!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live underwater? In this young adult book with a dystopian future, dry land is a rarity and some people have settled into life in the ocean. Ty, our main character, has lived his entire life in the ocean and was the first baby born under the
sea. He meets a girl who lives on land, referred to as a "topsider", named Gemma and they form a unique relationship. Gemma is looking for her brother who may be lost in the ocean somewhere. This story is packed with action and adventure and has a western feel to it between there being pioneers, who are settling into the ocean life, and the bad guys who Ty and Gemma have to battle that are the outlaws of the sea.
I enjoyed this book because of the setting and thinking this could really become a future if global warming took over and the oceans rose. The author gives us everything with adventure, action, fighting, and romance. If you enjoy any of these kinds of books, you will enjoy Dark Life.
This book has a sequel titled Rip Tide, which is equally as good.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood

A beautiful and haunting story of forbidden love set in the 1960s, Bodies of Water by T. Greenwood is a novel that I just couldn't put down.

Billie Valentine is a thirty-something housewife living in a suburb of Massachusetts with her husband and two adopted daughters. Her marriage is lacking the spark that love should bring to a relationship and her only true enjoyment revolves around summers spent on a lake in Vermont. There she can relax with her children and be away from the critical, alcoholic eye of her husband, Frankie.

When new neighbors move in next door, Billie and the girls are thrilled. Ted and Eva Wilson and their growing family soon twine themselves into the lives of the Valentines and strong friendships are forged. Billie and  Eva spend their free time together while husbands are at work and children are at school and soon the two women realize that what they really share is true love.

What happens when their secret is revealed?

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A quick read and a little nostalgia

Return to Oakpine

by Ron Carlson

Our hometown is either a place we never want to leave, can’t determine HOW to leave or a place we NEVER plan to return. For the current and former residents of fictional Oakpine, Wyoming, all of the above apply.  

Some thirty odd years after their high school graduation and the life changing events of that day, former 1960s garage-band members and high school classmates converge on Oakpine. The homecoming and reunion plot proves to be a great mechanism for building a story that readers who are post high-school will identify - and Carlson has created some very likeable characters to tell this story.

There is Frank who runs a popular bar in Oakpine and Craig who operates a hardware store and construction company in the town that has changed little since their high school days. There is Mason who has spent his adult life practicing law in Denver; his only outdoor experience in all those years being his daily walk between the parking-garage and his office.  And then there is Jimmy who left Oakpine on a bus the day he graduated high school, went to NYC, and now as a well-known novelist, comes home with AIDS, his body only a whisper of what it was thirty years before.  

Their garage band, ‘Life on Earth’, repertoire consisted of only nine songs, but during a few short months of their senior year, they became local rock legends. And when assembled back in Oakpine so many years later, they reunite and the music and the accompanied memories act as a salve that heals some of the long ago wounds and unfinished explanations.

Carlson creates a clever parallel to his reunion theme with the character Larry, Craig’s son who is currently in his senior year of high school and feeling the pull of the world outside of Oakpine. Through Larry, Carlson paints a perfect picture of the awkwardness, the uncertainty and the change that defines high school life.

In the end Carlson serves up a delicate reminder that sentiment and appreciation of our hometown often improves with time.