Titans by Leila Meacham

Leila Meacham

Titans

TITANS, by Leila Meacham, is the best novel she’s written since her bestselling  ROSES many years ago.  It’s perfect for summer. And, if  you were a big GONE WITH THE WIND fan like me, this is just what you might be looking for.

TITANS takes place in the early 1920’s in Texas.  There are several strong women here. And plenty of romance and lies to go around for everyone.

Samantha Gordon and Nathan Holloway were born fraternal twins, but torn apart at birth because their narcissistic mother could not abide one of them let alone two. You see,  mother (Millicent) was not married when she fell pregnant with the twins. But she was married to another when they were born. At birth, she told her husband to get “rid” of one of them. She would have drowned them if she could have. This is the beginning of the novel. Sure got my attention.

This epic saga has a bit of everything.  Beginning just before the oil boom in Texas. ranchers were just putting their feelers out… Meacham does a good job of showing us how it really was. The telephone was just hitting homes. Many people, even those with money, still did not use them. And horses were still used for transportation.  Cars would soon appear.  It was a slower way of life.

I love the picture of the house on the cover of TITANS. It depicts  the way of life.  And shows the vast capability of the story.

The story is a real page-turner as we keep wanting to know more about Nathan and Samantha. How a mother can throw her child away is beyond me.  Is there a bad guy in this story? Who is the father of the twins? And can you see where the story is going?

This is a good one for summer. I love a big, juicy saga filled with romance and mystery.  This is no ROSES, but it has enough going for it to keep you guessing and keep you reading far into the night.

 

A Lowcountry Wedding by Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe

A Lowcountry Wedding

Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe

I feel like I’ve struck the jackpot this spring. Mary Alice Monroe has decided to add one more book to her Lowcountry Summer series. And, folks, I’m here to tell you it is the BEST of the four!!

I blew through my review copy of A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING like I was on fire. All my favorite characters are back. I’m on Sullivan’s Island off the gorgeous coast of South Carolina. And there’s about to be two weddings. What’s not to love!

Mary Alice Monroe writes about nature. She immerses herself totally into each aspect.  In The Lowcountry series she’s introduced us to the plight of the dolphins. And in a way that we can understand and learn. I fell deeply in love with Delphine the dolphin in the first book of the series, THE SUMMER GIRLS.  Monroe did a bang-up job introducing a wild dolphin into the lives of three young women spending the summer with their grandmother, Mamaw.

What better time for this new book to arrive on the scene than now! Summer is upon us.  What I love most about summer is finding a fabulous summer novel. Here it is. Mary Alice delves into relationships, families, marriage, and even tosses some new stuff into the mix.

Speaking of marriage, we get two weddings in A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING.  There is nothing more romantic to me than a beach ceremony. My son married his wife on Barefoot Beach at sunset on a fine April evening. We had planned just the right timing for months, to make sure the sun was at its perfect setting. It will forever reign in our hearts and minds. So, when a beach wedding is planned in this novel, I was right on board.

Not to be outdone, another romantic wedding is planned: at an old plantation surrounded with oak trees hanging with moss. One of these venues is perfect for each bride. However, what if the bride truly would rather have the opposite wedding? Oh, boy.

Someone very special emerges from a secret relationship that not one of the Muir family had an inkling.  A huge surprise. This person brings an entirely new perspective to the table. And I love it!!

This series is THE summer read!! And this latest one puts the icing on the cake:)

Posting another winner!!

the 30's

Modern Girls

I have a winner for a copy of MODERN GIRLS by Jennifer S. Brown. Joanie Borbely, you have one a copy of MODERN GIRLS. I will send you an email asking for your mailing address. Your copy will come straight from New American Library. I can’t thank them enough!

I do wish to thank everyone who took the time to enter my contest. Your participation is what keeps these giveaways coming. Thanks so much.

Giveaway! Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown

the 30's

Modern Girls

“In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at  heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in the family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate; unwed, unsure, and running out of options.”

Author

Jennifer S. Brown

The above sets the tone for this novel of family and the time leading up to the war. I have one copy for giveaway. Please leave a comment below. Only U.S. addresses, please, and no P.O. boxes. Good luck! I will choose my winner on Monday, April 25.

Once again, I must thank our good friends at New American Library for providing this great new novel for giveway!

Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

Anna Quindlen

Miller’s Valley

MILLER’S VALLEY by Anna Quindlen, is an extremely quick read. You can easily breeze through it in a day. It may be quick, but it is deep as can be.

The prologue sets the tone for this important novel filled with environmental issues, loss, love, loyalty, passion, and the meaning of family.

The novel begins the summer Mimi Miller is eleven years old. She’s listening to her parents talking privately. She can hear everything through the heating vent in her room. So she becomes quite in tune with what’s going on.  She lives in the farmhouse her family has owned for two hundred years. Her mom is a nurse, while dad farms some and is the town’s Mr. Fix It.  Two brothers also share the adobe. Eddie is bookish and Tommy is trouble. Then there is Aunt Ruth. Oh, yes, Aunt Ruth.  The aunt who lives in the small house behind the farm. The aunt who NEVER leaves her house. EVER.

Anna Quindlen is a brilliant author. One who delves into characters so deeply you think they are part of your own family. She brings Mimi and her family right smack up into your face.  The small valley Mimi grows up in reminds me of the small town in Delaware where I grew up. Everyone knows everyone. There are more busybodies than you can shake a stick at. And they all have their opinions. Then there’s the reality of the teenage years; all the angst of growing up. We think we’re so smart as teens. Quindlen has outdone herself showing us what it’s like to be a teenager in a small town in the sixties.  I grew up in this time. She has nailed it!

Mimi is smarter than either of her brothers. And, thankfully, a teacher sees this and acts on it to help her get what she needs to move on. But Tommy is not so lucky. He goes off to Viet Nam and returns only a shell of his old self, like so many others like him. Once again, I saw this happen to so many.

The subject of friendship is focused on as Mimi finds who are her real friends. Inevitably, she falls into the hands of a boyfriend, someone older with charisma oozing from each pore. But is he the one? Sex is such a powerful tool when you are growing up. So often it shadows everything else in life.  I love the way Quindlen shows how we often mistake sex for love.  Back in the day it pushed many couples into marriages they were not really ready for. And changed lives accordingly, forever.

When Mimi is doing research for school she comes across extremely sensitive information about the government and the dam.  This hangs over the story giving us the sense of impending doom. We know what is coming, but we do not know when.

Ruth and Mimi’s mother’s story is rife with undertones of dislike and disrespect. I found myself dying to know what that story was. We do not find out until the bitter end:  it’s a real shocker!

This book is very close to what I call an OMG! book. I really enjoyed the journey of reading it. Put this one on your list for this summer. Your book club is going to love it next season:)

Random House  Publishing April, 2016

Miller's Valley

Anna Quindlen

Announcing Our Winner!

Secrets

The Ones Who Matter Most

I have one lucky winner this morning! Jan MacLean, you have won a copy of THE ONES WHO MATTER MOST by Rachael Herron. I will send out an email to you to get your mailing address. Your lovely copy will arrive straight from the publisher. Congrats!

Thanks to all of you who took the time to enter this giveaway. Another will be soon…

And special thanks to New American Library for providing the book!

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls

Love the cover!Love lilacs. Love reading about WW11. How does LILAC GIRLS stand up?

“New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939–and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her tickets out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.”

Caroline, Kasia, and Herta are the three main characters carrying this powerful story of survival and strength. Yes, another book about the holocaust. And yet another story with even more secretive information. I will tell you right now that I was afraid this novel would not live up to its cover. But, alas, it does.

Knowing that Herta was a character who actually lived and was involved in these unmentionable acts  brings a unique quality to this story. I kept wanting her to grow and change. For the better….

I don’t usually say this but, you definitely should read the author’s note at the back of this novel–FIRST. It will give you power. You need to know from the get-go that this entire story is rife with truth. It is all moving toward an event that happened to healthy women at Ravenbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women.  Most of you already know about inhumane operations performed on the inmates of concentration camps during the way. But, you may not know the particulars, or, why and how these procedures were done. LILAC GIRLS brings all this to the forefront, all the while giving us fictional characters who bring real readability to this theme.

LILAC GIRLS is based on a true story. Two of the characters were real people, as were the Ravensbrṻck staff in the novel. And many others. This camp was Hitler’s only major concentration camp just for women.  You will never think of the word “rabbit” the same way again after reading of these atrocities.  For these unfortunate once healthy women came to become Hitler’s “rabbits.”

This is Martha Hall Kelly’s first novel. She has outdone herself with the research, and she has been so generous in sharing so much of it with us in her author’s note. I do look forward to reading more by Kelly. Bring it on:)

Thanks go out to Ballantine Books which is a wonderful division of Penguin Random House. They graciously sent me a lovely finished hardcopy of LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly in exchange for an honest review.