Dorothy Benton Frank does it again with another southern flavored title that makes you want to pull up a chair and join this family at the dinner table. ~ Sheila
Beth Hayes, inspiring writer (want to be) is a little annoyed. She finds that she will be putting her own plans of starting her life outside of college aside to instead house sit the family home. It seemed like everyone else was moving on with their lives, following their dreams, while she was put on pause.
Yet, there is something about being on Sullivan Island that sucks you into a slower pace that Beth soon realizes, is not all bad. And being in the family home brings along many surprises of relatives and quirky personalities as well as the surprise of developer max Mitchell. Well, Mitchell is not so much of an intrusion as an annoyance as Beth has no plan no time and no interest in him whatsoever….
or so she thinks….
There is something about Dorothy Benton Frank’s books that make you want to settle in somewhere cozy with an extra-large glass of ice tea and let the characters take you along for the ride. I’ve discovered this in past readings of her books, and I found it again in Return To Sullivan Island. While I am the first to admit I am not the biggest fan of multi-character reads as I struggle keeping them all separate, I found that this cast of characters was quirky enough each in their own way that I did not struggle with the interchanges. In fact, I enjoyed them.
With a little bit of a ghost story mixed in (oops… did I say too much? ) for good measure, Return To Sullivan Island makes for good sit-on-your-deck or grab-a-chair-and-head-for-the-beach reading. Just an overall light and enjoyable book.
Thank you to TLC book tours for letting me Return To Sullivan Island
An eight year old neighborhood boy is found dead in a playground. When witnesses come forth as to saying he was recently seen playing and rough housing with another neighborhood boy, 11-year-old Sebastian, Sebastian and his mother are called in for questioning.
The defense solicitor, Daniel Hunter is called in to hear Sebastian’s story and defend him if necessary. While Daniel’s own troubled childhood has led him to a life of working with young children, he has never worked with one as young as an eleven year old.
Sebastian has the look of an angel, a small delicate boy with shiny intelligent eyes. Yet when Sebastian speaks he does not talk like an eleven year old, his speak and ability to catch on are beyond his years. Daniel still has a strong sense that Sebastian is not guilty of this crime.
As the case opens wider, Daniel has to check himself to make sure his own past is not clouding his judgement. Leading him to walk that fine line between truth and lies.
Holy crackers batman. Get ready for a twisted ride. This book has a little something for everyone who likes a good mystery and/or adventure. Lacking in neither, The Guilty One will definitely make you think as you watch Sebastian’s life and family slowly peel back hidden layer after layer. Honestly… you really never know your neighbors do you?
But wait… while we start to see Sebastian’s life unfold, the reader also sees where Daniel is coming from and this guy has a lot of crazy past himself which makes him so right for this case…. but also so wrong. If anything, it’s really hard to get a firm grip on who Daniel is (in my opinion) and why I should want to sympathize with him.
I would say over all, the book is engaging and it did have me trying to figure it out (which I enjoy) and did hold me all the way through. If I had one complaint – and its a rather small one – I would say it gets a little bogged down in the details mid way through and I wanted things to move on… move faster.
People who enjoy a good mystery with a nice dash of CRAZY sauce that is not fast paced will enjoy this book. It was well written and impressive as a debut book.
Occasionally a book comes along that you wish with all your heart you could leap within it’s pages and walk along it’s streets and hang out with the new friends who hold court within. The First Warm Evening Of The Year is such a book.
Geoffrey Tremont has a pretty sweet life. He works hard and lives fairly well in his New York home and seeing the occasional woman he has his eye on but with no deep commitment and that is the way he likes it.
Then one day a blast from the past lands at his doorstep. A College friend, Laura, who he has not seen in twenty years has passed away from cancer and has named him executor of her estate. Bewildered, and grieved for the friendship he once had, Geoffrey packs his bags to go to Laura’s home in Shady Grove planning to get things in order and then head back home. Then Geoffrey meets Marion, a friend of Laura’s who is reserved and mourning the loss of her husband. Oddly, Geoffrey is drawn to this quiet woman and finds himself wondering if there could be any future with her.
It’s kind of funny as I am normally inclined to prefer books that move along at a nice clip, keeping me engaged and turning pages. The First Warm Evening Of The Year does not fall into that category. Slowly you are taken through a calmly paced adventure of nor peaks and valleys but more level terrain and for whatever reason, it worked for me.
Geoffrey is the guy in the fast lane at the beginning of the book who finds that Shady Grove has more appeal than he would have ever thought. I think I may have liked him for that reason. As a person who tends to love in the fast lane, I occasionally dream of living in the woods growing my own food and avoiding all outside world communications. It’s true… sometimes the lure to slow down and shut out the outside noise is great…
For whatever reason, this book spoke to me, Geoffrey is a protagonist I enjoyed watching change, told mainly from his perspective it was interesting to see things through this 40 something bachelors eyes.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me a trip to Shady Grove where I too could slow down and bask in someone elses world for awhile.
The world thinks me dead, but there is a lot of life left in these old bones, yet. I’ve been absent from the world for a long time. But I’m here. Waiting.
Born the first day of June, Lucia Grandi has lived a long life. Having just celebrated her one hundred and tenth birthday she is startled when a young female visitor, as Lucia does not receive much company, comes to see her. She is more startled, or perhaps a better word is amused, when this stranger asks if she will share her life story. Having outlived friends, family, and other loved ones, Lucia had seen much in her long life. Still with her wits about her (not sure if that was a gift or a curse) Lucia decided that perhaps she could share her memories… just this once…
And so Lucia does share her life stories, from being an unwanted child from the moment of birth, witnessing a suicide at 3 years of age, difficulty with parents and siblings, running away, sent to a strict Catholic school, and more, Lucia opens up her life to the stranger a chapter at a time….
My love of mixing genres amuse me. In the middle of reading a paranormal YA, a good old-fashioned crime novel, and Little Women, I find my way into The Tale Of Lucia Grandi with a “lets see where this goes” attitude.
Oh… how I amuse me.
Lucia Grandi speaks with a voice of someone I could listen to a long time. (How fun is that to say we can put a voice to writing, a voice I have never heard except for the one in my head I have given to this elderly protagonist). As chapter by chapter unfolded I was more and more memorized by the book. Never heavy, but always interesting, what a life this woman lead!I am finding it hard to put into words the beauty of this writing. Rhythmic comes to mind. Poetic. Resigning. There were quite a few passages that I had to pause after reading, think about how I liked what was said, and then read it again to go even deeper into the meaning. Time and again this happened throughout this read, never distracting, but instead engaging me even more. What a fascinating way to write a book.
Over all, I am thoroughly impressed. I enjoyed this book so much that for several days it became a constant companion everywhere I went so I could get in a few pages while waiting in the car, before meetings started…
Take note – this is called “The Early Years” and we do not hear all of Lucia’s life within this book and I suspect there will be more to come… Yet reader, sigh not, for I believe that by the time you turn the last page of this book, you will have no problem wanting to read the next as well. After all Lucia’s story needs to be told.
I wish to thank TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book for my honest opinion and for allowing me to spend time with a remarkable woman named Lucia Grandi.
In 2007 Catherine Bailey is afraid. She is afraid to leave her home. She is afraid to be in public. She double checks door locks. Locked in her own world of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) her inner fears have completely taken over her life. (If you have ever seen the movie Copy Cat – and I highly recommend you do – it is something like that).
But things were not always this way for Catherine Bailey. Flash back 4 years to 2003 and you find Catherine was a bright confident business woman. She has a great group of friends and enjoys the company of men. One man in particular has her captivated and really… this is where Catherine’s life starts to unwind in a way that seems to spiral faster and faster out of control….
Written in a “then and now” sort of style, readers slowly see what happened to cause Catherine’s world to collapse as the past connects to the present and beyond… and things really are not over… until they are OVER.
Holy creepfest batman.
As I prepared to write this review I am still dealing with a multiple of thoughts running through my head. One thought thinks, “this felt a little like Gone Girl… crazy twists and turns!” Another thought is going “I want to watch Copy Cat again… this book reminded me of the beginning of that movie!” But as I write… I know saying either of these things (even though I did) does not give the book its own identity and I can tell you, Into The Darkness deserves its own identity.
Is it flawless? Of course not. There was a section that felt a little long-winded to me while I waited to get to something… something… more. (Fear not dear reader, MORE is exactly what I got.
Overall… the word “IMPRESSED” seems to really sum it up. Well written, exciting, and a warning that there are a couple harsh moments (gory? graphic?) that I feel I should mention, but I must say that they are again, well written, and dare I say necessary to give you the full reality of what is happening.
Looking for a good evening curl up and say “NO WAY!” read? Grab a copy of Into The Darkness.
Thank you to the AMAZING team at TLC Book Tours
that placed a copy of this thought provoking read in my hot little hands.
What would you be willing to sacrifice to be who you want to be?
When Desdemona was at the peak of her breakthrough as an artist in 1935, she made a hasty decision to marry Asa Spaulding, a solid and stable man, and make a home in the town of Cascade to be there for her bankrupt father whose health is quickly failing. While Desdemona felt in her head this was the right decision for the circumstances, her heart strongly disagreed.
And who’s head has not been overrun by their hearts wants?
With Cascade being considered to be flooded to provide water for Boston, Desdemona is even more restless with her decisions. When she becomes attracted to a fellow artist Jacob who provides her with everything her husband can not, she knows it is time to make the hard choices that hopefully can correct the wrong ones she made in her past.
But at what cost? Is it possible to turn away from a choice without causing further damage? And even as she contemplates a brighter future, would she be able to live with herself for doing so?
First. Let’s take a pause for this beautiful cover. Cover love at its finest, cover alone would cause me to pick up this book wanting to know more, and honestly… it did factor in on my choice to read this book.
While set against the backdrop of the Depression and WWII, Cascade (thankfully) focuses more around Desdemona and her relationships with the men in her life and the decisions she must make. While beautifully written, Cascade is not for the person looking for a quick read. It takes times to absorb this slower paced detail oriented book. You really get the feeling you are brought fully into the world that is Cascade.
For me, the book was good but the slower pace was a deterrent. Perhaps it was the time of year that I chose to read this that made it more of a struggle for me. Desdemona is not the most likable character, her choices… well, if you read it you will see. Cascade, in my opinion, is a book to take your time with, to read over several sittings and contemplate what would you do put in a similar situation?
Well written, filled with historical facts that will make you think and learn, and those are always pluses for me.
Thank you TLC Book Tours for giving me a little history
along with a good read that made me think.
WARNING: This book is based on a true crime and the details in this synopsis may be a bit graphic and disturbing.
It was February 17th, 1970 in North Carolina. Jeffrey MacDonald, a Green Beret Doctor had discovered his two-year old daughter Kristen had wet his side of their bed, so after cleaning her up and putting her to sleep in her own bed, Jeffrey decided to sleep on the couch and deal with the clean up in his own bed in the morning. It was late, and he was tired. Hours later, he was startled awake by a noise, screaming actually, and seen several people in his home. When he got up, startled, he was hit by an object and knocked out.
When Jeffrey regained consciousness he called the police for help. It was 3:42 am and his life had just changed forever.
What the police found, was the beginning of a nightmare for all involved. MacDonald’s pregnant wife and two daughters had all been brutally murdered. The word “PIG” was written in blood on the master bedroom wall.
Jeffrey MacDonald told the story of what he had seen when he woke up, four young people, one being a woman, chanting and holding candles. He believed drugs were involved. The police felt that MacDonald’s story didn’t fit with the evidence they seen. In 1979, MacDonald was convicted of killing his entire family and remains in prison to this day.
Was clear evidence in this crime ignored? Were there people who were possibly connected to this crime that were never investigated? Is Jeffery MacDonald an innocent man who was wrongly imprisoned?
Why did I want to read this book? I admit I have always been drawn to true crime. That sounds terrible. Ugh. I think I am curious about what would make people act that way. What would bring one human to the brink of harming another – killing another in love or hate or whatever….
Author Errol Morris writes a story that definitely falls under reasonable doubt in this case. The book is filled with police reports, and interviews that definitely bring the results of this case into question for this reader. I found myself turning page after page, gathering my own evidence – even looking back through what I had already read, checking my own “facts” again and again. I even found myself looking up things about the case on line, to get another perspective to go by.
I like books that make me think and Errol Morris covered that with A Wilderness Of Error. I felt I came into this case cold, as honestly, prior to this reading I had never heard of Jeffrey MacDonald or this crime that took place right along the time of the Manson murders.
The book’s title comes from a poem by Edgar Allen Poe:
What chance—what one event brought this evil thing to pass, bear with me while I relate… I would fain have them believe that I have been, in some measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. I would wish them to seek out for me, in the details I am about to give, some little oasis of fatality amid a wilderness of error.
I was bewildered by how this case was handled – granted these were the days before CSI and all the things we have in today’s world to track evidence but if you go by Errol Morris’ account, this case was truly misguided. There is even a woman, Helena Stoeckley, who admitted time and again that she committed these murders, but was written off as being an unreliable drug addict.
I found the book to be very interesting and well written.
In the end – I personally can’t say if MacDonald did it or not. MacDonald himself, now 68 years old, still claims he is innocent.
For more information about the evidence surrounding this crime and how Errol Morris came up with is facts, see this interesting site.
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of a jury by reading this amazing book.
Alex Lyons loves her job as a writer for Chick Habit ‘s website. After all who wouldn’t love a job where you get to sit at home on your couch scouring the web for hours looking for the next big story. Celebrity mishaps is Alex’s bread and butter, and she knows she is only as good as her last story.
When a juicy tip comes in about a squeaky clean Ivy League daughter, Alex in on that like white on rice. This tip is too hot and way to good to pass on… but will Alex’s “tell all” be worth the pain and destruction it will cause in the girl’s life? And what will it do to Alex’s own life?
Tilly Silverberg loves her garden.
After her husband had passed away, her garden and her thriving plant business is her sanctuary. Between that and her son Isaac, Tilly finds enough to keep her mind busy and to avoid sticking a toe out beyond her own little world. Its safe in Tilly’s world and it is enough.
James Nealy has money to spare and when he wants something… it is just a matter of tossing money at it to make it so. As an in demand software developer he has trouble quieting the activity in his mind, but he has a plan to do just that… by creating a garden. He has seen Tilly’s work and wants her to be the designer even as she doesn’t think she is the right person for the job – after all, she sells plants, she does not design gardens.
And so the story goes, a family emergency creates a new way to escape for Tilly and as she retreats with Isaac to where she grew up she finds that while on the outside things look wonderfully the same – they clearly are not. Her best friend has a secret, her mother is plotting, and an old boyfriend is available and that is a temptation Tilly does not want… but does.
And then suddenly there is the compulsive and attractive James knocking on her door, asking again about an idea he has for a garden…..
Why did I want to read this book? Well… cover love for one! This was offered to me through a TLC book tour and I thought the synopsis sounded fun.
AND The Unfinished Garden was fun… an adventure really. Barbara Claypole White’s characters jump off the page. I was reading this book this past week and while at first it seemed a bit jumbled (those first pages…) do not be discouraged! Suddenly the book was flowing nicely along and I really found myself enjoying Tilly and her strength. While James is not normally the type of character I would find myself drawn to (the impulsiveness, the guilt he carries) I dd find myself waver a bit… it was not a love, but I was able to like him.
The book provided a nice story line that kept me engaged and interested. I am not a fan of romance reads, but this one never felt heavy in that department and I am thankful for that. This book to me was a story about second chances and finding the strength to let go… and in ways that are both sweet and surprising, I think you will find that both Tilly and James are characters with flaws that are endearing because they reflect some of the same flaws we can find in ourselves.
Thank you to TLC book tours for allowing me to spend some time in the garden.