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LITTLE BROKEN THINGS: A Novel ~Nicole Baart

Monday, December 18th, 2017

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a very good read and although about family dysfunction it is a story that could be true for many individuals and is very believable and interesting.  I enjoyed reading every page and did not hurry through to the finish even though I was not sure I had figured out the truth early on in the read.

The Sanford family lives in a small town and the father figure had sold real estate and was quite successful.  He got along famously with his son Jack but was rather tough on his daughters Nora and Quinn.  Liz the mom was a stay at home provider and found herself distant from her grown children.  The family was dealing with the loss of their father, Liz was trying to figure out what came next in her life and Jack’s wife was expecting the first grand child.   Quinn and her artist husband had just returned home and were living in a family rental unit and Nora had all but disappeared from their lives.  There were secrets that made a difference!

Nora surprises Quinn by suddenly, with no explanation and vowed secrecy, drops off a child for her to keep hidden and safe.  Little Lucy is quiet and sullen and has an interesting connection to the Sanford family.  The mystery needs to be solved.

There is a good deal about sexual predators and drug usage in the story and definitely Nora is on the run a great deal of the time.  The story includes interesting ideas about what is a loving relationship and how to be on one’s own, what should be done next to live life?  Lots of questioning until there is resolution for the child and path finding for the members of the family; it is very nice storytelling.

The family was well respected in the community and daughters were expected to go to college and come home to marry their sweetheart producing the next generation of the community.  The secrets would change the pattern over and over.  What the community did not know about this family kept them pillars and leaders.

I liked the book very much because of the character names also, as one of the characters has one of my daughter’s names and that of course made the story fun.  And the characteristics described for the name were very much in keeping with my child’s characteristics.

I definitely would recommend this story and I thought it was timely about drugs and sexual predation, which is big time in the news at this time and an important subject to bring to the light.

Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The co-founder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, The Beautiful Daughters. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

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THE SILENT FOUNTAIN: A Mystery Novel ~Victoria Fox

Monday, November 6th, 2017

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN tells its tale during two time periods and surrounding one main character through the unraveling of secrets to come to the final resolution of all the mysteries.   There is a darkness to the story.

Hollywood, 1978
Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…

Tuscany, Present day
Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

Each of the two women’s stories begins with confusion about what is happening in their lives and how this problem came into being.   The reader then needs to read the interspersed backstories to finally figure out how the tragedies of their lives were played out into the contemporary situation.  They each had tough lives and hard luck experiences to get them to their current contact with each other.  The reader learns a lot about love, abuse and death to work up to the ending release and the complete overview of the story and the resolutions.

Most of my book group loves this kind of wound up formal mystery, but we have 2 members who will not read them after the first 25 pages if the confusion remains.  So this book will not be for everyone.   I had much of the story figured out and found reading the Hollywood sections of the story as though it was a segment on The Carol Burnett Show gave me more interest in the read.   There is a lot of darkness in the story and mental illness is exposed and exploited in the plot.

The story is almost more a puzzle to be pieced together and explored as to which piece fits where to bring together the whole.  There is not a great deal of great Italian Cooking in the novel either nor is the countryside expounded upon.  There is intensity.

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Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.

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I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy ~Erin Carlson

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Delightful!  Is the best adjective I can use to describe I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING.  It is light fair and fun fare to read, as it is written like a Hollywood gossip column with lots and lots of details.  It is a biography that goes into the creation of how WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, and YOU’VE GOT MAIL were written and directed by Nora Ephron and how the director, writers, and actors change the rom-com world in the most delightful manner.

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham. (From the cover)

Nora Ephron was from a family of screenwriters and lots of sisters.  She personally had a struggle with finding love and it took her several tries to gain the right match.  She was a perfectionist and a satirist who learned to share her emotions on the big screen and assist all the other poor folks in doing the same.  Ephron’s writing was dynamic and bold and formulated stories into other than the usual norm.  She knew which actors she wanted to play different parts and exactly what clothing and shoes they would wear in each scene.  She opened up the world of writing and directing to more women.  She created a trilogy of success.

I had no idea what the book was about when it arrived for review.  I just said, “yes” to a biography.   But about a week before the book arrived, I just needed something positive in my life and I rented YOU’VE GOT MAIL to take my mind off the news – It was the perfect respite to my worry

I actually rented WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE after I finished the book and found it so fun to know the back-stories and the little details.  And yes indeed, there was the sailboat covered in twinkle lights crossing the bay!!!   The observation deck of the Empire State Building was actually filmed on a sound stage in Seattle!  Success in the details.

The movie I have watched probably a hundred times is JULIE AND JULIA  also a Nora Ephron film and it just pulls me right out of any funk I am in at the time and wow, it is about Julia Child and a blogger who actually has success blogging.

What I did not know when the book arrived was that Nora Ephron had died of leukemia, and was no longer writing and making more movies for us to love and enjoy.  This created sadness and yet I still have her movies to enjoy again and again and again.   I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING is part of a great legacy.

I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING is a TLC Book Tours review book

About Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and AP. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Fortune, and the LA Times. She compiled and wrote an oral history of You’ve Got Mail for Vanity Fair. She holds a master’s in magazine journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in the New York Times.

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CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH: A Novel ~Colleen Oakley

Monday, May 1st, 2017

CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH is a story with a marvelous and well-detailed main character.  Jubilee Jenkins will just draw the reader in and hold on for ‘dear life’- line by line of her story.  Jubilee has a rare medical problem and has become a recluse in order to cope and survive.   The reader will be touched by Jubilee’s entrance into your world, and then as two more souls enter her story, one will find love actualized.  Each new character grows a more complete experience to enjoy and mull and adds spice to life, fixing perceptions anew like a strong cup of tea.

This story resonated with me and gave me a bit of a sprint in my steps as I have developed food problems over the years, which do not allow me to comfortably eat other people’s food.  This isolates a person from regular routines and many social activities; others think you are weird or strange and don’t try to get to know you or understand.

CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH is both Genre Fiction (Uses plot to tell you a story about someone else’s life) and Classic Fiction (Uses characterizations to tell you a story about yourself.)  It is complete in it’s rendering of this interesting human and in it’s revealing ‘the self’ to the reader.  I can not imagine any one who would not like this story.  A story well told.

TLC Book Tours: Close Enough to Touch

CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH is a 5 Star read.

About Colleen Oakley

Colleen Oakley is an Atlanta-based writer and author of the novel Before I Go. Her articles, essays, and interviews have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, and Martha Stewart Weddings. Before she was a freelance writer, Colleen was editor in chief of Women’s Health & Fitness and senior editor at Marie Claire. Close Enough to Touch is her second novel.

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