Best Laid Plans

Best Laid

This is such a fun book! The characters are well written and true. The match-making, meddling grandmothers are delightful. There are so many best laid plans that go awry to make you laugh. Got to say, the love scenes are just about too hot to handle.

Making Lemonade

lemonade

This is a cute book but seriously lacking in-depth crisis. The main character, Missouri Campbell, has sad events happen to her but her struggles are not very deep and she gets whatever she desires without really having to try. It reminds me of a story in which someone’s “What if’s” all happen and it ends up being really boring.

It Had to be You

had to be you

This is such an imaginative premise for a book: a long dreamed dream becomes a reality. Bea has had the same dream for years about meeting the perfect mate in a park. She molds her life around it by working and living near the central location in the dream. She thinks it is her future so she ignores anything not related to the dream, including a great guy, Henry,  that she works with. When her dream actually happens, she struggle with the reality of it, slowing coming to terms with the truth of dreams vs. reality.

Throw in some crazy roommates and you have a funny book on your hands.

So Near the Horizon

so near

So Near the Horizon is not an easy read and worth the time you will invest as it is a story that should be told. The subject matter is hard: incest and rape of children, AIDS, and drug abuse but the story enfolding these issues is one of live and of building trust.

I spent so much emotional energy reading the story of Jessica, Danny and Christina that I had to leave the book at times just to recharge. Danny is a broken young man inside who developed a guarded exterior for protection and out of necessity. Jessica is the young girl who falls in love with him and helps him battle his demons. Christina is Danny’s closest friend who battles drug addiction. The future is never bright for them and they battle a fight to try a win a possibly losing battle.

Sisters like Us

sisters

Sisters like Us is an endearing book about the lives of four related women all striving to make sense of everything that is happening in their lives.

Harper, Bunny, Stacey, and Becca: mothers, daughters, sisters and all facing life as it changes and revolves. Harper, divorced with and ex who keeps forgetting he has a daughter while he devotes himself to his younger second wife. Becca is struggling as a withdrawing teen unable to cope with a too busy mother and absent father. Bunny is the critical mother and grandmother who lives in a world where wives did everything to the minute detail, never complaining and never tiring of the work. Stacey is lovingly married to Kit and is desperately afraid of impending motherhood.

The blending of the events and interactions of these women is the driving force for change and for coming to terms with reality as it exists in the here and now.

 

Always with You

always

Life as it is sometimes known does not always fit into the box it is put, especially is there is a part missing. For Libby Taylor, that part has always been the father she knew nothing about. As her mother, Evelyn, was dying, she told Libby to find Jack Sullivan, a love form a long ago trip to Australia. Certain that Jack is her father, Libby travels to Kununurra, Australia, to find him and to learn about her mother’s time there.

Always with You tells two stories: Evelyn’s time in Australia and Libby’s journey to uncover the mystery of her father. The book is rich in descriptions of persons and places both past and current. They are woven together to form a story fo two women’s discoveries.

The Girl I Used to Know

the Girl

Initially, I was not sure if I was going to like this novel. It opened rather droll but when I realized that the author was laying the background information on the characters to be flushed out later, I began to enjoy it.

After all of the character descriptions, the book picks up the pace and the lives of the characters begin to intersect and affect each other. Tess is an older woman living a life based on past hurt and the inability to forgive. Amanda is a wife who has lost the true meaning of self as she molded herself to be what she considered a perfect wife and mother to be. Robyn is Amanda’s daughter who is instrumental in bringing Tess and Amanda together.

There is a considerable amount of accounting for the personal histories of Tess and Amanda which enrich the plot and show where pulled threads began unraveling in their lives.

Roomies

roomies

This is an absolutely fabulous book! The characters come completely alive on the pages-full of so much believable emotions. The writing is beyond superb; one can actually feel the descriptions of the music, of the settings, of the creation of a relationship. I am very much anticipating reading other offerings by Ms. Lauren.

Holland Bakker lives in Manhattan supported by her doting uncles. Her Uncle Robert has a very successful play on Broadway and she works as one of the lowly stage assistants. Holland stumbled upon a street musician, a guitarist, who plays movingly at a subway. Unable to get away from his lilting and beautiful music, she detours by him everyday just to hear him play. She finally gathers the nerve to speak to him after six months. He is Calvin, form Ireland and more handsome that she had imagined.

When her uncle’s play desperately needs a new musical talent to accompany the new lead, Holland mentions Calvin and takes Robert to hear him. Robert offers Calvin the job but Calvin has a huge problem: expired visa. From this point, the story weaves a tale of a relationship based on need woven with a growing, hidden love complicating things at every turn.

 

The Recipe Box

recipe box

The Recipe Box is a lovely novel thoughtfully written to relate the journey to discovery of self and of what really matters. Sam Nelson is at a crossroad in her career as a pastry chef. Working for a pseudo-pastry chef and TV cooking show star, Sam finally gathers her nerve to quit. She travels back to Sutton’s Bay on Lake Michigan to her true home to try and make sense of it all.
Back at Mullins Family Orchard and Pie Pantry, Sam is embraced by her mother and grandmother and surrounded by baking and surrounded by a sense of true home, Sam comes to understand who she is and what she truly needs.

By the Book

by the book

By the Book is immensely engaging and captivating. Initially you are drawn into the foundation of the story: college life from a professor’s perspective coupled with her own reflecting milieu. Anne states that at the start of the new school year, it is the day school started and the day finals began.  So, too, is it for Anne’s journey through the semester. Being a professor does not grant her immunity from the same emotions or experiences as the students: new loves, missteps and failures to understand. This is especially true when she learns the new college president is her former fiancé. They long ago lost touch after the break up.

The relationship of Adam and Anne is not the only one happening. Anne’s best friend and associate meets actor Jack and begins a covert relationship. Anne meets the college author in residence and their relationship is fraught with trouble and general messiness. Through it all, you see how Anne finally takes the reins of her life and forges through to the end of the semester.