Saturday, June 18, 2016

2016 Books 6-12

Kitty and her Sisters by Maureen Lee

 It's 1950s Liverpool, and the war is a recent memory, although bereavements are still raw and rationing remains in force.  But at the age of nineteen, Kitty McCarthy is determined not to let the past affect her future.  She wants to live a life less ordinary, although she doesn't know quite how to go about it yet.
All Kitty does know is that she doesn't intend to get married and raise children in Liverpool, or follow in the footsteps of her older sisters-mother-hen Claire, easy going Norah, and elegant Aileen.
Then Kitty's resolve is tested when she finds herself with an almost impossible decision to make-and a chance meeting takes her life in an entirely new direction.
I enjoyed this book, as I have enjoyed any other Maureen Lee books that I have read.  The main character, Kitty, is a bit of a rebel, especially for the 1950's.  She seems to go from one shocking (for the times) event to another.

The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark
 As an assistant to a famous upscale interior designer, Lane Harmon, mother to four-year-old Katie, is accustomed to visiting opulent homes around the tristate area.  So when she is called to a modest town house in Bergen County, Lane knows the job is unusual.  Then she learns the home belongs to the wife of a notorious and disgraced financier named Parker Bennett.
Parker Bennett was last seen two years ago on his sailboat in the Caribbean before he vanished, along with the five billion dollar hedge fund he managed.  The scandal over whether Bennett was suicidal or staged his disappearance still continues.  His clients and the federal government all want to trace the money and find Bennett, if he is still alive.
Lane is surprised to find herself moved by Mrs. Bennett's calm dignity and faith in her husband's innocence and drawn to Eric, the Bennetts' son, who is similarly determined to prove his father is not guilty.  Lane doesn't realize that the closer she gets to the Bennetts the more she puts her life-and her daughter's life-in jeopardy.
Good fast read.  MGC's books are always in the same vein but I do enjoy reading them as they don't take much brain work and I can get through it really fast.

The Sisters by Nancy Jensen
 Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat Bertie Fischer and her older sister, Mabel, have no one but each other-with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings.  But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong.  A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.
It's amazing what can happen when someone doesn't deliver a letter when they said they would.  Kept my interest waiting to see what would happen in the end.

The Wonder of all Things by Jason Mott
 On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators. After the dust clears, a thirteen year old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash.  He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds disappear.
Ava has an unusual gift:  she can heal others of their physical ailments.  Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret.  Now the whole world knows, and suddenly people from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to catch a glimpse of The Miracle Child.  But Ava's unique ability comes at a great cost, and as she grows weaker with each healing, she soon finds herself having to decide just how much she's willing to give up in order to save the ones she loves most.
You end up feeling really sorry for all the main characters in this book.  Ava trying to help people but unable to without a huge cost to her.  Wash being her best friend and trying to help her, and Ava's dad who just wants to do the right thing for his family.  It's a good story.

The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka
 On a winter day in 1933, Helene Giroux arrives in a small town on the French shore of Nova Scotia.  She wears good city clothes and drives an elegant car; everything else she owns in the world fits into a suitcase and a trunk in the back seat.  She explores the town , and in the church discovers a fine old piano, a Molnar.  She knows just how fine it is, for her family manufactured these pianos in France for three generations before the Great War changed everything.
Helene attempts to settle into a simple life in the town, and the story moves back and forth in time as gradually she recalls the extraordinary events that brought her to this place.  They include the early loss of her soldier husband and the reappearance of an old suitor who rescued her and her daughter when they were at their most desperate.  Then came the journeys that very few women of her time could even imagine: travels into the forests of Indochina in search of ancient treasures, and finally, and fatefully, to the Canadian north.
For days after her arrival in St. Homais, the locals whisper rumours, but no one knows who she is.  When a town policeman confronts her, past and present abruptly converge and she must face an episode that she had hoped had been left behind forever.
I enjoyed this book and it turned into a did she or didn't she, guilty or innocent.

The Year of Past Things by M.A.Harper
Chef Phil Randazzo, owner of the trendy Tasso Restaurant in New Orleans, and his new wife, Michelle, are as happy as can be after deciding to spend the rest of their lives together.  Phil is pleased that Michelle's kids, Cam and Nichole, want him to be their new father because he wasn't sure if they wanted the position of dad filled after A.P. Savoie, their first dad, died in a car crash.  Savoie was a popular Cajun musician and a one-of-a-kind guy, but his family skills were unique, shall we say, and Phil hopes he can do much better.
But it's hard for Phil to concentrate because weird things are happening:  The cat suddenly has the ability to walk through locked doors and what might be the ghost of Savoie appears at will, haunting everyday objects and inhabiting computer games and TV sets.
Savioe's presence becomes stronger and stronger and the couple ask for help-psychics, exorcists, and local expertise are consulted.  No one can help, try as they might, and not even Chef Philès James Beard Award can save him from this ominous ghost.  Phil knows that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, but Phil's not ready to meet his maker yet.  His only hope is that Savoie hasn't already arranged a meeting.
This sure was a weird story, although they do say that strange things like this do happen in New Orleans.  While I didn't give up on the book, I was glad when I finished it.  Not too impressed.

Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber
On the anniversary of his beloved wife's death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him.
In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request.  An impossible request-I want you to marry again.  She tells him he shouldn't spend the years he has left grieving her.  And to that end she's chosen three women she asks him to consider.
First on Hannah's list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a trained chef who owns a cafe on Seattle's Bloom Street.  The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah's oncology nurse.  Michael knows them both.  But the third name is one he's not familiar with-Macy Roth.
Each of these three women has her own heartache, her own private grief.  More than a year earlier, Winter broke off her relationship with another chef.  Leanne is divorced from a man who defrauded the hospital for which she works.  And Macy lacks family of her own, the family she craves, but she's a rescuer of strays, human and animal.  Macy is energetic, artistic, eccentric-and couldn't be more different from Michael.
During the months that follow, he spends time with Winter, Leanne and Macy, learning more about each of them...and about himself.  Learning what Hannah already knew.  He's a man who needs the completeness only love can offer.  And Hannah's list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.
I've never bought a Debbie Macomber book and yet I have read quite a few of them  For me, they are only a step or two up the ladder from Harlequin Romances.  You now the outcome just from reading the dust cover!  This book didn't disappoint,like all her other books, everybody 'lives happily ever after' at the end.  It was a cute story.

Phew, that's all for now!

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