Monday, February 13, 2017

When You Don't Get Diamonds A Book Is The Next Best Thing

Here are a few of my Valentine's Day Picks.

Monster Love

C.L. Lynch
Stella is larger than life. No, really she larger than anyone in school. Loud and proud she takes no prisoners when teased about her Junoesque proportions. A family move to the other side of Canada leaves her angry and hurt with her parents' disruption of her life.She has to start all over, making new friends which does not come easy. Smart and sassy, her brains are often overlooked by her generous size, that is until she meets Howard. Howard is that weird kid in the corner shunned by the entire school. Howard is different and in his oddness, he is able to see the beauty of Stella's most important asset, her brains.
Delightfully funny, wickedly sharp Chemistry will tickle your fancy. CL Lynch has a way with words that will make you smile at the right time and perhaps even tear up with the unconventional romance that blooms between two people society has thrown away.

I voluntarily read this book in one night because I couldn't put it down.


William Shatner  David Fisher

Friendships like marriages have a heartbeat. There are irregular pulses, blimps, that interrupt the steady pattern of a heart. Shatner and Nimoy were joined at the heart, working together over the years, finding a brotherhood born from understanding each other rather from family ties. This was a tender book, a memorial for life-long friendships of two very different men. Shatner is able to recount Nimoy's early life, his struggles to make a living the insecurities only a fellow actor could understand, filling in the opaque outline of Nimoy's personality. He tells stories of how they began, professional but territorial for the right to top billing. The petty hurts and rivalries that gave way to respect and admiration. The ups and downs leveled out to a tight friendship creating the mother of all bromances that was able to be translated to the larger screen.Star Trek opened new vistas and all kinds of exciting probabilities for us. Star Trek ignited my ten year old imagination when it premiered. It is perhaps, the only program that fills me with nostalgia. The crew, the characters as dear to me as my own family. Shatner recounting of those years held the same effect as a family reunion for me. He manages to paint a lively picture without maudlin sentimentality. It's a window to Hollywood in the sixties and seventies, a glimpse into the life of two working actors and the challenges they faced. Just as you can't judge a book by its cover, you can't measure a relationship on a day or an incident. Nimoy and Shatner's lives tangled as vines do, as they rooted, their characters developed, each supporting and depending on the other, growing stronger, ensuring they both reached the stars together. A lovely book.

Historical Love

Really interesting and well written story about young Margaret Beaufort and her first and second marriages; the first when she was six and quickly annulled, the second to the king's brother, Edmund Tudor. Arnopp develops her characters with realism and depth, and the historical novel depicts their power marriage and the budding relationship between the two.
Margaret is a serious girl who understands her weighty position in regard to the English throne, as well as the responsibly of being a wife. She is married to Henry IV brother in the hope to provide a spare heir should the King's marriage turn out to be unfruitful. In order to gain her enormous inheritance, Edmund needs an heir, and although Margaret is little more than a child, he goes against conventions of the day and they conceive.
Arnop takes two reluctant lovers and builds a slow romance. While the first part devoted to her youth felt hurried and superficial, she more than made up for it with the latter part. Margaret's arc of growing from child to wife was tender, her relationship with Edmund just as sweet. Edmund's change from taciturn spouse to tenderhearted husband was equally endearing. Then reality intrudes and Margaret must face harsh situations, Edmund's premature death and the brutal birth of her son. Arnop captures the flavor of the times, making historical figures come to life and giving us a rare walk in their shoes. Can't wait for the next one.
Unexpected Love

I really enjoyed this book. Anna and her charge TJ are the sole survivors of a plane crash. They wash up on a deserted island and carve out a life for themselves. A sweet romance develops, and oddly their age difference didn't bother me one bit. Told in alternating points of view, the voices feel real, TJ's young voice delightfully enamored with his beautiful teacher. When all of the conditions of society are ripped away, leaving raw survival, things that separate people, cease to exist.When they return to society, Anna must decide whether she loves TJ enough to let him have the life she thinks he might miss and is afraid that if he stays with her, he will be cheated from those experiences. They learn that age is just a number, and the need for human contact overrides preconceptions and prejudices. This is a book about survival, and our need for love and companionship. It's also a book about sacrifice, and what we are willing to do for the ones we love.

Sisterly Love

Liane Moria

Three Wishes is a terrific story about a pivotal year in the life of three feisty siblings who happen to be triplets. Each has a distinct personality and the story uses flashbacks and their relationships to describe how they developed into adulthood. Identical twins Lyn and Cat are seemingly opposites in personality. Lyn is a perfectionist, hard driven to always do the right thing. Hot tempered and snarky Cat does what she pleases without thought to consequence, and Gemma, the fraternal sibling, floats through life trying to keep everybody happy. Their lives are entwined because of their closeness as siblings, and when a series of events unfold, their worlds spark and collide with anger, humor, and tenderness.

I loved this books and found myself enjoying the antics of the three madcap sisters. At times, laugh out loud funny, the story equally tugged my heartstrings. All three sisters find their lives upended and must dig deep to find the honesty of their existence. Each is faced with examining the direction of their life and the soul-searing examination if they stayed true to their dreams. Moriarty is an entertaining storyteller, who really knows and loved her characters. I will admit that I love them too, and was sorry to see the book end.

Star-crossed Love

The Fault in Our Stars is the memorable and moving story about a group of teens in a cancer discussion group and their valiant goal to leave a mark in this earth. Hazel's father tells her "I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I believe the universe is improbably biased towards consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed." Simply put, this is a book about the meaning and purpose of life, it is about the impact of our existence, our footprint in time. When Dick Clark of American Bandstand spoke about death, he said he wanted to live as long as he was relevant. This book is about the teens staring death in the face, knowing of its impending arrival and the question of what was it all for. Both Hazel and Augustus suffer from some form of cancer, they have been robbed a joyous childhood, fun and games replaced by painful treatments and operations. Their lives revolve around the hard work of staying alive and the constant cheerleading from heart broken parents. They are bright, cynical, and understand each other. They fall in love and I don't want to say more, but the depth of their passion, the deep communion of their hearts made the characters come alive. This was a great book. I was not fond of the beginning,but Augustus tenacity won me over and the reader will fall in love with Gus's loyalty and companionship as deeply as Hazel. The ageless yearning of the characters made me forget that they were teens.
Hazel wishes for "a little infinity", the time to savor her budding love with Augustus, knowing instinctively it will end too soon. The dehumanizing treatments strip the patients of their humanity, healthy people distancing from them, remembering only the person who existed before the treatments changed them. Together, Hazel and Augustus carve out a pocket of time to discover the sweet perfection of loving a person so much life seems meaningless with out them. Augustus complained, " I always thought my obituary would be in all the newspapers, that I'd have a story worth telling. I always had this suspicion that I was special." The Fault in Our Stars gives a face to the victims of cancer. The story so insightful, the characters moving, yet without pity. This book reminds us that we are all here for a reason, no matter how much time we have, or what we accomplish, rich or poor, successful or not, that a rut in the road of life has been created with a lasting impression that will be there forever.

 Timeless love

The Girl you Left Behind

Jojo Moynes 

Jojo Moyes has done it again with a wonderful love story. It's about loving too much, and the heartbreak of uncertainly, the grief of loss, the timelessness of honor. The book is about Sophie and her first and only love, her husband Edward, a promising artist. Theirs is an all consuming love, interrupted by war. Sophie is the caretaker of her family, and the village as well. She ends up being the unwanted recipient of an occupying officer's attention. When he demands her honor as the only way to help her husband, she sacrifice's everything to secure his safety, risking her husband's love and respect as well. The story stops when she is in dire straights and fast forwards to the present where a widow, consumed with grief for her husband must return a sentimental gift from him, a painting of Sophie that may or may not be stolen. Their lives connected by the thread of lost art, it being the catalyst for saving an old love or finding a new one. This is a terrific book about the timelessness of love, the deep well that some are lucky enough to fall into and find that one person that they'd be willing to risk it all for. It's the story of bravery, sacrifice, and honor. Some things are more important that money, pride, or social prominence.

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