Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Auden is seeking some excitement for the summer between her senior year of high school and first year of college. So when her father invites her to stay with his new wife, and baby at their house on the beach she goes. But she gets more than she bargained for when she learns to deal with past hurts and gets to do-over some rites of passage she missed out on by going to an extremely academic high school. And along the way she learns it doesn’t matter how many times you fall off the bike, as long as you get up and get back on.

Another solid entry from Sarah Dessen. Not as predictable as her last novel, and I thought the characters were more well-rounded too.

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August 5, 2009 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham

From the jacket: At the age of 18, Millie was up for anything. Now, ten years later, she is a very different person about to be married to a wealthy serious man, who believes her to be perfect. Now she is facing the biggest and most elaborate wedding imaginable. But one small episode form the past has the power to completely derail her carefully planned nuptials.

This was a quick read for a rainy day. I thought the premise was a bit thin, especially for a 300+ page novel. And I was right. It was ok, but there wasn’t much substance. I liked Millie, and there were a few twists I didn’t see coming but the villain’s motivation was poorly explained, so that sorta ruined the ending for me.

August 4, 2009 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

From the book jacket: Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy’s closest friends for what will be revealed.

Another enjoyable summer read. This had more of a mystery at the heart of it, as a group of friends reveal secrets and come to terms with the death of a couple in their group. Elin Hilderbrand is always a good choice for a summer beach read. I like how her characters are multi-layered and not just sterotypes.

August 3, 2009 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison

This was book was chick-lit as it was meant to be written. Good characters, a classic mean girl, a little romance and a happy ending.

I enjoyed the flashback chapters to Allie & Olivia’s friendship in middle and high school, it added depth to the novel.

A perfect summer beach read.

From the book jacket:

When Allie Denty—tall, blonde and, these days, just a bit heavy—discovers her boyfriend in the sack with another woman, her primary coping mechanism involves a credit card and the Sephora counter. Allie figures that some Dior lashes will help her feel more confident at her reunion—an event that the lovely, formerly mousy Olivia Pelham has no intention of attending until her mother shows up on her doorstep, licking her wounds from a breakup with husband number five. At the reunion, Allie and Olivia have an awkward meeting and go their separate ways until Allie learns that a mutual friend plans to marry a cosmetically enhanced Mean Girl from their class. It’s life makeover time for both women, as they get in touch with their true feelings about beauty, careers and, most importantly, love. Like the face cream from which it takes its title, this is slick, light and indulgent.

August 2, 2009 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay

This was another solid thriller. Kept me engrossed on the plane ride home.

From the jacket:

In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a house only one door away, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. And you think to yourself: It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we’re next?

Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where a family is shot to death in their own home. But that is exactly what happened to the Langleys one sweltering summer night, and no one in this small upstate New York town is more shocked than their next-door neighbors, Jim and Ellen Cutter. They visited for the occasional barbecue and their son, Derek, was friends with the Langleys’ boy, Adam; but how well did they really know their neighbors?

August 1, 2009 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer

From the book jacket:

Living in New Jersey–the state that boasts the most malls per capita–Kat’s favorite recreational activity is a no-brainer: shopping. But when she discovers that her husband, Griff, has been hiding a secret bank account, her joyful consumerism suddenly loses its appeal. Are their fights about money more serious than she understood? Is he, as her friends suggest, preparing for a divorce? Just in case, Kat decides it’s time to start saving.

Drastic times call for drastic measures: Kat starts by canceling cable and kicking her $240-a-month Starbucks habit. But what starts out as a simple effort to cut costs becomes an over-the-top obsession when Kat joins an eclectic but lovable group of savers called the Penny Pinchers Club. Soon she is pumping her gas at dawn (when it is thicker) and serving dinner made from food she retrieved at the grocery store dumpster. Kat is saving money, to be sure, but what she’s really saving is time–time she spends with Griff, their two kids…and an old flame who resurfaces at precisely the wrong moment, offering Kat a life where money is no object.

I love this author, and this latest, perfectly timed for the economic time we live in, didn’t disappoint. In fact, there’s a morsel or two of good financial advice amid the usual chick lit drama.

Plus I liked how the Penny Pinchers Club met at the local library!

July 31, 2009 at 9:41 am Leave a comment

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer

This the second Riley Spartz book, and it was amusing. My complaint from the first book, about too much background slowing down the narrative has been fixed, although at times Riley’s asides about the news business irritated me.

However, this was another interesting mystery, again set during sweeps time and Riley’s character development continued.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next Riley mystery. She’s a fun feisty mystery heroine.

July 29, 2009 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

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I'm currently reading: Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand . . . Look for a review soon!

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