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Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! A big, Thanks! 
for helping to make this year successful for my blog. Hope that I can share 
my love of books with as many people as possible. 
This is the time of year to cherish your family and friends. This life we have 
is too short and everyone should enjoy as much as they can in their time here. 
Happy Holidays and see you in 2015 with a review of John Grisham's "Gray Mountain".

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Patty Pick for 12/11/14 is "The Vacationers" by Emma Straub

"The Vacationers" by Emma Straub will have you in stitches half the 
time and hating some of these characters the other half. As the family 
and friends of Franny & Jim's head to Mallorca for a vacation, we get 
to see the outside and inside view of each character. I would have liked 
to know more of the background on this group of family and friends but 
the snapshot of their two weeks together is hilarious in spots.

Jim has recently lost his job due to an affair with a young staffer. 
He and Franny are not sure if their future will be together or separate.
Their son, Bobby, and his longtime girlfriend, Carmen, are trying to 
determine if they will have a relationship after the trip. 

You have to love Sylvia, their long-suffering daughter, who has just been 
dealt a humiliating blow via her best friend and social media. She is ready 
to leave the petty world of high school behind and start fresh at college. Her 
one goal is to lose her virginity first. 

As the family and their close friends, Charles & Lawrence, face infidelity, 
a breakup and the promise of a new baby, the story runs and walks through their
funny adventures. The vacationers will have you laughing and wondering how  
this is all going to turn out. You will enjoy this cute little book as a nice 
break from the real world. At least from my Southern world...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Patty Pick's Best Books of 2014

There were some fabulous books that were published this year but there were also 
some great books all ready on my shelf that I have been waiting to read. If you could 
see my to-read pile you would be scared, very scared. How in the world I had time to 
finish my own book, I will never know. There were many I wanted to include.They were 
very close, but I wanted to make sure if you only have so much time to read, you can 
read some of the best. Life has calmed down a little now for us, so here are my favorite books from 2014 in no order!

1. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4. The Pact by Jodi Picoult
5. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
6. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
7. a land more kind than home by Wiley Cash
8. Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline
9. The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
10. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
11. Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
12. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

There you go, a book for every month! That does not seem like too many. 
All of these books will thrill you, challenge you, scare you, make you cry, 
and be ones you will be talking about for some time. 

Please check back with my older posts for a short take on each book. I do 
not give away any secrets from them. There is nothing worse than a long 
and thorough report on a book that ruins it for you. I would love to hear 
from you all throughout the year about the ones you read and like. 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hope that everyone has a Happy and Full Thanksgiving Day filled with family 
and love. There are not too many days in our lives that we can concentrate 
on those we love without work and life getting in the way, so enjoy today. 
Don't shop, don't work, (unless you have to), just enjoy! Whether it's you 
or you and your special loved one, or you and twenty family members  - just 
enjoy the day! They go away all too quickly. SO HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Takes Back Seat to Life

Patty Picks is working on a list of my favorite books from this year. There have been 
many good new ones and old ones. I will try to have get this put together by the 
first of December and post it then. 

On a personal note, our family is getting a close look at the devastating effects of 
Alzheimer's right now. My time has been well spent with that member of our family instead of my blog. Please take the time to hug your loved ones today!

Be back next Thursday with a review of The Vacationers by Emma Straub!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Patty Pick for 11/6/14 is Still Alice by Lisa Genova

After reading about half of this book I thought for sure I had Alzheimer's disease. There were many similiarities between the main character, Alice Howland, and my current frantic life. Still Alice by Lisa Genova is not an easy book to read but it should be a neccessity. With a large part of the population being touched by dementia or 
Alzheimer's in their life personally or via a loved one, everyone should research this issue.
There are many health problems to research today, but finding the key to this disease should be a priority.  Especially considering the sheer number of people that will be effected in the their lives. 

Alice Howland is a successful Harvard professor with a great husband and wonderful life. One day while she was out taking her normal daily run, she could not remember how to get home. Where was that memory? It was lost to her for some reason. As the disease progresses for Alice, we experience the effects on her and her family. Through their daily struggles the devastating details of this disease are revealed. Alzheimer's robs a person of who they are and all that they know. Read this book and then hug your loved ones. Then live fully and richly every single day!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Patty Pick for 10/30/14 is The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl started exactly the way I expected it to, after reading the 
cover. It was scary and interesting at the same time. Everything revolves around 
the abduction of Mia. Mia, the daughter of Eve and Judge Dennett, has been 
taken by Colin Thatcher. Colin is a small time thug who is conflicted from 
the start over being involved in the kidnapping. The characters reveal what 
happened before and after in no apparent order, but it is actually leading you to an unexpected ending.

Mia has amnesia and does not remember what happened during her abduction.
Detective Gabe Hoffman is trying to follow the leads and find Mia while at the same time
falling for Mia's mother, Eve. As Gabe chases down evidence and works toward the 
conclusion, you know there is more to come. The novel is leading you on a chase to the end and as each detail is uncovered you are more confused. You will have the ending figured out in your head but it will surprise the heck out of you. What did you think happened?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Patty Pick for 10/23/14 is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

There are not too many people on the planet who have not heard of 
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. When this book came out in hardcover, my 
book club fought over it at our annual Christmas dinner. Every year we bring 
a wrapped book and do a book exchange. We can "steal" a book from 
each other when it's our turn or keep the book we unwrapped. It's a lot of 
fun to do this at the end of a good meal. We share the books with each other 
during the year and often they end up being a pick for someone's month. 

Gone Girl was a hard fought battle and everyone wanted to read it first, for 
good reason. This in one twisted psychological thriller! Just when you 
think you have figured out what is going on, you are turned in another 
direction and totally lost again. This one had me fooled up to the end and 
then I was not ready for it to be over. 

Nick & Amy Dunne are getting ready to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary
when she disappears. They seem to be the perfect couple. As the police investigate and Amy's diary is revealed, a different picture of their marriage emerges. Nick swears his innocence and his twin sister, Margo, is trying to solve this with him, but Nick 
seems to be digging a deeper hole for his guilt with each step. This will confuse 
and intrigue you but definitely keep you glued to every page until the end!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Patty Pick for 10/16/14 is "Little Mercies" by Heather Gudenkauf

"Little Mercies" by Heather Gudenkauf starts off with the chaos in the day of a normal family. Ellen and Adam have three children and busy lives. They are running separate ways to get their days started. On her way to work, Ellen receives a disturbing call from one of the children she oversees as a social worker with the DHS. She rushes to their house with the police to try to get the children out of the dangerous situation. 
As  she works with the police to diffuse the situation, a distubance grows behind her in the neighborhood. As the sound of breaking glass reaches her ears, it dawns on Ellen that they are breaking into her car to rescue her infant daughter from the inferno it now is.
How did she forget that Avery is in there?
That starts this story of a terrible accident and the journey through the maze of social work and child abuse and leads us back to the original story of a family in crisis. 
While Ellen and Adams's lives are falling apart, Jenny stumbles into the life of Ellen's mother, Maudene. Maudene knows that Jenny is in trouble and can not stop herself from trying to help. Jenny, like many 10 year olds, wants her family back together. Her father is in jail and her mother has been missing for years. Jennny thinks her grandmother is close by and is determined to find her. 
As this family tradegy unfolds, you can see that there for the grace of God go all of us. We all make mistakes in our lives that we wish we could take back. Where will the mistakes that Jenny and Ellen make lead them? You will want to read this book n one sitting to find out. I enjoyed other Heather Gudenkauf books and this is another good one!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Patty Pick for 10/9/14 is The Time Between by Karen White


"The Time Between" by Karen White is set in Charleston and Edisto Island, SC. With Charleston being one of my favorite cities and Karen White being one of my favorite writers, there was no doubt I would read this book. In fact, I have been trying to get to it for a while now. There never seems to be enough time to get my reading in. Of course, writing a novel at the same time does 
make it difficult. But I digress....

"The Time Between" tells the story of two sets of sisters. The main characters, Eve and Eleanor, have both changed due to events they created and happenings that they could not control. Eve is now in a wheelchair and Eleanor feels responsible. She has lost herself in the guilt of her sister's injury and Eve has let her. When Eve becomes pregnant, things start to change. Eleanor is offered an extra position helping the elderly aunt of her boss and Eve begins to see the true Ellie come back to life. They both struggle to understand 
the changes and work through their feelings. 

Eleanor's boss, Finn Beaufain, recruits Eleanor to be a part-time companion to his 
elderly aunt Helena. They have recently lost Helena's sister Bernadett under mysterious circumstances that neither one seem to want to talk about. Helena is suffering and can 
be pretty hard on Ellie. Ellie is the name that Finn's daughter, Gigi, gives to Eleanor and it fits. Gigi is wise beyond her years and together they work to bring some life back to Helena's days. Finn seems to be willing to offer more to Eleanor that she is ready for. 

As the mystery around Bernadett's death is revealed, Helena also reveals the secrets she has carried her whole life. As Helena comes to terms with her decisions, so must Ellie with hers. So much happens in the last third of the book, that you may need to re-read parts to keep up! This is a touching and searching story of what one sister will do for another and the paths their lives take after those actions. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Patty PIck for 10/2/14 is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak!

The Book Thief is one of those wonderful books that is written as a young adult book but is so well written any age will enjoy it. It definitely transcends any attempt to pidgeon-hole it into a certain genre. My book club read this a few years ago and it has stayed  with me. It is one of my favorite books of all time and it will become yours if you dare to open the first page. 

The story is set as a World War II story starring Liesel, who is a German girl heading to a foster home with her brother during the rise and reign of Hitler. On the journey to their new home, Liesel's brother dies and is buried. Liesel begins her book thievery at his gravesite. She continues to recover books throughout the war and shares them with all those around her. Her foster father teaches her to read and their Jewish friend, who hides in their basement until caught, actually writes her a story that will touch your heart. 

This entire book is narrated by Death. This twist sounds macabre but adds a special feeling to this book. Death adds humor along the way, while bringing reality to the situation.The poetic thoughts that Death shares with us makes this special and not another depressing book about war.

The imagery that Markus uses with will bring this book to life. The movie version had a lot to work with. The words in the this book will make you want to slow down and savor each one but you will definitely want to know how it ends.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Patty's Pick for today will be .... "The Time Between" by Karen White

I really enjoy reading Karen White. She is one of my favorite authors, as I think I have mentioned here a few times before. Luckily for me, one rainy weekend I stopped in one of my
favorite book stores, Pelican Book Store in Sunset Beach, NC. The lovely lady working that
day recommended a Karen White book and after that first one I was hooked.  I think I have
read most of her books and highly recommend any of her books for your reading pleasure!
Unfortunately for my blog, I am behind. I think I am behind in all areas of my life but I hope
to catch up soon. That's just how life is and we have to deal with it. So hopefully by next
Thursday, I can give you all a full review of this book, "The Time Between". I am half
way through it and enjoying it very much, but not often enough to make this date with my blog.
See you next week and don't beat yourself up over all the things you could not finish this week.
Life is just like that sometimes. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Patty's Pick for 9/18/14 is "The Pact" by Jodi Picoult!

The Pact: A Love Story

The Pact is Jodi Picoult at her best! I read this when my own daughter was in high school and let's just say it really had an impact. When young love goes too far how do you as a parent know? Jodi Picoult usually writes about something in the news at the time. She always has a great feel for her characters. They talk to you basically in every chapter. Don't miss this heart wrenching book. 

The close relationship of the Harte and Gold families bring Emily and Chris together their whole lives. When their friendship develops into a more intimate relationship the families are supportive. As Emily and Chris forge ahead with their suicide pact, no one knows. When Emily ends up dead and Chris is alive with one bullet left in the gun, the mystery begins. Don't miss the twist that Jodi Picoult always puts in her stories. You will not guess the ending of this book and I would not spoil it for you!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Patty's Pick for 9/11/14 is "Big Little Lies" by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty has another best seller on her hands! This story is also set in her native Australia and gives us another look at a yuppie, upscale neighborhood and it's inhabitants  as they try to have it all. The setting is oceanside and the theme of renewal runs deep through this book. This book touches on other big themes like domestic violence, rape, and the cliques in every town and school. 

As we meet the characters, you have to love Madeline. She is the mom and person we 
all want to be. She is loud and proud to voice her opinion but she does not try to be the 
perfect mother. She is there for her friends when they need her but she is not perfect. I love the fact that she is human above all. She is married to her second husband, Ed, and they have two children together. Her daughter, Abigail, by her first husband, Nathan, is definitely struggling with teenage angst. Of course, who wants their ex-husband and his new wife to have their own daughter attending the same school as your children. This makes for some hilarious dialogue and you will laugh out loud. 

There is also Celeste and Perry who are the perfect, beautiful couple with a horrific secret. Actually you will discover that Perry has many secrets. Their twins will be starting kindergarten with Madeline's. Let's add Jane and her son, Ziggy, to the mix. Poor Ziggy did not have a good start to his new home or new school. Jane is trying to start over with Ziggy in a new place but what she is searching for can only be found inside of herself.
All of these lovely, and unlovely, people mix at school and each other's homes to your enjoyment and anticipation of what is coming next. The chapters are leading you to the answer to why there are quotes from different people at the beginning and end of chapters concerning a certain event at the school. It will keep you guessing, but don't 
rush it because you don't want it to end!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Patty's Pick for 9/4/14 is "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wrobleski

I realized that I have not included one of my all time favorite books in this blog!
"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" is one of the most beautifully written books you will ever read. I did read it quite a few years ago but it resonates today. It is one of the few books 
that I think I would ever re-read. 

Edgar leads a wonderful life on his family's farm in Wisconsin. He is growing up with his mom and dad and best friend, Almondine, his dog. As a baby, he and Almondine developed a unique relationship. Edgar's family breed and sell a unique breed of dog. Even though Edgar is mute he can communicate with them. After Edgar's father dies unexpectedly, Edgar and his mom try to keep going. Edgar's uncle, Claude, steps in to help. Here the story turns into a mystery and you will not be able to put it down even though it's 562 pages. 

As Edgar struggles to come to terms with his father's death, you will be in his thoughts and watch his struggle to move forward. This is a wonderfully written account of a coming 
of age story, but more importantly this is a story of the heart.  Don't let this book pass you by!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Patty Pick for 8/28/14 is "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger

If you liked "The Time Travelers Wife" you will find "Her Fearful Symmetry" definitely different. There is not much that the author does not throw in this book. It has true love, two sets of twins, much dying, mental disease, ghosts, a historic cemetery, and stealing souls and bodies. Whew, where do you even start?
Twins, Edie & Elspeth are separated by a hidden secret and one is living in America and one has stayed in England. Edie has a set of twins, Julia & Valentina, and a successful marriage to Jack. Elspeth and Robert are struggling with Elspeth's cancer. When she passes away, Julia & Valentina find out that their aunt has left them her apartment and business. The only catch is they have to live in the apartment for a year. 
The twins who are waffling through life at this point, decide to take the challenge. They meet their neighbors, Martin who is struggling with OCD and finally Robert who works at Highgate cemetery and is still mourning Elspeth. Martin is having a meltdown because his wife, Marijke, has left him to take care of herself and moved back to the Netherlands. She is tired of putting up with all it takes for his disease and he has refused to take medicine to help himself. 
Not to spoil all the many surprises waiting for you if you read this book, there is so much that happens as this story moves forward. It becomes rather hard to keep up with whose soul is jumping around in other people's bodies. The "young" twins are inseparable but their stay in London proved to be their undoing. Read this at your own risk. A perfect book for October reading, as it's not too gruesome but definitely spooky!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Patty's Pick for 8/21/14 is Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen


Sarah Addison Allen usually sets her books in North Carolina, however Lost Lake is set in Georgia. This was shaping up to not be my favorite book of hers, but I hung in there because I love her writing. Good decision since I ended up loving this book. It opens with Eby and George on their honeymoon. While in Europe Eby saves the life of Lisette. This deaf, young girl follows them back to America and ends up spending her life working along side them at Lost Lake. 
Kate decides impulsively to find Lost Lake with her daughter, Devin, instead of moving in with her mother-in-law Cricket. After Kate finds Lost Lake and her aunt, Eby, the book changes for me. Even though it took a while for me to get into this book, once I did it really took off! 
When Kate and her daughter, Devin, arrive at Lost Lake, they both discover their childhood and family. Eby is in trouble and has decided to sell the property. Eby's friend, Lisette is in denial that Eby will leave Lost Lake and refuses to discuss her own future plans. Even though Eby has decided to sell, no one including Eby, is happy about the decision. Lost Lake has fallen into disrepair and needs more help and money than Eby has.
There is so much going on in this book that you forget sometimes about the magic involved but it's there. I adore the love story of George and Eby. As all these characters and the town meet for a farewell celebration, things really start happening. There is a lot going on so don't miss it! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Patty's Pick for 8/14/14 is "Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes

Sometimes when people write stories that include handicapped people you feel it's made up and not accurate. Not so with "Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes! All though the accident that changed Will's life is the main reason our two main characters come together, the story is really a love story. And Will and Louisa feel like real people with all their doubts, troubles, and faults. But be prepared with your kleenex box because I think you will need it. 

As we meet Louisa Clark, her own life is in transition. At the age of 26, she is living at home with her parents, grandfather, her sister and nephew. Her family is struggling with finances and depend on her wages to help keep the household together. Then the day comes when her boss tells her that he is closing the restaurant, gives her a severance and sends her on her way. After trying some of the jobs the Job Center sends her to, she is ready to give up. Then a job as the care assistant in a private home comes available and Louisa heads over for an interview that will end up changing her life. 

Will Traynor has it all - head of acquisitions for an international company and good-looking to boot. He grew up in a wealthy home and seems to have his life laid out for him. One day while heading to work, he is hit by a motorcyclist and paralyzed. It has been a hard transition and Will has become bitter and ready to die. 

When Will's mother hires Louisa to help with Will's care, they are both surprised by the other. She tries to break through his gruff exterior to make his life better. Along the way, they end up changing each other. As their relationship grows, you will not be able to put this one down! Start this book on a weekend so you have plenty of time to read it as you will want to cherish every word. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Patty Pick for 8/7/14 is "Ladies' Night" by Mary Kay Andrews

It is August, but you should have time for one more good beach book! You can count on Mary Kay Andrews for a light, quick read with characters that react in humorous but usually true-to-life ways. "Ladies Night" is no exception. This touching, funny book tells the story of Grace who just happens to be a very successful interior design blogger.
Her husband, Ben, is working the business end and Grace is happy to turn the day-to-day 
operations over to him. That is, until she finds him having too much fun in his sports 
car with her young assistant. Since this discovery is made in their garage in the middle of the night, she has a very clear view of the activities.  
In a fit of rage, she drives Ben's very expensive car into their backyard pool. This did create quite a ruckus, as you can imagine. After the police leave, Grace takes a few things in a hurry and runs to her mothers apartment. Rochelle lives over the family business, the SandBox. Rochelle welcomes Grace with open arms as Grace tries to figure out what to do next. Ben systematically cuts Grace out of everything they own together-even her blog! She finally realizes she will need a lawyer to sort this out. This leads her to the Judge Stackpole who definitely does not like the female side of the marriage equation. He orders her to Divorce Counseling with a group of other divorcing women and then the fun really begins. 
Grace finds friends, a blossoming love, and a plan to start her life again. She gains a furry companion she names Sweetie. As Grace fights to start her blog and her life over, she finds out she is stronger than she thought and gains a new way of looking at her life. She even finds love. Read this while sitting on a sunny beach and you will not go in until you finish it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Patty's Pick for 7/31/14 - "The Art of Keeping Secrets" by Patti Callahan Henry

Patti Callahan Henry gives us a story of a family trying to recover from losing their father and husband to a plane accident two years in the past. When the wreckage of plane is found, it tears open the wounds they bore from this tragedy again. As the story opens, Annabelle finds out that her husband, Knox, did not die alone. 
The effect this news has on all the characters create interesting interactions. I love southern lit and Patti Callahan Henry does it well. "The Art of Keeping Secrets" comes with complex characters and beautiful descriptions of the places which they inhabit, like the low country town of Marsh Cove.

The love story and marriage of Annabelle and Knox starts with their high school romance and continued until Knoxs' untimely death. His death sets the tone for the actions and reactions of the characters in this book. The family and friends are left to deal with this tragedy again. Annabelle must learn to really move forward and really rebuild her life that has been on hold since his disappearance. She must decide if their marriage was a sham or the true love she thought she had. 

When we find out that there was a woman with Knox on the plane who also died, this story kicks into high gear. The mystery of why she was there and who she was has the family and friends questioning if they really knew the real Knox. Who was this mystery woman and why was she on the plane?  There are quite a few secrets these characters have been keeping from each other. From Marsh Cove in South Carolina to the coastal North Carolina town of Newboro, Annabelle and her son, Jake, try to unravel the mystery of this passenger. They discover old acquaintances and develop new relationships. When the mystery of the passenger gets revealed, many lives are forever changed. The rich illustrations of the characters and locations will pull you in and hook you until the end.