Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell

Jill Mansell is one of my favorite authors.  Her books are always about communities and how our stories are often interwoven with those in our community whether we know it or not.  This story is about the town of St. Carys and their intertwining stories.  Jill Mansell’s characters are matchless.  They are immensely relatable and wonderfully developed.  I feel like I could slip into St. Carys and become friends with them all.

Clemency is late for a plane through a simple mistake.  She is sure her seat mate is annoyed at her and ignoring her, but after they start talking, they realize they have a connection.  Clemency gives him her business card, but discovers he is married and doesn’t see him again for years . . . until he shows up on the arm of her stepsister Belle.  

Belle and Clemency have a completed relationship.  Their parents married when they were teenagers.  Clemency and her mother were poor while Belle and her father were rich.  

 Misunderstandings and relationship woes have happened in the past and Clemency just wants to get along with Belle.  Willing to help her out is her work friend Ronan, who Belle has always had a crush on.  Ronan has relationship woes of his own compounded on the fact that he would really like to look for his birth mother, but doesn’t want to hurt his adopted mother’s feelings.  And there is more . . . 

I love all of the characters and the storylines that go with them.  They are all tied up nicely at the end too so you aren’t left wondering what happened to your favorite side character.  I read through this book too quickly as I now find myself wishing I could read more about Beachcomber Bay and it’s in habitants.

My favorite quotes:

 “When he’d gone out on the evening of this twenty-fifth birthday, Sam had never intended to meet the love of his life.”

“And Marina, thinking What am I like?, discovered she was so British she was incapable of refusing the command and found herself submitting to a hug from the ex-husband she hadn’t seen for over five years.”

“The physical contact with her baby boy, which she’d longed for but been unable to allow herself to experience until now, was like nothing she’d ever felt before.  Never had she felt so happy, so complete.”

Overall, Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay is a delightful novel full of interesting and well-rounded characters.  The setting in St. Carys makes the story complete and really makes me want to visit someday.  I loved this book!

Book Source:  Review E-Book Copy from Sourcebooks.  Thank-you!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

My eight-year old son Daniel is on a Harry Potter kick and got The Tales of Beedle the Bard from his book order.  I had never read it before.   I love the Harry Potter series but I never read any of the other side books J.K. Rowling wrote for charity.  

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is introduced as a collection of stories written for young wizards and witches, think the wizarding version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  This collection has a note on each story and its significance at the end by Professor Dumbledore.  One bad thing in the collection is that Daniel is on book five (and looks like he is stopping for now as he said the books are getting a little beyond him for reading, maybe next year he’ll finish up) and didn’t know what the future had in store for Professor Dumbledore, but the introduction of this book lets you know.  Beware!

There are five tales in this collection and I found them all to be delightful and Daniel enjoyed them too.  I love fairy tales and I loved that these stories seemed like an old tale that you had discovered that had been written for the magical community.  I just wish there were more in the collection!

Overall, this is a good addition to the world of Harry Potter and something that any lover of fairy tales would love.  Just beware that the introduction includes information that will spoiler the young reader if they haven’t read the entire Harry Potter series yet.

Book Source:  Purchased from the Scholastic Book Order

Monday, April 17, 2017

Always a Bridesmaid for Hire by Jen Glantz

Title: Always a Bridesmaid for Hire
Author: Jen Glantz
Read by: Jen Glantz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 8 hours and 43 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

Sometimes you need a funny book to lift up your spirits on your way to and from work. Always a Bridesmaid for Hire is just such a book – a humorous book that gives you a good laugh. Jen Glantz is the author and narrator of the audiobook. As I listened, I felt like Jen Glantz was one of my “fun friends” who got into all sorts of scraps and always has a good story to tell. She was very relatable.

Jen Glantz is heading towards the end of her twenties and has more bridesmaid dresses than she knows what to do with. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Jen realizes that she can take her skills as a bridesmaid and turn it into a lucrative career. She is the bridesmaid for hire who will come to the wedding and keep the other bridesmaids in line and make sure that all emergencies are settled. This leads to a lot of funny situations and hilarity along the way.

I enjoyed that the audiobook was a person story of Jen Glantz and her life as well as the story of her unique business. Having been through my own wedding as well as the bridesmaid in several weddings, I could definite relate to the wedding woes. Also getting married at 25 was a big deal in a family where my mother and grandmother were married at 18. I felt like I was very old . . . although these days, I realize that 25 is not that old to get married! Poor Jen isn’t old, but after being the only single lady at one wedding, she is starting to feel that way.

Overall, I found this audiobook to be laugh out loud funny and very relatable. I would love to listen or read any of Jen Glantz’s future work, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her.