Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Summer People [Hilderbrand]

Book: Summer People
Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Review: From Goodreads:

Every summer the Newton family retreats to their beloved home on Nantucket for three months of sunshine, cookouts, and bonfires on the beach. But this summer will not be like any other. When Arch Newton, a prominent New York attorney, dies in a plane crash on his way home from a business trip, his beautiful widow Beth can barely keep things together. Above all, though, she decides that she must continue the family tradition of going to Nantucket, and at the same time fulfill a promise that Arch made before he died.

Beth invites Marcus, the son of Arch's final and most challenging client, to spend the summer with her and her teenage twins Winnie and Garrett, who have mixed reactions to sharing their special summer place with this stranger. Always a place of peace before, Nantucket becomes the scene of roiling emotions and turbulent passions as Marcus, Winnie, and Garrett learn about loss, first love, and betrayal. And when they stumble upon a shocking secret from Beth's past, they must keep it from destroying the family they've been trying so hard to heal.

'Summer People' is a perfect beach/pool read. Hilderbrand really brings the characters to life and makes you feel like you are feeling their sorrow, pain, joy, love, shame, etc. I think she nailed the teenage emotion, especially the feelings surrounding first love. When the secret from Beth's past is revealed (not a huge deal to me as an adult but I can imagine teenage children feeling slighted) she nailed the kids reactions. My only complaints are that I wish she spent more time on Marcus (a compelling character with a unique, emotional backstory) and Arch (Beth's deceased husband) was literally written as the perfect man. I love how Hilderbrand ended the book, tying up the story lines but not necessary in a huge red bow. 

Are you making spring break plans for March? If so, bring this book along! Fun read that I couldn't put down. 

Grade: 4/5

Lethal [Brown]

Book: Lethal
Author: Sandra Brown

Review: When her 4 year old daughter finds a sick man in their yard, Honor Gillette goes out to help. She's shocked to find Lee Coburn, a man accused of killing 7 people. Lee claims he is innocent and needs to find something that Honor's late husband left her that is extremely valuable. Honor insists her husband left her nothing, but she must make a quick decision when Lee claims her life is in danger and that she (and her daughter) must flee with him to remain safe. 

This was a quick paced, page turning thriller and I loved every chapter. I thought Honor's reaction to Lee's initial threats to her daughter were spot on. I liked both Honor and Lee and think they made a great team. Even though the master criminal was easy to decipher (I'll avoid spoilers but it became apparent the individual was the 'big bad' when such a seemingly meaningless character had so much page time), I still couldn't wait to get to the big reveal at the end. 

If you enjoy thrillers, definitely try this one!

Grade: 4/5

Flight Behavior [Kingsolver]

Book: Flight Behavior
Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Review: Dellarobia had dreams of escaping her rural Tennessee town but an unexpected pregnancy resulted in marriage at age 17. Even though she miscarried, she stayed in the marriage (despite not loving or respecting her husband) and eventually had two children. Now age 27, she finds herself flirting with the idea of an affair when she discovers a forest burning with monarch butterflies. She believes it's a sign from God to go back to her family and make things work. 

I loved the Poisonwood Bible and was expecting to love this book. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. The positives? It was well written and very descriptive. The overall message regarding the environment and global warming was good. There were a few laugh out loud moments (including some of Dellarobia's observations at church). The not so good? Dellarobia. Although she grew on me, she was difficult to like for most of the book. She constantly complained about money, yet she always found funds for her cigarettes (disclosure: I grew up in a house where money was extremely tight yet my mother always found money for cigarettes. I was always annoyed by this). Dellarobia also made constant comments about how they couldn't afford Christmas ornaments, but she knew how to sew. I kept waiting for her to make some homemade ornaments or start a business on the side sewing...but it never happened. There also seemed to be a lot of conversations in stores (consignment shop, Wal-Mart). Last point of contention-the ending. I'll avoid spoilers but there seemed to be some discussions and financial matters that happened/were discussed off the book to enable to last chapter to happen. I was glad that Dellarobia finally took control of her life but the extent at which she did it it did not ring true to the rest of the book. 

Grade: 2/5