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The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Title: The Wednesday Sisters
Author: Meg Waite Clayton
ISBN: 978-0-345-50282-7
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Ballantine Books (division of Random House)
Price: $23.00
Release Date: June 17, 2008

Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.

For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.

As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.
I loved this book from the second paragraph. The book is mostly told from Frankie's point of view, but each of the other 'sisters' gets their turn. For reasons I will keep to myself for now (wouldn't want to spoil anything) I most identified with Ally. Though there was a connection with Frankie as well. I finished The Wednesday Sisters 4 days ago and those women are still with me and I think they will remain for quite awhile.

This isn't only a book about the relationships these women have with each other, but also about their relationships with BOOKS! Each of these women's favorite book has an influence on the way that they see life; the color of the glasses that color their world view.

Being that I was born in 1976, I was born after the main part of The Wednesday Sisters is finished. However, Meg Waite Clayton did a great job of giving the reader enough information to understand our culture at that time (1968 to 1974).

There are so many things that I want to say about The Wednesday Sisters, but I don't want to give away all of the best/juicy parts. This is a must read!

Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill by N.M. Kelby

Title: Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill
Author: N.M. Kelby
ISBN: 978-0-307-38207-8
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books (division of Random House)
Price: $23.00
Release Date: June 3, 2008

Take a slasher-movie actress, a Scottish circus clown, an FBI school dropout, a blind heiress, a junk-food-loving millionaire developer, and a Buddha-quoting bluesman, add a couple of murders in a normally sedate retirement community in south Florida, and you get an irresistible tale that’s part Carl Hiaasen and part Gabriel García Márquez. It all goes down as easy as a Key lime pie martini, the signature drink of the Bad Girl’s Bar & Grill.

N. M. Kelby’s last three novels have received glowing reviews in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, People, and the Atlantic Monthly. Carl Hiaasen has called her “a natural-born writer,” and Kirkus praised her “black humor that sizzles.” Sit back, put up your feet, and get ready to lose yourself in a rollicking good story.
I have not read any of her other books so I cannot compare this to any of N.M. Kelby's other 3 books. This is one of the most refreshing mysteries that I have read in awhile. This is not one of the niche-cozies that seem to be everywhere (not that I don't enjoy those as well). Not that it doesn't have a food connection. Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill has it's own BBQ sauce. The characters are well written, the mystery is just that (she lets out just enough to keep you interested; keep you guessing).

Danni Keene slasher queen is an interesting protagonist. I mean that in a good way. I want to be her friend, I want to hang-out in her Tiki bar - drinking Key lime pie martinis (ingredients are listed in the book, but no recipe), even if I do have to wait until 'Wheel of Fortune' is over to have someone to sit next to. The Buddha-quoting bluesman, Jimmy Ray, is someone else I really enjoyed getting to know. Laguna Key itself is a character in this book.

Not only is the story inside terrific, but look at that cover! You can't tell me that those colors don't scream the Florida Keys. I will definitely look for Mrs. Kelby's other books and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel to Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill.

UPDATE: I found some Key Lime Pie Martini recipes online. Both of these use cream/heavy cream and the one in the book uses the kind in the can (like Reddi Wip)


Don't forget: This is the final day to take the second survey for Summer Reading. As of now there is 1 book in front, but a 5-way tie for second place. I'm working on a 'button' for the Summer Reading group. {like the 2 in the right sidebar for "It's the End of the World" and "Weekly Geeks".

More other stuff

Yesterday was a great book day!

  • When the mail came I had not one, but two (!!!) books waiting for me. My copy of Unholy Domain by Dan Ronco arrived. (read here to find out how this book fell into my lap) I may have to wait until the end of the week to start it though. I owe Enchanting Reviews a review of Anna's Secret before I leave them.
  • The second book is Finn by Jon Clinch. I entered a contest on Shelfari and I was one of 50 winners!
I'm going to curl up with Anna's Secret for a little bit before I have to start dinner. =)

Just other stuff

Over at an adventure in reading raidergirl3 has blog series "It's Tuesday, where are you?" Every Tuesday she asks where you are in your book. Right now I am in 1970 Palo Alto, CA while reading The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. I started it yesterday and read over 160 pages which is a lot for me in one day. Where are you?

J Scott Savage, author of the forthcoming Farworld series, says that ARCs will be on the way soon. I am very excited to be involved in his Blog Tour. You can read a sneak-peek in this post and see the bookmarks in this one.

  • I have finished Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill by NM Kelby. Great mystery... more on this book later in the week.
  • Click here if you would like to enter to win my copy of Dancing Above the Waves. Make sure I have a way to contact you.
  • I am currently on page 190 of The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. WONDERFUL.
  • Don't forget to vote in the Summer Reading round 2 poll! We're narrowing down our choices.

Summer Reading Poll #2 - and other stuff

Hello Book Buddies-

There was a decent turn out for our first poll. I have already tallied and deleted our first poll and created a second poll with only 10 choices. You can still vote for as many as interest you, but try to limit it to 4 books. You don't NEED to have a teen to participate in Summer Reading. This idea just branched off my desire to do something bonding this summer with my oldest daughter before she starts high school (YIKES!). I have gotten reading guides for all of the 10 choices in this round. As with the last poll, it will be available until whenever I log on Friday morning (May 30).Please spread the word to others that you think may be interested in joining our Summer Reading fun!

  • Also see the post below for info on my very first giveaway!
  • One of my current reads is Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar & Grill by N.M. Kelby available June 3, 2008. My contact at her publisher has agreed to let me raffle off my copy when I am finished! I'm just over 1/4 of the way through it and am loving it. So stay tuned for my review and raffle!
  • Don't forget to vote in the survey for Summer Reading, spread the word and comment on the post below to enter to win Dancing Above the Waves.
UPDATE [5PM eastern]: The link is working and page totals [in the widgets to the right] are current!

Dancing Above the Waves Susan Wallerstein

Dancing Above the Waves

Title: Dancing Above the Waves
Author: Susan Walerstein
ISBN: 978-0-595-44940-8
Format: Paperback
Publisher: iUniverse
Price: $15.95

Dancing Above the Waves by Susan Walerstein is a terrific mystery. I don’t know if it’s because I read so many mysteries, but I generally figure out who the ‘bad guy’ (in this case a blackmailer) is well before the end. This was not the case with Dancing Above the Waves. I had it narrowed down to 4 people, but that’s as close as I could get.

From the Back:

Wealthy Bostonian Jack "Scooter" McCalister has it all - money, charm, and the devotion of two different women: Sherry, his high-society wife, and Erica, his island-born mistress. But while driving recklessly to catch a ferry one rainy morning, Jack strikes a young girl and leaves the scene of the accident, not even bothering to see if she is alive or dead. With this one fateful decision, Jack's perfect world shatters.

Like a coastline lashed by a wintry sea, guilt and confusion wreak havoc on Jack's carefully managed existence. He struggles to keep the pieces of his life together until a dangerous witness to the accident begins blackmailing him, threatening to expose the truth. Pushed to the brink by his unknown tormentor, a double life, a faltering magazine business, and his ever-present remorse, Jack is caught in a web of lies. Now, Jack must break free before he loses his career, his sanity - and his life.

I really enjoyed Dancing Above the Waves. Susan Walerstein does a wonderful job of immersing us in Jack and Sherry’s world of wealth and privilege. She does an equally wonderful job of showing us Erica and Carrie’s world of the blue-collar. There was a little bit of awkwardness in the teenage dialogue in my opinion, but not enough to pull the reader out of Clary’s Cove.

I don’t want to give too much away. I will say that any mystery/thriller fan should be sure pick up a copy of Dancing Above the Waves.

It's the End of the World Challenge

Since I have revamped my book related goal for this year, I thought I would join a challenge I discovered while blog hopping this afternoon. Becky at Becky's Book Reviews is hosting a challenge titled "It's the End of the World (As We Know It) Challenge". Do you have REM song in your head like I do? Between now and September 15th I need to read at least 3

books about "the end of the world." This includes both apocalyptic fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction. There is some overlap with dystopic fiction as well. The point being something--be it coming from within or without, natural or unnatural--has changed civilization, society, humanity to such a degree that it radically differs from "life as we know it." (Aliens, evil governments, war, plague, natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes, depletion of resources, genetic manipulation, etc.) Here is a wikipedia article on the subject. Also see here.
I already know 1 book that I'll be reading; Scott Westerfeld's The Uglies. My oldest has the first 3 in a boxed set on her bookcase. I'd also like to read Stephanie Meyer's The Host if I can get my paws on it before the deadline. I've already read the teaser. I should come up with 2 more (in case I can't get The Host) any help would be appreciated. kylee[DOT]books[AT]gmail[DOT]com

Now, I'm off to enjoy my Pomegranate Pizzazz and Dancing Above the Waves on this chilly, rainy afternoon.

UPDATE: May 21, 2008

Earlier today I commented on a post on Blogger News Network (this post) about Susan Walerstein's Dancing Above the Waves. Paula with Author Marketing Experts, Inc saw my comment, Ms. Walerstein is one of their clients. Paula also saw this here post about Becky's Challenge, saw I was still looking for suggestions and told me about a book by another of their clients, Dan Ronco. The book is Unholy Domain and is perfect for the challenge and the trailer creeped me out, in the best sense of the phrase. She's mailing it out to me. Is there anything better for a bibliophile than free books?!

So that makes 2 definites on my list:
UPDATE May 25, 2008:
I have my 3!

What Your Mother Never Told You Richard M Dudum - review

I read/reviewed this for Amateur de Livre.

Richard Dudum does a fantastic job of talking to young women in this book. The language, on occasion, is blunt and may put off some parents reading this book, but please do not let that stop you.

I have a 14 year old daughter who will be starting high school in the fall and she WILL be reading What Your Mother Never Told You this summer. Mr Dudum makes so many great points in this book. This book is broken up into 10 parts (11 if you include the section of Appendices) beginning with “Perceptions and Communication Skills” which deals with, in part, “Body Language”. I think few girls understand that how they dress and act (flirting, etc) effect how boys will treat them. Should everyone treat everyone else the same, yes, do they, no.

With other subjects, such as “Your Parents”, Mr Dudum let’s the girls in on the secret that they didn’t come to us with a manual. We don’t know what we’re doing most of the time; most of us are winging it. He gives them tricks and tools for dealing with us.

In the Prologue Richard M Dudum states his wish that this book would become required reading for middle school girls. I wholeheartedly agree with him. This book is chock full of helpful and important information for young girls/women. In my humble opinion, this book should be in every middle school library for 8th grade girls to read. It should be in every high school library as well. What Your Mother Never Told You should become a reference book for these young women. A book to turn to when they are having trouble, because let’s face it, as much as we wish and want our children to turn to us when they have a question, they don’t always feel like we’ll listen to them. With this book in your home, you have a tool for your girls to begin a dialogue with you in an effortless manner (leave it out in the living room/kitchen with a bookmark in the appropriate chapter).

Thank you Richard M Dudum!

Poll Time

Here is the LINK to a survey that I created.

I'm hoping that you'll join me (and my oldest daughter) in a group read this summer. This will be the first of no more than four surveys to narrow down the choices. I'll leave the survey active until early Thursday (May 22) morning when I will create a new one with just the winners and put the link in a new post.

NOTE: You do not need to sign up after you fill in the survey. After you click submit it will bring you to the site that I created the survey on and it asks you to create an account. DO NOT create an account (unless you want to); it is not necessary to participate in my survey. Your answers will be recorded either way.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory - NKOTB - what I'm reading

I've been putting off writing my review of The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory; I finished it last Thursday (May 8th). I think I was hoping that my opinion would improve. I've read a few of her other Tudor books (The Constant Princess, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Virgin's Lover and The Queen's Fool) and really enjoyed them all except The Virgin's Lover.

It boiled down to the same issue with both of these books. Annoying , uninteresting main characters. The Boleyn Inheritance is written from 3 different points of view; Lady Jane Rochford (she is George Boleyn's widow and gave evidence against him and his sister Anne), Katherine Howard and Anne of Cleves. Of the 3 women, I only found one of the interesting. I really liked Anne of Cleves; she seems to be the only one willing to have and acknowledge her own opinions and desires. Katherine was 15 when she married King Henry VIII and sounds like every other self-absorbed, whiny teenager. Jane does what she's told and there is something else about her that just rubs me the wrong way... I can't put my finger on it though.

On a completely unrelated subject. I have NKOTB fever. I have been playing their new single "Summertime" over and over on my MySpace page. I saw them almost 19 years ago (speaking of whiny teenagers) and I'm excited that they have gotten back together. I wish I could see them in concert, but I doubt that will happen... I still love Danny, used to hate Donnie, now he's my favorite... go figure.

Currently Reading:

Weekly Geek #3

Weekly Geek #3 is fond memories of childhood books. When I read about this weeks geek one book came immediately to mind; "The Lucky Puppy". I don't remember NOT having this book. It's probably the book that my mom used to teach me how to read. I still have the book. My 14 year old read it when she was little. I've read it to my 2 year old. I really don't know if there is anything special about the story in particular, but it was my favorite as a child and I still enjoy it.

Here is MINE, complete with ancient orange crayon.

Book News

I received a message from Suzanne Kopoulos last night.

I got some good news yesterday. Little Miss Smarty-Pants was a finalist in the 2008 National Indie Excellence Awards - humor category. Woo-hoo!!!!
Big congrats to her!

Pay It Forward Book Exchange

My fellow PBSer ( Lori is having a contest. She is hosting a giveaway. The books (brand new) being offered are:

If I win one I will be offering it (slightly used) to one of you lucky reader to win.

Weekly Geeks: new blogs/reviews

This is week #2 but I just discovered this 'game'. This weeks challenge basically boils down to: If you have a blog and review (or have already reviewed) a book that I have also reviewed, send me an e-mail ( with the book and your link and I will add it to my review from now on.

I hope I got that all right. For convenience, click here to go directly to all of my posts tagged as reviews. You may need to click "Older" to see all of them.

The Prometheus Project: Captured Douglas E Richards

As you may or may not remember from my review of book 1 of this series (The Prometheus Project: Trapped) I e-mailed the author to ask him some questions. He was impressed enough with the review that he sent me copies of Trapped and its sequel, Captured.

I enjoyed Captured even more than Trapped! I already knew Ryan and Regan Resnick. I knew how clever they are and how well they work together. In Captured the alien city under Brewster, Pennsylvania is invaded by an as yet unknown and unidentified being. There are even more challenges and puzzles for the siblings to overcome and solve. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot in this review. I just hope that Mr. Richards will continue with this series at some point.

Right now I'm reading Philippa Gregory's The Boleyn Inheritance at night. During the day I'll be reading What Your Mother Never Told You by Richard M Dudum.