Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

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Dear Fellow Readers,

Another message from Coronaville. It is possible to get used to this uncertainty. No, I guess it isn’t. If you, like me have some days that are harder than others. The problem is not when we can go out again but will be go out again. To be perfectly honest, I spent a lot of time home before working so while this is different, it might be easier for me. On the other hand, Silent Sam (husband) it torn between how much he misses the office and worries about going back and getting sick. Which makes me wonder about the fallout from all of this. Political and economic. But this book review is not the place for my thoughts on that so let’s move on.

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Because I want to support my local bookstore (which is fantastic), I have purchased more books than usual. In some ways not heartbreaking for me but I had put the brakes on buying books. (I just have a tendency to buy too many and my TBR pile gets really high and Silent Sam starts giving me side-eye) But there is a pandemic and I want Boswell Books to stay in business. As a result, my reading of new releases is way up.

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Redhead by the Side of the Road is the new book by Anne Tyler. Here is my thought about Anne Tyler. She writes characters. She does a fantastic job of writing characters. I find her books to be character studies and they are excellent character studies. I don’t find them to be long on plot. And that is fine but if you want to read an epic story, she might not be your author of choice.

In Redhead by the Side of the Road, we meet Micah Mortimer. He is a bit of a loner and doesn’t understand people very well. He could be seen as not being ambitious but as you get to know him, it may be more that he doesn’t like authority very much. Not that he is a rebel, he just will go his own way. He works as the super in a building and has a computer repair business. He also wrote a computer handbook that is very popular. In the story, we learn about his habits, family, and we see a period in his life that turns his thoughts upside down.

The book was very enjoyable, and I wish it was longer. Not that I needed more of that story, I just didn’t want it to end. Oh, and while I know this is just my quirk, I loved that you know where the title comes from. (Yea, I do get irritated when I don’t understand what the title has to do with the book and I can’t remember the title then.)

Take care and be healthy.

Thanks for reading!

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Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein

Dear Fellow Readers,

It is a cold summer day in the Midwest. Or it is cold because I left windows open Friday night (outside temperature about 44 degrees) and the house hasn’t warmed up yet. I certainly couldn’t turn on the heat. It is June; there isn’t heat in June.

It is June 15 and I am sitting here in a sweater.

Head Over Heels | Book by Hannah Orenstein | Official Publisher ...

Head Over Heels is Chick Lit. I would sugar coat this more but why? There is nothing wrong with Chick Lit. As long you are reading, then I have no problem with what you are reading. Yes, I have my own tastes but I want to foster reading, so I try not to bash different genres. We all have our own tastes.

Head Over Heels is a story about Avery Abrams. Avery spent her youth pursuing the Olympic dream in gymnastics. At the Nationals, the step before she would head off to the Olympics, she suffers a career ending injury. While it repaired, Avery’s change from being a celebrated gymnast to being a young woman without focus has been a hard transition. She has spent 7 years not really knowing what she wants to do. She has a long-term relationship with a professional football player that has ended as the book starts. She has moved home not knowing what to do next.

And then she receives a call that she doesn’t know that she wants to answer. Ryan Nicholson calls her. She knew who he was from her gymnastic days. He is training an Olympic hopeful who is really good but needs some help that he thinks Avery can give her. Avery is far from convinced that she is the one to help anyone. She isn’t sure she wants to see Ryan. She had a crush on him back in the day and he has gone on to compete at the Olympics and beyond. How can she possibly help?

After seeing her ex on TMZ and seeing that he has moved on, she decides that she needs to also. She has a disastrous date and then in a moment of panic, she calls Ryan and decides to meet with him.

Does she think that she can help the aspiring gymnast? Is there some chemistry with Ryan after all these years? And by getting back into the world of gymnastics, will she run into her old friend who somehow married her old coach?

The book had the requisite tension around the characters and their decisions. The only problem I had with the book is that I thought that Avery forgave one of the characters too easily. I think there should have been more thought before the forgiveness was granted.

This book is a pleasant book to read. I can imagine sitting out in the sun reading it. Partly probably because I am so cold right now that reading out in the sun sounds so great. Warmth! But seriously, I would add this to your summer reading pile. And before I forget… I was given a copy of this book for my unbiased review. The publication date for the book is June 23, 2020.

Thanks for reading!

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The Wrong Mr. Darcy by Evelyn Lozada with Holly Lorincz

Dear Fellow reader,

I have a confession to make. I have not read Pride and Prejudice. Is that possible? I know I have read Emma by Jane Austin. I read it a very long time ago and I didn’t like it. As I am sure we have all discovered, as we change, our view of books can change. Maybe I would like it now.

I think I have seen part of the movie Pride and Prejudice, the one with Keira Knightley. It was okay but I don’t think I saw the whole thing.

I know that people love the book and because of that, there seem to be many books that follow the plot of the original. In the way things happen sometimes, I read two books lately that are connected to Pride and Prejudice. The first was a book that I requested as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). I don’t know what part of the promo led me to want to read it. (I received a copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.)   The second was my book club book, Unmarriageable, which is Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan. I didn’t think I would read it; partially because I didn’t think we would have book club and partially because, well, another Pride and Prejudice book? Much to my surprise, I liked Unmarriageable and it was a quick read. So, if you are a Pride and Prejudice fan, you might want to try it.

The Wrong Mr. Darcy is set in the United States in current time. One of the writers is Evelyn Lozada, who is “an American television personality” and is one of the six main cast members of the VH1 reality show “Basketball Wives”. This information means nothing to me, but it does help to know this when you read the book. This book is not a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice. In this story, Hara Isari, is a small-town sports reporter trying to break into the big leagues. As the book opens, she is visiting her father, who is in jail. He has been in jail for 10 years for operating an illegal sports betting operation. His network was so extensive that when he was caught, he brought down several professional athlete’s careers. Hara is excited to go see her father as the book opens as she has won the opportunity to interview Charles Butler, who plays for the Boston Fishers, an NBA team.

While in Boston, Hara meets other sports writers and other team members like Derek Darcy. Darcy is starting his second year but had had a terrible rookie year due to an injury and is back this year to prove himself.

The story is told from both Hara and Derek’s perspectives while they both find out who to trust and exactly what Is going on with the team and the owners. One of the pivotal questions, which Hara doesn’t realize on her way into the situation, is why was she picked for this interview? Derek also has questions about why his friend, Charles Butler is acting so strange. They had been close friends but it seems that there is something going on with Charles.

The story moves along well. Except for the name “Darcy“ and the dislike that Hara has for Darcy through part of the book, the rest of the plot is NOT Pride and Prejudice.

This book is a nice light read with a few unexpected plot twists.

This book is set for publication on August 25, 2020. You can order it now to be delivered on the 25th.

Thanks for reading!

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On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe

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Dear Fellow Reader,

As far as I am concerned, it is a good day when the new beach reads for the year start arriving. Of course, when the release date for this book was planned, it was WAY before anyone was thinking about a pandemic. I am sure this is not what they wanted. The author was going to stop in my area on her book tour but now that has been canceled.

It could be the best time for a new book by Mary Alice Monroe. I am sure that we are all ready for something new. With most of us sheltering in place, “new” is not exactly happening. It is hard to have conversations when no one is doing anything.

download (7)On Ocean Boulevard is the sixth in the Beach House Series. It has been two years since the last book in this series, Beach House Reunion. It is time to catch up with the Rutledge family and what they have been doing. While all the members are part of the story, this book centers mostly on Linnea and Cara. Linnea is back from California jobless and without her boyfriend. She is feeling that she has failed and has returned with nothing. She is trying to keep an upbeat attitude. She came home for turtle time and she joins right in and helps the Turtle Team. Through that, she meets some new people.

In the meantime, Cara is getting married to David. While she is happy to marry him, she has some qualms about the wedding. She isn’t one for making a big fuss and it seems that this wedding is more than she asked for.

When an unexpected serious illness affects the family, Cara needs to re-evaluate her situation.

So, there are all the elements that we love in the Beach House Series. There is love, friendship, loss, and family. Since it has been two years since the last book, it might take you a few minutes to remember all the characters and where we left off. But it didn’t take me long to remember. It is a great relief from thinking about a pandemic. The is book is exactly what is needed right now.

I know that fans of these stories will enjoy the new relationships and character growth that are part of this new book in the series. This book will be published on May 19, 2020. (TOMORROW!)

(And that ever-present note – I was given a copy of this book in return for a fair review.)

Thanks for reading!

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Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer

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Dear Fellow Readers,

I know times are tough and I hope you are doing well.  I have a fun mystery for you.  I found out about this book from my local bookseller. (I can’t rave about Boswell Books in Milwaukee enough.)

  In a recent newsletter, the owner wrote about talking to Erica Ruth Neubauer. She has recently released her new book, Murder at the Mena House.  In the interview, she talked about how she read Murder at the Brightwell and how she liked the time period and vibe of the book.  I reviewed Murder at the Brightwell back in January (https://cecooney.com/2020/01/10/oh-those-cozies-three-cozy-mysteries/) and that caught my attention.  The other thing mentioned in the interview was that this is the first in a three-book series and that the second book has been written already.  Nice to know it is a series (which I am a sucker for) and that 2/3 of it is written already  We won’t be waiting 6 years for the next one.

download (5)Murder at the Mena House takes place in Egypt in 1926.  Jane Wunderly is traveling with Aunt Millie.  Aunt Millie feels that Jane should be using the time traveling to find a new husband.  Jane’s husband was killed in the war and she has shown no interest in getting married again. (and why is that?)

When they arrive at the Mena House, there are several interesting guests.  She first meets Colonel  Stainton and his daughter Anna. She also meets the mysterious Redvers, a handsome banker. Although she gets the feeling that he isn’t really a banker. Anna Stainton shows obvious distain for Jane and Jane’s impression is that Anna is a spoiled socialite.

Then Anna is killed.  And Jane is under suspicion for her murder by an imperious local policeman.  Jane knows she needs to clear her name but she is not sure who can be trusted.

The story has many parts to it. There is murder, there is blackmail and the secrets it was hiding and there is the question as to why Jane is not looking for a new husband. It is all finely woven and reveled during the book.

By the end, there is only one thing not clear but there are two more books…

I enjoyed Murder at the Mena House. I think the author did a good job with character development and the unraveling of the story.

If you were interested in finding out from the author about her book and about her, you can watch an interview with her https://www.jsonline.com/videos/entertainment/books/2020/04/08/erica-ruth-neubauer-talks-her-new-mystery-novel-murder-mena-house/2953245001/

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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