Ann Brashares’ My Name is Memory


My Name is Memory

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 9781594487583
Length: 324 pages
Publication Date: June 01, 2010
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Harris County Public Library

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Reasons for Reading: I came across this title on someone else’s Top Ten Tuesday list back in March. The premise and author Ann Brashares caught my interest. Quickly, I discovered a few copies of My Name is Memory on the shelf at a Harris County Public Library (HCPL) branch and checked out one.

Warning: This is a work of fiction which deals with the subject of reincarnation (past lives). If reincarnation is an offensive topic, please consider yourself warned. 

Summary: Lucy’s crush on the enigmatic Daniel kept her from approaching him. She gathers up courage at the high school graduation dance and approaches Daniel. Little does she know that she and Daniel go way, way back. Unlike most, Daniel recalls each of his past lives. In the first incarnation (that he remembers), Daniel encountered a woman (Lucy) that stole his heart. With each life, Daniel doggedly pursues a seemingly star-crossed love of his lives, the woman who once was called Sophia. Added to a mix is a vengeful brother from that fateful first life who’s after blood. Brashares employs both Daniel’s first person and Lucy/Sophia’s third-person views. This tale of epic proportions begins in 552 AD Asia Minor and carries on through to 1918 England and Twenty-First Century Virginia.

One Thing I Learned from this book: There was an earthquake in AD 526. To learn more about it, visit the following, linked phrase – 526 Antioch Earthquake – Wikipedia

What I Liked: As a historical fiction fan, I enjoyed the passages set in the past. I especially liked reading about events in the First Millennium AD. Also, Brashares’ characters in this book differed greatly from those in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. While I enjoyed reading about Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget, I appreciate Brashares’ originality in character formation.

What I Disliked: I refuse to spoil the ending but I hope Brashares can write the other books planned involving Daniel and Lucy.

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 

 

Song: Nat King Cole, Unforgettable

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Jude Deveraux’s Lavender Morning (Edilean Series #1)


Jorie’s Store – Lavender Morning (Edilean) By Jude Deveraux

 
Title and Author(s):  Jude Deveraux’s Lavender Morning (Edilean Series #1)
Release Date: March 31, 2009

Publisher: Atria Books

ISBN: 9780743437202
Pages: 384
Source: Harris County Public Library

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Reasons for Reading: I wanted to read another Jude Deveraux as I was wanting a dash of magical realism. When I found the Edilean series, I made sure I began with the first book.

Summary: When Jocelyn Minton’s beloved friend and mentor, Edilean “Miss Edi” Harcourt, dies, Jocelyn inherits Edilean’s historic birthplace in the small town of Edilean, Virginia. Jocelyn moves away from her careless father and step family to Edilean. The late Miss Edi also left Jocelyn a letter about a mystery dating back to 1941. Lastly, Miss Edi tells Jocelyn that the perfect man for her lives there.

As Jocelyn settles into her new home, she discovers Miss Edi, among many others, aren’t quite what they seem. Jocelyn follows the clues within this mystery bequeathed to her as well as her own future.

One Thing I Learned from reading Jude Deveraux’s Lavender MorningI imagined parents hid vegetables so their kids would eat them. However, I didn’t realize that bakers actually strained spinach into chocolate cupcakes!

What I Liked: I enjoyed the banter between several characters – especially Jocelyn and Luke. Also, I liked the bits about gardening and I liked the title – the first enticement to read this book. I also loved the parts of the story that took place in the 1940s.

What I Disliked: There were a whole bunch of characters. Also, there were characters with similar names. Yet, I felt this was Deveraux’s effort to establish a new series.

RR - Yellow  Rainbow Rating: Yellow – Parental Guidance for Kids Under 13

Song: The Andrews Sisters’ – Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B

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Jude Deveraux’s Secrets


Jorie’s Store – Secrets: A Novel

 
Title and Author(s):  Jude Deveraux’s Secrets
Release Date:
May 06, 2008
Publisher: Atria Books

ISBN: 978-0743437189
Pages: 320
Source: Harris County Public Library

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Reasons for Reading: While I was waiting for books I’d requested, I had nothing to read. Naturally, I found myself at the library, looking for lighter reading material. I recalled that Jude Deveraux wrote contemporary, romantic suspense. Since I hadn’t read  one of her books in years, I found Secrets and checked it out from the library.

Summary: Cassie Madden lived under the thumb of her commandeering mother. At age twelve, Cassie meets the love of her life, Jefferson Ames, a young man who rescues her from drowning. Since then, Cassie has done everything to get away from her mother and be with Jeff.  After college, Cassie moves to  Williamsburg, VA where the widowed Jeff lives with his daughter, Elsbeth. Cassie becomes Elsbeth’s nanny and still can’t get Jeff to look at her.

Jeff’s neighbor, renowned acting legend Althea Fairmont, is a recluse. Then, Cassie hears shots coming from Althea’s estate. That’s when Cassie discovers that Althea knows a great many secrets. These secrets turn Cassie’s quiet life upside down.

One Thing I Learned from reading Jude Deveraux’s SecretsI didn’t quite realize that there was a “Colonial Williamsburg” and the “rest of Williamsburg.”

What I Liked: I enjoyed Cassie’s character. She was smart and funny. While she may have been naive, I think she was pretty cool. I found the parts about Williamsburg and gardening interesting, too.

What I Disliked: The story seems to have some holes in it. However, if you go in for a reading joyride, it’s not so bad 😉

Song: The All-American Rejects – Dirty Little Secret

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James Patterson and Richard DiLallo’s The Christmas Wedding


The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson | LibraryThing

Patterson, J., & DiLallo, R. (2011). The Christmas wedding. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316097390

Reasons for Reading : As I worked towards reading sixty books, my mom recommended this James Patterson (and Richard DiLallo) book as a quick read. She borrowed the book from HCPL and finished it long before it was due. Also, I wanted to read a James Patterson book. Don’t worry, I still plan to try an Alex Cross soon 🙂 .

Summary: Fifty-something widow Gaby Summerhill and her estranged family haven’t reassembled since the services of her late husband. Gaby sends out a video to all four of her grown children, inviting them to her wedding which will be held in the barn on her Massachusetts estate. Guess what! It’s on Christmas Day (please refer to title). Who is the amazing Gaby joining in holy matrimony? Well, come and find out on Christmas, Gaby tells her kids. Also, we’re offered glimpses into the emotional upheaval within the lives of the Summerhill progeny – Claire, Emily, Seth, and Lizzie.

Review : I enjoyed this book – it was light without schmaltz. The characters were easily perceivable, identifiable, and even likable. The Summerhills are fun and altruistic. Oh, and, yes, it’s a quick, seasonal read. I urge anyone yearning to get into the yuletide spirit to read it.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Eartha Kitt with Friends Santa Baby – YouTube

Setting : Massachusetts, South Carolina, New York City, Boston

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Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper


The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen | LibraryThing

Allen, S. A. (2011). The peach keeper: A novel. New York: Bantam Books. 9780553807226

Reasons for Reading : Okay, I’ve enjoyed all of the Sarah Addison Allen’s books thus far and I wanted to read The Peach Keeper. Upon returning from England, I happily found two copies on the shelf of my HCPL branch. I checked out one and read it within a week.

Summary: Thirty-year old Willa Jackson has resigned herself to a quiet life in her hometown of Walls of Waters, North Carolina. She runs a camping goods store and looks forward to laundry night. Her days of high school joker are long behind her. Willa discovers that her old high school classmate, philanthropic socialite Paxton Osgood, has restored the Jackson family’s former home – the Blue Ridge Madam. Paxton anticipates turning the Blue Ridge Madam into an inn. Then, the landscaping crew unearths a skeleton beneath the lone peach tree. Willa’s quiet life shatters as she and Paxton face their intertwined family histories.

Review : While I enjoyed more Garden Spells and The Girl Who Chased the Moon, I also liked The Peach Keeper. I appreciated the reality of these characters, especially Paxton’s relationship with Sebastian Rogers as well as several characters’ attempts to reconcile the past with the present and the future. However, I didn’t care for the 1930s storyline of their grandmothers. Lastly, my absolute favorite part of this novel were the Easter eggs of Garden Spells’ Claire and Bay Waverly.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: Heart – Magic Man – YouTube

Setting : Walls of Water, North Carolina

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Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon


The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen | LibraryThing

Allen, S. A. (2010). The girl who chased the moon. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 9781444706611

After reading her two previous books, I couldn’t wait to read Sara Addison Allen’s third – The Girl Who Chased the Moon. I requested the book from HCPL.

Seventeen-year-old orphan Emily Benedict, travels to Mullaby, North Carolina. She moves in with her maternal grandfather, gentle giant Vance. Grandpa Vance does not talk much of the late Dulcie, Emily’s mother. Soon, Emily finds many folks in Mullaby hold a grudge against Dulcie. However, Emily discovers friends as well. One of these is Julia Winterson, a woman paying back her late father’s debt and once a girl Dulcie bullied. Julia bakes delicious cakes at her dad’s old BBQ restaurant. There’s Win, a boy just about Emily’s age who hasn’t inherited his family’s grudge against Dulcie. Then, there’s this amazing light show at night.

I liked The Girl Who Chased the Moon almost as much as Garden Spells and more than The Sugar Queen. The characters are more my speed – especially Julia. Maybe it’s the cakes.


Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: Van Morrison – Moondance – YouTube

Places : North Carolina

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Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen


The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen | LibraryThing

Allen, S. A. (2008). The sugar queen. New York, N.Y: Bantam Dell. 9780553805499

I enjoy Garden Spells so much that I checked out Sarah Addison Allen’s second novel, The Sugar Queen from HCPL. I looked forward to returning the enchanted world of Allen’s North Carolina.

Josey Cirrini leads a predictable life in ski resort town Bald Slope, North Carolina. The twenty-seven year olds lives with her mother, the quintessential Southern Belle, whom Josey serves hand and foot. She loves winter and enjoys her stockpile of candy and romance novels in her closet. This all changes when Josey finds local waitress Della Lee Baker living in her closet. What should Josey do?

While I didn’t adore The Sugar Queen the way I did Allen’s Garden Spells, I liked this book. Characters from the warm Josey and Chloe to the chilly Margaret Cirrini are of the slice of life variety. I wasn’t terribly crazy about the mystery of Jake’s one night stand. Still, I appreciated that Allen didn’t tie all loose ends neatly – making this an authentic novel about everyday life with a dash of magic.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: YouTube – ‪The Archies Sugar Sugar‬‏

Places : North Carolina

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