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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Sandra Brown’s Rainwater


Rainwater by Sandra Brown | LibraryThing

Brown, S. (2009). Rainwater. New York: Simon & Schuster. 9781439172773

Reasons for Reading : I sought a quick read and noticed a copy of Sandra Brown’s Rainwater setting on the shelf. Seeing the book reminded me that someone had recommended this as something different written by Sandra Brown. So, I checked it out from HCPL.

Summary : An older proprietor of Solly’s, an antiques store out in the middle of Nowhere, Texas receives a visit from well-to-do customers on their way back to Oklahoma. The wife asks the proprietor about the cost of his handsome pocket watch. The proprietor shakes his head and says it’s not for sale. The peculiarity of the name Solly leads the proprietor to tell the story of how the store came to be.

Back in 1934, Ella Barron runs a boardinghouse she inherited from her late parents. She rears her son Solly, a young boy like no other.  Ella works hard and does her best to ignore pitying glances. Things aren’t going well for the town as government slaughters cattle and leaves them for dead in order to drive up prices. Then, the town doctor brings his enigmatic cousin, David Rainwater, to the doorstep of Ella’s boardinghouse. Now, a woman who wishes not for charity has to make room for Rainwater as he is the only one who can work with Solly. Rainwater also turns narrow-minded town bullies on their heads. Ella’s existence of order and chores turns as she comes to life.

What I Liked : I liked the change of pace for Brown. While Brown doesn’t neglect her textured character studies and rich dialogue of her thrillers, Rainwater is not what I’d call a thriller. It’s historical fiction; it’s romantic. Some may call it a gentle read, even. I appreciated the tenderness the author extended to Solly, a child with autism but without a climate to accommodate him. I identified especially with the story line of the cattle slaughter as I had heard about it.

What I Disliked : I only wish Brown would write a few more along these lines. Yes, I enjoy thrill rides but I like leisurely strolls, too.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song : Sam Cooke – Summer time (w/ Lyrics)

Setting  : Texas

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Stephanie Perkins’ Lola and the Boy Next Door


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | LibraryThing

Perkins, S. (2011). Lola and the boy next door. New York, N.Y: Dutton Books. 9780525423287

Reasons for Reading  – Reading Anna and the French Kiss left me wanting …So, I requested Stephanie Perkins’ second novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door from HCPL.

Summary: Lola wishes for three things in life – 1) To arrive at her winter formal dressed in a Marie Antoinette-inspired ballgown she created, 2) For her parents to approve of her older, rocker boyfriend, and 3) To never again see the Bell Twins, Calliope and Cricket. Yet, as she constructs her fantastic costume, her folks won’t approve of her boyfriend Max, and the Bell Twins return to the house next door. Now, Lola can no longer avoid old feelings for Cricket, the boy next door. With a great set of colorful characters, Lola endeavors to navigate these troubled waters.

Review: I got a kick out of most of the characters in this books. I enjoyed their quirks and their extraordinary talents – Lola’s costume design, Cricket’s inventions, Calliope’s ice skating, etc. I also liked seeing Anna and St. Clair from Perkins’ first novel – Anna and the French Kiss. The only thing I didn’t care for about Lola and the Boy Next Door was Lola’s very mature relationship with her boyfriend Max. I thought Max was a real jerk and felt he knew better than to pursue a relationship with a minor. Nonetheless, all of this was real enough with just a dash of girlhood fantasy. 

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: “Lola”- The Kinks – YouTube

Setting : San Francisco

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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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