Friday, June 28, 2013

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

Synopsis from Goodreads: Meet Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean in the New York Times best-selling novel . . .
Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio.  Dubbed “the Supremes” by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life’s storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband’s humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.

Through marriage, children, happiness, and the blues, these strong, funny women gather each Sundayat the same table at Earl’s diner for delicious food, juicy gossip, occasional tears, and uproarious banter.

With wit and love, style and sublime talent, Edward Kelsey Moore brings together four intertwined love stories, three devoted allies, and two sprightly earthbound spirits in a big-hearted debut novel that embraces the lives of people you will never forget.

My Review:
This was an interesting story it had me laughing at times and crying at others. These 3 women, friends since they were teens have gone through a lot, each dealing with their circumstances in their own way, yet knowing that the other women were there for them no matter what. I loved Odette she handled her circumstance gracefully and I loved her ghosts, which included her pot smoking mama and a drunken Mrs. Roosevelt these scenes had me laughing hard. Barbara Jean was a sad case but I loved seeing her grow throughout the book into a much stronger woman than she had been. Clarice has a philandering husband and finally gets up the guts to leave him but the consequences and outcome of that makes for a very interesting story too.

I enjoyed this book I think it’s a good one if you are a fan of southern fiction, or friendship stories. What is shocking is that this book is written by a man because he nailed these friendships and the women’s “voices” which isn’t easy for a male author to do and he does it very well. Also for a first novel this book is very well written I look forward to another book by this author, I think he is a rising star!

4 Stars

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Looking For Me by, Beth Hoffman

Looking For Me by, Beth Hoffman

This book grabbed me from the first paragraph I thought it was a memorable start:
“Some people run towards life, arms flung wide in anticipation. Others crack open the door and take a one-eyed peek to see what’s out there. Then there are those who give up on life long before their heart stops beating- all used up, worn out, and caved in, yet wake each morning and shuffle their tired legs through another. Maybe they’re hoping for change—a miracle, even—but runaway dreams and lost years hang heavily in their backs. It’s the only coat they know how to wear.”

I also thought this was a great quote to:
“I thought about the old saying, how we can never go home again. But I think it’s more like a piece of us stays behind when we leave- a piece we can never reclaim, one that awaits our next visit and demands that we remember.”

Teddi is a great character she is so down to earth yet driven artistically, we share her life in present day and flashbacks and her journey is not always a happy one. The descriptions of the furniture that Teddi restores sound so amazing you can see them clearly in your head (I want a chest made by her). The people Teddi meets in her life that help on her path to her dreams are great, especially Mr. Palmer he sees her amazing talent in her first piece and later he takes her in and gives her so much support to live out her dream, he’s a great character. Also in the shop are Albert & Inez who I also fell in love with and also her best friend Olivia and Granny Belle  I also loved that Teddi let people be themselves she never judged her friends (her mother may be a different story but I am not going to spoil that for you). But these are the people in her adult life and the two people that believed in her are gone, her father and her brother Josh but Josh isn’t dead at least not to Teddi he walked away from the farm one day and was never seen again but Teddi has always believed he is out there in the woods living in nature and with the animals he loves. Josh is also an amazing character written with such feeling and conviction, and makes me want to believe what Teddi believes!

Towards the end of the book I slowed reading, I got to a certain point and didn’t want to know what happens because that would mean the end of the book...I've picked it up and set it down about three times I don't want to leave yet! Done now, I miss these characters already!

Beth Hoffman is a great storyteller she makes you care about each and every person, there is no bad guys just people who make choices on how to act that affects others in ways they may not realize until it is too late. She made me want to go to Charleston to see the amazing architecture and to go to every antique shop until I find one of Teddi’s chests. Also we have a few of Charleston’s more colorful characters in Mrs. Poteet and Zelda who make life interesting.

I adored this book, it is very different from CeeCee yet gives you major feels like CeeCee did, but really that and it being set in the south are the only similarities, I thought this was a unique book with a hint of magical realism coming from the Native American beliefs held by Josh. I say this is unique because there isn’t really a lot going on, it is just Teddi’s life, yet I couldn’t put it down and as I said I didn’t want to stop when I got to the end. Beth Hoffman made me feel like the people in this book could be my friend, that is the magic of her writing, she makes you care. I will read anything she puts on paper!

5 Stars

I received this book from the author for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Orphan Train by, Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by, Christina Baker Kline

What a fabulous read! The author mixed the historical and present day story so seamlessly I was completely hooked.

The story of the orphan train is so sad, these children were herded up like cattle and sent away from everything they knew, sent to a strange land with people who may or may not take care of them. For some it was indentured servitude, others were free labor that came with beatings. Some, the lucky ones found homes with people who truly cared about their well-being, and then ones like Niamh/Dorothy/Vivian had to go through a few bad ones to find the good one. These children lost their heritage, their names, and their religion. I felt the author’s research was very thorough and this book like historical fiction should be makes me want to read more and more about the orphan trains.

In the present day we meet Molly a Penobscot Indian in foster care after her father dies and her mother is in no shape to take care of her, she bounces from one bad home to another. When she gets in trouble her boyfriend sets it up for her to do her community service with his mother’s boss Vivian a 91 year old woman who needs help cleaning out her attic. As the two go through the boxes of Vivian’s life they realize they have much more in common than anyone would have ever guessed.

I loved the relationship between Vivian & Molly how both are wary because of what they have been through and to see this relationship grow through the stories Vivian tells as they unearth her life that has been tucked away in boxes.

I truly enjoyed this story and I think Molly and Vivian will stay with me for a while. This was my first book by this author but she has piqued my curiosity and I will be looking for her other books.

I highly recommend this book but be warned it is hard to put down and will stay with you long after you finish!

4 ½ Stars