The Glass Kitchen: a novel of Sister by Linda Francis Lee (2014) – Fiction
Portia Cuthcart grew up in Texas. Her parents were fairly poor, but their love was so great that after Portia’s father died while she was still a child, her mother followed in only a few short months. Portia and her older sisters went to live with their grandmother who ran a restaurant called The Glass Kitchen. Her grandmother has a gift that Portia has also inherited. . . food comes to their minds (and then they must cook or bake it, usually without knowing why right away) in a way that can predict the future.
After Portia predicts her grandmother’s death, Portia gives up The Glass Kitchen in Texas, and marries her politician boyfriend. For him, she subdues the cooking, and becomes a polished and bland politician’s wife. Three years into their marriage, it comes out that her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend. She escapes to New York City, where she moves into the garden apartment her beloved great aunt had willed to her. Gradually, she gives in to the demands of the food . . . and her new neighbors.
I enjoyed this book overall, and give it four of five stars. However, it says it is a novel of sisters. I suppose in a way it is. At first, I thought it was just about Portia and her sisters (her sisters are really pretty flat characters, though.) It is not. Portia meets the man upstairs who as two daughters, and actually, this story is more about those two sisters – their relationship with each other, their dad, and even with Portia. It also about the grief over the loss of their mother (and the secrets their mother was hiding.)
Summer Reading Online (Book 27 of 30)
The Look of Love by Sarah Jio (2014) – Fiction
Jane was born on Christmas and receives a gift she learns about on her 29th birthday, which explains her health issues over the years: she can see true love! Before her 30th birthday, she must identify several types of love otherwise face consequences (possibly no true love for herself, for instance.)
I actually liked this book by Jio better than the other two books I read earlier this summer by the same author. This one actually seemed more plausible in a way. I liked Jane – she seemed more realistic as a person. She also didn’t take months to read some found item (like in the other two book.) It is actually a really sweet story. Will Jane find her true love? Will it be too late?
Four stars out of five.
Summer Reading Online (21 of 30)
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio (2014)
June is a high-powered banker in New York City. She sleeps, eats, breathes her work. She has very little contact with her family anymore, especially since her younger sister slept with her boyfriend. In fact, they live in Seattle, and NYC was about as far as she could get. Her job (closing small businesses in foreclosure) doesn’t leave her much time to travel, either, so she doesn’t even go home for Christmas.
Her aunt was sad that June didn’t come back home for Christmas. . . and there was a reason why. She was dying but didn’t share this over the phone with June. June found out some months later with a letter from her aunt’s attorney that everything was left to June. Her aunt’s business was a children’s bookstore that had been in business since 1943. June think she is just going to go out there to Seattle, sell it off, and get back to her “real” life. However, she is reminded how much she loved her aunt and loved the bookstore once she gets there. She also discovers that her aunt was best friends with Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight, Moon, and many other children’s book.
I totally enjoying reading this book. I liked the dualilty of June’s story paired with her aunt’s story. I must admit that parts of this book is rather unrealistic, though. June falls in love with Gaving, the business owner next door, and Gavin falls in love with her even faster. . . for one thing. Again, like Jio’s other title that I recently read (The Violets of March), I wondered why, when June discovered the letters and clues her aunt left, June just didn’t get moving and discover the truth that much sooner. . . like Violets and the diary – why weren’t the characters so interested that they just didn’t stay up all night trying to read/find them all?
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and do recommend it.
(Summer Reading Online – 13/30)
The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
Emily’s Great-Aunt Bee invites her spend a month at her home on Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound. Emily had written a very popular novel years before, but now she has major writer’s block . . . in part because her husband has left her for another woman. On the island, Emily remembers wonderful childhood summers spent there in the home of her Aunt Bee. It is a wonderful place to take a break.
In the drawer of the “pink bedroom”, she discovers a diary written in 1943. As she reads it slowly, she begins to discover the connections to her own life, both literally and figuratively.
This book appealed to me personally because I loved genealogy mysteries. This book in part includes this very appealing aspect. I could not stop reading this book, and even tried to read while cooking at the stove! I think the only real criticism of this book that I have is that if I were the main character, I would have real the entire diary in one fell swoop – even if that meant staying up to 4 am. She instead seems to just read an entry or two a day, and I found that alone extremely annoying. I realize that the story needed to unfold a bit more slowly, but I do question if that is what would really happen in real life!
(12 of 30 for Summer Reading Online)
The Proposal at Siesta Key by Shelley Shepard Gray (“Fiction/Amish”)
It was nice. I just read the first one of this series (Amish Brides of Pinecraft) four weeks ago, and it was nice, too. They are fairly fluffy romances (and labeled “Fiction/Amish” on the back.) I like light reading every now and then. Penny is New Order Amish, and living in Pinecraft, Florida. Even though she is now 24, she has always lived at home, and has never even held a part-time job. Her sister was brutally murdered 12 years before, and now her parents remain very overprotective. She has now decided to make friends, get a job, and in the midst of this, finds love.
(Summer Reading Online – 10 of 30)
The Accidental Book Club by Jennifer Scott (Fiction)
Jean is in her 60s, and just kind of drifting through life right now. She has her daily rituals concerning grieving for her husband who died a couple of years before. However, she somehow, accidentally, started a book club that met in her home once a month. Food is a big thing for he book club, except that she is not the best cook.
Everything is disrupted (and int the end, for the good) when her son-in-law calls to tell her that her daughter is an alcoholic, and is in the hospital for alcohol poisoning and a broken wrist. There she discovers that her teenaged granddaughter is acting out to get attention because her parents seem to not care at all. Suddenly her granddaughter (who loves books and reading, too) is living with her and life for them both is changing.
Overall I like this book, and I just had to keep reading it how it would end! (I give it four stars of five.) However, I thought we were going to hear more about the women of the book club when I first chose this book to read. Some of the book club women seem very flat and undeveloped. It would have been nice to be able to get to know them a bit more.
(Summer Reading Online – 9 of 30)
Fright Court by Mindy Klasky
Sarah Anderson quit law school after one year, and has been bouncing around jobs ever since. Now, she has acquired a job she loves as a court clerk for night court in Washington D.C. However, it all seems a little strange right from the start. Her first night in the courtroom of Judge DuBois is anything but normal. In fact, she almost dies when the defendant attacks her, and the Head of Security saves her life. (And no, she doesn’t become a vampire.) Read this book to find out what happens next!
It is actually a fairly light read that is perfect for the summer, or anytime you want a little bit of adventure and a bit of fright.
Summer Reading Online (Book 8 of 30)