Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson
What do you get when you cross Mary Poppins with a foul-mouthed firefighter? - Lillian. When Lillian's very wealthy friend that she hasn't seen since school asks her to come right away because she needs her Lillian takes a look around at her dead-end life and goes. Lillian is unprepared for what the job being offered, that of being a live-in governess to a set of very unusual twins. The kids have a skill? affliction? talent? that might make it difficult for their dad and stepmom to reach their political dreams. Soon it becomes clear that Lillian and these kids are going to have to take on the world. Funny, very unusual and a total tearjerker at the same time, this is an insane look at parenting and love. As Smokey the Bear would have told Lillian - only you can prevent kids on fire.
Find Me by Andre Aciman
The years have passed since Elio first discovered Oliver and any relationship since that time has been dissected by both of them. This story is so much more than that - it is truly about finding love wherever and with whomever you can. The author has eloquently described the butterflies in the stomach of that first attraction, the danger of an inappropriate couple and finally the acceptance that comes with time and age that it really doesn't matter. This is a lush story of the love between fathers and sons, fathers and daughters and partners no matter what the sex or age. The Italian countryside is lush, the language is musical and the message is clear - the heart doesn't care. A sequel but easily works as a standalone.
This is the second installment of a time-traveling young woman with a gift of holding an old object and knowing its story or that of its owner. Xanthe lives with her mom in a quaint English village where they operate an antique shop, giving Xanthe plenty of access to objects and when she picks up a chocolate pot she knows that the love of her life (lifetimes ago) is in trouble. We follow their story and discover other time travelers known as "spinners" from the 17th century. Well crafted and completely believable, this novel has curiosity, danger, mystery and a touch of romance. A time travel historical novel with a spin.
From the first essay we know a few things about Gary Janetti - he is a very funny writer, he is gay and very content to be that way and he has a few words he would like to say about his childhood, young adulthood and all those people who put him down instead of rising him up. He is very good at calling out the curmudgeon in all of us like the bellman who hates it when you use the bell, the school bully who thinks it is a riot to erase the "r" off Gary's name and all the cranky customers he has dealt with along the way. Don't think this is just a rant book because some things do make him happy - addictive old soap operas, Patti LuPone and Mykonos
The non-fiction follow-up to the real story of the infamous Tennessee Children's Home Society that played a major role in the book, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate. The Director, Georgia Tann sold hundreds of children, mostly newborns, and toddlers over the years. That these children were sold was bad enough but the home was responsible for stealing newborns away from their mothers and those mothers were told that the child died or in the case of twins, that one of the babies died at birth. Many of the children stayed within the area but many were shipped off to California and the East Coast. These are a handful of those children or the families of those children that thanks to the records now open and Ancestry.com have been able to reconnect with those families they were ripped away from. The majority of the children were treated very well by their new parents but there were scores of other children that were abused and neglected in the Children's Home Society. Heart rendering stories of now older adults who have wondered their whole lives about their real family. The author and Lisa Wingate planned a reunion and this is how the stories were collected reuniting families and giving them answers and peace.
A Dog's Promise by W. Bruce Cameron
A sweet story that continues the many lives of a special dog and his unique way of helping the people he loves. As Cooper, he is now helping a young boy who is wheelchair-bound and lives on a farm. The farm is in trouble and part of that trouble stems from the large corporate farming nearby and the Asian family who works for them. Racial tension, small-town farming vs. big corporate farming practices, sibling rivalry, friendship and dealing with disabilities all play a role in this story. For dog lovers naturally but also if you are just in need of a sweet story with perfect dogs guiding their imperfect humans.
Maxine is adrift. She once had a husband, a successful career and a clever son working in Silicon Valley. Now, she isn't as quick to get to her job as a noted professor at the University of Michigan, her husband is dead and her son has gone off the grid plus there is a madman called the Technobomber who is blowing up people and it may be someone she and her son know quite well. She worries that there may be a connection to the bomber and her son's disappearance and she also knows that in telling what she knows to the FBI she may be giving up her son. This is a classic tale of doing the right thing, taking a hard look at our own mortality and finding our own place in the universe.
The Body by Bill Bryson
Enter the wonderful world of Bill Bryson who has a master's touch for explaining things in a way that we all understand and are fascinated by. When he takes apart our body, system by system, piece by piece we not only understand more about our inner workings but we have been thoroughly entertained along the way. He is the master of anecdote, the king of clever tidbits of knowledge and his easygoing writing style gives you a greater appreciation for the intricate machine we call our body. Here's to not-stuffy science!
Saul Adler is a young man who is a historian specializing in the Eastern Block. He thinks he is in love with a young art student in London, his friend a translator in East Germany and has an unusual relationship with the translator's sister. After a car accident in the famous crosswalk of Abbey Road, Saul's memories begin to be unfocused. The result is the reader is not sure what really happened to Saul and what memories are really just his desire to get it right. Saul's life cascades into a million different paths until we come to him in a hospital room, middle-aged and very ill. Dreams, hopes, sexual awakening, political ghosts and shortcomings all play out before our eyes. Beautifully written but I did have a bit of trouble sorting out the life he wanted with the life he had.
The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes
The mountain people of Kentucky are known to be a very tight-knit group and this distrust and racial tension was evident in the difficulties that the horseback librarians had in convincing the people in power in small communities that it was very much needed. These brave women from all backgrounds were so much more than delivery people bringing recipes books and romance novels - they were a lifeline that connected remote mountain dwellers providing news, entertainment, educational materials and more. It took a group of mismatched, tough as nails women to tackle the progressive program that Eleanor Roosevelt envisioned. A powerful story of what happens when you tell someone they can't do something. Loved the real characters and their unusual backgrounds.
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