What’s On My Nightstand

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees (currently languishing…)
New York by E. Rutherfurd (gotta start it – it’s looooong)
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chavelier (forgot I had it until I was cleaning)
Captivity by Deborah Noyes (for bookclub — creepy weird and based on true story – making it really creepy weird!)
The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi (YA historical fiction)
and yes – a Rhys Bowen Molly Murphy installment!

And where they are from: From the library except for Lost Summer and Remarkable Creatures which were given to me by fellow book bloggers and New York which was a birthday gift.

Audiobook Review: Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson

Well, once again I’ve been missing in action. Not to make excuses, but I’ve been out of the house a lot lately between end of the school year commitments, activities at my theater, and I just hosted a really fun wedding shower for my niece and had loads of relatives here for it! But — I haven’t forgotten you, gentle readers!! I listened to this audiobook over (ahem) Memorial Day weekend and wanted to let you know about it. I also read in some other blogs that this is audiobook week in the blogosphere, so I’d like to hereby pretend that I knew that and was waiting to create this post.

So, without further ado, let me share my thoughts on Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson. First, if you know me, you know I enjoy James Patterson’s novels. This looked like a real change for him — a romance basically — and I was curious how he would handle it. Well, to be honest, I’m still a bit on the fence as to whether I liked this book or not. The story is told in alternating chapters between Jennifer, a young professional, and her beloved grandmother, Samantha (Sam), who raised her after her parents were killed. Sam is in a coma and Jennifer finds the letters at her house. They reveal a lot about Sam’s life that is eye-opening and profound for Jennifer. At the same time, Jennifer begins a relationship with an old friend, Brendan, whom she then finds out (BIG SPOILER ALERT!) is terminally ill. Far be it from me to tell you if Sam survives, if Brendan survives, and if even Jennifer survives. However, during this novel, which I listened to in the car, I’d think “Why in the world am I listening to this??? This reminds me of one of my least favorite books (sorry, fans) ‘Bridges of Madison County'”. But I kept listening….interpret that as you may!

I did enjoy the fact that this novel was read by two different narrators, embodying Jennifer and Sam. I particularly enjoyed Sam’s voicing. And just to add — I got it from the library.

Overall, I’d give it 3 1/2 Stars!

REVIEW: The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

I really enjoy the novels of Elizabeth Berg — I’ve read almost all of them. So when I saw that she had a new one out this spring I decided to purchase it. The Last Time I Saw You focuses on a group of people attending their 40th and final high school reunion.

First let me say, in case you don’t know me personally, I am one of those people who just love, love, love their high school reunions. It may be due to the fact that I moved 3,000 miles away to go to grad school and I’ve stayed 3,000 miles away – or perhaps because I really did enjoy my time in high school – but regardless, sign me up, put me first in line, make me help organize it, whatever — I just love a reunion.

Now when I first ordered this book from Amazon I mistakenly thought it was about a 30th reunion. As I’m in my forties, I thought that’d be a perfect fit. However, when the book arrived I realized the people were attending their 40th reunion. I wondered: do I really have much in common with people who are 58?? Well, here’s the shocker, friends — yes, I do. With the exception that the offspring of the characters were grown and on their own and most of my friends and I still have children at home — these people worried about and were dealing with the same issues that face me and my peers every day: relationships, marriages, children, careers, health, and – yep – growing older.

So, without giving too much away (which you know I hate to do!), this novel follows several different characters as they plan for and attend the reunion — their hopes, their insecurities, their dreams, their realities. I have to say, I was at first worried that Ms. Berg might be writing in clichés: the gorgeous woman whose perfectionism hides a less than perfect life, the good-looking bit-of-a-jerk who is now less good-looking but still a bit-of-a-jerk, the outcast, the athletes, the cheerleaders, the nerd, the desperate female. However, once I really thought about it, I had to wonder: are these clichés or archetypes? Doesn’t just about every high school class have a nerd, an outcast, a cheerleader? Is Berg really writing about universals here? Because the more I read of these people, the more I read of myself and my friends.

I really enjoyed the book, as I do most of Elizabeth Berg’s novels. I highly recommend it if you like this type of “slice of life” read.

I give it 4 1/2 Stars!