??? - Jodi Picoult's House Rules
??? - Neil Gaiman's Coraline
??? - Mary Kay Andrews The Fixer Upper
??? - Kristin Hannah On Mystic Lake
??? - Patricia Gaffney Mad Dash
7/10/11 - About a year ago I was browsing the Barnes & Noble bargain section, a great place to find discounted books, and I picked up Lolly Winston's Happiness Sold Separately. I have read her first book, Good Grief, and enjoyed the way that her characters were so real, and that happened again for me in this book. There were times that I felt like Elinor and I could be really great friends, and I felt kind of sad to leave her behind at the end. I felt good for her as the novel wrapped up, and I loved the unusual ending (it definitely isn't how I would have written it!). A quote that resonated with me from the book comes from page 289, "It's easy to love someone, when you get right down to it. What's really hard is to have compassion for them." This reminded me of a lot of people who I know who have difficult times in relationships, romantic, family or otherwise, and I think that it offers bits of wisdom on many topics.
7/6/11 - After owning it on my Nook for a few months, I finally took off and read Jennifer Weiner's book, Fly Away Home, a sensitive glimpse into a family whose lives are made public because of their political roles. As is common in the news today, the main storyline is the story of a senator's wife who learns of her husband's affair watching the news in a train station. The book ties in the stories of the wife and her two daughhters as they all struggle to determine their own desires against the expected behaviors of the roles they've always played. I was glad to see the sensitivity that the author showed through the characters, and the topics of infidelity, love, forgiveness, and motherhood were all handled in believable ways. Perhaps my favorite thing was that this book offers hopeful resolutions for grim or disappointing situations. 3.5/5 stars.
7/3/11 - I just finished Elin Hilderbrand's book, Barefoot, which I originally went for because it had already been splattered with water, so I wasn't too concerned with it getting wet or falling in the lake. Ultimately, it was a safe book for many more reasons. It wasn't particularly engrossing for me, so I didn't mind reserving it for daytime reading only. Despite having a lot to do with relationships, it didn't make me weepy (except for at the end), and I'd feel comfortable passing this book on to just about anyone. It was clean and sensitive. It covered a lot of subject matter: cancer, suicide, motherhood, marriage and fidelity, etc., but it wasn't overwhelming. It wrapped up neatly, so it was a lovely escape - just like floating on a raft on a perfect summer day (which was where I read the second half).