Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Love-Water-Memory

Photo Credit: Gallery Books

 

This book was sent to Traveling With T from Gallery Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Lucie is not like other women. She’s disciplined. She wears a protective shell. Designer clothes and goes after what she wants in life. At least she did. Lucie has no memory of the woman she was before after she is found in the San Francisco Bay. She only knows what she is told at the hospital- her name is Lucie and her fiancée is coming to get her.

When Grady comes to pick Lucie up, he grapples with what to tell her- does he tell her what happened the day she left? Will knowing that help or hurt her? He also grapples with this Lucie- this Lucie who eats carbs, this Lucie who does not have protective shell on- this Lucie who is kinder, less worried about appearances. Part of him wants the old Lucie- the Lucie he knew, the girl that helped make him the man he is today.

Lucie is struggling to remember things- and gets glimpses of memory at times- but when she looks at the life, the stuff of the old Lucie, she has to wonder why those things were so important to that Lucie- why she had all these designer clothes, makeup that covered freckles, that concealed who she was? Why did she feel the need to hide her true self?

When Lucie finds herself confronted with ways the old Lucie acted, she knows that she wants to be different. Lucie wants to be different than the Lucie she sees around the house- less rigid, more in the moment. More importantly, she wants to remember- needs to remember. When Lucie finds out that Grady has been keeping the fact that her aunt, her last living relative, calls to her a secret- she wonders why and knows she must talk to this aunt. Once Lucie begins to talk to her aunt, the power of the past comes back and Lucie begins to slowly understand things.

Together and separately, Lucie and Grady are on a journey to find out more, to remember about old Lucie and to find a place in life for new Lucie. The Lucie who needs protecting, but also needs to know the whole story about what happened on the day she left?

 

Traveling With T’s Thoughts

Love Water Memory, my first Jennie Shortridge book, takes an interesting concept- memory, and creates a book that is sure to please. Not being able to remember who you are and being comfortable with all the life choices “you” made- would you still make the same choices now that you have an opportunity to do differently? What if the man you chose can’t love the “new” you? Can you fault him? What if- when faced with all the previous trappings of your life- you find out that the new you does not like the “old” you? What then?

Jennie Shortridge explores this and much more in Love Water Memory– a book that is highly discussable for book lovers.

 

 

*Love Water Memory was sent to Traveling With T in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

To see what other She Reads bloggers are saying about the January She Reads Book Club Selection, please visit here or follow this hashtag on Twitter: #srblog.

 

 

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Whistling Past The Graveyard by Susan Crandall

whistling past graveyard

Photo Credit: Amazon

Starla knows about life being unfair. Living with her Mamie- a woman who lives to punish Starla for every little thing, who won’t share the “good cookies” and who is constantly trying to mold Starla into a lady- Starla knows a lot for her 9 years. However, while on a road trip to find and live with her mom, Starla’s eyes are opened to a whole different world- a world that sometimes is more unfair than her 9 year old self can understand or bear.

Starla is looking forward to the 4th of July parade and fireworks more than anything. Looking forward to it so much, she’s trying to toe the line with Mamie just so she won’t get punished and miss the fun. All is going good till Starla sees a boy bullying a little girl and gets into a fight with him. Which then leads to Starla being punished- and Mamie saying she can’t go to the parade or fireworks.  Starla decides to sneak to the parade anyway- and all is going good until a nosy neighbor sees her and chaos ensues. Starla, being fearful that Mamie will send her to reform school, decides it’s time to head to Nashville. Her mom is a famous singer in Nashville and life will be good.

Starla begins walking to Nashville, and meets Eula, a black lady who sells homemade pies. Eula has a white baby with her, and Starla is mighty curious about the baby- but accepts a ride to Nashville. Both Starla and Eula are leaving behind things in Cayuga Springs that they’d rather not have others know about- and Starla just knows that as soon as they make it to Nashville- her momma is going to be happy and take care of Starla and Eula.

The road trip to Nashville is eventful. Starla begins to see how people treat Eula and she is furious- which leads to problems. Eula, Starla and baby James find help along the way- and with the help, they are able to make it to Nashville. When Starla meets Lula- Starla finds out that Lula is not at all like what she remembers. Starla also finds out that Lula’s dreams and Starla’s hopes are not the same- which upsets Starla. Starla’s dad comes to get her, Eula and the baby- and when he finds out what the road trip entailed- he’s mighty grateful to Eula.

Back home in Cayuga Springs, Starla’s life is changing- and she’s taking to heart the lessons of life she learned on the road. At the end of the day, for a 9 year old, Starla learns much about life, love, and what makes a family, And thanks to Eula, Starla knows she has gifts- wonderful and beautiful gifts, and she knows it’s her responsibility to not only find the gifts- but to share with others.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Told from the perspective of a 9 year old girl, a girl who doesn’t understand why the world is the way it is- but gets a heavy dose of a life lesson- Starla is an unforgettable character, She’s a crusader for fairness, and believes in the people that love her. Starla may be a firey redhead- but she’s got a heart of gold. Susan Crandall weaves a storyline that is enjoyable, highly readable and excellent for discussion!

*This book was requested through Netgalley. The above review is my thoughts and opinion.

The Lake House by Marci Nault

The Lake House final cover

Marci Nault’s The Lake House is a tale of love, forgiveness, being true to yourself, and finding peace.

Victoria- one of the original Nagog residents. She and her girlfriends make the pact to never leave Nagog and live life there forever- with husbands, children, grandchildren. Then the war comes, the ladies sweethearts leave, and Victoria gets restless. She longs to experience life beyond the area of Nagog. Victoria breaks the pact and leaves- creating a rift with her friends. A rift, that for some, may never be able to be repaired.

Heather- from the outside she has everything. A career that she’s proud of, a man that cares for her, and a diamond engagement ring- Heather appears to be set for life. Except, she’s not. She doesn’t feel content or safe- and she longs to have a place, a life that is hers- a place where she won’t feel if she makes a mistake, life is over. Heather finds a place in Nagog and feels the stirrings of safety- so she buys the place.

Nagog, though, does not welcome either Heather or Victoria with open arms. Resentment burns through some of the community toward Victoria for past differences, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. For Heather, the residents do not want young people moving in the area- so they do everything to make the place least welcoming as possible.

Heather and Victoria strike up a friendship- and although neither are aware- both fill a need in each other’s life. As their friendship grows, secrets and advice are shared- and the bond deepens.

Can Victoria make amends to the community and people she left behind? Can Heather find the safety and happiness she has been craving? Read The Lake House to find out!

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Enjoyable read. Well thought out characters. Great setting. Wonderful storyline. A perfect read for pool-side or lake/beach-side. Victoria and Heather- characters that have had sadness- but deserve some happiness. You, as the reader, root for them to find their happy ending. Recommended.

 

Interview with Marci Nault, author of The Lake House

The Lake House final cover

Marci Nault’s The Lake House has been on my TBR list for some time. First the cover- well it just screams “read me!”- couple that with the plot and well- color me intrigued!

I won my copy of The Lake House from A Novel Review (Thanks, Laura!) and then Marci and I started chatting- and she agreed to be interviewed! So today is the interview with Marci (plus a #giveaway!) and then Wednesday will be an author spotlight.

 

Interview with Marci Nault

Marci, what was the inspiration for The Lake House?

 

I was living in California in an apartment I hated and terribly missing my family in Boston. I had a dream that I found my perfect lake house in Massachusetts and I bought it on the spot without doing any research. When I moved in, everyone was over the age of seventy and had lived there their entire lives. The neighbors would stop over and bring me casseroles and try to set me up with their grandsons. When I woke I knew I needed to write the story.

 

When creating characters, do you find that you base them on people you know or create them from your own imagination?

My main characters come to me. The first time I saw, Victoria Rose, she was standing in a sunroom at night with three candles lit. An old crocheted sweater was wrapped around her shoulders as she swayed to Patsy Cline. I realized that each flame was for a woman she’d lost and that she was grieving. Her pain was so real that in my mind I wanted to reach out and touch her. For months, Victoria would wake me at four in the morning wanting to tell me her story.

Secondary characters have aspects of the people in my life. Molly looks so much like my great grandmother. She was a pillow of hugs and always smelled like lilacs. Bill has traits of my grandfather and Carl my great uncle. But for the most part my characters take on a life of their own and they take me for a ride. I love the adventure of finding out what will happen next.

 

Who is your favorite character in The Lake House?

I love them all and they were so much fun to have in my life, but I have to say Molly is my favorite. She loves unconditionally and wraps everyone in warmth and care. I think everyone wishes they had a Molly in their lives. But Thomas, the old Casanova, was the most fun to write.

 

Can you describe The Lake House in 10 words or less?

Laughter, heartache, friendship, and the need to find home.

 

Marci- tell us about your writing space. Do you have a space or a routine?

I have an office that overlooks a park. My kittens like to sit at the window and watch the birds in the tree. The birds seem to know that the kittens can’t get them and so they come to the window and taunt.

When I need to feel like there’s a world outside my imagination and my house I have three different coffee shops where I work. And unfortunately many of my best ideas come at four in the morning, so I keep my laptop under my bed for these times.

I’m trying to find a routine, and I wish I were a writer who could sit down at the same time everyday and write, but my ideas come when they come. Sometimes they need to stew for a day or two and at other times I work around the clock. There are times I envy the 9-5 jobs my friends have. But most days I’m just incredibly grateful to do what I love.

 

101 Dreams Come True is a project of yours. How did it begin? How many dreams have you completed?

In the beginning of 2008, my life blew-up and continued to hit me hard for six months. Little did I know that it was destroying everything I didn’t need in order to have the life I was meant to live. By June I was sitting in a park in Sonoma, California praying for the pain to end. I was alone, lost, scared, and couldn’t remember the last time I laughed. I began to make a list of the times I was happiest in my life and I came up with about 15 things. Then I asked, “What if I wasn’t afraid? What if money wasn’t an issue? What if I didn’t fear failure? What would I want? How would I live?”

I began to make a list of dreams: live in Florence for a month; become a published novelist with a big publisher; learn to say what I feel without need or expectation; buy my home outright; and laugh so hard with a stranger my sides hurt. When I was done I had a list of 101 Dreams. I looked at the list and thought, yeah right!

 That night I was at a hotel in Napa hanging out with strangers and I ended up laughing so hard my stomach hurt. I went into the restroom and in the mirror I saw the smile on my face and thought, What if?

Since that day I’ve completed 90 of my biggest dreams in life including getting published with Gallery Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

 

Marci- what are you working on next? Do you have an idea for a future book?

I’m working on a novel about how our memories define who we are. It’s a love story that takes the main character on a journey through South America. But at this time, there’s been a strong call for a sequel to THE LAKE HOUSE, and I have to admit that I wouldn’t mind revisiting the characters of Nagog.

 

*Special thanks to Marci Nault for agreeing to be interviewed!

 

marci nault twitter

Marci Nault, author of The Lake House, can be found at Facebook, Twitter, and her website, plus the 101 Dreams Come True website. Marci is steadily working on her 101 Dreams List- and hopes you are too!

 

*Giveaway: 2 copies of The Lake House are up for grabs! To enter: comment and tell me the number of dreams you have for your life. Giveaway is open to US only (sorry!). Enter from August 5th-12th. Contest ends August 12th at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be notified August 13th.

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

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Happiness is a Mia March book (sorry Colin Firth’s fan club who contend that “Happiness is Colin Firth”)

3 women. A movie being filmed in town. Summer. And Colin Firth. Sounds like a summer to remember (and it is!) but how much does the charming Colin Firth play a role in the memories of the summer?

Gemma has been fired from her reporter job. Gemma is upset- being a reporter is like breathing to her- it’s just who she is. To her husband, though, this is good news. He’s ready to leave New York City and start life in a suburb with all the trimmings that goes with that life. Gemma knows two things: She’s not ready to give up her reporter life and she has a secret that will make life in the suburbs happen faster than she would be able to wrap her head around.

Bea is a young 20-ish girl. Finished with college, but employed as a short order cook- she’s taking time to grieve the loss of her mother before she moves on to a next plan. Until, she gets a letter from her deceased mother that explains Bea was adopted. Bea is unsure what to think of this- but knows she needs to at least see her birth mother before making a choice about what to do next.

Veronica- a great pie baker and lover of Colin Firth movies. She’s returned to Boothbay Harbor after leaving 22 years earlier, right after she placed her daughter with a new family. Veronica worries about what the town thinks of her- but tries to focus on being happy and making pies. She doesn’t know that her daughter is coming to Boothbay Harbor to see her.

Each of these three characters find themselves in Boothbay Harbor with their stories interweaving.  The summer teaches them all important things- they grow up, they find happiness, they learn lessons,  and enjoy Colin Firth movies!

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Pure fun. Love this book. Mia March does an excellent job with creating characters that the reader can care about, want these characters to find happiness, to learn important lessons. Boothbay Harbor is the best setting- it’s idyllic, laid-back feel makes the reader wish to be able to see the place (even though Mia does a great job at setting a visual description!) The Colin Firth movies, the relationships between the women- went hand in hand for a great summer read.

 

*Thanks to Mia March and Gallery Publishing for providing me with a review copy. The above thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

 

**Interview with Mia March and Author Spotlight: Mia March.