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    $17.13 $14.99 list($25.95)
    1. Zorro : A Novel
    $9.80 $8.75 list($14.00)
    2. The Time Traveler's Wife (Harvest
    $13.97 $11.98 list($24.95)
    3. True Believer
    $15.61 $14.29 list($22.95)
    4. The Bitch Posse
    $16.47 list($24.95)
    5. Ya-Yas in Bloom : A Novel
    $17.16 $17.15 list($26.00)
    6. Beyond Black : A Novel (John MacRae
    $16.47 $15.80 list($24.95)
    7. Zorro SPA : Una Novela
    $15.40 $11.98 list($22.00)
    8. Three Weeks with My Brother
    $17.65 $15.55 list($25.95)
    9. The Breakdown Lane
    $16.29 $11.95 list($23.95)
    10. The Ice Queen : A Novel
    $17.82 list($27.00)
    11. Impossible
    $6.00 $2.17 list($7.50)
    12. The Notebook
    $9.00 $0.63 list($12.00)
    $16.80 list($24.00)
    14. Pretty Woman: A Novel
    $16.29 $11.77 list($23.95)
    15. The Other Woman
    $16.47 $14.85 list($24.95)
    16. The Year of Pleasures : A Novel
    $13.57 $12.00 list($19.95)
    17. Can't Get Enough : A Novel
    $16.47 $10.50 list($24.95)
    18. Leeway Cottage : A Novel
    $16.47 $15.69 list($24.95)
    19. Pawleys Island (Lowcountry Tales
    $13.96 $6.87 list($19.95)
    20. The Shop On Blossom Street

    1. Zorro : A Novel
    by Isabel Allende
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.13
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060778970
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Sales Rank: 46
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A swashbuckling adventure story that reveals for the first time how Diego de la Vega became the masked man we all know so well

    Born in southern California late in the eighteenth century, he is a child of two worlds. Diego de la Vega's father is an aristocratic Spanish military man turned landowner; his mother, a Shoshone warrior. Diego learns from his maternal grandmother, White Owl, the ways of her tribe while receiving from his father lessons in the art of fencing and in cattle branding. It is here, during Diego's childhood, filled with mischief and adventure, that he witnesses the brutal injustices dealt Native Americans by European settlers and first feels the inner conflict of his heritage.

    At the age of sixteen, Diego is sent to Barcelona for a European education. In a country chafing under the corruption of Napoleonic rule, Diego follows the example of his celebrated fencing master and joins La Justicia, a secret underground resistance movement devoted to helping the powerless and the poor. With this tumultuous period as a backdrop, Diego falls in love, saves the persecuted, and confronts for the first time a great rival who emerges from the world of privilege.

    Between California and Barcelona, the New World and the Old, the persona of Zorro is formed, a great hero is born, and the legend begins. After many adventures -- duels at dawn, fierce battles with pirates at sea, and impossible rescues -- Diego de la Vega, a.k.a. Zorro, returns to America to reclaim the hacienda on which he was raised and to seek justice for all who cannot fight for it themselves.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Zoro You Can Relate To
    Isabel Allende writes with an effortless flow. Her action is enthralling, her drama captivating. Allende carves out a ZORRO who is romantic and historical, but one who exhibits sensibilities we can relate to. Thematically the book has more in common with modern greats like "My Fractured Life", "Saturday", and "Life of Pi" than most historical fiction. You'll see "Zorro" on the bestseller list for a long time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Zorro you've never seen
    This is the first time that I have read anything by Isabel Allende. Initially, her narrative style put me off a bit. I'm used to a lot on dialogue that describes the situations rather than a lot of narration telling me what is happening. HOWEVER, within a couple of chapters, I was completely pulled into the story by Isabel Allende's tremendous ability to invite her reader into the world that she so adroitly creates. I found myself smiling as each piece of the puzzle that makes up the story I know so well fell into place. Allende allows her readers to observe young Diego De La Vega as each of his skills, personality traits and burning desires snap neatly into place. None of the characters motivations are left to chance, which makes for wonderful story telling.

    Her detailed descriptions of early California, Barcelona and Panama make the reader believe that Alende actually has seen and experienced the 18th century world that she describes.Also, she pulls no punches when it comes to her description of the indians and their mistreatment by early European aristocrats. The deep rifts between the upper class and lower class that is currently still in place in Mexico is made clear.

    Although the world of 18th century California is detailed, this story is character driven. Diego De La Vega (Zorro) is an extremely three dimensional character that runs the gamit of human emotion and Allende allows her readers to see his flaws as well as his attributes (as is so often true, the two are one and the same). Bernardo, who in previous incarnations of the Zorro story is a typical "sidekick", is anything but a "sidekick" in this novel. Bernardo is a complex, spiritual young man that in many ways is the moral superior of Diego. He is a brother, but also a wise guide, keeping the brash young man on his life's path. Rather than serving Diego because he is of "higher" caste, Bernardo serves out of love and a deep sense of destiny. In Yogic terms, these two men have found their darma, their purpose in life.

    "Zorro" is an interesting look at the legend as well as a wonderful, non-judgmental description of a world of the near past. "Zorro" is fiction, but Allende fills this story with historical fact as well clever analysis of the ramifications of many of the political decisions made at the time. Every dollar you spend on this one is an investment in thought and entertainment.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, enriching adaptation...
    I never read The Mark of Zorro, but if the original was anywhere near as good as this recreation, then I look forward to reading it some time in the future.Allende takes the reader into an enriching journey full of precise history and keen storytelling with Diego de la Vega -- a man torn between the customs of his heritage and doing the right thing.We see how Diego grows up in a somewhat corrupt society in which Europeans torture and abuse Native Americans.He starts off by joining a group called La Justicia, a group of Robin Hood types who help the poor.And through various adventures and turns of history, Diego becomes el Zorro -- a legendary hero that we will not soon forget...

    As said earlier, I have not read The Mark of Zorro and therefore cannot compare that book with this one.However, this novel is one of the best books I have read in a long time.Isabel Allende has been one of my favorite novelists for as long as I can remember and she has done a wonderful job with this novel.Zorro is a bit of a change from her usual work, but the different angle in her standard writing style is a welcome one.The most impressive part of this novel is the historical reference.Her descriptions of European landscapes and architecture and customs are vivid and breathtaking.We also get a lot of subplots centered on the times in which French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte ruled and corrupted a major part of Europe.All of the aforementioned things make for a literary, enlightening read.I only wish I had taken the incentive of reading the original Spanish version, for I am sure that many things were lost in the translation.Alas, it is difficult to write a summary without giving away important details or spoilers, which is why I have made mine brief. I simply suggest that you get this book and savor its pages like fine wine because historical novels based on legendary heroes don't get better than this!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, great for book clubs
    A very different book for Ms. Allende. Based on the fictitious, though widely known, legend of Zorro, Ms. Allende creates a character that we get to know so well, his unusual childhood, his doubts, ambitions and thirst for justice that one has to stop to realize that this is not a biography!! Diego de la Vega's father is a Spanish officer and his mother a Shoshone Indian. He eventually is sent to Spain for a European upbringing and education.

    Characters are described in depth and are an incredible mix of Indians with their legends and beliefs, his "milk brother" Bernardo whom he is fiercely bonded to, radicals fighting for justice for the poor in Spain, a fencing master who teaches Diego everything he knows and a woman whose love he cannot have.

    I think the weakest part of this book is the first third, unfortunately, as the reader must have the desire to "stick through" the first 100 pages or so; but once they do will be nicely rewarded.

    A great book for anyone who loves an adventure; particularly those who grew up in the 50's and watched the TV series and/or has a fascination for this character.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A zesty saga about the making of a legend.
    Isabel Allende's enchanting new novel, "Zorro," traces the origins of the legendary folk hero, who evolved from a privileged and foolish young man into an intrepid warrior.Zorro's mission was to use his wits, agility, and formidable fighting skills to defend the poor and downtrodden in early nineteenth century Spain and California.Allende laces her narrative liberally with humor, irony, wit, and dozens of colorful characters.

    The story begins with the birth of Zorro's alter ego, Diego de la Vega, in Alta California.We follow Diego to Barcelona, Spain, where he changes from a playful and callow youth into a passionate young man.The author enlivens her story with intrigue, sword fights, romance, treachery, adventures on the high seas, prison breaks, and fascinating historical background about the relationship between the Native Americans, the Spaniards, the French, and the Catholic Church during those turbulent times.There is never a dull moment in this nearly four hundred page book, and the translation from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden is excellent.

    Without compromising the spirit of fun that permeates her tale, Allende makes it clear that the Indians in North America were victims of genocide. The Spanish conquerors came to the New World, greedy for land and treasure, and they murdered the Indians, burned their villages, and enslaved those who survived.Allende creates a number of unforgettable Native American characters.Bernardo, Diego's devoted "milk brother," becomes mute after his mother is brutally assaulted; White Owl, Diego's grandmother, is a respected shaman and medicinal healer who teaches her grandson to be faithful to his spiritual guide, the fox; and Toypurnia, Diego's mother, is a fierce warrior who cannot be tamed, even by the love of the handsome hidalgo, Alejandro de la Vega.

    "Zorro" works so well because Allende goes back to storytelling basics.She puts interesting people in exotic settings, and she has them contend with nasty villains who will stop at nothing to get what they want.Finally, she features a brave, albeit flawed hero, who risks his life, with panache and style, to fight for justice.If this sounds like a Spanish "Star Wars," that's not far off the mark.Although the characters, the setting, and the time frames may vary, well-told stories about the battle of good versus evil will always find a place in people's hearts.
    ... Read more

    2. The Time Traveler's Wife (Harvest Book)
    by Audrey Niffenegger
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $9.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 015602943X
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-27)
    Publisher: Harvest Books
    Sales Rank: 40
    Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare's passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger's cinematic storytelling that makes the novel's unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

    An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, The Time Traveler's Wife is destined to captivate readers for years to come.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (370)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Great and Believable Sci-Fi Love Story.
    I am not an avid reader by any means, but the premise of this book really caught my attention. The love between the main characters Clare and Henry was very well laid out throughout this novel. The happiness in finding one another, the acceptance of a guy who travels thorugh time uncontrollably, and the never ending tension that arises when Henry disappears for hours or days at a time.

    The only thing that kept 5 stars from being put on my review, is the overwhelming sadness throughout the book, that at times was making you think "What could possibly go wrong NOW?" I am all for a good drama, but at times the multitude of doom and gloom was a bit too much to bear. Good thing some humor was sprinkled throughout the book though to balance these macrabre occurances out.

    All in all, though, a great read!

    5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
    This is a truly a masterpiece. The characters and the plot is simply astounding. It tells a story about the lives of two people through a series of episodes. I found this book entertaining, and a good book to pick up on a rainy afternoon. Any day as a matter of fact. A wonderful journey, which is recommended for anyone to enjoy.Also recommended is "Don't Call That Man", and "He Never Called Again". Back to the book, "The Time Traveler's Wife", read it, it's quite fascinating.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Vacation Read
    At first I wanted to put this book down becuase it seemed too insipid and a waste of time for over 500 pages. After I got into it, I finished it in a matter of days. The author is able to let you get to know the characters while living a far fetched science fiction story that you actually believe. A great read for a summer beach vacation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The time traveler's wife
    This is such an amazing book! This is not the type of novel I would usually pick up, however after hearing how great it was I decided to give it a try. I can't stop thinking about this story. The characters will haunt you long after you have finished.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best in a long time
    I passed by this book several times before deciding to read it. When I finally made it through the first 20 pages, I was hooked. This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. The author does an excellent job of alerting the reader to the time and place and the appropriate ages of the characters, and contrary to other reviewers, I found it very easy to follow. The characters, Clare and Henry, are well developed and believable - well, at least as believable as can possibly be when someone suffers from chronodisplacement. The story moved me to tears, made me laugh, and totally consumed me while I read it. I was captive and lost all sense of time as I traveled with both Henry and Clare, and was very disappointed that the book had to end. Niffenegger has made me rethink my relationships and the time that I give to them. I love this book. ... Read more

    3. True Believer
    by Nicholas Sparks
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $13.97
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0446532436
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
    Publisher: Warner Books
    Sales Rank: 60
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes an unforgettable love story that explores the deepest mysteries of all those of the heart.

    As a science journalist with a regular column in Scientific American, Jeremy Marsh specializes in debunking the supernatural.A born skeptic, he travels to the small town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, determined to find the real cause behind the ghostly apparitions that appear in the town cemetery.What he doesn’t plan on however, is meeting and falling hopelessly in love with Lexie Darnell, granddaughter of the town psychic.Now, if the young lovers are to have any kind of future at all, Jeremy must make a difficult choice:return to the life he knows, or do something he’s never done before take a giant leap of faith.But his choice is only the beginning, for their story takes the most unlikely twist of all, one that will finally make Jeremy a TRUE BELIEVER. ... Read more

    Reviews (66)

    3-0 out of 5 stars very disappointing - no emotional involvement at all
    This was an enjoyable book, and would have received a much higher rating from me had it stood alone. However, as a Nicholas Sparks book, I was holding it up to some very high expectations set by his previous masterpieces, and quite frankly, it fell very short. It simply wasn't up to the calibre of his previous books and lacked the very qualities I love most about his writings. It reminded me of a Danielle Steel novel rather than something from the deeper, more engaging, Nicholas Sparks.

    In a word, the story was superficial. The supernatural premise that drew the characters together was ridiculously hokey, and pitting New York city-life against life in sleepy small town America didn't capture my interest the way it could have had it been presented better, with more exciting characters and plot development.

    Noticeably absent: there was no deep emotional connection between the two protagonists. Even though I easily buy into the soulmates, meant-to-be concept of love-at-first-sight, I did not find the romance and coming together of these two characters to have that kind of depth or energy. I'm not convinced they truly belong with each other, or their relationship will last much beyond the end of the story.

    As well, there was no emotional connection between the characters and the reader. There wasn't a deep passion for me to feel alongside them. I didn't grow to care for them as people nor did I become as emotionally invested in their relationship, as I have with other Nicholas Sparks characters. These two will be easily forgotten, whereas Noah/Allie, Jamie/Landon, Theresa/Garrett, Paul/Adrienne, Miles/Sarah, and all the others have continued to live in my heart long after I put those books down and moved onto other reading material.

    On the positive side, there were flashes of Nicholas Sparks's brilliance scattered throughout the book. His use of vivid descriptions and attention to detail was impeccable, as always. The dialogue flowed naturally, with the right blend of wit and seriousness, and sounded realistic (very important to me in a romance novel, as most don't have this quality and instead use incessant and annoying bickering so the conflict/tension comes across as abrasively hostile instead of deep and abiding love).

    All-in-all, although I was sorely disappointed, it was still a pleasant story and worthwhile reading. I hope Nicholas Sparks goes back to novels that draw the reader into an emotional investment into the characters and their story, with their bittersweet tragic endings (or even happy endings as in The Wedding). I prefer to feel strong emotions and intense passion when I read a Nicholas Sparks.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the greatest Nicholas Sparks book yet
    I love all of Nicholas Sparks' books, but this one i couldnt put down. Great storyline, and you really won't be able to stop reading it. Once i finished it i wanted to read it all over again.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not his best work
    I am a huge Sparks fan, but this book was not writen by the Nicholas Sparks that I once knew.It was long.I had trouble staying focused, but I will say that it had a good end to it, it just took forever to get to that end.If you are a Veronica Haddon fan then you will never get through this book.It is just not up to the standards of Whispers of the wicked saint, but it is worth the read, If you still love nicholas sparks.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Yeah, it was good...
    I thought this was a good book, and the way the two characters fell so quickly for one another (in a matter of days) reminded me of Nights in Rodanthe (which is my fave).Nicholas Sparks has done it again, with another novel that shows that miracles can happen when you least expect them, and that love conquers all.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A Sparks disappointment
    Oh how I waited with bated breath for Nicholas Sparks' new release! And oh how disappointed I felt as I struggled through this "Danielle Steel"-like book. The Notebook and Message in a Bottle rank as 2 of my all time favorite books. True Believer, however, did not make a true believer out of me. The whole story was unbelievable from the very beginning. Too much for me to believe that 2 people that have just met can instantly know that they are in love, oh please. There is no depth to this book. The characters are implausible, shallow, and very predictable. It seems as thought Mr. Sparks is trying to follow a formula that he thinks will sell, a la Danielle Steel. He should spend more time visiting the truth in life and love-as in The Notebook-and less time giving us this pulpy mess, and expecting us to swallow it... ... Read more

    4. The Bitch Posse
    by Martha O'Connor
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $15.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312333927
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 3900
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    These are the confessions of the Bitch Posse. Cherry, Rennie, and Amy were outcasts, rebels, and dreamers. And their friendship was so all-encompassing that some would call it dangerous. This is the story of three women-as seniors in high school and as women in their mid-thirties---who formed a bond in order to survive the pitfalls and perils of their lives. In the present day, one of them is a wife and mother-to-be, trying to live a "normal" life. One of them is a writer who engages in a number of self-destructive relationships. And one of them is in a mental hospital---and has been ever since that one fateful night fifteen years ago, when a heart-wrenching betrayal and the unraveling of relationships led them to a point of no return, where their actions triggered unimaginable consequences. These secrets have torn them apart while inextricably binding them to one another. What happened to them? And can they survive their shared history, even today?

    The Bitch Posse is an anthem for friendships that defy society's approval or disapproval. It's a novel of secrets, courage, sacrifice, and hope against the odds. It is both a journey back to being a girl on the verge of adulthood, and a journey forward, showing how the events of our past can unearth the best in us today.

    Dare to jump in.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Required reading!
    I want to say up front that Martha O'Connor and I are both part of the same online writing community. That's why I bought her book. I never expected to be so completely blown away by the calibre of writing, by the passion she has for her tortured characters, her beautiful, troubled Bitch Posse Goddesses.

    There's a raw edge to the writing--it's brutal, unforgiving, and damn near perfect. Martha weaves together a brilliant story of love so uncompormising that it borders on hatred, and her mastery of narrative not only had me convinced of the three distinct voices but also pulled me into the story with such brute force that it left me gasping. Not everyone can pull off the present tense; Martha redefines it.

    THE BITCH POSSE should be required reading. I'm recommending it to everyone I meet.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Not Your Usual Chick-Lit
    I must come clean with you. I am not a fan of Chick Lit, nor am I a fan of anything that is written in reaction to Chick Lit. I tend to shy away from anything with an excess of pink on the cover or a title that sounds overly hip or kitschy to make a point. Furthermore, I grow bored with books about shopping or shoes or women in their "Sex and the City" quest to buck the male-dominated society while still managing to "find" a suitable man who fits into their cookie cutter version of reformed-bad-boy-turned-sensitive-and-responsible (yet still blazing in bed!) perfection. Frankly, I find this type of blathering somewhat tiresome in life, so why would I want to spend my free time reading about it...even if I do happen to be on the beach?

    Every once in a blue moon, however, I come across a book that in some way, shape, or form seems like a not-too-distant bedfellow to the aforementioned genre of Chick Lit/reaction-to-Chick-Lit Lit, and (gasp!) I actually enjoy reading it. Such was the case when I picked up Martha O'Connor's debut novel, THE BITCH POSSE. Yes, bare skin is shown on the cover, and sure, there happens to be a pink stripe off to the right of said bare skin, and of course the two women who belong to (once again) the bare skin happen to be sitting erotically close to each other. Fine. Now that I've pointed out that the externals of this book seem to represent everything I dislike about contemporary women's fiction, I will admit that I found my reading experience to be quite unabashedly satisfying.

    THE BITCH POSSE chronicles the crisscrossed lives of three young women, first as seniors in high school, then as "grown-up" women in their mid-30s. As the point-of-view bounces from one girl to the other, back and forth between 1988 (their senior year) and 2003 (the present), the muddled puzzle begins to slowly piece together until, ultimately, readers are left with a no-holds barred, fully disclosed "Aha!" moment at the novel's conclusion. As we turn the last page, we not only uncover the dastardly, unmentionable secret that each girl has been separately yet collectively guarding since high school, but we also must grapple with the gritty, peeled back version of what each girl's life has unfortunately become and therefore fall witness to the fallibility of life, the indelibility of choices, and the delicate nature of the human spirit.

    O'Connor's characters are anything but flat. Although a bit stereotypical at times and a tad over-the-top at others, most, if not all of the people we meet in the book, are vibrant (albeit twisted) and full of personality. The members of the badass Bitch Posse --- Rennie (the smart one who has an affair with her married drama teacher), Cherry (the cool one with the coke addict mother and the boyfriend who sometimes gets a little too rough during sex), and Amy (the reformed beauty queen/popular chick with the alcoholic parents, the super indulged retarded sister, and the not-so-surprising Xanax addiction) --- are exactly what we'd expect from a trio of no-nonsense, till-death-do-us-part friends. They are brash, equally outspoken in their own way, and are ready to take on the world no matter what the cost --- especially now that they've cemented their friendship by slicing their arms and dripping blood into glass jars. Ouch.

    Fifteen years later, however, the girls are far from empowered...or friends. The once hot-to-trot Rennie is on the other side of a New York Times bestselling first novel with nothing but drivel to show for the follow-up. Instead, she's teaching at some second-rate college and having scandalous affairs with younger men who don't know any better. Amy is desperately trying to keep up appearances by living a so-called squeaky-clean, gingham clad life in the suburbs with her supposedly devoted husband and pending baby, inaptly named Lucky. I guess the combination of his affair and Lucky's death didn't quite mesh with her presupposed equation. Craziest of all, Cherry has firmly planted herself in a mental institution and spends most of her days doing measly arts and crafts with her fellow nut-job patients. Not exactly the embodiment of strength that she once was.

    What happened to these three, you ask? What caused them to break the bloodied bonds that were so fervidly formed many years prior? Why, that dark, salacious secret, of course --- the night that could never be forgotten and the split-second decision that would change the course of their lives forever. It is this gnawing riddle that keeps the pulse of THE BITCH POSSE going at top speed, prompting even this most jaded reviewer to stay up until the wee hours of the night just to find out what happened next.

    All in all, Martha O'Connor's first book is a thrilling ride and a searing look into the lives of three girls turned women as they scratch, scrape, and slash their way through existence. Aside from the author's excessive use of profanity and frequent scenes of hard-hitting sexuality (pun intended), THE BITCH POSSE is one chick novel you are sure not to forget.

    --- Reviewed by Alexis Burling

    5-0 out of 5 stars girls and women struggling with postmodern cynicism
    Martha O'connor is among the firstamerican authors to challenge postmodern cynicism with honesty.A generation of girls raised indoctrinated with meaninglessness manage to find meaning in their relationships with each other.Some will claim this book is exhibitionist, but the question it raisesis this:how long will we continue to let our pride stop us from connecting with each other?

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nothing to Bitch About with *this* Posse!
    Martha O'Connor's debut novel, The Bitch Posse, has recently made it's way to shelves across America.

    Can I just say that this has got to be one of the best books I've read. Ever. I was hooked after the first few pages (which happened to be a sex scene, but that's beside the point).

    One might think from the title that this is a chick book. One would be wrong. Although I'm sure the primary target audience is female, this is decidedly *not* some schmaltzy Lifetime-esque story.

    The book explores the lives of 3 female characters: Rennie, Cherry and Amy - The Bitch Posse. The reader is taken on a journey which (so far) jumps back and forth from 1988 to 2003 for each of the protagonists, who are actually also antagonists (to themselves anyway). Each of their stories is unique, but at the same time eerily and heartbreaklingly similar to the others'. I'm going to stop with that because you really need to buy this book and read it for yourself. Yes, It's *that* good.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Midwest Punks
    After slowly reading through the first half of the book over a period of days, I sat down read the last 160 pages in one night.It was definitely something I wanted to read through, to see the end of, to find out what happened.The story seemingly has no real beginning, no real middle, and no real end, but of course in a sense it has all those things. The three main characters (as teenagers) spend their time rebelling against the common mores of their community.Their actions and reactions are such that at one point I thought: "God, aren't these girls just whining middle class Midwesterners?"But then I realized: I'm a whining middle class Midwesterner and these girls are exactly (all of them, not just the Bitch Posse but the other, more popular girls, too) are the people I remember from high school.The book captures an aspect of small town Midwestern life that I remember vividly.Basically, therreader has two option: one can see the story as it appears on the surface: three friends, small town boredom, middle class angst, horrifically "upstanding" people; or one can look deeper and see the disorder of the soul that comes from this pretense of virtue in a vicious world. ... Read more

    5. Ya-Yas in Bloom : A Novel
    by Rebecca Wells
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060195347
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Sales Rank: 100766
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    6. Beyond Black : A Novel (John MacRae Books (Hardcover))
    by Hilary Mantel
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0805073566
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-09)
    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    Sales Rank: 2099
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Hailed as a "writer of subtlety and depth," Hilary Mantel turns her dark genius on the world of psychics in this smart, unsettling novel (Joyce Carol Oates)

    A paragon of efficiency, Colette took the next natural step after finishing secretarial school by marrying a man who would do just fine. After a sobering, do-it-yourself divorce, Colette is at a loss for what to do next. Convinced that she is due an out-of-hand, life-affirming revelation, she strays into the realm of psychics and clairvoyants, hungry for a whisper to set her off in the right direction. At a psychic fair in Windsor she meets the charismatic Alison.

    Alison, the daughter of a prostitute, beleaguered during her childhood by the pressures of her connection to the spiritual world, lives in a different kind of solitude. She cannot escape the dead who speak to her, least of all the constant presence of Morris, her low-life spiritual guide. An expansive presence onstage, Alison at once feels her bond with Colette, inviting her to join her on the road as her personal assistant and companion.

    Troubles spiral out of control when the pair moves to a suburban wasteland in what was once the English countryside and take up with a spirit guide and his drowned therapist. It is not long before Alison's connection to the place beyond black threatens to uproot their lives forever. This is Hilary Mantel at her finest- insightful, darkly comic, unorthodox, and thrilling to read.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Black Humor
    Novelist Hilary Mantel can be dark.Very dark.Dark and funny, as fans can tell you--particularly readers of her brilliant memoir, Giving Up the Ghost.In her new novel (which Amazon didn't bother to recommend to me--I'm bummed!--the computer doesn't know me very well apparently), she goes "beyond black," as the title says, though the title refers less to Mantel's humor than to the nagging manifestations of spirits which plague Alison, the psychic protagonist.

    Alison is fat, single, the daughter of a prostitute, and psychic.I mean really psychic.The dead speak to her of all kinds of trivia, and her "spirit guide," Morris, is a (dead) lowlife dwarf who used to work at a circus. Alison will do anything to get rid of Morris, who is crude and stinky and pops up at inconvenient moments, but nothing works.And when Morris starts hanging out with fiends from Alison's old neighborhood, she begins to get really worried.

    Much of this novel is funny.Alison's assistant, Colette, a skinny, nasty, divorced control freak who books Al's appointments at psychic fairs, is a good foil for the casual Alison.She eventually becomes so obsessed with her management role that she even tries to control Alison's diet. Alison has to sneak around when she wants a slice of bread or anything tastier than lowfat turkey.

    But the last third or so of this novel is quite morbid and horrifying as we learn about Alison's past and the key to her psychic abilities.Is this black humor?Or something worse?Much worse, I would say.It's Beyond Black.

    I hope she wins the Booker Prize for it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Didn't get it
    I'm a big Mantel fan.I loved "An Experiment in Love," "Fludd," and "A Change of Climate."Mantel's gorgeous prose style even carried me most of the way through "A Place of Greater Safety--"her gigantic novel about the French revolution.And so of course I rushed out to buy "Beyond Black" as soon as I saw it reviewed.

    As a novelist, Mantel has never been one to tip her hand.She keeps us guessing, for example about the true identity of the title character in "Fludd," and we never know how the protaganist of "An Experiment in Love" gets over her anorexia.When it comes to characterization Mantel shows rather than tells; she relies on evocative imagery, rather than on psychobabble, to shed light on the motivation of her characters.As Margaret Atwood says in her review of "An Experiment in Love," it is "what you don't know" that haunts you after you've finished one of Mantel's novels.

    But I think that Mantel goes too far off in this direction in "Beyond Black."She simply doesn't tell the reader enough to make the story hang together.Her background characters-- Alison's psychic colleagues, Colette's ex-husband, even the spectral Morris-- are caricatures.And the two protagonists are incomprehensible.We never really understand what draws Colette to the "psychic business" in the first place, given that she spends most of the novel being so skeptical.And we never really understand what it's like to be Allison, to have the dead tormenting you all the time.The flashbacks to Allison's past are ghastly and beautiful, but the "present tense" narrative is mostly taken up by innane dialogue that never seems to go anywhere.

    Both of the reviews I read of this book-- in the New York Times and the Washington Post-- are very favorable, so I'm wondering if I'm missing something.Did anybody see anything in this novel that I didn't? ... Read more

    7. Zorro SPA : Una Novela
    by Isabel Allende
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060779012
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: Rayo
    Sales Rank: 1592
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    Book Description

    ¿Quién no conoce al Zorro, el astuto y travieso enmascarado? Lo que no sabíamos -- de cómo surgió el héroe -- se resuelve en estas páginas, quenos revelan el misterio de su doble personalidad. Aquí re-encontramos a su amigo Bernardo, su corcel, Tornado, su prodigioso látigo, la Z con que firma sus hazañas y mucho más.

    Nacido en 1795 en la California hispana, Diego de la Vega está atrapado entre dos mundos. Su padre es un heroico militar convertido en próspero hacendado, su madre es una valiente guerrera indígena y su abuela materna es la sabia chamán de su tribu. Del primero, Diego aprende las virtudes de un hidalgo, desde esgrima hasta el arte de hacerse obedecer, mientras su madre y su abuela lo inician en las tradiciones indígenas y el conocimiento de la naturaleza y la magia. Junto a su inseparable amigo Bernardo vive aventuras enla niñez y se da cuenta de las injusticias que soportan los indios a mano de los colonos europeos.

    Diego se hace hombre en Barcelona, donde su padre lo manda a estudiar, justamente cuando España, ocupada por las tropas de Napoleón, soporta una cruenta guerra. Le toca de todo, desde duelos a muerte hasta enamorarse a primera vista, enrolarse en una sociedad secreta, huir con una tribu de gitanos, ser secuestrado por piratas y, sobre todo, enfrentarse al hombre que habrá de ser su peor enemigo. Por ultimo regresa a California a reclamar la hacienda donde nació e impartir justicia, luchando por los indefensos. Así, entre el Viejo y el Nuevo Mundo se forma el carácter del más legendario y romántico de los heroes.

    ... Read more

    8. Three Weeks with My Brother
    by Micah Sparks, Nicholas Sparks
    list price: $22.00
    our price: $15.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0446532444
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
    Publisher: Warner Books
    Sales Rank: 504
    Average Customer Review: 4.44 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    As moving as his bestselling works of fiction,Nicholas Sparks's unique memoir, written with his brother, chronicles the life affirming journey of two brothers bound by memories, both humorous and tragic. ... Read more

    Reviews (48)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Summer Reading
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the Spark's family and about the journey around the world and through childhood of these two brothers. I was deeply touched to be given such insight into the author's life and it made you realize that no matter how good someone's life looks on the outside, you never know really what is going on/has happened behind the smile/tears. This book is different from his others since it was inspired by his own life not someone else's (also enjoyed learning where he came up with the ideas for other characters in previous books)...truly an enjoyable book to read. I loved how he mixed past and present stories with his trip with his brother. Kept it very interesting.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Skip the Travelogue, Read the Memoir
    If anyone advised Nicholas Sparks to abandon couching his memoir within a travelogue, he should have paid attention. Sparks's thoughts about the wondrous places he visits -- Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Agra, among others -- are silly and shallow. Plus he and his nominal co-author brother proudly portray themselves as buffoons and philistines. You want to slap them both on the back of the head and tell them to at least be quiet if they can't behave.

    On the other hand, the bulk of the book, which details the series of tragedies that have overwhelmed the brothers' adult lives -- deaths of parents and a sibling, as well as the rearing of an autistic child -- is sad but compelling, and ultimately encouraging, because it is written from the heart.

    I also think another book -- perhaps it will take the form of a novel -- needs to be written about the Sparks' mother. Nicholas professes unblemished love and respect and devotion to the woman, who died tragically at 47, just weeks after his marriage. However, she was a complicated character whose parenting of her three children was often questionable at best. Perhaps additional time is needed for him to examine her -- and his own feelings about her -- more honestly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Full Of Heart
    Thats exactly what this book has-Full Of Heart. The brothers go through so much together, life is a challenge, sometimes so unfair but the one thing-the clearest thing spoken is that they have the ultimate gift-Love. Full of heart! Also recommended: Other Memoirs-A Child Called It, Father Joe,Running With Scissors,Nightmares Echo

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Three Weeks" is a great read
    Like many others who have reviewed this book, I have read all of Nicholas Sparks' previous books. I completely enjoyed reading this book as well. I think some reviewers missed the point of the book, unfortunately. It is not a "travel" book and it is not a "spiritual" book. It is a memoir, an autobiography, of the author and his brother's life experiences. I was drawn into the story on many levels - the familial relationships, the growing up years in Fair Oaks, the heartbreaking traumas endured. I think it is wonderful that Cathy and Christine were in favor of this trip for the brothers. They truly are saints (it's nice to know that both Nick and Micah truly understand that!). It makes me sad to think that Micah and Nick are so far apart (physically), but the book is a beautiful reminder that love knows no bounds. And aren't they lucky to have each other. I don't think they come off as pretentious at all...they're all they've got, it doesn't get more real than that. I think it must be amazing for Nick to look back and realize where he was and where he is now (and that he thanks God for all the blessings). I think writing this book must have been very cathartic for him, at least I would hope it was. And that he can still rely on his faith to carry him through the difficult times...we all have them, even if we aren't best selling authors or successful businessmen. It's interesting that as I read the book, I kept reminding myself that this wasn't one of his novels...this stuff really happened. And though some of the antics that he and his brother did on the three week trip were borderline-out-of-control, it was funny. I could see me and my brother and sisters doing stuff like that! Micah seems to be a good reminder to relax, enjoy life and have fun. I hope that they both benefitted from traveling together and spending quality time together like that...and that there was some healing in the pains suffered after living through so many tragedies...especially for Nick. Micah seems to deal with life and it's ups and downs well enough...I mean, if not going to church and questioning his faith are the worst things that he has endured, then good for him. I think writing the book for Nicholas probably has helped him move forward, which sounds like he is doing. God bless him, his brother and their families. Now I think I need to make a run downtown to get some Zelda's and beer myself! :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written!
    This is a different kind of book but wonderful! Any Sparks fan will love this! You will laugh and cry. Have some tissues nearby and enjoy! Fan for life! ... Read more

    9. The Breakdown Lane
    by Jacquelyn Mitchard
    list price: $25.95
    our price: $17.65
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060587245
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Sales Rank: 756
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Where can a woman turn when her own life threatens to overwhelm her ability to keep her children safe? New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard takes the readers of her newest novel on a wry and moving journey of loss and healing.

    Giving advice is what Julieanne does for a living -- every Sunday she doles it out to clueless people she doesn't know, in a column in her local Wisconsin paper. But when it comes to her personal life, Julie herself seems to have missed some clues. Having worked creatively to keep her twenty-year marriage to Leo fresh and exciting, she is completely caught off guard when he tells her he needs to go on a "sabbatical" from their life together, leaving Julie and their three children -- Gabe, Caroline, and Aury -- behind. But it soon becomes clear that his leave of absence is meant to be permanent. The succeeding months are filled with a confusion and sadness that shake the core of the entire family. Things take a turn for the worse when Julie is diagnosed with a serious illness and the children undertake a dangerous journey to find Leo -- before it's too late. As the known world sinks precariously from view, the clan must navigate its way through the shoals of love, guilt, and betrayal. Together, with the help of Leo's parents and Julie's best friend, Cathy, they work their way back to solid ground and a new definition of family.

    No one illuminates modern love, marriage, and parenting better than Jacquelyn Mitchard. Written with her trademark poignancy, humor, and insight, The Breakdown Lane is her most moving, eloquent, and life-affirming work yet.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT!!!!!!
    This book blew me away!I like the author already but I purchased the book because of the subject matter. Like the character, Julieanne, I also have MS and was diagnosed at age 43.

    The story is so poignant and I could feel the characters just jump off the page.

    It is a story of one woman's battle with the sudden desertion of her husband of whom she has been with since she was a very young woman.Then finding herself with three children to take care of herself and being diagnosed with MS.

    She has to fight this monster of a deisease plus the feeling of abandonment.It is told from her point of view and her son, Gabe, who is 14 at the time and educationally challenged.

    I could go on and on.....but just read it.You don't have to have a chronic illness or even a crummy ex husband to appreciate this author and her style of writing.

    This story is told with truth and humor and tugs at the heartstrings as well. Read It, It's fantastic!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb novel
    A wonderful, gripping novel. Real charcters; real situations; real life.

    Okay--maybe just a LITTLE richer than strictly real. But not by much.

    Which is exactly what we want from our best novels, no?

    Mitchard is a master. Might as well go with your heart, and submit. If you do, you'll be treated very, very well. This is, after all, a writer who knows a thing or two about how best to treat the human heart. And if in her work it ever showed, it's here.

    3-0 out of 5 stars a good read, if not a great novel
    Jacquelyn Mitchard's The Breakdown Lane is an entertaining read, full of emotions, but in the end it leaves the reader feeling cheated.
    It starts out as the story of Julianne, who loses her husband, her health, and almost her job and her children and it is here that Mitchard's skill is apparent.She gets to the heart of every situation, leaving the reader with no doubt as to what every character is feeling. Julianne's son Gabe is especially well written, and a character that will stay with you for a long time after you've finished reading.
    However, Mitchard ties the ending up in a neat little bow that doesn't ring true.What began as a wrenching, painful, yet absorbing read, dissolves into a generic white knight to the rescue ending.It left me thinking that Julieanne's situation deserved a better, more realistic resolution than the one she got.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Honest, Moving Novel
    I really loved this book. I won't go into details of the plot, amazon and the other reviewers have done that already, but I just want fans of Ms. Mitchard's Deep End of the Ocean to give this one a try. I have not loved all of her other books since Deep End, so I wasn't sure about reading this one but the other Amazon reviews sparked my interest.
    The writing was honest and real, the characters had their flaws and blemishes, just like real people. Most of the time, a book about a woman who gets dumped, has children and has an illness, is made out to be a saint, an angel, a hero. Well, not here. She is real....As I got to the end, I was concerned about the way the story was going, everything tied up with a bow, nice and neat, I was afraid Ms. Mitchard was giving into happy ever after land...but she didn't. Even the ending was like real life, not perfect.
    Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down, give it a try, I think you will be glad you did.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It was ok...
    I gave this book 3 stars because it definately held my interest, but I would put it on the level with 12 Times Blessed-nowhere near the quality of Deep End of the Ocean.

    The story pulls at your heart strings (rotten husband leaving his wife and three kids for a new life-just as his wife gets sick).But I found a lot of the conversations a bit contrived, and the story became implausible as the book went on (dumped and sick and her eigth grade crush who turns out to be a doctor magically turns can probably guess the rest).

    It's definatly hard to put down, more of a light reading kinda like Danielle Steele. ... Read more

    10. The Ice Queen : A Novel
    by Alice Hoffman
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316058599
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 711
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    A solitary New Jersey librarian whose favorite book is a guide to suicide methods is struck by lightning in Alice Hoffman's superb novel, The Ice Queen. Orphaned at the age of eight after angrily wishing she would never see her mother again, our heroine found herself frozen emotionally: "I was the child who stomped her feet and made a single wish and in so doing ended the whole world‹my world, at any rate."Her brother Ned solved the pain of their mother's death by becoming a meteorologist: applying reason and logic to bad weather. Eventually, he invites our heroine to move down to Florida, where he teaches at a university.Here, while trying to swat a fly, she is struck by lightning (the resulting neurological damage includes an inability to see the color red).Orlon County turns out to receive two thirds of all the lightning strikes in Florida each year, and our heroine soon becomes drawn into the mysteries of lightning: the withering of trees and landscape near a strike, the medical traumas and odd new abilities of victims, the myths of renewal.Although a recluse, she becomes fascinated by a legendary local farmer nicknamed Lazarus Jones, said to have beaten death after a lightning strike: to have seen the other side and come back.The burning match to her cool reserve--her personal unguided tour through Hades--Lazarus will prove to be the talisman that restores her to girlhood innocence and possibility.

    Hoffman's story advances with a feline economy of language and movement--not a word spared for the color of the sky, unless the color of the sky factors into the narrative.Among the authors who have played with the fairy tale's harsh mercies (e.g. Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter), Hoffman has the closest understanding of the primal fears that drive the genre, and why, perhaps, we never outgrow fairy stories, but only learn to substitute dull, wholesome qualities like personal initiative or good timing for the elements that raise the hairs on our neck and send us scrambling for the light switch. --Regina Marler ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    3-0 out of 5 stars not memorable
    I just read this book...and read it in a few hours, its not long.And it's easy to read.I liked it ok.But I just didn't find it at all memorable..or affecting really.I liked certain parts a lot.But overall it was just kind of blah.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Ice Queen, women
    ALice Hoffman, gets your interest in the first sentence,"Becareful what you wish for," This novel holds your interest but overall I found it be slightly not rememerable, the ending with your brother was perfect,but I would not recommend this book for people who have never felt true pain, or they will not understand, what was trying to be portayed thoughout the novel.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time...
    "Be careful what you wish for," says the protagonist in the opening lines of Alice Hoffman's brilliant new novel THE ICE QUEEN."I know that for a fact.Wishes are brutal, unforgiving things."And it's true:In the life of the narrator of Hoffman's tale, wishes have brought nothing but pain.When she is eight years old, she wishes that she would never see her mother again--and later that evening, her mother dies in a car accident on the icy road.Thirty years later, she has grown into a woman who has shut the rest of the world out, a recluse who hides behind her job as a reference librarian.After moving to Florida at her brother's insistence, she wishes to be struck by lightning--and days later, a bolt of lightning shoots through her window and strikes her while she is swatting flies.

    After being struck by lighting, her heart becomes arrhythmic.She can sense a storm in the air, can feel electromagnetic currents riding on the wind.She becomes colorblind, losing the ability to see red; in her eyes, fire is ice and the sunrise is frost.She has become the Ice Queen, brittle, gray, and endlessly cold.Her fascination with death, prevalent since her mother's accident, becomes even more pronounced; she at once fears and is captivated by the "ever after."This fascination leads her to "Lazarus" Jones, a local legend who was struck by lighting and was dead for 40 minutes.When she meets him, she finds her complete opposite:His breath ignites paper, his touch scorches.When the two come together, fire meets ice, and they make love only in water in order to balance out the heat and chill of their bodies.

    At the center of Hoffman's narrative is a librarian who has hidden in fairy tales and books about suicide for thirty years, whose heart finally "melts"--literally.Hoffman's prose is the sparest I've ever read, but beautifully rendered and enchanting beyond belief.Her characters are imperfect, incredibly human and endearing.Your heart will break for each one of them!

    What I love about Alice Hoffman is her ability to intertwine fantasy with reality, a fairy tale with a story about the true, hard world.When you read a book by Alice Hoffman, what you know to be reality gets suspended for awhile, and she takes you with her on a magical ride filled with unique stories and incomparable prose.THE ICE QUEEN is no exception; a modern fairy tale without the "happily ever after," her latest novel is enchanting and pure, a story of passion, awakening, loss, and renewal that is expertly crafted and obsessively readable.It's a stellar eighteenth offering; read it "here and now."

    5-0 out of 5 stars excellent!
    This novel captures your attention from the first sentence, and it keeps it until the last line.It is a story of death, longing,and dark wishes that come true.Fairy tales are mentioned often, and the whole book seems like a Grimm's fairy tale, as I am sure the author intended.It is hard to describe, but rest assured that it is definitely worth reading.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not so memorable...
    I don't know why but I became increasingly bored towards the end of this book...I almost didn't finish it...but I really hate to not finish books. I guess I need to be hit by lightening in order to relate to these characters. :-) The most intriguing thing about the story was that she was a librarian who snooped around in confidential records...not something a proper librarian would do. I liked her cat Giselle. ... Read more

    11. Impossible
    list price: $27.00
    our price: $17.82
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385338260
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
    Publisher: Delacorte Press
    Sales Rank: 4732
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    12. The Notebook
    by Nicholas Sparks
    list price: $7.50
    our price: $6.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0446605239
    Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
    Publisher: Warner Vision
    Sales Rank: 15976
    Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (1087)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Having Marriage Problems? Read This Book!!
    A friend had recommended this book to me. She told me that it was better than Bridges Of Madison County. I was thinking "yeah, right!". I read the cover to see what it was about and to tell you the truth, I thought it sounded like just another boring love story, even though it was a true story didn't intrigue me. I took it home anyway just to please my friend. It sat on my nightstand for about a week and every night I would look at and say "tomorrow." One night, not having anything better to do, I started to read it. I didn't put it down until I had read it all! I have never read a book that has made me cry more than this book had! I finished it and laid in bed for hours just watching my husband sleep. All the hard feelings we were feeling toward each other were magically gone! Needless to say I think my view on love and how love should be, has changed dramatically since I took the time to read this wonderful book! So far I have managed to talk all my friends and family into reading it! My mother told me never to bring her another book like that again! She couldn't handle all the tears! Anyone, guy or girl, needing something more in their life, needs to read this book! I promise you'll love it

    5-0 out of 5 stars SHORT, SWEET AND MEMORABLE
    A co-worker put me onto this book. Responding to my inquiry during a happy hour conversation: "so, have you read anything interesting lately?" I don't think I ever read a "romance novel" before this one and if it had not been for my friend's follow up inquiries and the shortness of the book (plus she gave the book to me the following Monday), I would have missed out on a real treat.

    Now, I'm no expert on this kind of novel and I'm no great literary critic, but it was a great book. The part that got me most wasn't the classical love story of lovers from different sides of the track, falling in love, being seperated but finding each other in the end. This was well written and not too mushy. Except for his name - Noah, the male was a real "he-man". The most touching part of the book was how devoted Noah remained throughout his wife's illness, moving in with her, reading their story each and every day even though she had no recollection of him or their lovely life together. Anyone who has had to care for a sick spouse or parent will really relate to this part of the book. Anyone that has experinced Alzimers in a friend or loved one will be amazed at the depth of Noah's love. Unfortunately, it's not something seen very often in real life.

    It's a fast read, but very emotional even if you are not use to having your emotions stroked by a book.

    Thank you for evaluating this review!

    4-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Love Story
    I just finished reading this book and while I was reading it, I couldn't put it down.
    I thought it was a great love story and not one that is just all about sex, it touches more on the "sweet" side too. It's incredible how much Noah loved Allie and I loved that about the book because I think that is the kind of love we all would want to have. The reason I didn't give it five stars was because I expected a little more from the end. The ending was ok and I didn't feel frustrated with it but I think the author could've added a little more to it.
    Overall I think this is one of the best love stories and the first one I've read because I usually don't get into reading the heated love books but decided to read this one because I wanted to see the movie. It was definately worth it.

    3-0 out of 5 stars romantic but...
    The special summer when allie and noah once fell in love was quite short. And 14 yrs. later whr a lot of things could've happened didnt stop them frm wondering on "what if's". Noah and Allie are both stuck-up people frm the past because what they found was real love. Their past love story was romantic but the hell with nicholas sparks cuz it left me pondering "What then?!
    it didnt made me cry at all even though it was sad how allie cant remember noah and how strong thier love was to each other that it can create a "miracle". The ending was very sweet it AlMost made me cry.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...
    Yeah, I didn't get the hype about this book. It was lent to me with the command of "read it with a box of tissues." The only way I would cry would be because of boredom and sincere disappointment. For a book that is considered so "moving" I found that it lacked anything to actually move. It's one thing to write a short story and be done with it, but another thing to try to rush through and make a story short. To me the story was a good one, but the way it was written made this book an empty vase. See the movie; it's a better way to get the story and not waste your time. ... Read more

    by Sandra Benitez
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671892673
    Catlog: Book (1995-02-05)
    Publisher: Touchstone
    Sales Rank: 267888
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction
    Winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction
    Member of the National Writer's Voice Project
    Finalist Los Angeles Times Book Award

    In A Place Where the Sea Remembers, Sandra Benitez invites us into a mesmerizing world filled with, love and betrayal, tragedy and hope. This rich and bewitching story is a bittersweet portrait of the people in Santiago, a Mexican village by the sea. Chayo, the flower seller, and her husband Candelario, the salad maker, are finally blessed with the child they thought they would never have. Their cause for happiness, however, triggers a chain of events that impact the lives of everyone in their world.

    The hopes, triumphs, failures, and shortcomings of the novel's enchanting array of characters create a graceful picture of life that is both a universal portrait and an insider's look at life in Latin America. ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good ending...
    wow I would read this book to bed like everyday for a week. Its rare how all the chapters are characters yet they all click and are linked one way or the other. The ending was sad yet it was different. It's a good book to read. It's not a book that will hit your soul but it is a good book b/c is a story you wouldnt be surprise to hear from your grandmother.

    2-0 out of 5 stars I have to read it.
    I don't really get this book, but I have to read it for school. I need MAJOR help.

    2-0 out of 5 stars not the greatest
    I did not find this book to be interesting and it did not grasp my attention.I did not think that the characters were developed very well. I did not feel for the bird man or any of the other characters and their tragic lives.However, Sandra Benitez is a wonderful person and instructor.I am still looking forward to reading The Weight of all Things.I would love to read a book about her life growing up in Latin America as well.I am sorry to have to give Ms. Benitez a rating of a 2.If you want to read the work of Ms. Benitez do not start with this book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Does the Sea Remember
    I enjoyed the contents of the Benetiz compilation of stories. Each had a full meaning and connects to each reader through feelings of pain, loss, guilt, longing and so much more. Benitez entitles the story very well, because even though all the stories are separate, they intertwine in this town, Santiago, which is close by the sea.It relates to a sailors own tales, and even though the sea is rough and forceful at times, it holds many stories full of love and heartache.Remedios is part of the sea and in tune with nature so much that she knows the troubles of every one.The main focus shifted every so often, but in general I think Benitez wanted to say that we can bury or throw away our painful pasts, but anyday, it may be dragged back to us by the foaming sea currents.Our pasts will either drag us down, or kill us, it is what we do for the future that ensures whether it is true or not. And making the right choices isn't always the easiest thing to do when life doesn't have many options for a tourist town like Santiago. Even the town itself is meaningful. It contains many lives that nonetheless are dreamful and hopeful, but not changing as much as they would like.

    4-0 out of 5 stars's a beach read for ya
    A Place Where the Sea Remembers. A beautiful title for a flowery collection of vigniettes that wind throughout the lives of the dirt-poor residents of some little Mexican tourist village, going everywhere and eventually tying together in the final chapters of the book. Up untill that point I was reading and reading about seemingly unconnected people and their quasi-ordinary adventures and wondering what the point was. The writing style is continuous and soothing,like the sea (if you're looking for a book where it feels as though the writer is having a conversation with you, this is NoT it; this book is written like a storyteller's tale), but the storyline is anything but tranquil at times. The reader is taken into the lives of people who any average American could hardly imagine living like: these people have 1 room houses (and the book is set in 1980's Mexico), hardly any possessions, are impoverished by our definition of it, and although they lead "simple" lives, they all have complex problems, feelings and relationships of their own. This book does take the reader to another way of life that is geographically near- but so far from their own. This is a strong point. I was irritated while reading this book, though, because virtually all of the 1st half of it was sidestories and excursions which, though pleasantto read, played no part in the books, rising and falling action. In retrospect, I'd say that this is a "good" book, by the general definition. While reading it, however, I had thought it pointless and frivolous at times.If you have spare time and are looking for a lulling, almost-poetic read that will encourage you to ponder fate and its role in the lives of others, then this book is a fine choice for you. If this book is on your summer reading list though, I'd urge you to seriously consider your other choices before settling on A Place Where the Sea Remembers. The book being relatively short is a plus, if it had hundreds of pages of serendipitous sidestories it would be like reading air- no substance. But considering how the story is set in a small Mexican tourist-town on the sea, A PLace Where the Sea Remembers would make a really good beach read! ... Read more

    14. Pretty Woman: A Novel
    by Fern Michaels
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743457811
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Pocket
    Sales Rank: 452345
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    15. The Other Woman
    by JaneGreen
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0670034045
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
    Publisher: Viking Adult
    Sales Rank: 1046
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Jane Green’s bestselling novels are rich with wry, clever insights into the romantic livesof her idiosyncratic heroines, winning them a devoted fan base. Now, with The OtherWoman, Viking will reintroduce America to the inimitable Jane Green.

    If opposites attract, Ellie and Dan are perfect for each other. She’s impulsive; he followsall the rules. Ellie is a virtual orphan, whereas Dan’s family is as close-knit as they come.At first, Ellie is thrilled to be accepted into the Cooper clan and embraces Dan’s mom,Linda, as the mother she never had—until she begins to realize that Linda’s "mothering"is far more intrusive than even the best daughter-in-law can handle. What can Dan andhis mother possibly have to talk about on the phone twice a day? And how hasthe intimate civil ceremony Ellie always dreamed of turned into a black-tie affair thatwould rival a royal wedding? Suddenly, Ellie finds herself wondering if it’s possible toget an annulment—from Linda.

    A hilarious yet touching look at mothers-in-law and what they teach us about ourselves,The Other Woman is a brilliant hit from a novelist whose star just continues torise. ... Read more

    Reviews (35)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
    I liked the characters, but just like in Bookends, the ending left me unfulfilled.I think the author avoided dealing with what could have been very dramatic writing by telling us about it later on; for example, when the baby is born.We are told it was very dramatic, after the fact, but why didn't she take us through the experience?This also happens again at the end of the book.As in Bookends, the characters are likeable, although the writing cliched, and the story ultimately disappointing in its conclusion.I think this will be the last book I read by this author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Another Jane Green Jem
    Every time I see that Jane Green is coming out with a novel I prebuy it on amazon. This practice hasn't failed me yet. The Other Woman is another fantastic book. Written with enthusiasm and wit; this book looks at the life of a woman named Ellie Cooper. She finds the man of her dreams, gets married and then realizes she is also married to the other woman- her mother-in-law. I won't say this book is unpredictable but it will have you reading well into the night to finish it. The characters in the Other Woman are almost three dimensional and you will root for Ellie as she tries to sort out married life, in-laws, babies, etc.

    3-0 out of 5 stars What is the fuss about her mother in law?
    I was hoping to read an interesting novel about a really wicked mother-in-law (like mine), however Linda seems quite too nice. What was the fuss about her? But something that really was overbearing in this story was the constant reminder about Ellie's mother, her lonely childhood, etc. Get over that!
    About being spineless, both Ellie and Dan were. If they wanted a simple wedding, why not just stand for it? They seemed too undecided about these things and Linda took over the preparations. If they really wanted things different, just saying so will suffice.
    I finished this book with certain disappointment about wasting time and what for? A average to good mother-in-law and her paranoic daughter-in-law.
    And who Ellie thinks she is in judging her friend Lisa when she even tried to seduce another guy ?
    This heroin is judgmental about her friend Lisa's affair, about her friend Trish's parenting skills, about her mother-in-law efforts to be nice, about her father's love, about Dan's non involvement with these petty issues, really she is the one with a problem.

    3-0 out of 5 stars It's Okay, but definitely not as good as her previous books
    I LOVED Jemima J, Bookends, To Have & To Hold.This book is okay, but it just wasn't as compelling a read as they were.I didn't feel really engaged by the main character.The first half of the book I enjoyed, but later (without giving away any details) I didn't find the plot was going in any real direction - it seemed all over the place.There are some situations in the book that I found just ridiculous and unbelievable, which really isn't like most of Ms. Green's books.I look forward to reading more of her books in the future, but if you haven't read any of hers yet, start with Jemima J or To Have and To Hold or Bookends.

    2-0 out of 5 stars 2 1/2 stars
    This system really should be set up to accept half stars.I don't like giving this book two stars, but IMO it didn't warrant three.

    One reviewer remarked about some of the silly descriptive writing (cappucino machine greeting Ellie a 'shiny hello' was an excellent example); another reader said that this book was "character driven."I must respectfully disagree.Oh, there may have been lots of characters, but this was a PLOT driven book if I've ever read one.It reads like one reviewer described - as if someone was retelling a story to you - and you, the listener, has to just sit and nod your head.

    None of the characters are sympathetic, except for Linda.And not the Linda at the end of the book - the Linda from the almost the very beginning.I should say that I am not a mother-in-law - my children are nowhere near the marrying age - and I even have a crappy MIL of my own, in fact (for different reasons).What I saw in this book was not an evil MIL.I saw a misunderstood MIL, maybe a bit of an overbearing MIL who wasn't a good listener.But the problem was not with Linda, it was with Ellie - bitter, jealous, resentful, nitpicky, whiny-baby Ellie - who, we're supposed to believe, is a top-level executive at work, and has been for years an independent woman -but melts into a malleable puddle around her MIL.Please.I find it hard to believe that at age 33, she did not know how to translate her people skills over to her personal life.

    All these characters were two-dimensional.I did not know hardly anything, really, about any of them by the last page.Oh, sure, they all had lots of experiences, lots of things "happen" to them throughout the course of this 100-page-too-long book, but they did not come off the page for me.

    Supposedly Linda made Ellie's life a living hell.Ellie had lots and lots of reasons that she listed, lots and lots of offenses to her credit.But she did not once handle Linda like an adult.She carried on like a immature brat through the entire course of the book, thinking only of herself.Even using her own child against the so-called "evil" MIL.She even had her friends dropping her hints about how to remedy the situation and all she would do was bristle and get defensive.If ever there was a character in need of some intensive one-on-one therapy, it was Ellie Black Cooper, the daughter-in-law from hell.

    Another thing:Ellie was supposedly lacking a mother figure in her life due to the untimely death of her alcoholic biological mother.She didn't try to ferret out the good points in Linda and make them work for her, she found the bad and 1) didn't deal with them and 2) exacerbated them.Further, Ellie's bio mother was an alcoholic but aside from saying it, that component is never explored.In fact, I kept thinking it might be because in several spots Ellie is drinking to the point of slight inebriation.I would think, as a reader, that there would have been a connection explored there for the reader to warm up to the character.But no.I mean, why was Ellie such a martyr b----?

    After what Ellie discovered her "friend" Lisa up to toward the end of the book, I was dismayed that she insisted that she not "judge" Lisa.As if judging that type (no spoiler here) of behavior is incorrect.That type of behavior, which ruins families and relationships.What kind of person finds out what Ellie found out about a friend and decides to keep them on as a friend?Totally unrealistic and bizarre.

    And talk about a tidy ending!I won't mention details here, but could there be a book out there that is tied any tighter with a neat, shiny bow at the end?

    I understand that Jane Green has a big following.Another reviewer mentioned that Green's "singleton" books are better.I may go back to her at a later date and give this author one more shot.Or maybe not. ... Read more

    16. The Year of Pleasures : A Novel
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400061601
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Random House
    Sales Rank: 419
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Download Description

    In this rich and deeply satisfying new novel by the beloved author of The Art of Mending and Open House, a resilient woman embarks upon an unforgettable journey of adventure, self-discovery, and renewal.

    Betta Nolan moves to a small town after the death of her husband to try to begin anew. Pursuing a dream of a different kind of life, she is determined to find pleasure in the day-to-day, every day. Among those who help her in both expected and unexpected ways are the ten-year-old boy next door, three wild women friends from her college days, a twenty-year-old who is struggling to find his place in the world, and a handsome man who is ready for love.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (30)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth Berg - a weaver of words!
    Opening a book by Elizabeth Berg is like unwrapping a piece of chocolate and wondering what the filling will taste like - always a treat for me!I know there will be unexpected morsels to savor - she is so delightful at putting those words together.There are always a few tears, but many chuckles too.She writes "like women think" sometimes in more than one direction at at time.

    This one tackles "grieving and moving on" as the main character Betta, is forced to face widow-hood when she is not at all ready, as few can be.She is in her mid-fifties, with no children (not by choice but by fate). She and her husband had planned to move to a small town somewhere when he retired, but once he learned he had terminal cancer he makes her promise to go ahead with their plans on her own and open that little shop she always talked about. We the readers share her struggle to uproot herself, settle in a new place, make new friends (andsearch for old ones) and start her dream business - a delightful shop just for women called "WHAT WOMEN WANT."One can just visualize it.

    I'd love to go there myself, browse, buy, eat and drink there. It sounded just like the place we would all love to have or visit frequently.I personally enjoyed accompanying her in her discovery of self, 'though at times she made me want to shake her! We all grieve in different ways.

    My favorite character was the Brazilian guy with his broken English, and how he treated Betta with respect, patience and affection.The way he worded the sign for the shop was hysterical... as all his backward sentences were.It is a short book, just over 200 pages and ends much too soon.I wanted more.

    5-0 out of 5 stars she has done it again
    Ms Berg does not disappoint us with this wonderful new novel. I want to marry a man like John. I want him to leave me notes when he dies that make me think, to make me remember him and our life together. (my husband would never think of doing this).
    Thanks to Ms Berg we have wonderful fiction men who are sensitive and even though I doubt many exist in 'real life' it is a joy to read about it. It makes me feel good.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
    I have read all of Elizabeth Berg's previous books. I could not wait to read "The Year of Pleasures". Unfortunately this felt more like "slogging" through a book. The story was very depressing. I felt sorry for the main character-she was so lonely and isolated. I found it hard to follow the long and descriptive passages of her life with her husband-it made her seem as though she was not a person of her own standing, but a reflected version of him. I wanted to shake her for not forming friends of her own-a life of her own-and that not doing so had led her to this solitary existence. It did no make me feel sorry for her.

    It seemed very unbelievable to me that she was able to contact friends from 30 years ago and that they would show up as though no time had passed, ready to support her. I also found it hard to believe that she could make such quick "friendships" with a boy she overheard at a coffee shop and a boy from next door. Please give me some reality!

    I don't feel this was Elizabeth Berg at her best.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Elizabeth never disappoints!!!
    I see that some people didnt like this book very much...i beg to differ.Elizabeth Berg has a style of writing like no other.This book was excellent.Betta and Matthew were my favorites and Jovani was a hoot!I can't wait to get my hands on her next book!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Pure Treasure- from a beloved author
    Elizabeth Berg writes like she is your girlfriend and she is telling you the story about someone she knows and cares greatly about.

    As with all of her books, they touch upon the real human side of life.Betta Nolan's husband dies and she is faced with the propect of living alone.She decides to drive until she finds a place where she would like to live and sell her house in Boston and move to the new property.

    She does find this little town and decides to look for a place to stay.As she is looking for a place she finds a house that is being sold and has the real estate agent show it to her.She falls in love with this house, it is just like one that her deceased husband and Betta talked about.As she lives in this town, she befriends some of the local people.Her next door neighbor is a little boy.The two of them become fast friends.

    Betta "finds" her old college room mates and invites one to her house where they rekindle their old friendship.The other girls from their "group" are excited that they "found" their new friend, they had been looking for her for a long time.Betta has a little reunion with her friends and restores her friendship with them.

    This books is very pleasing and enjoyable, and the characters, and the setting is all well described as only Elizabeth Berg can do.I would recommend this book to anyone.

    ... Read more

    17. Can't Get Enough : A Novel
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385501625
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-26)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 3777
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner...
    Again, Connie has delivered a great story line which is the sequel to her best selling novel"P.G. County".Good story telling of greed, jealousy, bitterness, adultry and betrayal.This story will capture your attention and hold it until the very end.Although it's been a while since P.G. County was published, the sequel picks right up where the other book left off and I was able to roll right along with the entire story non-stop.Great writing, great characters and I look forward to her next book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This is the making of a franchise
    I really enjoyed this follow-up to PG County. It felt just like a soap opera and I loved every last word of it. I truly hope Ms. Briscoe makes a series of these characters.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, How the Tables Turn
    In P.G. County, you couldn't help but feel sorry for Barbara Bentley, but in this book, your cheering for her; In this book, she's gotten sober, sexy and savvy as a part time real estate agent, and a new interest which has turned the tables on her hubby, who know doesn't know what to do; Jolene comes back with a roller coaster of her own; licking her wounds and missing her now the well is dry ex hubby, and plots to get him back from Pearl with no success; And a mysterious countess builds a major mansion in the neighborhood which has everyone guessing her identity; Juicy, racy and bound to keep you turning the pages;

    4-0 out of 5 stars GREAT FOLLOW-UP TO P.G.......!!!
    In this sizzling sequel to the P.G. County the drama continues.Barbara Bentley, THE social scion of Silver Lake has had it with her philandering husband Bradford.All the bling in the world does not take the place of attention and affection...add to that the fact that Barbara is keeping company with a handsome and much younger co-worker, and you have a very vulnerable fifty-one year old woman.Suddenly Barbara is much happier, begins dressing more hip, and begins "working" even more... doesn't she deserve some happiness of her own?So what if what makes her happy is only 38 years old...but what will happen if Bradford finds out?

    Jolene Brown has reached her lowest point ever.She's screwing the company painter who just happens to be an ex-con, she's lost her husband to that fat matronly Pearl Jackson, and she has been ostractized from all social events at Silver Lake.But things may be looking up for Jolene; she's just hit the Maryland lottery for a cool five million, and she's got an agenda to win her husband back.When she finds that he cannot be swayed by money or cleavage, she enlists the help of her ex-con lover Brian in a scheme to ruin the new lady in his life, Pearl.But Brian is greedy and vindictive, and suddenly Jolene finds herself right back where she started...

    Pearl Jackson realizes that her new life with boyfriend Patrick is far from a bowl of cherries..between that horrid ex-wife Jolene and his two teenage girls---to say that their relationship is a challenge would be an understatement.But Pearl seeks solace in her pride and joy....her beauty salon, her very own business. And business is good, until the night that Pearl receives an uninvited guest......

    And through it all, everyone in Silver Lake is waiting to find out who is building that huge new it a celebrity, or royalty, as some are saying?And into the lives of the ladies of Silver Lake steps Baronness Veronique, socialite extraordinaire, the woman that everyone wants to be friends with...but could it be that the Baronness has come to bring even more turbulence to the lives of the ladies of Silver Lake?In true P.G. County fashion, the author brings hot drama to the pages and to her fans in this sequel.


    3-0 out of 5 stars PG County Continued....
    Can't Get Enough, Connie Briscoe's follow up to PG County, returns us to the prestigious Silver Lake community and continues where its predecessor ended.It instantly reconnects with Maryland's Prince George County's most memorable cast of characters who, for the most part, are still rich and still restless - a perfect combination for trouble and drama.Barbara, the wife of philandering millionaire Bradford Bentley, has sobered up and now takes her frustrations out in the gym instead of drowning her sorrows in Belvedere vodka.The results are fantastic - she is feeling good and looking even better.When her real-estate colleague, Noah, 15 years her junior openly flirts with her, he awakens feelings and thoughts that even the most faithful of attention-starved housewives cannot ignore.She wrestles with her feelings for both her husband, Bradford, whose womanizing ways led him to ignore and embarrass her for years by openly conducting affairs with younger women, and Noah, a handsome, attentive and sensual being, who is playing for keeps.

    A newcomer to Silver Lake, a one "Baroness Veronique," befriends Barbara and plays devil's advocate to the blossoming romance between Barbara and Noah.However, it is revealed much later that this royal newcomer has ulterior motives with an interesting twist near the end of the story.The Baroness is the envy of the neighborhood after building a replica of a French chateau directly across the street from the conniving Jolene, the latest former mistress of Bradford.Jolene is a scantily clad pariah, shunned by most of Silver Lake for her involvement with Bradford.However, public scorn only fuels her desire to win back Patrick, her well-respected and admired ex-husband.She stoops low and uses their daughter Juliette in a ploy to seduce him. Patrick, however, is smitten with good-natured Pearl, the sweetheart of the neighborhood and friend to everyone.When Patrick rejects Jolene, she, in an act of desperation, retaliates against Pearl in such a mean spirited and hurtful manner that startles all of Silver Lake.

    There is no peace, even for the "nice guy" as lovable Patrick struggles to raise Lee, his troubled teenaged daughter from a previous relationship.Lee's half-sister, Juliette, adds gasoline to the fire when she starts to exhibit traces of Jolene (evoking a "Mini Me" persona of her man-chasing mother) when she sets her eyes on her Lee's boyfriend.

    Reminiscent to a daytime soap opera, the setting is posh.Everyone is beautiful, possesses an American Express Black card, drives luxury cars and wears designer attire. It seems like owning Armani suits, furs, Jimmy Choo shoes and Mikimoto pearls are an unwritten prerequisite for Silver Lake residents. Briscoe masters the storytelling aspects well by devoting alternating chapters to each main character which allows them to develop nicely while building suspense in an entertaining melodramatic offering.She adds solid doses of scandalous behavior, lying, cheating, double-crossing, and scheming to keep the pages turning until the end.

    Reviewed by Phyllis
    APOOO BookClub
    Nubian Circle Book Club ... Read more

    18. Leeway Cottage : A Novel
    by Beth Gutcheon
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060539054
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
    Publisher: William Morrow
    Sales Rank: 5106
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Download Description


    In this beautifully written tour de force of a novel, Beth Gutcheon takes readers back to the coastal village of Dundee, Maine. There, in a Victorian summer house called Leeway Cottage, we witness the scenes of a long twentieth-century marriage.

    In April 1940, as the Nazis march into Denmark, a rich girl of the Dundee summer colony named Sydney Brant marries a gifted Danish pianist, Laurus Moss. They believe they are well matched, as young lovers do, but almost at once, their views of the world and their marriage begin to diverge. Laurus's beloved family is in Copenhagen, hostage to what the fortunes of Hitler's war will bring, especially as his mother is Jewish. When Laurus chooses to leave Sydney in the fall of 1941 to help build a Danish Resistance from London, Sydney is dismayed. By the time they are reunited four years later, Laurus's family and the reader have been through one of the most stirring stories of the war: Denmark's courageous grassroots rescue of virtually all 7,000 of the country's Jews. Meanwhile, in America, Sydney has led a group knitting for the war effort, and had a baby.

    In the decades to come, many people, especially their three grown children, will wonder whether these two very different people understand each other at all. If they do, how do they stay together? Laurus likes to claim that in heaven you get to see the movie of your life, with all the blanks filled in. In their old age Sydney fears what he might see and why he wants to know; their children fear he'll die and there won't be any movie.

    But there will be.

    " ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Leeway Cottage
    If you are a book club member or better yet, a book club facilitator, this is the book for you.There is something for everyone in this novel.It is both a family saga and an historial novel recounting the Danish Resistance Movement in World War II.The author does an artful job of weaving the two elements together.Often in a book of this scope, the author reaches a point where he has to tie up the loose ends and the finale disappoints.Not so here.Gutcheon finishes on a strong note.The book is well-researched, well-written, poignant, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny.It doesn't get any better than this.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Out This Year!
    "Leeway Cottage" is so good that I tried to SLOW DOWN so I wouldn't finish it too fast...but I couldn't!All the characters are so vivid and interesting and Gutcheon does a fabulous job showing us their growth and change. There was a wonderful wealth of historical information about the Danish experience in WWII that I had never read about before in such rich, if disturbing, detail.

    To call this novel "great beach reading" is to trivialize its impact and depth...but it certainly is the book to select if you want to be transported this summer.
    ... Read more

    19. Pawleys Island (Lowcountry Tales (Hardcover))
    by Dorothea Benton Frank
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0425202712
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
    Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
    Sales Rank: 204
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The Lowcountry comes back to life with this brand-new novel from theNew York Times bestselling author of Shem Creek.

    When Becca Sims wanders into the beautiful seaside Gallery Valentine hoping to sell some of her watercolors, she has no idea her life is about to be transformed by the gallery's owner and his best friend. With the vivid, unforgettable characters, dreamy Lowcountry setting, and authentically brazen, compulsively readable Southern voice that have made her one of today's greatest storytellers, Dorothea Benton Frank delivers her most extraordinary novel yet.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
    This book was enjoyable enough. However, the main story was drawn out too long.I was expecting some great big revelation about Rebecca that would warrant someone wanting to write a book about her.None of the main characters were deep enough to have entire novel written about them. The book could have ended a lot sooner that the writer chose to end it.I was waiting on the big shocker and never got it. Sometimes everyday life is enough to fill a novel, but that was not hte case here.

    4-0 out of 5 stars predictable but take me to the lowcountry anyway...
    I adore Ms. Frank's storytelling and how she can lure the reader, from the first page, to the coastal beauty and charm of South Carolina. The characters in this book were real and jumped off the page for me.

    Huey Valentine is a gallery owner living with his mama, Miss Olivia. A newcomer arrives named Rebecca and a whirlwind ensues. Turns out Nat, her husband, a loser of ALL losers!, has turned their kids against her and done some pretty kinky, weird stuff. Huey's dear friend, Abigail, enters the picture and is led to practice law once again - seeing that Rebecca's divorce settlement goes as it should.

    The writing flows and as always, I love the little southern bits of the story here and there. It was alittle too predictable for me and there were some characteristics of Nat that were abit extreme and seemed unusual for Frank's writing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars She's Done It Again!
    Once again Dorothea Benton Frank has penned a marvelous story of the Lowcountry. Other reviewers hint at the plot and name the characters so I'll come right to the point and say this is one of Frank's best yet. Hey, you don't have to tell me about these people. I KNOW THEM. Page after page, I smelled the salt air, felt the sea breezes and tasted that sweet tea. This is what a novel should do--take you there and put you in the middle of it. Wonderful story. I was very sorry when I finished the book, I may have to go read it again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A summer get away
    Rebecca suddenly found herself dumped by her husband Nat, and her two kids taken away from her by the courts. She leaves Charleston SC and heads off to a friends condo in Litchfield to try and get on with her life. While there, she stops in at a local art gallery in the neighboring Pawleys Island to try and sell some of her watercolor prints and its there that she meets Huey, a man that is about to change her life for the better. He hires Rebecca to work at the gallery, shows her work at an opening, and most importantly introduces her to his best friend Abigail. Abigail, a retired divorce attorney who is hiding on the island as well after both husband and son died. She takes Rebecca under her wing and decides to help Rebecca our with her divorce. As more information is found out about Nat, the better the story becomes. You cant help but love all the characters in Pawleys Island and fight for the underdog.

    If you are a fan of Dorothea Benton Frank you will not be let down with her newest effort in Low Country Tales. Pawleys Island ranked right up there with Isle of Palms as my favorite DBF story. I suggest you grab this book, a tall glass of ice tea, and a comfortable chair. You are not going to want to put this one down.

    4-0 out of 5 stars AN ESPECIALLY PLEASING LISTEN

    Author Dorothea Benton Frank reads her fifth Low Country tale with confident charm, carrying listeners to a small South Carolina island.Those who enjoy low-key stories centering on family and friends with a touch of surprising excitement will find much to relish in this story.

    Abigail Thurmond and Huey Valentine are an idyllic if unique pair.They're the best of friends, enjoying each other and the lazy-hazy days on Pawleys Island.Abigail, a retired attorney, came to he island from Columbia; Huey has lived there for some time with Miss Olivia,his 80-plus year old mother.Their home is he family plantation, and his business is Gallery Valentine, a shop that caters to decorators and all who enter there.

    Enter Rebecca Simms, a gifted artist whose works Huey is happy to display.However, Rebecca isn't just visiting the Island, she's running from what has been too painful for her to endure.Leave it to Miss Olivia to find out exactly what that might be.Then leave it to Huey and Abigail to help heir new found friend.

    An especially pleasing listen.

    - Gail Cooke ... Read more

    20. The Shop On Blossom Street
    by Debbie Macomber
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0778320448
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
    Publisher: Mira
    Sales Rank: 4461
    Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Yarn!!
    Debbie Macomber does a superb job of weaving together a tale of women from different age groups and backgrounds. Each of the women shows moments of courage, fear, turmoil, truimph, and love. If you were a fan of Thursday's at Eight, you'll love this book too.
    The group starts out knitting a baby blanklet and ends up creating a friendship. I loved the way each of the characters relates to each other in their struggles (health, infertility, broken relationsips, etc.). In both little and large ways, the friendship that is created is stronger and more lasting then any of the blankets knitted.

    5-0 out of 5 stars deep character study
    Lydia Hoffman has defeated cancer twice. To celebrate life, Lydia opens A Good Yarn, a knitting supplies store in Seattle. She also teaches a class on knitting. The first lesson is "How to Knit a Baby Blanket".

    Jacqueline Donovan reacts poorly to her son's news that she is to be a grandmother for the first time. She does not like her daughter-in-law Tammie Lee. Maybe her bitterness is because she knows her marriage to Reese, a partner in an architectural firm, is dying. She must make amends with her son Paul so she joins A Good Yarn knitting class.

    Desperate to become pregnant, Carol Girard joins the class seeking hope that her and her husband Doug's final attempt with in vitro pregnancy succeeds. This is her last chance to have the child she craves.

    The court ordered Alix Townsend to do community service as part of her sentencing. She decides that knitting for the Linus Project should satisfy her case worker. However, she needs to first learn to knit so she joins the class too.

    This four diverse women bond in friendship and love as they work on the baby blanket. Though their individual dreams may not be answered, a group dream forges as each learns the meaning of life.

    THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET is a fabulous deep character study that rotates the narration between the women so that the audience has four subplots that cleverly knit together into a powerful look at the ups and downs of modern day living. Though not all dreams are fulfilled and some change for instance to cooking, fans will enjoy Debbie Macomber's strong tale of four females struggling to overcome different setbacks.

    Harriet Klausner

    5-0 out of 5 stars THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET
    WOW! Another one from Debbie. You can never go wrong in one of her books. When you are reading it, it makes you feel like you are there. Heart warming. Get this book. When you do get two. Share one. I did.
    Thanks again Debbie

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Heartwarming Yarn
    The shop in THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET is a yarn shop on a quiet Seattle street that is just on the cusp of gentrification. The shop itself is not merely a backdrop for the plot of Debbie Macomber's sweet new novel; it's also the catalyst that brings together four dissimilar women and helps them weave together a friendship out of the different-colored threads of their lives.

    For each of the four women, knitting represents the fulfillment of a wish or dream. For Carol Girard, it's the overwhelming desire to have a child. When Carol hears about the new yarn shop on Blossom Street and learns that the beginning knitting class will be knitting a baby blanket, she knows it's a sign. Carol and her husband have tried for years to conceive a child; now, about to undergo their third in vitro procedure, their time and insurance dollars are running out. Carol has given up so much to have a child --- her normal fast-paced routine, even the high-stress job she loves --- and she hopes that knitting can also fill empty hours in her new slower-paced lifestyle.

    For Jacqueline Donovan, it's the hope that she can be a good grandmother despite her loathing for her daughter-in-law. Jacqueline, a fixture at the country club and charity events, has been in a loveless marriage for years. She claims to despise Tammie Lee because she's southern, blonde and ditzy --- in reality, though, Jacqueline is jealous of the obvious love that exists between her son and Tammie Lee. At her husband's request, Jacqueline enrolls in the beginning knitting class, hoping she can knit a baby blanket as a peace offering.

    Alix Townsend, the youngest member of the group, also seems the least likely knitter. She signs up for the beginning knitting class in the hopes that donating her baby blanket for charity can knock off some of her court-mandated community service hours; secretly, though, knitting is part of Alix's fantasy of a mother she never had. She hopes that by taking up knitting she can recapture some of the nurturing she missed out on as a child. Rebellious and bitter, Alix rubs just about everyone the wrong way until they discover her vulnerability and kindness, hidden under her dyed hair and black leather.

    Most poignant of the four women in THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET is Lydia Hoffman, the owner of the yarn shop. For Lydia, knitting in general and owning a yarn shop in particular symbolizes life, a life she couldn't imagine just a few years ago. Having survived two bouts of brain cancer, Lydia never expected to live to thirty, let alone to open her own business. Lydia says, "The shop was my affirmation of life." Although Lydia has taken a leap of faith by opening her yarn shop, she is less courageous when it comes to romance.

    With their varying backgrounds and different agendas, it's not surprising that these four women clash when they come together for their first knitting class. Jacqueline and Alix, in particular, are at each other's throats from the start. It's also no surprise that over the course of the summer, these four women form a close bond of friendship that is tested when tragedy threatens one of their own. The characters, despite their emotional development, are not really developed beyond their initial preoccupations. However, it's a rare novel that manages to be sweet without becoming syrupy, and THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET achieves that balance.

    Both knitters and non-knitters will find much to enjoy here. Knitters have a bonus: a free baby blanket pattern (the same one the characters learn to knit) is included at the start of the novel, and quotes from well-known knitters are scattered throughout. Non-knitters can still find many pleasures in this satisfying, if somewhat predictable, tale. And who knows --- maybe Lydia and her friends will inspire readers to take up needles themselves!

    --- Reviewed by Norah Piehl

    5-0 out of 5 stars All tied up..
    Can four women who have nothing in common bond over the course of a knitting class being offered at a new shop, you bet they can. Debbie Macomber weaves a wonderful story about friendships and how the least likely people can relate to each other when they find they have a common ground on which to stand. ... Read more

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