Natural Born Charmer
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
William Morrow 2007 (392 pp.)
Blue Bailey, walking alongside the road wearing a beaver costume gets picked up by “to die for” Dean Robillard, all star NFL quarterback. It all goes up and downhill from there.
Blue’s car has broken down, along with most everything else in her life. The man she came to Colorado for has taken up with another woman and her bank account has been mysteriously emptied. Down to her last eighteen dollars, she is on her way from a job doing promotion for Ben’s Big Beaver Lumberyard when Dean enters the picture. She takes the ride and sparks fly between them immediately. Dean is on his way from his native California to his newly purchased East Tennessee farmhouse. It isn’t too long before Blue is on her way to East Tennessee too, having no where else to go.
Amid very amusing and constant bickering, Dean and Blue get to know each other and the attraction between them grows. On the surface, they might not have much in common but it soon becomes clear that the childhood abandonment issues each of them have might provide glue for a serious attachment: if they let it happen. Once they get to Tennessee, the plot thickens and we meet some of Dean’s relatives and some other colorful denizens of the town of Garrison, including the cantankerous and nasty old woman who literally “owns the town”. Getting to know all of the characters populating this book is a lot of fun and the plot moves along with breakneck speed. Possibly a little too fast, as some of the conflicts that arise between Dean and Blue, and between them and others, are resolved a little too quickly to be believed.
“Natural Born Charmer” which contains most of the hallmarks of romance fiction including a very feisty heroine who is matched up with an impossibly good looking, very talented, yet down to earth man, manages to have enough unpredictably to keep the reader engrossed until the end.
– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services
Summer has ended and so has the reading project. It was an interesting exercise and I have to admit in hindsight, much too ambitious. To recap, I set myself the task of reading a book by each of the authors appearing in the top 20 of the NY Times bestseller list for June 21, 2009 (the first day of summer). If I had previously read any of their books, I did not have to read another by them, which left me with at least 11 books to read.
Piece of cake, no? No. I ended up finishing only 5 of the 7 books I attempted and the one I enjoyed most was by an author whose work I had already enjoyed many times. That’s not to say I wasn’t reading much this summer, I just did not want to read those books and I kept putting them off. The other books I read this summer were those that my own taste and curiosity gravitated towards. I read them willingly and finished them quicker that those from the project that were not that great. I believe that if I hadn’t been dragged down by these books, I would have read a bit more.
So, what did I learn? I learned that you should not try to force your recreational reading choices. We all have enough reading that we are required to do in order to keep up in our personal and professional lives. When we have spare time to read for recreation, darn it, we want to read whatever we want. And come next summer that’s exactly what I will be doing!
I haven’t shared my thoughts on The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The book is a thriller about a viral attack on NYC. It’s a virus that spreads very quickly and turns its victims into vampires – vampires such as we’ve never seen before. Although I found it to be a little too long and repetitive, I might read the next installment of the planned trilogy just to see what happens next. Rating: 3 out of 4.
(Read my previous summer reading project posts here.)
-posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services
Finished reading Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard (#18 on the 6/21/09 NYT Bestseller List), the sequel to his earlier book Out of Sight, and it is just as good.
I don’t know by what magic he conjures up the words that come out of his characters, but there isn’t much need for exposition in one of his novels, somehow the dialogue does it all. Meeting his characters in print is almost like getting to know them in person, the words conveying all the nuances obtained from seeing a person in the flesh. If you like crime fiction and have never read any of Elmore Leonard books, please do so real soon. I give Road Dogs a 3.5 out of 4.
I tried to read Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk (#16 on the 6/21/09 NYT Bestseller List), but did not like it at all. Sorry, Chuck!
Next book in the queue is The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, #9 on the 6/21/09 NYT Bestseller List.
– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services
Finally finished Shanghai Girls! The story follows two Chinese women from their late teens in 1930’s China through to their experiences as adults in America. I found the book to be a very mixed bag. There were parts that were riveting and parts that dragged. The characters were sometimes compelling and sometimes not. The knowledge gained about Chinese culture and the experience of Chinese immigrants to this country and the insights regarding how close the bonds between sisters could be, made this novel by Lisa See a worthwhile read. And the cover was one of the best looking this year! Rating: 3 out of 4 (.5 just for the cover).
Next book: Road Dogs by Elmore Leonard, #18 on the 6/21/09 NYT bestseller list.
– posted by Sonia, Reader’s Services.
Highlighted this month are:
Beach Reads – Need a great book to bring to the beach? Grab one off the display – we’ve got everything from murder mysteries to love stories, biographies to historical fiction. Also, some of the hottest summer bestsellers!
What I Did on My Summer Vacation – filled with great ideas on how to have a happy, healthy and active summer. We’ve provided guides on travel, fitness, diet, health, summer activities, gardening, home renovation, and much, much more!
Enjoy the rest of the summer with a great book from the Syosset Public Library!
– posted by Jackie, Readers’ Services
Hello, everyone! Don’t think because I haven’t posted anything lately, that I haven’t been reading. Besides finishing “The Scarecrow” which was next in the Project, I’ve read some others. Here’s my take on what I’ve read:
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly- My first book by this bestselling author and it’s a good one. The criminal activity was a little too grisly for my taste- British cozies being my mystery genre of choice- but I kept on reading! I recommend this one to fans of gritty suspense mysteries: 3 out of 4.
Finger Lickin’ Fifteen by Janet Evanovich- Although the number of words on every page are diminishing and the white space around them is increasing, I still keep checking in with Stephanie and friends. If a book in this series makes me laugh out loud at least once, I consider it a good one- I chuckled audibly a few times. I’ll probably read “sixteen”: 2.5 out of 4.
Fear of Drowning by Peter Turnbull- This is the first in a British detective series that I discovered when my colleague Brenda picked a later installment as a “Staff Pick” here at the library. The main character, Hennessy, and his sidekick, Yellich, are as interesting as the plot. In fact, all the players in this mystery are compellingly realized. British, not quite cozy, but I’ll be back: 3 out of 4.
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. This is my favorite book read so far this year. The author tells the story of Balram Halwal, an Indian of the lowest class, and makes the reader feel as if they understand exactly what he is experiencing. Winner of the UK’s Man Booker Prize and deservedly so: 4 out of 4.
Next up: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See- # 4 on the 6/21 NYT list.
– Posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services
Finished “Killing Floor” by Lee Child. Not bad. The book kept me engaged throughout, had interesting characters and was not predictable. I might read the next one in the series someday. Rating: 3 out of 4.
Next up: “The Scarecrow” by Michael Connelly, #3 on the 6/21 NYT list.
– posted by Sonia, Readers’ Services