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Welcome to my blog. One Busy Momma is my space to rant about my life and the things that happen in it. I have a crazy life - and instead of focusing on the crazy - I like to focus on the funny. Because if I focused on the craziness - well, I'd have been shipped off to an institution long, long ago. And while, I'll admit, there are some days when being institutionalized sounds PRETTY GOOD compared to making ANOTHER diorama at 1am - I'd rather be right where I am - in my messy house with my not so perfect kids making crooked dioramas in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Summer Reading 2015

Summer is here my friends! (Well, almost here. Busy Momma has 19 more days of school lunches to make and then...well, I guess I'll be making pool lunches!) Memorial Day has come and gone, we can wear our white jeans and our sandals. And you know what that mean for Busy Momma - Summer Reading! It is time to get our read-on Peeps!This is my FAVORITE post of the year. It represents everything I love about summer - a relaxed schedule, time spent outdoors, getting lost in a good story....a vacation from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. This year, I am splitting the post in half. Today's post focuses on the books I've read this year that I KNOW will make excellent summer reading for anyone who loves to read. The next post is based on MY summer reading list. Basically it's a list of the books burning a hole in my Kindle, just demanding to be read! So - without any further ado....Busy Momma suggests:
As I have already written about this one, I will be brief. Read it. Seriously. It is that good. It is a murder mystery that will keep you up late at night, turning the pages to see if your theory is right! The main character is a woman who travels to work via commuter train. Her train slows everyday while passing the home of a young, beautiful, upwardly mobile couple. Our heroine begins making up little stories about this couple - she gives them names, jobs, personality traits and creates little stories about them to pass her time on the train.When the reality of what she begins to see doesn't match the perfect scenarios she creates in her head, things get interesting. Someone dies and we spend the entire novel trying to figure out who done it and WHY? I LOVED this book and I am making it my #1 suggestion for this summer.  
If you like a little history and a little supernatural mixed in with a good mystery - you have found your series. The Tradd Street Mysteries by Karen White are terrific. Karen White writes about historical homes in Charleston, North Carolina, and the people who inhabit and inhabited them. White is one of those authors who can take a setting - like the majestic Charleston, NC- and make the city itself a character in her books.Her main character, Melanie Middleton, is a smart, sassy, highly-organized high-end real estate agent. She specializes in historical homes and is always number 1 at whatever she decides to do. But Mellie has a secret....not only can she see the value in historic houses, she can also see, hear and interact with their previous owners...even the ones who owned the homes hundreds of years ago! Throughout the four books in the Tradd Street series, we get to know Melanie and the eccentric cast of characters that round out her life. I read all 4 mysteries back-to-back and honestly couldn't put them down. I am really hoping that White continues writing about Melanie and the gang because I would love to know what happens to them all next!
If you, like me, are one of the only people who has not yet read this book or seen this movie, shame on you! Just kidding. When Julianne Moore won the Oscar for her portrayal of the title character in this amazing novel, I decided to read it before I saw it. And I am so glad that I did! This is one of the best books I have ever read. In Still Alice, Lisa Genova paints an incredibly vivid and realistic picture of the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. Alice is a celebrated professor of linguistics at Harvard who is stricken with early-onset Alzheimer's around her 50th birthday. While not the "feel good" novel of the summer, it is unforgettable. Genova's ability to capture Alice's descent into this unforgiving and brutal disease is truly remarkable. 
I'm nothing if not loyal....so when I finished Still Alice, I noticed that Genova had just published another novel - Inside the O'Briens. This one is reminiscent of Still Alice, as it takes us inside of another brutal disease - Huntington's disease. Again, while not the feel good novel of the summer, the author's ability to capture the ravages of a degenerative disease while documenting how her characters live with these death sentences is brilliant. You do not leave these families feeling depressed. You leave them feeling a little triumphant, because while you know the ultimate outcome for these characters, you also know that the characters have ultimately defeated their diseases by the way they lived with them, not by how they will die from them.
If you have been following my blog and reading these posts you know that I love anything written by Elin Hilderbrand. Winter Street is Elin's newest book and is the first in a trilogy about The Winter Street Inn and the family who owns it. The Winter Street Inn is a beloved B&B on Nantucket, owned by a former Wall Street big-wig Kelly Quinn and his eccentric wife, Mitzy. Hilderbrand weaves a story around Kelly, his four grown children and his ex-wife who happens to be one of the most beloved and well-respected television journalists in the country. I will warn you that the book ends with a cliffhanger that will leave you on the edge of your seat, begging for more! The sequel should be out by November 2015 - so if you get hooked, you won't have to wait too long!
Ok - confession time - I am not finished with this one! But I am about halfway through and I am loving it, so I feel confident putting this one on the list. I think this one was on last year's list, but I just got around to it. If you are a Picoult fan you've probably already read this one, but if not - pick it up. The main character is Jenna Metcalf, a 13 year-old girl searching for the mother who "abandoned" her 10 years ago. The mother, Alice Metcalf, was a prominent elephant researcher who along with her husband lived on and worked on an elephant preserve in New Hampshire. Alice disappeared after a tragic and mysterious accident on the elephant preserve and Jenna just doesn't believe that her mother would voluntarily leave her. She enlists the help of a washed-out tv psychic and a battered and broken ex-detective to help prove her theory and find her mother. 
And finally - Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen is an absolute delight. If you liked the movie Practical Magic with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock, pick this one up and tuck it in the pool bag. In Garden Spells, Allen introduces us to the Waverly family and their "special" garden. The Waverly women have long been famous in their Bascom, North Carolina town for their "eccentricities" and "gifts". They are witches! Clare Waverly is an extremely successful caterer who seems to be able to match flowers and herbs from her garden with her clients' needs and desires. When her rebellious sister returns home with a daughter of her own, Clare's carefully constructed life is turned upside down! While not a finalist for the Pulitzer, this is a lovely, easy read perfect for the pool, the lake or the beach. I can't wait to start the sequel: First Frost.
Ok - that's it for today my friends. The next post will focus on the books in MY pool bag for the summer of 2015......

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