I left my job last summer at a very large bookstore, now I finality have time to read. I do miss the opportunity to get the used books before they go out on the shelves but that has made me use the library more often. Though to be honest the bookstore had a larger selection than my local library, which is very sad. The good news is after 24 years at the bookstore I still get advanced readers. Sometimes the books are bad but every now and then I get some gems. Recently I received a couple of good books.
The first one is "Eight Hundred Grapes" by Laura Dave. I had not heard of Laura Dave before, apparently she has a couple other books out that I had never seen or read. This book is set in wine country, in Sonoma to be exact, and eight hundred grapes refers to the amount of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine. This is the story of Georgia who is to be married in a week on her parents vineyard. While trying on her wedding dress a week before the wedding she sees her fiancé Ben with a famous starlet and the starlets daughter. Georgia panics and runs...from LA back to her family in Sonoma...in her wedding dress. This is a story of family secrets, the type of secrets that you keep from others so you do not hurt their feelings. But the problem with these secrets is when they finally do come out they hurt more than ever. As Georgia spends the week before her wedding finding out family secrets, she tries to come to terms with the impending approach of her marriage to Ben. This book has some great ups and downs, family coming together only to be pulled apart and put back together again. We all know that family relationships are not easy, they are very complicated even for the most loving family. But when all is said and done, family is what brings us together. I enjoyed reading this book, the characters are interesting and the writing was engaging enough to keep me interested (I often do not finish books because the writing doesn't hold my attention).
The second book I recently received is "The Art of Crash Landing" by Melissa DeCarlo. This is a debut novel and if it's any indication of future books keep your eyes out for Melissa. I loved this book so much I read it in less than a week (which is very fast for me). I could not put it down. It's the story of Mattie Wallace a true screw up. As the story starts Mattie is putting all her belongings in her Malibu, leaving Nick the asshole. She is broke, pregnant and has nowhere to go. She ends up at her step fathers only to learn of a possible inheritance from a grandmother she never knew in Oklahoma. To say Mattie's up bringing was messed up is an understatement. Living with an alcoholic mother is just one of Mattie's many issues. She is a smart ass with a chip on her shoulder and she makes poor choices on a regular basis. When she arrives in Gandy Oklahoma to receive her inheritance she meets people in the small town that knew her mother. She learns of her mothers past and tries to make sense of what happened, why her Mother left Gandy and never looked back. This is a well written book, very descriptive and compelling story. Again it's the story of family relations, mother daughter relationships and how they can be very frustrating. I know this because I have a very difficult relationship with my mother. That does not mean I do not love her, but it's complex.