Pub Writes

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Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Posted by Caitie F on August 27, 2014

Title: The Winter Sea8495173
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Paperback: 527 pages
Pub Date: Jan 1, 2008
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her


A couple years ago, I was told that this is a time travel historical romance and was immediately interested. It just took me far too long to get it.

And now I have to read every other book this author has written because it is one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read. I loved the history. It is a time period I knew nothing about, but I was so interested with it the moment it was introduced. The time travel aspect was not what I expected, it was better. It was like it was two books – the present day and historical story overlap, but both have their own characters, storylines, and brilliance

Carrie was a fantastic main character. I loved reading about what it was like to write a book for this character and how strange she sometimes seemed to those around her. I also loved her agent and family, even if they were just side characters. All of the secondary characters added so much to the story and the setting. I felt like I was in that small Scottish town in both time periods as i was reading because it the scene and characters were so rich.

There is also romance in the story and it is realistic and swoon-worthy. The characters are well-matched together and it develops naturally – in the historical time period and the present dayy. I was rooting for the romance and it made me want more!

This is just a fantastic book and you should all read it!


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Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Posted by Caitie F on July 7, 2014

Title: Landlineland
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Hardcover: 308 pages
Pub Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Rating: +++++

Summary from pub:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?


I have loved everything Rainbow Rowell has written and especially love that she writes both adult and young adult books. I would love to see more authors with that kind of versatility!

One thing Rainbow Rowell does so well is she makes you feel so much while you are reading her books and this was no different. I laughed and cried. I cared about these characters like they were real people because they felt like real people! I got angry with Georgie sometimes, but I also understood her and how hard it must be to balance everything. Neal was totally justified in leaving without her, but I wanted him to keep trying. They had real, believable flaws and that made them both amazing characters.

But the premise is even cooler – she could use an old phone and call Neal of the past when they were in college together and almost didn’t make it the first time after a big fight. It was a great way to set the book in two different time periods and show their story. As a married person, it really made me think about communication in my own relationship and how everything changes (in really awesome ways for the most part).

This is another smart, funny, and touching book from Rainbow Rowell. I am sure I am not alone when I say that I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

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The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Posted by Caitie F on May 28, 2014


Title: The Lifeboat 12888599
Author: Charlotte Rogan
Hardcover: 274 pages
Pub Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Rating: +++

Summary from pub:

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she’d found. Will she pay any price to keep it?


From the moment I heard about The Lifeboat, i knew I wanted to read it. There are so many stories about shipwrecks (mostly the Titanic, which this is not about), but not so many on survival in a lifeboat and the tough choices that have to be made.

And those choices were tough. I really let myself get lost in this novel and it was not an easy thing to do. Their situation was dangerous and suspenseful. There were so many times that all the people on that lifeboat did not do that right thing, but it is easy to see why. Sometimes you can’t do what is right, you must do what you can to survive.

The main character was interesting. I didn’t find Grace likable, but I found Grace fascinating, especially in a time where women didn’t have many options. She could be manipulative to get what she wanted, but she was also very naive to the rest of the people for much of the time. I didn’t like her, but I wanted to know more about her. I wish I had seen what some of the other women thought of her.

I was really fascinated by the gender issues of the book. Really, that was how this book centered on – how men and women reacted to those in power. Gender had everything to do with why it even went to a trial. The jury and the rest of society expected women to act one way, so when they didn’t society wanted to punish them, even if they were only trying to survive.

It was an enjoyable book, it should probably have three and a half stars. I took it down a little because it was very slow at times and I thought it could have been a little bit deeper.

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The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Posted by Caitie F on March 30, 2013

Title: The Language of Flowers 10032672
Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Hardcover: 322 pages
Pub Date: August 2011
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.

Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.


This book was our latest book club pick and I am really glad we read it. It is the kind of book i may not have read on my own and I would have missed out on an excellent read.

Victoria is one of my favorite characters in contemporary fiction. She is broken, yet has an inner strength that she doesn’t really seem to see. She is not traditionally educated, but is very bright. Yet again, she doesn’t really see it even though many around her can see it. There are times she is very frustrating, yet you can understand her decisions even if they seem horrible. It is a sign of a very well-developed character.

The book is told is a different style than usual – it alternates from the present to the past. It is a great way to find out what happened to her in the foster care system and specifically in Elizabeth’s house. It also makes it really hard to put the books down because there are two stories that really suck you in. While reading about the present day, the reader really wants to know more about her past, especially since there are hints sprinkled throughout the present, but you can never really connect the dots.

This was a perfect book club pick since there was just so much to discuss: family, the foster care system, mental health, forgiveness, love and so much more. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much without the discussion. It is the kind of book that only improves when you talk to others about it.

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Bed by David Whitehouse

Posted by Caitie F on January 21, 2012

Title: Bed 
Author: David Whitehouse
Hardcover: 256 pages
Pub Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Scribner (Simon and Schuster)
Rating: +++

Summary from publisher:

Mal Ede, a child of untamed manners and unbounded curiosity, is the eccentric eldest son of an otherwise typical middle-class family. But as the wonders of childhood fade into the responsibilities of adulthood, Mal’s spirits fade too. On his twenty-fifth birthday, disillusioned, Mal goes to bed—back to his childhood bed—and never emerges again.

Narrated by Mal’s shy, diligent younger brother, Bed details Mal’s subsequent extreme and increasingly grotesque transformation: immobility and a gargantuan appetite combine, over the course of two decades, to make him the fattest man in the world. Despite his seclusion and his refusal to explain his motivations, Mal’s condition earns him worldwide notoriety and a cult of followers convinced he is making an important statement about modern life. But Mal’s actions will also change the lives of his haunted parents, his brother and the woman they both love, Lou.


When I read the description of the book, I thought I would love it. Then reading it became a little of a chore. It was not a bad book, I do think that if you like the description you should borrow it from the library. It just moved so slowly at times.

But even in the slow moments, the writing was beautiful. The comments on society were spot on and there were many points that had me thinking about: why many go on living a life they see nothing in, encouraging negative behaviors in those we love, and trying to put our own dreams ahead sometimes. It looked at society and these issues in a fresh way.

The book was funny at times. Reading about Mal’s antics as a child had be laughing really hard, but some of the humor felt very British and, while I tend to love British humor, I just didn’t think it was funny. I found some of it gross, especially when hearing about Mal weighing 100 stones and the elaborate descriptions. That was not for me.

The book had its ups and downs, but David Whitehouse is an excellent writer and I look forward to seeing what else he writes.


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