Friday, April 11, 2014

A Hundred Summers: A Novel by Beatriz Williams

A Hundred Summers: A Novel.  Beatriz Williams. Penguin Group (USA). April 2014. 432 pp.  ISBN#: 9780425270035.

Lily Dane and Budgie Greenwald (formerly Byrne) are best friends when they are college students.  Budgie has her eyes on Graham Pendleton and Lily falls instantly in love with Nick Greenwald at a football game in which he gets wounded.  Budgie has no limits and expects Lily to follow; but Lily is a sedate gal interested in reading and conforming.  The young man she adores, however, is Jewish and therefore unwelcome everywhere in this snooty Seaview, Rhode Island community that follows social mores precisely and brutally!

The years pass and now Lily and Budgie Greenwald return to Seaview for the summer, but by now Budgie is married to Nick Greenwald, surprise of surprises, and Lily centers her world on her sister, Kiki, who is still a child and a rambunctious, curious one at that! This is the story of multiple secrets, romantic affairs, misunderstandings, hedonistic excesses and more, all of which carry a brutal price for far too many family and friends.  Yet even though everyone knows everyone in this secluded summer vacation land, some know nothing until all is revealed in dramatic, heartbreaking, and beautiful scenes the reader will never forget!

A good romance always has some other elements that are the glue holding together the melodramatic and serene scenes that keep the reader rapidly flipping the pages, yearning to know more.  Sports and the vicious Hurricane of 1938, with a hint of WWII very briefly getting reference, remind the reader that the major events of this novel parallel the chaos and adrenalin-pumping action riveting the rest of the world’s attention, love and fear!

A very different technique is used in this novel to bring the plot to completion, including minor characters who don’t get much attention in most of the novel but who turn out to be the central forces that unite parents and children in their evolution from saints to sinners and vice versa.

A Hundred Summers: A Novel is a great read, perfect for the beach-going or home-resting readers who love a terrific mystery laced with sizzling, sensual, and sensitive romance!  Highly recommended!

Shape of My Heart: The Irish Pride Series - Book 3 by Kemberlee Shortland

Shape of My Heart: The Irish Pride Series – Book 3.  Kemberlee Shortland. Tirgearr Publishing. April 2014. pp.  ISBN#: 9781910234044.

Grainne has a huge secret with some honest motives, all of which are going to get her into some very, very serious trouble!  She’s moved back to Dublin and is determined to earn enough money to go to college.  So she works in her brother Kieran’s bar and moonlights as an exotic dancer at the Klub, a seedy dump that draws both innocent and not so innocent men out for a wild night of fantasy and lustful, oh so lustful thoughts…and more!  Grainne earns her money and goes home and is quite happy with this routine, given her past troubled history!

Now one particular night, Grainne notices a leering man in the audience who captures her attention and just won’t let it go.  This is JD, John Desmond, who finally tracks down Grainne after work and actually follows her home.  While he’s phenomenally attracted, obsessed actually, with hot Grainne, he’s got a larger mission which is to catch criminal elements who are really the backbone behind the Klub!  In one sense, he actually forces Grainne to cooperate with his plans.  While his aggressiveness annoys her to no end, she is also electrified by his hot presence and for quite a war; these opposite elements are warring with each other in every scene when they are both together and apart! 

Obviously, passion and some very, very steamy, sexy scenes will follow but there’s also a good plot behind the lightning bolts.  Danger looms for both characters, life and death terrorizing scenes, with plenty of fights to fill the gaps until the final clash that will determine who is really the power and how that will shape the future!

Some lovely legends are interspersed throughout this novel that explains the origins of our protagonists’ names along with some Irish history and language sure to intrigue the reader.  Yes, characters in Dublin and some other minor towns are a force to be reckoned with and the reckoning is both sweet and fierce!

This reviewer has been following the writing of Kemberlee Shortland for years, and I’m delighted to say her creative skills in crafting this romance novel have substantially increased and promise the reader a grand read to enjoy and will compel the same to dive into the other books in this notable, recommended Irish Pride series!  Keep the stories coming, Kemberlee Shortland – nice job indeed!