A TALE OF LOSS & SERENDIPITY — A REVIEW

A breathtaking and lyrical tale unfolds as we meet, in turn, two female characters: Julie Holt, a New Yorker and native of Massachusetts and Aimee Guidry, maternal “great-grandmother” of Julie’s best friend Monica Guidry.

After Monica’s death, Julie takes Monica’s son Beau back to Biloxi, to the beachfront property left to them in Monica’s will. What Julie finds, however, is a storm-ravaged home (Katrina) and dead beach trees. Her journey next leads her to the home of Ray Von Williams, who gives her a mysterious package and directs her to New Orleans and to Aimee.

As the relationships between the characters are revealed over the following pages, we learn the stories of the two women, told in first person narration by each of them. Aimee’s story begins in the 1950s and details the pre-and post-Hurricane Camille years, while Julie’s shows us the mysterious loss of her sister Chelsea during their childhood.

As a backdrop to the family stories, we watch as Julie, in partnership with Monica’s brother Trey, who shares ownership of the beach cottage, take on its restoration and gradually begin to trust and even like each other. Will a romantic connection develop here?

What the tales of the women reveal about their families, the secrets they carry, and the mysterious connections between them is the backbone of The Beach Trees: a tale told with beautiful language, poignant themes of loss and reconnecting, and the gradual unfolding of the mysteries of the past that underscore its timeliness. The lively and very real and flawed characters are reminders that, in the face of great destruction, people can begin again.

Five stars.

THE SUNDAY SALON — MARCH 20

Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Salon, that great big virtual reading room, where we gather to share our thoughts about life, blogging, and reading.

This past week has been busy, hectic, and satisfying in many ways, too.

Yesterday I did stay curled up reading for awhile, then I decided to take a break.  I went to the neighborhood mall and saw The Lincoln Lawyer, which held my interest and attention all the way through.

I had a little lunch, and then went back to my reading.

This past week’s blogging yielded these posts, among others:

ROW 80 UPDATE — APPROACHING THE FINISH LINE

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MARJA MCGRAW

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI-TAG

Now for the reading….

Books Read and Reviewed-Click Titles for Review:

1.  The Easter Parade, by Richard Yates

2.  Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough, by Ruth Pennebaker

3.  Now You See Her, by Joy Fielding

4.  These Things Hidden, by Heather Gudenkauf

So that’s my reading, blogging, and life this week.  Later today, I plan to resume watching the DVD collection of Family.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and a great new week.  Stop by, if you like, and share your own thoughts….

THE SUNDAY SALON — MONTHLY WRAP-UP, ETC. — FEB. 27

Good morning, and welcome to The Sunday Salon, where we share about our week, and sometimes the month.

Since tomorrow is the last day of the month, I’ll be sharing my stats for February today.  I don’t expect to complete another one by the end of tomorrow, since the book I’m working on now is a chunkster.

Yesterday, while reading some of the book I’ve been working on this week (in addition to the ones I completed), I also watched some movies on my DVR and slightly rearranged my “window seat” area.

"Window Seat", Screen, Baker's Rack

Today I plan to try (once again!) to find another bookshelf for my office.  Even as I cleared off shelves in the hallway via my library donations, those are almost filled with the books I’ve finished this month and last.

I have ordered more e-books lately, but then, favorite authors are putting out work…and I can’t totally give up on print books!

So I’d like something like one of these, perhaps….

Now that I’ve visualized it, I probably won’t find it…but we’ll see.

MY WEEK IN REVIEW:

Some of my favorite blog posts I wrote this week included Booking Through Thursday — Something Old, Something New; Saturday Snapshot — Old Photos; and A Bit of Me (Me) — A Writer’s Life.

Books Read & Reviewed- Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

2.  The Book of Tomorrow, by Cecelia Ahern

3.  Hardly Knew Her, by Laura Lippman

 

Still Reading:

Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

 

MONTH IN REVIEW:


Number of Books Read:            14

Total Pages Read:                 4,036

Genres Read:

Memoirs — 3

Mysteries — 2

Historical Fiction — 3

Contemporary Fiction — 3

Romantic Suspense — 1

Coming of Age — 1

Short Story Collections – 1

 

That’s it for the week…and the month!  Now I’m off to see what you all have been up to…hope you’ll stop by.

 

THE SUNDAY SALON — JOURNEYS — FEB. 6

 

Good morning!  Welcome to The Sunday Salon, that giant reading room that stretches across the blogosphere, connecting us all to one another for some updates and tidbits about our lives.

Wow, this past week seemed to skid by faster than usual, and I’m not sure why.  But I did manage to read some books and post on some of my blog sites.

Here are some sample posts:

Meet “Sparky” — A Kindle Sequel

Guest Post — Cheryl K. Tardif

Saturday Snapshot

A Bit of Me (Me) – Colors of the Rainbow

 

My Saturday Snapshot post triggered something yesterday.  Soon I had photo albums spread out all over the place, as I searched for another photo from ‘way back.  Here it is:

My Daughter at Age Three -- Funky Hairstyle

Now for the reading. The first two books seemed to fly by…but toward the end of the week, I started the longest one of the three.  I kept getting distracted, so it was slow going.  But then yesterday, I read all day, off and on, finally finishing it late last night.  Phew!  What a thrill ride.

This morning my Kindle battery was dead, so it’s charging now.  This is my first recharge of the Kindle since I received it at Christmas.

Books Read & Reviewed – Click Title for Reviews:

1.  A Ticket to Ride, by Paula McLain

2.  Wild Child:  Girlhoods in the Counterculture, by Chelsea Cain

3.  Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The – Stieg Larsson

Ongoing Read:

Where Angels Fear, by Sunny Frazier

Okay…that’s it.  And I already have a list of books ready for next week.  I’m really excited.

What about you?  What are you reading and/or planning to read?  What exciting family adventures are you enjoying?

 

THE SUNDAY SALON — JAN. 30

 

Good morning, blogging world!  Welcome to The Sunday Salon, our great big reading room where we touch base occasionally to share tidbits about our blogging and reading lives.

My back flared up on Thursday, so the past couple of days have been shrouded in pain, pain pills, ice packs, and then heating pads.

I did manage to read quite a bit, which you can do in some surprising positions.  I could also blog, as long as nothing took longer than 30 min. or so.

Here are some of my blog posts this week:

Accidental Choices:  Reading, etc.

Spreading Their Wings

A Journey Into the Depths

Weekend Potpourri

I Scream for Ice Cream

Row 80 Update-1-30

 

So those are my blogging adventures.  Now let’s talk books.

Books Read & Reviewed-Click on Title for Reviews:

1.  Child of Silence, by Abigail Padgett (TBR Stacks!)

2.  My Mother’s Daughter, by Rona Maynard (TBR Stacks!)

3.  The Girl in the Green Raincoat, by Laura Lippman (e-book)

 

4.  I Remember Nothing, by Nora Ephron

 

Now, drum roll, please! Here’s my statistical wrap-up for January…I know, a day early, but I don’t expect to finish any more books today or tomorrow…I’m taking some time off!

Books Read in January 2011

Total Books -   15

Total Pages -   4,073

Genres:  3 Romance, 5 Mysteries, 4 Memoirs, 1 Lit. Fiction, and 2 Contemporary Fiction

 

This is my first wrap-up post, made possible because of the way I’ve arranged my books read, reviewed, and challenges.  Hope to visit your Sunday Salons…feel free to stop by here!

 

THE SUNDAY SALON — DEC. 12

Good morning, and welcome to The Sunday Salon, our great, expansive virtual reading room where we meet to commiserate about our week’s adventures.

As we approach the holidays, I notice something brisk in the air.  Yes, it’s the cold weather, but it’s also that contagious thrill of upcoming celebrations.

I used to feel less than great about the holidays.  I was kind of a Scrooge.  Then that all changed.  Some of my holiday memories (and creative moments) have appeared in my blogs this week.

At Home for the Holidays

Christmas Memories – Guest Post at Book Journey

A Bit of Me (Me) – Christmas Tree Lane

Fluffing up my WIP

Family Moments:

My wonderful granddaughter Fiona spent part of the weekend here, and we enjoyed some movie-watching, eating out, and a morning at the gym.

FIONA

My Reading Week:

Not very successful, in terms of number of books read, but I loved both of the books!

1)  South of Broad, by Pat Conroy (Click Title for Review)

2)  Elizabeth, by J. Randy Taraborrelli (Click Title for Review)

Today I plan to read some more, watch some Christmas movies I recorded, and finish watching The Last Picture Show, an old movie (from the 70s) that came in the mail for me this week

I first saw it in the theater back in the day, but each time, I notice something new in it.  I’ll have a review up later.

So that’s it for me.  What have the rest of you been up to?  Hope you’ll stop by and share.

THE SUNDAY SALON — NOV.14

Good morning, and welcome to The Sunday Salon. Here we come together to shine a spotlight on the exciting events of the past week, including blogging, reading, and any other events we’ve enjoyed.

I’m still very excited at the end of Week Two of NaNoWriMo. It’s early morning, so I haven’t yet done my word count for today, but yesterday I added more than 3,000 words.  My cumulative total so far is 28,161 words. I hope to add another 3,000+ today.

On the blogging front, I’ve moved another site from Blogger to Word Press, and my former Out on a Limb is now Going Out on a Limb over at WP.  I’ve been having fun setting it up and recreating it.

Some posts I enjoyed:

A Bit of Me (Me): Skill Sharpening

Saturday Snapshot

Friday Memes:  56/Beginnings

Family Stuff:

I had a delightful day on Saturday with my granddaughter Fiona.  We did a little shopping, we went to lunch, and then went back to my place to watch a DVD.

Here’s a photo of her taken at the restaurant where we had lunch (Dai Bai Dang).

Lunch Date with Fiona

And now for the reading. Not as spectacular as some other events, but I thoroughly enjoyed the two books I finished.  And I’m midway through the third one, which I could finish today.

Books Read and Reviewed -  (Click Titles for Review):

1)  Outtakes from a Marriage, by Ann Leary

2)  My Best Friend’s Girl, by Dorothy Koomson (another one off the TBR piles!)

Ongoing:

1)  Once in a Blue Moon, by Eileen Goudge

What has your week been like?  Hope you’ll stop by and share….

THE SUNDAY SALON — OCT. 17

Good morning, and welcome to The Sunday Salon, our virtual reading room where we gather to share tidbits of our reading and blogging lives.

Reflecting on the past week, I must admit that I’ve done a bit of restless exploring.  I’ve changed up a few blogs (on the face of things); moved around some furniture; and read a lot, while also watching some good movies.

Blog Activities:

Review of To Kill a Mockingbird (DVD)

“Accidentally Reinventing” Post

A Bit of Me (Me) – Dancing Tunes

Book Blogger Hop

Reading Week:

1)  The Home for Broken Hearts, by Rowan Coleman (Click Title for Review)

2)  Secret Memoirs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, by Ruth Francisco (Click Title for Review)

3)  Someone Will Be With You Shortly, by Lisa Kogan (Click Title for Review)

Ongoing:

The Wild Zone, by Joy Fielding

What have you been up to this week?  I hope you’ll stop by and share!

LOOKING BACK — FIRST REVIEW

When An Accidental Life first came out, I was interviewed by Liz Raftery, from Blast Magazine. The review was published in early 2007.

This is a partial excerpt of that review:

Laurel-Rain Snow’s ‘An Accidental Life’ tells a familiar story: Four teenage girls have a ‘coming-of-age’ summer during which they experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex. (Think ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ meets ‘Trainspotting’).

“But in her debut novel, the…author manages a unique
feat by detailing how the girls’ behavior affects not
only them, but the parents, guardians, boyfriends, and
social workers who surround them.
 

“Sick of hearing about a 15-year-old’s unwanted
pregnancy? Flip ahead a few pages and find a subplot
about a social worker who’s being stalked by an
unknown obsessor. Think the ‘junkie boyfriend’
storyline is cliched? Not so much when you realize
that the book focuses more on his mother’s
dialogue—both internal and external—than his.

“In a story which could be replete with minor
characters, there are surprisingly few. An ex-husband,
whom many authors would write off in a passing
reference, acts as a major foil. Snow also offers more
than a peek into a next-door lover’s past, and exposes
a reluctant grandmother for the fraud she really is….”

 

- Blast Magazine

THE SUNDAY SALON — AUGUST 29

Good morning, and welcome to the Sunday Salon.

Here we gather, almost as if we’re in a giant reading room in a university library, to share the past week’s moments and to network with others.

As usual, my week has flown by; however, my child-minding duties have shrunk substantially, with the occasional pick-up after school—oh, and the Friday morning drop-off.

Blogging Activities(Some Notable events):

Waiting on Wednesday

Book Blogger Hop

Book Beginnings/56

A Bit of Me (Me)

Reading Adventures (Books Completed – Click Title for Review):

1) Irish Twins, by Michele Cozzens

2)  The Long Way Home, by Gail Caldwell

3)  Give Me Your Heart, by Joyce Carol Oates (Review up later today)

Plans for Today:

I’m definitely going to have a slow and leisurely morning, with the Sunday papers; then I’m going to check out one of the movies playing in the neighborhood mall.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!