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review 2019-12-26 07:21
Einstein's Beach House by Jacob Appel
Einstein's Beach House - Jacob Appel

I received a complimentary Kindle copy of Einstein's Beach House by Jacob Appel, published by Pressgang.butler.edu from booklikes.


That did not change my opinion for this review. I gave it four stars.


"Heartbreaking and hilarious, the eight stories of Einstein's Beach House examine how we deceive ourselves and others, all to arrive at something far more real."


Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Einsteins-Beach-House-Jacob-Appel-ebook/dp/B00UXZHD2A

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review 2019-03-25 17:32
Not Needed for Series
Beach House Memories - Mary Alice Monroe

Spoilers for those who have not read Beach House #1 and Swimming Lessons otherwise known as Beach House #2).


I ultimately felt bored and slightly letdown by the third book in the series. I honestly considered just passing it up since I am not a fan of reading about affairs in romance novels. Between that and how Lovie honestly seemed to ignore her two kids for her "romance" I wasn't feeling the plot at all. And when Monroe showed how and why Lovie ended up staying in her marriage I maybe went bah. 


So "Beach House Memories" has a present day setting with Lovie and her daughter Caretta (Cara) who are at the beach house. Lovie knows she has cancer and her days with her daughter are numbered. From there Monroe has her reliving her memories from 1974 when she had an affair with a biologist who was in South Carolina reporting on the turtle nests there. 

So for me I found Lovie to be a weak character. We are shown as readers that she realizes her husband is cheating on her. Taking her mother in law's advice to ignore it (who does that?) she eventually realizes she is sick of her husband and her living different lives. She is hoping that their annual summer trip to the beach house that was left to her will bring them closer together.


Readers already know that this is a lost cause based on book #1 in the series. So for me I was just beyond bored to read about things. We get to see how Lovie's mother didn't really care to help her. And we see how the long standing family housekeeper was there to support the children and Lovie. And we get to see the man we have heard about for so long, Stratton Rutledge who seems even meaner and less appealing than possible. 


Lovie and her "relationship" with Russell Bennett was boring. I didn't see any chemistry, but read a lot of justification for why she was doing what she was doing. The hypocrisy of the whole thing after she rails at her husband for cheating on her just made me roll my eyes.

Things got worse for me as we get to read about characters we have known and loved who in this younger setting are warning Lovie about the trouble she could be bringing upon herself.

I honestly didn't get why Lovie stayed after an explosive incident. We had heard about things from the other books, but this book was long justification that didn't fit.

Other characters are not developed that well as I said already. We get younger versions of Cara and her brother. And most of the book we don't really get to see Lovie mothering her kids. She gets obsessed with spending time with Russell and that's all she wrote. The house and the beach don't have the same appeal as they did in the first and later books.

The writing was up and down. I thought that Lovie sounded ridiculous at times. This book takes place in 1974 and characters were running around saying how disgusting they found "bra burning" and "women's liberation." Didn't that all happen in the late 1960s through the 1970s? I know that the bra burning incident that most people talk about is the one at the Miss America's Pageant in 1968. For Lovie to act surprised by things that are going on in the U.S. makes me think she had her head in the sand and never read a paper.


The flow was awful. I was happy to get to the end. There were no surprises there though Monroe interjects some magical realism that honestly didn't fit what came before. 

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text 2019-03-23 17:12
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 100 pages.
Beach House Memories - Mary Alice Monroe

Found myself bored. We knew about Lovie’s affair from the other books. It wasn’t that interesting to read about. And her staying with her abusive husband made me cringe. He beat her and even cracked ribs and I’m just astounded that they stayed in their marriage. We know the father messed with the kids lives from other books, so you realize that she made the wrong decision. Glad I read to complete the series, but definitely didn’t like this one much.

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review 2018-12-20 19:51
Thrilling Conclusion to Beach House Series (Possibly???)-24 Tasks
Beach House Reunion - Mary Alice Monroe

Spoilers for readers who have not read the Beach House series. You do not want to start with this fifth book since it will spoil events from the prior books.


Wow. This was great. I do wish that Monroe didn't feel the need to always have two female characters to focus on in these books. I was fine with just following along with Cara's story personally. Us shifting back and forth between her and her niece  Linnea. Even though I gave this book five stars, I just didn't find myself too engaged with Linnea's romance personally, though I thought it was a nice closing the circle moment for long-time readers. I was just thinking I would love to read a story told from Cara's sister in law's point of view. 


It's been three years since Cara Rutledge left Isle of Palms for Tennessee. After the death of her husband Brett, Cara spread her wings to go to someplace that would not have her thinking of him every moment. Now returning home, she has someone new to think about she wants to be around her friends and family. I really can't tell you why Cara returns home, it will end up spoiling things for long-time readers. I can just say though that this was a satisfying conclusion to Cara's story. Cara is a consultant and ends up needing another pair of hands to help her out and thinks of her niece Linnea who is struggling to find a job after graduation.


Monroe once again shows us Cara going through a lot of changes (big and small) at the age of 53 and definitely showing she's older and wiser in this one.

Linnea is dealing with family troubles in this one and is glad to be away from her family home. Her younger brother seems to be going through some things, but her family keeps insisting things are fine.

We revisit other characters like Toy and her family (yes) and we even get characters from her other series (Lowcountry Summer) making appearances so that was pretty cool. We also get to see Heather and how her life has changed in three years since the last book. 


The love interest for both women in this one were done very well. I want to applaud Mary Alice Monroe for showing widowhood in a romance novel in a realistic way. For once you didn't have the new love interest acting like a jackass that someone had loved again. And we don't have the heroine acting ashamed of that love. We have Cara still struggling to let go of Brett, but she has someone who is patience and understands what she is going through. And they are not asking her to pretend as if she didn't love someone else or was married before. 


The writing was very good and honestly made me want to break open some wine and eat some boiled shrimp. Don't read this book if you are hungry.


The flow was really good in this one from start to finish.

The Isle of Palms is always a great setting. We do have Cara and her family dealing with another Hurricane that threatens everything (why do people live among the beach????) and how they deal with that. 

The ending was so good though. The way things ends though you have a feeling this is the last book in the series. 


ETA: Just realized this fits St. Andrew's Day! Part of this book takes place in Charleston, South Carolina. Cara and Linnea both go there multiple times in this book. 


St. Andrew's Day

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review 2018-12-20 19:35
Beach House for Rent-24 Tasks
Beach House for Rent (The Beach House) - Mary Alice Monroe

I do love Mary Alice Monroe. Her books set in the Low Country always makes me want to visit the Isle of Palms. This is book number four in the series. I have read everything so far, except for "Beach House Memories". 


This fourth book comes with major changes for the character of Cara Rutledge. Now 10 years after coming home to the Isle of Palms, she is happily married to Brett, but wishing that she had something passionate to be involved with. Doing the books for Brett's eco-tourism boat is okay, but it's not enough for her. Readers know that Cara and Brett tried multiple times to have children, and after multiple miscarriages, came to the decision that they were not meant to have children. Cara and Brett rent out Cara's deceased mother's cottage every summer. Now this year, they need the money more than any other time due to Brett's business struggling. 


This brings us a new character, Heather who is being ushered out of her family home after her father's new marriage. Heather is going to evoke a lot of sympathy with readers. Still dealing with anxiety and PTSD after a car accident that left her mother dead, Heather is not good around people. Her father rents Cara's cottage in order to get her away from his new bride (near her age) and to allow Heather time to complete her commission by the U.S. Postal Service to pain shorebirds for new stamps. I have to say that Heather's profession was definitely a new one on me. 


Monroe goes back and forth between Cara and Heather. You get to see two strong women in different points in their lives. One of them is dealing with something so huge though that it had me tearing up in sympathy too. Make sure that you keep tissues nearby. What I did like is that both Cara and Heather are going through things that are making them wish for their mothers to be there to comfort them. Instead they eventually start up a friendship that I loved. 


I will complain though that I wanted more Flo and Ellie (Cara's long time friends and cheerleaders). I also think that Cara's brother Palmer is annoying. I did love how he stepped up for her in this one though. I wanted to see more of the other characters that we have been reading about for ages though like Toy and Little Lovie (see "Swimming Lessons"). 


The writing was like coming home again though. Being laid up I needed a comfort read. I had some books that were not doing a blessed thing for me that I sent back to the library. This one definitely hit the spot. The flow was good too. I just think that after a while I was more invested in Cara's story and Heather's story felt a bit too unfinished to me. 


I absolutely loved that my Kindle version showed pictures of the different birds. I just wish it had been in color.

The ending surprised me, in a good way. Due to the changes in Cara's life, she decides a change is needed, and we have her trying something new. Immediately after finishing this, I went and bought "Beach House Reunion". 


Human Rights Day

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