Friday, August 28, 2009

The Castaways, Elin Hilderbrand

Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life.

My Review:
Wow, where do I begin! This book is not your typical beach read! Its much more. Elin Hilderbrand weaves a tale of friendship, love, lust and betrayal among eight friends (all couples) who call themselves "The Castaways." They are a close knit group who share their personal lives in every way. The book opens with the drowning death of Greg and Tess MacAvoy and chapter by chapter, we are introduced to the other characters (Addison and Phoebe, the Chief and Andrea, Jeffrey and Delilah) as they tried to unravel the events that lead to that horrific day. The question forefront in my mind was: did the boat capsize in bad weather or was foul play involved?

I enjoyed the way in which the story was developed with each chapter exploring one of the friends and his/her role in the group. As I got deeper into the story, I couldn't help but feel connected to the characters and though I didn't like each one, I could empathize with their issues. Each couple had their strengths which made them unique but also had their weaknesses; which threatened to destroy their own relationships as well as their friendship as part of the Castaways.

There are countless secrets and lies weaving a thin thread throughout the story and the reader is left to slowly unravel the intricacies of their friendship. I must say I was not expecting some of the twists and turns as the story progressed. To get into more detail would be to give the story away but I will say its one of my favorite summer reads of 2009 and which you must add to your “you need to read” pile.

Thanks to the folks at Hatchette Books for sending a review copy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang

From the back cover:
In Now What? pioneering life coach Laura Berman Fortgang shares the process that she has used so successfully with hundreds of clients to help them make major changes in their lives. Whether it's moving on from a dead-end job, discovering an entirely new creative outlet, or answering the age-old question "What am I meant to do with my life?" this book provides a clear and infinitely practical ninety-day program to discover a new direction for your life.
Readers will learn from the success stories of Berman Fortgang's clients, including:
*A woman who left her unfulfilling job to discover the rewards of doing motivational work with professional athletes.
*A high-fashion shoe executive who found more gratifying work helping adoption agencies around the world place children in permanent homes.
*A highly paid corporate consultant who became a minister.
Full of inspiring and empowering exercises and tools, Now What? guides readers--day by day and step by step--through a process that will lead to true life satisfaction and fulfillment.

My thoughts:
I tend to "shy" away from self help books as I read mostly for relaxation! This book grabbed me as soon as I read a synopsis! Its a practical guide for moving your life into a new direction. I think the timing is perfect as there are so many people who are currently unemployed and have no idea what to do next.
In the introduction, the author explains who can use the book and the ways in which the reader can address his/her concerns. She also gives example of others who have changed careers or entire lifestyles after using the principles outlined. The ensuing chapters address specific issues that may cause a "roadblock" in the reader's quest for change. Packed with practical, no-nonsense exercises, wisdom, and real-life examples you will never again ask, "Where do I go from here?".

About the Author:
Laura Berman Fortgang is a pioneer in the life-coaching profession. A renowned speaker and the president and owner of InterCoach, Inc., a full-service life-coaching business that works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, she is also the author of The Little Book on Meaning, LIving your Best Life and Take Yourself to the Top. She lives in Montclair, New jersey. For more information please visit

Thanks to Caitlin Price over at FSB Associates for sending this book!