Harry's Trees, Moonlight Over Paris & Kiss My Asterisk

 Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen

This is the story of three people who have suffered great loss in their lives and who, in each other, find their way through grief to happiness again. Harry's two favourite things in life are his wife, Beth, and trees. When he loses Beth in a bizarre accident, he heads for a section of forest he's familiar with through his work with the forestry service, and is found there, injured, by the recently widowed Amanda and her daughter, Oriana. Oriana thinks Harry has been sent into their lives by her father, whose spirit she believes to be now embodied in a red-tailed hawk that keeps showing up at crucial times. She convinces her mother to let Harry stay in Oriana's tree house for a couple of weeks, and when a legal settlement brings Harry a significant amount of money that he doesn't want, they hatch a furtive plot to be rid of it. Things get complicated when Harry's brother, Wolf, who lives up to his name and fiercely believes he's entitled to the money, comes after him. Add to that a smarmy real estate agent who wants to take advantage of Amanda's financial woes to foreclose on her house and you have the makings of quite a story, with a little adventure, a bit of fairy tale magic, and, of course, a romance. It's sweet, but not sappy. The characters, most of them, feel real and so does their grief, though Harry's brother and the real estate agent are a bit cartoonish. It's an appealing story and worth the read.

Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson

This was pretty good. The title seems trite and hasn't much to do with the story, other than it is set in Paris, but the characters are interesting and the plot, though the end was predictable, kept me wondering what was coming next. There's something about this story that resonated with me. There’s no reason why it should: I’ve never been to Paris and certainly never lived the lifestyles described here. Maybe it was the reader's performance; she made every character likable, not that I want every character in a book to be likable, but again, there's just something about this one. I think the word I’m looking for is lovely; it was a lovely story. With a pleasant setting, an engaging plot, and charming characters, it offered exactly the escape from reality I was looking for. 

Kiss My Asterisk, a Feisty Guide to Punctuation and Grammar  by Jenny Baranick

If you're looking for a quick refresher on punctuation and grammar, but don't want a dry text book full of obscure rules and their exceptions, you will like this. It covers the basics: when to use commas and semi-colons, when to spell out numbers or use numerals, when to capitalize and when not to capitalize, etc. It's called a Feisty Guide because it's full of attitude and innuendo, nothing at all like your prim and proper high school English teacher. It's fun, if a little over the top with the sex talk - not dirty, but not subtle either: high school information, junior high humour.   


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