Two Room Flat, by Jill Urbach

Two-Room Flat"Two Room Flat" is totally romantic, a little bit spicy, a little bit risque, yet a sweet, smut-free read. I thoroughly enjoyed Jill Urbach’s debut novel. Claire is a fun and funny character, and Adam is dreamy and exasperating all at once. The story progresses naturally and I found myself turning pages quickly, laughing one minute, holding my breath the next, shedding tears, then laughing all over again. Urbach’s deft hand at balancing tension and humor impressed me. Her pacing was impeccable.

If you are a Princess Diana fan you will doubly love this story because you will find kindred spirits in both the main character (Claire) and the author (Urbach). While the many famous London settings and historical details enhance “Two Room Flat,” they do not over-power it, so even if you aren’t a fan of England’s royal family chances are good you will still be charmed by this story.

UrbackJill Urbach is a woman of many talents. She is an novelist, an actress, a singer, a song writer, a girl scout leader, a gardener, and a third grade teacher — which all come after her her first passion — being an outstanding wife and mother. Jill lives on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest (you can read a bit about it in her novel).

Amazon book blurb:

Spicy fiction made novelist Claire Gissler a star, but she can’t pen a sentence to save her life since her husband’s accidental death two years ago. Now, deeply in debt, her only hope of reviving her crumbling career is to flee small town America for big city London. Trouble is, she can’t afford the move. That is, not until hand-some Adam Lambright — her husband’s best friend and the man she blames for his death — offers to let her stay in his flat… with him.

Adam Lambright used to know how to smile, how to have fun, how to love, but that was before watching his best friend die and his wife wither away from cancer. Now, ticked off at God, he’s vowed never to love again. That doesn’t mean he can’t help out his best friend’s widow. Besides, her life’s more of a mess than his own.

Seeing no other possible option, Claire moves to London. In that exciting city, she faces the challenges of rebuilding her career — and the attentions of her sexy English publicist. But, it’s her growing feelings for Adam that present the biggest challenge: learn to forgive or face heartbreak once again.

Jill’s book trailer for Two Room Flat shows off her many talents — and the talents of her family as well. Watch the credits carefully. You’ll find the names of both her daughters and her husband.

To learn more about Jill Urbach, be sure to visit her website, JillUrbach.com (radio and text interview spots, and video from assorted singing gigs, including a great duet with her handsome husband, Andy) and like her Facebook page.

Beulah the Bull, by C.C. Troy

BeulahI loved Beulah the Bull, by C.C. Troy.  I read it in one sitting with a great big, silly grin plastered on my face.  I even laughed out loud from time to time.

Susan Ann Jones considers her name unremarkable and applies that description to herself as well.  When she loses the only job she’s ever known, she does some truly remarkable things, although the first one was accidental. On a whim Susan bid on and purchased a 5 acre tract of land sight unseen.  Then, in a fit of rebellion over her too neat, too tidy, too structured, too ordinary life, Susan packs herself and her seven pound purse dog off to Northern Arizona for a bit of camping.  Their first night in their tent — sort of — was hysterical, and their first morning was even better because that’s when they met their new best-friend, a two thousand pound British White Bull named Beulah.  Beulah is an unlikely angel, but he befriends Brady the dog and opens Susan’s, mind to hope and new possibilities.

C.C. Troy’s story telling is smooth and her prose is flawless.  Her storytelling voice is so authentic that somewhere around chapter three I began doubting I was reading fiction and had to double check the credits.   Fiction it is, and her first book at that.  I certainly hope she has more in the wings.  This was a great read — fast, light-hearted, and “laugh-out-loud” funny, but with a message of hope in the midst of failure, and finding joy in unlikely circumstances

I highly recommend this book.

Twerp, by Mark Goldblatt

twerpTwerp is a Random House Book for Young Readers — or the young at heart. This was a rollicking read. Julian Twerski is a wonderfully fun character and I loved the time I spent in his neighborhood. While Julian was busy figuring out what it means to be a friend, and what it takes to have friends — and enemies — I relived my own childhood.

The story begins when Julian, who was suspended from school for bullying, is instructed to write about the incident. Julian thinks he’s been given a great way to get out of reading Shakespeare, but the assignment, which turns into the diary of his sixth grade year, leads him to look at his friends in ways he had never before considered. Suddenly he’s looking at his best-friend, Lonnie, and seeing someone he isn’t certain he likes. Then a beautiful girl comes along and complicates things even more.

I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages, especially adults who have fond memories of their own childhood. If you enjoy reliving the angst and elation of your formative years, Twerp is definitely the book for you.

Consistency = Friends For Over 35 Years

According to the dictionary consistency is:

  1. a degree of density, firmness, viscosity, etc.
  2. steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form,etc.
  3. agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing
  4. the condition of cohering or holding together and retainingform; solidity or firmness.

Make Mine Mocha

As many of you now know, I am working at a very popular local coffee shop. We don’t have any retail chain stores here on the island, so ours isn’t a name you know, but we’re a Friday Harbor hotspot just the same. I love people, so for the most part serving customers is a blast. There’s a lot of humor and laughter shared over the counter.

However, there are always exceptions. Recently a very angry fellow came to the walk up window. I flashed a bright smile and said, “How may I help you?”

He shrieked, “What did you do with the ferry?!”

I responded (quite bewildered), “Excuse me?”  I am a barista in a coffee shop.  I wear a cute little green checkered apron with roses on it.  I make coffee and serve ice cream.  I obviously have no control over the ferry.

The man, red in the face with a little vein throbbing in his forehead, yelled, “A minute ago there was a ferry at the dock. Now it’s gone. I just went into the store for a minute.  What did you do with the ferry?!”

I so wanted to say, “What?!  Did it sink again?!”

I figured that response would get me strangled, so I gave the man a ferry schedule and told him when the next ship would dock.  I hope he figured out on his own that when one’s ship comes in, one should get on it post-haste!