Thursday, March 29, 2012

Book Review: Whole Latte Life

I was recently asked to write a review for a Publishing Tour for author Joanne DeMaio and her book, Whole Latte Life. It was touted as “Fresh brewed women’s fiction, to share with mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends . . .” and when it arrived, the first thing that hit me was the deliciously rendered cover.

WholeLatteLifeCover

From the jacket description:

Would you leave everything behind to know who you are?


Sara Beth Riley never dreamt she'd walk straight out of her life. Actually she'd never dreamt a lot of things that had happened this year ... From being kidnapped by her own best friend, to throwing her wedding rings into the Hudson River, to calling an old love in France, to getting inked with said best friend, painting the passionate constellation of these choices into permanence. But mostly, she could never have dreamt what started it all. How could it be that her mother's unexpected death, and the grief which lingered painfully long, turned her into the woman she was finally meant to become?


Sara Beth's escape begins a summer of change - of herself, of marriage, of the lives of those around her. In a story that moves from Manhattan to the sea to a quaint New England town, Whole Latte Life looks at friends we never forget, at decisions we linger with, at our attempts to live the lives we love.

Sara Beth and Rachel have been best friends since childhood, and the book opens with the two of them celebrating their 40th birthdays in New York City. They’d been planning the getaway for months and have a beautiful hotel room reserved and an itinerary packed with fun and laughter when suddenly, one of them disappears. It happens at a perfectly charming restaurant, when a maitre d’ hands Rachel a note. Her best friend, Sara Beth, had left the table to use the bathroom and Rachel had just begun to worry. How could someone do that to their best friend, I wondered?

Sara Beth, a mother of three, is bogged down with a marriage that has lost its lustre, an unplanned child, the dream of an antique business that’s been put on the back burner, but what she’s struggling with most of all is the recent death of her mother.

I will admit that I remained angry with Sara Beth for what she put her best friend through, but if she hadn’t “walked away from her life” at that particular point in time, Rachel would have never met Michael, the NYPD mounted policeman who befriends her and who is struggling with his own demons. Michael eventually becomes a major character in Rachel’s life. Rachel has also suffered a great loss, as the birthday weekend also marks the two year anniversary of her husband’s death.

Sara Beth is only gone for a few days, but her actions create a rift between the two women that threatens to destroy their friendship. It’s not until some time later, after they’ve gone their separate ways, and Rachel ends up ‘kidnapping’ Sara Beth, taking her to the cottage that Michael had rented for the summer, that they begin to mend their fractured friendship.

Sara Beth turns and studies her friend’s face. What she sees in its space, light and color are answers to questions she never voiced: How long did Rachel wait in the restaurant that day? A long, panicked time. And did she sleep those nights, worrying? She worried a hell of a lot more than slept. And did Rachel look for her in the city? She looked in every special place their friendship has ever taken them, hoping hoping hoping Sara would return to her in some way, even by revisiting a memory. All those answers are there, human expression in the architecture of her eyes.

The author deftly weaves a novel about love and friendship, loss and hope, loyalty and betrayal, and “crystal days that shine forever”.

WholeLatteJoanneDeMaio1Joanne DeMaio is an author of contemporary women's fiction, blending family, coffee and friendship on the page. In addition to her novel Whole Latte Life, her music essays have appeared in literary journals. Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut, where the coffee is always brewing, either in her country kitchen, or a favorite coffee shop, and the talk is ever flowing over a fresh cup of java. For more information, visit her website at www.joannedemaio.com.

To read more about the book, visit WholeLatteLife.com. And check out the author’s ‘webisodes’, something I thought were very cool ~

Whole Latte Life is available in paperback and Kindle e-book.To purchase, visit Amazon.com. To read reviews from this Publishing Tour, please visit: Purple Gallinule, Beautiful Mustang, and Savvy Verse & Wit.

Respectfully submitted,

123 Signature[5]

16 comments:

Lisa said...

This sounds like a wonderful book Kate. I have spent sometime on Amazon this week already .. and now Im off to Amazon to have a look. Thanks for sharing.

Country Gal said...

Yes it does sound like a wonderful book . Can I get it from Chapters book stores here in Canada? I would love to have it ! Thanks for a wonderful post about it ! Have a great day !

Deb said...

that sounds like a great book...I'm going to check my library for it...

Caroline said...

I seriously want to read that book!

Low Tide High Style said...

Great review, you made even a non reader like myself want to pick up a copy!

Kat

Valerie Hartman said...

Wow - I am fairly new to blogging and had never seen the Links to this Post before, so this is a first for me. I see your banner asks that we not get too excited, but I can't help it. :))

Big thanks for the shout out. This blogging business just gets more fun everyday. It introduced me to a new author, the new novel reviewed above, and now a link. My, oh my...

Mental P Mama said...

Okay. I am seriously peeved at Sara Beth. Peeved, I tell ya.

The Weaver of Grass said...

This will go on my list. Was it you who recommended Poem Crazy? I have bought that and it is fascinating stuff.

Joanne said...

Thanks so much for reviewing my novel, Kate. I like that you incorporated passages here, and hope you readers enjoy it too.

The Japanese Redneck said...

Reviews help me in picking out books to read.

Happy weekend.

GailO said...

If I were buying a book by the cover (and I will admit I often do) I would jump at buying that book even before I read your great review! What a delicious cover!

Great review Kate! What fun to be asked to do that!

alphabet soup said...

Now a book review - your are a woman of many talents eh? Great cover on that book Kate; the dominant colour seems to one the author favours, she is wearing a coffee coloured shirt in the photograph....
Ms Soup

Jill of All Trades said...

I'm always looking for good books. That sounds like something I would like to read....where's my Kindle.

Sharon said...

It's been a while since I've read a book but this one sounds excellent! Now I want to know what happens! Maybe my local library has a copy.

Donna S. said...

Wow, $3.99 Amazon Kindle ebook. Great!!

Lili said...

Your review has me intrigued. And I like the cover too. xo ~Lili