Full House: Sugar and Spice Advice by Devra Speregen
Stephanie’s just discovered that she’s an incredible cook. Good enough to start her own catering business! Everyone’s full of advice for making her business a major success. But Stephanie can succeed on her own, right? Wrong! Cooking for clients is way harder than cooking for her family. Suddenly, her cakes are collapsing, her soup is slop and her pasta’s pathetic! Plus, she’s losing money fast! Can Stephanie swallow her pride in time to prove that she has the recipe for success?
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Meet Dolores Price. She’s thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the chocolate, crisps and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly up. In his extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch an incredible ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years. At once a fragile girl and a hard-edged cynic, so tough to love yet so inimitably loveable, Dolores is as poignantly real as our own imperfections.
In Paradise – her first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature – Toni Morrison gives us a bravura performance. As the book begins deep in Oklahoma early one morning in 1976, nine men from Ruby (pop. 360), in defense of “the one all black town worth the pain,” assault the nearby Convent and the women in it. From the town’s ancestral origins in 1890 to the fateful day of the assault, Paradise tells the story of a people ever mindful of the relationship between their spectacular history and a void “Out There . . . where random and organized evil erupted when and where it chose.” Richly imagined and elegantly composed, Paradise weaves a powerful mystery.
Jessica is beside herself when Mr. O’Brien chooses her to be Daphne’s partner in the seventh grade Write-a-Book contest. All the kids at school think Daphne is strange. She dresses bizarre, mismatched clothes and she never speaks to anyone. Jessica is in for a pleasant surprise, though, when she spends magical afternoons working on the book with Daphne and her little sister, Hope. As their friendship deepens and Jessica begins to see beyond Daphne’s surface, she also comes to discover a tragic secret that Daphne must keep hidden from the world. Jessica promises never to tell anyone. But when the secret becomes a serious threat to Daphne and Hope, Jessica is torn between protecting her friendship with Daphne, and doing what she knows she must do. With warmth, humor, and finely wrought characterizations, Mary Downing Hahn weaves a poignant story that explores the limits of caring and responsibility.
In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant willing to bet everything he has to restore his family’s dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman whose house is all she has left, and who refuses to let her hard-won stability slip away from her. Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy, becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice. Drawn by their competing desires to the same small house in the California hills and doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog marks the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.