Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reading Challenges- Almost Summer

For this review, I chose "Almost Summer" by Susan Mallery.  This is #6.2 in the Fool's Gold Series.  My full reviews are on Goodreads (my screen name is cx3ane).  On Goodreads, I am in a Challenge to see how many Susan Mallery books I can read for the year.  Read about it here.   

"When it's Alstair's time to leave, will his brief visit turn into a lifetime stay?"  Right after the cover (I read the Kindle version), there are 3 paragraphs.  In the third paragraph, you will see the above question.  What do you think?  Do you think Alistair will stay?  Before you started reading, what are your thoughts?  After you finished the book, now what are your thoughts?  

Spoiler Warning: If you have not read this book, stop!  Read the book before reading the rest of my review!!

The first time that Paige McLean met Alistair was at Simon & Montana's house.  Paige volunteers Alistair can stay with her (I am not going to tell you the reason- Read the book!).   I think the reason Paige did this had a lot to do with her Great Aunt Sophia.  Her aunt passed away 6 months earlier.  

I love the chit chat that Alistar & Paige have when she is trying to get him into her home.  He is about to pass out.  She is trying to get him to talk about whatever she can.  She learns somethings about him like he has met Prince Harry, he doesn't play polo well, his father knows the Royal Family, his father is an Earl, Alistair is a Viscount. Alistair says to Paige "My Lord is traditional, but unnecessary."

I love how Chapter One ends- "And to think she'd assumed that today was going to be a very ordinary day."  I think one should never assume anything.  Maybe I watch too many episodes of NCIS & I get this from Special Agent Gibbs!  I have learned not to plan my days too much because something normally happens than I am upset that I could not do A instead of B.  Another part I love is how Alistair said to Paige "You're the angel."  It was due to the fevers he had with the illness (read to find out!).  

"Well, it's the kind of place that welcomes everyone.  We take care of our own.  Word got out that you were here and sick and the town responded." - I love this.  I want to live in Fool's Gold.  Oh, Susan, sign my family up.  We can be packed in no time!!  I do not know my new neighbors.  I have met 2-the one across the street & the one behind us.  I already knew the couple on the corner because I went to school with their daughter.  The others I am clueless about.  The one on the one side to us I am not sure about.  He almost took my door off on my van.  He was speeding to get into his driveway, which is not even a driveway.  He parks along the side of the road in his driveway, but on the road.  Understand?  He has a garage, but does not park in it.  So, I have not met him, or the other one across the street, or the one on the other side to us.  I want people like in Fool's Gold where they care, where they help you.  

I am kind of like Paige.  Paige has never been anywhere.  I have traveled, but I have not lived anywhere except for the County I was born in.  I have been here my entire life.  I was born in the same town I am living in now.  As a child, we moved 3 times (not far from one another either).  As an adult, I think I moved 7 or 8 times, but never too far from the last time.  We just moved at the end of December after being where we were for 12 years.  The longest I lived anywhere in my Adult life.  I love how Paige gets so excited about her traveling one day like when she was talking to Alistair & she said "Knowing in my head that everyone has a different life experience is one thing, but actually getting to talk to people, to see life through their eyes, so to speak, fascinates me."  This is how I feel about my children.  Seeing it through their eyes is the best thing.  Especially if it is the first time they see something.

When Simon talked to Alistair, he "had made the town sound like a paradise.  A close-knit community where neighbors took care of each other."  Alistair did not completely believe Simon, but now after seeing the refrigerator full, he does.  This is where we learn more about Alistair.  He lost his child- his baby girl.  Alistair has been punishing himself.

Paige learns of a Sara from Alistair talking in his sleep.  Sara was his wife, who died in a car accident along with his baby girl.  They were having lunch in the yard.  Alistair was not in the same country when they died.  He has been beating himself up.  Pages later we read these words "Was it never to give his heart again? To never risk the pain? Or had he decided instead to make sure the next time he was there, with his family? or rather that they were with him?"  I wander what Alistair will do the next time!

We meet the librarian, Annabelle Weiss, when she dropped off some books for Alistair to read since he was getting well, but getting bored.  One of the books was on the 
Máa-Zib tribe, the first women who settled in Fool's Gold. 

Paige tells Alistair that the Spring Festival is tomorrow.  With the 2012 Fool's Gold Country Cowboy Calendar, we would know that the Spring Festival is May 12.  You can get the 2012 Fool's Gold Country Cowboy Calendar either as a Wallpaper or as a Windows Gadget, which both of these will tell you items like this!!  Go get it!  About the Spring Festival, there was a lot of things to see like booths selling jewelry, all kinds of food!!  A parade!  Alistair did learn that the soap he has been using at Paige's is Goat soap & it is very mild plus useful for several skin conditions.  

Alistair realized that "Paige had offered him more than a bed for his body-she'd given him a refuge for his soul.  Her gentle kindness had made him realize it was time to look forward.  While he would never forget those he'd lost, he was finally ready to start living again."  Alistair had been working so much since he lost his wife & child that he was not able to face everything until then- at the Spring Festival with Paige's help.  "He realized that he hadn't been just been fighting the measles and exhaustion.  His illness had gone much deeper- down to his heart."

I love how Alistair was helping Paige see her dream- traveling, but she was afraid to leave because of losing her Aunt so soon.  He told her that she will get there, but in her time.  Sparks flies between these 2!!  You could tell the entire book!  The way they teased each other.  After Alistair move into Simon & Montana's home, they both missed each other.    Alistair told her that "I know what I'm talking about.  I've spent the last few years beating myself up for being gone when I lost my family.  I've been unable to release the past and move on.  You've helped me get unstuck.  I want to return the favor."  Alistair wanted to do something for Paige in return for her helping him get well so he helped her plan her trip.  

When Alistair saw Simon, Alistair asked him questions about if he missed the travel.  Simon asks Alistair to be his another pair of hands, but he said "I'm not ready."  Simon told him that he is blaming himself for not being there.  Simon believes that even if Alistair was there that he "couldn't stopped her from crossing that street."  What is it that they say?  Sometimes fate is going to happen.  No matter what.  No, not fate, but it was her time to leave this earth.  Simon says to him "I believe things happen for a reason.  Had I not been injured, I would never have studied medicine, never become a surgeon.  I wouldn't found my destiny."  Simon wouldn't also be married to Montana & having a baby with her.  Think about it?  If Simon was not a surgeon, then he would never of came to Fool's Gold for those bad patients.  Therefore, never meeting Montana.  I fully believe this, too.  If I was not injured, I would not have had Ethan.  I would not been on leave from my job.  I would had been working 50+ hours & not had the time or energy to do anything.  Is there something in your life like this, too?

Alistair asked Simon "How did you know about Montana?"  I love this question.  Simon answers him "She allowed me to fell again.  She gave herself so fully, I couldn't resist responding in kind.  I wanted her from the second I saw her, but what I didn't realize was that I also loved her from that first moment.  It took me a while to figure it all out.  I nearly left her.  What a mistake that would have been.  Without her, there is nothing."  I love that Susan is going back to "Only Yours."  It helps us remember the previous books. Something we might of forgotten! 

Alistair thought the following- "What would it be like to have someone like that? A woman he loved so much he couldn't leave her?  But what about what she deserved?  Could he forgive himself enough to give her all she needed?  Or was the kindest act to simply walk away? I knew when I read these lines that Alistair was thinking of being with Paige.  I was thinking he would take her with him.  Being that she wanted to travel & his job was all about traveling, they would be perfect together.  They can go home to Fool's Gold for breaks.

My favorite part of "Almost Summer" is at the end of the book.  Alistair tells Paige "I'm telling you that I love you and I'm doing a very good job of it."  "I love you, Paige.  You have shown me what was missing in my life.  What I tried my best to avoid.  I couldn't understand how Simon could give up his work for a woman, but now I see what he was trying to tell me.  That loving Montana make him better at what he does."   Alistair wants her to travel the world with him.  Then, they will come home to Fool's Gold.

I hope you enjoyed my review of "Almost Summer."  This is a great book & an awesome series!
Keep Reading!!

P.S. Something for you: 
1. Do you think Alistair will stay?
2. What does Alistair have?  What illness? 
3. Why can't Alistair stay with Simon & Montana?
4.  What was Paige's Great Aunt was before she was Paige's Guardian?
5. What was Paige calling Alistair as a nickname?
6. What was the Festival that Paige told Alistair he would want to see?
7.  What do you think Paige's Aunt would feel about her taking Alistair in?
8. How did Paige's Aunt die?
9.  What did Alistair ask Paige?
10. Do you think Alistair leave Paige behind if she would be pregnant or if they had a child?  Or would he take her/them with him?

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