Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

What They Say....Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

What I Say....I started this book on vacation, and I thought it was something else.  I was about a quarter way in when I realized it wasn't the book I thought I had chosen and then I realized I didn't care.

Brette has always known that she has a gift, she sees and hears people that others don't.  However, she's spent her whole life trying to hide her abilities in an effort to have a "normal" life.  But she is asked to visit the Queen Mary in an effort to help a young child who has lost their mother, so she puts her own concerns aside in an effort to help.

Brette's story was interwoven, but as it so often happens with novels that go back and forth in time, I was much more interested in the story set during the end of WWII.

There are two women who appear to be on very different paths collide on the Queen Mary in order to come to America to join their husbands.  Not everyone is who they appear to be, and I found myself irritated when the storyline would switch time periods, but that's a good thing because I was so interested in the storyline.

This was a great read, and the way the stories all came together at the end was entirely satisfying.  Highly recommend this book.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.81
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan

What They Say....No one knows why Teddi Lerner left her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.

Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded "Aunt Tee" to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it's been six years since Shay's mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend's husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.
Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she's caused and—maybe—how to fix it. 
After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she'll finally see what she overlooked all along in Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan.

What I Say.....Okay, the idea of coming back to photograph my dead best friends husband's second wedding is completely disturbing.

But Teddi has come back at her goddaughters request, wanting to support her through the wedding.  Although it doesn't seem like much support is needed.  Shayna is obviously happy and loved by her soon to be step mother.

Teddi had beat a hasty retreat from her hometown, and isn't excited about being back.  However, she is a little surprised to find out that not all the people she left behind are happy to have her back, even for a visit.

The good was the variety of characters, all realistically drawn, the bad was there was a bit of melancholy that at times felt a little forced, but not in a bad way.  It's hard to talk abut losing your best friends, watching kids grow up or missed opportunity for love without become a little emotional.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch

What They Say.....From New York Times bestselling author Allison Winn Scotch comes an honest, touching, and funny exploration of falling in and out of love, told from two perspectives—one rewinding history, one moving it forward—and each with bias and regret.
When their paths first cross, Ben Livingston is a fledgling screenwriter on the brink of success; Tatum Connelly is a struggling actress tending bar in a New York City dive. They fall in love, they marry, they become parents, and they think only of the future. But as the years go by, Tatum’s stardom rises while Ben’s fades. In a marriage that bears the fallout of ambition and fame, Ben and Tatum are at a crossroads. Now all they can do is think back…
A life of passion, joy, tragedy, and loss—once shared—becomes one as shifting and unpredictable as a memory. As the pieces of their past come together, as they explore the ways love can bend and break, Ben and Tatum come to see how it all went wrong—and wonder what they can do now to make it all right.

What I Say....This was an interesting book.  It's written from two different points of view, Tatum's and Ben's, and just like in their life, they don't ever seem to be in the same place at the same time.  

When they start off, Ben is the successful one and Tatum is struggling professionally.  But they are both struggling personally with families that are dealing with death and addiction on both sides.

Tatum is definitely the driver of the relationship and Ben is dragged along for quite a while, into a dog he didn't want, and then a baby he wasn't sure he was ready for.  But you can only push someone so far before they will start to chafe and rebel in ways you may not even be aware of.

The marriage falls apart, and you are getting both a fast forward and a rear view of how it happened.  But neither of them seem to be very outcome with the outcome.

A portrait of a marriage with all it's ups and downs, which doesn't seem to be that different even with career success and Hollywood fame.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.45

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

What They Say.....It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a beautiful, charismatic Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. No body—only a hiking boot—has ever been found. Billie’s husband and teenage daughter cope with her death the best they can: Jonathan drinks, Olive grows remote.

But then Olive starts having waking dreams—or are they hallucinations?—that her mother is still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he knew about his wife. Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, their family, and the stories we tell ourselves about the people we love.

What I Say.....I thought this was going to be a thriller but it was much more a book about family relationships.  Although it was a slow start, I'm glad I stuck with it because the ending was satisfying.

Billie has disappeared following a solo hike - does a woman on a solo hike ever seem like a good idea?  I say that as a woman who just hiked alone yesterday, but on a well populated mountain, not one called Desolation Wilderness.

As her family struggles to move on without answers, her daughter begins seeing visions of her mother tell her to look for her.  

As her father struggles to help her move on, they both begin discovering more about the woman that they loved......

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove by Holly Martin

What They Say......Christmas has arrived at Hope Island, promising snowflakes, surprises and plenty of seasonal joy. So snuggle up and fall in love at Mistletoe Cove …

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea. 

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day. The perfect treat this Christmas for fans of Debbie Johnson, Cathy Bramley and Miranda Dickinson.

What I Say.....This is the third book in the Hope Island series and I have loved all three.  I know that a lot of people sneer at chick lit type books, but for me they are mind clearing.  I have recently read two serious books, and sometimes I just want to read a happy book.  Holly Martin's books are always comforting and relaxing to read.

Eden is a successful business woman, and her family is near and dear to her.  But her heart went to America with Dougie, although she never let him know.  These were small characters in the previous books, so it's so cool to start reading about their thoughts and daily lives because you haven't paid them a lot of attention before.

Dougie is coming back to Hope Island to start another business with his buddy, although he keeps saying there is something else that brought him back.  

Eden is thrilled but can't even entertain the idea that she might be what brought him back.  Her self-esteem is so low that she actually believes that magic is what is bringing them together.  She begins trying to "break the spell" because if she can't have him without magic, she doesn't want him at all.  We really can be our own worst enemies!