Saturday, April 30, 2016

Some Women by Emily Liebert

What They Say.....An engrossing novel that examines the intricacies of marriage, friendship, and the power of unexpected connections…

Annabel Ford has everything under control, devoting her time to her twin boys and keeping her household running smoothly. But when her husband of a decade announces that he’s leaving, she’s blind-sided. And suddenly her world begins to unravel.
Piper Whitley has always done her best to balance it all—raising her daughter Fern by herself while advancing her career as a crime reporter. Only now that she’s finally met the man of her dreams, Fern’s absentee father shows up, throwing everything into a tailspin.
Married to the heir of a thriving media conglomerate, Mackenzie Mead has many reasons to count her blessings. But with an imperious mother-in-law—who’s also her boss—and a husband with whom she can no longer seem to connect, something has to give.
On the surface, these three women may not have much in common, but just when they each need someone to lean on, their lives are thrust together, forming unlikely friendships that help each woman navigate her new reality.

What I Say....A story of three women who shouldn't have much in common, but discover that their lives are a lot more similar than they could have imagined.

I started off hating Annabel.  Mega loathed.  She's the mom that we all know, miserable with her life, so starts trying to make everyone around her miserable too.  She and her husband went to wedding and the next morning she immediately wants him to get up and start doing chores, rather than enjoying a lazy Sunday morning without their twins.  I seriously would have walked out on her too.  I cannot stand being around miserable people.

Most women like this in real life, become more miserable after a divorce, but Annabel realizes that she owns some of her behavior, and finds herself caring a little less about perfection and a lot more about just surviving each day.

Piper's story was a little more bland.  Honestly, her dentist boyfriend seemed a little too perfect.  I kept waiting for it to be revealed that he had another wife, a gambling problem, a venereal disease.  I mean it, he was TOO perfect.   When her ex popped back up, I couldn't believe that this would even be an issue for her.

And McKenzie is sad because she wants a baby and can't get pregnant.  But it doesn't seem like her husband is that interested in a baby or her.  But still his plot twist lacked motivation.

The story was pretty predictable, but still enjoyable.  It was a gentle way to pass a weekend.  The women develop strong friendships and begin to believe in themselves.

Of note, the word "smirk" was way overused in this book - 12 times!!  To me, someone who is smirking is being a jerk.  They have probably done or said something irritating and are now "smirking".  You know the phrase, "wipe that smirk off your face."?  Ugh. I hate that word.  But that's my personal rant - you can always tell a rant is coming when the sentence starts, "Of note....".  

Current Goodreads Rating 3.68
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Fellside by M.R. Carey

What They Say.....The unmissable and highly original new thriller from the author of the international phenomenon The Girl with all the Gifts.
Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulston could be spending the rest of her life.

It's a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?

What I Say....I never did read The Girl With All the Gifts, even though I wanted to and everyone raved about it.  So I was really excited to get an ARC of Fellside by M.R. Carey.

It was a really unusual story.  Jess is a junkie, addicted to heroin and a bad boyfriend.  She has a passing relationship with the little boy upstairs, she feels vaguely sorry for him, although he probably has more reason to feel sorry for her.

One day, Jess wakes up in the hospital, recovering from burns and not much memory of what has happened to her.  As she pieces things together, she finds that she is going to trial for purposefully setting a fire in her apartment building, which ultimately led to the little boy dying.

Jess wants to pay for her sin, so refuses to defend herself, she just wants to die.  She goes on a hunger strike and brings herself to the brink of death, but then has a visit from the little boy who she thinks she killed, and he wants her help to find the real killer.

The rest of the book is set in a women's prison (not my favorite setting) and many parts of it were reminiscent of "Orange is the New Black" without the funny bits.  There are judgmental nurses, corrupt guards and inmates running drug rings.  All of their lives overlap with each others, even when they don't want to be involved.

Towards the second half of the book, it almost read like a fever dream.  The little boy evolves into something else, Jess continues to try to do the right thing, although her life is continually in danger. 

It was an extremely different read, not my normal cup of tea, but it stays with you.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....April 24, 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

My Facebook page reminded me early this week that I hadn't posted in a while.  I missed last weeks blog entry and I've been reading like a fiend, but not writing my reviews (Sunday goals).  My only excuse is that spring in Arizona is not something to be wasted.  The days are sunny and high 70's, low 80's and you just want to be outside doing things before someone turns the oven on and 105 is a normal day.

I've been hiking and going to the gym faithfully, and I'm down 16# in two months.  But my motivation has been waning and I've just wanted to sleep in, rather than getting up at 415am to get to the gym before work.  I know most people prefer to go after work, but honestly, I am so deep to my core lazy, that if I don't get up and get it done, it won't happen.  Then I'll come home after work, after NOT having gone to the gym and I'll sit on the couch and berate myself all night for being so lazy, so fat, for not being able to keep a resolution.  Ugh.  The voice in my head is my own worst enemy.  If someone could bottle motivation and sell it in pill form, they would be kazillionaires.

I've had some really good reading but haven't been requesting a bunch because I'm still so far behind on my TBR list.  But I've continued my winning streak and gotten a few adds from some old faves.

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews......Some people stay all summer
long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Some people come only for the weekends-and it's something they look forward to all week long. When Riley Griggs is waiting for her husband to arrive at the ferry one Friday afternoon, she is instead served with papers informing her that her island home is being foreclosed. To make matters worse, her husband is nowhere to be found. She turns to her island friends for help and support, but each of them has their own secrets and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens. Cocktail parties and crab boil aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

Extreme Prey by John Sanford.....The extraordinary new Lucas Davenport

thriller from #1 New York Times–bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner John Sandford.
After the events in Gathering Prey, Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation—no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA. His friend the governor is just cranking up a presidential campaign, though, and he invites Lucas to come along as part of his campaign staff. “Should be fun!” he says, and it kind of is—until they find they have a shadow: an armed man intent on killing the governor . . . and anyone who gets in the way.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

The One You Really Want by Jill Mansell

What They Say.....When it comes to love, never say never.

When Nancy discovers the expensive jewelry her husband’s been buying isn’t for her, she decamps from the Scottish countryside to her best friend Carmen’s posh Chelsea town house to sort things out.

Nancy finds herself in a surprising new world, where rock stars are nicer than you thought, social workers are not necessarily to be trusted, and the filthy rich are folks with problems just like you. Everybody falls in love with the wrong people, and the path to true love twists and turns before you discover who you really want.

What I Say....When I started this book, I was a little worried because I didn't really care about Nancy or her cheating husband, but once she got to London, the story got good!

Carmen is sad widow who is working at a homeless shelter, pretending to be poor.  When her friend Nancy comes to stay with her after catching her husband cheating, it starts a chain reaction which quickly fills Nancy's townhouse.  Soon her brother-in-law Rennie has also moved in indefinitely along with Nancy's mom, who takes care of all of them. 

Add in a hot neighbor with a meddling teenaged daughter and suddenly there are romantic triangles everywhere!

The book got really good because there were misunderstandings were everywhere!  People were constantly getting huffy or overhearing the wrong things.  

I really, really liked this book.  I stayed up until after midnight finishing it, just hoping the right people would find their way to each other.  

I've never read Jill Mansell before, but I'll be looking for her now!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman

What They Say....Lose yourself to the magic of The Charm Bracelet.

Through an heirloom charm bracelet, three women will rediscover the importance of family and a passion for living as each charm changes their lives.
On her birthday each year, Lolly’s mother gave her a charm, along with the advice that there is nothing more important than keeping family memories alive, and so Lolly’s charm bracelet would be a constant reminder of that love. 
Now seventy and starting to forget things, Lolly knows time is running out to reconnect with a daughter and granddaughter whose lives have become too busy for Lolly or her family stories. 
But when Arden, Lolly’s daughter, receives an unexpected phone call about her mother, she and granddaughter Lauren rush home. Over the course of their visit, Lolly reveals the story behind each charm on her bracelet, and one by one the family stories help Lolly, Arden, and Lauren reconnect in a way that brings each woman closer to finding joy, love, and faith. 
A compelling story of three women and a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of family, Viola Shipman's The Charm Bracelet is a keepsake you’ll cherish long after the final page.

What I Say....One of the best things about being a blogger is the chance to read debut authors.  I have nothing but respect for people who are able to write a book, and I try to always be kind in my reviews even if they aren't my cup of tea.  Thankfully, this wasn't one of those times.

The book started off a little slow, but once they got to Lolly's stories, it improved dramatically.  Her stories had a much better flow than Arden's or even Lauren's.  

I always enjoy reading stories of the past - but this was really done well because they were almost like short stories, connected by the charm bracelet.  

This made me want to go rent a cottage in Michigan and while away the summer.   This would be a great beach read.  I'll be watching for her next book.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....April 10, 2016

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

I took a week off of my blog and it was super relaxing!  My daughter and I drove to California to see The Killers - one of my favorites.  It was a 5 hour drive on Saturday and then a turnaround drive on Sunday so we could both be back to work Monday.  The concert was great, a really small venue so we got really close and the acoustics were incredible.

Getting to see Brandon Flowers perform live and spend uninterrupted time with my oldest daughter made it a pretty nice weekend.

So I've finished a few books since I've last blogged, so today is a rainy Sunday, perfect for knocking out a few posts.  

One thing about blogging, I've always got so much on my TBR pile, that I don't buy many physical books because I just don't have time to read them.  So I went to dinner with a friend Friday and we wandered into Barnes ad Noble.  I found four books by favorite authors that I hadn't read yet and they were all on the clearance table.  It made me happy to get such great deals, but sad that time had passed so fast that these were clearance table reads now.  But four books for $23, can't beat that.

Anyway, onto my new adds this week.  This was honestly the best week of ARC's that I've ever had.  I love every single author that I got and these were all books that I really wanted.  It was like hitting the reading jackpot!!

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin.....In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin,
the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Onlyintroduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.
Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend's daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she's always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.
On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she's married to a wonderful man, and together they're raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired. 
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Leave Me by Gayle Forman.....For every woman who has ever fantasized
about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein, a harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack. 

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once she gets to where she’s going, she sees her life from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves, and from herself. 

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Levitt....Caroline Leavitt is at her
mesmerizing best in this haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family.

It's 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have vicious repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy's default caretaker for most of their lives, Charlotte's youth has been marked by the burden of responsibility, but never more so than when Lucy's dream of a rural paradise turns into a nightmare.
Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty, and explores what happens when you're responsible for things you cannot make right.

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews....Some people stay all summer long
on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Some people come only for the weekends-and it's something they look forward to all week long. When Riley Griggs is waiting for her husband to arrive at the ferry one Friday afternoon, she is instead served with papers informing her that her island home is being foreclosed. To make matters worse, her husband is nowhere to be found. She turns to her island friends for help and support, but each of them has their own secrets and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens. Cocktail parties and crab boil aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams.....As the freedom of the Jazz Age
transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband. 

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingĂ©nue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Sleep Sister by Laura Elliot

What They Say....Two childhoods destroyed. 

One story they will never tell. 

Until now

Beth ran away from her family when she was a teenager. She left behind a terrible evil that took her innocence. She also left behind her sister, Sara

When Beth returns home, she is shocked to discover her terrible secret is not just hers alone…she shares it with Sara. Under the shadow of a remote headland, the sisters make an oath they promise never to break. 

Eva’s birth is a mystery that remains unsolved. Years later with her marriage in ruins, and her future uncertain, she realizes that to move forward with her life, she must first understand her past. 

But while Eva is drawing closer to the truth about her roots, Beth and Sara’s lives are falling apart, crushed under the weight of the secret they carry. They must confront the past and face the darkness once more. But this time, their story will be heard. 

What I Say.....It's no secret that Laura Elliot is one of my favorite authors.  I love her stories of dysfunctional families and their relationships with each other and the world around them.

Having sang all of her praises, this was not my favorite Laura Elliot offering.  It was a good storyline and the characters were all relatable.  I really felt for Beth.  I wanted to slap her mother.  I wanted to murder her uncle.  But I never felt like I really knew or understood Sara.  So her childhood, her marriage, her missing daughter and her suicide felt more like something that I was being told about than something that was happening.  I keep re-reading that sentence and I feel like it doesn't make sense, but hopefully a reader will get what I'm saying.

It was a good book, and definitely worth reading.  I finished it in two day, but I just would have told the story in a different order.  And that's a super horrible thing for me to say because I'm not an author and probably could never write a book.

But you should definitely read Laura Elliot.  Read everything she's written - she really is one of my favorites.

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