Saturday, July 30, 2016

Falling by Jane Green

Hardcover384 pages
Published July 19th 2016 by Berkley

What They Say.....When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either. 

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son. 
Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.
But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all. 
In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

What I Say.....It's no secret that I'm a huge Jane Green fan.  It's no secret that I love easy to read chick lit, especially when true love just falls into your lap, without any pesky first dates.

Emma has plenty of money, is taking a sabbatical from work/life.  So she decides she wants to move to Westport, Connecticut and rent a beach house.  She finds the perfect rental, a  house on the beach, but knows that she will have to do some major redecorating since it is still celebrating the 70's.  But that's okay, because Emma loves to decorate, and is actually hoping to make this her new career.

Luckily, Emma has a very accommodating landlord, Dominic.  Dom lives next door, and makes himself available to build (crooked) bookshelves, do the heavy lifting and just generally be the perfect man.  The relationship blooms very quickly into every night sleepovers and talking about forever.

But Dominic has a young son, who isn't sure that he wants Emma to join their tight little family.  Like most little kids, he either loves Emma or wants her to leave and never come back.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of in between, and Emma spends a lot of time worrying about how she can integrate into their lives - trying to balance acquiescing to his asks (eating pancakes instead of her preferred fruit), while worrying about whether she's trying to buy his love (buying a trampoline).  Honestly, it's not that different that what you go through with your biological kids.  Little kids are painful - I thank God every day that mine are all grown now.

When Jesse's mom comes back into town, I thought that would be the big twist, but it was really a minor bump in the road - I would have liked to see that explored a little more, but later there is a much bigger twist that falls into your lap.  I don't want to give any spoilers but this book reminded me of why I stay single!!! Pain is always lurking around the corner, waiting to sucker punch you.

This book was really Emma's journey of deciding who she really was vs. who the world (and her mother) wanted her to be.  She feels like she is ultimately a sophisticate, who should go to the theater and museums, but she falls head over heels for a bartender/part time carpenter who has no aspirations to leave his hometown behind or go to the theater.  Emma ultimately has to decide who she really is and where she wants her life to wind up.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.66.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

What They Say.....Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl," (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

What I Say....Wowzer!  Megan Abbott never disappoints and this was a one day read.  

I had a daughter who played club volleyball and I saw parents who were converting garages into practice areas with padded floors or families who hadn't taken a vacation in years because they were spending all of their money on volleyball and the traveling tournaments.  But no matter how much money people spent, you could see which kids were naturally talented and which were there because of their parents dedication to making them good.  And there was always some (semi) natural jealousy amongst the girls and even the grown ups.

So the setup of all of these young girls wanting to be at the gym where the predicted Olympian is working out, receiving coaching by the same teachers as Devon was eerily familiar to me.  I'm telling you, as parents - we are nuts.  There is nothing most of us won't do to help our child succeed.  But sometimes you see the situation morphing into something the parent wants more than the child.

But I digress.  Katie and Eric have devoted themselves to their daughter's  passion for gymnastics ever since she lost part of her foot in a terrible accident at home - an accident that they both still think about frequently.  Gymnastics started out as a way to help Devon regain her balance, but ends up taking over their family's life.

While they are all working up to a pre-Olympic qualifier, a sudden death of one of the hot gym assistant via hit and run shakes up everyone's world.  His girlfriend, a coach at the gym and the owner's niece quickly has a mental breakdown, Devon seems to be off her game and shutting down emotionally.

The parents are quickly turning against the coach and his family since their tragedy is interrupting their daughter's training schedules.

I thought I knew who did it, but my mind was twisted at the end - like all of her books.  This is a definite must read.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....July 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

Ugh.  Last week I had friends in town, and we had so much fun, but we were busy every single minute so I didn't get to read at all.  They left Tuesday morning, which meant I had to work hard to catch up from my time off work, so I was too tired to read more than a few pages.  

I thought this weekend would be a great time to float and catch up, but I'm throwing a baby shower today and I dramatically underestimated how much work it is to host something like this.  So no reading or floating this weekend either.

But next weekend, the weather forecast is all rain, which is fine with me. So I'll either be in the house reading or if the weather improves, I'll be in the pool reading.  But either way, I'll be reading.

I did receive some good adds this week, and I'm excited to get to them.  Magical realism is one of my favorites, and two of my new books this week are in this genre!

The Cottage at Pumpkin and Vine by Kate Angell, Jennifer Dawson and Sharla Lovelace.....Welcome to Moonbright, Maine…Where the scents of
donuts and cider waft through the crisp night air…with just a hint of magic.

It's time for the annual Halloween costume party at the cottage on Pumpkin and Vine, the perfect place to celebrate the pleasures of the season. Guests return to the picturesque B & B year after year to snuggle up in its cozy rooms, explore the quiet, tree-lined streets and enjoy all the spooky fun of the holiday. But local legend whispers that it's also a place where wishes have a strange way of coming true. 

For three unsuspecting revelers, it's going to be an enchanted weekend of candy corn kisses and midnight black kittens, along with some real Halloween surprises—the kind that make your heart skip a beat—for many more celebrations to come…

The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell....26-year-old
Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good. 

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Carolina—also known as the town of “Lost and Found.” In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbor, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life. 
As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love—and her chance at happiness—all over again.

Dear Mother by Angela Marsons....Three sisters. Three childhoods ruined.
One chance to heal the scars of the past.
After their death of their cruel and abusive mother, estranged sisters Alex, Catherine and Beth reunite once again. 

Alex, the youngest, is a bitter, unhappy woman who refuses to face the horrors of her childhood. Finding solace in a bottle, her life is spiralling dangerously out of control. 

Eldest child, Catherine, has strived for success, despite her difficult upbringing. But behind the carefully constructed façade lies a secret that could shatter her world forever. 

Beth, the middle child, bore the greatest burden. But having blocked out the cruelty they suffered, she remained with their mother until her death. Now she must confront the devastating reality of the past. 

Brought together as strangers, the sisters embark on a painful journey to heal themselves and each other. Can they finally put their terrible childhoods to rest and start over? 

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

What They Say.....The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

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 ingénue, 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.

What I Say......Okay, so I freely admit I'm a Beatriz Williams fan.  I couldn't put down A Hundred Summers.  It was one of my favorites.  

This one started out a little slower, with a reporter providing the setup for the story, but with an old radio type voice.  A man is on trial for murder and the courtroom is filled with spectators and interested family and friends.

Theresa is a rich society woman of a certain age, who has begun a passionate affair with a young soldier just back from the war.  I will say that the constant reference to Octavio as "The Boy" was an irritant from the beginning.  I felt like it actually made the character less relatable, and made me not as invested in his story.

Theresa's brother decides to send a "cavalier" to propose to the young heiress, Sophie, rather than do it himself.  Theresa volunteers her "Boy" for the task, but instead of creating a happy marriage, the cavalier falls in love with Sophie himself.  

As Theresa tries to compete in the same ring as beautiful, young Sophie, a mystery surfaces.  I don't want to give any spoilers, but some of the twists seem very far reaching.

I think I may be more of WWII fan than WWI - is that possible?  It doesn't seem like it should make that much of a difference, but maybe that's the key.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....July 17, 2016

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

This is going to be the fastest blog post ever.  I've got some friends in town - girls that I've been friends with since kindergarten!  Not a lot of people have been able to maintain friendships over 40 years and it's one of the things I'm most grateful for.

So lots of laughing, talking, and relaxing is happening and I need to get back to it.

I finished Beatriz William's A Certain Age and review will be coming soon.  It was okay, but not my favorite by her. 

I added NOTHING to my TBR list - I'm full up on great books!

I hope everyone has a great week!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

Hardcover310 pages

Published July 12th 2016 by St. Martin's Press

What They Say.....In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

What I Say.....Oh boy, I haven't read a book that stuck with me like this in a long time.  Probably not since The Luckiest Girl Alive.  Where I closed the book and kept hearing the characters.

The story is told from the voice of the therapist that begins working with the family after the horrific rape of teenaged Jenny.  The perfect family begins to show fault lines almost immediately, after Jenny's mother pushes for her to be given a new memory erasing medical treatment - kind of like the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for trauma victims.

Initially, it appears that it may have been the right thing to do, but since her family hasn't received the same memory removing treatment, they begin to cope in different ways.  Her father thinks about revenge and justice constantly, and her mother begins to deal with the double life she's been leading.
In the midst of all of this, there is an angry young Marine who lost an arm in Afghanistan, who also received the same treatment.  He and Jenny develop a bond over their inability to remember the most traumatic events of their lives - how can you move past it if you can't remember?  

And there is our narrator, the calm, cool and collected therapist who realizes that his own son was at the party and that he is the owner of the unidentified sweatshirt that a witness describes........

I will give NO spoilers because that would be too suckish of me.  You will be holding your breath until the end, when all roads converge on one terrible night.

I do have to say that I thought about several different endings.  It would have been cool if this were an Encyclopedia Brown "choose your own ending" book like I used to read when I was a kid.  Does anyone remember those?????????  Dang, I'm old.

So if you go to a therapist (raises my hand), this book will make you give them the side eye at your next appointment.  They are only human after all, and they have families that they want to protect just as much as you want to protect yours.  But they have the added bonus of knowing how to mess with your mind if they choose to.  It had never occurred to me how vulnerable you actually are with a therapist!  If a sociopath got a Phd, he could probably do some significant harm - there's a book idea.

Loved it - great read.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.88

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer

Hardcover352 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

What They Say......When Char Hawthorn's husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds. 

Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants the girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.

What I Say....This was an interesting book and it made me think, but not for the reasons I expected. 

Char is a marshmallow.  Her step-daughter calls her gutless and I would have to agree with her.  In Char's mind, she should behave as an overly gracious hostess to her stepdaughter, Allie, even after her husband dies and she's left raising Allie on her own while her mother continues her life and business in California.

So if Allie's mom is rude to her at her own husband's funeral, Char just takes it and tells herself it's the way to get what she wants.

Allie tutors a little girl, Morgan, who has been adopted by a highly regarded local family.  One day, Char sees Morgan covered in bruises and her mother tells her that Morgan self harms.   She even offers Char her therapists phone number so she can verify this information, but of course Char wouldn't dream of following through on calling the therapist.  That would be rude.

Things continue to to decline for this family, and when Char sees Morgan's mom with a startlingly declining personal appearance and a distinct change in parenting style, it gives her a moment of pause, but she just goes on, not asking any further questions or taking any action.....such as calling the therapist.

Allie is also changing, running with a fast group of kids, not interacting, and being outright rude to Char.  And what does Char do?  Tells herself that she can't lay down any rules or be firm with Allie, even when she's lied to.  Char is afraid to rock the boat because no one has made any concrete plans for Allie to rejoin her mother in California, so she is living her life in limbo.  I seriously wanted to shake her!  The human doormat!

Allie runs away with Morgan, in a righteous but misguided effort to help her.  I won't give any spoilers but while the reason was valid, there was another way to handle it rather than having a 15 year old take a young girl, steal her father's convertible, and start driving on the freeways to Florida.

And does Char do anything appropriate?  Like say, call the police to get them off the highway?  No, indeed, she doesn't want to make Allie mad, because then she might not call her anymore.  She initially doesn't tell Allie's mother because she might take action.  Ugh.  At this point, I was getting really mad  because Char's innate wimpiness was putting two children in danger. 

Allie's mom figures out what is going on, and although she says she won't call the police, she does and they are quickly located and brought safely to the police station to wait for their parents.  And Char's reaction?  That Lindy promised not to call the police, who knows what charges could be brought?  I know that I was meant to not like Lindy, but jaysus, at this point, she was acting more like a parent than Char ever did.  You do what you have to do to keep your child safe, not happy.

Then for some reason, Char thinks she can appear submissive to Lindy and that Allie will still be allowed to live with her.  Dumb bunny.  Of course, Lindy takes her back to California and keeps her there until she graduates high school.  Because obviously Char is not capable of parenting responsibly.   If she would have left Allie with Char, I would have written Lindy off, but she was obviously understood responsibility more than Char did.

So then Char ends up keeping Morgan.  So she gets to be a parent after all, to an emotionally troubled child due to the practice of adoption "rehoming".   Where you apparently rehome children like dogs.

Reading my review, it may seem like I didn't like the book - ummm, NO!  I loved it - I just reacted to it as someone who has parented three teens and knows that being their friend doesn't usually work - I'm not here to make them happy, I'm here to make safe, productive adults.  Being their friend as they become adults is the reward for being the bad guy though the teen years.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Weekly Book Haul......July 10, 2016

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

Summer is officially in bloom.  We had a horrible heat wave here a few weeks ago where we were routinely in the 120's, but it's dropped now into the 100's and it feels so much better.  I always say this is just like an Illinois winter, you go from work to car to home and don't spend much time outside unless it's for a sport - in my case, floating in the pool reading is a sport that I am an Olympic level athlete in.

I've been tearing through books, so today, I'm going to be disciplined and sit and knock out some reviews.  

I got turned down to review the new Jennifer Weiner book, and I had to laugh at my initial reaction, and how offended I got.   I don't get every book I ask for, but I think since I'm such a fan of hers that it felt like a personal slight - as if she was saying she didn't want to be my friend.  Yes, I understand that I sound like a complete lunatic.  But I got a settlement credit from Barnes and Noble, so I'll be buying her book anyway.

Today, I'm going to start Jane Green's Falling, and I'm sure it will be a one day read.  Love, love, love her.  I'd probably say she is my most favorite author of all, and that's a huge list of favorites. I've had the book for about a month, and I've just been savoring it, waiting for the right time to start it.  As you can see, it's holding the place of honor in my book box......

This is the last day to enter my giveaway of First Comes Love by Emily Giffin.  This was a good read, so take a chance to win!

I have been so busy reading that I've only added one book to my list, and here it is.

Karolina's Twins by Ronald H. Baison....Lena Woodward, an elderly woman,
enlists the help of both lawyer Catherine Lockhart and private investigator Liam Taggart to appraise the story of her harrowing past in Nazi occupied Poland. At the same time, Lena’s son Arthur presents her with a hefty lawsuit under the pretense of garnering her estate—and independence—for his own purposes. Where these stories intersect is through Lena’s dubious account of her life in war-torn Poland, and her sisterhood with a childhood friend named Karolina. Lena and Karolina struggled to live through the atrocity of the Holocaust, and at the same time harbored a courageous, yet mysterious secret of maternity that has troubled Lena throughout her adult life. In telling her story to Catherine and Liam, Lena not only exposes the realities of overcoming the horrors of the Holocaust, she also comes to terms with her own connection to her dark past.

Karolina’s Twins is a tale of survival, love, and resilience in more ways than one. As Lena recounts her story, Catherine herself also recognizes the unwavering importance of family as she prepares herself for the arrival of her unborn child. Through this association and many more, both Lena and Catherine begin to cherish the dogged ties that bind not only families and children, but the entirety of mankind.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Weekly Book Haul.....July 3, 2016

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

So my youngest went back to Illinois, where she will work all summer before going back to school.  I am always sad when she leaves, and have a day of empty nest syndrome again, but I'm bouncing back much quicker each time she leaves.  it's kind of nice to just come home and read or watch mindless TV and not worry about making dinner.  

I'm making fast work of my July Summer Reading Challenge box.  Booksparks has really outdone themselves this year - I've had a few one day reads, they were that good.  I'm trying to space out the reviews - but I haven't read this fast in a long time!

I was a huge fan of Lost and I also like stupid comedy, so I've been watching Wrecked on TBS.  It's kind of dumb, but it cracks me up for some reason.   But I haven't heard of anyone else watching it, so I doubt it will be around long.

Did everyone see Jennifer Weiner's Facebook post about swimsuit selfies this week?  It was really cool to see so many women posting pics of themselves and complimenting each other.  I was truly encouraged by the progress.  Then I saw a pic of two girls bent over with a selfie stick between their knees to take pictures of their butts and I was discouraged all over again.  Being a woman is hard.

The Story of Our Life by Shari Low.....Unwind, laugh, cry ... but feel uplifted with this
bittersweet love story. Perfect for the fans of Jo-Jo Moyes and Marian Keyes. 
So what would you do if your husband slept with another woman? 
Colm strolled into my life fifteen years ago. If there's ever such a thing as love at first sight, that was it for us both. A few weeks later we married, celebrating with those who cared, ignoring the raised eyebrows of the cynics. 
We knew better. This was going to be forever. The dream come true. The happy ever after. 
Until it wasn't. 
Because a couple of months ago everything changed. We discovered a devastating truth, one that blew away our future and forced us to revisit our past, to test the bonds that were perhaps more fragile than they seemed. 
So now I ask you again, what would you do if your husband slept with another woman? Because this is what I did. 

Separate Lives by Kathryn Fiett.....Your partner of ten years, and the father
of your children, receives a text. You happen to see it: Start living a different kind of life . . . P :-) xxx. 

You don't know anyone with the initial P, so what's with the smiley face and the kisses? Narrated by Susie, her partner Alex and the mysterious "P", Separate Lives is an achingly funny, moving and honest portrayal of marriage and adultery. These characters are never less than totally human. You'll have met people like them. They might even be you.

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch....Twenty years ago, six Penn
students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.
Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

So Close by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

What They Say....Amanda Beth Luker has always wanted more than life in her trailer park town. She has no degree, and no plan, but when she meets Tom Davis, a powerful lawyer with aspirations of making a difference, she knows her only chance for success is to do whatever it takes, whatever he asks of her—even as it threatens the one person she has ever let herself love, the smoldering and troubled Pax Westerbrook. She suspects one man will make her and one will destroy her—but can she figure out which in time?

What I Say....Booksparks has really been hitting it out of the park with this year's Summer Reading Challenge.  This was another one day read - actually a one night read, as I stayed up until midnight finishing this book.

Amanda comes from a dying town, a broken down trailer and a completely dysfunctional mom who has no maternal instincts or money.

Amanda is living penny to penny and sharing a hotel room with five other girls in the same boat.  But she is determined to rise above her meager beginnings and success to her looks like a small, clean apartment and towels from Target.

But when Amanda starts working for Tom and Lindsey Davis on his political campaign, she thinks she sees the way couples are supposed to look at each other, and how a family is supposed to be.

As Tom rises up, Amanda continues to support them as their personal assistant, while dealing with her own in and out relationship with rich boy, Pax.  Neither one of them seem to be sure if they are in or out, and their timing always seems off, but they keep coming back to each other.

I was stuck on this book because I wanted to know how things turned out for Amanda - she's a girl with too much past still clinging to her, too many responsibilities for someone her age and no real, consistent support from anyone.

I was definitely rooting for her to have some happiness - because if anyone carried the weight of everyone around her on her shoulders, it was Amanda.

Don't judge this book by the description, I thought Amanda would be in love with Tom by the blurb - it's nothing like that.  Such a good, emotional read.  Loved it.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.71
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