Sunday, October 15, 2017

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

What I Say....A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...

It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while her older sister, Olivia, deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. 
Their father, Andrew, sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent. But his wife, Emma, is hiding a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.   
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…

What I Say.....Can you imagine being quarantined with your family for seven days?  First of all, I don't think that I would subject my family to the chance of catching a deadly virus from me.  Secondly, I don't think I would subject anyone to a week locked in a house with me in a bad mood.  And Olivia is in a bad mood.  

She's distant from her family, and not excited at all to be home with her parents and sister.  Olivia is a little bit (a lot) self righteous, and looks down on what she perceives to be superficiality or having lavish meals after spending the last few years in a remote country that is riddled with disease and poverty.  

Her younger sister Phoebe is her exact opposite.  She is her father's favorite, and happy just to have a hot boyfriend and frivolous career.  Having her serious sister home grates on her nerves, and threatens to take some of her father's attention away from her.

Increasing the stress level is their mother, Emma, who has a lump that she is waiting for test results on, but she is determined not to let it affect her family's Christmas, so she is keeping it secret.  Their father's secret son has decided to make contact with his new family, even though Andrew has made the cowardly decision not to answer his emails.

Add in Olivia's boyfriend who is fighting for his life in his own quarantine, and Phoebe's boyfriend who seems to be hiding a big secret, and emotions will continue to bubble up until they can't be contained anymore.

Honestly, this book had a great storyline, good writing, but I really didn't care about any of the characters.  They all seemed selfish in their own way, or in Emma's case, such a pushover that I had no sympathy.  It wasn't until the end that I began to care about any of them.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

What They Say....Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

What I Say.....Can anyone resist an Alice Hoffman book?  I can't. Never ever.  I was so excited to get an advance copy of The Rules of Magic, the prequel to Practical Magic.  

The Owens children are being raised in New York by a mother who is trying her best to deny the magic that she was born into.  But she can't resist allowing them to visit their Aunt Isabelle, where they spend the summer discovering what they really are.  

The Owens children know that they are supposed to avoid love, but love doesn't seem be able to avoid them.  All three find love in different places, but their journeys all go in different directions.  Love saves one, shatters another and leads another on a journey of avoidance. 

Following the aunts from childhood to spinsterhood is heartwarming and heartbreaking.  To be blessed and cursed with magic seems to be a lonely life indeed.

I read The Rules of the Magic over the course of a day and a half, but I never wanted it to end.  

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris

What They Say....In Sleep Like a Baby, the latest installment of the #1 New York Times Bestselling Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden series, Robin and Aurora have finally begun their adventure in parenting. With newborn Sophie proving to be quite a handful, Roe’s mother pays for a partially trained nurse, Virginia Mitchell, to come help the new parents for a few weeks. Virginia proves to be especially helpful when Robin has to leave town for work and Roe is struck with a bad case of the flu.

One particularly stormy night, Roe wakes to hear her daughter crying and Virginia nowhere to be found. Roe's brother Philip helps her search the house and they happen upon a body outside… but it isn’t Virginia’s. Now, not only does she have a newborn to care for and a vulnerable new marriage to nurture, Roe also has to contend with a new puzzle -- who is this mystery woman dead in their backyard, and what happened to Virginia? This heart-pounding and exciting next installment of the Aurora Teagarden series will leave fans happy and hungry for more.

What I Say....This will be known to me as the Aurora Teagarden gets the flu book.  I mean seriously, I've never seen any mom I know get this much help when they're sick, including bringing in a night nurse for the baby.  Usually moms soldier on because you have no choice. This was like man-flu.

But it ends up backfiring, because Roe ends up with a dead woman in her backyard and a missing nanny.  Robin is out of town, but still seems to be getting the side eye from the neighbors as to his involvement.

As Roe starts to recover from her illness, she starts trying to solve the mystery.  In the meantime, she has a sudden illness in someone close to her, friends who seem to be acting a little strangely to her, and a teenaged brother with a girlfriend.  Even putting in a security system seems to put them in more danger!

This was one of the better entries in the series.  Sometimes I feel like I need an org chart to remember all of the characters from over the years.   This was a sweet, easy read and I really enjoyed it.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

What They Say.....In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on. 
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?

What I Say.....I've always been a Diane Chamberlain fan so I was really excited to get a copy of her new book.  This seemed like a little bit of a departure from her usual books, but it was still really good.

Tess is a devout Catholic girl engaged to the perfect boy next door when one night's decision ends up with her married to a man she barely knows, exiled from her family and living in North Carolina.

Her new husband is kind but distant, her new mother and sister in law are not kind and distant, and Tess is bored, lonely and heartbroken.

I thought I knew what the twist was, but I was pretty wrong.  Tess insists on taking her nursing boards so she can practice, despite her new family's wishes.  A polio outbreak brings a familiar face back into Tess's  world, and everything is thrown into chaos.

I loved how the storyline covered so many diverse storylines with a little bit of history.  It's crazy to think how polio used to be a real concern compared to how fortunate we are now.  

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pretty, Nasty, Lovely by Rosalind Noonan

What They Say.....Pledging to Theta Pi at Merriwether University seemed to offer Emma Danelski a passport to friendship, fun, and popularity. But the excitement of pledge training quickly fades, as does the warmth of her so-called sisters. What’s left is a stifling society filled with petty rules, bullying, and manipulation. Most haunting are the choices Emma makes in the wake of another sorority sister’s suicide . . .

It doesn’t matter that no one else needs to know what Emma did, or how vastly different life at Theta House is from the glossy image it projects. Emma knows. And now, with her loyalties tested, she must decide which secrets are worth keeping and how far she’ll go to protect them—and herself . . .

What I Say....This was a quick little read.  Emma grew up missing a sense of family after her sister and mother were killed in a car accident.  So she took a year off after high school to save the money needed to pay for pledging a sorority.  Sit back and absorb that. It was so important to her that she pushed back her education and career to pledge a sorority.   Bonkers.

So she's joined a sorority, and she feels a strong sense of sisterhood, but I don't really know why.  The older girls are hot messes and not nice to her to boot.

There are flashbacks to a dead baby in a laundry basket.  And a sorority sister who jumps off a bridge -or did she?  

I enjoyed the book, don't get me wrong.  But it could have been even better.  The professor and the dean were cardboard characters that didn't really add to the story.  

Some things were brought up that caught my interest, but never really explained or explored further.  Did Emma's sister purposefully try to kill her family?  The second baby that was found in the gorge was a brief mention without any follow up.   These are kind of big plot twists to just mention then drop.

I'll look for her next book, there's a lot of talent there, just needs a little better execution.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekly Book Haul....September 17, 2017

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.

It's finally cooling down, it's actually becoming enjoyable walking the dogs in the morning, instead of having to do it at 5am in the dark just so we don't disintegrate in the heat.

I've been binge watching You're The Worst on FX.  I'm not sure what made me decide to give it a try since it's currently on it's fourth season, but I've made it through three seasons in a week.  It's pretty raunchy but really funny.  The second season had some really touching episodes dealing with clinical depression and a soldier with PTSD.  It's really well written and the actors are great.  

Someone else said I should try The Strain, but it looks a little too scary for me.  I'm going to give it a try next, see if it's as good as they say.

I didn't add much to my TBR list this week, I've been too busy reading.  I'm nose deep in Pretty, Nasty, Lovely by Rosalind Noonan and it's really good.  

Between You and Me by Allison Winn Scotch.....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.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller

What They Say......There’s only one place in the world that lonely twelve-year-old Walter Lavender Jr. feels at home: The Lavenders, his mother’s unusual West Village dessert shop, where meringues scud through displays like clouds, marzipan dragons breathe actual fire, and the airy angel food cake can make customers pounds lighter.

When the mysterious and magical Book at the heart of the shop vanishes and a landlord threatens closure, it’s up to Walter to find the Book and save the shop. Despite—or because of—a communication disorder that renders him speechless and friendless, Walter has a special ability to find lost things. In fact, the only thing he’s failed to find is his father, a pilot lost in a presumed plane crash at sea before Walter was born.

Accompanied by Milton, his best friend and overweight golden retriever, Walter’s quest will take him around and under New York City, into subway tunnels and soaring over Central Park, from bottle collecting in Chinatown to racing through the Met, and introduce him to the extraordinary and forgotten people of this fantastical city. Along the way he will discover his voice and learn what it means to truly be found.

What I Say.....I love magical realism, it's one of my favorite genres.  And not enough people write it - lots of people do realistic fiction, and lots of people do fantasy, but to do the balance of magical realism is tough.  But I'm always willing to give a new to me author a try!

So when I saw The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller, I was excited to read it.  Walter Lavender is a shy, lonely boy.  He lives with his mother, and spends his time away from school at their bakery, where the baked goods have a life of their own.  The Book that gives the bakery it's power is stolen by a greedy new landlord, and all of the baked goods are suddenly just normal baked goods.  Without the magic, business quickly dries up.

Walter doesn't speak much, and he doesn't have any friends except for his dog, Milton.  But what he does have is a talent for helping people find lost things.  Walter's love for his mother and the family they have made for themselves lead him to set out on a journey to recover the book.

Along the way he meets so many different people.. People who are homeless, people who have created world in subway tunnels, and most difficult for him, a girl his own age.

As Walter navigates the outside world (worrying his mother to death), he gains his voice, and his strength.  All of the people that he meets are damaged a little in some way, the same as him.  And in this, he is found.

I loved this book!  I held my breath a little when he was in the subway - I was so sure he was going to be kidnapped!  And I was so frustrated when he kept finding the book in pieces.  The thought of pages being ripped out of a magic book made me ill.  But after I finished it, I realized the best books are the ones that truly make you feel uncomfortable emotions.  It means you are really invested in the story.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....September 10, 2017

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.

Fall is here.  I spent last week back in Illinois, visiting family and friends, so I got a fast week of cool fall weather.  But being Illinois, you can feel hot and cold at the same time.  It's the awful, awful humidity.

But now I'm home - today may be the last day of pool weather here, it's only going to be 102.  Once it goes under mid-80's at night, the water cools off too fast for me.

But while I was on vacation, I read, read, read.  And it was wonderful!  One of the books I sped through was A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner, and it was so good!!  I had it on my Kindle for a while, and kept pushing it back and now I'm sorry!

Today marks the return of football, Go Bears, so I'm looking forward to an awesome Sunday of football, books and maybe a little swimming.

Here's what I've added.

Pretty, Nasty, Lovely by Rosalind Noonan.....Sisterhood has a price . . .

Pledging to Theta Pi at Merriwether University seemed to offer Emma Danelski a passport to friendship, fun, and popularity. But the excitement of pledge training quickly fades, as does the warmth of her so-called sisters. What’s left is a stifling society filled with petty rules, bullying, and manipulation. Most haunting are the choices Emma makes in the wake of another sorority sister’s suicide . . .

It doesn’t matter that no one else needs to know what Emma did, or how vastly different life at Theta House is from the glossy image it projects. Emma knows. And now, with her loyalties tested, she must decide which secrets are worth keeping and how far she’ll go to protect them—and herself . . .

Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts....Not so long ago, Lizzie Glass had a
successful TV show, a cookbook deal, and a social diary crammed with parties and events. But fame doesn’t stay fresh for long. Her show fizzles, her magazine column is canceled, and Lizzie’s only option is a summer job as personal chef to the Silvesters, a wealthy and eccentric family.

Their beach house is a lavish, beautifully decorated palace on the Jersey Shore, and Lizzie gets to work catering to Kathryn and Jim Silvester’s fashionably restrictive diets. But it’s their 
twenty-something daughter who presents Lizzie with her biggest challenge—professionally and personally. A self-proclaimed “wellness warrior,” Zoe Silvester has a hugely popular website and app that promotes healthy living and organic, unprocessed foods. Yet Lizzie soon realizes that The Clean Life site has a dirty little secret. In fact, Zoe’s entire online persona is based on a dangerous hoax that runs deep and will damage lives. Exposing Zoe won’t just jeopardize Lizzie’s job and a promising new relationship—it may expose the cracks in her own past.

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser.....When a group of neighborhood
women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.
By Monday morning, one of them is gone.
Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.
As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Christmas at Mistletoe Cover by Holly Martin.....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?

We'll Always Have Christmas by Jenny Hale.....An enchanting story about
the magic of Christmas, the importance of family, and the joy of falling in love during the most romantic season of the year…

Christmas has always been a special time for Noelle Parker. Winter evenings spent with family and friends, drinking hot chocolate and eating cookies at her family’s cozy bakery have shaped her love for all things festive. But this year everything is changing…

The beloved bakery is facing closure and Noelle needs a miracle to save Christmas.

Determined to raise funds for the family business, Noelle sets about revamping the bakery while juggling a surprise new job, caring for the elderly and cantankerous William Harrington in his luxurious, sprawling mansion.

As Noelle melts the frostiness of the house with cake baking, snowball fights and glittering decorations, she helps William to reconnect with a romance that has spanned decades and unexpectedly finds herself falling for his grandson - the gorgeous but mysterious Alexander Harrington

In the countdown to Christmas, can Noelle save the bakery, reunite a family andcreate some magical memories of her own along the way?

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta

What They Say.....Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.

Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan—a jock and aspiring frat boy—discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas of sex. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night.

Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

What I Say.....Back to school is a busy time for moms who still have kids at home, but it's a life changing time for moms who are sending their youngest (or only) child off to school and returning home to their empty nest.  

Eve is sending her son, Brendan, off to university.  She's anxious and clinging, but to a kid who won't even look at her, much less speak to her.  

Brendan meanwhile is finding his acclimation to college to be a little more difficult than he thought.  His roommate is a party boy, almost too wild for Brendan.  Then he meets a girl who thinks he is someone that he isn't - a sensitive guy.

Meanwhile, Eve has enrolled in a Gender studies class and is making new friends - but also watching a lot of porn.  The problem is when she mistakes her online movies for real life situations, getting herself into weird and awkward situations.

It was an interesting read, but I didn't find Eve's story to feel very authentic.  It felt like a bit of a reach that an ordinary, suburban mom would go so wild in such a short amount of time.

But what happens when Brendan gets himself in trouble and Eve's empty nest is full again?  

Current Goodreads Rating 3.52

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Monday, August 21, 2017

This Is Not the End by Chandler Baker

What They Say....I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can't move on?

What I Say....This was the kind of book that made you question things.  If you had the chance to bring one  person back to life, who would it be?  And after you think about that for a while, you start wondering, if you had that chance, would you use it?  Is it ethically right to use it?  Are you helping yourself or the person you bring back?

Lake has a great life, a loving boyfriend and a faithful best friend.  They help buffer the anger simmering at home.  Lake's brother is in a wheelchair, completely paralyzed and he appears to loathe her, insulting her every chance he gets.  

But Lake's parents are watching her, waiting for her 18th birthday so she can use her resurrection request to bring him back to life - which will heal him from his paralysis.

Then one summer day a tragic accident took away her best friend and her boyfriend.  And now three sets of parents want her resurrection request.  And Lake doesn't know what she wants.  How can she choose between her boyfriend, her best friend or her permanently angry brother.  It's an impossible decision.

Then while waiting in her therapists office, Lake meets a boy. one she knew from childhood.  Ringo brings new ideas to Lake about what the resurrection means and why she maybe shouldn't use it at all.

Who will Lake choose?  How will she live with her choice?  No spoilers, but I will say that the nurse in me would have chosen her brother.  If you have the chance to get a young man out of a wheelchair, how do you not do that?  Not saying who Lake chooses, but that would have been my choice.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....August 20, 2017

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.

Football season is here and I couldn't be happier.  Preseason games are a great way to start bridging the rapidly cooling pool days into indoor lazy Sundays.  Last night, my friends and I went to the Chicago Bears game here in Arizona.  I still love my Bears and this will be the only time they are in Arizona this season, so we paid too much for preseason tickets but I have no regrets.  It was a great game with great friends.

Now I'm waiting for the sun to poke out so I can go have one of my last days in the pool.  Once the water drops below 85 degrees, it's harder for me to get in.  Under 80 and I'm done.  But it seems determined to stay cloudy, and I haven't slept well all week, so I'm allowing myself to be convinced to start a lazy Sunday today.

This week I've read a bunch of great books.  I finished the new Sarah Pekkanen (so good!), but I don't want to review it so early, since it isn't publishing until January.  It was pretty intense and after that I moved onto the new Kirsty Greenwood, which was the perfect antidote.  It was so cute and lighthearted.

But here is what I added this week......

One Day in December by Shari Low....By the stroke of midnight, a heart
would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed forever, One Day in December

One morning in December... 
Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies. 
Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover's wife of their secret affair. 
Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved. 
And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back. 
One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny...

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz....Pride and
Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.
Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

I Bought.....

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.....The Victorian
language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Guilty by Laura Elliott....It begins with a phone call. It ends with a missing

On a warm summer’s morning, thirteen-year-old school girl Constance Lawson is reported missing.  

A few days later, Constance’s uncle, Karl Lawson, suddenly finds himself swept up in a media frenzy created by journalist Amanda Bowe implying that he is the prime suspect. 

Six years later …

Karl’s life is in ruins. His marriage is over, his family destroyed. But the woman who took everything away from him is thriving. With a successful career, husband and a gorgeous baby boy, Amanda’s world is complete. Until the day she receives a phone call and in a heartbeat, she is plunged into every mother’s worst nightmare. 

The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams.....When she discovers her husband
cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight—laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano—even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy. 

In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia’s most notorious bootleggers.
Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she’s got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin’s adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead—secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.

As Ella discovers more about the basement speakeasy, she becomes inspired by the spirit of her exuberant predecessor, and decides to live with abandon in the wicked city too. . . .

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain.....After losing her parents, fifteen-
year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother's aging, her sister's mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County's newest social worker, she doesn't realize just how much her help is needed. She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients' lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband. But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong. 

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it's wrong?

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....August 13, 2017

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 winding down.  Just a few more weeks of lazy summer days floating in the pool.  But then we move into an Arizona winter, which is the best thing.  It's beautiful during the day but cool enough at night to lie in front of the fireplace reading.  

One of my friends came over to swim last week and we were discussing publishers.  I remarked that St. Martin's Press was a favorite, they seem to represent many of my most followed authors and they were always so proactive in getting their books out to me.  Two days later, she texted me a picture showing me she had gotten The Wife Between Us.  

I was really happy for her, but also super green with envy.  Why hadn't I gotten it?  I've loved Sarah Pekkanen longer and I've read all of her books but somehow I wasn't going to get a copy to review?  Snubbed and betrayed by SMP.

But I bravely decided to carry on. A true hero, right?  And my strength was rewarded on Friday, when I came home to this in my mailbox.  Woohoo!  I dug right in, and it is sooooo good so far.

Here are my other, not so dramatic additions....

The Visitors by Catherine Burns.....Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side....

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