Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable




What They Say.....Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family’s Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she’s purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave.

The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home’s definitive guestbook, and Bess herself. Bess’s grandmother always said it was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother’s words in ways she never contemplated.


What I Say.....It's summer so time for me to read all things east coast and The Book of Summer was a great place to start. 

Bess running away from a crumbling marriage, finds herself in Nantucket trying to talk her mom out of attempting to save the family home from crumbling into the sea.

As she begins the long chore of packing the house, she finds the Book of Summer, where her relatives have entered their thoughts into the family guestbook all they way back before the second World War.

I normally like books that jump back and forth in time, and I did really enjoy that about this book.  However, the current timeline was a lot less interesting than the past.  I never really felt that strongly about Bess or her story - her storyline with her ex was kind of vague, but awful.  

Her grandmother's story was much more interesting but equally awful.  Living with the secrets of their times, you never really got an idea that Ruby really understood what was happening to her husband - did she not get it or did she just make peace with it?  I was confused.

It's getting great reviews on Goodreads!



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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....June 18, 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.


We are in the middle of a bona fide heat wave.  It's supposed to hit 120 on Tuesday, so everyone is hunkered down in their air conditioned houses.  I went into the pool yesterday, but I could only take the heat for about two hours.  

So many people say they couldn't take the heat of living out here, but it really is just the opposite of living in the midwest.  This is our time to go from house to car to work and back, just like I used to do from January to March in Illinois.  Only this only lasts for a few weeks.  As long as it's under 110, I'm fine - especially since there's no humidity.

But the books I have read while hiding in my house!  So many good books.  I started The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg on Friday night and stayed up until midnight finishing it.  Then I looked at the publishing date and saw it's not out until November!  So I don't even want to rave about it because it's not available for so long.  But if you loved A Man Called Ove, you'll love this book.

And here's what I added this week.

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice-Cream by Sue Watson....Dani’s on a
mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance? 

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea. 

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns. 

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks? 


Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta....From one of the most popular and
bestselling authors of our time, a penetrating and hilarious new novel about sex, love, and identity on the frontlines of America’s culture wars.

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 MILFateria.com, 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.


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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Hardcover400 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Atria Books


What They Say.....Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.


What I Say.....I love Taylor Jenkins Reid's books.  She is one of those authors that I always wonder about, why isn't she so much more well known?

I started reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo on my vacation at the end of April.  I started it in the morning while I was waiting for everyone else to get ready for the beach.  And I was instantly hooked.  

I read it all day, every time I got out of the ocean.  And I stayed up that night to finish it. It was a one day read.

I love books that jump back in time and tell a story going forward.  Evelyn is a movie star, famous since the 50's and now hiding from the world.  She decides to tell Monique her story, and no one, Monique most of all, can figure out why she was chosen for this career changing interview.

At first I thought Monique would turn out to be Evelyn's long lost daughter but that wasn't it.  I am always trying to figure out the plot twists, and I love it when I can still be surprised.  

I know we were supposed to see Evelyn as ruthlessly ambitious, but I saw a woman who was doing what she needed to do during a time that didn't give women many options.  And every option  required a man, usually in the form of marriage.  A girl has got to do what a girl has got to do.

Fast, intriguing, relaxing read.  Loved it so much!

Current Goodreads Rating 4.33

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....June 11, 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.


I haven't been adding many new books lately, I've been trying to pare down my TBR list - with great success I might add.

But I always make an exception for Jill Mansell, since her books are so relaxing, so I did add her latest.  I also bought The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood and I'm really enjoying it so far.  

I watched all of the Book Expo posts with great jealousy last week, and every year I tell myself, "Next year, I'll go.".  I just wish it wasn't always in New York, but maybe 2018 will be me and my BFF's year!

It's been swimming weather for the last two weeks and I have to say, floating n the pool all day, reading for hours is the best mood booster.  I love summer the most.

So here's what I added this week.

Head Over Heels by Jill Mansell....Welcome to Jill Mansell's wonderful world!
In the picturesque village of Upper Sisley, everyone thinks they know their neighbors, but nobody knows what scandalous surprise is going to happen next. 


1. An unexpected reunion between two former lovers changes both their families forever.
2. Old friendships fade and new ones blossom as neighbors begin to see one another in a new light.
3. A young woman finally asks for what she really wants, a young man atones for bad behavior, and both find that courage brings its own rewards. 
PLUS!
Surprises, companionship, crossed wires and self-discovery in a story that will leave you completely satisfied, and begging for more.













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Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green






What They Say.....Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters. 

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother's overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother's fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.
 


What I Say....Light summer read, but totally predictable.  I'm a huge Jane Green fan and I always look forward to her books.  

Ronni has been a medium level star who has always treated her family like an annoyance, and as a result, now has very limited relationships with all three of her daughters.  Having to fight for their mother's attention has led to all three girls having competitive relationships with each other - when there's not enough love to go around, children will fight for the scraps.

But now, Ronni has discovered she has a fatal disease and wants to make amends with her daughters and help them repair their relationships with each other (nurse alert: this doesn't usually happen, if your a narcissist all your life, you don't usually change in the face of death, you might actually become more self-absorbed).  

Nell is running a farm, living on her own after her son left for college.  Meri is living in London with a man she doesn't want to marry, but doesn't think she has any other options, and Lizzy is running supper clubs in the city, resenting her husband, ignoring her son, and carrying on an affair with her partner.  

The girls are beckoned home by their mother and given the news that she wants them to help her commit suicide.  The girls are understandably shocked and resistant to this idea, they haven't even had time to adjust to the news of their mothers illness before they are asked to help her die.

Since this is a Jane Green book, all the answers to your romantic problems are delivered to your door.  These books have ruined my chances at remarriage, since I now believe my true love will show up at my door to build me bookshelves.  

This is the third book I have read this year that has introduced a lesbian character as a woman who has gone her whole life without ever realizing that she is attracted to women.  I've never known a lesbian who didn't realize who she was attracted to until middle age - or that just fell in love with a woman and came out in the matter of two days.  I'm all for including all love in the mainstream, but I wish we were making it a little more believable.  How about one sister is gay, has always been gay, and is looking for her true love, just like the straight sister?  

Anyway, everyone has their loving encounter with their mother that heals all emotional wounds, except for Lizzy, the one spoiled all of her life.  Everyone finds love, except for Lizzy.  Hmmm....Lizzy does end up with the short end of the stick frequently in this book.

If you are looking for a light beach read, look no further.  This is a relaxing way to pass an afternoon and as light as it gets.

















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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Burntown by Jennifer McMahon










What They Say....Eva grew up watching her father, Miles, invent strange and wonderful things in the small workshop behind their house on the river that runs through their old mill town. But the most important invention of all was the one that Miles claimed came from the mind of Thomas Edison himself--a machine that allowed one to speak with loved ones long passed. Smuggled out of Edison's laboratory, the blueprints were passed down to Miles, and he's been using them to protect Eva, her mother, Lily, and her brother, Errol, ever since.

Then, one night when a storm is raging and the river is threatening to flood, the machine whirrs to life on its own. Danger, it says. You're in terrible danger. The next thing Eva knows is waking up on the side of the river and seeing her mother's grim face. Eva's father and brother are dead, their house has been washed away and an evil man is searching for them both. They need to hide.

Eva changes her name to Necco--a candy she always loved--and tries to put everything in her past behind her as she adapts to her new life off the grid. But when her boyfriend is murdered and her mother disappears, she knows that the past is starting to catch up to her.

What really happened the night of the flood? As Necco searches for the truth, her journey unites her with two women who are on desperate quests of their own. And as the trio follows the clues to solving the mystery of Necco's past, they discover that sometimes it's the smallest towns that hold the strangest secrets.


What I Say....I love, love, love Jennifer McMahon.  I've been reading her for years.  She only averages about one book a year, so I always have to remind myself to look for her but it's always worth it!

I read Burntown in one day - I had to get out of the pool finally because my Kindle was overheating.  So I hunkered down under the patio umbrella to keep reading.

This book - the description didn't get me excited, and I probably would have passed it by except it was by McMahon.  I wonder who writes the descriptions, is that a job?  I'd like that job.

Anyway, don't be put off by the description.  It's accurate but it doesn't really tell the story.  The brilliance of McMahon is that she weaves in the unbelievable or magical into the mundane, or even sad lives of her characters.  

And the characters she writes always hit you right in the feels.  They are the people on the outskirts, usually living quiet lives, just trying to hold things together.  I never read a McMahon book without reflecting on people I see every day and never consider the inner workings of their lives.

Burntown is the story of a woman trying to piece together the tragedy of her childhood, manage her current tumultuous life, and the other complex women that end up being part of her story- an overweight lunch lady and a teen caught up in a situation she isn't equipped to deal with.  

If you enjoy Alice Hoffman, you will like Jennifer McMahon - Hoffman has a lot more magic, but the same undercurrent of sadness runs through both authors work.























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Sunday, May 28, 2017

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly



What They Said.....In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever. 

The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person? 
15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.
From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.


What I Say......This is the time of year that I love having paper ARC's, because this is what they end up looking like.


Yep, it's my favorite time of the year, it's time to float and read.  And He Said/She Said was the first pool book of the summer.

Laura and Kit are eclipse chasers, Kit since childhood and Laura since she met Kit.  They are about to be clouded out at the latest site, which leads them to a isolated area when they come upon two people having sex, but while Laura is sure what she has witnessed is a rape, the guy says it was consensual.  

As they are part of the ongoing trial, Laura finds herself committing perjury under questioning from an aggressive defense attorney.  Afterwards, she is living in fear that Kit will find out, the alleged rapist will go free or she will go to jail.

However, when the victim continues to contact her after the trial has ended, Laura develops an uneasy friendship with her - partly out of her sympathy for what happened to Beth, and partly out of fear that if she doesn't, Beth will tell Kit about her perjury.  But never does it seem like she really likes Beth or enjoys spending time with her, even as they are coloring each other's hair.

But when she tries to pull back, weird things start happening, things that become increasingly dangerous.  Convinced that Beth is unhinged, Kit and Laura move off the grid, change their names and try to disappear into new lives.  

But Kit can't stop chasing eclipses and they live in fear that she will find them every time the next one comes.

Laura stays behind hugely pregnant with twins, while Kit sets off on another eclipse trek.  Which he can't enjoy since he worries every minute about Beth showing up.  Meanwhile, Beth is safe at home.....

I don't want to say much more, because this book was full of twists and turns.  You know how sometimes you think you've read it all, and you can't be surprised anymore?  I actually was surprised with this book - I did not see the twist coming.  

And I'm not sure if I agreed with Laura's take on the situation on the end, she wasn't innocent either, but that's all I'm going to say about that.  NO SPOILERS!

Current Goodreads Rating 4.17




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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....May 21, 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.


This has been a long, long week.  Between reading about the nurse held hostage at Delnor Hospital, the baby who was gnawed on by 100 rats while her parents lay sleeping, and Chris Cornell's suicide, it felt like the world was just an ugly, sad place this week.

I have such great respect for artists in any form.  Painters, authors, musicians.  That type of talent is just so foreign to me - my brain just isn't wired that way, I'm way too logical.  So when I listen to interviews with singers about how they just hear music in their head, I can't even imagine what that feels like.  I always wonder if that's how authors work too, do they just hear the story in their head?  

I think Cornell's death hit me hard for another reason.  I've always been a huge fan, and he came to town about a year and a half ago.  I really wanted to go, but the tickets were like $140 each.  I hemmed and hawed, but I just couldn't justify the expense.  Why?  I don't know.  I could easily have bought the ticket but it just didn't feel like my wants were a good enough reason to go.  

That's what being a mom does to you.  It's a lifetime of putting your own needs second and by the time your nest is empty, to do something for yourself seems frivolous or selfish, and you aren't even really sure what you like to do anymore.

Even with blogging, i sometimes read what's coming up for publishing and putting a book I'm dying to read on the back burner.  It's like deprivation becomes second nature and to do what you actually want to do becomes close to impossible.

Enough of these depressing thoughts!  I did add two new books that I am excited to read.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak...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…


He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly....In the summer of 1999, Kit and Laura
travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. Kit is an eclipse chaser; Laura has never seen one before. Young and in love, they are certain this will be the first of many they’ll share. 
But in the hushed moments after the shadow passes, Laura interrupts a man and a woman. She knows that she saw something terrible. The man denies it. It is her word against his. 
The victim seems grateful. Months later, she turns up on their doorstep like a lonely stray. But as her gratitude takes a twisted turn, Laura begins to wonder—did she trust the wrong person? 
15 years later, Kit and Laura married are living under new names and completely off the digital grid: no Facebook, only rudimentary cell phones, not in any directories. But as the truth catches up to them, they realize they can no longer keep the past in the past.
From Erin Kelly, queen of the killer twist, He Said/She Said is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story.








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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The "F" Word by Liza Palmer


What They Say.....“We’re all pushing some version of the life we want you to believe. It’s all just PR.”
Olivia Morten is perfect. Maybe her high-flying publicist job has taken over her life, but her clients are Los Angeles' hottest celebrities. Maybe her husband is never around, but he is a drop-dead-gorgeous, successful doctor. Maybe her friends are dumb, but they know how to look glamorous at a cocktail party. And maybe her past harbors an incredibly embarrassing secret, but no one remembers high school…right? 
When Ben Dunn, Olivia’s high school arch nemesis and onetime crush, suddenly resurfaces, Olivia realizes how precarious all of her perfection is. As she finds herself dredging up long-suppressed memories from her past, she is forced to confront the most painful truth of all: maybe she used to be the fat girl, but she used to be happy, too.

What I Say.....I could have sworn I had read a book by Liza Palmer before, but I've searched my blog and my Goodreads and must be having a moment, because I guess I haven't.

I started The F Word, thinking it meant one thing, but it actually meant something else.  Fat.  Olivia used to be fat.  It was interesting to find out what her one moment was - it's always one moment that makes you change your life.  But Olivia has changed everything in the outside of her life, and not much on the inside.

I do have to say that it took me the first half of the book to get into the story.  I didn't really like Olivia, or Ben or really any of the characters except for Olivia's mother and her friends.  

Around the middle, I got into the story and wanted to finish to see what happened.  And there was some personal realization and growth on Olivia's part, but it kind of stuck with me that fat or thin, she just wasn't a very nice person.  In the book's description, it says "maybe she used to be the fat girl, but she used to be happy, too."  I would argue that point, because it never sounds like she was happy, and in high school she seemed to actually be pretty vicious.  I'm not super sure that her high school crush was all that great either, and although it was a book that made me thoughtful, it wasn't a book where I walked away caring about the characters in any way.  

Current Goodreads Rating 3.49

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell




What They Say.....International bestseller Jill Mansell weaves a heartwarming tale of love, family and friendship in her latest novel.


1. A brief encounter that could have become so much more...if only everything were different
2. Step-sisters, bitter rivals in every area except one—by unbreakable pact neither will ever steal a man from the other
3. A love triangle that starts out as a mess of secrets and mix-ups, and only gets worse from there
Plus!  Friendship, family ties, crossed wires and self-discovery, second chances and first impressions
Welcome to Jill Mansell's blustery seaside world. Once you step inside, you'll never want to leave!

What I Say....Jill Mansell's books are the perfect way to spend an afternoon - they are also perfect poolside reading - just enough story to keep you interested but a light, fluffy read that keeps you entertained and feeling happy.

This story had it all - bickering sisters, chance meetings with your one true love, an adoption story, a coming to terms with your real self story, and a suspected appendicitis that turns out to be an unexpected baby!  I saw all of it coming except the baby.

Grab a towel, a bottle of water, get in your pool float and crack open Mansell's latest and prepare to completely enjoy your day.



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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....May 14, 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.


Happy Mother's Day!  It's a big day in the world of mothers and I have to say, mine never quite meet the standard of the Mother's Day posts I see on Facebook.  My niece calls it "Falsebook", which makes me laugh every time.  I don't think most moms have super high expectations, but maybe we do ourselves a disservice when we always put ourselves last, it makes it so much easier for your family to do the same.  Much food for thought, but that's not why you are here, right?  You are here because you want to see what books I got this week!

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker.....One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

He Said, She Said by Erin Kelly....In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim's life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something - and someone - is always in the dark...

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.....Cass is having a hard time since the night
she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…




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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....May 7, 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.


Spring has sprung and with it my allergies.  Honestly, I feel like every year they get worse.  I actually ended up staying home from work for two day as things progressed into a sinus infection and an ear infection.  If you know me at all, for me to stay home, it's got to be a death would feel better moment, and it was.

The temp dropped dramatically today, went from 107 on Friday to 70 degrees today.  It was so beautiful out that I couldn't stop myself from opening all the doors this morning, so of course I was in misery again within a few hours.    Here's hoping the pollen count drops with the temperature or that I learn that right now, outside is not my friend, no matter how much I love it.

I was super excited to get a NetGalley Wish granted and to get Jennifer McMahon's newest book.  I love McMahon, and I always look forward to her new releases.

The Story of Arthur Truluv....An emotionally powerful novel about three
people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them—from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. Sometimes in the evening he’ll take a walk and stop to chat with his nosy neighbor, Lucille. It’s a quiet routine not entirely without its joys. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. 

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who often comes to the cemetery to escape the other kids at school and a life of loss. She’s seen Arthur sitting there alone, and one afternoon she joins him—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio bands together, helping one another, through heartache and hardships, to rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.


The Goddesses by Swan Huntley.....The Descendants meets Single White
Female
 in this captivating novel about a woman who moves her family to Hawaii, only to find herself wrapped up in a dangerous friendship, from the celebrated author of We Could Be Beautiful.
 

When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy's husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana's hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana—skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she's ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.


Burntown by Jennifer McMahon.....Ashford, Vermont, might look like your
typical sleepy New England college town, but to the shadowy residents who live among the remains of its abandoned mills and factories, it’s known as “Burntown.” 

 
Eva Sandeski, known as “Necco” on the street, has been a part of this underworld for years, ever since the night her father Miles drowned in a flood that left her and her mother Lily homeless. A respected professor, Miles was also an inventor of fantastic machines, including one so secret that the plans were said to have been stolen from Thomas Edison’s workshop. According to Lily, it’s this machine that got Miles murdered. 
 
Necco has always written off this claim as the fevered imaginings of a woman consumed by grief. But when Lily dies under mysterious circumstances, and Necco’s boyfriend is murdered, she’s convinced her mother was telling the truth. Now, on the run from the man called “Snake Eyes,” Necco must rely on other Burntown outsiders to survive. 
 
There are the “fire eaters,” mystical women living off the grid in a campsite on the river’s edge, practicing a kind of soothsaying inspired by powerful herbs called “the devil’s snuff”; there’s Theo, a high school senior who is scrambling to repay the money she owes a dangerous man; and then there’s Pru, the cafeteria lady with a secret life. 
 
As the lives of these misfits intersect, and as the killer from the Sandeski family’s past draws ever closer, a story of edge-of-your-seat suspense begins to unfurl with classic Jennifer McMahon twists and surprises.


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Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White



What They Say.....From the New York Times bestselling author of Flight Patterns comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....
 
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.
 
Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.
 
Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.
 
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....



What I Say....I freaking loved this book.  Karen White's ghost stories always scare the bejesus out of me - but I keep reading them - so I'm always so excited when she does a non-Tradd Street book.  The Forgotten Room, (one that she co-writes with Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig) was one of my favorite books last year.

Merilee is fleeing a bad marriage and starting over in a small farmhouse, rented to her by an old lady who  just wants to be left alone.  But once Marilee and her children move in, Sugar discovers that maybe her life has been lonelier than she thought.

As she shares the story of her life with Merilee, Sugar revisits a time in life when things were much different, and your life may have rolled out in a way that you never intended.  

Meanwhile, Marilee is adapting to her new job, her new life, and the new mean mommy group at her children's exclusive school.  Someone seems to have it in for Marilee, but she can't figure out why.......

I always love stories that go back and forth in time, comparing our lives as they are now to how people's lives unfolded back in the 50's.  it's amazing how much has changed in not that much time.

I read this while I was on vacation - I carried my Kindle with me for whenever I would have a free minute to get back to Sugar, Merilee and Heather's stories.  It was hard to put down!
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagan



What They Say.....From the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, the tenderness of growing up, the heartbreak of longing for what we’ve lost, and the poignancy of finding love.
FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.
PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.
Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.
A rich and charming tour de force, The Mutual Admiration Society showcases Lesley Kagen’s marvelous storytelling talents. Laced with heartwarming humor and heartbreaking grief, this novel is nothing short of magical.

What I Say....Tessie is a take charge girl in the middle of a typically dysfunctional 50's family in a Catholic neighborhood - too many nosy neighbors, a disinterested mother and a missing nun.  

While Tessie is fairly certain she witnessed a kidnapping and/or murder, she also has to concentrate on the activities of daily living - she is carrying way too big of a burden since witnessing her father's death.  She is solely responsible in caring for her younger sister, who is damaged in some way, although it's never really clear what her diagnosis is - back then they were just considered "touched" and either taken care of by their families, or sent away to homes - which is exactly what their evil neighbor Gert wants.

This was a super cute read taking you back to a different time, when neighborhoods existed and your neighbors were just part of your extended family - and childhood was a different kind of tough.



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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Weekly Book Haul....April 23, 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 rapidly approaching!!  It's getting too hot to hike - but I still did it today.  The pool is almost warm enough to start floating and reading, and Booksparks is kicking off their Summer Reading Challenge - there looks like a lot of great books on the list, and Paula Hawkins is hosting!  This will be my third summer participating and I always look forward to it.

This week I received a copy of Jane Green's new book, The Sunshine Sisters and I was jumping up and down excited!  She is one of my most favorite authors and this was like Christmas in April.

I just finished The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller, and it was so good - I thought it was going to be magical realism, but I think it was more fantasy?  It was unlike anything I had read before but the characters were so great.  I love reading debut authors.

Here's what I added this week, courtesy of Netgalley.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green....The New York Times bestselling
author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.
 
Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.
 
As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her. 
 
But now the Sunshine Sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all...

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel by Maria Murnane.....It’s a piece of news
Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it. 
Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?
What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears. 
And laughter. And love
The Marriage Pact.....In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological
suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
            
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . . 
            
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
            
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
            
And then one of them breaks the rules.
            
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
            
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Hello, Sunshine by Laura David....Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the
dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 
New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness—Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.

In our modern world, where celebrity is a careful construct, Laura Dave’s compelling, enticing novel explores the devastating effect of the secrets we keep in public…and in private. Hello, Sunshine is a fresh, provocative look at a woman teetering between a scrupulously assembled life and the redemptive power of revealing the truth.

Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harriagn.....In this powerful, affecting
debut, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed...


Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.


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