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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