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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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

What They Say.....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.

What I Say.....Last year I spent one day reading All Is Not Forgotten, it was a new author to me, but I liked the premise - what if you could get treatment right away to have traumatic memories erased for your child?  Would you do it?  On the surface, I think everyone would say yes, but every decision has consequences.  It was a great read, so I was thrilled to get a copy of Emma in the Night.

I actually think I liked this book even more than her first.  Cass and Emma disappeared off of a beach one night three years ago and the police never had any clues as to where they might have went.  Now Cass has reappeared and is frantic for the police to find her sister.  She's also worried about a baby that no one knew about.

Abby, the forensic psychologist who helped to investigate the girls disappearance is back to interview Cass.  She has had grave misgivings about their mother since the beginning of this case, but she isn't sure how much of it is based on her own personal experience with a narcissistic parent.

The book starts with a mystery, moves into a different mystery and ends up with a mystery being solved that creates more questions.

This was definitely a page turner, and I never felt like I could predict what was going to happen.  I was never sure what was the truth and what was a lie.  And this all added up to a great read - this is definitely an author to follow.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.98

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weekly Book Haul....August 6, 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 August.  My birthday month and a month that never seems to really understand it's own identity.  It's still super hot, I'm still swimming every weekend, but all I'm hearing are complaints about school supplies and all I'm seeing is first day of school pics all over my Facebook feed.

It's a 106 degrees, I have my air conditioning running non-stop, and the whole house smells like pumpkin spice, thanks to the plug ins I bought yesterday.  I do love all things fall, but I'm going to try to hang on to summer for at least another month.

For the last week, I've been sucked into the Archy McNally series by Lawrence Sanders.  I read Volume One of the series, which is the first three books.  They were just as good as I remembered - just fun, lighthearted mysteries.  It made me want to keep going through the series again.  Sanders really was a great writer - and I'm not sure if it was harder or easier to be a best selling writer back then.  If you've never read these books, take a look, I think you'll enjoy them!

Here's what I added to my TBR shelf this week.

Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan.....No one knows why Teddi Lerner left

her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.
Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded "Aunt Tee" to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it's been six years since Shay's mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend's husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.
Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she's caused and—maybe—how to fix it. 
After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she'll finally see what she overlooked all along.

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