Sunday, November 25, 2018

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

What They Say.....On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son’s secret liaison, stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson’s housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone’s. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl’s identity can be known.

Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, the beginning of this novel will sweep you away on a powerful current of storytelling, transporting you through worlds both real and imagined, to the triumphant conclusion whose depths will continue to give up their treasures long after the last page is turned.

What I Say.....I loved Diane Setterfield's first two books, especially The 13th Tale.  Her last book, Bellman & Black was published in 2013, and since I hadn't seen anything else, this author just kind of faded from my mind.  But when I started reading the description of this book, I was taken in just by that and didn't even realize it was Diane Setterfield until I was studying the front cover.

This was very different from her other books, and really unique reading.  When a girl is found in the river, brought to a local inn by a stranger, who himself is severely injured, it would seem that he either belongs to her, or that someone in the village would know who she was.  It's not everyday that a toddler just goes missing.  

But apparently in this village, there are multiple toddler girls missing or unidentified.  The little girl can't or won't speak and doesn't seem to be particularly drawn to any of the families.  So who does she belong to?  Who should she belong to?  No one in the village can agree on these questions.

This book read like it was being drawn by a very talented storyteller.  It actually made me feel like I would have preferred to hear it on Audible, if it had the right narrator. And I've NEVER said that about any book.

This is a book to curl up with under a blanket on a cold day.  You'll think about it long after it's over.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.23

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Coming Home to Maple Cottage by Holly Martin

What They Say.......This utterly addictive new novel from bestselling author Holly Martin will make you smile until your cheeks hurt, sob tears of pure joy and fall head over heels in love with a totally unforgettable romance… 

Isla Rosewood is creating a new life for herself and her sweet nephew Elliot in their cosy, yellow-brick family cottage, brimming with special memories. Living in Sandcastle Bay was never part of Isla’s plan but, after her brother Matthew’s tragic accident, her whole world changed as she unexpectedly became a mother to the little boy she adores so much. 

Leo Jackson was always known as Matthew’s fun-loving and wild best friend. But now Matthew is gone, it’s time to put his colourful past behind him. His role as Elliot’s godfather is the most important thing to him. And even though Leo and Isla are two very different people, they both want to give Elliot the childhood he deserves. 

As the three of them enjoy time together watching fireworks, baking cakes and collecting conkers, Isla begins to see a softer side to charming Leo, with his twinkling eyes and mischievous sense of humour. And, despite herself, she begins to fall for him. 

But does Leo feel the same way? Isla knows their situation is complicated but is it too complicated for true love… or will the year end with a happy new beginning for them all? 

A glorious, feel-good romance that will make you want to snuggle up under a warm blanket with a hot chocolate and the one you love. If you enjoy reading Sarah Morgan, Jenny Oliver and Lucy Diamond this book is for you.

What I Say....When life is too serious, too busy, too hard, Holly Martin's books are the perfect medicine to help you relax.

This was the third book in the Sandcastle Bay series and while The Holiday Cottage By the Sea was my favorite in this trilogy, I still enjoyed Coming Home to Maple Cottage.  

Isla and Leo are meant to be together if only Leo can overcome his low self-esteem and guilt over his best friends death.  Isla doesn't want to be the objector Leo's pity, she wants to be the object of his affection.

But right now, she has even bigger problems - she hoping to adopt her nephew, and his estranged mother has suddenly shown up.  She only wants the money for the house that Luke left, but Isla is terrified that she will want to take Elliott away from her.

Leo will do anything to protect Isla and Elliott, even if it means losing everything he loves.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins

Paperback480 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Berkley Books

What They Say.....New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins is beloved for her heartfelt novels filled with humor and wisdom.  Now, in her newest novel, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, she tackles an issue every woman deals with: body image and self-acceptance. 
 Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.  
 For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life.  For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.
 But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.
 A novel of compassion and insight, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.

What I Say....I've been MIA lately. I haven't blogged in over a month.  What have I been doing with my time?  Oh, nothing big.  Just examining my life.  NBD.
This has been quite a year.  Many blessings have come my way.  Things that I have prayed for have come to pass.  But all change, even the most exciting, positive change, is change.  And sometimes it makes you re-examine your life and who you thought you were.

So, in this middle of my own soul searching, I began reading Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins.  Emerson, Georgia and Marley became friends during a yearly fat camp.  Marley and Georgia have stayed close, even becoming roommates,  Emerson has stayed in her family home, even after her mother died.

Emerson has a weigh problem.  A true problem, and she copes by staying in her house, even employing a sour faced cousin that doesn't treat her very well.  But she is excited to suddenly find herself a boyfriend, even if her cousin doesn't approve.

Emerson's physical health becomes impacted by her new boyfriend - I won't give any spoilers.  Marley and Georgia are struggling with the guilt that they may not have made enough time for Emerson, along with worrying about what is missing in their own lives.  Although they have both been professionally successful, they are still struggling with self esteem and the impact that it has on their romantic lives.

I've read several Kristan Higgins books, and they've all been good, but this one was a little more serious than I expected.  But it was eye opening, and made me look closer at my own life.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Story After Us by Fiona Perrin

What They Say.....If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her...

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become - or why she and her husband can't even be in the same room anymore.

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off 'consciously uncoupling' like a celeb. But she's starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be... happier?

What I Say....I seem to be on a breakup/divorce kick in my reading right now.  But I'm always up for a debut novel, so I grabbed The Story After Us and went down the road of heartbreak again.

Ami has been unhappy for a while.  While she and Lars used to be madly in love, daily life, bills and small children seem to have robbed them of any of the magic they felt in their first years.  Lars is a workaholic, chasing financial security that seems to be more important to him than participating in his family.

Amelia has turned into the stereotypical shrewish wife, nagging when he's gone, then yelling when he's home.  The kids are nervous and unsure of their parents, and Ami's business is struggling.

But she's still shocked and devastated when Lars says he wants a divorce and walks out the door.  Having  a traveling husband is hard enough, having a traveling ex-husband is more than she was ready for.

The thing I liked about this book was that it didn't go for the fairy tale marriage ending.  It was pretty real and a little gritty in the early days of their separation, but then it did go for the fairy tale of work success and new romance.  This would be the dream of every newly divorced woman, but it seldom works that way.  

Ami didn't have a perfect divorce, but parts of it were pretty close.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Cottage on Sunshine Beach by Holly Martin

What They Say....The stunning new summer story from the bestselling author of Summer at Buttercup Beach. Step into the delightful seaside village of Sandcastle Bay, where you’ll discover golden sand, welcoming smiles and an unforgettable romance…

Melody Rosewood loves her new home in idyllic Sandcastle Bay. The beautiful little cottage on the edge of Sunshine Beach, with its bright yellow door and view of the sea has captured her heart. And she loves being close by to her family and best friend Tori Graham

Life by the sea is pretty much perfect, there’s just one thing missing…

Gorgeous Jamie Jackson, with his cheeky grin and adorable puppy, works as a sculptor opposite Melody’s jewellery shop. From the moment he and Melody meet sparks fly. But despite their instant attraction, a past heartache is holding Jamie back.

As Melody starts to make a life for herself in the close-knit, quirky seaside community, she realises Jamie could be the one for her. But as the two of them take a chance on romance, it’s one dating disaster after another. Are they destined to always be just good friends? 

Or will Melody finally find her happily-ever-after in Sandcastle Bay?

What I Say.....Just a relaxing, feel good book.  Holly Martin's books are such a great escape.

Melody moves to Sandcastle Bay to be near her sister, who is busy raising her nephew.  Her best friend, Tori lives close by, having found love in the little village.

Melody is crushing hard on Jamie, the sculptor in the shop across from hers, but they are both so shy around each other, it seems like they will never move forward.

I blame Holly Martin and Jill Mansell on my continued single state.  I keep waiting for true love to just appear in front of me.  They make it seem so easy!  But even if it doesn't improve my love life, a Holly Martin book always improves my weekend!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Weekly Book Haul....July 8, 2018

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 blogged for a while because I swear I've been so busy reading.  There have been so many great books and I need to do my reviews of them because so many are great reads that I want to share.

And then I just keep adding more.  But this week i'm going to concentrate on getting caught up on my reviews just as soon as I finish Rush by Lisa Patton.  It's so good, reminds me in a way of The Help.

But here are the books that will keep me from blogging this month.....

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones....HE LOVES YOUAdam adores Emily.
Emily thinks Adam’s perfect, the man she thought she’d never meet.

BUT SHE LOVES YOU NOT: Lurking in the shadows is a rival, a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

AND SHE'LL STOP AT NOTHING: Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

Good Luck With That by Kristin Higgins.......Emerson, Georgia, and Marley
have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.  
 For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life.  For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards, and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.
 But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.
 A novel of compassion and insight, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT tells the story of two women who learn to embrace themselves just the way they are.

This Could Change Everything....All it takes is one email to end her
relationship, get her kicked out of her apartment, and just about ruin her life. Essie Phillips never meant for her private rant about her boss to be sent to everyone in her address book, but as soon as it goes viral, her life as she knows it is over. Solution: move to a new town, find a new job, make new friends. If only it were as simple as that…

Sold On a Monday by Kristina McMorris.....Philadelphia, 1931. A young,
ambitious reporter named Ellis Reed photographs a pair of young siblings on the front porch of a farmhouse next to a sign: “2 children for sale.” 

With the help of newspaper secretary Lily Palmer, Ellis writes an article to accompany the photo. Capturing the hardships of American families during the Great Depression, the feature story generates national attention and Ellis’s career skyrockets. 

But the photograph also leads to consequences more devastating than ever imagined—and it will take jeopardizing everything Ellis and Lily value to unravel the mystery and set things right.

The Story After Us by Fiona Perrin....If she tries very hard, Ami can
remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her...
Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become - or why she and her husband can't even be in the same room anymore. 
With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off 'consciously uncoupling' like a celeb. But she's starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be... happier?

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Do This For Me by Eliza Kennedy

What They Say.....A high-powered attorney dives into the politics of sex, the perils of desire, and why men and women treat each other the way they do. 

Raney Moore has it all figured out. An ambitious young partner at a prestigious Manhattan law firm, she’s got a dream job, a loving (and famous) husband, and amazing twin daughters. Her world is full, busy, perfectly scripted. Or so she thinks.

One sunny fall day, a bombshell phone call throws Raney’s well-ordered existence into chaos, and in a fit of rage, she diabolically, hilariously burns everything down. Once the flames subside, she finds herself asking some difficult questions: Who am I? What just happened? Am I ever going to find my way back to normal?  Assisted by enterprising paralegals, flirtatious clientele, one dear friend and an unforgettable therapist, Raney thinks the answers are close at hand, only to find life spiraling utterly out of control.

Uproarious, incisive and poignant, Do This For Me introduces a brilliant, off-kilter heroine on a quest to understand sex, fight workplace inequality, and solve the mystery of herself.

What I Say....Sometimes you just read a book at the right time.  And for me this was the right time to read, Do This For Me.  I had read Eliza Kennedy's previous novel, I Take You, and remembered enjoying it, so I picked this one up without really reading the description.

Raney is a busy, high achieving lawyer with twin teenaged daughters that she dotes on and a successful husband that she loves.  Her life is very orderly and she is content.  Until a phone call from a stranger turns her life upside down.

What I liked was the portrait of a career woman who has never stopped to ask herself if being content is enough?  According to Raney, having sex with your husband twice a week means you have a good marriage.  Even if you don't particularly enjoy it.  Just crossing it off your list of things to do is enough.

I laughed a lot, but I was still sad for Raney at the same time as she totally destructs and reconstructs her life.  She suddenly realizes that she isn't even sure what she feels or what she likes in any part of her life.  I think it was a great read, and I was enjoying myself right up to the last page.  Then I didn't love the last page.  No spoilers, but I think the point is that there are no tidy endings if you are living just for contentment anymore.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson

What They Say.....Since Faye met her gorgeous Aussie boyfriend Dan, they’ve travelled all over the world to meet in amazing, crazy locations. They’ve eaten gateaux in a chateau, chocolate torte in a moonlit port, and even had stöllen kisses in a sparkling winter market. Neither of them wanted to settle down… until now.

When Dan asks Faye to marry him and to move to Australia it throws a real spanner in the works. Faye’s daughter Emma needs her here, so moving to the other side of the world – even for a hunk like Dan – simply isn’t an option. Is it?

Faye’s been down the marriage road before and it ended up with her having Ryan Gosling fantasies while her ex-husband obsessed about the plumbing. Is that what she has to look forward to? Is she ready to end her adventure? And even if she is, how can she be sure Dan is the right man for her? Because he's keeping a secret. One that could destroy everything. 


What I Say.....I had just come off of a downer of a book, so Love, Lies and Wedding Cake was the perfect  antidote.  It was a light easy read, and I breezed through it.

Faye is a hairdresser, a mother who has sacrificed her independence to help raise her granddaughter.  But Faye also has a hot Australian boyfriend that she gets to enjoy around her daughter's daycare needs.

When Dan proposes and asks Faye to move back to Australia, she puts her desires aside and says no, she needs to be here for her daughter and granddaughter.  Ugh.  Faye puts on a stiff upper lip and gets on with her life without Dan.

But a year later, her daughter decides to get married and move herself and her daughter to Scotland.  So now Faye wants to reconcile with Dan, but he's not answering her calls or texts.  But she decides to go to Australia for the chance to talk to him and see if their love can be rekindled.

But when she gets there she finds more complications than she is sure she wants at this stage of life.  Will it be worth it to be with Dan?  A great book about how amazing the second chapter of life can be!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How Hard Can It Be by Allison Pearson

What They Say.....Look, I was doing OK. I got through the oil spill on the road that is turning forty. Lost a little control, but I drove into the skid just like the driving instructors tell you to and afterwards things were fine again, no, really, they were better than fine.
Kate Reddy had it all: a nice home, two adorable kids, a good husband. Then her kids became teenagers (read: monsters). Richard, her husband, quit his job, taking up bicycling and therapeutic counseling: drinking green potions, dressing head to toe in Lycra, and spending his time—and their money—on his own therapy. Since Richard no longer sees a regular income as part of the path to enlightenment, it’s left to Kate to go back to work. 
Companies aren’t necessarily keen on hiring 49-year-old mothers, so Kate does what she must: knocks a few years off her age, hires a trainer, joins a Women Returners group, and prepares a new resume that has a shot at a literary prize for experimental fiction.
When Kate manages to secure a job at the very hedge fund she founded, she finds herself in an impossible juggling act: proving herself (again) at work, dealing with teen drama, and trying to look after increasingly frail parents as the clock keeps ticking toward her 50th birthday. Then, of course, an old flame shows up out of the blue, and Kate finds herself facing off with everyone from Russian mobsters to a literal stallion.
Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

What I Say.....I loved the first Kate Reddy book, I Don't Know How She Does It, so I was excited to get an advance copy of How Hard Can It Be?  To be honest, it can be very hard. Raising kids, navigating a failing marriage, finishing this book.

It was a hard book to read because Kate's life was like your worst day over and over again, but she owned so much of it.  Her teenaged daughter sends a picture of her ass across the school internet and her biggest concern is how many likes it didn't get.  Her son is busy killing people via video games while swearing with his friends.  Honestly, these kids both needed a swift kick.  But Kate fawns over them, keeping the butt pic a secret from her husband, doing her daughter's homework and groveling for any crumbs of kindness she can get from her teens.

Her husband is so obviously checked out and having an affair, but Kate doesn't seem to notice his lack of interest in her or their family and his daily disappearances, although he has quit his job to pursue his dream of being a therapist, forcing Kate back to work.

Kate goes back to work at her old fund, and is immediately successful, showing up younger men easily.  And suddenly an old flame shows back up into her life, stirring up feelings that she never got over.

So, the book that showed how hard it is to be a working mother ends up making a rich ex-flame the solution to all of Kate's problems.  He fixes things behind the scenes just to help her.  Blah, blah, blah.  How about Kate can solve her own problems?

The other part of the book the I didn't love was the constant description of how old and awful Kate felt like she looked, how her body, her uterus, and her skin were failing her, along with her memory.  The constant references to "Roy" as the keeper of her memories was super annoying.  I'm the same age as Kate and I don't feel that bad about myself - reading this was depressing.

That may have been why I didn't enjoy this book - it made me feel like my life was over at 47, and the only way to make it better was to find a rich man.  No thanks.  But i may be alone in my opinion, because it's got a really great Goodreads rating.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.09

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman

What They Say......In The Recipe Box, bestselling beloved author Viola Shipman spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.
Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed. 
When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box. 
As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

What I Say.....Sam fled her small town to live and thrive in the big city of New York.  But she isn't exactly thriving.  She's working for a jerk, but he's a jerk who has the power to fire her, and he does.

Sam slinks home with her tail between her legs to celebrate the family orchard's anniversary.  As she begins working and baking with her mother and grandmother, she finds her spirits lifting.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around why Sam would have ever felt the need to flee this perfect family in this perfect town. The best part of the book was the recipes - I want to try them all!

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Dreams of Falling by Karen White

What They Say.....New York Times bestselling author Karen White crafts evocative relationships in this contemporary women's fiction novel, set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, about lifelong friends who share a devastating secret.

On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree's trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping--including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.

But life can waylay the best of intentions....

Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads--and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Ivy, Larkin's mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years--whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal--that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways.

What I Say....I am such a Karen White fan.  I look forward to her books, and her collaboration books with Lauren Willig and Beatriz Williams - The Forgotten Room was ah=mazing. 

So getting an advanced copy of Dreams of Falling was a big deal for me.  I held onto it and savored it and waited until the perfect time to read it - when I was on a beach in Florida.  It did not disappoint.

Larkin heads home to help look for her mother, and stays when her mother is found injured in her old family house.  While she waits for her mom to heal, she starts digging into why her mother was in the burned down use in the first place.

Her best sources of information are her mother's caretakers since childhood, Bitty and Ceecee.  They were her grandmother's best friends, and helped raise Ivy when her mother died.

But Bitty and Ceecee aren't too forthcoming with information, and they seem worried as she keeps digging, especially around the ribbon tree.  And as Larkin tries to unravel the mystery, her mother Ivy lingers in a coma, not sure if she wants to stick around or not.

Larkin has spent years running away from all things Georgetown, from her old friends to her true love Bennett and she is terrified to be back facing all of her childhood demons.

A great summer read, in the pool, on the beach, on your couch in the air conditioning, on the Kindle app on your phone while you hide in the bathroom at work.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Providence by Caroline Kepnes

What They Say......Best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe share a bond so intense that it borders on the mystical. But before Jon can declare his love for his soul mate, he is kidnapped, his plans for a normal life permanently dashed.

Four years later, Chloe has finally given up hope of ever seeing Jon again. Then, a few months before graduation, Jon reappears. But he is different now: bigger, stronger, and with no memory of the time he was gone. Jon wants to pick up where he and Chloe left off . . . until the horrifying instant he realizes that he possesses strange powers that pose a grave threat to everyone he cares for. Afraid of hurting Chloe, Jon runs away, embarking on a journey for answers.

Meanwhile, in Providence, Rhode Island, healthy college students and townies with no connection to one another are suddenly, inexplicably dropping dead. A troubled detective prone to unexplainable hunches, Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus suspects there’s a serial killer at work. But when he starts asking questions, Eggs is plunged into a whodunit worthy of his most outlandish obsessions.

In this dazzling new novel—and with an intense, mesmerizing voice—Caroline Kepnes makes keen and powerful observations about human connection and how love and identity can dangerously blur together.

What I Say.....Who didn't love You or Hidden Bodies?  So, so good.  An original voice and two fresh reads.  So I was beyond excited to get an advance copy of Providence by Caroline Kepnes from Netgalley.  I finished it in a weekend.

Jon is a small, nerd like kid, but he is tightly bonded with cute, popular Chloe, who floats between sitting in a shed with Jon and hanging out with the cool kids, straddling the gap easily.  

One morning, Jon is kidnapped by a substitute teacher with an obsession with H.P. Lovecraft.  Jon reappears from the basement of a mall years later - I do have to admit the nurse in me wondered how a substitute teacher could put a child into a medical coma for years -hint, can't happen.  Sometimes being a nurse is a pain when you are supposed to suspend disbelief.

When Jon comes back, he has a power that causes him to leave home and avoid any close human interaction.  I don't want to provide any spoilers, but in this area, the book felt very Stephen King, who I love.

Meanwhile, Chloe grows up, reconnects with an old school friend, all while still pining for Jon.  And an emotionally detached detective is working to track Jon down to find out why so many people around him die.

I really liked the book, but I found the detective to be a bit of a drag on the story.  I didn't have any desire for him to find Jon, and I didn't really understand his obsession or how he made the connections.  I also didn't understand how a certain character showed up at the end, but I liked the Pushing Daisies feel of the climax.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Woman Last Seen in Her 30's by Camille Pagan

What They Say.....At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.
On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.
Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?

What I Say.....I thought I had read a Camille Pagan book before, but I've searched my Goodreads shelves and my Kindle and my real bookshelves and I can't find anything.  Is it a sign of age when you can't remember the name of every book you've ever read??? This is more upsetting than my increased reliance on glasses.

Anyway, I guess this was my first, and I did enjoy it.  Maggie is experiencing the phase of life that includes grown children.  It's a weird thing when you've focused over 18 years raising a child, keeping them safe, helping to guide their life and hopefully, choices to some extent and you suddenly find yourself expendable and they grow their wings and fly.  It really feels like your whole identity is suddenly at risk.  If you aren't a full time mother anymore, who are you?

Maggie is experiencing that plus a disinterested husband, a husband who has suddenly found someone else that "makes him feel alive".  This puts their plans for a long awaited trip to Rome at risk, but Maggie decides to go by herself, which changes her path dramatically.  

From Rome to Ann Arbor, Maggie's life continues to move along a new path.  She's growing her independence, she makes new friends who never knew her as a mom and a wife, but she still feels at odds with herself.  

Who is she?  Does she want her new life or to be the woman last seen in her 30's?

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

What They Say.....From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances. 
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancĂ© she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.


What I Say.....All the tears for this book.  Margaret has a great life and a bright future, but a jackass of a boyfriend.  He knows she hates to fly, but decides even though he doesn't have his pilot's license, that a small plane if the best place to propose.  Ugh, he was a tool from the beginning.  I'm trying not to give too many spoilers, but it must be said - Chip is a creep.  His name sums him up perfectly.  

As Margaret begins her healing, she is surrounded by her family, her estranged sister makes a sudden reappearance, and she gets the crabbiest physical therapist ever.  

Margaret's story is unpredictable, and you'll want the miracle, but then you have to try to decide, what do you really consider the miracle?

If you've ever read any of Katherine Center's books before, you know that you'll get a great story with just enough reality to make you feel like there are happy endings available for everyone.  Definitely read The Bright Side of Disaster or Everyone is Beautiful - they are both great books.  

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