July Reads

Reviews Published

July is my favorite month of the year as it brings me to the beach house and relaxation. It is my time to destress, relax and catch up on my reading. It is the month in which I can read a book a day and that makes me so happy. My to read pile has gone down significantly this month and boy did I find some great reads for you all!  Some of these books are prerelease, but the nice thing about Amazon is when you order a prerelease you are not charged until it ships.
I always order them ahead because I know I’ll likely forget.

Between Lost and Found

This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I really enjoyed the story and found myself looking forward to returning to it. In this book we meet Janelle, an insecure city girl who is engaged to what she thinks is her dream man. From the first page, I didn’t like his arrogance and forget about the mother in law.

Janelle’s grandfather knows this is not the right man for her to marry so he devises a plan to lure her home. He has his girlfriend call to tell her he has gone missing and she must come home. Unfortunately what was meant to be a lure turns out to be the truth as Little Bill goes missing. I just loved the characters in this book and we got to know most of them. This book is about returning home and learning to love yourself. Janelle, Sam, Connie, Yvette and of course Little Bill are wonderful characters who come together to tell a story of finding and loving yourself. I hate comparing authors, but if you like Terry McMillan’s books you will like this.

Girl in Snow: A Novel

This debut novel has just been released. Thought this was a novel of suspense and who done it, its strength lay in character development. The book opens with a dead teenager, Lucinda who is found murdered on the school playground. Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of three characters who knew Lucinda and were being interviewed by the police each added a different perspective to the possible motives.

Cameron is a boy who loved Lucinda and was totally obsessed with her. He thinks he may have murdered her as he knows he was there watching her that night. He has some holes in his memory and is worried he may be the murdered. Jade a classmate who hated Lucinda because she stole her boyfriend and Russ, the copy assigned to investigate the murder. Each of these characters are the story and the author really develops them well. I was very surprised by the ending and totally did not guess ahead. My only wish was that she developed Lucinda as well as the other characters. It would have added some depth to the story.

The Visitors

Another debut novel that offers a creepy read. This is not a thriller, or a page turner. It’s a slow read, especially in the beginning, but stick with it as it all comes together to tell a great story of what we choose to overlook and why. This book is about Marion, a middle aged single woman, who lives with her brother. The book dives deeply into Marion’s psyche, including her childhood. It’s a tale of the damage life can do to someone and the lasting affects of that damage. Marion’s brother has been damaged too in a totally different way. What unravels in this book was disturbing and creepy and kept me turning the pages. Yes, I’d like a bit more twists and turns, but just the thought of it all was creepy enough for this one to be a worthy read.

The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel

I absolutely adored this little gem of a story. It may be because my dad is going through a similar time, but this quirky tale just touched my heart. Arthur (Truluv) is an 82 year old widower who sits at his wife’s grave every single day without fail. Maddy is a 17 year old high school student who is bullied and a loner. Her mom dies when she was young and her dad raised her but she hasn’t been loved. They meet at the cemetery, where Lucille loves to hang out alone. We also meet Lucille, Arthur’s neighbor who is quite the character.

These three come together to tell a tale of life, love and finding your tribe. A sweet tale that is worthy of your time. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

Seeking Sarah: A Novel

Brooke discovers her mother,long thought dead, is very much alive. When her father dies this secret comes to life and Brooke finds herself searching for her mother. She went at first to find out why she was told her mother was dead, but upon seeing that her mother has a new family and life finds herself full of anger. She sets out on a path to destroy her mother. An emotional, fast paced read that will be devoured in one sitting.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel

I am a huge Alice Hoffman fan, but not a fan of magic books. I haven’t read Practical Magic and when I first started this book wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. But, afterall if was written by Ms. Hoffman who pulls me in every single time with her talent. She did not disappoint with this one either. I found myself unable to put the book down and read it in one day. Thankfully I’m down at the beach and was able to park in a chair for the day.

The Owens sisters and brother Vincent are enchanting and their story will linger with me for a bit as the characters in Hoffman’s books generally do. Their tale is quite sad and the curse put upon the family really led to much heartache and worry. Franny, Jet and Vincent leave me wanting more and I will now have to order Practical Magic to continue this saga.

I am not a fan of fantasy or magical tales, but this one is a winner.

Lies She Told

I read this book in one day on my beach vacation. When 3:00 came I was still sitting in my chair. My daughter asked if I was OK as I usually leave then to go up to the house and cook. I had to finish the book and literally sat there until I did. Liza was quite the interesting character and the story was quite unique. Told in alternating chapters, not unusual, but this one was one fictitious story and one the main story. As the plot progresses, they stories begin to blur and merge. There was a nice twist at the end as well to keep it interesting. Definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a book you can’t put down until you finish.

Emma in the Night: A Novel

This was a one day read for me on my beach vacation. I don’t think I moved all day. I was fascinated by the narcissistic personality disorder and it’s impact on the children. Wow. The book was for me a deeper read, which means though I read in one sitting I didn’t skim over any parts. I found it all gripping. What a dysfunctional family. The book says it has an unreliable narrator and I get why they say it, but I didn’t find Cass to be unreliable. I really felt her as she told her story. A twist at the end yes, but overall not a shock considering the story. I don’t want to say to much about the plot because it’s worth your reading for yourself. This is a must read and will likely be a best seller when released. GREAT read. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to preview the manuscript.

The Good Daughter: A Novel

This book opened with a bang, literally. A family watches their mother murdered and are taken out and shot. This opening was heart wrenching, but it sure did get my attention. And if that wasn’t enough they added next a school shooting. Wow. This was a can’t put down read with a slow point in the middle. The beginning and end pulled me in and kept me up late turning pages. The two sisters, Charlotte and Sam will linger with me awhile as I felt so entrenched in their story. I love books by Slaughter and this one does not disappoint. Great summer read.

The Marriage Pact: A Novel

Soon to be a movie!
Great read. The book was very different. There were some behaviors the characters exhibited – like a lawyer signing a contract without reading it – but I didn’t care! The book for me was gripping and kept me turning the pages. Partially because it was so unbelievable that this could happen I kept going.
In this book we meet Alice, a lawyer and Jake a psychiatrist who are newly married. Alice is afraid the marriage may not stand the test of time so they enter into a marriage pact to keep the relationship exciting. Wow, what a marriage pact the got themselves involved with. The ending really leaves you hanging so perhaps a sequel is in order. I’m not one who wants to make my own ending. I like to tie things up and know for sure what happens, but that’s just me. A definite book to read this summer!

Any Dream Will Do: A Novel

Another great read by Debbie Macomber. This book is a story about redemption and starting over. Shay is standing in a church, freshly released from prison with no money, family or plan. One step away from being homeless she is given a chance for recovery. This was a truly warm, fuzzy read as most of Macomber’s books are. Yes there is tragedy and bumps along the way, but you feel better about life at the end. I really can’t explain it, but her books always make me believe in happily ever after and in this crazy world who doesn’t need a little of that.
A perfect escape from life and a great beach read.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

I’ve read most of this author’s books and like her writing style. This book was no exception, as I was quickly pulled into the story of Tess and Henry. Tess was a compelling character and you felt her pain and sense of loss throughout the book. The backdrop of this story was Hickory during the time of the polio outbreak. Some of the story was set in a real life event – the building of the hospital.
Ultimately this story is about life and how the choices we make can have a lasting impact on those we love. I found this to be a quick, easy read, but one that will linger. I would say the only character that had true dimension was Tess and that’s OK because it was her story. I was surprised by the twist at the end as all the foreshadowing led me down a different path. Overall a great summer read from Diane Chamberlain.

There’s bound to be something to your liking in this group.  If you’ve read any, please share your thoughts.  On to August and another pile of books.  Don’t you just love summer reading?

June Reads

It’s time to stock up for summer reading.  I think you’ll find some of these reads ones you’ll want to add to your must read list.

The Breakdown: The 2017 Gripping Thriller from the Bestselling Author of Behind Closed Doors

New book from the author of Behind Closed Doors: A Novel reviewed here – Behind Closed Doors.

This author truly captured the fear of Cass, afraid she’s losing her mind to early onset dementia.  You felt her panic coming through the pages as you race through the book to find out what’s happening.  Cass takes a shortcut home on a rainy, stormy night.  She sees a car pulled over with a woman inside.  She stops but is afraid to get out of her car fearing it’s some type of trap.  When the woman doesn’t come to her, she drives off and plans to call police once home.  But, a text plants some seeds of doubt that she’s forgetting things.  Her mom suffered from early onset dementia and she begins to panic that she will suffer the same fate.  This is a page turner that won’t disappoint with several twists and turns before you reach the final conclusion.  Both of these books are worth reading this summer.

 

I Found You: A Novel

By the author of The Girls in the Garden: A Novel this is another page turner that I couldn’t put down.

Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house in the pouring rain.  He seems to have no memory of who he is, or why he is sitting there.  She doesn’t want to get involved as she’s barely making it herself and he could be dangerous.  Against her better judgement she invites him to stay in her shed.   In an alternating chapter we meet Lily whose newly married husband doesn’t return home from work.  The police inform her his ID is fake and he never existed.  In another chapter we meet kids, Gray & Kirsty who are on summer holiday with their family.  These alternating chapters set the stage for the connections and kept me up late into the night.  I really enjoyed this one, though I wished for a different type of ending it was well worth reading as is her other book.  Both of these would make good vacation reads.

Before We Were Yours: A Novel

This book is based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country.

The story opens with a mom giving birth to twins (1939) aboard the Mississippi River on a shantyboat.  When it becomes clear she may die, the father takes her down river in a storm to the hospital.  While away strangers arrive and capture the Rill and her siblings and they are taken to the Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage.  At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together.  In an alternative chapter we meet Avery Stafford (present day) daughter of a wealthy politician.  She returns home to help her father manage his career through a health crisis and her path crosses with an elderly woman in a nursing facility.  A glimpse at a photograph compels her to take a journey through her family’s history.  This book was riveting and hard to put down.  To think that this was based on true events really made me sad.

All of these books will keep you busy this summer.  Clear your calendar, or put one in your beach bag.  You won’t be disappointed in any of them!  If you read them, I’d love to hear your opinions.  Please share your thoughts below.  Enjoy!

March Reads

This was a slow reading month for me as I only read five books.  Two of them were professional reads for work, so I’m not including the review for those in my post.

The Princess Diarist

I grew up during the Star Wars generation.  Carrie Fisher may have been every guys dream princess, but for us young girls she was our hero.  She proved to the world that women could play strong characters in a man’s movie world.  With her sad passing, I was interested to read her books.  This is the second one I have read and it wasn’t my favorite.  I enjoyed reading the behind the scenes narration about life on the set of Star Wars.  I didn’t know til her passing that she had an affair with Harrison Ford so that felt like juicy gossip.  The warm relationship between the characters of this movie was evident when reading this book.  Their friendships lasted decades and it was truly touching to hear of the bonds.  This book felt like my last connection to the movie and the characters so I did savor reading it.  When reading Carrie’s books, you are treated to her sarcasm and wit.  Unfortunately, you also get a window, I feel, into her mental illness.  Must read for all Star Wars fans, but for others it may not be of interest.  I loved the narrative more than the actual diary entries.

Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense

If you are a suspense junkie, then this book is for you.  Julie is kidnapped from her home and the only witness to the crime is her sister.  Years go by without a trace of Julie and the effects of this on her family are played out in the book.  The relationships are damaged, with her sister bearing the brunt, as her relationship with her mother have been forever altered.

Then suddenly, one day Julie rings the bell and returns home.  Her family is thrilled to have her back, but doubts begin to surface as to who she really is.  Did they just accept her wanting their daughter back?  Is it really Julie?  Would you be willing to lose your child all over again, or just accept what could be?  This novel is fast paced and suspenseful as you are pondering the fate of Julie throughout.  The past is told in snippets until the thrilling conclusion. Quick, one night read for me.

The Two-Family House: A Novel

I love multigenerational novels with strong characters.  The emotional sagas pull you in and tug at your heart as you follow the life of the novel’s families.  This one will not disappoint those who love this genre.  The strong narrative grabs you from the first page and pulls you right in.

The foreshadowing of the main event to come made it pretty obvious to me where we were heading, but that didn’t bother me as this is not a novel of suspense.  Rather, it’s a novel of emotional drama, a saga that will tug at your heart.  I highly recommend this one as well.  It was not a one night read though as I wanted to savor the book and not let it end.  My first read by this author and one that made the Popsugar’s 6 Books You Must Read list.

If you love family drama that spans generations, this book is for you.  If you are opposed to predictable plots then maybe not.  Considering the favorable reviews are strong and it’s made the 14 Most Buzzed About Books list, I think I’m in the majority on this one when I say – read it!

Hoping to have a better reading month in April.  I have a week off this month so I’m stocking up my Kindle now.  What have you been reading?  Please share some great titles with me as I’m always looking for new reads.

 

Remember the Ladies

Remember the Ladies

This fast paced, well written debut novel by Gina Mulligan came to me by surprise from the publisher.  I had missed the preview window, but they graciously sent me a copy anyway.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to future undertakings by Ms. Mulligan.

The book opens with a tragic wagon accident that leaves the main character, Amelia, orphaned.  She spends her youth living in an orphanage and becomes disillusioned with the limitations society places on her as a woman.  She is often caught stealing books that are not meant for the girls.  She exhibits a strong desire to learn more than “girl” life skills.  Fast forward to her release into adult life.  A chance meeting on a train will change the course of her life.  A simple act of kindness, coupled with a powerful mentor opens a whole new path for Amelia.

The book has a great flow with the strength and drive of Amelia driving the plot admirably.    Amelia is determined to make it in a man’s world, but at what cost.  The book is set around the time of the suffrage movement and Amelia becomes a lobbyist who works tirelessly to get this amendment passed.  Her life and her struggles were fascinating to me.  She had tenacity in a time when most women were not permitted to engage outside their roles as housewives.

I enjoyed reading about the inner workings of politics that unfortunately sound a lot like today’s political climate.  I guess things haven’t changed all that much.  Lot’s of deal making and backstabbing add excitement to the story. I believe this book will be a best seller for those who love the genre of historical fiction, but the plot and characters would interest fiction lovers as well.  A must read for the summer, so add it to your ever growing list.

Available now.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review this book.