The Lies that Bind

Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  n the irresistible new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted and Something Borrowed, a young woman falls hard for an impossibly perfect man before he disappears without a trace. . . .

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city–and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew.

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it–you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours–and shots of tequila–the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse–Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head.

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who he seemed to be?

The Lies That Bind is a mesmerizing and emotionally resonant exploration of the never-ending search for love and truth–in our relationships, our careers, and deep within our own hearts.

Ope’s Opinion: This story has characters I really cared about, a story line that grabbed me and kept me intrigued.  You think all  twists and turns are done – nope, there is another one!  The pacing of the story was perfect!  

This would have been a five chair until…

The ending was anticlimactic.  It felt like it was written for a different book.  For me, it felt like Emily Giffin was trying to make the ending like a typical romance novel, when the rest of the book was not typical.  It was being wrapped up in a perfect bow, when it should have been left unraveled.

Coming Soon…

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In July I hope to read….

Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads:  Samantha Casey loves everything about her job at an elementary school on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school’s beloved principal retires, he announces that his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before. When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety.

Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—even trying to replace the building itself with a high-tech version that’s nothing short of a prison—Sam has to find her voice and use it to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Told with Katherine Center’s unparalleled warmth, humor, and heart, this new novel proves why she is one of the fastest rising stars in fiction today.

 

What is coming soon …. to a bookshelf near you?

Let me know – I am always looking for a good read!

Head Over Heels

Author: Hannah Orenstein
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Romance 
Source: Megan at Simon and Schuster

Goodreads:  The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Ope’s Opinion:  If you are interested in gymnastics, you will love this book.  It goes deep into the sport with it’s own language.  There is also a romance going on and it touches on abuse in the sport.

The friendships in this book were well developed and realistic.  All three women were strong and independent – my kind of women!  I liked how honest Avery was with herself and her friends.  It all worked for me.

I don’t want to spoil anything – so let me say it this way – Ryan made a decision, then quickly changed his mind having very little information.  It didn’t seem realistic and made the ending feel a little rushed.

In Pieces

Author: Sally Field
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Genre: Nonfiction
Source:  Library

 

Goodreads:  In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words-about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget‘s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.

With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships-including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Ope’s Opinion:  Parts of this were hard to listen to.  Sally Field did not have it as easy as it looked like from the outside.  Her voice was easy to listen to and she was a fast talker.

As a petite woman about Sally Fields age, I looked up to her when I was young – thinking if she can do something, so can I.  She wasn’t the typical long legged blonde that we usually saw in Hollywood.  I enjoyed watching her on tv and in the movies.

The epilogue was especially touching.

Happy Blogaversary!!

Hard to believe it has been 8 years!

 

I have some people I would like to thank for
getting me where I am with my reading and blogging.

Kristin ( Kritters Ramblings )  started me on this journey 8 years ago.  She had already been blogging for several years.  She knew my reading and was sure I could do this before I was sure.  She continues be the one who exchange books, thoughts on books, and book lists with me.

Emer at Harper, who has introduced me to many people, always answers my emails and a highlight at Book Expo each year.

Mary ( book fan Mary ), who I call my blogger friend.  She has always encouraged me and her blog is one I throughly enjoy reading.

Steena Holmes ( author ), who was the first one at Book Expo that was excited to see me!  It is a memory I will keep forever.

There are many more people in my life who make
blogging possible and enjoyable for me.
Thank you to all of you!

Stranger in the Lake

Author: Kimberly Belle
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Source: Emer at Harper Collins

Goodreads: “Spellbinding. Another outstanding novel by Kimberly Belle, masterfully written to lure you in and never let go.” – Samantha Downing, USA Today bestselling author of My Lovely Wife

When Charlotte married the wealthy widower Paul, it caused a ripple of gossip in their small lakeside town. They have a charmed life together, despite the cruel whispers about her humble past and his first marriage. But everything starts to unravel when she discovers a young woman’s body floating in the exact same spot where Paul’s first wife tragically drowned.

At first, it seems like a horrific coincidence, but the stranger in the lake is no stranger. Charlotte saw Paul talking to her the day before, even though Paul tells the police he’s never met the woman. His lie exposes cracks in their fragile new marriage, cracks Charlotte is determined to keep from breaking them in two.

As Charlotte uncovers dark mysteries about the man she married, she doesn’t know what to trust—her heart, which knows Paul to be a good man, or her growing suspicion that there’s something he’s hiding in the water.

Look for these other pulse-pounding thrillers by Kimberly Belle:

Three Days Missing
The Marriage Lie
Dear Wife 

Ope’s Opinion: Kimberly Belle can write the perfect amount of character build up and suspense for me.  The more of her books I read, the more of them I want to read.

This one started out as what “seemed” to be a simple who done it mystery.  All the characters were introduced, there was already one murder in the past and another one just happened.  So who did it?  Who is hiding secrets? Or should I say who isn’t hiding secrets?

About half way through the pace starts picking up and the tension starts to really build… oh, the fun of reading this part – at this point make sure you have time to finish it!  You will not want to put it down.

The ending told you all you wanted to know.  And made me want her next book!

 

Perfect Happiness

Author: Kristyn Kusek Lewis
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Kristyn 

 

Goodreads:  From the beloved author of Half of What You Hear, a perceptive and poignant novel about a woman discovering that her expertise can only get her so far in matters of the heart.

Charlotte McGanley knows happiness. Just ask anyone who’s read Perfect Happiness, her bestselling book about how she, a busy mother and professor, used her no-nonsense positive psychology research to brighten her own life. She always pictured her career beginning and ending in the halls of academia, but now she’s become a bit of a self-help guru. No one is more surprised by this than Charlotte herself, who has secretly never been more miserable.

Though her husband of many years, Jason, is her partner in all things, she finds more gratification most evenings in a glass (or three) of Chardonnay or another scroll through her Instagram feed. Meanwhile, their daughter, Birdie, is feeling the pressure of being her high school’s star tennis player, keeping up her GPA, and having her first boyfriend—and Charlotte, despite all her expertise, has no idea how to help her.

As Charlotte preaches the gospel of happiness to her undergraduate students, audiences across the country, and her own online followers, she’s faced with some tough questions: What is happiness when the family you’ve nurtured starts to fall apart in front of your eyes? When your daughter seems determined to self-destruct? When the man you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with—and took for granted because of it—gets fed up? When all of the tools that you push to your loyal followers just don’t seem to work?

In this bittersweet family love story, Kristyn Kusek Lewis explores how easy it is to lose connection with the people closest to us, and what happens when we try to find our way back.

Ope’s Opinion: I think this was actually 3.5 – just don’t have half of a chair!

This book was not an easy read because it felt so very real.  The struggles of a marriage and raising children are always hard to read about.  The characters are very real and so are the circumstances.

The ending is what I wanted and believable.  I look forward to Kristyn’s next book.

The Summer House

Author: Lauren K. Denton
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Margaret at Harper Collins

Goodreads:  Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again.

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The Summer House weaves Lauren K. Denton’s inviting Southern charm around a woman’s journey to find herself.

“The perfect summer read! You’ll feel the sun, taste the salt, and linger with new friends—you won’t want to leave.” —Katherine Reay, bestselling author of The Printed Letter Bookshop and Dear Mr. Knightley 

Ope’s Opinion:  The beautiful cover caught my attention, the author ( Lauren K. Denton ) assures you of a good story and the synopsis makes you want to sit down and read immediately.  What more could you ask for from a book?

This book has it all, great characters that you are attached to from the beginning, a southern story to soak into and a setting that takes you away to a place you want to be.  I want to move to Safe Harbor and hang out with these ladies, drive my golf cart around and eat at the cafe.  This is such a wonderful escape any time, but right now I really needed this.

I was a bit sad to have the read come to an end.  I wanted to stay in their world.  I would love a sequel – where are they now?

This is How I Lied

Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Mystery
Source: Emer at Harper Collins

 

Goodreads: Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Ope’s Opinion: Heather Gudenkauf is one of my authors that I automatically say, yes, I want to read her books.  She draws me in from the beginning with characters that are real and you want to follow their stories.  

There was more creepiness in this book then I usually read or care for, but it really did have to do with the story – it wasn’t just thrown in there to give you chills.  This was not as intense as some Gudenkauf’s books, but still kept my attention and drew me to the end.

I thought I knew who did it, then I changed my mind – should have stuck with my first guess, but wasn’t sure until the end.