Life and Other Near-Death Experience

lifeAuthor: Camille Pagan
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

 

Goodreads:  Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.

With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live—and love—a little longer?

From critically acclaimed author Camille Pagán comes a hilarious and hopeful story about a woman choosing between a “perfect” life and actually living.

Ope’s Opinion:  This book started out kind of all over place.  It felt scattered to me, but that may be how you feel when you get so much hard news at the same time.  Then Libby seemed to run away – which may not have been a unusual reaction in those circumstances.

Although, this book had heavy subjects, it was a light, quick read.  It was a different perspective then I expected.

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The Ordinary Life

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Author: Jennifer Walkup
Publisher: Luminis Books, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Sometimes hope is the most extraordinary gift of all.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health—not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

Ope’s Opinion:   If you are looking for a wonderfully, sweet, young adult book for yourself or someone who loves young adult reads, I highly recommend this book.  The characters are someone you know ( or maybe you ), the story is sweet ( but not saccharin sweet ), and you will enjoy all the relationships. 

Jasmine’s life isn’t easy, but she makes the best of it.  She is strong, independent, caring and stands on her own two feet.  She is an example of a young adult I would want my teen reading about.  

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Forever Beach

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Author: Shelley Noble
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Source: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Colors and Breakwater Bay comes this heartwarming story of love, family, and redemption. Two young girls pledged to be best friends forever. Separated by circumstance and hurt, they are reunited years later as they struggle to put their differences aside for the sake of a special little girl—perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Jane Green, and Kristin Hannah.

Two women…
One little girl…
Can they forgive the past in order to ensure the future of an innocent child…?

Once a foster child herself, Sarah Hargreave can’t wait to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter Leila. Sarah longs to give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. She’s put her own friendships and even her relationship with Wyatt, her longtime lover, on hold in order to give Leila her full attention.

When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she’s come to love as her own. Convinced the mother is still addicted to drugs, Sarah and her social worker enlist the help of high profile family lawyer, Ilona Cartwright. But when they meet, Sarah recognizes her as Nonie Blanchard who grew up in the same group foster home as Sarah. They’d promised to be best friends forever, then Nonie was adopted by a wealthy family, and Sarah never heard from her again. Sarah still hurts from the betrayal. But Nonie harbors her own resentment toward Sarah who she believes abandoned her when she needed her most.

Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very survival is on the line, they’ll have to come to terms with their own feelings of hurt and rejection to save the child they both have come to love.

Ope’s Opinion:  Page one, I was immediately drawn into the book.  There are some awesome twists and turns.  The story is very intense right up to the end.

The characters are people you want to know and route for them to be happy.

I have a couple of other Shelley Noble books on my shelf.  They have now moved up on my TBR list.

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Abby’s Journey

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Author: Steena Holmes
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Travel
Source:  Steena Holmes

Goodreads:  Twenty-year-old Abigail Turner has only known her mother, Claire—who died shortly after she was born—through letters, videos, postcards, and journals. Abby’s father, Josh, has raised his precious daughter himself, but his overprotectiveness has become stifling. Abby longs to forge out on her own and see the world after a childhood trapped indoors: she suffers from bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which means a case of the sniffles can rapidly escalate into life-threatening pneumonia.

But when Abby’s doctor declares her healthy—for now—her grandmother Millie whisks her away to Europe to visit the Christmas markets that her mother cherished and chronicled in her travel journals. Despite her father’s objections, Abby and Millie embark on a journey of discovery in which Abby will learn secrets that force her to reevaluate her image of her mother and come to a more mature understanding of a parent-child bond that transcends death.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Steena Holmes offers a tender and heartfelt exploration of parental love and a daughter’s longing for connection in the poignant next chapter following Saving Abby.

Ope’s Opinion:  This book could be read as a stand alone, but reading Saving Abby first makes it more meaningful.  Having Abby’s family background gives you more understanding to the characters in this story.

Steena Holmes wrote this in such a way that I felt each character.  I understood each of  their points of view.  She also wrote Abby’s trip in such a way that I could see where she was – it made me want to take my own trip to see all the markets.

Once again, thank you Steena Holmes for your amazing writing!

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Fly Away Home

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Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

 

Goodreads:  Sometimes all you can do is fly away home . . .

When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician’s wife-her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.

Lizzie, the Woodruffs’ younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve-a husband, a young son, the perfect home-and yet she’s trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER’s exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.

After Richard’s extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.

Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another.

Ope’s Opinion:  I am not sure what I was expecting when I started this book.  The synopsis talks about a man cheating on his wife, so the fact that this was a sad, depressing book should not have been a surprise.

Sylvie put her husband above all else – mistake!
Diana’s character is judgemental when she has no right to be – look in the mirror!
Lizzie is flighty and actually the most enjoyable of the three.

There is a very explicit, crude sexual scene in the beginning of the book that just set me off from the beginning.  It was to give you information about Diana.  That information could have been dispensed in a much more subtle way and still gotten the point across.  From there I just couldn’t like her.

The ending was not what I was expecting and not sure it felt satisfying either.

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Doing It Over

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Author: Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: BEA 2016

Goodreads:  Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Melanie Bartlett ended up anything but. The down-on-her-luck single mom wants a complete do-over—is that too much to ask? With her family long gone from River Bend, strong, independent Mel is as surprised as anyone to end up in the quaint small town she once called home. But with her friends, Jo and Zoe, by her side, and a comfortable room at Miss Gina’s quirky bed-and-breakfast, she just might have turned the corner on a new life.

Wyatt Gibson never liked the big city. River Bend suits the ruggedly handsome builder just fine. Wyatt knows he’s home, even if that means being charmed by the appearance of Melanie and her spunky, adorable daughter. Is Wyatt’s calm devotion—even amid a coming storm—enough to convince Mel she may have found a home to call her own, a family that never leaves, and a true love to last a lifetime?

Ope’s Opinion: This book falls under the romance genre – it will not disappoint those who are truly looking for a romance ( there are some steamy parts ), but this book is so much more!  It is a great story, some family drama, friendship and a little mystery.  So if any or all of those fall into the genre you enjoy reading, this book is for you. 

Also, this is the first of a series.  This book is about Melanie, the next one is about her friend Zoe.  It will be coming out January 24th, so we don’t have to wait too long!  

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