The Summer Sail

Author: Wendy Francis
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Source: Free Library Box

Goodreads:  A trio of college friends who reunite aboard a cruise ship experience an unforgettable vacation in this compelling novel from the author of The Summer of Good Intentions, which was hailed as “everything a summer read should be” by Elin Hilderbrand.

Three college roommates are celebrating a twentieth wedding anniversary by taking a cruise to Bermuda. As the ship pulls away from the pier, everyone is looking forward to lounging by the pool, sipping sunset cocktails, and reminiscing. Abby, the mother hen of the group, will be celebrating her wedding anniversary in style, even as she and her husband keep a secret from the group. Ambitious career woman Caroline happily anticipates several stress-free days away from her magazine job with her boyfriend, Javier, who may or may not be finally inspired to propose. And single mom Lee (annoyingly gorgeous and irresistibly popular in college) hopes she’ll win back the affections of her formerly sweet daughter Lacey, who after her first year in college, has inexplicably become a little bit of a monster.

As the balmy pink shores of Bermuda come into view, tensions simmer, and old jealousies flare, sending the temperature from soothing to scorching in this engrossing tale of three best friends on a vacation they won’t soon forget—but not for the reasons they expect.

Ope’s Opinion: Reading this floating on the lazy river in Florida was a perfect match!  The story was centered around a cruise, so their summer vacation and mine lined up perfectly.  Even though the  story was light enough to relax and enjoy, it also  had enough substance to keep my attention.

The characters each had things going on in their lives, which made them feel real. The women all had a history ( in college together ) so the relationships were genuine and deep.  You could feel them caring for each other.

The end of the cruise was the end of the book.  A few things were not quiet closed out (didn’t leave you hanging, but not totally finished) – a where are they now book to come??  It would be fun to read!

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The View from Rainshadow Bay

Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian, Mystery
Source:  Kristin at Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.

When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.

Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.

In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.

Ope’s Opinion: If you are a Christian fiction / mystery reader this is definitely a book for you.  There are a lot of characters as this is the first in a series and you are meeting everyone.  There is a good mystery to figure out and relationships that will continue.

The story is set in Washington state – as I used to live there and often visit, I enjoyed knowing the places Coble wrote about.

The ending was very satisfying, the person responsible made sense, and the other relationships evolved as you would expect.

All We Ever Wanted

Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.

Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.

Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.

Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.

At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.

Ope’s Opinion: This is not the typical Emily Giffin book ( certainly not what I was expecting to read on the airplane ).  She attempted to tackle too many issues and tiptoed around all of them.  I don’t think she wanted to offend anyone, so she didn’t really face the issues head on.

While I was reading, the story kept my attention, but after I was done, I was disappointed.
** Trying to state my opinion without giving away any spoilers.  The characters were not made accountable for their actions – what kind of message does that send?   The ending just glossed over what happened as if no one was hurt in the process.  There wasn’t any justice.

I will think twice next time about spending the money on a Giffin book.

Up at Butternut Lake

Author: Mary McNear
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  It’s been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she’s returned with her five-year-old son.

There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn’t count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford.

Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.

Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake…. 

Ope’s Opinion:  If you enjoy Robyn Carr’s series or RaeAnne Thayne’s series, you’ll enjoy this series.  I suggest you start with the first one,  you will miss some background information if you start in the middle.  

This is the first in the series.  As you can see I am behind on this series, number six is about to come out.  It is an easy read, enjoyable story.  You know where it is going to end, but there are a few twists along the way.  Allie is at the center of this book, but you are introduced to several other people in the town and their stories move along at the same time as Allie’s.  

For me, the steamy parts are unnecessary, but you know they are always there in the romance genre.  I just slide right by them and keep reading because the story is good.  

How to Keep a Secret

                                                               Author: Sarah Morgan
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Anna Robinson at ARO Publicity

 

Goodreads:  When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise

Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.

Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite…

Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan’s brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.

Ope’s Opinion:  Any book surrounded by women’s relationships makes me want to read.  This is a good one.  I enjoyed seeing how the two sisters reacted to each others secrets and how the mother handled it all.  The teenage daughter was a bit whiny ( but aren’t teenagers ) – it did get in my nerves at times.

I did like the Martha Vineyard setting.  I also liked that this was more of a women’s fiction rather then a romance, even though it is the romance genre.  

Regrets Only

Author: Erin Duffy
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source:  William Morrow Paperbacks

 

Goodreads:  From the author of Bond Girl and Lost Along the Way, comes a fiercely funny, insightful story of marriage, family, and the crooked path to figuring out who we really are.

Claire thought she had everything a woman was supposed to want—a loving husband, a newborn son, a beautiful home in the suburbs. Then she walks in on her husband canoodling with their realtor in their newly renovated kitchen, and in an instant, her perfect life comes crashing down.

With her marriage heading for divorce, Claire knows it’s time to stop feeling sorry for herself. But how can she move on when she’s still stuck in the orbit of her husband’s world? For starters, she can get rid of her soon-to-be ex’s possessions—including his prized, gigantic foosball table—by dumping them onto the curb…until complaints from the neighbors get the police involved. Now Claire is busy dodging the mean mommies at story hour and hiding from her ex-husband’s girlfriend in the grocery store. But as Claire soon learns, suburbia still has a few surprises in store for her—surprises that will make her question her choices from the past, send her down an unexpected road to self-discovery, and maybe even lead to new love.

Desperate for a positive outlet to channel her frustrations, she turns to girlfriends Lissy and Antonia for help. Together they join forces to rebrand Lissy’s local stationery store and turn it into a thriving business. But as Claire soon learns, suburbia still has a few surprises in store for her—surprises that will make her question her choices from the past, send her down an unexpected road to self-discovery, and maybe even new love.

Featuring a second coming-of-age story, Regrets Only deftly explores the subtle nuances of marriage, family, friendship, and what it means to be a woman today while delighting readers as its unforgettable heroine acts on impulses we’ve all been guilty of having. 

Ope’s Opinion:  I really liked seeing Claire focus on what makes her happy, but I wish it happened without the nastiness of the divorce.  I also did not like how she spent too much energy trying to get back at her husband – she was so much better off when she was working on making her life the best she could.  

Watching Lissy and Claire redo her store, enjoy each others company and make a success for both of them was the most enjoyable part of the book.  I just wish the catalyst for Claire’s finding success was herself and not the divorce.

Erin Duffy has a way of writing that is easy to read.  Maybe a different subject matter would be better for me.

Not Her Daughter

Author: Rea Frey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Staci at St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads:  Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal—and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she’s gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return—and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.

Emotionally powerful and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.

Ope’s Opinion:  Oh, My!  Intense, twists all along, sooo good!!!  Those are my first thoughts of this book.   

There are so many emotions that this book will make you feel while you are reading it.  I am still holding my breath and I finished reading it an hour ago.  I am not sure I would say this is realistic, but it is a wonderfully woven story – it is fiction!  

You think several times you know how it is going to end – nope, you won’t know until the very end.  

The “f” word could have been left out and the story would have been complete.