Merry and Bright

Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Fiction / Holiday
Source:  Library

 

Goodreads:  Christmas is the season of the heart, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is here to warm yours with a delightful holiday novel of first impressions and second chances.
Merry Smith is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her–minus her photo–and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.
Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects–or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Ope’s Opinion:  I liked the story.  It was a nice, light read.  I think it should be made into a Hallmark movie. 

This was the first book I have listened to.  The reader did a good female voices, but the male voices were very fake and kind of gruff when the character wasn’t.  I did like being able to do laundry or cook while listening to a book.  I will probably try listening to books again.

Save this one for next Christmas – it will be a wonderful escape!

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After Anna

Author: Alex Lake
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Source: Harper Collins

 

Goodreads:  The real nightmare starts when her daughter is returned…

A bone-chilling psychological thriller that will suit fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Daughter by Jane Shemilt, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

A girl is missing. Five years old, taken from outside her school. She has vanished, traceless. The police are at a loss; her parents are beyond grief. Their daughter is lost forever, perhaps dead, perhaps enslaved. But the biggest mystery is yet to come: one week after she was abducted, their daughter is returned. She has no memory of where she has been. And this, for her mother, is just the beginning of the nightmare.

Ope’s Opinion:  Although you know from the synopsis that Anna is kidnapped and returned, the reading was very intense and scary.  The story is moved along from the point of view of the mother and the kidnapper. 

The middle part of the book lagged.  I feel like the author was trying to keep the reader intrigued and make it tense.  Instead, it just made the story drag out longer then necessary.

The end was good, I guess for a mystery thriller.  It was bit over the top for me.  A little too unbelievable.  Not sure how to explain it without ruining the outcome.  Figured it out, but not too far in advance.

Only You

Author: Denise Grover Swank
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Romance
Source: Library

 

Goodreads:  Romance isn’t an option for Holly Greenwood. With her wedding planner career on the line she needs to stay focused, and that means pleasing her demanding boss, not getting distracted by her mind-alteringly hot neighbor . . .

Ex-Marine Kevin Vandemeer craves normalcy. Instead, he has a broken-down old house in need of a match and some gasoline, a meddling family, and the uncanny ability to attract the world’s craziest women. At least that last one he can fix: he and his buddies have made a pact to swear off women, and this includes his sweetly sexy new neighbor.

After one hot night that looks a whole lot like a disaster in the light of day, Kevin and Holly are about to learn that true love doesn’t play by the rules . . .

Ope’s Opinion:  This was the second book by Denise Grover Swank that I have read.  The first one ( One Paris Summer ) was amazing!  It made me search out another book by her.  This one was disappointing.

Realizing this is in the Romance genre, I expected some steamy parts.  But there wasn’t enough story to go along with the steam for me.  I didn’t see what Holly and Kevin had in common other then physical attraction.  Add to that, the foul language was over used in place of some descriptive words that would have helped me see what DGS was wanting me to visualize ( telling me that Kevin’s house looked like “shit”  didn’t help me see it ).

If DGS writes another Young Adult book, I might pick it up.

The Wife

Author: Alafair Burke
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Source:  Jennifer at HarperCollins

Goodreads:  When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.

Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

This much-anticipated follow-up to Burke’s Edgar-nominated The Ex asks how far a wife will go to protect the man she loves: Will she stand by his side, even if he drags her down with him?

Ope’s Opinion: This story definitely had a lot of twists.  It had short chapters, which kept it moving quickly.  I kept thinking, one more chapter, just one more! This felt like it was partly taken out of the headlines that are happening today, but the rest of it was definitely amazing fiction.

It was interesting that Angela’s history played such a large part in the story.  She had her own secrets and her own agenda.  Jason had his issues and keeps you questioning about who he really is.  This makes the mystery / thriller intriguing.

The end of the story was breathtaking, but the end of the book felt like the story was left open.  Read it and you’ll understand!

Always and Forever Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon Schuster for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

Ope’s Opinion:  This was the third and final book in this series.  It was just as good as the other two. I am saving them for my granddaughter, when she gets a bit older ( she is eight).    There is a lot of romance, but not casual sex.  There is a little foul language, but not over the top.

In this book Lara Jean is in her senior year and getting ready to go off to college.  It is such a busy time for students of that age.  This book really did a great job of showing the excitement and angst of this age.  Lara Jean has friends who are headed in different directions – some to college, some to jobs, some on to other things in life – it was good for a young adult to read and see options.

I sort of wish she would write Lara Jean off at college, but Jenny Han said this was the end of the series for her.

 

The Wife Between Us

Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Thriller
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

Ope’s Opinion:  Loved the ending and the twist was amazing.  It just took a long time to get there.  A couple of times I almost quit reading, but my daughter kept saying – don’t give up on it.  I am glad I didn’t give up on it.

I couldn’t figure out who was nuts and who was in their right mind.  I was frustrated at times, intrigued at other times.  I guess that is the sign of a good thriller.

Now That You Mention It

Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Romance
Source:  Gloria at HarperCollins

 

Goodreads:  One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

Ope’s Opinion: I usually start a Kristan Higgins book and the rest of the world disappears for me.  That didn’t happen this time.  The story started out slow, the mention of The Big Event, with no clues as to what it was, and the sad characters, all made it hard for me get excited about getting back to the book.

I found the romance crammed into the end of the book with a couple of twists that were interesting.

I like so many of her other books, that I will try her next one.  This one just didn’t grab me.