In This Moment

Author: Karma Brown
Publisher: Row Parks Books
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Row Parks Books

Goodreads:  Bestselling author Karma Brown is back with a morally infused and emotionally riveting exploration of one woman’s grief and guilt over an unexpected yet avoidable tragedy.

Meg Pepper has a fulfilling career as a real estate agent, a hardworking husband on the verge of starting his own medical practice and a surprisingly good-natured teenage daughter. Most days Meg is able to keep it all together—thanks to an endless stream of alerts on her phone—and (more or less) seamlessly glide through life.

After school pickup one day, Meg and her daughter, Audrey, are driving home when they see Jack, the twin brother of Audrey’s boyfriend, up ahead. Seeing a group of boys on the other side of the road, Meg stops her car to wave him across the street just as an SUV comes hurtling down the road and slams into Jack. The driver—a high-school teacher in the process of texting—did not see Jack crossing the road.

Meg can’t help but blame herself for this horrific accident. Guilt-stricken and desperate with grief, Meg throws herself into helping Jack’s family as he rehabs from his injuries. But the more she tries to absolve herself of what she feels responsible for, the more she alienates her own family. The ripple effects that follow tear at the ties that bind her to those she loves the most, causing her to risk losing everything she holds dear to her heart.

Ope’s Opinion:  This book was about how one decision can effect the rest of your life.  After stopping to let Jack cross the street, Meg’s entire life’s course changed.  It really made me think about something I think as so simple, may end up being a fork in the road that makes a big difference.

Although I am a huge fan of Karma Brown, and I did like this book, it is not my favorite of hers.  If you read her before, you don’t want to miss this one.  If you haven’t read her before, look on Goodreads and start with a different one.

I will definitely be reading her next one.  Keep writing Karma Brown and I will keep reading.

Secrets in Summer

Author: Nancy Thayer
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source:  Random House

 

 

Goodreads:  The queen of beach books (The Star-Ledger) returns to the shores of Nantucket in a novel about one memorable summer when flirtations flourish, family dramas play out, and scandalous secrets surface.

Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means late-night stargazing in the backyard of the beautiful house she grew up in and inherited from her beloved grandmother. It s also Darcy s chance to hit the beach and meet her new summertime neighbors. But the last person the thirty-year-old librarian expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, Boyz, along with his wife, Autumn, and stepdaughter, Willow.

Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, a musicologist in town to write a book and visit family. And she finds herself pulled into the concerns of Boyz, Autumn, a charming elderly neighbor, and an at-risk teen.

As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness.

Ope’s Opinion:  If you are a romance reader you will definitely love this story.  There is plenty of steamy scenes for you – too many for me.  I felt like sex was casual for Darcy.

This is one for your beach bag this summer.  It will take you to the beach, it is a very light read and repeats itself enough you can be interrupted and still follow the whole story.

The ending is exactly what you expected and want when you read Nancy Thayer.

Allie and Bea

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Source: Little Bird Publicity

 

Goodreads:  Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.

When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.

Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.

Ope’s Opinion: I understand that Bea had some hard things happen to her, but I just didn’t enjoy reading how she turned it on other people.  Allie on the other hand, at no fault of her own was also in a hard place.  Allie reacted to it all in a very different way.

Knowing where Bea and Allie came from helped to understand how they ended up helping each other.  Their adventure together got a little long for me.

The ending was a little disappointing – I think it was tied up too easily for me.

 

A Day at the Beach

Author: Jedd & Todd Hafer
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Genre: Devotional
Source: Tyndale House Publishers

Goodreads:  Do you yearn for a day at the beach where your mind and soul can wander away from life’s troubles? Do you gaze up at the sun or the nighttime stars and wonder if God is really on your side? Do you long to hear his quiet voice in the roll of a gentle wave? In A Day at the Beach, brothers Todd and Jedd Hafer don’t have the answers to all of life’s troubles, but they’ll help you see that the God who built the universe also wants to help you build a great life. Let these encouraging words bring a ray of warm sunshine to your doorstep as Todd and Jedd offer their joy-filled perspectives on life and faith. So take a deep breath, unplug from life’s daily grind, and follow the call of your heart to Jesus, the ultimate source of life.

Ope’s Opinions:   What a perfect way to start each day and/or end each day – read one of these inspirational segments.  These are reminders that God is full of peace and ready to give it to you, even when life seems very crazy.

As many of you know the beach has always been my go-to place – when I need to hear God, when I need peace and when I am happy and want to celebrate!  So always at the beach is a good place for me!!  When I can’t be there these devotionals give me a little feeling of being there.  This feels like one of those devotionals that I could reread.

This would also be a wonderful gift to someone you know who could use this peacefulness in their days.

It Happens All The Time

Author: Amy Hatvany
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  “Bravely sheds light on sexual assault and consent. In alternating perspectives friends Tyler and Amber recount an alcohol-fueled night that changed the course of their lives.” –Us Weekly

From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times betselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

Ope’s Opinion:  Where to start?  The characters are deep, the writing is amazing, the story line hard to deal with, but done exceptionally well and a very believable read. The alternating points of view ( male and female ) really showed how differently we think and perceive the exact same event. 

I have always been a fan of Amy Hatvany and this book just keeps me wanting to following her and read her next book.  Thank you Amy for handling a hard subject with wonderful bluntness.

The ending may not be the normal outcome for these circumstances, but it felt good.

The Unexpected Everything

Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

Ope’s Opinion:  All the details in the beginning of the book made the story move very slowly.  It began to pick up the pace in the middle of the book.  The ending wrapped everything up. 

This book had a very good story to it, but I felt like it was too long for a young adult reader.  I enjoyed it, but only thought only an avid reader would enjoy it.

I really like Morgan Matson and I would read her again.

Cold Feet

Author: Amy Fitzhenry
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  Pre-wedding jitters turn into serious doubts in this fresh and funny debut about tying the knot and untethering from the past…

Everyone’s expecting her to walk down the aisle.
But something is telling her to run.

Emma Moon’s mother thinks it’s acceptable to miss her only daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner for a work obligation. Her father left when she was six months old. Emma hasn’t exactly been raised to be a happily-ever-after kind of girl.

So when her anxieties get out of hand, Emma and her best friend, Liv, decide to take a road trip to San Francisco, find her long-lost father, and put her family issues to rest.

But her quest for the truth stirs up events and emotions she didn’t expect. The urge to run away may just be a part of Emma’s genetic makeup, because she’s growing more and more tempted to do just that…

Ope’s Opinion:  This was a light, easy, fast read.  It was a very surface book with a common story – girl is about to get married and wants to find her dad and she has an adventure along the way. The adventure part was a bit long and drawn out.   The out come was unique and the ending was satisfying.