The Whole Way Home

Author: Sarah Creech
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: William Morrow

 

Goodreads:  A ferocious talent on the brink of making it big in Nashville must confront her small town past and an old love she’s never forgotten in this engaging novel—a soulful ballad filled with romance, heartbreak, secrets, and scandal from the author of Season of the Dragonflies.

Playing to packed houses while her hit song rushes up the charts, country singer and fiddler Jo Lover is poised to become a big Nashville star like her idols, Loretta, Reba, and Sheryl. To ensure her success, Jo has carefully crafted her image: a pretty, sassy, down-to-earth girl from small-town Virginia who pours her heart into her songs.

But the stage persona she’s built is threatened when her independent label merges with big-time Capitol Records, bringing Nashville heartthrob JD McCoy—her first love—back into her life. Long ago Jo played with JD’s band. Then something went wrong, they parted ways and took their own crooked roads to stardom. Now, Jo’s excited—and terrified—to see him again.

When the label reunites them for a show, the old sparks fly, the duet they sing goes viral, and fans begin clamoring for more—igniting the media’s interest in the compelling singer. Why is a small-town girl like Jo so quiet about her past? When did she and JD first meet? What split them apart? All too soon, the painful secret she’s been hiding is uncovered; a shocking revelation that threatens to destroy her reputation and her dreams. To salvage her life and her career, Jo must finally face the past—and her feelings for JD—to become the true Nashville diva she was meant to be.

Ope’s Opinion:  Recently my daughter and I were in Nashville and I went to the Ryman Auditorium.  It really helped me picture Jo on stage, which made this story more enjoyable. Reading about the behind scenes of country music was interesting.

Jo, like most people, has things in her past that she doesn’t care to share with the world.  Being famous makes it harder to keep secrets, being famous also makes it harder to know who to trust with those secrets.

This was a predictable story that had a nice even flow to it.  I enjoyed the relaxed read and actually wanted the ending just the way it is.

The Sunshine Sisters

Author: Jane Green
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

 

Goodreads:  The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

Ope’s Opinion: This was a good read about sisters and a mother that was difficult.  It was interesting to see how each sister related to the mother and how they coped with that relationship being so unpredictable.

The beginning was fun to see a small part of their lives, at different ages, so you got an idea of each sister.  The present time moved faster and was more enjoyable for me.

The ending was predictable and wrapped in nice little package.

Side Note:  The “f” word was over used and unnecessary.  If this offends you, I would not recommend this book.  I found it distracting and irritating.

Dead Certain

Author: Adam Mitzner
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Legal Thriller
Source: Thomas & Mercer

 

Goodreads:  Ella Broden is living a double life.

By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.

No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.

Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.

Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?

Ope’s Opinion: If you enjoy legal thrillers, you might want to read this one.  Some of the legal talk and explanations were a little tedious for me.  Other then that it was a quick read and the story line kept moving.

A book in a book is not my favorite way to get information or learn about a character.  Charlotte’s life in the book just seemed too graphic for my taste.  Charlotte’s story leading her sister to the killer was too neatly wrapped up.

 

The Almost Sisters

Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Fiction
Source: William Morrow

 

 

Goodreads:  With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy–an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

Ope’s Opinion:  I liked the Southern woman in this book and their relationships.  As usual, Joshilyn Jackson makes the characters come alive.  She makes me feel like these are women I know or wish I knew.  They kept me reading.

The “sister” relationship is shown between Leia and Rachel and Birchie and Wattie.  They are of different generations, but the relationships are similar, easy to relate to.

A little mystery, along with all the southern charm and the heartache of being a care taker of an elderly relative, make this a very well rounded story.  The ending left me wanting a little more.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Stephanie at Atria Books

Goodreads:  From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

Ope’s Opinion: If you are a historical / Hollywood reader, you would probably give this book a five!  As I am not usually a historical reader nor old Hollywood reader, but I am a Taylor Jenkins Reid reader, this book intrigued me.

I did not like or enjoy Evelyn Hugo.  She was self centered and egotistical from the beginning to the very end.  All of her decisions, even having her book written, and who was to write it, was all about her and how she wanted to be portrayed to the public.

Taylor Jenkins Reid brought this story to life for me, she is such an awesome writer.  To me each of Reid’s books are unique.  She weaves wonderful story lines and her characters become real people. – she did it again this time.  Although this one did not hit a home run for me, I will read another TJR without reading the synopsis, I like her so much.

 

Everything We Left Behind

Author: Kerry Lonsdale
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Ashley at Amazon

 

Goodreads:  From the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes the highly anticipated sequel. Told from one man’s two perspectives, Everything We Left Behind effortlessly blends suspense, mystery, and romance in an exploration of loss, resilience, and the compelling need to protect the ones we love at all cost.

Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

(This book is the sequel to Everything We Keep.)

Ope’s Opinion:  Since I read Everything We Keep almost a year ago, it took me a little while into this book to remember what I had read and who was who.  If you can read the first and second one right after each other, I think you will enjoy them more.

This one starts slows, but I think that is partly so we can catch up to where the first one left off. It moved faster as you read along.  I did enjoy seeing the characters again and the story line seemed true to the fist book. It ( the story line ) went in a different direction then I expected ( no spoilers ), but I enjoyed it.

The ending answered a lot of questions and gave me satisfaction.

Until It Fades

Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: New Adult
Source: Simon & Schuster

Goodreads:  Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

Ope’s Opinion:  This is my second K.A. Tucker book.  I thought the first one was okay, so decided to try her again.  I sure am glad I chose this one!

Although some say this a predictable story, I thought there were a enough twists along the way to make it interesting.  The characters were ones I became invested in and wanted the happy ending for them.

This book was set in the present, but had flashbacks.  The flashbacks were sad and helped the reader understand Catherine’s hesitation with her relationships.

I will keep K.A. Tucker on my radar to see what she has coming up next.