A Place For Us

Author: Liza Gyllenhaal
Publisher: NAL
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Purchased

 

 

Goodreads:  Brook Bostock has led a privileged life. The daughter of an extremely wealthy and prominent family, she married the man of her dreams and is raising two deeply loved children. But her happy home is shattered when a neighborhood teenager is assaulted during a night of drinking with the Bostocks’ son and his prep school friends.

The scandal receives national attention—not only because of Brook’s family name, but because of the lawsuit looming against Brook and her husband, Michael, that alleges they are responsible for what went on in their house. Suddenly the small Massachusetts town they call home seems to be turning against them, revealing the simmering jealousies and resentments that have been lurking under the surface all along.

With their once-perfect family in danger of falling apart, Brook and Michael must find a way to get through this together—or risk losing everything they love… 

Ope’s Opinion: This is a solid three chair read.  The characters feel real, the situation the family is in is hard and the reactions are normal.  I don’t want to talk specifics because I don’t want to give the story away.  

One thing that kept it from being a four was Brook is from a family that has money and they kept talking about it as if it were a bad or negative thing.  It just didn’t fit in with the rest of the story.  I just didn’t see why it was brought up so often or even mattered. Also, the use of the “f” word added nothing to this story – actually felt out of place.

There were secrets and they came out naturally and slowly.  I like that they didn’t save all the secrets to the end of the book.  The ending was what you would expect.  There weren’t too many surprises.

Layover

Author: David Bell
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  In this high concept psychological suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a
pulse-pounding quest for the truth…

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work. His life is a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, Joshua meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their flights, Morgan gets up to leave, leans over and passionately kisses Joshua, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As Morgan slips away, Joshua is left feeling confused by what just happened between them. That’s when he looks up and is shocked to see Morgan’s face flashing on a nearby TV screen. He’s even more shocked when he learns the reason why–Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets to discover the truth about why Morgan is on the run. But when he finally thinks every mystery is solved, another rears its head, and Joshua’s worst enemy may be his own assumptions about those around him… 

Ope’s Opinion:  I bought this book while I was on vacation at the beach thinking I would read it when I got home to savor it.  I really like David Bells writing and his short chapters keep a book moving.  This one was a bit of a disappointment.  I do understand that this book is fiction, but you really have to suspend your reality in this one.  

What kept me reading was wanting to know how it would end, but I wasn’t anxious to get back to the book when I put it down.  The ending answered your questions, but it was not very satisfying.

The Return

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Centeral Publishing
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  In the romantic tradition of Dear John and The Lucky One, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the story of an injured Navy doctor — and two women whose secrets will change the course of his life.

Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, NC. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.
Tending to his grandfather’s beloved bee hives while gearing up for a second stint in medical school, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . and yet, from their very first encounter, his connection with Natalie Masterson can’t be ignored. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road from his grandfather’s cabin. Claiming to be 19, she works at the local sundries store and keeps to herself. When he discovers she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues — until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have anticipated.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

Ope’s Opinion: If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you may want to read this one.  It is his traditional book.  The instant love is not something I enjoy.  The story being told solely from Trevors point of view fell flat for me at times.  

The ending was a Nicholas Sparks ending… exactly what you would expect.

 

What Was Mine

 

                                                               Author: Helen Klein Ross
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre:  Mystery
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia’s birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment.

Ope’s Opinion:  When you read this you will have to accept the story as is because there are several things that are just not realistic.    It started out very intense, but quickly got into every day mundane life.  Then an unbelievable event and some more intense parts.

The story is told from a lot of different points of view.  It is interesting to hear from the kidnapper as well as the mother, and many more people effected by the kidnapping.

I was back and forth between three and four chairs until the end – it was left wide open – the book felt unfinished.  I don’t want to say too much more, so I don’t spoil it.

The Daughters Join the Party

                                                               Author: Joanna Philbin
Publisher: Poppy Books
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  They didn’t ask for fame. They were born with it.

In the third Daughters novel, The Daughters Take the Stage, Hudson found her own place in “the family business,” aka: show business. Now, for the first time, readers will meet Emma Conway, daughter of a powerful New York State Senator.

Emma has never fit into the sweater-set-wearing world of her political family, opting for purple hair and Chuck Taylors to keep herself out of countless photo ops, but when she accidentally lets her father’s presidential plans slip on national television, Emma finds herself thrown into the spotlight. Facing pressure to be the perfect First Daughter-in-training, Emma must learn to speak up for herself and for what she believes in. Thankfully, she has her new friends and fellow daughters – Lizzie, Carina, and Hudson – to help her along the way.

Ope’s Opinion: I read the second one of this series and wasn’t thrilled with it, but already owned the fourth, so I thought I would read it.  It is much better then the second one.  It is part of the series, but you can read it alone.

This one was focused on Emma and her becoming friends with Lizzie, Carina and Hudson.  It was also about her father running for office.  It was still a little too woe is me for people with a lot of money.

It reads fast and easy.  If you need something to just pass the time, you could pick this one up.  All the problems are there, then quickly solved with not very many consequences, so I would not want my teen to read this.

Keeper by Surprise

Author: Laurie Larsen
Publisher: Random Moon Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  College life provides the reprieve Keith Hanson dreamed of while growing up in his father’s strict household. Now, he concentrates on keeping his grades up (just enough to get Dad off his back), and loving his girlfriend Carly. He never knew life could be this good. Until a terrible accident leaves his parents killed, and Keith named as guardian over his three siblings. Although only 20, he’s the one now who has to earn money to support the family and take care of the kids. Including the discipline, something his teenage sister Dana is totally lacking.

Brand new social worker Lisa Carle has a lot to prove to her boss about her ability to do a good job. But it’s hard to focus on professionalism when she’s falling in love with the client. Can the two of them help each other? And will their budding relationship survive screaming twins, a teenage runaway and an unethical boss?

Ope’s Opinion:  I enjoyed this book.  It showed the struggle that Keith had stepping up to be a parent before he was prepared to be.  The reason and the way the social services were called into this family situation did not seem very realistic to me.  

Just a bit too descriptive of sexual thoughts and activity.  I didn’t enjoy reading that part – some was at the beginning of the book – which made me almost stop reading it all together.  It also ended up not being all the important in the story.

It was a predictable romance with the ending you would expect. 

The Lost Husband

Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

 

Goodreads:  “Dear Libby, It occurs to me that you and your two children have been living with your mother for — Dear Lord! — two whole years, and I’m writing to see if you’d like to be rescued.” The letter comes out of the blue, and just in time for Libby Moran, who, after the sudden death of her husband, Danny, went to stay with her hypercritical mother. Now her crazy Aunt Jean has offered Libby an escape, a job and a place to live on her farm in the Texas Hill Country. Before she can talk herself out of it, Libby is packing the minivan, grabbing the kids, and hitting the road.

Life on Aunt Jean’s goat farm is both more wonderful and more mysterious than Libby could have imagined. Beyond the animals and the strenuous work, there is quiet, deep, country quiet. But there is also a shaggy, gruff (though purportedly handsome, under all that hair) farm manager with a tragic home life, a formerly famous feed-store clerk who claims she can contact Danny “on the other side,” and the eccentric aunt Libby never really knew but who turns out to be exactly what she’s been looking for. And despite everything she’s lost, Libby soon realizes how much more she’s found. Libby hasn’t just traded one kind of crazy for another; she may actually have found the place to bring her little family, and herself, back to life. 

Ope’s Opinion:  Let me just state upfront that I am a Katherine Center fan, which lead me to read her back list – this being one of them.  I had such high expectations that this one just couldn’t live up to.  If it had been my first Katherine Center book, I may have liked it more ( that is kind of sad ).

I thought the whole story was slow moving and meandered down a path, where it got lost once in a while.  The characters were likable, her aunt was quirky, and O’Connor was a bit strange, but all were interesting to read about.

All that being said, I will continue to read Katherine Centers books.

You’re Gonna Love Me

Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  Who knew fate could twist a tragedy into a second chance at love?

Samantha Winters lives her life the way a good accountant should—measured, deliberate, and safe. After watching her father die in a tragic skiing accident, she decided never to allow risk into her life again. But she didn’t count on falling for Nick Chastain, who embodies everything she doesn’t want in her safely constructed world.

Against Samantha’s warnings, Nick plans a dangerous kayaking trip over spring break. Furious that he’s so careless with his life, she ends their fledgling relationship with harsh words.

Two years later, Samantha is desperately in need of a change. When she learns her grandmother has had an accident and is in need of a caretaker, Samantha quickly packs her bags and heads to Thunder Creek, Idaho. But nothing could prepare her for the surprise awaiting her in her grandmother’s hospital room . . . Nick.

With the charming backdrop of small-town friends, beloved cousins, and a whole church congregation rooting for them, can they set aside the disastrous ending of their first try at love? Has Nick changed enough to meet Samantha in the middle—and can she realize that a risk in love might be worth taking?

Ope’s Opinion: This story started out really well, but after a while I was tired of the back and forth – Sam and Nick got close, Sam got scared and pulled away – they got close again, Sam got scared and pulled away – over and over again.  The first time – okay, but after a while it got old.  

I really liked Sam’s Gran and the relationship between the two of them.  Gran was a wise women, who did not interfere with Sam’s and Nick relationship, but was there for guidance.

The ending was what you expect – it was good, but rushed.

Who Do You Love

Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

 

Goodreads:  Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to the emergency room and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they’ve been running toward each other all along.

With honesty, wit, and clear-eyed observations about men and women, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters, and a love story you’ll never forget.

Ope’s Opinion: The idea of the story was amazing.   I could feel what the characters were feeling.  The decisions that were made were believable, especially when each person did not have the full story – only their own perspective.

The detailed steamy parts were too explicit for what I like to read.  The whole story could have been complete without those parts being described in detail. The back and forth, together, apart, together, apart, etc. was drug out a bit for me.  

The ending was what you would expect, until the next bump in the road!

 

Dear Emmie Blue

Author: Lia Louis
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Imani at Simon & Schuster

 

 

Goodreads:  In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air.

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over.

Ope’s Opinion: This story started out slow and kind of depressing.  It took too long for Emmie to get out of her funk and open her eyes to see who and what was right in front of her.  No one seems to say what they are really thinking or feeling.  Luke can’t even tell anyone the color of suit he wants to wear.  I got a little frustrated with the characters. Her mother was a mess and very hurtful.

As I read, it did get somewhat better.  I am glad I finished it, but not sure I would  be able to pass it on.  Read the other reviews – I am in the minority on this one.