I’m Not Her

Author: Cara Sue Achterberg         I'm
Publisher: Story Plant
Genre: Adult Fiction
Source: Story Plant

 

Goodreads:  It was a Tuesday like any other. And then it wasn’t. A simple encounter at a supermarket changed Carin Fletcher’s and Leann Cane’s lives – literally. Suddenly Carin, a pretty, self-absorbed, underemployed college graduate, finds herself living as Leann, an uneducated, perennially poor, obese checkout clerk, and vice versa.

Carin is at first horrified: she’s enormous, she can barely make ends meet, her husband is an abusive loser, and she’s saddled with the kid Leann had when she was a teenager. Meanwhile, Leann is initially thrilled: she’s escaped destitution, she looks like a model, and people treat her completely differently.

But as the days pass, it becomes clear that life isn’t clear-cut for either woman. Carin finds herself attaching to Trevor, Leann’s precocious son, and developing feelings for Jimmy, a fellow employee who treats her with the respect few others bother to give her because of her appearance. At the same time, Leann is living a life she’s always wanted in a body she’s always dreamed about, but that doesn’t mean that all of her problems have gone away…and a new one is emerging with Carin’s sometimes-boyfriend.

Both women are facing unknowable futures that neither could have imagined. Are they destined to live this way forever? And if so, where will it all lead?

A brilliant, nuanced, and surprising tale about the way the world sees us and the courses we are on, I’M NOT HER is a remarkably assured first novel that introduces a profound new storyteller.

Ope’s Opinion:  I wish I had known the two main characters more before they were switched.  It was hard to understand their individual struggles when I didn’t feel like I knew their past.  

As I did get to know their present situations, it felt a little stereotypical. There was an overweight, abusive girl and a beautiful self absorbed girl.  For Leann, it is the grass is always greener on the other side until you get there.  For Carin, I think it is a wake up call to appreciate the life she had even with it’s struggles.

I like at the end that Carin talks about the outside of someone being like wallpaper. You can change it, but the inside is still the same.

Rating: 3 – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.

War of the Wives

Author:  Tamar Cohen
Publisher: MIRA                                war
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Source: Emer Flounders

 

 

Goodreads:  Think marriage means happily ever after? Think again…

Selina and Lottie are complete opposites. Where Selina is poised but prudish, Lottie is quirky and emotional. Selina is the dutiful mother of three children and able manager of their stylish suburban home. Lottie lives with her eccentric teenage daughter in a small city apartment fit to bursting with color and happy chaos. But these women also have one shocking similarity: they’re married to the same man…and they’ve just found out he’s dead.

Selina has been married to Simon Busfield for twenty-eight years, Lottie for seventeen. Neither knew a thing about the other until the day of Simon’s funeral, where the scandalous truth is revealed in front of everyone they know. Another wife, another family… And they’ve only just scratched the surface of Simon’s incredible betrayal.

With dark humor and razor-sharp wit, Cohen expertly unravels a story of deception and betrayal, where two very different families will discover they are entwined in ways that will change them all forever.

Ope’s Opinion:  The synopsis of this book really intrigued me.  I am not a huge fan of British writing or humor, so I was a little hesitant to read this.  The British writing is not overwhelming, but at times I felt like the story rambled on.

The two wives are so different.   As the wives moved through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, the book moved through their lives.  It had double meaning – accepting the death of their husband and accepting the fact that the other one existed.  It was an interesting way to look at the situation.

The ending had it’s twists.  It was kind of sad.  The epilogue tried to tie things up.  I am not sure it felt complete to me.

Rating:  Three Chairs – I like this book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.a85cf-3chairs

 

The Thursday Night Club

Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher:  The Story Plant                       thursday night club
Genre: Adult Fiction                                    
Source:  Steven Manchester

 

 

 

Amazon:   Five college friends, three men and two women, have been getting together every Thursday night to share humble meals and an abundance of laughter. But when tragedy takes one of them, leaving the others to question the fairness of life, the Thursday Night Club decides to embark on a contest in the memory of the generous spirit of their fallen brother. The objective of the contest is simple: whoever performs the kindest deed by Christmas night wins the pot – four quarters. And there are only two conditions: the benevolent deed must be anonymous, and it cannot cost a single penny to pull off.

As the four friends undertake the contest, the healing begins and they become inspired beyond their expectations. There might be a winner in this competition, but it is very clear there will be no losers.

A story of Christmas spirit that will strike a chord in your heart any time of year, The Thursday Night Club will make you look at the holiday season in new ways.

Ope’s Opinion:  This novella started out with some students playing pranks.  I do not enjoy pranks or jokes pulled on anyone.  So this started out as not a great read for me.  It took a quick turn – something tragic happened.  It turned four lives around, which turned the book into one of my favorites for the holidays.  If you have the chance, read it, share, and suggest it to someone else.

Steven Manchesters other books are worth the read also.  Pick one or two up for Christmas gifts – you won’t be sorry and neither will the receiver of your gift.

Rating:  Four Chairs – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.                       de9fc-4chairs

The Fragile World

Author:  Paula Treick DeBoard          fragile
Publisher:  MIRA
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Source:  Harlequin MIRA

 

Publication Date:  October 28, 2014

 

 

Goodreads:  From the author of publishing sensation The Mourning Hours comes a powerful new novel that explores every parent’s worst nightmare.

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything.Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a freak accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief. The anguish of Daniel’s death is isolating, and it’s not long before this once perfect family find themselves falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong.

An emotionally charged novel, The Fragile World is a journey through America’s heartland and a family’s brightest and darkest moments, exploring the devastating pain of losing a child and the beauty of finding healing in unexpected ways.

Ope’s Opinion:  The beginning of the book grabbed my attention.  It made me want to keep reading.  It was a bit sad, but I wanted to see where the story was going to go.

The middle was a road trip that was very long and tedious.  There was too much detailed description with not enough really happening.  At one point the mother was looking for the father and she just happened to know where he was at each turn – it felt unrealistic.

The ending is not anything you could figure out or guess ahead of time.  The ending sort of frustrated me – can’t explain without giving too much away. The story was wrapped up at the end.

Rating:  Three Chairs – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.
3 chairs

Reunion

Author:  Hannah Pittard                         reunion
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Source:  BEA

 

Publication Date: October 7, 2014

 

 

Goodreads:  Heartbreak and hilarity come together in this story of a far-flung family reunited for one weekend by their father’s death, by the author of the highly acclaimed The Fates Will Find Their Way.

Five minutes before her flight is set to take off, Kate Pulaski, failed screenwriter and newly-failed wife, learns that her estranged father killed himself. More shocked than saddened by the news, she reluctantly gives in to her older siblings’ request that she join them–and her many half-siblings, and most of her father’s five former wives–in Atlanta, their birthplace, for a final farewell.

Written with huge heart and bracing wit, REUNION takes place over the following four days, as family secrets are revealed, personal deceits are uncovered, and Kate–an inveterate liar looking for a way to come clean–slowly begins to acknowledge the overwhelming similarities between herself and the man she never thought she’d claim as an influence, much less a father. Hannah Pittard’s “engaging and vigorous”* prose masterfully illuminates the problems that can divide modern families-and the ties that prove impossible to break.

Ope’s Opinion:  The cover of the book made me think of  a warm happy reunion.  The beginning was very depressing and slow moving.  It is interesting to watch three siblings come together and revert to their childhood ways.  

I did like seeing Nell, Elliot, and Kate grow.  They seem to help each other get through the hard time of loosing their father.  I found this to be a familiar story.  There were a few times I wanted the story to move a little faster.

The title of each chapter told you what was going to happen in that chapter.  At the end of each chapter I thought to myself – okay that is what happened!  The chapter headings should have been the outline for the author, but not put into the book.

The book felt like it just ended.  I felt like things were wrapped up, but it fell flat for me.

Rating: Three Chairs – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.
3 chairs

 

Blessings

Author:  Anna Quindlen            blessings
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Adult Fiction
Source:  Purchased

 

 

Goodreads:  Blessings, the bestselling novel by the author of Black and Blue, One True Thing, Object Lessons, and A Short Guide to a Happy Life, begins when, late at night, a teenage couple drives up to the estate owned by Lydia Blessing and leaves a box.

In this instant, the world of the estate called Blessings is changed forever. The story of Skip Cuddy, the Blessings caretaker, who finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her, and of matriarch Lydia Blessing, who, for her own reasons, decides to help him, Blessings explores how the secrets of the past affect decisions and lives in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community. This is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and personal change by the Pulitzer Prize winning writer about whom The Washington Post Book World said, Quindlen knows that all the things we ever will be can be found in some forgotten fragment of family.

Ope’s Opinion:  I have had the privilege of hearing Anna Quindlen speak.  I have read her non-fiction books.  Now I have read her fiction. I think her fiction is my least favorite.  I felt like her sentences ran on too long for me to keep up with what she was talking about ( maybe it was me ).

I did like the basic story Anna Quindlen was telling.  Her idea for this book was an awesome one. I just kept getting lost in the descriptive details.  It just moved too slowly for me.

The back story was necessary to understand why each person reacted the way they did, but it seemed to be most of the book.  I wish this part had been a bit shorter.

I think I will look for a non-fiction from Quindlen for my next read of hers.

 

Rating: Three Chairs – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.
3 chairs