Magnolia Nights

Author: Ashley Farley
Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  From the author of the bestselling Sweeney Sister Series and Sweet Tea Tuesdays comes a new novel of passion, intrigue, and redemption.

Ellie Pringle has spent endless hours and countless dollars working with a therapist to remember the lost years of her childhood. She’s baffled and more than a little intrigued when the grandmother she hasn’t seen in thirty-four years dies and leaves her a fortune. The time has come to face her past in person. Still reeling from a recent breakup of a long-term relationship, and with nothing to keep her in San Francisco, Ellie packs her meager belongings and boards a plane for the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Standing in the entryway of her grandmother’s antebellum home on South Battery Street in Charleston, Ellie faces the first of many ghosts who will soon haunt her. On her first night in the creepy, creaking mansion, as she’s perusing the titles in a dusty bookcase, she comes across her deceased mother’s leather-bound journal. Her mother’s words create more unanswered questions and send her on a quest to find more journals. As Hurricane Irma bears down on the South Carolina coast, Ellie encounters Julian Hagood, a handsome architect who has the talent to restore her dilapidated mansion and the charm to mend her broken heart. But as Ellie reads her mother’s diaries, they dislodge a stone in the wall that safeguards her memories, causing her world to come crumbling down. Revelations about her childhood lead Ellie on a harrowing journey of discovery that will hold readers spellbound until the dramatic conclusion.

Ope’s Opinion:  This started out to be a sweet story.  Little did I know all the mystery and romance to come.  There is a little something for everyone in this book – a little mystery, a little romance, and some family drama.

The mystery and family drama were intertwined.  Figuring out Ellie’s past and finding her family were twisted together.  It kept me reading – I wanted to know where the author was going to take it.

I liked that the physical part of the romance was left to my imagination – not a lot of unnecessary details. When you read it   ( and you should ) you can feel how they really care about each other – it isn’t just the physical part of the relationship.  It was done well.

My daughter Kristin of Kritters Ramblings    recommended this book.  She does not steer me wrong.  It is well worth the read.  The second one is the series Beyond the Garden is next on TBR list.

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Emily, Gone

Author: Bette Lee Crosby
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre:  Fiction
Source: Ashley at Lake Union Publishing

Goodreads:  A missing child sets the lives of three women on a collision course in this powerful and compelling novel by USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.

1971.

When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music, and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival, but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again?

Ope’s Opinion: This was a very interesting perspective on a missing child story.  Most books are very intense because you don’t know where the child is or who did the kidnapping.  From the very beginning you see the birth mother’s perspective and the kidnappers perspective.  Throughout the book, I thought – this is an interesting story… then the last few chapters had me holding my breath.  I could not put it down and wanted to see where it went.

The ending was not what I expected.  It felt a little ( just a little ) too easy and perfect.  It is how you might hope life would go, but didn’t feel completely realistic ( which is okay – it is fiction! ).  I did enjoy this book.

Beyond the Point

Author: Claire Gibson
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Three women are brought together in an enthralling story of friendship, heartbreak, and resilience. Set at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, this is an amazing debut novel.

Duty. Honor. Country. That’s West Point’s motto, and every cadet who passes through its stone gates vows to live it. But on the eve of 9/11, as Dani, Hannah and Avery face four grueling years ahead, they realize they’ll only survive if they do it together.

Everyone knows Dani is going places. With athletic talent and a brilliant mind, she navigates West Point’s predominantly male environment with wit and confidence, breaking stereotypes and embracing new friends.

Hannah’s grandfather, a legendary Army general, offers a stark warning about the dangers that lie ahead, but she moves forward anyway, letting faith guide her path. When she meets her soul mate at West Point, the future looks perfect, just as planned.

Wild child Avery moves fast and doesn’t mind breaking a few rules (and hearts) along the way. But she can’t outpace her self-doubt, and the harder she tries, the further it leads her down a treacherous path.

The world—of business, of love, and of war—awaits Dani, Hannah, and Avery beyond the gates of West Point. These three women know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But soon, that adage no longer rings true—for their future, or their friendship. As they’re pulled in different directions, will their hard-forged bond prevail or shatter?

Beyond the Point is a heartfelt look at how our closest friends can become our fiercest battle buddies. After all, the greatest battles we fight rarely require a uniform.

Ope’s Opinion: Seeing this story from all three of the girls, growing into women was a great way to read this book.  This started by introducing each of the females as they were seniors in high school.  The background helps you put into perspective their reactions to what happens when they get to West Point and meet each other.

In the middle of the book I wanted the story to move  a little faster, but if the author had left out some of those events, the last part of the story would not have been the same.  So keep reading – it is so worth it.

The last quarter of this book took my took my breath away and made me cry.  The ending was wonderful, positive and made me like the book more.

Out Now

Do you enjoy reading a family drama
with a mystery at the core of it?
Then pick this one up today!

Goodreads:  Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new page-turner about that trickiest of relationships.

Thank you Kristin of Kritters Ramblings  for sharing this book with me.

 

The Mother-in-Law

Author: Sally Hepworth
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Someone once told me that you have two families in your life – the one you are born into and the one you choose. Yes, you may get to choose your partner, but you don’t choose your mother-in-law. The cackling mercenaries of fate determine it all.

From the moment Lucy met Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana is exquisitely polite, but Lucy knows, even after marrying Oliver, that they’ll never have the closeness she’d been hoping for.

But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice, the matriarch of a loving family. Lucy had wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was ten years ago. Now, Diana has been found dead, leaving a suicide note. But the autopsy reveals evidence of suffocation. And everyone in the family is hiding something…

From the bestselling author of The Family Next Door comes a new page-turner about that trickiest of relationships.

Ope’s Opinion: The family dynamics in this story are amazing.  The back and forth from past to present really gave you the inside perspective to each character and how they got where they are now.  It really let you see how the past influenced the present.

Along with all the family relationships and drama, there is a mystery to figure out. Hepworth made me want to keep reading – one more page, one more page…. next thing I know, I was at the end – which was not what I was expecting.  I did like that she told us where they all were ten years later – a nice wrap up.

The DNA of You and Me

Author: Andrea Rothman
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Fiction
Source: William Morrow Paperbacks

 

Goodreads:  A smart debut novel—a wonderfully engaging infusion of Lab Girl, The Assistants, and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine—that pits the ambition of scientific discovery against the siren call of love.

How does smell work? Specifically, how do olfactory sensory neurons project to their targets in the olfactory bulb, where smell is processed? Justin McKinnon has hired fresh-faced graduate student Emily to study that question. What Justin hasn’t told Emily is that two other scientists in the lab, Aeden and Allegra, are working on a very similar topic, and their findings may compete with her research.

Emily was born focused and driven. She’s always been more comfortable staring down the barrel of a microscope than making small talk with strangers. Competition doesn’t scare her. Her special place is the lab, where she analyzes DNA sequences, looking for new genes that might be involved in guiding olfactory neurons to their targets.

To Emily’s great surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden. As they shift from competitors to colleagues, and then to something more, Emily allows herself to see a future in which she doesn’t end up alone. But when Aeden decides to leave the lab, it becomes clear to Emily that she must make a choice: follow her research or follow her heart.

A sharp, relevant novel that speaks to the ambitions and desires of modern women, The DNA of You and Me explores the evergreen question of career versus family, the irrational sensibility of love, and whether one can be a loner without a diagnostic label.

Ope’s Opinion: I don’t think I was the right audience for this book.  It had a lot of time in the science field and the lab.  I really enjoy strong females, who have a balance between work and life.  I felt like the main character had more invested in her job then her life. 

I hope people who enjoy the science world and a little love story will enjoy this book.

The Other Side of the Bridge

Author: Camron Wright
Publisher: Shadow Moutain
Genre: Fiction
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  Two coasts. Two strangers.
And a bridge that silently beckons them both.

Katie Connelly has lived in San Francisco all her life. Her late father made his career on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the many stories of how he saved jumpers still haunt her. And now her job assignment is to write about the history of the bridge—a history that includes a secret journal about a promise ring and a love story that may be the answer to her unresolved sorrow.

Meanwhile, Dave Riley, a marketing executive in New York, has sorrows of his own. Grasping at straws after tragedy strikes his family, he decides to follow a daydream that has turned into an obsession: to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge on a motorcycle on the Fourth of July.

Does the bridge somehow mysteriously hold the answers both Katie and Dave are looking for? Or will they find something completely different when they get to the other side?

Ope’s Opinion:  This book took me on quiet a journey.  I was interested in the characters right from the beginning.  I was also interested to find out how their paths would cross – they were such different people, from different places, with different experiences – how could their stories intersect? 

Parts of the book were depressing.. just keep reading it.  Both main characters had hard lives with losses.  There were some parts that were not believable or necessarily added anything to the story.

I am not sure of the ending. For me, it seemed incomplete and a little hard to believe.