The Queen of Hearts

Author: Kimmery Martin
Publisher: Brekley
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  A debut novel set against a background of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness…

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.

Ope’s Opinion: There are two things I love about this book – friendship and Charlotte, NC.  It was interesting to watching Zadie and Emma really get to know each other after being friends for many years.  

A lot of the medical talk went over my head.  It took away from the story for me.  I found myself skimming those parts to get to the friendship and the secrets in the story.

I have her second book The Antidote For Everything, on my shelf.  I will try it.  I hope there is more story and less medical jargon.

 

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!

 

The Boys’ Club

                                                        Author: Erica Katz
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Fiction
Source: HarperCollins

 

 

Goodreads:  Sweetbitter meets The Firm in this buzzy, page-turning debut novel—already optioned to Netflix—about sex and power in the halls of corporate America.

Alex Vogel has always been a high achiever who lived her life by the book—star student and athlete in high school, prelaw whiz in college, Harvard Law School degree. Accepting a dream offer at the prestigious Manhattan law firm of Klasko & Fitch, she promises her sweet and supportive longtime boyfriend that the job won’t change her. Yet Alex is seduced by the firm’s money and energy . . . and by her cocksure male colleagues, who quickly take notice of the new girl. She’s never felt so confident and powerful—even the innuendo-laced banter with clients feels fun. In the firm’s most profitable and competitive division, Mergers and Acquisitions, Alex works around the clock, racking up billable hours and entertaining clients late into the evening. While the job is punishing, it has its perks, like a weekend trip to Miami, a ride in a client’s private jet, and more expense-account meals than she can count.

But as her clients’ expectations and demands on her increase, and Alex finds herself magnetically drawn to a handsome coworker despite her loving relationship at home, she begins to question everything—including herself. She knows the corporate world isn’t black and white, and that to reach the top means playing by different rules. But who made those rules? And what if the system rigged so that women can’t win, anyway?

When something happens that reveals the dark reality of the firm, Alex comes to understand the ways women like her are told—explicitly and implicitly—how they need to behave to succeed in the workplace. Now, she can no longer stand by silently—even if doing what’s right means putting everything on the line to expose the shocking truth. 

Ope’s Opinion: The word to best describe this book for me was a disappointment.  I wanted Alex to be above the low life lawyers that you read about, I wanted her to be an example of how to get ahead without becoming a cliche, and I wanted her to have a work/life balance that she struggled for but, succeeded in getting at the end.  Alex was none of those things.  She and most of the other characters were just disappointing.

Alex did not stand up for herself against inappropriate behavior in the work place.   She didn’t even try to make her relationship with Sam work.  She was just very frustrating for me.  I hope most of this is fiction, not experience from the author.

Louisiana Lucky

Author: Julie Pennell
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Megan at Simon & Schuster

Goodreads:  From the critically acclaimed author of The Young Wives Club, a “heartwarming story about friendship, heartache, and self-discovery” (Karen White, New York Times bestselling author), comes a charming novel reminiscent of the works of Mary Alice Monroe and Kristy Woodson Harvey, about three sisters who win a huge lottery prize and learn what it truly means to be lucky.

Lexi, Callie, and Hanna Breaux grew up in small-town Louisiana, and have always struggled to make ends meet. For years, they’ve been playing the lottery, fantasizing about how much better life would be if they had the money.

For Lexi, it means the perfect wedding; for Callie, it means having the courage to go after her career dreams; and for Hanna, it means buying a house that isn’t falling apart and sending her bullied son to private school. When the incredible happens and the Breaux sisters hit it big—$204 million dollars big—all their dreams come true. Or so they think. Because it’s actually not a cliché—money isn’t the answer to everything, and it often comes with problems of its own.

Heartfelt, engaging, and featuring characters you’ll root for from the first moment you meet them, Louisiana Lucky is a satisfying page-turner from a rising star in women’s fiction.

Ope’s Opinion:  This was a perfectly charming read!  Yes, you know sort of where the story is going to go, but the journey was so much fun.  Each sister has a different story, is at a different place in their lives, yet they support each other.  

From the beginning you root for them to win the lottery.  You cringe when you see the road they are going down, but you know they have to learn the lessons.  It was just fun and easy.

This is exactly the read I needed at this time.  Now I want to read what else she has written and her next book.

I Was Told It Would Get Easier

Author: Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica and Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

Jessica and Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers and Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–and two familiar enemies–Jessica and Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family and old friends along the way. Surprises and secrets threaten their relationship and, in the end, change it forever. 

Ope’s Opinion: My daughter liked this book so much, she pre-ordered a copy for me!  We are both fans of Abbi Waxman.  She really knows how to bring characters alive and make you feel like you are there.

This mother / daughter story reminded me of the days my girls were looking at colleges. Seems we all have our own agendas and aren’t sure we should share what we think and feel.  Those growing pains are difficult.

The ending wrapped things up.  I am ready for another Abbi Waxman book!

The Lies that Bind

Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  n the irresistible new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted and Something Borrowed, a young woman falls hard for an impossibly perfect man before he disappears without a trace. . . .

It’s 2 A.M. on a Saturday night in the spring of 2001, and twenty-eight-year-old Cecily Gardner sits alone in a dive bar in New York’s East Village, questioning her life. Feeling lonesome and homesick for the Midwest, she wonders if she’ll ever make it as a reporter in the big city–and whether she made a terrible mistake in breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Matthew.

As Cecily reaches for the phone to call him, she hears a guy on the barstool next to her say, “Don’t do it–you’ll regret it.” Something tells her to listen, and over the next several hours–and shots of tequila–the two forge an unlikely connection. That should be it, they both decide the next morning, as Cecily reminds herself of the perils of a rebound relationship. Moreover, their timing couldn’t be worse–Grant is preparing to quit his job and move overseas. Yet despite all their obstacles, they can’t seem to say goodbye, and for the first time in her carefully constructed life, Cecily follows her heart instead of her head.

Then Grant disappears in the chaos of 9/11. Fearing the worst, Cecily spots his face on a missing-person poster, and realizes she is not the only one searching for him. Her investigative reporting instincts kick into action as she vows to discover the truth. But the questions pile up fast: How well did she really know Grant? Did he ever really love her? And is it possible to love a man who wasn’t who he seemed to be?

The Lies That Bind is a mesmerizing and emotionally resonant exploration of the never-ending search for love and truth–in our relationships, our careers, and deep within our own hearts.

Ope’s Opinion: This story has characters I really cared about, a story line that grabbed me and kept me intrigued.  You think all  twists and turns are done – nope, there is another one!  The pacing of the story was perfect!  

This would have been a five chair until…

The ending was anticlimactic.  It felt like it was written for a different book.  For me, it felt like Emily Giffin was trying to make the ending like a typical romance novel, when the rest of the book was not typical.  It was being wrapped up in a perfect bow, when it should have been left unraveled.

The Summer House

Author: Lauren K. Denton
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Margaret at Harper Collins

Goodreads:  Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself again.

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago—just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins—a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over—and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far. The Summer House weaves Lauren K. Denton’s inviting Southern charm around a woman’s journey to find herself.

“The perfect summer read! You’ll feel the sun, taste the salt, and linger with new friends—you won’t want to leave.” —Katherine Reay, bestselling author of The Printed Letter Bookshop and Dear Mr. Knightley 

Ope’s Opinion:  The beautiful cover caught my attention, the author ( Lauren K. Denton ) assures you of a good story and the synopsis makes you want to sit down and read immediately.  What more could you ask for from a book?

This book has it all, great characters that you are attached to from the beginning, a southern story to soak into and a setting that takes you away to a place you want to be.  I want to move to Safe Harbor and hang out with these ladies, drive my golf cart around and eat at the cafe.  This is such a wonderful escape any time, but right now I really needed this.

I was a bit sad to have the read come to an end.  I wanted to stay in their world.  I would love a sequel – where are they now?

Coming Soon…

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In June I hope to read….

Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

 

Goodreads: From the beloved author of Half of What You Hear, a perceptive and poignant novel about a woman discovering that her expertise can only get her so far in matters of the heart.

Charlotte McGanley knows happiness. Just ask anyone who’s read Perfect Happiness, her bestselling book about how she, a busy mother and professor, used her no-nonsense positive psychology research to brighten her own life. She always pictured her career beginning and ending in the halls of academia, but now she’s become a bit of a self-help guru. No one is more surprised by this than Charlotte herself, who has secretly never been more miserable.

Though her husband of many years, Jason, is her partner in all things, she finds more gratification most evenings in a glass (or three) of Chardonnay or another scroll through her Instagram feed. Meanwhile, their daughter, Birdie, is feeling the pressure of being her high school’s star tennis player, keeping up her GPA, and having her first boyfriend—and Charlotte, despite all her expertise, has no idea how to help her.

As Charlotte preaches the gospel of happiness to her undergraduate students, audiences across the country, and her own online followers, she’s faced with some tough questions: What is happiness when the family you’ve nurtured starts to fall apart in front of your eyes? When your daughter seems determined to self-destruct? When the man you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with—and took for granted because of it—gets fed up? When all of the tools that you push to your loyal followers just don’t seem to work?

In this bittersweet family love story, Kristyn Kusek Lewis explores how easy it is to lose connection with the people closest to us, and what happens when we try to find our way back.

What is coming soon …. to a bookshelf near you?

Let me know – I am always looking for a good read!

How to Walk Away

Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.

Ope’s Opinion:  Although this is a hard subject to deal with and a bit sad, Katherine Center handled it with the perfect amount of struggle and encouragement.  I was rooting for Margaret from the beginning.  

Margaret’s whole family were very involved in her life.  It was interesting to read about those dynamics and how each member reacted to Margaret’s struggle.  It all felt real and frustrating some times.

The ending not sugar coated. It was satisfying.  Now I can’t wait for her next book – coming out in July!

Hello Summer

Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Publisher: St. Martin Press
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Erica at St. Martin Publishing Group

Goodreads:  New York Times bestselling author and Queen of the Beach Reads Mary Kay Andrews delivers her next blockbuster, Hello Summer.

It’s a new season…

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks.

For small town scandals…

When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat—and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.”

And big-time secrets.

Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman—a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer.

Ope’s Opinion: Wow!  This was a really good story!  I would recommend if you have not read MKA before, this would be a great one start with.  I did think with the title Hello Summer that this was going to be a romantic, light beach read.  It had a little romance in it, but that was a very small part of this wonderful book.  

The pace of this book was perfect.  I loved that it didn’t drag things out – it didn’t all come out in the end.  It kept giving you small bits of secrets and information about who was who in this small town.  It made it so much fun to keep reading.

The end was wonderful in every way.  It told you where everyone was now, it did it a newspaper way, and it was very satisfying.  Exactly what I wanted!