The Silent Sister

Author: Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Mystery
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

Ope’s Opinion: Although I figured some of the mystery and secrets before they were revealed, I enjoyed the whole story. It was an awesome story with lots of twists.  It read fast because I kept wanting to see if it was going to go where I thought it was going.  There were surprises right up until the end.

Hearing the story from both Riley and Lisa points of view moved the story along really fast.  I kept wanting Riley to know what I already knew!  It was fun to see her discover the secrets.  I thought the way she found out different information seemed realistic.  She had different sources for different secrets.

I enjoy Diane Chamberlain’s writing and I will definitely read another one by her.

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One Good Thing

Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  From the USA Today bestselling author of Sunshine Beach, a story of four women trying to rebuild more than their lives…

Before you can fix it up, you might have to tear it down…

Embroiled in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality TV show, Do Over, Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra find themselves holding tight to the frayed ends of their friendship and relationships.

Maddie must face the realities of dating a rock star once again topping the charts and dealing with her hapless ex-husband, while Avery is caught up in family drama even as she attempts to transform a tiny cottage into a home for the newly impoverished heiress who helped bankroll their last renovation. Put on bedrest, a hugely pregnant Nikki can’t quite believe love can last, or trust in her own maternal instinct. And Kyra, who has secretly put Bella Flora at risk in an attempt to salvage Do Over, must decide whether to accept a desperately needed bail out from her son’s famous father that comes with far too many strings attached…

But friendship is made for times like these, to keep each other—and their dreams—from crumbling.

Ope’s Opinion: This is number five in the Ten Beach Series by Wendy Wax.  Although I enjoyed this one, it did feel a little redundant. This series does need to be read from the first book.  There is too much background you just won’t get if you don’t start from the beginning.   I will read another Wendy Wax, but probably not the  Ten Beach series.

It was interesting to see all the women again and see their relationships move forward.  They really count on each other to help through the struggles.  It is nice to see women who support each other.

As in the past books, the ending was left open, for the next in the series.

The Hope Chest

Author: Viola Shipman
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads:  From the beloved author of Indie Next Pick The Charm Bracelet, a story about an heirloom hope chest and the connection it inspires among three people in need of hope.

The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.

Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary.

But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.

With each item—including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges.

A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.

Ope’s Opinion: This was such a sweet story of unconditional love and family.  This was told in the present and the past.  Although I am not much of a historical reader, the history in this book was a family history and was such an important part of the wonderful story.  

The characters in this book were loving and really cared for each other.   Their struggles seemed to bring them closer together.  Rose is such an important person to them, she became family. 

Viola Shipman knows how to write a heart felt story with relatable characters.   

When We Were Worthy

Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Ashley at Lake Union Publishing

Goodreads:  A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

Ope’s Opinion:  If you remember and enjoyed the show Friday Nights Lights, you will really enjoy this book.  It is set in  a small town, surrounding football and cheerleaders, where everyone knows everyone else – or do they?  The secrets come out slowly throughout the book.

This story shows how hard it is to be a teen trying to make decisions that will effect you later in life.  Being the parents isn’t easier either.

I have another Marybeth Mayhew Whalen on my shelf.  This book made me want to move it up on TBR list.

 

Sunshine Beach

Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  There’s nothing that a fresh coat of paint and a few glasses of wine can’t fix…
 
After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again…

Ope’s Opinion: This is the fourth in the Ten Beach Road Series.  You can read this one alone, but the previous books give a lot of background that makes the book so much better.

If you like HGTV and women’s friendships – you will really like this series of books.  Seeing all of them work together again was fun!  It was also good to see their other relationships progress.

There are at least two more books in the series, so we hope to get some closure in those books to all the open endings in this book.

Things You Won’t Say

Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.

How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel her best yet.

Ope’s Opinion:  OOH, this story was sooo good!  There are so many things about this book I liked – the sister relationship was so real and deep, the husband / wife relationship had it’s ups and downs ( again real ) and the secondary characters were fully developed and important to the rest of the story.

The only thing I didn’t really get into was Lou’s relationship with the animals at the zoo.  I wasn’t sure what that had to do with all the other things that were going on.  It was a side story that didn’t tie back into the main story.

The ending felt like what would have really happened to a family in this situation.  It was positive, but not sugar sweet and all was not perfect.

Always Something There to Remind Me

Author: Beth Harbison
Publisher: St. Martin Press
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  Can you ever really know if love is true? And if it is, should you stop at anything to get it?

Two decades ago, Erin Edwards was sure she’d already found the love of her life: Nate Lawson. Her first love. The one with whom she shared everything–dreams of the future, of children, plans for forever. The one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with. Until one terrible night when Erin made a mistake Nate could not forgive and left her to mourn the relationship she could never forget or get over.

Today, Erin is contentedly involved with a phenomenal guy, maneuvering a successful and exciting career, and raising a great daughter all on her own. So why would the name “Nate Lawson” be the first thing to enter her mind when her boyfriend asks her to marry him?

In the wake of the proposal, Erin finds herself coming unraveled over the past, and the love she never forgot. The more she tries to ignore it and move on, the more it haunts her.

Always Something There to Remind Me is a story that will resonate with any woman who has ever thought of that one first love and wondered, “Where is he?” and “What if…?” Filled with Beth Harbison’s trademark nostalgia humor and heart, it will transport you, and inspire you to believe in the power of first love.

Ope’s Opinion:  There was a lot I really liked about this book.  I love the story, the characters were realistic and I like the setting – since we live near DC, I found it fun to picture places I know.  I also liked that we saw Erin’s perspective as a teen and as an adult.

There were something that I did not really like – the repetitive details of sex was not necessary to get the feeling of the relationship between Nate and Erin.  There relationship was intense, I feel like that evident and could have come across without the explicit details over and over again.

The ending was good, but not realistic at all, but I liked it.