Lighthouse Beach

Author: Shelley Noble
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction
Source:  William Morrow Paperbacks

 

Goodreads:  From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Noble comes a heartrending and uplifting novel about friendship, love, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for our dreams.

What was supposed to be an idyllic wedding leads to an unexpected journey of self-discovery…

When Lillo Gray pulls up to Kennebunkport’s most exclusive hotel wearing a borrowed dress and driving a borrowed VW van, she knows she’s made a big mistake. She’s not even sure why Jessica Parker invited her to her posh wedding. They haven’t seen each other since they were unhappy fourteen-year-old girls at fat camp. And now they’re from two completely different worlds. There’s no way Lillo fits in the rarefied circles Jessica travels in.

Jess isn’t sure she’s ready to go through with this wedding, but she’s been too busy making everyone else happy to think about what she wants. But when she and her two closest friends, Allie and Diana, along with Lillo, discover her fiancé with his pants down in the hotel parking lot, she’s humiliated…and slightly relieved. In a rush to escape her crumbling life, Jess, Allie, and Diana pile into Lillo’s beat-up old van and head up the coast to Lighthouse Island. Once there, she hopes to figure out the next chapter in her life.

Nursing broken hearts and broken dreams, four lost women embark on a journey to find their way back into happiness with new love, friendship, and the healing power of Lighthouse Beach.

Ope’s Opinion: The story line was good, the characters interesting, but the release of secrets was too slow.  I was two thirds of the way through the book before the secrets of five different characters started coming out.  At that point, the secrets were a little bit of a let down because they were built up for so long.

If you enjoy a small town story with predicable story lines, you might enjoy this book.  It is a good summer / beach read.

I wish I knew where the characters are now.

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The Grown Ups

Author: Robin Antalek
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads: From the author of The Summer We Fell Apart, an evocative and emotionally resonant coming-of-age novel involving three friends that explores what it means to be happy, what it means to grow up, and how difficult it is to do both together

The summer he’s fifteen, Sam enjoys, for a few secret months, the unexpected attention of Suzie Epstein. For reasons Sam doesn’t entirely understand, he and Suzie keep their budding relationship hidden from their close knit group of friends. But as the summer ends, Sam’s world unexpectedly shatters twice: Suzie’s parents are moving to a new city to save their marriage, and his own mother has suddenly left the house, leaving Sam’s father alone to raise two sons.

Watching as her parents’ marital troubles escalate, Suzie takes on the responsibility of raising her two younger brothers and plans an early escape to college and independence. Though she thinks of Sam, she deeply misses her closest friend Bella, but makes no attempt to reconnect, embarrassed by the destructive wake of her parents as they left the only place Suzie called home. Years later, a chance meeting with Sam’s older brother will reunite her with both Sam and Bella – and force her to confront her past and her friends.

After losing Suzie, Bella finds her first real love in Sam. But Sam’s inability to commit to her or even his own future eventually drives them apart. In contrast, Bella’s old friend Suzie—and Sam’s older brother, Michael—seem to have worked it all out, leaving Bella to wonder where she went wrong.

Spanning over a decade, told in alternating voices, The Grown Ups explores the indelible bonds between friends and family and the challenges that threaten to divide them.

Ope’s Opinion:  The story line was really well done.  I liked the family drama, the characters were interesting and it was easy to read.  All the chapters are clearly  marked as to whose perspective is moving the story along. 
At times it felt like a soap opera.  Everyone was involved with someone else who had secrets they shared with someone else!  Eventually. the relationships worked themselves out.  The ending was well done, but a bit sad.
Side Note: The foul language was annoying and abundant.  At times, it seemed it was just thrown in there without making sense at all.

 

 

The Paris Wedding

Author: Charlotte Nash
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source:  William Morrow Paperbacks

Goodreads:  Ten years ago, Rachael West chose not to move to Sydney with high-school sweetheart Matthew. Instead she stayed on the family wheat farm, caring for her seriously ill mother and letting go of her dreams. Now, Matthew is marrying someone else. And Rachael is invited to the wedding, a lavish affair in Paris, courtesy of the flamboyant family of Matthew’s fiancée – a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at someone else’s expense in Europe’s most romantic city.

She is utterly unprepared for what the week brings. Friendships will be upended, secrets will be revealed – and on the eve of the wedding, Rachael is faced with an impossible dilemma: should she give up on the promise of love, or destroy another woman’s life for a chance at happiness?

If you enjoy reading Rachael Treasure and Rachael Johns, you’ll fall in love with this deliciously poignant story about family and friends, and love lost and found.

Ope’s Opinion:  I was trying to tell my daughter about this book – this is how I described it – very Australian, lots of Paris tourist stuff, and a really endearing story.  That is just the surface of this book.  The story is like going down a windy country road – there are a lot of curves in the story, some you will expect, many are a surprise.  The story kept moving throughout the whole book.

Rachael was finding her way through hard times and heart break.  It made her journey feel real.  A few times, I wanted her to have more of a back bone, but she did learn from her mistakes and grew in the process.

The ending was exactly what I wanted it to be.  It let you know where everyone ended up.

 

Carly’s Gift

Author: Georgia Bockoven
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  From the author of Things Remembered and The Year Everything Changed comes a moving novel about love that lasts forever

What’s in the past is over and done with . . . or is it?

Sixteen years ago Carly Hargrove made a decision that would irrevocably alter her life. With little comprehension of the life-long consequences of her actions, she trades her own future happiness to protect the man she’s loved since kindergarten, David Montgomery.

With an ocean separating them, Carly builds a life for herself without David. She’s the mother of three, lives in a beautiful house, and is married to a man who comes home every night—even if most of those nights he drinks too much. What more could she want?

Her answer arrives on a cold fall day when David shows up at her door. In town for his father’s funeral, he has come to see Carly one last time, hoping to rid himself of the anger that still consumes him.

Instead, he is drawn into a web of secrets that rekindles the fierce need he once felt to protect Carly. He becomes caught up in her life in a way he never could have imagined—a way that will bind him to her forever.

Ope’s Opinion:   This is one of Georgia Bockoven’s older books.  I liked her other books I read so much, I went back to find other things she wrote – this one did not disappoint!

At the beginning, I thought I knew where the story was going – wrong – absolutely wrong.  It was an amazing twist.  Then there were several other twist I did not see coming.  This is a book that you just don’t know what is going to happen until you read the very last sentence.

I think I have at least one more Bockoven on my shelf – I can’t wait to read it!

The Baby Plan

Author: Kate Rorick
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction
Source: Paul at Harper Collins

 

Goodreads:  In Kate Rorick’s first adult fiction novel, we enter the wild, bewildering world of modern pregnancies. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head as you wonder where everyone’s sanity went…

Meet the mothers…

Nathalie Kneller: Nathalie’s plan: to announce her pregnancy now that she’s finally made it past twelve weeks! But just as she’s about to deliver (so to speak) the big news to her family, her scene-stealing sister barfs all over the Thanksgiving centerpiece. Yup, Lyndi’s pregnant too, swiping the spotlight once more…  

Lyndi Kneller:  Lyndi’s plan: finally get her life together! She’s got a new apartment, new promotion, new boyfriend. What she didn’t count on—a new baby! She can barely afford her rent, much less a state-of-the-art stroller…

Sophia Nunez: Sophia’s plan: Once she gets her daughter Maisey off to college, she’ll finally be able to enjoy life as make-up artist to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and girlfriend to one of rock’s hottest musicians. But after 18 years she discovers the stork is once again on its way…

Now these women are about to jump headlong into the world of modern day pregnancy. It’s a world of over the top gender reveal parties (with tacky cakes and fireworks); where every morsel you eat is scrutinized and discussed; where baby names are crowd-sourced and sonograms are Facebook-shared. And where nothing goes as planned…

Ope’s Opinion:   This book was just okay.  Each woman had their relationships with other people change due to their pregnancies.  I thought it started out silly and kind of cute.  Then the relationships got complicated ( don’t want to spoil things ) and not so cute or fun.

It seemed a long book for what happened.  I felt like there were many times when things were described with too much detail that didn’t really matter to the core of the story.

The ending was all over the place.  It didn’t feel like things were wrapped up.

The Invisibles

Author: Cecilia Galante
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction
Source: William Morrow Paperbacks

 

Goodreads:  In the vein of Meg Donohue and Jennifer Close, comes Cecilia Galante’s adult debut about the complicated and powerful bonds of female friendship–a compelling, moving novel that is told in both the present and the past.

Thrown together by chance as teenagers at Turning Winds Home for Girls, Nora, Ozzie, Monica, and Grace quickly bond over their troubled pasts and form their own family which they dub The Invisibles. But when tragedy strikes after graduation, Nora is left to deal with the horrifying aftermath alone as the other three girls leave home and don’t look back.

Fourteen years later, Nora is living a quiet, single life working in the local library. She is content to focus on her collection of “first lines” (her favorite opening lines from novels) and her dog, Alice Walker, when out-of-the-blue Ozzie calls her on her thirty-second birthday. But after all these years, Ozzie hasn’t called her to wish a happy birthday. Instead, she tells Nora that Grace attempted suicide and is pleading for The Invisibles to convene again. Nora is torn: she is thrilled at the thought of being in touch with her friends, and yet she is hesitant at seeing these women after such a long and silent period of time. Bolstered by her friends at the library, Nora joins The Invisibles in Chicago for a reunion that sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will change each of their lives forever.

The Invisibles is an unforgettable novel that asks the questions: How much of our pasts define our present selves? And what does it take to let go of some of our most painful wounds and move on?

Ope’s Opinion:  I would really only give this a two and a half, if I could have a half of a chair.

I love books with tension that keep me reading.  This book felt like the author was trying to create tension by saying things like ” With everything that happened” or “After that night”, but it just wasn’t there – it didn’t come naturally.  It kind of frustrated me.  After a while, I was like just tell us what happened.

I got bored at times and put it down – it did not call me back to it, but I did want to finish it.  I realized this was not a feel good read – didn’t expect it to be, but it was too heavy from all the different perspectives.  I needed someone to be positive.

At the end of a book, I should be sad to flip the last page – wanting more.  At the end of this book, I was just relieved.  I didn’t want to be sad anymore.  I didn’t want to feel so weighed down.

Arranged

Author: Catherine McKenzie
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends, and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can’t seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she’s engaged, Anne can’t help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn’t a dating service; it’s an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it — and the company’s success rate — the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn’t it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort, where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out — until Anne learns that Jack, and the company that arranged their marriage, are not what they seem at all.

Ope’s Opinion: I was given this book to read from my daughter Kristin of Kritters Ramblings.  She is a huge Catherine McKenzie fan and said “Mom you Have to read this one.”  Although the premise is unlikely ( it is fiction! ) it was a lot of fun to read.

When you choose your relationships based on superficial aspects, you get superficial relationships.  It took Anne a little while to figure that out.  So she decided to go a different route ( arranged marriage ) to start a relationship.

If you think you know where this story is going …. keep reading …. you will be surprised and hopefully enjoy it!  This is just an enjoyable read.