The Au Pair

By Emma Rous

The Au Pair by [Rous, Emma]

5 out of 5 stars

I think I entered into reading this book with a misconception. I was thinking it was a mystery/thriller. It definitely is a mystery but it is a lot more than that.

When Seraphine’s father dies suddenly of an accident, she stumbles upon s photograph that starts her down a path that will change everything she believes about her family.  It is a picture of her mother, father and a baby on the day she was born.  It is also right before her mother kills herself. The problem is, Seraphine is a twin. Why only one baby? As she searches for the truth, we are also given the backstory of Laura, the au pair who came to stay that year to watch the oldest son Edwin. The Summerbourne  manor holds lots of secrets and Laura is right in the middle of them all.

This is a wonderful book! It slowly unfolds to the reader in a very delectable way. As secrets are revealed, your mind will start spinning in a lot of directions. You might have it figured out, you might not. (I had some but there were some great surprises!) This is the author’s first novel and what a way to debut into the world. I look forward to many more!

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an advanced copy of this wonderful book.

The Accidental Beauty Queen

By Teri Wilson

The Accidental Beauty Queen (Royals) by [Wilson, Teri]

4 out of 5 stars

While I was reading this story, I felt like I was in the middle of one of those wonderful little Hallmark films where you know where it’s going and you are happy to be on the journey. That comes as no surprise since the author has created a few of those movies that we all love to snuggle up and watch.

Charlotte Gorman’s sister Ginny is a pageant girl. She has big dreams to win Miss American Treasure, the same one their late mother won so many years before. Charlotte is the exact opposite. She loves books, reading, being a librarian. She is more than happy to fly to Orlando to support her sister, especially since it means spending days at Harry Potter World. What Charlotte didn’t count on was Ginny having a severe allergic reaction to something she ate. What she didn’t plan on was Ginny asking her to stand in for her at the pageant. (They are identical twins!) And she really didn’t plan on meeting Grey Beckham. Can you say complications galore?!

I love how the sisters really got to know about each other. They were so opposite but really, they were not that far apart. There is a great sisterly bond that gets stronger. I also love that Charlotte’s ideas of what pageant women were are changed immensely. This is such a cute story. There is a lot of fun humor.  It is one that you will probably read really quickly and honestly, you will be as satisfied as we all are at the end of a wonderfully sappy Hallmark movie.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a review copy.

Watching You

By Lisa Jewell

Watching You: A Novel by [Jewell, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

This beauty comes out at the end of December and you are going to want to read it! This is my second Lisa Jewell book and like I said after the first one, Then She Was Gone, I don’t know why I am so late to the party!

There is a dead body in one of the houses in Melville Heights. (And I have to admit I thought it was one person but was so wrong) The story takes us between the police questioning a few people, to the stories of the people living there. They all seem to revolve around Tom Fitzwilliam, the headmaster at a local school. There is Joey, who recently moved in with her brother and pregnant wife. She feels a connection to him. There is Jenna, who’s mother has some serious mental issues and believes that Tom is watching her ever since a vacation they took. Jenna also has serious doubts about Tom’s character around female students. Tom’s son, Freddie, who keeps an eye on the comings and goings of the street, feels like he both loves and hates his father. Then there is Nicola, Tom’s wife, who seems to try to be something she’s not for him. It all swirls and ebbs around and around until you start to not trust everyone and isn’t that the most delicious part of reading?!

This is such a page-turning read and I could not wait to see how it all played out. Each of the main characters are written with such clarity and you really could feel what they were all about. I really loved the progression in Freddie. And who doesn’t love that little tidbit at an ending that makes you go AHA! I will read more and more from this wonderful writer, at least until I finish her library, and wait for more.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria for this fantastic book.

Night of Miracles

By Elizabeth Berg

Night of Miracles: A Novel by [Berg, Elizabeth]

4 out of 5 stars

This book was exactly what I needed to read this Thanksgiving week. It is filled with hope, love, joy, kindness, and laughs thrown in for good measure.

We return to Mason, Missouri, the neighborhood we first visited  in The Story of Arthur Truluv. We see just what has happened since Arthur left this earth. Lucille is still mourning the loss of Frank and she keeps having dreams of Death coming to take her home. She keeps putting him off as she hopes for a miracle. We all hope for that miracle right along with her. The cast of characters around her are so endearing, from Iris who is starting over after a long marriage, to Tiny and Monica, who both like each other but just can’t seem to get it together. We also have Lucille’s new neighbors, living in her old house, they are dealing with something none of us ever want to.

You will absolutely fall in love with each and every one of them. You will root for them all to find that love and happiness that they all deserve.  You will probably be craving some caramel cake or any of the obscenely wonderful sounding baked goods. Isn’t that the perfect read for such a special holiday? I am thankful I picked this little gem up and read it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for a copy of this special book.

Saving Beck

By Courtney Cole

Saving Beck by [Cole, Courtney]

4 out of 5 stars

Natalie loses her husband in a horrible accident. Her son Beck survives the wreck.  She struggles with depression and can barely get out of bed so it all falls on teenage Beck to make sure his brother and sister live their normal lives. Beck has his own struggles. He is overwhelmed with grief, responsibility, and blame. He blames himself for his dad’s death because he was driving. He turns to drugs and that’s when everything in this book will wrench your heart out.

Beck stumbles onto his mom’s doorstep, barely alive. As he is in a medically induced coma, we get the history of their grief and of Beck’s drug addiction. Your heart will not be the same. It is hard to read at times. It really should be. It is all to real for the author as you will read about her own son’s addiction in the afterword. I just kept putting myself in Natalie’s place. I cannot imagine watching your child hang on to life and blaming yourself for it being that way.

The characters are all so wonderfully written from the main ones to Kit, her husband’s best friend, and a friend in need to her, to her sister  who is such a backbone for her. Then there is the wonderful Angel. That was definitely a surprise and a very good surprise.

This is a heartbreaking read but one you will not want to put down.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a copy of this wonderful book.

The Adults

By Caroline Hulse

The Adults: A Novel by [Hulse, Caroline]

4 out of 5 stars

Alex’s boyfriend Matt tells her right before the holidays that he wants to spend it with his daughter Scarlett. The hitch is, he wants to spend it with Alex, Scarlett ,  Scarlett’s mother Claire and her boyfriend Patrick. Alex goes into it knowing it probably is not a good idea but they head off to Happy Forest Holiday Park for a few days of fun and bonding. A lot goes on but I am not sure about the fun and bonding. So many things go wrong and so many of them have to do with secrets that come out and an imaginary bunny named Posey.  When the story begins, we know someone is shot with an arrow. Use your imagination!

This was a lot of fun. To me, I would call it pure escapism. It is set in England so I loved the lingo and learned a few new terms. Matt got on my nerves a few times but maybe because his slacker mentality could wear on someone. I will say he redeemed himself. All in all, a very enjoyable read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for this advance copy.

Lies

By T.M. Logan

Lies by [Logan, T. M.]

3.5 out of 5 stars

Joe Lynch happens upon his wife’s car while with his young son. He follows her into a hotel parking lot and finds her arguing with a friend. He has no idea why she would be arguing with Ben and something niggles at him about the situation. When she leaves and he confronts Ben, Ben tells Joe that Joe has no idea what’s really going on. He goes to punch Joe. Joe pushes him away, not wanting to hit someone not quite up to his size, Ben falls and hits his head. Joe’s son is in the midst of an asthma attack so Joe runs home and when he goes back, Ben is gone. He asks his wife what’s going on and she tells him she was just helping Ben out with a client but as the story unfolds, and Joe is implicated in Ben’s disappearance, there is lie upon lie upon lie.

I did not see the biggest lie reveal at all. I thought I knew what was happening and was pretty proud of myself but I was wrong. There were some parts that really dragged for me and I wanted them to move a little quicker but all in all, it is a good thriller with a very likable lead character.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book.