All We Ever Wanted

By Emily Giffin

All We Ever Wanted: A Novel by [Giffin, Emily]

5 out of 5 stars

I love an Emily Giffin book. They are sweet romantic comedies that always make me feel happy after I read them. This is a huge departure from those and I have to say, this is my very favorite. So let me wipe my tears and tell you why.

The story is told in three voices. Nina, her husband and son live in  a wealthy enclave in Nashville. Their son Finch has just been accepted into Princeton and life seems to be going as it usually does. Nina seems to be feeling something off though. Her husband is gone more and she is almost embarrassed by their lifestyle. She finds out from a town gossip about a picture that her son supposedly sent to friends of a young girl, lying passed out on a bed, her breast exposed. There is also a rather racist comment. Lyla, the young girl in said picture, is on a scholarship to the private school that Finch also attends. She likes Finch and would rather it all went away but her dad Tom, won’t let it go. Tom and Nina get together and work on a solution but there is so much more to the story. Can Nina face whatever the truth might be?

This story is so timely. Emily Giffin perfectly writes each characters feelings and I felt like I was almost eavesdropping on them in their homes. You will feel angry. You will feel sad. I loved how the characters developed and found out more about themselves. I was in tears at the ending and the epilogue. It was such a perfect ending. It was really a perfect read. Don’t expect something light and breezy but expect to be very happy that you picked this book up.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for this lovely read.

The Book of Essie

By Meghan MacLean Weir

 

The Book of Essie: A novel by [Weir, Meghan MacLean]

4 out of 5 stars

Essie is the youngest daughter of the famous Six For Hicks TV show. Her pastor father and stern mother have raised their six kids in front of the cameras and have a worldwide audience. When Essie turns up pregnant, things are placed in motion by her mother to make everything right for the cameras. She will get married and everything will be peachy. What her mother does not know is that Essie is really the one pulling the strings. She has her own agenda and it will bring up things the family would rather keep hidden.

Essie is a wonderful character. You might be turned off a bit with her wheeling and dealing, especially with Roarke, her fiance, but it will all make sense. I loved the way their relationship progressed and she found exactly what she needed. I wanted to applaud at the ending. (I had figured out early on what her biggest secret was) It really is a great look into the hypocrisy of the uber sanctimonious Christians and also into what the day-to-day does to kids under a microscope on television.

Even if you do not watch reality tv, I think it will draw you in with it’s excellent writing and you will be rooting for Essie too.

The Perfect Couple

By Elin Hilderbrand

The Perfect Couple by [Hilderbrand, Elin]

4 out of 5 stars

I have been in a little reading slump lately. It hasn’t been the books, I just find myself doing other things but I am back!

If you are looking for a book where there are secrets, more secrets, and even more secrets, then this is definitely a book for you!

The morning of her wedding, Celeste finds her maid of honor floating face down in the water. Everyone is a suspect. Everyone. As the chief and detective try to figure out what happened, little pieces of the family secrets start coming out. Celeste is marrying into a very well-to-do family. Tag and Greer have raised their sons Benji and Thomas  will all the privilege. Their home in Nantucket, Summerland, is the scene for the wedding and the murder.

Secrets. Celeste has her own. She might not want to marry Benji. Tag has his own. He has had an affair.  Celeste’s mom is dying of cancer and she has brought along her own secret. Thomas’s wife is finally pregnant but Thomas has his own secret. They all have secrets.

This is the perfect summer read. All the secrets and all the time you are trying to figure out just what happened. I have to say I am usually pretty good at figuring out just what happened but I did not have a clue when the answer is finally revealed! Elin Hilderbrand was really good at tossing out red herrings. And I so want to go to Nantucket! I want to eat a lobster roll. I want to shop in the little shops and watch the ocean. Her descriptions are so alive in every page.

It is another wonderful book by Elin Hilderbrand. You can never go wrong if you pick one up. That includes my very favorite The Blue Bistro.

Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for this wonderful read.

Tell Me Lies

By Carola Lovering

Tell Me Lies: A Novel by [Lovering, Carola]

5 out of 5 stars

Girls always love the bad guy. Isn’t that what they say? Lucy definitely loves the bad guy. The bad guy in this story would be Stephen. I have to say that I detested him from beginning to end. There is not one redeeming quality about him. Not one single one. That is not a bad thing when it comes to this story. It makes for a fully thought out life for our Lucy, who at times, was hard to like too. They meet in college. He is with another girl but they have a sexual attraction that they don’t fight. (There is sex in this book just so you know) He plays with the girls’ emotions. He plays with everyone’s emotions. He seems devoid of any emotion. Lucy has changed since an “unforgivable thing” with her mom. It has left her depressed and not herself. I wanted so many times to shake her and say that she was so much better than this. This is how this book works; it leaves your emotions all twisted up in a knot. You so want her to realize her full potential without this loser and yet she keeps going back to him. I think we all have met someone like him in our lives. He is the walking definition of a narcissist.

I think I am still trying to understand the depth of emotions I felt while reading this book. I was angry. I was sad. I was genuinely happy. I was in tears with a scene between Lucy and her mother CJ. That was written so beautifully. The ending, well, I won’t give it away, but you will not be disappointed. You will not be disappointed in anything in this little gem. This is not a typical boy-meets-girl story but we have plenty of those. Every once in a while, you need one that is twisty and dark. This definitely fits the bill. Thank you Carola Lovering for sending this story out into the world.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria for a copy of this book.

When Life Gives You Lululemons

By Lauren Weisberger

When Life Gives You Lululemons by [Weisberger, Lauren]

4 out of 5 stars

Emily Charlton is back! Years after working for Miranda Priestly at Runway, she is now an image consultant. She gets celebs out of scrapes and back into the public’s good graces. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking to good when another consultant starts poaching her clients. Emily heads to Greenwich, Connecticut to the home of her old friend Miriam. Miriam is struggling with the stay-at-home mom life and wondering if her husband is happy. Karolina Hartwell is not happy. She has just been arrested for a DUI with her stepson in the car and her husband, an up and coming politician, seems to have forsaken her. Karolina swears she was not drunk and it does seem like a con job of the highest proportions. Enter Emily and Miriam to the rescue. These three women will work together to find exactly what they need.

It was fun to reconnect with Emily. She has come a long way and yet, she is still the same Emily. Nobody messes with her. (Of course, in my mind, I picture Emily Blunt the whole time) I have to admit that I was not drawn in right away. It took some time but once I did, I could not put it down. I wanted to see some comeuppance and I was glad I kept reading. I found the ending very satisfying. It all played out perfectly. I feel as if I just caught up with old friends (there was even an Andy sighting and good old Meryl, I mean Miranda) This is definitely a fun beach read.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for this delicious read.

Bring Me Back

By B.A. Paris

Bring Me Back: A Novel by [Paris, B. A.]

4 out of 5 stars

B.A. Paris has a wonderful way around a mystery/thriller. I enjoyed her last two books and this one slid easily with the others.

Finn’s girlfriend Layla disappeared one night from a rest stop. The details are sketchy because Finn has not told the police the whole truth, which you will find out as you read. Years later, Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister Ellen. Ellen is the polar opposite of Layla but Finn has found a somewhat peaceful life until….(cue the dramatic music) a little Russian nesting doll appears and then emails from Layla appear. Now, if only Layla will appear….

I really enjoyed the back and forth between Finn and Layla’s emails. It was such a cat and mouse game. I have to admit though that I felt it started to drag in a few places and I was wanting to fast forward to what happened after. But I didn’t and the ending was worth the price of admission. It is one you will not see coming.

I look forward to whatever she writes next!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for letting me read this book early.

Paper Ghosts

By Julia Heaberlin

Paper Ghosts: A Novel of Suspense by [Heaberlin, Julia]

4 out of 5 stars

This book has such an interesting concept; is Carl a serial killer or just some old photographer with dementia? Grace wants to know what happened to her sister and Carl is the likely suspect in her mind. His photographs are eerie and have hints of girls who have gone missing, never to be found again. She plans a road trip hoping to find her answers but it is hard to tell what is real in his mind or not.

I took care of my mom, who suffered from Lewy Body Dementia, for four years. Ms. Hearberlin wrote perfectly of the struggles of someone who has it. My mom had people that talked to her. One was very evil and wanted to kill her. She was terrified. One was a sweet nurse who did not want any harm to come to her. Carl’s friends reminded me so much of what my mom dealt with. She also remembered a lot about her past and then in other moments, not at all. The way Grace dealt with him was a lot of how I felt (well except I didn’t think she was a killer!). You are patient and then you are not. You don’t know what’s real or not. But then again,, I think Grace had a thin rope that she was hanging onto anyway. She is definitely one of the most complex characters I have read it a while.

You will be completely wrapped up in Grace’s search and her slow and painful realizations. Such a good read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine for this wonderful read.