The Family Upstairs

By Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs: A Novel by [Jewell, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

Lisa Jewell gets better and better with each new book and that is saying a lot because every book has been great.

In this story, Libby finds out she has inherited a house, a rather large, expensive house, on her 25th birthday. Libby was adopted and this house belonged to her birth family. The house has a history as her parents and another man were found dead of an apparent suicide pact. They seemed to have been part of a cult. Libby was found in her crib. As Libby finds out more about her family and the house, we are also learning of the story in two other voices. Her brother Henry tells us how the people who came to live upstairs in their house  changed everything. Our other narrator Lucy is homeless with her two children and when she gets a message saying that “the baby is 25”, does everything to get back to England. Just when you think you have it figured out, oh no you don’t!

I sat reading this book with a feeling of dread. You know everything is leading up to what happened and how this is going to change everything, but you just don’t know how. I had to make myself stop from turning to the end to see what happened. You know that’s the sign of a great thriller when you just need to know! The characters are all compelling. Henry is especially complex. That ending! It still gives me chills.

You will want to pre-order this one right away. Ric Munoz, this has your name written all over it. I can’t wait for the next book and the next and the next….

Thanks to Goodreads for an advance copy of this wonderful book.

100 Days of Sunlight

By Abbie Emmons

100 Days of Sunlight by [Emmons, Abbie]

5 out of 5 stars

100 Days of Sunlight has to be one of the sweetest, most uplifting books I have read in a long time.  I found myself smiling throughout and crying happy tears at the end. If you are not a blubbering mess when you finish this book, I don’t want to know you.

Tessa is a teenage girl who, after being in a car accident, is temporarily blind. It is supposed to last close to 100 days, hopefully. She is resentful, sad, angry, all the things you can totally understand. She is a writer of poems which she blogs. Her loving grandfather thinks that finding her someone to help type out her blog would be a good thing for her so he puts an ad in the local paper for a young girl to come and help. Tessa is angered by it and has him not run it. When he calls the paper to cancel,  the owner’s son Weston finds out and he puts himself in the job. Tessa is unsure at first but there is something about Weston that she likes. Through the other senses, he opens up her world again. Weston falls in love and he is waiting for the day to come when she can see again, he is happy and yet he dreads it. He has his own secret that will be revealed.

This couple is one of the cutest couples ever. Weston is a kid with a lot going for him. He doesn’t let the word “can’t” into his vocabulary. Watching as Tessa opened up again was so joyful. There were just so many little things that added up to make this a very enjoyable read. I think I needed it in this world gone crazy.  A book with characters who are kind, love each other, and cherish life, what more could you want?

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this wonderful book.

 

 

If Only I Could Tell You

By Hannah Beckerman

If Only I Could Tell You: A Novel by [Beckerman, Hannah]

5 out of 5 stars

If you could only see my eyes this morning, you would know just how great this book is. I had to stay up to finish it into the wee hours. Things were finally unfolding and I could not put it down.

I have to say that through a lot of the book, I felt this strange dread. Jess was a hard nut to crack. Her anger was palpable.  We know as we read along that something devastating has happened to this family. Jess won’t talk at all to her sister Lily. Poor Audrey, their mother, wants nothing more than to see her daughters as close as sisters should be. She wants her granddaughters to know each other. Lily and Jess have been sitting on secrets for so very long. Once those secrets are revealed, my heart broke.

This is such a wonderful book. It is sad and yet redeeming. It is an emotional roller coaster. I am not a roller coaster fan but I buckled into this ride and I am so very glad I did. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Beckerman. I know I won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for a copy of this wonderful book. It is my humble opinion but I am pretty sure it will be yours too.

Where She Went

By Kelly Simmons

Where She Went: A Novel by [Simmons, Kelly]

4 out of 5 stars

When a police officer arrives at Maggie O’Farrell’s beauty shop, she knows right away something is wrong. Her own late husband was a cop and she knows the drill. She  realizes something is wrong with her daughter Emma. She is a college student and their relationship has changed recently. Emma is missing and Maggie will not rest until she finds out the truth.

The story is told in alternating chapters of Maggie’s search and Emma’s past story that will lead us into the world of sugar daddies and more.

This is definitely a page-turner. I loved Maggie’s gumption. She displays that tough mother bear that we all would be if something happened to our child. Emma has the same gumption.  This is really every mother’s nightmare and Kelly Simmons draws you into it. I read it fairly quickly, about a day and a half. A few of twists and turns will keep you wondering and some shady characters for you to hate.

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a copy of this book.

The Dutch House

By Ann Patchett

The Dutch House: A Novel by [Patchett, Ann]

5 out of 5 stars

Some books come out of the starting gate with a bang and just explode inside your brain as you read. Other books are like a slow ride down a lazy river, you take in every nuance along the way. This lovely book is the latter. I devoured it slowly and enjoyed every single morsel. I absolutely adore this book and I can’t stop thinking about it. Of course, the house is a big part of it. A house so big and loaded with things from the previous tenants that some people wanted nothing to do with it. Some people would give anything and anyone up to have it. The descriptions of it put you right inside it. I would love to walk through it. The heart of this novel though is really the love between a brother and a sister who were everything to each other. A sister who would do anything for her brother and a brother who would give up anything for his sister. There are so many emotions on display throughout the story. The heartbreak is heartbreaking. The disappointments, the triumphs, the struggles are all so real. It was hard to say goodbye to these characters and I love how it completely went full circle. One of the loveliest books I have read in quite a while.

Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for this wonderful book. The review is my humble opinion.

The Swallows

By Lisa Lutz

The Swallows: A Novel by [Lutz, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to Stonebridge Academy where boys will be boys and the girls will not sit down and take it anymore. Alex Witt comes to academy fresh from a scandal at another school to teach (what she thinks will be English) writing. Her first assignment is a questionnaire asking “Who are you”? Something doesn’t sit right with Alex as she gets to know the kids and gets to know the big secret (not -so-secret) thing going on at the school. The boys are rating a certain sex act among the girls and the girls are finally realizing that they don’t have to do what they don’t want to. Cue the fireworks!

I loved the characters in this book. Alex was such a snarky, fun person. I would want her on my side. If you love the Spellman books, and who doesn’t, you will find that witty sarcasm that is so wonderful in them. This is not all comedy though. It is a serious look at gaining back your rights and it is very relevant to the times. I liked how it didn’t make all the men and boys bad or all the girls righteous or good. There was one big twist I didn’t see coming and some subtle things that I did see. I enjoyed the tug of war with her parents because behind it all, you could see how much they loved each other. I loved Gemma and her ferociousness. I loved sweet Linny and that fire she had in her. She was also the character that made me cry.

Some readers might be offended with the storyline so be forewarned but for me, it was hard to put down and something I will think about for a while.

I think Ms. Lutz said it best:

“In a perfect world, they wouldn’t need to fight. That’s not the world I live in. You can keep telling girls to be polite, to keep a level head and it’ll all work out in the end. But don’t be surprised when they figure out that you’ve been feeding them lies. Don’t be alarmed when they grow tired of using their voices and playing by your rules. And don’t be shocked when they decide that if they can’t win a fair fight, they’ll just have to find another way.”

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a copy of this wonderful book. The review is my own humble opinion.

 

 

The Last Book Party

By Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by [Dukess, Karen]

5 out of 5 stars

I know that I have wanted to be a fly on the wall at a party filled with artists, writers, actors. All that creativity in one room would be something to behold. Eve Rosen gets that chance. She wants to be a writer but something keeps holding her back. When she ends up working for columnist Henry Grey, her life becomes something she has only dreamed of. She is in the world she has longed for. There is even an unexpected affair. Everything culminates in the summer’s end book party. Everyone dresses up as a literary character and hopefully stumps everyone else. This party will be like no other party before it. Let the secrets flow!

I felt as if I was on Cape Cod. I could actually taste the salt in the air. Ms. Dukess has a wonderful way with her descriptions. From the publishing house to the Grey house, she had a great eye for detail. I was immersed in the story from the very first chapter. Each character was more flawed than the last and more human. I longed to be in Cape Cod and I have never been there! The parties were exactly how I would imagine them to be and boy, did I want to go. I cannot wait to read whatever she gives us next.

Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt for a copy of this wonderful book. This review is my own humble opinion.