She Regrets Nothing

By Andrea Dunlop

She Regrets Nothing: A Novel by [Dunlop, Andrea]

4 out of 5 stars

When Laila Lawrence’s mother dies, she is surprised at the funeral by her three cousins. Three cousins she did not know she had. Laila grew up in Michigan whereas her cousins live in New York City, raised as the grandchildren of one of the wealthiest men. Laila’s father had a falling out with his father and brother and Laila did not live the same kind of life. The reason for the split is quite a whopper!  A life lived on trust funds with partying and spending money like water, not the way she was raised and she asks herself the question, why not her? Laila wants everything she feels is owed to her. She does not seem to care who she hurts or steps over to get it. Her cousins welcome her into their lives. Liberty, the oldest and probably the kindest person in the whole story, lives her life differently than her twin siblings. Nora and Leo live vicariously off their trust funds. That is what Laila wants and what Laila wants…..

This is juicy deliciousness! I felt like I did in those days when Dallas and Dynasty were on the air. (Showing my age) There is treachery, seduction, social climbing and so much more. I could see Laila’s point in thinking she should have a piece of the pie but part of me wanted to see her downfall. It is a fun look into the lives of the rich and infamous in New York from the parties to the charities to the shopping to those deep dark secrets. It takes a turn towards the end that I was not expecting. This was the perfect escape from the craziness that is this world lately. You won’t be disappointed.

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

Here We Lie

By Paula Treick DeBoard

Here We Lie by [DeBoard, Paula Treick]

4 out of 5 stars

Megan Mazeros and Lauren Mabrey become roommates in their private college and become fast friends. They are from two different worlds. Megan grew up in Kansas with her parents. Her father suffered a long and painful illness. An illness that holds a big secret for Megan. Lauren grew up the daughter of a Senator in a well-to-do family. She is what you would call the “black sheep”. Her mother is always sweeping in to sweep everything under the rug.  As we go back and forth in time, we learn about the lies that both women have told each other and others and the biggest lie that changes everything.

This book is so on topic right now. It describes the courage it takes to come forward with a story of abuse so perfectly. I felt every fear, every sadness, every triumph. It was also about becoming the person you are meant to be and shedding the things we have held onto for so long. Both characters are flawed, they are human, but you want so much for both of them. The writer writes in such a way as if you are actually there, a fly on the wall, watching everything transpire. It is timely. It is hard at times. It is a very good read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin for this wonderful book.

The Great Alone

By Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone: A Novel by [Hannah, Kristin]

5 out of 5 stars

Thanks to The Girlfriend for this beautifully exquisite novel. My heart is still on my sleeve hours later.

Ernt Allbright has struggled since his return from being a POW in Vietnam. He is abusive to his wife Cora but she loves him and feels she is the only one who can keep him calm. Their 13-year-old daughter Lenora (Leni) loves her parents very much, especially her mother. When he uproots them to Alaska, their lives change in all kinds of ways. They find a community. They work hard. But those long days of night are too much for Ernt. He gets more abusive. Leni is scared that one day, it will go too far. And young Leni falls in love with the boy of a man that Ernt just despises and things take a really bad turn.

Kristin Hannah has placed the reader into those confined spaces and you feel the dread. In fact, I knew something was going to happen and it hung over me the whole time I was reading. But she also describes the beauty of Alaska in a way that you want to hop on a plane and take it all in. There is so much emotion in every word, in every phrase. You will get to love this little town and it’s inhabitants.  (I was partial to Large Marge.) You will pray that these brave women can escape this violence and abuse. You will cry ugly tears. Oh yes, you will. I don’t think I can express enough just how superb this book is. Kristin Hannah is never a disappointment.

Best Friends Forever

By Margot Hunt

Best Friends Forever by [Hunt, Margot]

4 out of 5 stars

I have been on a roll with the psychological murder mysteries lately. They seem to be checking off everything on my reading list. This one was no exception.

Alice meets Kat at an airport while she is tired and struggling with her two kids. They strike up an instant friendship and Alice is swept into the big moneyed world of Kat. Kat is very unhappy with her husband. And then one day, he seems to have fallen off the balcony. Kat was out of town and suddenly Alice is a suspect. Does Alice really know the real Kat?

As we read about Alice’s interrogation, she flashes back to all the time with Kat leading up to the murder. It was interesting to see the manipulation because it is all there in black and white. It moves at a very fast pace which was really an asset to the story. I felt like it all happened so fast anyway that it worked perfectly. Alice is a very interesting character, you think you have her figured out. She was a true friend to Kat. But this book definitely answered a question of “how well do you know your best friend”. And then there was the little one two punch at the end. I have to say I have enjoyed all the books lately that have that little afterthought that sticks in your head for days. This is one of them.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Mira and this review is simply my own humble opinion.

How To Stop Time

By Matt Haig

How to Stop Time by [Haig, Matt]

3.5 out of 5 stars

Tom Hazard looks like your average 41-year-old but he is anything but. Tom doesn’t age like you and I do and he has been alive for centuries. He belongs to the Albatross Society where everyone is like he is. They have a few rules. You can only stay in the same place for 8 years because people will notice after awhile if you have not aged.  Don’t fall in love. But Tom was in love once and he has a daughter who has the same affliction. He wants to find her and his, I guess you would call it, boss has supposedly been looking for her.

He is now back in London, teaching History, which is perfect because he has lived it. He also finds himself attracted to Camille, another teacher at the school. Will he let himself fall for her and will he find his daughter and some peace in his life?

I love a time travel story. I enjoyed how when Tom was teaching his class, we would be taken back to the time Tom was actually there. I think his time with Shakespeare was my favorite. Throughout the book, I felt so sorry for him. I think my biggest problem with this book was that at times, it just felt like it was dragging for me. I wanted it to move along a little more but then again, time moves slowly and that would be the theme of the book, time. I was very satisfied with the ending and all in all, it was a good read.

This review is my own humble opinion but I thank Netgalley for the copy.

The Chalk Man

By C.J. Tudor

 

The Chalk Man: A Novel by [Tudor, C. J.]

4 out of 5 stars

Eddie and his little gang of friends are growing up in a little town in England in the 80s. Eddie and a teacher, albino Mr. Halloran, help to save a girl’s life after a freak accident at the fair. Mr. Halloran, who likes to draw in chalk, gives one of the boys a box of chalk for his birthday and this becomes their calling card. They all have a different colored chalk man that they use for messages to each other. But everything is not so idyllic in this little burg, when a young girl is murdered (among some other strange happenings), the chalk men lead the boys to the body, well, body pieces.

It’s now 2016 and Eddie is a teacher in town. Things have happened to separate the gang but when one of them comes back and tells Eddie that he is writing a book about the murder (he says he knows who did it), strange things start happening all over again.

I think I expected this to be a bit more eerie but it was an engrossing read with a few things thrown in that you don’t expect.  And that is not to say that it didn’t have a shadowy quality throughout. There is also a sadness that flows in the story, a sadness and a need for forgiveness.  I had my suspicions about a few characters and one of them was true. Kudos to me! I loved the going back and forth in time to really flesh out the characters. And the ending, well okay, that was completely eerie and unexpected. This is a really great job for a debut novel. I am looking forward to what the future will give us from C.J. Tudor.

This review is my humble opinion but a big thanks to Netgalley and Crown Publishing for a copy of this book.

Just Between Us

By Rebecca Drake

Just Between Us: A Novel by [Drake, Rebecca]

4 out of 5 stars

Four mothers, friends with children in the same school, go beyond coffee dates and end up in something very sinister. When Alison notices bruises on Heather, she starts to wonder if Heather’s perfect marriage to Viktor and her life, are as good as it all seems. When there are more bruises and a torn apart kitchen on a play date, Julie, Sarah, and Alison confront Heather.  The truth is revealed and this springs into a motion some devastating events that changes everyone and everything. What are friends for?

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but there are twists and turns aplenty that will have you sitting there with your mouth open. The chapters are told in alternating characters so we get to see just what each person is thinking. Besides Heather’s life, we are drawn into the other three characters’ lives as well.  I am usually very good at figuring out the twists of a novel but this one had me going until close to the end. It has a quick pace which will keep you involved and keep reading. I was very entertained on these past few cold evenings.  I look forward to more books from Ms. Drake.