Me For You

By Lolly Winston

Me for You by [Winston, Lolly]

5 out of 5 stars

Lolly Winston definitely knows how to take a sad thing like grief and make it into a beautiful story. As she did in Good Grief (I highly recommend it), she has done again in this lovely book.

Rudy wakes up one morning at the age of 54 to his wife lying next to him. He goes about chattering about breakfast and things, as one does, and after a while, realizes she still isn’t stirring. His beloved wife Bethany has passed away in her sleep. Rudy is lost. The world as he knows it has crumbled. What do you do with such a loss? He still goes to his part time job as a piano player at Nordstrom’s. He has a wonderful friend there in Sasha, a woman who has seen her own share of loss, but he is losing his grip. His daughter arranges for him to enter the hospital for a while to work through his depression. The scenes in the hospital are just so touching. Everyone is so kind and everyone is working through their own pain. It shines a light on mental health.

His doctor says something that sticks with me. He said that we have to think of grief as a chronic disease. You know it is always there and sometimes it rears it’s head. That is so very true! That made me cry because I have so many of those moments.

This is such a wonderful book. It is sad and emotional but it is also very uplifting and hopeful. I think, in fact, that hopeful is the word for this book. The characters are all wonderful, so well written. You will laugh and you will cry. You will feel everything and that is always the sign of a great book.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a copy of this lovely novel.

 

My Lovely Wife

By Samantha Downing

My Lovely Wife by [Downing, Samantha]

4 out of 5 stars

If you are looking for something twisted and dark, well then step right up and read all about it!

Millicent and her husband seem like a normal couple. They are raising two teenagers. She sells houses. He is a tennis coach. He is also the narrator of this twisty little tale. After he kills someone  to protect his family, they think think all is normal. Until it is not. Why did they like it so much? They are setting up for another girl when a girl that he thinks has been long dead, turns up. The surprising factor, to him anyway, is that she was recently killed. His wife had kept her alive for a year. This is all a big setup because of a past serial killer from the area but things go way out of hand. He slowly starts to realize that he is in big trouble. They all are.

This is quite the sordid tale. I love that it was told with the husband’s POV. It gave the story a little different spin. He is not at all innocent in everything but he is in way over his head. Millicent is quite the character. I figured a few things out on my own, pat myself on the back, but there are more than enough twists and turns to keep you reading. And the ending……It was definitely one of those!

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Books for an advanced copy.

When All Is Said

By Anne Griffin

When All Is Said: A Novel by [Griffin, Anne]

5 out of 5 stars

What a lovely, lovely book! I really didn’t think that I could fall in love with such a curmudgeonly old man, but I did.

During the course of one night, we learn all about the life of Maurice Hannigan. As he sits at a bar in a hotel in Ireland, he raises his glass five times. One for his beloved older brother whose death he never really got over. One for his sister-in-law, who even with her mental issues, touched his life. One for his baby daughter Molly who never got a chance on earth. One for his son Kevin, who he talks to throughout the book and one for his beloved wife Sadie. Along with his feelings about all of them, we travel through his past, the things he regrets and how he got to be who he is. He is not a big old teddy bear and he knows it. All of his remembering is leading to a plan he has set into motion. A plan that left me filled with emotion as I read on.

I was in tears or near tears throughout this whole story. There was a lump in my throat. In my mind, I heard that lovely Irish brogue in all the words. There is a serene feeling in this story, a quietness that fit the character of Maurice. He is a wonderful character, flaws and all and this story will stick with me for a while.

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

 

Good Riddance

By Elinor Lipman

Good Riddance by [Lipman, Elinor]

4 out of 5 stars

Daphne’s mom leaves her an old high school yearbook when she passes. It isn’t just any old yearbook, it is from the first year that her mom started teaching at the local high school. Her mom went back to the class of 69’s every single year and every year, she would add little connotations to the names of the students. Daphne, never understanding her mom’s need to do this, tosses the book into the recycling in her building. A neighbor picks it up and this begins a story filled with laughter, secrets, and a lot of fun.

This is really a delightfully fun read. I was laughing throughout the whole thing. It wasn’t heavy, even as the secrets were revealed, and I really enjoyed that. Daphne is a great character. For what she has gone through, even in her fanatical way of thinking, she really comes out on top. All the characters are great. I loved her interactions with all of them, including the yearbook thief Geneva. With all the heaviness in this crazy world right now, this was the perfect remedy.

Thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a copy of this book.

The Perfect Girlfriend

By Karen Hamilton

The Perfect Girlfriend by [Hamilton, Karen]

4 out of 5 stars

Is there such thing as a perfect girlfriend? Juliette/Elizabeth/Lily thinks she is and she is going to make Nate, the guy who left her, realize it too, no matter what it takes. NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES! Juliette takes obsessive craziness to a whole other level. She becomes a flight attendant, since Nate is a pilot. She lets herself into her empty apartment whenever she can. She plans all these little tiny things to show him she has changed and she will do things that most of us would never even dream of. Her obsession has a reason and we do go back in time and really get to learn all about her.

I did not like Juliette one bit. I did not like the things she did. I kept hoping she would get her comeuppance at some point. I would have reveled in it. But, that does not mean that I did not enjoy this book. I was in Florida with my daughter and grandson so I had started it a few weeks ago and never got around to it. I did however read it on the plane and finished it between Tampa and Oakland. It is perfect plane reading. You will not put it down.  It comes out the end of next month.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Graydon House for a copy of this book.

The Silent Patient

By Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by [Michaelides, Alex]

5 out of 5 stars

After the murder of her husband, Alicia Berenson stops talking. She is found standing by him, he being tied to a chair with his head blown off, holding the gun and covered in blood. Did she do it? It sure looks that way. Dr. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who is fascinated by this case. He takes a job at the hospital she is in to see if he can get her to talk, to see what she remembers. It isn’t an easy job but he seems to find a way to get to her. She gives him her diary and we read along as to what was going on in her head and life. We also read about Theo’s wife and her affair. Theo is consumed by that as well.

This book was slow-going for me at first but let me tell you, when it picks up, it will not let you go. I stayed up late to finish it last night and that ending! I had no idea where it was leading me but what a journey! This is an incredible debut and perfect for anyone who loves a good psychological thriller. As much as I felt it was dragging in the beginning, the slow boil was a perfect starter to all that followed. I think I might have even said “Holy crap” a few times. I look forward to many more books from Mr. Michaelides in the future.

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

I Owe You One

By Sophie Kinsella

I Owe You One: A Novel by [Kinsella, Sophie]

4 out of 5 stars

There are some things that you can always count on. The sun will rise in the morning and set at night. Clean sheets feel wonderful when you first climb into bed. You will cry at Hallmark movies. And, you will never not be entertained by a Sophie Kinsella book. She is pure escapism in it’s best form. I actually was reading this while that “exciting” game was on yesterday and it made time go by somewhat quicker.

Fixie Farr fixes things. She can’t help herself. It makes her nervous when something is not in it’s right place. Her family and the family store are a huge mess right now. Her mother, who runs the store, is off to Spain with her sister after medical issues. Her brother, quite the big shot, is trying to turn the store into something it’s not. Her sister is a space case. Her childhood crush Ryan is back in town and those feelings are stirred up, even if he is a douchebag.  But things really start to get going when she saves a laptop for a guy in a coffee shop. Sebastian “Seb” tells her that he owes her one because all his work was on there. He writes on IOU on the coffee sleeve. This IOU goes back and forth throughout the story.

As any good Sophie Kinsella book goes, you will want to reach in the page and shake up a few people. Not that her writing makes you violent and even though you know there will be an inevitable happy ending (and what is wrong with that?!), there are those characters that deserve it! Fixie being one of them at times. Her heart is always in the right place but her actions might not be. She is a great character to root for and you will. I loved her interaction with Seb. It really brought me back to reading the Shopaholic series.

If you are looking for something to just read and enjoy and not worry about the heaviness of it all, pick this one up. I am all for happy endings and Sophie Kinsella.

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