The Night Olivia Fell

By Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell by [McDonald, Christina]

5 out of 5 stars

At 4:30 in the morning, Abi Knight’s phone rings. That is never a good thing. They say something has happened to her daughter Olivia. She needs to get to the hospital. She is shocked awake, thinking her daughter was still in her bed, but no, they are right. Olivia has fallen off a bridge and is officially brain dead. Abi is in shock but as she prepares to have her daughter become a organ donor, she is hit again with another shock, Olivia is pregnant. They cannot unhook her and will do whatever it takes to make sure the baby survives. Abi struggles with the fact that she had no idea what was going on in her daughter’s life. She thought she did. She has done her best to raise her alone, keeping her secrets tucked away. And she did, until Olivia accidentally sees a girl who looks exactly like her.

Abi is determined to find out just what happened the night Olivia fell.  Abi knows this was no accident. She will go through hell and high water to get justice for her baby. She will also have to come to terms to a life without Olivia and a life with this little baby.

I loved this book! It was one that I picked up and in no way was going to put down until I found out what happened. My husband was sitting there talking to me but I honestly couldn’t tell you what he was talking about. I think I said “yeah” a few times. (FYI, I think it was about football)  I loved Abi’s progression throughout the story. She was so shut off from a lot of emotions and it truly makes sense when you read her backstory but watching her open up was wonderful. The story is both sad and uplifting. I was sobbing at the end. (Which I am sure surprises no one) You can’t help but put yourself in her shoes if you are a mother.

There are many twists and turns, a few I had worked out, but the ultimate mystery, the who did it,  was a surprise and yet it was hard to find a villain.

I thank GoodReads for a copy of this wonderful book.

 

The Water Cure

By Sophie Mackintosh

The Water Cure: A Novel by [Mackintosh, Sophie]

4 out of 5 stars

Grace, Lia and Sky are raised on an island away from a world where men can hurt them. They live with their parents, parents who run them through a daily bunch of tests and actions to make them safe from whatever these men in the world can hurt them with. They are taught that just breathing the air from where the men are can kill them. Other women come to this island to be cured. No one else stays.

One day, King, their father, is gone. Their mother says he is dead and they begin a different kind of life. Their mother still adheres to all the old rules. Our story is told by Grace and Lia. Grace is pregnant. Yes, you read that right. That makes your brain go one hundred miles an hour. Lia is struggling with emotions. They aren’t supposed to feel them. Until the one day, two men and a boy wash up on their little utopia….

This has such a hazy, atmospheric quality to it. I felt the bones of the big old house they lived in. I felt their breaths as they played the drowning game. I felt the cuts Lia inflicted on herself. It is really harsh. Their mother was tough. It was hard to sympathize with her. There were truths that were revealed and I just was shocked. It is hard to put this book in any box . I have not read anything like it. The writing is superb.  I think I will think about this one for a long time.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin for an advance copy of this book.

Looker

By Laura Sims

Looker: A Novel by [Sims, Laura]

4 out of 5 stars

Looker is a deep, long trip into a mind that is slowly falling apart. Our woman, who is never named, is in the midst of a marriage breaking up. They had tried for a long time to get pregnant and unfortunately, they are never able to have a child. She becomes obsessed with an actress who lives in their neighborhood. And I mean obsessed! She has these fantasies of having sex with her husband, of them being friends. Her envy is palpable. She thinks about scenarios constantly. Her job as a teacher suffers and she also becomes involved with a student. At times, it is hard to know what is reality and what is in her mind. That is how wonderfully written this novel is. I hope it is the closest I get to a breakdown!

There is also a deep sadness in it all. I felt so sorry for her, even when she was at her meanest. She does some despicable things and the last being so very sad. It is hard to read at times but it is well worth the time put into reading on and on. It is marketed as a thriller but it is so much more than that. I don’t even know if I can categorize it properly. Isn’t that the kind of book you want to read?

Thanks to Netgalley and Scribner for a copy of this ARC.

Lift and Separate

By Marilyn Simon Rothstein

Lift and Separate: A Novel by [Rothstein, Marilyn Simon]

5 out of 5 stars

I chose the best book to start off 2019! I have had it for a while and I am sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner. I love Marcy Hammer! She is dealt a blow when her husband of 33 years tells her he has had an affair. (We also find out later into the book that there is a baby) She goes through all the emotions you would expect but on top of it all, her mother falls and is diagnosed with cancer. How much can one person take? Marcy handles it the way I think I would. She has that dose of humor that keeps her going. (I am friends with Marilyn on Facebook and I definitely see the Marcy/Marilyn connection in the funny category!)

You will be so entertained by this book. You will love Marcy like I do. You will love her friendships. You will love her relationships with her children. You will love Jon. You will love everything about this delightful gem. I look forward to diving into the next book.

And yes, I did get teary at the end. For a moment, I heard my mother too.

 

 

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.

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.