Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by [Owens, Delia]

5 out of 5 stars

This is Reese Witherspoon’s book of September and I see exactly why she chose it. It leaves you feeling a lot of different emotions. It also keeps you turning page after page to see what happens with Kya, the Marsh Girl.

Kya lives in a rundown shack off the coast of North Carolina. Her family is what they call trash. Her mother leaves one day and then all her siblings, leaving her alone with her drunken father. He too leaves at one point. This poor little girl,  just a child, is left feeling that rejection is a part of life. Her loneliness is palpable.  The steeling of her heart is understandable. It was heartbreaking to read. Kya is one with all the water creatures, birds, and plants of the marsh. They become everything to her. The story tells us of her growing up into womanhood, without much help from anyone else. There is Tate, a boy with more ties to her than she really knows. He is such a good man but he does have his faults. There is also Jumpin and Mabel. In a segregated town, Kya finds a family in them, They are two wonderful characters.

A member of the town is murdered, someone with close ties to Kya and the murder trial and her confinement are a big part of the storyline. Everyone blames those who are different, don’t they?

This book had me in knots at times. I just wanted to hug this poor little girl and tell her that she was worth it. As she got older, she reminded me of Debbie Reynolds in Tammy. Maybe she didn’t have the right way of talking but she had some spunk. Watching as she grew into a woman who accomplished a lot, was the purest joy of this book. And I felt some incredible justice with the ending, even if that’s wrong.

The description of the marsh and the surrounding area, made me feel as if I was there. I am going to look up the birds that are mentioned as soon as I finish this review.

This is truly a story of survival and the human spirit. You will fall in love with Kya.

Thanks to Netgalley and G.R. Putnam’s Sons for this wonderful review copy.

 

Rust & Stardust

By T. Greenwood

Rust & Stardust: A Novel by [Greenwood, T.]

4 out of 5 stars

I must have been too young to remember the story of the kidnapping of Sally Horner. This book follows the two years that Sally spends with her kidnapper Frank LaSalle. It is told in the voices of Sally, her mother Ella, her sister Susan and at the end, in the voices of a few people who knew something was up and tried to do something about it. Nabokov supposedly wrote Lolita with this case in mind. It is harrowing. It is tough to read. It is very sad but it is also a homage to the human spirit. Sally is a sweet, innocent child in the beginning but she sees way more than any child ever should. Her mother is dealing with much more than her disappearance, she blames herself. Her sister just wants her back.

T. Greenwood does a beautiful job and writing what these people would be feeling. I felt every single individual’s emotions. It is such a heartbreaking story. I cried through quite a lot of it. Being a mom, I cannot imagine this happening to a child. Frank LaSalle is written with no sympathy, as he should. He was a despicable man who preyed on little girls. Don’t come to this book thinking that you will read it and go about your merry way. It will stay with you for a long time. It will haunt you.

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

Not Her Daughter

By Rea Frey

Not Her Daughter: A Novel by [Frey, Rea]

4 out of 5 stars

St. Martin’s Press knows exactly what books I will love to read. They really have not let me down.

Being a mom, I gravitate to books where there are mothers and children. This book tells a story of  motherhood , the good, the bad, and the ugly. When Sarah spots a sweet little girl being mistreated by her mother in the airport, she never thinks she will see her again. When she does, she become obsessed with knowing about her. As she watches, she sees Emma’s mother being very abusive to her. It brings flashbacks of Sarah’s own childhood. She acts on it and takes Emma one night when her mother has locked her out of the house. She knows she shouldn’t but everything in her wants this little girl to have a good life. As we follow Sarah’s train of thought, we also follow Amy’s. Amy is Emma’s mom and you know, some people just should not be mothers. She wonders what her life will be without her daughter. (and her son and husband) She is one of the unhappiest characters I have read in a while. It jumps off the page.

I loved getting the insight into both of these women. They were on such an opposite side of the spectrum and they were both written perfectly. The whole situation is so completed and you might be conflicted with the actions that are taken, and then again, there were times I was rooting for the actions taken. This will really make you think and wonder what you would do. I found myself getting very nervous as time ticked away, that is how good the writing is, you will feel as if you are there in that cabin with Sarah and Emma. And if you are like me, you will hope that everything works the way it should. And if you are like me, you will probably tear up at the end.

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

The Life Lucy Knew

By Karma Brown

The Life Lucy Knew: A Novel by [Brown, Karma]

4 out of 5 stars

I was in Florida for a few weeks with my daughter and grandson so my reading was very spotty when I had the time. I know that if I was home when I read this, it would have been read in a day, maybe two.

When Lucy Sparks wakes up in the hospital, she is surprised that her husband Daniel isn’t there. Her co-worker Matt is there, which seems odd to her. Lucy is told that Daniel isn’t her husband and Matt is her boyfriend. She has fallen and hit her head. Besides suffering from amnesia, her brain has filled the blank spaces with false memories. The wedding she remembers is actually bits of her sister’s wedding. Little memories in her mind are made up of pieces of other things that have happened in her life.

As she tries to go on with her life with Matt, all she can think or feel are things about Daniel. Poor sweet Matt tries everything to help her remember, everyone in her family does, but what will it take to bring back those memories of her real life? Or will she ever get it back?

You will love Lucy. Poor Lucy. Can you imagine not remembering your life in it’s actuality but really believing what you remember? She is so sure that she has lived this whole other life! You will feel sorry for Matt who tries so hard. He  has to be one of the loveliest characters I have read in a long while. As she heals and things fall into place, you will cheer her on, hoping that she will find what she needs. You will definitely be totally satisfied with the ending. I think it tied up so perfectly. Things might not always be perfect but they are perfect for the characters.

This was my first book by Karma Brown but it definitely will not be my last.

Thanks to Netgalley and Park Row for a copy of this lovely book.

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 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.