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.

The Adults

By Caroline Hulse

The Adults: A Novel by [Hulse, Caroline]

4 out of 5 stars

Alex’s boyfriend Matt tells her right before the holidays that he wants to spend it with his daughter Scarlett. The hitch is, he wants to spend it with Alex, Scarlett ,  Scarlett’s mother Claire and her boyfriend Patrick. Alex goes into it knowing it probably is not a good idea but they head off to Happy Forest Holiday Park for a few days of fun and bonding. A lot goes on but I am not sure about the fun and bonding. So many things go wrong and so many of them have to do with secrets that come out and an imaginary bunny named Posey.  When the story begins, we know someone is shot with an arrow. Use your imagination!

This was a lot of fun. To me, I would call it pure escapism. It is set in England so I loved the lingo and learned a few new terms. Matt got on my nerves a few times but maybe because his slacker mentality could wear on someone. I will say he redeemed himself. All in all, a very enjoyable read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for this advance copy.

One Day in December

By Josie Silver

One Day in December: A Novel by [Silver, Josie]

5 out of 5 stars

This book is warm socks on a cold day. It is the most snuggly of the snuggliest blankets. It is that first delicious sip of a wonderful caramel latte. It will warm your insides and make you feel utterly satisfied with the world.

Laurie is on a double decker bus and at a stop, through her window, she spies a guy. But not just any guy. Their eyes meet and something feels electric throughout her body. She knows he must feel it too. Before he can get on the bus, the doors close and Laurie leaves without her bus guy. She never forgets about him though and with the aid of her roommate and best friend Sarah, for the next year they look for him. As Sarah starts a new relationship with a wonderful guy, Laurie is left to wonder if she will ever see her dream bus guy again. When Sarah finally introduces her boyfriend Jack to Laurie, yes you guessed it, he is bus guy! Laurie loves Sarah and vows to keep it to herself. But it is hard to deny attraction, isn’t it? As the years go by, there are a lot of changes and a lot of people that come into their lives. I don’t want to spoil anything but the ending will leave you with all the feels! I imagine it on a big screen and yes, I am pulling the Kleenex out of my purse and crying like a baby.

Josie Silver has written one of the best romantic comedies ever! It is brilliantly funny. It is sweet and joyful. It is sad and tender. It is everything you want in a romantic story and more. I adored Laurie, Jack and Sarah. Even if, at times, I wanted to smack Jack upside his head. The friendship between Laurie and Sarah is wonderful, so much love there.

I picked this book up yesterday evening around 6 and finished it at 11:30 last night. That should tell you something! It is the perfect entertaining escapism. I look forward to whatever Josie Silver writes next and I will have my tissues ready!

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

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

By Mitch Albom

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven: The Sequel to The Five People You Meet in Heaven by [Albom, Mitch]

5 out of 5 stars

Endings are also beginnings, we just don’t know it at the time…..

I don’t know one person who did not love The Five People You Meet in Heaven. And I don’t know anyone that won’t love this book either. It is so needed in the times we live in. It is filled with love, wonder, hope, and faith. I know some people will find it too saccharine because there are always those that scoff at anything with goodness, but I, for one, found it uplifting and elevating to the soul.

This time it is Annie, the little girl from Ruby Pier, that enters heaven. Her journey brings people that have been part of her life, even if in a small way that lead to something more. You know you all want to see Eddie and you won’t be disappointed.

The ending was a surprise and such a tender reminder of how much we miss out on life if  we aren’t letting it happen genuinely.

Mitch Albom is the king of touching your heart and making you think. He reminds us to embrace what we have and who we love. I will always be first in line for one of his books and his wise, heartfelt words.

Thanks to Harper Books for a copy of this wonderful book.

A Spark of Light

By Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light: A Novel by [Picoult, Jodi]

5 out of 5 stars

I think so many of us are Jodi Picoult fans. She can weave a story that makes you look at every side of the issue with a better understanding. This has to be my very favorite Jodi Picoult book.

The story revolves around a shooting/hostage situation in a women’s health clinic. It begins at the end and takes us back through the eventful day. It also gives us a look into the lives of the women and men there and why they came to be there on this fateful day. I loved how we saw that they were intertwined in many ways even before this happens.

This is also a book about decisions. What makes us decide to do what we do and the aftermath of our decisions. No one can really tell you what is right for you and as these characters learn, there is more than one side to every story.

It is about abortion. It is about both sides of the argument. It is about choice, religion, family, society, penance, punishment. It will tear at your heart. I felt as if I was crying through most of it with this heaviness weighing on my heart. It did not change my mind about how I feel about abortion but it did make me think about how others feel too. It will make you think and think and think. It will make you feel and feel and feel.

A line that stuck with me and is so fitting for the climate of the country today:

“Laws are black and white. The lives of women are a thousand shades of gray.”

Think about that.

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

 

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.