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.

When Life Gives You Lululemons

By Lauren Weisberger

When Life Gives You Lululemons by [Weisberger, Lauren]

4 out of 5 stars

Emily Charlton is back! Years after working for Miranda Priestly at Runway, she is now an image consultant. She gets celebs out of scrapes and back into the public’s good graces. Unfortunately, things aren’t looking to good when another consultant starts poaching her clients. Emily heads to Greenwich, Connecticut to the home of her old friend Miriam. Miriam is struggling with the stay-at-home mom life and wondering if her husband is happy. Karolina Hartwell is not happy. She has just been arrested for a DUI with her stepson in the car and her husband, an up and coming politician, seems to have forsaken her. Karolina swears she was not drunk and it does seem like a con job of the highest proportions. Enter Emily and Miriam to the rescue. These three women will work together to find exactly what they need.

It was fun to reconnect with Emily. She has come a long way and yet, she is still the same Emily. Nobody messes with her. (Of course, in my mind, I picture Emily Blunt the whole time) I have to admit that I was not drawn in right away. It took some time but once I did, I could not put it down. I wanted to see some comeuppance and I was glad I kept reading. I found the ending very satisfying. It all played out perfectly. I feel as if I just caught up with old friends (there was even an Andy sighting and good old Meryl, I mean Miranda) This is definitely a fun beach read.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for this delicious read.

You Think It, I’ll Say It

By Curtis Sittenfeld

You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories by [Sittenfeld, Curtis]

4 out of 5 stars

I really enjoy a book of short stories. Of course, most of the time, I tend to love a few stories and not really feel anything for the rest. That was not the case here. I really liked every story and felt they completed a circle with each ending. I did not feel as if I was cheated for the short amount of time each story took. The characters were all fully fleshed out in each tale and I totally got what each of them was feeling. From the woman who thought her game of You Think It, I’ll Say It was leading her into an affair to a lawyer meeting up with a woman from her old high school on her honeymoon, I truly understood where they were coming from. It is a fascinating read and I heard that Reese Witherspoon is making a series based on the stories. I cannot wait to see them on the screen and see if I envisioned them the same way.

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

How To Walk Away

By Katherine Center

How to Walk Away: A Novel by [Center, Katherine]

5 out of 5 stars

Margaret has always had a deep fear of flying. Her instincts prove to be true when her boyfriend , who has been taking lessons, takes her up in a little plane to propose to her. Everything is going fine until it isn’t and they crash. Margaret’s life is turned upside down. Everything she has ever known has changed in an instant. She is suffering from burns and she is unable to walk. Now in the hospital, the true colors of everyone comes out. From her mother who tells her what she should be doing, in her own loving way, to her fiance who is suffering in his own little mind. Pshaw, I say to Chip. Her sister Kitty comes back after being gone for three years for reasons unknown to Margaret and steps right into bringing her sister back around. And then there is Ian. Ian, who I pictured as Kip Harrington talking like David Tennant, the Scotsman who is her PT. Do sparks fly? Does Margaret get her life back? You will have to read this wonderful book.

I have read almost all of Ms. Center’s books except one, which I will remedy soon, and this one is one of my favorites. You will fall in love with these characters. All of them, well, except maybe Chip. Margaret is the perfect heroine in all her imperfections. She is just hilarious. It is funny. It is touching. It is perfect. I did not want to put it down and I am sorry it is over. Always the sign of a good book!

Thanks to The Girlfriend and St. Martin’s Press for this delightful book.

 

The Gunners

By Rebecca Kauffman

The Gunners: A Novel by [Kauffman, Rebecca]

5 out of 5 stars

A little group of neighborhood kids call themselves the Gunners after a name on the mailbox at an old deserted home. This becomes their go-to place over the years. It begins when they are quite small and into the teen years until one of them, Sally, cuts them all off completely. No one knows why. And now they are gathered together again for her funeral. Sally jumped to her death without a note, without anyone knowing really why.

Mikey has never left the town of Lackawanna, New York. He is slowly losing his eyesight from early onset macular degeneration. I think Mikey was the heart of the group. He was searching for a family because his father was rather standoffish and he never knew his mother. (Something that I figured out kind of early on but still got to me when I finally read it) He and Sally were very close as youngsters and she was protective of him. Alice is loud and funny and has a who cares attitude. (But really she does) She arrives with her young girlfriend. Jimmy was the charismatic, smart one. He too has his secrets. Lynn comes with her boyfriend Issa. They both run the AA in their town. Sam was the big, galoot of the bunch. All of them reunite for the night at Jimmy’s big cabin, which from the description, I want to live in. Stories are told, Truths come out. Memories are relived.

But the story also follows the afterward. We get to see them reunite again for a happy occasion.

I could not put this lovely book down. The story just flowed perfectly from person to person. Mikey, of course, had my heart. As much as I loved the whole story of friendship, my favorite two chapters were about Mikey and his dad together. They were quietly beautiful and had me in tears.

There was laughter and tears throughout. There were a few light bulb moments. It was everything the perfect story needed to be. A little reminiscent of The Big Chill, which is my favorite movie, so if you loved that, you will love this. Thank you Rebecca Kauffman for this beauty.

I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss and Counterpoint and I thank them.