Our Little Secret

By Roz Nay

Our Little Secret: A Novel by [Nay, Roz]

4 out of 5 stars

How far does anyone go for love? It is a tricky question and when you have such an unreliable narrator as Angela Petitjean, you will really have to wonder.

Angela is what I would call a narcissist. She seems to have a very high esteem of herself and a very low tolerance of others. As she sits in an interrogation room with a detective, we learn about her past with HP. They grew up together and were first loves. Now, his wife Saskia is missing and all fingers point to Angela. She feels otherwise and leads the detective on a little cat and mouse game until the very end.

Angela is one of the most fascinating characters I have read in a while. She is so unlikable in her attitude but you feel sorry for her. And then you don’t. And then you do. It goes back and forth with this wonderful writing. Then the end comes. That final chapter that makes you go “Wow”. It is written so it flows very quickly and you are wrapped up in what is happening.

If you love an unreliable narrator (and really, who doesn’t) and a book with that little edge of doubt and suspense, this is the read for you.

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press (my favorite publisher) for this wonderful read.

Far From the Tree

By Robin Benway

Far from the Tree by [Benway, Robin]

5 out of 5 stars

After teenaged Grace gives birth to a baby girl and gives her up for adoption, she tells her parents that she wants to find her birth mother. They have told her all along that she could do that but what they did not tell her was that she had siblings, a brother and a sister.

Maya is the younger one. She is a sarcastic, quick talking girl who stands out in her family of redheads. She is in a relationship with Claire but even her, she keeps at a distance.

Joaquin is a part of the foster system. He is almost 18 and ready to age out but he is now in a loving home with people who want to adopt him. So why doesn’t he want to be adopted?

As the story unfolds, their bond grows deeper in their search for their birth mother and their fears and secrets are revealed. Will they find what they are looking for?

If you are not in tears at the end of this book, you have no soul. I have no words for you. Your heart will be cut right open as you read their stories. You can see exactly why they act the way they do and you can’t wait for them to realize it. Such great story telling! My dad grew up in the system so stories dealing with it, are always something I tend to be drawn to. It adds some light on what he must have gone through. He too, did not have a loving home until he was a teenager. My heart was with Joaquin and my dad. Even if you are not personally touched by adoption or foster care, this book will pull you in, touch your soul and leave your heart smiling.

Then She Was Gone

By Lisa Jewell

Then She Was Gone: A Novel by [Jewell, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

This was my first book by Lisa Jewell and why I am late to the party, I will never know.  This will definitely not be my last!

When Ellie Mack goes missing, the police think she ran away. Her mother Laurel knows she could not have. She was the family golden child. She had everything going for her. She was a bit nervous for her Math exams but she had a tutor, Noelle, who had helped her. She was very creepy but she helped her.

Years have gone by and with more news, the family finally goes on with their lives. Laurel and her husband have gone their separate ways. Laurel meets Floyd at a coffee shop and immediately, there is something between them. But it is when she meets his brilliant daughter Poppy, that things go from zero to one hundred in this story. Poppy looks exactly like Ellie. But how could that be? A trick of the mind or something a lot more sinister?

I was so wrapped up in this book. I read with a deep feeling of dread. I read with tears in my eyes. I read with my mind working a mile a minute putting two and two (or three) together. Whatever the emotion, I read and I read and I read. The writing is superb. The storyline, with the four different voices, played out so perfectly. It gave us a look into everyone’s view of what happened and why. It was creepy at times. Okay, a lot of the time but how I loved the creepy factor. Just a perfect read. I will be picking up more Lisa Jewell books immediately.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for this fantastic read.

The Elizas

By Sara Shepard

The Elizas: A Novel by [Shepard, Sara]

4 out of 5 stars

Eliza Fontaine wakes up in the hospital after being found at the bottom of the pool. She swears she was pushed but the problem is, she has been saved from drowning a few times before. She doesn’t remember most of what happened the night of the pool incident and with the help of the guy who saved her, she tries to recreate what happened. Her family is walking on eggshells around her and as her debut novel The Dots is about to be published, they want it stopped. But why?

We go back and forth between what is happening with Eliza and excerpts of the novel, which worked really well.  The novel gives us great insight into what probably is happening. You know what you are reading and have it pretty figured out but why can’t Eliza remember anything?

I have never read Ms. Shepard before. I never read any Pretty Little Liars. But I have to say that I was drawn in from the start . I wanted to shout at Eliza about what was in the book. It was so obvious what was happening but we do see what we want to, especially when we care about a person. The more Eliza dug, the more she resembled Dot in her novel. I loved the character of Desmond and all his quirks. He added an element of fun to the mystery.  If you are a fan of Ms. Shepard, I am sure you will eat this one up.

Thanks to Netgalley and Atria for a copy of this 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.

The Wife

By Alafair Burke

 

The Wife: A Novel of Psychological Suspense by [Burke, Alafair]

5 out of 5 stars

This book reminded me of a hot, flaky, layered biscuit. You take that first bite and it makes you want another. You keep peeling off those layers and enjoying every little bit  and then you get to the end and just want to savor it. There is that last yummy taste and then you can’t wait for another one. I hope Alafair Burke is working on that next delicious book/biscuit.

Angela Powell has escaped a dark past and is living with her husband Jason in New York. Everything is looking up for them. Her son Spencer is (from her past) is doing well. Her husband is a professor who is on the fast track to fame and fortune until a woman accuses him of sexual harassment. Things seem to be going okay with that case until another woman accuses him of rape. Angela struggles with what it all means and then the woman disappears. This leads to so many different layers in the book that I won’t begin to even go into except to say, wow. Finding out about Angela’s past as it slowly comes out is the butter on the biscuit. Things are not always what they seem.

And the ending…..

You won’t want to put this down until you know exactly what has happened in everything, past and present.  I will now sit patiently until the next book.

What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw

By Leah Stewart

What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw by [Stewart, Leah]

4 out of 5 stars

Actor Charlie Outlaw gives an interview that he wishes he could take back. He says some things that aren’t really what someone you were in love with would want to hear and his girlfriend Josie Lamar is understandably upset. Charlie decides to take off by himself to regroup on an island. When he joins up with a group for a jungle hike, things take a bad turn and Charlie is kidnapped. The kidnappers have no idea that they have someone famous on their hands and they are not quite up to par in the kidnapping game so things go from bad to worse.

Back in California, Josie has no idea what is going on with Charlie. Josie is just trying to get auditions and live her life. Josie was once very famous for playing the butt kicking Bronwyn Kyle. (Picture a Buffy type) Little does she know that she will need to come to the rescue of Charlie.

The whole story is told by a narrator and at first, it was a little off-putting to me but once the story started going, I was all in. I pictured a Morgan Freeman type every time I started a new chapter. I loved the way I totally got to know both Charlie and Josie as the story progressed. I also loved a little delving into the world of Hollywood and fan adoration, especially a look at how things go behind the scenes at places like a Comic Con. Leah Stewart had this wonderful way of giving us a peek at the outlying characters too. They weren’t just extras, so to speak.  But it is the main characters that you will fall in love with. If you have not read any Leah Stewart (and I have read all her books), this might be a good one to start with.

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