You Were Always Mine

By Nicole Baart

 

You Were Always Mine: A Novel by [Baart, Nicole]

4 out of 5 stars

Jessica Chamberlain is navigating life as best she can now that she and her husband Evan have separated. When he is killed, Jessica has to face life as a mother of her two sons alone. Max, a teenager, is angry at his mom, angry at the world. He feels if she did not kick him out, their dad would still be there. Gabe, their young adopted son, is loving but has his own developmental issues. It all leads to the private adoption when Jessica finds out that Evan was in contact with Gabe’s biological mother. Was what he finds out the cause of his death?

There are a lot of twists, the most major one I did not see coming, that make this a page turner. As you read Evan’s letters to Gabe’s birth mom, you really start to wonder why would he not tell Jessica and what the heck was going on! There is a fine line between thinking you are doing what is right and actually doing what is right. The best intentions of mice and men…. I liked Jessica. I loved that she followed her intuition despite others not believing her.

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

This Will Only Hurt a Little

By Busy Philipps

This Will Only Hurt a Little by [Philipps, Busy]

5 out of 5 stars

If you follow Busy on Instagram, (and if you don’t, you really should) you will not be surprised at all with her candor in this wonderful book. I could just hear her telling her stories as I turned the pages. She really makes me laugh out loud. Busy spares no ones feelings in this book, especially her own. Her honesty is very refreshing. She does not sugarcoat what has happened in her life. There were times I was crying along with her.

Of course, we all want to hear about her time on Dawson’s Creek or Freaks and Geeks and you get all those delicious details.  (I had never heard her Blades of Glory story!) But I really loved her stories about her life before and her life after. Her story of becoming a mother will ring true for every mom.

And I was so excited to finally learn the meaning of “aced out in her nudes”! The funny thing is I have a similar story with my daughter at the same age. Her name is Elizabeth too. (Something in the name, maybe?)

This is one of my favorite books so far this year. Buy the book, follow her on Instagram. You will not be disappointed.

Our House

By Louise Candlish

Our House by [Candlish, Louise]

4 out of 5 stars

Fi Lawson comes home from a weekend away to find her house has been sold out from under her and her husband is missing. Can you imagine?! They have been separated after an indiscretion her husband had and have been living in a “bird’s nest” arrangement. Fi lives in the house with their two sons during the week and Bram, on the weekends. They share a rented flat in between times. But why would he sell?

Fi tells her story to The Victim podcast as we also read Bram’s story as he writes and explains what happened. I will tell you right now that it is very hard to like Bram. He does some pretty unforgivable things, even as he tries to make it right for Fi. Then we reach the ending and you will scream NOOOOOOO!

The story moves slowly. Sometimes a bit too slow for me but I liken it to a Sunday stroll where you just amble along but you take in little bits and pieces of things around you as you go. I would not call it a thriller, though there are a few moments where that might apply. Even though it moves slowly, you will actually read it pretty quickly. There are a few twists and turns that you may or may not see coming. But that ending though! This is definitely worth your while so pick it up and enjoy.

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for a copy of this review 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.

My Squirrel Days

By Ellie Kemper

 

My Squirrel Days by [Kemper, Ellie]

4 out of 5 stars

This book is a delight! I swear I had a big smile on my face throughout the whole thing. Much needed in these past few days.

I love Ellie Kemper. I am a big Kimmy Schmidt and Office fan and it is good to know that the woman we see on tv is just as funny and sweet as we think she is. Her stories are hilarious, whether it be her staged Christmas plays for her family (darn it Grandma) or trying out for SNL, she will have you laughing. Every mother will relate to her story about becoming a mom and how that changes you. And everyone will relate to her honesty.

This book is just pure fun and I think that is something we all need about right now. It probably would be wonderful to listen to her tell her story on audio. You might want to check that out.

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

The Lies We Told

By Camilla Way

The Lies We Told by [Way, Camilla]

4 out of 5 stars

There are lies, lies and even more lies in this twisty little tale.  When Clara’s boyfriend Luke doesn’t return home or even show up the next day for work, she knows something is wrong. He had been harassed by someone but even she did not know to what extent until he is missing. When she opens up his laptop and finds a ton of messages from a seemingly crazy woman, she goes with his best friend to the police. The search begins and there is so much that is uncovered.

Each chapter goes between the search for Luke and a woman writing about her young daughter who seems to be quite the Bad Seed. Little Hannah does a lot of very nasty things with no affect whatsoever. When she overhears her mother talking to another woman about a secret they share, it sets off a chain of events with disastrous results. Is this all tied to Luke’s disappearance? Well of course you think it has to because why are we reading about her.

Then the lies. There are so many lies. Everyone has some to tell. The last little lie at the end threw me for a loop, that’s for sure.

It will definitely keep you reading to see just what craziness is going to happen. Clara is a wonderfully sympathetic character and you want so much for her. Hannah is such a psychotic character, perfectly written. It has more than enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. It is a very good read for a cold October night.

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for an advance copy of this 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.