She Was The Quiet One

By Michele Campbell

She Was the Quiet One: A Novel by [Campbell, Michele]

4 out of 5 stars

Bel and Rose Enright are shipped off by their grandmother to Odell School after the death of their mother.  It is an elite boarding school that their father and grandfather attended.  We know from the onset that one of the twins is dead and that one is probably a suspect. What we learn as we read is just how we got to this point. The story is interspersed with different people being interrogated about events leaning up to the death and then we are taken back to see just what the sisters were doing and thinking.

You can tell you are in the throes of a good book when you find yourself talking out loud while reading it. (Maybe that’s just me!) “How can you be so naive?!” “Don’t fall for it!” That was just some of the things I said and probably the few I can write on here. You will definitely become entwined in these characters’ lives. You might want to shake a couple of them but you will want to see how they work through it all. This is a true page-turner and another outstanding outing by Ms. Campbell. You should also read her book It’s Always the Husband.

Thanks to Netgalley and St.Martin’s Press for a couple of this wonderful read.

 

her pretty face

By Robyn Harding

Her Pretty Face by [Harding, Robyn]

4 out of 5 stars

Frances Metcalfe has no real friends among the mothers of her son’s private school. Her son has some issues and an incident with a bottle of water, sets the tone for how the others treat her. Until Kate Randolph appears on the scene. She is everything Frances feels she is not. She is a tall, thin, classy woman compared to Frances’ rather frumpy, overweight appearance. Frances has something from her past that has left her feeling bad about herself. Her husband tells her he loves her just as she is but Frances is loaded with self-doubt so when Kate comes to the rescue, her life starts to change. But is anyone who we truly think they are?

Kate’s daughter Daisy comes and goes as she pleases. Kate doesn’t seem to care. A stranger seems to be buzzing around Daisy’s life but why? What is his agenda?

The story also lets us hear the from the voice of DJ, who’s sister was tortured and killed by a couple when she was a teen. He knows that there was more to the story than the young woman told. She was not who she pretended to be.

Everyone pretending to be someone else can only lead to one thing, an explosion.

It was so hard to put this book down. I had figured out things pretty early on but the way it was written, really enhanced the whole reveal and aftermath. I loved Frances coming to grips with her life and herself. It was a total rebirth. Daisy was a very powerful character. It was fascinating to watch her grow up and work things out. Once everything hit the boiling point, it was hard to put down. Another great outing by Robyn Harding. You will enjoy The Party too, if you haven’t picked it up yet.

This would make a fabulous miniseries.

Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery for a copy of this 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 Book of Essie

By Meghan MacLean Weir

 

The Book of Essie: A novel by [Weir, Meghan MacLean]

4 out of 5 stars

Essie is the youngest daughter of the famous Six For Hicks TV show. Her pastor father and stern mother have raised their six kids in front of the cameras and have a worldwide audience. When Essie turns up pregnant, things are placed in motion by her mother to make everything right for the cameras. She will get married and everything will be peachy. What her mother does not know is that Essie is really the one pulling the strings. She has her own agenda and it will bring up things the family would rather keep hidden.

Essie is a wonderful character. You might be turned off a bit with her wheeling and dealing, especially with Roarke, her fiance, but it will all make sense. I loved the way their relationship progressed and she found exactly what she needed. I wanted to applaud at the ending. (I had figured out early on what her biggest secret was) It really is a great look into the hypocrisy of the uber sanctimonious Christians and also into what the day-to-day does to kids under a microscope on television.

Even if you do not watch reality tv, I think it will draw you in with it’s excellent writing and you will be rooting for Essie too.

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.