Emergency Contact

By Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact by [Choi, Mary H. K.]

4 out of 5 stars

Penny Lee heads off to college and leaves behind a lot of things that she just could not relate to or even like. Her mother is a MILF and that drives her crazy. She has a boyfriend that is the polar opposite of her, that would probably thrill any other girl in their high school, but not Penny. Penny is different. When she meets her roommate’s “uncle” Sam at the coffee shop, there is something that draws her to him. Maybe it’s his curly hair or all his tattoos. She happens to be on the scene when he suffers from a panic attack (he is sure it is a heart attack) and helps him through it. She becomes his emergency contact. That starts a string of text messages that evolve throughout the story.

Sam is dealing with his on/off girlfriend. They go through a few things which you will have to read to find out about but he finds himself wanting to talk to Penny more than anyone. The texts become phone calls and then evolve into much more. Will they realize what it is they both really want?

I have read a few books that were told in texts or emails but what I really loved about this one is that it wasn’t only that. The texts were like the icing on the cake because we learned so much about them throughout the whole book, not just in their messages. They were the cutest couple and if you do not root for them to get together, I wonder if you even have a soul. I admit I almost cheered when Penny’s facade started to crack a little. I admit I cried when she would open up to other people, her fear was so palpable. This is just such a lovely book and I am so glad that I saw someone on one of my online book groups rave about it.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.