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.

 

One of Us Is Lying

By Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying by [McManus, Karen M.]

5 out of 5 stars

Netflix? Get on this right now!

Bronwyn, a brainy girl set on going to Yale, is given detention for having her phone in class. The thing is, it was not her phone but the teacher does not believe her. He also doesn’t believe Cooper, the star athlete, Addy, the beauty, and Nate, I guess you would call the classic delinquent. And then there is Simon. Simon runs a gossip app called About That. He spreads the high school gossip around like butter. When Simon has an allergic attack and things go horribly wrong, the four kids are all suspected of murder. Who is lying and who is telling the truth?

I loved these kids so much. As much as I loved the mystery and the twists, my favorite part was watching all four grow into the people they were meant to be. They throw aside the petty high school cliques and become real friends. Of course, in the back of your mind you are wondering if one of them is the murderer and I am not going to spoil that. I had a feeling that ended up being right, pat myself on the back, but there are a few things that were surprising.  The other characters are so thought out as well, the sisters especially. I loved Maeve’s chutzpah. I had a silly smile on my face at the end. I am sure you will too.

This is such a wonderful debut novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next from Ms. McManus!

 

Educated

By Tara Westover

Educated: A Memoir by [Westover, Tara]

5 out of 5 stars

I won this book from Goodreads and boy, am I glad I did.

Tara Westover took herself from being “home schooled” (and by that, I mean really not at all) to Cambridge and Harvard! How amazing is that?! And through all of this, she struggled with her family and how she was raised. Her father thought the end was coming soon and prepared accordingly. He was Mormon but his take on religion was his very own. He was bipolar and the way he raised his family was extremely hard to read at times. The torture he let one son put upon his daughters was so sad. I was in tears through so much of this book.  For Tara to take herself away and get as far as she has in life is one of the most inspiring, amazing stories I have read in a long time.

There were times you just want to wake her up to what’s going on but when you are raised a certain way, it is hard to believe anything different. She pays a price for trying to find herself and it is heartbreaking at times. But to find the courage and the boldness to finally pick herself up and live her life for her, left me in tears. The end left me with a happy heart.

This is such a great book. We tend to take our education for granted and this book will make you think twice about that. It is truly a blessing for our minds and our souls.

The Baby Plan

By Kate Rorick

The Baby Plan: A Novel by [Rorick, Kate]

4 out of 5 stars

I wanted a nice bit of escapism and this was just the trick!

Three women, all different, find out they are pregnant and we get to follow along through the tears, laughter, gas, pains, weight gain, etc. Even in our differences, we are all the same. How many of us had strangers touch our pregnant bellies or had someone tell us their birth horror stories? Right?

Nathalie is the planner. Of course, as we know, things don’t always go as planned. Her husband is working a lot and that is messing up her need to plan everything down to the letter. She even has a big plan for how to tell the family that she is finally pregnant, on Thanksgiving! But then her younger sister throws up in the cornucopia with her own announcement.

Lyndi is young, unmarried and not as settled as Nathalie would like.  She seems to work on her own time frame. Hurry is not her middle name. She lives with her bisexual boyfriend/roommate Marcus. He might be my favorite character. I will call him Mr. Mellow.

Sophia is a makeup artist to one of the biggest stars and also already a mother to a teenager heading off to college soon when she finds out she is pregnant. Throw in a rather suspicious boyfriend and it makes for quite a mess.

Though some troubles come their way, it really is a rather joyful, fun book. I enjoyed the three main characters and it brought back a lot of memories of pregnancy. Nathalie’s gas episode is very funny. And the gender reveal party (who started those) was also a hoot. If you want to sit and not think too hard and just enjoy a good read, this is for you.

Thanks to William Morrow for a copy of this fun book.

Laura & Emma

By Kate Greathead

Laura & Emma by [Greathead, Kate]

4 out of 5 stars

You know when you take a long walk, in no hurry, and stop and look at all the little nuances around you? Well, that is what this book is like. I felt like I was peeking in on Laura’s life as she raised Emma. Emma was conceived in a rather strange one night stand but Laura let’s everyone think it was artificial insemination. Laura was raised in a well-to-do family in New York. And though she tries to believe she is different than most of the same kind of people, she really is not that different.

The books follows through Emma’s growing years. We get little snippets of each of their personalities. We see the family interactions. There is no great big story line besides the story line of life. (Which I guess cannot get much bigger!)

I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the slow pace. I enjoyed getting to know them.  I enjoyed the mother/daughter love/hate relationship. The ending left me kind of wondering but that did not take away from the rest of the story.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for a copy of this lovely little book.

An American Marriage

By Tayari Jones

An American Marriage: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club 2018 Selection) by [Jones, Tayari]

4 out of 5 stars

Celestial and Roy are a young married couple just starting out in life. She is starting out with a doll making business, more artsy than toyish. He has dreams of his own. A night back in his hometown leads to Roy becoming incarcerated. The story takes us through all of this in letters between the two of them. And there is also Andre in the equation. Dre is Celestial’s lifelong friend and the one who first introduced them.  As time passes in prison for Roy, Celestial’s life moves on and that includes a relationship with Andre.

There is an almost poetic tone to the writing in this novel. A few times, I had to stop and reread a few phrases, tossing them around on my tongue to really savor them. It is the complete circle of a love story and it’s done very well. It is also a timely topic about race. It is a very well written book and I am happy that I received a copy from Netgalley and Alqonquin Books.