Friday, March 2, 2018

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Book Description:

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.
In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

I was sort of wondering why this book was getting so many critical reviews (Yes I know that everyone's tastes are different) until I realized that this was actually a serious book, or at least most of it was. I think that most reader's are expecting something funnier, lighter. Yes, this book has its moments but the subject matter end's up being a bit more serious.

The book starts off humorously enough -but somewhat frustrating for me -when this couple is told that they may end up living long enough to be married 68 years. I couldn't see the problem here and why this couple freaked at this, but then again I just celebrated my 38th anniversary so this part of the book was a little ludicrous to me.

The next 2/3 of the book deals with misunderstandings. A possible affair comes up but finally ends up being a book about a mature woman growing into her skin and being a caring woman but not one who takes too much crap.

There are parts of this book that had me laughing, frustrated, angry and in tears and the mix of emotions was just what I needed.

Sylvie grows just so much and it was a fun trip to take with her.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

You Say It First (Happily Inc. #1) by Susan Mallery

You Say It First (Happily Inc, #1)

Book Description:The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool's Gold romances invites you to visit Happily Inc., a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale 

Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks—mainly the venue's captivating owner, Pallas Saunders. Although he won't let love consume him, for ecstasy with an expiration date, he's all in. 
Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can't turn the floundering business around, she'll have no choice but cave to her domineering mother and trade taffeta for trust funds working at the family's bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn't belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he's right—where she really belongs is in his arms.

I would really like to be kind with my dissatisfaction with this novel, however, I am so disgruntled by it that I'm not sure I'll be able to be kind. But I will try. (Semi-Spoilers Here)

Things I liked:

1- Interesting background -I've rarely read novels set in the desert.

2- Wonderful secondary characters for the most part.

3- The Alien wedding was interesting as was the
Black and White Wedding (that provided a few giggles for me)

What I was disgruntled with:

1- A lack of connection and sympathy with the main characters...I think this sort of story (Man feels he can't or won't love; Woman sorely miss-used by her mother, Father, Family)has been way overdone.

2 -Too many secondary characters that seem to blend into one type/one person (no distinct personality to me). I understand that this needs to be done with a first novel in what may be a long series, but it was a bit overwhelming to me.

3 -This is a 'was-rinse- repeat/formulaic story in so many ways ---not only does the author do this within this book, but the idea behind this book has just been over-done. There were no surprises for me.

I read to get away from the stresses of my life and want to be 'taken away' by what I'm reading, this book did not do that for me and it sounds like all the further books will be using the same formula. Readers deserve better than this

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library

Book Description:

"From journalist and author Sue Halpern comes a wry, observant look at contemporary life and its refugees. Halpern’s novel is an unforgettable tale of family...the kind you come from and the kind you create.
People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship. For head librarian Kit, the public library in Riverton, New Hampshire, offers what she craves most: peace. Here, no one expects Kit to talk about the calamitous events that catapulted her out of what she thought was a settled, suburban life. She can simply submerge herself in her beloved books and try to forget her problems.
But that changes when fifteen-year-old, home-schooled Sunny gets arrested for shoplifting a dictionary. The judge throws the book at Sunny—literally—assigning her to do community service at the library for the summer. Bright, curious, and eager to connect with someone other than her off-the-grid hippie parents, Sunny coaxes Kit out of her self-imposed isolation. They’re joined by Rusty, a Wall Street high-flyer suddenly crashed to earth.   
In this little library that has become the heart of this small town, Kit, Sunny, and Rusty are drawn to each other, and to a cast of other offbeat regulars. As they come to terms with how their lives have unraveled, they also discover how they might knit them together again and finally reclaim their stories."

I was not easily drawn into this book. I found most of the first half to be boring. Why? Because this book was written without us knowing the whole story behind Kit's mental instability. I don't usually mind if the main character's background is unfurled slowly, but this was absurd (to me).

Once Rusty shows up (and I can understand why the author threw in a guy, but I didn't like it) Ket starts to change just a tiny bit.

I didn't believe that this was supposed to be a romance -but there you go. Not an obvious one, but it's in the background hovering.

As for Sunny, well she was the best part of the book.

Yes this book was beautifully written and the characters are well drawn, but it was still missing that something that would have kept me intrigued instead of looking for something else to read.

*ARC supplied by publisher/Edelweiss

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna

Two Girls Down
Book Description:When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. 
With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the darker side of mysteries and a real kick-ass heroine and a totally shocking denouement (I mean she actually kicks literal ass!).

The characters are written very realistically, their backstories are revealed quite slowly and that is a bit refreshing for me. If I had one major problem it would be that Alice Vega wasn't given a larger part, at times she was treated like a secondary character and I didn't get the feeling that she was supposed to be that.

This is a wonderful book and my only other complaint would be that I couldn't keep all the character's straight -especially if I had to step away from reading for a while (but that might be a problem for my rapidly aging brain! lol).

Anyone can read the synopsis, so I won't go there - I'm just going to let you know that this was a riveting look into the small-town life, an interesting look into the drug culture, Police-procedure in a small town and what happens to a family when their children are abducted.

I hope that this becomes a series. 

*ARC supplied by the publisher/Edelweiss.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sisters Like Us (Mischief Bay, #4) by Susan Mallery

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

Book Description:The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…
Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgeling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.
Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.
Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

Harper and Stacey are as opposite as sister's can be, and each has their own uniqueness. One, Harper is as perfect as a particular type of mother can be. She is the type of woman who decorates her house for every (and I mean every) holiday, cooks homemade everything and is always dressed well. Since her divorce she has tried to turn her crafting into a business; a virtual assistant business. She is not doing well, either with her business (she has never worked outside the home) or with her daughter. The typical entitled teen.

On the other hand, Stacey is looking for a cure for MS, she is a scientist, she is also very pregnant and has not told her mother. Stacey is also worried that she will not be able to nurture or love her child.

These two have what I considered the worst mother -a know it all throwback to a very different era when women put their husband and children first and Bunny (the Mother---that name is telling isn't it!) lets her daughters know flat out that what they've done is not good enough (Harper getting a divorce and trying to make a living) or abnormal (Stacey for working and putting family second).

The good parts of this book are that it combines narrative for both sisters and the parts were written so you have a clear understanding that each was their own person. It has an interesting love story, the mother Bunny is almost redeemed at the end and the daughter grows, matures and learns many valuable lessons.

The bad part is that I couldn't connect with either sister, and it took more than 50% of the book to stop being annoyed (and that's a mild word compared to what I really want to say) with these women and to stop wanting to smack them silly.

It's not a bad beach read as long as you don't mind being frustrated for much of the novel.

*ARC supplied by the publisher/NetGalley.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It

 Book Description:
 "One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again."

 Wow! Kudos to Kristan Higgins -this is a book I highly recommend and will be put on my comfort bookshelf to be read and re-read.

I am so sorry that I waited so long to read this book. Sometimes Ms. Higgins books are hit or miss -this book hit it out of the ballpark for me.

This had everything that an avid chick lit reader could want, sans the ultra-descriptive sex scenes.

What our protagonist, Nora went through in her life would have sent most people off the deep end, but Nora is a Downeaster. Stolid and solid to the core. This book gives us a look back at Nora's growing up years (and they were not especially pretty) right through many...well we could call them tragedies but I won't. I'll call them for lack of a better term, learning experiences -because that is what Nora treats them as. 

This book is written with younger characters, and most likely a younger audience in mind. However, the characters are also written with a thought to maturity that keeps a reader like me very intrigued and interested.

This book has tragedy, mystery redemption and love going for it. There seems to be something for everyone in here. Sometimes Nora can seem to be a 'goody-two-shoes' type, but she really isn't she is just hasn't let the New England stolidness over-ride her sense of hope and her efforts to make things better and to help people.

*ARC supplied by the publisher.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan, #3) by Kelley Armstrong

This Fallen Prey (Casey Duncan, #3)

When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect. There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. She certainly didn't expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she'd have to be responsible for him. 
The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he's truly responsible for committing.

Another excellent addition to the Casey Duncan series.

This book was sometimes a frustrating read -unfortunately I can not tell you why it was frustrating because it would give too much of the plot away. 

If you have read the first two books then you know the basics behind this one -Casey has left behind all she knew as a cop and come to this "town" with a friend who is running.  This compound (an off the grid hidden place -and I mean REALLY off the grid)  if for people who need to disappear; both criminal and the innocent.

In this book, the town is forced into taking someone who is being accused of multiple murders.  His step-father is paying to have him 'incarcerated' here instead of put to the death penalty.

Let's just say that things don't go smoothly; but did we really expect them to?

Action, kick a$$ing, searches galore, a loss of some residents and a ton of shooting of both the innocent (  someone we liked) and the evil.  Unfortunately this book kind of ends on what I would consider a cliffhanger. We are never really sure what happens to one of the 'bad-guys...unless there is going to be a follow-up.

The town does gain a new resident though - and if you have read the first two books you are going to either applaud or groan with who it is!

*ARC supplied by the publisher.