#BookReview: Normal People by Sally Rooney

41jqyrmTceL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Summary:

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

 

Review:

I really wanted to love this novel, so I went in to it with the belief that I was absolutely going to devour it. When I began reading it, I had a really hard time with the writing; or rather, the editing.

I have learned that I prefer punctuation when reading a book. I don’t only prefer it; I really desire it. It made reading the entire story very abrupt, if that makes sense.

While understanding and sometimes enjoying the relationship between Marianne and Connell throughout the years, the book was a struggle for me. I really enjoyed their High School years the most, after that it all got a bit bland for me.

I felt no connection to this book. Maybe I am missing something, and I feel awful if I am. I am sure there are some readers that will enjoy this particular style of writing and storyline, it just was not for me.

2 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#BookReview: Trophy Life by Lea Geller

Trophy LifeSummary:

A refreshingly honest, laugh-out-loud novel about losing the life you always wanted…and finding the life you were meant to have.

For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.

When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.

But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.

Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.

Review:

Lea Geller’s debut novel is aces! I have no doubt that women everywhere are going to love this book. The heroine Agnes “Aggie” Parsons is 110% one of my favorite fictional characters to come along in a long time. She was beyond likable for so many reasons. She is presented with losing it all and having to fight back and you cannot help but cheer for her the whole way through.

Agnes’s husband Jack disappears one day and his closest friend, “Don” tells her not to call the police. Her husband is in real trouble and he just needs time to fix it, and there is a plan she just needs to stay away from him for the time being.

The next day she is told to move to New York; all the way from the comforts of her plush home in sunny Santa Monica, to go teach English at a boarding school for boys. Mind you, it has housing and day care for their 6-month-old daughter, Grace. She is to get across the country by driving a used beat up car, because her fancy car is now gone. There will be no nanny, no housekeeper, no lovely home on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific anymore for Agnes. Most importantly, there will be no husband to look out for her. Agnes will only have herself to count on.

Will she be able to fend for herself in this whole new world in the Bronx, New York?
This is a fantastically written tale! I went in to this story thinking I was reading a chick lit book, but there is a deeper story going on at the boarding school that I found so intriguing.

I wasn’t just rooting for Agnes; I was rooting for her students, as well.
For a read that you will absolutely fall in love with, I highly recommend “Trophy Life”!
I know that Lea Geller made it on to my favorite author hot list! I’m anxiously awaiting her next novel!

5 Stars. (too bad I cannot give more)

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#Letters from Peaceful Lane by Janet Dailey

Letters from Peaceful LaneSummary:

Allison felt like she’d stepped into a fairy tale when she married widower Burke Caldwell. But after less than a year of marriage, he’s become removed and distant. His friends see Allison as little more than a trophy wife, his only daughter regards her as the enemy. With everyone so devoted to the memory of Burke’s first wife, Kate, how can Allison possibly compete? Then a harrowing car crash leaves Burke badly injured. But it becomes achingly clear that the woman Burke wants by his side is the wife he lost . . .

No longer able to dismiss the power Kate still holds, Allison can’t resist reading a trove of hidden letters from Kate to Burke. What she discovers sets her mind reeling. The letters give Allison an enlightening window into her husband’s heart. But will she have the courage to put aside her own fears, and grab hold of a love as big and bold as the man she once dared to marry?

 

Review:

 

Quite the heroine in this story! Allison Caldwell is married to Burke who lost his wife, Kate six years ago to cancer and he still is not completely over her; neither is the town. It seems. While his business is failing and his partner cannot be trusted, he is recovering from a car accident. Burke’s daughter Brianna is a mess all her own with a boyfriend that may be more trouble than he is worth.

After the accident Burke tells Allison to file for divorce because he cannot give her the life, he had planned on giving her since his business is failing. He had wanted her to have it all, and since she can’t, he wants her to move on. She refuses. Upon this refusal she uncovers letters from his last wife Kate that were handwritten to him. In these letters she learns a lot more about Burke.

I wasn’t too surprised by anything in the story if I am to be completely honest. I feel like mob was a bit much and could have been left out.

It was a nice read, and I did enjoy it.

I can say one particularly spectacular part of the book is the fact that we have a heroine that never gives up on her man.

Allison Caldwell was one cool character! I really did fall in love with her!

3.5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

 

#BookReview: I’m Fine and Neither are You by Camille Pagán

Im Find and Neither are youSummary:

 

Honesty is the best policy…except maybe when it comes to marriage in this brilliant novel about the high price of perfection from bestselling author Camille Pagán.

Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

Review:

Perfect Book Club Read! Read it and get your friends to read it!!

We read this with my Facebook page’s book club and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Camille Pagan delivers a story that most woman will find themselves relating to in one way or another. That is what makes this story most inviting; and, what keeps the conversation going.

Everyone will see a piece of themselves among these pages.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Summary:The Perfect Girlfriend

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

Summary:

What a WIN for Hamilton’s first novel!! I was blown away by the sheer creepiness of Juliette; while also almost wanting to cheer her on. It was the oddest feeling, but Hamilton delivered a story where you truly wanted Juliette to “somehow” get a piece of happiness in the end. That was part of the awe of this book to me….to feel for such a dreadful character was astounding to me. This is such a remarkably written story; not to be missed!!!

Juliette is still in love with her ex-boyfriend Nate, or rather addicted to him….

Once they break up, she does all she can to become perfect in his eyes. She becomes a flight attendant at the same airline Nate is a pilot! She changes her hair color, stalks his house while he is and is not there, lays in his bed, brushes her teeth with his toothbrush, watches him drink coffee at the corner shop from his apartment….and, all of this is nothing!! She gets unleashed!!

But, she has had a tragic backstory that you cannot help but develop feelings for. Her brother died when she was only 10. He was 4. Her childhood best friend moved away after the incident. Her school years were rough too. I wonder how her life would be if certain events were different. This part of the story makes you feel a bond of hope for her, which I found rather intense, because it felt so wrong.

Falling in love for Juliette changes everything.

Read this book!

You will devour it!!

I will read every book Karen Hamilton writes going forward!

5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

 

 

#BookReview: Me for You by Lolly Winston

Me for YouSummary:

The last thing Rudy expected was to wake up one Saturday morning, a widow at fifty-four years old. Now, ten months after the untimely death of his beloved wife, he’s still not sure how to move on from the defining tragedy of his life—but his new job is helping. After being downsized from his finance position, Rudy turned to his first love: the piano. Some people might be embarrassed to work as the piano player at Nordstrom, but for Rudy, there’s joy in bringing a little music into the world. And it doesn’t hurt that Sasha, the Hungarian men’s watch clerk who is finally divorcing her no-good husband, finds time to join him at the bench every now and then.

Just when Rudy and Sasha’s relationship begins to deepen, the police come to the store with an update about Rudy’s wife’s untimely death—a coworker has confessed to her murder—but Rudy’s actions are suspicious enough to warrant a second look at him, too. With Sasha’s husband suddenly reappearing, and Rudy’s daughter confronting her own marital problems, suddenly life becomes more complicated than Rudy and Sasha could have imagined.

With Winston’s trademark humor and sweetness that will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner and Fredrik Backman but is uniquely her own, Lolly Winston delivers a heartfelt and realistic portrait of loss and grief, hope and forgiveness, and two imperfect people coming together to create a perfect love story.

Review:

Imagine waking up and speaking to your wife as she lay in bed only to discover that she is dead! I could not! That is what drew me in to want to read this book. I thought it was going to have all kinds of drama, but it fell short.

I didn’t find the humor that was spoken of in the summary.

The storylines that had the potential to be exciting were too short! They were over as quickly as they started.

I didn’t find myself falling in love with the main character Rudy because he just fell flat for me and did not touch my heart in any way. And, I was really trying!

Sasha, his coworker was one character that I was finding myself to caring for and her backstory was more interesting than most of the book.

I am beginning to think I may have something against piano music in department stores?? A lot of time was spent there.

Maybe that was where my boredom lied.

Without giving away the ending, I will say that I was very pleased with how the book closed.

This story may appeal to some readers, but it wasn’t to my liking.

2.5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

#BookReview: The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio

The Beautiful StrangersSummary:

A legendary hotel on the Pacific becomes a haven where dreams, love, and a beguiling mystery come alive.
1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.
For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.
As the lives of two women—generations apart—intertwine, Kate’s courageous journey could change more than she ever imagined. And with Coronado wending its way through her soul, she must follow her dreams…wherever they may lead.

Review:

Make room on our bookshelf for The Beautiful Strangers! This book is Epic! I was totally blown away!! I didn’t even realize that I have a penchant for ghost stories and old Hollywood, so I was definitely entranced with this story. I don’t want to give anything away.
I walked away wanting to know more about the main character of the book, and I am sure you will too. Or, at least a trip to Coronado!

Camille Di Maio wrote a story that I absolutely fell in love with. It was unlike any other book I’ve read. She took timelines sixty years apart and wrapped them up like a gift!

You already know the summary, so let me say that Camille really left me breathless.

Until the very last line.

5 Stars Plus.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

#BookReview: Forget You Know Me by Jessica Strawser

Forget You Know MeSummary:

The next “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) novel from “the gifted Jessica Strawser” (Adriana Trigiani), hailed as “immensely satisfying” (Kathleen Barber) and “that book you can’t put down” (Sally Hepworth). A video call between friends captures a shocking incident no one was supposed to see.

The secrets it exposes threaten to change their lives forever.

Molly and Liza have always been enviably close. Even after Molly married Daniel, the couple considered Liza an honorary family member. But after Liza moved away, things grew more strained than anyone wanted to admit—in the friendship and the marriage.
When Daniel goes away on business, Molly and Liza plan to reconnect with a nice long video chat after the kids are in bed. But then Molly leaves the room to check on a crying child.

What Liza sees next will change everything.

Only one thing is certain: Molly needs her. Liza drives all night to be at Molly’s side—but when she arrives, the reception is icy, leaving Liza baffled and hurt. She knows there’s no denying what she saw.
Or is there?

In disbelief that their friendship could really be over, Liza is unaware she’s about to have a near miss of her own.

And Molly, refusing to deal with what’s happened, won’t turn to Daniel, either.
But none of them can go on pretending. Not after this.

Forget You Know Me is a “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.

One moment will change things for them all.

Review:

I thought it was going to be a suspenseful story, which it was not. It was more of a woman’s fiction novel. In that genre I would say it would have done better, but I never knew which way this story was going. It was frustrating.

Even what should have grabbed me at the beginning of the story just did not; I got exciting for a few pages, but it did not last long.

I was disappointed to say the least. Liza and Molly were not characters that drew me in even as I kept reading.

By the end of the book I was given a lesson on relationships, and I guess that was not what I was looking for. But I do not want to say the book was bad, because Strawser is a talented writer, as far as writing skills go. She really made me connect to the scenes.
It is truly the story of friendship, love and loyalty.

It just was not for me, because it was not what I was expecting.

3 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

#BookReview: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Summary:The Night Olivia Fell

In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.

A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.

In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

Review:

Christina McDonald wrote an emotionally charged suspense novel introducing many characters that each grew on me; by the end of the novel I was invested in each of them and the outcome that I cried when it was uncovered.

It begins when Abi Knight is awoken in the middle of the night when her phone rings to discover that her daughter has been in an accident. She has fallen off a bridge and the accident has left her brain dead, but to everyone’s surprise she is pregnant!! So, they are to keep her on life support long enough for the baby to be born.

The story is about that fight for the baby’s life and the fight for the justice that Abi is fighting for. It is believed the fall was that of an accident, but Abi knows her daughter was involved in something much more sinister. She is not going to give up until she finds out the truth. What is the truth? Was it an accident or was she involved in a crime? I was truly gripped in the outcome.

We are told the story from both Abi and Olivia’s side which was a stunning way to tell the story and the writing was magnificent! A truly splendid story if you want to be drawn in and read a book that will not let you go!

I will be back for more by Christina McDonald!

5 Stars.

PS. I LOVED THE COVER!!

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

#BookReview: I Owe you One by Sophie Kinsella

I owe you one

Summary:

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” And since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will?

It’s simply not in Fixie’s nature to say no to people. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, she not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, an investment manager, scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

But then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life, and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. As always, she wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. No sooner has Seb agreed than the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

Review:

I fell in love with this story right away! Fixie Farr is such an endearing character that you cannot help but fall in love with. I mean she is literally a hero from the beginning of the story saving Sebastian’s laptop from water damage, hence the beginning of the “I Owe you One” story!

This was the story of Fixie becoming the woman she was meant to be. She was working at her family business, living at home with her Mother, Single; in love with her first crush and shy to speak up around her own brother. As this story unfolds, Fixies learns that she must believe in her own strengths to find her own destiny. The question is what is that destiny?

I often could not put the book down.

I had never read a Sophie Kinsella story until this one and I am very excited for my next!

5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.