#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.

#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: 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: 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.

#BookReview: A Serial Killer’s Daughter by Kerri Rawson

Serial Killers DaughterSummary:

What is it like to learn that your ordinary, loving father is a serial killer?

In 2005, Kerri Rawson heard a knock on the door of her apartment. When she opened it, an FBI agent informed her that her father had been arrested for murdering ten people, including two children. It was then that she learned her father was the notorious serial killer known as BTK, a name he’d given himself that described the horrific way he committed his crimes: bind, torture, kill. As news of his capture spread, Wichitacelebrated the end of a thirty-one-year nightmare.

For Kerri Rawson, another was just beginning. She was plunged into a black hole of horror and disbelief. The same man who had been a loving father, a devoted husband, church president, Boy Scout leader, and a public servant had been using their family as a cover for his heinous crimes since before she was born. Everything she had believed about her life had been a lie.
Written with candor and extraordinary courage, A Serial Killer’s Daughter is an unflinching exploration of life with one of America’s most infamous killers and an astonishing tale of personal and spiritual transformation. For all who suffer from unhealed wounds or the crippling effects of violence, betrayal, and anger, Kerri Rawson’s story offers the hope of reclaiming sanity in the midst of madness, rebuilding a life in the shadow of death, and learning to forgive the unforgivable.
“No easy answers here. No platitudes. Only raw honesty, written with the gracious authority of one who has glimpsed hell. Kerri Rawson shares her earned wisdom and a hope that has been bought with tears and nightmares. This book is a gritty must-read in the library of hope.”
—Paul J. Pastor, author of The Face of the Deep and The Listening Day

Review:

This is such a sad story. This was a truly inconceivable story. When we watch the stories of Serial Killers, we forget that they not only have parents, but some may even have children.
This is the story Kerri Rawson tells of her life with her father Dennis Lynn Rader, the BTK Killer (Bind, Torture, Kill) He killed ten innocent people, two of them being children over three decades. During this time, he is the head of a family. Loving to his wife, Paula; to bring his daughter Kerri “to ease” when she needed to be soothed, and caring to his son, Brian. Kerri was never uncertain of her father’s love for her.
While she struggles with her faith throughout her life because their family suffers so much loss and their grief is huge, she tells us the story about how she dealt with her life and how her father seemingly dealt with the same circumstances.
You learn that the BTK Killer left behind more then ten victims. His entire family suffered the consequences of his actions.
The question is; will they recover?

3.5 Stars.

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

 

#BookReview: Wildflower Heart by Grace Greene

Wildflower Heart

Summary:

Kara Hart was scarred by loss—first the loss of her mother and now her husband. She feels broken, with no will to move forward, until her father does the unexpected: he moves to the Virginia countryside to restore an old Victorian mansion. Kara decides to go with him, telling herself that it will only be temporary.
The huge house is neglected and derelict, but Kara discovers its breathtaking field of wildflowers and is stunned by their beauty. The house, the grounds, and the quirky neighbors—including a handsome one—are almost as fascinating as her father’s sudden willingness to discuss her mother and his own secret past.
Kara is finding her new normal when tragedy strikes again, forcing her to make difficult choices. Will she go back to her old life and risk losing all she has gained? Or will she face her fears and give herself the opportunity to grow?

Review:

I had to read this book because two of my favorite authors, Patricia Sands and Bette Lee Crosby were recommending it. I have to say that their recommendation was fabulous!! I am grateful I read it and look forward to the next in this series, as this is just book 1 in “The Wildflower House Book” Series. I also want to read her other novels. This is very exciting! I love being introduced to an author that I will be following.

We meet Kara who enters wildly into the story, there is no slow lead up; which I loved! Grace Greene uses the wildflower both literally and figuratively throughout the story until the very end. Her writing is very poetic, so you really feel as though are where Kara is during each scene. It is truly beautiful.

This is the story of Kara’s journey of recovery from a tragic event that occurred when she heard heartbreaking news from her husband, Niles on their anniversary. She was able to depend on her Father, even though he may have been the “king of Understatements”; he was still the one that she could count on when it really mattered. Loss. Regret. Forgiveness. Grief. Family. Love. Are all intermixed in this story, like the seeds of wildflowers. Characters you don’t want to say goodbye to; which always makes the best stories!

The way she describes the wildflower garden. Let’s just say, my 12-degree day was definitely warmer!

Well Done!

This is a great cup of tea, warm blanket or sitting by the seaside read.

4 Stars.

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

#BookReview: Watching You by Lisa Jewell

306e90eb-e19b-43ad-8402-64b4286b4930Summary:

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

In Lisa Jewell’s latest brilliant “bone-chilling suspense” (People) no one is who they seem—and everyone is hiding something. Who has been murdered—and who would have wanted one of their neighbors dead? As “Jewell teases out her twisty plot at just the right pace” (Booklist, starred review), you will be kept guessing until the startling revelation on the very last page.

Review:

Bravo! Lisa Jewell delivers another nail-biting thriller that unfolds with the same alluring anticipation that all of her other books do! This always invites you to never put the book down.

One thing I loved most about this story was that I never really knew who the center of the story was because there were so many interesting stories going on at once and one never lingered long enough for me to quite figure it out. It kept me guessing; On top of the guessing who has been killed!

We meet a group of people living in a town outside of London and get to know them. Intimately!

They get to know one anther intimately.

Some because they choose to, and some don’t even know they are being watched and someone is learning all about them.

I was left clapping my hands at the end.

5 Stars.

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