Isla and Sarah have been best friends for more than 2 decades. They spend their summers at the idyllic Sandbank where their huts are quaint and cozy and right next door to each other. Their sons were inseparable until the day they were separated forever. At 10 years old Jacob and Marley were swept up by the current and only Jacob returned. Isla’s life is never okay again. The sadness penetrates so deeply that after 7 years she still has moments when she can hardly breathe. For Jacobs 17th birthday he goes to a party with his friends at another hut and does not return. Sarah and Nick search every inch of his belongings, speak to his friends and scour the island but Jacob cannot be found. The police are called, the residents of the Sandbank are distraught and questioned extensively. No-one knows anything and yet every seems to know something Sarah did not. Every day bits of evidence pile on and more clues steer Sarah in her desperate search for her son and the truth. Fabulous author Lucy Clarke has once again written an unputdownable novel filled with suspense and mystery. Incredible characters lead us through this tight maze of friendship and family. Highly recommend this fabulous read - you will LOVE (and check out her other 3 as well!)
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
When the Birch family is quarantined for 7 days in the English countryside for the holidays it is anything but a very merry. The eldest sister Olivia, a physician, is coming back from volunteer work in Africa. Because she may have been exposed to the virus, the family has decided to stay in the old crumbling, still beautiful family home far from the city. Father is a cantankerous food writer whose reviews reflect his general world complaints, Mother has just been told the lump she found is cancer and is keeping it a secret until after Christmas and the youngest daughter Phoebe has gotten engaged to her longtime boyfriend (who may like boys more than girls) and is way more concerned with the size of her ring than a deadly disease from her sister. When Olivia’s secret Irish boyfriend (volunteers were not supposed to touch for exactly this reason) collapses minutes after his plane lands she hides their relationship. This witty, fast paced, very British novel was a hoot. Each character is delectably ridiculous and smart in their own entertaining way. Really enjoyed and highly recommend this debut novel. Definitely look forward to more from author Francesca Hornak.
Cassie has been flying the friendly skies since she finished college. It was a way to escape her small Kentucky life, the loss of her parents and guilt of her younger sister being placed in foster care. She is pretty and a flirt, an excellent flight attendant. She is also a functioning alcoholic and as the years have passed the forgotten nights and strange hotel beds aren’t as sexy as they once were. Cassie is on a coveted flight to Dubai, and a very handsome younger man is in her section. On arrival she has dinner with him and ends up back at his hotel. But when she wakes in the morning he is not moving, there is blood everywhere, Cassie remembers nothing. At that moment Cassie has quick decisions to make. Choices that will change the trajectory of her life forever. Who is this man? What will she tell her coworkers? Why was she spared? Much like a spy, like an actress, binge drinkers are great liars because there are always blank spaces and situations that don’t make sense. So begins her parade of stories, one lie leading to the next. She must appease her crew, get rid of the broken bottle, her stained purse and convince her sister she is nothing like their father. The story snowballs. Cassie is front page news. The FBI, the CIA, the Union, her lawyer - all want to know. The deeper the web weaves the less people Cassie can trust. Because in the end - who is really going to believe a drunk anyway? This heart thumping suspense all rolled up into one giant wave of words that keeps crashing on you over and over. Unexpected twists and turns at every corner with a main character you find yourself unexpectedly rooting for. Bestselling author Chris Bohjalian has done it again. You are going to LOVE this one!
Friday, December 22, 2017
As the last movie of the trilogy approaches it was fun to read Darker, the latest read in the Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele saga. The story continues through Christians eyes. (first one called Grey) An abusive early childhood still haunts his dreams and he cannot bare to be touched. Christian wins Ana back and they continue their smoldering tumultuous relationship. This time around he wants to change, try things her way. With no contracts and the future wide open they begin to move forward with their undying love and intense sexual attraction. There is the mysterious Leila, his ex-sub that has reappeared and is stalking them, Ana’s creepy boss is waiting in the shadows to make his jealous moves and Elena (Mrs. Robinson) cannot accept that Christian actually wants to change his life. Repetitive rollercoaster of emotions keeps these two on their toes and in the throes of passion. Like it or not (and I did!) only 54 days until Fifty Shades Freed.
Lorena Hickok, better known as Hick, met Eleanor Roosevelt while working as a reporter in 1932, just before Franklin D. Roosevelt became President of the United States. This was the beginning of the love story that consumed both hearts for the rest of their lives. Lorena had grown up dirt poor in small town USA. She was abused and lonely but her quick wit and determination led her to become the nation’s best known female reporter. Eleanor, distant niece of Theodore and fifth cousin of Franklin grew up in a famous wealthy family and attended English finishing school. She was undoubtedly the most famous First Lady and her desire to save the world one act of kindness at a time filled her years in the White House with incomparable success. She and Franklin had six children. Franklin had many, many relationships outside of the marriage and Eleanor had Hick. Hick was known as the First Friend. Narrated through Hick’s sharp, humorous, intelligence and deep love for Eleanor this fast paced peek into the lives of these fascinating women was completely unputdownable. I have loved all of author Amy Blooms’ novels and this latest is at the very top of my must read 2018 list. Her writing and choice of words as the story was whispered in my ear captured my imagination and heart. Amy Bloom has put her magical touch on these historical figures and it is as if she went back in time and they told her what to write. Highly recommend this incredible read.
Monday, December 4, 2017
Mr. and Mrs. Jha have lived a comfortable life in their tight knit East Delhi complex. All the neighbors know each others business - from whats hanging on their laundry line to who is currently dating who. When their son goes off to America to study business (a major coup) and Mr. Jha unexpectedly comes into a large sum of money, their neighbors/friends go off the deep end. Mr. Jha instantly moves the family to the wealthy suburbs and tries his hardest to keep up with the Delhi Jonses. In a very witty, quirky, Indian fashion their simple lives are turned upside down. Their son fails out of school (an enormous disgrace!), their equally ostentatious new neighbors want them to join the club, and their widowed neighbor finds true love. This light hearted, breezy, laugh out loud novel was an unexpected pleasure to read. Bet it would be a hilarious movie!
It’s December 1999. Ben and Tatum begin a whirlwind romance right out of a movie. Literally. They are both in grad school in NYC; Ben as a writer and Tatum, an actress. She stars in his Indie short film that shoots him to Hollywood notoriety. They become inseparable and their careers soar with limitless possibility. But as the years go on, their marriage is struggling. Mistakes, secrets, pain and losses can no longer be ignored. All the dreams they once had are hampered by the reality that is Hollywood. The gossip, long hours and trajectory of fame is relentless and unforgiving. The memories that Ben carries of his Dad’s expectations smother every bit of his success. Regret and jealousy become too heavy to manage. The story is narrated through the eyes of Ben and Tatum and alternates between their meeting in 1999, the present and every year in between. Although the timeline can seem confusing at times and must be followed very closely, the clear honest voices of these characters easily pulls the reader into their hearts and lives. Don’t miss this enjoyable read, especially if you’d like a peek at the movie star world we all devour in the tabloids!
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Graham’s second wife Audra is everything he is not; young, bubbly, talkative, and friendly, an extremely quirky character. Her light hearted attempts to genuinely be kind to all people and continuously speak her mind (zero filter with a smile!) lands her in the most precarious situations. Graham, much more of a straight laced type of guy loves her to pieces but she pretty much exhausts him on a daily basis. Taking care of their young son with Aspergers is difficult but in Audra’s world the glass is most certainly full. When Graham connects with his disturbingly type A ex wife Elspeth, their renewed friendship becomes quickly awkward and complicated. This laugh out loud exploration of marriage, first and second - grass is not always greener - is an enjoyable fast paced read. Definitely have to be in the mood for these silly, slightly over the top scenarios but solid writing and characters and I would definitely read more from author Katherine Heiny.