“Little disasters” Sarah Vaughan

Rated 4 stars **** ARC.. ebook. Atria/Emily Bestler Books. To be published August 18, 2020.

Little DisastersLiz, Jess, Charlotte and Mel met at a prenatal class, and grew close through play dates and nights out together. Over the ten years of their friendship Liz, Charlotte and Mel always felt that Jess was a perfect mom because she had the cleanest house, cooked the best food, expertly parented her two boys, and got her figure back just a few weeks after giving birth to her third child.

However, shortly after Betsey’s birth, things seemed to change. Jess didn’t spend as much time with her friends; was easily distracted, and was obsessed with cleaning. Because her husband worked long hours, she was left to care for three small children on her own. She internalized everything and, though she grew more and more withdrawn, no one realized she was hiding a secret that would forever change all of their lives.

Through flashbacks and the present time, readers gain insight into secrets from Liz, Jess and Charlotte’s pasts that made them into the women they are today. As the situation with Jess gets darker and more complicated, and Liz struggles with her own issues, it is the bonds of friendship that keep their heads above water.

I thought the storyline between Liz and Jess was compelling and kept me guessing up until the very last page, but I disliked the flashbacks the author used to talk about their pasts. I thought there was too much back and forth going on between the past and present. However, because the subject matter is very important, I will recommend it for Adult readers.

I received a digital advance reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“The secrets of lost stones” by Melisa Payne

Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. Lake Union Publishing. 2019.

The secretes of lost stonesA hit-and-run driver killed Chance, Jess’s 8-year-old son eight years ago leaving her devastated and feeling as if life isn’t worth living. When Jess leaves town to start fresh elsewhere, her car breaks down in a small mountainside town. There she’s invited to be a caretaker to an older woman named Lucy who has a way of knowing things that are going to happen. She believes Jess and a ghostly little boy are “loose ends,” something she has to fix.

Fifteen-year-old Star has been living on the streets for months, after running away from a foster home. When a strange older woman calls her a “loose end” and arranges for her to get a bus ticket to a small, out-of-the way town, Star is dumbfounded. When she arrives Lucy convinces her to stay for a little while. Though Star has tough street bravado, she feels herself melting into the kindnesses offered by Lucy.

In alternate voices Jess and Star tell their stories of loss and fear, with a dose of hope. Readers will become invested in their lives, hoping for their “loose ends” to be tied up so they could have hope filled new lives.

Recommended for Adults.

“The prized girl” by Amy K. Green

Rated 3 stars *** ARC. ebook Dutton Books (Penguin Random House). To be published January 20, 2020.

The prized girlThough Vanessa’s thirteen-year-old sister Jenny was brutally murdered she was unaffected, as she’d distanced herself from her family many years ago. Despite herself, Vanessa found herself working with the lead detective to figure out who killed Jenny. Perhaps it was to feel better for being such an awful sister. Perhaps it was to keep herself from sinking further into depression from the breakup with her teacher eight years ago when she turned 18 years old. They’d been together for the best 4 years of her life, and she couldn’t get over it. In alternating voices Jenny and Vanessa tell their stories, leading me on a whodunit ride, and building to a climax that left me reeling.

I did NOT like the ending, feeling the way I did at the end of “It’s a wonderful life” when Mr. Potter didn’t get his comeuppance. I also didn’t care for Vanessa as she was whiny, needy, and a total backstabber. She desperately needed counseling for the trauma she’d experienced, but no one suggested it. If anything my favorite character was JP. He was fresh, honest and told things “like it is,” not like he wished/hoped they could be.

Despite these objections, I gave it 3 stars and will leave it up to you to decide if you want to read it or not.

Recommended for Adults.

I received an advance copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

“And then you loved me” by Inglath Cooper

Rated 5 stars ***** 2014. Fence Free Entertainment, LLC.

And then you loved meI read this book in one sitting, losing myself in a beautiful story of loss and heartache, friendship and pain. Seventeen-year-old Becca belongs to a religious group of farmers, similar to the Amish, who shun worldly things, while eighteen-year-old Matt is the popular, handsome baseball star of their small town. Though completely opposite in the ways they’ve been raised, they fall in love.

Unfortunately circumstances drove them apart for eighteen years until Matt returns to town for the funeral of his grandmother. Both are grown and have their own lives, but seeing each other again causes all the feelings they’ve kept bottled up for eighteen years to begin bubbling to the surface.

Becca has spent those eighteen years married to a man she doesn’t love, caring for a young girl and her little sister who has never gotten over the death of her young man when they were just fifteen years old. Meanwhile their mom mourns the only love of her life, and has refused to reconcile with her son because he married someone of the wrong race and religion. It seems as if no one is allowed to be with the one they love because they’re too busy worrying about appearances and what others think.

Tangled thoughts of having loved and lost, and questions of whether or not it’s possible to start fresh from the mistakes of life are brought before readers. At times I found the storyline to be sad because people chose circumstances over their own happiness, but at other times I found it to be hopeful when they chose to give hope a chance.

Highly recommended for Adult readers.

“The storyteller’s secret” by Sejal Badani

Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. 2018. Lake Union Publishing.

The storyteller's secretFor years Jaya had been desperately trying to have children but, raised by a mother who was never affectionate, she internalized her feelings as the number of miscarriages mounted. Jaya’s inability to talk about her losses and feelings about them resulted in a rift in her marriage as she fell into a deepening depression that left no room for anything other than the loneliness of her womb.

When Jaya learns her grandfather is dying and that her mother refuses to see him, she travels to India to uncover information about her mother’s past. There she meets Ravi who, though an Untouchable, was her grandmother’s trusted friend and servant. He tells her about Amisha, her beautiful, brave, strong grandmother who lived when Great Britain ruled India. This was¬†during a time when women had no say in how their lives were lived, but Amisha wanted to be a writer, to tell stories, and to learn English. She wanted to be heard and to be seen.

Through Ravi’s stories Jaya learns about her mother, her grandmother and her heritage, the sacrifices Ravi made for Amisha and her family, as well as the sacrifices Amisha made for her daughter. In time Jaya learns to walk tall in the pride of those who’ve gone before her, gaining Amisha’s strength to face her future and to live it with purpose.

This book was AMAZING. It completely took my breath away, and made me cry. Amisha’s story is very powerful, as is Ravi’s. I know other readers will feel the same way.

Highly recommended for Adult readers.

 

 

 

“Deliver her” Patricia Perry Donovan

Rated 2 stars ** Ebook. 2016. Lake Union Publishing.

DeliverHerMeg is worried because Alex, her 16-year-old daughter, has been acting strangely since her best friend died in a car accident. Alex lost interest in the things she used to do, has a new set of friends, is extremely moody, sullen and uncommunicative, and seems to be taking a ride on the wild side.

After an unsupervised party that wrecks their home, Meg finds drugs in the house. Believing Alex desperately needs help she decides to hire a stranger (who specializes in transporting troubled teens) to take Alex (against her will) hundreds of miles away to a school that will help her get a fresh start. This decision forever changes the dynamics of the Carmody family because, after a car accident, Alex disappears en route to the school.

Through multiple viewpoints, taking place over the course of several days both in the past and present, Donovan takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and events guaranteed to leave readers heads spinning. There were too many back and forth discussions and storylines, as well as many unanswered questions at the end. I will have to include a spoiler alert below so you can see what I mean.

I wasn’t a fan of this book so, in light of all of my questions, I will have to leave it up to you to Decide if You want to Read it or Not.

***********SPOILER ALERT ***************

Why didn’t Jacob get his act together? Why is Meg still allowing their strange living arrangement? Why does Carl seem to ogle Iris, a married woman, a little too much on their brief NY visit? When Iris goes on and on about how much she likes NY is she hinting that she and her husband will soon be on the outs?

There were WAY too many unanswered questions for my taste. I hope the author isn’t planning book #2, because I definitely won’t be reading it.

 

“New Moon: Twilight #2” Stephenie Meyer

Rated 5 stars ***** EBook. 2006. Little, Brown and Company.

NewMoonIn this second book of the wildly successful “Twilight” series, Bella is heartbroken because Edward broke up with her. He told her he didn’t love her anymore, and felt it would be best if he and his family went away forever so she could move on with her life as if he’d never existed. True to his word, he disappeared – taking her heart and sanity with him.

Without Edward, Bella falls into a deep depression, which goes on for seven months. Her only escape from the unbearably lonely days and nights without Edward is time spent with Jacob Black, a young Native American from the nearby reservation who is an old family friend. As her friendship with Jacob intensifies, she learns of how he and others from his tribe turn into werewolves to protect their land from vampires – their natural enemies. As she continues spending time with him, she wonders if he can be enough to help her forget Edward. Could the love of a younger, but handsome and strong teen werewolf, help her forget the unforgettable and breathtakingly handsome vampire who broke her heart?

Bella is at her worst in “New Moon,” as she goes on and on about the hole in her body Edward left when he disappeared. She refuses to try to heal herself, and wallows constantly in self-pity. Readers will quickly get annoyed with her. The very bright spot in the book is the character of Jacob Black who, though briefly mentioned in “Twilight,”¬†gets full billing in “New Moon.” Again make sure to read the book before you see the movie, as Taylor Lautner’s handsome face will forever be associated with Jacob.

Recommended for ages 14 and older.