Sunday, June 23, 2024

Find Me In California by Kerry Lonsdale

 

My thoughts

I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book and set it aside after reading almost half. I picked it back up and finished it today and it was quite good. It was a little bit like the last book I read with the Alzheimer’s and drug addiction but different too. 

Two grandchildren are raised by their grandmothers. Both grandmothers are in the same nursing home. One with Alzheimers and one because she has nothing left and is old. I did not like either grandmother. Let me explain that.

Rose or as she is called by Julia, Mama Rose, has Alzheimers and is in a nursing home. She does not recognize Julia most of the time. She confuses her with Lea who is Julia's mother and a secret is revealed. Julia has always loved her grandmother and had bad feelings about her mother. 

Liza is in the same nursing home as Rose. She's old and even though she was rich at one time she is now without money and needs her grandson to come help her find a new home to live in. She was never kind to her grandson. Never there for him. After he lost both parents to separate accidents she was all he had left and she resented him. She actually blamed him for his mother, her daughter, drowning. He was a child. 

These two older women have a history. A deep history that has a few secrets too. They were once the best of friends but something happened to cause them to go in different directions. Their grandchildren though found each other and fell in love. Not that either grandmother knew that though. 

I did not like Rose or Liza. To me they were both awful. Rose did love Julia but she also lied to her repeatedly about her mother. I think that was just about the worse thing she could have done. She messed up that girl. I would have understood if Lea had remained the same throughout the years. But she didn't. She deserved to get to know Julia and Julia deserved to have her mother. Matt's grandmother was just mean. Yes she went through some things but to blame him for his mother's death was just the worse thing I can think of. He was a child. Grieving himself. No I didn't like either grandmother. 

I loved how Matt and Julia fell for each other. I loved how they both found a life. I thought both deserved it. 

There was a lot in this story. From the Alzheimer disease to drug addiction to lots of drinking and smoking pot. Some bad trips of the mind too. This book was definitely not boring. It was full of things to keep you interested. Unless you are like me and put it down.. I'm glad I finished it. It was quite good. 

Thank you #NetGalley, #KerryLonsdale, #LadeUnion, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

Four stars and I recommend it.

About

An achingly romantic novel about chance meetings, buried secrets, and the multiple facets of love and family bonds by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kerry Lonsdale.

Raised by her fiercely passionate and free-spirited grandmother, Julia Hope has never gone without love. But as she tends to her only living relative during her final days, Julia struggles to overcome her fear of being alone.

A thousand miles away, Matt Gatlin has managed to avoid the coldhearted grandmother with whom he once lived. But after twelve years of her being blessedly out of sight, she needs him. His resentments still raw, Matt packs up his car and reluctantly heads to California to confront a bitter past he thought was long gone.

Over the next six days, Julia’s and Matt’s fates intersect. An old diary exposes the tragedy of a long-lost love. A history of secrets in two families comes to light. And on a lonely back road, Matt picks up an unusual yet captivating hitchhiker with a secret of her own.

For Julia and Matt, something heartbreaking and heartwarming, mysterious and beautiful, will touch their lives—with neither of them realizing that maybe they’re destined for each other.



The Wild Road Home by Melissa Payne

 

My thoughts

By the author of The Night of Many Endings and A Light in the Forest, both of which I loved. Melissa Payne has written a story here that is so filled with love and hope. Of dreams and acceptance. Of family and loss. It's such a beautiful and sad story. 

This story starts out making you have lots of tears. It's a subject that is sad.. Alzheimer disease. Also drug addiction. Also the love a sister has for her little brother. A story of a man who loves his wife so much he truly believes everything will be ok if only he can take her away. To a small cabin in the woods. This is like reading two books in one that intersect in a way that will have you rooting for and weeping for the characters. The main characters that is. 

Mack's wife Daisy has Alzheimer’s  and her unbeknownst to him her cancer has returned. Her best friend Peggy has power of attorney over her medical decisions. Daisy knew that Mack would not be able to let go. He would want to hang on to her even knowing that is not what she wants. She thought she was making it easier on him. But was it? 

Brandi manages to get away from the group home she is in to go see about her brother Sy. He's just a little boy and is living with their drug addicted mother. Nancy, their mother is hooked on Meth and puts that first. She doesn't see what she is doing or has done to her children. Brandi finds Sy and they go on the run. Sy has lots of fears and he doesn't seem to remember Brandi completely. She's thirteen years older than him and has always been more of a mother to him than Nancy.

When paths cross these three will never be the same. Things will go in a direction that Mack never saw coming and Brandi could not have predicted. The things they go through and do together make them a force for sure. They build a friendship that will last a lifetime. But the things in their lives will make it much harder for them to remain together. Things take a turn rather quickly.

This book reminds me of a Catherine Ryan Hyde story. The way it brings two very troubled families together then keeps you hoping for all to be ok. If you love Ms Hyde's books you will love this one. It has all the love and beauty that you will adore. All the ups and downs that keep you on edge hoping they make it. All the emotion that keeps you grabbing tissues.

Thank you #NegGalley, #MelissaPaybe, #LakeUnionPublishers, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

Five big stars. 

About

A beautiful and enriching novel about unforgettable love and the power of friends and family by Melissa Payne, the bestselling author of The Night of Many Endings and A Light in the Forest.

Mack Anders will do anything for his wife, Daisy. Even die. With the woman he loves fading away from Alzheimer’s, Mack fakes his own passing. The insurance makes certain that Daisy will be taken care of with dignity and comfort until the end. In a lonesome cabin in the Wyoming wilderness, he lives off the grid with nothing but thoughts of the past to keep him company and the belief that Daisy is better off without him.

Strong-willed eighteen-year-old Brandi has just been released from juvie. Willing to risk everything to save her young brother, Sy, from their unstable mother, Brandi takes him on the run. Her destination is their aunt’s house in Casper. Maybe there she can finally find a stable home for Sy. After a busted tire strands them in the remote wildlands of Wyoming, they cross paths with Mack. Brandi quickly realizes this quiet stranger might be their only hope of reaching safety.

On an unpredictable road ahead, escape brings these three kindred souls together. But the real world is closing in, and to help Brandi and Sy, Mack will have to come back to life in ways he never imagined.


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Nature of Disappearing by Kimi Cunningham Grant

 

My thoughts

The author of THESE SILENT WOODS has written another unforgettable story. In this one you will get lost in the wilderness. Go fly fishing in freezing cold rivers. Find a true forever friend. Fall in love. In real love...


When Emlyn wakes in a stranger's cabin she has no idea how her life is going to change. She's been through a lot and it's time for her to face it all. To accept that she is a good and decent person who is worthy of love and being heard. She has been through so much for another. It's time for her to live life for herself now. At least that is what I got out of this story.

A beautiful heartfelt story of a young woman who fell in love. She fell in love with the wrong boy. But no one, not even her best friend, could tell her that. And to be honest her best friend didn't really try that hard. What she experiences for the next five or more years is her story. She tells it all too. You get all the details and meet some pretty awful people. But you also meet the kindest, most caring people too. 

This story is about a young woman who is really searching for something. And when she finally finds it it is so beautiful. So honest and loving. When she finally accepts that she is worthy of hope. Of a normal, caring, relationship. 

I loved this story. It's filled with a lot of tension. A lot of thrills. A bit of love. It hits on drug addiction. Lies. Maybe a bit of abuse but in a way that is not what you think. It's a story of hope. Hope in it's truest form. Somewhere in Idaho there is a couple living a good life. I believe that now. I'm happy for them.

Thank you #NetGalley, #KimiCunninghamGrant, #StMartinsPress, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

Five big stars. It's that good.


About

Emlyn doesn't let herself think about the past. How she and her best friend, Janessa, barely speak anymore. How Tyler, the love of her life, left her half dead on the side of the road three years ago. Her new life is simple and safe. She lives alone in her Airstream trailer and works as a fishing and hunting guide in scenic Idaho. Her closest friends are the community's makeshift reverend and a handsome Forest Service ranger who took her in at her lowest.

But when Tyler shows up with the news that Janessa is missing, Emlyn is propelled back into the world she worked so hard to forget. Janessa has become a social media star, documenting her #vanlife adventures with her rugged boyfriend. She hasn't posted lately, though, and when Emlyn realizes the most recent photo doesn't match up with its caption, she reluctantly teams up with Tyler to find her old friend. As the two trace Janessa's path through miles of wild country, Emlyn can't deny the chemistry still crackling between them. But the deeper they press into the wilderness, the more she begins to suspect that a darker truth lies in the woods—and that Janessa isn't the only one in danger.



Monday, June 17, 2024

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. C. Schwab

 

My thoughts

This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read. It's a bit different but oh so good. A magical experience for the mind. A love story for the soul. I don't say soul lightly either. I story of hope. A story of "Not forgetting." A story about a girl. Then a boy. And the deals they made. 

Addie made a deal with the devil before she even realized it. She had only meant to beg the gods to help her. To help her not have to marry a man with children. She was not ready for marriage and wanted more. But in the early 1700s that is not what was expected. She had no choice. Until she did!

This story takes you through 300+ years in the life of Addie LaRue. The many things she had to learn to survive. The awful loneliness. The love she craved. And more than that she wanted to be remembered. For someone to not forget her when they looked away or when she left the room for a moment. It was the curse of the deal she made on that long ago night. When she felt so helpless. 

Addie will take you across so many continents. Through so much history. She's seen a lot and experienced more than any twenty three year old should. And the deal that the dark man gave her at a time when she truly should not have been held accountable. But that is how it went and now Addie LaRue is stuck forever in a life that she truly can't escape. 

This author has written a beautiful story here. One that will have you turning the pages to find out what comes next. It's divided into seven parts and lots of chapters. It's a long book but a quick read. It is a heartfelt story. Sad and happy. Lots of great characters. One not so great. Many time periods. And that ending. WOW! What an ending it was. 

This was a BOTM add on for me and I'm so glad I chose it. 

FIVE big stars and the highest recommendation.
About

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.



Saturday, June 15, 2024

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

 

My thoughts

This is a somewhat hard book for me to review. The reason being that I found it infuriatingly aggravating and intensely frustrating in places. That being said it's a great story. Just getting from point A to point B seemed to take forever...


This is one of those stories that I was looking forward to reading. I had read a few reviews that talked about how beautiful the story was. How heartwarming and heartbreaking it was. All true but with other feelings also. While I did think the story was so good I found the main narrator, Mia, grating. She was so self-centered. So hardheaded. Maybe that is the right words. She would say things then contradict herself or do something then say never again only to turn around and do exactly that. It was very hard for me to like her or engage with her. She was super smart but in a way that just makes you not like her. While I do think she loved her family in this story, I'm afraid she didn't much like them. Most of them. At least that is how it came across for me.

Mia's younger brother Eugene, who is autistic and can't talk, comes home from an outing with their father. Alone. With blood stains on his clothes and under his nails. What happened. Did he get angry and accidentally hurt their dad. Or is it something deeper. Something that they may never know. 

I won't go into all that this book is about because you can read that in the synopsis for yourself. I will say that the story that is told from Mia's POV is about what this family goes through. What the detective puts Eugene through. Or tries too. The accusations and the fears. This boy can't talk but he can communicate. He knows what happened. But did it really happen the way he says. Is their father really gone or is he performing another experiment? This book is full of things that will make you wonder and make you cringe. Make you gasp. Make you question what may have happened. 

While I didn't love this book I did like it. I found parts of it annoying and uninteresting. The footnotes... I just didn't like that part and felt it took away more than it helped. I also would have loved to hear John's or their mother's POV. I would have loved hearing their father's POV also. But that is not how it's written. Yes it's good. It will hold your interest. It will keep you wanting to know what happened on that day. I adored Eugene and I liked John. Mia just got on my nerves. John and Mia are twins. This family is biracial. White and Korean. While it does not have any racial slurs or impacts going on it does have some teens making fun of Eugene and calling him names. Shame on them.

Read the Author's Notes at the ending. There is some great info there.

Thank you #NetGalley, #AngieKim, #BOTM, #RandomHousePublishing, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

4 stars up from 3.5

About

When a father goes missing, his family's desperate search leads them to question everything they know about him and one another--both a riveting page-turner and a deeply moving portrait of a family in crisis from the award-winning author of Miracle Creek.

"We didn't call the police right away." Those are the first words of this extraordinary novel about a biracial Korean-American family in Virginia whose lives are upended when their beloved father and husband goes missing.

Mia, the irreverent, hyperanalytical twenty-year-old daughter, has an explanation for everything--which is why she isn't initially concerned when her father and younger brother Eugene don't return from a walk in a nearby park. They must have lost their phone. Or stopped for an errand somewhere. But by the time Mia's brother runs through the front door bloody and alone, it becomes clear that the father in this tight-knit family is missing and the only witness is Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak.

What follows is both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance. Full of shocking twists and fascinating questions of love, language, race, and human connection, Happiness Falls is a mystery, a family drama, and a novel of profound philosophical inquiry. With all the powerful storytelling she brought to her award-winning debut Miracle Creek, Angie Kim turns the missing person story into something wholly original, creating an indelible tale of a family who must go to remarkable lengths to truly understand one another.



Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Paris Widow by Kimberly Belle

 

My thoughts

Another wonderful thriller/mystery from Kimberly Belle. She is one of my favorite authors. I always want to read her new books. I know I won't be disappointed. This just might be the best one yet.

Set in mainly Paris, with a few look backs at places Stella and Adam have gone, you get a good look at this couple's lives. The love they share and the things going on that each does not know about. Yes they adore each other. They are deeply in love. But they also have secrets. 

Stella and Adam just finished eating at a restaurant that Stella assured Adam he would love. And he did. They are headed back to their hotel to grab their luggage as it's almost time for them to catch their flight home. Adam realizes that he forgot his sunglasses at the restaurant and wants to go retrieve them. Stella says she will buy him another pair. An even better pair, but Adam wants those. They are special to him. As Stella makes her way to their hotel an explosion occurs. It happened at or close to where Adam was going.... 

After the explosion Stella can't find Adam. He's not answering his phone. She starts to panic. 
What happened? Where is Adam? Did he get blown up? Is he a victim? Or is her the culprit? Stella doesn't trust anyone. She is determined to find Adam. Even if it's his body.

What happens next is lots of thrills for Stella. Not being able to trust anyone and not knowing what is actually going on, she starts looking into things. Into Adam's work. His business associates. Anything that will give her a clue. She's heard too much from the detective and someone from the American Embassy. She is not sure what exactly is going on but she refuses to leave Paris without Adam.

This book takes you to a few other places and shows you things that Adam did in the past and also things that Stella has done. You meet several people who may or may not be telling the truth. Stella does not know what to believe. Until she gets a phone call. Her life is going to change in ways she never saw coming.

This is a must read. Well written and based on actual events as to the theft of historical artifacts. The ways in which they were stolen and what was stolen. This author makes you feel like you are actually in Paris. Running down the streets. Entering into areas that are less than safe. The descriptions are stunning. A true Kimberly Belle thriller.

Thank you #NetGalley, #KimberlyBelle, #HarlequinPublishing, #ParkRow, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book. 

FIVE big stars. It's excellent. Grab it. Devour it.

About

A dream vacation turns deadly when secrets from the past catch up to a married couple in Paris in this new edge-of-your-seat thriller from USA Today bestselling author, Kimberly Belle.

When Stella met Adam, she thought she had finally found a nice, normal guy—a welcome change from her previous boyfriend and her precarious jetsetter lifestyle with him. But her secure world comes crashing down when Adam goes missing after an explosion in the city square. Unable to reach him, she panics.

As the French police investigate, it’s revealed that Adam was on their radar as a dealer of rare and stolen antiquities with a long roster of criminal clients. Reeling from this news, Stella is determined not to leave Paris until she has the full story. Was Adam a random victim or the target of the explosion? And why is someone following her through the streets of Paris?

An irresistible, fast-paced read set in some of Europe’s most inviting locales, The Paris Widow explores how sinister secrets of the past stay with us—no matter how far we travel.



Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

 

My thoughts

I read this book after the first three. I had googled the order and from what I read you get a better look and feel for Celaena and what all she endured if you read them in the order that I did. I believe it now. This book was excellent and that ending.. Oh my what an ending. 

This is a compilations of all the prequels that the author wrote. Each about something that Celaena was to do. Some person she was suppose to take out. Also a good look at Sam and Arobynn. I adored Sam but hate, hate, hate Arobynn. He's just awful. 

These books give some info into what happened before Celaena was the King's Assassin. Before she was brought to the Glass Palace. Before her life changes. Before...

I really enjoyed reading all of these prequels and each gave me a deeper look into what Celaena went through. The things she did. The pain she endured. The heartache and betrayal. The last book will hurt to read. The ending just may bring a few tears to your eyes. 

About

Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.

When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes—and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches—and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives . . .

A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling—and deadly—world.

Included in this volume:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire



Find Me In California by Kerry Lonsdale

  My thoughts I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book and set it aside after reading almost half. I picked it back up and finished...