Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My take on: One True Loves

A young couple with their entire future together ahead of them. Both with careers that have taken them around the world and back. They don't have a lot of money, but they have each other. But suddenly the life they've imagined -- a life filled with laughter, food, family, and love -- is ripped away. One of them falls into a pit of grief, loss, and depression.

Life might never be the same again. But soon a year passes and little by little life gets better -- back to a sense of normalcy. More time passes, and there's a renewed chance at happiness. A chance to find a true love, again. But...what happens when your first true love comes back into your life? Who do you choose to be with. How can anyone make that choice. That choice is at the heart of One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Emma Blair has to make a difficult decision. Her husband, Jesse, was presumed dead after a helicopter accident. But he survived, after spending years on a deserted island. And Jesse wants his life and his wife back. But Emma has moved on and is now engaged to Sam. No matter who Emma chooses to be with, someone will get hurt.

It would be easy to return to Jesse. Despite her engagement, Emma has always loved Jesse. She loved the memories they made together. But she buried that part of her life to be with Sam. In order to find love again, Emma had to change. She had to let Jesse go. Jesse loved the woman she used to be. Emma is a different person now. Emma's doing things she might never have done if her life with Jesse had not been interrupted. She moved back home to Massachusetts after years of running away. She's running the family bookstore, after swearing she never would. She's closer to her parents and sister, Marie, than she's ever been. Emma could still have her new life if she chooses Jesse. But what about Sam?

Sam has been in love with Emma ever since they were teenagers. He has had other relationships but they don't compare to Emma. Sam finally got his one true love. But Sam is also selfless. He's giving Emma the opportunity to discover who she truly wants to be with. She has the chance to find her one true love.

I'm not always a fan of love triangles, but this one worked for me. The book explores whether it's truly possible to be in love with more than one person. Emma can't have it both ways. But at the same time she doesn't want to hurt anyone.  I know who I wanted Emma to choose, but I'm not going to spill the beans! I'm also not going to say what happens at the end, you'll just have to read the book!

Rating: Superb

Note: I received an e-galley from the publisher (Atria Books) in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My take on: The Sun in Your Eyes

A road trip with a friend you haven't seen in years? In real life that sounds like a recipe for disaster. All that closeness with someone you're not sure you like anymore? Who would sign up for that? I personally wouldn't. But it could make an interesting book.

Exploring the dynamics of friendship attracted me to Deborah Shapiro's debut novel The Sun in Your Eyes.

Lee Parrish and Vivian "Viv" Feld haven't seen each other in three years. What caused their riff is at the heart of the book. Lee pops back into Viv's life because she needs help. Lee needs help digging into her past. She needs help connecting with the memory of her dead father.

Lee is the daughter of fashion designer Linda West and Jesse Parrish, a rock singer who died far too young in a car accident. In the many, many, many years since his death, Jesse's music has achieved cult status. Since his death, rumors have always circulated about an unreleased Jesse Parrish album. That album. That's what Lee wants. The last piece of her father. She want more of a connection to him. Stories from her mother and his friends aren't enough. Why bring Viv along? How can Viv help in this quest? Is Viv really there to help Lee find a music recording? Or is she there to help rebuild their friendship?

The book alternates between the past and the present. They met in college. Viv wasn't immediately taken with Lee. Viv is the quiet type, more reserved. Lee is more in your face. For me, this book was hard to follow. I thought some passages were taking place in the future but they were in the past. The pacing felt disjointed. I couldn't connect with the characters. Lee came off as shallow to me. Viv just seemed boring. Books about friendship have to make me feel something. I need some emotional pull to the characters. I thought I would like this, but I didn't. I wasn't able to finish. It didn't hold my interest. But don't let that discourage you, what I don't like I'm sure others will!

Rating: Meh

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher  (HarperCollins) as part of blog tour with TLC Book Tours.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

My take on: All of Us and Everything

    "I have to go back," he said. "I'll always feel hunted so I have to be allowed to hunt"
   "I'm willing to take risks to be a family." She wasn't sure, though. She didn't know what she was trying to sign on for.
   "Some people love a storm and some fear it," he said. "And some people love it because they fear it."
   "What's that mean?"
  "I can't let you all get swallowed by a storm." --Pg. 208

Augusta Rockwell has always been in love with Nick Flemming. But being in love with a spy comes at a price. At some point the safety of their daughters, Esme, Liv, and Ru, became more important than Augusta and Nick's relationship. Slowly, Nick disappears from their lives until he's gone for good. Soon he's nothing more than a figment of their imaginations. Augusta's wild stories about Nick lead her daughters to believe that their father is nothing but a myth. But a real-life storm is brewing -- Hurricane Sandy. The deadly storm unearths long-buried family secrets. The Rockwells will have no choice but to face their past, present, and future in All of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher.

This is a story of a slightly crazy and very quirky family. It all starts with Augusta. My initial impression, Augusta wouldn't know the difference between the truth and a lie unless it slapped her in the face. She starts different social and political movements at the drop of a hat. The "Statements of Personal Honesty" movement was one of my favorites. As the book progresses, it's clear Augusta's lies was her way of protecting Esme, Liv, and Ru. Portray Nick as everything under the sun, except as a loving father, and maybe the girls won't want him in their lives anyway.

But Esme, Liv, and Ru do need Nick, they just don't know it.

Esme's marriage has failed. Her daughter, Atty, has been expelled from school. Esme has always believed she should be living a different life. She loves being a mother, but what if there was a different future out there for her. Liv collects rich husbands, like people collect stamps. She's also a big believer of using prescription pills instead of therapy. The end of each marriage results in a rehab stint and....the hunt for the next husband. Ru spends more time running from her life and family, than dealing with reality. She's a bestselling author, writing a book that borrowed many details from Liv's life. Of course, that doesn't go over well with Liv.

How does Nick fit into all of this? The girls barely remember him. They're adults now. What's his role in their life? He's the missing piece to all of their problems. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, a box filled with long-lost letters reveals Nick has been a part of their lives for decades. They didn't know he was around but he was always in the shadows. He was there for important milestones, like recitals and graduations. He was there for the heartbreaks, too. He has influenced their lives in more ways than one.

I'm always a sucker for family dramas. This one has its moments. The best part? A family road trip that turned into a comedy of errors. What family hasn't fought over who gets to sit where in the car? And....who gets to drive? Re-entering his daughter's lives proofs more nerve-wracking and dangerous than a spy mission overseas. Overall, this one missed the mark -- just a little -- for me. I love quirky families, but this family felt a little bland for me. They're weird just for the sake of being weird (if that makes sense). There doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason for the way they act. I don't say this often, but I think this book should have been longer. It needed just a little more character development and it would have been a home run!

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Penguin RandomHouse). All of Us and Everything is one of the Spring selections for She Reads.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Time for a giveaway!!!

I loved Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. So I was thrilled to take part in a giveaway
for her books. Her publisher, Atria, is giving away two sets of all of her books and five signed copies of her next book, One True Loves. The giveaway is open until 6/24!! Enter away!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And....I'm taking part in the blog tour for her next book.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancĂ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly? Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.
themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted, After I Do and Maybe In Another Life. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

My take on: The Turning Point

A chance encounter, turns into a chance at love for Scott and Frankie in The Turning Point by Freya North.

Children's book author Frankie is stuck in a rut. As a single parent, Frankie's life revolves around her children, Sam and Annabel. Finding love is not very high on the priority list. Getting the kids off to school and figuring out the plot of her next book are all that Frankie can think about.

Musician Scott, also a single parent, spends more time worrying about his daughter, Jenna, than romance. Jenna wishes her father's focus was elsewhere. But he can't. Jenna has epilepsy and Scott can't help but worry constantly about her. More than anything Jenna just wants to be a normal college student, focusing on her friends and her grades. More than anything Jenna wants her father to have a life of his own. She just might get her wish.

Canada-based Scott journeys to London to finish composing the score to a movie. Frankie, who lives on the English countryside, heads to London to put her editor at ease about her next book. As fate would have it, Frankie and Scott meet in a train station. No, the sparks don't fly then but neither realizes they've just met the person who will change their lives. Later in the day at the hotel bar, sparks do fly.

In just a few chapters, Frankie and Scott's relationship blossoms from infatuation to love. I would call it a mature love. There's no games. They both know what they want. Both understand what it's like to be a single parent. Both worry how their children will respond to a new person in their lives Late-night giddy phone calls and texts, sound like something young kids in love do but it works for Scott and Frankie. Even with thousands and thousands of miles separating them, Scott and Frankie still manage to have a deep connection.

The latter half of the book tugs at the heartstrings. It takes a lot to make me cry. To date, only one book drew tears, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Ms. Picoult is one of my favorite authors. Considering some of the praise for The Turning Point compares Freya North to Jodi Picoult, it makes sense that this book got me a little misty. I would definitely read another book by Ms. North.

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of blog tour with TLC Book Tours.