Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

EXCERPT: Another drop of sweat slid from Ellis’s fedora, down his neck, and into his starched collar. Even without his suit jacket, his whole shirt clung from the damn humidity. He moved closer to the house and raised his camera. Natural scenic shots were his usual hobby, but he adjusted the lens to bring the kids into focus. With them came a sign. A raw, wooden slat with jagged edges, it bowed slightly against the porch, as if reclining under the weight of the afternoon heat. The offer it bore, scrawled in charcoal, didn’t fully register until Ellis snapped the photo.

2 children for sale

ABOUT THIS BOOK: From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE

The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.

At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a quietly powerful novel. It is not written in a dramatic fashion, yet it tore my emotions to pieces. It gave me everything I expected, and more, yet it was nothing like I expected.

‘Photography is the art of observation. It has little to do with things you see and everything to do with the way you see them’-Elliott Erwitt

None of us know what is in the hearts and minds of others. We are quick to judge by appearances, seldom taking the time to dig beneath the surface to determine the truth. And we do things ourselves, sometimes with the best of intentions, sometimes to further our own interests, mostly without thinking through the consequences. This is just what Ellis and Lily do. They individually set in motion a chain of events that neither one of them could have imagined and, united in the aftermath, what they find is not what they expected.

After the initial photograph of the children and it’s accompanying furor, the book focuses largely on Ellis’s career. I kept thinking, ‘The children. . . what is happening to the children?’ I was beginning to think that the book wasn’t about them at all, that it was just an attention grabbing stunt. But I was wrong. The author was making a point, and a very good one, about how easy it is to lose sight of what is important, to be blinded by other things, superficial things that, easily gained, are also easy to lose.

This book is largely about values, about being true to ourselves and our beliefs, about truth and compassion, choices and consequences. But don’t go thinking it is at all preachy or moralistic, because it’s not. It is a beautifully written, compelling and captivating slice of history that will tug at your heartstrings. But it did leave me with one burning question. . . what happened to the two little boys in the first photo that Ellis took? That haunts me still.

💖💖💖💖💖

I feel sure that this book is destined to become a classic.

THE AUTHOR: KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her novels have garnered more than two dozen literary awards and nominations, including the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Kensington Books. Her forthcoming novel, Sold on a Monday (Sourcebooks Landmark, 8-28-18), follows her widely praised The Edge of Lost, The Pieces We Keep, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and Letters from Home. Additionally, her novellas are featured in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central. Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland’s “40 Under 40” by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she is working on her next novel.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing a digital ARC of Sold On A Monday by Kristina McMorris for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2517252303

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

EXCERPT: ‘In one moment, every drop of blood in my body was brought to a stop… There, as if it had that moment sprung out of the earth, stood the figure of a solitary Woman, dressed from head to foot in white’

ABOUT THIS BOOK: The Woman in White famously opens with Walter Hartright’s eerie encounter on a moonlit London road. Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison. Pursuing questions of identity and insanity along the paths and corridors of English country houses and the madhouse, The Woman in White is the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism.

MY THOUGHTS: There is some beautifully evocative writing at the start of the book that had me almost salivating. It was promising a deliciously creepy read. . . that never happened.

I believe that The Woman in White was first published as a serial in 1859, which may explain it’s interminable length. Yes, I have read longer books, and enjoyed them, but the Woman in White seems even longer than its 672 pages. It could easily do with losing at least one third of its length. There is so much irrelevant information thrown at the reader that I completely missed out on the connection between Laura Fairlie (Lady Glyde) and the ill-fated Anne Catherick until, frustrated at the end (but oh so glad to be there!) I turned to the Internet to search for the information.

The story itself has many narrators, which Collins himself points out in the preface, and so we get multiple versions of the same story to little effect, a little like listening to the witnesses in a court case where they are all determined to present themselves and their motives in the best possible light.

The characters are largely vapid (insipid, uninspired, colourless, uninteresting, feeble, flat, dead, dull, boring, tedious, tired, unexciting, uninspiring, unimaginative, lifeless, zestless, spiritless, sterile, anaemic, tame, bloodless, jejune, vacuous, bland, stale, trite, pallid, wishy-washy, watery, tasteless, milk-and-water, flavourless).

The story itself, when cut down to its bare bones, is rather clever and focuses on the lack of rights of married women at the time. Honestly? I would love to see this rewritten by Stephen King because, other than the first encounter between Walter Hartright and the woman in white, there is no creepiness whatsoever and I fail to understand how this can be classified as Gothic Horror.

😐😐.5

THE AUTHOR: William Wilkie Collins (8 January 1824 – 23 September 1889) was an English novelist, playwright, and short story writer. His best-known works are The Woman in White (1859), No Name (1862), Armadale (1866) and The Moonstone (1868). The last is considered the first modern English detective novel.

Born into the family of painter William Collins in London, he lived with his family in Italy and France as a child and learned French and Italian. He worked as a clerk for a tea merchant. After his first novel, Antonina, was published in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend, mentor and collaborator. Some of Collins’s works were first published in Dickens’ journals All the Year Round and Household Words and the two collaborated on drama and fiction.

Collins published his best known works in the 1860s and achieved financial stability and an international reputation. During that time he began suffering from gout. After taking opium for the pain, he developed an addiction. During the 1870s and 1880s the quality of his writing declined along with his health.

Collins was critical of the institution of marriage and never married; he split his time between Caroline Graves, except for a two-year separation, and his common-law wife Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to one of the audiobook versions of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, a very old one I think, which had been copied from tapes. I would not recommend it. The narrators, and there were several, were largely unaccomplished and at times painful to listen to. They, and particularly one of the male narrators, stumbled over words, ignored punctuation, paused in very odd places and drew out the length of wooorrrdddss when they lost their place in the script. Not to be recommended.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2485173833

Watching what I’m reading

Another slow week of reading. I admit to feeling absolutely exhausted, and then have been hit by a rather nasty stomach bug that is currently doing the rounds. So instead of visiting my grandson today, I have spent most of the day in bed.

I am a little over half way through

The Wife Before Me

And I am quite enjoying this read.

This week I am planning on reading

Sold on a Monday

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE

The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.

At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

Better Than This

Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.

On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter, and a beautiful home in an affluent Seattle neighborhood. Her quirky best friend and fellow high school teacher, Maggie, marvels at her luck—and envies her happiness.

But Sarah is far from happy. She feels empty and on edge, harangued by a critical inner voice—and as the truth about her marriage and details of her past emerge, her “perfect” life begins to crumble. But just when it seems all is lost, a long forgotten, unopened letter changes everything, and with the support of friends, Sarah begins to rebuild her life. Can she quiet the critical voice in her head and learn to value herself instead?

I received 6 ARCs from NetGalley this week

Secrets of the Last Castle

What Happened to Us?: A feelgood story of love, loss and new beginnings...

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles: An uplifting summer read

Women Behaving Badly

In Harm's Way

This time next week, I will be ensconced with my grandsons being a full time Nana for ten days. I can’t wait! They are both bookworms, with sixteen month old Luke having very definite ideas on what he likes to read, and eleven year old Kayden likes finding books for me that I would not otherwise read. He hasn’t made a bad selection for me yet.

Although we are now officially in Spring, our weather is still  distinctly wintery. It’s cold with heavy rain 😩 The only time I have been warm today is when I have been snuggled up in bed . Speaking of which, I am heading back there now.

Happy reading my friends.

Friday Favorite – The Ballroom by Anna Hope

Well here we are at the end of another working week for most of you, and the end of another month. I haven’t read as much as I would have liked, or planned this month, but that’s just life. So now it’s time to take a look at what I’m recommending if you’re looking for something to read over the weekend …

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

EXCERPT: ‘Are you going to behave?’ The man’s voice echoed. ‘Are you going to behave?’

She made a noise. Could have been yes. Could have been no, but the blanket was pulled off her head and she gasped for air.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Where love is your only escape ….

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors, where men and women are kept apart by high walls and barred windows, there is a ballroom vast and beautiful. For one bright evening every week they come together and dance. When John and Ella meet It is a dance that will change two lives forever.

Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The language is almost poetic, the descriptions draw you into the scenery, the characters are carefully and cleverly crafted.

The story is set in an lunatic asylum on the edge of the Yorkshire moors in 1911 and revolves around four central characters. An asylum should be a place of refuge, where the insane are cared for and protected. This is far from the truth. And it is far from true that everyone incarcerated within is insane.

Ella Fay worked in a mill where all the windows were painted over to prevent the workers from looking outside and wasting their employers time. Desperate to see the sky, to not be confined in this prison of noise and cloth that leeches the life out of her, Ella breaks a window and is then confined to Sharston Asylum until such time she can be declared sane and not a danger to herself or others.

Clemency has been incarcerated by her father and brother for refusing to marry a man who used to teach her. A man who was not kind to her, and who may already have abused her trust and that of her family. Clemency is a private patient – her family pay to keep her there – and she is able to wear her own clothes rather than the asylum uniform, and to have some of her own treasured belongings.

Charles Fuller is the son of an eminent surgeon, Charles destined to follow in his footsteps. But instead of studying for his exams, he is seduced by music and fails miserably. He takes the position of Second Assistant Medical Officer at Sharston (one of four), purely because he is also to have the role of bandmaster.

John Mulligan is a solitary type of man, and resident of one of the ‘chronic’ (long term) wards. He is a kind man, keeping some of his bread ration to feed the canary imprisoned in a cage in the day room, and trusted enough to be one of a work party charged with digging the unmarked graves, each holding six coffins piled one atop the other, and working on the farm that supplies meat and grains to the asylum.

The one point of beauty in Sharston is the Ballroom, vast and beautiful, where every Friday evening of every week selected patients (the ones who have ‘been good’) come together and dance. It is here that John and Ella meet for the second time and their fate is sealed.

The Ballroom quietly details the atrocities and lack of kindness common in asylums. This is an emotional and heart-wrenching read, one I will come back to time and again.

I award The Ballroom five very brilliant stars. 💖💖💖💖💖

THE AUTHOR: Anna Hope is an English writer and actress from Manchester. She is perhaps best known for her Doctor Who role of Novice Hame. She was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and Birkbeck College, London.

Anna’s powerful first novel, WAKE, sold to Transworld Publishers in a seven-way auction. Set over the course of five days in 1920, WAKE weaves the stories of three women around the journey of the Unknown Soldier, from its excavation in Northern France to Armistice Day at Westminster Abbey. US rights were pre-empted by Susan Kamil at Random House. The book will be published in Doubleday hardback in early 2014 – excerpted from Wikipedia and Felicity Bryan Associates Literary Agency

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK, Transworld Publishers Doubleday via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Ballroom by Anna Hope for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1598648686

 

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Watermelon by Marian Keyes


EXCERPT: February fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me. As he was present at the birth, I can only assume the two events weren’t entirely unrelated.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

MY THOUGHTS: This was the first book by Marian Keyes that I ever read. I read it quite some time after she had made a name for herself with Rachel’s Holiday. The first time I read Watermelon, and there have been several readings over the years, I was enamoured by Keyes’ writing. Warm and witty, it was like sitting down and having a good gossip session with your best friend and a bottle of wine. . . ‘And did you hear about Claire?….No? Well, James has only gone and left her, and with a brand new baby. . . And you’ll never guess who he left her for. . .’

I haven’t always liked all of Keyes’ books (Rachel’s Holiday being one in particular), but Watermelon? I loved it.
😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: Marian Keyes (born 10 September 1963) is an Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women’s literature. She is an Irish Book Awards winner. Over 22 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 languages. She became known worldwide for Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and This Charming Man, with themes including domestic violence and alcoholism.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Watermelon by Marian Keyes. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/919091980

Friday Favorite – Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Looking for something to read over the weekend ?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?

Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

 

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

EXCERPT: Prologue 1982

The way she saw it, some families were like well-tended parks, with pretty daffodil borders and big, sprawling trees that offered respite from the summer sun. Others – and she knew this firsthand – were battlefields, bloody and dark, litteredwith shrapnel and body parts.

She might only be seventeen, but Jolene Larsen already knew about war. She’d grown up in the midst of a marriage gone bad.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Bestselling author Kristin Hannah explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.

From a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore. But after twelve years together, the couple has lost their way; they are unhappy and edging toward divorce. Then the Iraq war starts. An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm’s way and leaving the other at home, waiting for news. When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family. An intimate look at the inner landscape of a disintegrating marriage and a dramatic exploration of the price of war on a single American family, Home Front is a provocative and timely portrait of hope, honor, loss, forgiveness, and the elusive nature of love.

MY THOUGHTS: I cried buckets of tears listening to this book on audio. It is a very moving and humbling read.

Kristin Hannah shows great understanding of the slow disintegration of a marriage, the terror of going to war, the angriness of being a teenager, the demands of a four year old, the struggles of a mother trying to hold it all together, of trying to be everything to all her family members until circumstances beyond her control bring it all crashing down about her. Her understanding is conveyed in the way she writes about these subjects with great sensitivity. There is not one cheesy or ‘Hallmark’ moment in here.

Jolene and her best friend Tammy are ordinary women; wives and mothers, with all the demands and pressures that these roles bring. But at the same time these are extraordinary women – pilots of Black Hawk helicopters in the armed forces. Their deployment to Iraq is something both women have trained for, but never really expected. Jolene leaves behind a crumbling marriage, an angry teenage daughter and a bewildered four year old who every day asks “Will Mommy be home tomorrow?”

In an effort to protect her family from the reality of her life in a combat zone, Jolene writes home painting a very different picture to the life she actually lives, where the horrors she witnesses daily slowly become the norm. So nobody is prepared when tragedy strikes and the lives of the family are irrevocably changed.

There were times I had to put this book down and walk away from it. There were days I could not listen to it at all. It is at once heart-breaking, but full of hope. I now know so much more about PTSD and survivor guilt. I have always had a great respect for those that put their lives on the line to defend our homelands, but that is now so much deeper.

I recommend you keep a large box of tissues at your side.

😍😢😍😢😍

THE AUTHOR: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week.

Kristin’s highly anticipated new release, The Great Alone, will be published on February 6, 2018 (St. Martin’s Press). The novel, an epic love story and intimate family drama set in Alaska in the turbulent 1970’s is a daring, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival and the wildness that lives in both nature and man. It has been listed as one of the most anticipated novels of the year by The Seattle Times, Bustle.com, PopSugar, Working Mother, Southern Living, and Goodreads.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with award-winning director Michelle MacLaren set to direct. Home Front was optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to write, produce, and direct. Movie news on The Great Alone is coming soon.

DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of Home Front by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Maggi-Meg Reed via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1618825508

The Summerhouse by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

Give me the words ‘summer’ and ‘sea’ in a title, and I can’t resist! Especially when I am mired in the depths of winter here. I have to have my sunshine fix. 😎

This one is especially for you SusanDyer1962 of SusanLovesBooks, who says my covers are always creepy and wonders how I sleep at night. . .

The Summer House by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

EXCERPT: Ava was standing at the crossing when her phone beeped. She took it from her pocket at the same time as glancing left for traffic.

Instead of looking right, Ava opened the WatsApp message from her brother, Rory: Gran in hospital, it read. She frowned down at her phone and wondered how Rory could ever think that was enough information. But then the horn of the 281 bus stopped all other conscious thought.

The shriek of the brakes filled the air as she saw the huge windscreen, the wipers. The face of the driver in slow motion, mouth open. Her whole body tensed. She felt her hand drop the phone. Time paused.

There was a fleeting thought that this was actually really embarrassing.

And then – smack – she didn’t think anything else. Just felt the hard pain in her hip, then the thwack of her head as she was thrown down on to the tarmac, and an overriding sense of unfairness as she wasn’t yet ready to die.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A brand new summery story about returning to your past and finding a new beginning from bestselling author Jenny Oliver!

Nestled on the Spanish coast, bustling café Estrella features in every one of Ava Brown’s happiest memories. It’s where she tasted her first delectably-chocolatey churros, fell head-over-heels for her first crush – where she has been her happiest. So the chance to spend one last summer in her grandmother’s house, is one Ava can’t refuse.

Once the heart of the sleepy seaside village, the café now feels more ramshackle than rustic. It’s time to bring back the lethally strong sangria and mouth-wateringly delicious tapas – and before Ava knows it, she’s thrown herself into bringing the café back to life – a summer project her grandmother would be proud of!

But once summer is over, can Ava really say goodbye to Spanish seaside life? Or could this be the new beginning Ava didn’t realise she needed…

MY THOUGHTS: Okay, so it’s predictable. . . but it’s fun and beautifully written. And it’s not a straight out romance, there is a little drama surrounding Ava and Rory’s mother, there is a café that needs rescuing, and lots of summery atmosphere. I almost felt like I got a good dose of vitamin D just listening to The Summerhouse.

This is light and amusing, a great beach read.

😍😍😍.5

THE AUTHOR: Jenny Oliver is the bestselling author of The Summerhouse by the Sea – the PERFECT book for your summer reading! Out May 18th.
Her book The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, set in sunny Tuscany, was nominated for the Best Contemporary Romantic Novel at the RONA awards.
Jenny wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based Dynasty.
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote her first book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a notebook that would end up covered in sand each afternoon and damp from the sea. Nowadays her inspiration comes from her love of all things vintage, a fascination with other people’s relationships and an unwavering belief in happy ever after!

DISCLOSURE: I listened to The Summerhouse by Jenny Oliver, beautifully narrated by Camilla Rockley and published by HarperCollins, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2474815300

The Other Woman by Jane Green

The Other Woman by Jane Green

EXCERPT: ‘Dan and Ellie. Ellie and Dan. Mrs Dan Cooper. Mrs Ellie Cooper. Ellie Cooper.’ I trill the words out, thrilling at how unfamiliar they sound, how they will be true in just over a month, how I got to have a fairy-tale ending after all. . .

And, as I’m tapping the coffee grounds into the spoon to start making the coffee, I find myself thinking about spending the rest of my life with only one person.

I should feel scared. Apprehensive at the very least. But all I feel is pure, unadulterated joy.

Any doubts I may have about this wedding, about getting married, about spending the rest of my life with Dan have nothing whatsoever to do with Dan.

And everything to do with his mother.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Newly engaged, Ellie is thrilled to be accepted into the loving Cooper clan—which seems like the perfect family she never had—until she begins to realize that Dan’s mom, Linda, is a little too involved. Dan and Linda talk on the phone every day. Twice a day. As Dan and Ellie’s intimate civil wedding ceremony gets transformed into a black-tie affair, Ellie begins to wonder if it’s possible to marry the man without marrying his mother.

As troubles mount, Ellie turns to her friends—glamorous Lisa, who always looks like she’s just stepped off a runway, and wonderfully frazzled Trish—and tries to rediscover the independence she once had, and the man she still loves. But it seems that having a child and saving a marriage means growing up in ways she’d never imagined . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I love Jane Green’s books, and The Other Woman is no exception. Green writes in a way that has you tumbling into the book (rather like Alice down the rabbit hole), and becoming part of it all.

Green is very perceptive about relationships – family relationships, friendships, whatever – she just always seems to hit the nail on the head. She has written an captivating tale of the changing family dynamics with the introduction of a new person into the family unit. The jostling for positions, the need for give and take, the expectations, the disappointments, the settling into the new relationships are all dealt with by Green in her usual warm and insightful style.

Remember the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for, you may get it’? Green has used this to great effect in The Other Woman.

There is a lot to be learned from The Other Woman. It should be required reading for all brides-to-be and mothers-in-law to be.

Thank you Jane Green for yet another wonderful read. 😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: Jane Green’s eighteenth novel, Falling, is soon to be released with Berkley/Penguin; she is the author of sixteen previous New York Times Bestselling novels, and known as one of the world’s leading authors in women’s fiction, with over ten million books in print, and translations in over 25 languages.

Previous novels have included The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate.

She joined the ABC News team to write their first enhanced digital book— about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

A former journalist in the UK, she has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and TV, including as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show.

Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including anthologies and novellas, and features for The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in The Lady magazine, England’s longest running weekly magazine.

A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Green is bringing out her first cookbook: Good Taste , with Berkley in October 2016.

She is a storyteller for The Moth radio hour on NPR,
and lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks.

A cancer survivor, she continues to raise awareness for Malignant Melanoma, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Lyme Disease.

DISCLOSURE: I own my own copy of The Other Woman by Jane Green.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/919090920

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Remember Me?

EXCERPT: Of all the crap, crap, crappy nights I have had in the whole of my crap life.

On a scale of one to ten, we’re talking . . . . a minus six. And it’s not like I even have very high standards.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

With the same wicked humor and delicious charm that have won her millions of devoted fans, Sophie Kinsella, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Shopaholic & Baby, returns with an irresistible new novel and a fresh new heroine who finds herself in a life-changing and utterly hilarious predicament…

MY THOUGHTS: While I wouldn’t call this utterly hilarious, it occasionally had me smiling. And while I couldn’t call it a riveting read, it was light, quick, and easy; a palate cleanser for me in between the much darker stuff I tend to read.

We all long for the perfect life, think we would be much happier ‘if only. . .’ But ‘if only’ comes with its share of problems. What this boils down to is if the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence, that’s because it needs mowing more often.

😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars and Shopaholic to the Rescue. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

Sophie has also written seven standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017.

In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published her first illustrated book for young readers about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo, Mummy Fairy and Me (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).

Sophie’s latest novel, Surprise Me, published in February 2018, presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

Sophie wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, at the tender age of 24, whilst she was working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party was immediately hailed as a success by critics and the public alike and became a top ten bestseller. She went on to publish six more novels as Madeleine Wickham: A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements.

Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She now lives in London, UK, with her husband and family.

DISCLOSURE: I read a library copy of Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ pageon sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/919090847

Sandy’s Sunday Summary

It feels like it has been raining forever! Not the best weather for looking at houses, you might say, which is what we have been doing this morning, but I beg to differ. If you can fall in love with a house when the weather is cold, wet, windy and miserable, it must be a good one. This is the second time we have been to view this house and we like it even more the second time around. We walk through the door and it feels like home. There are a couple of minor drawbacks, but nothing insurmountable. The one thing that may kill the deal is that the house is not available until October, and I don’t know if we can make that work, but we are going to have a damned good try.

Onto the reason we are all here  –  books!

I have had a good reading week.

Last night I finished

The Silent Sister

and I will be posting my reviewfor this tomorrow.

I am listening to

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1)

which I am loving!

This week I am planning on reading

Into the Darkness

The Missing…

In a hidden basement, eighteen-year-old Toni is held captive and no one can hear her screams. She’s been abducted after investigating unspeakable things in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The Vigilante…

Fearing the worst, Toni’s mother turns to ex-SAS operative Mitchell to help find her missing daughter. And when Mitchell discovers Toni’s fate rests in the hands of pure evil, he races against the clock to find Toni and bring her out alive. But even that might not be enough to save her.

The Detective…

DS Warren Carter is looking forward to a new job and a simpler life. But when he’s called in to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly normal couple, he becomes entangled in lives that are anything but simple. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a crime more twisted than he could ever have imagined.

And

Her Mother's Grave (Detective Josie Quinn, #3)

When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago. A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare try to track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken?

And I had a big week of requesting and approvals. . . my version of retail therapy!

9 approvals this week

Her Final Hour

A Little Bird Told Me

The Hangman’s Hold: A gripping serial killer thriller that will keep you hooked (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 4)

Into the Darkness

The Coordinates of Loss

Better Than This

The Water Diviner and Other Stories

Tear Me Apart

The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride

So now, if you will all excuse me, I am going to put a roast of lamb in the oven for tonight’s dinner, make a pot of tea and settle into my reading chair for the remainder of the afternoon.

Happy reading my friends. ☔😎