Thursday, September 19, 2019

Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger

about book:

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go
Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It's causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger's Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

my thoughts:

Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger is a terrific YA story that explores heavy topics (OCD, death, loss, general anxiety disorder) in such an authentic and honest tone. Ganger writes with such raw emotion, that you can't help but easily get caught up in the story. Two teenagers trying to cope with the loss of their parents is a lot for them to handle and a lot of emotion to get through. And Ganger writes their pain so it is plain on the wall and it is hard to accept at times. Not because you can't understand why they are in pain, but it is hard to gain an understanding of how they are dealing with their pain. Dew is easier to fall in love with - he is good and kind deep inside and it shows.  Naima is cruel and hard - you can't help but dislike her at first meet. However, as their stories unfold, you find yourself drawn to these two teens.  You want to know if they will recover from such tragic losses and how they will find their way.  You want to root for them to move forward, so that they don't continue to live mired in so much pain. Its truly heartbreaking, but also eye-opening. I absolutely LOVED this story.

I would happily recommend Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger - you will fall in love with this book! The writing is top notch and the characters are unforgettable. This is YA at its best!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with the copy of this book!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Two books...

I recently read the following and enjoyed every single second I spent with both:

Oh, how I love a Laurain story. Always whimsical with a hint of romance - the perfect combination.  And yet, I had to admit that for one second I truly did wonder if I would enjoy this book. Why? Well, it had an element of sci-fi that I just did not expect and that threw me for a loop.  Now, I do enjoy sci-fi stories, but I don't read Laurain for that genre.  So, suffice it to say I was surprised when there was mention of a UFO and then time travel. Of course, the more I read, the more I fell in love with Paris, Julien, Magalie (Abby), Bob (the best!), and Hubert - and life in 1954 where Dali swans about and Audrey Hepburn is the first to drink an Abby.  Laurain conjures up a feeling with his words that just encapsulates the thrill, the shock, the deliciousness and the beauty of life. How could I not fall in love with his book? And the UFO and time travel made for a fun twist that allowed these characters to grow and experience the magic that is life.  After all, as Hubert learns in the end, the treasure of life is life itself.  I have to admit that just writing about this book makes me smile. So, yes I definitely recommend you read it and all of Laurain's other stories as well. You will fall in madly in love with them all.

Tense. That is how I felt reading this book. And let me say it was so worth it. Stephen King seems to get better with age when it comes to his writing. The Institute was fantastic! I absolutely LOVED it! Its the story of a kid genius named Luke Ellis.  He's twelve and he's ready for MIT and Emerson (dual enrollment).  Except, he's also slightly TK (telekinetic).  So, that's kind of a problem.  Turns out there is a secret group called The Institute that uses children with TK (and TP, telepathy).  Luke's on their list. Yep, late one night his parents are murdered and he's taken captive.  He wakes up in a room that resembles his, but he knows its not.  He finds other kids who tell him the place they are all being held prisoner in.  A compound that houses doctors who will experiment on him.  A place that claims they will use him and then send him home.  A place he knows will hurt him.  What's the kid to do? Escape.  But how?  And will he survive? Talk about a suspenseful story - oh, my! I gobbled it straightaway. I just couldn't put it down. How could I? I had to find out what would happen to Luke and his new friends.  And that is all I will write about this book. Its just too good to miss. You have to get your hands on a copy ASAP!

And now, I'm off to figure out what to read next. I have some books piled by my bedside, but I'm just not sure what I'm in the mood for. Let me know if you have any recommendations. Happy reading!!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Don't You Forget About Me: A Novel by Mhairi McFarlane

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“Don’t You Forget About Me is one of those books I couldn’t put down. Crackling with energy and wit, I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud. Mhairi McFarlane’s voice is as clear as a bell—she makes you laugh, but she also makes you feel. I adore her!” — Sally Thorne

Internationally bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane delivers a funny, romantic, heartfelt novel perfect for fans of Josie Silver or Sally Thorne, and anyone who loves Bridget Jones!

You always remember your first love… don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat… what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth… or a second chance with the one that got away?

my thoughts:

A funny romance coupled with a huge cuppa - talk about a recipe for the perfect bookish experience! Don't You Forget About Me is my first Mhairi McFarlane story and it most certainly won't be my last. What a book! I absolutely enjoyed every minute I spent with it. This was truly a treat to read.

Georgina is not having a good day - she gets sacked from her job and then finds her boyfriend in the sack with someone else. Yep, life seems pretty bent on throwing lemons her way.  What's Georgina to do? Well, getting a new job seems to be priority. Luckily, she lands one straight away.  The only catch, is the owner of the new pub she will be tending bar at happens to be her "the one that got away" person.  Except, he doesn't seem to remember Georgina at all.  Say what? Yeah, talk about awkward. 

McFarlane has written a terrific story about a relatable, smart, strong female character that you will easily fall in love with.  I just loved getting to know Georgina and her old flame, Lucas - they are a perfect match.  Of course, there are dramas throughout that need to be dealt with, but isn't that what makes for a great romance story? And, Don't You Forget About Me is most definitely a great romance story- it's engaging, entertaining, and unputdownable. You won't help but fall in love with it.

I would happily recommend Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane to her fans and to anyone looking for their next great read - you won't be disappointed!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Don't You Forget About Me
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Three Things...

1. Live From Here.  OMG!!  I can't believe I have been missing out on this show! I found it by accident last night. I follow Claire Coffee on IG - she played Adalind on Grimm (it was one of my fave TV shows).  Anyhow, she's married to Chris Thile (Nickel Creek, The Punch Brothers) and he hosts this public radio show called Live From Here. Originally called A Prairie Home Companion, it went under a name change to distance itself from author, Garrison Keillor, who was the original host.  Suffice it to say, I found this show because of a clip she posted on her IG account. It was Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend singing and let me just...OMG! I fell in love with his song and the show.  And, now I am a HUGE fan. Plus, I loved Thile from Goat Rodeo Sessions - the group is made of up Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile. I saw that they are working on something new - hopefully another album, because I loved their first one so much. Anyhow, my point is that I am now going to be listening to Live From Here and I'm recommending you give it a listen, too.  Or if you already LOVE it, let me know.  Tell me what I missed out on - I'm trying to watch/listen to old shows of it now.

2.  Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain. 

I am finally reading this book. I remember being excited when I got my hands on a copy when it first came out, but then my mood wasn't exactly in reading mode, so I put it aside. This morning, I picked it up and let me just say...I am in love.  Yes, Laurain has once again written a book that has me smitten with his storytelling prowess. I am already fond of the characters and eager to find out where this story will take them. So far, I have read about a possible UFO sighting; the disappearance of a man and his dog; an American couple's dream of traveling to Paris; a Parisian who is actually from Paris and is tied to the building he lives in; a woman who people call "Abby" because she looks just like "Abby" from the American TV show, NCIS; and a young man who really believes that his grandfather did see a UFO.  A motley crew of characters who meet up one night and imbibe a bottle of wine from 1954.  And, that is all I have read thus far. I am excited to find out what becomes of them.  I just know that I am in for a treat - Laurain never disappoints with this tales of life and love that are chock full of whimsical magic. 

3.  Books.  I have been reading some suspense/thriller/mystery type of books lately.  Some have been good and some have been a letdown.  Regardless, I am enjoying getting back in the groove of reading on the daily - something that I've been missing dearly. Here are two that I really enjoyed:

A family is torn apart when their three year-old daughter is taken from the backyard during her birthday celebration.  They are playing hide and seek.  Everyone is having such fun.  Except, the party ends when it becomes clear that the birthday girl has gone missing. The police are called in, searches ensue, and accusations are made.  Life is never the same.  Fast forward 14 years and Elise is pregnant, married, and content in her life.  She's out shopping when she spots a familiar face...Grace.  Her little sister that was taken from her family at three years old.  Convinced that the young woman she spots is her sister, Elise sets off a chain of events that will change her life and that of her family's forever more. 

Such a good book! I gobbled it up in one sitting. I did figure out what had happened to Grace, but it was still satisfying to read about.  An engaging and emotional story that does tug at your heart strings, but also gets you riled up to find out what really happened 14 years ago at that birthday party. 

Elliot meets a woman named Gemma.  Suddenly they are in love and getting married three months later.  He is living in pure bliss.  He has a woman he loves, a beautiful house to live in, and a job he is excited to go to each day.  Life is but a dream.  And, then it quickly turns into a living nightmare when Gemma's family turns up to stay for a few weeks.  As the days go by and Elliot finds his new wife turning into an alcoholic, he begins to realize that his new "family" doesn't plan on leaving his home...ever.  They are measuring the walls, ordering furniture, and pretty much settling in for the long haul.  Oh, and their friendly demeanor has turned sour.  Elliot is now living in a home he doesn't consider to be his anymore.  He's angry, confused, and stuck.  Life gets even more complicated when people start to die.  Convinced that his new in-laws are behind these deaths, Elliot realizes that he may just have to take matters into his own hands if he truly wants to be rid of these "Knotweeds". 

I'm a huge fan of Mark Edwards' books - they are always fun to read. I love the way he weaves suspense and mystery together - they always make for such thrilling reads. Such a good one!

And now, I'm off to read some more, Vintage 1954.  I'm hoping to get my copy of Stephen King's latest, The Institution, this week. I pre-ordered it, but it hasn't been shipped yet, so I'm not sure when it will get here. The book comes out tomorrow, so I am disappointed that I won't be diving right in.  However, I do have my Antoine Laurain to finish, so I'm okay for now.  Anyhow, let me know if there are any books you think I should be adding to my TBR list. I'm always looking for new-to-me reads. 

Happy Monday and Happy reading!!

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Oysterville Sewing Circle: A Novel by Susan Wiggs

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“Stitched together with love, this is a story just waiting for your favorite reading chair. With her signature style and skill, Susan Wiggs delivers an intricate patchwork of old wounds and new beginnings, romance and the healing power of friendship, wrapped in a lovely little community that’s hiding a few secrets of its own.”
— Lisa Wingate, New York Times Bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

The #1 New York Times bestselling author brings us her most ambitious and provocative work yet—a searing and timely novel that explores the most volatile issue of our time—domestic violence.

At the break of dawn, Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific.

She’s come home.

Home to a place she thought she’d left forever, home of her heart and memories, but not her future. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline’s car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment—five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian—a role she’s not sure she’s ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there’s Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who’s also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more . . . until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline’s best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle—where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She’s going to stand and fight for everything—and everyone—she loves.

my thoughts:

I am HUGE fan of Susan Wiggs' novels - they are simply the best. Heartwarming, relatable, and compelling with a capital "C", Wiggs' books never disappoint. So, I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of her latest, The Oysterville Sewing Circle.  And let me just say, I absolutely LOVED every minute I spent reading this book - it was fantastic!

Caroline left her hometown of Oysterville to become a fashion designer in NY.  Ten years later she is coming back to figure out what to do with her life - turns out NY brought drama, scandal, and tragedy to her doorstep.  So, now she is returning to the one place she's always called home.  Except, life in Oysterville has changed in so many ways.  And, Caroline isn't coming home alone. Nope, she is bringing back two kids with her - children who have been put in her care.  Talk about having to face reality over and over again.

With so much happening in her life, plus, having to deal with past reminders on the daily, Caroline decides to start the Oysterville Sewing Club.  She figures it could be a safe space for women to join together in creating something special and also share with one another their troubles/worries.  Of course, just as life seems to finally be running smoothly for Caroline, life throws an unexpected curveball her way.  Fortunately, this time round, Caroline is ready to face it head on.

And, that is all I will write about this terrific story. Just know that you will LOVE it.  The writing is superb, the characters are unforgettable, and the story itself is unputdownable.  The Oysterville Sewing Circle is about family, friends, love, and community.  Its one book you won't want to miss!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Oysterville Sewing Circle
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!