Friday, May 19, 2017

The Light We Lost

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Perhaps it was fate that brought Lucy and Gabe together on that crystal clear morning in September. Two typical college students finding an instant attraction to one another.

But this wasn't just any day in September; it was September 11, 2001, and as they watched the Twin Towers fall, their lives and those of all Americans changed. "There's something about death that makes people want to live". And this young couple was determined to do just that. They vowed to make the world a better place after witnessing pure, unadulterated evil.

Lucy and Gabe's love story begins that day. They float in and out of each other's lives over the years. She becomes a producer and writer of children's television, he travels to dangerous parts of the world as a renowned photographer. The canvas of their lives includes marriage, children, contentment, disappointments, self-doubt, and wistful longings, until one defining moment changes everything that came before.

This particular love story will tug at your heart like no other. Is it fate that writes the story of our lives or is it choice that creates our destiny?  You may be angry with these extraordinary characters at the decisions they make, or joyous at their celebration of life. You may even write your own ending.

  But, most assuredly, you'll remember Lucy and Gabe, long after the last page turns.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Forever Summer

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

The cover says it all...summer! Picturesque Cape Cod, with its rocky, sandy coast and brilliant blue skies, is the perfect setting for a story of  blossoming love, family turmoil, and well-kept secrets.

Marin Bishop's fall from grace is swift and certain. One day a polished attorney with a promising future and a pedigree fiance, the next day, she's relegated to office gossip about a scandalous affair. She dreads telling her parents that her life is in shambles, since they seem to have achieved marital bliss after thirty years. But in the days ahead, Marin is about to discover that losing her job and identity is just the beginning of a series of unexpected surprises and shocking revelations.

Suddenly, Marin finds herself in trendy Provincetown, Massachusetts meeting family she never knew existed. Four ladies and an array of quirky characters spend an unforgettable summer learning how to accept one another's flaws and shortcomings, realizing that life is too short to do anything but live in the moment. Marin unlocks a passion she never knew she had, sees loved ones in a whole new light, and opens her heart to taking chances on a future filled with hope and happiness.

Usher in the new season with this delightful, breezy, refreshing novel. You'll wish indeed, that summer could go on forever.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Anything Is Possible

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

I'm in awe each time I read one of Elizabeth Strout's novels; such moving, insightful words that effortlessly flow page after page to the delight of her readers. Her latest collection of short stories is no exception.

You'll meet a janitor who lost his home in a sweeping fire, but didn't lose faith in humanity.  Reaching out to a troubled soul, he dares to unlock a secret that somehow,  just by revealing it to a lonely neighbor, transforms his view of the world and the existence of a higher power.

Then there are the sisters who choose different paths as adults. One, trading her dignity and self-respect for a guaranteed life of wealth and affluence. The other, finding words of wisdom in the pages of a book that give her the courage to ask for forgiveness after her hurtful words, spoken in anger, shatter a defiant teenager.

And a successful, weary grandfather who can't fathom the "ungraspable concept of time going by". An unlikely encounter with a has-been, eccentric actor opens his eyes to facing painful memories with a new perspective, while at the same time, facing a brush with death.

These stories and more are told flawlessly by the author of Olive Kitteridge, The Burgess Boys, and My Name is Lucy Barton.  The main character in the latter one is effortlessly weaved into the nine stories throughout this latest release. Readers can easily follow along, even if they haven't read that particular book, although I highly recommend taking the time to check it out. Lucy is now a successful author, having escaped the confines of her small town, Amgash, Illinois, where many of these rich characters still live, haunted by past sins, and the shame of poverty.

 Stout's interpretation of life is at times hopeful, other times, overwhelmingly sad. But in the end, it's her thought-provoking words and signature prose that make her novels a pleasure to read.

Friday, April 21, 2017

One Perfect Lie

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

Sometimes the lie you tell is so perfect, so real, so appealing, you almost believe it  yourself.

Everybody at Central Valley High School loves the new government teacher, Chris Brennan. With his good looks and affable personality, it doesn't take long for him to blend in with the local community and students, who view him as a friend. His added responsibilities as the assistant baseball coach fit precisely into his well-executed plan. Yes, Chris Brennan, you see, is a phony, an impostor, and a master in the art of manipulation. The last step in his elaborate scheme is to pick the most vulnerable, trusting young male student athlete who will unwittingly help him. But Chris underestimates how dangerous it can be to hide behind lies. A wave of murder and destruction awaits him and an unsuspecting public.

Scottoline delivers a powerful, fast-paced story that her fans have come to expect. Mixed within the heart of the story are current topics on teenage rebellion, social media, and corruption. The author adds valuable insight and research into every novel she writes,  and she does it well.

 Cautiously trust those you meet....remember,  some people know how to tell that one perfect lie.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Fair warning, readers....please, please don't reveal the ending of this book!

His kiss still lingers on her lips. David. She can't forget the charming, attractive stranger she met last night while out-on-the-town, alone. Being a divorced, single mom gives Louise little opportunity to socialize, let alone make a sizzling connection with a mysterious man.

Next day, as Louise heads into her part-time job with a prestigious psychiatric practice, she can't stop smiling. Maybe her dull, boring life is about to take a turn. When she sees her new boss from across the room, she instantly recognizes him as the man she met the night before; Dr. David Martin, married, and even more handsome in daylight. Before he spots her, a panicky Louise runs. She can't look into those piercing, brilliant blue eyes of his, without remembering one smoldering kiss.

Distracted and reeling from this revelation, Louise literally bumps into Adele, who looks oh, so familiar. The unsuspecting wife. Her lovely photo graces a frame on David's desk. The chance encounter is the beginning of a deep friendship between two needy ladies. But it isn't long before Louise witnesses the signs of a troubled marriage between her new friend and her new secret lover. Caught in the middle, she's unable to escape the lair of duplicity that surrounds them all. If only she had walked away from the good doctor and his wife when she had the chance.

Some readers will love this novel. Some readers will hate it. But whatever you decide, you'll be talking about the ending, and I think author Sarah Pinborough had exactly that in mind.

Happy April Fool's Day.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Never Let You go

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

It's been almost twelve years since Lindsey Nash and daughter, Sophie, fled in the night to escape a life filled with domestic abuse. Ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to prison and for a few years, Lindsey dared to dream of a life without him.

But now Andrew has been released, and the familiar cycle of terror begins again. Lindsey feels the presence of anonymous eyes constantly watching her from the shadows. Frightening home invasions make her question everyone around her. She's losing control of her needy daughter, while living in fear. Andrew insists he's a changed man, incapable of hurting her, but Lindsey has heard false promises before from this charismatic charmer she fell in love with as a teenager. Why would she believe him now?

The author captures the trauma, secrecy, and stigma of spousal abuse with pinpoint accuracy. A remote small-town in snow-covered Vancouver is the ideal setting to tell a story of obsession and retaliation. Intense suspense builds chapter by chapter, culminating in an unanticipated ending. As in two of her previously reviewed novels (Those Girls and Always Watching), Chevy Stevens seems to have a knack for writing chilling scenarios guaranteed to keep you reading late into the night.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Girl in Disguise

Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister

Kate Warne knows the streets of 1856 Chicago are no place for a lady, but she's run out of options. Without a husband and a dwindling bank account, this may be her last chance for survival. So, on that hot, sultry day, she walks into the famed Pinkerton National Detective Agency, determined to persuade the intimidating Allan Pinkerton himself to hire her as the first female private investigator in the country. And she succeeds.

Follow this fascinating story of a remarkable woman in history who hid behind a shroud of mystery. As a woman operative, Kate battled male colleagues for recognition while facing danger around every corner. With her keen mind and flair for the dramatic, she managed to outsmart swindlers and hardened criminals alike. Her key part in thwarting an early assassination attempt of Abraham Lincoln is just one of many tales readers will relish. The author adds her own imaginative take on this real life lady who became the master of disguise.

Author Greer Macallister's name is now synonymous with captivating historical fiction novels. I knew when I reviewed The Magician's Lie in January, 2015, that her next release would be on my list of must reads. Loyal fans will not be disappointed as they decide, who really was the elusive Kate Warne?