Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

(65)Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Molly Sanderson's sleep is disturbed by a call from her editor.  All of the "real" reporters in her small-town newspaper are unavailable and her boss needs her to go cover a story.  A body was found out near the local university and the paper needs somebody on the scene.   So Molly goes and she is shocked to discover the body is that is of a baby girl.  The revelation brings up all sorts of old feelings for Molly as it has barely been two years since she lost her own baby.  But Molly is determined to stay on the story and report the story in an impartial manner, trying to build credibility for her new career.  As she starts digging into the story she realizes that some dark secrets may have to be revealed in order to find out the truth about what happened to that baby.  Secrets involving her best friend, Stella, Stella's teen son, and the university that employs Molly's husband. Will Molly be able to remain impartial and get the job done?

Whey They Found Her is told from the viewpoint of three Ridgedale women.  Molly Sanderson, Barbara - a local mother and wife of the chief of police, and Sandy - a local teen from the wrong side of the tracks. The three women couldn't be more different, but they are bound by that poor baby.  There were many times throughout the story that I found myself wishing I could just smack Barbara.  She was so over-the-top that it made it tough to like her and "reading" the book on Audible only makes her that much more unlikable. The tone of her voice was so harsh and judgmental in almost every instance she instantly became the bad guy.    Sandy, on the other hand,  was easy to like .  Her mother's life is a cautionary tale, but Sandy did want better for herself and that is how her path crosses with Barbara.  Barbara's daughter, Hannah, has been tutoring Sandy for her GED, which Barbara says will look good on college applications. Kimberly McCreight does a great job of dissecting the relationships and dynamics of a small town and the intricacies of the secrets that hold the town together.  The whole time you are reading the book you are trying to guess two things - who did the baby belong to and how did she end up in that creek. By the time you get to the end of the book several shocking secrets have been revealed, including the father of the baby found in the creek and it is jaw-dropping.

Bottom line - Kimberly McCreight is making a name for herself as one of the premier suspense authors our time.  She builds her stories in such an intricate and layered fashion that you find yourself unable to tear yourself away from her world.  It makes for a thrilling read.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

(64) Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis come from two different worlds.  Rachel lives a comfortable life in Florida with her parents, even though she has a congenital heart defect, she still leads a pretty easy life and even is a bit spoiled.   Andy Landis is the only child of a single woman who struggle to make ends meet.  Growing up on the streets of Philadelphia, Andy has led a pretty solitary life, his only friend is an older man.  The two meet as eight year-old kids in the emergency room of a Florida hospital.  That chance meeting sets the tone for the rest their lives.  They meet again by random happenstance when they are teenagers and that starts a romance that will eventually span decades.   It is in college though that their vastly different backgrounds cause problems for the two young lovers.  Andy got a full ride athletic scholarship for track and Rachel is deeply entrenched in the Greek system at a posh private university. When Andy visits Rachel for a formal he realizes that Rachel lives in a privileged world that he is likely never going to know.  Will the two be able to get past their differences to live a "happily ever after" life together?

Who Do You Love is a love-story that spans decades.  Their story is told by both Andy and Rachel.  You get inside the heads of both of these characters and learn what they are thinking, feeling, hoping, and dreaming.  I really felt that I knew both characters intimately and that added to my investment in their happiness. The author did an amazing job at character development for both Rachel and Andy.  Especially Rachel, who went from a spoiled sorority girl to working as a social worker in one of the toughest cities in the world.  It was great to watch her grow and realize that there is more to life than her own world view.    One thing I loved about their relationship was that there were times they weren't "together" , but they were still very much on the other person's mind.  Like when Rachel was in Manhattan on 9/11 or Andy found out the truth about his dad. Whenever something major happened in their lives it was the other person they thought about.  It just showed how their bond was so strong.   Things didn't go exactly as I thought they  would, but the end was satisfying and even a bit enjoyable.

Bottom line -  Who Do You Love is an enchanting tale about true love, destiny, and the bonds that can develop between two people from a young age.  Definitely a heartwarming read that will once again have you believing in true love.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

(63)The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster

Jack Jordan is a highly respected journalist who is willing to be put in the most dangerous of situations in order to get the story.  Kitty Carricoe is  a mother and wife in the most prestigious Chicago suburb. Her only concerns are PTA meetings and birthday parties.  Jack and Kitty have been bitter enemies ever since college.  Their animosity is legendary, but they have one thing in common, their best friend Sarabeth.  When Sarabeth's husband is tragically and suspiciously killed in a plane crash Jack comes in off of her  assignment and Kitty leaves her posh Lakeside neighborhood and they come together to help Sarabeth through her crisis.   Speculation starts to mount that Trip was up to no good with his client's money and the two enemies decide to  pair up to get to the bottom of his shenanigans.  Their "investigation" takes them to the most unlikely places and discovers the most unlikely truths.  Will they be able to bury the hatchet once and for all?

Jen Lancaster is one author whose sense of humor comes through with every word she writes. There were many times throughout the book that I found myself chuckling and even laughing out loud. Jack and Kitty were fun characters,  Kitty is so over the top she was almost cartoonish - at first.  The more we get to know Kitty the more we realize that there is more to her than meets the eye. I liked Jack from the very beginning and found her to be easier to relate to  than Kitty.  Once the two of them teamed up they were a force to be reckoned with in quite the hysterical manner.    I will say that I was very surprised by the end of the book.  Typically I can figure that type of stuff out rather quickly, but Jen Lancaster surprised me!

Bottom line - The Best of Enemies was a light and fun read.  One where you can lose yourself in the fun and fluffy world created by one of my favorite authors.  Definitely worth the read!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sunday, August 2, 2015

(62)Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Heidi Wood has always had a "save the world" mentality.  She works in a Literacy Center helping refugee students learn English.  She is vigilant about recycling and often lectures her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Zoe, on the social injustices in the world. But even Chris didn't think that Heidi would bring home a homeless teen and her new baby.  Heidi spotted Willow and Ruby while on her way home from work one day and when she spots them again Heidi approaches the young woman and invites her to dinner.  Heidi is instantly taken with the young baby, Ruby and finds herself inviting them to stay with them.  Chris is appalled and scared for his family's safety, while Zoe just wants them all to go away.  It isn't long before Heidi is utterly consumed with the young baby, the memories of her lost baby haunting her every moment  and driving her every decision. Soon her obsession with the baby is causing her to ignore all aspects of her life.  The question remains, who is Willow and Ruby?  Where did they come from and why does Willow have blood on her crusty shirt? Is Heidi's obsession  putting her family's life in danger?

Pretty Baby is one of those thrillers that is told from alternating perspectives. First there is Heidi, then there is Chris, and finally there is Willow.  But Willow's perspective is from a different time.  She slowly reveals where she has come from and the horrifying events that led her to become homeless in Chicago with a baby.  But Willow's story is revealed as she is telling it to a social worker in a juvenile corrections facility. And knowing that is what drives the suspense.   As the book progresses you start to understand and really empathize with Willow at the same time that you watch Heidi come completely unraveled.  The drama of it is truly hypnotizing.  Then there is Chris, who is trying to hold it all together for his family.  He is getting worn out by all the travel and all of the temptations that come with being a road warrior.  He just wants to be home with his family, but he sees Heidi slipping away with her obsession, he just never realized how bad it had gotten until the truth is revealed.  His steadiness just offsets all of the crazy in a way that adds to the authenticity of the story.

Bottom line - Pretty Baby is one of those books that will hook you early and keep you on the edge of your seat.  Pretty Baby has been getting a lot of media buzz and for good reason.  This is not one to miss!


Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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