The Second Home by Christina Clancy

This is a story that makes you look at your own family.  You realize that every family is not what they appear to be and your own is not any different.  For seventeen-year-old  Ann, her summer at the family beach house will change her life and her family forever.

 

The rift that forms between her and her sister Poppy forms that summer will only increase as time goes on.  The damage between Ann and her adopted brother Michael is even worse.

 

The death of her parents forces Ann to reach out to her siblings and face that summer once and for all.  Will that summer cost Ann her family forever?

A touching story of innocence, love, and family that tugs at the heartstrings and stays with the reader long after the last page is finished.

 

 

 

The Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty

 

 

 

 

9780778309710_TS_PRDTerry never expected her friend Iris to disappear, but when she calls the Yoga Retreat where Iris is spending her birthday to tell them she will stop by with a cake she learns that Iris isn’t there. Terry gathers her father from his nursing home which is dealing with a vermin problem and heads out in search of Iris.

 

Terry is a first-class worrier and full-time mother, so she fears that Iris lays in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, and rushes to check on her.   The house is empty and still and clean.  Iris has never been tidy.  Terry soon realizes where Iris is and jumps in headlong to save her.

 

Throwing caution to the wind is not something Terry would normally do, but she knows that Iris doesn’t have anyone to look out for her, so she skips out on her duties to her grown daughters and her husband and heads off to find Iris before something horrible happens.

 

Terry’s adventure is full of twists and turns.  She will challenge herself, test her friendship with Iris, strain her marriage and have the adventure of a lifetime that she never saw coming.

 

Terry makes it her job to hinder Iris’s plans with results that are touching, comical and often not at all what she planned or hoped they would be.  I see so much of every Mom I know in Terry:  Let me handle that, let me make it easy, let’s not fuss.   It made me smile and sometimes laugh out loud.

 

Ultimately, Terry and Iris will learn things about themselves and each other that they never knew and sometimes regret as they travel through Europe on a tour de force neither of them will forget.    Their friendship will suffer a strain, almost break and change forever.

 

Bet this one is on your reading list.  Check out the first chapter here:

Chapter 1 excerpt

 

The Friendship List By Susan Mallory

 

 

 

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When Unity and Ellen decide they need to shake things up, they create a friendship list to challenge each other to do the things they have been putting off.

 

Ellen needs a decent shopping trip, a date and a life.  Unity needs to stop living in the past and step into the present.  Easier said than done for both these ladies, but they slowly move forward with heart-warming and sometimes hilarious results.

 

Both our ladies are graduates of the school of hard knocks.  Ellen was a teen mother and is a single mom.  As her son plans for college and the future, she must face the empty spot he will leave behind.  Unity has faced loss since an early age.  Her parents died in an accident, and then her husband died while serving his country.  Can Unity see the good and trust that good things will happen, or will she let her past hold her back?

 

I loved the fact that these ladies have had their share of hard knocks and heartbreak, yet here they are trying to change things even though it is challenging for both of them.

 

The list ranges from the expected, such as a wardrobe update for Ellen, to the outlandish such as getting tattoos and staying out all night.

 

Ellen heads out on a two-week bus trip with her son and the high school football coach, her friend Keith, that will test her will.  She must separate two over friendly teens on the trip.  One of them is Keith’s daughter.  She will also test herself on the trip, trying to mark things off her list.  She spends the first night of the trip all fancied up sitting in the hotel bar.   Her trip continues to surprise her each day, but she will shocked at what Unity has accomplished herself.

 

Unity is the victim of a well-meaning match maker, but she goes out with Thaddeus so she can cross an item off her list.  Instead, she sees her life with a fresh perspective and makes changes.  She will go skydiving, hire her first full-time employee and make even bigger changes.

 

What starts as a simple challenge between friends becomes so much more.  I am so glad I was along for the journey.  A warm and witty look at life, where we want to go, and getting to where we are meant to be.

 

Start reading now.  You won’t want to stop.

Chapter 1 Excerpt

The Kids are Gonna Ask By Gretchen Anthony

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How do you handle all those questions that come up when you are the child of a single parent who has never been married?  Especially when she dies in a car accident when you haven’t even thought about them yet?  For Thomas and Savanah McClair, those questions send them on the adventure of a lifetime.

The twins take the questions to their grandmother Maggie, who has done her best to fill the empty spot left by their mother Bess.   Then they reach out to Bess’s college friends, and then they take them to the world at large through a podcast.  Their well-intentioned plans go awry, and they end up thrown into a spotlight and a controversy that no one could have seen on the horizon.

 

The popularity of their podcast throws them into a hot spotlight that isn’t all they hoped.  As their story and their questions gain national attention, the twins must guard their privacy while sharing with their fans.  One too close for comfort incident reinforces this point.

 

While the twins manage their fans and try to hold the line in the sand between public and private lives, they also question the motives of the team that started the project with them.  After a heart to heart talk with Maggie, hilarity gives them a much-needed respite as their business dinner has unexpected consequences for their guest.

 

Their search will help them narrow down the possibilities.  I will not tell you more than that; you need to read it and see what happens; I am doing my best to make this spoiler-free.  😊

 

The search for their father will lead the twins and their grandmother on a journey full of unexpected twists, turns, and loops.  Bess will become a person separate from the Mother they knew.  The search will also make all three McClair’s see themselves differently.

 

This story of a family who is tried and tested and strong will warm your heart and remind you to be careful what you wish for.

 

Start reading here, bet you have trouble stopping.

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Big Summer Jennifer Weiner

This book started off my summer reading in a big way.  This book has so many layers and so much packed into it, it will be a hard act to follow.  Our heroine Daphine is a plus-sized social media influencer, dog walker and baby sitter.  When an old friend Drue Lanthorpe Cavanaugh drops back into her life looking for a bridesmaid she has to face her past and search her heart before she agrees.

One she is on the wedding bandwagon she has to tell her other best friend what she’s gotten herself into as well as start working with a new client. Lila, who wants her to be the face of her brand.

When the wedding weekend arrives and things go wonderfully right and then horribly wrong it will take all of Daphne’s spunk and grit to help her figure things out and put her life and her past in order.

 

Daphne touched my heart.  I was never one of the pretty popular girls either and I could relate to Daphne instantly.   I also related to Drue quickly because anyone who has survived their teen years had someone like Drue as a part of them.

I loved the fact that Daphne was so honest about social media and how you can use it and make it appear the way you want it.

 

This book is honest, timely, and touching in a way that only Jennifer Weiner can create.  I am sorry that this book is done.  Daphne and her circle of friends will be sticking with me.

Around the Sun by Eric Michael Bovim

This novel is really three stories in one.  There is the story of a father who left on his own after his wife’s death must figure out how to help his son and move them forward toward a better tomorrow.

This is also the story of a son who must rely on his father who works too much and smiles to little and has no idea what he’s doing.

This is also the story of a man who has lost his wife and is questioning everything his life including his success and keeping his business going.

 

This story is full of the things you would expect like homework issues and Dad not making it home in time for dinner, but it is also filled with love and magic.  The love of a father who is looking for a way to make things better for his son and the magic that happens when they can leave work and school behind.

This story made me laugh and cheer and cry happy tears.  It is a story of saying goodbye and hello at the same time and finding your way forward even if the path is long and uneven.

The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season A Novel by Molly Fader

The Bitter and Sweet of cherry Season by Molly Fader is a story of family and what those ties really mean.  Can you go home again?  Can you feel safe? Can you start over?  These are just some of the questions that Hope must ask herself as she looks for a haven for her and her daughter Tink to regroup and figure out the next move.

Hope is running from someone and the only place she can think of going is Orchard House.  Her aunt’s home that she has heard about from her mother.  Hope has never been there, but she has to go somewhere so she packs up her car and heads to the only safe place she can think of.

Hope’s Aunt Peg is standoffish and quiet and strict.  She agrees to let Hope and Tink stay and offers them work helping harvest the cherry crop.  The work helps Hope to clear her head and start to think about staying.  Until her past catches up with her.

 

Hope must face her past and embrace her future.  If she can let herself dream and take chances a future and a fresh start.

 

Hope pulled at my heartstrings.  She wanted to be so strong, but she was so tired of being alone. I could understand how she felt and why she felt that way.  Tink is every little girl with big dreams.

 

This story is a rich family story with history and hope.

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

The Water Keeper is a quest, a love story, and a story about family all beautifully blended together.  It is a story of love lost and found and lost again.

Murphy is following through on his friends last request to spread his ashes in his favorite spot, but along the way, he will reunite two families, face his past and redefine his future.

The story weaves between the past and presents so that we see him as he is now, but we see how he got to this place in his life and we understand how and why he is determined to help others.

 

Murphy starts his journey feeling lost and alone, but life soon reminds him that he has more to do and more people to meet.

 

His journey winds through Florida all the way to the keys and because he travels by boat the narrative has a totally different feel to it, and the story is full of twists and turns before it arrives at the conclusion.

 

I am hoping that Murphy and I have another adventure in the future.

Red Sky Over Hawaii By Sara Ackerman

 

 

 

image0[7582]    This story is proof that family is where you find it.  Our story opens with Lana who must go to Oahu because her father is very ill.  Lana meets her father’s neighbors and their daughters as the island is reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It seems nowhere is safe and everyone is suspected of something.   Lana takes her father’s suggestion and decides to go to the volcano house which is secluded and safer.

Lana doesn’t plan to takes a group with her, but when it is obvious that her father’s friends and the neighbor’s daughters need an escape as much as she does she loads up her father’s truck and they begin the perilous journey to the unseen home her father build by the volcano.

Setting the house to rights will take everyone in their group as well as the help of a military man and the help of some of Lana’s father’s friends, but as the house becomes a home the group becomes a family.

 

Family is different for everyone and it is not always one you are born into, but for Lana finding her family and her home sets her on the path she thought she would never find.

 

 

Best Behavior by Wendy Francis Out Now

 

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Best Behavior is a touching look at a family at a pivotal moment in time.  Meredeth and her blended family graduation weekend means something different to each of them.  For twins, Dawn and Cody’s freedom is in sight.  For Cody, it will be his final few moments as the football hero and for Dawn, it will be her last moments in her brother’s shadow.

Meredeth is fighting the panic that keeps cropping up when she thinks of the twins far away in other cities, but before that happens she must be on her best behavior for the graduation events that her ex-husband Roger and his new wife Lilly will attend.

 

The weekend starts off with a surprise when Roger shows up at the awards banquet unexpectedly and alone.  The weekend continues to be full of twists and turns that wind our family to the final moments of loading the U Haul.

 

The journey is bittersweet surprising and touching, not to mention full of excitement.  I laughed, cried, and was sorry to the last page endsBest Behavior Excerpt.  This is a family that feels like your own and stay with you long after the last page is done.

 

A great Mother’s day gift or save it for the days on the beach this summer.  You will be glad you were part of such an important weekend and a wonderful family.

Check out the excerpt above.