The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman

This is the wonderful story of three generations of women who are connected by their tradition of charm bracelets.  Lolly is the fudge lady she signs and makes fudge in the candy store window in her  home town of Lost Land Lake.  Her daughter Arden could not wait to leave the small town and it has been a long time since she has been back, but at the urging of her daughter Lauren the two take a road trip to visit Lolly and realize just how much all of them have changed.  Arden is burned out and not sure how to change it, Lauren is being practical and majoring in business even though she really wants to paint, and Lolly just wants to remind them how to have fun before it is too late.  Through the charms on her bracelet Lolly imparts family stories and her hopes and dreams for her girls.  A touching story of love, loss, life and hope set against the backdrop of a summer resort town with it’s own special traditions.  A great beach read or a great book to read when you wish you could be on a beach.  netgalley

The Storm Sister: A Novel by Lucinda Riley

Ally is a strong capable woman, a sailor who is used to living in a man’s world, but when he father dies and her world crumbles she embarks on a journey of love and loss and new beginnings as she searches for her birth parents and explores her family history.  It turns out her love of music might be part of her genes along with the red hair she always wanted to dye as a child, and there are other things she learns about herself as she tries to figure out the next phase of her life and how to persevere in  the face of love lost.  The storm sister is the second book in the Seven Sisters series.  While the books can be read on their own you may want to read the first in the series  The Seven Sisters first.  It tells the story of Maya the oldest sister.  I loved Ally and the fact that she is such a strong capable woman.

When I’m Gone A Novel by Emily Bleeker

netgalleyLuke looses his wife Natalie to Cancer and he must find a way to raise their children and keep living, but it is so much harder than he thought it would be, then he finds an envelope from Natalie with his name on it and gobbles up the letter.  As the days move into weeks and months the letters continue, but Luke is left with more questions with answers and wonders if his wife was the woman he thought she was.  He contiually tries to balance the past and Natalie’s secrets with the woman he knew all while navigating the pitfalls of raising three kids on his own.  Natlaie’s friend Annie is a huge help but she has a puzzle of her own to figure out, his mother in law is flat out hostile, but Natalie has found him a helper who turns out to be wonderful with the children and more.  This book made me cry get your tissues ready, but it left me with a feeling of hope when I read the last page and I enjoyed following Luke as he navigated his past and his possible future.  A great emotional read.

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy March 1st

netgalleyYou Were Here is the touching story of an unlikely group of friends who are stuck between childhood and adulthood and all of them are not sure how to get from where they are to the next place they are supposed to be. At the center is Jaycee who has spent the last five years haunted by her brothers death, and by simply surviving graduation night she will out live her brother Jake, but it does not change how she feels about her brother or her life. She remembers the anniversary of his death by visiting the old abandoned asylum in town, Jake was an urban explorer and the asylum was one of his favorite places. Jaycee is often joined by Mik her brother’s best friend, they don’t talk, actually Mik does not talk much at all, but sharing the evening with him is something Jaycee has looked forward to fo the last year. Before she meets up with Mik Jaycee spends time on the playground where the accident happened and even climbs to the top of the swings like her brother. Her former best friend Natalie finds her there and rushes over to save her convinced she is going to follow in Jake’s footsteps. Natalie is accompanied by her boyfriend Zach and Bishop who is lamenting the lost of his true love. Together the rag tag group slowly finds they have more in common than not and all of them have issues and baggage all their own, over the course of summer they will follow Jake’s urban explorer map, but the map and the journey will lead them to places they never thought they would go, all of them are trying to move on yet not quite ready to let go of things the way they are. Jaycee is stuck, unable to move forward and forget Jake, Mik and Natalie also carry guilt about that night, Zach wants the summer to last forever so Natalie and Bishop won’t leave him behind and Natalie and Bishop can’t escape their small town fast enough, but each of them will change over the summer and together they will move on different and stronger than they started. A wonderfully warm story of life and moving to the next phase. Jaycee is caustically honest, Natalie is panicked and doing all she can to hide it, Mik’s silences speak volumes, Bishop’s art speaks for him and Zach is trying to enjoy his last summer before the world crashes in on him. You won’t forget these friends or Jake who brings them together.