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.

 

 

The Sea Glass Cottage RayAnne Thayne

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This is a wonderful story about three women who have faced hardship and continue to fight to make the world a better place.  Juliet has lost a husband and daughter and became the sole parent of her granddaughter Caitlin.  Olivia left town and started over in Seattle after losing her father and sister.  Cooper returns to town to help out his sister whose husband has left her for another woman.  When Juliet has an accident that brings Olivia home their worlds will come together and turn like the pieces in a kaleidoscope.  None of them will the same, but they will all be better for it.  Olivia and Juliet must decide what they want out of life moving forward and Caitlin must answer questions about her mother and her past so she can move freely into the future.  The past and possibilities of the future will come together.   This is the story of three strong women and the ties that bind them together.  It is also the story of home and what that means to each of them.   I loved these ladies and I was sorry to part ways with them on the last page.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

A Light in the Hallway

A Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse is the story of a family.   The story opens as Kerry is battling cancer and her husband Nick is trying to manage the day to day task and be there for their teenage son Oliver.  Nick struggles to manage everything and he finds it harder as time goes on.  I know this makes it seem like a  tear-jerker, and I admit I cried, but I also admired Nick for his strength in the face of the situation and his drive to keep going.  The story spans a few years.  The narrative moves through time showing us Nick’s scenes from Nick’s life and even letting us know what Kerry thinks.  Nick plucked my heartstrings as he navigated the changes in his life and tried to do the best thing for his son.    This story leaves you feeling hopeful and optimistic as you take Nick’s journey with him.  He is supported by his friends and family and they add their own special touches to his journey.   This book became available on November 11th and it might be just perfect for you or someone on your gift list.

Lost Along the Way: A Novel by Erin Duffy

Jane, Cara and Meg thought they would be friends no matter what but life had other plans.  Years later Jane is married to a man who stole money from his clients and looking for somewhere to go and get away from the press and the people who want her out of their lives.  In a desperate last ditch effort at a fresh start she turns up on Cara’s doorstep to the horror of Cara’s social climber husband, but even her brief stay convinces Jane that Cara’s life is not as it should be either and after a frank and straight shooting conversation the two agree to see if they can escape to Meg’s beach house for a few days.  Jane didn’t count on the fact that Cara and Meg had a falling out of their own so they go with plan B, track down Steve Meg’s husband and when they do they learn that Meg is already at the beach house, but their unexpected arrival creates havoc for Meg and yet despite the arguing and accusing the happens between them all of them admit it is great to be together again.  A touching and funny story of friendship and love and life.

The Tolling of Mercedes Ball: A Novel by Jennifer Dwight

I loved Mercedes.  Her life is anything but easy from an abusive husband and having to restart her life after she is widowed she just keeps rolling with the punches, not that it is always easy for her and even when it seems easy it is an illusion, but I have to hand it to her she knows how to take all those lemons life keeps tossing at her and make lemonade.

Parting Gifts by Katrina Anne Willis

Oldest sister Catherine is battling breast cancer and wondering when her life will get back to “normal” and what that might be.  Middle sister Anne is fighting to have the suburban life she didn’t grow up but wants her children to have.  She is overwhelmed with pre-school and playgroup and a mounting stack of bills.  Youngest sister Jessica just wanted to escape, and she fled to California A.S.A.P. but she has moved back to town.  What all three sisters want is to be loved and to belong to something bigger than themselves, yet for each one of them the prize remains elusive at best.  Catherine has never had a long term close relationship other than her best friend Michelle from college, Anne must control everything and everyone and Jessica wants to make peace with her past and move on but it is much harder than it seems.  Anne must deal with the day to day issues for their mother Eva who is battling Alzheimer’s and despite the passing of their larger than life father Big Jim the girls are still not close at all.  Jessica has been out of touch for years and Catherine and Anne are not close by any stretch of the imagination, yet life will continue to try to bring the sisters back together, but will it be too little to late? #itsrainingbooks