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.

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.

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

 

 

Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark April 5th

Frances and Stella are the kind of friends who challenge each other and make each other better, and they are always honest with each other so at Stella’s insistence Frances agrees to do a week long charity bike ride with Stella and go to prom, but when the world goes sideways as Frances is trying on prom gowns neither girl will ever be the same.  Frances must find something to do and some way of keeping the hopes and dreams she and Stella had going and when she finds a list of challenges for the bike ride on Stella’s desk she knows she has to do them like it or not.  There are easy things on the list like swimming in a biking outfit and a wearing a swimsuit for one days ride and then there are harder things like that amusement park ride that has always terrified Frances.  Can Frances really do this?  Frances will learn many things about herself and about her biking teammates during a week of self discovery that will benefit others but teach Frances and her fellow riders about themselves as well.  I loved the dynamic between Frances and Stella and I love Frances for doing this ride despite how hard it is for her and how out of place she feels.  I admire her spunk and grit, but even that isn’t enough to get her to the finish line, it will take being honest with her team mates and a shared goal to get them all across the finish line and into their future.  A warm and touching read about growing up in many ways, yet still being innocent and open to the things life presents to you.

Remember to Forget, Revised and Expanded from Wattpad sensation @_smilelikeniall by Ashley Royer

Levi’s world falls apart in hours and he is left to deal with his changed reality.  As his depression gets worse and he continues to remain silent totally silent his mother sends him from their home in Australasia to Maine, USA to live with his father hoping that a total change will force him out of his funk.  Now on top of all his other issues Levi must deal with the father he has not seen in years and the culture shock of living in a totally new place, but gradually he finds a few good friends including three year old Lucy and slowly puts his world back together.  A moving story about rebuilding after a huge loss, finding the courage to live again.  Levi touched me with his honest and open story and I loved watching how Lucy melted his heart and wormed her way into his life. Witty, touching and warm yet not afraid to ask tough questions and demand answers.

The Girl With Nine Wigs A Memoir by Sophie van der Stap

I loved this book. You would think that a cancer memoir would be glum or full of deep thoughts, and while this book does have a few of them overall it is upbeat and thoughtful and runs the emotional spectrum. One of the themes of the novel which makes it quirky and fun is the wigs Sophie acquires during her treatment and recovery. Each wig makes her feel differently and reflects a different personality so her wigs choice becomes tied to her mood, from her first wig Stella which is not a great fit to Bebe that is given to her by a friend and all the ones in between Sophie and her wigs tell a story of hope, promise and fun along the way.

A Time for Friends: A Novel by Patricia Scanlan July 14th

I adored this story about Hillary and Colette, two unlikely friends who manage to stay together through thick and thin.  Colette is the daughter of two busy lawyers who can have anything she wants except her parents time and attention.  Hillary lives in a warm laughter filled home that is more modest, but her parents always have time for her.  As the girls grow up and move into adult hood Hilary marries a man she loves and makes a good life for her family, Colette follows in her parents footsteps and marries a man with huge social ambitions which keep her away from her daughter and keeping up appearances at all costs.  When Colette’s world falls apart in a matter of hours, it is Hilary who picks her up and tires to get her back on her feet, but at a terrible price.  Along with our leading ladies we also meet the families and then there is Jonathan, Hilary’s friend and business partner who is also searching for a way to have the life he wants.  A touching story about friends, good and a bad, old and new, and the importance they have in our lives.

Those Girls by Chevy Stevens July 7th 2015

Those Girls is the story of three sisters who escape their tough love father only to land in a deeper darker place, but eventually they find a new start and try to build a happy life, but the past is not done with them it lies just beneath the surface simmering until it pulls them back in and they can finally put it to rest and move on.  I found the dynamic between the sisters who love each other very much despite all they have been though.  The bond between them and their determination to build a better life made them so real and honest.  I do have to say that this story has lots of dark elements to it,but seeing the love between the sisters reminds us that even in a rough life there are rays of sunshine and hope.netgalley

The Witch of Belladonna Bay Suzanne Palmieri Available Now

Wyn leaves Magnolia Creek Alabama when her mother dies and does not plan on coming back, but years later when her brother Patrick  is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit she returns to care for Byrd,  her niece who has lost both her parents, and to clear her brother’s name.  As you would expect the truth is never easy to see or easy to take and Wyn has her share of ups and downs as she tries to reconcile the place that Magnolia Creek is now with the home she remembers, and if reconciling the town wasn’t hard enough the people are even harder.  The more Wyn looks into the past for answers to try to free Patrick the more she learns about herself and her place in the world.    I loved the characters and the family dynamics of this novel.  Both of Wyn’s parents are obsessed in their own ways, and only as an adult can she begin to accept them for who they are.  The dynamic is this book are wonderful, the town comes alive in your mind and I was sad to leave it when I had read the last page.  This is a story of family, of love, and betrayal, laced with magic and hope.  A great summer read.

 

 

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Cathing Cameron by Julie Brannagh Available May 6

Catching Cameron is the story of Cameron and Zach.  They had a fling of sorts in college, she went on to become a sports journalist and he became an NFL football star.  In the ten years since their three day fling Cameron has avoided Zach like the plague, but her work puts her in close contact with him and his team, and when she has to interview him the results are a disaster and it costs both of them.  What Cameron doesn’t realize is that Zach has always been in love with her and while he may be gone from her life ,she has never been forgotten in his.  The question is can they make peace with the past and trust each other enough to try to find a future?  I loved the dynamic between these two, they kept me laughing, and guessing page by page, event by event.  A great well paced read.