Monday, September 16, 2019

Julie's Review: Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina LaManna
Series: None
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A story of how friendship binds you to your past, present and future
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Summary: Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime ― alone. Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated. Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything. Emily can't shake her reputation or her memories, and she's planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle. Lulu's got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way ― as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back. Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know ― and they're not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore. ~amazon.com 

Review: I love a good mystery, a good classic who-dunit, which is what Pretty Guilty Women is at it's core. It is also about female friendships, forgiveness and understanding. Let's face it, female friendships/relationships are complex and when there's a misunderstanding it can be even worse. For 4 college friends reuniting isn't necessarily a happy event. Emily is dealing with a pain so deep she drinks to try to keep it supressed; Ginger is struggling with being a mom to a brood of 3 with a teenager who thinks she's an idiot and Kate struggles with being unable to obtain what she wants the most. The 4th friend is the one getting married and is mentioned throughout the book but isn't integral other than getting them all in the same place.

It's at the hotel bar that they meet Sydney with her baby Lydia and Lulu who each is harboring a secret one with more consequences for the group than the other. As the women drink more and longer into the day/night, each opens up about their own insecurities. Ginger still harbors ill feelings towards Emily even though she has no clu what she's been through in the last 10 years and well Kate is still bossy and in charge.

What ensues over the next 24 hours is murder and mayhem with various points of view but one thing is clear they are all covering up for someone, the question is whom? We are given snippets of the night as the police investigate the murder and the events leading up the murder. We are given the events leading up to the murder from each of the women's POV, which is always interesting. They each have their own version of the truth because it is what they saw and how their experiences shaped their view.

I like complex female friendships and none is more complex at times than mother/teenage daughter. Ms. LaManna does a great job of exhibiting this with Ginger and Elsie's relationship. They speak at each other and not to each other which is typical plus neither one really listens to the other one. Also, how do you repair a friendship when you have been harboring ill-will to someone for so long? This is Ginger and Emily's quandry. And who really is Sydney Banks? Is she on the run?

Now I will confess (haha) that I figured out who the murdered man was pretty early on BUT I didn't see a couple of outcomes of the murder coming, so I'm all about a twist that gives me pause.

I really enjoyed the mystery and getting to know these women and their struggles. It was a great reminder about how not to judge because you really have no clue what people have been through. For fans of Liane Moriarty, you will want to check out this one.


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 9/8/2019:


Finished:





Kevin Kwan's series is serious escapism but I have to say the first one is my favorite because of the relationship of Rachel and Nick brought some levity. Fans of Liane Moriarty will really enjoy Pretty Guilty Women with complex female relationships and a murder. Girl, Wash Your Face was interesting listening to Ms. Hollis' experience but in the end it was the same platitudes you've heard before.


Currently Reading:


I LOVE Alice Hoffman and have been anxiously awaiting this one. Already into it and I can tell it's going to be a top read this year.

Looking Forward To:



It is coming upon my favorite time of year..Fall! It isn't because of Pumpkin Spice anything (yuk). I love the weather and watching the leaves change. My husband also loves making fires so I'm sure that will start up in October as well! It also means a bit more downtime as baseball wraps up and basketball doesn't start yet. What do you love about fall?

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 9/1/2019:


Finished:





Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:


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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Julie's Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over



Author: Linda Holmes
Series: None
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Pages: 304
Obtained: library
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A sweet story about loss, guilt and starting over
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them. Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean’s future. When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they’ve damaged, the secrets they’ve kept—but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance—up until the last out. ~amazon.com 

Review: Evvie has spent the last year hiding out in her house after her husband Tom died in an accident. Everyone thinks it's because she's grief ridden but that's not it, she's guilt ridden. She keeps that to herself though because it's easier to have people thinking something other than the truth. She also keeps to herself that she's struggling financially because that would mean she's have to admit that to herself as well. For Evvie, burying her head is what she thinks is best right now. So when her best friend Andy tell her that he offered up her guest house to his old buddy Dean, she jumps at the chance to have a steady income for some months.

Evvie and Dean hit it off but not before establishing some rules (which you know will be broken) for each other: he can't ask about her husband and she can't ask about his baseball career. They get to know each other through other subject and develop a strong friendship. The move to romance isn't a hard leap for them to make and you definitely see it coming. In fact, I would have thought it was weird if they hadn't actually gone that way.

While the romance might be inevitable between Evvie and Dean, it is because they can be themselves with each other and have always been honest. It's this honesty and realness that allows both of them to start to be honest with themselves.

I thought this was a great read with a bit more depth that I would have initially thought. There is the fact that Evvie is a people pleaser and that means she has always put herself last. Throughout her childhood, as a wife and as a friend. How she comes to understand it and how she starts to put herself first.

If you are looking for a great read, then look no further than Evvie Drake Starts Over.



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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 8/25/2019:


Finished:





Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:





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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 8/18/2019:


Finished:


Started off a bit slow but then it picked up to where I wanted to see where the story was going.


Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:




Back to school week here. Well to be fair my daughter started high school last Thursday but the majority of kids go back today. This means back to schedules and waking up at a decent time for the 11 year old. I'm ready for it but yet sad to see summer end!

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Julie's Review: Careful What You Wish For

Author: Hallie Ephron
Series: None
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 304
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Suspense
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A bit slow to start and bit easy to figure out
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.Like other professionals who make a living decluttering peoples’ lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, she makes clear that the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own stuff. That stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years. She’d love nothing better than to toss out all her husband’s crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married. Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour when, after too much wine, the women end up fantasizing about how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses. But the next day Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her to clean up. Careful what you wish for, the old adage says . . . now Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage . . . and possibly her life. ~amazon.com

Review: I've never ready anything by Ms. Ephron before but I definitely enjoyed this one. Emily is a go getter she quit teaching to start her own organization business after a video of her went viral. She loves helping people declutter their lives. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a hiccup her husband is a bit of a collector (aka horder) so she controls her things and leaves his to collect dust in various areas of the house.

Emily and her partner, get 2 new clients on the same weekend. One is a widow who needs help sorting through her husbands storage unit that she didn't even know about. The other client is a younger wife who needs help going through all her belongings that she didn't move into the house when she got married.

As you know, things aren't always what they seem so as Emily starts to get involved in both new clients decluttering she begins to question what is really going on. She gets enbroiled into their lives in not the best manner. As she tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together things start to go out of control. How will she remain in control? How can she prove that she was used as a scapegoat?

Careful What You Wifh For  is a study in character and in understanding that sometimes you don't always understand people even the one closest to you.

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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Skim




Week of 8/11/2019:

Finished:


Good story but ultimately not for me. The writing felt a bit noir, like a Quentin Tarintino film without all the violence.



Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:



As you can see it's been a slow reading week. It took me a bit to get into and then finish Lady in the Lake. I ended up finishing China Rich Girlfriend this week instead of last. It was good but maybe a little much about how rich they were. I'm hoping I can focus and get through some good books this week. I think work will still be busy but all analysis work so the earpods go in and I can listen to my audiobook.


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