Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Julie's Review: Regrets Only

Author: Erin Duffy
Series: None
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Obtained: author
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Picking up the pieces of a life shattered isn't easy but you have to do it
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Claire thought she had everything a woman was supposed to want—a loving husband, a newborn son, a beautiful home in the suburbs. Then she walks in on her husband canoodling with their realtor in their newly renovated kitchen, and in an instant, her perfect life comes crashing down. With her marriage heading for divorce, Claire knows it’s time to stop feeling sorry for herself. But how can she move on when she’s still stuck in the orbit of her husband’s world? For starters, she can get rid of her soon-to-be ex’s possessions—including his prized, gigantic foosball table—by dumping them onto the curb…until complaints from the neighbors get the police involved. Now Claire is busy dodging the mean mommies at story hour and hiding from her ex-husband’s girlfriend in the grocery store. But as Claire soon learns, suburbia still has a few surprises in store for her—surprises that will make her question her choices from the past, send her down an unexpected road to self-discovery, and maybe even lead to new love. Desperate for a positive outlet to channel her frustrations, she turns to girlfriends Lissy and Antonia for help. Together they join forces to rebrand Lissy’s local stationery store and turn it into a thriving business. But as Claire soon learns, suburbia still has a few surprises in store for her—surprises that will make her question her choices from the past, send her down an unexpected road to self-discovery, and maybe even new love. Featuring a second coming-of-age story, Regrets Only deftly explores the subtle nuances of marriage, family, friendship, and what it means to be a woman today, while delighting readers as its unforgettable heroine acts on impulses we’ve all been guilty of having.

Review: Regrets Only was a welcome break from the psychological thrillers I've been reading and plus have loved all of Ms. Duffy's previous books, so I was looking forward to this one.  I loved Claire and even loved her mood swings. Who wouldn’t go a little bad crazy walking in on their husband having an affair with his ex girlfriend? Not to mention having a young baby to take care oh and giving up everything to move to his hometown. So while yes it seemed like she might have been losing it, she was really just reclaiming herself because she was a little lost.

Claire loses it after walking in on her husband and their real estate agent having an affair. She only finds out because Owen offered her a day in the city at the spa but she forgot her wallet, so she had to go home for it. This completely unravels Claire. How is she going to be a single mom to an 8 month old boy? How is she going to support them? Not only that but she's new to town and knows no one. She moved back east to be with Owen; she gave up her life in Chicago for him. 

Luckily a few things happen around the same time, her best friend shows up on her doorstep to help her get back on her feet and she meets Lissy, who owns a stationery store that turns into a project for Claire. Let me tell you, if that store existed in my town, I would most certainly be in there for cards and notepaper I probably don't need. The name and theme they come up with for the store is awesome. I love how her and Lissy form an immediate bond and support each other. She starts to come up for air and then her sadness/anger engulf her again. I felt that this was realistic because no one is going to be ok after a few weeks.

I adored all the other characters Lissy, Antonia and Fred. They brought Claire back down when she’s gone a bit too far. She’s surrounded herself with people that have her best interest at heart. If you are looking to read a book about picking yourself up again when life doesn't turn out like you thought, you should grab Regrets Only.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Julie's Review: Then She Was Gone

Author: Lisa Jewell
Series: None
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Psychological Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Can you ever fully recover from the loss of a child?
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was fifteen, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends, and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her. And then she was gone. Now, her mother Laurel Mack is trying to put her life back together. It’s been ten years since her daughter disappeared, seven years since her marriage ended, and only months since the last clue in Ellie’s case was unearthed. So when she meets an unexpectedly charming man in a cafĂ©, no one is more surprised than Laurel at how quickly their flirtation develops into something deeper. Before she knows it, she’s meeting Floyd’s daughters—and his youngest, Poppy, takes Laurel’s breath away.Because looking at Poppy is like looking at Ellie. And now, the unanswered questions she’s tried so hard to put to rest begin to haunt Laurel anew. Where did Ellie go? Did she really run away from home, as the police have long suspected, or was there a more sinister reason for her disappearance? Who is Floyd, really? And why does his daughter remind Laurel so viscerally of her own missing girl?

Review: Then She Was Gone is one of those psychological thrillers that as a parent will scare the crap out of you but as a fan of thrillers, will delight you and will keep you turning the pages. It is creepy in a this could really happen. It will make you hesitate about those you let into your lives and the lives of your children. 

Laurel is still reeling from her golden child, Ellie, going missing 7 years prior. She lost her marriage and her other 2 children over her inability to get over it. Now there's a new development in it and in some ways it brings all the pain back and in other ways it helps her find some closure. She's decided that she needs to move on with her life and that is what Ellie would want her to do. Pretty soon after deciding to move on she meets Floyd. Floyd seems a little too good to be true and then when she meets his youngest daughter, Poppy; her alerts go on high. You see Poppy looks like Ellie but not just her mannerisms are like Ellie's as well. She brushes it off given everything that has happened lately her brain is in overdrive. It's not like over the years other girls haven't looked like Ellie to her. 

We get flashbacks to what happened to Ellie and it's not pretty. In fact, it's every parents nightmare. We see her struggles and her fighting to defend herself. We see her cope with the situation she is in and how she focuses on her family. Is Ellie really linked to Poppy? If so, how? 

While reading this book I did wonder if Ellie was truly the golden child or if she was hiding something from everyone. It turns out that she really was a good kid who happened across an unstable person who became obsessed with her. 

The ending of the book will leave you hopeful and yet a bit shattered. Ms. Jewell certainly has a way of writing an engaging psychological thriller.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Julie's Review: Not That I Could Tell

Author: Jessica Strawser
Series: None
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 338
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 4/5

Bottom Line: Another book that asks: "How well do you know your neighbors?"
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal. By Monday morning, one of them is gone. Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce―and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her―and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions―especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own. As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors―and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

 Review: Not That I Could Tell is another novel that makes us question how well we know our neighbors and our friends. Appearances aren't always what they seem and people can keep things they don't want out hidden.

Izzy, the new neighbor, doesn't want her new friends to know just how lonely she really is. She's been through a lot and trying to figure out how to move on. Clara, is the person that everyone wants to be friends with because she's the stay at home mom who tries to have it all together but you know she doesn't. It makes her endearing. Then there is Kristin that we don't get to know but learn about her through her friends. She remains a mystery right up until the end.

Each of them have a little something to hide. Although I didn't think any of them had major issues to keep to themselves except for Paul. Paul was creepy. Paul was off kilter and frankly a bit weird. He didn't seem too upset about his missing wife and kids which of course is always the case in a book like this; the husband is the suspect. Except the case fizzles out pretty quickly and the police have no reason to keep him in their sights. Especially since Kristin took the money and ran.

What got me was the ending of this book. It completely took me by surprise and made the whole journey worth it to me. I would definitely recommend this one for fans of suspense.