Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Accidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers

Accidents of MarriageAccidents of Marriage by Randy Susan Meyers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first book by Randy Susan Meyers and it was excellent. It’s about Maddy, a social worker with a husband, children and career, and her husband, Ben, a public defender, who is controlling and, I think, verbally abusive. He punches things, but not his family, luckily. Maddy does not share her family drama and most people think they have the perfect marriage. The book is about the lies and secrets in this family. I think Maddy is in denial, even though her work deals with abusive relationships! The book goes back and forth between the two of them and their 14-year old daughter, Emma – told in the three different points of view of what is happening. Maddy takes pills to deal with her husband’s moods and Emma is starting to act out, as her way of coping.

One day Maddy and Ben are in the car together (he’s driving) and it’s raining and they get in an argument and, due to Ben’s road rage, they are involved in a horrible accident. Ben is injured but basically okay, but Maddy ends up in a coma with a brain injury. Ben is devastated and guilty and tries to change his ways and devotes his time and energy to Maddy. Meanwhile, his children (there are also two younger ones), especially Emma, are suffering, and Emma’s narrations are heart-wrenching over how she is affected by all that has happened and is happening.

This book is emotional, thought-provoking, sad, hopeful, real, contemporary, and so well-written. It would be a good book club discussion book. I was not expecting the ending, but it was perfect. This book will stay with me for a while, I am sure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Looked for the One My Heart Loves

I Looked for the One My Heart LovesI Looked for the One My Heart Loves by Dominique Marny
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*

I just finished this wonderful book with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. It takes place in France, starting in the years prior to WWII and ending in the 1980's. It's about a young girl, Anne, and her family, and Alexis, her brother's friend, whom Anne has loved since she was 9 and Alexis 11. They last see each other in the early days of the war, when people started leaving Paris for the safety of the country, and don't meet again until both are adults and married with children. Anne works in an art gallery and Alexis is a teacher, and they become reacquainted all over again and fall in love. How they deal with it, or not, considering their families, is what the book is about.

I loved the writing, the characters, the dialogue, the descriptions, and everything about this lovely book. I am not judgmental about their affair because I know the details surrounding it, and I was happy for them. And I learned a lot about the art world as a bonus! Although the ending was sad, it was also lovely when Anne meets Guillaume, Alexis' son.

The negatives in this book were the title (did not fit the story),the unrealistic aspect of Anne's love for Alexis since she was 9 and expecting it to last forever, and her reaction to Alexis when he told her about his wife's pregnancy. I felt sorry for Anne's husband, Francois, who she genuinely was fond of until Alexis came back into her life. He was a good husband to her, genuinely loved her and his girls, was a good husband and provider, and they enjoyed being with each other. How she was willing to throw this all aside so quickly was a tad unrealistic, I thought, and not fair to him or their daughters. But I still loved Anne and Alexis' love story and did want them to be together, just not for their families to be disrupted as well.

I highly recommend this book!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Little Snowbirds: A Love Story on Wheels

Little Snowbirds: A Love Story on WheelsLittle Snowbirds: A Love Story on Wheels by Erin Lehn Floresca
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.*

True travel adventure books/memoirs are my favorite genre to read. I guess it's because I get to travel vicariously through them. And since an RV trip around the US has long been a dream of mine, I was excited to read this book. Although I enjoyed it and devoured it in two days, the first half was a little disappointing, in that there was not much written about the actual places they visited, but more about worrying about finances, keeping on a schedule (??), trying to camp for free, the problems with the RV, etc. This was supposed to be about the adventure, giving up their jobs to travel and see the US, not to be bound by schedules, etc. I wanted to read the stuff Erin wrote about, but I also wanted more about the adventure itself, the sites, their impressions, what they learned about themselves and discovered. I guess it took half the book to break away from their old lives and ways, because once they hit Arizona the book picked up and had all the elements I was hoping for! From this point on I got a much better picture and feel for the places, the people, and how their own lives had changed. I'm glad Erin included an epilogue about their lives since the trip, as I really wanted to know. I'm glad they still travel, too and hope she writes more, as she's a really good writer. I recommend this book to those who have wanderlust and crave adventure!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Seven Weeks to Forever by Jennifer Farwell

Seven Weeks to ForeverSeven Weeks to Forever by Jennifer Farwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fascinating read; I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. The concept felt very real to me, that just maybe there IS a before life and a life-after and I wonder what life I'm in? Am I a second timer or is anyone I know in my life? I like Cassidy a lot and I thought the author made her very real. The book is well-written and a real page turner. I think the book will do very well and become popular, and it would be a good book club discussion book! I recommend this book, and will look for others by this author. This book will stay with me for a long while, and I'm pretty sure I will be reading it again, to get even more out of it the second time, as I ponder what happens in the next life. ***I received this book for free from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.***

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Favorite Book Club

Although I belong to 4 local book clubs and several Goodreads online book clubs, this one is my favorite! It's actually a local we-meet-in-person book club.
Midnight Book Club
Midnight Book Club 12 members
A Richmond, VA book club.

Books we've read

Winter's Bone Winter's Bone
by Daniel Woodrell
Start date: January 28, 2012

View this group on Goodreads »

A Million Miles Away by Elizabeth Corva

A Million Miles Away (Angel Interceptors #1)A Million Miles Away by Elizabeth Corva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***

When I started this book, I wasn't sure I'd like it. It seemed to be more YA or juvenile than the usual type of books I like. It was my first NA (new adult ) book that I've ever read. But I was surprisingly drawn into the story. It reminded me of the teenage crush I had on a famous Spanish singer years ago, and I totally related to Jasmine's star struck feelings, fancies, hopes, and desires. I met my crush at a record signing in DC, and gave his manager a poem I had written for my crush. I saw him reading it in the limo as he drove away. I had also written where I would be sitting at his concert the next night. However, I mistakenly told him the wrong row (rows did not start with A, as I thought, but C, and I was in row G. When he threw out a doll into the audience during a certain song, it landed at the seat where I thought I was going to be! Imagine my disappointment!

Anyway, reading this book brought it all back to me, as I identified with Jasmine. I liked her character and also liked Jonathan, but was disappointed that nothing more happened between them. She was very naive, though, just as I was, although she didn't accept that she was, until the end. I ended up liking Nate at the end, also, when he showed how fond he was of Jasmine, how much he loved her and her mother, and how much he cared about Jasmine. He was right on with his assessment of what would happen with Jonathan. And I admire Jonathan for not taking advantage of and hurting Jasmine and for being truthful with her at the end. I think that showed good character on his part.

I actually now want to read the other books in the series to see what, if anything, happens between them in the future! It was a good first NA book for me, but I only gave it three stars because I reserve higher for really good literature, even though I might love a book. This was well written and well crafted and kept my interest. Kudos to the author!

Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer

Five Days LeftFive Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this book for free from First to Reaad, in exchange for an honest review.

I'm still recovering from this wonderful book, which is a tear jerker. It would be a great book club discussion book, to talk about the choices people make and ethical decisions they choose.

This book had me from the opening sentence, which I can't quote here since I read an advanced uncorrected proof (in which I found no typos or editing mistakes and wouldn't change a word, by the way). It is about Mara, a high-powered attorney, a wife and adoptive mother of Lakshmi from India (and Mara is herself adopted from India), who is diagnosed with a disease called Huntington's, which I never heard of before. It's a horrible, fatal disease. She's 4 years into it and her symptoms are worsening and she decides to commit suicide with pills, vodka and carbon monoxide poisoning on her birthday, 5 days from now, in order to spare her family. She is part of an online group, but she does not tell them about her disease or her decision. One of the members of the group is Scott, a teacher, who is expecting a baby girl with his wife, after several in-vitro attempts. They have been fostering an 8 year old boy for a year and a week, while his mother is in jail. He is the younger half-brother of one of Scott's former athletes, a basketball star he has mentored into college and who is an NBA hopeful. Their mother is getting out of jail in 5 days and wants her young son back. Scott is devastated, even though he expected this, and has planned five days of wonderful experiences with the boy. The book alternates with both main characters, Mara and Scott, and each of the 5 days in countdown.

Mara is determined to end her life in her way and in her time, and has a detailed list of everything she has to accomplish before she goes, including saying goodbye to people (without them guessing it's for good), to writing letters to her husband and daughter, to getting her two best friends to be there for her daughter whenever she needs a female to talk to, to making doctor appointments to her daughter for the next 18 months, to making lists for her husband of certain things. But then she rethinks her decision, wondering if staying around to the end, even when she ends up in a wheelchair, unable to do anything for herself or speak or recognize anyone, is better for her family than not being around at all, so she can listen to her daughter and let her husband care for her as he wants to do. She keeps waffling back and forth, and not until the end do we find out what she decides to do.

As for Scott, the boy's mother decides she doesn't want Scott to keep her son for the last 5 days, and wants him back immediately. Scott and his wife do not even get to say goodbye, as the boy is picked up from school that day. Then the boy's mother overdoses a day or two after getting him back, and dies, and his brother decides to drop out of college, give up his NBA dream, and raise his brother. All Scott can do is support the decision. His wife only agreed to keep the boy for the year as she does not want to adopt any child and only wants her own children and wants her life back for the last 3 months before her baby is born, as the boy is quite a handful. But then the brother has second thoughts about whether it's actually in his little brother's best interest if he were to raise him, rather than put him in foster care, where he can have two experienced parents to care for him. Again, it's not until the end of the book that we find out the outcome.

I found the book to be extremely well-written, and I predict that once word gets out about it, it will become a best seller. If The Fault in the Stars can be a big best seller, so can this book! I lost it when Mara goes to Laks' school to be a library monitor and falls down, causing the kids make fun of her and call her a drunk. Her daughter is mortified and just wants her mother to go home and never go outside again. And when Mara and her mother go through all of Mara's photo albums of her life, I lose it again. Mara has resisted all of her family's help and her disease causes her personality to change and she becomes mean about it. It isn't until an understanding taxi driver who starts taking her on her errands befriends her after she totals her car and can't drive anymore, that she starts to realize how quickly she is deteriorating and how much others truly want to help her. It's a beautiful story, very heart-wrenching and real. At times I did not like Mara because of her behavior and how she rationalized certain things in her mind, like how her husband would be better off without her and wouldn't want to take care of her when she got worse, and how her daughter would hate visiting her in a nursing home, and when she thought Lakshmi wouldn't miss her so much as she wasn't her real mother anyway and would easily bond with a new mother, when Mara's husband remarried, when I did not think she should project HER feelings on her family. And I did not always like Scott's wife as she selfishly only wanted her "own" biological family. I liked Tom, Mara's wonderful doctor husband, and her wonderful parents. And I liked Mara's friends, especially her secretary and best friend in the law firm of which she was a partner, who was extraordinary in how she helped "cover" Mara's deficiencies as her disease worsened. Everyone should be so lucky!

In a word, this is one of the best books I've read this year and I highly recommend it!! I wonder if the wonderful author will write a sequel?

View all my reviews