Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green



The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters. 

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother's overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother's fame, while her marriage crumbled around her. 


But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother's illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

My thoughts...

I always enjoy reading Jane Green books, so I was excited to start my summer reading off with her newest novel The Sunshine Sisters. An easy read to sit back and just enjoy reading on the beach or in your backyard watching the kids play on the swing set. The book has a nice quick flow to it, which is always great for a summer read.

You get to know Ronni and her three daughters with individual chapters off and on through their life before they all come together again. I wasn't a fan of Ronni, but she was portrayed how I would view many Hollywood type moms.Her character felt true. I never felt bad for her even though she was suffering with a serious disease. I did however feel bad for her daughters.

With the chapters written from the past to present for each daughter you see what drove their different personalities. I would say I was a bit disappointed in the relationship between Nell and Meredith. It felt like they might have been closer since most of their childhood was them vs Ronni. I have a sister and we are pretty close in age and we are very different, yet remain close. It seemed a little odd that they weren't even a little close as adults.

I enjoyed  the chapters of getting caught up with the girls as adults the most. I could easily see where and how they got where they did. I was rooting for all of them to find happiness and to deal with the hurts of the mother. I would say I most related to Nell. We are both oldest children and her feelings about her mother felt similar to some of the thoughts and feelings I went through when I lost my dad a few years back.

I can't say I loved The Sunshine Girls, but I enjoyed it well enough and it was a pretty quick read. There was a certain amount of predictability to the story, so I would say I had a little higher hopes. 

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As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff

Summer 1941  


Young Adelia Monteforte flees fascist Italy for America, where she is whisked away to the shore by her well-meaning aunt and uncle. Here, she meets and falls for Charlie Connally, the eldest of the four Irish-Catholic boys next door. But all hopes for a future together are soon throttled by the war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.

Grief-stricken, Addie flees—first to Washington and then to war-torn London—and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper, as well as a chance to redeem lost time, lost family…and lost love. But the past always nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected.


My thoughts...well I loved it. Adelia "Addie" has come to America to live with her Aunt and Uncle. Her parents are still in Italy, but they send her over to protect her. Addie is taken to her Aunt and Uncle's beach house where she meets the Connally family. Four Irish Catholic boys. Over the years she becomes like a daughter/sister to the Connally family even with people looking at them because they are different. It makes no difference. Then Pearl Harbor. The eldest Connally boy, Charlie wants nothing more than to fight. Promises are made. The family is afraid of what war would mean especially with all the boys, but it is an unexpected accident that throws the future of the entire family into a tail spin. Addie runs. She runs to Washington and later to London not wanting to deal with her own grief.

Addie wasn't a character I really took too right off. She seemed always a bit of a misfit. As she slowly evolved into part of the Connally family, the more I took to her. When the unexpected accident occurs (sorry not going to ruin the book by telling you!) My heart breaks for Addie. Once again she is left alone--the little girl sent off on a boat without her parents. Addie doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself, but takes off to Washington. When her past shows up, she takes off in order to protect her heart. She runs of to London and a possible new future. Ok I would LOVE to start giving some major story details, but I will refrain.

Basically, the story is a hit and miss love story. There is a war. There is devastation. Addie is trying desperately to help someone in a way she couldn't help someone she lost. All through the book I kept wondering if the two loves would find there way back to each other. Would she choose the new man who loves her and is desperate to help her? I got half way through this book and then couldn't put it down. What would happen? I sat reading thinking of course true love, young love wins...but then you see a love that is more devoted to her, more adult...is that enough? I won't tell you what happens, but I will tell you I was not prepared for how all things would end. It has a perfect and unexpected ending that I was personally thrilled with. A MUST READ!



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As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head...

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.


My thoughts...I will start with I devoured this book! I had an eye strain headache and still couldn't put it down! So so good. Why was it so good? Ok, well we get to know Heidi Wood at first. She is devoted to helping and care of the less fortunate. She spots Willow out in the rain with a baby. The girl and the baby haunt her. Its not like she sees her and brings her home the next day. Everything about this girl with a baby compels Heidi to reach out and help her. Her husband, Chris is a workaholic who seems oddly detached from his wife. He is in the marriage, but not fully vested. Their daughter Zoe is a preteen struggling to find her own voice with a mother who is very involved. You can see how Heidi is almost looking for something to fill her attention.

The novel is told with three viewpoints. First Heidi, then her husband Chris and last Willow. What I absolutely loved was Heidi and Chris share the story as it is happening though their eyes, but Willow tells the story from the end and from before meeting the Wood family (I know this sounds confusing, but it isn't and it really is what makes for the suspense!)

Now I can't imagine bringing home a young girl off the streets into my home the way Heidi does, but it doesn't take long before we begin to understand Heidi's underlying reasoning. Heidi seems to bask in taking care of Willow's baby. Chris is suspicious and wants the girl out of the house. Then the story begins to spiral! While the story seems to be getting out of control, we are at the same time learning about Willows dark past--still the pieces aren't making any sense...then BAM the story explodes! I will leave it at that. A summer must read! Highly recommending!


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As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis + Giveaway

Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.


Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.

The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak… and then healing.

I love summer beach reads and The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis sounds like the perfect book! I have one copy of The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis to giveaway! All you need to do is comment by telling me your favorite summer vacation spot and you need to leave me your email address! This giveaway is for US addresses only and no po boxes :) I will pick a winner Tuesday, July 28 by 8am central. The winner will have 72 hours to email me back with their address. Good luck! Oh and if you tweet about the giveaway you get an extra entry just leave me a second comment and make sure to add @anovelreview1 in the tweet :D


















As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

As we like to say in the south: "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."



Ella's life has been completely upended. She's young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she'll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers' block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He's on the look-out for a love story. It doesn't matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It's the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It's an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what's a little white lie between strangers?

But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

My thoughts...Patti Callahan Henry writes with perfect Southern charm. She writes the South how I see it and feel it. Ella Flynn has had a rough time lately. Her husband left her, her job sorta sucks and she lives in a less than par apartment. When Hunter Adderman or aka Blake Hunter introduces himself as a freelancer writing about small southern towns, Ella shares a different picture of her life. Believing this was a one time only meeting-what could it hurt? Their story begins with a lie, then another lie and another. Both spinning stories to the other. They begin building a friendship on falsehoods and half truths. All the while, Ella is trying to get her real life on track to what she believes is her ideal life. Hunter/Blake is looking to put his career back on track. Their friendship is a true friendship, a true connection built on untruths. Soon enough the house of cards falls down all around them. The feelings are real, but where can that lead to when you can't trust the other.

I overall enjoyed THE IDEA OF LOVE. It was well written, but it fell short for me with the two main characters. I very much enjoyed all the supporting characters and secondary stories. I just couldn't really connect to Ella. I didn't dislike her, but I didn't find her compelling. She has this great guy, but she is obsessed with an idea. It wasn't until she started getting a backbone that I could root for her. It just seemed like everyone in her 'real' life treated her poorly and without any respect from her former Bff, her boss, and someone else (you have to read the book to find out who). Then you know Hunter/Blake is lying to her too. Sorta using her and yet falling for her or her story? So I couldn't really like him cause he believes her sob story, but he is still willing to use it. This was definitely a different sort of love story. Like I said, I really enjoyed Henry's writing and the stories surrounding the main story. I just didn't love it. I will definitely read more from her and I'm sure others will really enjoy the story--it was more I didn't enjoy the concept of the story.

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

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If you are interested in reading THE IDEA OF LOVE please go over to my friend Jency's blog where she is giving a copy away! Writer's Corner!

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review. The books I review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to me by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. I never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.
FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.