Friday, June 11, 2021

The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton by Eleanor Ray


Amy has had love and lost love.  When her best friend and soon to be fiance (she hopes!) disappear on the same night everyone assumes they've fallen in love and run off together.  Amy has a hard time believing that either of them would do that to her but the police have done their investigation and that's the conclusion.

Years later, Amy finds a clue.  Then another clue.  She'd like to go through her memory box of the time they went away but it's in the spare bedroom.  After losing her boyfriend and best friend she began to gather everything with a memory or beauty that she came across.  11 years later the house is hard to get around.  The neighbors think it may be a safety hazard.  There could be mice in there - maybe even rats.  Who really knows?!

With the help of some new neighbors, Amy begins to unravel the clues to the disappearance of her boyfriend and best friend.  But is she prepared to starting purging her boxes of treasures.

The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton was a great book.  It's easy to see how Amy's hoarding began.  The ending was a total twist that I couldn't predict until the very end which always makes for a great story!

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

Anders has been dumped by his girlfriend.  He's living in a run down apartment with a mattress on the floor and cockroaches.  He's got a podcast but the only person who reads it is his step dad.  He's a journalist who thought he'd be covering bigger stories by now.  He's latest assignment is a cake walk on Frick Island.  After a rain storm cancels the cake walk he ends up in the local diner where he meets some of the locals.  One local really catches his eye.  Anders is immediately drawn to Piper.  When he finally gets the courage to go talk to her she tells him she is eating with her husband - but yet he is nowhere in sight.  After embarrassing himself he can't wait to get back to the main land.  

Piper is well loved on the island.  The other islanders are very protective of her.  When her husband, Tom, goes missing in a storm while boating.  He is presumed dead.  After a few days of grieving she leaves her home in her normal chipper mood.  She heads to her job at the Bed and Breakfast and during her shift makes a comment that Tom isn't snoring anymore.  At the end of the shift she grabs a breakfast to bring home to him.  Mrs. Olecki is stunned but goes along with it.  Soon the whole island is acting as though Tom is still right there with them.

When Anders receives an anonymous email telling him he's missed the real story on Frick Island he decides to head back over to Frick Island and dig for more of a story.  First he has to find a local willing to talk and he struggles to figure out what the real story is.  It would be great if he could find something here that could escalate his podcast audience.

I really enjoyed the The Invisible Husband of Frick Island.  I really liked all the characters and how all their stories unfolded.  The story had a good amount of mystery and unraveled with many surprises.  I haven't read any other Colleen Oakley books but when I checked my Goodreads account I saw that I had marked other books of hers as ones I would like to read.  Definitely check out this book and some of her other novels.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Are We There Yet? By Kathleen West

Alice Sullivan is a busy mom.  A husband who travels for work.  She has a busy job as an interior decorator.   Two good kids - at least she thinks they're good.  She's also got a great support system, two best friends whose kids are the same age and a very helpful mother who is a doting grandmother to her only grandchildren.  It's busy, but it works.

Until it doesn't.  Her son makes a few bad choices at school.  Her daughter is only reading at level E and where is her reading journal?  Her mom has a family secret.  She's made her two best friends mad.  She can't focus at work and of course, her husband is out of town.  There's a folder sitting on the table that she can't even begin to open.  Soon Alice is dealing with problem after problem and she's bound to crack soon but which problem will do her in.

When reading Are We There Yet? it referenced Liston Heights and I thought that's funny I read a book that took place there recently.  While updating my Goodreads I explored the author and realized not long ago I had read her first book Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes which took place in Liston Heights.  I really enjoyed both her novels and will definitely put Kathleen West on my to watch list.

Friday, March 5, 2021

The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore


Gracie's mother died at birth.  She's been raised by a loving father and surrounded by love from those in the village, including her mother's best friend, May, and her family.  Her father is a beekeeper for a wealthy family.  He also creates the most beautiful gardens and Gracie is following in his footsteps.  

May's son Freddie has been Gracie's best friend forever.  After a conversation with her father she realizes that he may just be marriage material after.  But does she really love him?  Her heart doesn't patter like it does when she sees Rufus - even though he's not in the same social standing as Gracie.  Then war strikes and both men are off to war.  She writes to both men and prays for a safe return.

Years later Gracie's daughter, Trixie, is in love.  Without revealing the past Gracie tries to tell her daughter there's no way it will work but Trixie's heart just can't believe that.  Will history repeat itself and honour prevail.

The Beekeeper's Daughter is the second book by Santa Montefiore that I've read recently.  I really enjoyed The Beekeeper's daughter.  I know I've heard from a few people who enjoy a lighter read during the pandemic and I think this would story would be perfect.  The war part of the story is very minimal and not a focus of the book.

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger


There is a new school opening in Crystal, Colorado.  This school is for the best of the best gifted students.  The Gifted School follows the story of four mom's who are best friends, their husbands and their kids.  These parents will stop at nothing to get their children into this amazing school.  They'll lie, cheat, back stab, and even risk their friendship which previously seemed unbreakable.  Do the kids even want to go to this fancy new school?

On the cover of the book is a quote that reads "The juiciest novel I've read in ages" - J. Courtney Sullivan, The New York Times.  I'd have to agree.  I really enjoyed The Gifted School.  It's a fairly long book with over 500 pages but every page seemed to be revealing a new twist.  The big question is who will get into the school but there are many other juicy secrets revealed before we know who gets in to the Gifted School.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

When Covid first hit and we believed we might be stuck at home for three weeks (hahahaha) I thought I would get a ton of reading done.  I have stacks that I thought I'd get through.  At first I did read a lot.  But then I watched the news a lot.  Then somehow I just couldn't get in to reading which is a BIG deal for me.  

Things You Save in a Fire took me waaaaay to long to read.  This is a great book.  The kind of book I could usually read in a few days.  I was excited to start it but somehow the world's problems held my attention instead.

This week I tried to shut things off for a bit and put real effort into finishing this book and I'm really happy I did.  Once I really started reading I couldn't stop.  I needed to know what was going to happen.

It was Cassie's 16th birthday when her mom left.  Her mom went to live with some other man - not her dad.  Her mom abandoned her and her father.  Worst day ever.  But then this boy she had a crush on invited her to a party.  Suddenly things felt a bit better.  The night ended as the worst night in her life.  Her 16th birthday became a day that would haunt her forever.

But years later Cassie is tough.  Fire fighter tough.  She's worked hard to get there.  She can do the firefighter fitness course faster than any of the guys.  She's also got a hard shell around her heart and no one is coming in.

A sudden event has her switching fire halls.  New crew.  New guys.  She's also moved in with her mother that she's barely spoken to in years.  What is she thinking?  But she knows if she works hard and keeps that shell around her heart she will be ok.

This is the second Katherine Center book I've read this year and I've really enjoyed both Things You Save in a Fire and What You Wish For.  I will be definitely checking out more of her books.  So if you are in a reading rut kick start your reading and pick up this book!


Saturday, October 31, 2020

The End of the Day by Bill Clegg

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There are secrets that have been buried for decades.  Friendships that have been broken over these secrets.  Now Dana Goss is in her 60's and thinks the air should be cleared but maybe things should be left unsaid.  Maybe no one wants to hear the truth anymore.

Dana has grown up incredibly rich.  She lives in the big house with Mexican immigrants taking care of the families every whim.  Dana is used to people agreeing with her.  If she says a horse is a girl named Cindy then most don't argue.  But Jackie, the girl next door, will let her know that horse is clearly a boy.

Although Jackie doesn't come close to the same financial status as Dana's family, her honesty binds the girls in an inseparable friendship.  When Jackie is close to getting the man of her dreams But can a friendship withstand someone like Dana who knows no boundaries?

Hap is a proud new father.  Hap has been raised by his single mother.  His father swoops in from his job in journalism full of stories and excitement.  Now he hasn't seen his father in years but he's in town and wants to meet his new granddaughter and connect with his son.

The End of the Day is full of good people that each made decisions that they question as years go on.  How would things have been different if they'd chosen the other fork in the road but at the end of the day they've got to live with the choices they've made.

Bill Clegg is also the author of Did You Ever Have a Family which I reviewed previously on my blog.  I really enjoyed both Clegg's books and look forward to reading more from him.