When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.
There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?
Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise — until Mallory learns she’s dying.
Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year (which Mallory and Jake watch every summer), 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives, and the lives of the people they love.
A quick read that kept my attention from the first page to the tear filled last few pages!
This was a great story that earned 4 stars from me.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
A funny, endearing book that made me laugh out loud and shed a tear or two as well. Watching the relationship develop between Patrick, Maisie and Grant in the pages of this book is shear perfection.
What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins / Genre: Contemporary Fiction
After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys’ families–a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.
In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses–until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.
Evangeline’s arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn’t equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.
This is a very heavy book with regards to subject matter. It contains multiple trigger warnings such as suicide, rape, and domestic violence. I liked that the story is told from multiple viewpoints. Even with the heavy subject matter throughout, it did keep my interest from start to end.
Tell Me No Secret by Brandon Ellrich / Genre: Thriller
Can you keep a secret? High school student Joe wishes he’d never been asked that question. In the small town of New Haven, Missouri, murder is not a common occurrence, so when Joe kills his “best bud” Brad, a tidal wave of shock washes over the community. It makes no sense that Joe killed Brad. However, among teens, you never know what evil lurks beneath the surface.
Take a journey inside Joe’s mind as he reveals the details, planning, and tumultuous emotions that went into murdering his best friend. It’s no mystery that Joe is guilty; he admits that on page one. The question is why? What causes a nice young man to commit a murder? The answer isn’t as clear as it initially seems.
Details slowly float to the surface as time moves from the present into the past. Joe might admit guilt, but who is truly to blame for Brad’s murder? Will those responsible for heinous acts be brought to justice? Keeping a secret can be risky, but in Tell Me No Secret, a group of teen friends discovers just how dangerous it can be.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I was provided a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this book! It was a super quick read and I enjoyed how the story started in the present day and then went backwards to tie all of the events together so the reader would know how everything related.
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton / Genre: Historical Fiction
Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.
In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.
Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.
I had heard this book was being compared to Daisy Jones & The Six. In my opinion, the only similarity was that this book is done in an interview format.
I liked this story and the characters. The only problem I had was that there were parts of the story that were slow for me (mainly in the first half). Other than that, this was a good debut novel!
Death In The Family by Tessa Wegert / Genre: Mystery
A storm-struck island. A blood-soaked bed. A missing man. Senior Investigator Shana Merchant believes it all adds up to a killer in their midst—and that murder is a family affair.
Thirteen months ago, former NYPD detective Shana Merchant barely survived being abducted by a serial killer. Now hoping to leave grisly murder cases behind, she’s taken a job in her fiancé’s sleepy hometown in the Thousand Islands region of Upstate New York.
But as a nor’easter bears down on her new territory, Shana and fellow investigator Tim Wellington receive a call about a man missing on a private island. Shana and Tim travel to the isolated island owned by the wealthy Sinclair family to question the witnesses. They arrive to find blood on the scene and a house full of Sinclair family and friends on edge.
While Tim guesses they’re dealing with a runaway case, Shana is convinced that they have a murder on their hands. As the gale intensifies outside, she starts conducting interviews and discovers the Sinclairs and their guests are crawling with dark and dangerous secrets.
Trapped on the island by the raging storm with only Tim whose reliability is thrown into question, the increasingly restless suspects, and her own trauma-fueled flashbacks for company, Shana will have to trust the one person her abduction destroyed her faith in—herself. But time is ticking down, because if Shana’s right, a killer is in their midst and as the pressure mounts, so do the odds that they’ll strike again.
This book was so good!
While I had suspicious of who was guilty I didn’t have the complete picture until it was revealed at the end. Speaking of the ending . . . what a cliffhanger!
I’m so glad that this is a series because there is definitely more to learn about Shana!
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston / Genre: Historical Fiction
Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person — no mean feat for a black woman in the ’30s. Janie’s quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
An extremely heavy story following a woman’s journey through life and love and loss.
I did not realize that this book was written in the 1930’s. I won’t lie, I ended up downloading the audio version because the dialect was hard for me to follow. I’m glad I did that because Ruby Dee did an outstanding job narrating. I would definitely recommend listening to the audio version!
A powerful story that will stay with me for awhile.
It’s 1620, and Mrs. Claus’s beloved husband is off in the New World, planting the seeds for what will become a glorious Christmas tradition. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus has chosen to stay in England, where the first signs of a dangerous threat to Yuletide cheer are in evidence. The Puritans have gained control of Parliament and appear determined to take all the fun out of Christmas. But Mrs. Claus knows that it’s time for serious action when, in 1647, a law is passed by Parliament that actually punishes anyone who celebrates Christmas. Based on the actual events of Christmas Day in 1647, when ten thousand peasants marched through the streets of Canterbury demanding their right to celebrate a beloved holiday.
This is the 2nd book in Jeff Guin’s The Christmas Chronicles and just like the first book in the series The Autobiography of Santa Claus, there are 24 chapters which are to be read one at a time beginning December 1. Another wonderful holiday read!
This enchanting holiday treasure combines historical fact with glorious legend as Saint Nicholas reveals the definitive story of Santa Claus.
In The Autobiography of Santa Claus, Santa shares his story with readers for the first time. Nicholas (his real name) was born in Lycia, in Asia Minor, to wealthy parents who died when he was young. The kind people of Lycia taught him the lessons of goodness and generosity that led to his lifelong mission to remind the world about the importance of giving.
This is definitely a feel good holiday story which I refer to as an advent book. There are 24 chapters to be read one at a time beginning on December 1. A great book to read with your family!
Another Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn composing a holiday letter to friends and family. Though the year has had its share of misfortune and worry, the Quinns have much to be grateful for. They are looking forward to celebrating a baptism over the holidays, as well as welcoming a new family member and enjoying the cheer of Nantucket’s traditional Christmas Stroll.
But just when a tranquil and joyous family gathering seems within reach, Kelley’s estranged second wife shows up after souring on her relationship with the inn’s former Santa Claus. Soon Kelley isn’t the only Quinn entertaining a surprise guest as lovers old and new meet beneath the mistletoe. Wtih jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it might take more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns – and the inn – through the season intact.
The Quinn family have more perils to overcome in this book.
While Patrick is still in prison, his wife, Jennifer, has become addicted to oxycodone. It’s become her crutch while trying to keep things running smoothly until Patrick is released.
Kevin and his fiancee are now running the inn and have a beautiful baby girl. Unbeknownst to Kevin, his ex-wife, Nina is back in Nantucket and is ready to start trouble.
Ava’s old boyfriend is back and is not shy in letting her know that he wants her back, but she’s moved on with Scott – or has she?
Bart’s battalion was captured and taken prisoner in Afganistan and the family has no idea of his condition but that could change once one of his men has escaped and been rescued. Will they find out if Bart is still alive?
Mitzi is a wreck over worrying whether Bart is safe or not and has discovered that she’s made a mistake in leaving Kelley for George. Will Kelley be able to forgive her and welcome her back?
The second book in the Winter series did not disappoint! It was a super fast read and again left me wanting to read more about the Quinn family to find out what happens to them next.