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Book Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over

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Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes– In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.

When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: June 25, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: Standalone

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: Charming and real are the best ways I can think to describe this story. Evvie Drake is the woman everyone in town wants to feel sorry for because they don’t know the full story. They only see her as the widow who lost her husband too soon. They don’t know that her marriage was over and she can’t figure out how to live her life without exposing the truth to those close to her. I’ve seen this book compared to a Hallmark movie and I don’t disagree but there was definitely more substance and more raw real life lived within the pages than you typically find in a Hallmark movie. 

I enjoyed the connection between Evvie and Dean. They formed a solid friendship based on a very particular set of rules that worked for them. It was more of a slow burn fall into romance but it worked for this story. If I had any gripes at all about the story it would be Andy, the best friend of Evvie. I found him selfish and a bit too quick to dismiss the friendship for a “best friend”. By far my favorite thing about this book was the grown up thoughts, feelings, and actions. There was no juvenile over-the-top drama or crazy antics thrown in just to have a conflict. The conflict that did exist was organic to the story and was handled like adults would handle it in real life. I definitely recommend this book!



Book Review: The Floating Feldmans

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The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland– Sink or swim! Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo. 

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring–and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: July 23, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: Standalone

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: What happens when you gather an entire family of parents, grown children, and grandchildren together trapped on a cruise ship with no way out? Feelings are hurt, secrets are shared, fights are had, and truths are outed. Just imagine it- three generations of a dysfunctional family stuck together on a claustrophobic cruise ship! Nothing good can come from all that togetherness when a family isn’t particularly close to each other.

The story is told in multiple points of view, which really made me feel the story and root for the characters in specific ways. Tensions start to appear the moment the matriarch of the family, Annette, invites her grown children, their significant others, and the grandchildren on a cruise. Secrets start to be revealed to the reader immediately and it was really humorous to read along as the family members discovered those secrets. The story wasn’t all humor and family tension though. There were real issues within the family that needed to be addressed and I thought the author handled those issues with extreme care. I definitely recommend this book and I will read more by this author. 



Book Review: You’ve Been Volunteered

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You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman– If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it—most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: July 23, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: #2 in Class Mom series

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: If you remember last year, Class Mom was one of my favorite books of the entire year. I laughed out loud so many times while reading that my husband banished me to the couch until I was done reading at night. If you’ve ever been a class mom you will certainly find the humor in this book series. I was class mom for 2 years and I’m taking a break this year to save my sanity. It’s not a job for the weak or the timid, that’s for sure. 

I loved that Laurie Gelman brought back the main characters from the first book. It felt like reuniting with old friends who still didn’t have their mess together. Jen’s emails to her class and to the micromanaging PTA president are as hysterical as ever and some of the situations she found herself in were not unfamiliar to me. By far the biggest draw to these books for me are the interpersonal relationships between the moms. They’re complicated, layered, and very real. In addition to being class mom for her son’s 3rd grade class this year, Jen has also been tasked with heading up the new Safety Patrol program which provides for some of the funniest moments in the book. I sincerely hope that Laurie Gelman is already writing book 3!



Book Review: Long Shots

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Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan– Think you know what it’s like being a baller’s girl? You don’t. My fairy tale is upside down. A happily never after. I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud. I was a fool, and his love – fool’s gold.

Now there’s a new player in the game, August West. One of the NBA’s brightest stars. Fine. Forbidden. He wants me. I want him. But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won’t let me go.

Genre: Romance

Published: March 22, 2018

Acquired: Kindle Unlimited

Series: #1 in Hoops series

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I went into this book blind and it was a big punch in the stomach about halfway through. I don’t like spoilers but I don’t want anyone getting triggered the way I did. This book deals with both severe domestic violence and rape and the scenes are graphic. The author did a really good job with the domestic violence theme- to the point that it was very uncomfortable to read. Which if it’s done right, this theme should be hard to read. The story was really good- it held my attention and I finished it in one sitting. I was rooting for the main character, Iris. She had a rough time in the story and it was so painful to read. I will say that the polar differences between the 2 men were a bit extreme but I understand why the author depicted them in such a way. I will continue reading the series. 

 



Book Review: Her One Mistake

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Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks– Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter.

Genre: Domestic Drama

Published: January 8, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: Standalone

My Rating: 3 Stars

My Thoughts: This book was nothing like I was expecting. I honestly was underwhelmed because I knew fairly early on what the mystery was going to revolve around. I didn’t feel much of a connection to any of the characters and I wasn’t really invested in the story. The main characters, Charlotte and Harriet, were both pretty unlikable and I found their friendship to be really one dimensional and fake. The pacing of the story was too slow for my taste and I found myself skimming a few pages here and there. The domestic violence aspect that appears in the story was a bit too contrived and melodramatic for me. It was just too predictable for my reading tastes.