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Book Review: Lost You

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Lost You by Haylen Beck– Libby needs a break. Three years ago her husband split, leaving her to raise their infant son Ethan alone as she struggled to launch her writing career. Now for the first time in years, things are looking up. She’s just sold her first novel, and she and Ethan are going on a much-needed vacation. Everything seems to be going their way, so why can’t she stop looking over her shoulder or panicking every time Ethan wanders out of view? Is it because of what happened when Ethan was born? Except Libby’s never told anyone the full story of what happened, and there’s no way anyone could find her and Ethan at a faraway resort . . . right?

But three days into their vacation, Libby’s fears prove justified. In a moment of inattention, Ethan wanders into an elevator before Libby can reach him. When the elevator stops and the doors open, Ethan is gone. Hotel security scours the building and finds no trace of him, but when CCTV footage is found of an adult finding the child wandering alone and leading him away by the hand, the police are called in. The search intensifies, a lost child case turning into a possible abduction. Hours later, a child is seen with a woman stepping through an emergency exit. Libby and the police track the woman down and corner her, but she refuses to release Ethan. Asked who she is, the woman replies:

“I’m his mother.”

Genre: Contemporary Thriller

Published: August 6, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I had no idea what to think about this book. I went into it fairly blind because I hate spoilers so I spent the first couple of chapters a little lost and trying to figure out where it was all going. But it was worth sticking with the book! I don’t want to give anything away so it’s hard to review this book- everything feels like a spoiler! I will say that the pacing of the story is great, the characters are engaging, and I liked the ending! The author did a good job of giving the readers both of the women’s thoughts and stories which made the book even more engaging because I wasn’t sure who I should be rooting for- honestly I think both Libby and Anna were a bit nuts. This is definitely a book about the dark side of surrogacy and what can happen when emotions derail and sanity becomes unstable! I would have liked to have more of the husband’s story- I think his perspective would have added a lot more to the story. But as it is, I definitely recommend it!



Book Review: Things You Save In A Fire

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Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center– Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: August 13, 2019

Acquired: Public library E-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: This book had layers and depth that I wasn’t expecting. I was anticipating an easy, light, fluffy beach read. That’s not at all what I got. And I loved it. I had a hard time connecting to Cassie as a main character in the beginning. I thought she was hard-headed, closed off, and too distant to be a good main character. I was so wrong. Once I understood why she was that way and the things that she had experienced in her life I was completely sucked into her story. I began to admire her stoic strong shell and how she conducted herself. The story really took off for me once she began working at her new fire house. I could feel the emotions that she kept buried from her new co-workers. I was so pleased with the number of funny moments that happened in this book. I think that’s what made this a 5 star read for me- the contrast between the serious and the funny. Without the moments of humor, this book would have been way too heavy. I highly recommend this one!



Book Review: The Lemon Sisters

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The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis- Brooke Lemon has always led the life she wanted, wild adventures—and mistakes—included, something her perfect sister, Mindy, never understood. So when Mindy shows up on Brooke’s doorstep in the throes of a break-down with her three little kids in tow, Brooke’s shocked.

Wanting to make amends, Brooke agrees to trade places, taking the kids back to Wildstone for a few days so Mindy can pick up the pieces and put herself back together. What Brooke doesn’t admit is she’s just as broken . . . Also how does one go home after seven years away? It doesn’t take long for Brooke to come face-to-face with her past, in the form of one tall, dark, sexy mistake. But Garrett’s no longer interested. Only his words don’t match his actions, leaving Brooke feeling things she’d shoved deep.

Soon the sisters begin to wonder: Are they lemons in life? In love? All they know is that neither seems to be able to run far enough to outpace her demons. And when secrets surface, they’ll have to learn that sometimes the one person who can help you the most is the one you never thought to ask.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: June 18, 2019

Acquired: Public library e-book

Series: #3 in the Wildstone Series

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I loved this book! Jill Shalvis is one of my most favorite authors and it’s rare that I don’t love something she writes. I will admit that this is the first book in the Wildstone series that I’ve read. I don’t know how I missed the first 2 books but I will be reading them ASAP! One of my favorite things about this book was the contrast between the sisters. Brooke was the free-spirit sister who couldn’t wait to get out of her hometown and who had an exciting career until a helicopter crash left her grounded with PTSD. Mindy, on the other hand, was the sister who stayed in their hometown, got married, had children, and became a baker. I really liked reading about their childhood from their different perspectives. 

When Mindy shows up on Brooke’s doorstep with children in tow in the middle of a nervous breakdown, Brooke sees the opportunity to get to know her niece and nephews even if that means going back to her hometown and confronting the messes she left behind. The kids added so much to this story! They were hilarious and adorable and kept the story flowing easily. I cringed a bit at the relationship repair that needed to happen between Brooke and Garrett, although the repair that needed to happen between Mindy and her husband, Linc, was just as intense. I found myself sympathizing with both Brooke and Mindy for different reasons and I could see myself in both of them which made the story extremely real for me. I highly recommend this book and in my opinion you can read them in any order. 



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.