Behind Closed Doors

behind closed doors.jpgBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Holy moly!!!

It’s my turn to host book club.  I looked at my out-of-control to-read list on Goodreads and randomly picked a grown up book from the list that I thought would work well.

I did not know what I was getting us in for!

To be honest, my to-read list is so long that by the time I get to the books on it, I don’t even remember where I got the book suggestion from, so if it was you…I curse you and I thank you all at once.

From the outside, Jack and Grace seem like the perfect couple.  They host the perfect dinners for their friends.  Their house is beautiful.  They seem to agree on everything.

Things aren’t always as they seem.  Very quickly through alternative chapters of past and present, you learn the history of how Jack and Grace met, their love story and everything that has happened since.

I don’t want to give too much away in this review but let’s just keep in mind that no one is perfect and many people give false looks into their lives all the time.

I read this book in one day.  I couldn’t help it.  I had to know how it ended.  I have thought about it pretty much non-stop since I finished reading it.  I can’t wait to hear what my friends have to say about it at book club.

Go get it and read it now!


Never Never

never neverNever Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

In alternating chapters, Silas and Charlie tell us about how they both instantly have lost their memory in the middle of a normal school day.  I mean I guess it was a normal day, they don’t really remember.

This is a quick read where Silas and Charlie try to figure out who they are and what their relationship is all about without letting the people around them know there is anything wrong.

I’ve read several of Colleen Hoover’s other books and so I decided to give this one a try.  Here’s one of my book pet peeves…it drives me crazy when young characters get themselves in sticky situations and they go out of their way to not tell the authority figures in their life.  Are there really kids walking around every day with huge secrets that they just aren’t telling the grown ups?  I’m sure some but I’ve read several stories that seem to take this to the extreme.  If you don’t know who you are, why would you know not to tell someone and wouldn’t the people closest to you notice something was extremely wrong?

This was a quick read that I had to get to the end of.  Unfortunately, the ending leaves you hanging for the next book.  I was very relieved to see that it was available in Overdrive so I could pick up right where I left off.  If I had read this books as a new release and had to wait several months for a sequel, I probably would have lost interest.

There are some language issues and one scene where they listen to a video on their phone of Silas sneaking into Charlie’s bedroom to wish her a happy birthday.  There is nothing graphic but you definitely get the idea of what is going on.  I have a hard time just putting this in the adult category or the young adult category.  I think it could go in both.


The Last Anniversary

last anniversaryThe Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty has become one of my favorite authors recently, and this book did not disappoint.

Did you let the good one get away?  That’s what Sophie is afraid has happened when she thinks back to her old boyfriend, Thomas.  When Thomas unexpectedly calls her, she wonders if her luck is about to change.

Thomas is actually getting in touch with Sophie to let her know that his great aunt has left her house to Sophie.  This is shocking to Sophie because she only briefly met the aunt but also because Thomas’s aunt and most of the rest of his family are the only ones who live on Scribbly Island, the home of the unsolved Munro Baby mystery.

Sophie’s life turns upside down as she get to know Thomas’s family and she takes the time to figure out what her role in all of this will be.

This is another quirky family full of laughter, secrets, heartbreak and more.  I love how Liane Moriarty is able to take these characters and turn them into such complex beings who you feel like you have known forever.

The Cuckoo’s Calling

16160797The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

This is a book club selection chosen for me.  I was excited to read it when I found out Robert Galbraith is actually the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.

Detective Cormoran Strike is having a bit of bad luck.  His women just kicked him out and his private investigation company is not far from falling apart.  He literally runs into his new temp secretary, which he meant to cancel because he can’t afford her as he chases his ex-girlfriend out the door.

Later that afternoon, his luck seems to turn around when John Bristow walks through his door needing help.  John’s sister was a famous model who fell tragically to her death from her apartment balcony.  John is convinced that she didn’t actually fall, that she was pushed to her death.  There are several parts of the story that don’t add up and John wants Detective Strike to take the case.  When Strike tries to politely decline, John offers him a crazy amount of money so Detective Strike takes the case.

The story follows Detective Strike and his new secretary as they try to unweave the tangled web that is the life and death of Lula Landry.  Who is telling the truth and who is covering up details to save their own face?

I enjoyed the mystery of Lula’s death but at times felt the story dragged on.  They seemed to interview millions of people and get lots of details that didn’t end up to be pertinent to the story.  I found myself forgetting who different characters were as they interviewed more and more people.

I found Strike to be a likable character.  He reminded me of a down on his luck character you might find in a John Grisham book.  There were a little too many details for my preference but I did stick with the book because I had to know what actually happened to Lula Landry.

The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year

andy cohenThe Andy Cohen Diaries:  A Deep Look at a Shallow Year by Andy Cohen

I enjoy memoirs of famous people.  I have a quite tainted view of my relationships with people I only know from television.  I forget we aren’t real friends and that I only watch them, that there’s no engagement happening.

I’m a Real Housewife junkie.  I’ve watched them all since the beginning.  I actually started with the first season of the Orange County girls when I would be up late with my infant daughter, who is now 11, for hours on end.  I was instantly hooked.  Not only do I DVR all of them, but I have a slight problem.  They have the same effect on me that MTV’s Real World used to have on me in college.  If I sit down to watch a marathon, I can forget about getting anything else done for the day.

I’m also a huge Andy Cohen fan.  I can let the fact that he is a die-hard Cardinals fan slip by #raisedroyal.  My friend and I went to Andy and Anderson Cooper’s live show last fall and it was as amazing as I thought it would be.

Pair that with listening to his book on audio, and I was in heaven.  Andy, if you read this, I’ve spent many hours wondering why I’m not working as a Real Housewife analyst like they have for sports.  I would be your girl if you ever need someone to critique any of the girls.

I love that Andy is real.  He shows us his good points and his not-so-good points.  I love that because it was an audiobook, he could use his Cher impersonations and others while telling us the stories.  As I listened to him, I really felt like I was listening to an old friend tell me stories of his day.  Pair that with my already slightly blurred lines of reality television and my life, and I was set.

Most of the time while I listened to this book, I was walking and I found myself laughing out loud, probably looking like an idiot through most of this book but it was definitely worth it.

I can’t wait to read his other books, but I am on the waiting list for them.

A Man Called Ove

man-called-oveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Ove is a grouchy old man who has his routine down to a science.  Every morning he gets up and checks the neighborhood for vandalism, makes sure his neighbors are recycling correctly and keeps to himself.

As we get to know Ove, we learn about his past including his childhood, how he met his wife and the overall story of how his life has gone.

Ove’s wife has passed away recently and he was asked to retire so he has decided he is finished with this life.  As he makes plans to end his life, he is interrupted by the new neighbors moving in next door.  They create quite a bit of chaos in Ove’s perfect little plan and life causing him to postpone his plans to end his own life.

I fond myself growing fond of Ove.  I’m sure we all know people who have a tough exterior but really have a soft heart inside.  Although Ove’s softness was hidden beneath years of trouble, I had hope that it was there.

This wasn’t a book that I couldn’t wait to pick up and read which explains why it has been so long since I blogged.  When I was finished, I had to think back and decide if it was a book I liked or not.  After some consideration, I decided that I did like the book.  It was a relaxing read and even though it wasn’t full of drama or action, I’m glad to have read it.  I can’t wait to discuss it at our next book club meeting.

The Things We Keep

things-we-keepThe Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

Here’s another Alzheimer story.  Going into this, I wasn’t sure how it would go.  I remember how reading Still Alice gave me nightmares and made me think I was beginning to have Alzheimer’s.  You can read my thoughts on that book HERE.  (Spoiler alert:  I loved Still Alice, it just scared me because of my family history)

In The Things We Keep, we meet Anna, a 38-year old, who has recently been diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s.  As soon as she was diagnosed she left her husband (her marriage wasn’t great to start with) and soon checked herself into an assisted living type home.  The home that Anna’s brother chose for her to live in also had another younger Alzheimer’s patient living here, Luke.

Eve has recently found out her husband has been living a lie and this lie changes Eve and her daughter, Clem’s life forever.  She takes her chef skills and gets a job as a cook and housekeeper in the home Anna lives in.

The story takes on several different narrators.  We get to see inside Anna’s life and what it is like to not even remember which door opens to your closet vs. the bathroom or hall.  We witness Eve battle her anger and missing her husband all at the same time.  She has to figure out how to be a single parent to Clementine, who is facing her own challenges.  We also get to see the world through sweet Clementine’s eyes, when she can’t understand why her friends at school now say bad things about her father.

I couldn’t put this book down.  I loved Anna’s insight and it gave me thoughts on how to communicate with my family member who has Alzheimer’s.  I fell in love with each character that lived in the house and for Eve and Clem, just trying to find a new normal.

The story jumps from the point where Anna moves into the house then jumps forward and back again seamlessly.  You know something traumatic has happened with Anna and Luke but the story unfolds beautifully until you see the whole picture.

What a jewel of a book!  Be sure to read it soon.



Talking as Fast as I Can

talking-as-fastTalking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

Who doesn’t love Gilmore Girls?  Am I right?  When you add Parenthood into the equation, Lauren Graham has to be one of my favorite TV actresses.

This book is a memoir of Lauren Graham’s memories of making Gilmore Girls and her diary journal of her time making Gilmore Girls:  A Year in the Life.

She gives background information that makes you love Loralei even more.

Lauren takes a look back through the original Gilmore Girls seasons and makes comments and gives background commentary throughout. It made me need to revisit my old friends as well.

She talks about how although there were many internet rumors about a reunion, she really didn’t find out until right before they started shooting.  Her diary of her days making A Year in the Life was fun to get a glimpse into a show I love so much.

I read this book really fast, probably because I figured that’s how Lauren would tell me the stories.  If you love Gilmore Girls, pick this book up!

The Gauguin Connection

gauguin-connectionThe Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan

Genevieve Lenard faces the challenges of life as an insurance investigator, while dealing with her highly-functioning Autism, rather well.  She is an expert in nonverbal communication.  She has spent years perfecting her craft.

As a favor to her boss, she looks into the murder of an artist.  She quickly realizes that this will not be an easy task.

Genevieve starts seeing connections to other crimes that no one else has found.  She gets an unexpected visitor in her apartment that really puts her on edge.

This suspenseful murder mystery starts involving stolen European weapons, money-laundering charities and high ranking officals with too much power.  Genevieve quickly realizes she is in over her head and she’s in for the long haul.

I found Genevieve to be a fun, interesting character.  I enjoyed learning about all the nonverbal cues she could get just from watching people.  I enjoyed the banter she had with other characters in the book and how she was always reminding herself to not let her Autistic tendencies take over.  With that being said, I’m not much of an artsy person so when the story turned to the art details, I found myself skimming more than I probably should have.

The Magnolia Story

28668633The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

I’m a fan of Fixer Upper and I love what the Gaines stand for but a memoir from TV personalities can go either way.

Joanna Gaines tells the story of when she met Chip and how their life has gone since then.  Chip interjects with witty comments (in a different font) from time to time and they are so “Chip-like” that you can hear him talking to you.  They both go back to their childhood and give you a condensed version of how they become the people that they are.

The ending of this story is no secret.  If you watch Fixer Upper or follow the Gaines on social media, it is no secret they are doing pretty well for themselves.  The journey was surprisingly wonderful.

This book was full of stories of how they have got where they are and it has not all been roses.  They have gone through good and bad times.  I really enjoyed learning about their business practices and have encouraged my locally owned businessman husband to read this book to learn from their successes and failures.

Joanna tells about some epiphanies she has had as a mother and a wife that really hit me right in the heart.  Their story makes me want to go for my dreams and figure out how to listen to the voice in my head that tells me what I should do next.  Learning to enjoy the journey is a good lesson for us all.

After reading this book, I feel like I have sat down with the Gaines family and listened to them tell me their story.  It was an intimate lovely encounter of all they have been through to get where they are.  They deserve all the success that God has blessed them with.