Into the Water

33151805.jpgInto the Water by Paula Hawkins

From the author of Girl on the Train, this is the story of a town where multiple women have drowned in the “Drowning Pool”

Jules’ sister Nel is the latest victim of the drowning.  Jules goes home to the town she doesn’t want to be to deal with her sister’s death and the teenage daughter she leaves behind.

The town is full of secrets and everyone has a story.

For me, that was the downfall of the story.  I felt like I needed to keep notes about all the different characters telling their stories.  I continually had to go back to figure out which character did what and which character was narrating the current chapter.  It was definitely not my favorite and I definitely enjoyed The Girl on the Train much more.

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A Baxter Family Christmas & Love Story

My all time favorite literary family is the Baxter family.  They come from a huge number of books from Karen Kingsbury.  It is quite the committment at probably over 20 books total but they are totally worth it.

Start here:

hbhcCwAAQBAJI found this series while I was on bedrest with my first pregnancy.  By the time I gave birth to my daughter, I picked a middle name for her after one of the characters in the books.

One time I asked for prayer for a character in these books and halfway through remembered it was a book.  That’s interesting to explain.

To say I love them would be an understatement.

I thought this series was over.  I didn’t realize Karen Kingsbury had written more stories about the Baxters.

Last week I was browsing in the public library, trying to find something light hearted.  I had read several dark and depressing books so I needed a change of pace.

First I read A Baxter Family Christmas.

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It’s hard to summarize this book without giving away too much of the past twenty books.  John Baxter, the patriarch of the family, decides to invite someone to Christmas Eve dinner and some of his children do not agree with his decision.

The thing I loved so much about this book is that I didn’t have to take the time to meet new characters.  It was like going to my own family Christmas and reuniting with loved ones I hadn’t seen in a long time.  I devoured this book so quickly as I caught up with all my favorite Baxter friends.

 

 

30834957 (1)I also picked up, Love Story, the first book in the newest Baxter spinoff, The Baxter Family.  This story does a nice job of continuing the story of the Baxters and their friends and also taking us back in time to when John and Elizabeth Baxter first met, and how their love began this whole family.

I invite you to start at the beginning and love the Baxters just as much as I have the past 12 years.

 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

 

17185496The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

I have this “To-Read” list on Goodreads.  If it ever gets under 200 books, I’m pretty impressed with myself.  Sometimes I read books on the list that are getting a lot of buzz or that I’m really looking forward to, and sometimes I go to the oldest books on the list to try to make a dent.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly has been on my “to-read” list for almost two years.  It was the oldest book on my list.  That means I have no idea why I put it on the list.  I’m not sure if a friend recommended it or if I read about it somewhere.  I wish I remembered so I could talk to whoever recommended it to me.

When we meet Minnow Bly, she has been convicted of assault and is being sent to juvie.  As the story unfolds we learn about Minnow.

Since she was five years old, she has lived in a commune with her family.  In this commune, men marry multiple wives and they all look toward the “Prophet” for guidance.  Minnow has always questioned their way of life and remembered enough of their old life to want to know more, but that is not acceptable.

Minnow has lived a terrible life. She has unimaginable things done to her by people who are supposed to love her.  She has one friend outside the community but if they find out about him, she is afraid what will happen to him.

The story goes between Minnow living in juvie and learning about the real world and going back to her memories of her life in the commune.  She has to figure out the truth from the lies that have been told to her.

This book disturbed me.  There were parts that were very hard to read and I felt the need to finish the story quickly so I could stop reading it.  Not finishing the book was not an option.  With that being said, this book left a mark on me.  I’m not sure you can “enjoy” a book like this but I did learn a lot and cared to know what would happen to Minnow after the book was over.

I would love to hear others opinion of it.  Go read this book!

Top 10 Books of 2017

Once again, it is the end of the year and time to reflect on the best books I read this year.  I didn’t get as many reviews blogged as I wanted to and I hope to remedy that in the new year so some of the books I list might still have reviews coming.

This year I was able to read a lot of books that changed me as a person and for that I am grateful.

In no particular order, here are my favorite books I read in 2017

 

Here are some titles I’m looking forward to reading during 2018:

 

I love book recommendations.  What were you favorite books that you read in 2017?  What are you looking forward to reading?

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

31450633The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Cass is driving home during a storm one night when she drive up on to a car on the side of the road.  Cass is torn on whether to stop or not.  Surely if the driver needed help, they would flash their lights or get out of the car.

The next day, Cass finds out not only was the driver of the car the victim of a horrible murder, but it was someone she was just getting to be friends with.

Cass is overwhelmed with guilt that she should have done more to see if the driver needed help.  She starts getting silent phone calls which makes her very paranoid.

I loved B.A. Paris’s book, Behind Closed Doors, you can read my review here.  The Breakdown is no different.  It takes over your mind and you become consumed with her characters and what they are going through.  By the time I was finished with this book, I thought maybe I was having a breakdown.  I highly recommend you read this book!

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.