Thursday, April 9, 2015

Amy's Review Round-Up






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Secrets in the Sky by Pauline Wiles

About the book: 
How far should you go to keep a secret?
No-one ever accused Sophie Campbell of being a coward. From caving trips to rooftop pranks, it appeared nothing could hold her back, especially once she landed a dream job promising travel all over the world.

But Sophie’s jet-setting lifestyle is not what it seems and she’s been spending more time in the quiet English village of Saffron Sweeting than she cares to admit. When her beloved Great Aunt Wol dies suddenly, Sophie loses one of the few people who truly know her. As friends, family and an old flame gather for the funeral, questions soon follow. Worse, Sophie finds herself increasingly attracted to the man most likely to expose her secrets. Can she manage to guard her past, yet finally follow her long-held dream?

Featuring both new and familiar characters, this stand-alone romantic comedy is set two years before Saving Saffron Sweeting. With side helpings of British tea, cake and wit, Secrets in the Sky explores how finding the courage to be yourself can be the toughest challenge of all.

Amy's Review: This book takes place 2 years before the author's previous book Saving Saffron Sweeting.  It is a stand alone book, so it does not matter which you read first.  Sophie is the main character and has many secrets and tells many lies.  One of her biggest lies is that she is an air hostess (airline stewardess) and she hates flying.  This is a romantic comedy filled with some laugh out loud moments.  Lots of secrets and lies and once Sophie’s aunt passes away, the layers of the secrets and lies begin peeling off layer by layer and you begin to understand Sophie better. I love the setting of this book and her description of the towns and pubs makes you feel like you are in another country.  Plus who doesn't love all the English Mannerisms?  4 stars





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NOTE:  I was selected as one of Marisa’s Angels and received an Advanced Readers copy of Marisa de los Santos new novel  The Precious One.

About the book:  From the bestselling author of Belong to Me, Love Walked In, and Falling Together comes a captivating novel about friendship, family, second chances, and the redemptive power of love


In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary — professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk: her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter Willow only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister — a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Told in alternating voices — Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings — The Precious One is an unforgettable novel of family secrets, lost love, and dangerous obsession, a captivating tale with the deep characterization, piercing emotional resonance, and heartfelt insight that are the hallmarks of Marisa de los Santos’s beloved works.
 

Amy's Review:  This is a story about family and relationships and how they fall apart and come back together and how things all come apart to begin with.  I could not put this book down. 
It is written in 2 voices – Older sister Eustacia (Taisy) and her 16 year old step sister Willow. 

17 years ago Wilson (Taisy and Willow’s father) left Tasiy and her twin brother Marcus.  Now he is calling Taisy to visit, meet her step sister Willow and help him with his memoir.  The author does a phenomenal job of playing out the family dynamics.  A very dramatic ending that I did not see coming. 

I give this a 5 stars and it hooked my in from the first page and I loved the 2 voices telling the story from each of their view points. 





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All the Roads by J. Cotter


About the book:  “It has been so long since we’ve seen each other… It seems silly that we can’t, you know, chat and catch up.” She tried to play at being casual and nonchalant, looking calmly in his direction. 

“No,” Jay replied slowly, “it isn’t silly at all.” 

On a rainy spring morning, Jay stops for coffee in a small Alaskan town. The last thing he ever expects is to see her, after almost 18 months of silence between them. As he fumbles for words, he realizes that she, unlike anyone else, has the power to render him speechless. 

All The Roads offers a thoughtful glimpse into the delicate nature of a developing relationship, as well as the fallout that comes with misperceptions and unmet expectations. Told as a series of poignant moments intermixed with vivid memories, All The Roads reads both as a novel as well as a series of short stories. The stories are interwoven carefully, moving backwards and forwards in time, culminating in a multifaceted novel. 

From the onset of the novel, it is clear that Jay and Elle have a past; running into each other haplessly leaves them both feeling winded and uncomfortable. Elle continues on from Alaska to a rented apartment in Maine, where she is set to begin working on a small film. Jay leaves for Anchorage before heading back to California. Their distance is minimized, however, by a constant flow of memories and thoughts, which hauntingly intertwine the two of them. 

Jay and Elle met at a Christmas party almost six years prior to their awkward Alaskan run-in, immediately recognizing in the other a fellow introvert seeking a break from the hum of the party. When they part ways the following morning, each feels an odd tug to stay with the other. Brushing it off, they separate, with plans to see each other in June with a group of friends for a summer road trip. Their relationship, which begins slowly as a powerful and intense friendship, ends abruptly, shocking them both with its finality and loss. 

All The Roads offers a unique perspective on a relationship in the modern world, pairing important turning points in Jay and Elle’s past with crucial moments in their present. Readers are invited to contemplate the complexity of all relationships, as well as the role we play in keeping our relationships genuine and fulfilling. 

Amy's Review:  From Page 1, I could not put this book down.  This is a story of friendship and love. I found myself cheering for Elle and Jay, but my heart also broke for each of them.   Their love story follows several ups and downs and was very intense at times.   This book was not written in chronological order, but flowed beautifully and was not at all confusing.  I loved putting all the pieces together. 

The author does a fantastic job of portraying the characters feelings and raw emotions.  I did not want this book to end and I hope there is a sequel.  5 stars








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