Bring on the Blessings. Beverly Jenkins. 2009. 383 pages. HarperCollins. [Source: personal copy.] Love love loved this book! When I opened and realized the entire “back” description was the opening pages, and that I wouldn’t be starting from Bernadine’s tragedy and reading her rise to triumph, I was immediately skeptical. But the book literally grabbed me and never let me go. In the first couple of chapters, you were overwhelmed with characters but the author ultimately formulated each and every one of them. Committed to reading the entire 6 book series now, I have to know what happens to the kids, the town and everyone receiving the Blessings thanks to Bernadine. Definitely 5 stars!
Evelyn After. Victoria Helen Stone. 2016. 258 pages. Lake Union Publishing. [Source: Kindle First Program.] A girl was dead. A marriage was ruined. And the world just kept going on as if that were all okay, when it wasn’t okay. She wasn’t okay. Evelyn lived a tidy, suburban life. Until the one evening when her husband revealed that he’d been in an accident, one of his patients was involved, and nobody could know a thing about it. That evening sparked a change in Evelyn and the way she interacted with the world around her. Once a super-PTA parent, she becomes a sulking shell of herself, bent on finding out truth about the husband she thinks she knows.
The Things We Wish Were True. Marybeth Mayhew Whalen. 2016. 209 pages. Lake Union Publishing. [Source: Kindle First Program.] Have you ever read something that can only be described as being on the tracks when a slow-motion train wreck is about to happen? The constant feeling of “it’s going to happen, I can’t stop it, and it’s going to be really bad” gripped me while I read The Things We Wish Were True, but in the best way. I was compelled to finish reading nearly as soon as I started, and I wasn’t disappointed along the way. On its face, this is a story of a quiet southern town, Sycamore Glen, N.C., where families spend all year looking forward to afternoons spent together at the neighborhood pool. Everything has its place, and everyone knows what to expect. But this town is gilded, and its secrets bubble just below its surface. What is more enticing, however, is the intricate way in which each family’s secrets are intertwined with the others.
Bittersweet. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. 2014. Broadway Books. 381 pages. [Source: Blogging for Books.] How far will you go to fit in? What secrets will you seek, and what secrets will you keep? Those are the perennial questions that Mabel Dagmar faces as she finds herself immersed in the lavish lifestyle of her wealthy roommate for a summer. Mabel is a simple girl from Oregon who has the (mis)fortune of rooming with wealthy, party-girl Genevra their freshmen year of college. Theirs is largely a relationship of indifference, wherein Ev tolerates Mabel’s presence while mildly hiding her disdain for her. A turning point is Ev’s 18th birthday, in which she follows family tradition by donating a Degas to their college (how disappointing that it wasn’t The Met). Mabel’s invitation to the celebratory affair marked the first time the two women have any real personal interaction. The result is Mabel’s invtation to vacation with Ev in her family’s estate, Winloch, in Vermont.
What You Left Behind: A Novel. Samantha Hayes. 2014. 32o pages. Crown Publishing. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of Blogging for Books.] I like to think of myself as someone who can forecast a book’s plot twists. I’m usually pretty good at sifting through the little details meant to foreshadow, instead using them to sniff out the real culprit in a story. Thus, reading What You Left Behind was a challenging read for me. The author wove an interesting story with intricate details that constantly threw me off. The story starts with a motorcycle accident that kills a young homeless man in sleepy Radcote. With the discovery of a suicide note, it appears that Dean has become the first in a new rash of teen suicides to rock the town’s residents. The reader is then introduced to Lorraine, a police detective supposedly on vacation to visit her sister Jo and nephew Freddie. Instead, she is compelled to explore the suspicious circumstances behind Dean’s death as another teen is found dead of an apparent suicide just days later.