2015 Book 203: IT’S YOU by Jane Porter



It’s You by Jane Porter
ISBN: 9780425277157 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780698178861 (ebook)
ASIN: B00OQSF63I (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Berkley


In the wake of a tragedy that tore her life down to the foundations, Dr. Alison McAdams has lost her way. So when she’s summoned to Napa to care for her ailing father, she’s not sure she has anything to offer him—or anyone else.

 

What Ali finds in Northern California wine country is a gift—an opportunity to rest, and distance from her painful memories. Most unexpectedly, she finds people who aren’t afraid of her grief or desperate for her to hurry up and move on.

 

As Ali becomes part of her father’s community, makes new friends of her own, and hears the stories of a generation who survived the Second World War, she begins to find hope again. In a quest to discover the truth about another woman’s lost love, she sets off on a journey across oceans and deep into history. And in making sense of that long-ago tragedy, Ali is able to put together the broken pieces of her heart and make new choices that are right for her.



Alison “Ali” McAdams’ world has been turned upside down. Her fiancé and co-worker committed suicide six weeks before their wedding, in their home. A few months later, her mother suffered an aneurysm and died. Ali has been struggling to be normal and continue working with her deceased fiancé’s father in their dental practice in Arizona. Just when she’s floundering with what she wants and needs, she receives a phone call from her father. Her dad is living in a retirement community in Napa, California and has recently suffered a fall, breaking his wrist. Ali quickly makes the decision to take time off from the dental practice and head to California.

Ali isn’t quite sure what she’ll find in California, but she’s desperate to connect with her sole surviving family member. Ali’s Dad isn’t exactly “warm” and one for public displays of affection, but over the course of three weeks they do find some common ground. Amazingly, the one person Ali seems to connect with the most is a ninety-five-year-old woman, Edie. Initially, Ali thinks that Edie is prickly and rude, but the more she talks with Edie the more she realizes that they have a lot in common.

It’s You takes place over the course of just a few weeks, but Ms. Porter has packed a lot into those weeks. The story is told in alternating voices of Edie and Ali, with a portion of Edie’s story taking place in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The reader learns that the love of Edie’s life was a Nazi in public while secretly working with the German Resistance Movement. He was found guilty and died as a result of his involvement in the failed attempt on Hitler’s life. Both Edie and Ali are grieving their losses, but Edie has found a way to move on with her life and enjoy what she can when she can. It’s You is a story of deep loss, grief, self-realization, and ultimately survival. It’s a story filled with sadness as well as hope. If you enjoy reading stories that combine historical elements with a contemporary storyline or just enjoy reading about strong women, then It’s You is one story you’ll want to read.


Read an excerpt from It’s You here.


Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes via BookSparks. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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2015 Book 192: SUMMER SECRETS by Jane Green



Summer Secrets by Jane Green
ISBN: 9781250047342 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9781466847743 (ebook)
ASIN: B00QQWJ0E8 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


Jane Green delivers her second blockbuster novel of 2015, a story of one woman struggling to right the wrongs of her past, with even more complications in the present.

June, 1998: At twenty seven, Catherine Coombs, also known as Cat, is struggling. She lives in London, works as a journalist, and parties hard. Her lunchtimes consist of several glasses of wine at the bar downstairs in the office, her evenings much the same, swigging the free booze and eating the free food at a different launch or party every night. When she discovers the identity of the father she never knew she had, it sends her into a spiral. She makes mistakes that cost her the budding friendship of the only women who have ever welcomed her. And nothing is ever the same after that.

June, 2014: Cat has finally come to the end of herself. She no longer drinks. She wants to make amends to those she has hurt. Her quest takes her to Nantucket, to the gorgeous summer community where the women she once called family still live. Despite her sins, will they welcome her again? What Cat doesn’t realize is that these women, her real father’s daughters, have secrets of their own. As the past collides with the present, Cat must confront the darkest things in her own life and uncover the depths of someone’s need for revenge. 



It’s the late 1990s and Catherine “Cat” Coombs is no different from all of the other twenty-somethings, or so she thinks. It’s perfectly normal, in her mind, to spend her afternoons and evenings with lots of liquid libation. It’s perfectly normal to black-out after imbibing a bit much. It’s perfect normal to wake up in bed with your newly discovered half-sister’s boyfriend. Wait . . . what?! This isn’t normal behavior, but Cat talks herself into believing that her drinking binges are well within the range of normal until she wakes up naked with her sister’s boyfriend in bed beside her.

Flash forward sixteen years and Cat has finally become sober. She knows that she’s a recovering alcoholic and that she’ll always be a recovering alcoholic. Rock bottom for her was when her husband, the love of her life, left her and took their daughter with him. Cat knows that she has to take it one day at a time, and she has taken great strides in doing the program, or AA. Her last major hurdle is making amends with her half-sisters across the pond. Is it possible for someone to forgive the unforgivable or is Cat setting simply setting herself up for disaster?

I’m sure the big question you’re asking is did I enjoy reading Summer Secrets? The answer is a resounding YES! I know I’ve said it before, but this book pulled me in from the beginning and I read it in one sitting over one afternoon. Okay, I took a small break to talk to my mother on the phone for a few minutes, but that was the only interruption I allowed (it was my elderly mother people; I couldn’t ignore her phone call). Ms. Green has the amazing ability to create characters and situations that are incredibly realistic and wholly believable. I may not be a recovering alcoholic, but I could empathize with Cat and her problems. I don’t have any sisters and have never slept (drunk or otherwise) with anyone else’s significant other, but I could relate to the horror of the situation. Younger Cat romanticized her life and the situations around her; older Cat may have periodic romantic daydreams but deals with reality, no matter how much it hurts. Summer Secrets is an amazing story about self-discovery, recovery, and forgiveness. This story incorporates personal recovery with family drama, teen drama, family secrets, and much more set in scenic Nantucket, Massachusetts and London, England. I’ve used the term “hopeful-ever-after” about other books and Summer Secrets is just that . . . a story about hope for a better tomorrow while dealing with today. If you haven’t read any books by Ms. Green, then grab a copy of Summer Secrets soon, as this is the perfect story for a lazy summer afternoon. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future, and something tells me I’ll probably be rereading Summer Secrets soon (yes, it was that good!).



Listen to an audiobook excerpt of Summer Secrets here.


Disclaimer: I purchased a digital copy of this book for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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2015 Book 175: WORTHY by Catherine Ryan Hyde



Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde
ISBN: 9781477830130 (paperback)
ASIN: B00QQYZYOQ (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing


They might’ve been a family.

Virginia finally had the chance to explore a relationship with Aaron when he asked her on a date. She had been waiting, hoping that the widower and his young son, Buddy, would welcome her into their lives. But a terrible tragedy strikes on the night of their first kiss, crushing their hopes for a future together.

Nineteen years later, Virginia is engaged, though she has not forgotten Aaron or Buddy. When her dog goes missing and it comes to light that her fiancé set him loose, a distraught Virginia breaks off the engagement and is alone once again. A shy young man has found the missing pet, and although he’s bonded with the animal, he answers his conscience and returns the dog. Before long, Virginia and the young man discover a connection from their pasts that will help them let go of painful memories and change their lives forever. 



Buddy was only a baby when his mother died and four years old when his father died in a horrible accident. His maternal grandparents relocated him to Florida to live with them and start a new life. Virginia had fallen in love and was looking forward to life with Aaron and his son. Their relationship had barely progressed from a light flirtation when it tragically ended with Aaron’s death. Catherine Ryan Hyde presents a story that asks what makes any of us worthy of love in her newest book Worthy.

Virginia has struggled to build a new life for herself, but she has never forgotten Aaron and his son. Just when it seems as if her life is looking up, her dog disappears and her fiance is the reason why. As Virginia struggles to pick up the pieces of her life after her broken engagement, she must also struggle with the dilemma of what to do with her dog. Jody Schiller is considered a shy and sensitive young man. He leads a relatively reclusive life in a rural cabin with his grandfather. Jody knows he isn’t quite “normal,” but he deals the best way he knows how. After witnessing a man abandoning a dog in the freezing cold and snow, Jody rescues the dog and finds his first friend. This dog quickly becomes his lifeline in more ways than one when his grandfather dies. But Jody’s lifeline may be clipped when the dog’s owner comes to get her dog back. 

Worthy isn’t just a feel-good story about a man, a woman, and a dog. It is a story about self-worth, a search for happiness, and a search for a sense of family and belonging. Jody and Virginia love and are loved by their jointly-owned dog, and it is that love (along with more tragedy and trauma) that bring them together. I found Worthy to be an extremely fast read. I found the characters to be believable and relatable. If you’re looking for a feel-good, hopeful-ever-after read, then you’ll definitely want to add Worthy to your TBR list. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via BookSparks. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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