August 23, 2015

All the Difference

All the Difference
author Leah Ferguson
publisher  Berkley
to be published September 2015
source publisher

reflections:   Many times in our lives we struggle with decisions.  I've spent hours on-line trying to decide which motel to stay in on vacation.  That should have been a quick and easy decision.   On harder decisions,  we often wonder "What if I'd decided something else..."

On New Year's Eve, Molly says "you've got to be kidding me" when her pregnancy test shows positive.   By the end of the evening, her on-again-off-again boyfriend proposes.  Now what?

The cover of the book says it all:  accept the marriage proposal or not?   The reading is a delight, because it tells us "what if."   The chapters alternate with "If She'd Said No" and "If She'd Said Yes"

My perspective: A fun read;  Molly ponders on how she'll break the baby news to her  parents and to her BFF who is struggling with infertility.   Her boyfriend's mother is all gaga about the pregnancy.  There were some obnoxious characters too.  Some good quotes:
...that's the thing about being a grown-up:
I just feel like no matter which way I turn, I'm going to feel guilty about something.

August 20, 2015

Did You Ever Have a Family

Did You Ever Have a Family
author Bill Clegg
publisher   Gallery/Scout Press
to be published  early September 2015
source:  NetGalley and publisher

reflections:    Almost all of us have made mistakes in connection with our families.   I sometimes look back and wish "if only I hadn't ...."    I have feelings of guilt.   Fortunately, my mistakes aren't as deep-reaching and tragic as those made by the characters in Did You Ever Have a Family.

    The book opens with a house explosion killing four people.   One person, June who happened to be outside,  survives.   Soon after the funerals,  June gets in her car and drives as far away as she can.
     Each chapter tells about a different person and how the explosion affected that person.   Secrets abound.  Mistakes were made in the past, such as not recognizing a child's artistic interests or sending a child to boarding school.   There is one regret after another.   Some poignant sentences.
That is a moment I would do differently if I had the chance.  There are many. 
Everyone in his life stood by him, but I failed him.  I did worse than fail him. 
my perspectives:   I wish I had been told at the beginning to keep notes on who is who and how each person is connected.   So many characters!   I wonder  why the author included some in the book.  When I started some chapters, I'd have to stop and think, "now exactly who is this person?"    I especially liked the descriptions at the beginning of  how the residents of the tourist town felt about the summer weekend people invading their lives.    I am challenging myself to go back to re-read this book next year, with pencil and paper in hand to draw connections.

 I highlighted so many sentences in my kindle because they spoke to my heart. I need to close with another haunting sentence:
... the town where she has lived her whole life, where there are no friends, no family, but where her feet are famous to the sidewalks.

August 5, 2015


author Natasha Preston
published August 4, 2015
publisher Sourcebooks Fire
source NetGalley

reflections:   There's a saying "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"   Scarlett's jealous BFF doesn't act like a friend.   Is Scarlett's newest crush Noah truly a friend?

Awake begins with two teens quibbling over who will get the new guy in school.   From there, it moves into a typical high school crush, movie dates, meeting parents.    Scarlett tells Noah she has amnesia from the years before she was four years old.  After an automobile accident, Scarlett has a series of dreams.  Apparently Noah and his family are part of a vegan cult on a quest.   What is the quest?

my perspective:   Am I too old for YA books?  Or is it simply the problem with this book?    I don't buy the amnesia premise at the age of four,  not many of us remember details from those formative years.   After all the movie dates, I felt like telling the book "get on with the story."

August 3, 2015

The Murderer's Daughter

The Murderer's Daughter
by Jonathan Kellerman
to be published: August 18
publisher:  Ballantine Books
source: NetGalley  

reflections:   Back in the mid-and-late 1980's I read every Alex Delaware novel by Jonathan Kellerman.   I got distracted from reading when I went back to teaching full-time.

What a super read!    Grace is a successful psychologist who treats people who have suffered trauma or loss.    An old article  Living with Evil:  Emotional Aspects of Kinship with a Murderer published  in an out-of-circulation criminology journal brings a new client to Grace.  He stays only fifteen minutes.   What happens afterwards influences Grace's vacation plans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters that told about Grace's birth and growing-up years.   She was self-sufficient child who wanted nothing more than to be alone and read, read, read.  A frequent refrain throughout those years:   In the end, no one cared about you.

This is a stand-alone novel, although Alex Delaware is mentioned briefly in passing.

my perspective:   One of the very best I've read in 2015, even though I had some questions about some of the events.    I'm going to have to hunt up the Kellerman novels I've missed.