I Found You has many different meanings

35184176I Found You by Lisa Jewell is a suspenseful thriller featuring three separate stories that slowly merge together.  First we meet Alice Lake, a single mom of three children – Kai, Jasmine and Romaine and their three dogs (Hero, Sadie, and Grif) living in a small house by the shore in Ridinghouse Bay.  Alice sees a man sitting on the beach in the pouring rain not moving for hours.  He has lost his memory, not knowing who he was and why he was sitting there.  Against her best friend Derry’s advice, Alice gives the man a warm coat and brings him inside her house and her daughter Romaine names him Frank.

Then we meet Lily Monrose from Ukraine who has only been back from her honeymoon for 10 days and now lives in London with her husband Carl.  One night Carl doesn’t come home from work, which is out of character for him.  She realizes that she doesn’t completely know her husband.  When she brings in the police, they quickly discover no person with his name exists.

We then head back twenty years to 1993 when the Ross Family (Tony, Pam, Gray and Kirsty) decide to vacation for two weeks in Ridinghouse Bay.  When Gray (17) and Kirsty (15) are out for a walk, Gray notices a guy staring intently at Kirsty.  It makes Gray uncomfortable.  The next day the family is on the beach and the same guy is sitting next to them.  He soon befriends the family and invites them over for tea at the large estate across the way.  Mark Tate (19) is visiting his aunt Kitty who recently lost her husband.  Mark quickly becomes obsessed with Kirsty and he starts to come across as a crazy, evil person.

The narrative switches back and forth between the three storylines slowly weaving back and forth bringing them together at the end.  Throughout the book, you don’t know exactly who the strange man on the beach could be.  Is it Gray or is it Mark.  And who is Lily’s husband?  Is it Gray or is it Mark?  Is the stranger on the beach and Lily’s husband the same person or are they two different people?  Lisa Jewell kept me guessing and kept me second guessing my selections.  I found I could not put this book down.  I wanted to know what was happening and I wanted answers.  This is a great thriller just in time for summertime.

Now that I’ve been done with the book for a few days, I understand the title pertains to several characters of the book.  It also means something different for each of the characters.

Book Description:
A young bride, a lonely single mother, and an amnesiac man of dubious origin lie at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell’s next suspenseful drama that will appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Paula Hawkins.

In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

Two decades of secrets, a missing husband, and a man with no memory are at the heart of this brilliant new novel, filled with the “beautiful writing, believable characters, pacey narrative, and dark secrets” (London Daily Mail) that make Lisa Jewell so beloved by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

The Light We Lost asks the question: is a first love your one true love

33637339When I first started reading The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I didn’t understand why Lucy Carter was telling Gabe Samson about their relationship from when they first met. It felt weird to me. I thought maybe it was a look back at what their life was like.  But I soon got used to the narration and was pulled into Lucy’s life.

Lucy first met Gabe on September 11, 2001 while they are in college.  On a rooftop under a grey cloud of ash, she kissed him for the first time and lost her heart forever. They move in together and start planning their life.  But Gabe is unfulfilled living in New York and being in a relationship. As he pursues his photography, he realizes he needs to go abroad and capture the struggles and political turmoil.  He wants to head to the Middle East and asks Lucy to go with him. But Lucy loves her job and knows following Gabe around the world will only make her resent his pursuit of his passions while she suppresses hers. So Gabe leaves and they move on living separate lives.

Lucy eventually meets Darren and even though she keeps comparing him to Gabe, she loves him differently but just as much as Gabe. They marry and soon have their daughter Violet. Even though Lucy has a wonderfully supportive husband and a good marriage, she seems to be connected to Gabe. She looks for his photos, she emails with him and she takes his phone calls. When he is in town, she drops everything to see him.

There were times I wanted to smack Lucy for what she was doing to her marriage. There were times I wanted to smack Darren for his jealousy even though Lucy was with him and I wanted to smack Gabe for always pulling Lucy back into his life making it hard for her to leave him in the past where he belonged.  The character I loved the most was Violet.  What an adorable little girl.

This book made me smile but it also made me cry and it broke my heart in so many different ways. As the book progressed and things were revealed, I never would have expected the revelation at the end. It really made me change my view of Lucy’s narrative. This book snuck up on me. I almost abandoned after about 50 pages and I’m so glad I stuck it out. This was such a good book. If you pick this book up, give it a chance because it won’t disappoint.

Book Description:
Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

One Less Problem Without You is about three women surviving adversity

26114216When I enjoy a book by an author, I usually look to see what else they have available because I want more of their work.  One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison is her latest release and the fifth book I have read by her.  Every time I read something from Harbison, I’m always entertained and swept on a journey with the characters.

This time Harbison brought me into kind of a dark storyline.  There is abuse, a cheating husband, financial struggles and dreams dashed.  This is the story of Prinny, Chelsea and Diana.  Prinny grew up with her stepbrother Leif, who was abusive to her from when she was a baby, but hid it from their parents as love.  He is full of hate and jealousy of Prinny.

Diana is Leif’s wife who is madly in love with him even though she knows he cheats on her and knows she must break away from him if she wants to survive.  Chelsea works for Prinny at her shop Cosmos and also survives by working as a living statue at tourist sites.

Prinny has a gift.  She is psychic and her shop Cosmos, sells crystals, potions, candles and she does readings.  Diana makes homemade teas that seem to have a little magic to them.  Prinny and Diana haven’t really been close so Diana runs away to where she thinks Leif won’t be able to find her.

I really enjoyed how each of the women dealt with different struggles in their lives yet they are very strong individuals.  Slowly the book reveals how their lives are intertwined with flashbacks and an event that happens to one of them, that was kind of scary.  This is a really good book to take on vacation, to the beach, the backyard hammock or curled up on the couch with a blanket and a strong cup of tea.

Book Description:

Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It’s a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can’t let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she’d rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

In Beth Harbison’s One Less Problem Without You, three women suddenly find themselves together at their own very different crossroads. It will take hope, love, strength and a little bit of magic for them to find their way together.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

 

Three sisters search for love in Seasons of Love

Nicola Italia knows29536691 how to take a reader back in time and enjoy the lives of the characters.  This time in Seasons of Love, she takes us to Tampa, Florida to the Italian section of the city where we meet three sisters.  Part one, or as I like to call it, the first novella, concentrates on Rosalia, who is the middle sister.  Rosa is the quiet one.  The one that helps at church.  The one who is quiet and shy, the one who falls in love with a man soon to join the priesthood.

Part two, or as I like to call it, the second novella, is about the youngest sister, Angelina, who is a feisty teenager who loves the movies and everything that is modern.  She silently meets a man from Cuba who sweeps her off her feet.  But is he really a good person?

Then there is oldest sister Giovanna in part three, or as I like to call it, the final novella.  Giovanna is the oldest of the three sisters.  It seems like she is never going to find a husband.  She works in a cigar factory as a roller and she also teaches English at the local Italian Club where she meets Carlos who runs the club and also Giorgio who owns his own grocery store.  Two very different men

Nicola is a great literary romance writer.  She is a storyteller who brings the readers into the story with the characters where they lose themselves in what is happening.  She has a way of making readers lose track of time and go back in time.  I find literary romances very enjoyable and love going back in time experiencing what it might have been like before I was born.  If you like going back in time, and like a good romance, pick up one of Nicola’s books.  You won’t be disappointed.

Book Description:
During the time of the Great War, one Italian immigrant family struggles to find their place in the United States.  The three Leone sisters love and care for each other, but each is distinctly different and looks for their own niche in the changing world around them.

Rosalia is the middle sister, devoted to her family and God.  When she falls in love with the shy and kind Dan, it is against his mother’s wishes.  His family tradition dictates Dan must join the priesthood, but in his heart, he wants nothing more than to take Rosa as his bride.  But how can Rosa, who puts so much importance on God and family, ask him to turn his back on both?

Blond with blue eyes, Angelina is the baby of the family.  Modern and wild, she throws herself into the make-believe world of silent films and longs for the same romantic love she sees on screen.  When her heart is dazzled by a handsome Cuban, she doesn’t realize that he hides a dark secret from her until it is too late.

The only sister to have been born in Sicily, Giovanna is a blend of traditional and modern values.  She works in the local cigar factory as an esteemed roller and teaches English at the local Italian Club.  While she longs for a family of her own, she has yet to find the right man—until two vastly different men appear in her life, and she must choose between the steadfast Giorgio and the brash and charismatic Carlo.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

In Aqua, water isn’t what it appears to be

AquaAqua by M.A. George is about 17-year-old Layla who lives with her Mom and Aunt Cora.  Each year around Layla’s birthday, they move to a different city and different state.  They always move somewhere close to water where they can get in a daily swim.  In Aqua, they have just moved to Texas.

While at the beach, Layla meets Tristan and Pyke.  She is immediately attracted to Tristan.  Pyke, who is covered in tattoos and has a beard, scares her.  While watching them at the water’s edge, Pyke dives into the water and doesn’t come back up.  When she turns around, Pyke is standing there dry.  The next time she sees the guys, as Pyke is diving into the water, he liquefies before he hits the water.

Layla soon finds out her life and family is not what she thought it was.  George does a great job of creating a world where people live in the ocean and they can easily transition into water.  They can also manipulate water and can make themselves dry quickly.

M.A. George does a great job of immediately drawing the reader into the story and the lives of the characters.  She makes the reader care for Layla and Tristan.  The characters have great depth to them and are all very different.

I had a hard time putting this book down.  When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about Layla and Tristan.  I wanted to put my tablet next to my computer at work so I could read it while I was working.  This is well worth the time if you like the paranormal genre.

Book description:

Novelist (unpublished, but cut her some slack…seventeen is a bit early to despair), Slightly neurotic introvert (Alright, let’s be honest…there’s no “slightly” about it), International Woman of Mystery, and…

Okay, just scratch the bio.

The only real “mystery” in Layla’s life is why her father has never been on the scene. Or why her mother drags Layla to a new coastal home every year.

Nothing about the latest hometown seems too newsworthy…until a routine day at the beach leaves Layla questioning whether she’s read one too many paranormal fantasy novels. The plot thickens when a random guy claims to know things about her father—a bizarre claim he backs up with an equally impossible stunt. And Layla soon finds herself on the wrong side of a mysterious attempted drowning…on her own kitchen floor.

When all is done, Layla will attest that fact is far stranger than fiction. And nothing in real life is ever as transparent as it seems…Not even water.

Especially not water.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

When you are tempted, make sure it’s worth it

I think I’ve read everything that Jane Green has ever written.  Her writing is entertaining, 17934385pulls you into the story and makes you think a little bit after the last page.  This time around Jane writes about betrayal in Tempting Fate.

Gabby has been married to Elliott for 20 years and they have two daughters.  You could say they have the perfect marriage.  They love each other dearly, get along great, respect each other and are financially secure.  Their two daughters are well adjusted and great kids but Gabby thinks she wants one more child and then she will be done. Two are enough for Elliott so he gets a vasectomy against Gabby’s protests.

One night Gabby goes out for a girl’s night out at a local restaurant/bar.  While her friends, some married, flirt and act a little foolish, Gabby goes to the bar and sits quietly just trying to get through the evening.  Soon Matt sits next to her.  A gorgeous guy in his late 20’s.  They strike up a conversation, which makes the evening enjoyable for Gabby.  There is a little flirting.

Gabby lives in Connecticut and Matt is visiting from California on Business.  Once the evening is over, Gabby becomes obsessed with Matt. She Google searches him and starts to fantasize what it would be like to be with him.  So she starts to change things about herself; her hair and clothes.

Matt comes back for meetings and things go further than they should and soon Gabby becomes pregnant.  Now her perfect marriage isn’t so perfect.

When I first started reading this book, it made me mad.  How could a woman, who says she is in love with her husband, says she has a wonderful marriage, wonderful daughters, wonderful life, get obsessed with a younger man and ruin her marriage.  There is a lesson in this book.  Can you forgive someone you have loved for 20 years and can you live with their mistake for the rest of your life?

I really enjoyed this book even though Gabby really ticked me off.

Book Description:

Number one bestselling author Jane Green gives a powerful portrayal of a marriage rocked by betrayal in the stunning Tempting Fate.

When Gabby first met Elliott she knew he was the man for her. In twenty years of marriage she has never doubted her love for him – even when he refused to give her the one thing she still wants most of all. But now their two daughters are growing up Gabby feels that time and her youth are slipping away. For the first time in her life she is restless. And then she meets Matt . . .

Intoxicated by the way this young, handsome and successful man makes her feel, Gabby is momentarily blind to what she stands to lose on this dangerous path. And in one reckless moment she destroys all that she holds dear.

Consumed by regret, Gabby does everything she can to repair the home she has broken. But are some betrayals too great to forgive?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat