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

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You never know what really happens Behind Closed Doors

29437949There are all kinds of thrillers out there but I think my favorite is a psychological thriller.  This type of thriller reminds me that there are crazy people out in the world who actually do the things that are in these types of books.

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris is the type of psychological thriller that if I was at the stage of my life I was dating, I would probably scrutinize the men and wonder if they are stable individuals.

Grace loves her sister Millie who has Down Syndrome.  Because their crappy parents didn’t want Millie when they found out she had Down Syndrome, Grace stepped up and said she would parent Millie.  The two of them are so close.  While on an outing, Grace and Millie meet Jack.  Unlike all the other guys Grace had dates, Jack warmed to Millie and showed her respect.

Grace thinks she has found the perfect man who says once they are married, Millie will come live with them.  On their wedding day, Millie falls down the stairs, breaks her leg and misses the wedding.  As soon as they were married, Jack’s personality does a 180.  It’s like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.  Jack is one creepy guy!

Paris does a fantastic job ramping up the element of fear that Grace experiences.  She brings us into the story so that we are right there next to Grace.  How is she going to get away from Jack and how is she going to keep Millie safe.

I really liked that each chapter alternates between present and past.  Paris does a great job with the slow reveal of why Jack is the way he is and how Grace tries to escape over and over and fails every time.

This is a book that I’m sure will be read in one sitting by many people because you will not want to put it down.  I found myself at work sitting at my desk wondering would anyone notice if I read at my desk.  I thought Criminal Minds mentally messed with me but Behind Closed Doors has left an imprint.

Book Description:
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

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

 

The Bookseller takes two different paths in life

22635858I found The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson an interesting concept.  Kitty Miller owns Sister’s Bookshop with her best friend Frieda Green.  The two women are both single, in their forties and consider themselves sisters.  Kitty’s life seems to be going okay.  But then she goes to sleep and it’s like she is living a different life.

In her dreams, Kitty is living the life she wishes she had.  She is married to Lars Andersson and they have three children.  She no longer owns the bookshop and is a stay-at-home Mom.  In her dreams she is no longer Kitty, everyone calls her Katharyn.  The dreams feel very real to Kitty.

Set in 1963, Kitty’s life and dreams are happening only a few months apart.  Now every time Kitty goes to sleep she is in the alternate life and can’t decide which is better, her real life or dream life.  But the real question to be asked, is her life her real life or are her dreams her real life?

Swanson does a great job of going back and forth between the dream world and the real world.  Both are very convincing as Kitty’s actual world.  I had a hard time trying to decide which life I wanted Kitty to actually live in.  Both seemed good for her but there were little things in each life that she would have to give up that I didn’t want to see her give up because I knew it would only mean heartache for her.

This was beautifully written and took me on a journey that made me think about what would happen in one’s life if one encounter had a different outcome.  Would it change your entire life or just a small portion?  Find out how Kitty’s life is changed by just a few seconds.

Book Description:
The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life.  She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence.  She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one.  There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life.  They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends.  It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world.  But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants?  If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined.  And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat

The Book of Speculation is a beautiful debut novel

23014670I always enjoy a book with a setting I’m not very familiar with.  The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler tells the story of Amos, a boy who was abandoned in the woods shortly after he could walk and has been adopted into a circus where he is first the wild boy and then becomes an assistant to Madame Ryzhkova who reads tarot card.

It is also about Simon and his sister Enola in present day.  Simon is a librarian and Enola has been away for years traveling with a circus reading tarot cards that were her mother’s.  Simon receives a book from Martin Churchwarry, a bookstore owner from Iowa.  The book is sent to Simon because his grandmother is mentioned in the book and Churchwarry thinks Simon would enjoy having a piece of his family history.  It’s more of a journal than a book owned by Hermelius Peabody, the owner of a circus.

Simon soon realizes that all the females in their family have died on July 24, which is fast approaching.  Enola returns home, not the strong steady sister Simon remembers but a nervous, scared shell of herself.  As July 24 approaches, things are starting to fall apart.  Simon loses his job, the family house is falling apart and revelations are revealed from family friend Frank McAvoy.

Ericka does a great job of weaving the past and the present so that the reader slowly finds out why the women in Simon’s life are drowning on July 24 and how everyone is connected.  There are very interesting characters in the present and in the past.  I liked Enola’s boyfriend Doyle who is covered in tattoos and has electricity going through his body.

This is a beautifully written story that flows easily from past to present.  I enjoyed learning about Amos, Madame Ryzhkova and Peabody.  The introduction of Evangeline into Amos’ life I found fascinating.  The way they were able to communicate.  This book is so worth the read and should be added to all book lists.

Book description:

A sweeping and captivating debut novel about a young librarian who is sent a mysterious old book, inscribed with his grandmother’s name. What is the book’s connection to his family?

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea.  His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks.

One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother.  Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand.

The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler’s gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic.

Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat