The Sunshine Sisters isn’t all sunshine

32867521The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green is about the relationships within one family.  Ronni Sunshine is the perfect selfish Hollywood diva who cares more about her image than her three daughters who can’t wait to get away from her, and a husband who can’t make her happy no matter what he does.  To the general public, Ronni is a wonderful person who has the perfect family.  But behind closed doors it’s another story.  Ronni is narcissistic and often a cruel mother.

When the veil comes off and her mood comes out, Ronni treats her daughters differently and the daughters react in different ways to Ronni’s cruelness.  Nell, who is the oldest, withdraws within herself and when she turns 18, flees to a farm a few miles away where she befriends the owner, who becomes a stable mother figure.  Nell seemed like a genuine, down-to-earth person who worked tirelessly to fill the voids she didn’t get from her childhood.

Meredith takes a lot of abuse from Ronni.  She is told she needs to lose weight, that she isn’t pretty enough.  This breaks Meredith and she flees to England to stay with relatives.  Meredith is a people pleaser and wants everyone to be happy.  Because of her mother’s comments over the years, Meredith doesn’t feel she deserve to be treated with respect, which leads her to be engaged to a who acts like she isn’t good enough as herself.

Then there is Lizzy who doesn’t take any crap from Ronnie.  While growing up, she laughed at the things Ronni said and did, never taking it seriously.  Lizzy really came across just as selfish and self-centered as Ronni.  Now a famous TV chef, Lizzy doesn’t care who she hurts with her actions, including her husband and child.

The main focus of the book is bringing the three girls together again to be with Ronnie, who has become ill and wants them by her side as she passes.  Once again making everything about her and bringing the attention to her, the center of attention.  This story is also about the relationship between the sisters, who are not close and are so very different.

The Sunshine Sisters shows that families can look all rainbows and sunshine on the outside, the inside, behind closed doors, might not be what it seems.  It’s probably why on the news, the neighbors say “they were such a nice and loving family” when something goes wrong with a family member or an entire family.

I have four older sisters so it was interesting for me to see how the sisters were very different yet could support each other after being reacquainted. There were relationships where I wanted to smack people on the back of the head and relationships where I wanted to stand up and cheer.

I have pretty much read all of Jane Green’s books and have enjoyed every one of them.  Like her other books, I had a hard time putting The Sunshine Sisters down.  When I wasn’t reading the book, I found myself thinking about the sisters.  The Sunshine Sisters looks like a fun cheerful book, but instead it dives into family dynamics that aren’t so filled with sunshine.

Book Description:
The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.

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

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