☕ Book Break ☕ |~After Anna by Lisa Scottoline~

~After Anna by Lisa Scottoline~
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Anther winner by Lisa Scottoline. This one had me on the edge of my seat. I so wanted to cheat and read what happened in the end, but I resisted. It was hard!

Maggie has a happy life. She is married to Dr. Noah Alderman, and is stepmother to his son. Her life is almost perfect, except she longs for Anna, her teenage daughter. She hasn’t seen Anna since she was an infant.

When her ex-husband dies, she gets a phone call. She will have a second chance to be a mother to Anna. Finally, her heart’s desire, to have Anna back in her life, is becoming a reality.

Thrilled to be reunited with her daughter she ignores all the warning signs.

Then Anna is murdered and Noah is charged.

This novel is a page turner. If it weren’t fiction, I think I’d feel guilty for being so enthralled with the unraveling of this family’s lives! The writing is superb. Enthralling plot. .
An unexpected twist at the end totally surprised me, even though it fit perfectly. This may be my favorite Lisa Scottoline novel thus far, although I do like all of her books that I have read.

Fans will not be disappointed. If you’re looking for well written suspense, you should check this book out.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse~

~American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse~

“Some people light things on fire because they feel like they have to.”

This book is a telling of the true crime story of the arson in Accomack County. For a while it seemed as if the entire county would burn to ash. The is a fascinating account of the crimes committed, how the culprits managed to elude capture so long, and what set of circumstances could lead to these strange arsons.

If you have an addiction to true crime shows this one might just hook you. I could not stop reading. Well written and meticulously researched, this book was absorbing. Not just a crime story, it is an examination of the decline of a once prosperous community, a picture of what has happened all over the United States.

This is one of those strangely twisted love stories. He did it for love.

Well drawn characters. Engaging, interesting, and good storytelling. Recommended.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King~

~Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King~

Maisey is a single mother who has spent her life in a series of dead end jobs, forever remaining a disappointment to her overbearing mother. The only thing Maisey has ever done right is her daughter, Elle.

Maisey receives a call from the police who are st her parent’s home. Her mother is unconscious and her father is under suspicion and behaving erratically. .
She travels to her parents’ home, bringing her daughter with her. They arrive to find her father burning papers. Maisey has to deal with her father’s dementia, her mother’s illness and along the way discovers her childhood imaginary friend was actually her sister. She is determined to find her.

This book is a multilayered story about abuse and domestic violence. High interest, good writing, and a satisfying ending. It is a story about breaking free from the cycle of abuse. Some losses can never be recovered and some wrongs never made right. The women in the story do not come out without scars, the novel ends on a note of empowerment. Recommended.

I choose this book as my selection from July’s Amazon First Reads.

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☕ Book Break ☕ | When The English Fall by David Williams

~When The English Fall by David Williams~

“I suppose that is why I still write here, to remember the blessings. And all things are blessings, even the hard things.”

An Amish Dystopian? I loved this story idea and could not resist.

Jacob is an Amish farmer. His daughter has strange fits and nightmares, speaking nonsense about “the English falling” until one night when the world goes dark and planes fall from the sky. What appears to be an EMP or solar storm from the narrator’s description disrupts civilization as we know it. Life on the farm, while harder, is still sustainable, but the outside world pushes in. Daily life is turned on its head.

Beautiful prose, moral dilemmas, harsh realities. A look at what might happen when human beings are put into intolerable situations. How would our society react if all of our systems failed? .
What kind of people are we? What is left after all else is gone?

This book was so engrossing. I do wish there was a sequel, though. .
Great book. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good read or philosophical discussion. Not just for sci-fi fans.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven~

~Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven~

“We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one.” 

Libby Strout was once named “America’s Fattest Teen” but now she has gotten healthy enough to go to public school. Jack Masselin has no shortage of friends. But he has a secret, he’s face blind.

Prosopagnosia produces a great deal of stress and anxiety, and Jack keeps his problem hidden. It makes him look like a jerk much of the time. Libby had to be cut out of her house once, so she has her own issues she’d rather not bring into the spotlight. The two end up falling for each other.

I loved Libby’s outlook on life. She is determined to make the best of life. It took me a while to warm up to Jack. By the end, I felt for him.

The story idea is fantastic, and the portrayal of prosopagnosia was interesting. Libby’s plight broke my heart. Plenty of teenage introspection. Well written. It did seem to be heavy on the profanity, which I found distracting. Still, never once did I feel like abandoning the story, and the end was satisfying.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry~

~How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry~

I have a soft spot for books set in bookshops, and books set in the Cotswolds! I like being able to see glimpses into the everyday lives of people and the culture. There’s just something about it.
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Emilia has promised her father to keep the Nightingale Bookshop open. After he passes away, she realizes the shop is in financial trouble. They need infusions of more than cash, they need fresh ideas, updates, and all manner of complications arise. Of course there is a pushy property developer waiting in the wings, salivating in anticipation of Emillia’s failure.
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It was enjoyable. The pace was relaxed, but not in a bad way. There was plenty going on, and a delightful cast of characters. The setting has charm galore. A little romance and a few heartbreaks. .
Veronica Henry skillfully knit the novel together, even though the characters each had their own separate stories to tell. A feel good read.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale~

~The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale~

“It wasn’t a person’s age that made death sad. It was the size of the absence it caused in the ones left behind.”

This book has all the feels. The story is set in the same part of the country as Steel Magnolias, which I feel should be required viewing for anyone who is breathing, and it has a little bit of the same flavor, with sassy southern women. The characters face adversity with a dash of humor and grace.

I loved the the authentic setting and characters. I was surprised it was categorized as Christian fiction. While there is mention of church and God and the main character, Carrigan, has many questions about God’s will, it doesn’t read like inspirational fiction. I would identify it more along the lines as southern fiction or women’s contemporary.

Friendship is an important theme in this novel, and Celeste Fletcher McHale paints a lovely picture of true and lasting friendship between three women. It makes one long for the faithfulness and resilience of lifelong friends. I found myself chuckling and crying as I read about these three women. .
We are given an epilogue at the end of the story, however I would love to see additional novels about these characters.

Beautifully written and completely enjoyable. I look forward to reading more by this author.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas~

~The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas~

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” “What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

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Sixteen year old Starr is a witness to a police shooting. It is the second time she has watched a friend die from being shot. Starr must choose between silence or speaking out, putting herself, her family, and her community in danger.

This is a must read book. Emotionally charged, this book draws a clear picture of the experiences and point of view of too many of our citizens. I think it can help readers understand what is going on in our society today. Deeply thought-provoking, this novel is one I highly recommend. .
The first time I picked this book up I only read a couple of pages before putting it back down without ever reading the book description. This was before it became popular. I’m glad I revisited it. This one makes me think I should probably not be so quick in my book selections.

Finely crafted, important work. Recommended.

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☕ Book Break ☕ |~Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman~

~Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman~

Eleanor is socially awkward. She lives alone, spending her time working, drinking vodka on the weekends, and taking phone calls from Mummy. Raymond is the typical IT guy from the office, sloppy and unorganized. After work one day, they witness an old man, Sammy, as he collapses on the sidewalk and they work together to help him. The three become friends.
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What a beautiful novel. Eleanor is wonderfully quirky, and the author so clearly draws this character that my sympathies were completely in Eleanor’s corner even when her behavior raised the ire of her coworkers. I adored Raymond, who is as clueless as Eleanor in his own way.

This book is entertaining, amusing at times, tragic, and completely worthy of any reader’s time. Eleanor has left little cracks in my heart, and at the same time restored hope. A must read.

Gail Honeyman had me from paragraph one all the way until the last word.❤
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And did I hear this was going to be made into a movie? No way will it be as good as the book, but I’ll be watching, just in case.

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☕ Book Break ☕ | ~When Never Comes by Barbara Davis~

~When Never Comes by Barbara Davis~
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“Integrity isn’t something you have in some parts of your life and not in others. You either have it, or you don’t.” 

Christy Lynn has no troubles. She has survived a troubled youth to become the wife of a best selling crime novelist. She believes her marriage to be an ideal one, until her husband has a car accident, his car ending up in Echo Bay. In the car with him is a half naked blonde.

This book grabbed me from the beginning. A complicated story about a complicated young woman. Her plight tugged at my heart strings, and by the end of the story I wanted her to find her happiness. Christy Lynn learns about her husband’s secret life, and discovers much about herself in the process.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but the book ends exactly as a book should.
There is some language in it and some uncomfortable subject matter. The scenes are not explicit, but the main character has had a rough life in the past.

Lovely ending. I was cheering her on. A very satisfying read.

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