she was the quiet one

she was the quiet one

She was the Quietone by Michele Campbell

Synopsis

High school can be some of the hardest years for some. You are growing into who you are and discovering the person you want to become, but for Rose and Bel Enright life has never been easy and their paths are taking a new turn. Their mother has recently passed away and they are entrusted into the only living relative, their fathers mother. A woman who is wealthy and lives in New England. She is able to get them into a prestigious boarding school, Odell Academy where their lives take a deadly turn.

Rose finds her place in the school quickly. She feels that she can express herself in classes and be who she always dreamed of. She is appreciated for her scholastic achievements. She has a great advisor, Sarah, who is a former Odell alumnus as well as married to Heath who is determined to become the headmaster someday.

Bell finds it easy to fit in with the upper class, mean girls who seem to rule the school.  She continues to get herself into bad situations and is not successful academically. She finds herself drawn physically to her advisor Heath who is finding himself attracted to her as well. When she is caught in a situation that may lead to her expulsion he helps her devise a plan to get her off.

In a violent turn of events Rose finds her sister murdered in the woods after receiving a message from her to meet out there. As the prime suspect in her sisters murder she must work hard to discover the truth. Sarah also begins to suspect that Heath may have been involved. She is torn between her gut feelings and her want to trust her husband.

Michele Campbell has created a captivating story of how our actions have sometimes unforeseeable consequences. I would recommend also picking up her debut novel It’s Always the Husband available now.

Happy Reading!

She Was the Quiet One 

By: Michele Campbell

St. Martins Press 

Girls’ Night Out

gno

 

There are so many great books coming out this year it has been so hard to decide what to read first. When I was sent a copy of Girls’ Night Out by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke I instantly set aside what I was reading.

Synopsis:

Three best friends travel to Mexico trying to salvage their friendships that are on the edge of breaking. Each woman carrying their own bundle of secrets.  Natalie and Ashley own a business together with an offer from Revlon to buy their technology. Natalie is all in to sell, due to financial issues her husband has kept buried them with, Ashley wants nothing to do with selling. She wants to remain distracted by work as her marriage is deteriorating before her eyes. Lauren holds a grudge with Ashley and blames her for her husband’s death about a year prior.

As they attempt to mend these fences Ashley befriends a local Marco who acts as their tour guide during their vacation. He has also developed an infatuation with Ashley. On the final night of their vacation everything erupts and the next morning Ashely is missing, and Natalie has no memory of much of the previous night.

Will they be able to find out what happened to Ashley? Did she leave with Marco who is also mysteriously gone, or has something awful happened?

A great read perfect to share with friends and book clubs or just while lying on the beach!

 

Happy Reading!

Girls’ Night Out 

By: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke 

Lake Union Publishing

The Book Of Essie

book of essei

 

We live in a world filled with reality television that pushes unrealistic expectations into our everyday lives. I dare you to ask someone even just the name of a reality show they have heard of and I would be willing to put money on it that they would be able to name at least three with minimal thinking. So, I ask, can you?

Recently I picked up a new book, by a new debut author whom I late discovered is also local to me as well, Meghan Maclean Weir. She has created a novel that dives into the lives of the Hicks family with a focus on the youngest daughter Essie. She was raised in a family with a father who is an Evangelistic preacher and a mother who is the mastermind behind the families hit reality TV show Six for Hicks.

Essie is seventeen, intelligent and seems to be an obedient well-mannered teenage girl. Although, Essie has one big secret. She is pregnant. She devises a way to let her mother know without having to outright say it to her, they have a very different relationship then many mothers and daughters. Her mother and their PR team decide that she only has a few options. An abortion, if it were to get out would devastate the show and viewers. It goes against all the family has preached throughout their long running series. They determine that a marriage would be the best solution to the situation.

This is the decision Essie would want. She then is able to gently manipulate the situation, so she is able to marry a specific boy she attends school with. Roarke is a year older, also graduating that coming year, but Essie knows of his family’s financial troubles. She uses this as a way to allow her mother to negotiate the potential marriage. A deal to get Roarke’s family out of their financial slump, but is it seems to be out of the blue to all around them.

With secrets that are brewing while Essie and Roarke begin to ban together in their mission to escape both their families this book has an ending that I never saw coming.

A beautifully written debut novel by Weir, The Book Of Essie brings to light the inside look at how secrets and lies can be glossed over with the lights and cameras of reality television.

The Book of Essie

By: Meghan Maclean Weir

Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House 2018

Book of the Month June 2018

How to Walk Away

how to walk away

 

You can have it all, the perfect boyfriend (soon to be fiancé), the perfect possible job and family. Yet, it can all be gone just as quickly. For Margaret Jacobson that is exactly what happened.  Living most of her life with an incredible fear of planes she has managed to avoid them at almost every turn. Her boyfriend/fiancé Chip, who is well aware of this fact, is adamant she must overcome her fears as he is finishing up getting his pilot’s license. For their Valentine’s Day plans he surprises her with a flight, flown by him where he finally proposes.

Once up in the air every fear of Maggie’s is reached. Wind blows the plane in a bad direction and down they go. This crash is everything she has feared all her life. She wakes up in the hospital not sure of how bad her injuries are. She is paralyzed from the waist down, and has to begin her physical therapy, where she is assigned to the strict, unrelenting therapist Ian, a dashingly handsome Scottish man with an incredibly strong accent.

As she struggles with her new reality, Maggie feels as though she is losing everything, but is she really being set on a path to something better? They do say when one door closes another one opens, and the doors that Maggie is presented with are more fulfilling and beautiful then even she could ever have hoped for.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center, is a beautifully written novel of life, loss and becoming who we are meant to be. A beauty that sometimes comes out of the darkest times in our lives.

 

How to Walk Away

By: Katherine Center

St. Martins Press, 2018

Book Of the Month May 2018

The Last Time I Lied

last time i lied

Riley Sager is an author who I had just discovered last year reading the debut novel Final Girlsabout a group of women who were all the lone survivors in brutal massacres throughout the years. I have always been a fan of a good thriller and this one did not disappoint. Then this past April I was sent an ARC from @NetGallery with Sager’s newest novel The Last Time I Lied.

Things in life especially early on tend to shape and have an impact on how we live our lives. For Emma the troubles from her teenage years are always surrounding her haunting her at every turn. When she thinks back on her one partial summer spent at Camp Nightingale she can’t help but feel that there are so many unanswered questions.

Her three bunkmates Natalie, Allison and Vivian, the ringleader, all mysteriously disappeared one morning from camp never to be heard from again. Emma still thinks of them often and over the years as she has jumped into her art the three girls somehow manage to sneak into all of her work. She first draws them Vivian, Natalie and Allison, in that order, then creates her works over their bodies.

When Emma is approached many years later about joining the old team for the reopening of Camp Nightingale as the art teacher she gives in and returns to where all her troubles started. She is assigned as the bunk leader of the same cabin she had resided during that summer.

As the weeks progress she feels as though something is throwing her off. She sets out with little clues from Vivian to discover what had happened and how the girls disappeared without a trace.

A story filled with twists, turns and suspense. One you will not want to miss.

 

The Last time I Lied

By: Riley Sager

Dutton Books 2018

all we ever wanted

All we ever wanted

Many of us know the struggles of being a teenager, in high school struggling to find their place. Asking questions of ourselves every day. Where do I fit in? Over analyzing every move and decision we make as if it will shape the rest of our lives. Some of these decisions do affect us and help to shape who we become and how we handle situations in life.

All we ever wantedby Emily Giffin gives a glimpse into the high school lives of Lyla and Finch who are from very opposite sides of the neighborhood. Lyla is being raised by her father, Tom a hardworking carpenter who is doing all he can to be a great father to Lyla and give her all her can.

Finch is from a wealthy family with his mother Nina who has some demons of her own she is constantly battling. Her husband is condescending, manipulative and is constantly lying to her. She believes he is a harmful influence on their son.

At a party one-night Finch captures a photo of Lyla passed out on a bed, with her shirt pulled up and revealing one of her breasts. He sends this image to some of his friends and eventually the image makes its way back to Lyla, whose father discovers it. Tom brings this to the attention of their headmaster at school and demands the schools honor board take this seriously to discipline the boy.

Nina, Finch’s mother also agrees that he needs to be punished. She knows what its like to be taken advantage of and she is ashamed that her son was involved in the situation. Finch confides in Lyla that his ex-girlfriend Polly actually took the photo from his phone and sent it out because she discovered that Finch had a crush on her. Lyla must now figure out who to trust, who is lying to her and how she can turn the situation around.

As always Emily Giffin has a way of creating a world you feel drawn into and is extremely relatable to the reader. Thank you to Net Gallery for the ARC and my opportunity to enjoy this amazing novel before it was released.

 

I hope you go pick up a copy to add to the summer reading list!

All we ever wanted

By: Emily Giffin

Ballantine Books an imprint of Random House publishing 2018

 

 

 

The Way of Beauty

way of beauty

Every month I am lucky enough to be a part of an incredible community of readers primarily thru my Instagram handle @amylynnlifestyle   One of the first online book groups I joined last year was @SaltwaterReads  a fabulous community of readers run by two fabulous ladies. Each month they select a new book for us all to enjoy together. Whimcial, romantic, thrillers and all there is no genre off limits. With each passing month the selections are top notch.

It has expanded my reading range and brought some new amazing authors onto my shelves.

For the month of June, the selection is The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio. A beautifully written historical fiction novel. It was the first novel I have read by Di Maio and I am positive to say it will certainly not be my last.

 

Synopsis:

A story of life and love. Vera at a young age falls in love with her close friend Angelo. Yet, Angelo has always seen Vera as a younger sister. Vera struggle to keep her feelings to herself, while becoming the caretaker to William, the son of Angelo’s new wife Pearl.

Pearl is a strong woman fighting for the rights of women, this ends up costing her life while she has left William in the custody and care of his aunt Vera. The Pinkington family, Pearl’s grandmother and parents, set out to regain custody of Will with their money and connections this is no hard feat.

Vera and Angelo after all the time has passed and Angelo has returned from the war, with an injury that left him minus one leg, but finally Angelo and Vera are together. Their life is one filled with love and honesty and the addition of their daughter Alice brings such joy!

Alice is a hardworking woman who is passionate about art and the beauty of New York. Her heart is torn between two very different loves. Emit is an indescribable pull of passion and excitement, but also filled with mystery and secrets. William (yes, the William) is steady, loving, with a heart of gold. He wants to give Alice and her parents, who he has always considered family, every comfort he himself has.

This is an amazing story of love, growth, and a coming of age story that gives you a nostalgic feeling of the simpler times. The beauty of development and the tragedy of what was lost fighting the good fight.

 

I hope you enjoy this beautiful story.

The Way Of Beauty

By: Camille Di Maio

Lake Union publishing 2018

The Secret to Southern Charm

 

southern charm

With signs of spring in the air (minus the New England snow that won’t go away) I was finally able to get my hands on an ARC from an incredible author who you have heard me talk about last year. Kristy Woodson Harvey the author of Slightly South of Simple has a new novel the sequel publishing today, The Secret to Southern Charm.

 

Synopsis:

This second book continues to follow Ansley, the mother of three grown daughters as she navigates having them all living back with her. She is also handling the health decline of her own mother, her childhood love jack has purchased the house next door, Jack also happens to be the father of Ansley’s two eldest children whom are unaware.

Carolyn is working thru her marriage problems as her husband purchased the house down the road, so she would be able to stay close to her family as they help Sloane to handle the news that her husband is MIA overseas. And to make matters worse Emerson the youngest is putting off doctors’ appointments to determine what is going on with her health.

Together they find themselves dependent on their mother and their mother dependent upon her girls to get thru some of the hardest times of their lives.

 

 

If you are a fan of stories about sisters, family and staying strong together then this is a story for you. Be prepared to be captivated by Ansley and the love she has for her girls.

 

Happy Reading!

The Secret To Southern Charm

By: Kristy Woodson Harvey

Gallery Books

Pub: April 3, 2018

I Was Anastasia

ana

Let’s start out with this. One of my favorite topics in history was the mystery of Anastasia Romanov. What happened to her? Did she somehow survive the massacre of her family? So many unanswered questions over the years that there was really not final verdict even after all these years. Although that does give writers the ability to create some incredible worlds for her to grow and thieve.

I requested this novel I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon thru Net Gallery as an ARC and when I was approved I was beyond excited. I actually put down the book I was reading and dove in. I think anytime a historical fiction novel comes out on this subject matter I will be more than happy to dive right back into her world.

Synopsis:

The story starts off with Anna Anderson saying that she will present the facts of thru her story and it will be up to us to decide if we believe she is as she claims, Anastasia Romanov. While bouncing back and forth between childhood and adulthood she recounts the tragic downfall of her family all the way until their untimely end, as well as her struggles to build her life after these tragic events. She continues to describe how she survived, which Romanov relations believe her to be who she claims, and which do not. She also has a solid following of believers as her case is taken to trial multiple times all of which were found to not have substantial evidence.

In the end you will be surprised to find that things are not always as they appear, and sometimes they are.

Happy Reading!

Discover:

I Was Anastasia

By Ariel Lawhon

Doubleday Books

Publication March 27th, 2018

Next Year in Havana

 

next year

 

As I continue to grow my reading selections I have found diverse reading clubs where I have been introduced to new budding authors. For the month of February Saltwater Reads reading group thru Instagram selected Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. Prior to last year I had not been typically drawn to historical fiction, but thru these reading groups and fellow reader suggestions I have been able to expand into a whole new genre. It has become such an amazing journey to be able to travel thru historical settings with these authors.

 

Synopsis:

Next Year in Havana follows Marisol as she sets out on a journey to lay her grandmother, Alyssa, to rest in a land she always considered home even after exile many years ago. Marisol travels to Cuba where her family had left back in the 50’s. This was a volatile situation as the regime transitioned from Batista to Castro and those who had been supporters of Batista were being taken from their homes, imprisoned, their wealth and homes taken from them and some were even executed.

Alyssa and her family made the decision to leave Cuba until Castro was either out of power or his life ended. They never expected that this would be something most of them would never see in their lifetimes. Alyssa also had a secret she held as she left Cuba with her family. She was pregnant with the child of her love and secret fiancé who she had been told had been killed in action during one of the raids.

Marisol who was practically raised by her grandmother was given the task of taking her ashes back to Cuba when it was safe to do so and lay her to rest where she felt would be appropriate. This was no small task as it was an incredibly hard task to sneak the ashes into the country without being detected. Once Marisol arrives she is taken into the care of her grandmothers childhood best friend who presents her with a box of items that she and Alyssa had buried prior to leaving. She had snuck into the Perez family’s back yard sometime after to make sure she could keep it safe.

As Marisol continues to travel around Cuba she is overcome by the way of living. She is uncovering secrets about her family and Cuba while trying to stay under the radar.

This story holds history, love, loss and the strength of family.

 

Happy Reading!

 

Next Year in Havana

By: Chanel Cleeton

Berkely Publishing 2018