Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Book Description:

Published: August 4, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong…

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother’s belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew – dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Yan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later…

Review –

Roberta treasures books so much that she pines away in her beloved job at Old and New Bookshop, watching Philip, her boss and the man she can’t yet admit to herself that she loves, take the beautiful Jenna as his lover. But secrets begin to spill out of the books—secrets that will change her understanding of the past and hopes for the future.

One fateful day, Roberta’s father, John, brings in an old suitcase labeled “Mrs. D. Sinclair,” filled with her grandmother Dorothea Pietrykowski’s old books. Between the pages, Roberta discovers a letter dated Feb. 8, 1941, signed by her grandfather Yan Pietrykowski, warning Dorothea that what she is about to do will dishonor her, imperil her very soul, and wrong some unnamed mother and child. If only Roberta could ask her grandmother or her father about the letter, but at 109, Dorothea has entered hospice care, and John’s health is failing, as well.

Meanwhile, Jenna confesses to a bewildered Roberta that she’s pregnant with a child fathered by her ex-boyfriend and not her current boyfriend, Philip, the owner of the bookstore.

The authors’ debut novel nimbly weaves together Roberta’s and Dorothea’s stories—the reader almost expects to pull a shadowy missive from its spine. Roberta’s life is a mess; she stifles her feelings for Philip, twisting her desires into a sad affair with a married man. But Dorothea’s story is the stuff of films: disowned, disappointed in marriage, crushed by multiple miscarriages—Dorothea rises above it all to manage her own farmhouse, to take into her home two young women, part of the Women’s Land Army, and to find new love with Yan, the dashing Polish Squadron Leader.

I felt so sorry for Yan, because even though he broke Dorothy’s heart saying that he couldn’t offer marriage to her if she was going through with her plan with he baby (you’ll have to read the book so find out which baby) but later, after the war, has a change of heart and tries to find her, but doesn’t succeed. We never find out what happens to him.

A breathtaking, beautifully crafted tale of loves that survive secrets.

Fantastic read!

 

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Of Winged Creatures & Nesting Grounds by A. Wilding Wells

Book Description:

Published: October 17, 2016

Happy
Trapped in a cage…

I was running against time and desperate to conquer my fears with my “don’t forget to be awesome” plan.
One night, I was sulking over my uglier-than-homemade-sin life and reeling from another painful loss. As I thought about my new life, a handsome gent named Hunt Hardick sat next to me. He looked like a good start and was likely a hell of a finish. Suddenly, my plan took on a life of its own.

Hunt
After a long day as one of San Francisco’s most prominent ob/gyns, I stopped at a bar for a bourbon and a mental break from my ex, who I couldn’t seem to bleach from my system. One glance at Happy’s tearstained angelic face and I was done. I’d never been a guy to turn down a stunning woman who also looked like a beautiful project.

Hunt was a key in my locked cage that once opened meant I might fly away.

An emotionally charged, rich with feeling story about survival, triumph, and a girl named Happy Go Lucky who had a plan. A plan that didn’t include the ruggedly sexy gynecologist who inserted himself in her life.

Review –

Of all the people who received an ARC of this book I am probably the only one that didn’t think it was fantabulous.

I think from the beginning,:  the names of the characters were a turn off. Hunt Hardick and Happy Go Lucky.

Hunt has just had his heart-broken, but remains the eternal optimist. He’s strong and confident while she’s like a deer in headlights, so their dynamic is quite a cat-and-mouse game… with TONS of tension.Happy is a woman with so many plans but doesn’t really know how to go about them. She wants to experience so many new things but hasn’t really taken the first step to achieve it. They leave you wanting to scream at them.

I have loved her other books,(check out my other reviews) but for me, this one missed the mark.

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The Wrong Man by John Katzenbach

Book Description:

Published: September 26,2006

Scott Freeman is a man of reason-a college professor grounded in the rational and practical. But he becomes uneasy after finding an anonymous love letter hidden in his daughter’s room: “No one could ever love you like I do. No one ever will. We will be together forever. One way or another.” But the reality of Ashley’s plight far exceeds Scott’s worst suspicions.
One drink too many had led Ashley, a beautiful, bright art student, into what she thought was just a fling with a blue-collar bad boy. But now, no amount of pleading or reasoning can discourage his phone calls, ardent e-mails, and constant, watchful gaze.
Michael O’Connell is but a malignant shadow of a man. His brash, handsome features conceal a black and empty soul. Control is his religion. Cunning and criminal skill are his stock-in-trade. Rage is his language.
The harder Ashley tries to break free, the deeper Michael burrows into every aspect of her life, so she turns in desperation to her divorced parents and her mother’s new partner-three people still locked in a coldly civilized triangle of resentment. But their fierce devotion to Ashley is the common bond that will draw them together to face down a predator.
For Ashley’s family, it is a test of primal love that will drive them to the extreme edge-and beyond-in a battle of wills that escalates into a life-or-death war to protect their own.

From the bestselling master of suspense, John Katzenbach, The “Wrong Man” is an elegantly crafted and breathtakingly intense read that asks the question, “How far would you go to save the child you love?”

Review:

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

Just how far would you be willing to go to rid your only child of a crazed stalker? That is the question Ashley’s father, mother, her partner, Hope, and her partner’s mother, Katherine, ask themselves after they have tried several other  tactics to get rid of Michael O’Connell. They didn’t get a retraining order because Sally (Ashley’s mother, a lawyer) said it sometimes made things worse.

Ashley and Katherine are given minimal parts to play in the “let’s frame Michael for a crime and have him put in jail  for a very long time” scenario so that they can honestly say they didn’t know anything if the police should come around asking questions. 

Scott, Ashley’s father, Sally and Hope plan a crime of murder but something goes horribly wrong and the consequences are far-reaching. Even though they attain their goal, their lives are never the same.

The story starts out with a woman (we learn her identity near the end of the book) asks a writer if he wants to hear a story and then starts to relate the facts of the case. The the chapters go from current day to the time a few years ago when the “murder” occurred. 

This is a long book, over 450 pages if reading or over  16 hours if listening, but don’t let that deter you-you will be mesmerized by the story, characters and the cruelty of the stalker. It’s a love story about death which is a strange way to put it but it’s true.

Please put this on your “to be read” list. You WILL NOT be disappointed.

Five stars *****

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Letting Go (Surrender Trilogy #1) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: February 4, 2014

osslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her. Dominance. Lonely and searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find is the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.

Dash has lived in an untenable position for years. In love with his best friend’s wife and unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.

When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.

Review –

Although this is a erotic romance and there is plenty of steamy explicit sex, it is also a story of starting over, loving again and LETTING GO!  Some erotica authors write sex for sex sake but Maya Banks does it unobtrusively and with such immesne feeling that no one else can match.

 Loved it and now listening in my car to the second in the trilogy.

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Dragonfly In Amber (Outlander #2) By Diana Gabaldon

Book Description:

Published: November 2, 1993

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones … about a love that transcends the boundaries of time … and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his….

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart … in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising … and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves….

Review –

Five stars *****. That about says it all.

As I listened to this, the second book in the Outlander Series, I found myself often holding my breath as I traveled along with Claire and Jamie on their adventures and misfortunes in England, France and Scotland. I laughed and cried and at the end I was left with my mouth agape and a feeling of awe and wonder filling me.

Excellent series.

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The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

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Book Description

Publication Date:September 17, 2013
In the tradition of his beloved first novel, The Notebook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the remarkable story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways.
Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.
A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.
Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.
Review –
Fantastic book, but I knew it would be when I decided to listen to it.
The narrators were January LaVoy and Ron McLarty and they did a fantastic job.
The story is divided into two parts, Ira’s and Sophia and  Luke’s and that ia a format that the author,Nicholas Sparks  hasn’t used a lot and I really enjoyed it. All the while the relationship between Sophia, lover of art and Luke , a rodeo cowboy grew we saw the depth of love that Ira had for his wife, who had died years before.
Of course I cried in more than one part, but it wouldn’t be a NICHOLAS SPARKS book if some tears weren’t shed. 
This story shows us how small our world really is and how the decisions we make today can impact the lives of others in the future. 
I loved it.

The Witness by Nora Roberts

Book Description

Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.
Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security  systems—and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something—and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.
With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today’s most reliably entertaining thriller author—and will leave people hungering for more.
Review –
Simply FANTASTIC!!!!!!! 
Nora Roberts  not only wrote a love story but also a plot driven crime thriller and the combinations makes for a fantastic read.  I can’t really say more than that but I hope her next one is just as good.
Keep it up today.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

 

 

Book Description

Publication Date: October 11, 2011
“Everyone wanted to believe that endless love was possible. She’d believed in it once, too, back when she was eighteen.”

In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew — about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear — was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?

 
Review –
For me, Nicholas Sparks, has done it again.  I know not everyone is a fan of a romance novel, but the author combines so many other things into his stories that it becomes a romance on a much higher level.  I didn’t give it much thought when I started the boook(as an audiobook)that it might not end the way I wanted it to, but true to Mr. Sparks history he ended it the way he wanted and that caused me  to use a lot of Kleenex.  I love the story line, the characters, the location and everything about this book.
If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan and want a good cry pick this one up right now.  You’ll be so happy you did.
 

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury has everything anyone would like to have. He is handsome, popular, rich and has tons of friends. Well, at least he thinks he does. When he makes a prank on a girl from his school, everything changes. She’s just a freak chick, he thinks, with her weird looks and green hair, and she steps on his way, so he better do something about her. Her name is Kendra and he invites her to the school prom–but he has no intention to take her, of course. It seems Kendra is truly convinced she’s going to the prom with Kyle–and when he shows up with Sloane Hagen, one of the hottest and most popular girls of the school, Kendra is pissed.

But things are about to change. It happens that Kendra is a witch–and she casts a spell on Kyle. Now he’s a beast–with fangs and claws and hair everywhere–, and he has 2 years to find a girl who’s going to truly love him for what he is–and not for what he looks like–, or he’s going to stay as a beast forever. At first, Kyle thinks that’s a big joke–a big bad joke. But when his father–a popular network anchor–takes him to tons of doctors and none of them are capable to figure out what’s going on with him, he starts to believe Kendra was serious about the whole finding true love thing. The problem is: how is he suppose to meet someone and fall in love with the girl–and, well, make her fall in love with him–, when he can barely look at himself on the mirror? He starts to look for girls on dating websites, but it doesn’t seem to work out.

When his dad locks him away, in a big house on Brooklyn with just their maid, so nobody’s ever going to see what Kyle’s became, he starts to believe he’s never going to break the spell. He gets a tutor, Will, a blind guy who is passionate about roses. Kyle falls in love with the roses too, and starts to grow them. He even builds a greenhouse, so he’ll be able to have roses all year. Magda–the maid–and Will become the only family Kyle has–and once he isn’t the same boy anymore, he asks them to start calling him by Adrian.

When a guy breaks into his greenhouse and proposes to bring his own daughter to Adrian, in exchange of no charges and no harm, Adrian doesn’t think twice. He starts to prepare the house to receive Linda, in hopes that she’ll be that girl. The clock is ticking, Adrian is running out of time…

Review –

This is a modern-day re-telling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast and I think the author did a superb job.  If you know the story you know the outcome but placing it in present day with the trials and tribulations of teenagers gives it a life of its own. 

A movie, based on the book ,comes out March 4th and is  on my “to see” list.   Seeing the trailer I can tell they(Hollywood) have  made some big changes.  Kyle isn’t a fury beast with claws and fangs but a boy with a bald head and what looks like some pretty serious tattoos.  I hope the movie sticks pretty close to the book because it’s a real winner. 

If you’re a sucker for a sappy romantic love story, like me, I know you won’t be sorry if you read this one.

***** (Five Stars)