IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss


Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: August 22, 2017
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★


He’s gonna be sorry he ever messed with me and Loretta Lynn.

Sadie Blue has been a wife for fifteen days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline…if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.


A 1970s Appalachian mountain town is brought to life through the alternating first-person voices of Leah Weiss’ characters. Several different people speak about the happenings in Baines Creek, North Carolina, though the common thread throughout most of the book is Sadie Blue, a pregnant teenage bride in an abusive marriage.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I thought the writing was beautiful, and I especially enjoyed the folksy dialect of the characters. The lives of Baines Creek’s locals are hard and heartbreaking, and it was easy to empathize with them. What I didn’t like was the incomplete feeling I have after finishing. We’re introduced to several characters whose stories are left up in the air. Even with Sadie Blue’s story, there wasn’t a strong, cohesive plot linking everything together.

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is Leah Weiss’ debut novel, and she already has a talent for drawing readers in with her intriguing characterizations. Looking forward to seeing where she goes next.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Advertisements

THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis

The Address
THE ADDRESS by Fiona Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE ADDRESS is an engrossing mystery and family drama with a majestic New York City landmark as its backdrop. The Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side provides a link between two women one hundred years apart. I enjoyed learning about the history of The Dakota, as well as trying to figure out the century-old murder mystery presented. I loved how the dual time periods were mid-1880s and mid-1980s, so really it’s historical fiction inside historical fiction. Sara and Bailey are both sympathetic and relatable characters. I enjoyed the author’s straight-forward writing style, and the twists revealed at the end were simply delicious. I missed reading Fiona Davis’ debut THE DOLLHOUSE last year, and now I definitely want to pick it up.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program.

THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END by Patti Callahan Henry


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…

Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.


THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END is an engaging story about two fifty-something friends at a crossroads in life who return to their childhood vacation home to face the ghosts of their past. Lainey and Bonny were known as the Summer Sisters around the idyllic waterfront town, and they had the happiest times together until tragedy struck. Lainey’s mom disappeared without a trace, something that has haunted her for nearly 40 years. Bonny is dealing with her own issues, including a crumbling marriage and a medical career on the line due to a careless mistake, plus a troubled collage-age daughter and a lifetime of unrequited love for Lainey’s brother Owen. Yep, there’s a lot going on here!

This was a beautifully written, character driven novel, and the descriptions of time an place were gorgeous. The characters were real and easy to empathize with. Even when obstacles seemed insurmountable, they did the best they could and persevered. Woven throughout the book is the mystery of Lainey’s mother’s disappearance which kept me intrigued, though the conclusion left me with mixed feelings. I’m not sure I accept the reasoning behind it. Maybe.

THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END is a lovely story of friendship, forgiveness, and starting over, and a great choice for summer reading.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE FOREVER SUMMER by Jamie Brenner


Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★


When a DNA test reveals long-buried secrets, three generations of women reunite on Cape Cod for the homecoming of a lifetime.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it’s paid off: at twenty-eight she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and the hard-won admiration of her father. But one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin’s half-sister shows up, and it’s all Marin can do not to break down completely. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother’s quaint beachside B&B, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin’s life forever. THE FOREVER SUMMER is a delicious page-turner and a provocative exploration of what happens when our notions of love, truth, and family are put to the ultimate test.

Full of delicious descriptions of coastal New England and richly imagined characters, THE FOREVER SUMMER is an emotional, hot-topic page-turner and a summer must-read.


How shocking would it be to take a genetics test as a work-related project and get matched with a half-sister you knew nothing about? Marin Bishop is sure there must be a mistake with the test when someone from California makes that claim. This discovery leads the two young women to spend the summer on the northern tip of Cape Cod, home of a grandmother they’ve never met.

THE FOREVER SUMMER is a bittersweet tale of family secrets, love, and forgiveness, with a perfect summertime setting. I enjoyed the multigenerational cast of strong female characters, and reading about how this group of strangers forged a bond. There were tears, heartache, and other trying revelations along the way. This was a great beach read, and the Provincetown location was beautifully described. Sounds like an amazing place to spend the summer!

THE SUNSHINE SISTERS by Jane Green


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★


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 sisters 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 have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…


Ronni Sunshine was a famous B-list actress back in the day. For Ronni, being the center of attention came first, and the needs of her three daughters came last. As the years went by, the girls – Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy – became estranged from their narcissistic and often cruel mother, and unfortunately each other, too. Now Ronni is suffering from a terminal illness, and her last wishes are to reunite her daughters and make amends before it’s too late.

The bright beachy cover of this book is a bit misleading. The story of the dysfunctional Sunshine family is pretty sad. The girls’ lack of motherly affection in childhood shaped the troubled adults they became – one distant, one lacking self worth, and one spoiled and selfish. None of the characters where particularly likable, however, it’s certainly understandable why they turned out the way they did.

This is my first Jane Green book, and I’m left with mixed feelings about it. The characters felt genuine, however some of the situations weren’t realistic or were just too convenient. I did enjoy the author’s storytelling, and though the subject matter was sad, the book was a quick and easy read. I especially enjoyed the bucolic Connecticut setting of Nell’s farm.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.