Book Review: The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton

The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton is a very sweet and refreshing story about family. I loved all of the quirky characters especially Sara. The story flips between past and present day and alternating narratives between Sara (present) and her grandmother, Mags (past).

When Sara receives a phone call from her grandmother’s lawyer, she knows he isn’t calling with good news. She returns to the home she grew up in, after her parents tragically died, to discover that the grandmother she knew had more than one secret that she kept hidden within the Bed and Breakfast she owned. Now that the B&B belongs to Sara, it is up to her to redo it and then decide if she wants to keep it or not. She hires a local contractor to help her visions come to life. As the process begins, Sara starts to feel at home in Sweet Bay, Alabama, once again.

The Hideaway isn’t a functioning Bed & Breakfast anymore. It is the home of four people who Sara’s grandmother calls family. These people love Sara just like they would their own daughter. Not only is The Hideaway filled with people who permanently live there, it is also filled with memories and undiscovered treasures, including a mysterious ring. Sara isn’t immune to treasures of her own. She runs and own her antique own store back in New Orleans, where she has been since she graduated high school. Throughout the story she struggles between the past she always knew at The Hideaway and the busy life she has learned to love in New Orleans. As she slows down in Sweet Bay, she also discovers that she might be falling in love.

Sara has a lot of choices to make in The Hideaway. She also has a lot of guilt she has to deal with. She was always embarrassed by her oddball grandmother while she was growing up and now that she is gone, she wishes she made the effort to come back and visit more once she moved away to New Orleans.

I loved every page of this book. I really enjoyed discovering Mags’ past right along with Sara. It is amazing what some families have had to endure in the past just because money was involved. How parents chose husband’s for their daughters because of their families reputation. Mags deserved happiness and I wish her life turned out differently. Even though she didn’t always have romantic love in her life, she always had friends and family in her life. I really liked the Bed & Breakfast concept in this novel. I really enjoy visiting B & B’s and reading about them. Every house has a story. Every wall holds a secret that is waiting to be discovered.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Book Review: Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

From Goodreads:

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters–her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf has been described as “masterful” and “intelligent” and compared to Lisa Scottoline and Jodi Picoult. Introducing her most compelling heroine yet, she delivers a taut and emotional thriller that proves she’s at the top of her class.

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf is a remarkable thriller that leaves you breathless at the end. As soon as I started reading the novel I knew I would not be able to put it down. Written in first person, Amelia Winn describes how the events unfold after she discovers a former friend and fellow nurse, Gwenn, dead in the river behind her house. Amelia Winn is deaf and a recovering alcoholic. She lives in a cabin with her service dog, Stitch. Once again, the dog character is my favorite. Stitch is a real hero. He is a silly dog that doesn’t always listen but when he knows there is a job to do, he is loyal companion.

Not a Sound is full of suspense and had me second guessing every single character’s motives. At one point, I even thought Amelia was an unreliable narrator and killed Gwen herself. I am pretty sure I stopped breathing for the last 20-30 pages, I could not read them fast enough. The entire novel took me up and down an emotional roller coaster over and over again, by the end I was all but nauseous. (In a good way, of course.)

Amelia Winn is a compelling character. I was rooting for her to get her life back together. She lost her hearing in a tragic accident. Along with the loss of her ability to hear, she also lost the best parts of her life, her job, her husband, her step-daughter, and her independence. Granted, the accident didn’t lead to losing all of these life pleasures we sometimes take for granted, alcohol aided in many of them. Amelia’s husband David, didn’t seem to be the most supportive husband when it came to accepting the aftermath of Amelia’s accident. Not that turning to alcohol was the right choice, but I don’t think her husband was very compassionate about the whole situation.

Jake, Amelia’s brother’s childhood best friend, who is also a detective, is another major character in the novel that you can’t help but root for. Amelia and Jake’s relationship isn’t black and white. Throughout the novel they end up dipping their toes into a grey area. Amelia has always had a crush on Jake but she thinks Jake only thinks of her as a sister. Their back and forth friendship is one of the many highlights this bone-chilling novel.

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf will be available for purchase on May 30, 2017. You can pre-order it today!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Book Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

From Goodreads:

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares is a confusing story that made me think “Why am I reading this?” over and over again. I loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. Ever since then, Ann Brashares books, at least the ones that I have read, haven’t lived up to my expectations. There are too many characters in this novel. The first page outlines who is related to who and which kids belong to which sets of parents. I still found myself referring back to this page throughout the entire novel.

The Whole Thing Together gave me an uneasy feeling. Every character had an issue with confrontation and avoided multiple problems in their lives until it was too late. Ray and Sasha are the two main characters. One belongs to one set of parents and the other belong to the other set of parents. They share one job and three sisters. They also share a beach house, and oddly enough, share a room, and have never met. Sounds crazy, right? It is. Somehow these two finally run into each other and sort of fall in love. When I say sort of, I mean, even though they are not related, they kind of are, considering the circumstances. It’s weird. Just really, really weird.

The main conflict is that a divorce split a family in half. The resolution…not really existent. There are a lot of strange subplots that don’t really fit in that just waste page space. By the time a few issues were being resolved, the book was over, just like that. It takes a tragedy to open their eyes and realize that life is too short to hold grudges. Not that this is actually said, it is only assumed on my part.

I liked the the email exchanges between Ray and Sasha. I liked how they shared a job and their boss kept referring to them as the same person. But that’s about all I liked. I finished it because I thought there would be an epic ending. And there was, it just wasn’t a good one. It was just depressing and left be unfulfilled and exhausted.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Random House LLC.

Book Review: The Beginner’s Bible Noah and the Noisy Ark by Zondervan

The Beginner’s Bible® has been a favorite with young children and their parents since its release in 1989 with over 25 million products sold.

It’s time for Noah’s big adventure! A rainstorm is coming, and Noah needs to build an ark and find two of each animal to keep warm and dry inside. This retelling of the story of Noah’s Ark will take little ones from building a big boat to seeing a rainbow in the sky after the storm. Featuring brand-new art from the beloved The Beginner’s Bible, a die-cut format, and a beautiful foiled cover, parents will love sharing this board book with their children.

It’s hard to introduce young children to God and the bible. This take-a-long board book, The Beginner’s Bible Noah and the Noisy Ark, is perfect addition to anyone’s little library. Noah and the Noisy Ark not only teaches children about Moses and the Ark, it also introduces children to different emotions and animals. It is a fun way to explain an important bible story to little ones.

As you can see, my son was very excited about his beginners bible book. He loved that he could carry it by the handle, just like a lunch box. Moses’ story is simple and leaves room for extended explanation if you think you child will enjoy hearing more about Moses and his Ark. The pictures are bright and fun. My son enjoyed counting each animal, two by two. Noah and the Noisy Ark is perfect for car rides and bedtime. What a great way to learn about religion!

and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. Genesis 9:10