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: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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There are no words to describe how much I enjoyed reading After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It took me on an emotional roller coaster that ended in lots of ugly tears. This novel is real. This novel is raw. This novel is what marriage is all about. It shows you that the love isn’t perfect, but it is worth fighting for. Love is worth waking up for, it is worth pushing through those hard days, it is worth every minute of your time, because “for better or for worse, till death do us part” is what we promised to do our on wedding day.

Lauren and Ryan met when they were 19, in college. They fell in love, moved in together, got engaged, and eventually got married. After 11 years of being together, they realized they were in a rut. They weren’t having sex, they were fighting over everything and anything, and they just plain old didn’t love each other anymore. After a few weeks of debating what to do, they decided to take a year break, no communication what-so-ever, and see how they feel at the end of it.

Although this concept isn’t typical, and I certainly wouldn’t partake in a year long break from my husband (we are happily in love, thank you very much), it seems to be the right choice for Lauren and Ryan. They don’t want to give up, but they also know they can’t keep going down the dangerous road they are on. While on their break, they meet other people, discover themselves, and realize what they want from each other. They also decide if they think they can overcome this obstacle in their marriage.

Lauren’s gramdmom is my favorite character in the novel. She reminded me of my grandmom, whom I lost while I was pregnant with my son. I wish I asked her what her secret to love was. I wish I asked her so much more than I asked her. My grandpop died 17 years before her. I can’t imagine being without my husband that long. I can’t imagine all the pain she endured.

‘Did you love Grandpa the whole time?’ Maybe she didn’t. Maybe she is just like me. Ending up like my Grandma would not be so bad.

‘The whole time,’ she says. ‘Every day.’ Okay, so maybe not.

‘How?’ I ask her.

‘What do you mean, how?’ I had no choice. That’s how.’ Pg. 113

I mean, Grandma gets it, people.

‘You have someone. That’s all I am going to say. Don’t give up on him just because he bores you. Or doesn’t pick up his socks.’ Pg. 303

‘Just because you can live without someone doesn’t mean you want to,’ she says. Pg. 304

Preach it, Grandma. Oh, this is where the ugly tears start.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid is brutally honest. Whether you’re married, about to get married, in a serious relationship, or single, this book is a must read. Once you dip your toes into the sand, you won’t want to take them out. Get ready to cry hard and feel all the feels that Taylor Jenkins Reid so beautifully portrays.

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