I Love You More by Jennifer Murphy

I love you moreA man with a closet full of secrets can only keep them hidden so long.  Sooner or later your wife finds out a secret, discovers things don’t add up, and your house of cards comes falling down piece by piece. Unless you don’t let it fall.  In this fast paced, story we first meet Diane, beautiful and put together, mother of a daughter named Picasso. She is married to Oliver, desperately in love, yet desperately unhappy. You cannot quite figure out what is going in her marriage, and either can Diane. The story is told from the perspective of Diane, Picasso, and a small town detective.  If you liked Gone Girl you will love the twists and turns and psychological layers. However, I thought this book far surpassed Gone Girl in writing, character development, and depth. The writing is fresh, beautiful, and creative. The pacing and plot are impeccable.  The story is told by different characters, the reader gains the perspective of the story from many different angles. This is the best murder mystery I have read in a long time, I could not walk away from it until it was over. It is haunting, masterful, and a stunning success.

To Purchase this book on Amazon, click here: I Love You More

If You Liked ‘The Help’, Here is Your Next Read

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

calling me homeDory has washed and set Ms. Isabelle’s hair every week for years. They know each other as most people know their regular stylist, sharing just the surface bits and pieces of their lives. This distance is eradicated, and their cordial friendship is taken to a new level when Isabelle asks Dory to drive her to a funeral across the country. Dory accepts with a bit of hesitation, and so begins a journey of friendship which travels across lines of race, generation, and social standing. The miles and hours pass by, as Isabelle tells Dory of her first love. Dory’s present struggles and Isabelle’s past agony unfold as they drive and share their stories.  Isabelle dredges up the past, bit by bit, and Dory compassionately wades through the memories with her.  Dory is fighting battles of her own, with teenage children and new relationships.  Isabelle pushes Dory to live a courageous life in the present, as she reconciles her past. The story is touching, well told, and a good read.  If you like strong women’s fiction, you will enjoy this book.

To Order this Book on Amazon, click here:

Calling Me Home: A Novel

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

big little liesPirriwee Public school on the peninsula of Sydney, Australia is a mix of power moms, surfer dads, high finance bankers, and blue collar workers.  This mash up of parents and their children make for a fantastic cast of characters to keep you engaged in the life of this little town.  When Pirriwee Public throws a costume trivia night, drinks are too strong, issues surface, and something terrible takes place. However no one can recall exactly what happened or who was involved.  Three women are the heart of this novel, their lives twist and connect unexpectedly.  Celeste and her husband Perry are perfect in the outside, wealthy and put together.  Madeline is her loud, bossy, and unapologetic best friend.  Jane is the new mum at school, young, and not ready for the world of intense school politics.  These three women are multi-dimensional characters, as a reader you can’t help but empathize with their challenges.  Moriarty does a fantastic job of building intrigue through snatches of interviews from parents and teachers about the legendary trivia night.  She pulls you in with mystery, but weaves in the stories of these three women’s lives.  If you liked ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’, you would like this book.  However, the characters are deeper, more relatable, with a more suspenseful plot.  If you liked ‘The Husband’s Secret’, I think you will like this more.  If you did not like ‘The Husband’s Secret’, give this a chance, it is a stronger book over all.  I loved the reader on Audio, the Australian accent adds to the story. Read it before the movie comes out. One of my favorite reads so far this year.

To Order this book from Amazon, click here:  Big Little Lies

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The History of the Fortune Hunter

When I read historical fiction I always like to know a little back story on the real events.  It helps connect me to the story and understand nuances when the author brings the era or person to life.  Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria is one of the main characters in The Fortune Hunter.  She became an empress at 16, did not care for life at court, and rebelled against her traditional duties.  She was known for her very long hair and rigorous beauty routines.   During her life time she had 2 daughters and finally a son, an heir to the throne.  Her mother in law was very controlling and did not allow her to care for her own children.  She spent a great deal of her life traveling apart from her husband and riding horses until her health did not permit it anymore.  The Fortune Hunter brings her to life beautifully.  Here is a picture of her with her very long hair, it is said it took 3 hours a day to care for it and caused her extreme headaches.

catherine-earnshaw

Bay Middleton was a handsome equestrian as well and was asked by the Empress to be her pilot on her hunting excursions.  Charlotte Baird was later his wife.  This book tells the story of their life before marriage.

To Order this book on Amazon, click here: The Fortune Hunter: A Novel

The Fortune Hunter

the fortune hunterOld England as a setting always wins me over, and it was no different with The Fortune Hunter.  When the book opens, it is hunting season and these high class English are up for a good fox hunt.  The main characters in this story are Charlotte Baird, an heiress and photographer, and The Empress of Austria.  Charlotte is heir to the Lennox fortune and naturally has to wade through conniving men wanting her money more than her.  She bucks tradition and follows her love of photography and horses more than society and social expectations.   Throw in a handsome equestrian named Bay Middleton, and you have quite a love story during hunting season.  I loved this book on audio, if you do audio books at all this is a perfect one to listen to.  There are 3 different accents that bring this story to life.  The beginning takes a bit of perseverance to get through, but it is a strong story.  It is an opulent portrayal of royalty and wealth, the search for true love and the longing to be known and cherished as a person, not an opportunity.

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen

a Blind spot for boysA Blind Spot for Boys is young adult as its best.  It has romance, adventure, mud slides, heartache, but it is so much more than a fluffy love story.  The main character Shana, hell bent on protecting her hurting heart, has sworn of boys. Sometimes life serves you exactly what you do not want, so of course Shana meets a boy.  Taking photographs one morning at the gum wall in Pikes Place Market leads her straight into the path of a mysterious and witty boy.  He is precisely what she is working so hard to avoid.   Meanwhile, her family is struck with an unexpected turn of events which leads her to a hike in Machu Pichu with her parents and a tour group of hikers. Shana and her family have to take of the blinders and wrestle with life in the midst of beautiful ruins.

The characters in this novel are rich and multi-dimensional.  I appreciated the layers of complexity with family struggles, learning about life through crisis, and personal triumph.  Well written young adult novels are packed with hidden gems of depth and wisdom.  This book is definitely a jewel, Justina Chen writes smart and relatable young women.  She never dumbs them down or over-sexualizes them.  You can feel confident letting your daughter read this book, and you will enjoy the journey even if you are far beyond adolescence.  I declare it a good solid read.

To order this book on Amazon, click here:

A Blind Spot for Boys

Justina Chen is a local Seattle author with other great books worth your time.  Her other works include:

Girl Overboard

Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) (A Justina Chen Novel)

Return to Me

North of Beautiful (A Justina Chen Novel)