Faithful By Alice Hoffman

Published: November 1st, 2016

“Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night. Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.”

This book was pretty heavy. You learn in the beginning that two friends, Shelby and Helene, are in a car accident. Helene’s life is pretty much over, bedridden and unable to move or speak. Shelby has a lot of survivor’s guilt and treats her life like it’s the worst thing in the world. She wishes it were her instead of Helene, and tries to show everyone, including her parents, that. This book does have a few triggers in it, so be careful of that. There is a rape scene in the beginning, so take care of yourselves. Alice Hoffman wrote a wonderful tale about luck running out, just to be found again. Faithful takes you through Shelby’s life as she learns to how to take care of herself. Sure, there’s a few bumps on the way, but it’s Shelby’s obligation to figure out how to overcome them. The ending of this book was the best part. I didn’t like how slow this book was in the beginning, but it did provide a moving feeling to the reader at the end. This was a powerful book to show how to rise up through tragedy.

About The Author:
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Rating: ★★★★

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

Published: September 23rd, 2003

“Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer. In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”

I had to read this book in high school my freshman year. I didn’t like reading back then, so I could barely get through it. I did get through it, and I’m glad I did. However, now as a senior in college, I decided to try it again and see if anything changed. The only thing that changed in this sense was my age, and how I took the premise of this book. When I read it the first time, I didn’t find it as spiritual then as I do now. I really feel that connection more now with religion in this book. I never really saw it before, but as I’ve grown, there’s definitely more in this book that could’ve been understood differently back then. I hate how Eddie dies, it makes me fear ferris wheels even more now. But other than that, this book was so wonderful and well-written that I’m glad I read it back then, and read it again now.

About The Author:
Mitchell David Albom is an author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold over 35 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-one territories and in forty-two languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

Rating: ★★★★★

Save The Date By Mary Kay Andrews

Published: June 3rd, 2014

“A wedding florist finds love and trouble in this delightful new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Ladies’ Night. A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in. Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all. Told with Mary Kay Andrew’s trademark wit and keen eye for detail, mark your calendars for Save the Date!”

I absolutely adore the premise of this story. It’s something you never really hear of, something that hasn’t been done that much. Cara Kryzik is a florist in downtown Savannah with a cute little flower shop. There’s one thing about Cara to remember: she doesn’t believe in love. She creates these beautiful arrangements for weddings, and it’s the one thing she’s absolutely against. When her dog Poppy goes missing, she searches around Savannah trying to find him. That’s when she meets Jack, who insists that his dog is actually his dog, Shaz, and not Poppy. Their relationship starts out rough, not liking each other the least bit, but of course (like always), their enemy relationship turns to a loving one. Does Jack change Cara’s mind about love? I loved this book. Absolutely love. Would recommend 100%.

Rating: ★★★★★

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews

Published: June 5th, 2012

“Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless.  They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history.  She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia.  But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance.  Maybe everything happens for a reason.  And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back.  But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town.  On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone.  Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future.”

This is my favorite book ever. I don’t think I’ve read another book that has struck me like this book has. It starts out with Annajane Hudgens at her ex-husbands funeral. If that doesn’t grab your attention, what can? So many questions flooded my mind immediately. Why are they divorced? Who’s he getting married to? Did someone cheat? Do they have any kids? Who is the new wife? I needed to keep reading to find out. I finished this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down. This story was so angsty and emotional, but showed love in its purest form. I would read this book over and over and over again. Mary Kay Andrews is one of my favorite authors, so I might have a favoritism towards her, but anyone who can read would love this book.

Rating: ★★★★★

Room by Emma Donoghue

Published: September 13th, 2010

“To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work. Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.”

I cried a lot reading this book. I am naturally an emotional mess when something sad happens, but this book was especially heavy in the sense of dread and protectiveness. Jack is a little five year old boy who has never left this little room in his entire life. The same story for the boy’s mother for the last seven years. They eat, sleep, and bathe in this little room. I’ve wanted to kill characters in books before, but oh my god, I never wanted to kill one more in my life than I did him. Jack is Old Nick’s son, and ‘Ma’s’ kidnapper. I can guarantee that you will want to kill him too when you read about the things he has done to this boy’s mother and him. The story is absolutely beautiful when you get to see Jack’s imagination run wild. He makes light of his situation, and you get to see how beautiful he makes his life in his mind. I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks that they can handle it. It does get very heavy emotionally.

About The Author:
Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. Since the age of 23, Donoghue has earned her living as a full-time writer. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with her partner and their son and daughter.

Rating: ★★★★★

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Published: January 10th, 2012

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.” Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.”

Okay, this book had be teary-eyed from start to end. If you are going to read this book, for the love of God, have. tissues. ready. I fell in love with Hazel right from the start. I fell in love with Augustus right from the start. The cigarette metaphor? Sigh. Dreamy. Watching them go through this journey of love and acceptance was absolutely blissful. When the end happened, I shut the book and legitimately cried for over a half an hour. I couldn’t even imagine what they were going through, and to think that there are teens that go through these things every day, it was enough to put me over the edge into a blubbering mess. I couldn’t even speak for a few days, I was that speechless. I didn’t know what to say or what to do. It felt like I had made two friends in Hazel and Augustus. I read the book before watching the movie, and I can say that they did a wonderful job with both. John Green, I love you.

Rating: I wish I could go higher than 5. ★★★★★

Darkness by Karen Robards

Published: March 29th, 2016

“BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him. Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?”

This book starts out with the story of Dr. Gina Sullivan and what she has been through in her life. It explains why she’s on this little island of Attu, Alaska studying eagles as they fly by. What Gina doesn’t expect to see is a plane fall out of the sky and into the freezing ocean she was currently sitting on. She races through the wreckage and bares a storm to find James ‘Cal’ Callahan clinging to life. From there, it’s a story of animosity that turns into trust and compassion as Gina and ‘Cal’ fight for their lives versus the elements of surprise.

I liked this book. It was well written, showed true emotion, and was definitely sexy. Karen Robards did a great job with this book. It was a little slow to begin, but once it got started, it definitely picked up. I couldn’t put it down once the real push of finding out what was going to happen occurred. I didn’t have many complaints for this book, other than it was slow in the beginning. Push through the slow part, it definitely gets better.

About The Author:
Karen was born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. She has been writing since she was very young, and was first published nationally in the December 1973 Reader’s Digest. She sold her first romance novel, ISLAND FLAME, when she was 24. It was published by Leisure Books in 1981 and is still in print. After that, she dropped out of law school to pursue her writing career. Today she is a regular on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others, and is the winner of six Affaire de Coeur Silver Pen Awards for favorite romance author, as well as numerous other awards. She writes thrillers, romantic suspense and historical romances. Her work has been translated into more than seventeen languages. Karen lives in her native Louisville with her husband, Doug Robards, and their three sons. She says: “I read, I write, and I chauffeur children,” she says with a laugh. “That’s my life.”

Rating: ★★★★