REVIEW – The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Au Pair

Published: January 8th, 2019 by Berkley Books

This book opens in August 2017.  Seraphine’s father recently passed away so she is sorting through his things. She comes across a picture of her mother, father, and older brother, Edwin. Her mother is holding a baby in the picture. The writing on the back of the picture indicates that the picture was taken the day Seraphine and her twin brother, Danny were born.

Seraphine and Danny were born surrounded by grief. There is a six-month time frame where apparently no pictures were taken of any of the Mayes family.  So Seraphine is surprised that this picture exists. Her mother appears calm and happy in the picture.  It’s hard to believe this picture was taken in the final hours of her mother’s life.  This photo was taken the day EVERYTHING changed for the Mayes family….

“the same day Danny and I were born, our mother jumped from the cliffs behind our house and killed herself.”

Serephine wonders who her mother is holding in the picture. Is it her or Danny? Why is there only one of them in the picture? Her older brother, Edwin is as baffled as she is. But his attention is caught by another picture in Seraphine’s hands. It is a picture of Edwin as a toddler, having fun on the beach with a dark-haired teenager. He remembers her.  Her name is Laura and she was his au pair. She left the day the twins were born.

Seraphine has always wanted to know why her mother committed suicide and what happened in the hours beforehand. She thinks there is only one person who can answer her questions…

LAURA… THE AU PAIR.

Everyone tells Seraphine to let it go but she just can’t. Her family is haunted by tragedy. Their lives filled with secrets and lies. Seraphine just wants answers, but there may be people who want to keep her from finding out the truth.

Will Seraphine find the woman who can tell her what happened on that fateful day? Will searching for answers put Seraphine and others in danger?  

I thought this was a great debut novel!

The characters were fascinating. The chapters alternated, telling the story from both Seraphine and Laura’s point of view, in both the past and present. Although it was a little slow at times, the plot was intriguing and kept me guessing.

The Au Pair” is a well written and entertaining novel full of surprises with an ending I didn’t see coming.

I think that Emma Rous is a writer to watch. I am excited to read what she comes up with next.

I’d like to thank Berkley Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

Advertisements

REVIEW – In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

In Another Life

Published March 26, 2019 by Wednesday Books

 

While I don’t read a lot of young adult novels, I do read a few. “In Another Life” was one that really piqued my interest.

Chloe Holden and her mother have just moved to Joyful, Texas, and Chloe is most definitely not feeling any joy. Her father is living in their old home with his younger girlfriend. Her parents still constantly fight and Chloe wishes they could see how much their arguing affects her.

Chloe and her father stop at a gas station on their way home after a weekend visit. Chloe is upset and collides with someone as she storms inside. Although it was Chloe’s fault, the guy apologizes to her, but that apology quickly turns to anger. The guy follows her. “Whatever you’re trying to pull, don’t do it.” Chloe ignores him, he MUST have her mixed up with someone else. She apologizes and leaves the store but sees him watching them as they drive away.

The next day at school Chloe and her new friend/neighbor, Lindsay come across two students fighting. One of the students is the angry guy from the gas station. Lindsay tells Chloe that his name is Cash.

Whenever Chloe sees Cash he seems to be staring at her. After school one day Chloe has a flat tire. Cash offers to help her fix it. As they talk Chloe realizes that Cash seems to know a lot about her.  He admits that he’s been checking her out on social media.  She’s not sure whether to be creeped out or flattered. They start to spend time together and Chloe finds herself opening up to Cash about her parent’s divorce and her mother’s health. Cash explains why he was so upset when he first saw her at the gas station.

Chloe is shocked at what Cash tells her. Could Chloe possibly be who Cash thinks she is?  If he is right then EVERYTHING will change. As they work together, looking for answers, they don’t realize that some people may not want them to find out the truth. Chloe and Cash might be putting themselves in danger.

Who doesn’t want them to find out the truth? And why?

 

“In Another Life” was a quick and easy read. The story alternates between Chloe and Cash’s point of view.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel although I did have a few issues with it. I wanted to know the truth about what had happened and see how things turned out, but it felt like there were some holes in the story with some loose ends that I wished had been tied up. I wouldn’t say there is a lot of suspense but there is a mystery that Cash and Chloe are trying to solve.

I think this is a story many young adults will enjoy. The relationship between Cash and Chloe was kind of “instalovey”, but I was still rooting for them. The novel also deals with issues that many teens may relate to including, adoption, divorce, relationships, sex, etc.

I’d like to thank Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

Throwback Thursday – It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is:

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us

Published August 2, 2016 by Simon & Schuster

 

Goodreads Description:

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

My Thoughts:

I was really late to the party for this book. However, even though it had already been out for a while, I actually didn’t know very much about it. Once I started reading it didn’t take long to see where the story-line was headed. It was a very emotional read that I had a hard time putting down.

“It Ends With Us” is a heartbreaking novel that deals with sensitive and extremely important issues. I think that the author handled these issues well.

This was my first read from Colleen Hoover. I hope to read more very soon.

Sometimes you do have to tell yourself…

“Just keep swimming.”

 

Have you read this novel? I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

 

REVIEW – Naturally Tan by Tan France

Naturally Tan

Expected publication: May 14, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

Tanweer Wasim “Tan” France is an English fashion designer. He is one of the Fab 5 from “Queer Eye” on Netflix. Tan is the fashion expert on the series.

I really didn’t know a lot about Tan before reading his book. I had heard of the Netflix series, “Queer Eye” but had never watched it.

Tan was raised in a traditional Muslim family in South Yorkshire, England. If you ask him when he first knew he was gay, he’ll tell you he’s always known. He loves women, but he never thought of them as an option for his romantic future. Tan never felt that his feelings were wrong or that he had to put a stop to them, but explains what it was like growing up. Tan always knew he’d marry a man. Of course, he didn’t know it would be a Mormon cowboy from Salt Lake City.

Tan didn’t care much for school but still managed to get very good grades. Getting to and from school was dangerous due to the threat of physical violence from the groups who yelled racial slurs at Tan and his siblings on a regular basis.

Tan gives us insight into his first relationships as well as his marriage to husband, Rob. His love for Rob really comes across and is lovely to read about. He talks about the casting process for “Queer Eye”, how he became one of the “Fab 5”, and some other bits about the show and his cast mates.

I liked the PSA’S (public service announcements) about T-shirts, jeans, and more. There is some relationship advice (First Date Do’s and Don’ts), some advice about employment (Tan had over 30 jobs), some “How to be a Good Boss” advice, and of course some great fashion tips. I know that Tan would probably hate my “well-loved” sweatpants and how often I wear them. Oh and if Tan is ever coming over to your house? HIDE YOUR CROCS! I know they are ugly, and many people hate them (especially Tan) but they are just so damn comfortable.

The book took me longer to read as I kept stopping to Google something or watch something on YouTube or Netflix. I stopped so I could watch an episode of “Queer Eye” because I wanted to see Tan in action. I ended up binge-watching the first season. I loved it. When Tan would mention something that happened in an episode I had to go find it. When he talked about their appearance on “Lip Sync Battle”, I had to go watch that too.

I really did enjoy learning so much about Tan. His witty writing style was fun to read.

“Naturally Tan” was funny and entertaining, but it was also emotional and thought-provoking. Tan comes across as a kind, sincere, and unique person. He doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. He tells us about his own anxiety and insecurities and talks about how it can be strange giving advice to someone on the show when he didn’t always feel so confident himself.

I’m really happy that I read this memoir. I’m now a big fan of Tan France and “Queer Eye”. I love Tan’s accent and I think the audiobook will also be great, especially if he is the narrator.

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.