Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: The Light of Hidden Flowers by Jennifer Handford


Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.

After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.

Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.

The Light of Hidden Flowers is a deeply felt story of accepting who we are while pushing our boundaries to see how much more we can become. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.

My Review:

A thought provoking tale of self discovery.

Melissa “Missy” Fletcher was always a good girl and her father’s pride and joy.  At thirty-five, she has a successful career as a financial adviser working with her father.  She doesn’t care for socializing after work or dating.  She prefers her predictable life as it is, working and then going home alone.  When she is introduced to Lucas, she decides to give him a chance and they start dating and get serious.  But there is one man that Missy will never get out of her head, Joe, her high school boyfriend.  What if they could have a second chance?

When Missy loses her father to Alzheimer’s, her world is turned upside down.  She starts second guessing everything in her life.  She decides to give into one of her biggest fears, flying.  She takes a trip to Italy, a place she always wanted to visit.  During the trip, she meets a young lady, Reina, who works for UNICEF.  When Missy learns what Reina does, it sets her mind in motion.  From Italy, Missy heads to India to meet with Reina again.   Together they make life changing plans for some underprivileged girls and Missy finally finds a new life for herself and one that would make her father very proud.

I thought the story was very well thought out and it is one that will stay with me for a long time.  I enjoyed the reunion between Missy and Joe and how well Missy got along with Joe’s daughter Katherine who needed a meaning in her life as well.  The only issue I had with this book was the ending.  I felt it ended abruptly and more could have been added to wrap up the story.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review: Hesitation Wounds by Amy Koppelman


The new novel by the author of I Smile Back, now a film starring Sarah Silverman.

The acclaimed author of I Smile Back, Amy Koppelman is a novelist of astonishing power, with a sly, dark voice, at once fearless and poetic. In Koppelman’s new novel, Dr. Susanna Seliger is a renowned psychiatrist who specializes in treatment-resistant depression. The most difficult cases come through her door, and Susa is always ready to discuss treatment options, medication, and symptom management but draws the line at engaging with feelings. A strict adherence to protocol keeps her from falling apart.

But her past is made present by one patient, Jim, whose struggles tear open Susa’s hastily stitched up wounds, revealing her latent feeling that she could have helped the people closest to her, especially her adored, cool, talented graffiti-artist brother. Spectacularly original, gorgeously unsettling, HESITATION WOUNDS is a novel that will sink deep and remain—like a persistent scar or a dangerous glow-in-the-dark memory.

My Review:

Dr. Susanna "Susa" Seliger is a highly respected psychiatrist who takes on some of the most difficult cases.  But what most people don’t know is Susa still struggles with the death of her brother.  While working with one patient, Jim, the memories of Daniel’s tragic death are brought back to Susa and she knows it’s time to sort them out.

Susa has learned over the years that the people she loves always leave, either by death or the end of a relationship.  She also struggles with the feeling that something is missing in her life.  When she finally realizes what is missing, the pieces start coming together.

This book is a roller coaster of emotions.  My heart went out to Susa and all she had endured during her life.  She works hard trying to help other people while her own memories haunt her. The story felt very true to life.  At first I didn't know what to make of the writing style as it is different from what I am used to, but I caught on quickly.  This book is incredibly thought provoking and will stay with you for a long time.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Review: Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner


An unforgettable story about true love, real life, and second chances…

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are just eight years old when they meet one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to a doctor and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again.

Rachel grows up in an affluent Florida suburb, the popular and protected daughter of two doting parents. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent for running.

Yet, over the next three decades, Andy and Rachel will meet again and again—linked by chance, history, and the memory of the first time they met, a night that changed the course of both of their lives.

A sweeping, warmhearted, and intimate tale, Who Do You Love is an extraordinary novel about the passage of time, the way people change and change each other, and how the measure of a life is who you love.

My Review:

Everyone has heard the saying “you never forget your first love”.  Life often takes us down different roads and first loves rarely work out.   But what if you were given a second chance?  

In this book we meet Rachel Blum and Andy Landis, total opposites, who meet as children and then part ways never expecting to see each other again.  But, they do meet again as teenagers, during a youth group trip where they helped build houses for low income families.  That is when they fell in love.  Living in different states made it hard to see each other, so they stayed in touch writing letters and talking on the phone until they could see each other again.  During college, Andy would visit Rachel when he had free time.  Then one day everything fell apart and they stopped talking. 

The rest of the book focuses on their lives as individuals.  Along the way there is new love, children, careers and a big mistake that is made.  And just when they both think they have hit their lowest point, there is hope on the horizon. 

I enjoyed Rachel and Andy’s story and how you got an in depth look into their lives and how it created their personalities.  Andy grew up with a single mother who struggled to make ends meet.  Rachel was a rich girl who had pretty much anything she wanted.  They both had different goals in life.  They both had different religious beliefs.  Andy got in fights and in trouble a lot and Rachel was the good girl.  But when they were together, none of that mattered.  They brought out the best in each other.  I liked everything about the story.  I just think the ending could have had a little more to it.  I wasn’t ready to part with Rachel and Andy yet.  I felt a few more pages could have wrapped up their story better.