What if the perfect life you thought you were living turned out to be a total lie? What if the one person you knew better than anyone else suddenly seemed like a stranger?

From the opening pages of Results May Vary, the reader is swept up into such a world, discovering, along with our main character, Caroline Hammond, that all she had previously believed to be true…was not. Who was Adam, her husband and best friend since her teen years, if not someone she could count on? Why would he cheat on her, and was his behavior a one-time error in judgment, or something more?

We watch as she struggles to make sense of this new knowledge, sweeping aside all the illusory images she once believed in, to uncover what remains.

From the literary and art world of Manhattan to homey Williamstown, in Massachusetts, we follow Caroline’s journey, and immerse ourselves in her experiences. I liked how the author showed us the ordinary routines of her days, and how little things, like painting her rooms the way she wanted instead of the “boring white” that Adam loved, could lift her spirits.

I loved the characters, from Caroline’s best friend (and a great chef) Jonathan to her loud and occasionally annoying sister Ruby. New friends like Neil, and other old friends like a quirky artist named Farren, helped Caroline as she made her way through the tangled pathways of her New Life.

When she finally decides that it’s okay to move forward, she must first acknowledge and own the “loneliness” that is necessary before taking those next steps. A lovely story that earned 5 stars.

cropped again 5***





Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella are adept at humor, as exemplified in I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places, the latest in a series of such collections that offer up short and witty vignettes on a variety of topics.

They bring us right into the thick of it all, as they alternately share anecdotal incidents from their lives, mostly about all the daily things everyone experiences, but also spiced with their take on clothes; their unique book signings; gardening, especially fantasies about the perfect garden; food and metabolism; life with dogs; friendships; and romantic relationships, to name a few.

Lisa is famous for her labeling of her two ex-husbands as Thing One and Thing Two. Thing One has redeeming social value: he is Francesca’s father, whereas Thing Two barely gets a mention.

Francesca shares a frightening assault she experienced, and walked us through how she healed from it, while still acknowledging that she relives it at times. Her writing about her relationships, her dogs, and her single life in Manhattan help us see her perspective on a variety of issues, including her connection to her mother, and the importance of that connection in getting through life’s challenges.

Another topic many of us “people pleasers” can relate to is how to say no and how to do it without guilt. Lisa shares how she came to a realization that trying to make everybody happy was not a good thing for her own life.

“It took me fifty years to figure out what I was doing wrong, and how to fix it. I started saying no, and the world did not end. Then I kept saying no, and it got easier and easier.

“It takes practice….and I taught myself that every time I said no to someone else, I was saying yes to myself….I started living—my own life.”

I loved the section on The Empty Nest, and how Lisa dealt with it as a celebration, which does not in any way negate how much she loves and enjoys her daughter. But being able to own your day, without having responsibility for another human being under your roof, is a freedom unmatched by any other kind. She describes how her world is rocked a little when her daughter comes to visit, though, and that they get into little conversations about “why is the TV on CNN” all the time, or why are there closed captions? I got a giggle out of this one, as I love having the captions on, too, not because I can’t hear, but so I can mute the TV and still glance up to see what is going on. When I am reading or working, the TV, with captions, is muted and is like a backdrop to my other activities.

I thoroughly enjoy these chats with the authors, which make me feel as though I know them and that I’m joining them for coffee…or a drink. So I can’t wait for the next installment.

Rating:  cropped again 5






Maggie Griffin and Erika Crane have been best friends for many years, and now, while sharing an apartment in Boston’s Back Bay, their friendship is about to take another turn.

Erika and her fiancé Trent Mitchell are planning a summer wedding.

Meanwhile, Maggie is ending the school year, teaching at Darby, a private school, and her future as a teacher is up in the air due to budget cuts.

Will going home to Mystic, Connecticut, for Erika’s wedding help Maggie figure things out, even as she plays a supporting role for Erika through her wedding celebration?

Mystic Summer was a light and comfy tale about events that unexpectedly change the course we are on, and remind us of the people and places that make us feel at home.

I liked feeling as though I were right there in the lovely village, eating at Mystic Pizza, and remembering the movie that was set there…and walking along with the characters on the cobbled streets as they reminisced, and as they made decisions about who feels like home among their various acquaintances and friends.

I was definitely not a fan of Evan, Maggie’s boyfriend, an actor who had little time for her, but wanted everything to march to his tune. He liked everything neat and settled, so when anything was the least bit untidy, he liked cleaning it up. On his own, without consulting Maggie.

On the other hand, Maggie’s ex-boyfriend Cameron is back in town, with a baby girl in tow. The baby’s mother has left them, and he is handling it all on his own, with some help from his parents. And now Maggie feels a unique pull toward the baby girl, while remembering how Cam makes her feel. His life is definitely a little messy, a little chaotic…but it all clicks for Maggie.

Wonderful read that earned 4.5 stars from me.

ratings worms 4-cropped




Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC from NetGalley.  Leave Me, by Gayle Forman, to be released on September 6, 2016, is about facing the fears we’re all running from. Gayle Forman is a dazzling observer of human nature. She has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head on and asks, what happens when a grown woman runs away from home?


leave me cover

Intro:  (New York City)

Maribeth Klein was working late, waiting to sign off on the final page proofs of the December issue, when she had a heart attack.

Those first twinges in her chest, however, were more a heaviness than a pain, and she did not immediately think heart.  She thought indigestion, brought on by the plate of greasy Chinese food she’d eaten at her desk the hour before.  She thought anxiety, brought on by the length of tomorrow’s to-do list.  She thought irritation, brought on by the conversation with her husband, Jason, who when she’d called earlier was having a dance party with Oscar and Liv, even though their downstairs neighbor Earl Jablonski would complain and even though keeping the twins up past eight upped the odds that one of them would wake in the night (and wake her up, too).


Teaser:  She followed him down a long narrow hallway, the walls covered with framed photographs, through a dining room, the table piled high with mail and medical journals, and into a bright open kitchen with top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances and fire-engine red laminate cabinets.  It looked like a showroom, pristine, as if the kitchen had never been sullied by the messy act of cooking. (45%).


Synopsis:  Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is often the case, once we get where we’re going we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.


Would you keep reading?  Does this book capture your attention?  I know that I’m definitely eager to learn more about the characters.




Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we search out upcoming book releases…and then gather around the blogosphere, sharing our thoughts and blurbs. Today’s spotlight is shining on a book by an author I enjoy:  Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, to be released on September 13, 2016.







Synopsis:  The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.


Does this book capture your attention?  Does it strike a chord?  I know that I am very eager to read it.




Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last participated, so I am eager to share one of my newer books today:  Domestic Secrets, by Rosalind Noonan.





Beginning: (Early May)

The salon was hopping with all the music and conversation and laughter typical of a Saturday afternoon when his text came.  The ambient noise was so loud that Rachel Whalen would have missed the message if she hadn’t seen the screen of her cell light up on the counter as she swept up her station.


56:  One of Tootsie’s well-painted eyebrows lifted at the prospect.  Perhaps she hadn’t considered that her son might find a replacement girl.  (56%).


Blurb:  Rachel Whalen and Ariel Alexander have been friends for more than a decade. Despite their differences–down-to-earth Rachel owns a local hair salon; Ariel is a vivacious former TV star determined to hold on to her looks–they’ve helped each other navigate single motherhood, banding together against the soccer moms of Timbergrove, Oregon.

Yet lately, Rachel wonders about Ariel’s increasingly erratic parenting and her clandestine love life. And Rachel can’t reveal to anyone, even Ariel, how much she worries about her sullen, distant, younger son. When an unthinkable tragedy separates the two families, Rachel desperately tries to understand what went wrong. But as her assumptions are ripped away one by one, she must confront shattering revelations about the people she trusted and the suburban world that once seemed so safe.

Rosalind Noonan explores both the bonds and the gulfs that exist between parents and children, friends and neighbors, in a suspenseful novel that is honest, intelligent, and thought provoking.


I am definitely intrigued by the hint of secrets in any book…and secrets that can shake up friendships always seem so true to life.  What do you think?






When Claire Walsh Webster had her baby girl on February 15, the date was permanently etched on her mind for two reasons: it was her daughter’s birthday, and it was the day her husband James abandoned her for the woman with whom he had been having an affair.

To say that Claire’s life was turned upside down would be an understatement. Taking herself and her baby from London to Dublin was the first step toward creating her new life. Staying in the family home with her parents and two younger sisters did little for her self-esteem, however, and for days and weeks, she languished in the bed, often forgetting to get dressed.

Her younger sisters, Anna and Helen, were annoying distractions…to Claire and to this reader, but their voices did add a bit of humor to Watermelon (Walsh Family Book 1). Themes of betrayal, relationships, and family dynamics kept the story interesting, although it moved rather slowly for most of the story.

I was rooting for Claire, as she struggled to come to terms with the major changes in her life, and I enjoyed the internal monologues she carried on in a rather comic and snarky voice. The story is narrated from her first person perspective, and it was a funny voice indeed.

Would Claire manage to create a new life for herself? Would she find love again? And what would happen when James finally wanted to see her? Could his rather unexpected suggestions arouse her to take charge of her own life?

I recommend this story to those fascinated by family drama and issues of female empowerment, but don’t expect a fast-paced narrative or a plot that leads to any major conclusions. A fun, light read can be enough on some days, though. I liked this conclusion that Claire arrived at toward the end of the book, as she began to reclaim her life:

“When happiness makes a guest appearance in one’s life, it’s important to make the most of it. It may not stay around for long and when it has gone wouldn’t it be terrible to think that all the time one could have been happy was wasted worrying about when that happiness would be taken away?”

A 4 star read.