The Summer Seaside Kitchen series is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The small island of Mure is anything but dull, and the people of the island, both generational residents and new, make the community a very interesting one.
The book continues its primary focus on Flora as she navigates her new-found love for her old home, but with new troubles brewing. Her former boss and current boyfriend, Joel, is away on business, and this starts a downward spiral for them. He refuses to open up to her, and she constantly wonders if she's really enough for the hot-shot city lawyer.
But I was also introduced to two new storylines. Coltan, Flora's brother's boyfriend, has a secret - and it's an awful one. He drags Joel into it, and it's such a big secret that Joel can't really handle it all. This mystery hovers over the story like a fog bank. It's there, but most people don't realize how thick it is. It plays out throughout the story, and when it's all revealed, there's a lot to take in. Jenny Colgan handles it all beautifully, showing that her characters have a depth and feeling that really brings them to life.
I was also introduced to Saif, the refugee that has found somewhat of a home as the island's doctor. His story is another sad one, having been separated from his wife and two children in the war. He walks the beach just waiting for that miraculous moment when a boat shows up to reunite them. But after waiting for so long, he's having a hard time hanging on to the hope.
Not all of these intricate storylines are entirely wrapped up at the end of the book. But they do seem to reach a natural position of concluded for now, but with more to tell. As I get to know more of the island's residents, I fall in love all over again.
Now That You Mention It was a bit different than what I expected. When I first meet Nora, she seems a little insubstantial. Like there was really nothing to her personality. She's a successful doctor, dating another successful doctor - until she gets hit by a car - and then dumped while she believes she's actually a ghost. The scene was devestating for her, but Kristan Higgans gave it just a bit of a lighthearted feel somehow.
The bulk of the story takes place when Nora returns to her roots - Scupper Island. Everything and nothing has changed, and Nora still feels like she doesn't belong. Throw into the mix her mother, who still can't seem to show any affection, and her niece, a moody and withdrawn teenager whose mother is in jail, and Nora puts on a brave face and starts to pretend that everything will just be OK.
But, of course, it isn't. There are old high school rivals, bullies, and mean girls to contend with. And a few are still holding a very serious grudge. But Nora tries not to let that get to her. She's determined to make the most of what she has - even if it doesn't seem like much at times. I loved how determined Nora was, while still showing a vulnerable side, and I really loved how much she loved her family and was willing to do just about anything to reconnect with them.
In the long run, Nora grows into someone far more complex and likable that she was at the beginning. There a a few fantastic twists and turns with the people around her, and I was really surprised be a couple of them. I highly recommend this book. It was an enjoyable, relaxing listen with just enough excitement laced throughout.
I loved the story of The Lighthouse Keeper. It was fun, and just the right amount of light-hearted to suspenseful for a summer read. Dawn's character was an interesting one. An odd mix of old-fashioned and modern-day. Her search for a place to call home was always present, but not so much that I felt like I was getting hit over the head with it.
Her treasure-hunter parents were quite hilarious. I loved their conversations, and you could tell they were two people that were completely comfortable with themselves and around each other. But I wondered throughout the book why they hadn't put more effort into finding the missing silver pieces. Dawn's father feeds her information every now and then throughout her search, and I had to ask myself, why didn't he follow up on that? Why wait until now?
The mystery of the missing silver was a really good one. And it did keep me guessing up until near the end, but the author was also very careful not to give away any clues ahead of time.
However, I highly recommend you read this instead of listen to it. The narrator sounded a little too much like the computerized voice you hear on automated systems for me. There wasn't a whole lot of emotion or inflection (until she had to do a man's voice, and that was just overdone). I might continue on in the series. I have no idea what the next book might be about, but I'll definitely read it instead of listen this time.
Internment is very scary look into a near future reality that seems to be knocking on our door right now. When politicians vilinize the Muslim community, people begin to view them all with suspicion. A registry is formed. They lose their jobs/schools. And they are sent to camps.
Samira Ahmed does an amazing job showing just how the American public allowed this to happen. Between a mixture of hatred, being uninformed, and people assuming it could never happen here - they allowed it to happen.
We see these events unfold through the eyes of Layal - an American whose country turns on her for committing no crime. Viewing the life of the camp and the small rebellions leading to revolution as she experiences them was so very hard.
I think this book comes at a great time in history to show that "not doing anything" isn't any better than "doing the bad thing." Looking the other way or assuming that it can't happen here is a faulty way of thinking/acting, and Samira Ahmed shows us why. I alternated between anger at what people dared to do and sadness that anyone would be treated in this way.
Thank goodness it's fiction....for now. I only hope that continues to be the case and we never have to see events like the ones in Internment ever happen.
**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**
Title: Right Girl Wrong Timing (Offsides #3)
Author: Natalie Decker
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction
Adaline Frost’s life officially sucks. Now that her BFF has found her true love, Addy is constantly stuck being the third wheel. On top of that, she hasn’t started her junior project yet, so her advisor pairs her up with what could only be described as the “Reject Breakfast Club.” Instead of the weirdo and the troublemaker, Addy is forced to work with two stoners, a popular girl, and her crush, Austin Reed, the jock who broke her heart.
Austin Reed is sick of being labeled “dumb jock.” If he doesn’t get an A on this project, he can kiss his future goodbye. Austin thought he’d gotten lucky being partners with the very nerdy Adaline Frost, but boy was he wrong. Addy jumps down his throat about his being late and calls him names like “manwhore” on the daily. She has no idea Austin works before and after school in order to help his mom with the bills. Yeah, he’s made mistakes and has had lots of girlfriends, but he doesn’t need Adaline Frost to remind him of it every time he sees her.
Can Austin and Addy ever be a thing?
Right Girl Wrong Timing is book 3 in the Offsides series by Natalie Decker.
Right Girl Wrong Timing Excerpt
©2019 Natalie Decker
It’s like my body is on GPS vibe, and I sense her before I see her. Adaline enters the commons, and Brock is talking about something, but I’m no longer listening to him. “Hey, Brock, scoot your ass down one,” I say.
He lifts his head and gawks around. “Grab another chair, and pull it up for her,” he says.
Slick move. I’ll take it. “You still gotta move down. I want her close, man, not really you in my lap.”
He laughs as he slides his chair down, making room for me to pull another chair for Adaline in its place. I steal one from the table next to me. I hope to hell she’s coming over here, otherwise I’ll feel stupid.
She reaches the table and mumbles. “Got a minute before everyone else arrives?”
I pat the empty chair next to me. “Sure.”
“I don’t think I should sit there.”
I frown. “Ads, please take the seat.”
She rolls her eyes. “All right. Only if you stop pouting.”
Brock barks out a laugh as she plops down next to me. I grip the edge of her chair and pull her close to me. Our legs touch, and her eyes widen. “That’s better. You were too far away, and you know how crappy my attention is.”
She looks as if she’s half tempted to slap me. I wouldn’t blame her. “You’re impossible. You know that?” Irritation laces her words. “I was thinking since we must work together, we should get one thing straight. This will not be a repeat of our history project.”
Wow. She’s really scorned. I mean, I got she was mad at me but damn. She knows how to kick a dude while he’s down. “How many times do I have to apologize to you?” I whisper.
“I’ll catch you later, man,” Brock says, and he leaves.
I wait until he’s gone before I clasp Adaline’s chin and direct her attention to me. Her eyes narrow. “Don’t. Can we forget about it and just move on?”
I lean toward Adaline. Her breath hitches slightly. I dip my mouth close to Adaline’s ear and whisper, “We’re not done discussing this. Far from it.”
About Natalie Decker
Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn't her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She's a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she's not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she's off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!
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This will be my last in the Sisterhood series for a while. While I totally understand the need for revenge, the graphic quality of what the group does to the man that killed Myra's daughter just turned my stomach and made me sick.
In addition, after the things they have put Jack and his friend through, I find it beyond belief that he would even consider not continuing to try and find a way to stop them. If the books were less graphic, or more about the women finding ways to prove people's guilt or trap them into confessing, I think this would be a far better series.
I will continue to read Fern Michaels' Christmas and holiday books. They are so much different than this series. Perhaps I will come back some day and see if the Sisterhood takes a new direction.