The Stolen Marriage

Twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello is engaged to the love of her life. Their wedding day is getting close. So it doesn't make sense to her fiancé when she abruptly ends their engagement and runs off to marry a stranger. Tess leaves Baltimore and moves to Hickory, North Carolina. Her husband, Henry Kraft, is secretive and distant and he often stays out late or doesn't bother to come home at all. She doesn't fit in with the people of Hickory. They all love and respect the Kraft's and view Tess as an outsider, someone who's after his money. Unhappy in Hickory and trapped inside a loveless marriage, Tess is desperate to get her old self back which happens when a sudden polio epidemic erupts and their small town is selected as the perfect spot for a hospital. Everyone in Hickory helps build this hospital in just over two days. Against her husband's wishes Tess begins helping out as a nurse and soon finds herself very happy to be of help to the young victims. But her husband's behaviour is taking its toll on Tess who wants some answers and wants out of their marriage.

Another five star read by Diane Chamberlain.  A solid, interesting story with three-dimensional characters. I liked the setting and the fact that the people of Hickory really did build, staff and get a hospital up and running in fifty-four hours. Wow! That's impressive. I really liked Tess and was rooting for her to find happiness after everything she'd been through. Chamberlain has a way of making you feel part of instead of simply reading a book. I loved it!

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

5/5.

Unreliable

Edwin Stith lives in Ithica, New York, where he is a college professor. He has returned home to Richmond, Virginia, for his mother's wedding to a man who's slightly older than Edwin himself. Edwin is an enigma. He has an ex-wife and he may or may not have killed her. He may or may not be sleeping with one of his students. He's about to have a stepsister and he may or may not have killed her. 

I found this hard to get into and I think it's because Edwin actually talks to us, the readers, throughout the book. I did not like that. But once the story gets going it was hard for me to put the book down. Edwin's trip home lasts three days and those days are jam-packed with drama. There's a diverse bunch of characters and I enjoyed them all. I had no clue how it would end and I couldn't wait to find out. I was really surprised! Looking back on the book now that I've finished it I would say it's actually quite clever. I feel as though I've known Edwin forever and I'm sad we had to say goodbye. 

I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you Doubleday Books.


4/5.

Kiss Me in New York

Charlotte is waiting for her flight back home to England after spending a semester in New York. Her boyfriend has just ended their relationship and now her flight is cancelled due to a blizzard. To make matters worse it's Christmas Eve. But she's not the only one having a bad day - Anthony, a native New Yorker, is surprising his girlfriend at the airport after spending three months apart. But it's him who's surprised when he gets dumped in the middle of the crowded airport. Anthony doesn't want to go home, and Charlotte isn't able to go home, so together they end up following the steps in a book found in the airport gift shop - Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex - in the hopes that their broken hearts will be mended.

This is a cute, short read. The story is predictable, of course, and I'm taking it for what it is which is just a fluffy, feel good read. But these two met not even 24 hours ago and they already love each other! Anthony was in a relationship for just over a year! But overall I did enjoy this book. I felt as though I was there with them on their journey through New York as they crossed the steps off the list. My favourite character would have to be Mistake (even though it's a horrible name!)

I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you Kids Can Press for an ARC.

4/5.

The Marsh King's Daughter

A notorious child abductor, known as the Marsh King, has just escaped from a maximum security prison and Helena immediately knows that she and her two young daughters are in danger. Helena is the Marsh King's daughter. She was born into captivity and didn't leave the cabin or the surrounding area until she was twelve. 

I won this through a Goodreads giveaway and was so looking forward to reading it once I got my hands on it. But after reading about SO MANY dead animals and every excruciating detail about every little thing, especially the chapters about when she was a kid growing up in the wilderness, I had to set it aside. I would pick it up every now and then but it wasn't holding my attention and at a third of the way through I didn't care anymore. It was too tedious so I skimmed. While skimming I came across more dead animals and decided to just skip to the end, which came as no surprise to me. 

1/5.

Sinful Pleasures

Sinful Pleasures consists of eleven steamy short stories. The good thing about short stories about sex is that things don't get stale and repetitious. Of course there's probably going to be at least one you don't like but all in all it's fun to read something different and get a glimpse inside someone else's imagination. I really enjoyed The Dream Feeder - I thought it was well-written. The story was weird but in a good way; it was creative. I also enjoyed On The Line - I thought the writing was really good and I liked the two young characters who were inexperienced with each other but were a little bit bolder through the phone. And I also enjoyed Lazy Sunday - there was a lot of depth to their relationship. They don't take what they have for granted, and they're spontaneous and fun even after fifteen years together. And I love that cover! 

Thank you to Sinful Press and LibraryThing.

4/5.

Watching Edie

Heather was immediately drawn to Edie. Edie was new in town, she was beautiful and creative, and she didn't know Heather was an outcast. But their friendship gradually starts to deteriorate when Edie falls in love with a handsome bad boy named Connor. All that is in the past now. They're no longer teenagers and they're no longer friends. Edie works as a waitress. She's pregnant and alone. When the baby arrives she becomes overwhelmed and sinks into a depression. There's no one she can turn to for help. Until Heather suddenly shows up at her door and begins to take care of the baby with no questions asked. But there's so much that has been left unspoken, too much has happened when they were teenagers for their friendship to ever go back to the way it was when they first met all those years ago.

This book goes back and forth between before the incident and after. Edie's perspective is told in the present and Heather's is told in the past. I couldn't wait to find out what tore their friendship apart, and when I finally found out, well, it just wasn't what I thought would happen. I think there are so many layers to both characters that ultimately we can see how things shaped them into who they were as teenagers and as adults. I thought Edie really grew as an adult and I did enjoy the very end.


3/5.

The Address

Sara Smyth is working her way up to head housekeeper in a posh London hotel when she's offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Theodore Camden, one of the architects of The Dakota - a new apartment house in New York - offers her a job. This is a big deal for a woman in 1884. It also gives her the chance to see more of Theo as he lives in The Dakota with his wife and three children.

It's 1985 and Bailey Camden is fresh out of rehab and struggling to stay sober. The former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless and has no money. Her cousin Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her Dakota apartment as well as stay there for a while. Bailey doesn't agree with Melinda's vision for the old apartment that was once owned by Melinda's own great-grandfather Theodore Camden, the same apartment where he was stabbed to death by a madwoman and former Dakota employee named Sara Smyth. 

Even though one hundred years separate Sara and Bailey, they both take refuge within the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a famous building rich with both history and tragedy can't hold its secrets forever and when Bailey goes looking through old trunks once belonging to Theo, his wife Minnie and Sara she discovers something unbelievable.

I liked Sara's story more than Bailey's because there's just something about that time period - a big monstrosity of an apartment house outside of the city proper which is actually something really beautiful even to this day! The author makes The Dakota come alive with rich details. Many famous people made their home there with its charm and character. I thought both women were kind, strong, hard workers. I liked the twists and turns. I liked that the author used real places and events and even a real (and very interesting) person makes an appearance! Overall two very interesting and readable stories that weave their way into one. 

Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Group Dutton for a copy of this book.

4/5.