Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Review copy courtesy of Berkley and NetGalley

Description:

On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree’s trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping–including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.

But life can waylay the best of intentions….

Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways. (publisher)

My take:  Dreams of Falling is told via dual timelines moving from the 1950s to 2010. Karen White’s story is one of friendship and love that changed the lives of all involved – including future generations. The novel has a sultry setting replete with the humid, salty air of coastal Carolina, a town where everyone “knew you when…”, and secrets. Lots of secrets. It’s a time of transition for the three friends who are ready to burst forth on the world having just graduated from high school. They (and the future generations) will discover how strong they can be. They’ll find that in order to survive their mistakes they’ll “have to learn to live with their choices”. Falling isn’t necessarily bad if there’s someone there to catch you. And that someone might not be who you’d expect. I enjoyed this novel but there were times when I was confused about the generational relationships. That took me out of the story at times – but I’m not sure it would for other readers. So I’ll recommend it – especially to fans of southern fiction and Karen White.


 

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The Patchwork Bride by Sandra Dallas

St. Martin’s Press; June 5 2018; $26.99

My copy was provided by St. Martin’s Press

Description:

“Both heartwarming and emotional…As we see Nell search for happiness and grow into a mature woman, we are reminded of the importance of love, family, and the memories that we hold dear as we age. A touching and romantic tale by a talented storyteller.” – Historical Novels Society


Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99

About The Book of M: (content courtesy of the publisher)

Set in a dangerous near future world, THE BOOK OF M (Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99) tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love—a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, the magic comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife, Max, have escaped the Forgetting by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until their greatest fear happens to them, and Max’s shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away while Ory is out foraging for supplies—but he refuses to give up what little time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, Ory follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, they search for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

This haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.  THE BOOK OF M has the unique post-apocalyptic world building of Station Eleven, the dangerous quest for salvation of The Passage and the stunning magical realism and incredible love story that made Exit West a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.


About the author:

Prior to her earning her Creative Writing MFA from NYU on a full scholarship, Peng earned an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She worked for several years in the private security industry in both London and Washington DC, where she helped provide protective services to companies operating in hostile environments and war zones, even completing a short-term deployment to Iraq. This experience has given Peng a diverse perspective that she uses to highlight compelling, complex characters from around the globe—India, Iran, etc.—to create a dynamic cast.

 


Praise for The Book of M

“… Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.”— Publishers Weekly 

“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” — Booklist

“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.”    — Library Journal

“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” — Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” — Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life

The Book of M does a million smart things, but the smartest is to entertain us at the highest level. Peng Shepherd has written a brilliant story that takes the hours and breath away. As you chase Ory and Max, it’s hard to pin down just what makes this book so satisfying—a voice that’s as emotionally compelling as Gone Girl, a novel that’s as thrilling as The Stand.  Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” — David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Absolutely American


US Giveaway

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Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble

Lighthouse Beach by Shelley Noble

William Morrow Paperbacks (May 29, 2018)

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Noble comes a heartrending and uplifting novel about friendship, love, and what we’re willing to sacrifice for our dreams.

What was supposed to be an idyllic wedding leads to an unexpected journey of self-discovery…

When Lillo Gray pulls up to Kennebunkport’s most exclusive hotel wearing a borrowed dress and driving a borrowed VW van, she knows she’s made a big mistake. She’s not even sure why Jessica Parker invited her to her posh wedding. They haven’t seen each other since they were unhappy fourteen-year-old girls at fat camp. And now they’re from two completely different worlds. There’s no way Lillo fits in the rarefied circles Jessica travels in.

Jess isn’t sure she’s ready to go through with this wedding, but she’s been too busy making everyone else happy to think about what she wants. But when she and her two closest friends, Allie and Diana, along with Lillo, discover her fiancé with his pants down in the hotel parking lot, she’s humiliated…and slightly relieved. In a rush to escape her crumbling life, Jess, Allie, and Diana pile into Lillo’s beat-up old van and head up the coast to Lighthouse Island. Once there, she hopes to figure out the next chapter in her life.

Nursing broken hearts and broken dreams, four lost women embark on a journey to find their way back into happiness with new love, friendship, and the healing power of Lighthouse Beach. (publisher)

My take:  Lighthouse Beach is about the friendship of 4 women in their early 30s. They’re old enough to have endured some disappointments but young enough to have retained some optimism for the future.

What starts out as the wedding of one of the four ends up being an unexpected girls getaway. And what better place to spend a girls’ week than Lighthouse Beach, Maine – a place where the town’s welcome sign says “Once you visit Lighthouse Beach, life will never be the same”. New possibilities are found and suddenly the future seems a little brighter for all involved.

I liked Lighthouse Beach. Grab a copy this summer and enjoy a visit to the Maine shore.


Praise for LIGHTHOUSE BEACH:

“Noble delivers another compelling beach read, just in time to pack it in your tote beside your sunscreen and beach towel.” – RT Book Reviews on LIGHTHOUSE BEACH

“New readers and fans of Noble’s previous novels will find much to appreciate in this ensemble drama with fully realized characters and a vivid, enchanting setting. This is a novel perfect for reading on a beach, with or without a lighthouse.” – Booklist on LIGHTHOUSE BEACH


About the author:  SHELLEY NOBLE is the NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling Author of the women’s fiction novel BEACH COLORS, a #1 Nook bestseller, STARGAZEY POINT three novellas, Holidays at Crescent Cove, Stargazey Nights, BREAKWATER BAY and WHISPER BEACH.

As SHELLEY FREYDONT she is the author of the CELEBRATION BAY FESTIVAL MYSTERIES (Berkley Prime Crime) as well and two other mystery series, and the upcoming Gilded Age Newport Mystery series. Her mysteries have been translated into ten languages.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Shelley lives near the New Jersey shore where she loves to discover new beaches and indulge her passion for lighthouses and vintage carousels.


 

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

William Morrow Paperbacks (May 22, 2018)

Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Description:

When Flora MacKenzie traded her glum career in London for the remote Scottish island of Mure, she never dreamed that Joel—her difficult, adorable boss—would follow. Yet now, not only has Flora been reunited with her family and opened a charming café by the sea, but she and Joel are taking their first faltering steps into romance.

With Joel away on business in New York, Flora is preparing for the next stage in her life. And that would be…? Love? She’s feeling it. Security? In Joel’s arms, sure. Marriage? Not open to discussion.

In the meanwhile, Flora is finding pleasure in a magnificent sight: whales breaking waves off the beaches of Mure. But it also signals something less joyful. According to local superstition, it’s an omen—and a warning that Flora’s future could be as fleeting as the sea-spray…

A bracing season on the shore sets the stage for Jenny Colgan’s delightful novel that’s as funny, heartwarming, and unpredictable as love itself. (publisher)

My take:  With The Endless Beach Jenny Colgan continues the story of the close-knit village on the island of Mure. I loved catching up with the MacKenzie family and all connected to them. The theme that we all just need/want to be accepted, loved – regardless of what has come before – runs through the novel. It doesn’t matter who we are or what our circumstances are – it’s a universal need. Jenny Colgan gets it just right and left me hoping this is not my last visit to Mure and the lovely people who live there. I highly recommend reading The Cafe By The Sea to get a true introduction to the characters and setting. It will be worth it!


 

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

      

Last week on Bookfan:

    

Reading plan for this week: