2018 Book #48 – The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert

51dDfp8SvQL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go
Author: Amy E. Reichert
Date finished: 6/19/18
Genre: Fiction, women’s fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Three generations. Seven days. One big secret. The author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cakeunfolds a mother-daughter story told by three women whose time to reckon with a life-altering secret is running out.

Gina Zoberski wants to make it through one day without her fastidious mother, Lorraine, cataloguing all her faults, and her sullen teenage daughter, May, snubbing her. Too bad there’s no chance of that. Her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys them both, no matter how hard she tries. Instead, Gina finds order and comfort in obsessive list-making and her work at Grilled G’s, the gourmet grilled cheese food truck built by her late husband.

But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine’s kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go…

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I had read Simplicity of Cider by this author last year and I just loved it. And while this book wasn’t quite as much of a home run as that book was, I did still really enjoy it. This author has a way of really reaching in and grasping around your heart and squeezing. And while this book did have somewhat of a happy ending, I would classify it more as bittersweet than anything. There was such sadness in this novel and such struggle in each of the characters’ lives. I especially didn’t like the conflict between Gina and her daughter, May. While it was probably pretty accurate for human emotions that result from the situation they were going through, it was still so unbearably sad to see how May was continually lashing out at her already grief-stricken mother. I especially liked the descriptions of the different grilled cheese and brownie variations that Gina and May would come up with, they all sounded so good! This book, while sad, was still really good and I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #103 – Surviving Valencia by Holly Tierney-Bedord

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Title: Surviving Valencia
Author: Holly Tierney-Bedord
Date finished: 9/29/15
Genre: Fiction, thriller
Publisher: Unknown
Publication Date: June 30, 2012
Pages in book: 335
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A car accident robs the Loden Family of twins Van and Valencia shortly after they start college. Charmed, bright, and beautiful, they held their family together and elevated the Lodens to greatness. In their loss, a shadow is cast upon the family, particularly on the remaining child, who lacks the easy grace and popularity her older siblings took for granted.
As an adult, her life begins to turn from mediocre to amazing when she is saved by cool, artistic Adrian. The kind of happiness once reserved only for others is finally hers, until pieces of the past begin ruining what seems to be a perfect life.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of our narrator, a 30-ish year old woman who is married to a well-known and wealthy Savannah artist. Now an adult, she is still haunted by the death of her siblings (who were twins and 7ish years older than her) when she was young, and her upbringing has made her feel significantly inadequate as a person. The book alternates between chapters from the past and the present, starting when the narrator is a child and her siblings were still alive. As the book goes along, the chapters about the past eventually catches up to close to where the story began in the present so we luckily end up covering the span of the narrator’s entire life. As the story evolves, we learn a lot more about the narrator’s husband and how he hasn’t been as honest as expected.
Overall I liked this book, it kept me interested from the very beginning and honestly I didn’t want to put it down. I was a little let down with the ending, only because it happened pretty abruptly and I found it to be a tad confusing plus there were some unanswered that as a reader I probably would’ve like to know the answers to. The story switched to a different narrator for the last chapter (not saying who but be prepared for a twist) and the second narrator mentions a baby with green eyes but you really have to pay attention to small details during the rest of the story to grasp the significance of this and even then its entirely possible that there is another villain out there with green eyes. And there is a reference to the second narrator escaping but what were they escaping from and how long did they have to wait before they escaped? And there is a mention of an old and a young guy but who the heck is the old guy? Just a lot of questions. Which really, I mean the story is very engrossing, i just wish we found out what happened to the second narrator! Other than that though the story is interesting and mysterious and a bit thrilling. Honestly while I was reading it reminded me of a cross of both Luckiest Girl Alive and The Space Between Heartbeats in certain parts of the plot line. It was a great read!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot but the ending left something to be desired for me personally. Story really draws you in though, I would recommend it!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page