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BookChick (Simcoe, ON Canada)

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Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many
Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many
by Heather Wardell
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.93
8 used & new from CDN$ 9.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and fast-paced fiction, July 20 2010
Madeline-Cora Spencer (better known as MC) has had enough of the dating scene and is looking to settle down and meet someone special. Going against her fiercely private nature, she signs up one drunken night to be on the show Find Your Prince, a reality dating show similar to The Bachelorette. She's surprised and a little excited when she is actually chosen for the show, but is beyond horrified when she finds out that she's been tricked by the producers. Rather than appearing on a show where seven men vie for her affection, she will be appearing on a show that is a combination of Stranded! (Survivor) and Find Your Prince. Making MC's nightmare even more vivid is the fact that she knows the men that she'll be stranded with- each and every one is an ex-boyfriend from her past. With no way to back out without coughing up $250 thousand dollars in penalties, it's off to a remote island that will be home for the next 21 days in an attempt to win the $1 million dollar prize.

The producers of the show have more unpleasant surprises up their sleeves, and by the time the 21 days are up, MC may have had enough surprises for a lifetime!

Reading "Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many" was more fun than watching reality TV! MC, the main character, was closed-off emotionally in many ways, yet you couldn't help but root for her to find happiness all the way through. The exes were all so different, and that kept things interesting, but they weren't so different that I couldn't imagine MC dating all of them. They all had things about them that were attractive, and they all had drawbacks as well. The whole scenario had a very "real" feel to it, as in I could imagine this show and the cast of characters actually being in existence.

Another aspect that I loved about "Seven" was that it brought the filming of reality TV to life for me. I've watched Survivor a whole bunch of times, but can honestly say that I've never wondered where they go to the bathroom. Seven addresses a lot of these issues; where people go to the bathroom, for example, or the logistics of signing a contract before you know what you're really in for. It was all really interesting stuff, and added an additional aspect to the book.

My favourite part had to be the love stories unfolding throughout the book. None were overdone, but all were fun. Most of them are secondary to the plot, and appropriately in the background, but my favourite one is between MC and one of her exes (I won't tell you which one, because that would ruin the fun!).

Heather Wardell has written a book that is fast-paced, creative and fun, and it does the women's fiction genre proud. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read that will keep you smiling.

Finding Marco
Finding Marco
by Kenneth C. Cancellara
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 3.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great book for the armchair traveller, June 29 2010
This review is from: Finding Marco (Hardcover)
Mark is the CEO of a company dedicated to making fuel-efficient vehicles. When he tries to take the company in a new direction, one that will cause short-term debt, but long-term growth, the board of directors shoots him down, afraid of their stock going down for a couple of years, but unable to recognize that their denial to move forward will eventually put the company under. After much soul searching Mark determines that his ethics are being compromised, and may have been for many years, and he no longer wants to be a part of the company. Mark resigns and escapes to Acerenza, Italy, his place of birth, for refuge.

There Mark is transported back to his childhood and a place where things seem simpler and more pleasurable. He takes stock of the family vineyards, meets up with old friends, and celebrates an old-fashioned Christmas. Mark must decide if he wishes to return to Canada and join the corporate ranks once again, or if he is willing to give up his wealth and status in the pursuit of a happier future.

"Finding Marco" is the book of a man having a mid-life crisis. Instead of buying a new car or trading in his wife for a trophy wife, Mark longs for home. He longs for the sights and smells of his childhood, and luckily has a supportive wife and daughter who encourage him in his journey of self-discovery. That's what the underlying theme of the book is: self-discovery. Often we, as humans, become so caught up in money, and status, and the trappings of a technologically advanced world that we forget what it is like to experience the simple pleasures of life, and we forget what it is like to be truly happy. Mark finds that he is no longer happy living the status quo and decides to pursue those things that will make him a truly happy man.

I especially enjoyed the descriptions of Acerenza, Italy. I'm a bit of an armchair traveller, considering that I don't have the opportunity to travel often (and generally not as far as Italy), and I enjoyed the descriptions of the everyday life of those living there. Despite the fact that technology has been evolving there as well (in one part a friend of Mark brags that they now have cars and big-screen TV's), mules still abound, and people still take nightly strolls to talk to neighbors and "show off their finery". Doors aren't locked, and are often left wide open so that neighbors can come calling. These descriptions were enchanced by the fact that Kenneth Cancellara is actually a native of Acerenza, Italy, and could draw from his own memories while writing these descriptions.

One small problem that I had with the book was the fact that it sometimes felt like I was reading a biography, rather than fiction. I would have enjoyed more detail on the daily life of the character Mark, and I would have liked to understand his thoughts more. Instead I found that the book was very event-focused at times, which detracted at times from the story itself.

Aside from that, this was an enjoyable story of mid-life, self-discovery, and a return to roots. I recommend it to armchair travellers such as myself, or to anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to change their path in life.

Husband And Wife: A Novel
Husband And Wife: A Novel
by Leah Stewart
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend this one to every woman that you know, June 29 2010
Sarah Price, mother of two small children and the wife of a fiction author, gave up her dreams of writing poetry to support the household. Her husband, Nathan, stays at home with the children and works on his novels. His upcoming novel, Infidelity, has received some fantastic pre-publication raves and everything is set to change for their family. That is until Nathan confesses that Infidelity is loosely based on his own personal experience- a year prior he cheated on Sarah while away at a writer's conference. Sarah is stunned by the revelation. She was under the mistaken impression that her marriage and home life was a happy, balanced one.

Sarah isn't quite sure how to proceed. Does she kick Nathan out? Does she stay with him and try to forgive him? She finds that neither answer is quite what she was looking for, and she sets out to try to reassemble the jagged pieces of both her life and marriage.

"Husband and Wife" is filled with lyrical prose, the kind that you want to say out loud and savour on your tongue. I practically devoured the beautiful words, as one would a particularly delicious dinner. For that reason alone I would have recommended the book, but Leah Stewart has filled the book with raw truths as well, making it that much more enjoyable. At first glance one may think that Husband and Wife is a reflection on marriage. It is, but it is so much more. It is a reflection on marriage, motherhood, parenthood, and losing oneself in the midst of all of the additional roles that we take on when we become responsible for others. There were so many instances in this book when I thought, "Yes! Leah Stewart really gets what it is like to be a parent and to have not one ounce of patience remaining in my person to be used on the kids. She understands what it is like to put the kids to bed at 6 o'clock just because I can't take one more minute of being responsible". Stewart has captured, and mananged to convey on paper, the all-consuming job of being wholly responsible for small children.

I don't know if there is much more that I can say about this book other than to tell you to read this one. Recommend it to the woman in your life, the mother, the wife, the sister, the friend. This is a book that women have to read, if only so that they understand that there is a person out there who understands what it is like to lose a little of your identity when you have children, but that it is never too late to get those pieces back.

So Much For That
So Much For That
by Lionel Shriver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.99
11 used & new from CDN$ 3.04

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and raw, June 29 2010
This review is from: So Much For That (Hardcover)
Shep Knacker, after building his handyman business his entire life, is finally rewarded when he sells it for a cool $1 million dollars. He's been saving for "The Afterlife", the journey he plans to take to Tanzania, the one with no return date. His wife, Glynnis, is less than sold on the idea of leaving America to live out their remaining days in a foreign country and has been clinging to their current life. Shep reluctantly returns to his old job, although this time he's an employee rather than the boss.

Shep finally concludes that there is no time like the present to start his retirement and tells Glynnis that he will be moving to Tanzania, with or without her. Glynnis drops a bomb of her own- she has cancer, and will require his health insurance in order to pay for her upcoming treatments. Shep returns to work as if nothing happened, but as his retirement nest egg shrinks significantly as a result of the out-of-pocket expenses he pays for Glynnis' treatments, his plans of escape seem further away than ever.

"So Much for That" is a commentary on what it's like to be a middle-class American, the nice guy, and a victim of the misleading and complicated health care system. It was kind of like the book version of Michael Moore's "Sicko", only fictional. It amazed me what the Knacker family had to go through in order to receive treatment for Glynnis' cancer, and they even had insurance! It seemed that every day Shep was on the phone with yet another branch of his insurance company, disputing yet another denied claim, and it certainly made me thankful for the Canadian health care system.

"So Much for That" is more than just a social commentary, and it became, for me, one of those books that I initially didn't expect to love, but ended up exceeding my expectations in every way. In fact, this book stayed with me long after I read the final chapter, and has a place of honour on my bookshelf. The characters, Shep, Glynnis, and friends Jackson, Carol, and Flicka, are vividly developed and quickly become people that I cared about. Even the distant Glynnis, at first holding a high opinion of herself as a gifted artist, despite the fact that she rarely takes the time to actually work on her art, grew on me as her story progressed. In fact, one of my favourite quotes in the book comes from the mouth of Glynnis. While ill she contemplates her lasting contributions to the world in general and says,

"She had cleaned things that only got dirty again. No one had ever put on a gravestone "Here Lies, etc., She Swiffered the Kitchen Floor."" (page 310 of the hardcover edition)

Lionel Shriver has written a story that was begging to be written. The ending had me both laughing and crying (as in actual tears being shed), and the rawness of the book shocked me at times (warning: this one is not for the faint of heart, as there are some rather graphic scenes). It's one of those books that will make you think, make you laugh, and it may even make you cry.

My Name Is Memory
My Name Is Memory
by Ann Brashares
Edition: Hardcover
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.63

5.0 out of 5 stars A story of love that transcends time, June 24 2010
This review is from: My Name Is Memory (Hardcover)
Daniel has "the memory", the ability to remember sizable portions of his past lives as well as the ability to recognize souls that he has met in previous lives. "The memory" is very rare, only one child born among thousands will have it, and having it can be both a blessing and a curse. Daniel can remember 552 Asia Minor, 1918 England, and 1972 Virginia, but what he remembers most clearly is her. He knows her best as Sophia, although in present day she has the name of Lucy, but she is the only one who he has ever truly fallen in love with. Their first encounter, in Asia Minor, was fateful, and Daniel spends much of his lives searching for her so that they can be reunited once again and so that he can atone for his past sins.

Lucy is in high school when she encounters the moody loner Daniel. For reasons that she can barely understand, she develops a full-on crush. Daniel appears not to notice her, but on the very last day of high school they have a strange interaction where Daniel calls her "Sophia" and asks if she remembers him. Lucy runs away from him and continues on with her life, but after an encounter with a psychic, she becomes determined to find him again. The only problem is that nobody knows where Daniel is now, or knows how to find him.

Suddenly desperate to find one another, Daniel and Lucy embark on a dangerous path, and they must overcome virtually insurmountable obstacles if they want to be together.

I have to confess something: I have never read a book by Ann Brashares. I've never read her wildly popular YA series "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants", nor have I read her adult novel "The Last Summer (of You and Me)". Something about My Name is Memory attracted me to it right away; perhaps it was the story of everlasting love. I'm so glad that I read this book! It was amazing, and the touch of the mystical enchanted me. I love the idea that true love can last for more than a lifetime, that it can be essentially everlasting and can last over many lifetimes.

There were so many new and interesting concepts that were introduced to me in this book concerning past lives. I'm not sure how many of them are based on existing ideas and how many are a product of the author's imagination, but they really stuck with me. The one that was the most thought-provoking for me was the concept that dreams are often made up of memories from past lives. There were other interesting concepts in this book as well, such as young children remembering pieces of their past lives in their early years, but forgetting those pieces as they grow. And, of course, of love lasting for more than one lifetime. My Name is Memory offered me a different perspective on life as we know it, and it certainly gave me a lot to think about.

The characters in this book were so well developed, and I especially loved the character of Daniel. He was brooding and mysterious, but gentle and loyal at the same time. We get to know Daniel the best because the story alternates between the present day with Daniel and Lucy, and Daniel's past lives where we are given a glimpse into the different things that Daniel has experienced, as well as the different times that Daniel and Lucy have encountered one another. The switch between the past and the present day were both effortless and intricately researched, and as Daniel describes his previous lives I felt as I was there with him.

The only problem that I had with the book was the ending, because there were so many questions left unanswered. I am hoping that these questions only remain unanswered in this book because there will be a sequel to "My Name is Memory". I'm definitely not done with reading the story of Lucy and Daniel and I certainly hope that I will have a sequel to look forward to about love that transcends all else (Edited to add: I am so excited to find out that this will actually be part of a trilogy!).

J'adore New York
J'adore New York
by Isabelle Lafleche
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.99
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and fun fiction!, June 23 2010
This review is from: J'adore New York (Paperback)
Catherine Lambert is thrilled when she applies for, and is offered, the opportunity to transfer from the Paris office of her prestigious law firm to the New York one. Catherine has always been a lover of fashion and can't wait to explore all that New York has to offer her.

What Catherine is not counting on is the fact that New York will be far more challenging that she initially anticipated. Catherine is under constant pressure to meet her billable hours quota, and her bosses aren't afraid to put more work on her desk. She thinks that she may be developing a friendship with someone in the office, but then she finds out that he is transferring to the Paris office. A client crosses a line with her and yet she is blamed for the fact that he can't keep her hands to himself. Catherine is just about ready to give up when she meets Jeffrey Richardson, a handsome and powerful client who is smitten with her. Suddenly her visions of what New York would be like are coming true: candlelit dinners and weekends away with a sexy man. But things seem a little too good to be true, and they are. Jeffrey makes a request of Catherine that complying with would go against every ethical fibre in her being, and she must decide how badly she wants to succeed in New York.

"J'adore New York" is the debut novel from Isabelle Lafleche, and I look forward to reading more from her. The story flowed, and she kept it interesting even when explaining technical laws. It probably helped that Lafleche was a lawyer in Quebec and she used her prior experience to explain the trickier terms to those of us knowing little about the law. Despite its length of 390 pages, there's lots going on and before I realized it, I was at the end.

I loved Catherine, the main character. She brings to New York her optimism and enthusiasm, and even when New York shows its true colours, Catherine tries to hold on these qualities in herself. She spends some time soul-searching, to discover what it is that she really stands for, and those parts of the book quickly became my favourites. The underlying message was that our future is not set in stone, but is rather a result of the choices that we make. Another stand-out character was the flamboyant and funny Rikash, Catherine's secretary in New York. Although he is a secondary character, he manages to keep things light, and I enjoyed the scenes he appeared in.

"J'adore New York" takes a serious topic- shady deals and corporate corruption- and manages to make it both fresh and fun. The result is the perfect beach read- light and easy to read, yet containing enough substance to make things interesting. It provides an insiders look into what really happens inside the walls of a prestigious law firm.

The Opposite of Me: A Novel
The Opposite of Me: A Novel
by Sarah Pekkanen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.43
86 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and well-written debut, June 22 2010
Lindsey Rose feels like she's finally going to get out of her gorgeous fraternal twin sister, Alex's, shadow: after many long hours spent working at an advertising agency, she is in line for the vice presidency. She'll be the youngest vice president that her company has ever had, and she will have everything that she's ever wanted in life. One devastating night takes it all out of her grasp, and she heads home to Maryland with her tail between her legs.

Lindsey has always been labelled "the smart one", while her sister has been labelled "the pretty one", so Lindsey decides not to tell her parents that she has lost her job and everything that she has worked so hard for, and instead decides to keep up the charade that she is scouting out a new location for her former employer.

As if living with her parents and being unemployed isn't bad enough, Lindsey is forced to become involved with Alex's wedding plans to Prince Charming. Watching her sister, who has always had everything handed to her on a silver platter, preparing to walk down the aisle nearly breaks her resolve to re-invent herself. However, when an old family secret is revealed, and when Alex faces some unexpected challenges, Lindsey and Alex discover that things are not always what they seem to be and they both come to see themselves and their role in their family in an entirely new way.

I love "The Opposite of Me"'s gorgeous cover. I mean, I'm not one to generally judge a book by its cover and all that, but it certainly helps when the cover is as appealing as this one! The picture on the cover is of the back of the heads of two women, one a brunette and one a redhead, and when we learn that Lindsey is a brunette and Alex is a redhead, it made sense. I love that it doesn't show their faces, I like being able to imagine that for myself.

Beyond the obvious cover appeal, the story itself flows effortlessly. This is at first glance a larger book (400 pages), but the story is so enticing that I couldn't put it down. I didn't find the dialogue awkward like I have in some debut books- awkward writing is one of my biggest pet peeves and usually detracts from my overall enjoyment of any book. Instead, I found a carefully plotted story with words that flowed, and it easily held my attention.

The characters in this book were especially well-developed. The emphasis is on Lindsey, and the story is from her point of view, but we do get strong glimpses into Alex's mindset. Lindsey and Alex's parents were hilarious, and they provided comic relief at the more serious parts, which helped the book to maintain its overall lighthearted tone.

The ending was predictable, but that made it no less satisfying for me. In fact, one of the things that makes me sigh wistfully at the end of the book is how good the ending was. After I was done reading "The Opposite of Me", you can rest assured that there was lots of wistful sighing.

Sarah Pekkanen has written a strong debut novel, and I'm thrilled that this will not be the last we hear from her (she's already submitted the manuscript for her next book). "The Opposite of Me" is a compelling look at the complicated bond between sisters.

Jessica Z.
Jessica Z.
by Shawn Klomparens
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.88
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling debut, June 21 2010
This review is from: Jessica Z. (Paperback)
Jessica Zorich is meandering through life. She has a job that she's good at, but not passionate about. She's in a strange relationship with her upstairs neighbor, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. The world around her is both frightening and dangerous- it's post 9-11 and buses are frequently being blown up by suicide bombers. When she meets Josh, an intense and brilliant artist, at a party, she's swept into an overwhelming relationship with him. He's passionate, he's sexual, he's politically minded, and he wants her. Jessica can't help but be flattered, especially when he asks her to be his muse for an upcoming project.

When something both confusing and devastating occurs, life as Jessica knows it is blown to pieces, and what remains are the truths that were hidden there all along.

It always amazes me when a man can truly get into the head of a woman, and Shawn Klomparens does an excellent job of this with "Jessica Z." Jessica would do something and I would be nodding my head in agreement with what she did, or with how she felt, and it surprised me how Klomparens was so in tune with the female mind. For this reason alone I would recommend it, but he also managed to create multi-faceted characters who were more than what they seemed at first glance. A particularly good example of this would be Josh, the brooding artist. In the first part of the book we meet one part of his personality, and in the second half we discover the other part, completely different from the first. At times it was difficult to associate the first Josh with the second Josh, because they were so entirely different, yet as a character he remained entirely believable.

The plot of "Jessica Z." was spectacular, and the setting particularly eerie. The whole book is set in an uncertain time, a time when suicide bombers are common and it seems like they are becooming commonplace. It was frightening, yet oddly familiar. Jessica and her friends and family seem to go about their daily lives as normal, yet when another bombing occurs, a national tragedy, it seems like just another tragic blip on the radar. They seem to know that another one is just around the corner. Klomparens doesn't really expand on what it is that is causing all of these people to blow buses up, but this elusiveness made the book more compelling if anything. In the midst of all of the uncertainty of the time, Klomparens manages to tell the story of a normal girl with normal problems: she's unsure of her new relationship with Josh, her mother is overprotective, and she forms a new friendship in the oddest of circumstances. All of these aspects combined to create a story that was both hard to put down and easy to relate to.

The Journey Home
The Journey Home
by Michael Baron
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.50
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.66

4.0 out of 5 stars An emotional ride with a suprising ending, June 15 2010
"Crossing the Bridge" by Michael Baron was one of the first books that I read in 2010, and it wasn't one of my favourites because I had some issues with some of the characters. However, I did enjoy Baron's writing style, so I thought that I would give his latest, "The Journey Home" a try. I'm glad that I was willing to give Baron a chance to wow me, because this one was very different (in a good way!) from his last one.

The story begins as Joseph, a man in his late 30's, wakes up in a strange house, completely disoriented. He has no idea who he is, other than the fact that his name is Joseph, and he doesn't know what event landed him where he is now. He fleetingly remembers his wife, in snatches of memory that come and go, but he has no idea where she is or how he can find her. With little to guide him, Joseph sets out to find his wife, who he is sure is worried about him, and he takes Will, a teenager looking for adventure, along for the ride.

Meanwhile, Antoinette is an elderly woman living in a nursing home who is slowly losing her grip on reality. Rather than deal with the present she would rather sleep, where she has the most wonderful dreams about her deceased husband, Don, and all of the things that they used to do. Her son, Warren, recently divorced and now unemployed, visits his mother frequently, trying to replicate the wonderful recipes that she created when he was young in an attempt to lure her back to the present.

These three people are all searching for a very different version of home, and their journey to get there is an emotional ride.

I really enjoyed "The Journey Home". I had no problems connecting with the characters, and I felt especially drawn to Joseph. His disorientation was heartbreaking; he followed smells and feelings in a desperate attempt to be reunited with his wife. He can't remember her name, or what her face looks like, but he can remember how much he loves her. I also enjoyed the character of Warren. Instead of becoming a broken man- he's freshly divorced, newly unemployed, and he's losing his mother to dementia and old age- he throws all of his energy into making his mother happy. The ending of Warren's story was definitely my favourite.

In fact, the best part of the book was the ending. This isn't to discount the beginning and middle of the book, it was just that the ending utterly surprised and pleased me. It isn't often that an author can surprise me with an ending (usually I can anticipate them well ahead of time). There was a point when I wondered how the story could possibly end that would make any sense, but Baron managed that and more. It's what made this book memorable.

This book is short (only 176 pages), but it packs a punch. The short length will also make it the perfect read for busy moms this summer, as it only took me a couple of hours to read it from start to finish.

The Lies We Told
The Lies We Told
by Diane Chamberlain
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.24
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising and compelling, June 12 2010
This review is from: The Lies We Told (Paperback)
Rebecca and Maya are sisters with a past that haunts them. As teenagers- Maya was 14, Rebecca 18- they witnessed the murder of their parents by one of their father's ex-students. Rebecca put her life on hold to raise her little sister and to keep her out of foster care, and both went on to become doctors. That's where their similarities end- Rebecca is now a doctor working with DIDA, a group of doctors sent to disaster areas. Maya is an orthopedic surgeon working with children (she knits tiny little bones together), married to a fellow doctor, Adam, who is desperately trying for a baby.

After Maya miscarries her third baby, Adam is called to help when a hurricane devastates the coast of North Carolina. Realizing that a pediatrician is badly needed, Adam convinces timid Maya to come down to help out. Shortly after her arrival, the helicopter bringing Maya and several patients to a local hospital goes down. Maya is missing, and she is presumed dead.

Meanwhile, Rebecca, usually the one who jumps from one relationship, one adventure, to the next, finds herself dreaming of motherhood. Even worse, she finds herself intensely attracted to Adam, her sister's husband, and finds herself unable to stop thinking about him. Adam and Rebecca turn to one another in grief and in passion, unaware of the fact that Maya is alive, but injured and stranded on a small island with strangers. Maya must find a new strength to get her through a threatening situation, not knowing that life as she knew it has changed forever.

I enjoyed "The Lies We Told" far more than I had even anticipated. I tore through it at almost a frantic pace, desperate to know what was going to happen next. Diane Chamberlain has written a book that is both compelling and almost impossible to put down once you've started. There's also a hint of mystery which I enjoyed. When Maya finds herself stranded on an island with strangers I knew that there was something wrong, but it was not until the later chapters that I was able to put my finger on what it was that was amiss. The fact that Diane Chamberlain kept me guessing was one of the reasons that I couldn't put "The Lies We Told" down.

What I enjoyed the most about this book was watching Maya come in to herself. At the beginning of the book she is timid. She allows her sister and her husband to baby her, and she is fine as long as she is tucked into her safe little cocoon. Even when she agrees to come to North Carolina, she is only doing it because her husband has asked her to, not because it is something that she wants to do for herself. Later, when Maya is stranded, she is unable to rely on others and instead has to begin relying on herself. She surprises even herself with how strong she becomes, and that is when she became my favourite character in the book.

The conclusion of the book was not what I was expecting initially, but it was exactly how I hoped it would end. Chamberlain has written a book filled with surprises that you'll want to read in one sitting.

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