Our recent trip to Seattle sans kids allowed me several uninterrupted hours of reading in airports and on the airplane and I have some serious book catch up to play with you! I only brought two books with me on the trip, but had to purchase one more at a used book store before heading back home so I’d have something for the airplane. Today I am sharing with you everything I read on that trip with book reports on Lone Wolf, Slightly South of Simple, and One Plus One.
Let’s start with Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult, which was the first one I read. After loving The Storyteller, I decided to delve into another novel from one of my long time favorite authors. Lone Wolf follows the story of Luke Warren, a man who has spent most of his life studying wolves to the extreme… he even left his family for almost two years to live in the wilderness and become a member of a pack of wolves. After returning home from that time in his life, he found it hard to once again live with his wife Georgie and their two children, Edward an older teenage boy at the time, and Cara, a young girl. The marriage dissolves after something terrible happens between Luke and his son, and Edward flees to Thailand. Georgie marries another man and starts a new family, leaving Cara feeling a little lost and eventually moving in with her father, Luke. One evening, an accident occurs and Cara and Luke are hospitalized, with Luke in a coma. Edward flies back home, and once again the family comes together to make big life decisions as well as mend torn relationships. To be quite honest, this book was a struggle for me to get into… I found Luke’s character so far fetched (even though I do know that people like that exist) and some of the other characters who were major players weren’t developed enough. I typically cry when I reach the end of a novel simply because I am mourning its ending; there were no tears shed with this one and I was simply glad to be done so I could move onto something else.
We were mid-air when I finished Lone Wolf, so I dove right into my next book, Slightly South of Simple, written by my long time blog friend Kristy Woodson Harvey. I was thrilled when Kristy asked me if I’d like to read and review this book as I had read her debut novel and enjoyed it. (FYI, this book is being released in April, but is available for pre-order). This book follows Ansley and her three grown daughters: Caroline, the stubborn, strong straight shooter who’s very pregnant and whose husband just very publicly cheated on her; Sloane, a military wife whose husband is on deployment and she’s raising their toddlers; and Emerson, an up and coming actress. The book is told in alternating chapters by Ansley and Caroline. We learn that Ansley’s husband died 16 years ago during 9/11, at which time she relocated her family to Peachtree Bluff, where she owns a design business. Recently, an old flame has returned to her life, but she’s never been ready to move on from losing her husband. Just around the time of his return, her daughters all decide to come live with her for some time. Caroline leaves her husband and finds refuge in Peachtree Bluff; Emerson is filming a movie in the area; and Sloane doesn’t want to miss out on the reunion. During the girls’ stay with their mom we learn a lot about their relationships and their past, and all of the struggles that Ansley has secretly gone through for her family. This novel explores sisterly bonds and the depths of the things we will do for people we love most in the world. Slightly South of Simple was a sweet and enjoyable book with a dash of humor and wit, and will make an awesome beach read this summer! I loved this book, and it was the perfect light read after forcing myself through the last one. 😉
After finishing Slightly South of Simple Sunday afternoon in the hotel while we rested, I needed another book and didn’t want to pay the full airport price. Monday morning Chris and I headed out for our last Seattle breakfast and popped into a used bookstore in Pike Place, Lamplight Books. It was a small store filled to the brim with floor to ceiling books. I was trying to choose quickly so I stuck to eye level and found a copy of One Plus One by JoJo Moyes. I quickly decided it was the one; I’d loved both Me Before You and After You by Moyes. One Plus One follows the story of Jess, a hard working mother to one awkward mathematical genius of a young daughter and step mother (and only caretaker) of an introverted social pariah of a boy who is constantly beaten by neighbors. She works around the clock as a waitress and housecleaner to make ends meet and do the best she can for the kids, even though life is extremely hard for her as a single mom whose husband abandoned her, their daughter, and his son. Then there is Ed, a wealthy independent man who’s incredibly intelligent yet he’s made one major mistake and is about to lose everything he has. Ed and Jess’ paths cross several times. First, when Jess is cleaning his house, Ed who is never home is there and extremely rude to her. Second, Ed shows up at the pub where Jess works and he finds himself inebriated and unable to drive home. And the third time marks the start of major change for both of them… Jess finds herself pulled over by the police in her ex husband’s beat up old car as she’s trying her hardest to get her daughter to a math competition that could change their life and give her kids opportunity. Ed happens to drive by and winds up the knight in shining armor, rescuing them and driving them to the math competition… which is a couple days of driving away. Along the adventure there are struggles, personality ticks, and more, but these two forge a friendship due to circumstances. I really enjoyed this book, although not as much as her others. I didn’t find Jess as enjoyable of a character as Louisa Clark, but it was humorous and a good read even so. I loved Jess’ strength of character and her willingness to do whatever it took to give her kids the best she could.
Have you read anything awesome lately? Spill! I will be heading back to the library next week to pick up something new and would love some recommendations. Right now though I am en route to South Carolina for a little blog retreat with some good blog friends! There will be relaxing, beach combing, biking, and wine! Cheers to a long weekend with friends!