Book Review: Mrs. Saint and the Defectives

A3227419-62F0-4C81-B27F-3E726CEDB0C2Title: Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
Author: Julie Lawson Timmer
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

From Lake Union: Markie, a fortysomething divorcée who has suffered a humiliating and very public fall from marital, financial, and professional grace, moves, along with her teenage son, Jesse, to a new town, hoping to lick her wounds in private. But Markie and Jesse are unable to escape the attention of their new neighbor Mrs. Saint, an irascible, elderly New European woman who takes it upon herself, along with her ragtag group of “defectives,” to identify and fix the flaws in those around her, whether they want her to or not.

What Markie doesn’t realize is that Mrs. Saint has big plans for the divorcée’s broken spirit. Soon, the quirky yet endearing woman recruits Markie to join her eccentric community, a world where both hidden truths and hope unite them. But when Mrs. Saint’s own secrets threaten to unravel their fragile web of healing, it’s up to Markie to mend these wounds and usher in a new era for the “defectives”—one full of second chances and happiness.

My Review: MRS. SAINT AND THE DEFECTIVES is brimming with charm and new beginnings.

Markie is starting over after the collapse of her marriage, finances and career. She and her son Jesse move 40 miles away where no one knows them and assures herself they are in their rental 6 months tops. When meddling neighbour (and I mean this in the most loving way possible!) Mrs. Saint keeps popping into Markie’s business she is more sure than ever they are not staying a day past their lease term. But Mrs. Saint has a gift, she helps people overcome their flaws – gives them another shot if you will.

It isn’t until a tragic event unfolds that Markie recognizes Mrs. Saint and her Defectives are more than just sharing a home, they are a family who look out for one another. And Mrs. Saint’s generosity brings Markie full circle with her own family and the new one she’s become part of.

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June Book Wrap-Up

IMG_0628Happy Summer! Yesterday was the last day of school for my kids so we are officially on summer break. The plan is to enjoy a couple weeks of downtime including chilling at the beach and pool, which is code for R-E-A-D-I-N-G. Mid-month I’m taking my kiddos to visit my parents for 3 weeks – woo hoo! We will be swimming, shopping, sewing and reading. My mom is a huge reader so I look forward to lots of book discussions with her.

I read some great books in June. It’s a toss-up between Beartown and UNSUB for my favourite. Both were amazing stories that kept me fully engaged from the first page to the last page. What are you reading this summer?

The People We Hate at the Wedding – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
The People We Hate at the Wedding is scores of family dynamics and dysfunction. It was like watching an upper echelon reality show chock-full of painful moments and endless entertainment.

The Fourth Monkey – ⭐️⭐️ / 5
The Fourth Monkey is portrayed as a cross between Se7en and Silence of the Lambs. Both movies are creepy, have disturbing aspects, literally keep you on edge but most of all stay with you. Years later you still remember those movies and may re-watch them. The Fourth Monkey has none of those attributes. It did not check off those typical suspense / thriller checkboxes for me. I am surprised because a bit of research into J.D. Barker and he has some near-award worthy books out there, unfortunately this one isn’t one of them.

Beartown – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
This book can be summarized in one word: POWERFUL! Beartown instilled emotion in me that made my heart want to explode from page one. Backman transported me into a place where I could feel the pain of every resident who inhabited Beartown, flailing on the cusp of survival but longing for so much more.

Chemistry – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Chemistry is a uniquely written story that reads like a non-fiction book. Wang’s brilliant depiction of an unnamed woman who recounts why she left a chemistry PhD program is coursely humourous. This kind of fiction writing is a departure from what I would normally pick up and read but I am so glad I ventured outside of my reading comfort zone. This book is written like a succinct diary and reads quickly so if you are looking for a book in between heavier stories this one is perfect.

Sweet Home Cowboy – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
This was my first book from the Love at the Chocolate Shop series and I thought it was a cute story. This was a pretty big variation in my reading choice. I normally don’t read romance-y books and definitely not western’s but this was light on the western romance. I thought it was entertaining and quick to read – perfect for summertime sitting poolside or at the beach.

UNSUB – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
UNSUB is the most intense and engrossing book I have read, which speaks volumes because I have read many true crime books. This book is fiction but Meg Gardiner made it feel like true crime. The story is a takeoff of the Zodiac Killer that haunted the Bay Area in the 60’s and 70’s but with a dialled up creepy factor. This book is not for the squeamish – it’s graphic and cuts to the quick, but totally suitable for any true crime lover. And the best part, a sequel is coming! This is a series I look forward to and know I will dig into.

The Secrets of Married Women – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Jill, Wendy and Leigh are best friends, each have very different personalities. Jill is married to Rob of 10 years, they adore each other but can’t have children because Rob is infertile. Wendy and Neil buried their baby daughter Nina and Wendy has never recovered from the loss but rarely complains and puts on a happy face. Leigh’s husband, Lawrence is a stay at home dad with OCD. He loves her dearly, would do anything for her but she no longer feels that spark with him and finds him a bit of a wuss.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
This book is super-cute! I listened to the audio book version narrated by Laura Knight Keating. Her narration is amazingly authentic as if Lara Jean herself were reading the story out loud. This book is entertaining and fast-paced making it a perfect summertime read.

Book Review: The Secrets of Married Women

IMG_0624Title: The Secrets of Married Women
Author: Carol Mason
Publisher: Lake Union
Format: Digital ARC
Verdict: Borrow it from the library
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Lake Union Publishing: When Jill’s husband discovers he can never have children, it tears a hole in their marriage that Jill doesn’t know how to repair. Frustrated, she seeks comfort in her friends: fierce Leigh, with her high-powered career and doting family, and sweet, uncomplicated Wendy, who has a rock-solid marriage any woman would envy.

Leigh and Wendy’s lives seem perfect. But beneath the surface are secrets that could tear their friendship apart.

Leigh has grown tired of her stay-at-home husband and is looking for excitement—outside of the marriage bed. And after seventeen years of marriage, Wendy can’t shake the sense that there is something missing in her life.

As Jill is drawn deeper into her friends’ relationships, she is confronted by a temptation of her own: an intriguing stranger whose good looks and charm spark an instant connection.

Full of the realities of modern-day marriage, The Secrets of Married Women asks the question: how well can we ever know our husbands, our friends, or even ourselves?

My Review: Jill, Wendy and Leigh are best friends, each have very different personalities. Jill is married to Rob of 10 years, they adore each other but can’t have children because Rob is infertile. Wendy and Neil buried their baby daughter Nina and Wendy has never recovered from the loss but rarely complains and puts on a happy face. Leigh’s husband, Lawrence is a stay at home dad with OCD. He loves her dearly, would do anything for her but she no longer feels that spark with him and finds him a bit of a wuss.

Leigh gets a hairbrained idea to have an affair, six weeks tops and no strings attached. Lawrence isn’t cutting it anymore and she needs to rev up her sex life because life is too short. The affair creates a chain reaction that throws the lives of three families off the rails. Jill and Wendy get caught in Leigh’s crosshairs where jealousy and deceit know no boundaries.

I enjoyed this story but with mixed feelings. Leigh’s behaviour was disheartening and reminded me of the jealous best friend in high school-type who stole your other friend’s boyfriend and then talked you into destroying your relationship too. You know the type?! I sympathized with Jill because her situation was sad for both she and Rob and her behaviour motives weren’t intended to cause destruction. Despite all of the betrayal there is a small silver lining at the end.

Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with this digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.