Finding Hope by Stacy Finz
Description: Clay is a widowed rancher with two sons who are still grieving the loss of their mother. Emily is a cookbook author trying to move on with her life after the abduction of her daughter and the dissolution of their marriage. She's looking for a place to begin again and the renovated barn on Clay's ranch seems like just the place.
My Thoughts: I’m torn on this one. I enjoyed seeing the town of Nugget and all the people who call it home. I thought Clay’s sons were grieving their mother in a way that came off as very authentic and Clay’s utter loss at how to handle this felt true. I enjoyed Emily’s cookbook editor/ghost writer job and her struggles to rejoin life after the abduction of her daughter 4 years prior. My main problem is I had a hard time believing in the relationship. Clay is so dismissive of Emily’s attractiveness for so long - regularly referring to her as frumpy - and even begins a relationship with another woman after Emily has moved to the ranch. Even though he comes around it just didn’t fit. As well Emily is just starting to take the first tiny steps back into life and just doesn’t feel ready for a relationship. I can believe in a friendship between the two but an HEA just feels impossible.
Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs -
Description: After her daughter has a disaster year at school and her father is given a clean bill of health after a battle with cancer photographer Camille finds herself talked into taking a trip to France to find answers about her father's past and her own future.
My Thoughts: Let me start by saying that I love Susan Wiggs and there was a lot in this book that I absolutely loved. I loved Julie and I loved the World War II story. I loved when they were in France - especially as they are clearing out the attic and everyone - Camille included - is thriving and relaxing. What kept this from being a truly outstanding book for me was Camille herself. I understood the reasons for her intense caution but it was so over the top and she was so blind to the harm she was doing to Julie that I wanted to shake her. She's also so guarded and prickly that I never truly warmed to her and I was even more irritated by her response to what is going on with Julie at school. However, while I really disliked Camille most of the time this was still a completely engaging read that left me with tears in my eyes - of the happy kind!
Description: After finding a box of journals written during the filming of the first Star Wars movie awakened long pushed aside memories Carrie Fisher decided it was time to write about her time as Princess Leia.