Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Regretting You

Librarian Laura’s Review

Having read all of Colleen Hoover’s books and knowing how amazing she is, I was overjoyed to see she had another book coming out this December. I had no idea that this book would surpass all her others for me, putting it at #1 in my CoHo lineup. If you don’t read any of her others (and I guess we can still be friends if this happens) read this one! This is the one I want you to remember – it’s just so well written and so heart wrenching. She ripped my heart out over and over…but in a good way!

First off, let me mention, that compared to the other CoHo books, the romance in this book is very tame (no steam!). So if that was holding you back from reading one of her amazing books, read this one! The story has the typical angst and romance, but it’s just a more tamed down version. It still gave me goosebumps and tears, so I’m not knocking it in any way!

Talk about an impossible situation, 34 year old Morgan is babysitting her 2 month old nephew, Elijah, for her younger sister and best friend, Jenny, on Jenny’s first day back to work at the hospital where Morgan’s husband of 16 years, Chris also works. She gets a call to come to the hospital because Chris has been in an accident. She arrives to find Jonah, Jenny’s fiance and father of her nephew also waiting for news. They soon learn that Chris and Jenny were together and both in an accident, and that neither survived. In an instant, Morgan’s husband and best friend are gone – her entire support system vanishing in a moment. Now, imagine you were Morgan for a moment – imagine the gamut of feelings you would feel when you then discover that Chris and Jenny were having an affair (for who knows how many years of your marriage) and keeping it secret right under your nose for years! How can Morgan begin to pick up the pieces of her shattered heart while caught in a whirlwind of anger, shock, disbelief, loss, betrayal, and grief. Though she never felt goosebumps or butterflies and married Chris when she found out she was pregnant at age 17, she did love her husband. He was the kind of guy everyone loved. How will she keep the hurt from her daughter, Clara, who thought her father hung the moon? She can’t tell Clara, because Chris was an amazing father to her. How can she ruin that for her own daughter? Morgan and Clara’s relationship was already a bit rocky before the accident, and now the foundation has shifted, causing an epic battle of the wills.

And then there’s Jonah…Morgan is still unhappy with him for leaving town after high school without a word or a visit since. She and Jonah were always able to communicate without words, and she felt a special connection to him back then, even though Jonah was dating her sister Jenny and Morgan was pregnant with Jonah’s best friend Chris’s baby. So, of course, Morgan stifled her feelings and went on with her life, putting all her energy into raising Clara and keeping a happy household, while her dreams of going to college slowly faded into the distance. But, Jonah, being the upstanding man she knew he would become, has come back home to raise Elijah and marry Jenny. Now, Jonah is left alone with a 2 month old baby and some of the same crippling feelings of anger, betrayal and grief as Morgan. Can you see the writing on the wall, my friends? Only, Morgan is strong willed and selfless. She is determined to keep her feelings for Jonah bottled up, taking the blame from her daughter in order to keep her from knowing the painful truth about her father and Jenny, who Clara was closer to than her own mother. Morgan will have a tough time, however, with the ever-present, ridiculously handsome, attentive and loving Jonah back in her daily life. 

There’s also a parallel story going on with Clara and her love interest, Miller. Her father was against her dating Miller, but Jonah “Uncle Teacher” is both she and Miller’s history teacher, and he assures Morgan that Miller is in fact one of the good ones. Clara and Miller’s story feels like a wonderful YA book that is interspersed with Morgan and Jonah’s story and I loved them both so much! Clara and Miller’s story has humor, awkward dating moments, setbacks and so much love.

I will forever associate watermelon jolly ranchers and the color orange with these wonderful characters you have created, Colleen. You are everything that I aspire to be as an author someday. And, pretty please, keep ’em coming!

Thank you to Montlake Romance for the advanced reader’s copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Q&A with Author Colleen Hoover

You are ‘label-less’ in the fact that you write in several genres. Readers never know what to expect next. If someone asks, how do you label yourself?

When I self-published my first novel I had no idea what genre to put it in. I thought I had written a drama but it turns to that I had written a romance. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I still don’t put a lot of weight in genre when I write. When your best friend is begging you to read a book, it’s not going to matter what genre it is when someone you trust is passionate about the story.

To keep all of your stories and characters straight, you must be very organized.

I’m the most disorganized person you will ever meet! I have no schedule. I can’t wake up before nine in the morning. I probably don’t go to bed until like three in the morning. I usually work about 16 hours a day.

What happens if you get blocked when you are writing?

If I get stuck writing, I go for a drive and play music. Music really helps me plot. I love The Avett Brothers, X Ambassadors, Airborne Toxic Event…I could go on and on.

What can you tell readers about your latest release Regretting You?

I would spoil it if I told you about it! Most of my books are like that. I can’t say what they are about or it spoils it. But I can say that Regretting You is told from a dual point-of-view centered on the inner lives of both a teen and adult protagonist.

Sounds like lots of different types of readers will be interested!

Absolutely. I wanted to write a book that bridged the gap between young adult and contemporary romance so that mothers can read with their daughters. I think it’s exciting to see people sharing reading experiences.***

Excerpt: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Despite knowing I just pissed my mother off by being half an hour late for curfew, I still can’t stop smiling. That kiss with Miller was worth it. I bring my fingers to my lips.

I’ve never been kissed like that. The guys I’ve kissed in the past all seemed like they were in a hurry, wanting to shove their tongue in my mouth before I changed my mind.

Miller was the opposite. He was so patient, yet in a chaotic way. It was like he’d thought about kissing me so often that he wanted to savor every second of it.

I don’t know that I’ll ever not smile when I think about that kiss. It kind of makes me nervous for school tomorrow. I’m not sure where that kiss leaves us, but it felt like it was a statement. I just don’t know what exactly that statement was.

My phone buzzes in my back pocket. I roll over and pull it out, then fall onto my back again. It’s a text from Miller.

Miller: I don’t know about you, but sometimes when something significant happens, I get home and think of all the things I wish had gone differently. All the things I wish I would have said.

Me: Is that happening now?

Miller: Yes. I don’t feel like I was entirely forthcoming with you.

I roll onto my stomach, hoping to ease the nausea that just passed through me. It was going so well…

Me: What weren’t you honest about?

Miller: I was honest. Just not entirely forthcoming, if there’s a difference. I left a lot out of our conversation that I want you to know.

Me: Like what?

Miller: Like why I’ve liked you for as long as I have.

I wait for him to elaborate, but he doesn’t. I’m staring at my phone with so much intensity that I almost throw it when it rings unexpectedly. It’s Miller’s phone number. I hesitate before answering it, because I rarely ever talk on the phone. I much prefer texting. But he knows I have my phone in my hand, so I can’t very well send it to voice mail. I swipe my finger across the screen and then roll off the bed and head to my bathroom for more privacy. I sit on the edge of the tub.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” he says.

“Sorry. It’s too much to text.”

“You’re kind of freaking me out with all the innuendos.”

“Oh. No, it’s all good. Don’t be nervous. I just should have said this to you in person.” Miller inhales a deep breath, and then on the exhale, he starts talking. “When I was fifteen, I watched you in a school play. You had the lead role, and at one point, you performed a monologue that went on for like two whole minutes. You were so convincing and you looked so heartbroken I was ready to walk onto the stage and hug you. When the play was finally over and the actors came back out onto the stage, you were smiling and laughing, and there wasn’t a trace of that character left in you. I was in awe, Clara. You have this charisma about you that I don’t think you’re aware of, but it’s captivating. I was a scrawny kid as a sophomore, and even though I’m a year older than you, I hadn’t quite filled out yet, and I had acne and felt inferior to you, so I never worked up the courage to approach you. Another year went by, and I continued to admire you from afar. Like that time you ran for school treasurer and tripped walking off the stage, but you jumped up and did this weird little kick and threw your arms up in the air and made the entire audience laugh. Or that time Mark Avery popped your bra strap in the hallway, and you were so sick of him doing it that you followed him to his classroom, reached inside your hoodie, and took off your bra and then threw it at him. I remember you yelling something like, ‘If you want to touch a bra so damn bad, just keep it, you perv!’ Then you stormed out. It was epic. Everything you do is epic, Clara. Which is why I never had the courage to approach you, because an epic girl needs an equally epic guy, and I guess I’ve just never felt epic enough for you. I’ve said epic so many times in the last fifteen seconds—I’m so sorry.”

He’s out of breath when he finally stops talking.

I’m smiling so hard my cheeks ache. I had no idea he felt this way. No idea.

I wait a few seconds to make sure he’s done; then I finally respond. I’m pretty sure he can hear from my voice alone that I’m smiling. “First of all, it’s hard to believe you were ever insecure. And second, I think you’re pretty epic, too, Miller. Always have. Even when you were scrawny and had acne.”

He laughs a little. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

I can hear him sigh. “Glad I got that off my chest, then. See you at school tomorrow?”

“Good night.”

We end the call, and I don’t know how long I sit and stare at my phone.

***

About the Book

Title: Regretting You
Author: Colleen Hoover
Release Date: December 10, 2019
Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

Author Biography

Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including the bestselling women’s fiction novel It Ends with Us and the bestselling psychological thriller Verity. She has won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance three years in a row—for Confess (2015), It Ends with Us (2016), and Without Merit (2017). Confess was adapted into a seven-episode online series. In 2015, Hoover and her family founded the Bookworm Box, a bookstore and monthly subscription service that offers signed novels donated by authors. All profits go to various charities each month to help those in need. Hoover lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys. Visit http://www.colleenhoover.com.

Social Media Links

Website: http://www.colleenhoover.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorColleenHoover/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/colleenhoover
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5430144.Colleen_Hoover

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What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

9781478947691_c0143Set for release on October 8th, 2019, the second installment in the Winter in Paradise series, What Happens in Paradise gives readers a little more insight into the story of the late Rosie Small and Russ Steele and their love affair that was tragically cut short when both were killed in a helicopter crash as the first book began. As with all of her spectacularly written beach reads, this one leaves readers on a cliffhanger wondering what will happen next. Waiting for the next installment is going to be torture for me! Ironically, the remaining members of the Steele family, Irene, Baker, Cash, and Baker’s young son, Floyd, all end up on the island of St. John once again, a place where Russ had a secret sprawling villa on Little Cinnamon as well as a secret mistress and tween daughter, Maia.

To complicate matters, the FBI is now investigating the helicopter crash, along with Russ and his business partner Todd Croft, searching around both the Iowa City and Little Cinnamon villa for clues. Baker and Cash are both still vying for Ayers’ (Rosie Small’s best friend) attention, though Baker more seriously, after his wife Anna, now a lesbian, agrees on a divorce and then decides to move out of state to work, live, and start a family with her lover. Ayers is back with her ex-husband Mick, even though he cheated on her in the past with one of his bar employees. Let’s just say, once a cheater, always a cheater. Things are looking good for Baker on that front. Cash doesn’t really have anything tying him to Colorado just as Irene feels a pull to St. John and her budding friendship with Huck, Meanwhile, Ayers and Huck find some unsettling information while cleaning out and searching Rosie’s room before the FBI does the same thing. Rosie’s step-father. As the Steele family settles into St. John, more fireworks from the past ignite, forcing each of them to consider what the future holds for them and where they should call their home – Iowa City or St. John?

Readers will love the atmospheric setting of St. John with its picturesque beaches and quaint streets. What Happens in Paradise is a quick read which is written in multiple points of view between characters in short chapters, keeping readers interested and wondering what Elin has up her sleeve for the third and final book in the series. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader’s edition of this book in exchange for an honest review. As with all of her books, I loved this one so much!

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

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Bring on the Summer! Elin Hilderbrand, the queen of Summer beach reads, has created yet another fast-paced, intriguing, and highly addictive Nantucket-based beach novel full of secrets and romance. The Perfect Couple will be released on June 19th, and I highly suggest it!

Some popular characters from some of Elin’s previous novels make an appearance, including police chief Ed Kapenash.  The Chief and Nick, a state policeman known as “the Greek” and known by his movie-star good looks, are tasked with investigating the death of 29 year old Merritt Monaco, who was found floating on the each in the wee hours of the morning by Celeste Otis, the bride-to-be, on the day of the wedding. Merritt was Celeste’s best friend and maid of honor. As Ed and Nick begin to question those who were with Merritt up until her very last hour, more and more secrets will be exposed. The story flashes back to when Celeste, an assistant zoo director, first met her husband-to-be, Benji Winbury. The Winbury’s are extremely wealthy and have more money than they even know what to do with, a lifestyle which causes Celeste to feel uncomfortable and question her own upbringing at times. Benji’s mother, Greer, a mystery novelist, has made it her mission to hold the most lavish, memorable wedding Nantucket has seen in a while. Celeste is preoccupied by her mother’s declining health, as she is in the final battle with stage 4 cancer. Celeste wants to make her parents proud, and Benji is a perfect gentleman who will be able to provide for her every need and whim.  But is that more important than love? On the outside, Benji and Celeste appear to be the perfect couple. So, why did Celeste have a bag packed ready to leave the island hours before the wedding, when she was interrupted by the tragic discovery of her best friend’s body on the beach. Why would a happy bride-to-be be planning to leave her groom at the altar? And, perhaps the more intriguing question, with whom was she planning to leave the island with? Readers won’t find out the truth about Merritt’s untimely death until the final chapter.

This is one of my favorites from Hilderband, and I’ve read them all.  There is quite a bit more mystery involved in this novel than in her previous books. As with all of Elin’s stories, the paradise-like setting of Nantucket in all its island splendor is reverently portrayed, causing readers to be transported into the story and really get to know the characters. The beaches, night life, farmer’s markets, seafood, lavish homes, and the ferry rides all combine for a sensory overload. I’ve got to travel to Nantucket some day so that I can see it all with my own eyes. I can’t say enough good things about this book. I promise you’ll love it!

 

Subject to Change by Karen Nesbitt

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Review first appeared in School Library Journal, February, 2017.

NESBITT, Karen. Subject to Change. 276p. Orca Book Publishers. Feb. 2017. $14.95. ISBN 9781459811461.

Gr 9 & Up -In Nesbitt’s debut realistic fiction novel, readers come face-to-face with Declan, a teen living in Quebec and dealing with major family issues. Told through Declan’s (at times) vulgar point of view, the pace is somewhat slow until the reasoning behind Declan’s parents break-up is revealed: his father cheated with another man and is gay. Coupled with Declan’s older brother Seamus’ illegal behavior and bullying attitude toward him, Declan is at a breaking point, receiving so many detentions at school that he is forced to undergo tutoring. His tutor, Leah, turns out not to be the “Little Miss Perfect,” he assumed she was all along. The language and content of the novel is very mature in nature. The subject matter would appeal most to teenage males, and even reluctant readers. The story is a great example of a teen’s uncertain relationship with a gay parent, as well as a family dealing with the aftermath of an affair. As Declan spends time with Leah and her grandmother, Bubby, a Holocaust survivor, his perspective changes a bit, allowing him to give his father another chance, and just in time as tragedy strikes Seamus. VERDICT Fans of John Corey Whaley and John Green will enjoy this brazen, realistic young adult “guy’s story.” Recommended for strictly additional purchase.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

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Behind Her Eyes, published by Macmillan, will be released on January 31, 2017.

This story is full of unreliable narrators (who drink…a lot) and the story switches back and forth between them with each chapter. David Martin is young, handsome, and a highly successful psychiatrist. His wife, Adele, is strikingly beautiful with a tragedy-laden past, having lost her parents in a fire at the family estate prior to her marriage to David. Enter Louise, a divorced, single mother who spends her time working as a secretary and drinking wine. Louise becomes entangled with both David and Adele, but in secret (at least Louise believes it to be a secret) from each other. She first meets David in a bar one night, spends some time kissing and flirting with him, but didn’t realize he was married. The next time she sees him, it’s when he becomes her new boss. Awkward much? One day while dropping her young son, Adam, off at school, Louise literally runs into Adele. The “chance” meeting turns into a chat over coffee and the beginning of a gratifying friendship for Louise, who mostly kept to herself prior to meeting Adele.

As Louise spends more time with Adele, she starts to question some of the oddities of her marriage to David. Why does David call to check on Adele at certain times of the day, but not allow her to have a cell phone or any money. Why does Adele keep things hidden from David? And who is this man named Rob, which Adele mentions from her past. Though part of the story flashes back to the time after the fire when Adele is in a mental institution, readers are never given specifics about why she is there. Readers will get a sense that her relationship with Rob, whom she meets at the institution, will be a huge turning point in the plot and what happened to cause such a dark, secretive marriage situation.

This story is dark and even from the outset, there is a powerful mood that something is very, very wrong about Adele and David’s relationship. The ending does a total flip and nothing that happened in the story is as it seems, once the truth is revealed. Everything is explained in the final two chapters and readers will be gobsmacked. Personally, the ending of the book changed my entire attitude toward the story. Though I very much enjoyed reading it, it took a turn toward the twilight zone at the end that I wouldn’t normally enjoy. Sorry to be so vague, but this is not the kind of story I want to inadvertently spoil for any future readers.

Behind Her Eyes is certainly unique and like nothing I have ever read in the past. Perhaps for this reason alone, and despite the ending that wasn’t to my liking, I really loved the book!  Fans of Gone Girl-type psychological suspense and authors like Mary Kubica and/or Stephen King will enjoy this book immensely. It’s sure to be a bestseller with a movie to follow.

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

9780062497772_c19aeA Simple Favor will be released on March 21, 2017.

The story unfolds through the points of view of three separate unreliable narrators. One is Emily, a woman who goes missing and is presumed dead. Two is Emily’s loving, devoted, and distraught husband, Sean. The third is Stephanie, Emily’s best friend, and the mother to Emily’s son Nicky’s best friend, Miles.

Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom and blogger. Her blog is about the everyday excitement (as well as mundane day-to-day happenings) of raising a child, and it has quite a following. Stephanie’s husband was killed a few years prior in an accident, so she has been raising Miles on her own. Upon meeting Nicky’s mother, Emily, Stephanie is instantly drawn to her and soon considers them to be best friends, just like their sons. Stephanie seems jealous of Emily’s marriage and her prestigious career as a marketing manager for a well-known fashion brand. While Emily is wearing the latest fashion and turning heads, Stephanie is playing “Captain Mom.”

As friends and neighbors, Stephanie and Emily often help each other out with childcare, so Stephanie doesn’t think twice about saying “yes” and keeping Nicky as a simple favor for Emily when she has to work late one evening. However, when Emily doesn’t return, text, or call Stephanie after many days, she becomes very worried. Stephanie reaches out to Emily’s husband, a business man who is often away on trips and not too present as a Dad to Nicky. Together, they try to piece together their last conversations with Emily in the hope that they can find her alive and well. When Emily’s body turns up at a cabin in the Michigan woods a few months later, the plot thickens; and soon readers don’t know if any of the characters can be trusted. I won’t give away any more details, because I am a big believer in spoiler-free reviews. However, you won’t want to put this book down once you get started. It is fast paced with surprises and thrills around every corner.

A Simple Favor has many definite, undeniable similarities to Gone, Girl. Fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, and The Luckiest Girl Alive will not want to miss this irresistible psychological thriller from Darcey Bell.

Thank you to Harper Collins for an advanced digital review copy of this title.