Reviews: May Adult Reads Part 3

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I have read SO. MANY. BOOKS. this month! Here are my May Adults Reads Part 1 and Part 2.

And it will only increase now that SUMMER is almost here! My last day of school is June 1 and then I plan to do nothing but read and vacation until mid-August…….

Settle in and get ready to add to your TBR list!

InThisMomentIn This Moment by Karma Brown
(Park Row Books – June 1, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Meg Pepper has a fulfilling career and a happy family. Most days she’s able to keep it all together and glide through life. But then, in one unalterable moment, everything changes.

After school pickup one day, she stops her car to wave a teenage boy across the street…just as another car comes hurtling down the road and slams into him. 

Meg can’t help but blame herself for her role in this horrific disaster. Full of remorse, she throws herself into helping the boy’s family as he rehabs from his injuries. But the more Meg tries to absolve herself, the more she alienates her own family—and the more she finds herself being drawn to the boy’s father, Andrew.

Soon Meg’s picture-perfect life is unravelling before her eyes. As the painful secrets she’s been burying bubble dangerously close to the surface, she will have to decide: Can she forgive herself, or will she risk losing everything she holds dear to her heart?

OPINION: 5/5

I read this in one sitting on a flight – that’s how much I loved it! This book fully met my expectations based on the author’s previous work. Tension and emotion fill every page, and I’m left with a strange sensation that I can relate just a little too closely with Meg’s feelings of being constantly inundated with reminders and tasks and not able to keep up…..her feelings of guilt and responsibility and the haunting of her past make readers want to just give her a big hug and help her figure out her life. I love that it’s not a perfectly tied up story – real and messy and imperfect is REAL.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a finished copy for review!

TouchTouch by Courtney Maum
(G.P. Putnam Sons – May 30, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Sloane Jacobsen is the most powerful trend forecaster in the world (she was the foreseer of the swipe ), and global fashion, lifestyle, and tech companies pay to hear her opinions about the future. Her recent forecasts on the family are unwavering: the world is over-populated, and with unemployment, college costs, and food prices all on the rise, having children is an extravagant indulgence.

So it s no surprise when the tech giant Mammoth hires Sloane to lead their groundbreaking annual conference, celebrating the voluntarily childless. But not far into her contract, Sloane begins to sense the undeniable signs of a movement against electronics that will see people embracing compassion, empathy, and in-personism again. She s struggling with the fact that her predictions are hopelessly out of sync with her employer’s mission and that her closest personal relationship is with her self-driving car when her partner, the French neo-sensualist Roman Bellard, reveals that he is about to publish an op-ed on the death of penetrative sex a post-sexual treatise that instantly goes viral. Despite the risks to her professional reputation, Sloane is nevertheless convinced that her instincts are the right ones, and goes on a quest to defend real life human interaction, while finally allowing in the love and connectedness she’s long been denying herself.

A poignant and amusing call to arms that showcases her signature biting wit and keen eye, celebrated novelist Courtney Maum s new book is a moving investigation into what it means to be an individual in a globalized world.

OPINION: 5/5

One of my favorite books of the year. This is a short and rambling review based on the fact that I was traveling, and doesn’t fully reflect my admiration for the story!

I LOVED this book. It is an incredibly provocative look at our need for human touch and intimacy and scarily true condemnation of current and future tech. Maum manages to create a wonderfully lovable character in Sloane while simultaneously presenting her as in dire need of human touch and intimacy while also being aloof and omniscient. R is rightly depicted as ridiculous and I didn’t even attempt to decipher the virtual sex stuff he was spewing in the midst of the rest of his nonsense – Maum did an excellent job wth this character portrayal. The parts of the book that will stick with me are these:

– social interaction will replace social media
– paying for hugs
– employees pleading for help because they can’t stop looking at their phones
– the horrifying thought of all interactions being online

I could go on and on!

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for a digital ARC of this title for review.

LuckLoveandLemonPieLuck, Love and Lemon Pie by Amy Reichert
(Gallery Books – July 12, 2016)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.

Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.

After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.

OPINION: 4/5

I loved this one as much as I did Reichert’s other books! She is officially my favorite Wisconsin author writing about Wisconsin. This is a story about the complexity of marriage and family, and just how easy it is to get distracted from what really matters in the chaos of every day life. I listened to the audio version of this title, and adored the northern Wisconsin accent the narrator used for MJ’s mother – it was perfect!

The poker storyline is incredibly original, and I loved that it wasn’t glamorized, as I have seen and been impacted by gambling addiction too many times in my life. Wisconsin has many casinos and I grew up by two of them and live near one now – the allure can be too much for some, and Reichert did a great job of describing how tantalizing and addictive gambling can be, as well as how it can impact entire lives and families.

I used one of my Audible credits to purchase this audiobook as a part of my monthly subscription. 

TheHeirsThe Heirs
(Crown – May 23, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

The new novel from the critically-acclaimed author of The Divorce Papers, about a wealthy, pedigreed Manhattan family that comes undone after the death of their patriarch.

The Heirs, the follow-up to Susan Rieger’s critically-acclaimed debut, wrestles with the nature of inheritance and legacy as it affects an unforgettable, upper-crust Manhattan clan. With great command, wit and charm, we are introduced to the inimitable Falkeses: five clever, charismatic brothers, their partners, and their parents, Rupert and Eleanor. The brothers find themselves floundering after Rupert dies of cancer, suddenly shaken without their beloved father’s immense influence on their lives. When, in the wake of Rupert’s death, a long-held secret comes to light, the brothers are forced to reexamine their place in the wider world and in the smaller one they’ve always called home.

An elegant, incisive and witty commentary on elite Manhattan society and the dynamics of family, The Heirs will entertain from the first to last page.

OPINION: 5/5

All the stars. I adored this book and was so sad when it ended! It’s a slow but rich story covering generations and a wide web of connected characters – it’s a story of marriage and parenthood, a story of fidelity and infidelity, and most of all, a story of Eleanor Phipps, a woman I desperately want to be like when I grow up. It is warm and detailed and filled with such incredible dry wit. I loved reading and thinking about just how true it is that children will never, and should never, truly understand their parents. The Heirs is a wonderful saga, and it will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommend.

I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own. 

BrokenBayBroken Bay by Andrea Dunlop
(Atria – May 2, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Hannah—knee-deep in nailing down catering plans and floral arrangements for her upcoming nuptials—is ready for some R&R. Stealing off to a quiet, secluded island off the coast of Washington state for good wine and fresh air with her four best friends seems like the perfect way to spend her bachelorette weekend.

But the island may have other ideas.

Halfway through the trip, the bride-to-be mysteriously disappears, leaving the bridesmaids confused and increasingly panicked. To make matters worse, there’s something…amiss about the house they’re staying in. As the tension rises, personalities clash, secrets spill out, and the girls begin seeing and hearing things they can’t explain. While Hannah’s friends desperately try to discover what has happened to her, an ominous storm rolls in that could trap them on the island indefinitely. Now the girls who came to celebrate with Hannah begin to wonder, is she going to make it to the wedding? Is she going to make it home at all?

OPINION:

Broken Bay is a fast-paced and fun novella with some twists and turns and a hint of paranormal. A very fast read – my Kindle estimated my reading time at about 1 hour 15 minutes, so this is a great choice if  you don’t have a ton of time!

I purchased this book from the Kindle Store.

TheArrangementThe Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
(Little, Brown – March 1, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”

OPINION: 5/5

When a book makes me laugh out loud multiple times, it more than deserves 5 stars! The Arrangement made me giggle uncontrollably throughout the entire book, and I want to hand this book to every married person I know. Well, every married person I know who has been married for more than a few years, that is. The people who understand the what a marriage turns into after the shine wears off. The banter in this story was absolutely perfect, and the situations described were both so so relatable and absolutely absurd – absurd just like married with children life actually can be! Absolutely loved this book, but be warned: don’t try The Arrangement at home.

I checked this book out from the public library. 

SwimmingLessonsSwimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
(Tin House Books – February 7, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage. 

OPINION: 4/5

I chose this book as one of my Book of the Month Club picks purely on the cover, and let it sit on my TBR shelf for a few months before picking it up. It was a slower read for me, and I picked it up and put it down several times over the course of a week, but once I hit the halfway point I couldn’t stop reading. The descriptions and the setting are absolutely beautiful, and the character development was excellent. If you are looking for a contemplative read with multiple time periods (this book jumps from present day to letters in the past), definitely add this to your summer reading list!

This was one of picks for my February 2017 Book of the Month Club box, a subscription I pay for. 

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
(Lake Union Publishing – June 1, 2017)

Okay, you need to head to this post from the weekend for this review……..I’m running a GIVEAWAY for this book!!! I’ve included the giveaway post from Instagram below to help you out……

GIVEAWAY CLOSED – thanks for entering! 🌊GIVEAWAY 🌊 I have teamed up with a group of my bookstagram BFFs for this amazing giveaway of the suspense debut (out on June 1st from Lake Union Publishing) by the dynamic author duo @lisaandliz – we are SO EXCITED to have 4 copies of this book to give to our reading friends here! We have all read advance copies of this twisty, emotional suspense novel and can't wait to share it with you – it will keep you guessing right up until the end…….thanks to much to @lisaandliz for partnering with us on this! •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•* To enter, please do the following (open to addresses in US and Canada only): 1) Follow @lisaandliz @theloudlibrarylady @prose_and_palate @kourtneysbookshelf and @booksandchinooks (yes, all 5 of us!!!) 2) like this post 3) Comment in the section below and tag two reading buddies. ***for extra entries, also like and comment and tag on the giveaway posts on the other sponsoring accounts too! •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*• The giveaway will run through midnight CST on May 31st. This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram. GOOD LUCK! #giveaway #contest #win #free #blogger

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Find me on Goodreads for ALL of the middle grade, YA and adult books I read. All of those, plus my picture book reviews, are on my Instagram ~ would love to see you there as well!

Middle Grade & YA Reviews: Week of 5/29/17

Some great new YA and middle grade – one from April and the other titles are brand-new this week!

MIDDLE GRADE

OrphanIslandOrphan Island by Laurel Snyder

(Walden Pond Press – May 30, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

A novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

OPINION: 5/5

Short and rambling review due to the fact that I read this in one sitting on an airplane and tried to review it before leaving the plane!

I absolutely loved the story, and was completely sucked into the world of Orphan Island. The entire premise of the story is absolutely charming and fascinating and sad and glorious and just plain magical! Reading this as a 30-something female librarian, I obviously have a different perspective than the intended audience does, but I love the fact that so many of the things that the Elders go through are precisely what parents do – not knowing how to teach specific skills or even that you ARE supposed to teach them.

The only critical thing I have to say is that I wanted more resolution at the end. I am desperately hoping for a sequel! I originally gave this 4.5 stars, but the FUNNIEST THING: The day after I wrote my Goodreads review of this (which is what I also post here), the author wrote this amazing piece on Nerdy Book Club about WHY she left us hanging, and basically why all the adults can just be frustrated, because she wrote this for the 12-year-olds – I LOVE THAT! Upgraded to 5!

I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own.

YOUNG ADULT

BangBang by Barry Lyga
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – April 18, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

One shot ruined his life. Another one could end it.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one—not even Sebastian himself—can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father’s gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend—Aneesa—to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

OPINION: 5/5

I’m sobbing. And traumatized and horrified. And hopeful. Like “Allegedly” by Tiffany Jackson, I can’t really even review this. Just PLEASE read it. Fierce YA with crazy important messages. I won’t forget this book.

Librarian note: I also love the inclusion of diverse characters (Muslim best friend and discussions re: race and diversity – sensitivity readers used and mentioned in author’s note).

I read a finished copy of this book purchased for my high school library. 

WhenDimpleMetRishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

(Simon Pulse – May 30, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

OPINION: 4.5/5

Another book read and reviewed while traveling!

A sweet YA love story about heritage and following your dreams – I adored this book! Love the strong tech girl characters. Only question I have is why Dimple isn’t wearing glasses on the cover? To me that seems like a really poor cover design choice given that her glasses are such an integral part of her character. Other than that, this is an amazing new addition to the YA world.

I received a digital ARC of this title for review- all opinions are my own.

RomancingTheThroneRomancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney
(Katherine Tegen Books – May 30, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

For the first time ever, the Weston sisters are at the same boarding school. After an administration scandal at Libby’s all-girls school threatens her chances at a top university, she decides to join Charlotte at posh and picturesque Sussex Park. Social-climbing Charlotte considers it her sisterly duty to bring Libby into her circle: Britain’s young elites, glamorous teens who vacation in Hong Kong and the South of France and are just as comfortable at a polo match as they are at a party.

It’s a social circle that just so happens to include handsome seventeen-year-old Prince Edward, heir to Britain’s throne.

If there are any rules of sisterhood, “Don’t fall for the same guy” should be one of them. But sometimes chemistry—even love—grows where you least expect it. In the end, there may be a price to pay for romancing the throne…and more than one path to happily ever after.

OPINION: 5/5

I am majorly royal-obsessed and had a blast discussing Pippa’s wedding recently – if you’re like me, and seriously considered taking a day off work for Kate’s wedding in 2011, you MUST read this book. It’s perfectly written and so much fun. I had zero expectations going into it, but couldn’t put it down once I started. I especially loved how strong and independent the main characters were and ADORED the tech and app development storyline • Like At First Blush by @bethellynsummer ~ I want MORE by this author immediately!

I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own. 


Find me on Goodreads for ALL of the middle grade, YA and adult books I read. All of those, plus my picture book reviews, are on my Instagram ~ would love to see you there as well!

Book Giveaway: The Good Widow


ANOTHER book giveaway this week! (Did you catch the one on Saturday? It runs through June 2nd!)
I am teaming up with a group of my favorite bookstagram friends to run a giveaway for the new suspense novel out on June 1st from Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke ~ The Good Widow

Here is the description and my review of this book, followed by the giveaway information – I hope you join us on Instagram for the contest!

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
(Lake Union Publishing – June 1, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…

OPINION: 

I listened to two of this duo’s previous novels – The Year We Turned Forty and The Status of All Things – and really enjoyed how fun and just a little bit magical they were. The Good Widow is complete head spin from those previous works, and I applaud the authors for making the leap to a new genre! I adored the Hawaiian setting for much of this story, and loved Jacks’ and Beth’s sister-relationship, and definitely did not guess the twist to this book until the authors led me to it. It was a lot of fun to go back and forth between before and after the death of Jacks’ husband, as it gave the different perspectives on the events and kept me trying to figure out who and why and where????? I can’t wait to see what Lisa and Liz write in the future – no matter what genre they write next, I’m on board with it.

Thanks to the authors for providing me with a digital advance review copy of this title!

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Here is the Instagram post listing all of the contest info – it runs through midnight CST on May 31st and there are 4 copies available! Come join us! If you don’t get in on the giveaway, head to your local bookstore or library on June 1st to grab a copy.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED – thanks for entering! 🌊GIVEAWAY 🌊 I have teamed up with a group of my bookstagram BFFs for this amazing giveaway of the suspense debut (out on June 1st from Lake Union Publishing) by the dynamic author duo @lisaandliz – we are SO EXCITED to have 4 copies of this book to give to our reading friends here! We have all read advance copies of this twisty, emotional suspense novel and can't wait to share it with you – it will keep you guessing right up until the end…….thanks to much to @lisaandliz for partnering with us on this! •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•* To enter, please do the following (open to addresses in US and Canada only): 1) Follow @lisaandliz @theloudlibrarylady @prose_and_palate @kourtneysbookshelf and @booksandchinooks (yes, all 5 of us!!!) 2) like this post 3) Comment in the section below and tag two reading buddies. ***for extra entries, also like and comment and tag on the giveaway posts on the other sponsoring accounts too! •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*• The giveaway will run through midnight CST on May 31st. This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram. GOOD LUCK! #giveaway #contest #win #free #blogger

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Book Giveaway: Eden by Jeanne Blasberg

Remember my 5 STAR review of this novel a few weeks ago? I’ll wait while you go check it out………..

Great! Now that you know how much I loved the book, you are even MORE excited about this chance to win a copy of the book and a matching tote bag! This title is also a July selection for the BookSparks #SRC2017 Reading Challenge, which is a HUGE honor for a debut author.

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Eden is one woman’s story, echoing four women’s’ stories, and is, at the same time, all women’s story.  It creates a collage of female experience around the drama of introducing Becca’s long lost daughter and her impending financial despair. Determined to write the type of book I enjoy reading, my novel weaves together multiple points of view and chronologies.  I hope you love it.” – Jeanne

“..a beautifully written masterpiece that takes you on a historical journey….” —BOSTON HERALD

“A stirring historical novel perfect for women’s fiction fans.” —BOOKLIST

“If you enjoy reading family sagas that cover real history and life, this is a must-read for you.” —  READER’S FAVORITE

“This beautifully written family saga firmly establishes Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg as a rising writer to watch – and it will likely have you liking your family a whole lot more this summer.” —  REDBOOK

“Blasberg’s evocative prose captures the place and atmosphere…. An engrossing, character-driven family saga.” –KIRKUS

“This debut novel rings with lively dialogue that vivifies the rarified ethos of a family across generations.” — The Improper Bostonian

Becca Meister Fitzpatrick, wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community, is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. While coming to terms with what is likely to be her last season in Long Harbor, she decides to introduce the child she gave up for adoption fifty years prior to the family. Inspired by her granddaughter’s acceptance in the face of impending single-motherhood, Becca summons the courage to reveal the secret she’d been forced to bury. The question is how her daughter, Rachel, will react. They’d always had a strained relationship, made rockier when Rachel came home from college with an unplanned pregnancy of her own.

Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret, and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century old history of Becca’s family, of her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and of her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden”.

Chick Lit Cafe  says EDEN is splendid, majestic, and engaging.

The Loud Library Lady calls EDEN “a love story to a family property and the beach community it inhabits….”

THE GIVEAWAY

Stacey (aka Prose and Palate), a southern book blogger and reviewer who has become one of my bookstagram BFFs, and I are partnering with the author on this giveaway, and we are so excited to share this title that we both adored so much. We both gave it 5 glowing stars and are sharing our love for it far and wide so this debut author and her wonderful book get into more hands.

Now, the entire giveaway is happening on Instagram, because 1) that’s where Stacey and img_6352I met and spend the majority of our book reviewing time, and 2) because it’s how Jeanne Blasberg first found me to reach out to me about this book! Stacey and I love our bookstagram friends and want them all to get a chance at reading this book for FREE! If you aren’t on Instagram yet, I really do insist that you start an account – my reading life has grown by leaps and bounds from the recommendations I have gotten and connections I have made there.

HOW TO ENTER:

I have made things VERY easy for you by including a link to my giveaway post below – all you need to do is follow these 3 accounts below on Instagram and comment on my post tagging 2 friends! You get an extra entry by commenting on Stacey’s post as well! I have included that right below mine to make it even EASIER! The contest runs through Friday, June 2nd, and is open to US addresses only.

Accounts to follow:

@theloudlibrarylady
@prose_and_palate
@jeanneblasbergauthor

⭐️ GIVEAWAY is now CLOSED ⭐️ @prose_and_palate and I are extremely excited to be partnering up with @jeanneblasbergauthor for this amazing giveaway of her debut novel, Eden, and an Eden tote bag (swipe ⬅️ to see!) • This gorgeously written book set in the beach community of Long Harbor tells the story of four generations of women "all forced to make difficult choices as mothers – first in the face of strict societal norms, and ultimately within the expectations of a family trying to live up to the promise of a place called Eden" (Katherine Sherbrooke). This was a 5 star read for both of us and we are so excited to share it with you. This book is also part of @booksparks #SRC2017 reading challange for the month of July, so that is an extra perk! (they are not affiliated with this giveaway). •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•* To enter, please do the following (US ONLY) • 1) Follow @jeanneblasbergauthor @theloudlibrarylady and @prose_and_palate (yes, all 3!) 2) like this post 3) Comment below and tag two reading buddies. ***for an extra entry, also like and comment and tag on the giveaway post on the @prose_and_palate account too! •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•* The giveaway will run through Friday, June 2. This giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram.

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Have I convinced you yet? Even if you don’t enter the giveaway, make sure you grab this one from your local library or bookstore!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE BOOK ONLINE


DISCLAIMER: The author provided me with a finished copy of this book for review purposes, and I reached out to her asking if she wanted to work with us on a giveaway. I have not been compensated in any way for any of my posts or reviews related to this book – I just believe firmly in spreading the word about books and authors I love. 

 

Bombshell Books Are Back!

I’m a major fan of small business and independent bookstores and publishers, so I was excited to connect with the publisher Bloodhound Books a while back as one of their blog partners. Bloodhound Books is a leading independent crime fiction publisher based in Cambridge, UK and they specialize in crime, thrillers, mystery & chillers. Now they just announced this big news, and I’m pretty excited about it – as most of you know from my adult book reviews, I LOVE women’s contemporary fiction! Their forthcoming books will be available in the US as ebooks.

Here’s all the info from the publisher!

BombshellBooksBombshell Books are back!

After launching with the hilarious The Queen of Blogging, Bombshell Books are back with two new authors and three fabulous novels.

Therese Loreskar returns with her sequel to The Queen of Blogging – The Queen of New Beginnings.

Therese Loreskar started her career in 2010 self-publishing her first novel, which quickly became a critically acclaimed best-seller. In 2014 she was signed by a Swedish publishing house before being signed by Bombshell in the summer of 2016. Her novel, The Queen of Blogging, received overwhelming feedback and the book was referred to as a modern Bridget Jones. Therese has since had four bestselling children’s books.  The Queen of New Beginnings will be published on August 10th this year.

Guardian book prize shortlisted author, Suzie Tullett, signs with Bombshell Books. Suzie Tullett is an author of contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy.  You can find Suzie on Twitter: @SuzieTullett or you can visit her website: suzietullett.com Her heart-warming romantic comedy, The Trouble with Words, will be published on July 29th this year.

Debut author, Callie Langridge, joins Bombshell Books. Caroline was born and brought up in Berkshire.  Her beautifully written and heart-wrenching debut novel, A Time to Change, will be published on September 24th this year.

bloodhound booksAbout the Publisher:

Bombshell Books is an imprint of Bloodhound Books. Bombshell publishes brilliant women’s fiction and is on the look out for new authors. We want stories that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. For more information visit our website – www.bombshellbooks.com

This Week’s Read Alouds – 5/26/17

It’s my 2nd busiest time of the year, so all I have for you today are my read alouds for the week! The school year is winding down and I still have more than 500 library books to track down and parents to call and notices to send and…..

Reviews: May Adult Reads Part 2

May 2017 Adult Reads Part 2

Part 2 of my adult reads for the month of May 2017 ~ I had to break it up this month because there are so. many. books! Read Part 1 HERE. Part 3 will be posted on May 31st!

Now, get your cup of coffee………and settle in to meet some new books!

These are listed in order of date finished……..as always, there is a disclosure telling the source of each book and as always, no affiliate links in this post.

MothersKitchenMy Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and the Meaning of Life by Peter Gethers
(Henry Holt – April 4, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Peter Gethers wants to give his aging mother a very personal and perhaps final gift: a spectacular feast featuring all her favorite dishes. The problem is, although he was raised to love food and wine he doesn’t really know how to cook. So he embarks upon an often hilarious and always touching culinary journey that will ultimately allow him to bring his mother’s friends and loved ones to the table one last time.

The daughter of a restaurateur–the restaurant was New York’s legendary Ratner’s–Judy Gethers discovered a passion for cooking in her 50s. In time, she became a mentor and friend to several of the most famous chefs in America, including Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton and Jonathan Waxman; she also wrote many cookbooks and taught cooking alongside Julia Child. In her 80s, she was robbed of her ability to cook by a debilitating stroke. But illness has brought her closer than ever to her son: Peter regularly visits her so they can share meals, and he can ask questions about her colorful past, while learning her kitchen secrets. Gradually his ambition becomes manifest: he decides to learn how to cook his mother the meal of her dreams and thereby tell the story of her life to all those who have loved her.

With his trademark wit and knowing eye, Peter Gethers has written an unforgettable memoir about how food and family can do much more than feed us–they can nourish our souls.

OPINION: 4/5

This book was fabulous ~ a wonderful foodie memoir and ode to his mother, a woman who sounds like one of the most marvelous characters on earth. So happy I read this book.

Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy!

OneDayWellAllBeDeadOne Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
(Doubleday Canada – March 7, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father’s creeping mortality–all as she tries to find her feet in the world.

OPINION: 4/5

These essays are hilarious and cutting and so so very real. Koul does not hold back even one tiny bit in her commentary on womanhood, race and culture, which makes this an incredibly refreshing and feminist read. Her dialogue and descriptions of her parents are simultaneously witty and touching, and tell the reader exactly how much she loves them. This book is much needed and highly recommended.

This was one of my April Book of the Month Club picks – a subscription service I pay for. 

ItsAlwaystheHusbandIt’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
(St. Martin’s Press – May 16, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

OPINION: 3/5

Campbell draws readers in immediately with the college setting, and then horrifies and intrigues them with the account of the year of drugs and debauchery the girls experience together. The mark of a successful thriller, in my opinion, is keeping the reader guessing until the very last minute, and this book almost did that for me – I had several theories that I kept alternating between, with the true one only a glimmer that would pop up occasionally. I devoured this book in less than 18 hours and was genuinely surprised at how things actually happened – not shocked, but intrigued that that’s where she went with it.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t connect with a single character, but I also believe that Campbell wrote the characters that way – they perfectly fit the boxes she drew for them. I couldn’t see any evidence whatsoever of why Jenny and Aubrey kept being so loyal to Kate when she was obviously so horrible to them, but some of the references make it seem that those reasons happened outside of the story’s narrative. A solid thriller that the majority of suspense and thriller fans will enjoy.

I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own.

File_000 (4)Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer
(Ballantine Books – May 16, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Memorial Day weekend means that seasonal visitors have descended on the glamorous island of Nantucket. For year-round resident Darcy Cotterill, it means late-night stargazing in the backyard of the beautiful house she grew up in and inherited from her beloved grandmother. It s also Darcy s chance to hit the beach and meet her new summertime neighbors. But the last person the thirty-year-old librarian expects to see staying next door is her ex-husband, Boyz, along with his wife, Autumn, and stepdaughter, Willow.

Darcy must also navigate the highs and lows of a new romantic relationship with local carpenter Nash Forester even as she becomes smitten with handsome vacationer Clive Rush, a musicologist in town to write a book and visit family. And she finds herself pulled into the concerns of Boyz, Autumn, a charming elderly neighbor, and an at-risk teen.

As the season nears its end, Darcy must decide her next move: retreating to the comforts of her steady and secure island life, or risking it all for a chance at true happiness.

OPINION: 3/5

I am a complete sucker for books set in Nantucket and books with a librarian main character, so this one completely filled those criteria. It’s a very, very frothy story and one that is a perfect beach read for those days when you know you’ll be distracted by kids (or people-watching) constantly and need to be able to not focus on an intricate plot line. I loved all of the Nantucket descriptions and reading about Darcy’s time at work as a children’s librarian. I also really like reading about her love of books and reading.

The one issue I had with this story is just how much I hated Boyz (and his NAME! and his FAMILY!) and every single part of the book where he is included. I completely skimmed over the part where it describes Darcy and Boyz meeting and their time together, and whenever he entered the story later on I wanted to skip it. He is supposed to be an unlikeable character, but I wish he had been a very, very background minor player.

All in all, this one will satisfy most readers of frothy romantic chick lit and long time Thayer fans.

I received a digital ARC of this title for review – all opinions are my own.

IntoTheWaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
(Riverhead Books – May 2, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

OPINION: 2/5 (Aubible Audio version)

1.5 stars. Just……no. Maybe it was the audio version that I disliked so much, maybe it was the insane hype, maybe my expectations were too high, maybe the story really was that ugly and boring. I finally put this at 1.25x listening speed just to get through it. Not for me.

I used one of my monthly Audible credits to purchase this audiobook. 

JustMyFaceThis is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
(Houghton Mifflin – May 1, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story. Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”

OPINION: 5/5

Hilarious and honest, this book that is more essays than memoir lays Sidibe’s life out with absolutely no attempts at shielding readers from the harsh realities that were her childhood experiences. Her honesty about her eating disorder and depression are what earned the 5th star, as these issues are too often kept secret or vaguely referenced. Sidibe does neither, and still manages to be witty while recounting her darkest days. My heart ached for her childhood self, and cheered for her as she pulled her way up through some extremely tough challenges that would have knocked many others down. Highly recommend for adult readers open to raw and open dialogue about family, gender, race and body issues.

I checked this book out from the public library. 

File_000 (5)Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan
(Doubleday – May 23, 2017)

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia’s greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside–but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park–a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore–the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife–a woman hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold-leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan’s gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia’s most privileged families.

OPINION: 5/5

This series is my utter guilty pleasure! I actually listened to the first two books Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend from Audible, and they were SO amazing to listen to. TCRAhe accents were outstanding and they were just hilarious. I read this newest installment, and found it just as fun to read in print as it was to listen to the first two. This series has me 1) dying to visit Singapore 2) desperate to own a property like Tyersall Park and 3) so sad I’ll never meet Su Yi.CRG

Down-to-earth and modern couple Nick and Rachel put all of the ridiculousness and pretentious show of their family and friends into perspective, and let you enjoy this as a completely tongue-in-cheek soap opera. We ALL have an extra cool $3 billion to invest in a pet project, right? I love that Kwan ends this latest book in a way that leaves me desperately hoping for a next installment featuring……….no spoilers, but I love the ending!

This book could stand alone, but to appreciate the full pleasure of the story, read books 1 and 2 first!

Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC of this title.


Find me on Goodreads for ALL of the middle grade, YA and adult books I read. All of those, plus my picture book reviews, are on my Instagram ~ would love to see you there as well!

 

 

 

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Have a great weekend!

Weekly Bookish News: Week of 5/15/17

WeeklyBookishNewsImage

As always, this is a duplicate of the newsletter I send my K-12 school district staff every Friday morning ~ a short and sweet round-up of literacy news and happenings that caught my eye, along with a few books to highlight and my elementary read alouds for the week. If you want to know about ALL the middle grade, YA and adult books I read, please hit me up on Goodreads! That’s where you’ll find the good, the bad and the ugly. All picture books are on my Instagram

This week is a VERY short one – end of the year and all that entails!

Favorites from around the web:

50 Brilliant Books for the Summer – Scholastic Teacher Magazine

A few books to highlight:

Rather than a list of a few books, I’m sharing with you the list of 100+ titles that my elementary teachers marked as their favorite in my library this winter at our Staff Library Expo! They each chose 5+ books to mark and then we put a heart label on the spine, a nameplate on the inside, and I cataloged all of these in Destiny in resource lists as 2016-2017 Staff Favorites. I also created individual resource lists in Destiny for each teacher’s favorites so students can easily find those books. I hope to make this an annual event and also hope to have more teachers exploring and finding some of the newer titles as well as these classics!

2016-2017 Staff Favorites in my library (this is a PDF shared via Google Drive – titles listed in order by library call numbers, and the list is generated from Follett Destiny)

Elementary Read Alouds for the Week

Just a picture of them this week – no time for a table!

File_000

Balcony on the Moon: YA Title Feature

File_000 (4)I have written before about windows and mirrors, and thought I had found plenty of perfect examples of books that give my rural Wisconsin readers a look into worlds other than their own. That was before I read Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat. This title is actually the stand-alone companion to Barakat’s earlier book Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood. Both books are must-haves for middle and high school libraries and classrooms, which I will expand upon in my review below.

Here are the official descriptions from Goodreads for both books:

TastingTheSkyTasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) – February 7, 2007)

“When a war ends it does not go away,” my mother says.”It hides inside us . . . Just forget!”
But I do not want to do what Mother says . . . I want to remember.

In this groundbreaking memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Ibtisam Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of
life as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home.

Transcending the particulars of politics, this illuminating and timely book provides a telling glimpse into a little-known culture that has become an increasingly important part of the puzzle of world peace.

BalconyOnTheMoonBalcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) – October 25, 2016)

Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. This memoir is a touching, at times funny, and enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area.

Review of Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine

As an adult, I can honestly say that despite my voracious news consumption, I have never fully understood the issues of Palestine and Israel and the West Bank and the constant conflict there. I still don’t consider myself an expert (or even able to explain it very well) by any means, but Balcony on the Moon has given me the best explanation and visual representation of this region and its history that I have seen yet. This would be an amazing choice to use in classrooms as a read aloud or even a whole class read, whether during a memoir unit or a history or geography unit. Or a strong women or overcoming challenges book club, or………..the list can go on and on!

There are so many things that fascinate me about Barakat’s story, but the one that stands out to me the most is her courage in the face of enormous odds stacked against her. Just two examples of this are when she defied her family and snuck out to find a factory job when she was twelve years old in order to earn her own money, and when she managed to sneak letters to an outside journalist while in high school – I had no idea that she wouldn’t have been allowed to send mail to Kuwait and would have to route it through a British postmaster! These are type of stories about which I can imagine having long and amazing discussions with students, stories that will give students an entirely different worldview.

This book also does an excellent job of discussing the many religions observed in Palestine, and gives a great deal of background information on Islam. This is a topic that must be discussed in US schools today in the face of such lack of general knowledge on the topic leading to fear and uncertainty. With knowledge comes power, but also with knowledge comes security. When students learn about topics that they are originally uncertain or fearful about, they can understand how something like a different religion connects to their own lives. The back pages include a list of resources, including links to the following:

I can guarantee you that I will be reading extensively on this topic now, and these links will be my jumping off point.

One quote that stood out to me in Balcony is from page 51, when Ibtisam says to her mother, during a time of political turmoil, “I feel afraid!” and her mother replied in frustration, “Well, feel something else!”. That really encapsulates what Barakat and her family had to do to survive their ordeal, or actually, their existence.

VERDICT: If you are a librarian, or teacher, purchase this book for your libraries or classrooms. If you are a library card holder (and you’d better be one!), ensure that your public library has copies of both of these titles – if they don’t have them now, please request that they purchase them.

I first heard about Balcony on the Moon from a Nerdy Book Club post by author Kate Hannigan  and was fortunate enough to sent a copy of this book from the author and her publicist after commenting on that post. This copy is being added to my middle-high school library.  It is crazy how things work in the librarian and book blogging business – connections are made in the most random places and I always manage to find new books I love and want to shout from the rooftops about!


Find me on Goodreads for ALL of the middle grade, YA and adult books I read. All of my picture book reviews are on my Instagram ~ would love to see you there as well!