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!
In This Moment by Karma Brown
(Park Row Books – June 1, 2017)
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?
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!
Touch by Courtney Maum
(G.P. Putnam Sons – May 30, 2017)
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.
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.
Luck, Love and Lemon Pie by Amy Reichert
(Gallery Books – July 12, 2016)
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.
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.
(Crown – May 23, 2017)
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.
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.
Broken Bay by Andrea Dunlop
(Atria – May 2, 2017)
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?
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.
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
(Little, Brown – March 1, 2017)
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?”
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.
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
(Tin House Books – February 7, 2017)
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.
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……
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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