Beautiful Bodies by Kimberly Rae Miller


Beautiful Bodies by Kimberly Rae Miller
(Little A ~ July 25, 2017)

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review – all opinions are my own.

Heartbreaking and intensely relatable with scientific research interwoven between stories of Miller’s personal journey, BEAUTIFUL BODIES is required reading. No one in modern society can deny how diet-obsessed US culture has become, and Miller has a perfect view of this world via her writing career and her own fixation on weight and body image.

As a 30-something mother of 3, I have personally struggled with much of what Miller describes and have read extensively and worked with professionals on diet culture, Intuitive Eating and body acceptance, leading me to officially throw away my scale in May of 2016. Knowing that exact date indicates how personal Miller’s story is to me and how much I appreciate her frankness in how she shares her story……and how much it means to me that she never claims to be “fixed”. Her refusal to tie this book and issue up with a bow is indicative of the true nature of the problem and the lifelong nature of weight obsession. The science and historical anecdotes shared throughout the book were fascinating and gave me a much better understanding of how many current diet and exercise trends came to be in the modern world.

I applaud Miller for writing this book and for pushing this issue to readers – BEAUTIFUL BODIES needs to be read not just by women, but by every woman, man who knows a woman, and especially parents. Understanding how complex and rooted in history our fixation on body size is can at least bring the topic up for discussion – a worthy goal for all if we hope to break this cycle.

Adult Review: Cicada Summer by Maureen Leurck


Cicada Summer by Maureen Leurck
(Kensington Books – July 25, 2017)

One of my favorite reads of summer 2017, CICADA SUMMER brings my home state of Wisconsin to life in this vibrant and beautiful story. Alex is an incredibly strong female character and her fixer-upper passion is an absolute joy to read about as you cheer her along on her quest to bring a historic home back to its former glory in Lake Geneva, WI.

CICADA SUMMER has home renovation details to drool over, as well as family, romance and second chances…..this is a must-read!

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review purposes – all opinions are my own.

Adult Review: Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
(Pamela Dorman Books – May 2, 2017)

Love, love, loved! Eleanor is one of the most unique and lovable characters I have read, while being simultaneously the saddest and most ravaged by life. I can’t review this book very well without spoilers because all I want to do is talk about all the parts I loved and all the people I loved……and I did NOT see the part at the end coming, and the !!!! You see? This is one I just need to talk about and not actually review. Just loved it, though. It’s a love letter to all the people who have suffered trauma in our world and risen in spite of it. Hallelujah for Eleanor Oliphant – I just want to give her a HUGE hug, although she wouldn’t appreciate it at all 😉

I listened to the audiobook from Audible, and the audio narration was amazing and definitely added to the story with the Scottish accents. Would highly recommend this version if you are a fan of audiobooks!

Adult Review: Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong


Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
(Henry Holt – July 11, 2017)

Heartfelt and dryly hilarious, GOODBYE, VITAMIN takes readers into the life of Ruth for a year as she returns home at age 30 to help care for her father who is losing his memory. My heart ached for the entire family, but just as I was starting to descend into despair, all of a sudden there would be a phrase or scene so witty or shocking that I would find myself laughing out loud. Khong manages to write about a truly horrible situation, and one almost any of us could find ourselves in, with brevity,
brutal honesty, and hope.

GOODBYE, VITAMIN is written diary style, but also includes segments of a journal of Ruth’s father about her as a child, and at times she is also writing TO her father. It was a delight to read about such identifiable and mundane moments (postal service-related fears, for example!) in the midst of the anguish over Alzheimer’s.

There is grief in abundance in this book, but humor and heartwarming anecdotes and events balance it out. Highly, highly recommend. I can’t wait to read more from Rachel Khong!

This was one of my Book of the Month Club selections, and I won’t lie – I’m obsessed with BOTM. I post about them constantly on Instagram and I hoard the special editions on a special book shelf. OBSESSED. If you are at all interested in joining, and want to use my referral link, I have linked it here. If you join by using my link, I get a free book credit and you get 3 months for $9.99 each and a free tote. BOTM has an amazing Instagram community too – just check out the #bookofthemonth posts! I’m sure you’ll see me there…….

Adult Review: The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore


The Captain’s Daughter by Meg Mitchell Moore
(Doubleday ~ July 18, 2017)

Thank you to Doubleday Books for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review – all opinions are my own.

THE CAPTAIN’S DAUGHTER is an exquisite story about motherhood, marriage, grief and being true to your roots, with much of the book being set in a gorgeous Maine fishing town. If you don’t at least THINK about crying while reading this book, I’m fairly certain we can’t be friends. It has ALL the feelings.

Moore has touched on the very deepest thoughts in a mother’s and daughter’s heart and combined them to expose just how complex modern womanhood can be. Eliza is just so incredibly real, with achingly beautiful moments and also moments in which she is fairly unlikable – just like the rest of us. As she struggles to mother her daughters while also coming to terms with her father’s failing health and her marital issues, Eliza manages to maintain grace and kindness in her interactions with her new young friend Mary as Mary becomes in desperate need of a mother figure. I loved reading about their heartfelt feelings about parenthood and childhood and was able to relate to them so so closely. Everything involving Eliza’s father Charlie made me love him so much and wish I knew him – he just jumps off the pages and is one of the most realistically written characters I have read in a long, long time.

This is a tearjerker with bright moments of humor and insight that needs to be on your bookshelf – it is a book of the ages and one that will stay with me for a long time to come.

Adult Review: Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz

Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz
(Lux Publishing Group – July 1, 2017)

Brenda Janowitz has re-released her very first novel on its 10th anniversary!

Fun, frothy and indulgent, SCOT ON THE ROCKS is a bright and fast-paced story that will be sure to please fans of Bridget Jones and the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. While Brooke’s story had its share of light moments, I was impressed with the importance of her legal career in the story – it added depth that I really appreciated. There were also laugh-out-loud moments in this story that made it a lot of fun to read and I raced through the book.

Fans of chick lit, pick this one up! It is available on the Kindle store for $3.99 (!!!) and is also included in Kindle Unlimited.

Thanks to the author for providing me with a digital copy of this book for review – all opinions are my own.

Giveaway: I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere But the Pool

Another giveaway!!

This one is released TODAY (July 11, 2017) from St. Martin’s Press and is high on my TBR pile!

“Lisa and Francesca, mother and daughter, bring you the laughter of their lives.” —Delia Ephron, bestselling author

The bestselling and “perennially hilarious” mother-daughter team is back with a new collection of stories from their real lives, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Join Lisa and Francesca as they regret drunk-shopping online, try smell-dating, and explore the freedom of a hiatus from men – a Guyatus. They offer a fresh and funny take on the triumphs and facepalm moments of modern life, showing that when it comes to navigating the crazy world we live in, you’re always your own best lifeguard.

Head on over to my Instagram to enter!

Adult Review: Secret Sisters by Joy Callaway

Secret Sisters by Joy Callaway
(Harper Paperbacks – July 11, 2017)

“I promise that above all else, my purpose will be to foster equality and intellect among women” ~ These words of the women’s fraternity Beta Xi Beta pledge really do an amazing job of summing up the heart of this novel. Set in 1881 at the fictional co-ed Whitsitt College in Illinois, the story brings together Beth Carrington and her three friends as they fight for equal rights and permission to create a women’s fraternity on campus, all against incredibly strong societal discrimination against women. Additionally, there is a heavily romantic storyline interwoven with Beth’s determined struggles to be taken seriously as a medical student and get Beta Xi Beta recognized by the male leaders at Whitsitt, but it does not overwhelm the true message of the book.

I have always believed that a strong author’s note really makes a historical fiction novel, and in this case, the author’s note fully sealed the 4th star. Callaway’s attention to detail throughout the book with dialogue, dress, conventions and especially attitudes about gender equality are backed up with her notes about the research she did and her ties to the creation of real sororities (then called fraternities) in the US. The messages from men throughout the book about “hysteria” and women’s inability to pursue mentally strenuous careers due to “blood loss” are horrifying in today’s time and help paint a picture for modern readers about just how hard women have fought for their place in society today.

Recommended for historical fiction fans and readers interested in women’s rights!

Thanks to the author for providing a finished copy of this book for review purposes – all opinions are my own.


Review: The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams

The Atlas of Forgotten Places by Jenny D. Williams
(St. Martin’s Press – July 11, 2017)

In striking contrast, THE ATLAS OF FORGOTTEN PLACES, manages to be incredibly beautiful while set against one of the most horrifying backdrops imaginable. This is the second book I have read in the past month about the Ugandan Civil War and Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (the first being the YA novel SOLDIER BOY by Keely Hutton), and I just can not stop thinking about how much most of us in the US do not, but should, know about the horrors of this conflict.

ATLAS brings us a small glimpse of this world through a fictional lens, into the lives of Sabine (a German former aid worker) and a Rose (a Ugandan woman with a tragic past) as they search for Sabine’s missing niece in the most dangerous of places. Williams weaves the story with suspense and heartbreaking questions of whether it is ever possible to atone for the sins of others and whether the international aid community can truly save the world.

This book covers a vital and heavy topic while being intensely readable. One of the must-read books of summer 2017, THE ATLAS OF FORGOTTEN PLACES will haunt readers in the most necessary of ways.

Note: The author’s note in this book provides extensive history and authenticity to the true events that are the setting for the story.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a advance copy of this novel for review – all opinions are my own.

**** AND, somewhat related – my feature of Soldier Boy (YA novel mentioned above) will be featured on the Nerdy Book Club blog tomorrow (Sunday, July 9th)!!! Stay tuned here tomorrow for a direct link!


GIVEAWAY: The Windfall by Diksha Basu


Yes, ANOTHER giveaway! And yes, this one is going on over on my Instagram as usual.

I have teamed up with Crown Publishing and 4 of my bookstagram friends to bring you a a chance to win one of FIVE copies of this H-O-T new book from Diksha Basu – The Windfall! Remember my review of this book from last week?  This debut novel was chosen as a Book of the Month Club pick too, which is an AMAZING accomplishment!

Head on over to Instagram to enter!