Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Review: Some Women, by Emily Liebert

She'd made peace with her reality, thanks, in large part, to Mackenzie and Piper's friendship. 
...
Piper and Mackenzie had become her people. The ones she called crying in the middle of the night. The ones who materialized at her front door at a moment's notice when they detected even the slightest note of sadness in her voice. She'd learned so much from leaning on them. She'd learned to be her own person. To take responsibility for her mistakes and to face her fears, even if it meant stumbling like a fool along the way. 

She had no idea why she hadn't noticed how lost she'd been the past few years. 

I've read two other Emily Liebert books before, and both were satisfying chick lit - perfect for a day at the beach or a quick summer read. Some Women is no different, and follows three women, who weren't originally friends, and who are all currently having relationships issues.

Official synopsis:
An engrossing and thought provoking novel that examines the intricacies of marriage, friendship, and the power of unexpected connections…

Annabel Ford has everything under control, devoting her time to her twin five-year-old boys and to keeping her household running seamlessly. So when her husband of a decade announces that he’s leaving her, without warning, she’s blindsided. And suddenly her world begins to unravel.

Single mother Piper Whitley has always done her best to balance it all—raising her daughter Fern by herself and advancing her career as a crime reporter. Only now that she’s finally met the man of her dreams, Fern’s absentee father arrives on the scene and throws everything into a tailspin.

Married to the heir of a thriving media conglomerate, Mackenzie Mead has many reasons to count her blessings. But with an imperious mother-in-law—who’s also her boss—and a husband with whom she can no longer seem to connect, something has to give.

On the surface, these three women may not have much in common. Yet when their lives are thrust together and unlikely friendships are formed—at a time when they all need someone to lean on—Annabel, Piper, and Mackenzie band together to help each navigate their new realities.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: In Twenty Years, by Allison Winn Scotch {ends 7/23}

"Please don't get arrested," Catherine fretted. "Our parents are all in town! And we're graduating tomorrow!"

Not everyone's parents were in town, but we were past offending one another by parsing words. Only Annie's mother was here. And my parents not at all. 

But it didn't matter. What mattered was the six of us. What mattered was our star. What mattered is that in this moment in time, we were unbreakable. We were light and destiny and a meteor shower of invincibility.

We were twenty-one. We were allowed to believe impossible things. 

I'm a big fan of Allison Winn Scotch's books, and I've reviewed two of them here before, with them earning a 5/5 rating (which I don't give lightly) and 3.5/5. In Twenty Years was just as good, if not better, and was a great book to read.

Official synopsis:
Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.

Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Quick Pick: The Cresswell Plot, by Eliza Wass

  • Opening linesI carved my first star when I was six, so by the time I was sixteen there were stars everywhere in the woods. Some of them I didn't even remember carving. Sometimes I wondered if someone else had - Hannan or Delvive or Caspar or Mortimer or Jerusalem. Or my other brother, the one who died. But I think I knew it was just me. I think I knew I was the only one carving stars.
  • Reason I picked up the book: NetGalley had it and it sounded like an interesting read.
  • And what's this book about?
  • The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.

    Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

    Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.

    Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

  • Favorite paragraph:
    My heart was pulsing inside my veins, sending out little heart signals on tiny boats that raced through my bloodstream. Lie! Lie! Tell a lie! Tell a story! Tell a lie!
    ...
    Say you did it.


    Castella Rachel Cresswell. Tell the truth; God is watching.


    I opened my eyes. I couldn't tell if Father had actually spoken, or if I'd just heard it as if he had.
    Or maybe it was God.
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes stories about cults or religion-crazed people.
  • Something to know: The publisher is Disney-Hyperion, which I found to be interesting ... this is definitely not your typical "Disney" story.
  • What I would have changed: Not sure.
  • Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to order on Amazon.
*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Absalom's Daughters, by Suzanne Feldman {ends 7/6}

Absalom's Daughters, by Suzanne Feldman, will be in stores on July 5th, but two of my lucky readers can win themselves a copy!

Official synopsis:
A spellbinding debut about half sisters, one black and one white, on a 1950s road trip through the American South.

Self-educated and brown-skinned, Cassie works full time in her grandmother’s laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for “colored music” and dreams of life as a big city radio star. These teenaged girls are half-sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father’s inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes to a road trip together to claim what’s rightly theirs.

In an old junk car, with a frying pan, a ham, and a few dollars hidden in a shoe, they set off through the American Deep South of the 1950s, a bewitchingly beautiful landscape as well as one bedeviled by racial strife and violence. Suzanne Feldman's Absalom’s Daughters combines the buddy movie, the coming-of-age tale, and a dash of magical realism to enthrall and move us with an unforgettable, illuminating novel.


Read Chapter One of the book here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Quick Pick: The Lovely Reckless, by Kami Garcia

  • Opening linesA police officer shines a blinding light in my eyes. "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

    To ruin what's left of my miserable life?
  • Reason I picked up the book: Kami Garcia is the co-author of Beautiful Creatures, a book series that I really enjoyed. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

    Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

    Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

  • Favorite paragraph:
    My heart aches. "Me too. But that doesn't change anything."
    "It should."
    "We've been through this. I'm the daughter-"
    "Of a cop, and I'm a car thief, he says softly. "But if I wasn't?" Marco watches me. He's playing
    what if, and I already know how the game ends.
    "Are you saying you stopped stealing cars?" I already knows the answer.

    He frowns and bites his cracked lip.
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes family tales and also family secrets; also for those who like "chick lit."
  • Something to know: I believe this is a standalone novel.
  • What I would have changed: Some of it was very YA-ish but overall, it was written very well. 
  • Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to pre-order on Amazon - it will be released on October 4th. You can also read the first five chapters here, for free.
*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review: One True Loves, by Taylor Jenkins Reid {and a giveaway!}

The voice I hear through the phone is one that I would recognize anywhere, anytime - a voice that spoke to me day in and day out for years and years. One that I thought I'd never hear again, one I'm not ready to even believe I'm hearing now. 

The man I loved since I was seventeen years old. The man that left me a widow when his helicopter had gone down somewhere over the Pacific and he was gone without a trace.

Jesse.

"Emma," Jesse says. "It's me. I'm alive. I'm coming home."

I am a huge fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid's books, so I was excited to see that she had a new book coming out soon. One True Loves, like her other books, focuses on romance and relationships, but this time there's a small hitch: Emma, who recently became engaged to Sam, finds out that in fact, she's not a widower; her husband, who they thought died in a helicopter crash, is still alive.

Official synopsis:
From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a "Best Book of the Summer" by Glamour and USA Today—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancĂ© who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancĂ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Quick Pick: First Comes Love, by Emily Giffin

  • Opening linesIt is the first day of school, a symbolic and hopeful fresh start, at least that's what I tell myself as I stand before my captive, well-scrubbed audience of ten boys and eleven girls in my J.Crew finest - gold ballet flats, gray pants, and a pink, sequined sweater set.
  • Reason I picked up the book: NetGalley had it for reviewing and I love Emily Giffin books - she's also written Something Borrowed, which was a great movie too, plus its sequel, and tons of other "chick lit" books that I've enjoyed.
  • And what's this book about?
  • In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

    Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

    Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

    On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

    As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

    Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling,
    First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.
  • Favorite paragraph:
    "No. I can't," I say, shaking my head. Then, talking about my sister in the third person, I add, "Will someone please tell her that bringing a child into the world is the hardest thing you can do?"

    When nobody answers, I finally turn to walk out of the house, catching the look of anguish on Mom's face and knowing, in an instant, she's thinking how wrong I am about this. That watching your child
    leave the world is actually much harder.
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes family tales and also family secrets; also for those who like "chick lit."
  • Something to know: I found this to be more serious than Giffin's other books; it deals with a family tragedy and the aftermath of that. 
  • What I would have changed: Nothing.
  • Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to pre-order on Amazon - it will be released on June 28th.
*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.