Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Book Review and SIGNED copy giveaway: Class Mom, by Laurie Gelman {2 winners, ends 10/4}

Subject: Getting to know me - your new class mom

Hello, parents of Miss Ward's kindergarten class!

My name is Jennifer Dixon and I have "volunteered" to be your class mom for this coming year. Since this is a thankless job, don't expect warm fuzzy emails like you probably got in preschool. Wake up! You're in kindergarten on the mean streets of William H. Taft Elementary School, and it's time to face a few facts. The main one is that I'm in charge and I have some strong suggestions to make this an easy year for all of us, especially me.

First and foremost, read the school's @#$%& weekly email! It may seem boring, but it actually gives good information and keeps me from having to answer questions like "When is curriculum night?" (See below, by the way, for the answer to that one)

This is Laurie Gelman's first novel, and I found myself laughing out loud while reading it. If you enjoy books written with a hilarious first-person POV, you will enjoy this one.

Official synopsis:
Laurie Gelman's clever debut novel about a year in the life of a kindergarten class mom - a brilliant send-up of the petty and surprisingly cutthroat terrain of parent politics.

Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom—or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it's her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max—this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the-wisest-candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.

From recording parents' response times to her emails about helping in the classroom, to requesting contributions of-special-brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen's methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen's past, a hyper-sensitive -allergy mom,-a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.

Relatable, irreverent, and hilarious in the spirit of Maria Semple this is a fresh, welcome voice in fiction--the kind of novel that real moms clamor for, and a vicarious thrill-read for all mothers, who will be laughing as they are liberated by Gelman's acerbic truths.


I love books that include emails, and this one included all of the emails from Jen, as class mom, to the kindergarten class. The emails were hysterical, too, and some of the parents didn't know what to make of them, although they were meant to be light-hearted and sarcastic.

Jen is in her mid-40s, so she's one of the older moms in the class; her son, Max, is her third child, and her two daughters are in their 20s and in college. This isn't her first rodeo, but parents these days are definitely more demanding than 15-20 years ago, and as class mom, she has to make sure everyone is accommodated, or at least their children are.

Jen was definitely a funny character, and because the book is written in first-person POV (point of view), we get to see inside her head a bit too. One of her friends asked her to sign up for class mom (a job she would probably not normally sign up for), and Class Mom follows her throughout Max's kindergarten year, and all of the trials and tribulations that pop up along the way.

The supporting characters here were well-written, too: from her husband, Ron, to her friends and trainer, who actually ends up dating one of her friends.

Although I'm fairly certain that this is a standalone book, I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel, as we get a peek of the future (Max's 1st grade year) at the end of the novel, too.

Fun fact, too: if you are a fan of Regis & Kelly (aka Live with Kelly & Ryan in its current incarnation), you might have heard of the producer, Michael Gelman - Laurie Gelman is his wife. I didn't figure this out until I read her bio (she lives in NYC) and remembered Regis yelling "Gelman!" all of the time, ha ... and then when I Googled it, I then put the pieces together.

4 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the widget below. Two of my lucky readers will each win a signed copy of Class Mom!

Giveaway will end on Wednesday, October 4th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be contacted the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. 

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Class Mom - 2 autographed copies

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GIVEAWAY: The Welcome Home Diner, by Peggy Lampman {3 winners! Ends 9/20}

The Welcome Home Diner will hit stores on October 10th, but three of my lucky readers have the chance to win a copy beforehand!

It takes place in Detroit, too, which is awesome! (I live in the metro Detroit area)

About the book:
GIVEAWAY: The Welcome Home Diner, by Peggy Lampman
Betting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?


GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, September 20th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. and Canadian residents only, please. Prize will be shipped from the author.

Good luck!

The Welcome Home Diner book - 3 winners

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: All Things New, by Lauren Miller {2 autographed copies! ends 9/14}

"You coming, Jessa?" I hear Hannah say.

I yank the puppet strings, head up, smile, nod, and follow her down the hall.

"Meet you on G at lunch?" she asks when we get to my English class. So casually, like it's not even a question. Like we're already friends. Immediately I have the thought, if only it were that easy. And then I have the thought, maybe it is.

This is the second book I've read by Lauren Miller—the first one, Free to Fall, was more of a dystopian novel, and All Things New takes place in present-day. However, both novels were very good, and I recommend reading both.

Official synopsis:
Book review: All Things New, by Lauren Miller
Jessa has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and visible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, where she meets Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world, perfect for fans of ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.


This book was a little different than your typical YA book—the protagonist, Jessa, ends up in a bad car accident (through no fault of her own, as someone was texting and driving and hit her) and lands in the hospital. That same night, she had found out that her boyfriend of two years was cheating on her, too. Her dad, who lives in Colorado, extends her an offer to finish up high school there and live with him, and she takes it.

Jessa also has anxiety and panic attacks, which makes her a not-so-typical YA heroine. When she moves to Denver to live with her dad, she meets Marshall and his twin sister, Hannah; Hannah is a perfectionist and a student pianist who is obsessed with getting into Interlochen (Michigan shoutout!) and Marshall has had a small hole in his heart ever since he was born.

I enjoyed this book, though I'll admit I liked Free to Fall, the author's other novel, a bit better (though really, they can't be compared, as the subject matter and time frames are completely different). Jessa is a strong heroine although it takes her a while to realize how strong she is—when her strength is needed, however, she steps up to the plate. All of the supporting characters worked well together, too, and Jessa eventually figures out that even though her parents are divorced, her dad has never stopped caring about her.

I could see this being a good movie, as well—I'd have to think about who I'd cast, but I was thinking Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) as Marshall and Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall) as Jessa.

3.5 stars out of 5.
{Click here to purchase}

GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the widget below. Two of my lucky readers will win an autographed copy of All Things New!

Giveaway will end on Thursday, September 14th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified via email the next day, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

2 autographed copies of All Things New

Saturday, September 2, 2017

GIVEAWAY: The Crows of Beara, by Julie Christine Johnson {ends 9/11}

The Crows of Beara was released yesterday, and one of my lucky readers has a chance to win a copy! Your choice of print copy OR Kindle (e-book).

About the book:
GIVEAWAY: The Crows of Beara, by Julie Christine Johnson
Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart.

When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life.

Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine.

Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice—a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind.

Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people.

Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are.



GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Monday, September 11th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. only if you choose the print copy, but open to international if you choose the Kindle copy.

Good luck!

The Crows of Beara book

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Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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