8/5/2016

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New release books that are on our radar.


For The Win
by Rochelle Allison, Angel Lawson

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

For the WinWhat better way to kick off the start of the 2016 Olympics than by reading an Olympic themed novel? 

Former All-Star collegiate goalie, Julian Anderson, has spent the last year off the grid, putting his life and health back together after losing nearly everything and everyone important in his life due to a series of bad decisions in college. But when he gets a call from the US Men’s Soccer team, asking him to play in the Olympic Games, he’s thrust back into the world he’s tried so hard to distance himself from  Read more...


It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

*I devoured this in two days.  It’s one of Colleen Hoover’s best novels!*

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true. Read more


Mid Air by Kodi Scheer

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

“I had a secret: I wanted to leave the earth in a spectacular fashion. Specifically, by leaping from the Eiffel Tower.” So begins this provocative coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl bent on self-destruction and revenge, set in the City of Light.

It’s the summer of 1999, the end of a millennium. In the mind of Nessa Baxter, a girl from rural Illinois, Paris is the remedy for all of her woes. The death of her beloved brother and the betrayal by her classmate Kat has left Nessa bereft and doubtful about her future. She plans to exact revenge on Kat during their renegade French Club trip.  Read more...


Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together.  Read more

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7/29/2016

New release books that are on our radar.

51+4Kx79MyLTruly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarity

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate.  Read more...

 


Leaving Lucy Pear by Anne Tyler

51IoSXsXzrLOne night in 1917 Beatrice Haven sneaks out of her uncle’s house on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, leaves her newborn baby at the foot of a pear tree, and watches as another woman claims the infant as her own. The unwed daughter of wealthy Jewish industrialists and a gifted pianist bound for Radcliffe, Bea plans to leave her shameful secret behind and make a fresh start. Ten years later, Prohibition is in full swing, post-WWI America is in the grips of rampant xenophobia, and Bea’s hopes for her future remain unfulfilled. She returns to her uncle’s house, seeking a refuge from her unhappiness. But she discovers far more read more

 


Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Almam

As close as sisters for twenty years, Sarah and Lauren have been together through high school and college, first jobs and first loves, the uncertainties of their twenties and the realities of their thirties.

Sarah, the only child of a prominent intellectual and a socialite, works at a charity and is methodically planning her wedding. Lauren—beautiful, independent, and unpredictable—is single and working in publishing, deflecting her parents’ worries and questions about her life and future by trying not to think about it herself. Each woman envies—and is horrified by—particular aspects of the other’s life, …read more.


The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and …read more.

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The Girls: An Instant Cult Favorite

The_GirlsThe Girls, by Emma Cline, is a writing breath of fresh air.  This book, which made the 2016 Summer Reading List, was one of the most hyped books of the year.  You couldn’t log on to any social media and not see someone mention this book.  With that being said, going into this book, expectations were high.  That can be both a good thing and bad thing.  One of the things that immediately stood out to me was the quality of writing.  Emma Cline’s sentences were little gifts in and of themselves.  Ones that you had to go back and reread just because her thoughts were worded so beautifully.  You immediately felt like your IQ and sophistication levels were going to increase simply from reading this book.  Am I the only one that feels that way about certain books? It’s not that Cline’s words or sentence complexity is so great that it requires an advanced degree, but the words themselves and how they were strung together were magical.

The Girls is set during the late 1960’s and follows teenager Evie Boyd in a quasi-coming of age tale.  Limited in experience, both in friendships with girls and boys, Evie is desperate to belong—to anything, to something.

“I waited to be told what was good about me. […] All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you- the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.”

 

Evie’s desire for friendship and love lead her to fierce admiration of an exotic group of girls that occasionally made appearances in town—often dumpster diving for food to take back on their converted school bus to their ranch.  Evie’s fascination with the group’s de facto leader, Suzanne, drives her quest to join their group.  Soon, Evie finds herself going to and from the ranch at her whim.

“So much of desire, at that age, was a willful act. Trying so hard to slur the rough, disappointing edges of boys into the shape of someone we could love. We spoke of our desperate need for them with rote and familiar words, like we were reading lines from a play. Later I would see this: how impersonal and grasping our love was, pinging around the universe, hoping for a host to give form to our wishes.”

Evie encounters the group’s magical and mythical leader, Russell, who Cline largely based off of Charles Manson.  The cult, and their characters, including the girls, all desperately seek his approval, attention, and affection.  For someone who has little knowledge of the Manson cult, I know little of how to compare it.  However, the events that unfolded, and Evie’s interaction with the cast of characters, along with Cline’s writing, made this book one to be read into the late hours of the night.

Told from alternating time periods, Evie in present day and Evie in the late 1960’s, The Girls delivers magnificent writing.  Despite the beautiful words, I was a little underwhelmed at the conclusion of the book but perhaps the most magic in things is the journey and not necessarily the destination.

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Broken Prince: Royal cliffhanger hangover

Broken PrinceIt’s here! It’s here!  I don’t know how you have survived the MONTHS of anticipation after the cliffhanger of a book that was Paper Princess.  The highly anticipated sequel, Broken Prince, does not disappoint.  In fact, the only disappointing thing is how hard of a book this is to review.  Not because I didn’t love it, but because I don’t want to spoil it.  And it’s not that far into the second book when you get to the first big spoiler, the first among many.  What I can say is that, thankfully, we don’t have to wait that long to find Ella.  (Hint: she didn’t get that far)  In the first book, Paper Princess, I said that book reminded me of a cross between Cruel Intentions and Gossip Girl.  For Broken Prince, I would add the TV show Revenge into the mix.  Remember that show?

Revenge

Gosh…it had the craziest story lines but you still couldn’t stop watching!  This is how I feel about this series.  Just when you didn’t think anything else could go wrong…plot twist!  Broken Prince goes Revenge in the very first chapter and just like the TV show, you have to keep watching, err reading, to find out what happens.

Revenge son of a bitch gif

           How I felt reading the plot twists.

I loved that we found out more of Gideon’s story in Broken Prince.  Although the twins play minor roles in this book, I definitely wouldn’t mind a spin-off series all to their own.  Easton is still in the mix and he deserves his own book series too.  And if you think that author Erin Watt didn’t leave you wanting more after the first book, then book two delivers a cliffhanger for all cliffhangers.

Looking at you, author Erin Watt.

Looking at you, author Erin Watt.

Fear not though, book three is due out in October.  If you are looking for a series to capture your attention in the same vein as Gossip Girl, you will not be disappointed.  Until October…..XoXo.

Revenge help us all

Till October.

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7/15/2016

For Your Consideration SM

New release books that are on our radar.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

Nea618bwFzbYHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_r an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself. Read more


Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

41AjUYjmVPL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: read more


The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams

Free on Kindle Unlimited!

The Last Woman StandingTwo decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.

But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…read more.


The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger

The Singles GameFrom the author of The Devil Wears Prada: How far would you go to reach the top?

When America’s sweetheart, Charlotte “Charlie” Silver, makes a pact with the devil—the infamously brutal tennis coach Todd Feltner—she finds herself catapulted into a world of celebrity stylists, private parties, charity matches aboard mega-yachts, and secret dates with Hollywood royalty.

Under Todd’s new ruthless regime, Charlie the good girl is out. Todd wants “Warrior Princess” Charlie all the way. After all, no one ever wins big by playing nice. Read more

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for your consideration (1) A new weekly feature.  New release books that are on our radar. 

 

In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch

In Twenty Years

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…read more.

 


The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

WheThe Bourbon Thiefn Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris…read more.


First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love

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 delicate bond splinters.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths…read more.  (Read about Between Two Books’ meeting with author Emily Giffin here!)


We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley

CatWe Could Be Beautifulherine West has spent her entire life surrounded by beautiful things. She owns an immaculate Manhattan apartment, she collects fine art, she buys exquisite handbags and clothing, and she constantly redecorates her home. And yet, despite all this, she still feels empty. She sees her personal trainer, she gets weekly massages, and occasionally she visits her mother and sister on the Upper East Side, but after two broken engagements and boyfriends who wanted only her money, she is haunted by the fear that she’ll never have a family of her own. One night, at an art opening, Catherine meets William Stockton, a handsome man who shares her impeccable taste and love of beauty. He is educated, elegant, and…read more.


Intrusion by Mary McCluskey

IntrusionKat and Scott Hamilton are dealing with the hardest of losses: the death of their only child. While Scott throws himself back into his law practice in Los Angeles, Kat is hesitant to rejoin the workplace and instead spends her days shell-shocked and confused, unable to focus.

When an unwelcome face from Kat’s past in England emerges—the beautiful and imposing Sarah Cherrington—Kat’s marriage is thrown into a tailspin. Now wealthy beyond anything she could have imagined as a girl, Sarah appears to have everything she could need or want. But Sarah has an agenda and…read more.

What new release are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

The Bourbon Thief

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My first book signing: My experience with Emily Giffin

Is it embarrassing to say that I’ve never been to a book signing? Despite being a life-long avid reader, I’ve never been to a book signing. Perhaps it was due to geographic location limits, but book signings are not something that has ever crossed my radar.   After recently moving to the Atlanta area, with much more arts and culture activities, suddenly, book signings are something that are doable.

book signing author Emily Giffin

Author, Emily Giffin.

When I found out that one of my favorite authors, Emily Giffin, was going to be within driving distance launching her new book First Comes Love, I jumped at the chance to go.  But then….all of the questions….what happens at a book signing (books are signed, I know, but what else?), what does one wear (I found out that this event was mostly cute sun dresses), etc.  Needless to say, my excitement level was at a fever pitch and I grabbed a friend to tag along.  By the way, I would have gone alone, but it was defiantly a friend event.  There were gaggles of girls everywhere.

Hosted at the Marcus Jewish Community Center, Emily Giffin’s book signing was more of an event than just a signing.  A book talk was hosted by local personality Mara Davis that felt like we were in the audience of a talk show.  The venue was much smaller than what I anticipated but that worked out in my favor as we were able to see Emily better.  It felt very intimate but packed at the same time—the room was full of women (and a few men…a few)!  It surprised me how much I enjoyed the book talk.  I’m not sure if I enjoyed it so much because it felt talk showish or if it was because of Emily’s personality.  (Side note: Atlanta is where Emily Giffin resides and is personal friends with Mara Davis.  I’m sure their comradery added a little something extra to the event.)

book signing

Gift bags from Random House.

Because Atlanta is Emily’s (am I allowed to call her by her first name? It feels like I can after the event) hometown, many of her friends and family members were in the audience which she talked to, or rather about, throughout the book talk.  Mara Davis started the book talk by stating that Emily was everything you hoped she would be and more—which is something that she definitely lived up to.  I was surprised at how funny she was and candid throughout the conversation.  We quickly learned that she and her first book agent did not have the best of relationships.  As someone low on the totem pole, Emily’s emails were not returned frequently and responses were very short from her agent.  Emily told the audience under no uncertain terms should aspiring writers ever use this agent—frequently.  This was surprising and hilarious at the same time.  Haven’t we all had those people that we would love to give a big ol “I’ll show you” to?  Emily recalled a story where her sister confessed to her that she sent that agent a signed copy of one of Emily’s best-selling books.  I’m sure that agent has never forgotten the writer she passed on.

Another surprising thing that Emily said, I can’t remember the context, they were obviously talking about the movie Something Borrowed, but someone asked her about turning her current book, First Comes Love, into a movie and who would she cast.  Mara Davis, who was magnificent by the way, reminded Emily that she had just mentioned on the Today show this week that Kate Hudson would be a good person much to Emily’s surprise.  She said “did I really say that?!” to which Mara confirmed.  Emily then had a confused/horrified look on her face to which she then said something like “well let’s just say that Kate played her character true to form in Something Borrowed (this is a previous book of Emily’s that was turned into a movie.  Kate Hudson played Darcy.)  She is definitely a Darcy”.  (If you haven’t watched the movie, you should! It’s really good, and you will totally understand the Darcy dig).  My friend and I looked at each other going “did she just say that?” I was delighted—it’s refreshing that she didn’t give a PC answer.

book signing with Emily Giffin

The wonderful host, Mara Davis.

At one point during the book talk, Mara Davis posed the question to Emily about how she felt about being classified as a “chick lit” author.  I was surprised and thankful for Emily’s candid answer.  Emily stated that although her success of her first book, Something Borrowed, came on the heels of Bridget Jones’s Diary and that much of the success of her book can be attributed to the influx of female readers during that time period, she does not feel that her books fit into the “chic lit” mold that is so often characterized.  She stressed that she writes about relationships between people and not Sex and the City martini sipping shopping girls.  Mara Davis brought up the fact that late night talk show host Steven Colbert has not had the first female author on his show despite having plenty of bestselling male authors.  Emilly stated that despite male authors such as Nick Hornby writing about the same type of topics covered in her books, Hornby’s works are not classified as “chic lit”.  (This is a topic that would make for a great post about gender inequality in the publishing world) Despite not really liking her deemed genre, Emily stated that she is simply happy to have readers.  Readers that have made her a bestselling author for the soon to be 8th time.

After speaking with Mara Davis for about 30 minutes, the floor was opened up to audience member’s questions.  Dun, dun, dun….I had a question, but boy was it nerve wracking—do you raise your hand to ask? I finally worked up the courage, despite my nervousness.  I was dying to know if Emily had ever thought about writing a young adult novel (a guilty-ish pleasure).  Surprisingly, Emily stated that she would love to write a YA novel.  Because several of her novels are essentially coming of age stories, and because she likes them so much, she said that she could see herself writing one.  Fingers crossed!

book signing with emily giffin

Myself with author Emily Giffin.

Finally, as the last questions were being asked from audience members, I saw several people in the audience begin to leave—how rude! But then I realized….they were leaving to jump in line for the book signing.  Maybe they were smart.  That line was incredibly long! Are they always this long? I’ve never been more grateful that I had a friend with me.  We spent an hour in line chit chatting while we people watched and waited for our turn.  Although I thought the line would move faster, I realized that it wasn’t moving that fast because Emily was gracious enough to take pictures with anyone that asked, and multiples as well, and have conversations with her fans.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first book signing/talk and can’t wait to go to another one.

What has your experience been with book signings/talks? Are they similar to what I described?

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The Trouble with Paper Planes: Hint, it’s alot

The Trouble with Paper PlanesOh boy.  Where to begin? Ever read a book and things are going along swimmingly and you’re thinking “this is really good” and then BAM! WTF? WHAT AM I READING? Yeah? No? That was The Trouble with Paper Planes.  At first, this book was refreshing.  Not only is it written from the male’s point of view, but the plot was rather intriguing.  Heath, the narrator and main character of the book, is reeling from the loss of his childhood friend turned girlfriend.  She is literally lost.  Emily has been missing for five years and it isn’t until much later in the book that the reason behind her disappearance is revealed.  Heath is grieving for her loss along with their close-knit group of friends as well as Emily’s family.

Enter newcomer to the town Maia, who takes a job at Emily’s mother’s restaurant who looks eerily similar to Emily albeit with different hair color.  So much so that Emily’s mother calls Heath to warn him of her disturbing resemblance.  After meeting Maia, Heath is inexplicably drawn to Maia in a way that he has never experienced—not even with Emily.  While this may seem unbelievable, Amanda Dick’s writing allows you to actually believe that their connection is real.

“It felt like we’d missed a step somewhere along the line. Like we’d skipped a few pages in the book, or scenes in the movie. It felt both wrong and right, simultaneously. I wanted to caution myself against getting too involved, yet at the same time, I wanted to scream that I didn’t care and dive in head-first regardless. My head swam.”

Heath’s feelings for Maia are strong.  So strong that even he questions the experience himself.

“It wasn’t enough. I simultaneously wanted her to be part of me, and yet I felt like she already was. I was stricken with an extreme sense of vertigo, as if I were falling and she was holding me up. The prospect scared the shit out of me.”

Despite their strong connection, Maia remains somewhat of a mystery to Heath.  While she knows about Emily and his past, Maia reveals very little.  However, later we learn that Maia was involved in some sort of accident and has experienced amnesia.  She remembers nothing about herself, her past, or anything else for that matter.  It’s at this point that Heath begins to wonder if Maia could actually be Emily.  And this is where the trouble enters for me with The Trouble with Paper Planes.

All throughout the book, Heath’s friends, and Emily’s family make comments on the remarkable likeness of Maia and Emily.  Mannerisms are pointed out as similar, although their personalities are different.  I find it unfathomable that if Maia and Emily look so strikingly similar that Heath or Emily’s mother Bridget, wouldn’t look for some defining physical characteristic to link the two together such as a mole or a scar.  We all have those.  This was a gaping plot hole for me that I couldn’t wrap my head around.

And then the author decides to take this book way into left field so much so that I’ve spent too many days returning to this post to try to finish this review.  To be honest, I’m not even sure I understood what I read.  I felt like I missed something really big but the plot twist was so surprising, and terrible, in my opinion, that I didn’t even want to go back and reread it.  I immediately had to tell two people how incredibly bizarre the ending was.  It was that kind of book.

Which leads me to my next question…do you look at reviews for a book before you read? I rarely look at the reviews.  I don’t want the book to be spoiled and reviews can often contain major spoilers.  I came across The Trouble with Paper Planes as a suggestion from Amazon based on other books I like.  After the super surprising ending, I immediately jumped on GoodReads to see what others thought.  It’s always surprising to me how different reader’s reactions can be to the same book.  Surprisingly, a lot of the reviews were positive, however, I did feel validated that there were several that had the WTF feeling just like me.  With that being said…read at your own risk.

What was the last book that you read that left you feeling like WTF?

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2016 Summer Reading Recs

2016 Summer Reading Recs
The Girls

The_Girls

 1. The Girls  by Emma Cline

Why it made the list: This title is sure to be one of the most talked about books this year.  Teenagers, a cult, and California.

Synopsis: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader.
Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.


2. Modern Lovers by Emma StraubModern Lover

Why it made the list: Who can resist this beautiful cover? From recent best-selling author of The Vacationers, college friends turned adult neighbors with their own kids and the drama that ensues over a summer.

Synopsis:  Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.
Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.


I Let You Go3. I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

Why it made the list: A modern-day murder mystery and a grieving mother.

Synopsis: I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.


4. Full Share by Eliza FreedFull Share

Why it made the list:  The quintessential summer read and bargain priced! Set in the summer with richly developed characters, read my review here.

Synopsis:  Nora Hargrove’s post-grad life includes a horrific entry-level job, a cave of an apartment, and a strict avoidance of all interpersonal relationships. She knows only one thing about herself–she wants to be left alone.

Avoiding her mother’s forced family time, she seeks solitude on her own terms. In a poorly ventilated, overcrowded Dewey Beach rental, she discovers there’s no place to hide. Not from yourself, not from your life, and not from love. This is the story of Nora Hargrove’s full share.


Before the Fall5. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Why it made the list: Written by the Emmy-winning creator of the tv show Fargo, this plane crash thriller is bound to leave you captivated…

Synopsis:  On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. Continue Reading

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An Unrequited Love Story: Unbreak My Heart

 

To say Unbreak My Heartthat I couldn’t put down this book is an understatement.  I read it in a day and that was in between taking breaks because I was stopping myself from throwing my Kindle against a wall.  Unbreak My Heart is the epitome of unrequited love.  Katie develops feelings for her childhood friend Shane who then falls in love with Katie’s college roommate. Shane then marries Katie’s friend all the while Katie still harbors feelings of love and resentment to Shane.  While Shane is deployed overseas, Katie helps her best friend with raising their children and playing surrogate parent.  However, Katie’s best friend dies in a car accident leaving Shane with four children under the age of 8 and desperately leaning on Katie.

I’m sure you can figure out where this is going.  Refreshingly, it was not insta-love between Katie and Shane.  However, their journey together is about as crazy and infuriating as insta-love.  Through a series of very unfortunate (or are they fortunate?) mistakes, Katie becomes so entwined in Shane and the kids’ lives that lines are blurred not only among the kids but between Katie and Shane as well.  Despite Shane relying heavily on Katie to become the surrogate parent, his feelings of Katie’s role in the kids’ life and his own are conflicted.  He subsequently makes a series of mistakes that will leave you (remember from above?) wanting to throw your e-reader.  Despite this, I couldn’t stop reading to find out how Shane was going to redeem himself and if he even wanted Katie to forgive him.  Although he his grieving for the loss of his wife and while some of his actions could be blamed on that grief—there is only so much Katie can take.

Unbreak My Heart will undoubtedly break your heart in the process of reading this book.  For me, the angst in this book is the perfect kind—the kind that makes want to keep reading into the wee hours of the night to get through it.  Although some will argue that Katie is too forgiving, I was surprised that Nicole Jacquelyn did not tie things up into a pretty bow at predictable parts in the book.  Instead, the story and drama between Katie and Shane unfolded throughout the course of the book and developed over time. This added to the believability of the story and halted the sometimes eye-roll worthy moments of plots of this nature.  However, there were a few plot holes for me.  For one, I couldn’t understand Shane’s actions toward Katie later in life could happen if they were so close in high school as the author lays out.  Secondly, although Shane’s actions could certainly be blamed on grief, it did not seem that the book covered enough grief—through Shane, Katie, or the children’s actions. Despite these few problems, Unbreak My Heart surpassed my expectations and gave great angst!

 

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