Monday, November 2, 2015

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Let me start by saying I listened to this book on audio, read by Wil Wheaton, yes *the* WIL WHEATON, so right there you know it's going to be good.  There is so much to say about this book, the characters, the writing, the setting,  all of that was incredible.  But the 80's pop culture, that topped it all that.  It was like re-living my youth - movies, television shows, music, books, video was totally awesome...see what I did there :) 

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011: Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the now-deceased creator of OASIS and the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday’s fortune. But Halliday has not made it easy. And there are real dangers in this virtual world. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline.--Chris Schluep

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

My husband and I have been talking about going out to Napa Valley for a *long* time, it is definitely on the bucket list, but I am now adding Sonoma County to that list, I blame this book.  And while the setting was a favorite part of this book, I loved the characters just as much.  They were flawed and complex and wonderful. 

I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated to perfection, and I got to the last disk and had to drive around my neighborhood at 9:30 at night because I just couldn't stop is that good.  Also, fair warning, you can't read this book without wanting a lovely, full bodied glass of red.

Book Description via Amazon

Named “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour * Marie Claire * US Weekly * Good Housekeeping * Cosmopolitan * Elle Magazine * Wine Enthusiast * Health Magazine * Metro New York * InStyle* Pop Sugar * CBS Local * BookTrib * AV Club * and as the #1 Library Reads Pick *

There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide….

Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.

But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.

Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets….

Bestselling author Laura Dave has been dubbed “a wry observer of modern love” (USA TODAY), a “decadent storyteller” (Marie Claire), and “compulsively readable” (Woman’s Day). Set in the lush backdrop of Sonoma’s wine country, Eight Hundred Grapes is a heartbreaking, funny, and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect.

In this breakout novel from an author who “positively shines with wisdom and intelligence” (Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I leave You), Laura Dave “writes with humor and insight about relationships in all their complexity, whether she's describing siblings or fiancés or a couple long-married. Eight Hundred Grapes is a captivating story about the power of family, the limitations of love, and what becomes of a life’s work” (J. Courtney Sullivan, Maine).

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Another home run for Katherine Appelgate...if you haven't read The One and Only Ivan, do it now, just wonderful. 

This takes a really tough subject and makes it accessible for middle grade readers - homelessness; although I think this is a great reader for all ages.  As a parent, I ached for all the characters, the kids who didn't understand what was happening and for the parents who are doing everything they can to keep their kids warm and fed.  Almost everyone I know, worries about money, I don't hang with the millionaire set, but I am hoping that none of us have to worry about their kids being hungry, just heartbreaking.  This is a great book to discuss as a family, the idea of things being just that things.  That there are larger problems than not getting the latest iPhone.  A perfect book to read as we approach the holiday season of excess, a gentle reminder of what is really important, family.

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—In her first novel since the Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012), Applegate tells the story of a 10-year-old boy whose imaginary friend helps him cope with a family crisis. Jackson, his parents, and his five-year-old sister once again are staring down the barrel of an impending eviction notice. What frustrates Jackson isn't just the lack of money: it's his artistically minded parents' tendency to gloss over their woes with humor and cheer rather than acknowledging the reality of their situation. It's understandably a shock to Jackson when an old friend reappears: Crenshaw, a seven-foot-tall talking cat, who first came into his life several years ago when the boy and his family were living out of their car shortly after his father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Skeptical Jackson tries to dismiss Crenshaw as a figment of his imagination, but the cat's words of wisdom start to resonate with him. Employing sparse but elegant prose, Applegate has crafted an authentic protagonist whose self-possession and maturity conceal
relatable vulnerability and fears. While sardonic Crenshaw may not be the warm and cuddly imaginary friend readers are expecting, he's the companion that Jackson truly needs as he begins to realize that he doesn't need to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Though the ending wraps up a shade too neatly, overall, children will appreciate this heartbreaking novel. VERDICT A compelling and unflinchingly honest treatment of a difficult topic.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

I am not going to lie, this is a hard book to read; it makes you examine everything you know as a parent, or think you know.  It makes you look at yourself and your dreams and how that influences the person you become, the parent you become.  This would make such a great book club book, there is so much to discuss and think about and absorb, I loved it! Review

Selected by the Amazon Editors as the #1 Book of the Year: Lydia is dead. From the first sentence of Celeste Ng’s stunning debut, we know that the oldest daughter of the Chinese-American Lee family has died. What follows is a novel that explores alienation, achievement, race, gender, family, and identity--as the police must unravel what has happened to Lydia, the Lee family must uncover the sister and daughter that they hardly knew. There isn’t a false note in this book, and my only concern in describing my profound admiration for Everything I Never Told You is that it might raise unachievable expectations in the reader. But it’s that good. Achingly, precisely, and sensitively written. --Chris Schluep

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

This is being touted as the next Newbery winner, eh, I am not convinced.  I loved the premise, I loved the writing, I loved the beginning and the's that all important middle that lost me.  I felt it got to be very tedious and I found myself speed reading through many parts.  I will be curious to see who actually takes home the Newbery come November, I am holding out for stronger contenders.

Book Description via Amazon

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz brings her delicious wit and keen eye to early twentieth-century America in a moving yet comedic tour de force.

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

Ok I am calling it...this will be the next "Fault in Our Stars" with accompanying movie and all (alright maybe Amazon called it before me, but whatevs).  I absolutely loved this book, so much more than FIOS (shhh don't tell John Green).  When I first picked this up I couldn't help thinking about John Travolta in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble...remember that piece of cinematic genius?  Well this is not the literary equivalent...this is definitely worth the read, and without giving anything away, it is not the "typical" YA dying kid book, it is so much more and with a really good twist.

Book Description via Amazon

The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller

If you love Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Augustus, and Mia and Adam, you’ll love the story of Maddy, a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. This innovative and heartfelt debut novel unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

I have read a lot of Lauren Oliver's YA stuff, and *loved* them.  I really want to tell you that I love her debut adult fiction, Rooms, and I might love it, I'm still not sure.  It has received so many great reviews from really smart literary
people, so, in theory I should be gushing but I am still not sure about this one...please read it and tell me if I loved it or hated it.

Book Description via Amazon

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.
Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

I am on a graphic novel kick...and this is one I normally would have passed on; the style of illustrations just isn't my thing...very cartoony, very busy, very bright.  I started reading it while processing new books and I was drawn into the story very quickly, the writing is that good.  I can see why this guy has won *alot* of awards.  This is a great graphic for ages 9 and up.

Book Description via Amazon

Highly acclaimed graphic novelist Craig Thompson's debut book for young readers about a plucky heroine on a mission to save her dad.

For Violet Marlocke, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can't just sit around and do nothing. To get him back, Violet throws caution to the stars and sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is vast and dangerous, and she soon discovers that her dad is in big, BIG trouble. With her father's life on the line, nothing is going to stop Violet from trying to rescue him and keep her family together.

Visionary graphic novel creator Craig Thompson brings all of his wit, warmth, and humor to create a brilliantly drawn story for all ages. Set in a distant yet familiar future, SPACE DUMPLINS weaves themes of family, friendship, and loyalty into a grand space adventure filled with quirky aliens, awesome spaceships, and sharp commentary on our environmentally challenged world.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

I love a good graphic novel, and I have an intense love of the series Babymouse by this sibling duo, so I dove right into their latest collaboration, Sunny Side Up.  This tells the story of 10 year old Sunny (oh it's also set in 1976 - which was AWESOME) who is sent to visit her grandfather in sunny Florida for the summer...a dream come true right?  But Sunny finds herself among the senior set in a over 55 community and to boot, the reader learns that something bad happened at home to send her to the sunshine state.  The illustrations are wonderful, there are some really fun parts but ultimately the book deals with a heavy topic, drug addiction and how it affects the entire family.  This is a heavy topic for any reader, but it can be especially tricky for the 9-12s.  The Holms duo handles this perfectly and they don't leave middle grade reader scarred.  A great addition to any graphic novel collection.

Book Description via Amazon

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is  the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.

Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

Friday, September 18, 2015

Field Trip by Gary Paulson and Jim Paulson

Oh my word, this book makes me want to run to a shelter and adopt all.the.dogs. I loved the first book, Road Trip, and the second definitely did not disappoint.  You will definitely feel all the feels with this one.

Book Description via Amazon

Father-and-son writing team Gary and Jim Paulsen pick up where their Road Trip left off. Ben has been invited to try out for a special hockey academy. But Dad wants Ben to catch up to the school field trip instead. So Ben, Dad, and their dogs, Atticus and Conor, jump into their truck. Ben concocts a secret plan to make the tryout, but Atticus and Conor are on to him. Ben and Dad’s road trip turns into a wacky adventure full of new friends and surprises.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

I *love* historical fiction involving NYC, biased I know, and when the time period is the early part of the twenty century it has the potential to be pure gold.  Jami Attenberg does an incredible job of bringing the readers into the realm of lower Manhattan; through the golden era of flappers and speakeasys, to the horror and despair of the depression.  I loved that she based this piece of historical fiction on a real can read about the real Mazie Phillips here:  and in an article by Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker Magazine, December 21, 1940. 

An Amazon Best Book of June 2015: Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie couldn’t be more different from her popular The Middlesteins, in that it is a) historical not contemporary, b) loosely based on a real woman who lived in early 20th century New York City instead of on an all-too-real fictional character in suburban Chicago and c) told as an oral history instead of as a traditional narrative. Still, this novel exhibits the same kind of wit and depth and heart of the earlier one. Mazie Phillips was a depression-era movie-theater-owner in New York during the Depression; she was big-hearted and bawdy, enough of a neighborhood figure that she became the subject of a 1940 New Yorker profile by the journalist Joseph Mitchell. Starting with his observations—“Mazie has a genuine fondness for bums and undoubtedly knows more bums than any other person in the city”—Attenberg weaves an astonishingly heartfelt story of poverty and loss (one of Mazie’s beloved, orphaned sisters moves to California to become a dancer and is essentially lost to her forever), unconventionality (there’s a lot of socially “inappropriate” sex and love in this book) and, to use a word from that era, “moxie.” With all her tough talk and bootstrap-pulling, Mazie could grow into a cliché – the loose woman with a heart of gold – but Attenberg never lets her, preferring instead to take Mitchell’s sketch and draw all over it with fictional interviews and diaries until Mazie becomes a complex and irresistible real-life woman. She may have lived in a very specific era, but thanks to Attenberg, she has become a character for the ages. --Sara Nelson

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Oh my word, this book, I absolutely loved crying on the way to work while listening to the book kinda love.  Rebecca Stead captures those tween/teen years so perfectly.  I was tearing up both remembering my own (way back when) and that parental heartbreak knowing that your own kids have to experience some of the heartache that comes with life.  My favorite middle grade book of the year...I am calling it my "Wonder" of 2015.

From School Library Journal

Gr 6–9—Ah, seventh grade! A year when your friends transform inexplicably, your own body and emotions perplex you, and the world seems fraught with questions, and the most confusing ones of all concern the nature of love. Stead focuses on Bridge Barsamian, her best girlfriends, and her newest friend Sherm—a boy who is definitely not her boyfriend (probably). They're navigating the shoals of adolescence on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Emily has suddenly developed a figure that attracts a lot of attention, Tabitha is an increasingly committed human rights activist, and Bridge has taken to wearing a headband with black cat's ears for reasons that are unclear even to her. The seventh graders aren't the only characters working out relationships. There are married parents and divorced parents and then there's Sherm's grandfather who has suddenly left his wife of 50 years and moved to New Jersey. There's also a mysterious character whose Valentine's Day is doled out in second-person snippets interspersed within the rest of the story. Love is serious, but Stead's writing isn't ponderous. It's filled with humor, delightful coincidences, and the sorts of things (salacious cell phone photos, lunchroom politics, talent show auditions) that escalate in ways that can seem life-shattering to a 13-year-old. The author keeps all her balls in the air until she catches them safely with ineffable grace. VERDICT An immensely satisfying addition for Stead's many fans.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

This series is almost indescribable...there are ley lines and sleeping kings and cars and forbidden love and some really amazing is weird and wonderful and I CAN.NOT.WAIT. for the fourth and last installment, I have a feeling I may cry a little (read:  me sobbing for days). 

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Having inhaled the first two installments in this thrilling series about four Virginia schoolboys on a quest to find a legendary Welsh king, teens will be anxious to see where Stiefvater next leads Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah. The volume picks up directly after The Dream Thieves (Scholastic, 2013) and the quest takes some bizarre and dangerous twists. Blue Sargent and the psychically talented women of 300 Fox Way take center stage this time. Blue's mother Maura has disappeared, and it's not immediately clear if she wants to be found. Despite the fact that "time and space were bathtubs that Maura splashed in," Blue and Mr. Gray, Maura's ex-hitman boyfriend, begin to think she's underground and in trouble. Informed by several mystical and live sources that there are three ancient sleepers in the nearby mountain caves, one of which is not to be awakened, the young people are hurled toward a subterranean encounter of the weirdest kind. Throughout, the prose is crisp and dazzling and the dialogue positively crackles. The supernatural elements—magic, a mirrored lake, an evil curse, the appearance of Owen Glendower's 600-year-old daughter—are completely organic and suspension of disbelief is effortless due to the nuanced and affecting characterization. Blue and the Raven Boys come into their own over the course of the novel and realize their individual strengths and the power of their collective bonds, making them unstoppable. It's a good thing, because it seems as though all hell is about to break loose in the final volume.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I  really, really, really wanted to love daughter loved it, *a lot* of people on Amazon loved it, reviewers loved, just meh.  I felt like it was the Hunger Games mixed with the Selection, with a smattering of other YA dystopian novels thrown in.  To be fair though, I listened to this on audible and HATED the narrator, that could have clouded my judgement.  It is another YA
series and I probably will check out the next one because, ya know, I have to know who she ends up with (not sure if that is technically a spoiler...)

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow lives in a world where one's lot in life is determined by the color of one's blood. She was born a Red and has to make a living by pickpocketing and trying to dodge "the conscription" and being sent off to fight an ongoing war. Mare's resigned herself to the fact that she'll always serve the Silver, a genetically gifted group of people with supernatural abilities. A chance encounter with the prince causes Mare to suddenly find herself at the royal palace as a servant, where she discovers in front of everyone that she also has a unique gift. She is Red and Silver, and could be just the spark the Reds need to rise up against the oppressive Silvers. The king and queen quickly cover up Mare's anomaly by presenting her to the rest of the Silvers as a long-lost princess and betroth her to their second-born son. Now Mare is torn between playing the part of a Silver, and helping out the Scarlet Guard rebellion. The story has touches of the usual dystopian suspects. However, it's formulaic elements are far outweighed by the breakneck pace and engaging characters. There's a bit of teen romance, but luckily the characters are self-aware enough to realize its frivolity among the story's more important plot points. A solid debut from Aveyard and a welcome addition to the plethora of speculative teen lit.—Kimberly Castle-Alberts, Hudson Library & Historical Society, OH

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Lan

I am going to make a very bold statement:  this, hands down, is my favorite YA series...boom.  I cannot adequately convey into words how much I love this series and in particular this last book.  Her writing is a beautiful combination of prose and poetry, without being stuffy and inaccessible.  There were so many paragraphs I wanted to highlight and memorize forever.  And the characters, all the characters, are so beautifully developed, I loved each of them so deeply that I have to remind myself that I don't actually know them (and don't even get me started on Zuzana and Mik...possibly my favorite literary couple of all time).  I listened to the audio book for this last installation, which was *wonderful*.  There were times while I was driving that tears were streaming down my face...sometimes sad tears and sometimes happy tears.  I am left with the best kind of literary which leaves me just a little heartbroken that it is over.

Book Description via Amazon
An Amazon Best Young Adult Book of the Month, April 2014: Author Laini Taylor’s immense talent for storytelling is once again evident from the first beautifully crafted sentences of Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the third book in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy. For this final leg of the story, Taylor doesn’t wait around to get the action going--the book starts out with an army of white-robed angels appearing in broad daylight, seen by television crews, an awestruck public, and a young scientist named Eliza. Eliza, we come to realize, is also a new main character narrating from the fresh perspective of an outside observer. Twists and revelations pop up from beginning to end, along with facets of the earlier novels that thrilled me to see again. Dreams of Gods & Monsters continues Taylor’s nuanced treatment of light versus dark, good versus evil, friend versus foe, and is everything I could want in the last of book of an already beloved trilogy. --Seira Wilson

Friday, August 7, 2015

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah

This is a super cute, super light, beach read.  Reading this made me happy that I met my husband and got married before the age of texts and facebook and instagram (phew).  I read it in literally 2 hours...definitely one to borrow from the library, not buy.

Book Description via Amazon

A charming novel about falling in love (or like) in the digital age—the never-before-seen full story.
Madeline and Elliot meet at a New York City restaurant opening. Flirtation—online—ensues. A romance, potentially eternal, possibly doomed, begins.
And, like most things in life today, their early exchanges are available to be scrutinized and interpreted by well-intentioned friends who are a mere click away.
Madeline and Elliot's relationship unfolds through a series of thrilling, confounding, and funny exchanges with each other, and, of course, with their best friends and dubious confidants (Emily and David). The result is a brand-new kind of modern romantic comedy, in format, in content, and even in creation—the authors exchanged e-mails in real time, blind to each other's side conversations. You will nod in appreciation and roll your eyes in recognition; you'll learn a thing or two about how the other half approaches a new relationship . . . and you will cheer for an unexpected ending that just might restore your faith in falling in love, twenty-first-century style.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

This is the second book I have read by Beatriz Williams, and the second one I have LOVED!!!  This is equal parts mystery, historical fiction  and romance... and swoon worthy romance at that!  The history part I sadly knew nothing about, the Hurricane of 1938 which killed 600 people in the New England area ( read this:  If you like historical fiction this is a great read.

From Booklist

Dashing football hero Nick Greenwald is catapulted into the rarified milieu of Park Avenue penthouses and Ivy League campuses in the uncertain days of the Great Depression when he falls in love with Lily Dane. The meeker (though more polished), moral, and beautiful best friend of Zeldaesque flapper Budgie Byrne, Lily is immediately smitten with Nick’s determination and strength, an attraction the manipulative Budgie doesn’t encourage, though she doesn’t necessarily discourage it, either. After all, Nick is Jewish, and Budgie is confident that Lily’s socially conservative family will never condone the match. They don’t, and Budgie profits from the rift, marrying Nick on the rebound, while Lily nurses her broken heart. Seven years later, the Greenwalds turn up at Seaview, Rhode Island, the perennial summer enclave for the Danes, Byrnes, and other WASP stalwarts, and their renewed presence in Lily’s life unleashes a storm of unexpected consequences. Williams’ sweeping saga of betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption trenchantly examines the often duplicitous nature of female friendships and family expectations. --Carol Haggas

Friday, July 17, 2015

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is my absolute favorite, everything I have read by her I have loved and this is no exception!!!  Her books are so funny and so entertaining but they also have a very poignant side that make the reader feel all the feels.  There were so many times I was reading this book thinking what would it be like if *I* lost the last 10 years, or the better question, what would I be have I changed, for good or bad???  I really hope they do decide to move forward with the movie because, if done right, it would be amazing.

Book Description via Amazon

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.
So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

Monday, July 6, 2015

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I have read a lot of reviews about this book, calling it the next "Gone Girl", I needed a quick read for the holiday weekend so I gave it a whirl.  The writing is really good, really sharp, and very dark.  The whole book is extremely dark, much like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, only darker.  You have to be able to stomach reading about some really bad stuff to be able to get through the book, but it definitely keeps you going, very well paced.  For those who are looking for more of a thrilling beach read, this is for you.  And as an aside, this book is going to be another Reese Witherspoon project so there will be lots of buzz:



As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

What is not to love about this book???  Interesting, quirky characters; well paced writing;  and the setting is super cool...the majority of the action happens a block from my house...HA!!!  Add this to your beach bag for a fun summer read.

Book Description via Amazon

An aspiring feminist and underappreciated housewife embarks on an odyssey to find human decency and goodness—and her high school English teacher—in New York Times bestselling author Matthew Quick’s offbeat masterpiece, a quirky ode to love, fate, and hair metal.
Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking to find the goodness in the world she believes still exists, Portia sets off to save herself by saving someone else—a beloved high school English teacher who has retired after a traumatic incident.
Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metal-head little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt her chances on this madcap quest to restore a good man’s reputation and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

I am calling it beach read of the summer!!!  I absolutely adored this book, and not just because the heroine is in her forties.  I related to so much of this...the iWorld we are living in can be overwhelming and intimidating and yes wonderful at times.  The idea that you can be irrelevant at 40 definitely hits home...I have up'd my social media game after reading this and changed my personal email from hotmail...who knew this made you look outdated???  If you liked The Devil Wears Prada, you will LOVE this.

Book Description via Amazon

An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, The Knockoff is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.
When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shattered by Dani Pettrey

Second book in this it in ONE day...absolutely loving this series.  

From Booklist

This is Pettrey’s exciting follow-up to the adventure-filled Submerged (2012). Readers rejoin the McKenna family as they search for the real killer of the woman their brother, whose innocence looks dubious, is accused of murdering. Piper McKenna knows her brother is innocent and will do anything it takes to prove it. A family friend, Deputy Landon Grainger, will do anything it takes to protect Piper, so the two set off on a harrowing journey to track the true murderer. With the family backing them up from Yancey, Alaska, Piper and Landon set out from western Canada, traveling down to California and then back up to Oregon on their quest for the truth. Despite the mounting danger, the two start to question their feelings for each other. Will their search be for love as well as for justice? With the drama of an Alaskan winter as her setting, Pettrey once again blends suspense, romance, and mystery into a fast-paced story that will keep readers on their toes. --Carolyn Richard

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

This is my first foray into inspirational fiction, and truth be told, if I had known ahead of time that this was considered "inspirational" I probably wouldn't have read it.  A very wise librarian once told me that  you cannot condemn a genre until you have read is that true.  I picked this up because it was mentioned during a workshop I attended on romance fiction, and I actually really, really liked it.  First the mystery element is outstanding, the author did a great job of building suspense.  The romance was spot on, it created that wonderful fluttery feeling (and just left out the steamy part...which was actually refreshing).  Now if you are totally against any religious element in your novels, this is not for you...she doesn't drown you with it but it is definitely there.

Book Description via Amazon

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.

Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town...until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

So I was mildly embarrassed when my 13 year old daughters both said "MOM WHY ARE YOU READING THAT?!?!"  But that aside, I am in love with this series, it reminds me of Charlaine Harris' True Blood series (the books, NOT the tv show).  The writing is funny, the Alaskan setting is perfect and the characters absolutely make the book.    For fans of paranormal romance, this is one not to be missed!

Book Description via Amazon

Northern Exposure 

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble. 

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question. 

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

Monday, April 27, 2015

Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

Easy, breezy, fun read!

Book Description Via Amazon

The author of Conversations with a Fat Girl—optioned for HBO—returns with the hilarious and heartfelt story of a woman who must learn how to be the heroine of her own life—a journey that will teach her priceless lessons about love, friendship, family, work, and her own heart.
An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she’s done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she’s turned forty, she’s struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book—Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero—that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers’ conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign—and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life—she’ll win the account.

For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they’ve created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna’s dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control.

To have the life she wants—to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be—she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story.