SheReads April Book of the Month: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Publisher:  Algonquin Books

Published Date: April 1, 2014

Length:  272 pages

ISBN-10: 1616203218

Genre:  Contemporary Literature

Source:  She Reads & Publisher

Format:  Ebook

Synopsis:

The #1 Indie Next Pick and the #1 Library Reads Selection for April 2014!

In the spirit of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books—and booksellers—that changes our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds.  

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

quick mix review

  •  Rent/Buy/Borrow:  Definitely a keeper!  Buy the book-it’s worth the price!
  • Themes:  widowhood, adoption, family secrets, community, relationships
  • Quick or Long Read:  It was a quick read!
  • The Cover:  The cover doesn’t do the story justice.  However, I absolutely love the U.K cover and it gives a great picture to the idea of what the story is about.
  • Overall Thoughts:  It’s a book about a bookstore owner, who has decided how he will live the remainder of his life.  However, fate has a different idea.  Working in the bookstore, and living above it, the story mainly takes place in the small store that becomes a community meeting place.  A.J. Fikry becomes the father to a little girl, left at his store, which is when he gets a new lease on life and love.  A true gem of a book, it’s a book that many will love!
  • Audience:  Anyone that loves contemporary fiction, a love story wrapped up in a little book, a story about the relationship between a father and his daughter, a great read for an afternoon or two.

my book thoughts

I absolutely loved this story.  From the first few pages, I was immediately hooked and wanted to know more about the quirky, “old” bookseller, A.J. Fikry.  He is an Edgar All Poe collector, and an old copy of EAP’s book, “Tamerlane”.  One night, that is book is missing and a little girl appears in his bookstore with a note attached from the girl’s mother.

The story is so cleverly written, almost like a fairy tale, because of the oddity of a little girl being left in the bookstore and the magical relationship she and A.J. have.  However, it goes far beyond a fairy tale. There is heartache, lessons learned, and love reborn.  Above all, the cranky and detached A.J. creates a family consisting of the townspeople and his little girl.

I loved Amelia’s character, too.  She is a young woman, who loves books so much, that she takes a low paying job of being a publicist rep.  She has to take the long trip to Alice Island, where she meets A.J. for the first time.  From there, a relationship grows as both her passion of books and A.J.’s gives them much in common.  Even, their commonality of feeling lonely.

With nods to some great literary works and book clubs, this book will easily become a favorite for many bibliophiles.  More than anything, it will make readers more curious when they go to their own little bookstore and wonder what magical finds are awaiting them, too!

supreme cupcake rating 6

Author Links

Website   |   Facebook   |   Pinterest   |   Tumblr

 

TLC Book Review: Two Sisters by Mary Hogan

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: March 4/2014

Pages:  384

Source: TLC Book Tours & Publisher

Rating: An Excellent Cupcake

Synopsis:

One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets . . .

The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired, and round, she worships her beautiful blond sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.

But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted the disappointments in her life. With her fourth-floor walk-up apartment and entry-level New York City job, she never will measure up to Pia and her wealthy husband, their daughter, and their suburban Connecticut dream home. Muriel would like nothing better than to avoid her judgmental family altogether. One thing she does quite well.

Until the day Pia shows up to visit and share devastating news that Muriel knows she cannot tell—a secret that will force her to come to terms with the past and help her see her life and her family in unexpected new ways.

Two Sisters is a powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters—opposites in every way—as well as their mother and the secrets and lies that define them all.

My Review:

This book, on the surface, can seem quite simple.  Two sisters, both treated differently by their parents, living separate lives, have different relationships with their parents (as adults), and how an illness can bring a family together or separate them further.  However, there were so many layers to this book, that it made it quite interesting all the way through.

What I believe the author, Mary Hogan, truly shows is how hurt people marry other hurt people, and how those hurts can turn to rejection experienced by their children.  It’s a cycle, it’s a family pattern, and it’s sadly one that happens all the time.

Through Muriel’s pain, readers are introduced to the relationship she has with her mother, father, and siblings.  Pia is the woman, every woman wants to be on the outside.  Perfect relationship with her mother, husband, and the mom of a beautiful child.  She has the perfect body, perfect home, finances for anything her heart desires, even a full-time maid.  However, as life always shows: no one is immune to illness.

Pia, in her own way, wants to make amends with Muriel.  However, Murial uses this time to uncover family secrets and face the family, she has worked hard at avoiding.  Muriel is the girl, most will relate to.  Why? Because she opens the most vulnerable part of herself, as she shares different experiences that caused her pain, rejection, humiliation, and sorrow.

It was also interesting to see that regardless of how unemotionally connected Muriel’s mother is, Muriel works in a profession that reminds her most of the times she shared with her mom (even if she was simply used).  It was also quite interesting to see how Lydia and Owen stay together, despite their lack of love, simply because it was expected of them with their respective families.  Lydia is in love with someone else, who is married to his job (so to speak), and had they married would have been shunned from their communities.  Owen, while he is the most quiet in this story, has the greatest heartache.  He doesn’t marry a woman that did love him, he loses his relationship with his children, and he never fully comes full circle in his life.

Two Sisters is a window into one family, where two adults married for different reasons: none of which was for true love.  Sadly, it is their children who may the price for that and it impacts the relationships they have as adults.  Even Muriel’s brother, who doesn’t appear until the very end of the book, has his own reasons for shunning the family.

This is a powerful read.  I imagine many readers will experience disgust, sadness, and anger as each character unfolds in each chapter.  However, Mary Hogan does a remarkable job of bringing her readers to the brink with Muriel, only to give a ray of hope and some happiness for Muriel’s future.

If you love women’s fiction, contemporary literature (although the time period is questionable), relationships about families, love books about the underdog finding his/her voice, then you will love this book!

Also, did I mention the cover?  The cover is gorgeous, although it doesn’t really go with the storyline.  Maybe if it had been the suit, Pia picks out for herself, it would have fit.  Regardless, it is still a great book!

excellent cupcake 5

*This book was provided by TLC & the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. No forms of compensation were given.

simple signature best

About the Author:

Mary Hogan is the NAPPA Award-winning author of seven young-adult books. Two Sisters is her first novel for adults. She lives in New York City with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Lucy.

Follow the Author:

website/ Twitter/ Facebook

Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 4th: BoundbyWords

Wednesday, March 5th: cupcake’s book cupboard

Thursday, March 6th: Chronicles …

Monday, March 10th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, March 10th: Sweet Southern Home

Tuesday, March 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, March 12th: BookNAround

Monday, March 17th: Drey’s Library

Tuesday, March 18th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Wednesday, March 19th: Kahakai Kitchen

Thursday, March 20th: The Well-Read Redhead

Monday, March 24th: Books in the Burbs

 

She Reads March Book Review: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 304
Obtained:  She Reads & Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a novel about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place in Georgia called Lost Lake.

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

My Review:
Being a bit of a realist, this new kind of genre: whimsical fiction, is new for me.  I don’t even know if it is really a legitimate, certifiable, been approved by the book readers and writers of the world-kind of genre.  But, it fits for this book.

Kate is a recent widow, and having basically given her life over to her mother-in-law, to manage and control, Kate one day snaps out of it.  Going through boxes, her daughter comes across a post card from Lost Lake and both decide to venture over there as a one last thing to do, before living with Cricket (the mother-in-law).  Eby is Kate’s aunt and has made the decision to close Lost Lake and sell it to a big time developer.

Throughout the story, readers will become more acquainted with the visitors of Lost Lake, as will Kate and her daughter Devin.  Devin notices the magical qualities of Lost Lake, talks with an alligator (telepathically), and both help Kate, Eby, and others from Lost Lake make peace with their past and embrace their future.

I loved the storyline, the way Kate and Jack reconnect, and the interesting story of the alligator.  I loved the quirky characters in the book, such as Lisette and Selma.  The story weaves together so well, and even had me wishing I was there with them!

I loved the book and would highly recommend this to those who love a great story, enjoy fairytales, love women’s literature, and just want a great read.  I am also most amazed by the author.  As she was fighting her diagnosis of cancer, she created such a beautiful place with a storyline that deals with real issues, and characters we’ve all met or have in our life.  I am truly in awe of Sarah’s work and am glad she wrote a book with happy sprinkles to share with everyone!

 

 

Click here for book giveaways!

New Cover Reveal & Book Giveaway: The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

Early LibraryThing Book Review & Giveaway: Starter House by Sonja Condit

TLC Book Tour Review: Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

Title: Clever Girl
Author: Tessa Hadley
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
ISBN: 9780224096522
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis:

Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibín, Tessa Hadley possesses the remarkable ability to transform the mundane into the sublime—an eye for the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. In Clever Girl, she offers the indelible story of one woman’s life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today.

Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an Englishwoman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley’s involving and moving novel follows Stella from childhood, growing up with her single mother in a Bristol bedsit, into the murky waters of middle age.

It is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley’s observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles, pressing us to exclaim with each page, Yes, this is how it is.

My Review:

Stella is anything but an ordinary girl.  She lives an interesting life, has relationships with men, and is a mom of 2 sons.  I liked how Tessa writes the storyline to read almost as if I’m reading a diary, that creates this space for Stella to relive some parts of her past and reflect on them.  It was interesting to see how her relationships with men could have stemmed from the absence of her own father and the lies she is told about him.  In a time when young girls and women had certain gender roles, even the issues between social class was prevalent, Stella breaks down barriers…perhaps not for the greater cause of the women’s movement, but she essentially was her own person.  The story flows well, with not too many moments of shock or surprise.  I imagined Tessa picking a time period, that was quite interesting, and picked one person’s life to follow through different time periods-as we meet those Stella knows and meets and how they are all interconnected in some way.  Overall, it was a good read!

*A huge thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book!

About Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley is the author of four highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All RightThe Master Bedroom; and The London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of two short-story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, both of which were New York Times Notable Books as well. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She lives in London.

Tessa’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 4th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 5th: BookNAround

Monday, March 10th: missris

Tuesday, March 11th: Read. Write. Repeat.

Wednesday, March 12th: She’s Got Books On Her Mind

Thursday, March 13th: A Bookish Way of Life

Friday, March 14th: Write Meg

Monday, March 17th: bookchickdi

Tuesday, March 18th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, March 19th: A Novel Review

Thursday, March 20th: The House of the Seven Tails

Monday, March 24th: Between the Covers

Tuesday, March 25th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, March 26th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, March 27th: 5 Minutes For Books

Monday, March 31st: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, April 1st: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Wednesday, April 2nd: Sweet Tea and Lollipops

Thursday, April 3rd: The 3R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness

TBD: Books in the Burbs

book giveaway logo

TLC Book Tour Review: The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

Title: The Moon Sisters
Author: Therese Walsh
ISBN: 9780307461605
Pages: 336
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Crown
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours & Publisher

Synopsis from TLC Book Tours:

This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories.

After their mother’s probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother’s unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest.

Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.

My Review:

The story starts with a mother’s suicide and one daughter’s quest to find the place her mother always wanted to visit.  Having an aloof, drunken father, and a grandmother that encourages this journey, Jazz goes after Olivia to help her reach the destination.  Told with such vivid detail, it was quite interesting to read Olivia’s take on foods, emotions, objects, etc.  Having synesthesia, Olivia’s point of view was quite interesting.  Jazz is the level headed sister, who felt most disconnected from her mother and sees her dysfunctional family as it is…nothing flowery…just insane.  Both embark on a journey that deals with train hoppers, getting sidetracked on their journey.

It was interesting for the author to break the book into the different stages of grief, based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s model.  Each section also had a letter that the sisters’ mother wrote her own father (their grandfather, respectively).  Even though I couldn’t make the connection with the stages of grief and the issues the sisters were faced in those particular sections of the book, it did remind the reader that the sisters were grieving and both had their ways of coping with this loss and finding meaning in that tragic circumstance.

It’s a story of sisterly love, sometimes hate or resentment, and how one can move on when someone they love lets go.

 

About Therese Walsh

THERESE WALSH is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.

Follow Therese on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Therese Walsh’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, March 3rd:  Lit and Life

Tuesday, March 4th:  Beth Fish Reads – “Today’s Read” guest post

Tuesday, March 4th:  Book Club Classics!

Wednesday, March 5th:  Book-a-licious Mama

Thursday, March 6th:  girlichef

Friday, March 7th:  Books in the Burbs

Monday, March 10th:  Bookchickdi

Tuesday, March 11th:  Traveling with T

Wednesday, March 12th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, March 13th:  Book Snob

Friday, March 14th:  The Book Barn

Tuesday, March 18th:  Fiction Addict

Tuesday, March 18th:  5 Minutes for Moms

Wednesday, March 19th:  Time 2 Read

Thursday, March 20th:  Bibliotica

Monday, March 24th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Wednesday, March 26th:  A Novel Review

Thursday, March 27th:  A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, April 1st:  Suko’s Notebook

Wednesday, April 2nd:  A Reader of Fictions

Tuesday, April 8th:  Books a la Mode

A huge thanks to TLC Book Tours!!

signature

 

TLC Book Tour Review : The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Publisher: William Morrow and Company

Publish Date: February 4, 2014

Pages:  256

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Literature

Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis from TLC:

The internationally bestselling tale of love, loss, and memories that run deep

When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother’s house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there. Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she’ll make a decision: keep it or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother’s cottage is an enchanting place, where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love’s embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried.

My Review:

As I first started to read this story, I was reminded of my own childhood at my great-grandmother’s house.  She had this huge tree, where I would eat the pomegranates, it would produce in the Spring.  This story has a touch of whimsy, beautiful descriptions, all mixed in with a crazy family.  I found the stories of  Iris’s family quite interesting and there were many times I wanted the storyline to go deeper in the descriptions.  At 256 pages, the book had so many interesting characters, that the author could have easily added another 100 pages to help make the storyline more seamless.  The story read more like someone laying on the couch in a Freudian like setting, and just telling whatever stories come to mind, like someone’s stream of consciousness: a bit disjointed, skips a little bit, but ultimately goes back to the magic in this small town,  connected by shared memories, and the different seeds the apple tree produces.  It would make for a great discussion in a literary class, because of the symbolism and literary style of the book.

 

 

About Katharina Hagena

Katharina Hagena is the author of On Sleep and Disappearing. She lives in Hamburg, Germany.

 

 

Katharina’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 4th: A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, February 5th: She’s Got Books On Her Mind

Thursday, February 6th: Broken Teepee

Monday, February 10th: cupcake’s book cupboard

Tuesday, February 11th: Bibliotica

Thursday, February 13th: From L.A. to LA

Monday, February 17th: Book-alicious Mama

Tuesday, February 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, February 19th: BookNAround

Thursday, February 20th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, February 24th: BoundbyWords

Wednesday, February 26th: Books in the Burbs

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Reads-Short Reviews!

Don’t you just love reading books that are so easy to read, quite engaging, and is the kind of book that you can get lost in?  These are those kind of books!  So good, that you are finished before you know it, and miss the characters once you’ve turned to the last page.

Release Date: January 21, 2014
Pages: 320
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: NetGalley

Synopsis: from Goodreads:

Molly is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business.  For the past four years Molly’s been on staff at Eye Spy, covering all the wacky assignments.  She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor.  He’s comfortable, but safe.  When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big time.  Clearly she can’t recognize romance.  And in her own life, she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man whogets her.  Mainly because he’s a well-known player.

But, with help from Nora Ephron’s movies, Molly learns to open her heart, suppress her cynicism, and find her very own fairytale ending.  Linda Yellin’s “What Nora Knew” will captivate readers with its charm and humor.

My Review:

I must admit, I’ve not read any Nora Roberts’ books, but have seen her books-turned-movies:  When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.  While I don’t know Nora’s writing (other than in movies), I absolutely loved Linda’s book!  It has everything a great book should have:  romance, crazy job, great friends, and moments of self-reflection for the characters.

Molly has a great job (even though she has quite a bit of Bridget Jones’ Diary moments), and a boyfriend, who is a little too eager to hand out his business card.  Molly goes to the Hamptons for her yearly vacation getaway at her friend’s house.  While there, she meets Cameron, who is quite the player and has an eye for her.  While the book is predictable, it is entertaining, fun, a feel-good kind of book, that everyone needs from time to time!  Even if you aren’t a Nora Ephron fan or read her books, like me, you will love it!  If you are a Nora Ephron fan and have read her books- you will love all the references made to her books and characters!It’s a book that had me smiling as I read certain scenes and was a story that I am sure many readers will enjoy talking about!

 

******************************************************************

Release Date:  February 4, 2014

Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers

Pages: 384

Genre:  Christian Romance, Mystery fiction

Source:  NetGalley

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Allie Kirkland has never been one to take wild risks. But when she’s offered a costuming assistant’s job on a docudrama in the hills near Moses Lake, she jumps at the chance. She’s always dreamed of following in her director-father’s footsteps, and the reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step. The family expectations will have to wait.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delevan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the folk songs of Chinquapin Peaks. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.
When strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, everyone in Wildwood, including Allie’s handsome neighbor on the film set, Blake Fulton, seems to be hiding secrets, and Allie doesn’t know who she can trust. If she can’t find the answers in time, history may repeat itself . . . with the most unthinkable results.
My Review:
This is a book that anyone could read, not just those who love Christian fiction, but mystery novels in general.  I was quite fascinated with Bonnie Rose and her sister, even though her big secret is never shared, it seems like it was some form of sexual abuse.  Told in alternating viewpoints: past/present, Allie/Bonnie Rose, the story goes pretty smoothly.  It was interesting to have a book set along the phase reality tv has in today’s world, and how much can be learned from living in the old days.  As Allie shared her stories of becoming acclimated to living in old Texas, where women had to cook, make their clothes, heat the stove, and learn to be independent in a male dominated world, she also begins to feel that she is being watched and starts to feel the same way Bonnie Rose did: unsafe.  The storyline moves slow in the beginning, as we read Allie preparing for moving to the makeshift old Texas site: Woodland Creek, and as Bonnie Rose tries to adjust to her life with her little sister.  It starts to move quite quickly and become rather interesting when Allie finds herself underground and time starts to tick away, as she realizes her life is really threatened!  The epilogue was interesting, a little too nicely wrapped, but overall was a great book!
*A HUGE thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers!

Book Giveaway: The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

 

THE COMFORT OF LIES

by Randy Susan Meyers

_____________________________

 My Review:

This is a FANTASTIC book to read!! It makes for the PERFECT book club book to discuss, too! Oh, the many topics you could chat with amongst book members and the points of view each of the member would support/not support. I would love to be a fly on a wall to hear what everyone has to say.

This is also a fantastic s we all know someone that has had an affair at one time or another. This is a very raw and emotionally charged book.  The author really did her homework and truly left no stone uncovered with the emotional, physical, and relational m not talking about the pregnancy/baby.

Even before the baby, just having the affair really left everyone involved vulnerable and the author addresses every s point of view is also explored, through her so her questions are going to be more basic than those of the adults, which I loved.   t saturate the little girl with so much complexities and thoughts that are really beyond a child so young. She kept each character as realistic and vulnerable as possible, while showing the good/bad parts to each relationship and how they all move past the affair.

I could not put this book down and thought this was a perfect book for anyone that loves contemporary fiction. Their is mystery, drama, and such an authentic realness, that it almost read like a non-fiction book. It is easily the best book for me of 2012…although it won’t be available until February 2013.

*I reviewed this book back in 2012.  This is the post I wrote on LibraryThing, and wanted to add it here, because I ABSOLUTELY view this book as a must read, an awesome read for a book club or group discussion, and a book that will leave you with hard to forget characters!

Scroll further down for the giveaway details!

“Sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny…Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage.”

The Boston Globe

“Meyers’ complex characters feel familiar yet flawed, and this sharply woven tale demonstrates her uncanny ability to explore and illuminate the nuances of life’s most thorny dilemmas.”

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

 “Meyers’ carefully told story is a satisfying examination of the imperfect paths we all walk.”

BookPage

 

“The characters crackle with both intelligence and wit…Meyers’ women resonate as strong, complicated and conflicted, and the writing flows effortlessly in this sweet yet sassy novel about love, women and motherhood.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Meyers has crafted an absorbing and layered drama that explores the complexities of infidelity, forgiveness, and family”

Booklist

_____________________________

Since the release of her debut The Murderer’s Daughters in 2010, international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers has earned glowing critical praise, award nominations, and a devoted readership around the globe for her thought-provoking, emotionally-resonant novels.

Now available in an affordable paperback format, Meyers returns with her bestselling second novel, THE COMFORT OF LIES (Washington Square Press/Atria Books; On-sale: January 28, 2014; $16.00), a richly textured story that explores the complications of love and collateral damage of infidelity, as well as universal themes of motherhood, identity, trust, and forgiveness.

Told in alternating points of view, THE COMFORT OF LIES reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three very different women all connected to a five-year-old girl: Tia, the birth mother; Caroline, the adopted mother; and Juliette, the wife of the birth father. The year their lives collide, the women must confront their choices while discovering sobering truths about their relationships and most importantly, themselves.

Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. A married man and a father, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared and Tia gave the baby up for adoption. Five years later, she struggles with the decision and yearns to connect with her daughter—and her former lover.

Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, had always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood, much preferring the freedom of her childless, work-addicted lifestyle, but attempting to please her husband, she agreed to adopt, hoping her misgivings would disappear. However after five years, she’s questioning whether or not she’s really cut out for a domestic life.

Juliette thought she had it all—a loving husband, two healthy sons, and a successful business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again and she trusted him. Five years later, when Juliette intercepts a letter meant for Nathan containing photos of his daughter, her world crumbles, again. How could he keep this from her? What else is he hiding? Most importantly, how could he deny his daughter?

Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. Her quest leads her first to Caroline, then Tia, and before long, the women are on a collision course with consequences none of them could have predicted.

THE COMFORT OF LIES: A Novel

By Randy Susan Meyers

Washington Square Press/Atria Books || January 28, 2014 || $16.00 || Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-45-167302-9

Photo credit, Jill Meyers.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, where I quickly moved from playing with dolls to incessantly reading, spending most of my time at the Kensington Branch Library. Early on I developed a penchant for books rooted in social issues, my early favorites being Karen and The Family Nobody Wanted. Shortly I moved onto Jubilee and The Diary of Anne Frank.

My dreams of justice simmered at the fantastically broadminded Camp Mikan, where I went from camper to counselor, culminating in a high point when (with the help of my strongly Brooklyn-accented singing voice), I landed the role of Adelaide in the staff production of Guys and Dolls.

Soon I was ready to change the world, starting with my protests at Tilden High and City College of New York . . .. . .  until I left to pursue the dream in Berkeley, California, where I supported myself by selling candy, nuts, and ice cream in Bartons of San Francisco. Then, world weary at too tender an age, I returned to New York, married, and traded demonstrations for diapers.

While raising two daughters, I tended bar, co-authored a nonfiction book on parenting, ran a summer camp, and (in my all-time favorite job, other than writing) helped resurrect and run a community center.

Follow Randy Susan Meyers

Facebook/ Twitter/ Goodreads/ Blog

Giveaway Details:

Enter your name & email address in the comment section.

Answer the following question: What interests you most about this book?

1 random winner will be selected and notified.

The book will be mailed directly to the winner by the publisher.  US entries only. Sorry!!

Giveaway ends: February 14, 2014.

ARC Book Review: Safe with Me by Amy Hatvany

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Literature

Publisher:  Washington Square Press

Expected Publication Date:  March 4, 2014

Pages: 352

Source:  Publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A novel about two mothers and one daughter who are linked by tragedy and bound by secrets, from the acclaimed author of Heart Like Mine. Now, in the provocative Safe with Me, Amy Hatvany explores controversial and timely issues with astonishing emotional complexity.
The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she…more A novel about two mothers and one daughter who are linked by tragedy and bound by secrets, from the acclaimed author of Heart Like Mine. Now, in the provocative Safe with Me, Amy Hatvany explores controversial and timely issues with astonishing emotional complexity.
The screech of tires brought Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it to a devastating end. Even a year after she signed the papers to donate her daughter’s organs, Hannah is still reeling with grief when she unexpectedly stumbles into the life of the Bell family, whose child, Maddie, survived only because hers had died. Mesmerized by this fragile connection to her own daughter and afraid to reveal who she actually is, Hannah develops a surprising friendship with Maddie’s mother, Olivia.
The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him as never before in the wake of the successful transplant that saved their fifteen-year-old daughter’s life. Meanwhile Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.
A masterful narrative, shaped by nuanced characters whose fragile bonds are on a collision course with the truth, Safe with Me is a triumph.

My Review:

First word that comes to mind, when I think of this book, is “WOW”!  There is so much that happens with each character: Olivia is an abused wife, trying to stay in an unsafe marriage for the sake of her daughter; Maddie is a teenager, given another chance at life through organ donation; and Hannah-a mom coming to grips with the reality that her only child is gone and other’s have survived from her daughter’s gift of life.

However, this is just the beginning to a group of women, who will each face their own reality and realize that they do have a choice to make that can only be made in due time.  The authenticity of the way organ donation is handled with families is quite accurate, having worked with families-who have chosen the gift of life through the form of organ donation, and the way each person feels thereafter, is so real, quite raw, that this book dives right in to the real issues people face everyday.

Now, add into that mix, spousal abuse.  The form of abuse that Olivia faces and comes to expect from her husband, who is quite established and powerful in the community, certainly adds a level of danger, suspense, and will keep the reader riveted to what happens next.  Having also worked with victims of domestic violence, been the daughter of a parent who was also abused, the scenes were so realistic that I had to put the book down at times just to breathe.  Thankfully, I have been in enough therapy to overcome my own issues of growing up in a violent home, and yes, these are characters…however, the emotions of these women are so real, that I am sure many will identify with one of these 3 women and reflect on their own shared experiences.

It is so easy to judge, give advice, say, “just leave”, but when someone like Olivia has been so conditioned to be a certain way-it becomes impossible to think of an alternate way of living.  I loved that Amy Hatvany also included tidbits on ways to leave a destructive marriage by calling a hotline, reaching out to someone and not being isolated in one’s own pain, and making a plan…even when that plan doesn’t go as expected.

This is a fantastic book for any book club to discuss, for a support group to use as a springboard for discussion on organ donation, spousal abuse, and self-esteem issues, as well as just a great read for someone.  However, I promise you…once you read this book-you will want to discuss it with someone who has also read it, because there is so much to process afterwards.

This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2014 and I highly recommend this book!!  Pre-order this book!! It is due for release on March 4, 2014, and will be worth it!!

  *This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

Amy was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs – some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist. In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on writing books.

The literary gods took kindly to her aspirations and THE KIND OF LOVE THAT SAVES YOU was published in 2000 by Bantam Doubleday. THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS was picked up by NAL in 2002. (Both were published under her previous last name, Yurk.)Amy spends most of her time today with her second and final husband, Stephan. (Seriously, if this one doesn’t work out, she’s done, kaput, no more husbands.) She stays busy with her two children, Scarlett and Miles, and her “bonus child,” Anna. Their blended family also includes two four-legged hairy children, commonly known as Black Lab mutts, Kenda and Dolcé.

When Amy’s not with friends or family, she is most likely reading, cooking, or zoning out on certain reality television shows. Top Chef is a current favorite. She eagerly awaits auditions for the cast of “Top Author.” (“Quick Edit” instead of “Quick Fire” Challenge? C’mon, producers! That’s gripping television!

Connect with Amy:

Facebook

Blog

Twitter

She Reads January Book Club Pick: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Publisher:  Gallery Books (January 14, 2014)

Pages:  352

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Source:  She Reads

Synopsis:

If you could do it all over again, would you still choose him?

At age thirty-nine, Lucie Walker has no choice but to start her life over when she comes to, up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay, with no idea how she got there or who she is. Her memory loss is caused by an emotional trauma she knows nothing about, and only when handsome, quiet Grady Goodall arrives at the hospital does she learn she has a home, a career, and a wedding just two months away. What went wrong? Grady seems to care for her, but Lucie is no more sure of him than she is of anything. As she collects the clues of her past self, she unlocks the mystery of what happened to her. The painful secrets she uncovers could hold the key to her future—if she trusts her heart enough to guide her.

My Review:

This story is one huge twist!!  Lucie is engaged and finds herself staring into the ocean, far away from her life in Seattle.  Suffering from amnesia, she struggles to come to terms with who she was and who she is now.  With flashbacks to a childhood she has no understanding of, she begins a relationship with her estranged Aunt Helen.  Together, she and Helen will face the harsh reality of their younger lives and help them to forge ahead with forgiveness and understanding.  Through it all, Grady is also coming to terms with his engagement to a Lucie he doesn’t know anymore and figure out his future with or without her.

While Lucie reconciles with her past, she realizes that she doesn’t have to let go of any part of her, rather it completes her.  As I finished the reading the story, I realized that her amnesia really was an enlightenment to her whole life as she comes to grips with the realities of her childhood.  While I would have liked the story to delve further into her recovery and therapy, it was still a great read!

*A HUGE thanks to She Reads for providing this book to me, in exchange for an honest review.

Enter for your chance to win 1 copy of  Love Water Memory

by Jennie Shortridge! 

Follow Jennie Shortridge

Click here to enter a book giveaway!