Sunday, May 20, 2018

Weekly Book Haul.....May 20, 2018

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

What a whirlwind week!  I got a ton of ARC's and I'm struggling to decide what to read first.  St. Martin's Press is my absolute favorite publisher - I love all of their authors so they are the one's I keep any eye on to see what's coming out and this summer looks like it's going to be packed with great reads!

I had one of my best friends here for the weekend.  She traveled from Illinois where it's cold and rainy to sunny Arizona, where we floated around on matching rafts with matching Kindles.  We hiked every morning, went out to breakfast, spent the rest of the day in the pool floating on matching rafts with matching Kindles and then went out to dinner every night.  Pure bliss and relaxation.  It makes Monday morning that much more unappetizing. 

Rush by Lisa Patton.....Cali Watkins possesses all the qualities sororities are
looking for in a potential new member. She’s kind and intelligent, makes friends easily, even plans to someday run for governor. But her resume lacks a vital ingredient. Pedigree. Without family money Cali's chances of sorority membership are already thin, but she has an even bigger problem. If anyone discovers the dark family secrets she's hiding, she’ll be dropped from Rush in an instant.
When Lilith Whitmore, the well-heeled House Corp President of Alpha Delta Beta, one of the premiere sororities on campus, appoints recent empty-nester Wilda to the Rush Advisory Board, Wilda can hardly believe her luck. What’s more, Lilith suggests their daughters, both incoming freshman, room together. What Wilda doesn’t know is that it's all part of Lilith’s plan to ensure her own daughter receives an Alpha Delt bid—no matter what.
For twenty-five years, Miss Pearl—as her “babies” like to call her—has been housekeeper and a second mother to the Alpha Delt girls, even though it reminds her of a painful part of her past she’ll never forget. When an opportunity for promotion arises, it seems a natural fit. But Lilith Whitmore slams her Prada heel down fast, crushing Miss Pearl’s hopes of a better future. When Wilda and the girls find out, they devise a plan destined to change Alpha Delta Beta—and maybe the entire Greek system—forever. 
Achingly poignant, yet laugh-out-loud funny, RUSH takes a sharp nuanced look at a centuries-old tradition while exploring the complex, intimate relationships between mothers and daughters and female friends. Brimming with heart and hope for a better tomorrow, RUSH is an uplifting novel universal to us all.

Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey.....Gripping, emotional, and wire-taut, Not Her
Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.
Emma Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes, brown hair. Missing since June.
Emma is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude. 
Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Kidnapper.
Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal. When a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her—far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?
Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure whether she wants her daughter back.
Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now Emma is gone without a trace.
As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But what about Emma’s real mother, back at home?

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston.....Xanthe and her
mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.
It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she's confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.
While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.
With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.

How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson....Seven years later, Kate Reddy is
facing her 50th birthday. Her children have turned into impossible teenagers; her mother and in-laws are in precarious health; and her husband is having a midlife crisis that leaves her desperate to restart her career after years away from the workplace. 

Once again, Kate is scrambling to keep all the balls in the air in a juggling act that an early review from the U.K. Express hailed as "sparkling, funny, and poignant...a triumphant return for Pearson."

Will Kate reclaim her rightful place at the very hedge fund she founded, or will she strangle in her new “shaping” underwear? Will she rekindle an old flame, or will her house burn to the ground when a rowdy mob shows up for her daughter’s surprise (to her parents) Christmas party? Surely it will all work out in the end. After all, how hard can it be?

She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell......For Rose Enright, enrolling
in a prestigious New England boarding school is the opportunity of a lifetime. 

But for Rose’s vulnerable twin sister Bel, Odell Academy is a place of temptation and danger. When Bel falls in with a crowd of wild rich kids who pressure her into hazing Rose, the sisters’ relationship is shattered. Rose turns to her dorm mother, Sarah Donovan, for advice. But Bel turns to Sarah’s husband Heath, a charismatic and ambitious teacher. 

Is Heath trying to help Bel or take advantage of her? In a world of privilege, seduction, and manipulation, only one sister will live to tell the truth.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

What They Say.....In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison's most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.
Willa has never fully recovered from the sudden death of her husband, Ben. She became an absent mother to her young son, Jamie, unable to comfort him while reeling from her own grief. 
Now, years after Ben’s death, Willa finally decides to return to the beach house where he passed. It’s time to move on and put the Ocean City, Maryland house on the market. 
When Willa arrives, the house is in worse shape than she could have imagined, and the memories of her time with Ben are overwhelming. They met at this house and she sees him around every corner. Literally. Ben’s ghost keeps reappearing, trying to start conversations with Willa. And she can’t help talking back. 
To protect her sanity, Willa enlists Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristin’s daughter Kelsey to join her for one last summer at the beach. As they explore their old haunts, buried feelings come to the surface, Jamie and Kelsey rekindle their childhood friendship, and Willa searches for the chance to finally say goodbye to her husband and to reconnect with her son. 
Every Time You Go Away is a heartfelt, emotional story about healing a tragic loss, letting go, and coming together as a family.

What I Say.....Ahhh, Beth Harbison, I love you so.  Every Time You Go Away was the perfect book for the weekend.  

Willa is ready to put her beach house on the market after her husband died in it.  She just needs to do some fixing up and stick the For Sale sign in the front yard.  

But when she arrives at the house by herself, she finds an unexpected surprise.  Her husband.  She's not sure if she's seeing a real ghost or if she is just finally going completely crazy, but she isn't going to miss a chance to connect with Ben again.

Her best friend and her son soon join her, but Ben doesn't go away and she's trying to keep their conversations a secret so that she doesn't look like a complete nutter butter.

This is the book you need to read if you want to snuggle under blankets and have a nice cleansing cry.  I loved it.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger


Welcome to Greenwich, Connecticut, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. After leaving Miranda Priestly, she’s been working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

When Karolina Hartwell, a gorgeous former supermodel, is arrested for a DUI, her fall from grace is merciless. Her senator-husband leaves her, her Beltway friends disappear, and the tabloids pounce.

In Karolina, Emily finds her comeback opportunity. But she quickly learns Greenwich is a world apart and that this comeback needs a team approach.

So it is that Emily, the scorned Karolina, and their mutual friend Miriam, a powerful attorney turned stay-at-home suburban mom, band together to not only navigate the social land mines of suburban Greenwich but win back the hearts of the American public. Along the way, an indispensable ally emerges in one Miranda Priestly.

What I Say....Who wouldn't want to return to the world of Miranda Priestly?  I was so happy to get a copy of Lauren Weisberger's new book.  Emily is back, but she's growing older and has a new career as an image consultant and is finding out how it feels to have the younger, hotter woman nipping up  her heels to steal clients.

Emily has a hot husband, but he's starting to make rumblings about having a baby - which is NOT on Emily's to do list.  So she jumps at the chance to go visit her old friend, Miriam - a former hot shot lawyer turned schlumpy stay at home mom.

Miriam has a supermodel friend who has been arrested for DUI, and she and Emily team up to help Karolina regain her reputation and her stepson.   What a scumbag her husband was.   But the only part of the story that bugged me was that Miranda had to step in to save the day - like a lawyer and a professional image consultant couldn't do the jobs - you know, the ones they make a living at!  But it wouldn't be right if Miranda didn't have all the answers, that's why we all loved her so much in the original.  

This was a fun read - so nice to catch up with some favorite characters.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.91

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

With or Without Me by Shari Low

What They Say.....Have you ever made a life-changing decision and then wondered if you made the right one...?
When Liv and Nate walked up the aisle, Liv knew she was marrying the one, her soul mate and her best friend. 
Six years later, it feels like routine and friendship is all they have left in common. What happened to the fun, the excitement, the lust, the love? 
In the closing moments of 1999, Liv and Nate decide to go their separate ways, but at the last minute, Liv wavers. Should she stay or should she go? 
Over the next twenty years we follow the parallel stories to discover if Liv's life, heart and future have been better with Nate... Or without him?
A clever, captivating and bitterweet story of what might have been. Perfect for the fans of Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

What I Say.....How many times have you wondered how different your life could be if you had made one decision differently?  I try not to dwell on this too much because it stresses me out.  I don't feel like I have a ton of regrets, but the thought that my life could have been somehow better if I hadn't done this or it could have been worse if I had done that is almost too overwhelming.  

Liv and Nate have been married for years, college sweethearts.  On New Year's Eve, they are trying to decide whether to put their friendly marriage to bed or keep trying to rekindle their romance.  

This definitely started the story off with a bang.  I didn't read the description before starting it, which is super unusual for me because I like to know what's going to happen.  But because I've loved all of Shari Low's books (they are a fave for vacation), I skipped it.

So reading the story of Nate and Liv, and their college friends over the next 20 years was thoroughly enjoyable, but it seemed like it was going quickly - probably didn't help that I was floating in the pool, completely relaxed in the sun.  Then I realized that the second half told the story as if they had made a different life altering decision.

It was a great technique because it seemed like it would be the same story, but it was crazy how one decision had such a ripple effect on everyone's lives.  These are just relaxing books for lazing in the summer sun.  Perfect.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

What They Say......Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

What I Say.....Oh my God.  As I was reading this book, all I could think was that someone needed to pick this kid up and throw her down a well.  Because seriously, what the what??????

Hanna's mom, Suzette, is at her breaking point.  She feels like she is going crazy since she quit her job to stay home with her new baby.  The only problem is her baby hates her.  Has hated her since birth.  And now seems to be intent on hurting her.

The added wrinkle is that Hanna doesn't speak.  Although she can read and communicate in other ways, she refuses to speak.

Even though Hanna hasn't been successful in any type of school, her Daddy thinks everyone is being too rough on Hanna, because she behaves completely different in front of him.  He loves his wife, but he thinks she is becoming a little unhinges (she is).

As Hanna steps up her game, she finally starts to show her father what she is really made of and then things get even more interesting.

It definitely made me think, what do you do if you give birth to a true sociopath?  And one that wants to hurt you?  You would still feel some love and connection to the child, even though you would be terrified.  I don't know what I would do, but it was a truly scary idea.

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