Tuesday, June 28, 2016

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin




What They Say....In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.
 
Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
 
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.
 
On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired. 
 
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.
 
Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.



What I Say....I've been anxiously awaiting the end of June so I could finally read Emily Giffin's new book.  I put it off until right before the publishing date because I knew I would blow through it since I'm such a huge fan.

One of the things I like about Giffin's books are the complicated characters.  No one is a perfect heroine or a perfect villain.  Everyone is a little of both, just like in real life.

Meredith is a control freak who doesn't know how to relax,  Josie is irresponsible and self-centered.  But you also see the thoughts and feelings that are behind those shields that they have built around themselves after the tragic death of their brother, Daniel.

When the perfect guy seems to land on Josie's doorstep, she decides that this is the right time to pursue single motherhood with sperm donor.  Her best friend/roommate is skeptically supportive, but the new guy is all on board, willing to donate sperm, and only be as involved as Josie wants him to be.

Meredith has the perfect husband and child and doesn't seem to appreciate either one, and spends her days toiling as a lawyer, a job she hates.

Soon everything begins to bubble up as the anniversary of Daniel's death approaches.  Meredith leaves her family to try out New York again, Josie breaks off with her new boyfriend and starts discussing using her roommates sperm right as he finds a perfect new girlfriend.

Talk about being your own worst enemy!  This is a great book about the relationships that fester between siblings.  It would be great if we all had the picture perfect sibling relationships but that's not always the way real life is, and Giffin excels in writing damaged relationships.

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan



What They Say.....Leo has long joked that, in the event of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident. 

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey's feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.


What I Say....So this was my last book from my June box from Booksparks and it was a nice way to wrap up the first month of summer.

It definitely starts out on a somber note, Audrey loses her husband and the father of her three boys in a skiing accident during a routine family day. 

Leo's best friend Garrett comes out to help, and stays to finish the addition that Leo had begun adding to the house.   He's feeling a whole lot of responsibility for Audrey due to an agreement that Leo made him sign years ago, agreeing to marry Audrey if anything ever happened to him.

As they all begin sleepwalking their daily life again, Garrett is there to support them all, including the boys.

One night after a couple of bottles of wine, Audrey climbs into Garrett's bed, and suddenly the relationship is at a weird new level, somewhere between shared grief and new love.

But now Garrett  has to deal with Audrey's son finding out about their physical relationship and how to share the news of the contract that he signed.

This was a moving but ultimately melancholy book.  Not the lightweight read that I expected.



 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Weekly Book Haul......June 26, 2016




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.

This has been a slow reading week because my youngest was here on her summer break.  She spent a few days with me and now she and her sister are in Seattle exploring the 75 degree weather.  She has always thought she wanted to move there and this trip seems to have made up her mind.  I'm sure it seems like a great change from our Arizona summer, where it's currently averaging about 110 degrees each day.


What a view!

I kept my promise to myself, and made myself finish the last book in my June box, The Sweetheart Deal (review coming soon).  So today, I got to open my July box from Booksparks!  So exciting!


First look.......


LOVE this month!
So here's what I got.......

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott....Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-
year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl," (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer....When Char Hawthorn's husband dies unexpectedly, she
is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds. 

Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants the girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.




So Close by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus....Amanda Beth Luker has
always wanted more than life in her trailer park town.

She has no degree, and no plan, but when she meets Tom Davis, a powerful lawyer with aspirations of making a difference, she knows her only chance for success is to do whatever it takes, whatever he asks of her—even as it threatens the one person she has ever let herself love, the smoldering and troubled Pax Westerbrook. 

She suspects one man will make her and one will destroy her—but can she figure out which in time?





The Choices We Make by Karma Brown....Following her bestselling debut novel Come Away with Me, Karma Brown returns with an unforgettable story that explores the intricate dynamics between friends and mothers


Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate's skirt with a mirror. While they've been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can't help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.

She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah's heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it's Kate's turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah's surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.

Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.
 


All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker....In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything
seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town - or perhaps lives among them - drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.


 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekly Book Haul......June 19, 2016




The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

I'm almost done with my June box of books from Booksparks, but luckily my July box arrived yesterday.  I'm forcing myself to wait until I'm done with the last book of June, The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan.  

This is my second year doing the Summer Reading Challenge and I have to say that so far, 2016 is blowing away 2015 in terms of books I'm really enjoying!

So here it sits on my table, tempting me.......

I started out my Sunday with ugly crying face watching "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl".  It was a great movie, makes me want to read the book.

Here's what I got this week.  It's June so it's time to start requesting the Christmas chick lit books.  They are one my favorite parts of the season.

Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes....Isabel Lawson is standing on the
balcony of her suite at the Hotel Crillon as she gazes at the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysee and wonders if she's made a terrible mistake. She was supposed to be visiting the Christmas tree in the Place de la Concorde, and eating escargots and macaroons with her new husband on their honeymoon. But a week before the wedding, she called it off. Isabel is an ambitious Philadelphia finance woman, and Neil suddenly decided to take over his grandparents' farm. Isabel wasn't ready to trade her briefcase for a pair of rubber boots and a saddle. When Neil suggested she use their honeymoon tickets for herself, she thought it would give her a chance to clear her head. That is until she locks herself out on the balcony in the middle of winter. Thankfully her neighbor Alec, a French children's illustrator, comes to her rescue. He too is nursing a broken heart at the Crillon for the holidays. With a new friend by her side, Isabel is determined to use her time in the city of lights wisely. After a chance encounter with a fortune teller, and a close call with a taxi, she starts to question everything she thought was important. Christmas in Paris is a moving and heartwarming story about love, trust, and self-discovery. Set during the most magical week of the year, the glorious foods and fashions of the most romantic city in the world are sure to take your breath away.

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel....For fans of The Nanny Diaries and
Sophie Kinsella comes a whip-smart and deliciously funny debut novel about Kate, a young woman unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions as she attempts to understand city life, human nature, and falling in love.

Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancé,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.

I also got a copy of Ashley Prentice Norton's new book If You Left, from the publisher and I'm pretty excited about that.  I liked her first book, The Chocolate Money, a creepily weird book about what it's like to be raised by a mentally ill, but extremely wealthy mother.

If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton.....For most of their marriage, Althea
has fluctuated between extreme depressive and manic states — what she calls “the Tombs” and “the Visions” — and Oliver has been the steady hand that guided her to safety. This summer, Althea decides that she will be different from here on. She will be the loving, sexy wife Oliver wants, and the reliable, affectionate mother their nine year-old daughter Clem deserves. Her plan: to bring Clem to their Easthampton home once school is out — with no “summer girl” to care for her this time — and become “normal.” 
 
But Oliver is distant and controlling, and his relationship with their interior decorator seems a bit too close; Clem has learned to be self-sufficient, and getting to know her now feels like very hard work for Althea. Into this scene enters the much younger, David Foster Wallace–reading house painter, who reaches something in Althea that has been long buried. 
 
Fearless, darkly funny, and compulsively readable, If You Left explores the complex dance that is the bipolar marriage, and the possibility that to move forward, we might have to destroy the very things we've worked hardest to build. 
 

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford




What They Say.....It's 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and glamorous. Money and class are colliding in a city that is about to go over a financial precipice and take much of the country with it. At 26, bright, funny and socially anxious Evelyn Beegan is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto the Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.

Recruiting new members for the site, Evelyn steps into a promised land of Adirondack camps, Newport cottages and Southampton clubs thick with socialites and Wall Streeters. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father, a crusading class-action lawyer, is indicted for bribery, Evelyn must contend with her own family's downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life, grasping with increasing desperation as the ground underneath her begins to give way.

Bracing, hilarious and often poignant, Stephanie Clifford's debut offers a thoroughly modern take on classic American themes - money, ambition, family, friendship - and on the universal longing to fit in.


What I Say....This book was a total enigma to me.  It started out very slow.  Like so slow, that I finally looked it up on Goodreads to see what the reviews looked like.  A few people said it started off slow but picked up in the middle.  So I dug back in to see if it was true.

I think part of the setup was a little confusing.  Evelyn has a malpractice type lawyer for a father, which causes some class shame for her social climbing mother.  It's never made very clear how much money Evelyn comes from.  She graduated from a private prep school and her close friends appear to be old money wealthy, but Evelyn doesn't seem to care or be interested in being part of that scene.

Evelyn ends up taking a job at a start up company that is trying to create an exclusive Facebook type site for the extremely wealthy.  She has a few friends from her prep school days and they don't seem very interested in being part of the "elite" that she is recruiting, but they play along to support her.

I think one of the things that was confusing is that Evelyn didn't appear very interested in the career she was pursuing  until she becomes friends with Camilla, a very wealthy socialite who Evelyn is intent on signing up for her website.  As Evelyn is drawn into Camilla's world, she begins to believe she is on Camilla's level, telling lies about her family's background, making up a debutante ball that never happened.  

In the middle of this, Evelyn's father is indicted for witness bribery and her mother is becoming increasingly angry with the state of her life and Evelyn is now finding herself unable to keep up with her bills - who would give this girl an American Express with a $65k limit?  Her whole life is imploding and she goes into an almost clinical state of denial.

I don't want to spoil the story for anyone on what Evelyn does to fall from grace, but it's all self-inflicted as her panic to escape her situation grows.  It's pretty horrific and I actually didn't feel bad for her because what she did was really, really awful.  

This books description called it hilarious, but there was never a time when I laughed or felt amusement.  I think perhaps it was marketed incorrectly, because it actually was a really sad book.  But I do agree that you should stick with it because it was definitely worth reading - not to be envious of the class distinctions, or to be amused, but to see how having such a complete lack of self-worth can completely derail a life.


 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Saving Abby by Steena Holmes



What They Say.....All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?


What I Say.....Sometimes being a nurse is not always fun when you are reading a book that has lots of medical issues in it.  For example, when the author describes how Claire's anemia was tested through a urinalysis, I'm just like, no, that's not even a thing.

Or when the book describes a woman so tired and weak that she can't even stand up and walk down the stairs on her own accord, and her doctor friend says that's okay, bring her to my office in a few days if she's not better, it makes you wonder what Canadian healthcare is really like.

But onto the story.  Claire has wanted nothing more than to have kids, and after a trip with her husband, she find herself unexpectedly pregnant.  Claire develops a sudden onset of the worst headaches of her life, and when she finally has some testing done (that took way too long), she finds that she has a brain tumor.  The treatment would mean she needs to end her pregnancy, and naturally, that isn't an option.

So far, I've given enough spoilers and I don't want to ruin it for anyone else who read this book, but I found the ending to be maddening.

The book would definitely appeal to Jodi Picoult fans.



 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

25 Sense by Lisa Hanthorn



What They Say....Claire Malone didn’t mean for this to happen when she moved to New York. She just wanted to live the city life and gain experience in television writing, her dream career. It’s not like she meant to reciprocate when her married boss, Sean Vared, sent her flirty e-mails. And you can’t blame her for coming into the office on the weekend when Sean told her he was going to be there . . . alone. She didn’t mean to sleep with him―but hey, she wanted to experience the city life, so no big deal, right?

Wrong. By the time Claire wakes up on her 25th birthday, she’s very much in love with Sean. At work, she struggles to hold it together when he passes her desk―the very desk that they used to make love on. Soon Sean has turned his affection to the show’s starring actress, and Claire is devastated. Can she break away from Sean without ruining her barely started career? Will someone find out what happened? Will she ever grow up and stop making stupid mistakes? 25 Sense is about the time in a young woman’s life when the world starts to view her as a responsible adult―but all she feels is lost.


What I Say....I think this book was a generation miss for me.  Claire is in New York living pretty well on a production assistants salary.  She's in love (? I question this because there doesn't seem to be any real connection or any real feeling on either of their parts).  

Claire and Sean seem to do some light flirting through email, but when they finally meet in the office on a Sunday and sleep together, it's not satisfying for either of them, and just seems to inspire guilt in Sean.

Claire says she's upset afterwards, but she seems to get on just fine, even moving to California where she she continues to live pretty well even without a job.  

I don't know - I just think this was meant for a younger crowd, because I didn't understand the lack of feelings in any of these characters.

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekly Book Haul......June 12, 2016




The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

It's no big secret that I love to float in the pool, but I'm also very vigilant about going to the dermatologist for my skin checks.  I don't deeply tan on purpose, I do use sunblock, but on this visit my doctor found a basal cell carcinoma that had to be removed.  Six stitches later, I'm skin cancer free, but I'll be wearing a higher SPF of sunblock and getting skin checks every six months now.  My doctor told me that Niacinamide and Vitamin D have been shown to decrease skin cancer recurrence, so I'll be adding that to my vitamin regimen.

I've been doing some great reading this week and I'll be posting some reviews soon.  Right now, I'm reading First Comes Love by Emily Giffin, and it's as good as you would expect.

My giveaway of One True Loves by Tara Reid Jenkins ended last week and Windee Gustafson was the winner - congratulations, Windee!  It's a tearjerker!

My only add was from NetGalley this week

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.....Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery
nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
 Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.


 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Appetite by Sheila Grinnell



What They Say......When Jenn Adler returns from a year in India, she has a surprise for her parents: a young guru from Bangalore whom she intends to marry. 

Her father, Paul, is wary of this beggar Jenn has brought home who, he suspects, is conning his much-loved daughter while her mother, Maggie, is frightened that this alien stranger will steal away her only child, her focus in life. 

In the months leading up to the backyard wedding, Maggie is forced to reevaluate her virtues as she casts about for support, and Paul faces an unexpected threat at work one that Maggie could help him meet, if he would only ask. 

But even with these distractions, the two parents are focused on one primary question: Can they convince their daughter she is making a terrible mistake before the wedding takes place?" 


What I Say.....Ugh.  I saw a little bit of myself in this story.  As in, it's so easy to assume that you know what's best for your child, better than anyone else, including them.  It's hard to be a parent, and that job doesn't just end when they turn 18 and go away to school and move out.  It's not that you WANT to continue to control their lives, but the habits that you spent your child's lifetime learning don't change easily.

But I don't think I'm quite as bad as Maggie, and I'm definitely not as big of a jerk as her father, Paul. 

Jenn has graduated college and spent a year traveling in India, when she writes to let her parents know that she is coming home and bringing her boyfriend, who is about to become her fiancé.  Jean and Arun  are working a consciousness raising type of business for the poor in India, and they are both inspired and invested in continuing this work.  They are coming home to visit, but not looking for money, not asking for anything.  And Jenn's parents just can't understand that.

In the meantime, her father, Paul is continuing his decades long affair, along with doctoring research in his lab at the hospital.  Her mother is embarking on an affair and trying to wrap her mind around why her daughter would want to leave home and work for the poor in India.

Arun and Jenn looked so much more mature and grounded than her parents.  No matter how rudely they behaved, Arun treated them with respect and compassion.  I wish we had gotten to know a little more about what was going on in his head.

This is an important book for parents of adult children to read.  It makes you step back and look at your own behavior and your thoughts about your children 's life choices, those children who are now adults.  It's so hard because when I look at my daughters, I still see pigtails and braces, not college degrees and apartments of their own.  It goes so fast......

Thanks to Booksparks and the Summer Reading Challenge 2016.  This was a book that I never would have picked up on my own, but I really enjoyed it!

Current Goodreads Rating 4.06

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Weekly Book Haul....June 5, 2016




The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.


Phoenix is in the middle of a record breaking heat wave.  We hit 120 according to my car at 6pm last night, so to escape the heat, my daughter and I went to see Me Before You.  I'm pretty sure everyone has read the Jojo Moyes book that the movie is based on.  The critic reviews weren't great but the viewer reviews were very positive.  As anticipated, it was a real tearjerker.  I think Emilia Clarke made a perfect Louisa, she was exactly as I pictured her when I was reading the book. 

Just a reminder, I've got a giveaway going on.....click here to enter.

I'm in the middle of the Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016 and I'm reading up a storm.  They always have such great books and June is no exception.



Saving Abby by Steena Holmes....All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner
ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.

Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford....It's 2006 in the Manhattan of the
young and glamorous. Money and class are colliding in a city that is about to go over a financial precipice and take much of the country with it. At 26, bright, funny and socially anxious Evelyn Beegan is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto the Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.

Recruiting new members for the site, Evelyn steps into a promised land of Adirondack camps, Newport cottages and Southampton clubs thick with socialites and Wall Streeters. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father, a crusading class-action lawyer, is indicted for bribery, Evelyn must contend with her own family's downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life, grasping with increasing desperation as the ground underneath her begins to give way.
Bracing, hilarious and often poignant, Stephanie Clifford's debut offers a thoroughly modern take on classic American themes - money, ambition, family, friendship - and on the universal longing to fit in.


25 Sense by Lisa Henthorn....Claire Malone didn t mean for this to happen
when she moved to New York. She just wanted to live the city life and gain experience in television writing, her dream career. It s not like she meant to reciprocate when her married boss, Sean Vared, sent her flirty e-mails. And you can't blame her for coming into the office on the weekend when Sean told her he was going to be there . . . alone. She didn't mean to sleep with him but hey, she wanted to experience the city life, so no big deal, right? Wrong. 

By the time Claire wakes up on her 25th birthday, she s very much in love with Sean. At work, she struggles to hold it together when he passes her desk the very desk that they used to make love on. 

Soon Sean has turned his affection to the shows starring actress, and Claire is devastated. Can she break away from Sean without ruining her barely started career? Will someone find out what happened? Will she ever grow up and stop making stupid mistakes? 

25 Sense is about the time in a young woman s life when the world starts to view her as a responsible adult but all she feels is lost.


The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan....Leo has long joked that, in the event
of his death, he wants his best friend Garrett, a lifelong bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken night, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Then, twelve years later, Leo, a veteran firefighter, dies in a skiing accident. 

As Audrey navigates her new role as widow and single parent, Garrett quits his job in Boston and buys a one-way ticket out west. Before long, Audrey's feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and Garrett finds himself falling for Audrey, her boys, and their life together in Portland. When Audrey finds out about the drunken pact from years ago, though, the harmless promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.






 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley






What They Say......One summer can change everything . . . 

Demi doesn’t expect her summer in Cornwall to hold anything out of the ordinary. As a waitress, working all hours to make ends meet, washing dishes and serving ice creams seems to be as exciting as the holiday season is about to get.


That’s until she meets Cal Penwith. An outsider, like herself, Cal is persuaded to let Demi help him renovate his holiday resort, Kilhallon Park. Set above an idyllic Cornish cove, the once popular destination for tourists has now gone to rack and ruin. During the course of the Cornish summer, Demi makes new friends – and foes – as she helps the dashing and often infuriating Cal in his quest. Working side by side, the pair grow close, but Cal has complications in his past which make Demi wonder if he could ever truly be interested in her.

Demi realises that she has finally found a place she can call home. But as the summer draws to a close, and Demi’s own reputation as an up and coming café owner starts to spread, she is faced with a tough decision . . .


What I Say.....Quick, cute little read.  Demi is kind of a sad sack - homeless, soon jobless and no family that cares about her.  Add in a large dog and you find her sleeping in the streets.

She lands a job with Cal Penwith, who is recently returned from what sounds like war, although is described as a humanitarian trip (we never really do find out what happened to him there, although it's frequently referred to as part of his brooding and drinking).

Cal is ready to make his family's campground great again, and is willing to send Demi to college courses on hospitality if she would like - this must be different in England vs. America - because it didn't seem like cost was an issue, but then money worries are referred to elsewhere.

The token town meanie, Mawgan, is there to try to prevent the park from opening, and the token beautiful ex-girlfriend is also there - although she seems like a genuinely nice person.

In between all of this, are Cal and Demi doing manual labor and dreaming big of making the park shine. Of course they fall in love, and have some misunderstandings along the way.  That's what makes it chick lit.

What made it a little different is the homelessness, Cal's budding alcoholism, and the lack of what seemed to be genuine caring for Demi on Cal's part.  He was a known ladies man, and seemed okay with that.   Which didn't make me root for them to finally fall together.  

In the description, it talks about Demi's "reputation as an up and coming  cafe owner" - spoiler alert, her cafe never opened in this book.  But it's part of a trilogy, so maybe there will be more answers in the future.


 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Assistants by Camille Perri






What They Say.....A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city. 

Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.

When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer . . .
 
The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?” 


What I Say.....I think I'm in the middle of these two generations.  But both of them seem to think the world owes them something.  I can definitely say over the last few years, my mind is a little more open to the how the game is rigged in favor of people who have more money than they could ever need or use.
But I also have open eyes to the fact that the millennial generation feels like they have been robbed if they don't have everything they want as soon as they want it - thanks, helicopter parents.

Tina innocently gets reimbursed for a plane ticket that she bought her boss, after it's already been refunded (because a multibillionaire doesn't think he should have to pay to fly first class - and block the seats around him).  Tina struggles for weeks trying to decide what to do - be honest, and turn it back in or cash it and pay off her student loans.  A simple snap and click deposit sets a whole chain of events that she could have never imagined.

Soon the people who are employed to stop this kind of thing from happening are blackmailing Tina to make sure it keeps happening, to their benefit.  It's designed to look like a modern day Robin Hood, but is it less stealing when it goes to student loans than a new car or better apartment?  Let's be honest, it's the same thing - freeing up income that would be spent on student loans to buy other things.

in the meantime, Tina has a budding romance with the office hunk, although she is terrified he will find out what she's up to, as he is a young idealist, who believes her to be as honest as he is.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but the ending was pretty neat and tidy for such a large, criminal mess on both sides.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.58

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png