December New Releases
Yes, holiday season is upon us once again. Books are the gift that keeps on giving, and there are plenty of good ones to pick from this month. So make your list (and check it twice), before heading out to your local bookseller this December.
Morning Glory by Sarah Jio – November 26th. Ada leaves New York City after a tragedy, moving to a house boat on Seattle’s Lake Union. It’s there that Ada discovers the trunk of a former resident, Penny Wentworth. Penny was a young newlywed in 1959 and Ada is determined to learn her fate. The mysteries of the past get tangled in Ada’s questions about her future. I love the way Sarah Jio writes because she’s great at weaving together story lines of the present with those of the past, seamlessly transporting the readers to different times and places. I can’t wait to escape into this story.
Out to Lunch by Stacey Ballis – December 3, 2013. Jenna and Aimee were best friends and business partners in an events and catering company until Aimee’s untimely death at the young age of forty-one. Jenna is grief stricken and lost without her friend. She also has to deal with Wayne, Aimee’s Star Wars-obsessed widower. Complicating matters is the fact that Aimee left Jenna in charge of all her finances, which means Jenna gets to referee Wayne’s get-rich-quick schemes. What was her friend thinking? I haven’t read the book, but I think I might know the answer to that question. This book sounds charming and early reviews suggest that the food descriptions are Pinterest worthy, so you may want to read on a full stomach.
Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos – December 3, 2013. This book is another modern day twist on Jane Austen and it sounds like a hoot. Vanessa is a public relations executive who’s a master at social media. Julian is an Englishman who has written a book, My Year as Mr. Darcy, as a means to save his faltering estate. Along with the book, Julian hosts a Darcy themed talk show that features him, well, undressing. Did I mention that “Mr. Darcy” is hot? Throw in Austen fan festivals, a pirate encounter and a trip to merry ole England and I think we have ourselves a fun ride!
Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman – December 11, 2013. What a cute title. Lexi is a girl who likes to follow the rules, which is probably a good thing, since she’s the HR manager at a chemical company! After she gets passed over on a big promotion, Lexi begins to wonder if maybe rules are meant to be broken, especially the rules on interoffice dating. I enjoy stories based in the work place, because office politics and romance can be so complicated. I also love a story in which nice girls don’t finish last.
The Redhead Plays Her Hand by Alice Clayton – December 17, 2013. Actress Grace Sheridan has it all, a gorgeous British movie star boyfriend, Jack, and the lead role on a hit television show. When her curvaceous figure ignites an industry debate over thinness, producers order Grace to drop 15 pounds. While Grace is eating rabbit food and suffering through boot camp, Jack is hitting the Hollywood party scene. Jack’s fans don’t want him in a relationship, so when he shows up at her events late and drunk, Grace wonders if he loves his fans more than her. Forget playing her hand, I’m thinking she needs to re-deal the cards. I love Hollywood insider stories and this one sounds juicy.
November New Releases
To me November marks the end of the harvest season and the approach of winter. In other words, it’s starting to get very chilly! So, I’m grateful that there are some wonderful (and in some cases long) books coming out this month that I can curl up with and savor after a big Thanksgiving dinner.
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan – November 5, 2013. This novel is the latest sweeping epic by the NYT bestselling author, Amy Tam. It’s the story of a mother and daughter. In 1897 Lucia is a young American who falls for a Chinese painter and abandons her home for the intriguing and mysterious world of old Shanghai. At sixteen she makes some disastrous choices, which lead her to the life of a Madam. Fifteen years later, during the fall of the Ching dynasty, she loses her daughter Violet in a cruel act of clever manipulation. Violet is forced to become a “virgin courtesan.” Both woman experience betrayal and heartbreak, but refuse to submit to society’s expectations. Tan is expert at writing about the intricacies of the mother daughter relationship and this story, which spans forty years and two continents, will take the reader on an amazing journey.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Marie Landry – November 5, 2013. Christmas isn’t always a wonderful time of year, especially for those who’ve lost a loved one. In the first few years after her grandmother’s death, Ginny Bailey bravely went through the holiday motions. When she finds out she’ll be alone this Christmas, she gives up the cheerful pretense. To add to her bah humbug spirit, everything in her life starts to go wrong – until Dean comes back into her life. Maybe Christmas can be wonderful again?
Wish Upon a Star by Trisha Ashley – November 7, 2013. The theme of this holiday story is the miracle that Christmas can bring. Cally is a young single mom, who doesn’t have time for love. When her young daughter Stella gets sick, she must move in with her mother to save money for surgery. All Cally wants for Christmas is a healthy child. Then the charming Jago shows up offering her hope of a different kind. Can Cally also look forward to the gift of love under her Christmas tree this year?
The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch – November 12, 2013. Allison Winn Scotch is one of my favorite authors, so I’m very excited about her new book, a story about fate and destiny. Willa Chandler-Golden has what most would consider a good life – a great job, loving husband and a father who changed the world. Her dad wrote a best-selling self-help book that sold the notion that everything happens for a reason. Willa isn’t so sure about her dad’s theory, especially with her ever present negative pregnancy tests. When things begin to really fall apart for Willa, she finds herself on a totally different path. Can Willa tempt fate and be brave enough to change her life?
The Runaway Wife by Rowan Coleman – November 12, 2013. This is the story of a Rose, a woman who escapes her abusive husband by running away to the Lake District in England, where she seeks shelter at a small bed & breakfast. What led her there was the kindness of a stranger, whom she met long ago. Will this connection, which has sustained her, still be there? The beautiful surroundings, a nosy innkeeper and her charming son give Rose the hope to reach out to her estranged father. Can she continue to chase a dream or will she decide to face the reality in her heart?
Merry & Bright – Chick Lit Holiday Anthology – November 15, 2013. Sip your eggnog, linger under the mistletoe, and make a Christmas wish. Merry & Bright brings you six tales of Christmas cheer, featuring stories of budding romances, Southern charm, lost loves, heaps of humor, and lots of pie by authors Isabella Louise Anderson, Cindy Arora, Laura Chapman, Lauren Clark, Libby Mercer, and Nancy Scrofano. From sunny Los Angeles to the Rocky Mountains to the Deep South, Merry & Bright will take you on a heartwarming adventure you’ll love to visit again and again. Wrap yourself in holiday mirth and prepare to be swept off your feet.
The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani – November 26, 2013. We wrap up the month with another family saga that spans continents. This is the third novel in Trigiani’s Valentine trilogy. Designer shoemaker Valentine is about to marry her tanner, Giancarlo, a handsome Italian who is twenty years her senior. He’s also the grandson of her grandmother’s new husband, which is complicated and probably a bit dysfunctional. Valentine tries to balance her work and private life, all the while opening a shoe factory in Brooklyn, and preparing to give birth to her first child. Giancarlo on the other hand, has very different ideas about their future – he envisions a quiet life in Tuscany. Choices, choices!
October is my favorite month. The back-to-school routine has worked itself out and the holiday madness still seems like it’s months away. Don’t be fooled though – if new Christmas themed books are any indication, it’ll be here before we know it! I hope you have a backlog in your to-read book pile, because the pickings for new chick lit releases in October are slim. Methinks some publishers are a wee bit afraid of competing with a certain Miss Bridget Jones.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding – October 15, 2013. Bridget Jones is the iconic chick lit heroine who’s often credited with launching the genre’s industry. I adore her and I’m very excited. I must confess that I didn’t read the second book (or like the movie sequel), so I’m a bit fuzzy about where I last left Bridget. I’ve also been unable to find a synopsis that has any real scoop. These are the most mentioned tidbits: Bridget is older and freaking out about middle age. Bridget and technology, especially social media, are not a good combination. Conspicuously, there’s no mention of Mark Darcy! Blasphemy I say! Finally, there’s great on-line debate as to just who is the boy she’s so mad about. A new lover? Or a baby? Hmmm…
POST SCRIPT – Hot off the presses: Fielding has killed off Mark Darcy! I don’t know what to say, but this is taking “kill your darlings” a bit too far!
Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews – October 15, 2013. Andrews is another one of my favorites and no one can tell a better story about southern gals and best friends. This Christmas novella brings back Weezie and Bebe from Savannah Blue and Savannah Breeze. It’s Christmas time in Savannah and Weezie is distracted. She’s about to marry (yay!) Chef Daniel, and her best friend Bebe is about to give birth. All would be perfect except Bebe won’t marry her baby’s father, and no one’s quite sure why, since she loves him. I’m certain that the girls will get themselves involved in some trouble, which will be fun for the readers.
Christmas At The Beach by Wendy Wax – October 15th, 2013. For fear of sounding like a broken record, I won’t tell you how much I love Wendy Wax and her series about three women who renovate beach properties for a reality show program. There have been two books so far, Ten Beach Road and Ocean Beach, and the third, The House At Mermaid Point, will be out next summer. In the meantime, we’re treated to this Christmas novella. Maddy, Avery & Nicole are celebrating Christmas together with their families at Bella Flora. Bella Flora is their original project house, which saved them from the financial ruin of a Ponzi scheme. Bella Flora has finally sold, so they’re celebrating – that is until they find out who’s purchased the house!
Zoey & The Moment of Zen by Cat Lavoie – October 23, 2013. Zoey Everwood is a bit obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, Braden, and driving everyone around her crazy. So she escapes a wellness resort to chill out. How apropos that the resort is called the Moment of Zen! It works like magic and Zoey comes back from the resort with a husband, who also happens to resemble her ex. Then she discovers that someone else is having trouble letting go. Is it her ex? Or his grumpy best friend? I don’t’ think Zoey’s going to stay Zen for long.
A Gift To Remember by Melissa Hill – October 24, 2013. One day, Darcy is riding her bicycle to work (a bookstore), when she runs into a sharply dressed man walking a dog. Before she knows it, the man is rushed off to the hospital and Darcy’s left standing on the sidewalk, with his dog and a wrapped package. She has no idea who the man is, or how to get his dog home. After unwrapping the package, Darcy embarks on an adventure to find the mystery man. As she does so, she gradually gets drawn into his world, which is one of books, travel and adventure. When she eventually finds him, will fantasy meet reality?
Cinderella Screwed Me Over by Cindi Madsen – October 22, 2013. Based on the title, I guessed that Darby Quinn would be an unhappy heroine. It turns out to be quite the opposite. After a series of disappointing relationships, Darby’s sworn off happily-ever-afters and is busy starting her new life, safe in the knowledge that fairy tale princes aren’t real. Then Darby meets Jake, a charmingly persistent restaurant owner. Is he her prince, or just another good-looking toad? And is she willing to find out?
New Shows for the 20-13-2014 Television Season
I have a confession to make. I’m a TV junkie. I know it’s not cool to admit this in literary circles, especially if you’re a lover of writing and books. The arrival of fall signals that the new television season is upon us (most premiers are airing the week of September 23rd, after the Emmys). In this year’s new crop of shows, there are many choices to ponder! Here’s the scoop based on my recon, and I must say, I’m very grateful for my DVR.
Betrayal on ABC Sundays, 10p.m. EST. The trailer for this one is hot and it looks like a perfect companion to its lead-in, Revenge. The show is about an unhappily married woman who starts an affair with a man after a “chance” encounter at a party. They initially try to resist, but the attraction proves to be too much. The catch? Turns out the woman’s lovah is non-other than the defense attorney for the criminal her husband is prosecuting in a high profile murder trial. Uh-oh. I think this sounds awesome, but I’m a bit nervous because some critics don’t seem as excited as I am.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC Tuesdays, 8p.m. EST. This one has received unanimous approval from critics, frequently heralded as the best new drama of the season. The series is a spinoff of The Avengers movie, taking place in the aftermath of the epic Battle of New York. I’m not much of a comic book fan, so I was skeptical until I saw the trailer. I’m intrigued, because I got a Mission Impossible vibe and I didn’t see one superhero costume.
The Goldbergs on ABC, Tuesdays at 9p.m. EST. There isn’t much buzz around this show, but I’m a fan of George Segal and I’m betting the show will benefit from airing right after Marvel’s Agents. It’s also a nostalgia piece, set in the 1980s, addressing family dynamics before the internet, cell phones and satellite TV. I think it sounds cute. I hope I can watch with my kids and reminisce about the good ole days.
Trophy Wife on ABC, Tuesdays at 9:30p.m. EST. This show has been touted as the “new” Modern Family, since it’s a family sit com without the traditional family unit. Malin Ackerman is the trophy wife, who marries an older man played by Bradley Witford (Josh from the West Wing, be still my heart!). Along with two ex-wives, there are also three children she must win over. I’m relieved to report that the reviews are good, because the trailer rocks! Added bonus: Oscar winner Marcia Gay Hardin is one of the ex-wives. Great cast.
Hostages on CBS, Mondays at 10p.m. EST. Toni Collette, Dylan McDermott and Tate Donavon are just three standouts in the cast of this intense new drama. Collette plays a surgeon who is scheduled to operate on the President of the United States. Her home is invaded by terrorists who take her family hostage. In order to save the lives of her family, she must kill the President. See? Intense! I can’t wait, but I’m not looking forward to seeing the dreamy McDermott play a mean guy (he’s the terrorist and an FBI agent). There is one possible problem. Mondays at 10 p.m. may prove to be a tough time slot. Hostages’ competition includes ABC’s popular Castle the new James Spader drama, The Blacklist.
The Crazy Ones on CBS, Thursday at 9p.m. EST. This show brings Robin “Mork” Williams back to television and I know the Happy Days generation will be thrilled. However, we also can excite the Buffy the Vampire crowd, because Sarah Michele Geller plays his daughter. Together they run an advertising agency. Williams’ character is the kooky genius and Geller plays the level headed one, who holds the agency together. This looks like a funny, modern version of Mad Men – maybe. The first episode features a fabulous cameo by Kelly Clarkson, so be sure to watch.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine on FOX, Tuesdays at 8p.m. EST. This is being called a modern day Barney Miller (1970’s cop show). It’s a half hour sit-com set in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. SNL’s Andy Samberg stars as an immature detective under the command of a tough-as-nails, by-the-book captain played by Andre Brugher. It doesn’t sound like my thing, but the show has made every must-see list for the new season. If you like your cops funny, you should check it out. Plus, Samberg’s smile and charm are somewhat irresistible.
The Blacklist on NBC, Mondays at 10p.m. EST. This is Marvel’s fiercest competition for the title of the season’s best new drama. I think it looks kind of scary. James Spader plays a most-wanted fugitive who ends up striking a deal with the FBI to help them catch other most-wanted (and often unknown) fugitives. However, for reasons known only to him, he will only play ball if he can work with the agency’s rookie agent, Elizabeth Keene, who hasn’t a clue as to why she’s his chosen one. Spader’s twisted Hannibal Lecter like performance makes this a must-see program.
The Michael J Fox Show on NBC, Thursdays at 9p.m. EST. Another TV comeback, this time by the beloved Michael J. Fox. He plays Mike Henry, a former newscaster who has Parkinson’s Disease. When Mike was first diagnosed, he decided to stay home and devote his energy to his family. Problem is, he’s driving his family crazy! So it’s back to work he goes. Obviously, the story-line mirrors real-life. NBC has so much confidence in this show that they’ve already ordered a full 22 episodes. Who doesn’t love a well-deserved comeback? And hot off the presses – Fox’s parents are going to be played by Candice Bergman and Charles Grodin! I’m tuning in for sure.
There are so many other shows hitting the small screen, but the ones listed here have captured the attention of the entertainment media (or yours truly) leading up to the premiers. Not all shows have been celebrated. In contrast to the Best New Show, there’s the dreaded “First Show Axed” booby prize. Some predicted losers are Sean Saves the World, We Are Men, Dads, Back in the Game, and Super Fun Night. So proceed with caution – you’ve been warned!
What shows are you excited about? Do you care about the opinions of TV critics? Do any of these look good to you? How long do you give a show before you bail?
Don’t miss these new releases for September 2013!
September means back to school, changing leaves, football and cooler temperatures. Lucky for us there are several hot new books coming out this month to keep us warm and cozy as we mourn the passing of another summer. These are some of September’s highlights.
The Good Wife by Jane Porter – September 3, 2013. This book is the final installment in the Brennan Sisters trilogy, which I’ve really enjoyed. I’m a huge Jane Porter fan. The Good Wife is Sarah’s story. Sarah is the baby of the Brennan family and she’s married to a professional baseball player who had an affair. As we learned in the earlier installments, Sarah stuck it out, but their marriage is strained. The book asks the question, “Is it possible to love someone too much?” Can Sarah finally let go of the past, or is it time to leave her husband and start over? I’m hoping that in addition to Sarah’s story, we’ll get lots of updates on the rest of the Brennan family!
Coming Clean by Sue Margolis – September 3, 2013. This is the story of Sophie, who is tired of cleaning up after her husband Greg – literally. After Sophie leaves him, Greg has no trouble bouncing back. Sophie however, finds herself facing all kinds of uncertainties at home and at work. When she begins to lose her heart to an old high school crush, Sophie realizes that shiny and new isn’t always best. Her journey of self-acceptance leads her to a place she least expects.
You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert – September 3, 2013. A friendship that’s gone wrong is the premise of this fiction debut. Katherine and Laney were best friends, but something happened long ago that severed their friendship and sent them both on unexpected paths. When Katherine and Laney receive a shared inheritance from a neighbor, they’re forced to confront their past. Will the bonds of friendship and sisterhood bring them back together or are some wounds too deep to mend? Early buzz on this one is good!
New Money by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal – September 10, 2013. This is a modern day take on the rags-to-riches story. Savannah Morgan has no direction, no plan and still lives at home with her mother in South Carolina. Then she discovers that her father, a man she never knew, has passed away. Surprise, surprise, he was a billionaire media mogul who left her a fortune. Of course, there’s a catch. To claim her inheritance, Savannah must move to Manhattan and work for his global news corporations – alongside her half siblings, who are none too happy about her existence! Life in the big city is rife with sibling rivalry, corporate treachery and a complicated love life. Can’t wait to read this one.
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks – September 17, 2013. I was torn about whether or not to include this one, as there could be some debate as to whether Sparks is considered Chick Lit (and I’m sure he’d say NO), but the storyline sounds intriguing and it’s a bit reminiscent of The Notebook. The movie version is already in the works, with a release date of Valentine’s Day weekend 2015. The book interweaves two stories. One is the love story of a 90 year old man and his deceased wife, which is told in flashbacks. The second involves a modern-day bull rider and a young woman, who are falling in love. When the lives of these four people converge, expect lots of Nicolas Sparks drama and, of course, tears.
Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves – September 17, 2013. This is the much anticipated sophomore book from last year’s Indy princess and author of On the Island. The cover is beautiful and the early reviews have me very excited. The book’s description starts with “What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?” Doesn’t get much more complicated than that. One night a local police officer, Daniel, pulls over the married (but lonely) Claire for a traffic violation. Before long, Claire is freelancing for the police department, where she and Daniel end up spending a great deal of time together. Soon, they find themselves in way over their heads. Will they cross the forbidden line?
The Partner Track by Helen Wan – September 17, 2013. This debut novel is full of drama relating to issues of class, race and sexual politics. Ingrid Yung is an Asian-American woman trying to make partner at a prestigious “boys’ club” law firm in Manhattan. An “incident” at the firm’s summer outing spurs the creation of a “Diversity Initiative.” Guess who they delegate to spearhead the effort? You guessed it. Not cool. This takes precious time away from the huge case Ingrid’s working on, one that will secure her partnership. Soon she finds herself at odds with her colleagues, including the firm’s Golden Boy, who just happens to be her boyfriend. This one sounds awesome!
Sadly, summer is almost over, but we still have a handful of chick lit books to look forward to before the leaves begin to change. Upcoming releases for August include the following:
The Debt & The Doormat by Laura Barnard – ebook, July 23, 2013. This is the story of two best friends, Poppy & Jazz, who seem to have a knack for getting into trouble. When Jazz gets herself in financial trouble, Poppy offers to help. The offer results in the two friends swapping lives and that’s when the trouble really starts. Poppy is trying to get over broken heart, and living Jazz’s life leads to madness and many secrets. Will her life ever get back to normal? Does she want it to?
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – July 30, 2013. Moriarty’s book, What Alice Forgot, is one of my all-time favorites, so I am always excited by the prospect of another tale spun by this Australian author. The Husband’s Secret is getting rave reviews from various sources, most of which contain a warning that this tale is a bit darker than what the author normally writes. The premise of the book is a wife’s discovery of a letter written to her by her husband – to be read only after he’s died. Cecilia’s husband is very much alive, but she (as I think most wives would) reads the letter anyway, which opens a Pandora’s Box. The letter contains deep, dark secrets that blow apart not only Cecilia’s life, but the lives of two other women, as well. It does sound dark, but I’m dying to know what the secret is!
Calling Mrs. Christmas by Carole Matthews – ebook, (hardcover in England), August 1, 2033. What better way to cool off from the August heat than reading about love at Christmas. Cassie Smith has created her own business, called “Calling Mr. Christmas,” in which she’ll perform all those pesky holiday tasks: wrapping presents, decorating trees or writing Christmas cards. When her client Carter Randall enlists her help to make his children’s Christmas extra special, including going on their holiday trip, Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her life.
Lake Como by Anita Hughes – August 13, 2013. Anita Hughes writes beautiful stories, about beautiful people, in exquisitely beautiful settings, who have not-so-beautiful problems. Set in in San Francisco and Lake Como, Italy, this is the story of an interior designer named Hallie whose life is turned upside down when she discovers her fiancé in a very compromising position – with her boss. She flees to Italy to spend time with her half-sister and to start over. She lands a dream project of designing a lake-side estate for a wealthy American mogul. Just when it seems Italy is the answer to all her problems, Hallie stumbles upon a family secret that makes her question everything about herself and her new life. San Francisco is my favorite city and I dream of traveling to Italy, so I’m very excited about this one!
Desperately Seeking Heaven by Jill Steeples – ebook, August 27, 2013. This is a paranormal romance from British author Jill Steeples. Alice Fletcher is spending a Friday night home alone, watching trash TV, when she is unexpectedly joined on her couch by Jimmy Mack. Jimmy is her daytime TV crush, who just died in an accident. It seems he can’t get to “the other side” without righting a few of his earthy wrongs, and he needs Alice’s help. Predictably, Jimmy turns her life upside down. Sounds like fun ride to me, as I’ve had more than my share of TV crushes (although I’d prefer them to be alive and breathing if they showed up on my couch).
The First Affair: A Novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus – August 27, 2013. Oh my, this one sounds juicy. Jamie McAlister finds herself interning at the White House, which is a stroke of luck, given the dismal job market she’s facing. Unfortunately an internship means no paycheck and Jamie finds herself at odds with her fellow interns, who all seem to have loads of money. Then she has an unexpected encounter with the President – of the United States! What follows is an inappropriate clandestine relationship that, of course, is discovered. Soon Jamie and her family face calculated public destruction. Oh, Monica Lewinsky can’t be happy about this one!
Shirley Benton’s second novel, Can We Start Again? is now on sale! Grab your copy now, and check out my review of Shirley’s debut novel Looking for Leon!
Is it ever too late for a second chance?
Tammy and Alvin had mapped out their entire lives together, including a pre-parental plan – a list of everything they wanted to do as a couple before they have children. But no amount of planning could have anticipated the heartbreaking problems that lay ahead of them – problems that shattered their once-perfect relationship and led to a traumatic break-up.
After years of trying to move on, Tammy’s world is turned upside down when Alvin comes back into her life asking for a second chance – with a difference. He proposes that they spend time together, doing the challenging activities they had once so eagerly planned, in a bid to remember why they felt they’d have children together some day, and ultimately recapture what they had.
Still in love with Alvin, Tammy finds herself powerless to say no even though their problems are still simmering in the background and threatening to boil over at any moment. Still, what they once had is surely worth trying to save?
But can something that’s broken ever truly be whole again?
Every year around this time, everyone is looking for a HOT summer read to take to the beach, lounge by the pool, or to curl up inside with in the air conditioner to avoid the scorching heat outdoors. Either way, summer is a popular time for publisher’s to release their heavy hitters, and this year is no exception. Below is a list of reads that Samantha and I have compiled for the month of June… many of which we currently have in our “To Be Read” piles.
Between You and Me by: Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
What happens when you are followed by millions . . . and loved by none?
Twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade is trying to build a life for herself far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. Until she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant— an offer she can’t refuse.
Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey in person since their parents separated them as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has grown into Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrity. But their reunion is quickly overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her parents as Logan discovers that, beneath the glossy façade, the wounds that caused them to be wrenched apart so many years ago have insidiously warped into a show-stopping family business.
As Kelsey tries desperately to break away and grasp at a “real” life, beyond the influence of her parents and managers, she makes one catastrophic misstep after another, and Logan must question if their childhood has left them both too broken to succeed. Logan risks everything to hold on, but when Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way, Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between rescuing the girl she has always protected . . . and saving herself.
Spring Fever by: Mary Kay Andrews
The New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental delivers her delicious new escapist novel about small towns, old flames, and deep secrets
Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. They’ve been divorced for four years, she’s engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she’s ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia. But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she’s been given a second chance. Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back. But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town. On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone. Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future.
The Meryl Streep Movie Club by: Mia March
Two sisters and the cousin they grew up with after a tragedy are summoned home to their family matriarch’s inn on the coast of Maine for a shocking announcement. Suddenly, Isabel, June, and Kat are sharing the attic bedroom–and barely speaking. But when innkeeper Lolly asks them to join her and the guests in the parlor for weekly Movie Night–it’s Meryl Streep month–they find themselves sharing secrets, talking long into the night–and questioning everything they thought they knew about life, love, and one another.
Each woman sees her complicated life reflected through the magic of cinema: Isabel’s husband is having an affair, and an old pact may keep her from what she wants most . . . June has promised her seven-year-old son that she’ll somehow find his father, who he’s never known . . . and Kat is ambivalent about accepting her lifelong best friend’s marriage proposal. Through everything, Lolly has always been there for them, and now Isabel, June, Kat–and Meryl–must be there for her. Finding themselves. Finding each other. Finding a happy ending.
Summer Nights by: Allie Spencer
Could getting dumped on her birthday and stranded in San Francisco actually be the best thing that could happen to Flora?
Flora Fielding has been dumped on her 30th birthday, and left stranded in San Francisco. With nowhere else to turn, she seeks out her cousin Bella who has been working as a nurse in the city for the past few years. But when she arrives at Bella’s apartment, Flora is shocked to find that her cousin’s in even more trouble than she is—because instead of leading the fast-paced life of an emergency room nurse that Flora has imagined, Bella is eking out a living as the lead singer in an Abba tribute band. But as Flora soon learns, although life in San Francisco with Bella may be uncertain, but it’s never ever dull. What with the tense Battle of the Tribute Bands, the threat to the local area by an evil developer, and the attentions of a very persistent computer geek, Flora soon begins to wonder whether she wants to go home at all.
Wallflower in Bloom by: Claire Cook
From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”
Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.
Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.
Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land.
So, here is our list of books for June. Which ones are you looking forward to? Comment below and let us know.
Every year around this time, everyone is looking for a HOT summer read to take to the beach, lounge by the pool, or to curl up inside with in the air conditioner to avoid the scorching heat outdoors. Either way, summer is a popular time for publisher’s to release their heavy hitters, and this year is no exception. Below is a list of reads that Samantha and I have compiled for the month of May… many of which we currently have in our “To Be Read” piles.
Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues By Trisha Ashley
When Tansy Poole inherits a run-down shoe shop tucked away in the village of Sticklepond, ‘Cinderella’s Slippers’ is born — providing the footwear to make any fairytale wedding come true! Carrying everything a bride would want to walk down the aisle in, Tansy’s shop soon expands to carry shoe-themed wedding favours, bridesmaid gifts and even delicious chocolate shoes. It’s the dream destination for any shoe-lover! If only everything in her personal life could be as heavenly — but with a fiance trying to make her fit into a size 8 wedding dress, not to mention the recent discovery of disturbing family revelations, Tansy takes refuge in the shop’s success. But one man isn’t thrilled by the stream of customers hot-footing it to Cinderella’s Slippers! Actor Ivo Hawksley, resident of the cottage next to the shop, is troubled by a dark secret in his past and has come to Sticklepond to nurse his own broken heart. However, Ivo realises that he and Tansy have a link in their past and soon, they both find out how secrets shared can make a very strong bond indeed! Forget the Jimmy Choos, Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues is the only accessory you need for spring 2012!
One heady summer. Three big secrets. 1989: Newlyweds Danny and Harriet arrive at their honeymoon paradise in the Caribbean. Days later Harriet returns home. Danny is left distraught but finds comfort in the arms of two women. Nine months later, three baby girls are born. In 2010: Megan leaves her childhood sweetheart behind in the UK to go in search of her long-lost father. Miles from home and temptation is at every corner – not least in the arms of the gorgeous Ray. Esmé, a Mexican beauty, married Miguel at fifteen. In unlocking the secrets of her past, can she shed the shackles of her enforced marriage? Claudia has led a life of privilege but she’s never really known what it feels like to be loved. Could David be the answer? Or will he disappoint her, just like her mother always did? Three women set off on an adventure to uncover the secrets surrounding their missing father. It may be the only way to lay their demons to rest but seeking out the truth could tear their lives apart.
Southern Charm By Tinsley Mortimer
SOUTHERN GIRL Minty Davenport has always dreamed of skyscrapers, yellow cabs, and a life like Eloise’s in New York City. So upon graduation from college, she bids adieu to Charleston and makes a beeline for the Big Apple. Almost instantly, she finds herself at an event being photographed for Women’s Wear Daily, and her career as a New York society “It Girl” is launched. As Minty navigates the ironclad customs of New York society, a blossoming love life, and a job working for a ruthless and powerful publicist, she finds that the rules a southern belle lives by—being nice to everyone, accentuating her femininity, and minding her manners—don’t necessarily guarantee success in Manhattan. She may indeed be accumulating new friends and opportunities along with boldfaced mentions and a very eligible bachelor boyfriend, but someone is plotting her very public downfall. When Minty gets to the top of the social ladder, she must decide if the glamorous life she thought she wanted is really everything she hoped it would be. Tinsley Mortimer’s insider observations about New York’s elite are deliciously witty, and the heart of her book is that of an irresistibly lovable young woman who is on the brink of finding her dream.
I Couldn’t Love You More By Jillian Medoff
Which child would you save? A decision no parent can even fathom. Eliot Gordon would do anything for her family. A 38-year-old working mother, she lives an ordinary but fulfilling life in suburban Atlanta with her partner, Grant Delaney, and their three daughters. The two older girls are actually Eliot’s stepdaughters, a distinction she is reluctant to make as she valiantly attempts to maintain a safe, happy household . . .Then Finn Montgomery, Eliot’s long-lost first love, appears, triggering a shocking chain of events that culminates in a split-second decision that will haunt her beloved family forever. How Eliot survives-and what she loses in the process-is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child. With hilarious honesty, wrenching depth, and a knockout twist, I COULDN’T LOVE YOU MORE illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family and reveals the lengths we’ll go to save each other, even as we can’t save ourselves.
The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service By Beth Kendrick
Lara Madigan has a gift. She can help you find your soulmate–your canine soulmate, that is. As a dog trainer with a soft spot for strays, she’s found the perfect home for sulky Shih Tzus, broken-down Border Collies, and diabolical Dalmatians. But while she’ll always make room for one more rescue mutt, she’s not sure she’s ready to commit to another human being. Especially after her long-term boyfriend drops the bomb: he’s not a dog person. Horrified and temporarily homeless, Lara and her furry pack move in with her mother, a wealthy fashionista who forbids even a single drop of drool. As word gets around the exclusive gated community, Lara is overwhelmed with demands for her services. A model wants personal training for her overweight “flabrador.” An aging socialite preps her pedigree puppy for dog show domination. If Lara can survive the breakup, the outrageous requests of her high-maintenance clientele, and her dogs systematically destroying her mother’s McMansion, she might finally find the rescue dog who rescues her back– leading her straight to the guy who could be her perfect match.
The Making of Us By Lisa Jewell
In a London hospice, a man named Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie listens to the stories of his life, and to his secrets. One day he tells her about the children he has never met, conceived with women he has never slept with. There are four of them—two boys, two girls. He talks of them wistfully. His legacy, he calls them. Lydia, Dean, and Robyn don’t know each other. Lydia, wealthy and successful, leads a lonely and disjointed life. Dean is twenty-one and completely overwhelmed by single fatherhood. Robyn has never met her biological father. Neither has her mother. He was just an anonymous donor, and that’s exactly how she wants to think of him—a character in her own personal fairy tale. One day Robyn meets the man of her dreams. He looks like her, he thinks like her, and he even has the same freckle in the same place on his left hand. It could be just a coincidence, but she needs to be sure before she can allow herself to be with him. It’s time for her to open the envelope her parents gave her on her eighteenth birthday…The Making of Us is a wonderful novel that celebrates the meaning of family—in every form that takes. It is an entertaining literary treat about the miracles that happen when we bring life into the world and share our lives with those we love.
I Never Promised You A Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
When Jennifer Gilbert was just a year out of college, a twenty-two-year-old fresh-faced young woman looking forward to a bright future, someone tried to cut her life short in the most violent way. But she survived, and not wanting this traumatic event to define her life, she buried it deep within and never spoke of it again. She bravely launched a fabulous career in New York as an event planner, designing lavish parties and fairy-tale weddings. Determined to help others celebrate and enjoy life’s greatest moments, she was convinced she’d never again feel joy herself. Yet it was these weddings, anniversaries, and holiday parties, showered with all her love and attention through those silent, scary years, that slowly brought her back to life. Always the calm in the event-planning storm—she could fix a ripped wedding dress, solve the problem of an undelivered wedding cake in the nick of time, and move a party with two days’ notice when disaster struck—there was no crisis that she couldn’t turn into a professional triumph. Somewhere along the way, she felt a stirring in her heart and began yearning for more than just standing on the sidelines living vicariously through other people’s lives. She fell in love, had her heart broken a few times, and then one day she found true love in a place so surprising that it literally knocked her out of her chair. As Gilbert learned over and over again, no one’s entitled to an easy road, and some people’s roads are bumpier than others. But survive each twist and turn she does—sometimes with tears, sometimes with laughter, and often with both. Warm, wise, alternately painful and funny, I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag is an inspiring memoir of survival, renewal, and transformation. It’s a tale about learning to let go and be happy after years of faking it, proving that while we can’t always control what happens to us, we can control who we become. And instead of anticipating our present in a goodie bag at the end of an event, we realize our presence at every event is the real gift.
So, here is our list of books for May. Which ones are you looking forward to? Comment below and let us know.
First off, let me give five stars to the cover alone. I could stare at this beauty all day. I’m a big fan of foodie books, and I just knew this book was going to speak to me. Aftertaste, the debut novel from Meredith Mileti, follows Mira Rinaldi as she tries to pick up the pieces of her life after finding her husband cheating on her. Mira and husband Jake are co-owners to the wildly successful Manhattan Italian restaurant, Grappa, the same location where Mira finds Jake with Grappa’s newest waitress. Mira is shocked at Jake’s infidelity, especially since they welcomed their first baby just two months prior. Mira packs up baby Chloe and flees to Pittsburgh to be near her family. She struggles to fight for Grappa, stay sane for Chloe’s sake, and work through her divorce. Along the way, Mira must find what fulfills her life, what makes her happy and content.
Aftertaste makes it on my Favorites List, as this was such a satisfying novel. I found Mira so easy to relate to. Unlike a lot of novels where the woman finds her man cheating and slinks away to rebuild her life, Mira fought back. She attacked the mistress, got arrested, and was ordered to anger management classes. Those scenes made the story really come to life for me. Is it the best thing to turn to physical violence? Of course not. But it really put a human aspect to Mira’s character, and I was with her from the first page. Aftertaste has a ton of drama – I shed tears, I was furious with Jake, and I was rooting on Mira in every scene – and I didn’t want the story to end. Mira’s journey also gave me a sense of empowerment, and I love books that show a strong heroine never giving up. A must read in my opinion!