#BookReview: By the Numbers by Jen Lancaster

Reviewer: Samantha

I received a review copy

by the numbersSummary:

Actuary Penny Sinclair has a head for business, and she always makes rational decisions. Knowing that 60% of spouses cheat and 50% of marriages end in divorce, she wasn’t too surprised when her husband had an affair. (That he did so with a woman their daughter’s age? Well, that part did sting a bit.) She just made sure she got everything in the divorce, including their lovely old Victorian house. And as soon as her younger daughter has her hipster-fabulous wedding in the backyard, she’s trading it in for a condo in downtown Chicago…

Well within the average market time in her area, Penny gets an offer on the house. But then life happens. Her children, her parents and her ex come flying back to the nest, all in need of Penny’s emotional—and financial—support. Spread thin, Penny becomes the poster child for the “sandwich generation,” when all she really wanted to do was make managing director, buy a white couch, and maybe go on a Match.com date…

Review:

I’m a big fan of Jen Lancaster, both her fiction and non-fiction books,  and always look forward to reading her offerings. By the Numbers brings us Penny, an actuary who is all about living life well…by the numbers. She’s just slightly on the dull side, and I mean that in the best way possible. I really appreciated the flashbacks we get to see a slightly different side of her, before her marriage fell apart and she was a little more carefree. The way her daughters treat her made my insides turn, and I was hoping the entire way that Penny would finally find the backbone she so desperately needed. Plenty of heart-warming moments, scenes that caused an eyebrow raise, and some nice humor thrown in at appropriate moments. Smooth reading the whole way through.

4 stars



New Book Releases: June 2016

Contributor: Allie

one true lovesOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – June 7, 2016. Emma and Jesse fell in love in high school. After graduation, they left their hometown, Acton, MA, for Los Angeles where they attended college and began a life together. Jesse and Emma loved adventure and traveled the world, she as a travel writer and he as a production assistant for nature documentaries. Their happiness was cut short when one year after their wedding, Jesse was involved in a helicopter crash in the North Pacific. His body was never found and he was declared dead. The death of Emma’s one true love crippled her with grief. She moved home with her parents and eventually ended up working at her family’s store, Blair Books, something she swore she’d never do. Slowly, Emma begins to adjust to her new life and is able to move on. Then one day after she’s newly engaged, her phone rings. It’s Jesse. After almost four years, he’s been rescued at sea and is coming home.

The Wedding Sisters by Jamie BrennerThe Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner – June 7,2016. Meryl Becker is excited to plan the wedding of her eldest daughter, Meg. Meg is marrying into one of the country’s most prominent families, so the pressure is on. Then Meg’s younger sisters, Amy and Jo, announce they’re also engaged – to equally celebrated bachelors. Un-oh. Now Meg has three weddings to plan, but neither the time nor the money to do so. She decides to throw a triple wedding! Of course that means triple the stress and given that all three daughters are marrying well known men, the media becomes a part of the equation. Meryl’s mother moves in and it appears the woman may be losing her mind. Then Meryl’s husband loses his job. And of course, her future in-laws (times three) have their own ideas about the big event. Well, you can imagine it all leads up to one very unpredictable wedding.

here's to usHere’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand – June 14, 2016.  Three seems to be the magic number this month. Hilderbrand’s latest novel is about three women, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett. They were all married to the same man – Deacon Thorpe. Deacon is a celebrated chef who dies suddenly at his home on Nantucket. The three women, according to Deacon’s final wish, must come together on Nantucket to say their final goodbye. Not an easy task given that the three women detest one another. But they all did love Deacon.  Along wither their children and Deacon’ best friend, the women try to put aside long held grievances to honor a man they all loved. Still – there’s bound to be accusations, lies, tears, and drama involved.

by the numbersBy the Numbers – Jen Lancaster – June 21, 2016. Penny Sinclair got a rough deal. Her marriage ended after her husband cheated on her with a much younger woman. Penny is a resourceful actuary and who understood the odds of a marriage surviving. She made sure she got everything in the divorce. Now that her youngest daughter is almost married, she makes plans to sell the family home and move to condo in the city. She’s up for a big promotion and thinking about dating again. As Penny’s making plans for her future, life gets in the way. All her children and her parents, for various reasons, move in with her. Then her ex-husband shows up on her doorstep.  Penny finds herself emotionally and financially supporting everyone in her family. How did she become a poster child for the “sandwich generation?”

Sunshine Beach by Wendy WaxSunshine Beach by Wendy Wax – June 21, 2016. This is the fourth installment in the Ten Beach Road Series. I’m eager to catch up with my girls, Maddie, Avery and Nikki – although I am still upset that Deidre died in the last book (The House on Mermaid Point). Avery is still struggling with her grief over her mother’s death. Maddie and Nicki think that a new renovation project is just what she needs. Actually, they all need a new project since they’ve once again fallen victims to a Ponzi scheme (which I cannot believe). T hey decide to fix up a historical hotel and film the renovation as their own independent television show. Their past experiences have made them distrustful of network executive. Maddie’s romance with an aging rock star attracts media attention and makes filming complicated. And Nikki is having trouble committing to the man that she loves. Oh ladies, it seems as though the more things change, the more they stay the same. I see cocktails in their future!  Especially since their project leads to the discovery of an unsolved decades-old murder case.

All Access Final CoverAll Access by Liberty Kontranowski – June 22, 2016.

What’s the best way to get your celeb crush’s attention? Write a book about him, of course. Kallie Reagan did, and now she’s living every fangirl’s fantasy come true … except the reality of being in love with a rock star is a lot harder than writing about it.

first comes loveFirst Comes Love by Emily Giffin – June 28, 2016. Josie and Meredith are sister who were relatively close when they were growing up. But then a tragic accident splinters their relationship and forever changes their family. Fifteen years later, the sisters live very different lives. Josie is single, a teacher, and about to give up on love. But she wants to be a mother – badly. Meredith lives the seemingly perfect life. She’s an attorney, married to a nice man, and mother to a beautiful four-year old daughter. Yet, she’s feeling unfulfilled and questioning if she made the right choices for herself- or if she only did what was expected. As the anniversary of the accident approaches, the sisters and their parents ask questions that were never answered and try to come to terms with how the accident affected all their lives.

in twenty yearsIn Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch – July 1st, 2016. Twenty years ago, six friends who all attended Princeton University shared a house – a house and so much more. They thought they’d always be friends. Then their ringleader, Bea, died and the friends drifted part. Twenty years later, on what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday, the friends reunite to celebrate her memory. They gather together in the house they shared twenty years ago. The reunion reveals secrets and truths and old grudges are brought to the surface. Will confronting the past help each them to face their futures?

In My Mailbox: Week of May 27

for rentTitle: For Rent

Author: Erin Huss

Received: Erin Huss

Synopsis: What’s another word for concierge/shrink/garbage collector/warden/adult daycare director? Apartment manager, of course!

When Cambria Clyne—a single mom down on her luck—gets the job as apartment manager at an L.A. apartment complex, she believes her life is turning around. But between having to talk to the retired couple in Apartment 22 about their loud bedroom “activities” and babysitting the owner’s man-child who lives in Apartment 40, Cambria realizes the job is nothing like she’d imagined.

When crime takes over the community, Cambria adds “detective” to her list of duties, determined to find the criminals terrorizing the residents and threatening her job. Joining her efforts are rival Chase, the gorgeous not-so-handy maintenance man, and Tom, her one-time-love baby daddy. As the case unravels and tensions increase, Cambria finds that perhaps she’s been a naïve accomplice all along…

If you like the lovable in-over-their-heads heroines of Sophie Kinsella’s stories, with a little Janet Evanovich cozy mystery thrown in, you’ll love this hilarious look at the adventures of a feisty gal trying to keep her crazy job and find love.

by the numbersTitle: By the Numbers

Author: Jen Lancaster

Received: Penguin Group

Synopsis: The New York Times bestselling author of The Best of Enemies serves up a hilarious new novel of the “sandwich generation.” 

Actuary Penny Sinclair has a head for business, and she always makes rational decisions. Knowing that 60% of spouses cheat and 50% of marriages end in divorce, she wasn’t too surprised when her husband had an affair. (That he did so with a woman their daughter’s age? Well, that part did sting a bit.) She just made sure she got everything in the divorce, including their lovely old Victorian house. And as soon as her younger daughter has her hipster-fabulous wedding in the backyard, she’s trading it in for a condo in downtown Chicago…

Well within the average market time in her area, Penny gets an offer on the house. But then life happens. Her children, her parents and her ex come flying back to the nest, all in need of Penny’s emotional—and financial—support. Spread thin, Penny becomes the poster child for the “sandwich generation,” when all she really wanted to do was make managing director, buy a white couch, and maybe go on a Match.com date…

the ten year reunionTitle: The Ten Year Reunion

Author: TS Krupa

Received: Readers Favorite

Synopsis: Ten years ago, Danielle ‘Dani’ Jackson graduated from Coastal State University in Wilmington, North Carolina and left her heartache behind – for what she thought was forever. Now a promising pediatric surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital she has been invited back for her college reunion.

She begrudgingly returns to face her past – the death of her roommate and a broken heart from Jake Dillon, her first love. During the reunion, she revisits her four years spent at CSU and her decision to defy her father’s dreams for her. Dani never questioned her decision – she knew she was right. What she didn’t know, was how hard growing up was going to be.

At the reunion weekend she reconnects with her best friends Addie and Callie whom she met freshman year due to Addie’s persistence. The quickly became inseparable, but after graduation, they drifted apart. The weekend gets further complicated when Jake shows up. Together they all realize that life has been hard on everyone and no one’s life has been perfect. The reunion gives them the time to reflect and deal with their past, as well as an opportunity for Dani to have a second chance at love lost.

the memory of lemonTitle: The Memory of Lemon

Author: Judith Fertig

Received: Berkley/NAL

Synopsis: The author of The Cake Therapist returns with another sweet and emotional tale featuring Neely, the baker with a knack for finding exactly the right flavor for any occasion…

A crisp tang of citrus that is at once poignant and familiar, sharpening the senses and opening the mind to possibilities once known and long forgotten…
 
Claire “Neely” Davis is no ordinary pastry chef. Her flavor combinations aren’t just a product of a well-honed palate: she can “taste” people’s emotions, sensing the ingredients that will touch her customers’ souls. Her gift has never failed her—until she meets a free-spirited bride-to-be and her overbearing society mother. The two are unable to agree on a single wedding detail, and their bickering leaves Neely’s intuition frustratingly silent—right when she needs it most.

Between trying to navigate a divorce, explore a new relationship, and handle the reappearance of her long-absent father, Neely is struggling to make sense of her own conflicting emotions, much less those of her hard-to-please bride. But as she embarks on a flavorful quest to craft the perfect wedding celebration, she’ll uncover a family history that sheds light on both the missing ingredients and her own problems—and illustrates how the sweet and sour in life often combine to make the most delicious memories…

paper dollsTitle: Paper Dolls

Author: Hanna Peach

Received: Readers Favorite

Synopsis: My life comes down to this. Two faces. One choice.

Salem is my twin sister. She loved me. She protected me. She forgave me, even after I failed her. I just got her back after searching for three long, lonely years.

Then there’s Clay. Sweet yet intense and nursing a dark past of his own, he’s all the redemption I don’t deserve. He wants to open me up and know the insides of my soul. I want to let him, but I’m scared he’ll run from what he finds.

But I can’t have them both.

My name is Aria. I’m 18. And today, I must choose. One of the two people I love has to die.