The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell begins with Daniel, a man facing his last days of life. His friend Maggie sits with him as he tells the story of his life and reminisces both his regrets and secrets- one of the biggest being the children he has never met and more than likely never will. The three children all have very different lives and the novel picks up with each of them- Lydia, Dean, and Robyn. We learn quickly about the challenges that each of them faces and how not knowing their father has changed them. Their respective lives all come to a hault and they find themselves looking for something … little do they know that they will find their way into each other’s lives. Will they find what they are looking for? Will having siblings be the missing pieces to their lives?
Endearing yet poignant, The Making of Us definitely has it all. I was very excited to get my hands on this one when I received the review request and I am glad to say that I was not disappointed. I loved the character development and felt that the novel had a ton of heart. I found myself rooting for Lydia, Dean, and Robyn as they ventured into their pasts individually and their futures together. An absolutely fantastic book with a story line unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Lisa Jewell has just added another reader to her list of fans!
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.
In Samantha’s Mailbox:
Author: Paula Tiberius
Received: Via CLP Blog Tours
Synopsis: April Connors figured her love life was on hold indefinitely now that she was about to have a baby while temporarily staying at her grandmother’s house (what a turn-on!). Meeting infamous country singer Jimmy Wick may have made her giant belly flip, but she was filing him under a big “as if.” No man in his right mind would fall for a gal this pregnant, and besides, she needed to focus on herself and the baby. James Warwick (a.k.a. Jimmy Wick) was not in his right mind. His ex-wife was petitioning for full custody of the only thing that made him happy besides playing music, his four-year-old princess, Summer, and the thought of losing her had him crazier than an outhouse rat. His saving grace was his new ‘friend’ April who he was falling head over heels for. The only problem was, April had just been knocked up, dumped and stranded by the last guy she was with and was in no mood to go down that road again. She was hellbent on getting her life back on track just as James was watching his fall apart, leaving them both caught off guard by the unstoppable romance that would sweep them off their feet.
Author: Ellen Cardona
Received: Via CLP Blog Tours
Synopsis: Chocolate. Love. Sex. Really, what else could a woman want in life? For Persey, the heroine of Brownie Fix, her days are fun-filled until what is normally one of life’s most fulfilling experiences, the birth of her son, leads her straight into a dark state of postpartum depression. Wandering in her own postpartum hell, Persey meets people that are absurd, like the swinging neighbors who want a little more than a cup of sugar and a group of mothers who become whipped up in worship to a climactic furor. On top of the madness, she keeps seeing a yellow-toothed old man who acts like he wants to breastfeed from her. Or is it her imagination? Add the voices in her head that become louder and louder, and it’s little wonder that Persey reaches for brownie mix to soothe her insanity. Buckling under the pressure and lack of sleep from motherhood, Persey experiences the five stages of grief that lead her to uncover a buried secret, and gradually she begins to heal with the help of her family, friends, and, of course, brownies.
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Received: Via SheKnows Book Lounge
Synopsis: Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior with a full scholarship, acquaintances instead of friends, and a family she’s ashamed to invite to Parents’ Weekend. With the income she’ll receive from donating her “pedigree” eggs, she believes she can save her father from addiction.
Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother to two boys. After years of staying at home and struggling to support four people on her husband’s salary, she thinks she’s found a way to recover a sense of purpose and bring in some extra cash.
India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), has changed everything about herself: her name, her face, her past. In New York City, she falls for a wealthy older man, Marcus Croft, and decides a baby will ensure a happy ending. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to technology, and Annie and Jules, to help make her dreams come true.
But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Marcus’ daughter Bettina, intent on protecting her father, becomes convinced that his new wife is not what she seems…
With startling tenderness and laugh-out-loud humor, Jennifer Weiner once again takes readers into the heart of women’s lives in an unforgettable, timely tale that interweaves themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and donorship, the rights of a parent and the measure of motherhood.
Author: Kate Klise
Received: Unsolicited, HarperCollins
Synopsis: A European vacation. A luggage mix-up. A note from a secret admirer.
Meet two single parents who think they’re too busy to date.
And two teenagers who can’t stop writing flirty emails.
This is a tale of connections—missed and made—in a universe that seems to have its heart set on reuniting Ms. 6B and Mr. 13C.
I can’t believe I picked up the wrong bag at the airport. My dad is never going to let me hear the end of it.
I don’t understand why Mom told me to pack my worst underwear. And now I’ve lost my bag? Ack!
I cannot stop thinking about that woman in seat 6B on the flight to Paris.
I don’t have time to worry about the creep sitting in 13C who slipped a note in my purse. I have to find my daughter’s missing bag before this ruins our vacation.
In the Bag is a smart and stylish story that explores the old-fashioned art of romance in a modern world, where falling in love can be as risky as checking a bag on an international flight. Buckle your seat belt—it’s going to be a bumpy vacation!
In Sara’s Mailbox:
Author: Lisa Jewell
Received: Najma @Cornerstone Publicity
Synopsis: Lydia, Robyn and Dean don’t know each other – yet. They live very different lives but each of them, independently, has always felt that something is missing. What they don’t know is that a letter is about to arrive that will turn their lives upside down. It is a letter containing a secret – one that will bind them together, and shows them what love and family and friendship really mean…
Author: Gabi Stevens
Synopsis: Free-spirited artist Stormy Jones-Smythe was raised by two talented Wizard fathers but never showed the slightest hint of magical abilities. Which is why she’s totally surprised when three famous fairy godmothers show up at her door to tell her she’s one of them. Surprised, and none too happy. The godmothers are fugitives, framed for treason, and the last thing the magical Council wants is another fairy godmother going rogue. Hence Stormy’s new full-time Guard, Hunter Merrick.
Stormy quickly realizes she’s not going to escape Hunter’s watch…and before long, she’s not sure she wants to. But her freedom depends on her ability to expose the plot against the godmothers, and that means getting control of her magic. Despite the growing chemistry between them, Hunter is fiercely loyal to the Council—and duty-bound to keep Stormy from doing either of those things. But he didn’t count on Stormy’s irrepressible exuberance and passion for life. Before long, even Hunter isn’t sure which side he’s on, and he can’t contain Stormy either way.
Author: Mavis Cheek
Synopsis: When city girl Molly Bonner arrives in the village of Lufferton Boney, she creates quite a stir. With her non-country-style boots, determined manner and alluring looks, she sets off a wave of intrigue that ripples through the lives of everyone there, from Julie the barmaid at the Holly Bush to antiques dealer Dryden Fellows and Montmorency the cat. Nobody knows exactly what she’s up to, but one thing seems certain: her presence will alter the lives and loves of the village and its people for good.
For Molly is a girl on a mission: to discover the truth behind Lufferton Boney’s sinister and most notorious resident, the giant (and slightly obscene) Gnome, a fertility symbol etched into the face of Pound Hill. As she works her way into the villagers’ hearts and lives, Molly needs to keep one step ahead. She has a few demons of her own to settle, as she pursues the wonderful secret that only the Gnome can reveal.