July 25, 2015

Summer Readin' (And an Awesome GIVEAWAY for You!)

We've had a couple of big milestones in our family this week. Monday was Eleanor's first day of school. And Wednesday is our 9th wedding anniversary!

Since I'm busy hanging out with my big ole kindergartener, and celebrating with Noel, I'm going to take a few days off blogging.

But I'm going to leave with you some reviews of some three books I've really enjoyed lately - AND, I'm giving away copies of all of them!

The Third Wife

Lisa Jewell is sure to appeal to fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes. Just like Jewell's earlier novels, The Third Wife explores complicated family dynamics in a genuine way that is witty yet realistically nuanced.

Adrian Wolfe has been mourning the death of his third wife, Maya, for a year. Maya's death seemed to be a tragic accident--she stepped out in front of a bus--until a strange woman shows up asking weird questions, and then a series of poison pen e-mails surfaces. Suddenly Adrian is rethinking everything: Maya's death, his two divorces and the way he's raised his children.

(Read the rest of my review of this one over at Shelf Awareness.) 

The Other Daughter

Lauren Willig always has likeable historical heroines. (You may remember I really liked The Ashford Affair). In her latest (non-Pink Carnation) historical novel, Willig turns to the Edwardian era, and Rachel Woodley, a nursery governess.

When Rachel’s mother dies unexpectedly, Rachel discovers some shocking secrets about her past, including the fact that she's illegitimate, the other daughter, and her father is an earl. Determined to meet her father, she enlists the help of a gossip columnist named Simon to transform herself into one of London’s Bright Young Things. With freshly bobbed hair, Rachel slips into her new persona amidst the fast-paced world of high society London, although she may not be prepared for the secrets she will uncover.

If You Only Knew

Wedding dress designer Jenny Tate has had trouble distancing herself from her ex-husband, because he and his new wife are freakishly nice, and have even named their new daughter in Jenny's honor. Determined to escape this weird situation, Jenny leaves Manhattan for her hometown -- a small, upscale town on the Hudson River. She's excited to be close to her sister Rachel and her triplet nieces. Sadly, it turns out her move is perfectly timed to help Rachel; who thought she had the perfect marriage, until she discovered her husband was having an affair.

This was the first novel I've read by Kristan Higgins -- seems like this one is a bit of a departure from her usual funnier romances (I'd call it "women's fiction"). I really enjoyed it though! It won't be out until the end of August - so you'll have to wait a bit if you win.

Win All Three

Please fill out the following form to be entered to win (you may have to click through to see the form if you subscribe via email). One lucky winner will win ALL THREE books. See instructions in form for an additional giveaway entry. Max entries: 2 per person. (And you must have a US mailing address, sorry!) Giveaway will close 8/3/15, and I'll notify the winner soon after.

(FYI: I received advance copies of these books to review, either directly from the publisher or from Shelf Awareness. I contacted all 3 publishers and asked them if they'd give a copy to one of my readers, and they all said yes!)

July 23, 2015

YA Book & Movie Club Update: The Summer Reads

It's been a while since I've done an update on what we've been reading in the YABMC.

The May selection was Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. The June books were If I Stay and Where She Went, by Gayle Forman. This month we're reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and next month is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

I really enjoyed re-reading Daddy-Long-Legs - and I feel like I noticed more of the philosophical sentiments in it than I had in the past. Judy is such a plucky, sensible girl, and it's such a sweet little story. We watched the 1950s version of the movie with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire, and it was pretty terrible. Then we watched the 1919 version - a silent film, starring Mary Pickford, which was surprisingly good! Ridiculous, and full of funny pratfalls, but definitely more entertaining than the other one.

A quote from Jean Webster's Daddy-Long-Legs - meeting the petty hazards of the day with a laugh. // YA Book & Movie Club Update: The Summer Reads / Quirky Bookworm

If I Stay and Where She Went aren't particularly amazing, but they're both entertaining and sad, which is sometimes the perfect combination if you're in the mood for a good cry. They're nice quick reads, and I like the musical themes. I'm waaaay down the waitlist for the movie of If I Stay at the library though, so I'll have to update you on that later.

Eleanor & Park was great even though I'd read it just 2 years ago. I listened to it on audio this time, and noticed the precision of Rowell's writing a little more I think. I was thinking of watching some sort of 80s movie to fully capture the vibe, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Little Women is always a good reread, and I own the Winona Ryder version of the movie, which I love. So next month should be a fun pick! I'm excited to introduce the classic to more people, since there are a few in the group who haven't read it before.

What's YOUR book club reading?

July 21, 2015

What I Wish I Was Reading: Books I Can't Wait For

There are some books that I'm dying to read. I've pre-ordered a couple of them, but while I'm waiting to actually read them, I figure I could talk to you guys about them, to help scratch the itch a little bit. A lot of these titles don't have cover images yet, so some of the pictures earlier books by the same author.

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island

Bill Bryson grew up in Iowa, moved to England for 20 years, moved to Connecticut for a few years, and then moved back to England. He offers a perfect perspective on the differences in American and British culture, and his dry wit is so great. I loved Notes From a Small Island, so I can't wait for this one! I've really enjoyed his last few books which are more straight-up histories (One Summer, At Home), but I'm glad for a return to more of his travel essay-type writing. Comes out: January 2016


I cannot WAIT for the conclusion to the Cinder quartet (well, kind of quintet now). I didn't really enjoy Fairest (the backstory of Levana, the villian in the four main books), but I'm excited for the conclusion to the stories of Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. And the ending of Cress set up the awesomeness that will be Winter quite nicely I think. If you haven't read any of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer yet, hurry! Winter comes out in November 2015.

The Lake House

I really enjoy Kate Morton's books, and I tend to love books set in Cornwall, so I'm quite excited about The Lake House this fall. Although really, I wish she'd come up with a more original title... James Patterson and Keanu Reeves have already beaten her to this one. I'm sure I'll devour the book in no time though. Comes out: October 2015.

The Raven King

This was originally supposed to come out this fall, so I pre-ordered it in March. But publication got delayed (tragic sigh), and now it doesn't come out until NEXT March. Oh well, I guess it gives me time to re-read the first 3 books again before it comes out. I've read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves twice, but I only read Blue Lily, Lily Blue one time. If you only have time for one amazing YA quartet in the next few months, I'd pick this one over the Lunar Chronicles, hands down.

After You

I enjoyed Me Before You, and I'm intrigued to read the continuation of Lou's story. I haven't pre-ordered this one, because I don't care quite that much, but I'm definitely reserving it at the library! I liked Me Before You on audio though... maybe I will save an Audible credit for After You, since I already have Lou's voice in my head so clearly. Comes out: September 2015.

Morning Star

I'm listening to Golden Sun now, and I'm sure once I'm done I'll be dying to read Morning Star. They're books 2 and 3 of a really good science fiction YA trilogy. A little Hunger Games-y, but set on Mars. And with more interesting characters - Darrow is fascinatingly complicated. Comes out: January 2016

What books are YOU waiting for?

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