Thursday, November 24, 2016

HUNGRY HEART by Jennifer Weiner

I have long been a fan of Jennifer Weiner's fictional work. Her earlier novels, including my personal favourite GOOD IN BED, spoke to me, and I have eagerly read everything that she has written since. HUNGRY HEART, though a departure from her usual works of fiction, was no exception to my rule. This collection of non-fictional essays promises to reveal parts of Jennifer previously unknown to the public, including her memories of growing up an overweight child, her abandonment by her father, her traumatic birth experience, and how she found her way to writing fiction. I picked it up and devoured her stories from beginning to end.

HUNGRY HEART toyed with my emotions- but in a good way! I especially related to her essays about weight and hunger. These are feelings that I have struggled with my whole life, and if I'm being honest it was a big part of what attracted me to this book in the first place. I long to 'know' people who feel the way that I feel, even if it is through the pages of the book. I cheered as I read about her successes (such as having her first book published- yay!) and I felt sympathy for her as she experienced some really low lows. There were a few of the essays that didn't particularly interest me and I found myself skimming them but overall I found HUNGRY HEART to be a unique and relevant memoir that reflects on the many facets of being a woman, a person, a mother, and an author.

I didn't know that it was even possible but I found myself liking Jennifer Weiner even more after I read her memoir. Each essay is short enough that you can read through the book in bite-sized pieces without losing the plot, which is perfect for busy people, and there are many parts of her memoir that I found myself going back and reading through again. Weiner has written a unique memoir that may not appeal to all, but will truly resonate in some way or form, for many. I, luckily, am one of the ones that it resonated with an I am happy that I had the opportunity to read it. I can't recommend it enough to any of Weiner's fans who have ever wondered about the woman behind the book.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for review. I voluntarily reviewed this product.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

AND EVERY MORNING THE WAY HOME GETS LONGER AND LONGER by Fredrik Backman

Fredrik Backman has been on my "must-read" list since I read (and adored!) "A Man Called Ove". Since then I have eagerly picked up everything that he has written, and I was so excited to get my hands on this novella.

This 40-page novella was not even originally intended for release. Instead the author wrote it as his way to deal with personal circumstances in his life. I am so glad that it was published, as it is an absolutely touching story of a man who is saying good-bye to his son and beloved grandson as Alzheimer's and old age slowly take over his mind.

I finished AND EVERY MORNING THE WAY HOME GETS LONGER AND LONGER with tears unashamedly streaming down my face. What a truly, truly beautiful ode to our memories, our families, and who we become in old age. I encourage absolutely everyone to pick up this story and read it, and I have already recommended it to everyone that I know. This is a gem that will help us come to terms with how aging can rob us of our memories, but never of the love we feel and have had the privilege of feeling over the course of our lifetime.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pre-Order "Skipping Midnight" by Laura Kenyon and Win!


I can't wait for SKIPPING MIDNIGHT, the latest book in Laura Kenyon's Desperately Ever After series to come out. I love the characters and the fairy tale touches, and I adore this gorgeous cover! If you're as excited as I am (and you should be!) pre-order the upcoming book and enter for your chance to win! It's that easy!

Blurb:

One part Sex and the City. Two parts Desperate Housewives. Three parts Brothers Grimm.

For the women of Marestam, “happily ever after" has always come with a grain of salt. Be it infidelity or aging, deferred dreams or lost love, or even the pressures of raising a family, they have always seen each other through life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a brand new take on old-fashioned chivalry. But when rage and treachery take over, everything they hold dear comes under attack. 

Suddenly, the monarchies are crumbling, Cinderella is missing, Belle is harboring the secret of all secrets, Rapunzel is facing the one dilemma she spent her whole life trying to avoid, and Dawn could lose everything she’s finally learned to love. In order to save everyone and unmask the wolf in their midst, this iconic group of friends must follow a dogmatic fairy no one trusts, invoke a magic no one understands, and face a past they thought they had buried long ago.

Rapunzel, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and the rest of Marestam’s favorite females return in this third and final novel in Laura Kenyon's Desperately Ever After series, which takes a whimsical look at our most beloved fairy tale princesses several years after true love’s kiss. 

At heart, it’s a tale of ordinary women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles.

---

The final chapter in the Amazon #1 bestselling Desperately Ever After series (women’s fiction fantasy, women’s fiction humor, and paranormal fantasy). Says New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Evanovich: “Laura Kenyon makes happily ever after desperately delicious!"



Author bio:

LAURA KENYON is an award-winning journalist and the author of three novels, Desperately Ever After, Damsels in Distress, and Skipping Midnight. Her stories and articles have appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, and online publications. The Boston College graduate does not live in a castle, but has been blessed with a heroic prince charming, two beautiful princesses, and a noble steed.

To learn more about Laura, visit her website at www.laurakenyon.com and sign up for exclusive updates. She also loves connecting with readers on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook. And for a peek at how she envisions Marestam, check out her Desperately Ever After board on Pinterest.



Links:
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2elUrbS


Purchase links:
Desperately Ever After (Book One) - http://amzn.to/2ewbxHS
Damsels in Distress (Book Two) - http://amzn.to/2elVIjj
Skipping Midnight (Book Three) – http://amzn.to/2dKeH5g



Pre-order Giveaway!

Pre-order a copy of Skipping Midnight between now and November 15, and you could win one of two enchanting prize packages inspired by the Desperately Ever After series!


Prize Pack 1
(US only):

A signed paperback copy of all three novels in the series: Desperately Ever After (Book One), Damsels in Distress (Book Two), and Skipping Midnight (Book Three)

A stunning “Live like there’s no midnight” charm bracelet, custom made by My Initial Charm and inspired by the Desperately Ever After series

An assortment of treats for your next girls' night in (sorry, rampion not included!)

A snazzy memory box to ship it all in ;)



Prize Pack 2
(Worldwide!)

This fantastic set of six wine charms, handcrafted by Etsy artist Sarah VandenBrink (specifically for this giveaway!) and representing each of the six main characters: Belle, Rapunzel, Dawn, Penelopea, Snow White, and Cinderella

To enter, please e-mail your proof of purchase (a screenshot will do) to laura (at) laurakenyon (dot) com by midnight November 15, 2016. Be sure to include your mailing address so you’re entered into the right contest(s). One winner will be selected via random drawing for each giveaway on November 16. Good luck!

Pre-order link: http://amzn.to/2dKeH5g


Friday, October 21, 2016

"Fractured" by Catherine McKenzie

Julie Prentice became a bestselling author when her debut novel THE MURDER GAME became an overnight bestselling novel. Now Julie has more money in the bank than she cares to admit to having, a deal for book two, and her very own stalker. Determined to get a fresh start Julie moves her family across the country to the picturesque Mount Adams district of Cincinnati. She has high hopes that the community will embrace her and her husband and twins, and that she can have some peace while she works on book two.

She couldn't be more wrong. Unintentionally Julie makes enemies in her neighborhood almost immediately and it isn't long before the name "Julie Prentice" is a bad word. The only friend that she has is John Dunbar, her semi-employed neighbor who enjoys running as much as she does. As they run together almost daily their friendship grows until it becomes time for John to choose sides.

As Julie and her family increasingly become the targets of neighborhood harassment she wonders if her stalker has found her. Reluctant to uproot her family and move yet again Julie endures the harassment until it becomes deadly and then suddenly it is impossible to ignore.

I especially enjoyed the format in which FRACTURED was written. We know from the beginning that some kind of crime has occurred and we have an idea who a few of the key players are, however what we don't know is what exactly has happened and why. Mackenzie throws out tantalizing clue after tantalizing clue, and the reader is left speeding towards the conclusion to find out what has happened. Mackenzie does an excellent job of keeping us in suspense and keeping us frantically reading.

While I liked Julie I didn't find myself particularly attached to her character, which worked for me. I was glad to have some distance from her as I discovered what had happened. It allowed me to form a more unbiased opinion about the series of events leading up to the crime.

FRACTURED is an interesting mix of women's fiction (dealing with the aftermath of a stalker, marriage and family struggles) and psychological suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and I enjoyed Mackenzie's first foray in to this genre. As a longtime reader of her books, I have enjoyed watching her writing develop in different ways from book to book. While different from her previous books, this is one of her best.

I can't wait to read the companion book to this one, THE MURDER GAME by Julie Apple (Mackenzie's pen name). It will be interesting to read the book that started many of the issues in FRACTURED. What a clever concept!

My thanks to the author for providing me a review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

THE RAMBLERS by Aidan Donnelley Rowley


About The Ramblers

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 4, 2016)

For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Claire Messud, and Emma Straub, a gorgeous and absorbing novel of a trio of confused souls struggling to find themselves and the way forward in their lives, set against the spectacular backdrop of contemporary New York City.

Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village—The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled.

Clio Marsh, whose bird-watching walks through Central Park are mentioned in New York Magazine, is taking her first tentative steps towards a relationship while also looking back to the secrets of her broken childhood. Her best friend, Smith Anderson, the seemingly-perfect daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families, organizes the lives of others as her own has fallen apart. And Tate Pennington has returned to the city, heartbroken but determined to move ahead with his artistic dreams.

Rambling through the emotional chaos of their lives, this trio learns to let go of the past, to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds. The Ramblers is a love letter to New York City—an accomplished, sumptuous novel about fate, loss, hope, birds, friendship, love, the wonders of the natural world and the mysteries of the human spirit.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Review

I fell in love with Aidan Donnelley Rowley's writing when I read LIFE AFTER YES several years ago on the recommendation of a friend. I was so excited to hear that she had written another novel and I couldn't wait to get started.

I really wasn't disappointed. I loved THE RAMBLERS as much as I expected to. First and foremost this is the story of three individuals living in New York. Smith is living in the same apartment building as her wealthy parents. Desperate to carve out an identity for herself as well as survive her sister's upcoming wedding while reeling from a bad breakup, Smith leans on her dear friend and roommate Clio as well as new friend Tate. Clio is a museum curator and bird researcher. In a relationship with a man older than her who wants to take things to the next level, Clio is hesitant to reveal her past to him, fearing that he may leave her if he really knows what she has been through. Tate is going through a divorce while learning how the other half lives. Having recently sold his app to Twitter he thought that perhaps the money would be enough to patch up the holes in his marriage but is coming to terms with the fact that money doesn't fix everything.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The wait was worth it! The characters leapt off of the page and came to life in my imagination. I cared about them, and I loved the gradual development of their individual stories. Their voices were written in a very authentic way. Tate's voice was very different from Smith's and Clio'sand it was hard to believe that those voices came from the same author. I love how Rowley chose to write the book- several chapters at a time were dedicated to one character's story, then the next several chapters were dedicated to another character's story, and so on. It gave me time to get invested in each story, and it left me wanting more.

THE RAMBLERS is both an ode to New York, the city where all three of these characters live, and the story of three people who are ready to take important next steps in their personal lives. The plot is compelling and compulsively readable, the characters incredibly well-developed and the ending perfect, despite the fact that it left me wanting more (perhaps that is what was so great about it!). I truly hope that I don't need to wait six more years to read another gem by Aidan Donnelley Rowley. 

About Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Born and raised in New York City, Aidan Donnelley Rowley graduated from Yale University and received her law degree from Columbia University. She is the author of a previous novel, Life After Yes, and the creator of the Happier Hours Literary Salons. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and three daughters. Find Aidan on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LIFE AFTER COFFEE by Virginia Franken

About The Book

Last week, high-powered coffee buyer Amy O’Hara was trekking through the Ethiopian cloud forest on the verge of a discovery that could save the coffee bean from extinction. This week, she’s unexpectedly fired. 

Suddenly Amy’s days are no longer filled with meetings and upscale tastings, but with put-together PTA moms, puke-ridden playdates and dirty dishes. Her husband has locked himself in the garage in order to write the Great American Screenplay, while both kids are steaming mad at her because she insists on dressing them like normal people and won’t give up sending them to school with healthy lunches. 

It’s becoming clear that Amy may just be the world’s most incompetent mother, and she’s beginning to wonder if the only thing she’s good for is bringing home the bacon. When salvation appears in the form of a movie mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted. . . .

One thing is certain: whatever happens, she’s going to need a lot more caffeine.




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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books a Million | Barnes & Noble


About The Author

Virginia Franken was born and raised in Medway, Kent, the place where Henry the 8th sent his wives on holiday in the hope that they’d be eaten alive by mosquitoes and save him the trouble of
beheading them. Most her childhood was spent wearing a dance leotard and tights, and at age 11 she attended the (sort of) prestigious dance school The Arts Education School, Tring, where she spent her teen years trying to do pique turns in a straight line and getting drunk in the village. (The inability to do the former possibly informed by too much opportunity to do the latter). 

After graduating from The University of Roehampton, she worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before deciding she’d had enough of wearing diamant√© g-strings for a living and somehow managed to blag a job in book publishing. Getting fed up of having to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, she eventually moved from London to Los Angeles where life was affordable and every time she opened her mouth she got to act all surprised and flattered when someone said they liked her accent. She then spent years trying to convince everyone else that it was them who had the accent, but this was never met with anything more emphatic than a polite, “Is that so…”

These days she lives in Monrovia, near to Pasadena, with two kids, a dog, one ever-lasting goldfish and her bearded lover, in a house that’s just a little bit too small to fit everyone in quite comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. LIFE AFTER COFFEE is her first novel. If enough people buy a copy, there’s a good chance she’ll write another…

Thursday, September 22, 2016

THE VANISHING YEAR by Kate Moretti

ABOUT THE VANISHING YEAR:

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

PRAISE FOR THE VANISHING YEAR:

"Moretti creates a shocking mystery that will keep readers turning the pages... Great pacing and true surprises make this an exciting read. Fans of twisted thrillers featuring complex female characters will devour Moretti's latest."
Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of S. J. Watson, Lisa Unger, and Sophie Hannah will enjoy this fast-paced psychological suspense novel."
Booklist

“THE VANISHING YEAR is a stunner. A perfectly compulsive read that's impossible to put down.”
—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Don’t You Cry

“A chilling, powerful tale of nerve-shattering suspense.”
—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of Missing Pieces

“The tantalizing plot twists layered atop the juxtaposition of the protagonist's troubled past and the opulence of her current life are not only intriguing, they'll keep you reading THE VANISHING YEAR far into the night.”
—Lesley Kagen, New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Darkand The Resurrection of Tess Blessing

“Expertly told with secrets, twists and whip-smart prose, Kate Moretti shows in her third book that she deserves her New York Times best seller status. THE VANISHING YEAR will live in your mind long after you put the book down.”
—Ann Garvin, author of The Dog Year

“In this gut-grabbing novel Moretti creates a glittery world of dreams and nightmares. Moves and counter-moves. Clear your schedule and brew a pot of coffee. You're going to be up all night with this one.”
—T.E. Woods, author of The Justice Series

“Kate Moretti's THE VANISHING YEAR is a Rebecca for the modern age—a novel filled with doubts and deception, secrets and history. Society wife Zoe Whitaker must confront the age-old question of whether forgetting our past dooms us to endless repetition– and more heartache and danger than one woman can bear.”
—Jenny Milchman, author of As Night Falls

"Engaging, intriguing, heart-pounding… the twists had me gasping, the details had me transfixed. I cared about Zoe right away, which along with everything else, made it impossible for me to stop reading this book."
—Amy Sue Nathan, author of The Glass Wives

THE VANISHING YEAR is the perfect mix of pulse-pounding action and exquisite prose. The complex, unpredictable plot and Kate's layered, multidimensional characters kept me hooked until the very last satisfying page. This book is sure to be one of this year's most talked about thrillers!”
—Nicole Baart, author of The Beautiful Daughters

MY REVIEW: 

I couldn't put THE VANISHING YEAR down, and loved it so much that I finished the book and then immediately added all of Kate Moretti's past releases to my wish list!

THE VANISHING YEAR tells the story of Zoe Whittaker. At first glance, she has it all. She is happily married to Henry, who is handsome and rich and wants to make sure that Zoe never wants for anything. 

This is a far cry from the life that Zoe used to lead. She grew up with no father, and barely any money. When she made a decision that endangered her life, she ran away to New York and managed to somehow land on her feet. The formerly independent Zoe finds herself suffocated at times by Henry's desire to make all of her decisions for her, but it seems a small price to pay for all that he provides to her.

When Zoe's past catches up to her and threatens everything that she now holds dear, Zoe must decide who exactly she can trust before her whole life crashes down around her.

Although I can admit that I am relatively new to reading the suspense genre, I thought that this entire book was well written. I liked the character of Zoe and I felt sympathetic towards her and what she had been through in the past. I appreciated how the story slowly unfolded and revealed more and more about Zoe and her past and about Henry's suffocating ways and I especially appreciated the conclusion. It kept me at the edge of my seat and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen! THE VANISHING YEAR genuinely kept me guessing and I was both surprised and pleased by how things turned out.

Kate Moretti has made a fan out of me. Her writing was compelling, the plot intriguing, and the conclusion satisfying. I definitely recommend THE VANISHING YEAR to anyone looking for an edge-of-your seat, un-put-downable read!


Kate Moretti is the New York Times bestselling author of Thought I Knew YouBinds That
Taken by Pooja Dhar at PR Photograph
Tie
, and While You Were Gone. She lives in eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Find out more at 
katemoretti.com, or follow her on Twitter (@KateMoretti1) or Facebook (KateMorettiWriter).

FIND KATE ONLINE:
Twitter: @KateMoretti1


Instagram: @katemoretti1

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