Weekly Wrap-Up – December 17, 2016

 

Welcome to my weekly wrap-up! Here is where you can see my books read during the past week, books to be read next week, books I have added to my shelves, any bookish happenings and the like. I have linked to Stacking the Shelves, the Saturday Situation, the Saturday Review of Books, Talk of the TownThe Sunday Salon, Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Wrap-UpIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday. So check out what I’ve been up to this past week well, four months really. I just looked and the last weekly wrap-up I posted was back on August 13, 2016. I’ve had some health issues (see below in My Months In Review for more info).

 

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Books Added

 

From NetGalley

 

December 1 – 16, 2016

 

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Forever is the Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan – When struggling novelist James Hernandez meets poet Louisa “Lou” Bell, he’s sure he’s just found the love of his life. There’s just one problem: she’s engaged to his oldest friend, Rob. So James toasts their union and swallows his desire. As the years pass, James’s dreams always seem just out of reach—he can’t finish that novel, can’t mend his relationship with his father, can’t fully commit to a romantic relationship. He just can’t move on. But after betrayal fractures Lou’s once-solid marriage, she turns to James for comfort. When Lou and James act on their long-standing mutual attraction, the consequences are more heartbreaking—and miraculous—than either of them could have ever anticipated. Then life throws James one more curveball, and he, Rob, and Lou are forced to come to terms with the unexpected ways in which love and loss are intertwined.

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella – Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud. Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Missing by Kelley Armstrong – The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere. The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree. But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?

The Runaway by Claire Wong –  Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination–weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago. Back in the village, Rhiannon’s disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna’s quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village’s elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village’s past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present…

Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott – Kaia has been on the run her whole life. The daughter of professional assassins, she knows danger-and she’ll do anything to survive. After her parents vanished during a job gone bad, Kaia’s spent the last year in hiding, trying to blend in as an ordinary teenager, and there’s no one who makes her feel more normal, more special, than her boyfriend, Oliver. But when she’s jumped by a hit man and Oliver catches her fighting back, Kaia’s secret is exposed. In a split-second decision, she flees her small town, taking Oliver with her. With hit men stalking their every move, can Kaia and Oliver protect each other long enough to uncover the mysteries of her past?

The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine – Ansa has always been a fighter. As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes. Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts. With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron – “My father had more than fifty children.” So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult—a radical branch of Mormonism—Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run with the other sister-wives. Often starving and always desperate, the children lived in terror. Even though there were dozens of them together, Anna always felt alone. She escaped when she was thirteen . . . but the nightmare was far from over. A shocking true story of murder, fear, and betrayal, The Polygamist’s Daughter is also the heart-cry of a fatherless girl and her search for love, faith, and a safe place to call home.

Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy – When fifteen-year-old Lucy Willows discovers that her father has a child from a brief affair, an eight-year-old boy named Thomas who lives in her own suburban New Jersey town, she begins to question everything she thinks she knows about her family and her life. Lucy can’t believe her father betrayed the whole family, or that her mother forgave him, or that her sister isn’t rocked by the news the way Lucy is. Worse, Lucy’s father’s secret is now her own, one that isolates her from her friends, family, and even her boyfriend, Simon, the one person she expected would truly understand. When Lucy escapes to Maine, the home of her mysteriously estranged grandfather, she finally begins to get to the bottom of her family’s secrets and lies.

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (Also received from Edelweiss) – When Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company, is photographed in the front row of a fashion show eating a bruffin–the delicious lovechild of a brioche and a muffin–her best friend and business partner, Beau, gives her an ultimatum: Lose thirty pounds or lose your job. Sure, Janey has gained some weight since her divorce, and no, her beautifully cut trousers don’t fit like they used to, so Janey throws herself headlong into the world of the fitness revolution, signing up for a shockingly expensive workout pass, baring it all for Free the Nipple yoga, sweating through boot camp classes run by Sri Lankan militants and spinning to the screams of a Lycra-clad instructor with rage issues. At a juice shop she meets Jacob, a cute young guy who takes her dumpster-diving outside Whole Foods on their first date. At a shaman’s tea ceremony she meets Hugh, a silver fox who holds her hand through an ayahuasca hallucination And at a secret exercise studio Janey meets Sara Strong, the wildly popular workout guru whose special dance routine has starlets and wealthy women flocking to her for results that seem too good to be true. As Janey eschews delicious carbs, pays thousands of dollars to charlatans, and is harassed by her very own fitness bracelet, she can’t help but wonder: Did she really need to lose weight in the first place? A hilarious send-up of the health and wellness industry, Fitness Junkie is a glorious romp through the absurd landscape of our weight-obsessed culture.

November 2016

 

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Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia – Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death. High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death. Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?

The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth – All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two, living quietly in northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life. Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters, and the new ways in which families are forged.

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran – Eighteen years old and fizzing with optimism, Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Weeks later, she arrives in Berkeley, California, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. Undocumented and unmoored, Soli discovers that her son, Ignacio, can become her touchstone, and motherhood her identity in a world where she’s otherwise invisible. Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but then she can’t get pregnant and that beautiful life seems suddenly empty. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally gets to be the singing, story-telling kind of mother she dreamed of being. But she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.  “Nacho” to Soli, and “Iggy” to Kavya, the boy is steeped in love, but his destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him. Lucky Boy is a moving and revelatory ode to the ever-changing borders of love.

Tell Me How This Ends Well by David Samuel Levinson – An ambitious, gripping, darkly funny family drama about the reckoning of three adult siblings with their profoundly flawed parents, set during Passover in a near-future America rife with anti-Semitism and terror, from an award-winning short-story writer.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell – In a windswept British seaside town, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside. Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, twenty-one-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed. Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. Their annual trip to the quaint seaside town is passing by uneventfully, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just that he’s playing the role of protective older brother.

It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany –  A provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong. Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers-trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends. Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler. What happens next will change them forever. In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

October 2016

 

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Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor – Reggie isn’t really a romantic: she’s been hurt too often, and doesn’t let people in as a rule. Plus, when you’re dealing with the Three Stages of Depression, it’s hard to feel warm and fuzzy. When Reggie meets Snake, though, he doesn’t give her much of a choice. Snake has a neck tattoo, a Twizzler habit, and a fair share of arrogance, but he’s funny, charming, and interested in Reggie. Snake also has an ex-girlfriend who’s seven months pregnant. Good thing Reggie isn’t a romantic.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko – One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. They rename him Daniel Wilkinson in their efforts to make him over into their version of an “all-American boy.” But far away from all he’s ever known, Daniel struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the family and community he left behind. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It’s the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward – Brilliant heart surgeon Suzette Kendall is stunned when Hyland, her husband of fifteen years, admits his yearning for a child. From the beginning they’d decided that having children was not an option, as Suzette feared passing along the genes that landed her mother in a mental institution. But Hyland proposes a different idea: a baby via surrogate. Suzette agrees, and what follows is a whirlwind of candidate selection, hospital visits, and Suzette’s doubts over whether she’s made the right decision. A young woman named Dorothy Muscarello is chosen as the one who will help make this family complete. For Dorrie, surrogacy (and the money that comes with it) are her opportunity to leave behind a troubled past and create a future for herself—one full of possibility. But this situation also forces all three of them—Dorrie, Suzette, and Hyland—to face a devastating uncertainty that will reverberate in the years to come.

Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs – Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information–but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation. But Aether’s not done with her–or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events. But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost–or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything–including their relationship–to save their friends.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi – It’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide. Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a grief camp for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.

The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner – Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob. But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends. As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

September 2016

 

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One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel (Also received from Edelweiss) – The three of them—a twelve-year-old boy, his older brother, their father—have won the war: the father’s term for his bitter divorce and custody battle. They leave their Kansas home and drive through the night to Albuquerque, eager to begin again, united by the thrilling possibility of carving out a new life together. The boys go to school, join basketball teams, make friends. Meanwhile their father works from home, smoking cheap cigars to hide another smell. But soon the little missteps—the dead-eyed absentmindedness, the late night noises, the comings and goings of increasingly odd characters—become sinister, and the boys find themselves watching their father change, grow erratic, then violent.

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt – What if you were the worst crime your mother ever committed? Dahlia Waller’s childhood memories consist of stuffy cars, seedy motels, and a rootless existence traveling the country with her eccentric mother. Now grown, she desperately wants to distance herself from that life. Yet one thing is stopping her from moving forward: she has questions. In order to understand her past, Dahlia must go back. Back to her mother in the stifling town of Aurora, Texas. Back into the past of a woman on the brink of madness. But after she discovers three grave-like mounds on a neighboring farm, she’ll learn that in her mother’s world of secrets, not all questions are meant to be answered…

Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough – Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn’t have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it’s working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won’t stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn’t do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

Winter Halo by Keri Arthur – When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between worlds, they allowed entry to the Others. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay…. The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way. The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force.  Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself…

Gilded Cage by Vic James – NOT ALL ARE FREE. NOT ALL ARE EQUAL. NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED. Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. A girl thirsts for love and knowledge. Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price? A boy dreams of revolution. Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts. He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen – In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations. From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house. Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel. During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

This Above All by Lindsey Roth Culli – All her life, sixteen-year old Piper has been content to go along with her ultraconservative family’s mission to warn the heathens of the impending judgment of God through anti-gay protests. So when she’s cast as Romeo in her school’s production of Romeo & Juliet, Piper is as shocked as everyone else. The production proves to be vastly different than her other on-stage experiences– previously limited to playing “AIDS Girl” in her church’s annual “Hell House”– and Piper soon discovers not only does she love acting, she’s also pretty talented. The school principal, influenced by people like Piper’s dad, demands that the part of Romeo be recast “appropriately” or the show cannot go on. Now, Piper faces a choice: become the figurehead to appeal the principal’s decision– in direction opposition to her family and everything she’s ever believed–, or accept the message the administration’s ultimatum sends to gay students, including someone she has come to call a close friend. Namely, that they should be ashamed of who they are or whom they happen to love. For the old Piper, it would have been a no-brainer. But being Romeo has affected her in ways she never imagined, and so has her new friendship. Now Piper finds herself face to face with the real cost of all her family’s efforts, and it challenges everything she thought she knew about life. And God.

A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev – Dr. Nikhil ‘Nic’ Joshi had it all—marriage, career, purpose. Until, while working for Doctors Without Borders in a Mumbai slum, his wife, Jen, discovered a black market organ transplant ring. Before she could expose the truth, Jen was killed. Two years after the tragedy, Nic is a cruise ship doctor who spends his days treating seasickness and sunburn and his nights in a boozy haze. On one of those blurry evenings on deck, Nic meets a woman who makes a startling claim: she received Jen’s heart in a transplant and has a message for him. Nic wants to discount Jess Koirala’s story as absurd, but there’s something about her reckless desperation that resonates despite his doubts.  Jess has spent years working her way out of a nightmarish life in Calcutta and into a respectable Bollywood dance troupe. Now she faces losing the one thing that matters—her young son, Joy.  She needs to uncover the secrets Jen risked everything for; but the unforeseen bond that results between her and Nic is both a lifeline and a perilous complication.  Delving beyond the surface of modern Indian-American life, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s page-turning novel is both riveting and emotionally rewarding—an extraordinary story of human connection, bravery, and hope.

 

From Edelweiss

 

December 1-16, 2016

 

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The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard – Elvira Carr believes in crisp schedules, clear guidelines, and taking people at face value. She lives at home with her overbearing mother, who has deemed her unfit to interact with the rest of society. But when her mother has a stroke, Ellie is suddenly forced to look after herself. She quickly comes up with an ingenious way of coping with the world: the seven social rules spreadsheet. Unfortunately, Ellie soon discovers that most people don’t live their lives within a set of rules. As she experiences social missteps and awkward encounters, Ellie continues to learn – about herself, and the people around her. And she’ll need this new knowledge if she hopes to pave the way to living life on her own terms.

Sugar by Kimberly Stuart – After realizing her coworkers at L’Ombre, a high-profile restaurant in NYC, will never appreciate or respect her, Charlie Garrett allows her ex-boyfriend, Avery Michaels, to convince her to work for him as executive pastry chef at his new Seattle hotspot, Thrill. She’ll have her own kitchen, her own staff—everything she ever wanted professionally. When she arrives at Thrill, however, she realizes that Avery wanted more than a pastry chef for his restaurant—he wanted a costar for the reality show they’re filming about the restaurant and its staff. Charlie is uncomfortable with the idea at first, but she soon realizes that this is her chance to show the world what women in the kitchen are capable of. She sets some ground rules with the film crew, signs a non-disclosure agreement, and promptly meets the man of her dreams, Kai, off-camera. The show, and her demanding work schedule as head of the pastry kitchen, makes it nearly impossible for Charlie and Kai to spend time together. Drama on and off the set soon take a toll on Charlie’s well-being, forcing her to choose if life in front of the camera is worth sacrificing life behind the scenes.

November 2016

 

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Made for Love by Alissa Nutting – Hazel has just moved into a trailer park of senior citizens, with her father and Diane—his extremely lifelike sex doll—as her roommates. Life with Hazel’s father is strained at best, but her only alternative seems even bleaker. She’s just run out on her marriage to Byron Gogol, CEO and founder of Gogol Industries, a monolithic corporation hell-bent on making its products and technologies indispensable in daily life. For over a decade, Hazel put up with being veritably quarantined by Byron in the family compound, her every movement and vital sign tracked. But when he demands to wirelessly connect the two of them via brain chips in a first-ever human “mind-meld,” Hazel decides what was once merely irritating has become unbearable. The world she escapes into is a far cry from the dry and clinical bubble she’s been living in, a world populated with a whole host of deviant oddballs. As Hazel tries to carve out a new life for herself in this uncharted territory, Byron is using the most sophisticated tools at his disposal to find her and bring her home. His threats become more and more sinister, and Hazel is forced to take drastic measures in order to find a home of her own and free herself from Byron’s virtual clutches once and for all. Perceptive and compulsively readable, Made for Love is at once an absurd, raunchy comedy and a dazzling, profound meditation marriage, monogamy, and family.

The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin – Sometimes the perfect friend tells the perfect lies… Erin and Roisin were once friends until a fatal accident ruined both their lives. Now, Roisin has discovered a secret―one Erin has kept for over a decade―and she’s determined to make Erin pay for her lies. When Roisin suddenly disappears, suspicion soon lands on Erin. She would do anything to protect her family, but just how far is she willing to go when time is running out…?

The Body Market by Donna Freitas – Skylar Cruz found her sister in the Real World—only to learn that her sister has betrayed her and put everyone in the App World in danger. The Body Market is now open for business and everyone still plugged into the App World is for sale. Shaken by the betrayal of everyone she trusted, Skylar is through being a pawn. She may be the only one who can stop what her family started. And she has to do it before the App World runs out of time.

Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel – Rosie is a beautiful girl—and it’s always been enough. Boys crush on her, men stare at her, girls (begrudgingly) admire her. She’s lucky and she knows it. But it’s the start of a new school year and she begins to realize that she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to get over it. Plus, someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who became semifamous after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never experienced before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty. Then at a party one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, something happens that tears apart Rosie’s life and sets her on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to face uncomfortable truths about reputation, identity, and what it means to be a true friend.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful. Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

100 Hours by Rachel Vincent – Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.  While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.  But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her. Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t thwart their captors’ plan, no one will make it out alive.

The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato – Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, Megan now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew. Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

By Your Side by Kasie West – When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her. Only he doesn’t come. No one does. Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn at first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

September 2016

 

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Eggshells by Caitriona Lally –  Vivian doesn’t feel like she fits in – and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was “left by fairies.” Now, living alone in Dublin, the neighbors treat her like she’s crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn’t a friend in the world. So, she decides it’s time to change her life: She begins by advertising for a friend. Not just any friend. She wants one named Penelope. Meanwhile, she roams the city, mapping out a new neighborhood every day, seeking her escape route to a better world, the other world her parents told her she came from. And then one day someone named Penelope answers her ad for a friend. And from that moment on, Vivian’s life begins to change.

Blacklist by Alyson Noel – Wannabe reporter Layla, aspiring actress Aster, and fledgling musician Tommy joined the Unrivaled nightclub competition for the same reason—they knew winning it would change their lives. They just never imagined that somewhere along the way they’d become entangled in the disappearance of mega starlet Madison Brooks. Now each of them is smack in the center of a media frenzy that threatens to take all of them down. Banding together to clear their names, the fierce adversaries become temporary allies and vow to dig up the truth. But when Layla, Aster, Tommy team up with an unsuspecting insider, they will find that some secrets are best kept in the grave.

Blood Family by Anne Fine – Edward is four years old when he is locked away with his mother by her abusive, alcoholic partner, Harris. By the time an elderly neighbor spots his pale face peering through a crack in the boarded-up window and raises the alarm, he is seven. Rescue comes, but lasting damage has been done. Sent to live with a kind foster family, and then adopted, Edward struggles to adapt to normal life. Even as a smart and curious teenager it’s still clear to his new family and schoolmates there’s something odd about him. Then in a science museum, Edward sees an image that shocks him to the core and robs him of his hard won sense of safety. Can anyone’s past truly be left behind? And could it be that, deep down, another Harris is waiting to break out?

The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo – What happens to the girl left behind? A masked man with a gun enters a sandwich shop in broad daylight, and Meredith Oliver suddenly finds herself ordered to the filthy floor, where she cowers face to face with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow, the most popular girl in her eighth grade class. The minutes tick inexorably by, and Meredith lurches between comforting the sobbing Lisa and imagining her own impending death. Then the man orders Lisa Bellow to stand and come with him, leaving Meredith the girl left behind. After Lisa’s abduction, Meredith spends most days in her room. As the community stages vigils and searches, Claire, Meredith’s mother, is torn between relief that her daughter is alive, and helplessness over her inability to protect or even comfort her child. Her daughter is here, but not.

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day – Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance—at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son—and herself—once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she’d rewritten.

Hey Harry, Hey Matilda by Rachel Hulin – Matilda Goodman is an underemployed wedding photographer grappling with her failure to live as an artist and the very bad lie she has told her boyfriend (that she has a dead twin). Harry, her (totally alive) brother, is an untenured professor of literature, anxiously contemplating his publishing status (unpublished) and sleeping with a student. When Matilda invites her boyfriend home for Thanksgiving to meet the family, and when Harry makes a desperate—and unethical—move to save his career, they set off an avalanche of shame, scandal, and drunken hot tub revelations that force them to examine the truth about who they really are. A wonderfully subversive, sensitive novel of romantic entanglement and misguided ambition, Hey Harry, Hey Matilda is a joyful look at love and family in all its forms

 

From Publisher – 

 

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Freeks by Amanda Hocking

Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry, and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about―and change the future forever.

 

From Author – 

 

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Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt – When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him. In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion’s original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window. Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In CLASS OF ’59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.

 

From Amazon – 

 

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Blood Vow by J.R. Ward – The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter—and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he’s unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect. For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe’s dangerous appeal is enticing—and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin’s death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart. Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary’s new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear. As Axe’s past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.

Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole – When the battle is done . . .  The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.  And all hope is lost . . .  With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.  Vengeance becomes everything. To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

 


 

Books Read This Week

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I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around by Ann Garvin

Age of Consent by Marti Leimbach

Queen Bees and Wannabes, 3rd Edition by Rosalind Wiseman

The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

Blood Vow by J.R Ward

 


 

 Books to be Read Next Week

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The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn

The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club by Lynsey James

Three Truths and a Lie by Brett Hartinger

 


 

This Week  These Past Months in Review…

 

Hi all! I’m back. I had some health issues which made me pretty much shut down in August and I am just now starting to feel better and get back to my life. You can see the whole story here. I am very behind in reading and reviewing, so I am doing a slew of multi-book mini reviews to catch up. Other than that and work my life has been super boring. I have two giant work projects that I’ve been working on for four years and one’s deadline is the end of December and the other the end of January so hopefully once those are crossed off my list, life will be a little easier as 14 hour days suck.

 


 

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Kindle copy of Ivory and Bone — Ends Dec 19th, 2016

 

To celebrate coming back I am giving away an ARC pack with Mischling by Affinity Konar, Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (signed), Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand and Woman of God by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro along with some bookish swag (US only) or a $20.00 Amazon gift card (INT). Enter with the Rafflecopter below by 11:59 pm MST Monday, January 2, 2017.

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


 

Stuff I Enjoyed This Week…

 

Karen at Kissin Blue Karen – Bullet Journal

Grace at Rebel Mommy Book Blog – A Very Merry Christmas Survey

 


 

125US of Books

 

United States of Books – This week’s book took us to North Carolina with Jim the Boy by Tony Earley.

 


 

 

Up Next – Author Tuesday is taking a short hiatus in the beginning of 2017 so I can catch up. Don’t worry it will be back!!

 


 

My December Posts

 

 


 

So how has your life been?

 

Posted December 17, 2016 by Laura in Giveaway, Stacking The Shelves, Weekly Wrap-Up / 15 Comments


15 responses to “Weekly Wrap-Up – December 17, 2016

  1. Wow, impressive list of books! I see several there that are calling to me: The Mother’s Promise, It Happens All the Time, My Not So Perfect Life…and, of course, The Good Daughter, which is already on my list.

    Thanks for sharing…I hope you are feeling better!

  2. You got so many amazing books! I have a few of the same ones on my bookshelves, too. But I had to ban myself from NetGalley and Edelweiss until I could get caught up on reviewing some of the titles I got from them. Now I’m drowning in print review copies. Ha ha.

  3. Awa

    I would love to read the Polygamist daughter. There is something about that life style that interest me, not in a “I want to live it” kind of way, just curiosity. The rest of these, I feel ashamed to say I haven’t even heard of!

  4. So glad your biopsy was negative, but sorry you’ve been unwell and overwhelmed. How great though that you were able to talk to your boss and start delegating a little.

    So many great books you’ve got over the last few months! It’s lovely to see you back and I hope things are calmer soon!
    Deborah recently posted…Weekly check-inMy Profile

  5. I’m happy you are feeling better! You got some amazing books the last few months. I hope your 14 hour days go by fast!

    Thanks for linking up on Saturday Situation!

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