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 Town, Bought, Borrowed & Bagged, The Sunday Salon, Caffeinated Book Reviewer’s Sunday Wrap-Up, It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday. So check out what I’ve been up to this past (3) weeks.
My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill – Sometimes love stories go off script. Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the precollege fine arts program of her dreams. But if she’d gone away, she wouldn’t have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade. It’s not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she’s just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there’s a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there’s more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never.
The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman – Working in an alternate version of Victorian London, Librarian-spy Irene has settled into a routine, collecting important fiction for the mysterious Library and blending in nicely with the local culture. But when her apprentice, Kai—a dragon of royal descent—is kidnapped by the Fae, her carefully crafted undercover operation begins to crumble. Kai’s abduction could incite a conflict between the forces of chaos and order that would devastate all worlds and all dimensions. To keep humanity from getting caught in the crossfire, Irene will have to team up with a local Fae leader to travel deep into a version of Venice filled with dark magic, strange coincidences, and a perpetual celebration of Carnival—and save her friend before he becomes the first casualty of a catastrophic war. But navigating the tumultuous landscape of Fae politics will take more than Irene’s book-smarts and fast-talking—to ward off Armageddon, she might have to sacrifice everything she holds dear….
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel – After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away. Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again. As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
The Romantics by Leah Konen – Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.
Hungry Heart by Jennifer Weiner – Jennifer Weiner is many things: a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Twitter phenomenon, and “an unlikely feminist enforcer” (The New Yorker). She’s also a mom, a daughter, and a sister; a former rower and current cyclist; a best friend and a reality TV junkie. In her first foray into nonfiction, she takes the raw stuff of her personal life and spins into a collection of essays on modern womanhood as uproariously funny and moving as the best of Tina Fey, Fran Lebowitz, and Nora Ephron. Jennifer grew up as an outsider in her picturesque Connecticut hometown (“a Lane Bryant outtake in an Abercrombie & Fitch photo shoot”) and at her Ivy League college, but finally found her people in newsrooms in central Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, and her voice as a novelist, activist, and New York Times columnist. No subject is off-limits in this intimate and honest essay collection: sex, weight, envy, money, her mom’s newfound lesbianism, and her estranged father’s death. From lonely adolescence to modern childbirth to hearing her six-year-old daughter’s use of the f-word—fat—for the first time, Jennifer Weiner goes there, with the wit and candor that have endeared her to readers all over the world. By turns hilarious and deeply touching, this collection shows that the woman behind treasured novels like Good in Bed and Best Friends Forever is every bit as winning, smart, and honest in real life as she is in her fiction.
Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin – Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel. There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments. Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal…
The Homecoming by Stacy Ramey – They say you can never go home—and John’s about to find out just how true that is.
John’s mother kicked him out of the house when she couldn’t handle his anger, and John’s spent the last few years bouncing between relatives. But after his last scrape with the law, there’s nowhere for him to go but home. Starting senior year at a new high school and fitting into the family that shut him out is a challenge. And it’s all that John can do to keep from turning back to bad habits. Lacrosse training helps him focus. As does Emily, the girl next door. She’s sweet and smart, and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. Maybe he’s ready to trust again. But tragedy has a way of finding John, and he must decide between saving his family or saving himself.
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker – She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever. At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon Kisses, quietly ambitious but self-doubting, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel Vaught, brash, unapologetic, wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over Ren and Stimpy, R. Crumb, and dysfunctional families. Working, absorbing, drinking. Drawing: Mel, to understand her own tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether. A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, and with the release of their first full-length feature, the “spitting, twitching tour-de-force of epic freaking proportions” Nashville Combat, they stand at the cusp of success. But while on tour to promote the film, cracks in their relationship begin to form: Sharon begins to feel like a tag-along and suspects that raucous Mel is the real artist. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, threatening their relationships with their families, their lovers, and each other—and hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.
Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills – Leah Lobermier dreams of becoming a doctor, but it’s hard to stay focused on getting good grades when boys make oinking sounds at her in school and her mother spends every night on the couch with a bottle of wine. Leah’s skinny and popular “friends,” Kristy and Corinne, aren’t much better and can hardly be counted on for support. When the girls convince a handsome older man to buy them beer, Leah takes his phone number and calls him, pretending to be Kristy—coy and confident—and they develop a relationship, talking and texting day after day. But as the lie she created grows beyond her control, can Leah put a stop to things before she—or Kristy—is seriously hurt?
Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow – Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.
We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen – Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it’s the 80’s after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they’ve graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams. During their first year apart, Scott and Cath’s letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that’s clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond.
Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis – Before her older sister, Ginny, died, Carrie was a science nerd, obsessively tracking her beloved Vira comet. But now that Ginny is gone, sixteen-year-old Carrie finds herself within the orbit of Ginny’s friends, a close-knit group of seniors who skip school, obsess over bands (not science), and party hard. Fed up with Carrie’s behavior, her father enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park. Carrie actually likes the days spent in nature. And when she meets Dean, a guy who likes the real Carrie—astrophysics obsessions and all—she starts to get to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.
The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey – Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!” This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old. But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran – Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and drunk on optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin’s doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth. Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents’ chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya’s mid-thirties. When she can’t get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya’s care. As Kavya learns to be a mother–the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being–she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.
From Barnes & Noble
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again. Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
Lion’s Share by Rachel Vincent – Abby Wade has a dangerous secret. Two months ago, she disobeyed an order, but instead of kicking her out of the Pride, Jace offered her a job. Since then, she’s been battling a completely inappropriate crush on the young, hot Alpha. But when accepting his job offer seems like the only way to keep her skeletons safely in their closet, Abby doesn’t hesitate. Jace Hammond has a big problem. A rogue is slaughtering humans in his territory, and he must eliminate the threat before the entire shifter species is exposed. There could not be a worse time for Abby to accept a job he only offered as a boost to her confidence. Abby is smart, beautiful, and resilient-more than enough to distract any man from the mission. Unfortunately, she may just be the worst enforcer ever to hold the title. As they hunt the killer, Abby’s secret becomes a threat to Jace’s authority and to her own life. But the real danger is the grip she has on his twice-shy heart.
Books Read Since Last Wrap-Up
The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Good as Gone by Amy Gentry
The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
Falling by Jane Green
Signs of You by Emily France
All These Perfect Strangers by Aoife Clifford
Smash and Grab by Amy Christine Parker
The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger
Claiming Noah by Amanda Ortlepp
Lost Along the Way by Erin Duffy
A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride
Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy
Books to be Read Next Week
This Week in Review…
Wow, it’s been three weeks since my last Weekly Wrap-up. Between work being super busy, a need to really think on why I do this and then a very sudden and unexpected death at the office, I have been really absent from here. I am now getting back into my stride and the reviews and stuff will be ramping up again.
A few months ago I mentioned that I had been asked to give a cover blurb. Well it is now out and live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble – “FROM THE SIDELINE packs an emotional punch in the best way. Laughter, tears, heartache and joy all combine for a truly touching read.” – 125Pages. It is crazy to see my words above the synopsis of a book. I really enjoy the writing of Amy Avanzino and she is also a delightful author to deal with.
I will be joining ARC August for the second time. I really enjoy the challenge and hope to be able to knock off seventeen ARCs that I have. Some to be reads are – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Detached by Christina Kilbourne, The Graces by Laura Eve and Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer.
To celebrate school starting very soon (August 4th here!) I am giving away a Middle Grade prize pack. An ARC of The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner and The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart plus a super cute little tote (US only). The giveaway will be open till 11:59 pm MST August 5, 2016.
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Stuff I Enjoyed Lately…
Michelle at Pink Polka Dot Books – Talking to a Non-Reader About Reading
Andi at Andi’s ABCs – Blog Woes – Style Rut
ARC August Sign-Ups – Read Sleep Repeat
On the Same Page – Secret Sister Project Round 5 Sign-Ups
United States of Books – We went to Kentucky with In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason, Connecticut with The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare and Massachusetts with The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever.
Up Next – August 2, 2016 – Kristina McMorris author of The Edge of Lost. We will be giving away a paperback copy.
My Weekly Posts
- [4 Jul] United States of Books – The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
- [5 Jul] Author Tuesday Interview and Giveaway – C.H. Armstrong
- [5 Jul] Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine ★★★★½
- [11 Jul] United States of Books – The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
- [11 Jul] Why Do I Do This?
- [12 Jul] Author Tuesday Countdown – Jeff Zentner
- [18 Jul] United States of Books – In Country by Bobbie Ann Mason
- [19 Jul] Author Tuesday Interview and Giveaway – Jeff Zentner
- [21 Jul] From The Sideline by Amy Avanzino ★★★★½
- [22 Jul] The Summer That Melted Everything: A Novel by Tiffany McDaniel ★★★★★
- [22 Jul] Weekly Wrap-Up – July 23, 2016
So how was your bookish week?