What I Meant To Read This Year ...But Didn't

You know that annoying little thing called life that always seems to take up all your time? 
Yes, that!

That's what has gotten in between me and my first true love: Reading. 

I am ashamed to say this year wasn't one for the books. (see what I did just then? :) 

So here is a book round up of the books that should have been. 

2014, please spare me the drama that your friend 2013 served me up, (with sides of huge life changes and second helpings of trials and tribulations) and let me get some reading done, mmkay?? 

First off, I actually started this book and put it down at some point. I really think it has potential. It usually takes me a while to get into historical fiction but once I do, I am always glad I stuck with it! 
I have a feeling I'll love this book because I LOVED "The Doctor and The Diva" 

A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is ultimately a tale of two remarkable girls rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of ''civilized society.'' In the end, each will come to realize that her individual salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.

I started this one too and never finished it. I swear I am not a quitter! I just couldn't seem to get anything done this year!  This book is on all the "Best of 2013 Lists" so I know it's gotta be a must read! 

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too.

And here are a couple on the "best of list" that I should have seen earlier but because I've been living in a cave, I haven't even heard of!  But they are definitely on my to read list now! 

The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most beautiful and remote places, its most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity—an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace.

Marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering the question "What makes things so popular?" He's studied why New York Times articles make the paper's own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.

What books are out there that you didn't get your hands on in 2013?
There's still time! (Barely!)

Book Review: The Circle

I read a book! 
*raises hands in the air and jumps around in celebration.

Synopsis: When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Now here's the part that sucks. I finally read a book but I didn't love it. I hate when I don't love books. 

I think the premise of the book and the message it was sending was essential and meaningful. But the actual story line reminded me of that one over zealous nerdy kid who was always trying way too hard to impress people in high school. If he would just chill, he'd be cool but he was always trying to shove his intellect down your throat.

I really liked the main character Mae. She's shy at first, unsure of this brilliant world of "The Circle" that she has suddenly become a part of when she gets a job in costumer service. I thought of the Circle as a glorified Google. If Google and Facebook had a baby and that baby took steroids and was the smartest, richest person in the world, it would be "The Circle." That's how I saw it in my head anyway. 

And then as Mae's job and responsibilities at The Circle grow, she turns into a completely different person, which I usually like in books but this was just too much. 

I felt like the author was just using the characters as glorified or exaggerated examples of a far larger point.  

The book was a huge metaphor for the extremes social media has gone to make the world a less personal and private place. 

You can totally tell this book is written by a man. I am always reminded why I don't like reading about a female protagonist written by a male author. The differences are just so incredibly noticeable! I didn't know Mae's hair color, her style, anything. There were hardly any observations of the other characters either. At least there weren't enough to feed my mental pictures, anyway. (Another obvious male author M.O.? The only sex scene that got any detail happened in a bathroom stall where to two people couldn't see each other's faces or talk out loud. That has male fantasy written all over it, if you ask me). Plus there was a weird sexual tension between Mae and her best friend Annie that went unexplained. Males are so predictable. 

Here's a great excerpt that drives home the point of the book, which was basically to remind the world that social media is overbearing and that a company in charge of it could ultimately drive people to whatever they wanted, based on their growing need to always feel connected and in-the-know.

But the book does pose an interesting question. Would we be able to handle knowing EVERYTHING? Sure, you follow your grandmother and old high school teachers on Facebook. But what would happen if there was a live feed of their living room on your home page? 

The premise of "The Circle" is that the company believes that if everyone is transparent, then there are no secrets. If you are always seen, you are always being held accountable. They think politicians will be more honest, that crime will plummet and bad deeds essentially go away. But what about common privacy? What about the man struggling with a disease who doesn't want his weaknesses to be seen? What about the woman with sad family secrets that are better left buried? 

Mae gets washed up in the glory of The Circle and begins to see things the way the head honchos want her to. Her transition from an outsider to a person who literally becomes surrounded by everything social, technical and digital is a great contrast. Ultimately, I think Mae become a machine and it ruins her relationships. 

I am normally a novel reader. I wouldn't call this a novel by any means. Think Animal Farm and 1984. It's a satire. It's an opinion of someone who thinks that Facebook is a bit ridiculous and wants to show what would happen if we keep being "over sharers." I just felt like it was a bit over done. 


I am moving on to a new book! 
I am a huge Wally Lamb fan (She's Come Undown is a huge favorite) and his new book, We Are Water has me hooked!

And after that: 

It's also an upcoming movie starring Kate Winslet! 

What are you reading? 

Book Round Up: Orange Is The New Black Edition

I shouldn't be surprised that a TV series that I am completely in love with started from a book. This week, the stars aligned and I have some time off work during the week, which has resulted in some guilt free lounge time. I have watched almost the entire series of Orange is the New Black this week.  Notice I said ALMOST, so no spoilers! 

I've noticed a lot of articles about the differences between the book and the TV series so I am sure there are noticeable differences, but I still want to read the book. I love that Piper is real and her stories are authentic.  

From Goodreads: With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.

As I devoured the TV series, I couldn't help but notice the books that the prisoners were reading. It happens so frequently that I felt like it was on purpose. Ironically, when I Googled the books, I found a quote from Piper Kauffman about how important books were to her while she was in prison. 

 "They were complete lifelines. They were the only legitimate forms of escape." 

 I couldn't agree with her more. And when I started really paying attention, these prisoners REALLY know how to pick a good book. They quote Shakespeare and set Robert Frost straight. They also talk about my favorites: The Help,Gone Girl and more. 

Do you want to read along with them? Here are some of the books that have caught my eye while watching the show. 

Red Reads: 

From GoodReads: The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public. Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.
As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant. This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper's most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not

One of the security guards reads:

From Goodreads: Never trust your heart to the New York Times bestselling master of suspense, Stephen King. Especially with an anthology that features the classic stories "Children of the Corn," "The Lawnmower Man," "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler," and "Sometimes They Come Back"-which were all made into hit horror films. From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

 This is the most exciting one: 

Alex Reads : 

Because I have read this! AND LOVED IT! 

From Goodreads: Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

And Alex also reads: 

From Goodreads: Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.  Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.   Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course

So although I never want to GO to prison, at least I know I'd be able to read to my heart's content if I did get put in the slammer. 

If you haven't signed up for a free month's trial on Netflix to watch this show yet, I suggest you do so immediately. And while you're at it, call in sick for a day or too because once you start watching it, you'll be hooked. 

Book Round Up!

I am super intrigued by this book. What DOES happen when the women who are disappearing are prostitutes and can we honestly deny the fact that their lifestyles didn't effect the way their murders were prioritized? 

From Good Reads: Award-winning investigative reporter Robert Kolker delivers a haunting and humanizing account of the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island, in a compelling tale of unsolved murder and Internet prostitution.

One late spring evening in 2010, Shannan Gilbert, after running through the oceanfront community of Oak Beach screaming for her life, went missing. No one who had heard of her disappearance thought much about what had happened to the twenty-four-year-old: she was a Craigslist prostitute who had been fleeing a scene—of what, no one could be sure. The Suffolk County Police, too, seemed to have paid little attention—until seven months later, when an unexpected discovery in a bramble alongside a nearby highway turned up four bodies, all evenly spaced, all wrapped in burlap. But none of them Shannan's.

There was Maureen Brainard-Barnes, last seen at Penn Station in Manhattan three years earlier, and Melissa Barthelemy, last seen in the Bronx in 2009. There was Megan Waterman, last seen leaving a hotel in Hauppauge, Long Island, just a month after Shannan's disappearance in 2010, and Amber Lynn Costello, last seen leaving a house in West Babylon a few months later that same year. Like Shannan, all four women were petite and in their twenties, they all came from out of town to work as escorts, and they all advertised on Craigslist and its competitor, Backpage.

In a triumph of reporting—and in a riveting narrative—Robert Kolker presents the first detailed look at the shadow world of escorts in the Internet age, where making a living is easier than ever and the dangers remain all too real. He has talked exhaustively with the friends and family of each woman to reveal the three-dimensional truths about their lives, the struggling towns they came from, and the dreams they chased. And he has gained unique access to the Oak Beach neighborhood that has found itself the focus of national media scrutiny—where the police have flailed, the body count has risen, and the neighbors have begun pointing fingers at one another. There, in a remote community, out of sight of the beaches and marinas scattered along the South Shore barrier islands, the women's stories come together in death and dark mystery. Lost Girls is a portrait not just of five women, but of unsolved murder in an idyllic part of America, of the underside of the Internet, and of the secrets we keep without admitting to ourselves that we keep them

I clicked on this because the cover looked amazing... and once I read the description, I knew I had to check it out! 

From Goodreads: A high-powered Manhattan attorney finds love, purpose, and the promise of a simpler life in her grandmother's hometown. 
Ellen Branford is going to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish--to find the hometown boy she once loved, and give him her last letter. Ellen leaves Manhattan and her Kennedy-esque fiance for Beacon, Maine. What should be a one-day trip is quickly complicated when she almost drowns in the chilly bay and is saved by a local carpenter. The rescue turns Ellen into something of a local celebrity, which may or may not help her unravel the past her grandmother labored to keep hidden. As she learns about her grandmother and herself, it becomes clear that a 24-hour visit to Beacon may never be enough. THE IRRESISTIBLE BLUEBERRY BAKESHOP & CAFE is a warm and delicious debut about the power of a simpler life...

And ok, while I was searching for this other book I wanted to add, I came across the CATCHING FIRE trailer, which comes out this fall. Can you say, GOOSEBUMPS? 

And then after watching the trailer I got distracted, naturally, and forgot what book I was looking for! 

OH OH I Just remembered!!!! Don't you just love when that happens?!)

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson-over 14,000 people have reviewed this book and given it over 4 stars on goodreads.com! 

From GoodReads: On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.

Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant — this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions.

So there you have it! Get reading! 
Sounds like alot of you are reading some pretty awesome books, according to Twitter! Keep it up! :) 

Book Review: Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

I know what you are probably thinking. 
"Is Jen actually doing a book review on her blog? No way!"

I know, I know. You probably thought I forgot how to read. 

Luckily, I dove back in. Maybe it was the move, the stress, the kids or just plain wanting SLEEP, but I definitely went on a bookworm hiatus and I missed it so much. But luckily, the best way to get back into reading is finding an awesome book and I did just that! 

A little back story: last year, I stumbled upon a website called Novel Escapes and noticed they were looking for more book reviewers. My heart skipped a beat and I sent an email immediately, telling the contact person that I would love to review for them and that it would be like a dream come true...it wasn't until after I wrote the email that I noticed the article asking for more reviewers was a year old...but I just had a feeling and I hit send anyway. And that little feeling turned out to be great intuition when months later, Lydia Laceby emailed me back said they had a need again and asked if I would be interested. I'm pretty sure I teared up, then called my mom, sister, grandma, aunts and friends to tell them. Since then, I have written many reviews and have been lucky to find tons of great books through the site. Lydia created an amazing way for people to find the perfect book and read reviews. Her love for books soared to a new level this month when her own novel finally hit the shelves and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy! If there is anything greater than reading a great book, it's knowing the author personally and getting to email her mid novel to tell her how much you're enjoying it. I kept thinking while I was reading "I can't wait to tell Lydia about how much I loved this part!" and I'd realize how cool that sounded! (If you think I am a bookworm, you should see how starstruck I really get around authors!) So here, without further rambling, is my review for

Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.
When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.
While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements–her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude–Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.
As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself.

I feel like Rose would be my homegirl. She'd be my best friend. The entire book was written in this easy, conversational way that made me feel like I was sitting down to dinner with her listening to  her tell me her story.  With wine of course, there should always be wine.

Redesigning Rose has some of the most realistic, relatable characters I have ever read about. 

Rose is strong, but so vulnerable and hurt after learning her husband is not who she think he is, not the man she has loved for so many years.

But like every great book, Redesigning Rose has layers and layers of the story that get peeled away with every page. You learn right along with Rose that sometimes, just because life doesn't turn out the way you thought it would, doesn't mean there's not something even better right around the corner. 

Right after leaving her husband in a frenzied tailspin after realizing he's paid for racy sexual encounters and more porn to shake a stick at, Rose meets Becky. Like two lost souls, Rose and Becky immediately strike up an "odd couple" kinship that ends up saving them both more than I think either one anticipated. 

Becky's also going through the many stages of healing after a horrible relationship. Reading about how their friendship blossoms and changes throughout the book was amazing.  The entire story is a full circle of how friendships grow and evolve and I found myself recognizing alot of the emotions and situations that have happened in my own life. Lydia has an amazing way of writing dialogue that is so true to life and very conversational. 

Rose doesn't really know where the journey away from her husband will take her but she is certainly brave enough to find out. The book takes you through her journey of rediscovering herself, making friends and basically coming out from under the rock her husband had created in their life.  She begins to realize the fancy house, comfy beds and expensive kitchen wasn't enough in the long run and curtains are thrown back on the life she thought she had wanted. My heart broke for her when she realized the negative effect her marriage had had on her family and how she had drifted away from those she loved without even realizing it. 

Watching her come out of the dark corners of her life was invigorating. Especially since I feel like alot of the same things have been happening to me in my life lately. 

A great part of this book is Rose's relationship with her mother, her late grandmother and their shared passion for gardening. I loved the scenes where Rose is sad, mad or frustrated and she would take her aggression out in her mom's yard, tending to their beautiful flowers. And thanks to this book, I will probably never look at another dahlia without smiling.  Their generational connection is the backbone of the great relationships in this book and I appreciated the comforting notions that go along with great mother/daughter relationships.

My favorite parts of Redesigning Rose are the surprisingly snarky and sassy moments that Rose and Becky have together. They're pretty spicy and Becky has a mean streak in her that reminds you of the mean girls in high school that you hated to loved and loved to hate. Rose is full of surprises too. Whether they are scheming ways to get Rose's belongings out of her old house, drinking way too much wine or skating around emotional issues, no matter what, Rose and Becky find a way make it fun. 

Usually thoughtful and a little subdued, Rose holds back. But when sparks of attractions fly with a man she didn't even know a month before, Rose's personality leaps through and takes over. I think Rose is even surprised herself at the new side and it was so fun to read about her discovering a whole new aspect. It was as if she was meeting a new friend, only lucky for her, that friend turned out to be the woman hiding inside of her all along. 

I give Redesigning Rose and resounding and adoring 5 star rating. Anyone will love Redesigning Rose. But if you're like me and  you've had a life changing event happen, you will further appreciate it because you'll know how scary it can be to take a leap of faith,  go at it alone, or to try and keep pushing when life gets scary...

But don't worry, because I can tell you (and so can Rose) that there's a great chance you will  end up on the other side of that scary tunnel with a chin that's higher, an outlook that is brighter and a sneaky feeling that you're better off...

Here are a couple of my favorite passages from Redesigning Rose. Some of them are sweet and others, a little spicy, which is the recipe for an awesome book!  

"I was moving out of my marital home. I should be weeping and screaming, no consumed with the sudden desire to have a threesome."

"I looked at him, bobbing in the undertow of his delicious dimples." 

"...When events slide together in a kaleidoscope of understanding..."

And honorable mention goes to Lydia for these two very awesome occurances:

1. She mentions Sweet Valley High and V.C. Andrews in the same sentence.
 I LIVED for these books as a pre teen! 

2. The ultimate cure for a hangover: Orange juice, McDonald's, a nap and Advil. This is SPOT on how I cure hangovers too!

I am so happy to announce that because Lydia is awesome and because I have the honor of considering her a friend, she is offering one That's What She Read reader  a hard copy of Redesigning Rose! 

Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, good luck! 

Thanks so much to Lydia Laceby for the pleasure of reading Redesigning Rose!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Asians, Murder & Love: 5 Books To Read This Summer


Even though there are way more than 5 things I could talk your leg off about right now, I thought I would go with a theme. 

And if you know me, than you know I lerv talking about books! So here are 5 books that I NEED to get my hands on, like yesterday! 

 #1. Love Does by Bob Goff: 
(For if you're feeling philosophical or need to be enlightened)

From GoodReads: As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren't good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean's office for seven days until they finally let him enroll. Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world's best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world's most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it's not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob's love takes action. Bob believes "Love Does."
When "Love Does," life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don't want to miss.

#2: 642 Things To Write About
(For if you have the itch to not only read this summer but write as well!) 

No, they aren't exaggerating. This diary literally has 642 prompts to write about. I actually have an idea for dis here blog that was inspired by this book and I hope to share with everyone soon! If you have an itch to write or are in the middle of the dreaded writer's block, than this book can surely inspire you. 
Some of the questions tug at your heart and make you dig deep, and other are just plain silly, like "You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day." 
One that made me laugh and tell myself I'd have to come back to it later asked me to describe, in detail, a scene set in Argentina in 1932 and include a teacup in the story. Last night I wrote about the first time I got caught in a lie (it involved a Polly Pocket in 1993). 
Anyhooters, pick this one up this summer if you are looking to not just read, but write as well! Also, as you can see in the picture, adding an ice cold apple ale (or any alcohol for that matter) is always a good idea! 

#3: Love All, by Callie Wright 

(For those of you looking for a good family drama with lots of juicy details!) 

From Goodreads: It’s the spring of 1994 in Cooperstown, New York, and Joanie Cole, the beloved matriarch of the Obermeyer family, has unexpectedly died in her sleep. Now, for the first time, three generations are living together under one roof and are quickly encroaching on one another’s fragile orbits. Eighty-six-year-old Bob Cole is adrift in his daughter’s house without his wife. Anne Obermeyer is increasingly suspicious of her husband, Hugh’s, late nights and missed dinners, and Hugh, principal of the town’s preschool, is terrified that a scandal at school will erupt and devastate his life. Fifteen-year-old tennis-team hopeful Julia is caught in a love triangle with Sam and Carl, her would-be teammates and two best friends, while her brother, Teddy, the star pitcher of Cooperstown High, will soon catch sight of something that will change his family forever. 

At the heart of the Obermeyers’ present-day tremors is the scandal of The Sex Cure, a thinly veiled roman à clef from the 1960s, which shook the small village of Cooperstown to the core. When Anne discovers a battered copy underneath her parents’ old mattress, the Obermeyers cannot escape the family secrets that come rushing to the surface. With its heartbreaking insight into the messy imperfections of family, love, and growing up, Love All is an irresistible comic story of coming-of-age—at any age.

#4: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kawn

(For those of you needing a trashy, easy read, this book made me think about what would happen if one of the Kardashians had a baby with that crazy Asian from The Hangover! (As opposed the hot-tempered rapper, which is sooo isn't as cool) 

From GoodReads: Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

#5 The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

(For those of you needing a little thrill and excitement!) The description compared it to Gone Girl, so I was like, "DUH!"

From GoodReads: Noa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date. 

Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. Marlene tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa’s sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story.
Marlene desperately wants Noa to reveal the events that led to her daughter’s death – events that Noa has never shared with a soul. With death looming, Marlene believes that Noa may finally give her the answers she needs, though Noa is far from convinced that Marlene deserves the salvation she alone can deliver. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human in this haunting tale of love, anguish, and deception.

Seriously, though. There are like, 50 books out there right now that I can't wait to get my hands on. Search through Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 Must List for Beach Reads or Amazon's Beach Read List for a long line of GREAT books. 

And now, lovelies, thanks to Whit, I will leave you for the weekend with this undeniably fun and gotta dance to it song: #Beautiful by Mariah Carey. 

I have no idea why the hashtag was ness, but apparently it was. Whatever the trendy name, this song never fails to make me dance in my car like a lunatic and I love it! 

Book Round Up

I'm sad to report that I haven't been reading lately. It's the first time in the longest time that I can remember where I've gone this long without reading anything. 
But that doesn't mean I am not reading about reading books! 

Here are some that have caught my eye on Goodreads.com lately! 

When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one’s more surprised than she is. Julian’s relentless energy and his extraordinary intellect electrify her, but she’s baffled by his sudden interest. Why would this handsome British billionaire—Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor—pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn’t had a boyfriend since college?

The answer is beyond imagining . . . at least at first. Kate and Julian’s story may have begun not in the moneyed world of twenty-first-century Manhattan but in France during World War I, when a mysterious American woman emerged from the shadows of the Western Front to save the life of Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, a celebrated war poet and infantry officer.

Now, in modern-day New York, Kate and Julian must protect themselves from the secrets of the past, and trust in a true love that transcends time and space.

Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. 

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations. 

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.

At 22, Leslie Morgan Steiner seemed to have it all: a Harvard diploma, a glamorous job at Seventeen magazine, a downtown New York City apartment. Plus a handsome, funny, street-smart boyfriend who adored her. But behind her façade of success, this golden girl hid a dark secret. She’d made a mistake shared by millions: she fell in love with the wrong person.

At first Leslie and Conor seemed as perfect together as their fairy-tale wedding. Then came the fights she tried to ignore: he pushed her down the stairs of the house they bought together, poured coffee grinds over her hair as she dressed for a critical job interview, choked her during an argument, and threatened her with a gun. Several times, he came close to making good on his threat to kill her. With each attack, Leslie lost another piece of herself.

Gripping and utterly compelling, Crazy Love takes you inside the violent, devastating world of abusive love. Conor said he’d been abused since he was a young boy, and love and rage danced intimately together in his psyche. Why didn’t Leslie leave? She stayed because she loved him. Find out for yourself if she had fallen truly in love – or into a psychological trap. Crazy Love will draw you in -- and never let go.

An addictive and moving debut about love, fidelity, sports, and growing up when you least expect it, told through the irresistible voices of three generations

It’s the spring of 1994 in Cooperstown, New York, and Joanie Cole, the beloved matriarch of the Obermeyer family, has unexpectedly died in her sleep. Now, for the first time, three generations are living together under one roof and are quickly encroaching on one another’s fragile orbits. Eighty-six-year-old Bob Cole is adrift in his daughter’s house without his wife. Anne Obermeyer is increasingly suspicious of her husband, Hugh’s, late nights and missed dinners, and Hugh, principal of the town’s preschool, is terrified that a scandal at school will erupt and devastate his life. Fifteen-year-old tennis-team hopeful Julia is caught in a love triangle with Sam and Carl, her would-be teammates and two best friends, while her brother, Teddy, the star pitcher of Cooperstown High, will soon catch sight of something that will change his family forever.

At the heart of the Obermeyers’ present-day tremors is the scandal of The Sex Cure, a thinly veiled roman à clef from the 1960s, which shook the small village of Cooperstown to the core. When Anne discovers a battered copy underneath her parents’ old mattress, the Obermeyers cannot escape the family secrets that come rushing to the surface. With its heartbreaking insight into the messy imperfections of family, love, and growing up, Love All is an irresistible comic story of coming-of-age—at any age.

And for all you beach comers out there: All The Summer Girls by Meg Donohue.

 I thought about doing a summer/beach themed book round up but I simply can't bring myself to think about the book when it's a cool 65 out. Next time the sun actually shows its face, I'll attempt to get in the summertime mood! 

“Beach Book Extraordinaire! Donohue’s three protagonists are irresistibly sympathetic as they try to unbury their true selves from the ruinous secrets of their shared past.” --Elin Hilderbrand. bestselling author of Beautiful Day

In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her fiance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful stay-at-home mom Vanessa is obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, the aspiring writer who can't seem to put down a book--or a cocktail--long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired...again.

In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women being to realize how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier--and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.

Happy Reading Friends! 
Are you reading anything extraordinary?
I need recommendations that will get me out of my non reading slump!