Book Round Up: Easy Breezy Summer Reads

Summer is my favorite because it is the perfect time to read easy, fun and simple books. I think I still have a little bit of that "school kid" attitude when it comes to summertime- I really just don't want to do anything too serious. That's why I love reading lovey dovey, mushy books! So with that in mind, I have collected some beach reads that I have read reviews for lately that have really caught my attention! 

That's What She Read's Summer Edition of Book Round Up! 

From Goodreads: For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole

From Goodreads: From the internationally bestselling author of four books, including The Opposite of Me, a vibrant, compulsively readable novel about two married couples who pursue a dream to open a bed-and-breakfast in small-town Vermont. In Catching Air, Pekkanen turns an unflinching eye on the tangled relationships of two pairs of thirty-somethings.

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

From Goodreads: Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

By Jen Doll 

From Goodreads: Wedding experiences come in as varied an assortment as the gowns at any bridal shop, and Doll turns a keen eye to each, delivering a heartfelt exploration of contemporary relationships. Funny, honest, and affecting, Save the Date is a fresh and spirited look at the many ways in which we connect to one another.

Right now, I'm reading 

Somerset by Leila Meacham, who also wrote one of my all time favorites, Roses. They are huge books, sagas, really. They span several decades and generations in families and I've always loved that in books. Somerset is a prequel to Roses and it's about generations of cotton plantation farmers in the mid 1800s. Love it. 

I'm also listening to The Weird Sisters on audio book.

Since I have 2 sisters of my own, plus a ton of other women in my family who I consider to be as close as sisters, I love a good family drama. The sisters in this book could not be more different and they are actually pretty hostile to each other, so it's drama filled, which I like, but there is some tenderness in their memories about their childhood together so I am interested to see how they can mend their relationship as the book unfolds. 

From Goodreads:  The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from -- one another, their small hometown, and themselves -- might offer more than they ever expected.

So that's what my summer is going to look like from the book shelf stand point! 

Other than that, it's shaping up to be a great couple months full of t-ball games, twirling practices, parades, camping and a whole love of fun! 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! 

Book Review: May We Be Forgiven by AM Homes

After reading May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes, I will never look at my favorite Thanksgiving side dish the same way again. 

From Goodreads:  A darkly comic novel of twenty-first-century domestic life and the possibility of personal transformation. Harold Silver has spent a lifetime watching his younger brother, George, a taller, smarter, and more successful high-flying TV executive, acquire a covetable wife, two kids, and a beautiful home in the suburbs of New York City. But Harry, a historian and Nixon scholar, also knows George has a murderous temper, and when George loses control the result is an act of violence so shocking that both brothers are hurled into entirely new lives in which they both must seek absolution.

This is one of those books where it's kind of like those links Perez Hilton posts on Facebook. You know it's probably going to be shocking and slightly scary, but you can't help but keep going. 

The main character, Harold, is a brutally honest, sad man. He's a total creep but I still loved him the entire time, even when he was acting like an ass. He falls in love with his brother's wife. When his brother ruins his family, Harold has to transform his entire life to help safe what is left. At first I thought Harold was going to totally fail. He starts finding women online to have sex with and goes into zombie mode when he's supposed to taking care of his niece and nephew. But A.M. Homes writes this book in a way that has you riveted the entire time, so even in the middle of Harold acting like a total ass, the fast paced writing and quick switching scene make sure you never lose interest. Just when you get frustrated with a character or disgusted with a situation, BOOM, it moves on to the next twist in the plot. 

So Harold finds himself suddenly divorced (he was totally bored with his wife and life anyway, he just didn't know it so it really was for the best) and now taking care of two kids and a house in the suburbs. Not to mention, his once successful brother is now in a mental institution. He's dealing with a lot of sorrow and confusion and does some questionable things that make you think he's not exactly stable himself. But then he starts to grow as a man and he does the most amazing acts of kindness for people.  He picks up a homeless girl who turns out to likely be the one who disappeared and has an Amber alert out for her. He meets a housewife on an online dating site, sleeps with her and then ends up having dinner with her and her entire family. He takes in an older couple and gives them a place to live when they are abandoned by their granddaughter. He takes his nephew on a trip of a lifetime for his bar mitzvah. 

In doing all of these amazing things for other people, Harold fixes himself without even realizing it. 

I can't remember another book whose characters were so memorizing. Harold's brother is a complete and utter psycho. He actually scared me. The two teenagers in the book are incredibly endearing and I fell in love with the way they changed Harold's life. 

This book is like one of those awesome episodes of Intervention. You know, the ones where the back story is totally riveting and then you get super pissed off at the addicted person for royally screwing over their family members...and then little by little they start recovering and at the end, you get chills when the plane takes off to rehab and then cry when the screen goes black and the little white letters tell you they've been sober for months now and have reunited with their family. May We Be Forgiven is like that. 

I found May We Be Forgiven because I read in an interview with Chelsea Handler that she recently read it. Her description of the book immediately intrigued me: 

"The first third is so serious and dark, and everyone's lives are in such disrepair. And then for it to get as funny as it got, I couldn't believe it. I love laughing alone — to know you can achieve that joy by yourself is always fun."

Chelsea Handler is pretty much me, only funnier and richer. So I knew that if she liked the book, then I would too. And she was right. I shuddered in fear and sadness and laughed my way through this book. 

Read it.