Books that Bring a Ray of Sunshine

Lately I've notice a little "summery" theme among some of my ARCs and picks on the top of my TBR stack so I wanted to tell you about them: 

My review for The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green - A classic family drama from Jane Green, that has her familiar, great story-telling vibe-although I did feel like the story was on a much more larger scale, which impressed me. There were a lot of characters and story lines that kept me interested. I am always drawn to stories about mother/daughter relationships. It's about the Sunshines, Ronnie, the mother, put stardom before her children and now she's at the end of her life with alot of explaining to do. Her 3 daughters are all very different and dynamic and I loved their individual story lines. I felt like there was a missed opportunity to really dive into why there is such a strained relationship between the mother and her 3 daughters, I would have liked more flashbacks because they are seriously estranged...but the action of their current lives was enough to keep me interested. 

Losing the Light by Andrea Dunlop- I just dove into this and the writing is spot on. Literal, honest and to-the-point and I love that. I don't have time to tip toe around the details or the back story and Dunlop does an awesome job at diving right in. I liked and trusted the main character, Brooke, right away, even as she is telling me about a dead girl and an affair with her college professor in the first couple chapters. It's set in France. Frenchmen everywhere. What else do you need?? 

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave- This cover though, can we just send up the praise hand emojis? If this doesn't get you ready to read poolside, I don't know what will. The main character is a social media star with a luxe lifestyle and everything going for her. And of course, a secret she's trying to keep. Juicy! 

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner-  This book caught my attention on #bookstagram (which obviously happens a lot because it's my happy place) and I really had a feeling that I was going to love it. Do you ever see a book and just feel like "yes, that's going to be my new favorite."- that's how I feel abou this book. It has everything I need to bring a little sunshine in my life: drama, family, the beach and deep, dark secrets. I mean, other than a chilled wine spritzer, what else do you really need in June? 

Are any of these going to be on your Summer Reading List? Tell me what you're reading! 

Show Us Your Books: March

I don't have a lot of time to write long descriptions but I love sharing all the books I read each month and I read some gems in March so I am going to make this short and sweet. 

Must Reads: 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: YES. Read my full review here and then plan on reading this awesome book. 

The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn: Read my full review here. This is my favorite read of the month. It's a premise that is intriguing because it really is a good "What if?" question and I think everyone wonders what lies on the other side of a question like this... 

It Happens All the Time. (My full review is here) This is a good read because it talks about a tough subject but tells the story in a reflective and interesting voice. 

Didn't love: 

Always by Sarah Jio- I love Sarah Jio- she's always a good, go-to author. However, this story just took too long. Maybe it's because I listened to the audiobook and I can only listen 3 days out of the week so it felt like it took longer to get through, but I am not sure. I felt like the main character, who runs into her first love by happenstance and who is now a homeless man, isn't being genuine enough. The story that she just happens to be a journalist who is covering homeless in her city... it just felt a little too contrived. 

The Separation by Katie Kitmura: Another audiobook fail for me. I honestly believe it had to do with the narrator. She. read. so. slow. I couldn't stand it and had to switch over and listen to podcasts instead and ended up forgetting about it all together. I think I needed to know more about where the hell the husband was to catch my attention quicker.

 I think I may have gotten another book into the line up if I hadn't gotten sucked into Up and Vanished and S-Town this month. Did anyone else listen? 

Currently, I am listening to The Roanoke Girls and reading The Fall of Lisa Bellow  

Thanks Steph and Jana for hosting another great Show Us Your Books link up! 

Book Review: The Arrangement

Shout out to the first book to make me cry in a long long time. I love when that happens. It's not that I actually enjoy crying  but sometimes, it helps to let it out, doesn't it? It was towards the the end and whenever a book or movie fast forwards to the end and shows you how the characters have moved on, it always makes me feel the feels. For example- the last episode of Parenthood? I can't even talk about it without getting choked up. And this had that beautifully tied together ending that I love so much.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book. It is a story that needs to be told because I think everyone has a little voice in their heart that asks "What if?" of the path they didn't take, the person they didn't choose.

When Lucy and Owen decided on the "Arrangement" I thought there was no way that both of them were going to go thru with it. They are married and have a "nice" life. Why fix what's not broken, right? But what if it could be better? So they set some rules and try something new. Each one would get six months to sleep with other people. No questions asked, no jealously, no details. And then it's over. That's the plan. After getting to know the characters, I certainly didn't think the one who actually broke the rules would be the one to fall.  But then again, that's why I loved the story- the elements of surprise, how things came full circle at the end- I don't want to give anything away but it has to be said- this book isn't just a frilly romance. It's complex, it's thoughtful and it has depth. I loved every minute of it.

The multiple story lines, the evolution of the characters, the setting (I want to move to Beekman!) These elements made sure that the story was never  boring. I really got caught up in the raising of the kids, especially the main characters' son, who has autism. I revel in learning about other's parenting experiences and Dunn really nailed the ups and downs of parenthood. You know, wanting to scream and kick in frustration while also scooping up and cover their faces in kisses at the same time?

Another thing- this book is funny. There is a little bit of a shock factor, a crazy lazy with a home repair obsession and a bunch of chickens all named after poultry entrees.

Have you read it? Tell what me what you thought. And if not, at it to your TBR!

I received this book thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Book Review: It Happens All The Time

This book is a very important narrative for our society today. Not only does it have an important message, but it also has a multi-dimensional story line that makes it very powerful.

Told in a back and forth style between Tyler and Amber, It Happens All the Time tells the story of two friends who experience a night together that will change both of their lives forever. Hatvany tackles a very heavy and important topic: consent. 

Amber faces many questions: Will she ever be able to have healthy body image, will she ever be confident? Is her engagement the best decision and is she really in love? 

For one night, she decides to let loose and have fun with her friends and she felt safe enough to be a little reckless, especially since she has her best friend Tyler by her side. Flirting with him feels safe. Until one drink turns into more and suddenly, she is waking up with memories of the night before that shake her to her core. She remembers saying no to Tyler and she remembers that he didn't listen. 

When Tyler tells his side of the story, it's quite different from Amber's. He can't understand why she won't talk to him... The most shocking/interesting thing about the book is that you get to see the man's point of view. You can tell the author wrote this with a powerful message and experience behind it.

There is a shocking start to the book that caught my attention right away and I couldn't look away until I finished the last page. 

This is a great because of the thrilling story and account of the dynamics between women and men, our lovers and our enemies... and how quickly those dynamics can change. But also, the importance of it's message makes this a must read.

To hear the author's personal story and inspiration behind this book, visit her website: