May 2019 Book List

Yes, I actually read all these books!

I can’t believe I read all these books this month.  I was fortunate to have a little more downtime than normal this month, so my list has 13 books!  My favorites have been honored with paw prints! 

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The Unhoneymooners

The Night Before 

The Season of Silver Linings

The Time Collector

Waisted

Southern Lady Code

Why Don’t You Write My Eulogy Now So I Can Correct It

The First Mistake 

Ask Again, Yes🐾🐾

Sometimes I Lie

The Friend Zone 🐾🐾

How To Walk Away🐾🐾

The Night Olivia Fell

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Reviews coming in June for The First Mistake, Sometimes I Lie and The Friend Zone.

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See any favorites on the list?

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Have a wonderful weekend!!

Happy Publication Day! Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

“The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing any better than kids do. That’s the truth.”

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This gem is getting tucked into my favorites list for 2019.  Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and pick this one up because I got the same feeling reading this book that I get with all the books I truly love, the ones I give 5 stars to, the ones I will keep forever.  I will beg people to read it.  If someone asks me for a recommendation, I’ll tell them to read this.  

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One of the reasons I joined Bookstagram was to find new books to read and to find people who loved books as much as I do.  So I have to thank Deb @lonestarwords for this recommendation and I’m so glad I followed her lead!  This is a family drama, spanning almost four decades.  Francis Gleeson and Bill Stanhope meet as NYPD rookies in 1973.  They aren’t really good friends but their lives begin to mirror each other’s as they both move to the same little town outside NY and buy houses across the street from one another.  And that’s where the story really begins with the dynamics of each family.  Do you ever look at people’s houses and wonder about the lives inside?  This book is an answer to that question.  It’s a family drama— marriage struggles, addiction, darkness, tragedy.  Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope are the two children caught in the intersection of their parents.  Peter is Bill and Anne Stanhope’s only child.  Kate is the youngest of Francis and Lena Gleeson’s three daughters.

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Kate and Peter find friendship and solace in one another until tragedy strikes.  Every character is so well-written.  Even with all their flaws and failings, I felt for every single character, including the ones that were so difficult to find any sympathy for them at all. Nothing is overdone and this was such a quick read for me because I couldn’t put this book down.  I won’t say anything more except to urge you to read this book for yourself.  Many thanks to Scribner Books and NetGalley for my copy.  I definitely want a physical copy of this book so I can keep it on my favorites shelf!

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book was on my book cart and since I had tried to make the commitment to read titles that I have had for awhile, I chose this one for a couple of reasons:

1. It got a ton of great reviews
2. The author’s latest book releases in August and I wanted to feature this one on my blog before the new release.
3. I had a day off from work and I knew I could read uninterrupted.

Wow, I loved this book. I’m grateful I bought it on the recommendation of my fellow Bookstagrammers. From the first page, I was pulled into Maggie’s story. One thing I really loved about it? It was told through Maggie’s POV. No alternating narrators. Not that there is anything wrong with alternating points of view. I’m just so happy I read a book without that back and forth between multiple characters. Because Maggie told her story so well.

When Maggie’s entire life is changed in an instant, she has to find a way to go forward. She must face her new life and challenges and she does that with grit, humor, determination and resilience. Life can change on a dime for anyone. It can throw roadblocks in our path that we never thought we’d face. In an instant, life can be altered so much that we don’t even recognize the person we used to be. I found life lessons here–to be grateful for the smallest things, to sometimes give people second chances, to embrace a new friendship or relationship, to have the courage to think outside the box.

I loved the characters we meet through Maggie. Her mom and dad, her sister, Kitty. Ian. Even the ones I didn’t like. Because they felt real. Because in life, not everyone is perfect. Not everyone does the right things. In the words of Ian, some people are “wankers.” (And they probably always will be.)

I will happily find every book that Katherine Center wrote and read it. I can’t wait to read her new book! I’m so happy to have found a new author to love.





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The Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis

Henry is ready for a long weekend!

Summary from the book: Helen Ellis has a mantra: “If you don’t have something nice to say, say something not-so-nice in a nice way.” Say “weathered” instead of “she looks like a cake left out in the rain.” Say “early-developed” instead of “brace face and B cups.” And for the love of Coke Salad, always say “Sorry you saw something that offended you” instead of “Get that stick out of your butt, Miss Prissy Pants.” In these twenty-three raucous essays Ellis transforms herself into a dominatrix Donna Reed to save her marriage, inadvertently steals a $795 Burberry trench coat, witnesses a man fake his own death at a party, avoids a neck lift, and finds a black-tie gown that gives her the confidence of a drag queen. While she may have left her home in Alabama, married a New Yorker, forgotten how to drive, and abandoned the puffy headbands of her youth, Helen Ellis is clinging to her Southern accent like mayonnaise to white bread, and offering readers a hilarious, completely singular view on womanhood for both sides of the Mason-Dixon.

Southern Lady Code

Southern Lady Code by Helen Ellis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I laughed out loud at this collection of essays. This little book was just what I needed as a break from crazy thrillers and heavy drama. It’s fun, light, and sassy. Some of the essays I could relate to, such as the one where the author describes her decision to not have children. I was both shocked and dissolved into hysterics as I read the birthday party essay. Then there was the incident with Burberry trench coat. I once took a coat that wasn’t mine at a hair salon. Drove all the way home only to realize that I was wearing someone else’s coat. Granted, it wasn’t a Burberry trench coat and I had to drive back to the salon in the cold and pouring rain to swap the coat, but still. I can relate.

That’s the great thing about this book. Even if you aren’t a Southern Lady, (raising my hand!) you can still relate to these stories. Pick this up and read it on your porch swing as you sip some sweet tea. Or slip it into your tote if you’re hanging by the pool one afternoon and you don’t want a heavy read. I enjoyed Helen Ellis’ journey from Alabama to NYC!



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Happy Pub Day!

Happy Pub Day!! 

Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers

Daphne and Alice are deeply unhappy with their bodies.  They meet at Privation for a month-long stay in a remote Vermont location that promises weight loss with mindfulness.  What they find instead is that they are trapped literally without access to their phones or families, in a cruel, fat-shaming, reality-show documentary called Waisted.  An experiment devised by the producers and director to see how far women will go in search of weight loss.

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This book is for every woman who looks at themselves in the mirror and doesn’t like what they see.  The muffin tops, the big thighs, struggling to get into a body shaper and feeling like a stuffed sausage in the process.  Feeling like you should only eat steamed vegetables for the rest of your life.   I immediately understood and connected with the main characters and how they dealt with their weight problems and what women will put themselves through to be thinner.  When Daphne, Alice and the other women realize that they are just pawns in a horrible game played by the producers of the documentary for the purpose of entertainment, they take matters into their own hands and find the strength within themselves and each other to finally break the cycle of self-hate that has dominated their lives for so long.

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It’s difficult to read Waisted but it’s also joyous.  Daphne and Alice alternate in telling their stories and the reader gets to know both women and the people in their lives.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out that I read this book in a day and I really loved it.  Thank you to @atriabooks @getredpr #partner and @netgalley for my copy. 

Also, a huge thanks to @randysusanmeyersauthor for a copy of Women Under Scrutiny.  This book is an anthology of essays, poems, stories and art that examines the relationships we have with our appearance, how we have been treated by the world and how we treat others.

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#waisted #randysusanmeyers #atriabooks #netgalley #pubday 

Weekend reads

Happy Saturday!

I do most of my reading on the weekends, interspersed with chores like laundry and grocery shopping and dog walking (Benny). Time is precious and in limited supply but I do love to just sit and read uninterrupted. Here in Pennsylvania, the weather is uncooperative to be able to sit outside, but it’s a beautiful morning and I hope to get a little bit of time outside to read.

I usually have two books going at once, one physical book and one on my Kindle. I don’t read outside on my iPad because of the glare, but it does take better photos! My reads for this weekend are Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane and Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney.

Ask Again, Yes will publish on May 28th. Thank you to Scribner books and NetGalley for my copy! Here’s a summary: Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are two NYPD rookies assigned to the same Bronx precinct in 1973. They aren’t close friends on the job, but end up living next door to each other outside the city. What goes on behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the stunning events to come.

Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’s youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact.

But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.

Sometimes I Lie has been on my shelf for awhile and Alice Feeney has a new book out now. I’m a big fan of the twisted, psychological thriller, so I was anxious to read this one.

I’m off to enjoy a sunny Saturday while it lasts!

Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Happy Publication Day to The Unhoneymooners!

Summary: Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

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Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

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Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

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My Thoughts: Sweet, funny but ultimately forgettable. For me, this one wasn’t my favorite book by these authors. It doesn’t pack the emotional punch of Love And Other Words. I didn’t quite fall in love with Ethan and Olive as much as I loved Josh and Hazel in Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating.

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I did laugh at some of the silliness in the first part of the book, but there just wasn’t enough character development for me to really enjoy this. However I kept picturing the story as a romantic movie with the beautiful location of Maui as a backdrop. And the beautiful book cover is certainly an invitation to a reader looking for a light, romantic read. I enjoyed the witty banter between Ethan and Olive and it’s pretty light on the sex scenes, which was refreshing. I would recommend this for anyone who is going through a rough time in their lives. Or this is just the perfect beach read.  It’s light, frothy, and fun. 

We’ve had nothing but cold, rainy, horrible weather here in Pennsylvania and this book is the perfect anecdote to the rainy day (week, month) blues.

🍹🍹🍹 1/2 tropical drinks out of 5.