Friday, July 3, 2015

Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams

The reigning queen of the beach read is back this summer with a new book-Tiny Little Thing. I find myself with overlapping themes in recent books I have read. The Balance Project, and this book both include themes of the struggle for perfection. No matter the time period, many women feel compelled to uphold a false image of perfection. In this day and age, it comes in the form of social media and the unavoidable social web. In the past it was photographs, physical evidence of betrayals and secrets that are kept at close bay. The perfect life is an image, a mirage of something that is unattainable. When Tiny is confronted with the reality that her marriage and her life may not be as perfect as she maintains, her life threatens to unravel. 

In the summer of 1966, Christina Hardcastle—“Tiny” to her illustrious family—stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Of the three Schuyler sisters, she’s the one raised to marry a man destined for leadership, and with her elegance and impeccable style, she presents a perfect camera-ready image in the dawning age of television politics. Together she and her husband, Frank, make the ultimate power couple: intelligent, rich, and impossibly attractive. It seems nothing can stop Frank from rising to national office, and he’s got his sights set on a senate seat in November.

But as the season gets underway at the family estate on Cape Cod, three unwelcome visitors appear in Tiny’s perfect life: her volatile sister Pepper, an envelope containing incriminating photograph, and the intimidating figure of Frank’s cousin Vietnam-war hero Caspian, who knows more about Tiny’s rich inner life than anyone else. As she struggles to maintain the glossy façade on which the Hardcastle family’s ambitions are built, Tiny begins to suspect that Frank is hiding a reckless entanglement of his own…one that may unravel both her own ordered life and her husband’s promising career.

If you are looking for an engaging summer read, Beatriz Williams is your go-to author. Her other titles OverseasThe Secret Life of Violet Grant, and A Hundred Summers make great reads as well. A special thank you goes out to Andrea, founder of the Facebook group Great Thoughts, Great Readers for an early copy of the book! You can find her blog here.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

#tbt to The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Throw Back Thursday to 2013! 
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

This is the first book of Liane Moriarty's that I have read, and I'm a fan! Do you believe in the idea that everything is destiny? Do you believe that your fate can be decided in a moment's notice? I believed that before reading this book, and realize just how many moments in my life could have been changed by an instantaneous decision. Would I be able to resist the temptation to read a letter addressed to me, to read only upon my husband's death? That's exactly how The Husband's Secret begins. With a letter. A letter that Cecelia's husband does not want her to read until he is dead. When Cecelia decides to open the letter even though John-Paul is not dead, what unfolds is a story so complicated that you won't want to do anything else until you find out what happens! Rachel Crowley is a widower who has also lost her teenaged daughter. Janie Crowley was murdered, and Rachel is convinced she know just who the murderer is. She'll see to it that Janie's death is avenged if it is the last thing she does. Does Rachel have the right suspect? Tess O'Leary has been shattered by a revelation by her husband, and sends her running into another man's arms. Does Tess have the courage to reunite her family? Is she choosing what is best for her? Or, will she make a decision simply to appease her family life?  The lives of these families are woven together so precisely by the author that you are invested in the outcome. You can readily see yourself in their shoes, and dare to imagine the possibilities of their scenarios in your own life.  A superb read. Back list books are the best! 
Keep reading, my friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

From author Catherine Ryan Hyde, comes a book about tragedy, triumph and redemption. It is the story of two strangers who forge a connection when they find out they are connected by an unfortunate turn of events. This being her 27th novel, you just know it will grab you and will be a story you will not soon forget.

"Virginia finally had the chance to explore a relationship with Aaron when he asked her on a date. She had been waiting, hoping that the widower and his young son, Buddy, would welcome her into their lives. But a terrible tragedy strikes on the night of their first kiss, crushing their hopes for a future together. Nineteen years later, Virginia is engaged, though she has not forgotten Aaron or Buddy. When her dog goes missing and it comes to light that her fiancé set him loose, a distraught Virginia breaks off the engagement and is alone once again. A shy young man has found the missing pet, and although he’s bonded with the animal, he answers his conscience and returns the dog. Before long, Virginia and the young man discover a connection from their pasts that will help them let go of painful memories and change their lives forever."
Worthy is a book that will warm your heart, and remind you to believe that nothing happens without a purpose. Often tragedy strikes, and we cannot understand the reasons, but that it is often best not to try to make sense of it. Sometimes life doesn't make sense. Virginia and Aaron could have been a family. Life has a mind of its own. From Worthy we learn to embrace life, because even the set-backs can help us understand who we really are, and why life is precious and important. Every single second of it. 

Happy reading!

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall

From author Susie Orman Schnall comes a book about learning to balance it all: family, career, and relationships. It begs an answer to the question "can we have it all?" Do we truly have the ability to keep everything running smoothly when we are busy and overstretched? This is the modern-day woman's facade of perfection. What you portray on social media becomes your existence. If it looks perfect, it must be perfect, right? 
I would love for you to read a synopsis of the book, and then share with you my thoughts on the book. 

"The Balance Project is a story of loyalty, choices, and balance that will resonate deeply with all women who struggle with this hot-button issue. Loyal assistant Lucy Cooper works for Katherine Whitney, who seems to have it all: a high-powered job at a multibillion-dollar health and wellness lifestyle company, a successful husband, and two adorable daughters. Now, with the release of her book on work-life balance, Katherine has become a media darling and a hero to working women everywhere. In reality, though, Katherine’s life is starting to fall apart, and Lucy is the one holding it all together, causing her own life―and relationship with her boyfriend Nick―to suffer. When Katherine does something unthinkable to Lucy, Lucy must decide whether to change Katherine’s life forever or continue being her main champion. Her choice will affect the trajectory of both of their lives and lead to opportunities neither one could have imagined."

My Thoughts
I truly believe the answer to the question "can we have it all?" is-yes. Let me explain before you jump up in protest! I believe "having it all" is a very subjective experience. What I believe to be a full life may be very different from someone else who believes that I do way too much in my life. If I listed off the many things I did within the span of a day, someone may take a deep breath and say "Whew! You do too much!" For me, this lifestyle is normal. I really enjoyed this book. It was well-written, an easy read, and an engaging story-line. This was the trifecta of perfection for me-a busy working mom. Please, indulge in this book on a towel or on a beach lounge somewhere. Sip your drink with an umbrella in it, and forget about your problems. I promise you (crosses heart), you will not be sorry. 

Happy reading!

The Monday Run-Down

After spending a week sans computer, I am back up and running thanks to helpful You Tube videos and a trip to the Apple Genius Bar. Seriously, what did we ever do before we could Google solutions to a problem? Everything is out there. EVERYTHING! The digital snafu put me a little behind in regard to blogging, but that's not a bad thing! Every could has a silver lining. Here is what's up this week on Read Baby Read.

The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall. As a woman who adored The Devil Wears Prada, I highly recommend Susie's book which is not exactly The Devil Wears Prada, but will leave you feeling fulfilled and happy that you have chosen a great read for your seaside adventures.

Worthy by Catherine Ryan Hyde. If that name sounds familiar, it is because she also is of the Pay it Forward fame. Remember the book and the movie that came out? Yes, that one! I think you will all really enjoy this book.

What to Read Wednesday Summer Recap. If you don't have time to scroll through my blog to find your next read, this post is for you!

Throw Back Thursday post. Bringing it back to Taylor's After I Do. You will be thrilled with her newest book, and I just wanted to warm you up!

Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams. She has written many summer hits, and this book is no exception!

Have a fabulous reading week, everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

#tbt to The Best Reading Challenge EVER!

As I mentioned in the Monday Run-Down post, I attended a fabulous party in New York that was held by author Laura Dave to celebrate the release of her newest book Eight Hundred Grapes (out soon!). While I was at the party, I met some wonderful bloggers who I have seen and interacted with on social media, but it was great to have the opportunity to meet them in real life! If you are a book blogger, or a book lover, I highly recommend attending BEA at least once in your lifetime. It was exhausting in the best possible way, and gave me the opportunity to share some amazing new books with you! Okay, so I will limit my babble to tell you about an exciting challenge coming out of a conversation I had with Laura's publicist, Marysue. We chatted about A.R., and promoting reading. of course it is no secret I am a reader, and with o without free books, I would be reading. I told her about my former school creating a 40 Book Challenge for students. The gist of the challenge was to promote reading within our school, and to encourage the students to increase the amount of books they read each year. For every book they read, they received a raffle ticket to win a set of books we housed in the office. It was amazing to see the look on the kids' faces when they would run their tickets up to the office to enter the raffle. In conversation with Marysue, I told her I really think a contest works well for adults too! So...thanks to generous publisher donations, I bring you the #1in1 and #15in15 challenge on Instagram.

The rules are simple:
1. Read one book this month (contest ends on the last day of the month)
2. Once you have finished reading, take a picture or screen shot of the book cover, and post it on Instagram or Twitter.
3. Hashtag #1in1 and #15in15 so I can find your post
4. Tag me @lilmommareader, as well as the publisher of the book
5. You can post twice a month for the contest, but feel free to enter as many times as you want!

The contest is on you honor, and I would love more than anything for everyone to win! The more you enter, the better your karma. Just sayin'....

Thank you Simon & Schuster for the books for our monthly giveaway.

To inspire you, please read this book! I recommend it all the time, to everyone I meet. It is one of my all-time faves!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday #wanttoread List feat. Jane Green

Every book I read by the fabulous Jane Green is one I treasure. I met her in 2014 at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Her signed copy of Tempting Fate is well-worn from all of the hands that have read it at my insistence. It is, as I type, still being passed from reader to reader. I love when a book does that! I cannot wait to dive in her newest book Summer Secrets. It is part of the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge, and I want you to add it to your TBR list!   

When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It's a mistake for which she can't forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it's time to grow up. But she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.
As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.
Told with Jane Green's keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.

Happy Hump Day & Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff

Do not allow the whimsical cover on this book fool you into thinking this book isn't richly written and wonderfully nuanced. Yes, the premise is a bit far-fetched, but the writing in this book is simply wonderful, and the story has you thinking, "would I fall for this same scenario?" The truth is, we are incredibly busy. As a mother, I though having babies and toddlers left me busy and running around. I knew nothing of busyness until my children became involved in sports, and traveling for said sports, and my schedule became more compact and impacted. Some days I am so busy my head spins. There were times I wished I could clone myself into another person so that one day I could just come home and lie down. That's it, just lie down. Maybe even read a book somewhere besides the front seat of my car. If you can identify with anything I've just said, this book is for you. Anyone who has had a job that took up even a minute of your leisure time can identify with this book. 


Jennifer Sharpe is a divorced mother of two with a problem just about any working parent can relate to: her boss expects her to work as though she doesn’t have children, and her children want her to care for them as though she doesn’t have a boss. But when, through a fateful coincidence, a brilliant physicist comes into possession of Jennifer’s phone and decides to play fairy godmother, installing a miraculous time-travel app called Wishful Thinking, Jennifer suddenly finds herself in possession of what seems like the answer to the impossible dream of having it all: an app that lets her be in more than one place at the same time. With the app, Jennifer goes quickly from zero to hero in every part of her life: she is super-worker, the last to leave her office every night; she is super-mom, the first to arrive at pickup every afternoon; and she even becomes super-girlfriend, dating a musician who thinks she has unlimited childcare and a flexible job. But Jennifer soon finds herself facing questions that adding more hours to her day can’t answer. Why does she feel busier and more harried than ever? Is she aging faster than everyone around her? How can she be a good worker, mother, and partner when she can’t be honest with anybody in her life? And most important, when choosing to be with your children, at work, or with your partner doesn’t involve sacrifice, do those choices lose their meaning? Wishful Thinking is a modern-day fairy tale in which one woman learns to overcome the challenges—and appreciate the joys—of living life in real time.

If there is a book that has been an unexpected gift to me, it has been Wishful Thinking! Thank you Book Sparks! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Monday Run-Down

I have had an incredibly eventful weekend, and meeting wonderful authors was part of that. I had the opportunity to meet Jane Porter tonight at a release party for her newest book titled "It's You." While at Laguna Beach Books for the release party, I also had the pleasure of meeting Kaira Rouda, Beth Albright, and Anita Hughes. I also chatted with Suzanne Redfearn again, which was a treat for me as it has been a while since I last saw her. Being around bookish folks is a huge treat for me, and I loved every minute of it!

Check out my Instagram @lilmommareader for a giveaway of Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff. This was a wonderful read in Book Spark's Summer Reading Challenge. Please stop by Instagram to enter for a chance to win. You do not want to miss it!

Visit my page to see what I thought of Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff. I posted a while back on my Want to Read Wednesday post, and I was enthralled with this book!

Find out what is up next on my TBR pile! (hint, Jane Green)

Throw-Back Thursday to one of my favorite books, and one that I return to time and time again to recommend to friends, family, and strangers!

I hope you have a wonderful bookish week! xoxo