Monday, June 27, 2016

Shrill by Lindy West




Important note: I listened to an audio of this book and I would be very careful with your children in the car. No, I wouldn't know from experience. 

This is not the kind of book that one would want to pick up or listen to if you are a) sensitive or b) take offense when you hear bad language in a book. Once you have decided you don't fall into the categories above, you can read/listen to Shrill and really appreciate the honesty of the author and I found her stories to be hilarious, and, at times, truly heartbreaking. It is quite remarkable that we live in a world where people feel that they can be disrespectful to a person simply based on their size. Being able to hide behind a screen while shaming someone is a growing epidemic, and I am grateful for the Lindy West's of the world who help us all feel a little more "loud" and proud. 

The one big take-away for me was teaching my kids (especially my girl) that no matter what anyone says, she always holds the power.  

Synopsis via Amazon

Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but. 

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.

With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Introducing Brightly! {Plus a giveaway}



It can be incredibly difficult in the digital age to cultivate young readers, but Brightly has you covered! Parents, you should subscribe to Brightly's newsletter ( Brightly's Email Newsletter) to find the latest and greatest in children's books that are sorted for you by age. There is even a bonus for the adult readers, with a complete section that suits you and your needs. Click on this post which features the best books for Pre-Kindergarten that are released this summer! Once you experience Brightly, you will be hooked!

Here is a book I can't wait to read from the Pre-K list. You know I will be using it in my classroom as well. 

Quit Calling Me A Monster!
By Jory John

Floyd doesn’t want to be labeled or seen as a stereotype for the rest of his life. Sure, he’s a monster with pointy teeth and shaggy purple fur — but he’s more than his looks. You’ll laugh your way through this story with a great life lesson.
(Available August 23, 2016)
 Don't miss out on the opportunity to stay in touch with the latest and greatest in books, and subscribe to Brightly's newsletter. As a bonus, subscribers will be entered to win a tote bag like the one below filled with books! Good luck!

Brightly's Email Newsletter 

It’s a weekly newsletter that you can customize to receive content that’s just right for the readers in your family! 



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda



Have you all noticed that books that are in the thriller category are compared to one or both of the following books? It's either "for fans of Girl on the Train," or "for fans of Gone Girl," read this title. I think All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda can stand just fine on its own two feet. This book will take you on a roller coaster of emotions, and keep you wondering who was involved in, and who was ultimately responsible in the disappearance of two girls, a decade apart. When Corinne disappeared, you haven't the faintest idea how it happened, until the story slowly unfolds and characters are caught up in the fray. Each one of them becoming a part of the puzzle, but the author holds that last piece, the one that fits it all together, in the palm of her hand. In a town full of ghosts, both past and present, Nicolette is back in Cooley Ridge and the story that follows is incredible.

Megan Miranda crafts a narrative that wraps you in from the very start, and weaves an intricate web of deception that readers will be stuck in until the ending is revealed. A perfect poolside read!
 
Synopsis via Amazon
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Saving Abby by Steena Holmes



This is my first Steena Holmes book, and I can tell you she really knows how to hit you right in the heart. In Saving Abby, the story explores what happens when you must make a choice between your health and your baby growing inside of you. If you have ever hoped and wished for a baby, you know the strong maternal feelings this evokes, and the thought that the baby may not come to fruition would have any mother reeling. The very thing you have waited for your entire life is dangled in front of you like a carrot, then the thought of the carrot string being abruptly cut sends Claire to her knees. This book is part of Book Sparks' June reading challenge, so be sure to pick up your copy today! You will devour this one!  
Synopsis via Amazon 
All children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own.
Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Steena Holmes brings us an unforgettable story of one woman’s courage and love.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley



If you are looking to add a book to your list, then follow your fellow bookie's advice and read Before The Fall by Noah Hawley. The last thing you probably want to read about on your summer vacation is a plane plunging into the ocean, but stick with me, reader. There are only two survivors of this plane crash-a man who is a down and out painter and a 4 year-old boy who now, as it stands, is the only surviving member of a wealthy family. Was this a mere tragedy, or was there something more sinister, a conspiracy perhaps at the heart of this awful story. Told in alternating narrative between past and present, this book weaves the reader into a masterful story that is truly fantastic!

Synopsis via Amazon
On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.


Happy Reading!
*Thank you to Grand Central for my copy of  Before the Fall*

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

I'm Thinking of Ending Things
By Iain Reid
With a story that keeps you on your toes from start to finish, I have to applaud Iain Reid on his debut novel. About halfway into the book things start looking really odd when Jake and his girlfriend arrive at the farm house. Up until this point, you just think Jake and his girlfriend are just a normal couple. The story of the pigs had me closing my eyes, and swallowing a big lump down my throat. The whole tale, including the commentary sections that reveal what happened leaves you wondering who the Caller is, who has been killed, and how everything is connected in the whole story. When you begin with a line like "I should have ended things", you know you are in for a book that will leave you guessing (and horrified) but will also have you checking your caller I.D. a little closely now. Sleeping with the lights on for a bit now. You have been warned!

Synopsis via Amazon
In this smart, suspenseful, and intense literary thriller, debut novelist Iain Reid explores the depths of the human psyche, questioning consciousness, free will, the value of relationships, fear, and the limitations of solitude. Reminiscent of Jose Saramago’s early work, Michel Faber’s cult classic Under the Skin, and Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk about KevinI’m Thinking of Ending Things is an edgy, haunting debut. Tense, gripping, and atmospheric, this novel pulls you in from the very first page…and never lets you go.

Happy Reading!
*Thank you to Gallery/Scout Press for my copy of  I'm Thinking of Ending Things*

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich

Featuring 
My Mrs. Brown
by William Norwich

Pearls of wisdom can be found in each and every book that we read, but there are many in My Mrs. Brown that resonate with the reader. It is true that once you think positively and you practice those thoughts they become true. The power of an Oscar De La Renta dress to change your life becomes the main focus of this novel, and readers can delight in the chosen words that convey a message from author to reader.

Synopsis via Simon & Schuster 
From William Norwich, the well-known fashion writer and editor, an unforgettable novel about a woman with a secret who travels to New York City on a determined quest to buy a special dress that represents everything she wants to say about that secret…and herself.

Sometimes a dress isn’t just a dress.

Emilia Brown is a woman of a certain age. She has spent a frugal, useful, and wholly restrained life in Ashville, a small town in Rhode Island. Overlooked especially by the industries of fashion and media, Mrs. Brown is one of today’s silent generations of women whose quiet no-frills existences would make them seem invisible. She is a genteel woman who has known her share of personal sorrows and quietly carried on, who makes a modest living cleaning and running errands at the local beauty parlor, who delights in evening chats with her much younger neighbor, twenty-three-year-old Alice Danvers.

When the grand dame of Ashville passes away, Mrs. Brown is called upon to inventory her estate and comes across a dress that changes everything. The dress isn’t a Cinderella confection; it’s a simple yet exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta sheath and jacket—a suit that Mrs. Brown realizes, with startling clarity, will say everything she has ever wished to convey. She must have it. And so, like the inspired heroine of Paul Gallico’s 1958 classic Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris, Mrs. Brown begins her odyssey to purchase thedress. For not only is the owning of the Oscar de la Renta a must, the intimidating trip to purchase it on Madison Avenue is essential as well. If the dress is to give Mrs. Brown a voice, then she must prepare by making the daunting journey—both to the emerald city and within herself.

Timeless, poignant, and appealing, My Mrs. Brown is a novel for every mother in the world, every woman who ever wanted the perfect dress, and every child who wanted to give it to her.

Happy Reading!
*Thank you to Simon & Schuster for my copy of  My Mrs. Brown*

Sunday, June 12, 2016

You Knew Me Well by Nina La Cour and David Levithan

Featuring 
“Have you ever wanted something so badly that when it’s about to happen you feel this need to sabotage yourself?”
You Know Me Well is told in alternating story lines, originating from actual between the authors themselves back in 2013. For a teen audience, this book explores young love, and what it means to be true to yourself. Set in San Fracisco during Pride week (how timely), this novel embraces same sex love and the joys and heartaches that come with finding your one true love. Being a teen is incredibly challenging, and this novel stays true to the narrative that comes along with teen angst that accompanies that love.

I have revised this post to reflect the tragic events that unfolded in Orlando over the weekend. I think it is more important now, more than any other time in history to allow young adults the freedom to read, and have characters in literature that are like them. Characters that represent their values and core identities. It resonates with a student to find a character who embodies their very existence. More peace and love, and a lot less hate.

Synopsis via Amazon
Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?
Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.
A book told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still andThe Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

One True Loves by Taylor Reid




Not only are we going to be blessed with another book baby written by Taylor Reid, she is welcoming her own sweet little bundle of joy very, very soon. I couldn't be more excited for her newest release (trust me, you will cherish this one). To celebrate, I have teamed up with Book Sparks to host a book shower for our dear Taylor! I am answering some questions for Taylor to shower her with love.
  1. The first book I ever read by Taylor Jenkins Reid was… I will never forget how fortunate I was to receive an early copy of Forever Interrupted from Carly Watters on Twitter. It was literally my first experience entering a "giveaway", and I couldn't believe my luck when I won. After I read the book, I thrust it upon anyone who would listen, and even some who wouldn't. Everyone knows how much I loved Forever Interrupted, so I asked Taylor to come over to my house as a birthday gift, and imagine my surprise when she said "yes!" My friends and I have been loyal followers of Taylor since that first wondrous book. 
  2. My Wish for Taylor Jenkins Reid as a Mom…My wish for Taylor as a mom would be to snuggle every chance you get, always have everything you need packed in the diaper bag before you leave the house (trust), and don't forget to go easy on yourself. It's over so soon, but it doesn't feel like it, and you are definitely not alone when you look out the window at 3:00 in the morning while feeding the baby. Tickle, talk to the baby incessantly, and love every moment while they're itty bitty. But...if you have the chance to go to Target by yourself, walk slowly. Very, very slowly, and enjoy the time alone.
  3. My Wish for Taylor Jenkins Reid as an author…I wish you the passion you started with when you first started writing, and the wisdom of experience that makes you better in your craft. I wish for you to always have a story in your heart that begs to be told. 
  4. My Favorite book by Taylor Jenkins Reid…This is almost like choosing my favorite child, but I think I will always go with Forever Interrupted.
  5. Who is your One True Love? Of course, my husband Kenny. I love you babe!

About One True Loves:

From the author of Maybe in Another Life — named a People magazine pick and a “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour and USA TODAY — comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancĂ© who has finally brought her back to life.

In her 20s, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her 30s, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancĂ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

About Taylor Jenkins Reid:

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist and TV writer from Acton, Mass. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. She is adapting her second book, After I Do, for ABC Family. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life, has been featured in People, Us Weekly, Cosmo and more.

In addition to her novels, Taylor’s essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, xoJane and a number of other blogs.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit

Here's a link to order the book: http://amzn.to/1VIfS8z

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger



With a supernatural flair Lisa Unger's Ink and Bone takes the reader into a world where bad things happen to good people, even a little girl on a hike with her father and brother. When Finley realizes she has a gift for "seeing" she asks her grandmother to help her, but the only person she can count on to bring the details of this case to the police is Finley herself. Once Finley knows that the police are losing hope on the case, she recognizes that in this town there are more secrets than she cares to acknowledge. The Hollows is a place that holds a deep rooted dark past, and The Hollows will get what it desires. Told in alternating narratives, Ink and Bone is a dark story that will have you hugging your children a little closer.

Publisher's Synopsis

In this explosive psychological thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, a young woman’s mysterious gift forces her into the middle of a dangerous investigation of a little girl’s disappearance.

For as long as she can remember, twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery has been able to see into the future. She dreams about events before they occur and sees beyond the physical world, unconsciously using her power to make supernatural things happen.

But Finley can’t control these powers—and there’s only one person who can help. So Finley moves to The Hollows, a small town in upstate New York where her grandmother lives, a renowned seer who can finally teach Finley how to use her gift.

A gift that is proving to be both a blessing and a curse, as Finley lands in the middle of a dangerous investigation involving a young girl who has been missing for ten months and the police have all but given up hope.
With time running out there’s only so much Finley can do as The Hollows begins to reveal its true colors. As she digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, nothing is what it seems. But one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

Happy Reading! (if you dare!)