Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton


Fewer things are more terrifying than the prospect of having your child taken from you, and living their life like Jaycee Dugard did for many years. Living in a squalid basement, birthing a child, and living in the confines of four small walls until one day the opportunity presents itself to run away and make a clean break. Is anything ever really wrapped up that pretty? No, of course it isn't. Just as in life, fiction also allows us this glimpse into the darker shades of humanity, the ones we don't even realize are there until it may be too late.   

Synopsis
Escape was just the beginning.
Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.
This is what happens next... to Lily, to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter -- and to her captor.

The synopsis is short, sweet, and to the point, and just enough to intrigue the reader.
*This book was read via Netgalley, and was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.* 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer


Julie Lawson Timmer is back, and this time we have a repeat of a story that tears right at the strings of your heart. Last year I read Five Days Left, and it really made me think. I love a book that roots around in your heart, and challenges your belief systems. In Five Days Left, she perfectly wove two stories together, and the result was a book that readers could not forget. I am happy to report that this title is not a disappointment, and readers will find themselves drawn into the narrative of Char's life, and the unifairness of Morgan's life, and a child protection service that is deeply flawed. Trithfully heartfelt, and wonderfully written, Untethered is a fine book to pick up this summer. 
  
Synopsis
Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system. 

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

You'll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein





It has been a while since a book has given me a belly laugh, and it was a welcome relief from the otherwise depressing news seen around the world. In You'll Grow Out Of It, author Jessi Klein remarks anecdotally about things as varied as "Cads" (man goobers) to Bar Method classes. My favorite chapter in the book was the one where she talked about The Bar Method. For those unfamiliar with The Bar Method, it is a workout that utilizes a ballet barre, and small pulsing movements that are incredibly challenging and leave you sore for days! She was absolutely spot on in her assessments, and I found myself with an affinity for Klein. I highly recommend this book for fans of Tina Fey and Amy Pohler. If you are looking for a reprieve from the sorrow of the world, this book offers just that and more. 

Synopsis

In YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT, Klein offers-through an incisive collection of real-life stories-a relentlessly funny yet poignant take on a variety of topics she has experienced along her strange journey to womanhood and beyond. These include her "transformation from Pippi Longstocking-esque tomboy to are-you-a-lesbian-or-what tom man," attempting to find watchable porn, and identifying the difference between being called "ma'am" and "miss" ("Miss sounds like you weigh ninety-nine pounds").

This book is unique in its feminine perspective and hilarious thoughts on life. I really loved it, and I think you will as well. Order the Book here

Happy Reading!

   

Monday, July 11, 2016

Sweet Summer Giveaway {Bliss, Beauty and Books + Lil Momma Reader}


Courtney from Bliss, Beauty and Books and I are teaming up to bring you one of the hottest summer reads! Believe me when we tell you that you will not want to pass up the opportunity to score this book in your beach bag. As a bonus, Courtney has some incredible beauty finds to add to this sweet summer giveaway. We are so excited to chat about Emily Giffin's newest novel First Comes Love. Share this love, and this package could soon be yours!

This giveaway features Emily Giffin's First Comes Love 


Plus a swag bag filled with Beautycounter Countertime Travel Essentials which includes soothing face wash, radiance firming complex, uplifting day cream, restorative night cream and vibrant eye protector and a makeup case! Perfect to toss into the beach bag along with your new EG book!

To enter you can take a picture of you and your siblings you hold dear (trust me, you'll understand when you read it!) and tag me (@lilmommareader and @blissbeautybooks) on Instagram.

Share this link on Twitter (@lilmommareader and @cortles21)

Share on Facebook and tag us! (Lil Momma Reader and Bliss, Beauty and Books)

Giveaway ends July 20, 2016 and a winner will be selected and notified via e-mail, U.S. only. This post is not sponsored. Thank you for entering! Best of luck!

xoxo,
Melody and Courtney


Friday, July 1, 2016

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Featuring 
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

When the crackle of the police radio calls, Manon answers and finds herself stuck in the middle of a crime scene involving a bright, young student at Cambridge. Like watching the beginning of an episode of The First 48, there are a few clues that lie in wait, but nothing that completely cracks the case wide open. The small details will lead to the larger target and attempts to answer the question, "what has happened to Edith and who is responsible?" 

Synopsis via Amazon
At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.

Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows that this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.

The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family but for Manon herself.


Suspenseful and keenly observed, Missing, Presumed is a brilliantly twisting novel of how we seek connection, grant forgiveness, and reveal the truth about who we are.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

25 Sense by Lisa Henthorn

Featuring 
25 Sense by Lisa Henthorn

Summer is usually the season we set our reading goals high, because we have some time to be able to sit down and really devote our time to reading. Right? Well, if you are anything like me, we tend to get distracted and run out of time, or we just want something light, and entertaining to commit our reading time to. 25 Sense will definitely satisfy the reading tastes of even the most distracted reader, it isn't too long, so you can easily finish it in the span of a day. Then you can pat yourself on the back, head to Twitter, and join in the #bookaday fun!  

So, what is a gal to do when she falls in love with her boss? I know, I know...quit, right? Well, for Claire Malone it is just not that simple. She's fallen for her boss Sean, and can't seem to pry herself from his alluring grasp. To complicate her relationship, Sean now seems to be enamored with the new starlet that has graced the set they work on. How can she hold herself together? Will she finally come to some sense, or has all hope for love been lost?

Synopsis via Amazon
Claire Malone didn’t mean for this to happen when she moved to New York. She just wanted to live the city life and gain experience in television writing, her dream career. It’s not like she meant to reciprocate when her married boss, Sean Vared, sent her flirty e-mails. And you can’t blame her for coming into the office on the weekend when Sean told her he was going to be there . . . alone. She didn’t mean to sleep with him―but hey, she wanted to experience the city life, so no big deal, right?

Wrong. By the time Claire wakes up on her 25th birthday, she’s very much in love with Sean. At work, she struggles to hold it together when he passes her desk―the very desk that they used to make love on. Soon Sean has turned his affection to the show’s starring actress, and Claire is devastated. Can she break away from Sean without ruining her barely started career? Will someone find out what happened? Will she ever grow up and stop making stupid mistakes? 25 Sense is about the time in a young woman’s life when the world starts to view her as a responsible adult―but all she feels is lost.

Happy Reading!

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

Featuring 
Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
Last year when I attended BEA (Book Expo America) this title was the one to grab before they were gone! It was tough to find a copy, and if you were lucky enough to get one, you were as excited to read it as you were to ride a bike! Now available in paperback, Everybody Rise  was a welcome addition to my Summer Reading Challenge Book Bag! 

I read Kimberly McCreight's Reconstructing Amelia a few years ago, and Everybody Rise reminds me of the social elite portrayed in that novel. The group of socialites willing to claw at one another's faces in order to climb to the top of the social ladder. I was so grateful for my humble beginnings in a mid-sized suburb in California. Mothers can be powerful influences in their daughter's decisions, and this novel draws this fact out in a brilliant way such that the reader feels they are part of the story. Family demise a la The Real Housewives is (shamefully) my cup of tea. Thank you, Book Sparks for allowing me to be a part of the Summer Reading Challenge!  

Synopsis via Amazon
Everyone yearns to belong, to be part of the "in crowd," but how far are you willing to go to be accepted? In the case of bright, funny and socially ambitious Evelyn Beegan, the answer is much too far...
At 26, Evelyn is determined to carve her own path in life and free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto New York's glamorous Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she's forced to embrace them.
Recruiting new members for the site, Evelyn steps into a promised land of Adirondack camps, Newport cottages and Southampton clubs thick with socialites and Wall Streeters. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating, and starts trying to pass as old money herself. When her father, a crusading class-action lawyer, is indicted for bribery, Evelyn must contend with her own family's downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life, grasping with increasing desperation as the ground underneath her begins to give way.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June Books To Pack Today!



June is a time for sun and fun, and what better way to celebrate summer than to pack all the books into your beach tote? These books will have give you quite the taste between love and happiness, and downright frightening. This is just a quick peek into some of the best summer books out today. So pack up these titles, and head on out for some reading fun in the sun!

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
via Amazon
At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.

Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows that this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.

The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family but for Manon herself.

Suspenseful and keenly observed, Missing, Presumed is a brilliantly twisting novel of how we seek connection, grant forgiveness, and reveal the truth about who we are.


All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
via Amazon
Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

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.


First Comes Love by Emily Giffin 
via Amazon
Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired. 

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew—and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.


What are you throwing in your bag this summer?

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!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Esther the Wonder Pig


Esther the Wonder Pig
Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter & Caprice Crane

In the past year, I have learned so much about myself, my eating habits, and what eating meat not only does to my body, but also to the planet. I happened to listen to a podcast about 6 months ago where Russell Simmons spoke of eating animals and why he quit eating meat. Without getting in to the details, he talked about factory farming and the horrific conditions in which animals are slaughtered, and how we, the consumers essentially eat the stress of the animal. Much of what he said made a lot of sense, so I decided to try to cut out meat from my diet. It was surprisingly easy, and I didn't miss eating meat, though many told me I would. Then I read this story about a sweet little pig named Esther, and how she came to live with Steve and Derek. I flew through the pages of the book, and was really entertained by the way Steve writes about Esther. Yes, it was funny and charming, but more importantly, it resolved my strength to show compassion to animals in my life, and more broadly in the world. While reading, I couldn't help but laugh and think about the parallels between Steve (Me) and Derek (My husband). I'm always bringing animals home, and my husband is always threatening me "don't bring another animal home!" 

While this book does not push a vegan or vegetarian agenda, I think it raises some points that we all should consider, and Esther has become one of the faces for animal rights. I think that is wonderful, and I think the broader message is that if we could all raise the level of consciousness for what we eat, that is never a bad thing. 

Synopsis
In the summer of 2012, Steve Jenkins was contacted by an old friend about adopting a micro piglet. Though he knew his partner Derek wouldn't be enthusiastic, he agreed to take the adorable little pig anyway, thinking he could care for her himself. Little did he know, that decision would change his and Derek's lives forever. It turned out there was nothing "micro" about Esther, and Steve and Derek had actually signed on to raise a full-sized commercial pig. Within three years, Tiny Esther grew to a whopping 600 pounds. After some real growing pains and a lot of pig-sized messes, it became clear that Esther needed much more space, so Steve and Derek made another life-changing decision: they bought a farm and opened the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, where they could care for Esther and other animals in need. Funny, heartwarming, and utterly charming, ESTHER THE WONDER PIG follows Steve and Derek's adventure--from reluctant pig parents to farm-owning advocates for animals.
Note: Thanks to an incredible Kickstarter campaign that was funded by donors, Steve and Derek purchased the farm. A truly remarkable story that highlights the collective kindness that makes the world an awesome place to be!   To read an excerpt, click HERE
Happy Reading! 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for an early copy of the book. I received this book in exchange for a fir and honest review. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper


People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper

I won't waste any time with any small talk, I will cut straight to the chase. I really loved this book! At the very end of this novel, I craved answers that only sitting in my car with my Kindle in hand could solve. I was enthralled by the characters in this book, and grew to be especially fond of Paul, Drew and Claire. Kim Hooper is an incredibly gifted writer, and I only hope that there is a sequel to this book. This should stand as my official plea to Kim to write the second installment of this story. 

Synopsis
Emily Morris got her happily-ever-after earlier than most. Married at a young age to a man she loved passionately, she was building the life she always wanted. But when enormous stress threatened her marriage, Emily made some rash decisions. That’s when she fell in love with someone else. That’s when she got pregnant.
Resolved to tell her husband of the affair and to leave him for the father of her child, Emily’s plans are thwarted when the world is suddenly split open on 9/11. It’s amid terrible tragedy that she finds her freedom, as she leaves New York City to start a new life. It’s not easy, but Emily---now Connie Prynneforges a new happily-ever-after in California. But when a life-threatening diagnosis upends her life, she is forced to rethink her life for the good of her thirteen-year-old daughter.
A riveting debut in which a woman must confront her own past in order to secure the future of her daughter, Kim Hooper's People Who Knew Me asks: “What would you do?”

About the Author 
Kim's Blog

Seriously...Order Your Copy 

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Litsy!


Have you heard about Litsy? It's a new app that is a place to connect with readers just like you and see what kinds of books they are sharing. If you are anything like me, choosing your next book in an extensive TBR stack is a daunting task. I usually go to my friends and ask, "what should I read next?" You can also organize your reading list, add quotes, and create a blurb about a book you are reading. It really is a book lover's paradise!

It is streamlined and extremely easy to create an account. Litsy Sign Up
Find me at lilmommareader and let's connect!
Happy Reading!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Summer Reading Challenge!


I have some really exciting news for all of you parents out there! This summer, Read Baby Read (that's me!) will be hosting a Summer Reading Challenge for your Middle Grade and Teen Kids. There are weekly prizes, plus a grand prize up for grabs! I know how challenging it can be to get your kids to want to read over the summer, so that's why you should get them involved in this inaugural reading challenge. 
Please fill out this FORM to be contacted for further information.
Here are some of the awesome books that will be featured in the Summer Reading Challenge:


Endangered
Eliot Schrefer
The Rules of Survival
Nancy Werlin
All The Bright Places
Jennifer Niven

Bone Gap
Laura Ruby

The Hour of The Bees
Lindsay Eagar
The War That Saved My Life
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Fish in a Tree
Lynda Mullaly Hunt

El Deafo
Cece Bell