Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Spotlight: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan



Title: Rich People Problems
Author: Kevin Kwan
Series: Crazy Rich Asians, #3
Published: May 2017, Doubleday
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royale fought through couture gown sabotage and the heir to one of Asia’s greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance.

When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he’s not alone. It seems the entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe, ostensibly to care for their matriarch, but truly to stake claim on the massive fortune that Su Yi controls. With each family member secretly fantasizing about getting the keys to Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—the place becomes a hotbed of intrigue and Nicholas finds himself blocked from entering the premises. As relatives claw over heirlooms, Astrid Leong finds herself at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by his ex-wife—a woman hell-bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to billionaire Jack Bing and determined to raise their son more lavishly than a future king, finds a formidable opponent in his fashionista daughter, Colette.

A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly-appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a schoolyard kidnapping to a gold leaf dancefloor spattered with blood, Kevin Kwan’s gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets and rich people problems of Asia’s most privileged families.



Rich People Problems  by Kevin Kwan is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
  
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)
 
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser (audio)

Title: Almost Missed You
Author: Jessica Strawser
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Published: March 2017, Macmillan Audio
Length: 9 hours 56 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

My thoughts: This debut novel is such a compelling read...one that I am so glad that gals at She Reads picked as a Spring Book Club selection. It's one that I had on my radar but would probably not have gotten to as soon as I did had it not been for the book club. 

This book kept me captivated from start to finish. At the center is the story of a missing little boy, but it's so much deeper than that. It's about secrets and the wrong people knowing the wrong secrets. It's also about connections and how we sometimes romanticize the past a bit more than it really was.

I loved the way the story is told - from multiple view points as well as going back and forth in time. It really gives the story that multi-dimensional feel. As the story moves around from character to character and from the present to the past, you begin to find out each person's motive and as the secrets are slowly revealed, we find the true motivation and driving force behind each character.

This book was certainly not what I expected. I was kept on my toes the entire time, desperately trying to guess what the mystery was behind the abduction and ultimately where everything would end up. This domestic fiction is one that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. And this author is one that will I will be keeping on my radar - for a debut novel, she knocked it out of the park!


Audio thoughts:
This was such a great audio to listen to and Therese Plummer did an outstanding job with the narration. She gave each character their own unique voice and I never once felt lost as to who was talking. She really brought this book to life with her performance.



Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser is one of the She Reads "Books of Spring" reading selection picks. 
 
 
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as posts related to the other "Books of Spring" selections.



 

Friday, May 19, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Spotlight: The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion



Title: The Best of Adam Sharp
Author: Graeme Simsion
Published: May 2017, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 314 pages
 
From the #1 bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, an unforgettable new novel about lost love and second chances

On the cusp of turning fifty, Adam Sharp likes his life. He’s happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT.

But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been: his blazing affair more than twenty years ago with an intelligent and strong-willed actress named Angelina Brown who taught him for the first time what it means to find—and then lose—love. How different might his life have been if he hadn’t let her walk away?

And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously?

What readers are saying: 

***One of Glamour's "Most Anticipated Books of 2017"

"Readers are already clamoring." ―Library Journal

"This dazzling story about a former pianist who has a second chance in midlife with his former actress flame will do some major heart-warming this Spring — and readers will never foresee the incredible ending." —POPSUGAR

"It's a fun sweet ride." —The Washington Post

“An extraordinary literary treat that reminds readers the best things in life have nothing to do with plans.” —20 Must-Read Books for Spring 2017, Redbook.com


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The Best of Adam Sharp  by Graeme Sharp is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
  
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Review: It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell




Title: It's Always the Husband
Author: Michele Campbell
Published: May 2017, St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

My thoughts: This book is why I love reading a good suspense novel - it kept me guessing all the way through and I was engaged the entire time,  yet it was set up completely differently than any other book I've read before. This is where this genre has so much to offer and why I continue to read these types of books.

One of the more distinctive parts of this book that I loved is how it's told. There are two parts and they are both so crucial to the overall story, yet they are told so differently. The first part is told twenty years earlier and introduces us to the three young women when they first begin college. This is the slower part of the book - but it sets the foundation of the story and allows for us to really understand the characters and their motivations. The second part is set in present day and this is where the action, intensity and suspense amps up. 

I read this book in a day and a half - I just couldn't put it down. I was captivated by these women and the twisted, complex relationship they had. Not to mention the fact that they weren't necessarily all the most likeable of characters. But, that's what made it so good and so difficult to pinpoint who did it when one of them was found killed. There were so many suspects and so many reasons why any number of people could have done it! Every time I thought I had it figured out, another clue was dropped or secret was revealed and I was left scratching my head trying to think of who else could be the suspect. 

This is the type of book that gets under your skin and doesn't let go until you get to the end...and even then you are left with quite a surprise. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what comes next from this author!!!





It's Always the Husband  by Michele Campbell is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks.  
  
Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)


Review: Tell Me No Lies by Lisa Hall

Title: Tell Me No Lies
Author: Lisa Hall
Published: May 2017, Carina / HarperCollins
Format: Paperback, 43 pages
Source: Publisher

From the bestselling author of Between You and Me don’t miss Lisa Hall’s new gripping thriller.

Don’t. Trust. Anyone.

It was supposed to be a fresh start.

A chance to forget the past and embrace the future.

But can you ever really start again?

Or does the past follow you wherever you go…

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Lisa Hall and as much as I was left dumb-struck by the ending (more on that in a little bit!), I can tell you I will definitely be reading more by this author...this book was a gripping domestic thriller that gets under your skin and doesn't let up.

Ok...first of all - let's talk about that ending! How could this book end like that??? I got there and I was like - WHAT? That's it??? I was gobsmacked...I was looking for more, and actually had to go back and reread the last few pages to see if I missed something. Yes, I do see how it could end like that, but I expected a little more. I wanted a better conclusion...unless there's going to be another book following up on these characters. Then it would all make sense.

This book is insane! With a tag line on the book saying "Don't. Trust. Anyone." you know you're in for a crazy ride and this book is that and much more. I found myself questioning every character that was introduced - no one was safe from my suspicions! Is it madness that is the cause of the havoc in Steph's life or is someone messing with her?

I have to say that at first, I was unsure where things were headed and what was really going on, but then, about halfway through, I figured out who was behind things. I didn't feel let down by this - quite the opposite, in fact. I wanted to see how it would all play out - how was it going to be revealed. 

This book takes you on quite a roller coaster of a ride - it plays with your emotions and wreaks havoc on your mind. It will take hold of you until you finish it - and whether you agree with the ending or not - it's one heck of a tale ! I cannot wait to go back and read Lisa Hall's debut novel, Between You and Me, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for what comes next from her as well! 


Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner (audio)

Title: A Bridge Across the Ocean
Author: Susan Meissner
Narrator: Kim Bubbs
Published: March 2017, Penguin Audio
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible
 
Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Susan Meissner and I'm so glad it was selected as one of the She Reads 'Books of Spring' selections. Those gals always know how to pick such great reads and this one was no exception!

I loved the way this story was told - it had a little bit of everything! Not only was there a good mystery to be solved, but there was also the added use of the paranormal element that just amped up the story. And the historical element just rounded it all out. I'm a sucker for anything to do with war brides - I just eat these stories up for some reason - so of course, I loved this element of the story! But the way Susan Meissner takes these different elements - the present day story, the ghost story - or drifters as she calls them - and the past is just magical!

This story is complex and full of wonderful characters. As the book moves around - back and forth between the time periods and the characters - most times you tend to gravitate to one character or time period more than the other. That was not the case here...I loved each and every part of this book equally. Every time the book switched to another character or time period, I wanted to stay where we had just been, but was also glad to catch up with that other character. I found myself completely invested in this book, wanting to know as much as I could about all the characters, caring deeply about them all and wanting them all to find their happiness - because ultimately, that's what they were all after.

I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more by Susan Meissner.  I also plan on looking into more books about not only war brides but about the RMS Queen Mary - I had no idea that it carried war brides over to America, nor that it was rumored to be haunted! I love when a book leaves me wanting to read more about something, don't you?


Audio thoughts:
Kim Bubbs is a new-to-me narrator and I thought she did a great job with this audio book. She gave each of the characters unique voices and made listening to this book an enjoyable experience.




A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner is one of the She Reads "Books of Spring" reading selection picks. 
 
 
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as posts related to the other "Books of Spring" selections.
 
 

Friday, May 12, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Spotlight: Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki



Title: Woman No. 17 
Author: Edan Lepucki
Published: May 2017, Hogarth Press
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages

A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.

High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. She’s going to need a hand with her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In comes S., a magnetic young artist, who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s young toddler son, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage, one. S. performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady. But as the summer wears on, S.’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. Lady and S. will move closer to one another as they both threaten to harm the things they hold most dear. Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.

What Readers Are Saying: 

"Edan Lepucki's Woman No. 17 is part family melodrama, part twisty self-relection... very funny." — GQ

"Following the success of her debut novel, California, author Edan Lepucki returns with a dark and clever tale about motherhood and the complexity of friendships." — SFWeekly

“Lepucki’s brisk style and arresting characterizations make for a compelling portrait of womanhood in the present moment, right down to its intriguing integration of social media.”  Publishers Weekly

“An acidly inquisitive domestic drama set in teh Hollywood Hills and anchored to depthless questions of identity, family, and art... Lepucki’s arch and provocative tale of elaborate and privileged dysfunction poses sharp questions about inheritance, self-expression, and love.” 
—Booklist
 
“Always enjoyable…this novel succeeds by staying light on its feet.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“In Woman No. 17, Lepucki has crafted an intricate, gripping story of people behaving very badly. You will want to race to the end to see what happens, but don’t cheat yourself. This book deserves to be savored –gorgeously written, darkly comic, smart and thrilling.”  – CYNTHIA D’APRIX SWEENEY, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest


"Woman No. 17 fizzes with references to contemporary culture and sparks with larger, timeless questions: Where is the line between performance and identity? What separates life from art? And can we ever escape the gravitational pull of our parents? Edan Lepucki shows herself to be a sharp-eyed chronicler of our modern world." – CELESTE NG, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You

“Woman No. 17 is a provocative and timely meditation on art, authenticity and representation in a digital age. The increasingly gripping plot suggests the outcomes of a thriller, but at the crucial moment the novel swerves toward subtly profound truths about our capacity for self-sabotage and self-reinvention, the power of trauma to shape lives, and the inexorable gravity of family secrets. Lepucki’s smooth prose and deft handling of point of view reveal a writer fully in command.” —MATTHEW THOMAS, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves

“Taut as a thriller (with plenty of sex and secrets), Woman No. 17 raises big questions about identity, art, ethics, parenthood, and more. In Edan Lepucki's hands, the philosophical is transformed into a page turner; I don't know how she does it.” –RUMAAN ALAM, author of Rich & Pretty

“[A] Hollywood noir about the electric bonds between women… this one is a safe bet for beach season.” 
– The Week




Woman No. 17  by Edan Lepucki is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
  
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)


 

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