Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Spotlight: The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda

Title: The Goodbye Year
Author: Kaira Rouda
Published: May 2016, Sparkpress
Format: Paperback, 312 pages

Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated facade of her life. Will and his wife are fine as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class). 

Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple s second act together empty nesting is often actually the end.

What readers are saying...

“The Goodbye Year is an often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, always engaging look at the last year before high school seniors leave their families for good. I devoured it!” --Meg Mitchell Moore, author of The Admissions, So Far Away, and The Arrivals

"The family dramas and dynamics are things that we can all relate to..." --Redbook magazine, "20 Best Books to Read Come Spring"

"Kaira Rouda channels Peyton Place meets The Real Housewives of Orange County with her newest book, The Goodbye Year.” --Working Mother magazine

“Kaira Rouda provides a delicious glimpse into an affluent, dysfunctional community that feels so real it borders on voyeurism. Light-hearted and ultimately optimistic, The Goodbye Year also tackles weighty issues, including infidelity, homosexuality, and alcoholism, creating a compelling and highly entertaining novel. If you’re a fan of reality television, you’ll love The Goodbye Year.” --Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List

“Who knew that Peyton Place is in Orange County? Kaira Rouda proves that money can’t buy you love in The Goodbye Year.” --Leslie Lehr, screenwriter, novel consultant, and award-winning author of 66 Laps, Wife Goes On, and What a Mother Knows

“The Goodbye Year is a perfect blend of Desperate Housewives and Beverly Hills 90210. If you enjoy a fast-paced story with twists that will both surprise and delight you―this is the one!" --Kellie Coates Gilbert, author of the Texas Gold novels

“Kaira Rouda's latest romp through the world of the Orange County elite follows five seemingly perfect families through their children's senior year―a pressure-cooker of college applications, drugs, infidelities, and keeping up appearances. Will anyone survive? Funny, insightful and sometimes downright shocking, The Goodbye Year is ultimately an uplifting tale examining the fears and challenges that come with letting go.” --Colleen Oakley, author of Before I Go

“Five families, seven kids, and one small town seething with gossip and intrigue. With skill, sensitivity and grace, Kaira Rouda charts the lives and loves of her mismatched characters, laying bare their deepest secrets―the ones they pray will never be revealed. Yet truth has a way of coming out, and when it does, the consequences are shattering in ways none of them could have ever expected.” --Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The House on Primrose Pond

“The Goodbye Year is a book about the profound transition that takes place in families as children prepare to graduate from high school and begin independent lives. Told from varying perspectives ―husbands, wives, sons, and daughters―The Goodbye Year offers a fascinating glimpse behind the fa├žade of perfection in small, well-heeled community where image is everything. As college acceptances roll in, or don’t, and marriages evolve, or don’t, parents and children alike struggle to write a future for themselves that may not be the one they planned. A compassionate, wise, and suspenseful tale about the end of one life stage and the beginning of another.” --Kate Hilton, international best-selling author of The Hole in the Middle

"In The Goodbye Year, Kaira Rouda takes us behind the gates of the Orange County elite as they attempt to navigate their children's senior year and fast-approaching empty nest. Trust is broken, secrets are revealed. It's delicious fun! The Goodbye Year will have you wishing you never had to say farewell." --Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors of The Status of All Things

The Goodbye Year  by Kaira Rouda is one of  BookSparks "It's Raining Books" reading selection picks.

Follow the #itsrainingbooks hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other 4 books!

Short & Sweet Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (audio)

Title: The Silkworm
Author: Robert Galbraith
Series: Cormoran Strike, #2
Narrator: Robert Glenister
Published: June 2014, Hachette Audio
Length: 17 hours 22 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...
***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike series and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. The mystery itself was an interesting one, but even more than that, I loved the on-going character development. To me, that's always what keeps me hooked in a series and this one has it and more.

One thing I did notice is that these books do tend to start off a bit slow - it happened in the previous book as well - but once all the background information about the case itself is revealed, the pace really picks up and then you almost don't want to put the book/audio down. I also love when Strike starts in with his random line of questioning - but I get so anxious to find out where he is going with it and sometimes it isn't always revealed right away. 

Strike and Robin just work well together...they are an unlikely due, yet they seem to balance each other and I love it. But, will there ever be more than just a working partnership between them? Even though Robin is engaged, I'm not sure that relationship is all that solid or even healthy for her - I really don't like the guy. But do I want something to happen between Strike and Robin? I don't know - that would definitely alter their working relationship and I kinda like the way things are now. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what Robert Galbraith has in store for these two!

Audio thoughts: I really am loving Robert Glenister as the narrator of this series...he just seems perfect for both Strike and even Robin's characters and does a good job with the other voices as well. I really do hope he continues to narrate the rest of this series - he just does such a great job with the story, especially with it being so long, it's such a pleasure to listen to his voice!

Books in this series:  
  1. The Cuckoo's Calling
  2. The Silkworm
  3. Career of Evil

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Spotlight: Meternity by Meghann Foye

Title: Meternity
Author: Meghann Foye
Published: April 2016, MIRA
Format: Paperback, 368 pages

Not quite knocked up… 

Like everyone in New York media, editor Liz Buckley runs on cupcakes, caffeine and cocktails. But at thirty-one, she's plateaued at Paddy Cakes, a glossy baby magazine that flogs thousand-dollar strollers to entitled, hypercompetitive spawn-havers.

Liz has spent years working a gazillion hours a week picking up the slack for coworkers with kids, and she's tired of it. So one day when her stress-related nausea is mistaken for morning sickness by her bosses—boom! Liz is promoted to the mommy track. She decides to run with it and plans to use her paid time off to figure out her life: work, love and otherwise. It'll be her "meternity" leave.

By day, Liz rocks a foam-rubber belly under fab maternity outfits. By night, she dumps the bump for karaoke nights and boozy dinners out. But how long can she keep up her charade…and hide it from the guy who might just be The One?

As her "due date" approaches, Liz is exhausted—and exhilarated—by the ruse, the guilt and the feelings brought on by a totally fictional belly-tenant…about happiness, success, family and the nature of love.

What readers are saying...

"A fresh, contemporary take on love and work, marriage and motherhood, Meternity is guaranteed to surprise and delight!" --Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed and First Comes Love

"A character so lovable, a predicament so fantastic, I could not wait to find out what happens next!" --Nicola Kraus, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Nanny Diaries

"Funny, real and painfully true at times, Meternity tackles the bumpy road from singledom to modern motherhood with clever crafting and plenty of heart." --Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets and The Beach House

"A witty and wonderful look at the challenges of being a woman today. Foye's mixture of humor mixed with honesty and satire will have you laughing out loud one minute and seriously pondering the state of the modern world the next." --Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, authors of The Knockoff

"If Bridget Jones had a modern-day BFF who worked at a New York magazine, was faking a pregnancy, and was struggling with post-30 singledom, this laugh-out-loud debut would be her book!" --Kristin Harmel, international bestselling author of The Life Intended and The Sweetness of Forgetting

Meternity  by Meghann Foye is one of  BookSparks "It's Raining Books" reading selection picks. 

Follow the #itsrainingbooks hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other 4 books! 


Monday, April 25, 2016

Blog Tour & Review: Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro

Title: Rare Objects
Author: Kathleen Tessaro
Published: April 2016; Harper
Format: ARC Paperback; 400 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Maeve Fanning is a first generation Irish immigrant, born and raised among the poor, industrious Italian families of Boston’s North End by her widowed mother. Clever, capable, and as headstrong as her red hair suggests, she’s determined to better herself despite the overwhelming hardships of the Great Depression.

However, Maeve also has a dangerous fondness for strange men and bootleg gin—a rebellious appetite that soon finds her spiraling downward, leading a double life. When the strain proves too much, Maeve becomes an unwilling patient in a psychiatric hospital, where she strikes up a friendship with an enigmatic young woman, who, like Maeve, is unable or unwilling to control her un-lady-like desire for freedom.

Once out, Maeve faces starting over again. Armed with a bottle of bleach and a few white lies, she lands a job at an eccentric antiques shop catering to Boston’s wealthiest and most peculiar collectors. Run by an elusive English archeologist, the shop is a haven of the obscure and incredible, providing rare artifacts as well as unique access to the world of America’s social elite. While delivering a purchase to the wealthy Van der Laar family, Maeve is introduced to beautiful socialite Diana Van der Laar—only to discover she’s the young woman from the hospital.

Reunited with the charming but increasingly unstable Diana and pursued by her attractive brother James, Mae becomes more and more entwined with the Van der Laar family—a connection that pulls her into a world of moral ambiguity and deceit, and ultimately betrayal. Bewitched by their wealth and desperate to leave her past behind, Maeve is forced to unearth her true values and discover how far she’ll to go to reinvent herself.

My thoughts: I first heard of Kathleen Tessaro when I read her book, The Perfume Collector, a few years ago. I really enjoyed that book, so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I couldn't wait to read it...another historical fiction book, this time set in Boston seemed like just the book I would enjoy.

I really liked Maeve/May...she's a character that is so richly drawn, you can't help but fall in love with her. You'll empathize with her, get frustrated with her, find her exasperating and yet love her moxie all in the same breath. And then there's Diana...she got on my nerves more than once, yet there's something about her that I just can't put my finger on...these are both memorable characters, that's for sure!

Maeve is unlike the girls her age. She wants a life of her own and quickly realizes that money doesn't necessarily equate to happiness. While she enjoys her friendship with Diana she also realizes it comes at a great cost. Maeve struggled with who she was/who she wanted to be throughout the book.  I loved how her mom was constantly there to keep on top of her, wanting to see her do better than she did. This was one area I would have loved to see developed more, as there were some hints that all was not as true as it was led to be believed.

This was a good book with great characters, and set in an interesting time period. This is now the second book I've read by Kathleen Tessaro and I can't wait to pick up her other books. 

About the author: Kathleen Tessaro is the author of EleganceInnocenceThe Flirt, and The Debutante. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

Authors Links: 
Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook

To see who else is participating in Kathleen Tessaro's Rare Object's tour, click here

Sunday, April 24, 2016

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in April 22

I got 2 5K's in this week - one at the gym and one if I can only get in a 10K this month, I'll be happy. I also started doing yoga at home...I found some yoga flows that I've been trying to do a few times each morning, depending on how much time I have. I have a bunch of different ones that I like to do so it doesn't become boring and I really like doing them.

I also paid attention to what I ate all week and upped my water intake. It seemed to make a difference as I did sleep much better. But, we also put the air conditioner in, so my room is super cold, so that might have something to do with it, too ;) 
Here's how my week went:     
Apr 16:  7,368 steps
Apr 17:  9,154 steps
Apr 18:  16,161 steps
(5K on treadmill; 15 min yoga at home)
Apr 19:  12,376 steps (45 min yoga at home)

Apr 20:  7,772 steps

Apr 21: 
14,669 steps (5K - 3.47 Charity miles for Girls on the Run; 30 min yoga at home)
Apr 22: 
14,642 steps
(25 min yoga at home)

Audiobooks listened to this week: 

  • Started The Obsession by Nora Roberts, narrated by Shannon McManus

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.

Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
           5K  -  3
         10K  -  0
           5K  -  4
         10K  -  1

           5K  -  4
         10K  -  1
           5K  -  4
         10K  -  0

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Title: Sister Dear
Author: Laura McNeill
Published: April 2016, Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Author / Netgalley

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start.  But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn’t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish – time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie’s return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie’s claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already-fragile bond with family.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret—one that holds the key to Allie’s freedom.

My thoughts: This is Laura McNeill's second novel and it was every bit as good as her debut novel, Center of Gravity. Once again Laura has created a book that pulls you in from the very beginning and doesn't let up until you reach the end.

This is such a twisted tale that gets under your skin. I found myself flying through the pages, desperate to know how everything was going to turn out...I love these kinds of books and boy oh boy does Laura McNeill deliver! Once I started reading, nothing else got done and I couldn't think about anything but this book. In fact, I'm still thinking about it, the plot line and the characters and the way everything came together in the end.
I loved the characters in this book - everyone was so richly drawn and developed. And I loved that the story was told from multiple points of view - this really allowed us as the reader to understand all the emotions that come with everything that happens, to feel and internalize their struggles. At times it was easy to be sympathetic with a character on one page and then feel absolute hatred for them on  the next - that's how well these characters are written. You just end up having a range of feelings for all the characters throughout the book.

This story goes back and forth from the present and the past to slowly fill in all the details of what really happened that night ten years ago. Ever so slowly we are drip-fed details that had me suspicious of nearly everyone. It's so cleverly done and as all the pieces come together, you realize there are no threads left hanging. Every detail we are given, no matter how small, factors in somehow

I did not want this book to end and will definitely be rereading it just to take it all in again...and I don't often do that. But this book is just so good, so twisty, so clever that it deserves to be read and reread. Laura McNeill is definitely an author that is not to be missed and I cannot wait to see what comes next from her!!!


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