Three Male Authors We’re Reading Right Now

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

A man that understands women? They do exist and sometimes they write books. We’re reading three great male authors right now and so should you. Because who doesn’t like being understood? No one. That’s who. So grab one or all of these books by insightful men and curl up with a cool drink in a sunny spot.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Britt Marie Was HereBritt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Bachman

The bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry returns with an irresistible novel about finding love and second chances in the most unlikely of places.

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. A disorganized cutlery drawer ranks high on her list of unforgivable sins. She begins her day at 6 a.m., because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention. She is not one to judge others—no matter how ill-mannered, unkempt, or morally suspect they might be.

But hidden inside the socially awkward, fussy busybody is a woman who has more imagination,bigger dreams, and a warmer heart that anyone around her realizes.

When Britt-Marie walks out on her cheating husband and has to fend for herself in the miserable backwater town of Borg—of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it—she is more than a little unprepared. Employed as the caretaker of a soon-to-be demolished recreation center, the fastidious Britt-Marie has to cope with muddy floors, unruly children, and a (literal) rat for a roommate. She finds herself being drawn into the daily doings of her fellow citizens, an odd assortment of miscreants, drunkards, layabouts—and a handsome local policeman whose romantic attentions to Britt-Marie are as unmistakable as they are unwanted. Most alarming of all, she’s given the impossible task of leading the supremely untalented children’s soccer team to victory. In this small town of big-hearted misfits, can Britt-Marie find a place where she truly belongs?

Funny and moving, observant and humane, Britt-Marie Was Here celebrates the unexpected friendships that change us forever, and the power of even the gentlest of spirits to make the world a better place.

______________________________________________________________________________

Everyone Brave Is ForgivenEveryone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

London, 1939.

The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.

Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.

Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.

Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.

And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.

Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents. This dazzling novel dares us to understand that, against the great theater of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs that change us most.

____________________________________________________________________________

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

A to ZHe has all kinds of everyday joy in his life ― he’s young, he’s in love, he has friends who promise to stand by him if life ever goes wrong.

Then one day, life does go wrong.

He makes a mistake, and it’s big and unforgiveable. Now time is running out, and his life is falling apart. But he’s going to put it back together again. His own way.

This is a story about how far love must stretch to gather a life in pieces ― and about how a strong friendship never dies.

read more

Book(s), Meet Book(s): Of Letters, Lies and Lipsticks

Today we continue our new “Book, Meet Book” series and introduce three novels to each other– and to you guys– because we think they have some things in common and would make a good match. We paired these books because they touch on the power of connection between women. If you’re in the mood for some good girlfriend time, these novels might be exactly what you’re looking for. Will you add one– or all– to your “Want To Read” list? Let us know!

___________________________________________________________________________

Some WomenSome Women by Emily Liebert

An engrossing novel that examines the intricacies of marriage, friendship, and the power of unexpected connections…

Annabel Ford has everything under control, devoting her time to her twin boys and keeping her household running smoothly. But when her husband of a decade announces that he’s leaving, she’s blind-sided. And suddenly her world begins to unravel.

Piper Whitley has always done her best to balance it all—raising her daughter Fern by herself while advancing her career as a crime reporter. Only now that she’s finally met the man of her dreams, Fern’s absentee father shows up, throwing everything into a tailspin.

Married to the heir of a thriving media conglomerate, Mackenzie Mead has many reasons to count her blessings. But with an imperious mother-in-law—who’s also her boss—and a husband with whom she can no longer seem to connect, something has to give.

On the surface, these three women may not have much in common, but just when they each need someone to lean on, their lives are thrust together, forming unlikely friendships that help each woman navigate her new reality.

___________________________________________________________________________

Keep Me PostedKeep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

Two sisters share the surprising highs and cringe-worthy lows of social media fame, when their most private thoughts become incredibly public in this fresh and funny debut novel.

Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan.

It doesn’t help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?

The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet…

__________________________________________________________________________

Lies and other acts of loveLies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .

read more

A Room Of Their Own: The Writing Spaces Of Our Spring Authors

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen and Ariel Lawhon | @MarybethWhalen and @ArielLawhon

Yes, we’re nosy. This comes as no surprise, really. But we do love to get a glimpse into the writing spaces of our favorite authors. There’s something about it that helps the story make sense to us. A tone perhaps? Personality? It’s all a bit clearer when we see where the story was created. That said, we thought you might get a kick out of seeing where J.T. Ellison, Jennifer Weiner, and Bridget Asher wrote our spring book club picks.

___________________________________________________________________________

JT's Office Circa 2015

J.T. Ellison goes for a traditional office much of the time but I (Ariel) have been to her house often enough to know that there are also two beautiful cats, a couple of comfy chairs, and a rather impressive fireplace involved in her writing rituals as well.

___________________________________________________________________________

jen office closet

Jennifer Weiner has the impressive distinction of being the only author we know who writes in her closet. In a way this makes perfect sense to us. We’re moms. We get it. Marybeth and I have hidden in our closets for a few minutes of peace and quiet more times than we can count. Write on, Jen!

___________________________________________________________________________

image1 (1)

As a prolific note-taken, planner, researcher, and plotter myself, I absolutely love that Bridget Asher wrote her first round of notes for ALL OF US AND EVERYTHING on the back of Christmas wrapping paper. You’d be surprised how often a book looks like a scene from A Beautiful Mind before it resembles anything like a novel.

read more

The Books That Define Our Friendship

Today’s post by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke | @LizandLisa

We’re delighted to have Liz and Lisa with us today. They’re not just friends, but have the amazing distinction of being co-authors. Their latest novel, THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY, releases today and they’ve taken a bit of time out of a very busy schedule to share how a handful of books have cemented their friendship and inspired them to write. Enjoy!

Liz and LisaWe’ve been BFFs since MC Hammer pants were cool. We’ve weathered bad boyfriends, hideous fashion choices (shoulder pads!) and a lot of highs and lows in between. But through it all, the one thing we’ve bonded over has been our love of reading, a passion that connected us from the first day we met and discovered we were total bookworms.  We’ve read more books than we could count, but there are a few novels that define our 28 year friendship.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

We had already fallen in love with Judy Blume when she explained life to us in our early years in her novel, Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. (Periods! Boobs!) And then we swooned for her all over again, when she educated us about sex in Forever. (You know you had a copy hidden under your bed too!). But when we read Summer Sisters, the story hit us in a way that we’ll never forget because we related to the characters: two very different best friends navigating early adulthood together.

Any book written by Danielle Steele

Oh how we loved this author and her saucy romance novels! We’d pass them back and forth to each other like bars of gold, re-reading them over and over until they literally fell apart. (Think: paperbacks covered in duct tape.)

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Liz finally loaned Lisa a copy of this novel after reading it three times. It exploded on the scene at the exact time when we were considering writing a book of our own. And it is this perfectly written story of love and friendship that we credit with inspiring us to put pen to paper.

Me vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski

This charming and magical story about a woman whose life splits into two got us thinking: what if we could weave magic into our own novels? That thought turned into the idea for our debut novel, Your Perfect Life.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Okay, so the backstory about this one is a bit awkward. Long story short, we got into a huge fight over a copy of this book in New York. And like most arguments, it had nothing to do with what we were disagreeing about on the surface (this novel) and everything to do with something deeper (the adjustment in morphing from best friends into co-authors and business partners). The trip and the ensuing disagreement became an important and much-needed turning point in our friendship, and for that reason, The Interestings will always hold a special place in our hearts. (Not to mention, we both loved it! Hence the fighting.)

___________________________________________________________________________

Liz and Lisa Collage

__________________________________________________________________________________

the year we turned fortyIf you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

read more

He Reads Too You Know

Many of the novels we get are unapologetically marketed to women so it always fascinates me when we get one marketed to the general male reader. And it got me thinking that we don’t offer enough reading suggestions for the men in our lives. So here are a few that have landed on the doorstep recently and caught my husband’s eye (he does wander through my office occasionally). So if the man in your life is looking for a good read perhaps he’ll like one of these as well.

___________________________________________________________________________________

The Good LiarTHE GOOD LIAR by Nicholas Searle

Spinning a page-turning story of literary suspense that begins in the present and unwinds back more than half a century, this unforgettable debut channels the haunting allure of Atonement as its masterfully woven web of lies, secrets, and betrayals unravels to a shocking conclusion.

Veteran con artist Roy spots an obvious easy mark when he meets Betty, a wealthy widow, online. In no time at all, he’s moved into Betty’s lovely cottage and is preparing to accompany her on a romantic trip to Europe. Betty’s grandson disapproves of their blossoming relationship, but Roy is sure this scheme will be a success. He knows what he’s doing.

As this remarkable feat of storytelling weaves together Roy’s and Betty’s futures, it also unwinds their pasts. Dancing across almost a century, decades that encompass unthinkable cruelty, extraordinary resilience, and remarkable kindness, The Good Liar is an epic narrative of sin, salvation, and survival—and for Roy and Betty, there is a reckoning to be made when the endgame of Roy’s crooked plot plays out.

__________________________________________________________________________________

The DescentDESCENT by Tim Johnston (now out in paperback!)

The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, a young family from the plains taking a last summer vacation before their daughter begins college. For eighteen-year-old Caitlin, the mountains loom as the ultimate test of her runner’s heart, while her parents hope that so much beauty, so much grandeur, will somehow repair a damaged marriage. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic, as suddenly this family find themselves living the kind of nightmare they’ve only read about in headlines or seen on TV.

As their world comes undone, the Courtlands are drawn into a vortex of dread and recrimination. Why weren’t they more careful? What has happened to their daughter? Is she alive? Will they ever know?Caitlin’s disappearance, all the more devastating for its mystery, is the beginning of the family’s harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths until all that continues to bind them together are the questions they can never bring themselves to ask: At what point does a family stop searching? At what point will a girl stop fighting for her life?

Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, Descent is a perfectly crafted thriller that races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion, and heralds the arrival of a master storyteller.

________________________________________________________________________________

No Shred of EvidenceNO SHRED OF EVIDENCE by Charles Todd

In this absorbing new entry in the acclaimed New York Times bestselling series, Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge is caught up in a twisted web of vengeance and murder.

On the north coast of Cornwall, an apparent act of mercy is repaid by an arrest for murder. Four young women have been accused of the crime. A shocked father calls in a favor at the Home Office. Scotland Yard is asked to review the case.

However, Inspector Ian Rutledge is not the first Inspector to reach the village. Following in the shoes of a dead man, he is told the case is all but closed. Even as it takes an unexpected personal turn, Rutledge will require all his skill to deal with the incensed families of the accused, the grieving parents of the victim, and local police eager to see these four women sent to the infamous Bodmin Gaol. Then why hasn’t the killing stopped?

With no shred of evidence to clear the accused, Rutledge must plunge deep into the darkest secrets of a wild, beautiful and dangerous place if he is to find a killer who may—or may not—hold the key to their fate.

_____________________________________________________________________________

John HartREDEMPTION ROAD by John Hart

Since his debut bestseller, The King of Lies, reviewers across the country have heaped praise on John Hart, comparing his writing to that of Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow. Each novel has taken Hart higher on the New York Times Bestseller list as his masterful writing and assured evocation of place have won readers around the world and earned history’s only consecutive Edgar Awards for Best Novel with Down River and The Last Child. Now, Hart delivers his most powerful story yet.
Imagine:

A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother.

A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting.

After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free as deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, a body cools in pale linen…

This is a town on the brink.

This is Redemption Road.

Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, Redemption Road proves again that John Hart is a master of the literary thriller.

read more

YA Book Review: Geek Girl

Today’s post by Melissa Carpenter | @MelissaCarp

Geek GirlI’m a real fan of British entertainment. With shows like Sherlock and The IT Crowd, there’s little the BBC can do that I won’t watch. The same tends to go for a lot of British YA, my love of which started several years ago with Louise Rennison’s hilarious and wonderful Georgia Nicholson series (for more info on that series, see this post on my website: the funniest books I’ve ever read).

Now, new-ish to the United States is GEEK GIRL, the first in a series of books from acclaimed British author Holly Smale. GEEK GIRL has been a bestseller in the UK for a few years, but the first book was just released in the US in 2015, and it’s fabulous. I. Love. It.

In GEEK GIRL, we get to know Harriet Manners, a self-proclaimed geek and anti-fashionista, who avoids everything having to do with your typical teenage girl trappings of clothes, makeup, and shopping. Instead, she tends to run into things (total lack of coordination), get picked on relentlessly, and spout off random tidbits of knowledge (like when she fell and caught herself by grabbing the leg of her chief tormentor: “there are approximately 13,914,291,404 legs in the world – over half of them in trousers – and I had to grab this one?”). She has a best friend, Nat, who’s beautiful in a Barbie sort of way, so Harriet’s shocked when SHE – not Nat – sort of accidentally gets “discovered” by a major modeling agency on a school field trip. What follows is a series of laugh out loud funny incidents, a photoshoot adventure in Russia, and lots of swoony moments with an internationally loved male model. My favorite thing about it, though, is the lessons Harriet learns about herself, her family, and her friends throughout this smartly written romantic comedy.

The second book in the series, GEEK GIRL: MODEL MISFITS, and the third, GEEK GIRL: PICTURE PERFECT, are also out in the US now and are equally as good as the first book. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series, which will be six books in total. These are perfect for a chilly day when you just want to curl up with something light and fun. Hope you enjoy!

read more

Bridget Asher on the Perils of Drawing Inspiration From Real Life

Today post by Bridget Asher | @JCBaggot

Bridget Asher

Bridget Asher

On the eve of John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, a massive snowstorm hit DC. No one could get to the galas and balls. The venues opened their doors and invited people in off the streets – food, drink, live bands. My father, a young patent attorney, was stuck on a bus going nowhere. People had abandoned their cars on the streets. He eventually got off the bus and started walking – for miles. He saw a motorcade cut across Ellipse Park, a wild thing of beauty.

I wrote a short essay about it for Southwest Airlines, and always thought it’d be a great scene for two people –trapped on a bus – to fall in love. This story is woven into ALL OF US & EVERYTHING.  My parents have always been happy when I’ve used parts of their experiences and have written them into the lives of my characters.

This is how my process works. First, I collect. Many bits of my own life go into every novel (even when I’m writing a post-apocalyptic thriller like the Pure Trilogy in a completely imagined landscape). I arrange and rearrange the details of my own life, the stories others have handed down to me and add large doses of the imagination. Hopefully, the characters take on lives of their own and I dutifully follow.

For ALL OF US & EVERYTHING, I moved into a territory that I’d cordoned off long ago – sisterhood. I’ve published over twenty novels under my pen name Bridget Asher, my own name Julianna Baggott, and a kid-book persona N.E. Bode. But the vast majority of my main characters were only children. I have two sisters and a brother. I have four children myself. I see the world in terms how larger families operate. So why didn’t it come out in my fiction?

My mother gave me permission to write about my parents,  but warned that I should tread lightly with my siblings. I was the monster my parents created, but my siblings were innocent (well, more or less) bystanders. I heeded her warning and veered from siblinghood, even in fiction.

But it made no logical sense. As many true bits from my own life fall into my work, I don’t write about people I know. I can’t. They don’t fit into the stories I need to tell. I decided it was time to take down the walls and see what I would find. The past few years mark the first time in my career that I’ve really tried to head into the wild terrain of sisterhood. It’s not simple landscape with well trimmed paths. It’s wild and thorny and I had a fantastic time. I adore writing the layered, intimate, intense, hilarious conversations between sisters and mothers and best friends and nieces and aunts, all of those conversations women have with other women, those they love and sometimes hate and then love again.

__________________________________________________________________________

All of Us and EverythingFor fans of the quirky, heartfelt fiction of Nick Hornby and Eleanor Brown comes a smart, wry, and poignant novel about reconciliation between fathers and daughters, between spouses; the deep ties between sisters; and the kind of forgiveness that can change a person’s life in unexpected and extraordinary ways.

The Rockwell women are nothing if not . . . Well, it’s complicated. When the sisters—Esme, Liv, and Ru—were young, their eccentric mother, Augusta, silenced all talk of their absent father with the wild story that he was an international spy, always away on top-secret missions. But the consequences of such an unconventional upbringing are neither small nor subtle: Esme is navigating a failing marriage while trying to keep her precocious fifteen-year-old daughter from live-tweeting every detail. Liv finds herself in between relationships and rehabs, and Ru has run away from enough people and problems to earn her frequent flier miles. So when a hurricane hits the family home on the Jersey Shore, the Rockwells reunite to assess the damage—only to discover that the storm has unearthed a long-buried box. In a candid moment, Augusta reveals a startling secret that will blow the sisters’ concept of family to smithereens—and send them on an adventure to reconnect with a lost past . . . and one another.

read more

Four Novels That Will Suppy Your Thriller Fix

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean we don’t want the occasional chill. So we found four novels that will get your blood pumping as we head into warmer months.

__________________________________________________________________________

The PassengerThe Passenger by Lisa Lutz

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

__________________________________________________________________________

What Remains of MeWhat Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin

Nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s got a drawer somewhere with something hidden in it.

On June 28, 1980—the hottest night of the year—Kelly Michelle Lund shoots and kills Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a party in his home. . . . And instantly becomes a media sensation, her chilling smile fodder for national nightmares. For years, speculation swirls over the enigmatic seventeen-year-old’s motives, information she’s refused to share. Convicted of the murder, she loses her youth and her freedom—but keeps her secrets to herself.

Thirty years later—and five years after her release from prison—the past has come back to haunt Kelly. Her father-in-law, movie legend Sterling Marshall, is found in a pool of blood in his home in the Hollywood Hills—dead from a shot to the head, just like his old friend John McFadden.

Once again, Kelly is suspected of the high profile murder. But this time, she’s got some unexpected allies who believe she’s innocent—of both killings—and want to help her clear her name. But is she?

Written with masterful precision and control, What Remains of Me brilliantly moves forward and back in time, playing out the murders side by side—interweaving subtle connections and peeling away layers of events to reveal the shocking truth.

__________________________________________________________________________

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

__________________________________________________________________________

The WidowThe Widow by Fiona Barton

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen…

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

read more

Book, Meet Book

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Today we’re introducing two books to one other– and to you– because they’re both modern retellings of books we know and love. If you adore Pride and Prejudice and/or Jane Eyre (because who doesn’t?), sit tight and hear what these clever authors have done with two beloved novels.

__________________________________________________________________________

EligibleELIGIBLE by Curtis Sittenfeld

From the “wickedly entertaining” (USA Today) Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times bestselling author of Prep and American Wife, comes a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Equal parts homage to Jane Austen and bold literary experiment, Eligible is a brilliant, playful, and delicious saga for the twenty-first century.

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible both honors and updates Austen’s beloved tale. Tackling gender, class, courtship, and family, Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jane SteeleJANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye

“Reader, I murdered him.”

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement.  Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

A satirical romance about identity, guilt, goodness, and the nature of lies, by a writer who Matthew Pearl calls “superstar-caliber” and whose previous works Gillian Flynn declared “spectacular,” Jane Steele is a brilliant and deeply absorbing book inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre.

read more

What To Do When You Want To Read Everything

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

One of my (Marybeth’s) favorite bands is The Blue Nile, and a line from one of their songs says “She saw the world and she wanted it all.” I think we’ve all had that feeling before– that “I want it all, I want everything,” moment. Today we’ve rounded up some stories that focus on that feeling of wanting more. Whether it’s more answers, more freedom, more love, more time, we know why the word “everything” is so evocative. And so do the characters from today’s roundup.

__________________________________________________________________________

All of Us and EverythingAll of Us and Everything by Bridget Asher

For fans of the quirky, heartfelt fiction of Nick Hornby and Eleanor Brown comes a smart, wry, and poignant novel about reconciliation between fathers and daughters, between spouses; the deep ties between sisters; and the kind of forgiveness that can change a person’s life in unexpected and extraordinary ways.

The Rockwell women are nothing if not . . . Well, it’s complicated. When the sisters—Esme, Liv, and Ru—were young, their eccentric mother, Augusta, silenced all talk of their absent father with the wild story that he was an international spy, always away on top-secret missions. But the consequences of such an unconventional upbringing are neither small nor subtle: Esme is navigating a failing marriage while trying to keep her precocious fifteen-year-old daughter from live-tweeting every detail. Liv finds herself in between relationships and rehabs, and Ru has run away from enough people and problems to earn her frequent flier miles. So when a hurricane hits the family home on the Jersey Shore, the Rockwells reunite to assess the damage—only to discover that the storm has unearthed a long-buried box. In a candid moment, Augusta reveals a startling secret that will blow the sisters’ concept of family to smithereens—and send them on an adventure to reconnect with a lost past . . . and one another.

Note: we HIGHLY recommend this novel. It’s one of our spring book club selections and one that I (Marybeth) inhaled when I read it last fall and still rave about.

__________________________________________________________________________

Everything We KeepEverything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss and the euphoria of finding love again.

__________________________________________________________________________

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.”

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

_________________________________________________________________________

Everything EverythingEverything Everything by Nicola Yoon

If you love Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Augustus, and Mia and Adam, you’ll love the story of Maddy, a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly, the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. This innovative and heartfelt debut novel unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

“My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

“But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

“Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

read more