Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Happy and You Know It

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Book Summary:  Claire Martin missed her chance at stardom. She left her band, Vagabond, just as they were starting to make it big. With no royalties from the hit song she wrote and no cash flow, Claire needs to reinvent herself and earn some money to stay afloat in New York City—fast.

Reluctantly, Claire takes a gig as a playgroup musician, serenading the privileged toddlers of Manhattan’s wealthy elite. But it’s not long before Claire is brought in as an honorary member of the playgroup by the mothers who employ her—a group of influential women obsessed with fitness, well-being, and, of course, motherhood. There’s Whitney, group ring-leader and Instagram star whose life is picture-perfect on the surface. Amara, a stay-at-home mom who is used to climbing the corporate ladder and is now rediscovering her identity. Meredith and Ellie, the inseparable dynamic mom duo, and Gwen, an old pro who never hesitates to share motherly wisdom. Claire quickly learns that playgroup is for more than just the kids—it’s time for the moms to de-stress and focus on themselves through their fancy fitness classes, vitamins, and healthy doses of gossip.

Claire begins to count on these women as friends—until she stumbles upon some of their most scandalous secrets and the extreme lengths these polished parents will go to hide their flaws.

  • File Size: 1350 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (May 19, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 19, 2020
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Primates of Park Avenue + Daisy Jones and the Six = Happy and You Know It.  I always said I would love to live in NYC, but I didn't know how people do it with children.  That was the part I always struggled with as I wouldn't be able to afford a big beautiful apartment and can't imagine putting a car seat in a taxi.  

Happy and You Know It is was a great escape from all the stuff going on today in the world.  Play group moms, instagram influencers, an ex-band member, and a scam artist keep this book very entertaining.  It kept me on my toes through out the book, because I couldn't figure out who the person was in prologue…..we don't find out the end!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would read future novels by Laura Hankin!



Laura Hankin has written for McSweeney's and HuffPost, among other publications. The viral videos that she creates and stars in with her comedy duo, Feminarchy, have been featured in Now This, The New York Times, and Funny or Die. She grew up in Washington, D.C., attended Princeton University, and now lives in New York City, where she has performed off-Broadway, acted onscreen, and sung to far too many babies.



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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Beach Read

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~





Book Summary:  January Andrews, author of a number of bestselling romance novels, no longer believes in love. Not only has she just lost her father, but she also found out that her parents’ marriage—the inspiration behind her books—was all a lie. Her father cheated on her mother for years, and January was the only one who didn’t know. This is the worst time for her agent to be hounding her for her next manuscript. What she needs is a summer retreat to a private house on Lake Michigan to work through her emotions and finally let her ideas flow.

But what she wasn’t expecting was to be neighbors with Augustus Everett, big-time literary writer and big-headed elitist, according to January. And she would know—they went to the same college and endured more than one writing class together. While January wrote perfect endings, Gus killed off all his characters. And he wasn’t shy about telling January exactly what he thought of her happily ever afters.

But it turns out they have more in common than their mutual disdain. Gus is also working on a book that’s going absolutely nowhere. To challenge themselves, or perhaps each other, they agree to switch genres. Augustus will write a gushy love story, and January will write about pain. But this simple writing exercise may just give them the happy ending they never thought they wanted.

  • File Size: 2067 KB
  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1984806734
  • Publisher: Berkley (May 19, 2020)
  • Publication Date: May 19, 2020
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC


Emily Henry writes stories about love and family for both teens and adults. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.


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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Me and You and Us

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~



Synopsis (from Amazon):  The heartbreaking, yet hopeful, story of a mother and daughter struggling to be a family without the one person who holds them together—a perfect summer read for fans of Jojo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos.

Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe. 
Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.
But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too. 
As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.  
You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.

  • Print Length: 422 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062934856
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (April 7, 2020)
  • Publication Date: April 7, 2020
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Get your tissue ready.  This is a beautiful book with lots of love and loss.  Your heart will break and mend and break again. 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would love to read Alison's next novel.


Founder of the Every Damn Day Writers, Alison Hammer has been spinning words to tell stories since she learned how to talk. A graduate of the University of Florida and the Creative Circus in Atlanta, she lived in nine cities before settling down in Chicago, where she works as a VP creative director at an advertising agency. You & Me & Us is her first novel.



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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sunrise On Half Moon Bay Excerpt

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~







Book Summary:  Sometimes the happiness we’re looking for has been there all along…

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.

When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.

Set in the stunning coastal town of Half Moon Bay, California, Robyn Carr’s new novel examines the joys of sisterhood and the importance of embracing change.

Buy Links: 



Excerpt:  “Has it ever occurred to Scott to get a serious job?” Adele asked. “I mean, forgive me, since I haven’t had a serious job in my life.” 
Justine smiled patiently. “Your jobs have all been serious, and without you we’d have been lost. If you hadn’t dedicated yourself to Mom’s care, it would have cost our whole family a fortune. We’re indebted to you. And I agree it would help if Scott worked more than part-time, but I think that ship sailed years ago. He’s only worked part-time since Amber and Olivia came along.” 
Adele adored her nieces, ages sixteen and seventeen. She was much closer to them than she was to Justine. 
“I’m sorry you’re going through this,” Adele said. “I wish there was something I could do.” 
“Well, the thing is, the future is looking very uncertain. I might need your help,” Justine said. 
“What could I do?” she asked. 
“Adele, I don’t like to push you, but you have to get it together. We have to make some decisions about what you’re going to do, what we’ll do with the house. I realize what I’ve given you for your hard work hasn’t been much, but I don’t know how long I can keep it up—paying for the maintenance on this house, the taxes, a modest income for you… I don’t want to panic prematurely,” Justine said. “Maybe I’ll be able to work everything out without too much hassle, but if I run into trouble… Money could get very tight, Addie. All those promises I made—that I’d help financially while you fix up the house, that I’d give you my half of the proceeds when and if you sold it… I might not be able to come through. I know, I know, I promised you it would be yours after all of your sacrifice, but you wouldn’t want me to ignore the girls’ tuition or not be able to make the mortgage…” 
“But Justine!” Adele said. “That’s all I have! And I was considering finishing school myself!” Though if she was honest, she had no plans of any kind. 
Justine reached out to her, squeezing her hand. “We’re a long way from me needing money. I just felt it was only fair to tell you what’s going on. If we’re in this together, we can both make it. I swear, I will make this all work out. I’ll make it right.” 
But as Adele knew, they had never really been “in it together” in the past, and they wouldn’t be for very long in the future. Addie’s dedication to their parents allowed Justine to devote herself to her career. For that matter, it should be Justine and Scott shoring each other up. At least until Justine had a better idea. But where was Scott today? Golfing? Biking? Bowling? 
Adele realized she had some difficult realities to face. When she dropped out of school to help her mother care for her father, she wasn’t being completely altruistic. She’d needed a place to run away to, hiding an unplanned pregnancy and covering her tattered heart. She’d never told her family that her married lover—her psychology professor—had broken down in tears when he explained he couldn’t leave his wife to marry Adele, that the college would probably fire him for having an affair with a student. For her, going home was the only option. 
At the time Justine and Scott had been riding the big wave and didn’t lust after the small, old house in Half Moon Bay. That house was chump change to them. So, they worked out a deal. Adele had become her mother’s guardian with a power of attorney. But the will had never been adjusted to ref lect just one beneficiary rather than two. In the case of the death of both parents, Adele and Justine would inherit equal equity in the eighty-year-old house and anything left of the life insurance. At the time, of course, neither Adele nor Justine had ever considered the idea that Adele would be needed for very long. But before Adele knew it, eight years had been gobbled up. She was thirty-two and had been caring for her parents since she was twenty-four. 
Adele, as guardian, could have escaped by turning over the house, pension, social security to a care facility for her mother and gone out on her own, finding herself a better job and her own place to live. She wasn’t sure if it was her conscience or just inertia that held her in place for so long. 
“I just wanted to make sure you understood the circumstances before anything more happens,” Justine said. “And since you don’t have any immediate plans, please don’t list the house for sale or anything. Give me a chance to figure out what’s next. I have children. I’ll do whatever I can to protect them and you. They’re your nieces! They love you so much. I’m sure you want them to get a good education as much as I do.” 
Does anyone want me to have a real chance to start over? Adele asked herself. This conversation sounded like Justine was pulling out of their deal. 
“I’ll think about this, but Scott has responsibilities, too,” she pointed out. 
“He’s been out of the full-time workforce for so long…” Justine said. 
“Just the same, we all have to live up to our adult commitments and responsibilities. And you’ve had a highfalutin job for a long time. You’ve made a lot of money. You can recover. I haven’t even begun.” 
“I need your help, Addie,” Justine said. “You need to come up with a plan, something we can put in motion. Make plans for your next step, put a little energy into this old house, make suggestions of what we should do with it, everything. Let’s figure out what to do before I find myself short and unable to help. I’m sorry, but we have to move forward.”

Excerpted from Sunrise on Half Moon Bay, Copyright © 2020 by Robyn Carr. Published by MIRA Books.
SUNRISE ON HALF MOON BAY 
Author: Robyn Carr 
ISBN: 9780778309482
Publication Date: 4/14/2020
Publisher: MIRA Books



Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women's fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan's Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at www.RobynCarr.com.

Twitter: @RCarrWriter
Facebook: @RobynCarrWriter
Instagram: @RobynCarrWriter


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Sister Dear

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~






Synopsis:  In Hannah Mary McKinnon’s psychological thriller, SISTER DEAR (MIRA Trade; May 26, 2020; $17.99), the obsession of Single White Female meets the insidiousness of You, in a twisted fable about the ease of letting in those who wish us harm, and that mistake’s dire consequences.

The day he dies, Eleanor Hardwicke discovers her father – the only person who has ever loved her – is not her father. Instead, her biological father is a wealthy Portland businessman who wants nothing to do with her and to continue his life as if she doesn’t exist. That isn’t going to work for Eleanor.

Eleanor decides to settle the score. So, she befriends his daughter Victoria, her perfect, beautiful, carefree half-sister who has gotten all of life’s advantages while Eleanor has gotten none.

As she grows closer to Victoria, Eleanor’s obsession begins to deepen. Maybe she can have the life she wants, Victoria’s life, if only she can get close enough. 
Buy Links: 


Excerpt: Chapter 1

The police didn’t believe me.
A jury wouldn’t have, either, if I’d gone on trial, and most definitely not the judge. My attorney had more than a few reservations about my story. Ms. Allerton hadn’t said as much. She didn’t need to. I saw it in her eyes, could tell by the way she shuffled and reshuffled her papers, as if doing so might shake my lies clean off the pages, leaving only the truth behind in her inky, royal blue swirls.
After our first meeting I’d concluded she must’ve known early on—before she shook my hand with her icy fingers—that I was a liar. Before she’d walked into the room in shiny, four-inch heels, she’d no doubt decided she’d heard my excuses, or a variation thereof, from countless clients already. I was yet another person claiming to be innocent. Another criminal who’d remained adamant they’d done nothing wrong, it wasn’t their fault, honest, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary, a wall of impending doom surrounding me.
And still, at the time I’d believed the only reason Ms. Allerton had taken on my case pro-bono was because of the amount of publicity it gave her firm. Reducing my sentence—for there would be one—would amplify her legacy as a hot-shot lawyer. I’d accepted her help. There was no other option. I needed her knowledge, her expertise, saw her as my final hope. I now know her motivations were something else I’d miscalculated. All hope extinguished. Game over.
If I’m being fair, the judgements Ms. Allerton and other people had made about me weren’t completely wrong. I had told lies, some, anyway. While that stripped away part of my claim to innocence, it didn’t mean I was entirely guilty. Not of the things everybody said I’d done. Things I’d had no choice but to confess to, despite that being my biggest lie of all.
But I’ll tell you the truth. The whole truth and nothing but. I’ll start at the beginning, and share everything that happened. Every last detail leading up to one fateful night. The night someone died because of me. The night I lost you, too.
I won’t expect your forgiveness. Our relationship—or lack thereof—will have gone way beyond that point. No. All I can hope for, is that my side of the story will one day help you understand why I did the things I did.
And why I have to do the things I’ve not yet done.
Excerpted from Sister Dear by Hannah Mary McKinnon, Copyright © 2020 by Hannah McKinnon. 
Published by MIRA Books
SISTER DEAR
Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon
ISBN: 9780778309550
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books


Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors and Her Secret Son. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Synopsis:  Discover the transformative power of leisure to recapture your calm and creativity.
We live in a time where busyness is often seen as a badge of honor. But are your busiest days really the ones that make you feel the most accomplished? If all of your hard work isn't working, it might be time to question the common assumption that “busy” = “productive.” After reaching breaking points in their careers, business coach John Fitch and AI researcher Max Frenzel both learned the critical importance of taking time off. Now these former workaholics are here to help you revolutionize the way you get things done.
Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress reveals how history’s greatest minds, as well as some of the most successful leaders, thinkers, and creatives of today, found success by practicing a more balanced approach to work and life. Embracing their insights on how constant hustle can be your worst enemy, you will realize that time off means much more than just taking a break. By learning how to slow down, you will rediscover a more fulfilled and versatile version of yourself and unlock your true creative potential.
In Time Off, you’ll discover:
  • The most effective methods to reclaim leisure, while increasing productivity and creativity
  • Why your work ethic needs to be supported by an equally solid rest ethic
  • Tactics for getting away from the work without the dreaded guilt
  • Why time off and leisure will be key competitive advantages in the future of work
  • How to thrive alongside AI and use technology to become more human
  • The many ways in which time off improves your leadership skills, and much, much more!
Reshaping the way you think about work and leisure, Time Off is a reinvigorating guide to doing more by laboring less. If you like relatable personal anecdotes, historically-sound approaches to downtime, and scientifically-backed strategies for increasing your creativity, then you’ll love John Fitch and Max Frenzel’s life-changing resource.
Get Time Off – for yourself or as a gift to the busy people in your life – as a healthy reminder to put down the busywork and pick up what actually matters most to you.


Buy: amazon 



Excerpt: 

Rest Ethic


Take in a deep breath and hold it.

Keep holding.

How long can you hold your inhale until it gets uncomfortable?

Thirty seconds? A few minutes? It doesn’t take long until we all, eventually, need to exhale. 

Think of your work ethic as the inhale. (It is, in a way, as essential to your career as air is to your body.) With a good work ethic we make, execute, coordinate, manage, fulfill, and get things done. Task list—inhale. Project execution—inhale. Making our ideas come to life—inhale. 

But we can’t keep inhaling forever. Eventually we have to exhale. This exhale is your rest ethic, and it is just as essential.

A solid rest ethic gifts us inspiration, ideas, and recovery. It allows us to build up our enthusiasm and sustain our passion. Gaining a fresh perspective—exhale. Project ideation and “aha” moments—exhale. Letting big ideas incubate in your mind—exhale. And just as a deep exhale prepares you for a better inhale, your rest ethic enables you to have a better work ethic.

[…]

Excessive hours don’t guarantee quality work. And quality work, not quantity or busywork, is what a good work ethic is all about. Now, there are plenty of fantastic books out there about improving and refining your work ethic. Titles like 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Relentless, Mastery, and Turning Pro have got you covered. Our focus here will be on your rest ethic, leisure, and the wellspring of creativity and impactful ideas your time off can produce.

So, what might a well-designed rest ethic look like?

This book will teach you that it involves much more than taking a vacation or a day off. A great rest ethic is not just about working less. It’s about becoming conscious of how you spend your time, recognizing that busyness is often the opposite of productivity, admitting and respecting your need for downtime and detachment, establishing clear boundaries and saying no more often, giving your ideas time and space to incubate, evaluating what success means to you, and ultimately finding and unlocking your deepest creative and human potential.

A rest ethic and a work ethic—we need both. They are two sides of the same coin. But today, it seems like too many of us are running around holding our breath for way too long. How effective is our work ethic without enthusiasm and creativity? How can we be effective leaders and come up with the big, innovative, impactful ideas our world needs if we’re stressed and burned out?

The team behind this book experienced the need to exhale firsthand. John reached a breaking point in his life and discovered a novel concept of time while on a life-changing sabbatical. Max was drowning in busyness without feeling productive, and during some quiet days in the mountains started thinking back to his leisurely but highly productive Ph.D. days. Our illustrator Mariya was falling out of love with drawing because she had taken on too many projects and had to relearn to emphasize quality of work—and enjoyment—over quantity of projects. All three of us had a bumpy and winding road discovering the importance of having a rest ethic. We wrote this book to make your road a bit easier.




Max Frenzel is an AI researcher, writer, and digital creative. After receiving his PhD in Quantum Information Theory from Imperial College London and working as a postdoctoral research fellow at Tokyo University, Max has been involved in several tech startups, focusing on the intersection of AI research and product design. Most recently he has been interested in the applications of AI and deep learning to creativity, design, and music. Some of the AI-art Max has been involved in was exhibited at places like the Barbican Centre in London, and he is a regular public speaker on topics such as AI and creativity. In his time off, Max enjoys good coffee, tries to perfect his bread baking skills, and produces electronic music and performs around Tokyo. You can find him online at www.maxfrenzel.com.


John Fitch is a business coach, angel investor, and writer. He is a recovering workaholic who wrote Time Off for a former version of himself. John studied Business and Media at The University of Texas at Austin. He has built a career designing digital products and as an active angel investor in technologies that are automating the mundane work that most people don't enjoy. He cares deeply about the future of work and is optimistic that everyone has the opportunity to join the creative class in the near future. He cultivates great ideas and inspiration by hosting a dinner party, training Jiu-Jitsu, taking a short trip to somewhere new, farming, playing music, and dancing with his partner, Sara. You can find John at www.john-fitch.com

Twitter: @johnwfitch and @mffrenzel


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