Thursday, October 29, 2020

Truly Madly Guilty

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  The new novel from Liane Moriarty, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Husband’s Secret, Big Little Lies, and What Alice Forgot, about how sometimes we don’t appreciate how extraordinary our ordinary lives are until it’s too late. 
Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.
Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.
Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.
Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone
In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I liked the characters and the ending.  However, I think about 55-60% of the middle could be eliminated.  I was happy when I got past the point of finding out what actually happened and the impact/outcome.  Have really enjoyed Moriarty's other books.

LIANE MORIARTY is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Big Little Lies and The Husband's Secret, as well as the New York Times bestseller What Alice Forgot and The Hypnotist's Love Story. Her latest page-turner, Nine Perfect Strangers, is now on sale. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two children.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Nest

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives.

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs' joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:   The Nest is a good read.  A dysfunctional family with tons of family drama that money can't solve.  Interesting characters in the family making it entertaining.

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is the New York Times bestselling author of The Nest, which has been translated into twenty-six languages and optioned for film by Amazon Studios. She has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Hopefuls

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  A brilliantly funny novel about ambition and marriage from the best-selling author of Girls in White Dresses, The Hopefuls tells the story of a young wife who follows her husband and his political dreams to Washington, D.C., a city of idealism, gossip, and complicated friendships among the young aspiring elite. 

When Beth arrives in D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn't work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy, and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunches, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy’s star rises higher and higher, the couples’ friendship—and Beth’s relationship with Matt—is threatened by jealousy, competition, and rumors. A glorious send-up of young D.C. and a blazingly honest portrait of a marriage, this is the finest work yet by one of our most beloved writers.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: For those that like "West Wing," this is your book.  For me, it lacked a plot.  It was a quick read and enjoyable.

JENNIFER CLOSE is the best-selling author of Girls in White Dresses and The Smart One. Born and raised on the North Shore of Chicago, she is a graduate of Boston College and received her MFA in fiction writing from The New School in 2005. She worked in New York in magazines for many years. She now lives in Washington, DC, and teaches creative writing at George Washington University.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

You're Pulling My Leg! The Ultimate Storytelling Game

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

Synopsis:  You’re Pulling My Leg! and You’re Pulling My Leg! Junior have been adapted from the original board games into new incarnations for remote gameplay or family game nights.

Tell me about a talent you wish you had.  What about a time when you wanted something you couldn't have? Tell me about an animal you would be inf you could.

It's a game, inside a book and it's how we play in the time of COVID-19!

Based on the original board games, You're Pulling My Leg? and You're Pulling My Leg" Junior are new books for award-winning game creator Allen Wolf that make it possible to play with friends in these times of social distancing.  In-person, with family or friends, or over video chat, You're Pulling My Leg! lets you test your bluffing skills with completely new questions that range from thought-provoking to zany. 

You're Pulling My Leg? is a game of hilarious stories - whether they're true or not is up to the flip of the coin.  Players who succeed at following their friends win points, while others gain points for correctly guessing if a story is true or false.  You'll be surprised how much you learn about other players or your family in a short amount of time.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  My son was home for a weekend in mid-October and brought some friends home with him.  We played You're Pulling My Leg? and had a great time.  I learned a lot about my own kids too! For example, I never knew that one of my daughters wouldn't mind changing her name to Emma.  I also thought this was a great way to get to know my son's friends.  I was amazed at how good some of them were at telling "stories"!

I do think this is a game you could easily play via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.  

There is also a Junior edition - You're Pulling My Leg! Junior.  I think this would be hit for younger kids, especially in this virtual world we are experiencing.  It would be a great teacher's holiday gift! 

This game has received multiple accolades, including the iParenting Media Award, The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, and Creative Child Magazine's Toy of the Year Award. 

Allen Wolf is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and game creator.  His company, Morning Star Games, also publishes Slap Wacky! JabberJot and Pet Detectives as well.  Allen has won 39 awards from his games, which have been played by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Twitter: @MorningStarGame
Facebook: @morningstargames

Twitter: @theallenwolf

Facebook: @theallenwolf

Instagram: @theallenwolf/


Murder in the Piazza

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

Synopsis:  Maggie White, a downsized American executive stuck in Rome on her husband’s expat assignment, is finding the dolce vita isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s taken a job offering painting instruction to well-heeled travelers on a luxury tour and her boss—a rather unpleasant English lord—has turned up dead in his penthouse. Maggie’s left with a palazzo full of suspicious guests, a valuable painting her boss might have stolen, and a policeman who’s decided she’s the prime suspect. Now Maggie must keep the tour up and running while she tracks the killer and works to clear her name.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Murder in the Piazza is a clean "whose done it" book.  Several people end up dead and Maggie is caught in the middle of it.  Maggie finds herself in a slump having been terminated from her job, kids are older/grown and out of the house, and now an expat living in Italy.  When she takes on a job with a tour company her life because crazier than she could imagine.  Great read if you like a murder mystery that isn't scary and a good clean story.

TLC Book Tour:  Make sure you check out other reviews!

Monday, October 5th: Moonlight Rendezvous

Tuesday, October 6th: Pacific Northwest Bookworm and @pnwbookworm

Wednesday, October 7th: What is That Book About

Thursday, October 8th: Kahakai Kitchen

Friday, October 9th: @lyon.brit.andthebookshelf

Monday, October 12th: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Wednesday, October 14th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Thursday, October 15th: @bookarethemagic

Friday, October 16th: @baytownbookie

Monday, October 19th: The OC Book Girl and @theocbookgirl

Wednesday, October 21st: Seaside Book Nook

Thursday, October 22nd: PhDiva Blog and @thephdivabooks

Monday, October 26th: Eliot’s Eats

Tuesday, October 27th: @savbeebooks

Wednesday, October 28th: Books Cooks Looks

Jen Collins Moore is the author of the Maggie White Mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly, and she is the editor of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest newsletter. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, as well an established marketer and entrepreneur. A transplanted New Englander, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Jen

Website | Facebook | Instagram

The Underground Railroad

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  #1 New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize • Winner of the National Book Award • Winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction • Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

One of the Best Books of the Year: The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times, HuffPost, Esquire, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Look for Whitehead’s acclaimed new novel, The Nickel Boys, available now!

Cora is a young slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood—where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Colson Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the terrors of the antebellum era, he weaves in the saga of our nation, from the brutal abduction of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is both the gripping tale of one woman's will to escape the horrors of bondage—and a powerful meditation on the history we all share.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  What more can be said....the book won the Pultizer Prize and National Book Award.  The Underground Railroad is a must-read book.  

Colson Whitehead is the New York Times bestselling author of The Noble HustleZone OneSag HarborThe IntuitionistJohn Henry DaysApex Hides the Hurt, and one collection of essays, The Colossus of New York. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Sun is Also a Star

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? 

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  The story alternated back and forth between Natasha and Daniel. Natasha is getting deported and Daniel has a college interview. There two worlds collide creating a beautiful love story.  Extremely enjoyable!  Now I have to find the movie - hopefully it is on Netflix or Hulu!

NICOLA YOON is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Sun Is Also a Star and Everything, Everything, her debut novel, which was turned into a major motion picture. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn and lives in Los Angeles with her family. She’s also a hopeless romantic who firmly believes that you can fall in love in an instant and that it can last forever.

Follow @NicolaYoon on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war."
"You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
"Yes, sometime."

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I am afraid whatever I type will not do this book justice. Unbelieve story that unfortunately is very common in West Africa, where Ishmael was born. Heartbreaking to think any child has to witness murders let alone decide if they should kill or be killed.  Absolutely an amazing story and told very well.  A Long Way Gone needs to be part of schools reading lists.  I will admit, my head is processing a lot of this book since it is very emotional and hard to grasp such a life here in the US.

Ishmael Beah was born in 1980 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vespertine Press, LIT, Parabola, and numerous academic journals. He is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Advisory Committee; an advisory board member at the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights at Rutgers University; cofounder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW); and president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many panels on the effects of war on children. His book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier has been published in over thirty languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in 2007. Time magazine named the book as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2007, ranking it at number three. Ishmael Beah is a graduate of Oberlin College with a B.A. in Political Science and resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently completing a novel set in his home country of Sierra Leone.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a new collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, "More and more, especially in the summertime when I'm sitting on the beach, I'm learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all."

So put aside your worries and join Lisa and Francesca as they navigate their way through the crazy world we live in, laughing along the way.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Laugh out loud stories that all us ladies can relate too.  Lots of wisdom sprinkled throughout too. I  didn't realize that this actually books 6 out of 9.  It is a stand alone, but now I can't wait to go read the rest of the series. Mother and daughter writting duo is well worth reading.  Another great book to read on the beach, but not a can be read anywhere and anytime of year! 

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning author of 24 novels and co-author of six humor memoirs in this series. She also writes a Sunday column for "The Philadelphia Inquirer." She has 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in 30 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SCOTTOLINE SERRITELLA is the co-author of six humor memoirs in this series and is currently working on a novel. She is also a Sunday columnist for "The Philadelphia Inquirer." Francesca is a cum laude and award-winning graduate of Harvard University and now lives in New York City with one dog and one cat, so far. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Killer of the Flower Moon

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
            Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. 

            As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Wow....I learned a lot from the novel and now want to watch the movie (great actors in it too). One sad, sad story, but one that must be told.  I am still in shock that this really happened.  With all that is going on the world, I shouldn't be surprised though.  Killer of the Flower Moon was an emotional read, but well worth it.  It should be part of the reading list in high school/college.  A history lesson we all should be aware of and one I was not taught while in school.

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, which was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. He is also the author of The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. His work has garnered several honors for outstanding journalism, including a George Polk Award.