Dear Girls by Ali Wong


Comedian Ali Wong has been a hilarious stand-up comedian, a writer for Fresh Off The Boat, as well as an actress.  Now she can add writing a hysterical memoir to her list of accomplishments.
Dear Girls is an incredibly funny, heartfelt, sometimes raunchy, love letter to her two daughters, both of whom make appearances in Wong’s two Netflix specials (she is pregnant in each special), the first Baby Cobra (with daughter Mari) and Hard Knock Wife (with daughter Nikki). Each chapter starts out Dear Girls and then Wong proceeds to give her best advice such as not to go to knock-off Vietnamese restaurants, to how their dad once took her on a romantic date watching YouTube videos of Adele.
She gives us a look at her college years of drinking in excess to falling in love (not with their dad).  She takes us on an eating tour of Vietnam along with meeting some of her relatives as she tries to find out about her Vietnamese roots. She comically explains how she played the C-section card with her husband having to have a C-section after 24 hours of labor.  According to Wong, she did not change a diaper the first month of her daughters life!
She tries to explain to her girls how she slept with two homeless men (accidentally) but they turned out to be really good dates!   We get to learn how she landed her husband Justin a Harvard Business School graduate and how they got married (at City Hall) and how she found her dress (on E bay)! Did I mention he was a Harvard Business School graduate?
But as funny as the book is, it is as much a love letter to her dad whom she adored and who passed away and whom she misses terribly, and to her mother who has been an incredible help since the birth of her children and to all her relatives and friends.
This book will make you laugh and cringe (at the same time)! It will make you root for Wong (and all women), and will teach you about cultures and where not to eat! The Afterward, written to their children by her husband is just an extra bonus to quite an enjoyable book!
Thank you #NetGalley #RandomHouse #AliWong for the advanced copy.  The book will be out October 15.

The Ghost Clause by Howard Norman

thWriter Simon Inescort died of a heart attack on a ferry, yet he still lives at his and his wife Lorca’s home in Vermont. Simon, who is a ghost now, tells the reader stories about what he witnesses of the comings and goings of the new occupants of his home, Zachary and Muriel.  He also reminisces about the love of his life Lorca.

Simon shows us Zachary, who is a private investigator trying to solve the case of a young child who has disappeared. Heartbroken and haunted, Zachary will not stop until he finds her. We see through Simon’s eyes the day to day relationship between Muriel and Zachary, warts and all as they decide to try for a family.

He entices us with the love story between himself and Lorca, how they met and fell in love.  How they too wanted to start a family in the same house Zachary and Muriel are now living.  How just before he set off on his last boat ride, he and Lorca tried to resolve their own marital problems.

The particular irony in all this is that Simon is aware of a clause in the deed of the house called the “Ghost Clause” which allows the current owner to be reimbursed by the previous owner if it is found there is a ghost living in the house.  This is something he would never want to do to Lorca.

But with the alarm constantly being set off and with particular books being placed face down in the library will Zachary and Muriel get suspicious?  What would they do if they knew?

The Ghost Clause is a “haunting” look at two marriages whose problems sometimes parallel each others through heartbreaks and joys and happiness and love everlasting.

Thank you #NetGalley #HoughtonMifflinHarcourt #HowardNorman #TheGhostClause for the advanced copy.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

thLittleport Maine is a beautiful scenic town where people come to vacation during the summer.  But to the locals the town is divided into the haves (the rich) and everybody else.

Avery Greer is a local who lost her parents in a tragic accident when she was young.  She was raised by her grandmother until she died.  Then things changed.  Avery met Sadie Loman, whose father Grant owned most of the town, but especially most of the summer rental properties.  They took her in as if she was one of their own and Sadie became her best friend.  With Sadie as her best friend and Sadie’s brother Parker watching out for her, she finally felt like part of a family.  She suddenly found herself a “have” and lost touch with her other friends.

Avery and Sadie became attached at the hip.  They wore the same clothes…well, Sadie’s clothes, they had the codes to each other’s phones and spent all their time together.  They could complete each other’s sentences. Avery began working for the Loman’s as their summer rental manager. Avery was promoted. Life was good! Until Sadie died.  Her death considered a suicide.  Avery blaming herself thinking how could she not have seen or known something was wrong?

A year passes and as Avery continues to work for the Loman’s, strange things seem to be happening at the properties.  Then Avery accidently discovers Sadie’s phone.  Before giving it to one of the detectives who worked the case, Avery finds suspicious photos on the phone which sends her on a tail-spin mission to find out what really could have happened the night Sadie died.

What she begins to discover is her best friend had secrets.  Could someone have killed her?  What really happened to Sadie?

The Last House Guest, a Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine Book Club pick has so many twists and turns your head will spin.  And the ending will make your head explode!  This is a true nail biter of a story with curve balls you never see coming A book which you won’t be able to put down! Get it. NOW!

The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller

thInfamous widow Alva Webster decides to buy a run-down house in 1800’s New York.  Having had to endure horrible rumors during her marriage and with her husband now dead, she decides it’s time to start over with a brand new life so hopefully her notoriety will wane.  She has already gotten herself a book deal, unheard of during the time for a woman, in which she will chronicle the restoration and decoration of the house.  But when her contractor and his laborers refuse to continue their work on the house because of ghosts she sees her new life begin to crumble.

Enter Dr. Samuel Moore, a well-known scientist who takes a liking to not only finding the ghosts but to our lovely widow Alva.  Moore, who is a bit ecentric, comes from a family of scientists and doctors and must convince Alva that he can scientifically figure out how to talk to the ghosts, hence send them on their merry way. Alva, for her part is done with love, and doesn’t particularly believe in ghosts.  Having just come out of a horrible marriage she does not want anything to do with the doctor romantically, although she must admit he is adorable.

Sam has other ideas.  Although unconventional himself, he realizes Alva is his soul-mate.  Now he just has to persuade her of this realization!  But, while falling in love, they must also try and solve the mystery as to who is haunting the house and why.

The Widow of Rose House is an adorably romantic funny ghost story which although takes place during the 1800’s has themes that ring true even in today’s world. I would love to see more adventures of Alva and Sam!

Thank you so much to #NetGalley #St.Martin’sGriffin #DianaBiller #TheWidowofRoseHouse for the advanced copy.  The book will be out October 8.


One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

OneNightGone_options_v3-1One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski is an intriguing novel of suspense told between two time periods with an explosive ending you will never see coming.

Maureen Haddaway is a young teenager who ran away from her drug addicted mother and joined a travelling carnival. One summer the carnival stops at a place called Opal Beach a lavishly rich town with beautiful views and opulence.  Maureen becomes friends with some of the local teenagers and finally feels happiness and freedom for the first time.  Until she disappears.

Years later, Allison Simpson, an on-air meteorologist who has a melt-down during her live weather report and is fired is looking for somewhere to hide until her notoriety wears off.  When her sister discovers a housesitting job in a place called Opal Beach, Allison agrees to it thinking that what she truly needs is a quiet place to decompress and figure out just what is next for her.

What she did not see coming was her involvement in the mystery of a young teenager who disappeared years ago.  When asked by her new Opal Beach friend Tammy, to assist her in finding out where Maureen is or what could have happened to her becomes an obsession Allison cannot let go of.

Suddenly Allison realizes whatever happened to Maureen all those years ago has put her own life in danger.  But why? What is the connection?  But more important what really happened to Maureen?

One Night Gone was a terrific read with many plot twists and turns which kept me guessing until the ending was revealed.

Thank you so much to #NetGalley #GraydonHouse #TaraLaskowski #OneNightGone for the advanced copy.  The book came out on October 1.

Renia’s Diary: A Holocaust Journal by Renia Spiegel

41dUXGByU2L._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_Renia Spiegel was born in Poland and at the age of 18 died by a gunshot to the head for being Jewish.  She died a victim of the Holocaust.  Between the ages of 15 to 18, Renia kept a diary.  It took over 50 years for her 700 pages of diary to find its way to her sister Ariana (Elizabeth as she is now known as). And now it has found its way to us.

In her diary Renia not only chronicles her struggles, but the helplessness of her family and friends who endured as well.  Renia kept a record of her daily activities, going to school, arguments with friends, parties, types of stories written by any teenager, but she also kept her deepest secrets, her thoughts, her prayers, her loves, her fears and her dreams for the future in there as well. She called her diary her best friend.

She chronicles the beginning of the German’s and Russian’s taking over Poland.  She writes about her mother who is in Warsaw and is unable to be with her.  She heartbreakingly to ends her passages with words to her mother. She desperately held on to thoughts of seeing her again and hoping she was still alive. She writes about her one and only love Zygmund.  In one passage she dreams of having children with her future husband and how God has been so good to her.  She is such an old soul who witnessed horror no one. let alone a child should see and hear.

Renia writes about hearing gunshots outside and knowing someone has died, of hearing bombs, of her house being raided by the Nazi’s and her grandfather paying them off to give them a little more time…

Her diary is also filled with beautiful poems. She wrote incredible prose for such a young age they could rival any adult author’s compositions of today.

Her words are so profound and meaningful.  One can only wonder who Renia would have become if she had lived.  I must say I was honored to read this diary which I believe is an incredible historical document.

I am so grateful to #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #Renia’sDiary for the advanced copy.  The book will be out on September 24.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

untitledA truly heartbreaking story about two families whose lives are torn apart by a horrible incident.  It showcases the importance of receiving assistance for mental health as well as alcoholism.  Although the story takes place when these issues were not spoken about or even really understood, it speaks volumes as to what people went through years ago.  It also shows how the many current studies conclude these types of diseases could be hereditary.

When two young NYPD officers move their families into Gillum, a small city in New York, they had no reason to believe their family’s lives would forever be changed.  Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope were rookies when they both found themselves living on the same street.

Francis and his wife Lena had three girls, one named Kate.  Brian and his wife Anne had a son named Peter.  Kate and Peter were born six months apart.  They grew up being best friends until middle school when a tragic event occurred which not only changed both their lives, but separated them physically.  They were unable to see or talk to each other.

Years later, Peter and Kate make the decision to meet again and against all odds fall in love.  But can their love survive their families and the demons which both come back to haunt them as well as those which are discovered.  With so many secrets, will they be able to be strong enough to forgive and forgive each other.

Ask Again, Yes is an incredibly moving story in which the reader roots for the characters and yet feels their desperation when they stumble. I highly recommend it.

Thank you so much to Goodreads and Scribner for the free advanced copy.