Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Charlotte and her young daughter Vivi have lived through the occupation of Paris, France during World War II. Her husband killed during the war, Charlotte barely makes end meet as she works in a bookshop in Paris. She desperately tries to live under the radar of the Germans to protect herself, but especially her toddler Vivi. They barely have anything to eat, and Vivi is sickly, probably due to the lack of nutrition.

When a German doctor begins to come into the she shop regularly and begins to show interest, she must make a few hard choices. Does she, for the sake of Vivi, accept his assistance? But is this choice really for the sake of her daughter or for herself?

Fast forward to the 1950’s and Charlotte and Vivi are now living in New York. Charlotte is an editor at a publishing company, having been taken in by the owner who was a friend of her father’s from years ago. Horace is wheelchair bound after an accident during the war which he refuses to talk about. Charlotte and Vivi live in an apartment downstairs from Horace and his wife Hannah. Charlotte is a hard worker who lives for her daughter Vivi.

Suddenly Charlotte’s past becomes her present when she receives a letter concerning her German doctor. At the same time, Vivi begins to question their Jewish heritage and why Charlotte does not want to celebrate the holidays. She also begins to want to find out more about her dead father and his family. It is then that Charlotte must decide how to answer these questions which she knew at some point would come. But then she would also have to explain secrets she has held close to her heart all these years. She had always dreaded telling Vivi these secrets. She just wanted to live in a bubble with Vivi pretending everything would always be just the two of them and perfect.

But with the memories of her German doctor flooding back and all she has carried from her time in Paris and in the camp they were liberated from, Charlotte must begin the process of letting go of her past demons and guilt and setting herself free. But also fearful of what others will think if she reveals them.

With love and tenderness, Feldman weaves a beautiful story of a strong woman who would do anything to protect and save her daughter, who would repress the love she felt guilty of having and can barely think about to try and make peace with her past so she can once again live and love in the present.

Thank you #NetGalley #Griffin/St.Martin’sPress #ParisNeverLeaveYou #EllenFeldman for the advanced copy.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Author Jenny Lawson has multiple anxiety disorders and depression. Rather than keep her mental illness in a dark and secret place, she started a blog about it awhile ago. Her blog became so popular that she decided to write a book which became a number one best seller called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

Furiously Happy is her second hysterically funny book of essays on how handling her many issues although can be debilitating, the situations they pose can be laugh out loud funny!

And laughter IS one of the best medicines for anxiety and depression. Lawson’s ability to take a simple thought and create a whole comical scenario is a talent I have never seen. In the essay, I’ve Found a Kindred Soul and He Has a Healthy Coat tells the story of how Lawson went to the pharmacy to pick up her meds and while waiting in line saw a box of dog biscuits behind the pharmacy counter. Whose could they be? Does the pharmacist eat them on break? Can you eat dog biscuits? Should I eat dog biscuits?

Another essay which some of us can relate to…I know I can, is titled, Things I May Have Accidentally Said During Uncomfortable Silences. In the essay she lists thoughts she has said out loud at possibly the most inappropriate times. One such thought was during an office visit during one of her psychology appointments she remarks during a lull, “On the way in here I saw a cloud that looked like a skull. My first thought? Death Eaters.”

There are a few funny stories she tells about going on a vacation (something her anxiety usually will not let her do) to Australia with her girlfriend and they decide to dress up as koalas while visiting the zoo to see the koalas only to find they have gone to the wrong zoo while dressed as said koalas. When they finally find the correct zoo they find out you are not allowed to hold the koalas. Hence pictures of them NEXT to the koala in a koala costume.

The pictures which Lawson provides in the book are proof positive that although she struggles, she certainly tries to push the envelope and have a bit of fun. My favorite photo is of her laying in an unfinished pool which they had been trying to complete only the contractors kept bailing on them. It says quite a bit about a book when not only do the words make you laugh, but the pictures are even hysterical.

Although this book does try to show that there can be a little light at the end of the tunnel, Lawson does not in anyway sugar coat her mental illness. What she can do and does is not only empathize with those who suffer minor or major anxiety or mental illness, but explains that even though there are crazy fun moments, there are still weeks which she spends in bed being unable to get up her depression so severe. Or feeling guilty that she is unable to go see her daughter in her dance class because of her social anxiety or the newest, now that she has to go on book tours…hiding under tables when she knows she has to speak. But she has a terrific husband, Victor who can talk or argue her down from the ledge when need be.

With all that said, the most important lesson I believe Lawson wants us to take away from her book is YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here. I understand your distress. I know what you mean. Now, laugh about it!

The Love Scam by MaryJanice Davidson

When super wealthy Rake Tarbell wakes up in a very bad state in Venice…Italy, not California, unable to remember how on earth he got there and missing his wallet and cell phone he thinks perhaps he may have a problem.

Thus begins The Love Scam where love is all in the family! And so is hilarity! Rake wakes up only to meet a mysterious woman named Claire Delaney who immediately introduces him to his (gulp) young daughter Lillith, whose mother he does not really remember!

And in true comedic flair we begin to learn Claire has secrets she does not want Rake to know and Rake has secrets he does not want Claire to know and both have secrets they don’t want Lillith to know and Lillith is keeping her own set of secrets, while all rooming together in a shabby, not up to Rake’s standard, hotel room.

Rake, whose accounts seem to have no money in them anymore must work for Claire by putting together Easter Baskets in order to make enough money to buy a cell phone in order to call his twin brother Blake to find out what is actually going on.

When he finally reaches Blake and finds him without any money, Rake decides to use the never used before “nuclear option” which Rake and Blake have saved for a major crisis. Unfortunately for the reader, we must wait to find out exactly was this option is and when we do the fun continues!

In the meantime, Blake and Claire seem to be getting along a little too well, Lillith has pulled on Rake’s heart and oh, there are men who are trying to kidnap them!

This is a fast-paced clever, witty story about love and family and nuclear options worth triggering! It is the second book of a series, the first being Danger Sweetheart, but no fears, I had no idea there was a first book and it made absolutely no difference to how much I enjoyed The Love Scam!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #MaryJaniceDavidson #TheLoveScam for the advanced copy.

The Safe Place by Anna Downes

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The Safe Place is a tantalizing mysterious story in which the reader, desperate to solve, willingly will exhaust themselves by staying up all night as they desperately try to answer the not so simple question, is this a safe place?

Emily Proudman wants to be an actress but is having absolutely no luck.  At least she has a job to pay her bills and an agent to send her on casting calls.  Although barely making ends meet, she still has a roof over her head.  And then in a blink of an eye it’s all gone.  She loses her job, agent and with those gone, her apartment.

Adopted at a young age, Emily has never really felt a bond with her mother.  Perhaps she never gave her a chance since her childhood prior to adoption is a bit fuzzy.  She rarely sees her parents and when she does it’s usually to ask for money.  But this time they will not have it.  Enough is enough and Emily must grow up and figure this out on her own.

Scott Denny is her very wealthy previous boss who unbeknownst to her has had her fired from the job she desperately needed.  Although married, his wife and daughter live in a secluded house in France.  He visits only once in a while.  The work rumor mill runs rampant with reasons why. His life seems mysterious.

So when Scott offers Emily a job at the house in France assisting his wife Nina with their daughter Aurelia, doing odd jobs around the house and running errands, even giving her a credit card and use of a car, she jumps at the chance to make some money.

At first the job is perfect.  Nina is loving, a bit obsessed with her daughter, but that’s natural right?  Although Aurelia has her problems, they all begin to bond.  Emily is taken by Nina’s beauty.  She realizes Aurelia has two sides, a good one and a bit of a destructive one.  But Emily had been warned that Aurelia had been very sick as a baby and figures this acting out must be part of the illness. The days easily flow into each other and Emily could not be happier in this picturesque world.

Until Emily starts to think perhaps something is not right.  Maybe what she is seeing is not real. But how can she question Nina’s passion and love for her daughter? And then she sees something she should not have and her world explodes. She begins to question everything, including why Scott wanted to hire her for this job.  Is he aware of what’s going on?

But by the time she realizes there is something not right with this perfect little family, it may be too late for Emily.  She is now trapped in paradise.  As the walls begin to close all around her will she be able to break the hold this family has on her?  Will she ever be able to leave this wonderland turned prison?

The Safe Place is a wonderful mystery with a compelling ending as all the clues and suspicions the reader has gathered come together for a jaw dropping ending.

Thank you #NetGalley #MinotaurBooks #AnnaDownes #TheSafePlace for the advanced copy.

 

Death By Dumpling by Vivien Chen

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So let me start by saying a few of by blogger friends reviewed this book. I had never heard of the series.  But I am glad I discovered it!

Twenty-something Lana Lee, (I love the name!) lost both her job and her boyfriend and now works in her parent’s restaurant Ho-Lee Noodle House in the Asia Village Plaza.  Depressed and a bit embarrassed at having to return to her parent’s business she is at a cross-road in her life.  Her parents, of course, think she needs to get her life in order, find a boyfriend and get married. Clearly this is not in Lana’s future.  Her sister, who is in law school seems to be able to carry on with her life without the obligatory companion, but Lana… .

Then the property manager of the complex Mr. Feng ends up dead after Lana delivers him his lunch. And everybody becomes a suspect.  It seems although respected, Mr. Feng may have not been very liked by some of the shop owners.  There are an array of quirky, funny, intense suspects who each have there own hidden reason for wanting Feng dead.

Lana, against explicit instructions from the (cute) detective on the case, decides to make it her mission to find out what happened, if only to salvage her own reputation as she seems to be one of the prime suspects.  She, along with her roommate become very unsophisticated sleuths.  But what they uncover unfortunately may get Lana killed.

Adding to the chaos of Lana’s life is a dog named after a soy sauce, a mother and aunt who seem to know more than they are saying, and who are also pressuring her into dating someone who, unbeknownst to them is on her suspect list!

Death By Dumpling is an unexpected enjoyable funny cozy with interesting plot twists and comical dialogue.  The characters are believable and most are lovable.  This is the first in A Noodle Shop Mystery series which I look forward to reading more of.

 

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

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The Night Swim is from the author of my absolute favorite book last year, The Escape Room and Goldin once again does not disappoint!

Rachel Krall is a true-crime podcaster whose next season’s episodes will be broadcast from a small town where everybody knows everybody.  It is a rape case and Rachel will be in court and reporting to her fans on the daily testimony.

The accused is a college boy who is a talented swimmer, perhaps heading to the Olympics.  The accuser is a high school girl he saw at a party and decided to have sex with in an alleged contest he was having with his roommate as to who could sleep with the most girls in a month.  He insists the sex was consensual.  She says she repeatedly told him to stop.

But along with the trial, which has the town divided, Rachel is getting notes from a woman named Heather who insists she wrote to Rachel to try and get her to investigate the death of her sister Jenny twenty-five years earlier in the same town.  Her sister was found dead in the water.  The medical examiner ruled it a suicide.  Heather insists it was murder because her sister was a strong swimmer.  It never added up and Heather and her mother could never get any answers.

Heather claims there was some kind of cover-up and knowing Rachel was going to be in town for the rape trial pleads with her to look into what happened to her sister Jenny years ago when she went for that night swim.  Through letters to Rachel, scared to meet her in person, Heather chronicles her and Jenny’s last summer together before Jenny’s shocking untimely death and perhaps what actually may have happened.

As Rachel begins to ask questions about Jenny’s death, what she discovers is that no one wants to talk about her.  Jenny, whose family was poor, was not looked well upon by her high school classmates. Also, at the time of her death there was a horrific car accident which had taken the lives of two of their classmates. Most were focused on that tragedy. But curiously there seems to be no paper trail of this young girl’s death.  Why?

Questions also arise in the rape trial.  Something does not feel right to Rachel, but she can’t quite put her finger on what’s bothering her.  Then the accuser breaks down on the witness stand and may be unable to complete her testimony.  If she does not get back on the stand, there is a good chance the charges will be dropped for lack of evidence.

Goldin hits it out of the park with another chilling psychological thriller, an unbelievably startling ending in which the story lines both explode! The fluidity of the writing and the telling of each account makes you not want to get to the end, but curiosity as to the conclusion will keep you up at night until you know all the answers.

I can’t wait for her next book!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #MeganGoldin #TheNightSwim for the advanced copy.

Lies, Lies, Lies by Adele Parks

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Daisy and Simon have been married for years.  As in all marriages they have had their ups and downs.  So when they finally got pregnant and had their daughter Millie five years ago they were ecstatic.  Now Simon wants to have another child and Daisy is reluctant.  Millie is a handful. But Simon insists they at least go for the consult.  Daisy agrees not knowing that Simon has already started the process behind her back. And what Simon discovers will change their lives forever.

Daisy notices Simon, who has always been a heavy drinker, begin to spiral out of control with his drinking.  They begin to fight.  He drinks even more.  Daisy cannot understand what has happened to Simon.  Then Simon loses his job and begins to resent Daisy.  Now at home, he drinks even more.

Then a horrible accident destroys their family.

Daisy and Simon, who both have had secrets and lies between them are shattered to the core.  They are haunted by what happened.  Daisy refuses to see Simon.  Simon finally begins to get what little life he has left back together. But Simon has been lying.  Daisy tries to move on and begins a not so healthy relationship with someone she knew from college. She has her own lies to deal with.OIP (1)

But Simon and Daisy even with a shattered marriage have one common denominator…Millie, who they both love unconditionally.  They will do anything to keep her safe. No matter what that entails.

With so many lies, can either of them really trust the other to offer up the truth? Could they possibly work through all the falsehoods they have told? For Millie’s sake?

Up until the last page, this is an unpredictable story with hidden nuggets which make you want to read a second time to see what you may have missed.  With each lie, there is a surprise and with each surprise there is a consequence. The story will make you gasp out loud at times.  It is a masterful heart-thumping page turner, with characters you think you know, but perhaps you really never did.


Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she's had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She's been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She's lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

Adele Parks author photo credit Sekkides

Author Website

Twitter: @AdeleParks

Instagram: @adele_parks

Facebook: @OfficialAdeleParks

Goodreads


Q&A with Adele Parks

 

Q: Please give an elevator pitch for Lies, Lies, Lies.

A: Daisy and Simon’s marriage is great. Isn’t it? After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. A happy little family of three. But Simon drinks too much and one night at a party, things spiral horribly out of control. The consequences are horrific, their little family of three will never be the same again. Lies Lies Lies explores the darkest corners of a relationship in freefall as lies are exposed and secrets will not stay hidden. A domestic noir with themes such as addiction, jealousy and secrecy raging throughout.

 

Q:  Which came first: the characters or plot line?

A: The two things are intrinsically linked and need to work together, but for me it is nearly always plot line that comes first, a hare’s breath before characters. My domestic noir or psychological thrillers (call it what you will!) are dependent on reveals, rug-pulls and twists. They only work if the author is confident about where the plot is going from the beginning. That way every word written works harder. If the author is making it up as they go along in this genre it can get complicated at best, farcical at worst! So, I had a plot. Then I thought, ‘which people in the entire world would this be most devastating for?’ At that point I draw my characters. The same circumstances that Daisy and Simon endure would have a different outcome if they didn’t have particular character traits.

 

Q: Why do you love Daisy and why should readers root for her?

A: Honestly, hand in the air, time to confess – Daisy is tricky to love to start with. She’s reserved, closed, a little judgemental. However, the more you get to know her, the more you’ll understand she’s incredibly resilient, has a strong moral compass, an incredible sense of loyalty and is a fiercely strong mom! All great qualities.

Q: What was your last 5 star read?

A: The Guest List by Lucy Foley This is a classic whodunit? Set on a beautiful windswept Irish island, the Wedding of the Year is about to take place between beautiful fashion-forwards magazine editor Jules Keegan and her TV star finance Will Slater. The novel shimmers with tension: past rivalries, family rifts and barely disguised grudges. The cake has just been cut when a body is found. As a storm is raging, no one can get on or off the island, so which of the guests is the murderer and who is dead? It’s tense, brilliantly paced and keeps the reader guessing!

 

Q: What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

A: It is an industry for the kind and patient. That is a great thing, right? Two fabulous qualities. Nearly everyone I’ve ever met in publishing has been genuinely lovely, with a sincere passion for their work, good intentions and big hearts. However, it is not a speedy industry! I worked in a global management consultancy before I became a published novelist and was used to a very fast pace in my working life. Publishing is generally rather sedate. I hope I am known for my kindness, but I

Lies Lies Lies

 doubt I am known for my patience! I’m so glad that my last three books have been published by HarperCollins. Luckily for me, they are an incredibly nimble publishing house, not only responsive and reactive, but proactive too.

Q: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

A: The next novel of mine that will hit the States is a novel called Just My Luck. It’s about – a lottery win so big, it changes everything for a group of friends who learn to understand what money can, can’t should and definitely should not buy!

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.

A look at the dark side of wealth, in this gripping take on friendship, money, betrayal, and good luck gone bad…


Thank you #NetGalley #MIRA/Harlequin #Lies,Lies,Lies #AdeleParks for the advanced copy. You can buy a copy now at the following links:

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty

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Rules of the Road is the touching story of two best friends who take a first and last road trip together and discover the true meaning of their friendship along the way.

Terry is a wife, mother and doer for everyone else.  Completely taken advantage of by her family, it’s just her job.  From finding ties for her husband, to dropping everything for a daughter who just broke up with a boyfriend to planning vacations, Terry does it all. And she relishes it. Terry does not live outside her comfort zone afraid of what she may find there, or what she may fail to find there.

Iris is her best friend.  Iris has decided to go on a trip of a lifetime and never come back.  You see, Iris is single and has Multiple Sclerosis, and rather than become a burden she would rather leave this earth before her illness begins to completely consume her which it has already started to do.

When Terry finds out about Iris’ plan, she drops everything to try and convince her that she has so much more to live for.  She decides to go with Iris on her journey to persuade her that her life is worth living.  This, Terry is sure will give her great distress in so many ways.  Terry must also take along her father Eugene who is in the throws of dementia. His nursing home is being exterminated and he has no one else able to take care of him.OIP (10)

This pilgrimage will take the three of them to places they never would have imagined seeing and put t

hem in situations they could never dream. Their travels are often funny and poignant and filled with excitement, but always looming is the end of their journey.

During the trip, Terry begins to have revelations about her past as well as with her present situation.  She realizes she may not have ever been living her true life.  Her life so far has al

ways been wanting and needing acceptance from others, fearing of letting them down, fear of so many situations she just decided to stop trying. Perhaps, she begins to think, SHE is the only one she has been letting down all these years.

Rules of the Road is a charming, amusing, sensitive story of learning to let go…letting go of your fears, letting go of your ideas about yourself and others, and especially letting go of loved ones.  I suppose you can have a rite of passage at any age, it’s just about knowing which direction you want to go and that will decide your next path.

 


CG, photo credit Doreen Kilfeather79025_2019-04-09_1632

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ciara Geraghty was born and raised in Dublin. She started writing in her thirties and hasn’t looked back. She has three children and one husband and they have recently adopted a dog who, alongside their youngest daughter, is in charge of pretty much everything.

Author Website: http://www.ciarageraghty.com/

Twitter: @ciarageraghty

Facebook: @CiaraGeraghtyBooks

Instagram: @ciara.geraghty.books


Q&A with Ciara Geraghty
Q: What message do you hope readers take away from Rules of the Road?

A: First and foremost, I hope they enjoy it. My mantra for writing is ‘A good tale, well told’. I don’t write fables or books with morals to be endured and lessons to be learned. I write about people and the messiness of their lives. Because, as everyone knows, life is messy. And complex. And complicated. I want my readers to read one of my books and maybe come away feeling less alone. That is the comfort I take from books as a reader, when I come across characters I can relate to.
Q: What’s the story behind the story of how you came to write it?

A: Female friendship and solidarity have always been very important to me. I wanted to examine the importance of female friendship, the impact it has, the difference it makes. When I was writing the book, we had two referendums in Ireland – marriage equality and access to abortion and both were passed with resounding majorities. While my book does not deal with these specific issues, it is a book about personal autonomy, bodily autonomy, a woman’s right to choose.  My subject matter suddenly felt very relevant and positive and hopeful. While the book has a dark heart – Iris, one of my main characters, is determined to end her life in a clinic in Switzerland – I always meant for the book to be ultimately uplifting and life-affirming; a love song sung by women.

During the writing of the book, my father was dying of dementia. I found the writing of Eugene – Terry’s father in ‘Rules’ who has dementia – a very cathartic experience. This is one of the great things about writing; it helps me make sense of the world and the way I feel about it.
Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals (outfit, snacks, pen,music, etc)?

A: Well, I’d love to get all ‘writery’ and say that I repair to a tall tower where I wander around in a caftan and smoke cigarettes from long, slender cigarette holders and wait for the MUSE to arrive…..Now, wouldn’t that be grand!

But, no.

Instead, I write at home, in the attic, at a desk, with a laptop. How pedestrian is that? I will say that, for me, the most important part of the process is getting my butt into the seat at the desk. The chair is an all-singing, all-dancing display of ergonomic engineering (it’s got wheels!) and this is important because one thing is for sure; I’m going to be sitting on it for a LONG time. Caftan and cigarette holders are optional (and rarely employed) but the rule I absolutely insist on is never, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, wait for the MUSE to arrive. I just steel myself and start writing. Even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. Otherwise I’ll convince myself that the words have all dried up and the cupboard is bare.
Q: Which character do you most relate to in this novel and why?

A: There are certain traits that I have in common with aspects of both Terry and Iris. Like Iris, I am a year-round sea swimmer. Like Terry, I am a mother who is coming to terms with the fact that some of her children are – technically – grown-ups. I have lived with both of these characters for the past four years and love them both equally, for different reasons. I’d say I relate more to Terry because Iris, for the most part, has it all figured out. She is a woman who knows what she wants and then goes right ahead and gets it. Terry is less certain, she is still feeling her way through her life. She tries so hard to be all things to all people, to the detriment of her own sense of self. As a woman writer who is also a daughter, a mother, a wife, a friend, I relate to this aspect of Terry. I imagine many women these days do. It is the great burden of being a woman, as well as being one of our great strengths.
Q: What is your bucket-list trip?

A: In the current climate, even thinking about a bucket-list trip feels a bit revolutionary. Or like a plot in a science-fiction novel. However, I can reveal that tomorrow, I’m off to Kerry (in the south west of Ireland) for a week. For anyone who has never been to Kerry, I advise you to put it on your bucket-list immediately. Because of the mountains – the highest in Ireland – and the winds that rush in from the Atlantic ocean, rain is a frequent visitor there. BUT – because of the rain, the vegetation is vivid and lush and almost tropical, with the influence of the Gulf Stream. The place is falling down with ancient castles, monasteries, fairy forts and islands (including Skellig Michael for the Star Wars fans amongst you). The Atlantic may be ‘fresh’ (this is Irish for ‘biting cold’) but the waters are crystal clear and the sand is fine and white and an excellent exfoliator of skin. Afterwards, in the pub where you’re eating a bowl of seafood chowder and struggling to eavesdrop on the locals (the accent is as thick as an Aran jumper), you’ll suddenly realise you’re tingling all over. This could be your blood, doing its best to resume normal circulation after the icy immersion in the sea. Or it could be something else. Something a little more other-worldly. The magic of Kerry, rushing through your body, seeping into your bones, engaging every sense you’ve ever had. And a few you didn’t even know you had. Can you tell I’m looking forward to getting away?


ABOUT THE BOOK

In this emotional, life-affirming novel, two women embark on an extraordinary road trip and discover the transformative power of female friendship–perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Gail Honeyman.
The simple fact of the matter is that Iris loves life. Maybe she’s forgotten that. Sometimes that happens, doesn’t it? To the best of us? All I have to do is remind her of that one simple fact.
When Iris Armstrong goes missing, her best friend Terry—wife, mother and all-around worrier—is convinced something bad has happened. And when she finds her glamorous, 9780778309710_TS_PRDfeisty friend, she’s right: Iris is setting out on a bucket-list journey that she plans to make her last. She tells Terry there’s no changing her mind, but Terry is determined to show her that life is still worth living.
The only way for Terry to stop Iris is to join her—on a road trip that will take them on a life-changing adventure. Along the way, somehow what should be the worst six days of Terry’s life turn into the best. Told in an irresistible voice and bursting with heart, Rules of the Road is a powerful testament to the importance of human connection and a moving celebration of life in all its unexpected twists and turns.


Thank you to #NetGalley #HarperCollins #RulesoftheRoad #CiaraGeraghty for the advanced copy. You an buy the book now at the available links:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rules-of-the-road-ciara-geraghty/1129695990?ean=9780778309710

https://bookshop.org/books/rules-of-the-road-original/9780778309710

https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9780778309710_rules-of-the-road.html

https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Rules-Road/Ciara-Geraghty/9780778309710?id=7946727130223

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309710

A Star Is Bored by Byron Lane

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The author of A Star is Bored, Byron Lane was Carrie Fisher’s personal assistant for three years.  He continually has stated that this book is a work of fiction…but I truly hope that he did take some liberties from his time with Ms. Fisher!

This is the funniest, laugh out loud book I have read in a very long time! The banter between the characters is incredible and witty and even though I am not suppose to I can’t help but hear Fisher’s voice in my head as I read the story, which made it even more comical.

Charlie works as an overnight writer for a boring publication.  He want to leave and dreams of having a more exciting job.  Well, be careful what you wish for!  On a tip, he applies for the job as the personal assistant to ultra celebrity Kathi Kannon.  Kannon, who just happens to be a very famous princess from a sci-fi movie lives on a property she shares with her very famous eccentric mother.  During the job interview (audition?) Charlie is extremely confused as to what Ms. Kannon is looking for in an assistant and leaves unsure of whether he even got the job.

The phone rings and Charlie gets his first inking that he got the job but still unsure of what the job entails.  As he soon finds out being Kannon’s personal assistant is a trip, both literally and figuratively.  Between doling out her pills in the morning (see bottom draw in bedroom), to taking her on hilarious vacations (see Japan), to being not only her caretaker but her protector, Charlie finds the chaos disturbingly exciting. And the perks are not so bad either.

As Charlie tries to put Kannon’s life in some sort of order, she on the other hand fights to have the continued mayhem.  There is a housekeeper who has a brain tumor who seems to do nothing but sleep at the kitchen table on a daily basis and a gardener who seems to hold hedge clippers in his hand daily, but never seems to clip anything. Added to the disorganization is Kannon’s mother who is constantly handing Charlie bags of money to make sure her daughter eats her “vegetables”.

There are almost daily trips to what Kannon calls “Vegas” which Charlie assumes are shopping jaunts. They are not. There is one extremely comical episode in which Kannon runs naked (with a bed sheet) into traffic outside her house and Charlie literally tries to reel her in. Then cleans up the public relations mess.

Entwined in the story is Charlie’s own personal dysfunctional history with a mother who died very young and an overbearing father with anger issues who screams a lot, so much so Charlie can’t get his voice out of his head. He also highlights the difficulty of trying to have any kind of personal relationship when you are on call 24/7 at the whim of a superstar. His own dating chronicles are just as funny as his personal assistant shenanigans.

But through all the craziness, Charlie and Kathi develop a relationship which cannot really be defined.  Part respect, part sibling, part parent/child but most of all devotion to each other and a mutual love.

I want to say I truly hope some of this is based in truth because in my head I want to believe Kathi Kannon and Carrie Fisher really did have these absolutely incredible you could not make this stuff up adventures.

So relax, sit back and go along for the most enjoyable ride! This would surely be a great beach read.

Thank you #NetGalley #HenryHoltandCo #ByronLane #AStarIsBored for the advanced copy.  The book will be published on July 28.

Wild Game My Mother, Her Secret and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

OP (1)

Wild Game is the incredible true story of the relationship between a controlling mother and her eager to please daughter. The story, told by daughter Adrienne begins with Malabar, Adrienne’s mother, waking her up in the middle of the night when she was fourteen to tell her she had just been kissed by Ben Souther. Those simple words would forever change their lives and all their relationships.

You see Malabar was already married. And Ben Souther was her husband’s married best friend. So when she makes this proclamation to Adrienne, her husband is actually sleeping soundly in another room, and Ben’s wife in another.

And thus begins the toxic relationship between mother and daughter in which Adrienne becomes Malabar’s confidant in an affair which would span decades.  A secret which would almost destroy Adrienne’s psyche and a mother who felt nothing she said was off limits. A relationship which would have Adrienne lying to people to protect this love affair, even having to come up with and execute a plan when Malabar believed the affair was going to be exposed. She herself assists in setting up secret meetings for them, even having drinks with them while she was in college at their New York hotel hideaway.

All Adrienne ever wanted was to please her mother.  So if hearing the sordid details of their trysts or protecting the secret even though she hated lying to everybody would make Malabar happy, then that is what she would do.  But, all this secrecy and pressure finally catches up with Adrienne. There were stomach issues which could never be diagnosed, a marriage which should never have happened, and the final internal explosion of being so depressed she could not function normally.  Only then was she finally able to seek the help she needed. And while going through all this, still trying to protect her mother.

She finally became the person she was meant to be, without her mother’s provocation or hearing her mother’s voice in her head. And Malabar, could never understand why Adrienne would not want to listen.  Malabar used her daughter.  Even using a family heirloom to keep Adrienne’s trust, always telling her a necklace passed down from her great grandmother would be hers one day only to then take back what she said on many occasions.

Through therapy Adrienne is even able to forgive her mother, realizing what Malabar did was only what she had witnessed from her own mother as she grew up.  The most important aftereffect to Adrienne was to try and break this cycle if and when she had children.

This is an extraordinary memoir about a girl who had to grow up too fast, whose only goal was to please a mother who could never be pleased. She sadly put herself and her needs on the backburner and allowed this secret to haunt her life because if found out it would ruin her relationship with the person she idolized the most. Not realizing she herself is and should be the most important person in her life.

Wild Game has just come out in paperback.