Book Review: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

It seemed to me that this book has been chasing me around for the past 2 years. I kept seeing it on all the blogs, bookshelves and lists for great reads but for some reason, I never added it to my reading list .

Today I wanted to tell you how happy I am that I finally picked it up... My local library has a limited choice of audio books but I was between my audible credits so I grabbed it off the shelf and before I knew it, I was laughing out loud as I listened to it on my way to work. The first chapter is about a father trying to feed his daughter pureed pork shoulder. He literally has no idea what he's doing and it was funny, endearing and so engaging.



I just finished it today. I find a really great joy in immersing myself in the novels I read, and that is especially easy to do when they give recipes as part of the story. I absolutely love that  opportunity to really experience whatever it is that that character themselves get to experience. This morning is a Saturday so since I wasn't going to be driving to work and able to listen to it in my car, I dusted off an old c.d. player I found in the basement and continued listening. I brought it into the kitchen and baked the peanut bar recipe that appears in the book. Pat Prager, I hope I made you proud. The recipe was simple and easy to make. In the story, it had one several blue ribbons in county fairs, beating out several other church going wives who dream of taking home the blue ribbon for themselves.

The book starts with Lars Thorvald and is centered around the life of his daughter, Eva. When Eva was just a baby, her mother Cynthia leaves them  both behind to chase her dreams of becoming a sommelier in California. She never wanted to be a mother and once she left, she never looked back. What happens next sets the ball rolling on the rest of the story- how Eva grows up and how her father's love for food shaped her palate as well. Her unique and powerful taste gives her something to focus on and she finds solace and confidence in food and creating dishes and ingredients that open doors for her in restaurants for her to perfect her craft as a chef.

As she grows up and seeks success, she meets people along the way that have a lasting impact on her life. Those people all introduce Eva to a specific dish or ingredient that leave an impression and you get to know those people in the chapters, so there are several stories all intertwined that are all unique but very special. 





Towards the end of the book, I began to realize how all of these experiences and people were going to connect and how they all threaded together. All the ingredients of Eva's life were finally coming together. It was magical. 


The food, the details, the funny stories, the quirky characters, this story was served just as Eva would serve one of her famous dinners: course by course, with each chapter giving a unique experience that compliments the next course. 


It was truly a treat and one that I will definitely recommend to others! 


Book Review: Without Merit by Colleen Hoover

Happy Pub Day to Colleen Hoover! 
Without Merit is my favorite of her books so far. 

You will never meet a family more unique than the Voss family. You will never meet more quirky characters.
There's a ton of kids, an agoraphobic mother who lives in the basement, a step-mom that lives upstairs and a bunch of kids who really just don't know what the hell is going on. 

There is Merit and her twin sister, Honor and their brothers and father who round out the story. There's also a really pissed off neighbor and a couple terminally ill people in the mix as well. 

I think my favorite part of this book was the very beginning (even though whole book is one great scene after another) when Merit is browsing an antique shop for her next trophy to add to her collection (see what I mean about quirky?) when she unexpectedly ends up kissing a stranger out on the street.  That escalated quickly, I bet you're thinking. And you're right. That's how this book goes. Just one quick, funny, interesting, "Wait, what?!" moment after another. 



With the siblings all trying to hide secrets of their own (sexuality, a penance for loving sick people and a list of other serious topics) Merit is left to her own devices. She can't understand why she can't have a normal family but there are things in her past that not only must she keep hidden, but her secrets are effecting her relationships with her family and even the mysterious boy that kissed her out on the street that day. You'll quickly find out who that boy is but you'll be flipping through the pages, reading as fast as you can to finally figure out why each person in this book is acting the strange way that they are. 

This book is like an onion. Not only did it make me cry, but just when you think you've discovered all you need to know, the characters reveal another layer about themselves. 

It's rich with details, emotions, hard topics, but all of it comes out in a compassionate and deeply moving story. 

It's out today, so grab a copy and tell me what you think! 

You're Invited to Book Chat with Paperless Post

Have you heard of Paperless Post?

It's a super fun and easy way to surprise guests with a classic invitation just like the old days- along with the convenience of doing it right from your phone or email. 

When Paperless Post offered to partner with me, I knew the perfect event I could use my invitations for. Recently, I invited fellow bookworms over to my house for a "Book Chat" night. I've been wanting to have a book club for years but could never get people together, let alone think of a book we would all enjoy reading. On top of that, it was hard to imagine finding the time to read another book on top of all the others I read for reviews. So instead, I decided we could just get together to talk about whatever book we are currently reading. And the night turned out to be everything I was hoping for, and more. 

I of course wanted to use a bookish theme for the invite and Paperless Post came through with the perfect one. They have so many to choose from but I fell in love with this one right away: 


Paperless Post  offers beautiful templates and there are fun choices for colors and patterns for the envelopes too- plus they are animated which just adds a really fun touch for the recipients. They are so easy to customize for your event so every invite is truly unique.

The app allowed me to upload a guest list and send out the invitation to multiple people and then kept track of RSVPs, so I knew who was coming. It was so convenient and easy to build, send and manage the invitation! 

This was the mess that was my shelves as I prepared for Book Chat- picking out what books I thought others would like to borrow was so fun! 


My tips for a no-pressure, relaxed book "club" would just be to offer a comfy setting for your fellow book-loving friends to gather and share what they are reading. I told guests that there was no pressure to talk to the group, they were welcome to just sit back and listen. You didn't have to bring a book to trade but if you wanted to borrow, there were others who brought plenty to it worked out great. I had light snacks and drinks laid out-it was later in the evening so I knew most everyone would have already eaten. Snack foods like pretzels and popcorn are always a good idea! 

I set the books out that I thought people might want to borrow and arranged them in genres- thrillers, non-fiction, historical fiction, family dramas and even made a pile of my husband's personal favorites because he has fantastic taste in books too! 



I bought blank library slips on Amazon for people to use as book marks or, if they were lending out their books to others, they could write their name on the library slip so that others would remember who to return it to. 

I wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable and had a great time. We talked about books we loved, hated, remembered reading from our childhoods and swapped tons of books with each other. It was a bookworm's dream come true! 


Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and we all left with a list of books to read based on others' reviews. It was so fun to listen to others talk about their favorites. It helped me realized that I would enjoy reading something out of my usual genre and I love that! 

The best part was the difference of all the books and preferences. Some of us love e-books, others swear by physical copies. One of the ladies admitted to reading the ends of the books when she can't wait to find out what happens and that made others gasp in shock. It was so funny! We all can't wait to get together again!

If you are planning an event or get together, definitely check out Paperless Post's invitations. They have everything from baby showers, baby announcements and more. So fun! 





Book Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celest Ng



This story about family took so much patience and understanding to read, so don't go into this lightly. And I mean that in the most positive of ways. I loved this novel. I read it slowly, like a decadent dessert because I wanted to savor every detail. 

Mrs. Richardson, Mia, Mrs. McCullough, BeBe, these are all women who try and illustrate what it means to be a mother and the sacrifices that we make to take care of our children. 


The book opens with a literal fire and so immediately the title makes sense but the more I read, the more I realized that it was merely a metaphor for the internal fires that burned inside so many of the characters. Every one of them were wrestling with secrets, decisions, fights and emotions that made me truly think about what it would be like to be in their shoes. 

There are too many narratives for me to put it all into a nutshell of a review so I will try and explain here why you should read it instead of give a synopsis. 

Read this book because of the intricate details of lives that are so entangled, it's addicting to find out how they will ever make sense.


Read this because you must find out the answers to so many questions:

Where did Mia come from and what is she always running away from? 

What is wrong with Izzy? 

What happened before the fire? 

Who took that photo of Mia and baby Pearl? 

I think that the story of motherhood-each woman's journey into it, around it, through it- is so intimate that it must have been an arduous task for Celeste Ng to write so authentically about so many different mothers' experiences. 

Read it because it's rich, beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking. 


This was my Book of the Month pick. You can get your own monthly books sent to you for just $10 a month.  These books are so well chosen that  you will always have a great selection. Check out the link here:

Show Us Your Books: August

Show Us Your Books:

I promised myself I would not forget to link up with Steph and Jana today so I listed all my books weeks ago and guess what? I still forgot to come back and write more about the books! So for now, I am just going to list them for the sake of time. 

Short summary: Gather The Daughters and Fierce Kingdom were my favorite. See What I Have Done was meh. 

Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed

One of Us is Lying by Karen MacManus 
Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta 
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman 
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber 
The Necklace by Claire McMillan 
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman  
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt 
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen



Book Review: Lie to Me

Lovers of grit lit, take notice. You must put Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison on your list: 


There have been so many gritty, heart stopping thrillers out lately and I can't get enough of them. This one didn't disappoint. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on The Train, The Breakdown, The Couple Next Door and All is Not Forgotten then you will love this one too. 

This is domestic noir at its best. It's about the disintegration of a marriage with everything that goes with that: grief, jealousy, betrayal... they all lead to a tragedy that destroys the facade of the perfect literary couple. 

Here's the synopsis from the publisher: 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. 
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

Are you hooked yet? If that description doesn't seal the deal, I'll tell you a little more. I loved the writing style because it's short and to the point. The pace may seem a little frantic but that's what gives the story a frenzied feel that makes you desperate to keep reading. There are so many questions that you need answers to. And just when you think you've found the answers, there's a twist that you won't see coming. I love the characters because Ellison makes it hard to love them, let alone trust them. But you still can't help but hang on their every word. 

4 Stars- Pick up a copy today! 
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for my copy of Lie To Me. 

16 Books for Your Fall Reading List

Here's What I WISH I could read in the next 2 months. I read 13 books in August so I am hoping to keep up the pace! 

Instead of a synopsis, I am simply listing what made me want to read each book. Click on the title to read more about the books on Goodreads! I've also received most of these books through the publishers or Netgalley, so I'm also giving shout outs because I am so thankful for all of the review copies! 




Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo - I've heard about this book on the All The Books podcast from Book Riot and so many of my fellow bookstagrammers are raving about it. (Amazon)

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover - I hear about Colleen Hoover all the time and everyone LOVED It Ends With Us, but I didn't at all. So when I was contacted by the publisher asking if I would like a copy of her newest book, I decided to give her another try. We shall see! (ARC, Atria Books) 

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods - This book was on a list of recommendations from Netgalley, who gave me the e-book. Sounds like something I will enjoy. 

George & Lizzie by Nancy Pearl-also another recommendation based on my reviews from Netgalley. 

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah- I am a huge fan of Hannah (The Nightengale) You just can't go wrong. Thanks to St. Martin's Press! 

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin- Anyone else weirdly fascinated by Monica Lewinsky? Bueller? Sorry, but I am and I can't help it, so when I heard that this campy little book mimics the biggest sex scandal of the 90s, I couldn't help it. Just received a beautiful hardback from Algonquin Books! 

Shadow of the Lions by Christopher Swann- Thanks to bookstagram, here's another one I heard about through the bookworm grapevine and received a hardback review copy from Algonquin Books. 

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent- Honestly, this book caught my attention because of the cover. Thinking this may be a good one to use my September Audible credit on. 

The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper- The March Sisters were some of the first characters I fell in love with so when I heard about this book, a nonfiction account of the author's own sister, I knew I had to read it. Thanks for the copy, William Morrow! 

How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas-Another must read because of bookstagram. So many of the gals I follow on Instagram have been posting about this book. The title alone is something I have been trying to figure out on my own my whole life so I know I have to read it. (Thanks for the copy, Blogging for Books)

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas- This book is just everywhere and getting great reviews. 

The It Girls by Karen Harper- I was browsing through the Fall catalog of upcoming releases from HarperCollins and this one caught my attention immediately. I am so excited they offered to send me an advanced reader's copy. 

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas - I think this is an important book to read in today's culture of fast judgements and racial issues. I just think it's going to be a really good dose of perspective. 

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley- This book piqued my interest a couple months ago and it kept getting pushed down on my list. BUT, thanks to my friend Steph at Life According to Steph, who raved about it on her Show Us Your Books, August post, I was reminded and back in the pile it goes! 

The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne - I have never heard the gals on All The Books podcast rave about a book as much as this one, so on to the pile it automatically goes. (Amazon, hardback) 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (My BOTM pick for September) Lots of buzz, plus being a pick from Book of the Month Club automatically gets you a spot on my TBR list. 



So there you have it- the list of books that will be keeping me busy this Fall. Bring on the hot coffee, the blankets  and the open windows, because it's my favorite time of year to curl up on the couch with great books! 

Book Review: Gather the Daughters

I am so excited to talk about Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed. 

This book can not be compared to any book I've read before. It's gritty and takes a lot of bravery to read, and I can't even imagine the bravery it took to write it. It tackles major topics like abuse, politics, leadership and gender roles. 



When a group of "leaders" start a colony and convince their families that there is no one else left in the world, they think they can control everything. But a generation of brave young girls start to wonder: "What is the wasteland and why can't they go?" and they start a revolution to find the why that is behind years of strict rules, abuse and lies.


The wasteland is apparently where the elders go to gather goods. I took it as the place that used to be civilization. The people in the colony are told that the outside world was destroyed by a massive fire but the wasteland still has items left over that they are able to collect. 

In the colony, young girls are forced into marriage at a very young age, usually with men much older. But a few of the girls start  to question all of these rituals. They start to resist the futures that are pressed onto them and a revolt arises, one that is both awe inspiring but at the same time, terrifying. The men that should be protecting their daughters are the very men these girls want to run from. 

Many of the girls try and run from their fathers and the leaders of the colony an in those moments I was so proud of them but then, realizing they were so young, ranging from 8 to 17, I was also very scared. They are on an isolated island with only each other for protection. Their mothers are part of the generation before them that do exactly what the men tell them and are pretty much too brainwashed to help their own daughters. 

You'll want to put down the book out of frustration but your love for the characters will keep you going to the very last page. (There are some very dark details here so this book isn't for the faint of heart). 

I have been recommending this a lot- it's a great read that evokes strong emotions. Major kudos to the author for tackling such heavy topics but doing it in such a beautifully-written way. 

I have read that this book was originally compared to "The Giver" with the same type of dystopian culture, but that was a YA book and this is definitely not for young readers. 


Book Review: Emma In the Night


Isn't there a great sense of relief when an author you love comes out with a new book and you know without even reading the synposis that you're going to love it? That's how I feel about Wendy Walker. I loved All Is Not Forgotten so much. Christopher and I both read it and it was so great to talk about it together.



I was thrilled when I heard that Wendy published a new book, Emma in the Night. If you follow me on Instagram, you know by now that I read it non-stop and found it just as thrilling as AINF. The greatest element of these two thrillers is that Wendy's narrators are unreliable, yet you find yourself hanging on their every word. It's unnerving but addicting. 

The tension had me literally hanging on every word, even when those word didn't quite match up. 


Before I tell you more about Emma in the Night, check out this awesome book trailer from St. Martins Press:



Cass Tanner arrives home, three years after she and her sister Emma disappear. Everyone- her parents, her stepfather, siblings and the investigators on her case are all riveted by the story that she tells. They listen as she tells a tale that her sister is alive, there is a baby being held captive on an isolated island and many other torrid details.

But the scariest things that Cass knows are what she isn't telling them. There are family secrets that you will have a hard time believing, only because by the time Cass gets around to telling them, every one in the story seems to be lying to cover up their own dark sides.

It's thrilling, riveting and super twisted. Pick up a copy now! 




Currently...



So what's been happening around here? General panic because...because it's AUGUST already... the kids start school in 2 weeks...and they have lost all sense of time. I mentioned that we needed to start a routine again. You know, I said, "bedtimes, regular reading time, brushing our hair." General human things. They looked at me like I had  grown horns. Which is pretty normal so I guess maybe we do have a routine? I tell them to do something and they just stare? Yup. Pretty normal! 

But when things are calm, I do things like read and watch Netflix with the hubs so here's what's been going on lately... 

Currently reading: Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid- I found this in the Book Riot Insiders catalog and immediately knew it was something I wanted to read. It's written with numerous characters' points of views about the Soley family: Tate, Francie and their two daughters Vivvi and Enid. It's the 1980s in Blacksburg, Virginia, seven years after the tragic and suspicious death of a son and sibling. Each one tells their version of what their lives were like the day that their son and brother, Sheldon, died. Here's the catch: they are all different. Even the lives they are living when the others aren't paying attention are different from what they appear. It's sad and intimate and moves quickly. I'm really enjoying it. 

Currently listening to on audiobook: I just finished The Party by Robyn Hardin last week and headed to the library today for my next one. 
Currently listening to: Stevie Nicks, all day every day. 
Currently eating: Anything I can make in my new Instant Pot that I scored on Amazon Prime Day. It's positively magical. I've saved some recipes to my Instant Pot Recipes board on Pinterest, so if you have any suggestions, leave a link to your Pinterest saves in the comments! 
Currently drinking: Iced tea. I've managed to kick my Diet. Dr. Pepper habit (almost) to the curb thanks to brewing tea and always keeping it in the fridge. 
Currently watching: Ozark on Netflix. Jason Bateman, you have my whole heart. Not to mention, I love that it's set in Missouri (even though I feel like they try to take the "hicks" characterization a bit far. Not every one that lives at the Lake of the Ozarks has missing teeth and is rude and miserable). I mean, there are some probably, but not all. Christopher and I have been in a huge slump since watching all of Shameless, I am so glad we finally found a show to binge together. 
Currently opened tabs: Goodreads, Pinterest, Netgalley, Facebook
Currently on my book to-buy list: Are You Sleeping just shipped, so I am pumped about that and next weekend I am headed to the Kansas City Library's City Market book sale and to Rainy Day books so I've got a couple I am on the look out for: The Alice Network, Girl in the Snow, Gather The Daughters, and The Shark Club 
Currently adding to my Goodreads TBR list: Basically everything I just listed. I'm also awaiting a review copy of See What I Have Done that I'm excited about.
Currently recommending: I just sent my sister home with Siracusa, which I still recommend a lot because it's a great mix of mysterious, romance and travel. 
Currently talking about on the blog: I've had some time to add quite a few reviews lately, but my favorite to share most has been my round up of current must reads and my review of The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
I was inspired for this post by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner, so check out her post too, she's got some great book recommendations! 

What are you currently loving, reading, doing? 

Book Review: The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

If you are looking for a great summer read that is light and airy but still intriguing enough to be a page-turner, this is it. Take a vacation to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard in this family saga. 




Tabitha and Harper Frost are estranged identical twins who have lived separate lives in an unconventional way: upon their parents' divorce, Harper went to one island with her father and Tabitha went to the other with their mother.  When their father passes away and Tabitha's teenage daughter heads down a dangerous path, the two sisters must come together to help each other, even though this means facing painful pasts and potentially uncovering secrets, they both know what they have to do.

That part of the story- the estrangement, the past, their parents lives...that is all just one layer. On top of that you also get glorious details about life on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. The descriptions of the weather, the elaborate homes, the majestic islanders, the clothes, the food... it was like reading from a rich cookbook with recipes on how to live the good life.

Did I mention there is also steamy secret affairs, drool worthy fashion, home remodeling and lots of cocktails mixed in? See what I mean?! 

It's a must for your summer reading list! If you've read it, tell me what you think! If you want more beachy reads, check out The Forever Summer, The Sunshine Sisters, Hello, Sunshine and The Arrangement

Book Round Up: Books You Must Read Right Now:


I looked up the other day and realized that the stacks of books in my living room are getting a little out of control. Now, to me, this makes me over the moon happy. I don't mind stack and stacks of books but to anyone stopping by, they might think I am becoming a hoarder. Or to the kids who are running through the living room, the stacks kind of get in their way of endless cartwheels. So as I started to put them away (a.k.a. use them as decorations in various parts of the house) I decided to at least make a list of the next few reads and voila- a book round up for you was born! Here are a list of books you need to put on your TBR list right away and get to reading!





Arboria Park by Kate Tyler Wall- This book really reminded me of Miller's Valley. Epic descriptions of the 1950s setting, where bikes meant freedom and street signs were the boundaries to other worlds. Rich in history about the culture of the time, this book will intrigue you and make you wish you could turn back time just to live in this sub division for a day. Because of her curious and observant nature, Stacy Halloran grows up in her sub-division watching the people around her grow and change, from divorce to sexuality, she is overcome with the need to ask more questions about life but her sheltered world keeps the answers at bay. (Recieved this book as part of BookSparks #PopUpBlogTour)

The Map That Leads To You by J.P. Monninger - A romance overseas. A young woman on what she thinks is a European adventure with her girlfriends unexpectedly leads to a relationship with a mysterious older man. She takes a chance on what might be her last experience with freedom before settling down with life and responsibilities but she has taken on more than she can handle with her lover and his secrets? 

Cruel, Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt- When Caroline emailed me asking if I would like to read her book, I was instantly intrigued. It's set in a time that always grabs my attention: the 1970s, during a time where Vietnam was still confusing and the older generation was still reeling from WWII but the younger people were just as confused by the new liberal movement sweeping into their once safe living rooms. Cruel, Beautiful World is about 16-year-old Lucy, who has decided to run away with her much older English teacher. Her plan, unknown by her older sister and caretaker (her parents were killed in a tragic fire years before) eventually proves to be a poor thought out choice with major repercussions. I can't wait to find out: how far does Lucy go? How does she come back? And I need to know more about this teacher who convinces a child to trust him enough to run away from the only life she has ever known. 

The Heirs by Susan Bieger- Family loyalty takes center stage in this  saga about the Falkes: an upper-crust Manhattan widow and her 5 adult sons. After the death of the family matriarch, Eleanor is still coping with the death of her husband, Rupert. So imagine her deep and utter shock when another woman shows up to sue the Falke estate, claiming that she has been in a relationship with Rupert herself and had two sons with him. Everyone that once loved and respected Rupert must re-evaluate their entire lives with him. It will be interesting to see what it will  take to keep this family together with so many circumstances trying to rip them apart. 

The Identicals by Elin Hildenbrand - We are going on a beach vacation next week so this book is an obvious must- have in my beach bag. Elin Hildenbrand always delivers on a good romance with a spectacular setting. With only 2 and 1/2 hours of travel by ferry between them, sisters Tabitha and Harper have much more keeping them apart. A family crisis forces them to band together but there may be too many betrayals and secrets to build a bridge to mend their relationship. 


Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy- Two families go on a vacation that quickly turns tragic when the children get lost while on an onshore visit during their cruise. As panic sets in, the parents start to turn on each other. Told from perspectives of both the parents and children, I anticipate this story to be very thought provoking and emotionally charged. 

No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts- I keep seeing this book every where and was intrigued even more so when I read the description: "The Great Gatsby brilliantly recast in the contemporary south: a powerful first novel about an extended African-American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream." Yes. Please. 

Pretend We Are Lovely by Noley Reid-  A summer in the life of the Sobel family in 1980s Blacksburg, Virginia, seven years after the tragic and suspicious death of a son and sibling. All of the family members are dealing with the tragedy differently, which in turn is going to rip them further apart. And then when another family member disappears, there is hardly anything left to save. I heard about this through my Book Riot Insiders membership and I cannot wait until its release on July 18! 

Words is Deep Blue by Cath Crowley- Unrequited love, a book store and hidden love letters? Nothing can keep me away from this story. 

Book Review: The Salt House by Lisa Duffy







When a family loses their youngest daughter in an unthinkable accident, how do they rebuild? 

I can't even begin to imagine. Lisa Duffy helps you understand how this family, the Kellys, can possibly live another day without their precious little girl, Maddie. Their other daughters are just as effected by the tragedy and in this book, you get to read from everyone's perspectives about how life is now that Maddie is gone. 

Jack and Hope Kelly had a lot of dreams: Jack's lobster business would grow, Hope would continue writing for women's magazines, they would rebuild their dream home in Maine with their 3 girls. When their future suddenly looks very differently, every one reacts different. Hope slips into a depression that no one can bring her out of. Jack slips further away from everyone and starts to lose his grip on the mounting responsibilities of his business and providing for his family.

I think the parts of this book that were the most powerful were when the characters were so honest and raw. The author really laid it all out there for you. I felt pride at some points on their behalves, but also shame, sadness, frustration and hope... it was quite the roller coaster. 

The best book I've read this summer. A must-read. 

Praise for The Salt House includes:

“…Duffy eloquently displays the emotional complexities of a family going through the healing process. Readers of Elin Hilderbrand or Luanne Rice will enjoy.”
-Library Journal

“[Duffy] deftly sketches the edges of grief. A poignant story of the power of faith, hope, and love to transcend loss.”
-Kirkus

“This insightful, emotionally potent debut is ideal for fans of Amy Hatvany.”
-Booklist

“… a compelling examination of grief and the way loss threatens the lives of every family member. Though all thecharacters are vivid and memorable, I am especially drawn to the younger voices as they maneuver in theuncharted wake of their parents, attempting normal lives under conditions that are anything but.”
-Jill McCorkle, NYT Bestselling author of Life After Life


-I received a copy of The  Salt House from Touchstone Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Show Us Your Books: May



Show Us Your Books: May Edition
with Steph & Jana


The Salt House by Lisa Duffy When a family loses their youngest daughter in an unthinkable accident, how do they rebuild? Jack and Hope Kelly had a lot of dreams: Jack's lobster business would grow, Hope would continue writing for women's magazines, they would rebuild their dream home in Maine with their 3 girls. When their future suddenly looks very differently, every one reacts different. Hope slips into a depression that no one can bring her out of. Jack slips further away from everyone and starts to lose his grip on the mounting responsibilities of his business and providing for his family.  I think the parts of this book that were the most powerful were when the characters were so honest and raw. The author really laid it all out there for you. I felt pride at some points on their behalves, but also shame, sadness, frustration and hope... it was quite the roller coaster. The best book I've read this summer. (ARC Copy, Touchstone Books) 


Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave This super fun book was a slice of summer heaven! Sunshine Mackenzie has it all...and then in the blink of a Tweet, she doesn't. But what's interesting is how you find out that she really never had it it all. Her life as a famous chef, with a Youtube channel and a future Food Network show in the works, was all smoke and mirrors. Her husband Danny wants his wife back, before she transformed herself into the persona of "Sunshine," before she stopped being herself.  I think this book was really fun and fast-paced and the perfect book to read on the go. (ARC copy, Simon & Schuster) 

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg - I picked this after hearing about it a lot from other Book of the Month members. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I just didn't mesh with the narrator and really wanted her to "you-know-what or get off the pot." But I think the evolution of her character was the whole theme of the story so I think it made its point because she did grow alot by the end of the book.

Woman No. 17 - This book was...interesting. The first half had enough intrigue to keep me turning the pages but in the end I wasn't that interested. Lots of different characters: a mute teenager, a couple on the verge of a break up and a very strange babysitter. The mystery and weirdness of what happens when the babysitter decides to do a little "research" was unique but a little predectable and I just didn't really get it. (Hardback, Hogarth Publishing)

Into The Water-  It was good but there were a lot of things to keep track of: dead bodies, ancient witch tales, and a lot of people with some shady pasts. It was definitely creepy so I would give it a go if you like many of the other books like it (Girl on the Train, Woman in Cabin 10). 

Have you read any of these? Tell me what you think! If you are looking for a good round up of books to read, be sure to visit Steph or Jana's Show Us Your Book Link Up! 

Must Read: The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I have to tell you about the 1 MUST READ of the Summer:  


It's not just a Summer must-read because it obviously looks stunning next to a pool or beach but also because once you dive into this story, you won't want to resurface until you've devoured every page. 


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo better be on the top of your summer to-read list. If it's not--trust me you will want to add it! It hits the shelves TOMORROW so go ahead and pre-order anywhere you get your books now. 

For those of you who have read the magic that is Taylor Jenkins Reid, you won't be surprised to hear that her newest novel is nothing short of amazing. But here's a surprise: It's totally different from anything she's written before. 

This story has the intrigue and scandal that you'd expect from anything centered around the 50s and 60s era in Hollywood but it also has much more. There's something so interesting about the sudden relationship between reporter Monique Grant and the famous actress, Evelyn Hugo. When Evelyn requests Monique out of the blue to write her biography, Monique is awestruck, suspicious and nervous. But as she listens to Evelyn tell her life story, there are many things that change for Monique. 

In hearing the struggles and various love stories from Hugo, Monique starts to untangle stories that are going on in her own heart. I just can't express how much I truly enjoyed this book. There are stories intertwined with the bigger plot that pull at your heart strings, there is a massively important theme about love, forgiveness and acceptance and major plot twists that you don't see coming...it's just an amazing story.

I love books that have several stories going on but somehow they are all linked. This book was super easy to follow- it's literally two women sitting together and talking about the past-Evelyn's storytelling is quick and to the point and it was addicting- I couldn't get enough! So many great stories about how cut throat and manipulating it was to be an actress back in those days. Add on top of that more issues that you never can fully understand if you've never been in those shoes: marriage, secrets, abuse, secret love affairs...loving someone the world thought you shouldn't... 
 
This book tackles a lot of issues but as a whole, there is one thread woven through out: Love is love... and you will love this book. 

If you've read it, send me links to your reviews on Goodreads or Amazon so I can hear what you think! Or leave your thoughts in the comments below!