Writers & Lovers

By Lily King

Writers & Lovers: A Novel by [Lily King]

5 out of 5 stars

I have really been in a slow reading funk lately. It is not for lack of books, we all know that, it must be the times. I picked this one up and felt a peace in my soul. It is so beautifully written. There were lines that I had to read a few times and my heart just went “ah”.  Lily King is obviously a lover of the written word and the process of getting there. I felt all of Casey’s feelings from the beginning to end. She touched upon the loss of a mother so perfectly. It made me miss mine even more. As Casey struggles through life’s changes, we read of her past and root for her present. It was a pleasure to watch her work through everything to reach the place she needed to be. It has a wonderful cast of characters, some you love and some you will love to hate, but you will feel and that is what a great book is all about.

Thanks to Netgalley and Grove Press for a copy of this wonderful book. It is all my opinion but I think you might agree.

The Two Lives of Lydia Byrd

By Josie Silver

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird: A Novel by [Silver, Josie]

4 out of 5 stars

I cannot think of a better time to read such a wonderful love story than now in this crazy world. Reading can take us away from all of it for a few precious moments and this one definitely did.

Lydia loses her fiance Freddie in a tragic accident and as she tries to deal with her grief, the little pink pill she takes at night to sleep seems to take her into another life, one where Freddie is not dead. She begins to live for those sleeping hours. It starts to take a toll on the real world. You do wonder just what is real and what isn’t at times. I started to get a little confused, I admit. They are lovely little moments for her but she has such a wonderful support system in the daylight. You will fall in love with all the cast of characters, their quirks and all, especially Jonah, Freddie and Lydia’s friend since childhood. You will definitely know the way you want this story to play out.

Grief is such a crazy thing. It is so different for each who grieves and Lydia’s was written so beautifully. Your heart breaks for her and you cheer her on as she becomes the Lydia she is inside.

Yet another wonderful read by Ms. Silver. She has the handle on a love story, that’s for sure! Yes, I was crying. My heart was full.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a copy of this lovely novel. The review is my own opinion but I know I am not alone.

The Jetsetters

By Amanda Eyre Ward

The Jetsetters: A Novel by [Eyre Ward, Amanda]

5 out of 5 stars

I have read every single one of Amanda Eyre Ward’s books and have loved them all. Again, I have fallen in love. The very dysfunctional Perkins family has gathered together for a cruise in Europe that the matriarch Charlotte has won. She hopes that it will be a means of getting her family all together and around her more. Charlotte is a rather distant type of person. She longs for love and joy again, apart from her chardonnay and Triscuits and cheese, yet she was raised to not really show emotion. Lee is an actress with no job and carries a big family secret on her shoulders.  Cord is gay and has not come out to his family. Regan is unhappily married. Against the backdrop of Europe, so beautifully described in the book, can they find some kind of peace and family relationship?

I love how this was not all tied up in a nice little bow. It was messy and chaotic and loving and sad. It was exactly what a family is. A few times I wanted to shake a few of them and that to me is the perfect book, I become so involved in these fictional characters that they become very real to me. Amanda Eyre Ward does that to me every time.

If you have never read Amanda Eyre Ward (firstly, what is wrong with you?), you would not go wrong to read this gem. It comes out March 3.

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a copy of this wonderful book for my reading enjoyment.

Such a Fun Age

By Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by [Reid, Kiley]

4 out of 5 stars

I am so glad that I picked this book up for my last book of 2019. It lived up to all the hype I had read beforehand. It felt like I breezed through it even though the storyline had so many different layers. The two main characters of Alix and Emira were at such different stages in their lives but the combination made the reader want to know more. They are connected through something that I didn’t see coming, that was a great twist. It makes you think about how you would handle situations and just how politically and racially woke you are.  Emira with little Briar, Alix’s daughter, was both touching and heartbreaking. The ending had me saying Wow. That added a layer all in it’s own.

Such a Fun Age is such a great book. It is an incredible debut from someone I know I will read again.

Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Putnam for a copy of this wonderful book.


If Only I Could Tell You

By Hannah Beckerman

If Only I Could Tell You: A Novel by [Beckerman, Hannah]

5 out of 5 stars

If you could only see my eyes this morning, you would know just how great this book is. I had to stay up to finish it into the wee hours. Things were finally unfolding and I could not put it down.

I have to say that through a lot of the book, I felt this strange dread. Jess was a hard nut to crack. Her anger was palpable.  We know as we read along that something devastating has happened to this family. Jess won’t talk at all to her sister Lily. Poor Audrey, their mother, wants nothing more than to see her daughters as close as sisters should be. She wants her granddaughters to know each other. Lily and Jess have been sitting on secrets for so very long. Once those secrets are revealed, my heart broke.

This is such a wonderful book. It is sad and yet redeeming. It is an emotional roller coaster. I am not a roller coaster fan but I buckled into this ride and I am so very glad I did. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Beckerman. I know I won’t be disappointed.

Thanks to Netgalley and William Morrow for a copy of this wonderful book. It is my humble opinion but I am pretty sure it will be yours too.

The Dutch House

By Ann Patchett

The Dutch House: A Novel by [Patchett, Ann]

5 out of 5 stars

Some books come out of the starting gate with a bang and just explode inside your brain as you read. Other books are like a slow ride down a lazy river, you take in every nuance along the way. This lovely book is the latter. I devoured it slowly and enjoyed every single morsel. I absolutely adore this book and I can’t stop thinking about it. Of course, the house is a big part of it. A house so big and loaded with things from the previous tenants that some people wanted nothing to do with it. Some people would give anything and anyone up to have it. The descriptions of it put you right inside it. I would love to walk through it. The heart of this novel though is really the love between a brother and a sister who were everything to each other. A sister who would do anything for her brother and a brother who would give up anything for his sister. There are so many emotions on display throughout the story. The heartbreak is heartbreaking. The disappointments, the triumphs, the struggles are all so real. It was hard to say goodbye to these characters and I love how it completely went full circle. One of the loveliest books I have read in quite a while.

Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for this wonderful book. The review is my humble opinion.

The Swallows

By Lisa Lutz

The Swallows: A Novel by [Lutz, Lisa]

5 out of 5 stars

Welcome to Stonebridge Academy where boys will be boys and the girls will not sit down and take it anymore. Alex Witt comes to academy fresh from a scandal at another school to teach (what she thinks will be English) writing. Her first assignment is a questionnaire asking “Who are you”? Something doesn’t sit right with Alex as she gets to know the kids and gets to know the big secret (not -so-secret) thing going on at the school. The boys are rating a certain sex act among the girls and the girls are finally realizing that they don’t have to do what they don’t want to. Cue the fireworks!

I loved the characters in this book. Alex was such a snarky, fun person. I would want her on my side. If you love the Spellman books, and who doesn’t, you will find that witty sarcasm that is so wonderful in them. This is not all comedy though. It is a serious look at gaining back your rights and it is very relevant to the times. I liked how it didn’t make all the men and boys bad or all the girls righteous or good. There was one big twist I didn’t see coming and some subtle things that I did see. I enjoyed the tug of war with her parents because behind it all, you could see how much they loved each other. I loved Gemma and her ferociousness. I loved sweet Linny and that fire she had in her. She was also the character that made me cry.

Some readers might be offended with the storyline so be forewarned but for me, it was hard to put down and something I will think about for a while.

I think Ms. Lutz said it best:

“In a perfect world, they wouldn’t need to fight. That’s not the world I live in. You can keep telling girls to be polite, to keep a level head and it’ll all work out in the end. But don’t be surprised when they figure out that you’ve been feeding them lies. Don’t be alarmed when they grow tired of using their voices and playing by your rules. And don’t be shocked when they decide that if they can’t win a fair fight, they’ll just have to find another way.”

Thanks to Netgalley and Ballantine Books for a copy of this wonderful book. The review is my own humble opinion.



The Last Book Party

By Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by [Dukess, Karen]

5 out of 5 stars

I know that I have wanted to be a fly on the wall at a party filled with artists, writers, actors. All that creativity in one room would be something to behold. Eve Rosen gets that chance. She wants to be a writer but something keeps holding her back. When she ends up working for columnist Henry Grey, her life becomes something she has only dreamed of. She is in the world she has longed for. There is even an unexpected affair. Everything culminates in the summer’s end book party. Everyone dresses up as a literary character and hopefully stumps everyone else. This party will be like no other party before it. Let the secrets flow!

I felt as if I was on Cape Cod. I could actually taste the salt in the air. Ms. Dukess has a wonderful way with her descriptions. From the publishing house to the Grey house, she had a great eye for detail. I was immersed in the story from the very first chapter. Each character was more flawed than the last and more human. I longed to be in Cape Cod and I have never been there! The parties were exactly how I would imagine them to be and boy, did I want to go. I cannot wait to read whatever she gives us next.

Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt for a copy of this wonderful book. This review is my own humble opinion.

Things You Save in a Fire

By Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire: A Novel by [Center, Katherine]

4 out of 5 stars

There is one thing I know for sure when I read a book from Katherine Center, I am going to finish that book feeling happy and perfectly content. Her characters are always so relatable  and you feel a kinship to them.

Our main character Cassie Hanwell is a tough firefighter with some baggage. Her mother left the family on her 16th birthday and something awful happens to Cassie that night. She keeps her emotions in close to the vest. Her mother asks her to come and stay across the country because of some eye problems and something happens at a dinner that causes Cassie to move. She joins a new firehouse where women have never been part of the brotherhood. Trying to follow some rules her captain tells her, she tries to fit in like at  her old station but she does not count on falling for the rookie. Life and things happen and you will not want to put this one down!

As always, you will savor every path along the way. Watching Cassie change and open up is pure joy. The themes of forgiveness, hope, love, and family hit all the right notes. (Especially a bit of non-forgiveness for one character) I loved all the characters in the book, even the gruffest ones had their redeeming qualities. You will not be disappointed.

The review is my humble opinion and I thank St. Martin’s Press for once again, sending the perfect book.

You’ve Been Volunteered

By Laurie Gelman

You've Been Volunteered: A Class Mom Novel by [Gelman, Laurie]

4 out of 5 stars

She’s baaaaccckk! Jen Dixon, the witty, sarcastic mom of Class Mom, is back for another year of school and the funniest newsletters ever! I only wish I had met a mom like her when my kids were in school. I would have been her best friend. Her newsletters are hilarious. The whole book is hilarious, just like the last one. Of course, she has some different issues this go-round. She has been put in charge of the fifth grade crosswalk safety group. (Wouldn’t we all say oh yay?) Max is hanging around with a kid who brings delightful little trinkets to school. Her daughters are more silent about what’s going on in their respective lives. Something is up with her parents and her husband wants to franchise the company. It all adds up to plenty of laughs and a lot of good fun.

If you are looking for total escapism,  this is the book for you. If you haven’t read the first book, Class Mom, you really need to. You are going to laugh and see yourself in a lot of it. If you cannot laugh at yourself in mother mode, you are going to lose it. I look forward to more in the series. Please Laurie Gelman?

The review is my opinion and I thank Netgalley and Henry Holt for a copy of this delightful book.