You all probably know by now that I love my Sunday hunt for the best kindle book deals. During the last few weeks, I have been very into character-driven novels and so it was a welcome surprise when I saw the deal of the day options today! All of these books dive into family and/or relationship dynamics and are amazing books to read and discuss with a friend or book club group…enjoy!!
Journalist-turned-psychologist Darcy Lockman offers a clear-eyed look at the most pernicious problem facing modern parents—how progressive relationships become traditional ones when children are introduced into the household.
In an era of seemingly unprecedented feminist activism, enlightenment, and change, data shows that one area of gender inequality stubbornly persists: the disproportionate amount of parental work that falls to women, no matter their background, class, or professional status. All the Rage investigates the cause of this pervasive inequity to answer why, in households where both parents work full-time and agree that tasks should be equally shared, mothers’ household management, mental labor, and childcare contributions still outweigh fathers’.
How, in a culture that pays lip service to women’s equality and lauds the benefits of father involvement—benefits that extend far beyond the well-being of the kids themselves—can a commitment to fairness in marriage melt away upon the arrival of children?
Counting on male partners who will share the burden, women today have been left with what political scientists call unfulfilled, rising expectations. Historically these unmet expectations lie at the heart of revolutions, insurgencies, and civil unrest. If so many couples are living this way, and so many women are angered or just exhausted by it, why do we remain so stuck? Where is our revolution, our insurgency, our civil unrest?
Darcy Lockman drills deep to find answers, exploring how the feminist promise of true domestic partnership almost never, in fact, comes to pass. Starting with her own marriage as a ground zero case study, she moves outward, chronicling the experiences of a diverse cross-section of women raising children with men; visiting new mothers’ groups and pioneering co-parenting specialists; and interviewing experts across academic fields, from gender studies professors and anthropologists to neuroscientists and primatologists. Lockman identifies three tenets that have upheld the cultural gender division of labor and peels back the ways in which both men and women unintentionally perpetuate old norms.
If we can all agree that equal pay for equal work should be a given, can the same apply to unpaid work? Can justice finally come home?
I listened to All The Rage on Audible and wow, what a powerful read! Darcy Lockman shares a well researched and relatable look at social expectations, male privilege, and sexism when it comes to parenting in the 21st century. Lockman uses studies, research, interviews with parents, and her own personal experiences which results in a well balanced and deeply impactful look at the gender inequity that working mothers still face today and the mental load women face as mothers.
Who Should Read This?
Whether you are a parent or thinking about becoming one someday, this book is so insightful and thought-provoking. I appreciated Lockman’s personal experiences as they related to many issues we faced in our own experiences as partners and parents. While many people think “this won’t happen to me” a large percentage of family’s fall into the expectations that have become ingrained in our society.
“In the language of family studies, women and men do not develop the same ‘parental consciousness’ when they transition into mother- and fatherhood; they continue on separate and unequal paths of knowing or not knowing as their children change and grow. Parental consciousness is the awareness of the needs of children accompanied by the steady process of thinking about those needs. Women have come to call it the mental load, and in those relatively egalitarian households where men share daycare pickup and put away clean laundry, it’s the aspect of childrearing most likely…to ‘stimulate marital tension between mothers and fathers”
Reactions to All The Rage:
I have loved reading the reviews for this book on Goodreads and they vary greatly. Many shared that this book was depressing, filled with anger, bitterness and/or a dig at men. I did find this book to be hard to listen to at times, but mostly because I wish I had been able to read this before I became a parent! I think anything that makes you feel strongly is wonderful because it gets you thinking.
I learned a lot about why we are the way we are and so much of it has been entrenched in our society and family dynamics for centuries even as women’s roles have changed and evolved so much over time. It doesn’t matter how much you think “this won’t happen to us!” it is very easy to fall into being the “default” parent once parenthood hits you like a ton of bricks.
I think it is important to state that this doesn’t mean your partner is a terrible person or sits around doing nothing. The emotional labor of motherhood is hard to explain but it is real and many women feel like they are just drowning in it. The invisible mental load of motherhood is often the hardest and because it is hard to “see” it is also the hardest to change.
What We Have Learned So Far…
One of the biggest learning lessons my husband and I have (slowly) figured out during our 9 years of parenting together is that talking about something before it happens is always the way to go. Talking early and talking often is key and allows us to discuss our hopes and expectations before the resentment and disappointment build up because it inevitably will.
When our first son arrived in 2019 we quickly fell into the assumed roles of parenthood with little to no discussion about what that might look or feel like. 9 years later we have worked hard to establish better equity and partnership in our home but deeply ingrained norms are hard to change and the pressures come from outside of the home as well. This is a continued work in progress as our family grows and changes over time. We definitely have it all figured out but we work hard on it every day.
I highly recommend this book and would really recommend it for people who are hoping to have a family someday. There is so much power when we have the ability to reflect and make choices proactively. While Lockman didn’t have all the answers, she gives many tools for us to reflect on what we can change and do in our own lives to help with parity and equity in parenthood.
Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.
In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.
June 18th, 2019
Elin Hilderbrand is not only the queen of summer reading but she is also an auto-read author for me. I remember taking her book The Castaways on our 2009 honeymoon trip to St. John and it was just the beginning of a long love affair with her writing. At that point, I read everything on her backlist and have read every single one of her book releases since then.
Elin Hilderbrand June book releases always signify the unofficial start of summer for me. Summer of ‘69 was released on June 18th but I grabbed it a couple of weeks early in my Book of the Month box and couldn’t wait to dive in.
I knew going into it that this book would be a little different than her others. While it was still set on the beautiful island of Nantucket, she took us back to 1969 in her first historical fiction novel. I always love reading the authors notes at the beginning of books and Hilderbrand shared that Summer of ’69 was in honor of her 50th birthday, and I loved that connection so much.
Summer of ’69 delivered with Hilderbrand’s gift of the summer beach read while also diving into some historic events like the lunar landing, The Vietnam War and Chappaquiddick.
We meet the Levin family and with this, there is a personal look at feminist issues, the civil rights movement and the life changes and transitions for this family. This book was packed full of powerful moments but was also an enjoyable coming of age story. There were many different personalities and perspectives in this story which made it feel multifaceted while also being a completely engrossing read.
Having grown up in the 80s and 90s I couldn’t connect personally with this time period but she was able to bring me right there with her vivid details and ability to connect the music and other pop culture of this time in history. I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list!
I can’t wait for the 2nd installment of her Paradise series later this year…and am so happy I don’t have to wait another year for more Hilderbrand writing! If you haven’t checked out the first book in this new trilogy, Winter in Paradiseis also a great summer read and What Happens in Paradise will be released in October!
June has had some amazing new book releases and it isn’t over yet! If you are still looking for some fiction books to add to your summer reading list, you are in luck! This week there is a great mix of suspense, romance, and contemporary fiction being released, sure to meet your own summer reading desires.
Reading Choices Based on the Season
Just like with any other kind of media, everyone has very different ideas of what is preferable. My reading definitely changes by the season and there are books genres I tend to read more this time of the year than in the winter for instance. The pace of life, the weather, and my workload all play into what my preferences are for reading.
What Does Summer Reading Mean to YOU?
During the spring and summer, I tend to pick books that are a little more fast paced. I like books that are easier to pick up and put down in shorter spurts of time and so they need to be engaging enough to keep my interest. Family dramas or fiction books that are meant to savor are tougher for me to read this time of year, but I totally love them in January. What about you?!
If you are looking for an addicting psychological thriller that will keep you guessing, this is it! I am reading it now and loving it! As you might know, I am quite picky about thrillers and find myself let down by quite a few of them so this is a big compliment! Ha!
Psychological Thriller/Domestic Thriller
“CAN SHE ESCAPE THE PERSON SHE ONCE LOVED?
Beth Murphy is on the run…
For nearly a year, Beth has been plotting to leave her abusive husband. This is her one chance at freedom—one that requires a new look, new name and new city. Each part of her plan has to be carefully thought out, because one small slip and her violent husband will find her.
Sabine Hardison is missing…
A couple hundred miles away, Jeffrey returns home from a work trip to find his wife, Sabine, is missing. Wherever she is, she’s taken almost nothing with her. Her abandoned car is the only trace of her the police have to go on, and all signs point to foul play.
The detective on the case will stop at nothing to bring this missing woman home. Where is Sabine? And who is Beth? As Beth’s husband starts piecing together her whereabouts, she’ll have to make a decision about her future that will leave readers breathless.”
“A dazzling, multigenerational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple–still madly in love after forty years–recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they’ve built.
When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’.
As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.
Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.”
If you are looking for an engaging fiction/romance this is it. I enjoyed that this was a romance book that was actually relatable and the main characters had regular issues they had to acknowledge and address. I appreciated that the issues were not only highlighted but dealt with and this made this book so much stronger. This also added some much-needed depth while also having plenty of light-hearted moments. This was a fun feel-good read that also highlighted many important real-life issues which to me as the reader was a perfect balance! You can read my full review HERE.
“In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn’t correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy’s childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and he can’t figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button.
When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken–and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they’ll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they’ve broken, the plans they’ve changed, and the secrets they’ve kept. They’ll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance–right up until the last out.”
“After a devastating break-up with her fiancé, Geraldine is struggling to get her life back on track in Toronto. Her two old friends, Sunny and Rachel, left ages ago for New York, where they’ve landed good jobs, handsome husbands, and unfairly glamorous lives (or at least so it appears to Geraldine). Sick of watching from the sidelines, Geraldine decides to force the universe to give her the big break she knows she deserves, and moves to New York City.
As she zigzags her way through the downtown art scene and rooftop party circuit, she discovers how hard it is to find her footing in a world of influencers and media darlings. Meanwhile, Sunny’s life as an It Girl watercolorist is not nearly as charmed as it seemed to Geraldine from Toronto. And Rachel is trying to keep it together as a new mom, writer, and wife–how is it that she was more confident and successful at twenty-five than in her mid-thirties? Perhaps worst of all, why are Sunny and Rachel–who’ve always been suspicious of each other–suddenly hanging out without Geraldine?
Hilarious and fiercely observed, How Could She is an essential novel of female friendship, an insider’s look into the cutthroat world of New York media–from print to podcasting–and a witty exploration of the ways we can and cannot escape our pasts.”
I hope you find something you love from this list! <3
“Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything―anything―to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.
But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt? Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor―the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed―is more than happy to stay with him.
Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.
But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret―one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden. As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it’s no mystery someone is gone after all…
Because You’re Mine is a breathtaking novel of domestic drama and suspense.
Prepare to stay up all night.”
August 6th, 2019
Because You’re Mine was my first book by Rea Frey. I had heard great things about this book from some of my reading friends and after being in a “thriller rut” I was looking for something to get me out of it.
Because You’re Mine had all the elements of a great domestic thriller, highly detailed characters, mystery, and suspense. I think what I have been missing lately with thrillers is the ability to really get to know the characters and what happened in their pasts to play into their current situations and Frey did an amazing job with this aspect. I also loved getting to know Lee’s son Mason. His character was great and I loved what a big role he had in this book.
This book had a perfect balance of thinking I had it all figured it out and also keeping me on the edge of my seat. Her writing is edgy and this book is full of secrets. I thought I knew what was happening and I was in for a big surprise at the end. I am excited to read more of Frey’s writing in the future!
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.
Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.
What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?”
I have always loved Camille Pagan’s relatable storytelling and this newest release is no different. I connected so much with the storyline of being a mom, wife, and friend. All of these things are wonderful and they can also feel so incredibly hard. The endless demands of parenthood, the amount of work it takes to keep a marriage humming along and also keeping up with the expectations of work can sometimes feel completely overwhelming.
When you add in friendships that can sometimes make you wonder “why does this feel so hard when everyone around me makes it look so easy?” it can be an easy path to thinking there is something wrong with you.
The thing is though, these things are hard for everyone in different ways, and we sometimes have no idea what is really going on behind the scenes. What someone presents isn’t always the reality and sometimes the people that have these “picture-perfect” lives need us more than we think.
“It takes courage to be yourself when everyone expects you to be someone else.”
I’m Fine and Neither Are You takes on some heavy topics including substance abuse, loss, family dynamics, infidelity, the struggles of long term relationships and finding your voice, all while being a completely engaging read. It was messy and real and this was the perfect book for me this week.
I highly recommend this book and if you want to check it out, it is the perfect time to do so. It is one of the March 2019 Amazon First Reads book selection which means that you can get a Kindle copy for FREE if you are a Prime member (or 1.99 if you are not) and/or the hardcopy version for $9.99. It’s a great way to learn about new authors and try a new genre.
Have you read a Camille Pagan book before? I would love to know your thoughts!
“It is the wrong time to get sick. Speeding down the highway on the way to work, her two little girls sleeping in the back seat, medical resident Claire Rawlings doesn’t have time for the nausea overtaking her. But as the world tilts sideways, she pulls into a gas station, runs to the bathroom, and passes out. When she wakes up minutes later, her car―and her daughters―are gone.
The police have no leads, and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.
As hopeful and uplifting as it is devastating, Little Lovely Things is the story of a family shattered by unthinkable tragedy, and the unexpected intersection of heartbreak and hope.”
Wow! Little Lovely Things is an amazing debut novel by Maureen Joyce Connolly. This book was absolutely heartbreaking, especially reading it as a parent. It was hard to read at times and it wouldn’t normally be a topic that I would choose. As upsetting as some of it was, Connolly’s storytelling was amazingly powerful and I am so glad I stuck with it. Her ability to build such detailed characters allows you to actually take on not only the perspectives of these grieving parents but also the kidnappers.
Amongst this families heartbreak, you are able to see the struggle of what becomes of a family that is torn apart, persistence and resilience in the face of the unknown and just how much of a difference a stranger’s help can make. There is so much emotion in this artfully told story and I look forward to reading much more of Connolly’s writing in the future.
A big thank you to Sourcebooks, Maureen Joyce Connolly and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.
February was a shorter month with a lot of reading packed in for me. I ended up reading a couple books that I just loved and quite a few that were just so-so.
I always find it interesting how differently we all react to the same pieces of writing. I even will respond differently to something depending on my mood, time of year, stage of life, etc.
As I share more and more about books I always want to be aware that my feedback is just that, my own, and you may have a completely different reading experience. I think that is with makes books and media in general so interesting to share about too, we all have such different responses. 💜
My full review of the Unhoneymooners can be found HERE.
Marriage-ology by Belinda Luscombe: A fascinating and relatable book about marriage that was easy to connect with and thought provoking. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (ARC releasing 5/21/19)
The Au Pair by Emma Rous: I enjoyed much of this but the ending just didn’t work for me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
My full review of The Au Pair can be found HERE.
My full review of Juliet’s School of Possibilities can be found HERE.
Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly: Heartbreaking and often difficult to read as a parent but amazing storytelling and a truly engaging read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (ARC releasing 4/2/19)
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams: A heavier read than you first anticipate that is full of important and timely topics…enjoyed seeing her process of self-love while dealing with many challenges…struggled with some of the choices of the main character. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (ARC releasing 3/19/19)
“From the bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband comes a novel about a love triangle that begins on a fateful night…
There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.
Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.
As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.
A Stranger on the Beach is Strangers on a Train meets Fatal Attraction in Michele Campbell’s edge-of your-seat story of passion and intrigue.”
A Stranger on the Beach is my second Michele Campbell book. If you are looking for a domestic/psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, this is it! This novel is written from multiple points of views, each sharing their own narratives of what ‘happened’. Campbell is able to build suspense while the twists keep coming and I didn’t know who to trust as I progressed through the pages.
This was one of those books where I just needed to know what happened. This book is dark and manipulative and I didn’t care for any of the characters, which I think was Campbell’s intention. There are many issues that are covered, including marriage, infidelity, class, money, greed, fraud, betrayal and more. If you are looking for a dark mystery that will keep you on your toes, I think you will really enjoy this newest book by Michele Campbell. A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this e-book. All opinions are my own.
“The societies we live in are increasingly making our minds ill, making it feel as though the way we live is engineered to make us unhappy. When Matt Haig developed panic disorder, anxiety, and depression as an adult, it took him a long time to work out the ways the external world could impact his mental health in both positive and negative ways. Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological “advancements” that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.”
“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind from being overloaded when the world is overloaded? We can think about anything. And so it makes sense that we end up thinking about everything. We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet
This book was my first by Matt Haig and I found it very engaging. I love how he normalizes mental health issues but also asks such thought-provoking questions within his writing. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and devoured the short chapters which led to very interesting conversations with my friend who also was reading the book at the same time.
The chapters are short and quick and so it is a book that is easy to take in a little at a time. I love the importance he places on true connection with each other. Some of it was a little “out there” but I do agree that technology has changed the ways we interact and connect with one another and he had some powerful reminders and perspective about this.