“Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.
Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.
With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.
While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.”
December 10th, 2019
Family Fiction, Contemporary Romance
I know it is probably hard to believe but Regretting You is my first Colleen Hoover book EVER!! Her books have been recommended to me for years but I just didn’t know where to start. When I saw an advanced copy of Regretting You on NetGalley I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. I was immediately drawn into the storyline and found it to be a totally engrossing read.
Regretting You ended up being a very engaging book that I loved reading while on vacation. This book was told partly from a teenager POV and although I wasn’t sure at first, I found that I was able to relate to both of the main characters even though I am around the age of the mother in this female relationship.
I was pleasantly surprised that Hoover took on some deeper and thought-provoking topics. My favorite part of this book was how it dealt with grief and loss and I loved seeing this from multiple perspectives. There is a YA romance that was enjoyable enough but also a little predictable but the other parts really shined through this for me.
Colleen Hoover’s Backlist:
I am definitely going to dive into Colleen Hoover’s backlist list now! I asked one of my Hoover loving friends, Kailey at @kmc_reads, and she suggested It Ends With Us so that will be coming up soon for me. I have heard great things about Verity but it might be a bit too creepy for me although the reviews I have read just raved about it. If you have read her books I would love to know your favorite to add to my reading list!
Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake Romance for an advanced copy.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Last Thursday we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary! It was a regular work and school day for us so we went to a 4:45pm pizza dinner with the kids followed by ice cream at the Scoop and then called it a day.
Anniversary photo by our 9-year-old! We did manage to get away though…
On Friday we headed away for a 24-hour escape!
We got married in Stowe so we have always liked celebrating up there every year. We have managed to make it there 9/10 years so that is pretty good! It is close by but feels like a whole different world and has so many special memories for us. We, of course, had to stop at Cold Hollow Cider Mill on our way! I love cider donuts but I don’t like the ones with sugar sprinkled all over them so these ones are my very favorite!
We got married at Stowe Mountain Lodge, which is now The Lodge at Spruce Peak. Our wedding was one of their very first ones because they had just opened in 2009 so it has grown and changed so much since then!
I like to act like I am a tourist when I am in Stowe (actually all of the time really…) and so I totally made Lucas pull over so I could take the iconic Stowe shot. We also took lots of selfies at our wedding ceremony location.
We didn’t have big plans which was exactly what we were looking for! These days, our lives feel like go, go, go, all the time. I know this is just part of the stage of life we were in with our kids, but downtime is a special thing right now!
We had lunch on the patio and then read by the pool with our Kindles. It was amazing! Our kids had school on Friday which is why we decided to go up then because it allowed us to need a little less childcare help and a weekday is always a little quieter up there so that was nice!
We had dinner and then read our Kindles by the fireplace, Facetimed with the kids and were asleep by 9:30! Regular routines are hard to break but it was lovely to have zero demands from anybody!
The next morning we were up by 6:30 so we found some coffee & maple lattes and had a relaxing morning.
After breakfast, we said “goodbye and see you next year!” to our special spot and headed off to meet our boys at their fall soccer jamboree. Our friends watched the kids for us so we could go away which we are so grateful for!
And just for fun, here is what we were doing 10 years ago right now…
We were on our honeymoon in St. John USVI. We rented a villa and a jeep for the week and it was just the best. Maybe for our 15th anniversary, we will go back there! I am also very proud of these honeymoon “selfies” because I took them with my little Canon digital camera! We definitely did not have iPhones back then…
We had the best time exploring, snorkeling, eating lots of delicious food and reading(in the shade!) See, some things never change, ha!
Thanks for letting me reminisce a little! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. <3
Who else can believe that it is already almost September?! August is always a funny month because part of it is full-on summer and then the end is getting back into our regular routine of school. I read a lot of great books this past month, my favorite being The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo. I also did some vacation reading and really enjoyed The Forever Summer and The Islanders.
You can read my full review HERE. Dominicana was my August Book of The Month selection(*referral link) that is being released next week. It is a coming of age book that reminded me a lot of A Woman is No Man and the writing is just beautiful!
You can read my full review HERE. I am a huge fan of memoirs and this one was one of those books that I wasn’t quite sure about while reading a lot of it, but then ended up being a very powerful read that I kept thinking about once I was finished.
“Summer has started in idyllic Sag Harbor, and for Emma Mapson that means greeting guests at the front desk of The American Hotel. But when one of the town’s most famous residents, artist Henry Wyatt, dies suddenly, Emma learns he has mysteriously left his waterfront home – a self-designed masterpiece filled with his work – to her teenage daughter, Penny.
Back in Manhattan, legendary art patron, Bea Winstead’s grief at her lifelong friend and former business partner Henry’s passing turns to outrage at the news of his shocking bequest. How did these unknown locals get their hands on the estate? Bea, with her devoted assistant Kyle in tow, descends on Sag Harbor determined to reclaim the house and preserve Henry’s legacy.
While Emma fights to defend her daughter’s inheritance, Bea discovers that Henry left a treasure trove of sketches scattered around town. With Penny’s reluctant help, Bea pieces them together to find a story hidden in plain sight: an illustration of their shared history with an unexpected twist that will change all of their lives.
Drawn together in their battle for the house, Emma and Bea are forced to confront the past while facing a future that challenges everything they believe about love, fate, and family.”
May 7th, 2019
I recently picked up Drawing Home for a vacation read. A few weeks ago I read my first Jamie Brenner novel, her 2017 release The Forever Summer. After enjoying that one so much, I had high hopes for this one. I ended up finding Drawing Home to be just okay. I wanted to connect with the characters so much but I had trouble because the emotional depth was really lacking for me.
I understand that this is a “beach read” but it just had such promise and didn’t deliver. Because of this, I had a harder time connecting with the storyline and then the ending wrapped up so quickly in a not very believable way for me as the reader. While this was a bit of a miss for me, I do really love Brenner’s writing style. I am planning on reading The Husband Hour next and I have high hopes.
Hello! How is your week going? This is our last week before school vacation. After spring break the rest of the school year always flies by. It’s hard to believe but summer will be here before we know it. There are SO many amazing summer books that are coming out this year and I can’t wait to share more about them soon.
So far I have read the ARC of Mrs. Everything and it was amazing!! Jennifer Weiner has always been one of my very favorite authors and this might be my favorite of hers yet. You can read my Goodreads review of Mrs. Everything HERE.
In all seriousness, we are reaching the age of definitely needing to have this conversation with our older son and a friend recommended the book, It’s Not the Stork! as a guide for having a positive and proactive conversation.
I also always had access to a bunch of books about puberty and body changes as an older kid and pre-teen and I found them so helpful. I appreciated that it was never an uncomfortable thing to talk or learn about while I was growing up and I want to provide that same thing for our kids…but it is really is tough to know the right way to start the conversation!
Our kids definitely know how babies get OUT, but we haven’t had the whole how they get in there conversation quite yet. Any tips, websites or other book suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Currently Listening to…
I have been loving Laura Tremaine’s new podcast 10 Things To Tell You. I have always loved hearing Tremaine discuss books but she is so open and insightful about so many other topics as well. I listened to her podcast episode this morning discussing “Who did you expect to be?” and I just loved it. I found her relatable, real and funny and I think you would enjoy it too.
I am also so excited that the Committed Podcast is back for season two! I love Jo Piazza as an author (Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win was one of my top books from 2019) but she is also an amazing podcast host and interviewer. The stories she shares are real and raw and also so inspiring.
If you haven’t tried these foot peel masks yet, you are MISSING OUT…especially with summer (and sandals) weather on its way.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I first heard about these things a few years ago but now I am a full convert. You soak your feet in these little booties for an hour and a half or so, and then you wait. At first, you think nothing is happening…and wonder if you just wasted your time and money….but then it starts!
All the dead skin peels off your feet and if you are lucky, it even falls off in little sheets, which may sound disgusting but I found it quite intriguing…don’t knock it until you try it! And you don’t have to just take my word for it, there are 1000s of reviews out there that even include photos like this article HERE…which I know you are curious about and it also has some great tips.
I recommend taking a bath a few times the days after you do the peel for maximum results and peeling. I have tried many kinds, including Baby Foot and they all work similarly, but THESE ONES are just cheaper and work amazingly well.
Speaking of summer and sandals, have you tried the rubber Birkenstocks yet? They make the BEST pool sandals they feel like a flip flop with a little more support like regular Birkenstocks but without the fear of getting them super wet like the original soft cork footbed. I have been wearing them around the house in anticipation of vacation and it makes me so very happy.
Alright, that was quite the random Coffee Talk Wednesday but I hoped you enjoy it! Do you have anything you are currently loving? I would love to hear! <3
“For the last ten years, Agnes Parsons’s biggest challenge has been juggling yoga classes and lunch dates. Her Santa Monica house staff takes care of everything, leaving Agnes to focus on her trophy-wife responsibilities: look perfect, adore her older husband, and wear terribly expensive (if uncomfortable) underwear.
When her husband disappears, leaving Agnes and their infant daughter with no money, no home, and no staff, she is forced to move across the country, where she lands a job teaching at an all-boys boarding school in the Bronx. So long, organic quinoa bowls and sunshine-filled California life. Hello, processed food, pest-infested house, and twelve-year-old-boy humor—all day, every day.
But it’s in this place of second chances (and giant bugs), where Agnes is unexpectedly forced to take care of herself and her daughter, where she finds out the kind of woman she can be. Ultimately, she has to decide if she prefers the woman and mother she has become…or the trophy life she left behind.
Authentic and sharply witty, Trophy Life is proof that granny panties and mom coats might not be the answer to everything; they’re simply comfortable (if slightly unattractive) reminders of what happens when one life ends…and real life begins.”
Trophy Life is a fun and entertaining read that had a lot more depth than I initially expected. I was thinking that Agnes might be vapid or unrelatable but she was anything but. This book covered motherhood, friendship, disappointment, self-discovery and finding your own path in life.
When Agnes was “forced” to make her own way after 10 years of living “the good life” she (slowly) rose to the challenge and I couldn’t help but root for her along the way. This book was quite funny and Agnes was endearing as she navigated her way through the highs and lows of her new path in life. It was surprisingly relatable and I loved the powerful moments Agnes had her daughter Grace and how much she learned from the rambunctious group of middle school boys she was teaching.
I also enjoyed the “cliffhanger” of what happened to Jack and it was a great addition to the story. I thought this was such a great book to curl up with on the couch on weekend afternoon. Although I would consider it an easy read there was a lot of meaningful lessons with Geller’s storytelling and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!
A big thank you to Lea Geller for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Are there any authors that just scream summer to you? I always associate summer beginning with the release of Elin Hilderbrand’s books because they come out in mid-June. I know it feels far away but it will be here before we know it. I try not to wish away the seasons and we have plenty of winter weather left here in Vermont but I do get excited about all the summer book releases!
It is also currently the time of year where parents are figuring out their summer childcare plans and we are too. We do a mix of the summer swim team, a part-time babysitter and trading the kids on and off with each other so we can both get our work obligations completed. That means it is a bit of a whirlwind but it also means there is some time sitting by the pool with the kids. I love beach books for this because my attention to details can’t be that great since it is often very interrupted reading but they are still super engaging and enjoyable! Here is my list of summer books that I am looking forward to in 2019…
“Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changed, in New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel
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.”
“The Friends We Keep is the heartwarming and unforgettable new novel from Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Sunshine Sisters and The Beach House.
Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted—the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.
Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man.
Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause.
Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.
By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness . . . until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.
The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.”
“From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life.
Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.
When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.
During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.
With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.”
“From the New York Times bestselling author of Good Luck with That comes a new novel about a blue-blood grandmother and her black-sheep granddaughter who discover they are truly two sides of the same coin.
Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.
When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.
So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help?”
“From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs. Everything is an ambitious, richly textured journey through history—and herstory—as these two sisters navigate a changing America over the course of their lives.”
“Secret lives and new loves emerge in the bright Caribbean sunlight, in the follow-up to national bestseller Winter in Paradise A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a plane crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.
Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -and death – of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.
Lush with the tropical details, romance, and drama that made Winter in Paradise a national bestseller, What Happens in Paradise is another immensely satisfying page-turner from one of American’s most beloved and engaging storytellers.”
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase, it helps support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you!
Are you heading away to escape from the cold anytime soon? Or maybe you are like me and are just looking for something engaging to cozy up with on a February weekend afternoon…either way, you are in the right place.
One of the most frequent questions I get is “what should I bring to read on vacation?!” For me, reading on vacation should be enjoyable but there is a fine balance between an easy read and a cheesy one. I love “pleasure” reading but it needs to strike the right balance. All of these books were super engaging and easy to get lost in, but also made me think…
This book was timely and I flew through it. I really enjoy that Giffin is starting to take on more “serious” topics in her writing while also still keeping them somewhat light-hearted and predictable.
“Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton.
Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.
Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.
Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenaged girl, happy and thriving.
Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.
At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.”
Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win was one of my top books of 2018. It was the perfect balance of women’s issues, double standards for women in the workforce and political world, marriage, parenthood and more…all in a super engaging read that was hard to put down. The characters were imperfect which I think made this book even more relatable and powerful. We are discussing this one soon in our book club and I can’t wait!
“From Jo Piazza, the bestselling author of The Knock Off, How to Be Married, and Fitness Junkie, comes an exciting, insightful novel about what happens when a woman wants it all—political power, a happy marriage, and happiness—but isn’t sure just how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it.
Charlotte Walsh is running for Senate in the most important race in the country during a midterm election that will decide the balance of power in Congress. Still reeling from a presidential election that shocked and divided the country and inspired by the chance to make a difference, she’s left behind her high-powered job in Silicon Valley and returned, with her husband Max and their three young daughters, to her downtrodden Pennsylvania hometown to run in the Rust Belt state.
Once the campaign gets underway, Charlotte is blindsided by just how dirty her opponent is willing to fight, how harshly she is judged by the press and her peers, and how exhausting it becomes to navigate a marriage with an increasingly ambivalent and often resentful husband. When the opposition uncovers a secret that could threaten not just her campaign but everything Charlotte holds dear, she has to decide just how badly she wants to win and at what cost.
A searing, suspenseful story of political ambition, marriage, class, sexual politics, and infidelity, Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win is an insightful portrait of what it takes for a woman to run for national office in America today. In a dramatic political moment like no other with more women running for office than ever before, Jo Piazza’s novel is timely, engrossing, and perfect for readers on both sides of the aisle.”
Diane Chamberlain can do no wrong in my mind but this is one of my very favorites of hers. She is able to engage her reader with all different kinds of topics and characters with such ease and I was drawn into this one so quickly. I love to read Chamberlain’s books on vacation because they truly are the perfect balance of in-depth characters, real issues mixed with a little mystery and intrigue.
“It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working at there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love―and the life―she was meant to have?”
Hilderbrand is what many would call “the perfect beach book author”. I have read so many of her books while on vacation and I would agree! Welcome to Paradise is the first book in her new Paradise trilogy and it takes place on St. John USVI. I loved meeting a new cast of characters and I am excited to see where she takes us with these books…which is also her first series based in a tropical location.
“Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.
After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures.
Rich with the lush beauty of the tropics and the drama, romance, and intrigue only Elin Hilderbrand can deliver, Winter in Paradise is a truly transporting novel, and the exciting start to a new series.”
Necessary Lies is another favorite of mine by Chamberlain.
“Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town fifty years ago, and the darkest—and most hopeful—places in the human heart
After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm. As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give. When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed. She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband. But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed. Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong. Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?”
Castle of Water is one of those underrated books that I am surprised more people aren’t talking about. Huckelbridge’s writing was extraordinarily beautiful and it is so much more than just a “castaway” story.
“Two very different people, one very small island.
For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. The proud owner of a thriving Parisian architecture firm, co-founded with her brilliant new husband, Sophie had much to look forward to―including a visit to the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel.
For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world―just like his idol, Paul Gauguin.
But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.
Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Dane Huckelbridge’s Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love’s restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home―be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away―is where the heart is.”
I read every book that Hilderbrand writes but wasn’t blown away by her releases from the last few years. The Perfect Couple changed this streak for me and I enjoy this one so much! It was the perfect mix of mystery/thriller/contemporary fiction and it kept me guessing until the very end.
“It’s Nantucket wedding season, also known as summer-the sight of a bride racing down Main Street is as common as the sun setting at Madaket Beach. The Otis-Winbury wedding promises to be an event to remember: the groom’s wealthy parents have spared no expense to host a lavish ceremony at their oceanfront estate.
But it’s going to be memorable for all the wrong reasons after tragedy strikes: a body is discovered in Nantucket Harbor just hours before the ceremony-and everyone in the wedding party is suddenly a suspect. As Chief of Police Ed Kapenash interviews the bride, the groom, the groom’s famous mystery-novelist mother, and even a member of his own family, he discovers that every wedding is a minefield-and no couple is perfect. Featuring beloved characters from The Castaways, Beautiful Day, and A Summer Affair, The Perfect Couple proves once again that Elin Hilderbrand is the queen of the summer beach read.”
You Were Always Mine was my first Nicole Baart and it won’t be my last. I was hooked from the beginning and it was completely engrossing. I love that it focused on the issue of adoption but it was so much more than that. I loved the mystery about Jessica’s husband and it kept me guessing until the very end.
The characters were incredibly detailed and I felt like I could totally connect with what they were going through on this journey of what makes a family and who the people around you really are…
“Jessica Chamberlain, newly separated and living with her two sons in a small Iowa town, can’t believe that a tragedy in another state could have anything to do with her. But when her phone rings one quiet morning, her world is shattered. As she tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of what went wrong, Jess begins to realize that a tragic death is just the beginning. Soon she is caught in a web of lies and half-truths—and she’s horrified to learn that everything leads back to her seven-year-old adopted son, Gabriel.
Years ago, Gabe’s birth mother requested a closed adoption and Jessica was more than happy to comply. But when her house is broken into and she discovers a clue that suggests her estranged husband was in close contact with Gabe’s biological mother, she vows to uncover the truth at any cost. A harrowing story of tenacious love and heartbreaking betrayal, You Were Always Mine is about the wars we wage to keep the ones we love close, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult.”
I adore Morton’s writing but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a lot of her books for vacation reading because the writing is so rich and detailed. The Lake House is a hefty one too but it was super captivating and I raced through this one. This was a complex mystery that left me hanging on her every word.
“Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories.
One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned.
Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.
A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies from a masterful storyteller, The Lake House is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.”
I got lost in this book and connected so deeply with the characters. It was a surprise hit for me as I wouldn’t classify myself as a big fan of “romance” novels but this was so much more.
“Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story–their story–at the very beginning.
Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated–perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.
This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation.”
This book took me by surprise with not only with its depth but also how much I was reeled into this story of perseverance and success, survival and love.
“In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.”
I read this book years ago but it still sticks with me now. Graves words flow so easily and I always feel so connected to her characters because of her amazing ability to draw you in from the first few pages of her books.
“Sixteen-year-old T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. With his cancer in remission, all he wants is to get back to his normal life. But his parents insist that he spend the summer catching up on the school he missed while he was sick.
Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher who has been worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere. To break up the monotony of everyday life, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring T.J.
Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahans’ summer home, but as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens: their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.
At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, and as birthdays pass, the castaways must brave violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the worst threat of all—the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. With only each other for love and support, these two lost souls must come to terms with their situation and find companionship in one another in the moments they need it most.”
Do you have any vacation reading recommendations? I would love to add them to my list! <3