Best Books of the Month: July edition

We have another fabulous round of books to add to your summer reading list! And starting this month, we’re switching things up. ONE person will #win ALL of the books in the post! Just leave a comment here or on the post on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to #win. **If you share this post on Twitter and/or Facebook, you’ll receive two entries!**

The contest will close on Friday, July 17th at 8pm PST.  Good luck!

Pretty Much Screwed by Jenna McCarthy

PMSThe scoop: “I don’t love you anymore.”

For Charlotte Crawford, the worst part about being dumped after twenty years of marriage is that her husband, Jack, doesn’t want another woman; he just doesn’t want her.

Forty-two and clueless, Charlotte is a fish out of water in a dating pool teeming with losers. Just when she thinks she’s finally put her failed marriage behind her, it comes back to bite her in the ass…hard. Without warning, Charlotte finds herself staring down the barrel of a future she wouldn’t (she would totally) wish on her worst enemy.

Our thoughts: Fabulous!

 

 

The Kindness by Polly Samson

The KindnessThe scoop: He followed her eyes skyward to a bird that was falling, turning and turning, like a heart that had leapt free. It fell, and as it did it became a falcon. He was transfixed.

Julian’s fall begins the moment he sets eyes on Julia.

Julia is married and eight years his senior; he is a gifted English student, a life of academia ahead. Ignoring warnings from family and friends, they each give up all they have to be together. Their new life in London offers immense happiness, especially after their longed-for daughter Mira is born.

When Julian hears that Firdaws, his adored boyhood home, is for sale, he sets out to recreate a lost paradise for his new family. Once again, love blinds him. It is only when Mira becomes terrifyingly ill that it is impossible for Julia to conceal from him the explosive secret that she has been keeping at the heart of their lives.

Our thoughts: A gripping read!

Absolutely True Lies by Rachel Stuhler 

ATLThe scoop: A fledgling entertainment writer stumbles into the gig of a lifetime writing a teenage pop star’s memoir and soon realizes that the young celebrity’s squeaky-clean image is purely a work of fiction.

Struggling writer Holly Gracin is on the verge of moving back home to upstate New York when she gets hired to write the memoirs of eighteen-year-old Daisy Mae Dixson, a former Nickelodeon child star who has moved seamlessly into both blockbuster movies and pop music.

Holly quickly realizes that Daisy’s wholesome public image is purely a work of fiction, as Holly finds herself trailing the star as she travels around the world on yachts, gets stalked by paparazzi, and sneaks out of five-star hotels in the dead of night.

As Holly struggles to write a flattering portrait of a teenage millionaire who only eats “nightshades” and treats her employees like slaves, Daisy has a public meltdown—and suddenly, her book is the cornerstone of resurrecting her image. But working at all hours trailing a pop star has taken its toll, and Holly must decide if becoming the ultimate insider is worth losing a starring role in her own life.

Our thoughts: Wildy addictive!

The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis

TSOGIThe scoop: Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.

Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.

The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak…and then healing.

Our thoughts: The perfect escape!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Everything+I+Never+Told+You+-+Celeste+NgThe scoop: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Our thoughts: Unputdownable!

 

 

Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond

SUThe scoop: Lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to keep it together for her two young sons and law professor husband. Since the death of their infant daughter, her husband has been buried in his career, her friendships have withered, and Sarah remains lost in a private world of grief. Then one day walking in L.A., Sarah’s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller―and saving them becomes her obsessive mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the young mother, Josie. When tragedy threatens Josie, Sarah discovers that she is capable of deceptions and transgressions she never imagined. Her lies unleash a downward spiral that will threaten her marriage, family and her sanity. Shelter Us speaks to the quiet joys and anxieties of parenthood and illuminates a place all parents know: that shadowy space between unconditional love and fear of unbearable loss.

Our thoughts: Incredibly moving!

The Santangelos by Jackie Collins

santangelos_finalThe scoop: A vicious hit. A vengeful enemy. A drug addled Colombian club owner. A sex crazed Italian family. And the ever powerful Lucky Santangelo has to deal with them all, while Max-her teenage daughter is becoming The “It” girl in Europe’s modeling world. And her Kennedyesque son, Bobby, is being set up for a murder he didn’t commit. But Lucky can deal. Always strong and unpredictable with her husband, Lennie, by her side she lives up to the family motto-Never cross a Santangelo.

Lucky rules. The Santangelos always come out on top. An epic family saga filled with love, lust, revenge and passion.

Our thoughts: Absolutely delicious!

 

Life is All This by Sheila Blanchette

LIATThe scoop: In the summer of 1975, Samuel Ryder sets off to hitchhike to the Grand Canyon where he realizes life is very good. Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona the road ahead appears to be one never ending smooth ride full of fun, adventure, and pretty women. Late at night in a vacant hotel lobby in South Florida, decades later Sam finds himself trying to come to peace with the fact that plans do not always work out and the life you imagined is not always the life you end up living. Alone at the front desk, he writes novels and communicates via email with his wife who has left him and now runs a food truck in Colorado. The two of them alone but at the same time together, trying to work things out, trying to hold onto a marriage that has moved just out of reach. With a sharp eye for the world around him, Sam’s memories wander through the decades of his life as a traveling salesman, husband, and father. His story takes the reader on a journey from 1960’s New Hampshire where he writes letters to his brother in Vietnam, to Boston and New York where he and his wife raise their young family during the tumultuous years at the turn of the century, to South Florida during the Great Recession. Against the backdrop of the conflicts and anxieties of a changing world, Life Is All This is the story of a modern American family facing life’s hardships with hope, optimism, and humor while discovering that pain, loss, and distance can strengthen their love and enrich their lives.

Our thoughts: A page-turner!

Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn

LDThe scoop: Every dream comes with a price…

Dallas

Sacrifice.

I’m familiar with it.

I’ve had to leave behind everyone I cared about—my sister, my best friend, my band, and my high school sweetheart—in order to chase my dream of making it in Nashville.

But when Robyn Breeland walks back into my life, it’s as if the universe has decided to give me a second chance.  I’m just not sure it’s one I’m willing to take.

Robyn

Heartbreak.

I practically majored in it.

Dallas Lark was the first boy I ever loved and the one who’d shattered my heart into pieces.  But I’ve moved on. Working in promotions at Midnight Bay Bourbon, I’m too busy to sit around moping over my ex. But when my company decides to sponsor his tour, I’ll have to face him whether I’m ready to or not. Dallas is determined to drive me to distraction, and my body begs me to let him.

Trouble is, my heart can’t tell the difference between a second chance and making the same mistake twice.

Our thoughts: A sexy read!

A Necessary End by Holly Brown

ANEThe scoop: Thirty-nine-year-old Adrienne is desperate to be a mother. And this time, nothing is going to get in her way.

Sure, her husband, Gabe, is ambivalent about fatherhood. But she knows that once he holds their baby, he’ll come around. He’s just feeling a little threatened, that’s all. Because once upon a time, it was Gabe that Adrienne wanted more than anything; she was willing to do anything. . . . But that was half a lifetime ago. She’s a different person now, and so is Gabe. There are lines she wouldn’t cross, not without extreme provocation.

And sure, she was bitten once before by another birth mother—clear to the bone—and for most people, it’s once bitten, twice shy. But Adrienne isn’t exactly the retiring type.

At nineteen, Leah bears a remarkable resemblance to the young woman Adrienne once was. Which is why Adrienne knows the baby Leah is carrying is meant to be hers. But Leah’s got ideas of her own: Her baby’s going to get a life in California; why shouldn’t she? All she wants is to live in Adrienne’s house for a year after the baby’s born, and get a fresh start.

It seems like a small price for Adrienne to pay to get their baby. And with Gabe suddenly on board, what could possibly go wrong?

Our thoughts: Utterly thrilling!

A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax

a week at the lakeThe scoop: Twenty years ago, Emma Michaels, Mackenzie Hayes, and Serena Stockton bonded over their New York City dreams. Then, each summer, they solidified their friendship by spending one week at the lake together, solving their problems over bottles of wine and gallons of ice cream. They kept the tradition for years, until jealousy, lies, and life’s disappointments made them drift apart.

It’s been five years since Emma has seen her friends, an absence designed to keep them from discovering a long-ago betrayal. Now she’s in desperate need of their support. The time has come to reveal her secrets—and hopefully rekindle their connection.

But when a terrible accident keeps Emma from saying her piece, Serena and Mackenzie begin to learn about the past on their own. Now, to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to . . .

Our thoughts: Riveting!

South on Highland by Liana Maeby

SOHThe scoop: Leila Massey, a young L.A. screenwriter, is on the verge of hitting it big when she falls into the grip of drug and alcohol addiction. Her descent into the narcotic underbelly of the city leads her to a commune in the desert, a filthy room at the Chateau Marmont, and, eventually, rehab. Will Leila continue down the dark path of addiction? Or will she make it as a successful writer? Based on the author’s own life, Liana Maeby’s brilliant debut novel is raw and haunting, and simultaneously incredibly astute and humorous. South on Highland explores true identity and questions our culture’s response to addiction and sensationalism.

Our thoughts: Wonderfully unique!

 

 

Last First Kiss by Lia Riley

The scoop: A kiss is just the beginning…

lfk_coverPinterest Perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is … messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those Wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.

Our thoughts: The ultimate beach read! (ebook)

 

 

 

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall

TFCThe scoop: Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price—and one of them won’t be able to survive it.

As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure—worldly or private—they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.

Our thoughts: Fascinating!

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

Paperback-Cover-200x300The scoop: Bienvenue à Paris!

When April Vogt’s boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby’s continental furniture specialist does not hear the words “dust” or “rats” or “decrepit.” She hears Paris. She hears escape.

Once in France, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder’s repository. Beneath the cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine, and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there’s a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque, Giovanni Boldini. And then there are letters and journals written by the very woman in the painting, Marthe de Florian. These documents reveal that she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable decolletage. Suddenly April’s quest is no longer about the bureaux plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It’s about discovering the story behind this charismatic woman.

With the help of a salty (and annoyingly sexy) Parisian solicitor and the courtesan’s private diaries, April tries to uncover the many secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into Marthe’s life, April can’t help but take a deeper look into her own. Based on real events, Michelle Gable’s A Paris Apartment will entertain and inspire, as readers embrace the struggles and successes of two very unforgettable women

Our thoughts: Flawless!

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

COGThe scoop: The truth could cost her everything.  Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.  Or is it?  When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.  If only Ava could believe her own excuses.  Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.  Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Our thoughts: Completely gripping!

Love and Death with the In Crowd by Jessica Anya Blau

IncrowdThe scoop: We think of the past as a more innocent time. But in these stories of California teenagers acting out in the last years of the ’70s, it’s easy to see that love, loss, and heartbreak are even more poignant when viewed through 15- or 16-year-old eyes. Surrounded by friends and family who are spinning with their own losses and heartache, these teenage girls navigate the terrors and tenderness of life in the only ways they know how.
In this touching and moving pair of coming-of-age stories, best-selling author Jessica Anya Blau makes it clear that once you step over certain lines, there’s no going back.

Our thoughts: Smart and sassy! (Audiobook)

 

 

Does this Beach Make me Look Fat?: True Stories and Confessions by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

BEACHThe scoop: The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a new collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, “More and more, especially in the summertime when I’m sitting on the beach, I’m learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all.”

So put aside your worries and join Lisa and Francesca as they navigate their way through the crazy world we live in, laughing along the way.

Our thoughts: Hilarious!

XOXO, Liz & Lisa

Best Books of the Month: Summer Beach Reads Edition

Summer is here! And you know what that means! Sunshine, cocktails with pretty umbrellas, and BOOKS. And there are a lot of great reads out there right now.  So we decided to combine all of our faves into a #summer #beachreads list for June! Our novel, The Status of All Things, is in amazing company this month and… Read more »

Liz & Lisa’s Book Club: It’s You by Jane Porter

This month’s book club pick is IT’S YOU by the fabulous Jane Porter. It’s the perfect book to throw in your beach bag this summer! (It’s in ours!) And we have a copy for giveaway! Just leave a comment here or on the post on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win. The… Read more »