Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Returned or Resurrection?

I was graciously sent an advanced reading copy of The Returned by Jason Mott by Harlequin and am just now halfway through it when I came across this trailer link in my BookMovement newsletter for an upcoming new ABC Series called Resurrection.

SO bizarre that the book hasn't even been released yet (scheduled release isn't till August 27th) and yet there is a new show coming out based on this book EXACTLY.  I'm seriously kinda trippin.

Of course we see movies and shows based on books that have already been released, but this was so surreal to see a preview of a book that's not even on the shelves yet.

Is it just me, or is that a bit strange??

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake was a birthday gift from my mother-in-law.  She said she had read it and thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted me to give it a shot as well - knowing full well, that I'm hugely skeptical of Christian fiction.  I was truly hoping I would be pleasantly surprised and would discover a new favorite Christian author and could get lost in some wholesome and well-written fiction.  But alas.....I was pretty bummed by this one.  Honestly, it wasn't the style of writing that I was unhappy with, but more just the storyline that truly disappointed me.  There's two topics that deeply disturb me - animal abuse and molestation of children.  Seriously, I just couldn't get past it - from the feeding of the kittens to the dogs, to the whipping of the horses - to the sexual abuse of a young girl.  Gross.  Seriously?  Yes, there is evil in this world - we're all quite aware of it and yes, Christian fiction shouldn't shy away from it - but do we need to cover every single evil thing in the world within 300 pages?  It was some serious overload and I found it so disturbing and depressing that I couldn't even enjoy the miraculous and uplifting ending that lasted all of a few pages.  Ugh.  I'm actually quite surprised my mother-in-law enjoyed it as much as she did.  If I had any idea there was animal abuse and child molestation all within the same book, I would have never picked this one up.  Bummer.

Description: Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father’s congregation; for Willadee it’s a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John’s untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel’s parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan’s undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father.

With characters who spring to life as vividly as if they were members of one’s own family, and with the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield emerges as one of the most vital, engaging storytellers writing today. In The Homecoming of Samuel Lake she has created a memorable and lasting work of fiction.

Rating: **
Recommend: Not my cup of tea.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sea Change by Karen White

I really enjoyed The Memory of Water, so picking up Sea Change was a no-brainer.  I think the water-themed books are what draws me, since I grew up in Seattle and find it so soothing to read about an environment involving a lake or ocean. 

Sea Change was also good, but I've been in a horrible reading rut and unfortunately this didn't help much.  It was slow moving and I struggled with picking it back up again.  Still, a great story and if you've never read Karen White, you should give her a try.  I really love how she thinks outside the box and mixes a bit of paranormal and history into her storylines.

Description: For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever… For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-four, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia. But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.

Rating: ****

Recommend: A tad slow for me, but a great read nonetheless! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Connected Child by Karen B. Purvis

I've been interested in reading up a bit on adoption and this is one of the books that I came across in the library.  Unfortunately, I didn't agree with some of the tools used with adopted children and because its more geared towards adopting an older child from the foster system or from other countries and cultures, I was a bit disappointed.  But on the other hand, it did give me some great insight on how to read children and understand more fully why they exhibit specific behaviors.  There are a number of children in our neighborhood that come from less than desirable circumstances and now understanding why they do some of the things they do has helped me with having more patience and grace towards them. 

If Jason and I did adopt, we would go with adopting a baby domestically, that's just more where our heart is at - so this book didn't really hit the mark for where our heart is.  But if you do have a heart for international adoption or adopting older children, there are some great insights to glean from within these pages.  I've got another adoption book in my radar that I'll be picking up next that is directed more towards open adoptions, which I think is a fascinating and awesome idea.

Description: The adoption of a child is always a joyous moment in the life of a family. Some adoptions, though, present unique challenges. Welcoming these children into your family--and addressing their special needs--requires care, consideration, and compassion.

Written by two research psychologists specializing in adoption and attachment, "The Connected Child" will help you: Build bonds of affection and trust with your adopted child Effectively deal with any learning or behavioral disorders Discipline your child with love without making him or her feel threatened

Reviews: "A tremendous resource for parents and professionals alike."--Thomas Atwood, president and CEO, National Council for Adoption

"A must-read not only for adoptive parents, but for all families striving to correct and connect with their children." --Carol S. Kranowitz, author of "The Out-of-Sync Child"

"Drs. Purvis and Cross have thrown a life preserver not only to those just entering uncharted waters, but also to those struggling to stay afloat."--Kathleen E. Morris, editor of "S. I. Focus" magazine

"Truly an exceptional, innovative work . . . compassionate, accessible, and founded on a breadth of scientific knowledge and clinical expertise." --Susan Livingston Smith, program director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

""The Connected Child" is the literary equivalent of an airline oxygen mask and instructions: place the mask over your own face first, then over the nose of your child. This book first assists the parent, saying, in effect, 'Calm down, you're not the first mom or dad in the world to face this hurdle, breathe deeply, then follow these simple steps.' The sense of not facing these issues alone--the relief that your child's behavior is not off the charts--is hugely comforting. Other children have behaved this way; other parents have responded thusly; welcome to the community of therapeutic and joyful adoptive families." --Melissa Fay Greene, author of "There is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Firefly Lane & Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is one of my all-time favorite authors!  Not only are her stories filled with characters that you can't help but feel connected to, but she also bases a lot of her books in the Pacific Northwest, which I simply love since I grew up in Seattle.  Now living in Nashville for the last 7 years, I've grown to appreciate her writing even more so, cause I'm reminded of all the wonderful places I once used to visit growing up. 

Firefly Lane and Fly Away share the story of two best friends, Tully and Kate and how they're friendship evolves over the course of their lives.  Most of us have that one friend we've had forever that we can relate to - the one that you've known since you were kids and have spent years experiencing so many "firsts" together.  My "Tully" is my best friend Tina.  She is the extrovert in our friendship and I've been the introvert.  She was "the coolest girl at school" to me and I was the nerdy quiet one.  Boy did this book parallel our friendship in many ways, and then in not so many ways too.  But even still, it was a wonderful ride to take with these two friends over the course of their lives - the men they fell in love with, the careers they pursued, the dreams they achieved and the heartaches they endured. 

Since my memory isn't the greatest, I was really glad I read these back-to-back.  I had owned Firefly Lane for a while and had wanted to read it so bad, and then when I received an Advanced Copy of Fly Away from St. Martins Press, it gave me the perfect opportunity!!  Seriously, there's nothing better than being able to read a sequel right away, rather then having to wait a year or so for the next one to come out. 

Fly Away comes out in stores TODAY!  So if you haven't read Firefly Lane yet, pick up both copies and get started, I promise you'll fall in love with these girls just as much as I did.

"Firefly Lane" Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become 'TullyandKate'. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.  

"Fly Away" Description:  

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate--to be there for Kate’s children--but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart--the woman who once called herself Cloud--is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another--and maybe a miracle--to transform their lives.

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness.  

Rating: ****
Recommend: Definitely!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dream Country by Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice has some of the most swoon-worthy covers out there.  (yeah, I judge a book by its cover - so sue me).  So therefore, I'd been wanting to try out one of her novels for quite some time and had picked up Dream Country as I started working my way across one of the shelves on my bookcase. 

I'm SO glad I did too!!  See!  Picking a book by its cover can pay off! :-P

This story follows Daisy and her teenage daughter, Sage and their individual journeys of dealing with a tragic loss in their family.  There was some strange bits in this book with all the indian-new-agey stuff thrown in here and there, but overall I rarely could put it down and was surprised a time or two by twists I really didn't see coming!!  It had romance, suspense, drama and a little humor too.  It was a very well rounded light read and I very much enjoyed it! 

I will for sure be checking out some of her other novels!

Have you read Luanne Rice and if so, what books of hers would you recommend I try next?

Description: It was just an argument, one of hundreds Daisy Tucker must have had with her teenage daughter, Sage, over the years. But this one had ended differently, with Sage gone from their Connecticut home the next morning, leaving behind only a brief note: “I have to go.” Daisy tried not to overreact, tried to remind herself this was different from what had happened thirteen years earlier to Sage’s twin brother, Jake. This was different from a three-year-old boy disappearing in the canyons of Wyoming, never to be found. Sage was sixteen and resourceful. She would be found.

Years ago Daisy had traveled to Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains in search of inspiration for her art and had found a man with the wilderness inside him. James Tucker was a rancher, bound to the wild land he loved, and together he and Daisy created a small paradise for their family—until the day their little boy vanished without a trace. Now, as their daughter makes a dangerous cross-country pilgrimage to the father she longs for, Daisy will return to the place that took everything she had....

Filled with a wild and unpredictable beauty, Dream Country is a novel you’ll never want to end—even as you can’t wait to finish it.

Rating: ****

Recommend: Other than a love scene that was a bit too graphic for my liking, it was a great read!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Damaged by Cathy Glass

This was by far the most difficult book I've ever read in my entire life.  I knew something of what I was getting into when I requested the book, but to read the words of abuse inflicted on this precious 7 year old girl was more than I could stomach at times.  The author, Cathy Glass (her pen name), has fostered more than 100 children over the last 20 years.  And the case of 7 year old Jodie (her alias name) was by far her most challenging case ever.  There are just no words to describe the horror and sorrow I felt as I read this little girl's true story account.  I could have read this in a day, had I not had to set it aside after every 30 pages or so as a new detail of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her parents was revealed. 

How the crap are there people like that in the world? 

It's absolutely disgusting and pure evil manifested through her parents.  I was angry at her parents and all those involved and found myself wanting to track them down and make them feel the pain that they caused their very own daughter.  Ugh!

I have so much admiration for Cathy and the huge heart that she has to love the unlovable.  The emotional and physical turmoil she and her family endured to take this little girl into their home is one of the greatest acts of selflessness I've ever encountered or even heard of.  There were numerous little details that she brought to my attention when talking with young kids that helped make me more aware of why they can be grabby, angry, distant or even violent.  So many times we see a "misbehaved child" and then cast judgement on them or their parents, but not know maybe WHY that child is behaving that way.  Cathy had the patience and foresight to endure all the terrifying and violent episodes with little Jodie until she uncovered the truth of why this little girl was so broken.

Cathy Glass is a New York Times Bestselling author and has written over 15 books of the different children she's fostered at one time or another.  Her true stories are inspiring and convicting all at the same time.  A huge thank you to Harper Collins for sending me a complimentary copy!

Description:  Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass. At the Social Services office, Cathy (an experienced foster carer) is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behaviour has seen off five carers in four months. Despite her reservations, Cathy decides to accept Jodie to protect her from being placed in an institution. Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children, and greets them with a sharp kick to the shins. That night, Cathy finds Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face. As Jodie begins to trust Cathy her behaviour improves. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and others. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening paedophile ring, with neighbours and Social Services not seeing what should have been obvious signs. Unfortunately Jodie becomes increasingly withdrawn, and it's clear she needs psychiatric therapy. Cathy urges the Social Services to provide funding, but instead they decide to take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential unit. Although the paedophile ring is investigated and brought to justice, Jodie's future is still up in the air. Cathy promises that she will stand by her no matter what -- her love for the abandoned Jodie is unbreakable.

Rating: *****

Recommend:  I will say because of the nature of the sexual abuse that is described in detail in this book, I find it extremely difficult to recommend.  My mother-in-law mentioned wanting to read it and I just knew it would be more than she would want to know.  However, there is a woman I work with who I know could handle it and has read similiar memoirs, so I'll be lending her my copy. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What To Do When Someone Dies by Nicci French

One of my dear friends at work is obsessed with all things Nicci French, so she passed along one of her favorite books for me to try out, "What To Do When Someone Dies".  Though I do enjoy a mystery suspense novel every now and then, this one wasn't really my thing.  It was interesting and definitely kept my attention, I just wasn't all that crazy about it. 

Description: 'This is not my world. Something is wrong, askew. . . I am Ellie Falkner, thirty-four years old and married to Greg Manning. Although two police officers have just come to my door and told me he is dead . . . '

It's devastating to hear that your husband has died in a horrific car accident. But to learn that he died with a mystery woman as his passenger is torment. Was Greg having an affair?

Drowning in grief, Ellie clings to Greg's innocence, and her determination to prove it to the world at large means she must find out who Milena Livingstone was and what she was doing in Greg's car. But in the process those around her begin to question her sanity and motive. And the louder she shouts that Greg must have been murdered, the more suspicion falls on Ellie herself.

Sometimes it's safer to keep silent when someone dies.

Rating: ***

Recommend: If you're already familiar with Nicci French, then you'll probably really enjoy it.  But if you want a super awesome intense suspense thriller - I would go with anything Chevy Stevens.  Just my two cents worth.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

When it comes to ARC's (Advance Reader's Copies), I only request books that I really want to read.  Unremembered by Jessica Brody was one of those books that I had seen in a ShelfAwareness newsletter and despretely wanted to get my hands on.  By Friday my very own copy had arrived in the mail and by Sunday I had finished the last page.  I read it in two sittings, which is seriously rare for me.  I just could not put it down.  Unremembered is a story about a 16 year old girl who loses her entire memory and as the story develops, you realize she's not your typical 16 year old. There were parts about it that reminded me quite a bit of Eve and Adam, which I also thoroughly enjoyed - but they really were very similar in multiple ways.

The only critique that I would have is that the character Maxxer who is introduced towards the end kept being referred to as a "she" and a "he", which was super distracting.  But I do realize that I had an unfinished copy, so it was more than likely something that hadn't yet been caught in the final editing. 

I'm kinda surprised that I've been enjoying YA Sci-Fi books lately - what's up with that?  I never would have thought I'd be into these type of novels, but cleeearrly when it only takes me 2 days to read a book, I'm very much enjoying it! :-)   From what I can tell on Goodreads, Unremembered is book #1 of a new series, so I'll for sure be keeping my eyes open for book #2 whenever it comes out. 

And last, but definitely not least - a huge thank you to MacMillan Publishing for the advance copy!!

Description: When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Rating: ****

Recommend: If you're into YA Sci-fi, then I think you would really enjoy it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Back in 2009 I read a book about a woman dealing with early onset Alzheimer's called Still Alice by Lisa Genova and it has stuck with me ever since.  RARELY does a book ever do that to me.  The fact that Lisa Genova has a PHD in Neuroscience from Harvard brings a unique aspect to her writing because you know she has the research to back it up.  I love that.  And yet, she doesn't write in a way that's pretentious or overly clinical.  She writes with passion and draws you into the character's life to the point of deep empathy.

As I was browsing the New Fiction section of my library, I saw Love Anthony on the shelf and knew I would enjoy it without even needing to know what it was about.  I just picked it up and walked out.  And as I had predicted, I loved it. 

Love Anthony is narrated by 2 women who are struggling with life-altering events and their struggle of how to make sense of them - and then their paths cross in a completely unexpected way.  Instead of Alzheimer's, we're given a glimpse into the mind of an autistic 8 year old.  I have heard so much about autism as it seems to be one of our cultures hot topics on kids these days, but never from this perspective.  It was so eye-opening and sobering at the same time.  I'm kinda surprised at myself for not reading her other book Left Neglected yet, I'll be looking for my copy at the library soon! Get your hands on a copy of Love Anthony, you won't regret it.

Description: From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.

Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.

Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.

Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.
Rating: *****

Recommend: Absolutely.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

First of all, will you indulge me for a moment?  I admit shamelessly, that I am a cover snob.  I really appreciate it when a book is published with a cover that goes along with the actual novel. Sometimes I'll be reading along and flip to the cover and be all, "wha??" But in this case, the mother & son on the cover are pictured EXACTLY as described in the book and I SOO appreciated that. 

K, moving on.

I loved this book.  In fact, I pretty much devoured it.  It was a bit tough keeping straight who the narrator was at the time, because there was no particular pattern of who was going to narrate the next chapter.  Sometimes it would be 1/2 page or page in before I realized who was now talking and then I had to go back and re-read that page so I could follow along. So yeah, that was a little frustrating - but overall, I really enjoyed the storyline and dialogue.  But the ending?  COME ON! You're killing me Ms. Koomson! I won't spoil it, cause I never like to, but it was a tad bit rough on me.  PLEASE tell me there's a sequel somewhere or that one is being written as we speak!  I'll for sure be checking out more novels by Ms. Koomson.

You can pick up your copy here. ;-)

Description: From the author of the internationally bestselling novels My Best Friend’s Girl and Marshmallows for Breakfast comes an incredibly moving, powerfully written new novel about motherhood, love, loss, and new beginnings.

Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, beautiful.” Already suspicious of their deep connection, Stephanie demands that Mal cut all ties to Nova and their unborn baby, leaving Nova to raise the child alone.

Eight years later, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Despite her anger and hurt, Nova wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it’s too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them all how much they mean to one another?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman

I got nothing but mad respect for the six women who shared a piece of their lives with us in Saturday Night Widows.  Without having ever been through something as tragic as these women have, this book allowed me the opportunity to be a fly on the wall and observe the struggle and transformation from deep sorrow to indescribable joy.  And I also appreciated the frankness with which they shared how friends to those who are grieving, can best support them - what to say and what not to say. Trust me, I was taking notes. 

One of my closest friends growing up lost her dad to suicide in our early twenties and I wish I had read this book back then, just so I had a better idea of how to respond or what to say or understand a tiny piece of how she was feeling.  As tragic as it is to lose someone so unbelievably intertwined in your life, I finished this book encouraged and hopeful that through it all, time can heal and you can make a choice to grow and heal, ESPECIALLY with the help of friendships.

The first thing I did do upon finishing Saturday Night Widows, was look up Becky Aikman's site to see if she had posted any pictures of these fabulous women - and she did!  Click here for pictures!

Saturday Night Widows was graciously given to me as an Advance Reading Copy by Random House Publishing.  Look for it on shelves, January 22nd and pre-order your copy today!

Description: In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. In this transcendent and infectiously wise memoir, she explores surprising new discoveries about how people experience grief and transcend loss and, following her own remarriage, forms a group with five other young widows to test these unconventional ideas. Together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity.

Meet the Saturday Night Widows: ringleader Becky, an unsentimental journalist who lost her husband to cancer; Tara, a polished mother of two, whose husband died in the throes of alcoholism after she filed for divorce; Denise, a widow of just five months, now struggling to get by; Marcia, a hard-driving corporate lawyer; Dawn, an alluring self-made entrepreneur whose husband was killed in a sporting accident, leaving two small children behind; and Lesley, a housewife who returned home one day to find that her husband had committed suicide.

The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize.
Rating: ****

Recommend: Absolutely.