Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Skim


Week of 6/13/2021:


Finished:




Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:




I start PTO this upcoming Wednesday but Thursday - Sunday is at an out of town baseball tournament so I'm not so sure how much reading I will get done. I think I want to focus on some backlogged books while I'm out on PTO. I'm sure I'll be mom taxi as well but I will fit in reading time. 

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Julie's Review: Blush

Author: Jamie Brenner
Series: None
Publication Date:  June 22, 2021
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 381
Obtained: pubilsher via NetGalley                                                       Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Family, Wine and beating the patriarchy
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Summary: For decades, the Hollander Estates winery has been the premier destination for lavish parties and romantic day trips on the North Fork of Long Island. But behind the lush vineyards and majestic estate house, the Hollander family fortunes have suffered and the threat of a sale brings old wounds to the surface. For matriarch Vivian, she fears that this summer season could be their last—and that selling their winery to strangers could expose a dark secret she's harbored for decades. Meanwhile, her daughter, Leah, who was turned away from the business years ago, finds her marriage at a crossroads and returns home for a sorely needed escape. And granddaughter Sadie, grappling with a crisis of her own, runs to the vineyard looking for inspiration. But when Sadie uncovers journals from Vivian's old book club dedicated to scandalous novels of decades past, she realizes that this might be the distraction they all need. Reviving the "trashy" book club, the Hollander women find that the stories hold the key to their fight not only for the vineyeard, but for the life and love they've wanted all along. Blush is a bighearted story of love, family, and second chances, and an ode to the blockbuster novels that have shaped generations of women. ~amazon.com

Review: I've always been a reader, pretty much have always carried a book with me for year which means I've read a lot of different genres but my favorite as a teen were the steamy books of Judith Krantz, Jackie Collins and Sydney Sheldon. My absolute favorite being Jackie Collins' Lucky Santagelo series. To me Lucky was brazen, smart and beautiful and someone not to be messed with. So when Ms. Brenner started giving clues about what this book would be about I KNEW I couldn't miss it. 

The Hollander Estates  is in trouble except no one knows except the two men in charge, Leonard and Asher. Even the matriarch, Vivian has been left in the dark until Leonard can't keep his wife in it anymore. As the family gathers for their annual visit, everyone is brought in much to the dismay of Leonard. Even though Leah was ousted from the family business 20 years prior for not being the right gender, she is trying to think of ways to save the business. Sadie, Leah's daughter, comes for her portion of the visit only to come upon her grandmother's old book club journal. 

Sadie is so curious that she looks for the novels in her grandparents expansive library. As she starts to read the books she wonders what her proper grandmother found so intriguing about these books. Meanwhile, the journal takes Vivian back to a time and some secrets she would have prefered to remain packed away. 

As in real life, the past collides with the present and Vivian has to deal with the choices she made years ago and the repercusions it might have on the survival of the business. 

I loved how Ms. Brenner connects the 3 women to the classic characters and how it helps make them bolder and braver. She definitely shows how maybe there is a bit more substance to these "trashy" novels than meets the eye. 

I have read all of Jamie Brenner's novels and have enjoyed all of them immensely but Blush is her best to date. I would highly recommend this one to anyone. 


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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Julie's Review: Pack Up the Moon


Author:
Kristin Higgins
Series: None
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 463
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: You know the ending but it'll still get to you; so have those tissues ready
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Summary: Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they're wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness. As Lauren's disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future--a future without the only woman he's ever loved. He's so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren. But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It's a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed...from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn't Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren's most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn't follow a straight line. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life's greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight. ~amazon.com 

Review: If you knew you were dying, what would you do to ensure that your spouse, the love of your life, would be ok? Could you and would you write letters for each month for the first year after you are gone? How hard would that be? This is exactly what Lauren Park does for her husband Joshua. 

We are told Joshua and Lauren's love story through both of their eyes. We live through their love story as Lauren writes letters to her dad, through Joshua's life with and after Lauren and then of course the way she continues to love him through her letters.

Lauren has an understanding of her husband that she knows that his response to losing her will be to become a recluse and a workaholic again. She wants more for him so her letters are a way to make him continue to live. It is almost a guide for him and by following his wife's tasks he brings people into his life that he would never have encountered. He also grows his relationships with those people already in his life. 

There are laugh out loud parts, parts where you are sad and in the end you better have that box of kleenex handy. I didn't and I was using my shirt. 

This is a departure from the other Kristan Higgins novels I have read but she wrote it with obvious emotion and research into the terminal illness that Lauren has in the novel. In the end, the take away from the book is to live each day and love each day. 

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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sunday Skim


Week 5/30/2021 and 6/6/2021:


Finished:







Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:





Boy did my reading slow down due to a bunch of baseball and activities. I'm so happy that I have time off at the end of the month. I hope I can get some backlogged books read! In the meantime, I'll keep plugging along.  

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Sunday, May 30, 2021

Sunday Skim


Week 5/23/2021:


Finished:





I loved The Audacity of Sara Grayson! I though it was fantastic because of the way you feel for Sara and her struggles. You really should pick it up. I enjoyed The Book of Lost Friends but I didn't love it like I did Before We Were Yours but I still felt that the history was interesting. 


Currently Reading:









I'm hoping to get some good reading in this holiday weekend while being somewhat social.  😄
We do have a baseball tournament this week but it depends on how we do and the weather about how much time it takes up. 

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Friday, May 28, 2021

Julie's Review: The Audacity of Sara Grayson


Author: Joanie Elliott
Series: None
Publication Date:  May 25, 2021
Publisher:  Post Hill Press
Pages: 331
Obtained: Meryl Moss Media Group
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Sometimes something drastic has to happen to get yourself on the right path
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Summary: What happens when your mother’s dying wish becomes your worst nightmare?
What happens when the world’s greatest literary icon dies before she finishes the final book in her best-selling series?  And what happens when she leaves that book in the hands of her unstable, neurotic daughter, who swears she’s not a real writer? Sara Grayson is a thirty-two-year-old greeting card writer about to land the toughest assignment of her life. Three weeks after the death of her mother—a world-famous suspense novelist—Sara learns that her mother’s dying wish is for her to write the final book in her bestselling series. Sara has lived alone with her dog, Gatsby, ever since her husband walked out with their Pro Double Waffle Maker and her last shred of confidence. She can’t fathom writing a book for thirty million fans—not when last week’s big win was resetting the microwave clock. But in a bold move that surprises even herself, Sara takes it on. Against an impossible deadline and a publisher intent on sabotaging her every move, Sara discovers that stepping into her mother’s shoes means stumbling on family secrets she was never meant to find—secrets that threaten her mother’s legacy and the very book she’s trying to create. ~amazon.com 

Review: I think this cover deftly captures Sara Grayson and how she feels throughout most of the novel about being thrown into a situation where she feels that she has no control over. It's kind of the theme of her life over the last couple years. She's teaching at a college but she's not passionate about it. In fact, she's not passionate about much these days. So when her famous novelist mother dies and her will states that Sara must write the final novel of her extremely popular series, Sara freaks out. She doesn't want to work with her mom's old editor because there are some hurt feelings from previous interactions. 

Yet when no one thinks she can do it, she buckles down and starts to pound out the words. What Sara lacks is confidence but her mom believed in her, so she tries to pull from that in her journey. She writes in different locations to try to emulate her mom's structure. It doesn't help that there is a family mystery that also occupies Sara's thoughts and actions when she should be writing. 

Sara is a great character and so very relatable. She's lacking in self-confidence, unsure of her path in life and then dealing with 2 loses within a year or so of each other. I loved how the people around her both new and old, encouraged her and believed in her. We all need our village to support us especially in times of self-doubt. 

I flew through this book and throughly enjoyed it. I'm hoping there's a sequel because I'd very much like to visit them again. 


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Sunday, May 23, 2021

Sunday Skim


Week 5/16/2021:


Finished:






Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:





Laura Dave's latest is definitely different  than her other books that I've read but I really enjoyed it. It definitely had some twists that I didn't see coming. An American Marriage wasn't at all what I expected but I enjoyed it. 


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Friday, May 21, 2021

Julie's Review: It Had to Be You

Author: Georgia Clark
Series: None
Publication Date:  May 4, 2021
Publisher: Atria Publishing
Pages: 384
Obtained: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A gem of a romantic comedy
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: For the past twenty years, Liv and Eliot Goldenhorn have run In Love in New York, Brooklyn’s beloved wedding-planning business. When Eliot dies unexpectedly, he even more unexpectedly leaves half of the business to his younger, blonder girlfriend, Savannah. Liv and Savannah are not a match made in heaven, to say the least. But what starts as a personal and professional nightmare transforms into something even savvy, cynical Liv Goldenhorn couldn’t begin to imagine. It Had to Be You cleverly unites Liv, Savannah, and couples as diverse and unique as New York City itself, in a joyous Love-Actually-style braided narrative. The result is a smart, modern love story that truly speaks to our times. Second chances, secret romance, and steamy soul mates are front and center in this sexy, tender, and utterly charming rom-com.

Review: Not going to lie, it took me a little bit to get into the groove of this one but once I did, I wanted to keep reading. All of the characters are wonderful and their stories are all woven together and by their connection to each other through In Love In New York. This is owned by husband and wife team of Liv and  Eliot Goldenhorn until he dies in a hotel room in Kentucky. Enter Savannah, Eliot's secret girlfriend, who now owns his share of the business. Liv, in shock and coming off a bad review decides that the business is defunct. Savannah isn't one to give up so easily and she convinces Liv to revive the business and do one for no cost if the bride uses social media to promote her wedding and them. 

We also have the employees of In Love In New York who are the centerpiece to the novel as well. You've got Zia who is independent, fierce and devotes her life to helping others until a handsome, famous actor enters her life. Their relationship will make her question herself, her past and if she's really able to give herself fully to someone else. She's never relied on someone before. We also have a possible romance blooming between the members of the band but will they both get out of their own way to see what is in front of her. 

Then there is the adorable Gorman and Henry, who truly adore each other but seem to be on different pages when it comes to their long-term plans and future together. 

Fans of any kind of rom-com, will love this novel. I did feel that at times it did drag on a bit but recovered in the end. 






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