Pub Day Books – 7/23/19

Happy Tuesday! There are some great books out as of today! I’ve read and loved a few of them & can’t wait for you all to read them as well.

a stranger on the beach

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aiden, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aiden for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aiden’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

You can find my review here.

the floating feldmans

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo. 

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring–and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.

You can find my review here.

the two lila bennetts

The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

You can find my review here.

you've been volunteered

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it—most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle.

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.

You can find my review here.

meet me in monaco

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

good girl, bad girl

Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

A girl is discovered hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a terrible crime. Half-starved and filthy, she won’t tell anyone her name, or her age, or where she came from. Maybe she is twelve, maybe fifteen. She doesn’t appear in any missing persons file, and her DNA can’t be matched to an identity. Six years later, still unidentified, she is living in a secure children’s home with a new name, Evie Cormac. When she initiates a court case demanding the right to be released as an adult, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven must determine if Evie is ready to go free. But she is unlike anyone he’s ever met—fascinating and dangerous in equal measure. Evie knows when someone is lying, and no one around her is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cyrus is called in to investigate the shocking murder of a high school figure-skating champion, Jodie Sheehan, who dies on a lonely footpath close to her home. Pretty and popular, Jodie is portrayed by everyone as the ultimate girl-next-door, but as Cyrus peels back the layers, a secret life emerges—one that Evie Cormac, the girl with no past, knows something about. A man haunted by his own tragic history, Cyrus is caught between the two cases—one girl who needs saving and another who needs justice. What price will he pay for the truth? Fiendishly clever, swiftly paced, and emotionally explosive, Good Girl, Bad Girl is the perfect thrilling summer read from internationally bestselling author Michael Robotham.

we love anderson cooper

We Love Anderson Cooper by R.L. Maizes

In this quirky, humorous, and deeply human short story collection, Pushcart Prize-nominated author R.L. Maizes reminds us that even in our most isolated moments, we are never truly alone.

In We Love Anderson Cooper, characters are treated as outsiders because of their sexual orientation, racial or religious identity, or simply because they look different. A young man courts the publicity that comes from outing himself at his bar mitzvah. When a painter is shunned because of his appearance, he learns to ink tattoos that come to life. A paranoid Jewish actuary suspects his cat of cheating on him—with his Protestant girlfriend.

In this debut collection, humor complements pathos. Readers will recognize themselves in these stories and in these protagonists, whose backgrounds are vastly different from their own—we’ve all been outsiders at some point.


Happy reading!  ♥ The Oxford Comma Momma

Heart-Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis Graves

heart-shaped hack

Always choose love. Always choose the adventure. You’ll never regret it.

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

When Kate Watts abandoned her law career to open a food pantry in Northeast Minneapolis, she never dreamed it would be this difficult. Facing the heartbreaking prospect of turning hungry people away, she is grateful for the anonymous donations that begin appearing at the end of each month. Determined to identify and thank her secret benefactor, she launches a plan and catches Ian —a charismatic hacker with a Robin Hood complex—in the act.

Ian intrigues Kate in a way no man ever has. But after learning he’s snooped around on her personal computer, she demands retribution. Impressed with her tolerance and captivated by her spirit, he complies and begins to slowly charm his way past her defenses. Time spent with Ian is never boring, and Kate soon finds herself falling for the mysterious hacker.

But Ian has enemies and they’re growing restless. In the hacking world, exploiting a target’s weakness is paramount, and no price is too high to stop an attack. And when Kate learns exactly how much Ian has paid, she’ll discover just how strong her love is for the man who has hacked his way into her heart.

Review

The Tracey Garvis Graves bookathon continues! I was thrilled to get this title off of Kindle Unlimited. (Thanks to Prime Day, I was able to get 3 months for free!) As always, I was not disappointed! This wasn’t my favorite of this author’s that I’ve read but I still really enjoyed it.

I found both Kate and Ian to be very likable (always a plus)! The buildup in this story was well done. I kept feeling like something big was going to happen and I was on the edge of my seat because of it. Once it did, I was left in complete shock. I’m telling you: Tracey Garvis Graves is the queen of romance with crazy, gut-wrenching twists. I don’t want to give anything away in the slightest so I won’t say anymore.

The one thing about this book that kept it from being a five-star read was that it was just a bit too steamy for me. I definitely could have done with a lot less, but oh well! I know it doesn’t bother everyone, but it seemed worth pointing out.

Overall, I highly recommend this book! I’m looking forward to reading book two of this series titled White-Hot Hack (also available on KU).

Have you read this one? I’d love to discuss!

Author Tracey Garvis Graves’s website

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

the floating feldmans

His rhetoric would often spawn a discussion whether there should be a comma in front of the “and” between the second and third item in a list (the Bee was a no-comma place, whereas the Language Arts Department at Sacramento High was adamant about the comma, much to Mitch’s chagrin).

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Humor/Contemporary

Goodreads Summary

Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo. 

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring–and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.. 

Review

What a fun book this was! It started out a bit slow and took me a little while to get into it because I can get overwhelmed when there are a lot of characters in a book. However, I did get used to the characters and could easily keep them straight once I gave it some time. Once I got into it, I really loved it!

This is filled with all the family drama and antics you could want. Each family member has something quirky or unexpected come out about them and it left me highly entertained. While it was funny and light-hearted, it still contained some depth due to the relatable issues within.

I must say that I was glad I read this after I went on my first cruise last year because otherwise I probably would have been scared off from even going. 🙂

I think The Floating Feldmans would make a great summery beach read! Make sure to pick this one up once it’s available next week. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

(And I thought the quote above about the Oxford comma was just all too fitting!)

Available July 23rd!

Thank you to Berkley for my Advance Reader Copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Elyssa Friedland’s website

Swear on This Life by Renée Carlino

swear on this life

“If you can surrender to the idea that there might be a plan, instead of reducing every magical moment to a coincidence, then love will find you.”

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

“It’s impossible to really hate someone if you don’t love them at least a little.”

Review

This one has been on my TBR for way too long and I’m so thankful I was in a reading slump because it ended up being the reason I picked up this book! Thanks to the awesome Jen (@mamajustwantstoread) for letting me know this would get me out of a slump. She was so right!

This book was everything! It will no doubt be in my top books I’ve read in 2019! I’m writing this immediately after finishing it so I’m still very caught up in all the emotions. I adored this story more than I can say! It was extremely captivating and unputdownable—two of my favorite things for books to be! I finished this within 24 hours of starting it, if that tells you anything. And I still had to adult and am not an especially fast reader.

This book reminded me a little of Love and Other Words—such an amazing book! Check out my review for that here. While it had some slight similarities, Swear on This Life was still so different from anything I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed that there was a story told within the story. The two different storylines are done so well! It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Be prepared for all the feels!

If you haven’t read this one yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough! Pick it up ASAP!

I can’t wait to read more by Renée Carlino! You can find my review for another one of her books here.

Author Renée Carlino’s website

Pub Day Books – 7/16/19

Happy Tuesday, friends! Here are your weekly releases!

the other mrs miller

The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson

Once a darling of Chicago’s social scene, Phoebe Miller fears she’s become irrelevant and cliché: just another miserably unfulfilled housewife who drowns her sorrows in Chardonnay and ice cream and barely leaves her house. Maybe it’s her dark thoughts and fertile imagination that lead her to believe the worst about everything she spies going on in the exclusive suburban cul de sac she calls home. But surely that rusty blue sedan that keeps idling by her driveway is a sign that she’s being watched. And that new family that just moved in across the street–Dr. Ron Napier, his vivacious wife, Vicki, and their handsome college-bound son, Jake–can’t be as perfect as they appear. Especially not with the bruises on Vicki’s arms and the fear in Jake’s eyes.

When a chance introduction to the exuberant Vicki–and a forbidden encounter with Jake–draws her out of her shell and deeper into the Napiers’ orbit, Phoebe’s life finally gets the infusion of excitement she’s been missing. But when anonymous threatening notes begin landing on her doorstep, she’ll have to ask herself just how well anyone can truly know their neighbors…and how close to home unforeseen danger sometimes lies.

the mcavoy sisters book of secrets

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie.But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other. But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever.With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.

the nickel boys

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.”

In reality, The Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors, where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.” Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked and the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. 

The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at The Nickel Academy.

Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative.

the wedding party

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory

Maddie and Theo have two things in common:

1. Alexa is their best friend
2. They hate each other

After an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking, agreeing they would end it once the wedding is over. When it’s suddenly pushed up and they only have a few months left of secret rendezvouses, they find themselves regretting that the end is near. Two people this different can’t possibly have a connection other than the purely physical, right?

But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.

tell me everything

Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman

In her first weeks at Hawthorne College, Malin is swept up into a tight-knit circle that will stick together through all four years. There’s Gemma, an insecure theater major from London; John, a tall, handsome, and wealthy New Englander; Max, John’s cousin and a shy pre-med major; Khaled, a wise-cracking prince from Abu Dhabi; and Ruby, a beautiful art history major. But Malin isn’t quite like the rest of her friends. She’s an expert at hiding her troubling past. She acts as if she is concerned with the preoccupations of those around her – boys, partying – all while using her extraordinary insight to detect their deepest vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

By Senior Day, on the cusp of graduation, Malin’s secrets – and those of her friends – are revealed. While she scrambles to maintain her artfully curated image, her missteps set in motion a devastating chain of events that ends in a murder. And as their fragile relationships hang in the balance and close alliances start shifting, Malin will test the limits of what she’s capable of to stop the truth from coming out.


Let me know which ones you’re looking forward to!

♥ The Oxford Comma Momma

Uncharted by Tracey Garvis Graves

uncharted

Rating
5/5 stars

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

Tracey Garvis Graves – and Anna and T.J. – return in this companion novella to the New York Times bestseller On the Island.

When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all. 

Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl – on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James – made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind. 

But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago. 

And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined. 

Review

After reading and loving On the Island, I immediately picked up a copy of Uncharted, the companion novella. It did not disappoint!

This story was short and sweet but still filled with captivating content! I loved getting a glimpse into T.J. and Anna’s life after On the Island. The way the author tied together Owen’s story with T.J. and Anna’s was so incredibly done! I was completely invested in this story and my emotions were right with the characters as everything played out. This is one you don’t want to miss! 

I’ll say it once again: if Tracey Garvis Graves wrote it, I’ll be reading it! 🙂

Author Tracey Garvis Graves’s website

 

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

before she knew him

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Thriller

Goodreads Summary

Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder—an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape. . .

Review

I finally got around to reading my second Peter Swanson book after reading and absolutely loving The Kind Worth Killing last year. (So many books, so little time. Amirite?!)

Before She Knew Him is a deliciously chilling thriller that will creep you out and keep you turning the pages! Swanson has a way of writing that is  very engaging and twisted in all the best ways. The short chapters made this one quick and readable. I also enjoyed the third-person omniscient point of view since I feel like it is less common now. It was fun to see into each character’s mind but not in the typical first-person style.

I loved the twists and was definitely on the edge of my seat! I think Swanson is definitely a leading author in the psychological thriller genre. I look forward to reading more of his books!

Have you read anything by Peter Swanson? Let me know what you thought.

Thank you to William Morrow for the finished copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Peter Swanson’s website