November 9 by Colleen Hoover

november 9

“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.”

Rating
5/5 stars

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak? 

Review

Where do I even begin?! I am so over the moon happy that I just read such an incredible book and that it was my FIRST five star read of 2019! They do still exist! 😉

Colleen Hoover is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorite authors. She has this incredible gift of eliciting so much emotion through her writing. And if you know anything about me, I am seriously all about the feels and emotions! Ben and Fallon are going down as one of my favorite love stories!

This book had it all! Romance, coming of age, twists and surprises, the whole nine yards.

If you’re reading this and you don’t despise romance novels then I highly recommend you read November 9 immediately. Like yesterday! Okay, I’m getting a little worked up here. Have I proven to you that I loved this book? 🙂

I am so looking forward to reading more CoHo in the near future! Any favorites you’d recommend I read next?

Author Colleen Hoover’s website

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

the last time i lied

Rating
3/5 stars

Genre

Fiction – Thriller

Goodreads Summary

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

Review

Have you ever been in a reading slump? Well, currently, that is me. Any book I pick up—even the ones I’ve been excited about—just don’t seem to be doing much for me. With that being said, I decided to pick up The Last Time I Lied after hearing it has been a five star thriller for so many people in the book community.

It definitely didn’t grab me right away, but it wasn’t unbearable by any means. I felt like I just kept waiting for this book to get super good and knock my socks off, and it just never did. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe it’s because I’m in a reading slump, or maybe it’s because I just didn’t really dig this book. I’m honestly not sure. All I can really say is that this book was fine enough. I mean I did give it three stars, afterall. It wasn’t a bad book, wasn’t poorly written, wasn’t boring. It just wasn’t for me!

So, here I am once again with the unpopular opinion! But that’s not to say that you won’t love it! I would still suggest reading this one. And I’m not opposed to reading other titles by this author. I was just underwhelmed by this one.

What did you think of The Last Time I Lied? Have you read any other Riley Sager books? If so, which one(s) and would you recommend?

Author Riley Sager’s website

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

the mothers

“Black boys couldn’t afford to be reckless, she had tried to tell him. Reckless white boys became politicians and bankers, reckless black boys became dead.”

Rating
3.5/5 stars

Genre

Fiction – Contemporary

Goodreads Summary

Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

“But we were girls once, which is to say, we have all loved an ain’t-shit man. No Christian way of putting it. There are two types of  men in the world: men who are and men who ain’t about shit.”

Review

In picking this as my next read, I was really hopeful that it would be my first 5★ read after hearing rave reviews about it. While I did enjoy this book, it just didn’t live up to what I was hoping for!

Contemporary fiction is quickly becoming my favorite genre—I really love the in-depth characterization. It makes me feel like I really know the characters. For me, this book reminded me of An American Marriage, which I consider to be a good thing!

This book was an overall quick read that had both humor and tragedy. I found one of my favorite book quotes ever (see above), about different types of men, that entertained me endlessly! It hits on some heavy content—both abortion and infidelity. The author does a great overall job of being unbiased toward these issues. While this wasn’t my favorite book I’ve ever read (they can’t all be!), it was still a very powerful, inspiring, and captivating story that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction.

If you’ve read The Mothers, what did you think of it? Do you have any favorite books that fall in the contemporary fiction category?

Author Brit Bennett’s website

Pub Day Books – 2/19/19

Happy Tuesday! Here are some books that available as of today! Check them out and add them to your TBR!

the care and feeding

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

the secret of clouds

The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother’s love, a teacher’s promise, and a child’s heart…

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her — until she needs that strength the most…

A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart.

My review of The Secret of Clouds can be found here.

the object of your affections

The Object of Your Affections by Falguni Kothari

Two best friends rewrite the rules of friendship, love and family…and change everything they thought they knew about motherhood

Paris Kahn Fraser has it all—a successful career as an assistant district attorney, a beautiful home in New York City, and a handsome, passionate husband who chose her over having a family of his own. Neal’s dream of fatherhood might have been the only shadow in their otherwise happy life…until Paris’s best friend comes to town.

Naira Dalmia never thought she’d be a widow before thirty. Left reeling in the aftermath of her husband’s death, all she wants is to start over. She trades Mumbai for New York, and rigid family expectations for the open acceptance of her best friend. After all, there isn’t anything she and Paris wouldn’t do for each other.

But when Paris asks Naira to be their surrogate, they’ll learn if their friendship has what it takes to defy society, their families and even their own biology as these two best friends embark on a journey that will change their lives forever.

Wry, daring and utterly absorbing, The Object of Your Affections is an unforgettable story about two women challenging the norms…and the magic that happens when we choose to forge our own path.

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Do any of these look like something you would enjoy? Let me know in the comments!

Stay tuned for a review of The Mothers coming soon!

♥ The Oxford Comma Momma

 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

behind her eyes

Rating
4/5 stars

Genre

Fiction – Thriller

Goodreads Summary

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

Review

OKAY. What in the world did I just read?!? I am shook!

This book started out amazing. I got hooked pretty quickly with lots of action and interesting characters. By half way through it, I was getting definite The Last Mrs. Parrish and Verity vibes! (And if you haven’t read those, you must! So good!) Well, by the end of it, this book had fallen into its own category entirely. A category which I would probably title INSANE! I would probably title it something else but I’m trying to keep this blog PG.

Read this if you are looking for a gripping thriller that will totally and completely shock you. You will not see the end coming, I promise. I did not like the ending, but I’ve heard others say that they did! So, do not let my opinion keep you from reading it. And when you do read this, message me so we can discuss because you will need to discuss it with someone!

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Happy reading, friends!

Author Sarah Pinborough’s website

When You Read This by Mary Adkins

when you read this

Rating
4/5 stars

Genre

Fiction – Contemporary

Goodreads Summary

For fans of Maria Semple and Rainbow Rowell, a comedy-drama for the digital age: an epistolary debut novel about the ties that bind and break our hearts.

Iris Massey is gone. 
But she’s left something behind.

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss.

Review

When You Read This was such a sweet, heartfelt, and hysterical read! I found myself laughing out loud numerous times at the humor the author incorporates throughout. Also, I absolutely love books that contain digital communication! A book filled with text messages, blog posts, emails, etc.?! Sign me up! It’s so fitting for the day in age we live in.

While this book contains a little heavy content, it is quite minimal, and I found it to be an overall silly and uplifting read. This would make a great palette cleanser in-between heavy reads. I will be lending this one out to my friends and highly recommending it!

Have you read this yet? If so, let me know your thoughts!

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Thank you to Mary Adkins and HarperCollins for my free copy of this book!

Author Mary Adkins’s website

Pub Day Books – 2/12/19

Happy #PubDay to the books below!

parkland

Parkland by Dave Cullen

The New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers a deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting who pushed back against the NRA and Congressional leaders and launched the singular grassroots March for Our Lives movement.

Emma Gonzalez called BS. David Hogg called out Adult America. The uprising had begun. Cameron Kasky immediately recruited a colorful band of theatre kids and rising activists and brought them together in his living room to map out a movement. Four days after escaping Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two dozen extraordinary kids announced the audacious March for Our Lives. A month later, it was the fourth largest protest in American history.

Dave Cullen, who has been reporting on the epidemic of school shootings for two decades, takes us along on the students’ nine-month odyssey to the midterms and beyond. With unrivaled access to their friends and families, meetings and homes, he pulls back the curtain to reveal intimate portraits of the quirky, playful organizers that have taken the nation by storm. 

Cullen brings us onto the bus for the Road to Change tour showing us how these kids seized an opportunity. They hit the highway to organize the young activist groups mushrooming across America in their image. Rattled but undeterred, they pressed on in gun country even as adversaries armed with assault weapons tailed them across Texas and Utah trying to scare them off. 

The Parkland students are genuinely candid about their experiences. We see them cope with shattered friendships and PTSD, along with the normal day-to-day struggles of school, including AP exams and college acceptances. Yet, with the idealism of youth they are mostly bubbling with fresh ideas. As victims refusing victimhood, they continue to devise clever new tactics to stir their generation to action while building a powerhouse network to match the NRA’s. 

This spell-binding book is a testament to change and a perceptive examination of a pivotal moment in American culture. After two decades of adult hand-wringing, the MFOL kids are mapping a way out. They see a long road ahead, a generational struggle to save every kid of every color from the ravages of gun violence in America. Parkland is a story of staggering empowerment and hope, told through the wildly creative and wickedly funny voices of a group of remarkable kids.

the hunting party

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

american spy

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

What if your sense of duty required you to betray the man you love? One woman struggles to choose between her honor and her heart in this enthralling espionage drama set against an unforgettable historical backdrop.

It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club, and her career has stalled out; she’s overlooked for every high profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Thomas is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.

Inspired by true events–Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”–this novel knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. This is a face of the Cold War you’ve never seen before, and it introduces a powerful new literary voice.

watch us rise

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan

Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.

say you're sorry

Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Introducing the first book in the new pulse-pounding Sacramento series from New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose. 

FBI Special Agent Gideon Reynolds did not have a conventional upbringing. Raised in a cult in Northern California, his mother smuggled him out when he was thirteen, and he never saw her again. It is not a bit of history he is keen on sharing, but being guarded has not gotten him any closer to what he really wants: a family.

Daisy Dawson lived a sheltered childhood. Her father, a former military man, believed that the woman he loved and her daughter were being hunted, so he took extreme measures to keep his family safe. But despite his best efforts, Daisy is done being scared. New to Sacramento, she is ready to jump headfirst into life–until she is attacked one night.

Gideon is caught unawares by Daisy, who is unlike any victim he has ever met. But the attacker is far from finished, and tracking him will threaten to pull Gideon back to the world he fought so hard to leave…

To read my review of Say You’re Sorry, click here.

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So many great books! Are any of these on your list of books to read? Let me know! 🙂

♥ The Oxford Comma Momma