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

Pub Day Books – 7/9/19

Happy Pub Day to the follow books/authors!

the bookish life of nina hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. 

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.) 
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee). 
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Read my review here.

three women

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts, destroys our lives, and it’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written and one of the most anticipated books of the year.

We begin in suburban Indiana with Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. She passes her days cooking and cleaning for a man who refuses to kiss her on the mouth, protesting that “the sensation offends” him. To Lina’s horror, even her marriage counselor says her husband’s position is valid. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks. When she reconnects with an old flame through social media, she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming.

In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who finds a confidant in her handsome, married English teacher. By Maggie’s account, supportive nightly texts and phone calls evolve into a clandestine physical relationship, with plans to skip school on her eighteenth birthday and make love all day; instead, he breaks up with her on the morning he turns thirty. A few years later, Maggie has no degree, no career, and no dreams to live for. When she learns that this man has been named North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year, she steps forward with her story—and is met with disbelief by former schoolmates and the jury that hears her case. The trial will turn their quiet community upside down.

Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane—a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner—who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. He picks out partners for her alone or for a threesome, and she ensures that everyone’s needs are satisfied. For years, Sloane has been asking herself where her husband’s desire ends and hers begins. One day, they invite a new man into their bed—but he brings a secret with him that will finally force Sloane to confront the uneven power dynamics that fuel their lifestyle.

Based on years of immersive reporting, and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is a groundbreaking portrait of erotic longing in today’s America, exposing the fragility, complexity, and inequality of female desire with unprecedented depth and emotional power. It is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy, that introduces us to three unforgettable women—and one remarkable writer—whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.

the rumor

The Rumor by Lesley Kara

Rumor has it that a notorious killer, a woman who has been released from prison years after her brutal crime, is living under a new identity in Joanna’s seaside town. So who is the supposedly reformed murderer now living in their neighborhood? Suspicion falls on everyone.

As Joanna becomes obsessed with the case, her curiosity will expose her son and his father to a heartless psychopath who has killed—and may kill again. And she will learn how dangerous one rumor can become . . . and just how far she must go to protect those she loves from harm. She is going to regret the day she ever said a word. . . .

the last book party

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

breathe in, cash out

Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry

Allegra Cobb’s resume: Straight-A Princeton grad, second-year analyst at a top-tier bank, one-time USA Yoga National Champion. Allegra Cobb’s reality: Spends twenty-four hours a day changing the colors on bar charts, overusing the word “team,” and daydreaming about quitting the minute her year-end bonus hits her account. She has no interest in the cutthroat banking world—she’s going to launch her very own yoga practice.

But her plan isn’t quite as perfect as the beachfront yoga pictures she double-taps on Instagram. On top of the 100 emails an hour and coworkers already suspicious of her escape plan, Allegra’s hard-driving single father has always expected fiercely high achievement above all else. That his daughter works on Wall Street means everything to him. Still, she marches on, taking it day by extremely caffeinated day.

But after (1) unknowingly sleeping with the man now leading her banking cohort on one of their biggest deals to date and (2) meeting the #blessed yoga guru who might just be her ticket to the life she’s always wanted, it really hits her: her happy-ever-after will be harder to manifest than she thought.

Fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny, and totally irresistible, this is the story of a fearless young woman determined to center herself in the life she truly wants.

under currents

Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Zane Bigelow grew up in a beautiful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Strangers―and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake―see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Only Zane and his sister know the truth, until one brutal night finally reveals cracks in the facade, and Zane escapes for college without a thought of looking back…

Years later, Zane returns to his hometown determined to reconnect with the place and people that mean so much to him, despite the painful memories. As he resumes life in the colorful town, he meets a gifted landscape artist named Darby, who is on the run from ghosts of her own. 

Together they will have to teach each other what it means to face the past, and stand up for the ones they love.


Let me know which of these you’re most looking forward to!

♥ The Oxford Comma Momma

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

on the island

Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Genre

Fiction – Romance

Goodreads Summary

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments — instead of his friends. 

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter.

Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man. 

Review

Tracey Garvis Graves does it again! Wow, this woman writes incredible books. After reading and absolutely loving The Girl He Used to Know (review here) earlier this year, I picked up this backlist title of hers. It had great reviews and I can see why. This book was just wonderful!

I went into this one without reading the synopsis—I highly recommend it—and was very surprised by it! I think I was expecting a fluffy love story/beach reach but it was so much more than that. This book really made me think! It pulled at my heart strings and brought me through a gamut of emotions right alongside the characters. It was completely unputdownable! I tried to read it slower so that I could savor it but it was just so good that it was nearly impossible to put it down!

For the next couple months, you can find me reading everything Tracey Garvis Graves has written. She is amazingly talented at writing stories that suck me in and make me forget I’m even reading. I’m planning to start Uncharted next! It is a companion novella to On the Island.

If you’ve read anything by Tracey, I’d love to hear what you thought of it! Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Author Tracey Garvis Graves’s website