Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Mother, Can You Not? by Kate Siegal

Based on the wildly popular Instagram account @CrazyJewishMom, Kate Siegel's essay collection about life with the woman who redefined the term "helicopter mom"

There is nothing more wonderful than a mother’s love. There is also nothing more annoying. Who else can proudly insist that you’re perfect while simultaneously making you question every career, fashion, and relationship decision you have ever made?

No one understands the delicate mother-daughter dynamic better than Kate Siegel—her own mother drove her so crazy that she decided to broadcast their hilarious conversations on Instagram. Soon, hundreds of thousands of people were following their daily text exchanges, eager to see what outrageous thing Kate’s mom would do next. Now, in Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate pays tribute to the woman who invented the concept of drone parenting.

From embarrassing moments (like crashing Kate's gynecological exams) to outrageous stories (like the time she made Kate steal a cat from the pound) to hilarious celebrations (including but not limited to parties for Kate's menstrual cycles), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process).

My Thoughts
What a funny freakin' book!  I just happened to receive a copy of this in my https://www.hamptongiftbag.com/ 's bag that I purchased.  For those of you who aren't familiar - Jane Ubell-Meyer puts together these amazing bags 4 times throughout the summer and it typically has 6-8 books and other goodies that you can purchase for the cost of shipping and a donation!! 
This book happened to be in there this past summer!
Kate and her mother are probably the two funniest people I have read about, and the most brutally honest.  Kate show's texts that her and her mother send each other and you will die laughing when you read them.  Her mother actually refers to her as spawn, not daughter and it kills me every time!
They talk about a wide range of topics from work to love to dr. visits and college.  If you are looking for a book to make you laugh then grab a copy today!

Drink Selection
This is clearly a Cosmopolitan book for sure!

Kate Friedman-Siegel
About Kate
KATE FRIEDMAN - SIEGEL is the New York Times bestselling author of Mother, Can You Not? and the social media guru who started the hit Instagram account @CrazyJewishMom. Kate, her debut essay collection, and her #CrazyJewishMom have been featured on The Today Show, BuzzFeed, and on Nightline. Previously, she served as an associate producer for Condé Nast Entertainment, overseeing digital video for Teen Vogue, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, and The New Yorker Festival. Prior to joining Condé Nast, Kate studied English, creative writing, and theater at Princeton University.

Link to Purchase

Monday, November 5, 2018

An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena

A weekend retreat at a cozy mountain lodge is supposed to be the perfect getaway . . . but when the storm hits, no one is getting away.

It's winter in the Catskills and Mitchell's Inn, nestled deep in the woods, is the perfect setting for a relaxing - maybe even romantic - weekend away. It boasts spacious old rooms with huge woodburning fireplaces, a well-stocked wine cellar, and opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or just curling up with a good murder mystery.

So when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and a blizzard cuts off all electricity - and all contact with the outside world - the guests settle in and try to make the best of it.

Soon, though, one of the guests turns up dead - it looks like an accident. But when a second guest dies, everyone starts to panic.

Within the snowed-in paradise, something - or someone - is picking off the guests one by one. And there's nothing they can do but hunker down and hope they can survive the storm - and one another.

My Thoughts
 I loved the characters and the concept of this story.  There were a few sections that were a little slow for me but they were few and far between.
There were times when I was thinking that these people are a little too calm for having all these dead bodies just chillin' (literally) around.
Then in the last few chapters it was like it hit them all of a sudden and they all lost it.
I can honestly say that I didn't really know who did it till the very end, this book really did have me guessing.  There were so many possibilities!
All in all, I really enjoyed this read.

Drink Selection
I would pair this cold, winter read with a Hot Toddy for sure!


Shari Lapena
About Shari
Shari Lapena is a Canadian novelist. She is best known for her 2016 thriller novel The Couple Next Door, which was a bestseller both in Canada and internationally. Lapena, a lawyer and English teacher before beginning her writing career, published her debut novel Things Go Flying in 2008.

Link to Purchase

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

My Thoughts
I LOVED this book!  I've been hearing so many great things and I was able to get it from the library and read it in 1 1/2 days.  Now my daughter is reading it - she's hooked!
This really is one of the first YA books I've read since I was younger and it totally sucked me in.
The characters were well written, the story line was awesome, and each chapter had me wanting more.
I had so many different thoughts of who did it by the end and I was still surprised.
Top rated thriller/suspense read by far.

Drink Selection
I didn't have time to drink, I was too invested!  LOL But if I had, I would pair this with a few glasses of yummy Red Cat wine! I love their semi-sweet blend of Catawba and Baco Noir!

Kara Thomas
About Kara
Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming April 2016 from Random House/Delacorte. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin's Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor. Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.

Link to Purchase

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

"You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark."

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic—and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

My Thoughts
I have mixed feelings about this book, I liked the idea of what it was about and found the case itself VERY fascinating but I found the book very slow and I had to pick it up many times to get through it.
I'm amazed at the amount of information Michelle was able to amass on this case.  She had great ties/connections with investigators, detectives, other news media etc.
It's too bad that she was never able to see the case through to the arrest of who they think may be the GSK and his upcoming trial. 

Drink Selection
I think this book deserves a stiff drink, whiskey it is!

Michelle McNamara
About Michelle
Michelle McNamara was a screenwriter, journalist, and true crime writer. She was the founder of the blog "True Crime Diary," which covers lesser-known crimes and cold cases. In 2005, she married comedian Patton Oswalt. They had one daughter together, born in 2009.

Link to Purchase

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher

Sometimes the best man isn't even in the wedding party...

Gavin Greene is a hopeless romantic. He's also a professional one: he writes the wedding column for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper, covering spectacular parties from coast to coast. But there's a thin line between being a hotshot reporter on assignment...and being a single guy alone on a Saturday night at someone else's wedding.

Everything changes on New Year's when Gavin meets Melinda, a travel writer with enchanting dimples. A moonlit stroll across a Manhattan rooftop seals the deal. Until an Aussie with attitude swoops in and whisks her away before Gavin gets her number.

Gavin crisscrosses New York City to find her again. And he learns that there's something worse than losing the woman of his dreams: Having to write an article about her wedding.

My Thoughts
First off, I liked how this story was told from the male perspective.  9 times out of 10 it's always female perspective. 
It's slightly, ok really out of left field, that there would be a guy that had dreams about marriage, honeymoons and babies his entire life. 
One funny line in the book, because he was still single he was letting down his species, really?  HAHA  Personally I think they would praise him.
This book has all sorts of ups and downs - love at first site, hope, deceit, cheating, happiness, which will be Gavin's fate?

Drink Selection
So many weddings, have to pair it with champagne!  Delish!


Devan Sipher
About Devan
Born in LA.

I always thought that would make a good title for my autobiography. Not that I plan on writing one.

I grew up mostly in Southfield, Michigan, which sounds misleadingly bucolic for a suburb of Detroit with more than 27 million square feet of office space.

For the past eight years I've been a writer of the Vows column at The New York Times, and my first novel, The Wedding Beat, was loosely based on my experience at the Times as a single guy writing about weddings.

My second novel, The Scenic Route, comes out in June 2014.

Link to Purchase

Monday, October 22, 2018

I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

For so many people, reading isn't just a hobby or a way to pass the time--it's a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can't imagine life without them.

I'd Rather Be Reading is the perfect literary companion for everyone who feels that way. In this collection of charming and relatable reflections on the reading life, beloved blogger and author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. Known as a reading tastemaker through her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?, Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

My Thoughts
What a perfect book about the joy of reading.  I connected with this book on so many levels and couldn't get enough.
There were bits and pieces that really stuck with me.  The chapter regarding the "sins" that readers tell other readers in private - it makes me recall when people tell me that they DNF a book.  I giggle because I used to feel bad as well, but I finally realized I'm not going to like every book and it's really a guessing game until I get into the book.
Right book right time - I have had the joy of this as well.  Recently I read The Dinner List and it truly was the book that I needed at that very moment and I devoured it. 
The concept of book shelf organization always fascinates me.  I love the thrill of taking all of them done and reading each back and finding a fun new way to display them.  Currently they are in color "order". 
When readers are obsessed with a book, I get it, but when they tell me over and over again that I MUST read it, I tend to back further and further away in spite.  LOL  Promote/Love but don't be pushy!
The chapter on bookworm problems so true - must read!
For any of you that really know me, I would LOVE to get a job in a bookstore, even part-time!  The atmosphere, the little bookish goodies, being surrounded by book lovers = pure heaven!
This may be the only book that I can honestly say that I will re-read.  Once I know what will happen, it takes a lot of the joy out of it for me.
Lastly, book journaling is amazing!  I just recently started this joy filled activity and I can honestly say that I get so much more out of a book while journaling and I will never stop!

Drink Selection
 I totally want to cuddle up with a nice warm cup of cider, delish for this cool fall weather enveloping us.

Anne Bogel
About Anne
She is the creator of the popular blog Modern Mrs. Darcy. Known by readers, authors, and publishers as a tastemaker through her popular book lists and reading guides, books are the foundation of her site, which has been affectionately dubbed “a lifestyle blog for nerds.” Anne considers that high praise. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and four kids, yellow lab, and two thousand of her favorite books.

Link to Purchase

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Waiting Room by Emily Bleeker

Ever since her husband’s death collided with the birth of her daughter, postpartum depression has taken hold of Veronica Shelton. She can’t sleep, can’t work, and can’t bear to touch her beautiful baby girl. Her emotional state is whispering lies in Veronica’s ear: You’re a bad mother. Your baby would be better off without you. But not everything can be reasoned away by Veronica’s despair. Can it?
After all, the break-in at her house happened. The disturbing sketches she found in her studio are real. So is the fear for her daughter’s safety—especially when Veronica comes home to a cold, silent nursery and a missing baby.
As she turns from victim into primary suspect, Veronica realizes that only she can find her daughter. Authorities aren’t helping. They’re only watching. Veronica’s concerned mother has suddenly vanished from her life. And a new friend seems to be keeping secrets from her too. Now, reality is waiting for Veronica in a dark place—because someone’s mind games have only just begun.

My Thoughts
What a good read.  I was a little slow to get into at the beginning but once I started working my way though I really enjoyed it.
Postpartum depression is so real and so hard to get through.  I had it with my first and I was thankful I didn't with my 2nd and 3rd. 
I found it a little interesting/odd that someone that is so withdrawn is so willing to open up to people she randomly sees in the waiting room? 
I don't want to give away too much of the story but you will find tragedy, heartbreak, pain, fear, hope, and love all wrapped into one story.  Will it end happily?  A real page turner, I highly recommend it!

Drink Selection
Being that it's fall, I'm going with Spiked Apple Cider. Delish!

Emily Bleeker
About Emily
Emily lives in suburban Chicago with her family. Between writing and being a mom, she attempts to learn guitar, sings along to the radio (loudly), and embraces her newfound addiction to running.

Link to Purchase