Kevin Wilson's characters inhabit a world that moves seamlessly between the real and the imagined, the mundane and the fantastic. "Grand Stand-In" is narrated by an employee of a Nuclear Family Supplemental Provider—a company that supplies "stand-ins" for families with deceased, ill, or just plain mean grandparents. And in "Blowing Up On the Spot," a young woman works sorting tiles at a Scrabble factory after her parents have spontaneously combusted.
Southern gothic at its best, laced with humor and pathos, these wonderfully inventive stories explore the relationship between loss and death and the many ways we try to cope with both.
*** We've already received this book from Kevin and it looks really interesting! ***
Delilah Blue Lovett has always been a bit of an outsider, ever since her father moved her from Toronto to L.A. when she was eight, claiming Delilah's mother no longer wanted to be part of their family. Twenty now and broke, but determined to be an artist like her errant mom, Delilah attends art class for free—by modeling nude at the front of the room, a decision that lifts the veil from her once insular world. While she struggles to find her talent, her father, her only real companion, is beginning to exhibit telltale signs of early-onset Alzheimer's. And her mother, who Delilah always assumed had selfishly abandoned them, is about to reappear with a young daughter in tow... and a secret that will change everything. Delilah no longer knows which parent to trust—the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all: herself.
In a new novel as witty, sparkling, and poignant as her acclaimed Inside Out Girl, author Tish Cohen uncovers the humor and heart within the most dysfunctional of families.
** This just came out in June and I LOVE chick lit so I'm really looking forward to this one. I first saw this one available as an ARC (I believe) and the cover caught my eye.***
A Maze of Grace, by Trish Ryan
(Not Rated on Amazon.com)
In her first book, Trish Ryan chronicled the ways in which finding faith lead her to the happily-ever-after ending that had eluded her for so long. Only it wasn't an ending. It was a beginning.
In A MAZE OF GRACE, Ryan picks up where she left off, sharing the early years of her marriage, and the challenges that both shaped and startled her: temptations regarding fidelity, the anxiety of shifting body image, the awkward nature of following Jesus in a decidedly secular family and city, and struggles (depression, trying to conceive) that made her wonder if God had lost her file.
With appealing candor, Ryan sweeps the reader into her life and ponders questions and issues that we all face, dropping nuggets of wisdom along the way that are sure to inspire, encourage and help readers from all walks of life.
** This just came out in June and is the second book of a series, I'll be looking into if we should read the first book to enjoy the second or if they can be read stand alone. I am not really into religious books but if an author is willing to give me copies, I'm open to reading anything for a group discussion. Her first book (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) has 5 stars on Amazon.com, so this should be pretty good. **
The Love Goddess’s Cooking School, by Melissa Senate
(Not Rated on Amazon.com)
A charming story about a woman who inherits her grandmother's cooking school in a small town in Maine, and finds her happy ending in the process.
**Short and Sweet Synopsis. This book doesn't come out until October, so the book cover isn't even shown on Amazon yet. But based on the other books that Melissa Senate has written, something tells me this is going to be a goodie. Im anticipating really enjoying this one for sure.**
The Embers, by Hyatt Bass
(2.5 Stars on Amazon.com)
A novel about a once-ascendant Upper East Side family that has crumbled in the aftermath of a tragedy for which the father has been held responsible, and how they put the pieces of their lives back together.
** With only 6 ratings on Amazon.com and the fact that it just came out in May of this year, this 2.5 rating doesn't bother me. The premise seems interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading it. **
The Last Will of Moira Leahy, by Therese Walsh
(5 Stars on Amazon.com)
This haunting debut novel explores the intense bond of sisterhood as a grieving twin searches for her own identity in the ruins of her sister's past.
A LOST SHADOW
Moira Leahy struggled growing up in her prodigious twin's shadow; Maeve was always more talented, more daring, more fun. In the autumn of the girls' sixteenth year, a secret love tempted Moira, allowing her to have her own taste of adventure, but it also damaged the intimate, intuitive relationship she'd always shared with her sister. Though Moira's adolescent struggles came to a tragic end nearly a decade ago, her brief flirtation with independence will haunt her sister for years to come.
A LONE WOMAN
When Maeve Leahy lost her twin, she left home and buried her fun-loving spirit to become a workaholic professor of languages at a small college in upstate New York. She lives a solitary life now, controlling what she can and ignoring the rest–the recurring nightmares, hallucinations about a child with red hair, the unquiet sounds in her mind, her reflection in the mirror. It doesn't help that her mother avoids her, her best friend questions her sanity, and her not-quite boyfriend has left the country. But at least her life is ordered. Exactly how she wants it.
A SHARED PAST
Until one night at an auction when Maeve wins a keris,a Javanese dagger that reminds her of her lost youth and happier days playing pirates with Moira in their father's boat. Days later, a book on weaponry is nailed to her office door, followed by the arrival of anonymous notes, including one that invites her to Rome to learn more about the blade and its legendary properties. Opening her heart and mind to possibility, Maeve accepts the invitation and, with it, also opens a window into her past.
Ultimately, she will revisit the tragic November night that shaped her and Moira's destinies–and learn that nothing can be taken at face value–as one sister emerges whole and the other's score is finally settled.
The Last Will of Moira Leahyis a mesmerizing and romantic consideration of the bonds of family, the impossibility of forgetting, and the value of forgiveness.
** This sounds amazing! **
Life After Yes, by Aidan Donnelley Rowley
(3.5 Stars on Amazon.com
"Music plays. Dad appears. I walk with him, eyes fastened to the floor. When I look up, something is very wrong. There are three grooms."
This is the story of Quinn—born Prudence Quinn O'Malley—a confused young Manhattan attorney who loses her father on that tragic September morning that changed everything. Now, at an existential crossroads in her life, Quinn must confront impossible questions about commitment and career, love and loss. Her idealistic beau desperately wants a wedding, and whisks her away to Paris just to propose. But then Quinn has a dream featuring judges and handcuffs and Nietzsche and Britney . . . and far too many grooms. Suddenly, her future isn't so clear. Quinn's world has become a minefield of men—some living, some gone, and traversing it safely is going to take a lot more than numerous glasses of pinot grigio.
Life After Yes is a blisteringly honest, thoroughly modern tale of life and love in chaos, marking the arrival of a truly exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.
**Have to admit I've been eying this one up. Just came out in May and since I saw that cover for the first time, which I loved, I've been wanting to read this one. ***
The Lost Girls, by Amanda Pressner, Holly Corbett, & Jennifer Baggett
(5 Stars on Amazon.com)
Jen, Holly, and Amanda are at a crossroads. They're feeling the pressure to hit certain milestones—scoring a big promotion, finding a soul mate, having 2.2 kids—before they reach their early thirties. When personal challenges force them to reevaluate their lives, they decide it's now or never to do something daring. Unable to gain perspective in fast-paced Manhattan, the three twentysomethings quit their coveted media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to travel the globe. Dubbing themselves the Lost Girls, they embark on an epic yearlong search for inspiration and direction.
As they journey 60,000 miles across four continents and more than a dozen countries, Jen, Holly, and Amanda step far outside of their comfort zones, embracing every adventure and experience the world has to offer—shooting blowguns with Yagua elders in the Amazon, learning capoeira on the beaches of Brazil, volunteering with preteen girls at a school in rural Kenya, hiking with Hmong villagers in Vietnam, and driving through Australia in a psychedelic camper van. Along the way, the Lost Girls find not only themselves but also a lifelong friendship. Ultimately, theirs is a story of true sisterhood—a bond forged by sharing beds and backpacks, enduring exotic illnesses, fending off aggressive street vendors, trekking across rivers and over mountains, and standing by one another through heartaches, whirlwind romances, and everything in the world in between.
This candid and compelling memoir will speak to anyone who has ever felt the desire to spread her wings and discover the world with her best friends by her side.
For Holly Golightly, there was always Tiffany's. For me, there's always Pug Hill. For as long as I've lived in New York, whenever I've just wanted to think, or relax, or be happy, or even sad, my destination of choice has been, without fail, Pug Hill.For Hope McNeill, pugs are love, unconditional friendship, happiness, and freedom-all qualities currently in short supply in her own life. She's also short on time and apartment space, and for those reasons she doesn't have a pug of her own. But she does have Pug Hill in Central Park, where pugs (and their owners) from all over New York City convene.She also has a serious crush on one of her co-workers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a flailing relationship with her squash-playing, cold-weather-loving boyfriend, and an unspeakable fear of public speaking. When Hope's father calls with a daunting assignment-to make a speech at her parent's fortieth wedding anniversary party-Hope is completely taken off guard. As a last resort, she signs up for a public speaking class, but can't help wondering, will it be enough?Some fears are so big that even all the pugs in the world might not be enough...
The acclaimed author of Vinegar Hill returns with a story of two unlikely romances—one historical, the other modern-day—separated by thousands of miles and well over a century.
Battling feelings of loss and apathy in the wake of a painful divorce, novelist Jeanette struggles to complete a book about the long-term relationship between Clara Schumann, a celebrated pianist and the wife of the composer Robert Schumann, and her husband's protÉgÉ, the handsome young composer Johannes Brahms. Although this legendary love triangle has been studied exhaustively, Jeanette—herself a gifted pianist—wonders about the enduring nature of Clara and Johannes's lifelong attachment. Were they just "best friends," as both steadfastly claimed? Or was the relationship complicated by desires that may or may not have been consummated?
Through a chance encounter, Jeanette meets Hart, a mysterious, worldly entrepreneur who is a native of Clara's birthplace, Leipzig, Germany. Hart's casual help with translations quickly blossoms into something more. There are things about men and women, he insists, that do not change. The two embark on a whirlwind emotional journey that leads Jeanette across Germany and Switzerland to a crossroads similar to that faced by Clara Schumann—also a mother, also an artist—more than a century earlier.
Accompanied by photographs, sketches, and notes from past and present, A. Manette Ansay's original blend of fiction and history captures the timeless nature of love and friendship between women and men.
** Looks good! **