My Girlish Whims Book Club #34

While it's not officially summer yet I am in full on summer reading mode! Tell me: is there any better feeling in the world than a warm sunny day with no real plans and a brand new novel waiting to be cracked open? May not be everyone's slice of heaven but for this little book worm it's pretty close!!

We had two quick trips down to the beach in April in May where I was able to enjoy reading some of these books in a lovely beachy setting.  We don't have many trips planned for summer until the end of the August though so I'll just have to use my novels to escape to some alternate locations and live vicariously through the characters :)

 I've had some enjoyable reads since my last set of reviews and have already finished a fifth book before managing to get this post up (whoops) so without further ado... here's what I've been reading and my thoughts on each!

This post contains affiliate links


By Fredrik Backman. Synopsis from Amazon:
By the lake in Beartown is an old ice rink, and in that ice rink Kevin, Amat, Benji, and the rest of the town’s junior ice hockey team are about to compete in the national semi-finals—and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Under that heavy burden, the match becomes the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown.

This is a story about a town and a game, but even more about loyalty, commitment, and the responsibilities of friendship; the people we disappoint even though we love them; and the decisions we make every day that come to define us. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world..

 I really loved reading Anxious People which was my first book by Fredrik Backman, so I was excited to read this one as well since it came first and I know exposed a lot of people to his writing originally. I'm not sure which one I like better - I feel like I liked his writing style in "Anxious People" just a little better - it was a little more fast paced, had more comic quips and a few more references I enjoyed.  The story of this book was much more in-depth though and the characters much more developed and interesting.  It's a book about a "hockey team" but really that's not the focus of the book at all. It's more about the difference between right and wrong, the struggles that we all carry and how far some people will go to "win" and sweep everything else that doesn't matter or gets in the way under the rug.  There were so many great characters in this book and reading all of their stories and growth was heartwarming to me even though throughout most of this book it was not a happy story.  I know this is out on HBO as a mini series as well so if you are thinking of giving that a watch you DEFINITELY need to read this book first - it's worth it!

By Sarah Gailey. Synopsis from Amazon:
"I’m embarrassed, still, by how long it took me to notice. Everything was right there in the open, right there in front of me, but it still took me so long to see the person I had married.

It took me so long to hate him."

Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be.

And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and both Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up.

Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.
This was a book with an interesting topic.  Woman makes clones.  Woman's husband sneaks behind her back to make a clone of his wife, but a "better" version.  Husband leaves wife for clone version of wife.  Somehow husband ends up dead and now there's a big problem on both the wife and cloned wife's hands.  Quite a story line, right? I enjoyed this book for the fact that it was different. I mean, we are talking about CLONES here.  The book didn't feel super unrealistic though - it really felt like Evelyn's research and work in making clones was a typical science project! I definitely felt weird at certain points of the book though in the flippant way Evelyn treated her "specimen" aka her clones. To her - they are only a science project and not a real person, but they really are living, breathing humans regardless of how they were created.  Evelyn's relationship with Martine does help give some growth in that aspect though.  Regardless of what some of the reviews hyped this book to be - it is NOT a thriller.  It's more of a sci-fi, domestic modern fiction book.  It's not too scientific though - there are some terms used for the science regarding making the clones but it's nothing that needs to be understood to enjoy the story.  The book more focused on Evelyn - who is not an extremely likeable protagonist all the time - but how her upbringing shaped her into the person/scientist who came to win so many awards for her work, but still was very empty in her relationships and with herself and how this one clone she did not make - Martine - helped change her. I liked how different this story was really enjoyed reading it!

People You Meet on Vacation 

By Emily Henry. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.
Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.
Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.
Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?.
Well I just loooooved Beach Read by Emily Henry so I was super excited to read this next book of hers.  While I enjoyed reading it, it just wasn't quite as great as I was expecting. One of my praises for "Beach Read" was that the romance wasn't too drawn out - we all know the couple is going to get together eventually so don't make us wait until the very last page for it to happen! Poppy and Alex figured out their feelings for each other at one point in the book and it just made me mad how much longer it took them to act on things and felt unrealistic.  I still really love Henry's writing style - it's fun and modern and quirky and I definitely had some giggles along the way. This wasn't a bad book at all, just not quite as good as I was hoping it would be. It was still really fun to follow along with all the different trips the characters went on and was a light and enjoyable read.

That Summer

By Jennifer Weiner. Synopsis from Amazon:

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful, her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?

From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, That Summer is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.
t mind it. If you want action and adventure 
This was a summer release by another author I have mostly enjoyed reading in the past. I hated Mrs. Everything but really enjoyed Big Summer so I was looking forward to trying this one by Jennifer Weiner. While having a similar title to "Big Summer" it is NOT a sequel and the books can be read in any order.  While I still enjoyed reading this, unfortunately it fell just a little short for me.  It's not what you would call a "beach read" which the title/cover/prior work from Weiner may lead you to think.  It's also not really chick-lit or a rom com because it focuses on some pretty heavy topics.  I do think the book is relatable: I think many women will connect with Daisy who is a wife and mom who works tirelessly to care for her family yet constantly feels underappreciated and lacking a bit of identity and power in her relationship. I enjoyed her growth throughout the story and empathized with her but had a few more issues with Diana's story line.  I actually thought my book was missing pages and re-read/skimmed through the first few chapters multiples times because part of the story line was only implied and not actually spelled out until later in the book which I found odd.  I realize this is probably extremely ignorant of me as I have never been a victim of sexual assault - but I couldn't help feeling extremely frustrated on how long Diana let her past impact her and prevent her from having any type of life at all.  Again I realize I am extremely naive in this matter, and I guess that really helped prove a point about how one small action or inaction of an individual can ruin someone's life.  I still found it a bit over the top the manner in which Diana developed a character to meet with Daisy instead of being straightforward with her intentions as well.  Overall this book talks about some pretty heavy topics that I think are important to be bringing up and talking about - I just think the reader should go into the book expecting that and not just a light beach read for summer.

That's a wrap for this time around - my "to be read" pile just keeps getting longer and longer with more new releases coming out so I will be back soon with more reviews!!!

1 comment