My Girlish Whims Book Club #36

Since I announced from pretty big news on here last, my reading selection has gotten a bit more diverse! I've started to read a lot more nonfiction books in preparation of welcoming TWINS next year and I'm proud to say I'm sticking with it because I normally really truly suck at reading nonfiction books, lol.  Luckily I know I have lots to learn about becoming a mom though so I have extra motivation to keep reading my baby books, but fiction books still will always be a true passion and hobby of mine that I use to relax so I'm still reading plenty of those as well! Here is a round up of all the fiction books I have been reading lately since my last set of reviews!
 

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Where'd You Go Bernadette

By Maria Semple. Synopsis from Amazon: 

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle -- and people in general -- has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence -- creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
 
This was a light and enjoyable book to read. Bernadette was definitely kooky but still oh so lovable, sincere, passionate and funny.  The set-up of the book took me a bit to adjust to at first as it alternated between having the story told mostly between emails amongst the different characters with some interjecting of story telling by daughter Bee, but it actually really added to pace of the book and humor at times as well.  I loved seeing the petty battles going on between Bernadette and those school mom "gnats," how much she overthought and worried about the most basic tasks such as packing for a family vacation, and learning more about her past history as an architect, artist, and someone who struggled so hard to become a mother.  I thought this book was funny and an easy read all while interjecting values on the importance of family, staying true to yourself, second chances, and to never take yourself too seriously.

The Seven Day Switch 

 By Kelly Harms. Synopsis from Amazon:
 

Celeste Mason is the Pinterest stay-at-home supermom of other mothers’ nightmares. Despite her all-organic, SunButter-loving, free-range kids, her immaculate home, and her volunteering awards, she still has time to relax with a nice glass of pinot at the end of the day. The only thing that ruins it all is her workaholic, career-obsessed neighbor, who makes no secret of what she thinks of Celeste’s life choices every chance she gets.

Wendy Charles is a celebrated productivity consultant, columnist, and speaker. On a minute-by-minute schedule, she makes the working-mom hustle look easy. She even spends at least one waking hour a day with her kids. She’s not apologizing for a thing. Especially to Celeste, who plays her superior parenting against Wendy whenever she can.

Who do Celeste and Wendy think they are? They’re about to find out thanks to one freaky week. After a neighborhood potluck and too much sangria, they wake up—um, what?—in each other’s bodies. Everything Celeste and Wendy thought they knew about the “other kind of mom” is flipped upside down—along with their messy, complicated, maybe not so different lives.

 

 I loved this book! It was an easy read that still hit on some really valuable points and lessons that I think all moms or moms-to-be can benefit from.  The "Freaky Friday" nod of body swapping was a fun way to tell the story and while obviously not realistic, it worked well for this story. I liked how the story & swap gave each character enlightenment to appreciate what they have, fight for what they are worth, and simplify and get rid of the mom guilt whenever possible.  I thought this was an extremely relatable book in a fun chick-lit format.  I only wish that the story would have expanded a bit more on the frenemy factor between Wendy and Celeste and showed a bit more of their lives BEFORE the swap took place, but overall I still loved the read and would recommend picking it up! 

By V. E. Schwab. Synopsis from Amazon: 
 
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
 
After a few chick-lit, light style books I needed a change of pace so I picked this book up, and am so glad that I did. This book was so different from other stories I've read, but definitely in a good way! The book covers such a long time span - literally starting in the 1700s and then alternating between present day 2000s and going back in time up until the present, but the book never felt long or dull.  I really enjoyed following Addie's life through different centuries and countries and sharing the hardship of her life where no one could remember her, she could not hold onto anything, even her true name couldn't be uttered from her lips.  This book brings up such an interesting idea of what you would be willing to sacrifice, what type of "deal with the devil" you would make to get your own way and the consequences of that choice. Addie's relationship with the devil himself was very unique and odd but added a lot to the story.  Addie was a strong female character and I enjoyed watching her cope with life, enjoy her sexuality and make the best of her situation until she finally meets someone who remembers her.  This is a unique love story and concept for a book and I am glad that I gave it a read!

The Last Summer of the Golden Hotel

By Elyssa Friedland. Synopsis from Amazon:

In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families – best friends and business partners – have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be – and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late?

Long-buried secrets emerge, new dramas and financial scandal erupt, and everyone from the traditional grandparents to the millennial grandchildren wants a say in the hotel’s future. Business and pleasure clash in this fast-paced, hilarious, nostalgia-filled story, where the hotel owners rediscover the magic of a bygone era of nonstop fun even as they grapple with what may be their last resort.
 
This was a summertime vibin' book filled with nostalgic vibes.  If you've watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and enjoyed the season where Midge and her family spent the summer at a resort in the Catskills, that's basically the setting of The Golden Hotel back in it's prime.  I enjoyed following the multi-generations of the owners of the hotels and the scandals and secrets that everyone was hiding.  There are a few different characters to keep track of and I read one review from a bookstagrammer that listed that as a negative, but it really wasn't hard for me to keep the stories/character straight.  The younger kids annoyed me a bit (Phoebe made be cringe and Zach and Maddie just seemed like they had no real spine/direction and their character growth just was a little too cliche at the end of the book for me).  There were some fun laughs along the way though and this was overall a cute and endearing book about family, overcoming obstacles and how things change with time.  I enjoyed the read, but thought the overall story was just ok and it definitely not one my favorite summertime books of the season. 
 
This weekend I'm heading back down to Chincoteague, Virginia with my husband's family for our annual summer week vacation and I am very much looking forward to making some more progress on my reading list while plopped on the beach and watching the ocean! I've only got one book packed for the trip so far so I will definitely need to hit up the local book shop while I'm down there, or I would love to hear any recommendations of what you are currently reading and enjoying that I could pick up ahead of time!

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