My Girlish Whims Book Club #37

I'm typing this review up on Labor Day - what often feels like the last official day of summer even if fall doesn't technically start until later this month.  While summer is undoubtedly one of my favorite seasons, I'm not sad to see it go this year for two reasons. Firstly, I had a lovely summer! Two of the books I'm reviewing in this round up I finished during our annual week long beach trip to Chincoteague in August.  During our trip I got to enjoy lots of time at the beach and on the boat...


Got to spend time with family and my hubby while enjoying the pretty views and scenery...
 

And secondly, I'm not sad to see summer leaving because I am so excited to keep growing these little babies that we will get to meet next year! Another season passing means we are one season closer to their arrival :)

 
Until then I'll keep plugging along with my reading list - here's my most recent reads since my last set of reviews and my thoughts on each!

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The Last Letter from Your Lover

By JoJo Moyes. Synopsis from Amazon:
 
 It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband. 

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance. 

A spellbinding, intoxicating love story with a knockout ending, The Last Letter from Your Lover will appeal to the readers who have made One Day and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society bestsellers.
 
Even though I've read a few books from JoJo Moyes, the first time I saw this book mentioned was during a preview for a new Netflix movie that popped up and automatically started playing when I opened Netflix recently.  I thought the movie looked good so I added it to my watch list but when it flashed across the screen that it was based on a book by Moyes I knew I had to hold off on watching until I read the book, and I am so glad that I did! I loved this book.  It kept me so interested in the story.  Halfway through you are ripped away from the story of Jennifer in the 60s at a rather cliffhanger & frustrating ending, and I was kind of grumpy at the switch to a new modern day story line at first, but eventually modern day Ellie grew on me and I enjoyed following her part of the story as well.  You get almost two stories in one in this book that of course end up intertwining and coming full circle.  I adored Jennifer's character and even though this book navigates some tough subjects about marriage, infidelity and our choices in life I think it was done well.  I already know the movie won't be able to compete since I enjoyed this one so much - definitely pick it up and give it a try!

The Push

 By Ashley Audrain. Synopsis from Amazon:
 
Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn't behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she's imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she'd always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.
 
 I really enjoyed the writing in this book and the story. I think more than anything, this book makes you think. About the validity of nature verses nurture, if a person/child can be inherently bad, about the all consuming throws of motherhood, and about HOW to be a better mother. I read this book while pregnant and was warned against it by a few people for some child violence and while there was some, and one scene in particular that was quite heartbreaking, I’m still glad I read it and don’t think it was too much. Maybe I've just read way more graphic/disturbed books, but I did not classify this as one that would fit in that realm at all. It makes me want to have a better marriage, a better connection with my children, but still really made me think and emote a lot with the characters and I think that is always the sign of a good book. This is not a fairytale happy ending book with butterflies and rainbows but it was an emotional and gripping story that left you thinking about it after the book was done, and I would definitely read it again.

By Kate Quinn. Synopsis from Amazon: 
 

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

 

 What a wonderful book this was! I am so glad I read it.  I haven't read anything by Kate Quinn before and I really enjoyed this story.  I didn't realize going into the book that the story was loosely based on real spies during WWI which made the story all that much more impactful after I finished as well.  I enjoyed the dual story line: following both present day Charlie St. Clair and her trio of misfits trekking across France to find answers on her lost cousin, and the interspersed background and story of Eve Gardiner training, fighting and navigating her way as a woman spy during the war. I appreciated the character growth in Charlie and Eve, how even during a story heavy with danger and hardship there were still sections that made me smile and laugh a bit, and there was plenty of story to follow that kept me entertained throughout the entire book.  This was a great mix of history and fiction done very well, and I would recommend giving it a read.

Where the Grass is Green and the Girls are Pretty

By Lauren Weisberger. Synopsis from Amazon:


A seat at the anchor desk of the most-watched morning show. Recognized by millions across the country, thanks in part to her flawless blond highlights and Botox-smoothed skin. An adoring husband and a Princeton-bound daughter. Peyton is that woman. She has it all.
Until . . .
Skye, her sister, is a stay-at-home mom living in a glitzy suburb of New York. She has degrees from all the right schools and can helicopter-parent with the best of them. But Skye is different from the rest. She’s looking for something real and dreams of a life beyond the PTA and pickup.
Until . . .
Max, Peyton’s bright and quirky seventeen-year-old daughter, is poised to kiss her fancy private school goodbye and head off to pursue her dreams in film. She’s waited her entire life for this opportunity.
Until . . .
One little lie. That’s all it takes. For the illusions to crack. For resentments to surface. Suddenly the grass doesn’t look so green. And they’re left wondering: will they have what it takes to survive the truth?
 
I did not like this book AT ALL. I'm mad that I spent $15 bucks on it as a new release! I bought it since I loved The Devil Wears Prada by Weisberger and I was hoping for a good summer chick lit book, but this was just an utter disappointment.  I think the biggest problem was that I had no empathy and could not connect or relate to any of the characters.  Peyton was not likeable, she deserved what she got! I have no sympathy for a rich and not exceedingly kind/real character breaking the law trying to "keep up with the Joneses."  The author tried to make you feel bad for Skye as well living in this glitzy suburb when she was "so much better" than these other moms because she volunteered and adopted and was working on a charity project, but really she was living the same exact life as they were and had a spending problem! This book was a dud, I wish I could get back my $15 and my time spent reading it. The characters were flat and the story annoyed me - nothing was likeable about it. Stay away!

Even though today is Labor Day I still have a bit of work to catch up on so now that these reviews are done I'm off to see how quickly I can finish that up so I can hopefully still make it to my gym in time to workout and lay by the pool and read a bit in the sunshine on the last day the pool is open.  Enjoy your holiday, and happy reading!

1 comment

  1. I always look forward to the books you recommend. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete