My Girlish Whims Book Club #44

It's basically summer and I am in full on summer reading mode! I am flying through my books lately and even got to do some reading on the beach when we took the boys down to Chincoteague Island on our first trip away with them last month.


Our first trip away as a family definitely was a lot more work and prep than our trips down to Chincoteague in the past, but I fully expected that bringing twin infants along, hah.  It was still nice to have a change of scenery and to get out around the town with the boys!


Main Street on Chincoteague has a bunch of little shops and pretty water views so the first morning we were there while my hubby was working (perks of working from home - you can do it anywhere!) I drove into town, put the boys in their stroller and walked around to take it all in.  I hit up a coffee shop/wine shop, book store, and even the grocery store! I felt very accomplished doing that all with a double stroller and two babies in tow. The book store had to get a ladder out to unlock their other front door so we could fit through the entryway (I am a wide load with the stroller these days, hah.) I always enjoy visiting local small book shops while traveling and I perused all the new releases on their shelves (looking back on it, I wish I would have bought The Lioness, that's on my to-read list for sure!) but ultimately walked away with just two cute little pony themed books for the boys.


It rained a bit on our trip but we still had a nice time hanging around the family beach house and dock behind it, visiting our favorite outdoor beach bar and drinking fresh grapefruit crushes, and the sun came out on our last full day so we could hit up the beach as well! We will be back down for a full week in August with my in-laws and we are definitely looking forward to it.


I got one book finished while away in Chincoteague and started another so it's due time for my round up: here are the reviews of my most recent books since my last set of book reviews!

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By Emily Henry.  Synopsis from Amazon:
One summer. Two rivals. A plot twist they didn't see coming...Nora Stephens' life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

 

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

 

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.


My favorite thing about Emily Henry is her dialogue between the main characters in her books - there is always such dry comic banter that always makes me smile. Even if I cringed just a bit at some of the over-the-top small town charm vibes depicted for Sunshine Falls, I still definitely enjoyed reading this book. I liked how Nora was a bit brash but a bit broken, how Libby was so loving and her exaggerated, over-the-top personality, and the love story struggle with Charlie. Henry is a writer who writes about writers or those in the literary world who always poke fun at the typical tropes in fiction stories, all the meanwhile Henry goes ahead and sticks to those typical tropes as well. This was an enjoyable rom-com and a quick and easy chick-lit read for me!


The Latecomer

By Jean Hanff Korelitz . Synopsis from Amazon:

The Latecomer follows the story of the wealthy, New York City-based Oppenheimer family, from the first meeting of parents Salo and Johanna, under tragic circumstances, to their triplets born during the early days of IVF. As children, the three siblings – Harrison, Lewyn, and Sally – feel no strong familial bond and cannot wait to go their separate ways, even as their father becomes more distanced and their mother more desperate. When the triplets leave for college, Johanna, faced with being truly alone, makes the decision to have a fourth child. What role will the “latecomer” play in this fractured family?

A complex novel that builds slowly and deliberately, The Latecomer touches on the topics of grief and guilt, generational trauma, privilege and race, traditions and religion, and family dynamics. It is a profound and witty family story from an accomplished author, known for the depth of her character studies, expertly woven storylines, and plot twists.

This was my first book by Jean Hanff Korelitz and I am officially obsessed. I just loved her writing style! It was descriptive, deadpan funny at times, and oh so enjoyable. The Plot has been on my TBR list forever ever since Elin Hilderbrand (my fave) recommended it, but I just never got around to reading it so The Latecomer (which I got to read before it was released thanks to NetGalley) was my first from her and definitely won’t be my last! The book essentially is split into 3 different sections that follow three different parts of the Oppenheimer family and I loved each and every one. You really get to know six different characters throughout the novel and each one of them draws you into their story and you become extremely invested in their lives, struggles and ambitions.  The book is decently long and covers some heavy topics on grief, race, religion, sexuality and privilege but even with some heavy subject matter I still enjoyed it and looked forward to picking it up every time. I look forward to reading more of her writing!

By Ellery Lloyd. Synopsis from Amazon: 

To her adoring fans, Emmy Jackson, aka @the_mamabare, is the honest “Instamum” who always tells it like it is. 

To her skeptical husband, a washed-up novelist who knows just how creative Emmy can be with the truth, she is a breadwinning powerhouse chillingly brilliant at monetizing the intimate details of their family life.

To one of Emmy’s dangerously obsessive followers, she’s the woman that has everything—but deserves none of it. 

As Emmy’s marriage begins to crack under the strain of her growing success and her moral compass veers wildly off course, the more vulnerable she becomes to a very real danger circling ever closer to her family.

In this deeply addictive tale of psychological suspense, Ellery Lloyd raises important questions about technology, social media celebrity, and the way we live today. Probing the dark side of influencer culture and the perils of parenting online, People Like Her explores our desperate need to be seen and the lengths we’ll go to be liked by strangers. It asks what—and who—we sacrifice when make our private lives public, and ultimately lose control of who we let in. . . .

I decided to read this book after reading The Club in my last set of reviews and enjoying it. This book was written prior to The Club being released and gaining popularity and I realized I already owned it from grabbing it on Book of the Month awhile ago. This book was pretty interesting to me because of the subject matter - it's mostly based on an instagram "influencer" which is somehow a title that I have fallen into as well, so I enjoyed seeing the author portray Emmy in that role and how they perceived influencing to work. I found a few things amusing - the fact that if Emmy truly had a million followers she NEVER would have had time to reply to every single comment and DM.  I only have 133,000 followers and I can't keep up! The fact that everything was so fake for instagram irked me because I keep everything very real on my page...but it obviously made for a good fiction novel.  I didn't realize until after I read The Club that Ellery Lloyd is actually a husband/wife writing team, and I think the pair of them worked well in this book as the story alternated viewpoints from the husband Dan and wife Emmy's point of view which I enjoyed.  The book hits on some potentially triggering subject matter around infant loss which I read while literally breastfeeding one of my twins - talk about sucker punch to the gut there, man! Despite that, I read this one pretty quickly and enjoyed it overall.

By Rebecca Serle. Synopsis from Amazon:

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: to Positano, the magical town where Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.

I really enjoyed this book for a quick summer read! Although the book focuses heavily on grief from the death of Katy's mom, it's not a sad book overall but more of a coming of age with a little romance thrown in all in a beautiful setting.  It only took me around 5 days to finish this one through Memorial Day weekend  (which is saying a lot while I still take care of twin infants!) so it's a quick read but an enjoyable one. The premise of the book: Katy's dead mother shows up on Katy's Italy trip back in her youth is obviously not realistic - but isn't that was fiction books are for - to take some liberty with what is possible and what is not for the sake of a good story? I enjoyed watching Katy get to learn about her mother and her own past through becoming friends with young Carol. The setting of the book was gorgeous as well - I totally wanted to dive into the warm salty water in Italy right along with Katy, eat the heavy Italian pasta, drink the wine, wear the breezy swimsuit cover ups, and dance at the night club right along with her.  This won't top my favorite reading list this year but it was a perfectly enjoyable read for summer for me!

That's a wrap for now - I'm off on Monday to take the boys on an RV camping trip with my mom for a few days in New Jersey.  I have a few books thrown in my bag for our trip - lets see how many pages I can cover while away this time!

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