Review: The Ever After

The Ever After - Sarah Pekkanen - Book ReviewTitle: The Ever After
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from Washington Square Press

Review: THE EVER AFTER is a domestic fiction novel with candid insight to marital infidelity.  Charged and uneasy, Josie must decide if she can ever move past Frank’s betrayal.

There’s no glamour here this is an undisguised look at marriage – what everyday looks like after couples reach that point in their relationship where daily life has a pattern to it.

This was a thought-provoking read for me.  Josie gave lots of insight into the early years of she and Frank’s marriage, everything she gave up as a wife and mother and the crushing blow from his affair.  The aftermath was sharp and affecting – Josie wrestled with the ‘who, what, and why’s’ of Frank’s betrayal and I admired her resilience and incisiveness.

Pick this one up if you are looking for a devour-able, no frills look at marriage.

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Review: Regrets Only

Regrets Only - Erin Duffy - Book ReviewTitle: Regrets Only
Author: Erin Duffy
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from William Morrow

Review: Suburbia, infidelity, paybacks and friendships are the crux of REGRETS ONLY, a thought-provoking and at times funny look when life throws you a curveball.

Claire has given up everything for Owen; she’s uprooted from Chicago and relocated to his native Connecticut and put her career on hold to stay home with their infant son Bo.  She’s exhausted and mentally stalled and Owen wants to make it up to her with a spa day – Claire feels like the luckiest woman in the world.  Until she’s not.  She absently leaves the house without her wallet and upon returning to fetch it she finds their realtor and Owen’s high school sweetheart, Dee Dee in their kitchen scantily dressed in lingerie indulging in champagne and waffles.

With no chance of moving back to Chicago and Dee Dee’s mean-girl friends around every corner Claire reinvents herself with the help of her childhood best friend Antonia and new friend Lissy.

I’ve been there – relocating, trading in a career to stay home and raise children, physical exhaustion and mommy brain!  I laughed at Claire’s antics to get back at Owen.  Personally I’ve not gone thru a divorce so who am I to say whether Claire handled things the right way.  As a mom I totally related to her ‘death folder’ as I’ve often told my husband about should anything happen to me!  I adored the introduction of the stationary store S.W.A.K. and thought it brought a charming element to an overall great story.

If you are looking for a beach read that is sharp, witty, gossipy and snarky then pick this one up!

Review: All We Ever Wanted

 

All We Ever Wanted - Emily Griffin - Book Review
Title:
All We Ever Wanted
Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary | Women’s Fiction
Synopsis from Doubleday
Free copy provided by publisher.

Review: Wealth, privilege, lies, scandal and heartbreak are the brutal framework of Emily Giffin’s emotional novel, ALL WE EVER WANTED.  This story packs a punch that I didn’t see coming when I read the synopsis.

Kirk and Nina Browning run with Nashville’s elite crowd. Their son, Finch has never wanted for anything and his recent acceptance into Princeton is the cherry on the top of his privileged upbringing. Finch is the stereotypical product of this type of rearing – spoiled, narcissistic, and manipulative.  Finishing up his final year at prestigious Windsor Academy, he gets drunk at a party and makes a horrible, racist and sexually degrading decision that threatens his academic future but has long-ringing effects on Lyla the victim, and near-death experience for Finch’s ex, Polly. Moreover the event causes Nina to question the moral thread that ties she, Kirk and Finch together.

Told in alternating narratives, the reader hears from Tom, Nina and Lyla but it’s Nina’s story that weaves the complexity of parenting, morality, betrayal and a mother’s love for her son into this provocative plot.

This book is borderline YA and may be appropriate for a mature teenager.  It’s a timely story around the recent #metoo movement, this one is a stellar page-turner touching on social class and misogyny.

Review: Tell Me Lies

Tell Me Lies Carola Lovering Book Review
Title:
Tell Me Lies
Author: Carola Lovering
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from Atria
Free copy provided by Simon & Schuster

Review: Junior poli-sci major Stephen, a charming sociopath with an insatiable sexual appetite sets his sights on freshman English major Lucy in Lovering’s sizzling and provocative debut, TELL ME LIES.

Stephen is an average looking slob – he’s unkempt and reeks of beer; Lucy is smart, beautiful and naive.  How can two people so wrong for each other have such immediate, searing chemistry and utterly mind-blowing sex?  Underneath Lucy’s perfect persona lies a girl with an unsettled past – her mother’s betrayal she can’t get over, a compulsive personality and tendencies toward eating disorder and cocaine use.  Combined with Stephen’s ability to manipulate women for his own gratification they ooze toxicity.

Lucy’s obsession with Stephen spans five years consuming her life and throwing off her moral compass – she gives up a rare study abroad opportunity, lies to her family and friends, and becomes self loathing after sleazy sexual encounters with Stephen.

Underneath the infatuation, lies and diabolical plot is a subplot around a strained mother-daughter relationship.  Lucy can’t overcome her sick addiction for Stephen until she forgives her mother’s betrayal, which is pivotal for Lucy to recognize the love she feels is illusional.

The ending wrapped up too conveniently for me and left me with a couple unfinished thoughts but overall this was dark, intense, obsessive and everything I want to read about in a twisted relationship.

Warning: This story is too relatable to anyone who has ever been in love (or lust) with the wrong person and why it’s engrossing and addictive!

Review: Mrs.

Mrs. - Caitlin MacyTitle: Mrs.
Author: Caitlin Macy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Synopsis from LBC
Book provided by Hachette

Review: I am just as curious as the next person to get a glimpse of day-to-day life inside the homes of wealthy people but Mrs. has given me too much inside information about the people who call New York’s Upper East Side home.  The story unfolds after Christmas holiday at St. Timothy’s preschool with a flurry of mothers dressed in fur coats to pick their children up, trading horror stories of their ski vacations – the kind of stuff I associate with ‘mom life’, well minus the lavish ski vacations.

Everything circulates around three families: The Skinker’s, Jed and Philippa, his family is the last to own an investment bank in the city, she is tall, beautiful and aloof and spends her days drinking and hiding behind a sordid past; The Curtises, Minnie and John, he is a corrupt hedge fund manager, and she makes no apologies for being a social climber; The Hogan’s, Dan and Gwen, they are the the most down-to-earth family in this book and blatantly outsiders – Gwen is often mistaken for one of the nannies.  Both graduated from Yale on scholarship, Gwen left a chemical engineering career behind to raise their daughter Mary (who attends preschool on financial aid), and Dan has left corporate law for a job in the U.S. Attorney’s office prosecuting white collar criminals.

Dan is on the trail of an investigation that leads him right to Jed Skinker and John Curtis which also dredges up a criminal past for John while attending Yale.  Unfortunately, Macy wove this into the story 200 pages in (out of 340 pages) which could not save the book for me.

Mrs. is flooded with extras who create more convolution than purpose, the plot is thin and so are the characters.  I quickly grew tired of their insecurities, pretentiousness and pompousness.