Posts tagged with "Contemporary Women's Fiction"

Posted by jdunc on 03/28/14
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Listening to Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding is like a visit from a completely irrational, but insanely hilarious old friend. In some ways, Bridget is the same Bridge we met almost 20 years ago------ drinking too many units of wine and clueless about the dating world, but with the added stresses of understanding Twitter, adjusting to being a single mum to two young kids, and dealing with the death of her husband, the much loved Mark Darcy.

The audio is read by Samantha Bond, perhaps better known as Rosamund Painswick of Downton Abbey. As I listened, I could picture Bridget obsessively checking for new “twitterati” and the complete chaos of her home. She has much needed support from her  friends, Tom, Jude, Talitha, and Daniel Cleaver. Bond does wonderful voices of all the characters, especially 6-year-old Mabel (lisp included) and 30-year-old boy toy, Roxster.  Bond's ability to capture Bridget’s hurt and loneliness at losing her husband made me tear up, but in true Bridget style I was laughing again by the next diary entry. As a Bridget Jones fan I really enjoyed this book and revisiting her life 20 years later. It was comforting to see Bridget is the same neurotic, obsessive, lovable woman we met so long ago. The audio was so much fun to listen to and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Posted by jdunc on 09/30/14
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From the bestselling author of the Husband’s Secret, comes the latest novel from Liane Moriarty. Big Little Lies follows a cast of characters that interact as parents of kindergarten aged children at Piriwee Public School on the coast of Australia. Moriarty provides witty and funny characters that all have dark lies. At the center of the story is a death that occurs during trivia night to raise money for the school. The book begins 6 months earlier and intersperses police interviews with other parents into the narration. The reader is not only guessing who the murderer is, but also who was murdered for much of the story, with a twist in the last 50 pages.
The novel focuses on three mothers who form a quick, tight friendship. Jane is a plain, shy, young single mother who seems to be hiding a secret. Madeline is a flamboyant, outspoken mother of three on her second marriage. Celeste is a beautiful, wealthy mother of twin boys who seems to have a perfect life. Each carries their own big, little lie. While the plot is somewhat dark, Moriarty has the ability to seamlessly include humor which results in both disturbing and laugh out loud moments. At its heart, Big Little Lies exposes the "little" lies we tell ourselves and others to keep us going through life.

Posted by jdunc on 01/28/15
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Yes, we are a little beyond Christmas and on our way to Spring but Christmas at Tiffany’s, by Karen Swan, has surprisingly little to do with Christmas. In fact if you are looking to escape to some of the most magnificent cities around the world, then Christmas at Tiffany’s offers the perfect vacation. Cassie, Suzy, Kelly, and Anouk have been best friends since they met over fifteen years ago at boarding school. Cassie settled in the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Kelly is a fashionista in New York city, Anouk is a chic jewelry designer in Paris and Suzy is a fabulous wedding planner in London.
During her tenth wedding anniversary party, surrounded by her three best friends, Cassie learns her husband has a child with another woman. Devastated by this revelation, Cassie flees into the arms of her three best friends. It is decided that Cassie will spend the next year of her life living in New York, Paris, and London as she puts the pieces of her life back together and tries to discover what she is meant to do. It is exciting to follow Cassie on her journey as she tests out the fashion industry in New York, works with a Michelin star chef in Paris, and finally put the pieces together in London. Through it all she meets new friends, has a little romance, and rediscovers herself.
Fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Jane Green will thoroughly enjoy Christmas at Tiffany’s!

Posted by SherriT on 06/20/18
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Karen White’s books are always a perfect blend of family, friendship, mystery, and a little romance. In her latest book, Dreams of Falling, she offers us two generations of strong female friendships.

After nine years away, Larkin returns to her childhood home in South Carolina when her mother, Ivy, takes a life-threatening fall, a fall that becomes the catalyst for exposing long held secrets. As Ivy lies in a hospital bed fighting for her life, Larkin begins her investigation. It is in this search that Larkin uncovers the secrets kept by three teenage friends on an unchaperoned graduation trip to Myrtle Beach fifty years earlier.  These three friends had sworn to remain best friends forever, never imagining the heartache that would result from that vow.

The story is dramatic and cleverly layered and there are tons of great characters. Most notably are the three best friends: the beautiful and rich Margaret; CeeCee, the preacher’s daughter; and the always smoking and redheaded artist, Bitty. Each one of them is flawed in their own way. And that is precisely what makes this book so real.

Lovers of Southern women’s fiction will appreciate this dramatic story.

Posted by SherriT on 03/27/17
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It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany packs a lot of emotional impact into a relatively short read. The story centers around two best friends, Tyler and Amber, who have helped each other through rough times in their lives. You meet them as teenagers dealing with issues like body images, eating disorders, anxiety, broken families and strained relationships, and unrequited love. The story is told from both perspectives so you see the characters grow up and their friendship expand over the years, as they get older. Then one horrible night in their twenties, something happens that changes not only their relationship but also their lives forever.

For me, this book read as a very real story. The blurry details, the guilt, and the emotions -- the reader feels all these things from both characters. Unfortunately, this story happens all over the world and is often never reported nor discussed. The topic of consent is one every parent must discuss with both their daughters and their sons. This novel vividly highlights the strength it takes to move beyond an assault. The pages Hatvany wrote capture the emotional toll that rape takes on an individual, their family, and sometimes their assailant.

Hatvany describes what it is like to be on both sides of the date rate spectrum, and her story drives home why it is so important to have conversations with both our sons and daughters. Every high school and college student should read this book to see how one very serious act could ruin the lives of both involved.

Posted by jdunc on 12/23/15
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“We make choices, big and small, every day of our lives, and those choices have consequences. Fate or not, our lives are still the results of our choices”.  Can one small choice really change the course of your life? In her latest novel, Taylor Jackson Reid explores the questions of fate, choices, and how they influence finding “the one”. Hannah Martin is going aimlessly through life, moving from place to place on a whim and can’t quite get her life together. She decides to return home to Los Angeles after an affair with a married man ends badly. On her first night home, while out with friends, she makes one choice that creates two vastly different lives and stories. Should she stay at the bar and rekindle a romance with an old high school boyfriend or should she leave with her best friend?  In alternating chapters, Sliding Doors style, Hannah’s life takes two vastly different directions.

The book itself is not about regret but focuses on the idea that life is what you make of it. It begs the question is there such a thing as fate? Does life end up the way it is supposed to be or are the series of choices you make have a greater influence? Fast-paced and at times humorous, you’ll want to rush to through it to see how the two stories end.

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 04/16/13
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Will was a wealthy and successful businessman who climbed mountains and parachuted out of airplanes in his spare time, that is until he was struck by a motorcycle which left him paraplegic.  Lou was a quirky British lass who had just lost her job at the local coffee shop, but had no plans for herself other than to live at home and watch TV with her parents, that is until Will's mother hired her to be his caregiver and companion.  In spite of Will's acerbic tongue and mood swings, Lou refused to treat him with kid gloves.  Upon the realization that he had attempted to take his own life, Lou sets about a plan to show Will that life is worth living.  The result is an unexpected love affair with a heartbreaking ending.  An ending that is hopeful and thought-provoking, not at all schmaltzy or predictable.
I can't remember the last book I read that had me laughing out loud on one page and crying on the next.  Me Before You is that rare book that takes you through so many emotions, but effortlessly and flawlessly.   It's a book that teaches you that it's never too late to start living.

Posted by jdunc on 08/01/16
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If you’re looking for a light, fun read to add to your summer reading list, look no further than Nine Women, One Dress. It is the perfect pick for soaking up the last bits of summer at the pool or beach.

Debut author, Jane Rosen is witty and engaging as she seamlessly weaves nine separate stories around one black dress. Each story is neatly wrapped up with a satisfying ending by the conclusion of the book. Some stories include: a Bloomingdale sales women starting a relationship with a movie star, a private investigator, a recent college graduate who has created a fake life on social media, an aspiring model, and a middle aged secretary in love with her boss. All of their lives are changed for the better by this one black dress. The dress itself transcends age and culture to take on a character of its own. I loved it from start to finish.

Posted by jdunc on 06/25/14
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I love Mary Kay Andrews and was especially pleased with her latest summer novel Save the Date. All of Andrews’ novels take place in and around Savannah, Georgia and feature strong, smart, entrepreneurial women, usually down on their luck. The main character of her latest novel is Carrie Kryzik, a struggling florist overcoming a tough divorce who is working her way into Savannah society. Carrie is determined to make a name for herself as a premier florist and prove to her father that she can be successful. Andrews’ elaborate descriptions of the southern weddings and spectacular flower arrangements are fitting given wedding season. Especially entertaining are the cast of demanding brides and their mothers. When Carrie is pulled into the drama of planning a massive wedding of two well-known Southern families, chaos ensues.

Along the way, Carrie meets Jack Finnerty, a gruff handsome man that keeps showing up at all of the weddings around Savannah. Their Goldendoodle puppies, Poppy and Shaz, play a comical role in the lives of Carrie and Jack and their romance. While there are some bumps along the way, you definitely root for Carrie, Jack and her flower business. I especially loved all of the intricate descriptions of flowers and wedding details. This perfect light summer read with a guaranteed happy ending


Posted by SherriT on 05/05/18
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Kick off your summer reading list with The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner.

Lauren is the widow of NHL hockey star Rory Kincaid who leaves it all to fight as a US Ranger overseas. After he is killed in combat, Lauren is caught in web of grief that she has not been able to let go of for four years. When a filmmaker approaches her and her family to produce a documentary about Rory’s life, she fights him every step of the way. Lauren is determined to keep the memory of Rory high on a pedestal and in her heart. However, the secrets that Matt's documentary are uncovering are not what she wants to face.

While this book is truly Lauren’s story, it is also a story about the other women in her immediate family, her mom Beth and her sister Stephanie. I love nothing more than a story about a family of strong women with complex lives.

So many themes covered in this book: professional sports, celebrity status, the military, love, grief, betrayal, traumatic brain injury, documentary filmmaking, and some yummy baking thrown in! Love the way it all ties together to make The Husband Hour a favorite 2018 beach read.

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