Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane MoriartyI could not put down Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty! I’ve read (and loved!) many of Moriarty’s books so I had high hopes for this one and I’m happy to say that the book lived up to my expectations.

Liane Moriarty is a brilliant writer who weaves stories with these wild plot twists and bizarre characters. Her books are really fun, but at the same time they share difficult and relatable situations. I especially admire the way Moriarty slowly peels back the layers of each story, giving enough detail to engage and withholding enough to keep you hooked. She is definitely an auto-buy author for me!

This book centers around an ordinary BBQ on an ordinary afternoon with 6 adults and 3 children. Somehow this typical BBQ turns into a nightmare for these families and readers are led on a fast-paced journey to get to the bottom of it all.

Truly Madly GuiltyI was fascinated by the relationship between Erika and Clementine, who are now adults and have been friends since childhood. They don’t seem to particularly like each other, but their shared history is a strong bond. It’s a relationship that feels almost like a strained sisterhood, and in a way, it is. Erika grew up with a hoarding mother and was quickly taken under the wing of Clementine’s family.

Truly Madly Guilty is filled with wacky characters, witty dialogue, and unexpected twists!

Book of the Month Club

Book of the month clubCheers to the weekend everyone! It’s been a busy week and nothing makes me happier than finding book mail on my doorstep after a long day. Today I’m sharing a book subscription service that has quickly become a favorite program of mine!  Book of the Month Club is a great online community to engage with and has fun themes each month (hint: they sent wine coozies for August) and above all else, the book selections are fantastic.

August picks are here and they are GOOD! I’ve read Circling The Sun and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (and enjoyed both!) and a few of the others are on my TBR list. If you want to join the club, you can use the code DREAMBYDAY to get your first month of subscription for $5! If that’s not a fantastic deal for a hardcover book I don’t know what is. August selections include:
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  • Circling The Sun – Paula McLain
  • The Woman In Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware
  • Dark Matter – Blake Crouch
  • All The Ugly And Wonderful Things – Bryn Greenwood
  • Siracusa – Delia Ephron
If you have any questions, definitely feel free to reach out! Click here to sign up (or learn more)!

Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer

Untethered by Julie Lawson TimmerAre families made up of the people we’re related to by blood or the people that we choose to be with? Untethered by Julie Lawson Timmer shines a light on this issue by highlighting both “first families” and “blended families” along with the unspoken rules that come with being a guardian, but not a biological parent.

When Charlotte’s husband dies, she quickly realizes that she doesn’t have custody of her beloved stepdaughter, Allie. Charlotte and Allie have always had a good relationship, but it’s thrown for a loop without the connecting link of Bradley. As they grieve, they must face the emergence of Allie’s flaky biological mother and Allie begins to act out for the first time in her life. The only person keeping Allie balanced is Morgan, the young girl she tutors. When Morgan faces trouble, Charlotte and Allie are brought together to help her on a wild journey.

UntetheredWhile reading I noticed that there are long stretches of monologue, especially from Charlotte, which was a bit unusual compared to other books I’ve read lately. Although the story was both touching and thought provoking, I would have liked to feel a stronger sense of urgency. Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoyed this book.

Overall, Untethered is a well-written story about the family we’re born into and the family we choose.

Results May Vary by Bethany Chase

Results May Vary by Bethany ChaseWhat would you do if everything you based your life on turned out to be a lie? This is the struggle that Caroline goes through in Results May Vary by Bethany Chase.

For Caroline Hammond, almost everything has gone according to plan including a beautiful home in Massachusetts, marrying her high school sweetheart, and working at an art museum. That is, until she discovers that her husband has been having an affair with a man. This forces her to reconsider everything she had once believed to be true and she must decide whether to save her marriage or move forward on her own. The story discusses the idea of what people hide about themselves, even from the ones they love most.

Besides the complex relationships, I really appreciated the rich descriptions of the scenic Massachusetts countryside setting so I may just have to book a trip out there.

On the other hand, there were times when I felt that the dialogue was a little bit forced and overly dramatic, but I liked the characters and the flow of their relationships.

Results May VaryBlurbs from letters were at the beginning of each chapter, which was a nice thoughtful touch. Results May Vary has a light tone, perfect for summer, and was a quick read for me.

A few of the quotes that stood out to me include:

“Before we were married, people used to regularly mistake us for siblings on a regular basis. I used to like it. Now, even my own face was a reminder of his betrayal.” 

“How silly of me to have thought that I’d reached the border of my heartbreak; just look how much more room there was out here.”

“The cruelty of living could steal your breaths sometimes,”

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma ClineI’ve been eyeing the debut novel from Emma Cline, The Girls, for a while now. Striking is the first word that comes to my mind when describing this story. It’s powerful and intense with a surprising amount of insight into what it means to be a girl.

As a young teen living in northern California during the 1960’s, Evie Boyd wants to be accepted and noticed. When she sees a group of carefree girls who embody everything that she wants to be, she’s absolutely captivated.

Evie’s not only drawn to the group, but becomes nearly obsessed with one of the leaders, Suzanne, for her wild spirit. She quickly plunges into their group, which turns out to be a cult. Readers are brought along many of the dark moments that Evie goes through and what led some of the members to commit horrendous crimes.

The GirlsMy copy of this book was filled with sticky notes because so many quotes struck me. Here are my favorites:

“I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls.”

“All that time I had spent readying myself, the articles that taught me life was really just a waiting room until someone noticed you – the boys had spent that time becoming themselves.”

“Girls were good at coloring in the disappointing blank spots.”

“Poor girls. The world fattens them on the promise of love.” 

“Later I would see this: how impersonal and grasping our love was, pinging around the universe, hoping for a host to give form to our wishes.”

“That was part of being a girl – you were resigned to whatever feedback you’d get.”

“I’d always been aware of Peter, in the way I liked any older boy at that age, their mere existence demanding attention.”

I hope you all enjoy The Girls! I really recommend it.

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes LoveAs the title implies, this book is about love and how it is at the core of everything we do. First Comes Love is bestselling author Emily Giffin’s most recently published novel. I really enjoyed reading Giffin’s book, Something Borrowed, a few years ago along with the movie adaptation staring Kate Hudson, so I was excited to pick this one up too.

When the Garland family loses their golden boy on a cold, dark winter night, their world shatters. The two sisters, Josie and Meredith, have never been close and are pushed even further apart by this loss. While Josie lives life to the fullest and unapologetically, Meredith keeps a calm control over her perfectly ordered life. 15 years later they are approaching the anniversary of Daniel’s death and with it, tensions rise and secrets threaten to emerge….Although Daniel has passed, he is still very present in each of their lives.

Throughout the book, the two sisters are pretty awful to one another, each one geared to expect the worst of the other. It’s almost like they each make an effort to hurt the other as much as possible and then feel extremely guilty afterwards. Sometimes their nastiness was hard to read, but as the book went on, their relationship changed as well.

First Comes Love 2Even though First Comes Love touches on dark and intense issues, it’s told in a light tone, making it a good choice for summer reading. I enjoyed the story and was especially intrigued by the complex relationship between the sisters.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Sweetbitter by Stephanie DanlerSweetbitter by Stephanie Danler is gritty, raw, intense, illustrative, and completely full of feeling. I didn’t really know what to expect when starting Danler’s debut novel, but I can assure you that I finished it feeling like I wanted to read it again.

The story begins when Tess is making the move to New York City from somewhere vaguely implied to be the middle-of-nowhere-USA without looking back. Unlike so many others who migrate to NYC, she doesn’t come with an agenda. She isn’t pursuing a career in acting, singing, or painting; she just feels a pull towards the city.

Tess gets a job in a high-end restaurant and as she’s brought on for training, we’re taken on her whirlwind journey to become a part of the fast paced and unforgiving environment. She has this strong drive to belong, but at first she seems so pliable and I felt myself rooting for her to get her sea legs and find her way.

The book is filled with lavish descriptions of food, wine, booze, drinking and partying. As can be predicted in a consuming environment, Tess falls for the mysterious bartender and becomes the mentee of mature woman who gives her an education in wine and other life lessons. It turns out that these two have a powerful connection that Tess will eventually have to face if she wants either of them in her life.

I wasn’t sure about this one at first because the flow felt a little choppy, but it quickly won me over. It felt real and bare. It’s definitely a character driven novel (rather than plot driven) as the story follows Tess through her first year working at the restaurant.

This is one of those books that I filled with post-it notes because so many phrases stuck out to me. Here are a few of my favorites:

 “People got together through alcohol and the process of elimination.” 

“’It’s a dangerous game, isn’t it? The stories we tell ourselves.’”

“Sometimes my sadness felt so deep it must have been inherited.”

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler 2“’I’m sick of that,’ I said. ‘Young, young, young that’s what I get, all day every day. But I know your secret.” I lowered my voice and pushed myself towards him. ‘You are all terrified of young people. We remind you of what it was like to have ideals, faith, freedom. We remind you of the losses you’ve taken as you’ve grown cynical, number, disenchanted, compromising the life you imagined. Now me? I don’t have to compromise yet. I don’t have to do a single thing I don’t want to do. That’s why you hate me.’”

I absolutely recommend Sweetbitter and am looking forward to seeing what Stephanie Danler comes out with next!