Books You Won’t Be Able To Stop Thinking About

 

 

 

 

 

You might know Heather B. Armstrong from her blog, Dooce. But did you know that she suffered from terrible depression? The kind that makes you dream about dying. It was so bad that Heather signed up for a form of treatment that basically rendered her dead in order to bring her back to life. In her memoir, The Valedictorian of Being Dead, she shares this incredible (and quite frankly, scary to me) journey.

For years, Heather B. Armstrong has alluded to her struggle with depression on her website, dooce. It’s scattered throughout her archive, where it weaves its way through posts about pop culture, music, and motherhood. But in 2016, Heather found herself in the depths of a depression she just couldn’t shake, an episode darker and longer than anything she had previously experienced. She had never felt so discouraged by the thought of waking up in the morning, and it threatened to destroy her life. So, for the sake of herself and her family, Heather decided to risk it all by participating in an experimental clinical trial involving a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.

Now, for the first time, Heather recalls the torturous eighteen months of suicidal depression she endured and the month-long experimental study in which doctors used propofol anesthesia to quiet all brain activity for a full fifteen minutes before bringing her back from a flatline. Ten times. The experience wasn’t easy. Not for Heather or her family. But a switch was flipped, and Heather hasn’t experienced a single moment of suicidal depression since.

Heather describes depression well, she’s an excellent writer. Fans of her blog, who have followed along with her journey, will definitely appreciate this book and relate to Heather.  For me, I finished the book wondering if I would be willing to go through what she did with this experimental trial to help my depression. Would you?

Lots to think about with this book!  Due out April 23.

 

 

In Camille Di Maio‘s novel, The Beautiful Strangers, we are transported to 1958 San Diego and to the glamorous Hotel Del in Coronado while the filming of Some Like It Hot is happening.  I loved the setting and the history, this is a fast, fun read that will make you want to book a trip to California so you can explore the Hotel Del yourself.

The year is 1958 and Kate works for her family’s restaurant in San Francisco. Her beloved grandpa who is suffering from dementia encourages her to head down to the Hotel Del and seek employment, he wants her to find “the beautiful stranger.” If she stays in San Francisco she knows her life is a dead end working for the restaurant, but if she goes to San Diego, her life might take a turn. She decides to take a huge risk and leave the comforts of home. Once in San Diego, she gets a short term job helping out at the hotel while the movie films.

At the hotel, she tries to seek out this “beautiful stranger” but of course, mysteries begin to unravel and she learns that she shares the name of a ghost who supposedly haunts the Hotel Del.  This book was so well-written and fun, I really loved how the author told the story of a woman in 1928, plus Kate’s story in 1958. This historical fiction is a book you can read in a day, it flows so smoothly and is engaging and intriguing.

1958. Kate Morgan, tethered to her family’s failing San Francisco restaurant, is looking for an escape. She gets her chance by honoring a cryptic plea from her grandfather: find the beautiful stranger. The search takes her to Hotel del Coronado, the beachfront landmark on the Southern California coast where filming is underway on the movie Some Like It Hot.

For a movie lover like Kate, it’s a fantasy come true. So is the offer of a position at the glamorous hotel. And a new romance is making her heart beat just as fast. But as sure as she is that the Coronado is her future, Kate discovers it’s also where the ghosts of the past have come to stay. Sixty years ago a guest died tragically, and she still haunts the hotel’s halls.

Due out March 5.

 

 

What would you do if you were a young college student with bills, rent, and school loans to pay and you were desperate to make ends meet? Would you perhaps try to find a wealthy older man to take care of you, aka a Sugar Daddy? That’s exactly what happens in this page-turner, The Arrangement from Robyn Harding.  You can see how someone might be driven to put themselves in a Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy situation especially living in New York City.

Here’s what you need to know:

Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates, and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.

Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.

So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him: watching him at work, spying on his wife, even befriending his daughter, who is not much younger than she is. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and was eager to see how Natalie was going to deal with falling in love with Gabe. It’s certainly a fascinating premise and one that makes you think about the many women who probably participate in something similar.

Due out in August, pre-order now!

 

What a wonderful surprise this book turned out to be! I loved The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey and you will too!

Another historical fiction novel, this takes place during World War II. Three young women volunteer to be Red Cross Clubmobile girls. Their job is to make coffee and donuts for the soldiers and boost morale. For Fiona, it’s a way to get overseas and try to find out what happened to her fiancee who is Missing in Action.  For the other girls, it’s a bit of adventure and a way to help out in the war. Of course, it’s not easy and they have a rough start. But all three find a strength within themselves they didn’t know they had and triumphed over situations that others may have faltered in.

Official synopsis:

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

After I finished reading, I went online and researched the Red Cross Clubmobile, I highly encourage you to do the same! There are lots of photos and information about this program which is very interesting. The book was so detailed and well researched that I actually learned quite a bit. All of the characters were well written and had their own personalities and troubles, the author did a fantastic job of creating a memorable book. The vibe of it reminded me a little of the “Call the Midwife” series.

Out now, read it!

 

 

If you loved The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, you will absolutely want to continue reading about Don and Rosie.

In The Rosie Result, the story center’s around Don and Rosie’s son Hudson. The family is back in Australia and nothing is going well. Hudon is having issues fitting in at school. Rosie is dealing with troubles at work and after a lecture goes south for Don, he decides to take time off and be a full-time parent to Hudson, ie The Hudson Project.  I love this cast of quirky characters each with their own struggles and challenges, and I especially like how Don methodically problem solves.

Don and Rosie are back in Melbourne after a decade in New York, and they’re about to face their most important project. Their son, Hudson, is having trouble at school: his teachers say he isn’t fitting in with the other kids. Meanwhile, Rosie is battling Judas at work, and Don is in hot water after the Genetics Lecture Outrage. The life-contentment graph, recently at its highest point, is curving downwards.

For Don Tillman, geneticist and World’s Best Problem-Solver, learning to be a good parent as well as a good partner will require the help of friends old and new. It will mean letting Hudson make his way in the world, and grappling with awkward truths about his own identity. And opening a cocktail bar.

I don’t think any book will ever compare to the original novel, The Rosie Project but this was a solid and entertaining read with lovable characters.

 

 

Another incredible historical fiction novel, We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet needs to be on your Must-Read list.

I am in the beginning chapters here and am swept up in this story of a little girl, seemingly abandoned by her mother, and the woman who finds her. These World War II books really tug at my heart! Emotions aside, the amount of research the authors go through to write historical fiction is such an enormous undertaking.

Here’s what you need to know:

December 1940. In the disorderly evacuation of Southampton, England, newly married Ellen Parr finds a small child asleep on the backseat of an empty bus. No one knows who little Pamela is.

Ellen professed not to want children with her older husband, and when she takes Pamela into her home and rapidly into her heart, she discovers that this is true: Ellen doesn’t want children. She wants only Pamela. Three golden years pass as the Second World War rages on. Then one day Pamela is taken away, screaming. Ellen is no stranger to sorrow, but when she returns to the quiet village life she’s long lived, she finds herself asking: In a world changed by war, is it fair to wish for an unchanged heart?

Only three chapters in, I am curious how this novel will play out. If you love books that take place during World War II, put this on your Must-Read list. Due out this week.

 

 

I love a quirky book (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry) so I am very excited to start How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper. As soon as I saw the cover and the title, I knew I had to read it. I am always looking for books whose plots I haven’t seen a million times before and I especially love the story of a lonely underdog. This book checks all the boxes for me! Main character who is quirky/lonely/has a secret life? Check! An obstacle to overcome? Check! A book that will  make me laugh and cry? Check!

Check out the synopsis:

Andrew’s day-to-day is a little grim, searching for next of kin for those who die alone. Thankfully, he has a loving family waiting for him when he gets home, to help wash the day’s cares away. At least, that’s what his coworkers believe.

Andrew didn’t mean for the misunderstanding to happen, yet he’s become trapped in his own white lie. The fantasy of his wife and two kids has become a pleasant escape from his lonely one bedroom with only his Ella Fitzgerald records for company. But when new employee Peggy breezes into his life like a breath of fresh air, Andrew is shaken out of his routine. She doesn’t notice the wall he’s been safely hiding behind and their friendship promises to break it down.

Andrew must choose: Does he tell the truth and start really living his life, but risk losing his friendship with Peggy? Or will he stay safe and alone, behind the façade? How Not to Die Alone is about the importance of taking a chance in those moments when we have the most to lose. Sharp and funny, warm and real, it’s the kind of big-hearted story we all need.

I love the premise! I cannot wait to start reading. Due out in May.

 

 

A housewife in the suburbs plus a book club? I’m in! I can relate already. Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson is a fantastic novel with lots of secrets and complicated, interesting characters. I’m used to this author’s southern fiction so I enjoyed her stab (haha) at a domestic thriller!

Here’s what you need to know:

Amy Whey is proud of her ordinary life and the simple pleasures that come with it—teaching diving lessons, baking cookies for new neighbors, helping her best friend, Charlotte, run their local book club. Her greatest joy is her family: her devoted professor husband, her spirited fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, her adorable infant son. And, of course, the steadfast and supportive Charlotte. But Amy’s sweet, uncomplicated life begins to unravel when the mysterious and alluring Angelica Roux arrives on her doorstep one book club night.

Sultry and magnetic, Roux beguiles the group with her feral charm. She keeps the wine flowing and lures them into a game of spilling secrets. Everyone thinks it’s naughty, harmless fun. Only Amy knows better. Something wicked has come her way—a she-devil in a pricey red sports car who seems to know the terrible truth about who she is and what she once did.

When they’re alone, Roux tells her that if she doesn’t give her what she asks for, what she deserves, she’s going to make Amy pay for her sins. One way or another.

To protect herself and her family and save the life she’s built, Amy must beat the devil at her own clever game, matching wits with Roux in an escalating war of hidden pasts and unearthed secrets. Amy knows the consequences if she can’t beat Roux. What terrifies her is everything she could lose if she wins.

A diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor, Never Have I Ever explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.

This is twisty, intense read that quickly sped through. It’s the perfect suspense to read over a weekend or on vacation when you can spend hours uninterrupted delving into a story.

Due out in July, so pre-order now.

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