Blog Tour/Giveaway: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  • one-true-loves-9781476776903_hrTitle:  One True Loves
  • Author:  Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  June 2016 – Atria Books; Washington Square Press
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly? Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.  (publisher)

My take:  Be sure to read the description above. I wasn’t sure how much to reveal about the story so I went with the publisher’s summary. Sounds like an emotional read, right? It is and I liked it.

I’ve enjoyed all of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels and her newest didn’t disappoint. What seemed like an improbable premise played out more believable than I initially thought it could. It’s a sweet (but not saccharine) story about the truth about love. I cared about Emma, Jesse and Sam and wondered how they would cope with the new reality each faced at the turning point of the novel. And wondered what I would do in their shoes.

I’ve come to expect that I’ll love reading one of Reid’s novels because I feel good when reading it – meaning I enjoy how she tells a story so much it doesn’t matter whether it’s heartbreaking or hilarious. One True Loves is all that and more and I enjoyed every page.

Recommended – especially to fans of the author and women’s fiction.


author pic TJRTaylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted, After I Do and Maybe In Another Life. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

FIND TAYLOR ONLINE:


RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY:

2 COMPLETE SETS OF SIGNED TJR BOOKS

5 SIGNED COPIES OF ONE TRUE LOVES

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Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

  • Britt-Marie Was Here (5:10)Title:  Britt-Marie Was Here
  • Author:  Fredrik Backman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  May 2016 – Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?  (publisher)

My take:  The light went out in Britt-Marie’s life when she was a young girl. Feeling pretty much invisible she lives a thankless life that lacks passion.  She finally decides to leave that life and winds up in a small town as their rec center manager. This is funny because she doesn’t know the first thing about managing a recreation center. She’s really good at cleaning though…

The town is populated with quirky characters – some who sneak up on you and break your heart. Britt-Marie has found a place where, little by little, people see her, appreciate her, and maybe even need her. She starts to find hope and a chance for a new start. Will she take that chance?

It took me a while to warm up to this novel but once I did, I really liked it. I think if you enjoyed A Man Called Ove, Backman’s first novel, you might like Britt-Marie Was Here. The author again addressed the human condition in a relatable way that now makes me smile thinking back on the people of Borg.

Spotlight: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry

my grandmother asked me...

Atria Books | Hardcover | 384 pages | ISBN 9781501115066 | $25.00

“Every bit as churlish but lovable as Backman’s cantankerous protagonist in his debut, A Man Called Ove (2014), precocious Elsa will easily work her way into the hearts of readers who like characters with spunk to spare. A delectable homage to the power of stories to comfort and heal, Backman’s tender tale of the touching relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter is a tribute to the everlasting bonds of deep family ties.” – Booklist (starred)


Description:

From the author of the internationally bestselling A Man Called Ove, a charming, warmhearted novel about a young girl whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending her on a journey that brings to life the world of her grandmother’s fairy tales.

Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy, standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-men-who-want-to-talk-about-Jesus-crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s letters lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and totally ordinary old crones, but also to the truth about fairytales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s internationally bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and an ode to one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.


About the author:

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish blogger and columnist. A Man Called Ove, his first novel, has sold more than 500,000 copies in its native country and has been published in more than twenty-five languages all over the world. His second novel, My Grandmother Sent Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, will be published by Atria in 2015.

The House We Grew Up In: A Novel by Lisa Jewell

  • The House We Grew Up In (Aug12)Title:  The House We Grew Up In: A Novel
  • Author:  Lisa Jewell
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  August 2014 – Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in—and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago.  (publisher)

My take:  I love reading about families and their issues. This novel is about the Bird family and boy do they have issues!

The Birds live in a lovely home in the Cotswolds and unless you were a close friend you wouldn’t think they had a care in the world. But inside the lovely home it’s a different story. The mother can’t throw anything away and continues to collect stuff – much to everyone’s dismay. As the children grow up and leave home they all have issues that stem back to one terrible Easter when the unthinkable happened.

My favorite character was oldest daughter Megan – probably because I understood her most. She grew up, left home, and lived her life completely opposite her mother’s.  She was determined to be in control and yet handled herself admirably when life didn’t go as planned and dysfunction found its way into her life. I’m not certain how realistic it was but I still enjoyed her part of the novel.

I won’t spoil it by going into the details but I will say that Lisa Jewell wrote a compelling novel that I couldn’t put down. It is by turns heartbreaking, harrowing, yet ultimately hopeful. I enjoyed it very much and recommend it to fans of the author, contemporary fiction and family dramas. I look forward to reading more of Lisa Jewell’s books.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

  • a man called oveTitle:  A Man Called Ove: A Novel
  • Author:  Fredrik Backman
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  July 2014 – Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.  (publisher)

My take:  Although I don’t consider myself a cranky old woman, I share the quality of not going around “with a smile plastered to my face all the time” – and I’ve been asked “what’s wrong?” when absolutely nothing is wrong. So I kind of “got” Ove. 🙂

Fredrik Backman peeled back the layers of Ove’s story (no spoilers here) and pulled me into an understanding of what made Ove – Ove. I was unexpectedly charmed by Ove and the rag-tag group of neighbors and a stray cat that became family to him – although he’d never call them family. I think my favorite (after Ove) was Parvaneh, the pregnant neighbor. She didn’t take him seriously yet demanded answers from him. I felt she was a daughter figure to him (but he’d never admit that). It was lovely to see their relationship, such that it was, develop. It struck me that a few of the characters mirrored Ove in some ways  but I’m not sure he would agree.

A Man Called Ove will be on my 2014 Favorites list. It’s a story about a man who had a plan but despite everything he tried to put that plan in motion, life had a plan of its own. It’s a charming, touching and emotional novel that I definitely recommend!

Spotlight on: The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Today I want to tell you about a novel that publishes tomorrow. I’ll post a review in a few weeks!

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THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN by Lisa Jewell

Atria Books | Hardcover | Fiction | | On Sale Date: 08/12/14

ISBN: 9781476702995 | Pages: 400 | eBook ISBN: 9781476703015

Buy links: IndieBound  Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Audible

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The House We Grew Up In (Aug12)

Description:

Meet the Bird family. They live in a honey-colored house in a picture-perfect Cotswolds village, with rambling, unkempt gardens stretching beyond. Pragmatic Meg, dreamy Beth, and tow-headed twins Rory and Rhys all attend the village school and eat home-cooked meals together every night. Their father is a sweet gangly man named Colin, who still looks like a teenager with floppy hair and owlish, round-framed glasses. Their mother is a beautiful hippy named Lorelei, who exists entirely in the moment. And she makes every moment sparkle in her children’s lives.

Then one Easter weekend, tragedy comes to call. The event is so devastating that, almost imperceptibly, it begins to tear the family apart. Years pass as the children become adults, find new relationships, and develop their own separate lives. Soon it seems as though they’ve never been a family at all. But then something happens that calls them back to the house they grew up in—and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago. Told in gorgeous, insightful prose that delves deeply into the hearts and minds of its characters, The House We Grew Up In is the captivating story of one family’s desire to restore long-forgotten peace and to unearth the many secrets hidden within the nooks and crannies of home.

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Praise for The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up In (Aug12)

“Clever, intelligent, and believable on a subject few of us really understand. Lorrie is one of the most vivid and complex characters I’ve read in years. Wonderful.”  – Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You  

“Both witty and deeply moving…Jewell, a wry observer of human folly, delivers with this latest tale of loneliness and the lure of beautiful things.”  Kirkus Reviews

“The stories of Lydia, Dean, and Robyn are each engrossing on their own; combined with the over-arching storyline of their father, they make for an irresistible read. Anyone who has ever pondered the nature of family or imagined finding a long-lost sibling will be captivated by The Making of Us.”– Shelf Awareness.com

“An engaging tale of choices made and not made, families lost and families gained, this should appeal to fans of Jewell’s work as well as such authors as Jodi Picoult.”– Booklist

“Jewell’s moving novel immerses readers in the lives of these unique characters through the universal themes of family and a search for belonging. Jewell has written a compelling and entertaining novel.”– Publishers Weekly

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About the author:

???????????????????????????????Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She is the internationally bestselling author of ten previous novels, including The Making of Us and Before I Met You. Find out more at Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

 Photo: Jascha Gordon

Mating for Life by Marissa Stapley

mating for life (July 1)

  • Title:  Mating for Life
  • Author:  Marissa Stapley
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  July 2014 – Washington Square Press/Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Former folk singer Helen Sear was a feminist wild child who proudly disdained monogamy, raising three daughters—each by a different father—largely on her own. Now in her sixties, Helen has fallen in love with a traditional man who desperately wants to marry her. And while she fears losing him, she’s equally afraid of abandoning everything she’s ever stood for if she goes through with it.
Meanwhile, Helen’s youngest daughter, Liane, is in the heady early days of a relationship with her soul mate. But he has an ex-wife and two kids, and her new role as a “step-something” doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Ilsa, an artist, has put her bohemian past behind her and is fervently hoping her second marriage will stick. Yet her world feels like it is slowly shrinking, and her painting is suffering as a result—and she realizes she may need to break free again, even if it means disrupting the lives of her two young children. And then there’s Fiona, the eldest sister, who has worked tirelessly to make her world pristine, yet who still doesn’t feel at peace. When she discovers her husband has been harboring a huge secret, Fiona loses her tenuous grip on happiness and is forced to face some truths about herself that she’d rather keep buried.  (publisher)

My take:  For various reasons Helen took the nontraditional path in life re relationships and motherhood. She tried to show her three daughters (from three different fathers) how to live a full life outside the constraints of marriage. Each daughter will accept or reject her example with varying results. As you would expect the three daughters are not cut from the same cloth. One strives for perfection, another is an artist, and the third is a procrastinator who has put off finishing her PhD until the last possible moment.

As the four deal with changing life situations their attitudes will be challenged and they’ll find themselves possibly thinking differently going forward. What stood out to me was how the children (Helen’s grandchildren) were affected by their mothers’ actions – just as their mothers were affected by Helen’s choices. Book groups would have several topics to discuss with Mating for Life.

Setting up each chapter is a description of the mating habits of various wildlife. They mirrored the characters in each chapter. I enjoyed that. I liked this thought-provoking novel and look forward to reading more from Marissa Stapley.