The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

the never never sisters (June)

  • Title:  The Never Never Sisters
  • Author:  L. Alison Heller
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 2014 – NAL Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Sometimes you just need to get away….  
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.
 As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?  (publisher)

My take:  I love reading about family dynamics and marriage. I think L. Alison Heller did a great job with both and found myself relating to a few things. All of the characters are interesting and real. When I say that I mean I know people who are similar. They are believable.

The story wasn’t predictable and I enjoyed where she took her characters as they grappled with small and large issues. I wasn’t sure what impact their actions/decisions would have which, along with Heller’s engaging style, kept me reading almost nonstop.

The Never Never Sisters is a novel about love, truth, and trust between family members, spouses, and new friends. I enjoyed it and recommend you add it to your summer reading list. I’ll be adding the author’s first novel The Love Wars to my list.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 L. Alison Heller grew up in Connecticut and attended Bates College in Maine. After graduation, she wandered dreamily authorPhoto L Allison Helleraround the eastern seaboard, temping and interning and shelving books before landing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 2000, she graduated from UNC with honors and moved to New York City and toiled in several law firms, growing increasingly nostalgic for those days of dreamy wandering. Alison opened her own family law and mediation practice in 2006 to help couples divorce with their sanity intact. Alison currently lives in Brooklyn NY with her family. Alison is the author of THE LOVE WARS (Penguin NAL). Her second novel, THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS (Penguin NAL), is scheduled for June 2014.
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Spotlight and Giveaway: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

**NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**

THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY

The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

Touchstone  March 11, 2014  Trade Paperback  9781451617535

Cover Art_Girls of Atomic City TP b&w copy

THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY was hailed by top media outlets as “fascinating” and “a phenomenal story” when it was first published earlier this year.  It hit The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times Best Seller lists, made Amazon’s Top 100 Best Books of 2013 and is currently nominated for the Goodreads Choice, Best Book of 2013 in History and Biography.

Author and journalist Denise Kiernan also received high praise for her “cinematic vividness” and “marvelous” reporting.  She appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, PBS News Hour, MSNBC Morning Joe, and National Public Radio.

AT THE HEIGHT OF WORLD WAR IIOak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, consuming more electricity than New York City. But to most of the world, the town did not exist. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women from small towns across the South, were recruited to this secret city, enticed by solid wages and the promise of war-ending work. Kept very much in the dark, few would ever guess the true nature of the tasks they performed each day in the hulking factories in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. That is, until the end of the war when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed.

Drawing on the voices of the women who lived it, women who are now in their eighties and nineties, The Girls of Atomic City rescues a remarkable, forgotten chapter of American history from obscurity. Denise Kiernan captures the spirit of the times through these women: their pluck, their desire to contribute, and their enduring courage. Combining the grand-scale human drama of The Worst Hard Time with the intimate biography and often troubling science of The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Girls of Atomic City is a lasting and important addition to our country’s history.

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About Denise Kiernan

Denise Kiernan has been working as a writer for nearly 20 years. She has been published in The New York Times, credit- Treadshots.comWall Street Journal, Village Voice, Ms. Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Discover and many more publications. She has also worked in television, serving as head writer for ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”  during its Emmy award-winning first season and producing for places such as ESPN and MSNBC. She has authored several popular history titles including  Signing Their Lives Away, Signing Their Rights Away and Stuff Every American Should Know. Her most recent book, The Girls of Atomic City, is a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and NPR Bestseller.  As an author, Denise has been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, PRI’s The Takeaway, PBS NewsHour, and in numerous newspapers and magazines, and she was recently named to the board of the Atomic Heritage Foundation. (photo: treadshots.com)

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Reviews:

“A phenomenal story.”  –  Jon Stewart, The Daily show

” Fascinating … Kiernan has amassed a deep reservoir of intimate details of what life was like for women living in the secret city, gleaned from seven years of interviews and research. …Rosie, it turns out, did much more than drive rivets.”  –  Washington Post

“Kiernan … brings a unique and personal perspective to this key part of American history… Instead of the words of top scientists and government officials, Kiernan recounts the experiences of factory workers, secretaries, and low-level chemists… She combines their stories with detailed reporting that provides a clear and compelling picture of this fascinating time.”  –  Boston Globe

“In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan tells the fascinating story about ordinary women who did the extraordinary… The girls of Atomic City helped to change history;  it’s high time their story was told.”  –  USAToday.com

“This intimate and revealing glimpse into one of the most important scientific developments in history will appeal to a broad audience.”  –  Publishers Weekly

The Girls of Atomic City details a story that seems impossible yet was true. Author Denise Kiernan brings a novelist’s voice to her thoroughly researched look at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.”  –  Book Page

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Giveaway of one copy to a reader from the US or Canada

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Sweet Salt Air: A novel by Barbara Delinsky

sweet salt air

  • Title:  Sweet Salt Air
  • Author:  Barbara Delinsky
  • Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 2013 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Wunderkind PR

Synopsis:  Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.

But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.  (publisher)

My take:  Sweet Salt Air is the first of Barbara Delinsky’s books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’m glad to see she has written several other novels because I want to read more! What attracted me to this book first was the setting: summer on an island off the coast of Maine. Doesn’t that sound inviting?

I also liked the idea of two friends connecting after several years of being apart. When they meet up again their story unfolds as do the secrets they’ve both been holding. Delinsky’s well-paced story kept me turning the pages as I wondered how it would all play out. At times I was annoyed with Nicole but then reminded myself of her circumstances and wondered if perhaps I might behave the same way. I identified more with Charlotte in that she was fairly straight forward in her interactions with Nicole and then Leo. Ah, Leo. One of my friends who read the book before I did proclaimed him “yummy” – and I have to agree, lol. No spoilers, though. You’ll have to read the book 🙂

The author delves into medical issues – one of the characters has MS – and the possibilities of stem cell transplantation as a cure. I found it quite interesting and appreciated all the research that went into that aspect of the novel.

Serious medical issues aside, I think Sweet Salt Grass would be the perfect vacation read. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Barbara Delinsky.

Spotlight on: The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden

Jacket Art_THE WEDDING GIFT
Book Summary:

We first meet Sarah as a child just beginning to understand her captivity at the young age of six.  Sarah is the daughter of Cornelius Allen, the slave master, and his house slave, Emmeline. When Master Allen gives his daughter Clarissa’s hand in marriage, he presents her with a wedding gift: Sarah, the young slave she grew up with who also happens to be her sister.  When Clarissa’s new husband suspects that their newborn son is illegitimate, Clarissa and Sarah are sent back to her parents in shame, setting in motion a series of events that will destroy this once powerful family.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius’ wife, THE WEDDING GIFT is a stunning novel that demonstrates the bonds of slavery do not end with slaves.  It is historical fiction at its best and no one is better equipped to share this story than Marlen Suyapa Bodden whose knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses translates to an intimate portrait of America, then and now.

THE WEDDING GIFT will resonate with readers of The Help and The Secret Life of Bees, where complicated bonds and compelling female relationships are explored.

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Author Bio:

Dr. Marlen Suyapa Bodden is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nation’s oldest and largest Author Photo_Marlen S Boddenlegal services organization. She has more than two decades’ experience representing poor people and low-wage and immigrant workers, many of whom are severely underpaid, if paid at all.

She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel.

On May 20, 2012, the University of Rhode Island conferred on Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University.

Spotlight information provided by Wunderkind PR

Spotlight on: The Partner Track by Helen Wan

Cover Art_PARTNER TRACKSynopsis:  In the eyes of her corporate law firm, Ingrid Yung is a “two-fer.” As a Chinese-American woman about to be ushered into the elite rank of partner, she’s the face of Parsons Valentine & Hunt LLP’s recruiting brochures–their treasured “Golden Girl.” But behind the firm’s welcoming façade lies the scotch-sipping, cigar-smoking old-boy network that shuts out lawyers like Ingrid. To compensate, Ingrid gamely plays in the softball league, schmoozes in the corporate cafeteria, and puts in the billable hours—until a horrifically offensive performance at the law firm’s annual summer outing throws the carefully constructed image way out of equilibrium.

Scrambling to do damage control, Parsons Valentine announces a new “Diversity Initiative” and commands a reluctant Ingrid to spearhead the effort, taking her priority away from the enormous deal that was to be the final step in securing partnership. For the first time, Ingrid finds herself at odds with her colleagues—including her handsome, golden-boy boyfriend—in a clash of class, race, and sexual politics.
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About the author:
HELEN WAN is Associate General Counsel at the Time Inc. division of Time Warner Inc. Before that, she practiced Helen Wan_Credit Sigrid Estradacorporate and media law at law firms in New York. Born in California and raised near Washington, D.C., Wan is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Her essays and reviews of fiction have been published in The Washington Post and elsewhere. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, with her husband and son.
Author’s  website    twitter    Facebook
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Spotlight information provided by Wunderkind PR

Spotlight on: Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

Sweet Salt Air will be available tomorrow, June 18. I’ll read it  later this summer but today I want to spotlight it. I think it sounds great!

sweet salt airOn Quinnipeague, hearts open under the summer stars and secrets float in the Sweet Salt Air

Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.

But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own. Bestselling author and master storyteller Barbara Delinsky invites you come away to Quinnipeague…

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About the author:  BARBARA DELINSKY has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. A lifelong New Barbara DelinskyEnglander, Delinsky earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College. Delinsky enjoys knitting, photography, and cats. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts.

Spotlight on: Elizabeth The First Wife by Lian Dolan

Elizabeth the 1st wife

  • Title:  Elizabeth The First Wife
  • Author:  Lian Dolan
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2013 – Prospect Park Books

About Elizabeth the First Wife:  Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s house sitter back in Pasadena is her Congressman brother-in-law’s dreamy chief of staff, whose calls regarding how to work the washing machine and stovetop slowly cross the line into much more personal territory.

About the author:  Lian Dolan is a writer, producer, talk show host, podcast pioneer and social media consultant. She writes Author Photo_Lian Dolanthe blog and produces the weekly podcast “The Chaos Chronicles,” a humorous look at modern motherhood. She writes for Oprah.com as a parenting expert. A decade ago, Lian created Satellite Sisters, an award-winning talk show, blog and website, with her four real sisters. Her writing has appeared in many national magazines, including regular columns in O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother and essays in such anthologies as Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul. TV appearances have included The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is a popular speaker for groups and corporations, always using humor as hook.  Her previous books include Helen of Pasadena and The Satellite Sisters’ Uncommon Senses.