Friday, June 30, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Spotlight: The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

Title: The People We Hate at the Wedding
Author: Grant Ginder
Published: June 2017, Flatiron Books
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life.

Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins.
They couldn’t hate it more.

The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.

As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year.

What people are saying: 

"Ginder takes family dysfunction to its hysterical limit in this joyously ribald, sharply cynical, and impossible-to-put-down examination of love and loyalty." ― Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"A feast of bitchy characters, dysfunctional family dynamics and hilarious, over-the-top catastrophe."― People

"The summer’s most compelling fictional exploration of affluence and envy, it skillfully mingles the introspective ways of a domestic novel with the juicy stratagems of a page turner...Especially well-suited to this summer of our discontent. Like all the best beach reads, it eats the rich like so many frozen grapes." ― Bloomberg BusineesWeek

"An over-the-top dishfest that atones for the sins of its characters with sly humor and a surprisingly big heart."― Departures

"A vibrant celebration of the modern family and all the crazy, hilarious and wild ways we love each other...This is the best wedding drama since My Best Friend's Wedding." ― Redbook

"Witty and completely absorbing, The People We Hate at the Wedding is family dysfunction at its best ―full of heart, humor, and jealous siblings. This novel is addicting and entertaining and I couldn't put it down!"― Jennifer Close, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses and The Hopefuls

"Not only does it have the best title in the universe, The People We Hate At The Wedding is wickedly smart and shamelessly funny. Grant Ginder brilliantly captures privileged Brits clashing against semi-privileged Americans in the most hilariously cringeworthy ways. Cluelessly self-absorbed, appallingly outrageous, and so very endearing, these are characters I hope to be seated with at the next wedding I attend."―Kevin Kwan, New York Times bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend

"Don't be fooled by the superbly sardonic title―Grant Ginder's subject is not hate at all: it's love. Ginder expertly and hilariously shows us that real love (whether romantic or fraternal, parental or filial) is always a most complicated matter."Rumaan Alam, author of Rich and Pretty

"Ginder successfully captures the clash between people who are intimately connected yet deeply at odds. These characters are completely clueless and utterly self-absorbed yet highly likable, their trials and tribulations painful at times and joyful at others but always entertaining. Ginder’s latest is a fascinating exploration of family dynamics and the complex way we interact with those who know us best."― Booklist, Starred Review

"It turns out that the people we hate at the wedding are the very people we most love reading about. Grant Ginder's smart, funny novel is madly insightful and contains some of the most delightfully difficult and fabulously flawed characters I've encountered in a long time. I found myself worrying about them as I drove to work, hoping things would turn out well for (almost) all of them." ― Stephen McCauley, bestselling author of The Object of My Affection

"Ginder has a gift for the gleefully outrageous, dishing out one over-the-top scene after another... A daisy chain of debacles makes time spent with people we hate good fun."― Kirkus Reviews


The People We Hate at the Wedding  by Grant Ginder is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)

Why You Need To Do More Book Tags | Book Blogging Tips (#62)

Book Tags honest to God saved my blog. They are such an underrated, easy way to add more content to your blog and boost your views and I'm honestly shocked that people don't do these more often. 

So here are all the reasons why I think you should do more Tags!

What's a Book Tag? 
A post that you make based on typically around 10-20 questions related to books. At the end of it you're supposed to tag people that you want to answer those questions, too. Hence the name.

#6: People LOVE them
When I did my first book tag, the amount of views genuinely shocked me. People love reading tags, I love reading tags. Whenever I see a tag in a post by one of my favorite blogs, I click and look immediately. Chances are, your readers will love them just as much as I and mine do.

#5: They add versatility to your blog
If you struggle with always having the same types of posts on your blog, tags are such a great way to bring some new content to your blog. Don't overdo it though, don't post a couple tags in a row, it can easily desensitize your readers to them and make the novelty wear out. Throw in some tags every now and then and make them a special treat!

#4: Minimal effort!
Because the tag questions are premade and preprovided by someone else, all you need to do is answer them. Tag posts are so quickly and easily written that you can cram them in last minute and still get a fabulous post that seems neither lazy nor quickly-written.

#3: They're fun!
Who doesn't love answering questions about themselves? If you haven't been enjoying blogging as much lately, they're guaranteed to bring some versatility into your routine and also make it fun for your readers. Two birds with one stone!

#2: When you're in a blogging slump-
-there's nothing better than spicing it all up by making a book tag post. Because it's so easy and quickly made, you're probably more likely to type up one of these than a lengthy discussion post. I've often had periods during my blogging career when I didn't feel like making any posts aside from reviews at all.
I still kept collecting nice tag post links to come back to them later and it did rekindle my love for blogging a couple of times. The ultimate blogging remedy.

#1: Easy way to add personality.
I'm one of those people that struggle with personal posts and not really enjoy making them in the first place. If you want to get to know your readers and them to get to know you, what easier way to do this than to publish a book tag? Most of the time the questions are a mixture between shining light on your reading habits and your personality and that's just such a clever way to make your blog a little more you.

What do you think about book tags? Do you do them?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Spotlight: Proof by C.E. Tobisman

Title: Proof
Author: C.E. Tobisman
Series: Caroline Auden, #2
Published: June 2017, Thomas & Mercer
Format: Paperback, 348 pages
In this gripping sequel to C.E. Tobisman’s legal thriller Doubt, techie turned attorney Caroline Auden struggles to move on with her life after her last case nearly destroyed her career.

Still haunted by the betrayal that forced her to leave a prestigious law firm, Caroline Auden struggles to keep her fledgling practice afloat—and her paranoia in check. When her grandmother dies, she mourns losing the only constant in her life. But grief soon turns to suspicion when she discovers her grandmother left her entire estate—including a valuable antique watch, the family’s sole heirloom—to a charity called Oasis Care. On the surface, Oasis helps society’s outcasts, like Caroline’s alcoholic, homeless uncle. But as she digs deeper, Caroline uncovers a sinister plot that sends her running for her life on the dangerous streets of Los Angeles.

Plunged into a world of addicts and broken souls and operating without a phone or a computer, Caroline finds sanctuary with her uncle and a ragtag group of outcasts while building evidence for her case. As she sifts through the shadowy world of the Goliath nonprofit, Caroline is also forced to confront her own dark shadows, casting doubt on her ability—and her sanity.

Proof  by C.E. Tobisman is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blog Tour & Review: Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani (audio)

Title: Kiss Carlo
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini
Published: June 20, 2017, HarperAudio / HarperCollins
Length: 16 hours 2 minutes / 544 pages
Source: Audio - Personal copy via Audio / Hardcopy - Publisher via TLC Book Tours
From Adriana Trigiani, the beloved New York Times-bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife, comes an exhilarating epic novel of love, loyalty, and creativitythe story of an Italian-American family on the cusp of change.

It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match.

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.

My thoughts: Adriana Trigiani is one of my all-time favorite authors!!! I've met her numerous times and most recently just bumped into her at BookExpo - she's the most genuine person I've met in a long time and I love seeing her whenever I get the chance. I've read just about all her books and one of my most favorite books of hers is The Shoemaker's Wife...well, this latest one is right up there with that one. Kiss Carlo is fantastic!!! I loved it - from start to finish - and let me tell you, it's a chunkster of a book at 544 pages, and even a long audio book at just over 16 hours. But it's so worth it, let me tell you! 

So first off...even though I have 2 copies of this book - I received an advanced reader's copy of the book for being part of the book tour and then picked up a finished copy at BookExpo...I still decided to listen to the audio version. Not because I was daunted by the length of the book - oh no. I love reading Adriana's words - I get lost in her stories and find myself losing track of time. But when I saw who was narrating the audio - Edoardo Ballerini, I could not give up the opportunity to listen to him narrate this book. He is like a tall drink of cool water - I love listening to him. And I just knew he would be perfect for this book. More on him and the audio production down below.

So back to the book itself...I loved this story. I found myself totally swept up in this family saga right from the beginning. The book is set right after WWII in Philly and centers around the Palazzini family. I love the big families that Adriana creates - they are so life-like and relatable - possibly because I have such a big family myself! But where Adriana shines is that with all the characters in this book - and believe me, there are a lot! - it is easy to keep them all separate as they all have their own identity and personality. And each one she introduces us to have a purpose - there really aren't any superfluous characters. 

The story is mainly set around Nicky - he has been brought up by his Aunt Jo and Uncle Dom and his three cousins and drives a cab for the family's cab company, not only taking on fares but also delivering telegrams. But what no one knows is that he also moonlights in a local theater - a theater that puts on Shakespeare plays. There Nicky helps the actors with their lines. Oh, and he's been engaged to Peachy for seven years - yes, seven years! 

With so many characters in this book, of course you are going to fall in love with a few. My favorites were Calla Borelli from the Shakespeare theater, Jo Palazzini, who took Nicky in after his mother died, and Hortense Mooney, the telegraph operator. Each of these women had so much spunk and passion - I couldn't get enough of them, especially Hortense. 

And, for all you soap-opera fans out there...Gloria Monty has a cameo in this book. How freaking cool is that!!! I loved the way Adriana used the early soaps in this book, called a "teleplay" back then. There is so much packed into this book - so much, but oh so good!

This book has so much going for it, with so many different themes running through it. It's a story about family, love, loss, the search for meaning and self-worth. It's about finding one's purpose in life and realizing it before it's too late and not settling for something just because that's what is expected of you. 

I adored this story - every part of it, from the setting to the characters to the dialog to the cover - it's a beautiful, enchanting story and one that I am thrilled to have sitting on my shelf. I know I can do no wrong when I pick up an Adriana Trigiani book!

Audio thoughts:
As I mentioned above, I just had to listen to the audio version of this book when I saw that Edoardo Ballerini was narrating it. He is awesome - such a mesmerizing voice - and he did such a fantastic job with this audio book! Between the unique voices for all the characters, males and females, and the little bit of Italian - which was amazing, especially since I speak absolutely no Italian - I was in heaven! I can not recommend this audio more - it was so delightful to listen to - and even though it was long - I found myself so engaged that the time just flew by! His pacing and tone were spot on and I found this a pleasure to listen to.

About the author:  Adriana Trigiani is the bestselling author of 17 books, which have been published in 36 countries around the world. She is a playwright, television writer/producer and filmmaker. She wrote and directed the film version of her novel Big Stone Gap, which was shot entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. She is co-founder of the Origin Project, an in-school writing program that serves more than a thousand students in Appalachia. She lives in Greenwich Village with her family.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook  Instagram

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags:  #TLCBookTours & #KissCarlo). 


When is it Okay to Talk About Sequel Spoilers? | Book Blogging Etiquette (#10)

Don't you just love getting your favorite book series spoiled? 

Fortunately this hasn't happened to me in a while but I'm very much not looking forward to this happening anytime soon.

Be gentle on your readers- especially on social media.

Whenever I'm talking about a sequel I always assume that someone out there who has an eye on my social media is still planning to read the first one. Even if that book came out in, say, 2005. There is no expiration date on reading and if something isn't so popular that it's pretty much general pop culture knowledge by now (for example Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker's father), you really shouldn't ruin someone's day by talking about spoilers without labeling them. Anywhere.

The thing is, I try to be as inclusive with my blog as I possibly can. I want backlist and frontlist readers to have a great time here, I want to provide as much of a variety in terms of the books that I review and the content I provide as I can. Same goes for my social media. It's only logical then to also take into consideration that there will be readers out there who are planning on reading the first book to sequel you're talking about.

Very often I hear from people who read my blog that my review made them interested in reading a specific book. And that often happens with sequels, too. I like to think that the people who read my blog also care about my opinion on things and that I to some degree am able to influence their decision whether to read a book or not. And blatantly spoilering left and right on social media and blog, knowing that there are possible readers and fans of a series or book I've already read out there is just a no no.

You're ruining everyone's online experience by doing that. Especially when we're talking about social media where you can't mark spoilers appropriately and by default end up spoilering someone if you talk about it openly.

What about reviews?

Of course, sequel reviews are completely out of the picture here. If you're purposely clicking on a review of a sequel, that's your own fault for getting spoilered. I personally find that it's nearly impossible to write a high quality review for a sequel without spoiling anything about the first book. I'm usually still trying to keep the worst spoilers to myself if no necessary, but usually it's fair game to spoil in sequel reviews in my opinion.

(It should go without saying that unlabeled spoilers have no business in a review of a standalone or first in a series, by the way, that's why I'm not even addressing this. NEVER do this.)

So how do I prevent this whole mess?

Simple. By labeling your spoilers. Don't be a meanie and mark your spoilers.

What's the last book that somebody spoiled for you?

More Book Blogging Etiquette:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Review: Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Title: Every Last Lie
Author: Mary Kubica
Published: June 2017, Park Row Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 336 pages
Source: Netgalley via publisher

New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL, Mary Kubica is back with another exhilarating thriller as a widow's pursuit of the truth leads her to the darkest corners of the psyche. 
"The bad man, Daddy. The bad man is after us." 
Clara Solberg's world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. 

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick's death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit. 

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara's investigation and Nick's last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried.

My thoughts: It's no surprise that I am a huge Mary Kubica fan...she is definitely an author on my must-read list. Her psychological thrillers are top-notch and I love nothing more than settling in with one of her books - I know I am in for a good read!

This one is a little different than her previous books - it's more of a slow-burn, and I loved it! There's no fast-pace action going on here, but make no mistake - there is still that suspense building as the book progresses. The way the story is told, with Clara's part in the present and Nick's part in the past leading up to his death just add to the tightly woven tension and overall suspense. And through these two narrators we meet a whole cast of characters that add suspicion at every turn.

One of the things I love about Mary's books is that all the characters she creates are always so well-developed. They are engaging and interesting and you just want to know all you can about them. You can't help but feel for Clara and all that she is going through. The writing is so tight and clear that I often felt her grief - that's how palpable the writing is.  And then there's Nick...I really felt that despite all that he got himself involved in, he really did have good intentions.

This is such a twisted book - but so addicting. Once you start reading it, you will find yourself completely consumed with it...and despite the fact that it's a slower pace than her previous books, it's still really good, with just as many twists and turns.  I was all over the place with where I thought it was heading and was completely surprised with where it ended, but in a good way. I loved the ending and I think that Mary Kubica has proven that she is one master-storyteller, able to craft more than one kind of story! 

Every Last Lie  by Mary Kubica is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)

Monday, June 26, 2017

10 Favorite 2017 YA Releases So Far (June) feat. Tristina Wright, Ashley Poston & more

I feel like I've mentioned all of these books plenty of times on the blog before, but hey, can't help to promo my favorites a little bit more. 

HOW TO MAKE A WISH - Ashley Herring Blake
You guys know this is the first book that I've seen myself represented in biracial-wise. An unconditional recommendation for black biracial readers. (May 2nd 2017, HMH) Goodreads

THE BONE WITCH - Rin Chupeco
It's been such a long time since I read this, I'm so happy that it's finally out and people are loving it, woo! East-Asian inspired gorgeous necromancy witchery! (March 7th 2017, Sourcebooks) Goodreads

This one is the magical realist dreamy romance you've been waiting for. I adored the writing and everything about this. (November 7th 2017, Entangled: TEEN) Goodreads

THE HOLLOW GIRL - Hillary Monahan
I had such fun with this fantastic witchy #ownvoices Romani story. Revenge and horror. Bless. (Oct 10 2017, Delacorte) Goodreads

GIRL OUT OF WATER - Laura Silverman
Another lovely contemporary, with a black disabled love interest. Such a pleasant summery read. (May 2nd 2017, Sourcebooks) Goodreads

WILD - Hannah Moskowitz
I'm so happy about this! Bi, Deaf, Filipino, Guatemalan, Jewish rep and the loveliest prose. Bless. (April 26th 2017, Amazon) Goodreads

It's still a while until this is out, but I loooooooved Julia Ember's third book just as much as the first two. Genderfluid protagonist, shape-shifters, tigers - so fun! (August 22nd 2017, Harmony Ink) Goodreads

27 HOURS - Tristina Wright
I'm sure by now everyone has heard of this. The rep in this is incomparable to any other book I can think of - so many identities, so queer, so space. Read my review. (October 3rd 2017, Entangled: TEEN) Goodreads

GEEKERELLA - Ashley Poston
I had such fun with this! Super geeky and fun read with an Indian love interest. (April 4th 2017, Quirk) Goodreads

One of my favorite contemporaries of all time and the book I've been recommending to everyone with an invisible chronic illness. This book has my heart. (January 3rd 2017, Clarion) Goodreads

What's your favorite 2017 release so far?

Connect with me!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

FitReaders: Weekly Check-in Jun 23

So, it turns out yoga classes are just not in the cards for me at this point. I have some tendon issues in my palm that I aggravated and it is preventing me from putting any pressure on my hand and that means no yoga for the time being. But, I found some good strength-training workouts that I've been doing that I actually like, so I am substituting that for now - a leg workout and an arm workout. My goal is to do the leg and arm workout on alternating days. I started this past week and so far so good!
June Goals: 

  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend  - 9/10, 2/4
  • 30 minutes of active walking every day, M-F - 5/5 (thank goodness for having to walk the dogs everyday!)
  • Attend at least 1 yoga class/week - on hold for the time being.
  • Eat mindfully/eat enough - Yes
Here's how the last 2 weeks went:    
Jun 10:  12,640 steps
Jun 11:  14,610 steps (2 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)

Jun 12:  23,321 steps (10K+ - 8 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)
Jun 13:  8,535 steps
Jun 14:  12,854 steps

Jun 15:  15
,255 steps (5K+ - 5 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)
Jun 16:  11
,440 steps (5K - 3.1 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)

Total Steps: 98,655 steps

Jun 17:  5,485 steps
Jun 18:  8,462 steps

Jun 19:  18,142 steps (5K - 3.25 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)   
Jun 20:  18,754 steps
(5K+ - 4.14 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)
Jun 21:  10,050 steps

Jun 22:  10
,851 steps 
Jun 23:  13
,445 steps (5K - 3.1 Charity Miles for Girls on the Run)

Total Steps: 85,189 steps

Audiobooks listened to last week (since I'm not much of a music fan, I listen to books while I walk):

  • Started & finished The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter, narrated by Kate Orsini
  • Started & finished Eden by Jeanne McWilliams Blasbery, narrated by Marnye Young

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.

Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:                             September:   
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  5                                5K  - 
         10K  -  7                                10K  -  6                               10K  - 
     February:                             June:                            October:

           5K  -  4                                  5K  -  6                                 5K  - 
         10K  -  9                                10K  -  2                              10K  -   
     March:                                  July:                             November:
           5K  -  3                                  5K  -                                    5K  - 
         10K  -  7                                10K  -                                  10K  - 
     April:                                    August:                        December:
           5K  -  9                                  5K  -                                    5K  - 
         10K  -  1                                 10K  -                                  10K  -