Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fab Fiction: May 2015

This month was on the slow side for me reading wise, only because I had so much work to do with my own book. I approved the final pages and got to hold the advance reader copy in my hands, which was super exciting (want to win a copy? head over to my author Facebook page where I'll be holding a contest soon!)

But reading three books isn't bad considering - and I LOVED the three I did get to read - so I'll take it. Here are my picks for May:

The Heir by Kiera Cass

So we all know how much Lori and I love The Bachelor/ette, so it seems appropriate the first book I read this month is basically about a dystopian version of The Bachelorette. This is the fourth book in The Selection series, but if you didn't read the first three books it doesn't really matter, because this could easily stand on its own. The first three books follow the main character's parents, so The Heir takes place twenty years after the third book ends.

As heir to the throne, Princess Eadlyn's parents think it's a great idea for her to have a Selection to meet her future husband - and give the country something exciting to get wrapped up in, instead of protests. Similar to The Bachelorette, a bunch of guys come to live at the palace and she has dates/eliminations, the whole thing is shown on TV and ends up in all the tabloids, you get the picture. Eadlyn pretty much wants no part in the whole fiasco (meanwhile I'm like who WOULDN'T want a ton of eligible bachelors showing up to their palace??) Not shockingly, she ends up developing feelings for not just one, but multiple suitors ... exactly like the real Bachelorette. My only problem with the book was Eadlyn's attitude. This character is a spoiled F'ing brat. But I think it takes a fantastic writer to make you keep reading (and enjoy reading) a book about a character you really don't like. Also, I actually have no idea who she's going to end up with, even though it seemed predictable at the beginning. Can't wait for the next one!

The Balance Project by Susie Orman Schnall 

I've been following Susie's blog for a long time, where she interviews successful women about balance. The Balance Project series inspired her new book of the same name, and it's definitely a must-read if you're a woman trying to juggle it all and wondering how the hell anyone pulls it off. The story follows Lucy, the assistant to Katherine, a high-level executive at a health and green living company and author of a book called (you guessed it) The Balance Project. And while Katherine supposedly is America's most pulled together woman, the woman who "has it all," her life is secretly falling apart ... along with her assistant's.

While this novel might be compared to The Devil Wears Prada, the difference is Katherine is actually incredibly nice to her assistant ... well, until she sabotages her. But stay with me here. Even if you're not COO of a company, you can understand Katherine's struggle to balance a job, family, husband, social life, etc. And Lucy is one of those characters who starts out as a doormat, but grows into her own along the way. I think a lot of women can relate to that feeling of being young and unsure of what you want, and instead of Lucy chasing her dream, she sits around thinking she has to "pay her dues" as an assistant ... waiting for something to happen to her instead of actually doing something about it. This is a great book club read that's sure to raise some interesting discussions about work/life balance, and how women are doing themselves a disservice by thinking they can "have it all." Definitely a must-have for the beach bag this summer!

In the spirit of balance, this is what it looks like when I try to stage a nice book picture when my kid's awake.

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

This was a highly anticipated read for me in more ways than one. I loved Lisa Jewell's last book, Before I Met You, and when I saw she had a new book coming out in paperback I pre-ordered it right away. Also, I'm working on a manuscript about a woman who's a hoarder, and had never read another book with a character who suffered from hoarding disorder, so I was interested to see how another writer handled it. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed, and if you think your family is messed up, I can guarantee you this book will make you feel A LOT better.

The House We Grew Up In follows the members of the Bird family, going between past and present to show you how the mother, Lorelei, ended up living in the Worst House in Britain and eventually dying because of it. I loved how the story was told from so many different points of view, which is difficult to pull off without getting confusing. It really helped to get into the mind of each member of the family and understand their motivations.

I started this book at 7 a.m. on Memorial Day and finished it a few minutes before 11 p.m. that night. I read it on the beach (and by "read" I mean read a few paragraphs, threw it down, chased my kid, read another page or so, repeat). I even read it the entire car ride home that night, and during the Bachelorette *gasp*. Needless to say, I loved this book. Lisa Jewell is F'ing brilliant, the characters are brilliant, go buy this now. The end.

What was on your May reading list? Any new books I should check out?


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