Well after two years waiting anxiously for Emily Giffin’s newest novel, First Comes Love, I can say that I am completely satisfied and blown away. It’s absolutely one of her best yet. And now cue book hangover and another two years waiting for her next novel. I savored this book because I knew once it was over, it was over, but I am so glad that I did. It was so emotionally packed with deep relationships and at times heavy plot that I needed those extra days to process and think. I can only say some many things about my love for EG and you can see from my Insta feed that I will support her not matter what but it is up to you readers to discover the magic of Emily on your own. If you have yet to read any of her back catalog then put those on hold and start with First Comes Love, if this book doesn’t blow you away then I am not sure what will.
First Comes Love centers around sisters Josie and Meredith. Both reeling from a tragic accident within their family, they could not be more different. Josie is the fun, confident sister who is a teacher and single. She lives with her best friend Gabe, who is straight and single as well ,but she is ready to give up on the dating game. Meredith is the more reserved, hard headed sister yet picture perfect daughter who is always questioning Josie’s decisions and lifestyle. She is married to Nolan and together they have a daughter. She is struggling within her marriage to keep it a float. As the anniversary of their families tragedy comes near, each sister is at a crossroads in their lives. Josie knows she isn’t getting any younger and wants to pursue having children without getting married or making any commitments. Meredith is struggling to find out who she is within her marriage and isn’t sure if the man she married is the one for her. Both connected by their bloodline, they struggle to support one another yet know they are the ones who know each other best. Meanwhile a secret holds them together in more ways than they know and when the truth comes out it will test their relationship.
Emily Giffin year after year puts out a bestseller, that is a fact. But what is so amazing about her as a writer is that each novel, truly always about relationships, is so different and surprising. She has a special way of creating characters and plots that are relatable and real. It’s clear she is an excerpt and it solidifies my belief that she is the true “best friend author”. I have talked about this before in regards to her but what I mean is, she is the author that you want to call and chat on the phone with. She is the gal that you want to grab a glass of wine with when “the one” doesn’t call you back. She is just so real to us readers and proves that if you ever get to meet her on tour. I am not sure what more you can ask of in an author?! I am choosing First Comes Love as my poolside pick of the week. I give you my Bliss Beauty and Books promise that you will absolutely love this book and become an EG fan for life.
Book. Hangover. It’s real people. And once again Taylor Jenkins Reid has blown my mind and solidified herself as one of my favorite authors with One True Loves. Not only did I love this book for the characters and plot but its set in MASSACHUSETTS, my hometown. Reid’s love for her hometown Acton, MA shines in this novel as this is the hometown of the main characters. Her references for this amazing state are like a warm hug and reminded me how much I love being from here. Each book that she writes she creates characters that you do not want to leave. You want to know where they are going and what they are doing days later and this book is no exception.
One True Loves is about Emma Blair. Emma is your typical girl who works in her family’s bookshop and dreams beyond the confines of her hometown Acton, MA. While in high school she meets Jesse. The star swimmer who she believe is out of her league until a chance meeting at a party in the woods. They are stuck together when the cops come and they are forced to hide in a bush until they are safe. From this moment a love affair begins which eventually leads up to years later and a marriage. Both of them wanting to pursue their passions take their relationship to California. Married and completely in love a terrible plane crash happens causing Emma to believe Jesse is dead. Completely devastated and in grief she takes baby steps into healing. One of which is to move home, back to Acton. Here is gets the care she needs from her parents and sister. She does not know how to move forward. Enter Sam. Sam also went to high school with Emma and Jesse. He also worked at Emma’s parents bookstore and was a great friend to Emma. Not knowing that he was in love with her, Emma runs into Sam while she is trying to pick up the pieces to her shattered life. An instant connection happens and they fall in love. Hesitant, Emma doesn’t know if it is too soon as she is still mourning Jesse. Then she gets a phone call. Jesse is still alive. Engaged to Sam, Emma is at odds. Does she try to rekindle what she thought was lost and dead with Jesse or stay with Sam, her new love who has been with her through the hardest time in her life. She really questions who her one true love is?
As I said before my love for Taylor Jenkins Reid and her amazing novels grows with each book. Reid has a way of capturing a readers heart and not letting go until that final sentence. This book did just that for me. The triangle between Emma, Sam and Jesse kept me so conflicted but Reid knew how to take the reader to that perfect ending. I can promise you, you will devour this book. And I can promise you once you finish you will run out and purchase her back catalog ~ I may or may no have done this after reading Maybe in Another Life 😉 Also if you are participating in the BookSparks #SRC2016 this is a June selection and will of course keep making 2016 the #bestsummerever.
*Thanks to Atria Books for sending a review copy.
Continuing with my #BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge I was delightfully surprised by the gem of a book, The House of Bradbury by Nicole Meier. Meier, a debut author, tells a story of unexpected friendships and mysterious love all against the backdrop of the historic home of Ray Bradbury. It is a fun, quick read that I could have finished in a day. The story was that seamless and captivating. Again another summer pick that will be a perfect companion at the beach or the pool. Can you tell summer reading is my favorite 🙂
Mia is a young writer who has been unsuccessful with her first novel. Panned by the critics, she also starts to lose her sense of direction as her fiancee Carson leaves her and she is now living with her sister. She sees that Ray Bradbury’s, a famous mystery/sci-fi author, house is for sale and decides that purchasing the house may just be the inspiration and new start that she needs. Carson being the big Hollywood producer helps her purchase the home but that doesn’t come without some baggage. Mia agrees to take in a young, drug recovering actress, Zoe, who needs a little sense of direction as well, as a favor to Carson. Shortly after moving into the home, mysterious notes are appearing her doorstep. Could it be her handsome neighbor or just some kids playing a prank? As she she starts to develop a friendship with Zoe she sees how she is struggling and almost becomes a mother figure of sorts to her, something Mia was not prepared for. As Mia adjusts to living her life at Bradbury she can see all the magic that it once held for Bradbury himself and her creative energy is sparked. Will she write her next novel, find love and create new friendships? She soon discovers that this house and the presence that was once there could be exactly what she needed in her life.
Meier shines in her debut novel. A sweet story that reaffirms friendships can be made in the most unlikely situations and love always shows up when we are least expecting it. The house being a character itself played a huge part in the book and Meier so beautifully depicted that. I loved the relationship between Mia and Zoe. This relationship really developed each character so beautifully and it made me love Mia even more. The House of Bradbury is a perfect summer read with a sunny plot and refreshing ending!
*Thanks to BookSparks for sending a copy for review.
As most of you have probably seen many publications, websites and blogs have been sharing their perfect summer beach reads! I am so happy to have found The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda because its just what the pre-summer season ordered. It was my first novel of Rouda’s and most certainly won’t be my last. Now on a side note I am a “Bravoholic” and am obsessed with all things Real Housewives and Bravo– it’s a guilty pleasure 🙂 So for me this book was like entering into the world of Bravo. It was drama filled, steamy, dishy and filled with gossiping characters- basically the perfect mix for a fabulous book that I didn’t want to put down.
I am not going into a descriptive summary as there are so many stories and characters, I do not want to give anything away. What I can tell you is the story is based in California and during the senior year for a group of students and their parents. The parents are getting ready for them to leave the nest and thinking beyond as to what life will be when they leave. Each couple along with their kids alternate in telling their perspective within the story. All the families are going through their own issues but have to be strong for their kids to complete this year. From affairs to divorce to young love, The Goodbye Year is hard to put down. The characters are all so different but yet their stories pull together and form this seamless and emotional plot, which Kaira tells so well. I promise you it is the perfect summer read as well as a great read for all those parents fearing the “empty nest”. Read on below as I was lucky enough to ask Kaira a few questions about the book as well as about herself. She gave a fantastic interview!
Bliss Chat with Kaira Rouda
1. Did the senior years of your children inspire The Goodbye year? Did you feel the empty nest syndrome?
Yes, my youngest just finished his freshman year in college. I wrote this during his high school senior year . . . it is definitely inspired by my real life. And, I’m still adjusting to my empty nest. I think it takes time, at least for me it does!
2. There are so many characters and stories within the story. How do you keep track when you are writing? Do you have all of them in mind at first and then connect them?
I knew from the start of this story that it would be important to tell it from the voice of the high school seniors, and the parents. I started with families and the story unfolded from there!
3. Living in Laguna Beach do you come across juicy secrets and scandals like the ones in the book 🙂 If so were any of them inspiration in the book?
Laguna Beach actually is a mellow, artistic and beautiful place to live. Juicy secrets are everywhere — usually behind the closed doors of people whose lives you think are perfect.
4. What would be one piece of advice to parents who are going through senior year with their kids?
Gosh, enjoy every moment. Give the gift of your presence. Remember it’s so stressful, especially first semester with college applications and the rest. The Goodbye Year speeds by, and the kids are graduating before you know it.
5. As a writer, where is your favorite place to write?
My office, with my dogs around me.
6. Name 3 blissful things that you can’t live without?
my family, coffee, yoga – oh and the beach (sorry that’s four)
7. What is the first thing you do when you complete a book?
Smile. It’s really a great feeling.
8. What was the last book that you read?
I’m just finishing Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Before that, Come Away with Me by Karma Brown. Great books.
9. While on tour what is a must-have beauty product in your make-up bag?
A hair tie. I’m constantly putting my hair in a pony tail, and then taking it down again. It’s a nervous tic, I think!
10. Are you looking forward to any books that are coming out in 2016?
I’m a big reader and the TBR stack next to my bed is eight books deep. There are so many great books out now and coming our way this summer.
Talk about a twist! I just finished Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, the queen of twisty mysteries and page turning thrillers. If you have yet to read any of her work well then you must be hiding under a rock. Her books fly because you are literally addicted from the first page. You are taken into these worlds that she creates and given the puzzle pieces to get yourself out. Don’t You Cry was no exception. From the first chapter I had no idea where I was going until the very last pages and what a surprise it was! Plus it’s part of the Booksparks Summer Reading Challenge which is the perfect kickoff for the #bestsummerever and beach reading season!
Quinn is a young woman living in Chicago, making her way as young adult in the real world. She lives with Esther who is her ethereal roommate who seems to have it all. In Quinn’s eyes she is the perfect person who is always there for her even though she knows she isn’t the best roommate herself. She does not pick up after herself and she doesn’t cook but Esther never reveals any ill will and accepts her for who she is. One morning Quinn wakes up and Esther is not there. Not being alarmed at first, Quinn just thinks maybe she stepped out early or went somewhere and will be in touch soon. As the day progresses she starts to pick up pieces that do not make sense. Why is Esther’s phone here? What is this mysterious letter on her desk? Quinn tries to remain calm but as the day comes to a close she knows something is up.
Alex lives in Michigan. He is from a broken home no mother and an alcoholic father with whom he lives with. He works at a diner and one day sees a beautiful girl and he becomes infatuated with her, Pearl. He starts to see her appear all over town and wonders who she is and what she is doing in town. Alex also becomes interested in the run down home across the street from his house where rumor has it a young girl was killed, Genevieve, and her ghost still haunts it. As he develops a relationship with Pearl he becomes entangled into a web of lies and danger. He starts to see strange behavior in Pearl and realizes she has more connections to him then he knows. Told from alternate views Quinn and Alex, although in separate states, are both living in a twisted world of lies and deceit. Who will make it out alive?
This is not my first Mary Kubica novel and it certainly will not be my last. She literally is one of the few that can tell a mystery and leave you shocked at the end. Like literally shocked. Her twists and turns keep the reader addicted and wanting more. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of her page turners. I highly recommend grabbing one and sitting poolside with a beverage that will calm your nerves as you will be chilled to the bone.
Readers do not forget to participate in the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge! It is going to be the #bestsummerever and the book selections are HOT! Tag yourself reading any of the selections and make sure to use the hashtags #SRC2016 and #bestsummerever.
*Thanks to Harlequin and Book Sparks for sending a copy for review.