The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Fiction Picks (April)

Is it strange that March sped by faster than February when it is a longer month? I can’t believe we are already four months into the year. It doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled because I am! Warmer weather will be here in New York very soon, and life seems a bit more joyous when that occurs. Skirts without tights, flats without tights, and a jean jacket. Anyway, a new month also means some new 2012 adult fiction releases! Anybody read anything I need to get my hands on? Make sure you let me know in the comments!

Calico Joe by John Grisham (Goodreads | Amazon)
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Amazon Description: Whatever happened to Calico Joe?  It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz. In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records. Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…
Why I’m interested: I am a sucker for a baseball book.

A Gift for My Sister: A Novel by Ann Pearlman (Goodreads | Amazon)
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Amazon Description: Tara and Sky share a mother, but aside from that they seem to differ in almost every way. When a series of tragedies strikes, they must somehow come together in the face of heartbreak, dashed hopes, and demons of the past. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood really means to them. It’s a long road to understanding, and everyone who knows them hopes these two sisters can find a way back to each other.
Why I’m interested: This one sounds like a tearjerker but I do find myself to like books about sisters, being I’m one myself.

The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo (Goodreads | Amazon)
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Amazon Description: Katherine Shaw—Kate— is happy with her life. She has supportive friends, a glamorous magazine career, and a love of all things Jane Austen. But when she loses her job, her beloved grandmother falls ill and a financial disaster forces a sale on the family home, Kate finds herself facing a crisis that would test even the most stalwart of Austen heroines.  Friends rally round, connecting her to freelance gigs, and presenting her with a birthday gift— title to land in Scotland—that’s about to come in very handy. Turns out that Kate’s first freelance assignment is to test an Austen-inspired theory: in the toughest economic times is a wealthy man the only must-have accessory? What begins as an article turns into an opportunity as Kate—now Lady Kate—jet-sets to Palm Beach, St Moritz and London where, in keeping company with the elite, she meets prospects who make Mr. Darcy look like an amateur. But will rubbing shoulders with men of good fortune ever actually lead her to love? And will Kate be able to choose between Mr. Rich and Mr. Right?
Why I’m interested: A trip, a writer, and Jane Austen. Perfect!

Little Night by Luanne Rice (Goodreads | Amazon)
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Amazon Description: Clare Burke’s life took a devastating turn when she tried to protect her sister, Anne, from an abusive and controlling husband and ended up serving prison time for assault. The verdict largely hinged on Anne’s defense of her spouse—all lies—and the sisters have been estranged ever since. Nearly twenty years later, Clare is living a quiet life in Manhattan as an urban birder and nature blogger, when her niece, Grit, turns up on her doorstep. The two long for a relationship with each other, but they’ll have to dig deep into their family’s difficult past in order to build one. Together they face the wounds inflicted by Anne and find in their new connection a place of healing. When Clare begins to suspect her sister might be in New York, she and her niece hold out hope for a long-awaited reunion with her.
Why I’m interested: I’m a fan of reading Luanne Rice on vacation, and while this one seems to be on the heavy side, seems like something I would throw in my beach bag for sure.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty ( Goodreads | Amazon)
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Amazon Description: Ellen O’Farrell is a bit unusual. She’s a hypnotherapist. She’s never met her father. And she can’t seem to keep a relationship going (okay, that’s more normal that we want to admit). When Ellen meets Patrick, she’s hopeful nevertheless. But when he says he needs to tell her something, she fears the worst. However, when Patrick reveals that his ex-girlfriend is stalking him, Ellen thinks, Is that all? Actually, that’s kind of neat. She’s more intrigued than frightened. What makes a supposedly smart, professional woman behave this way? She’d love to meet her. What she doesn’t know is that she already has.
Why I’m interested: Reminds me of an adult version of The Stalker Chronicles which I just reviewed & finished!

The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Fiction Picks (March)

Good morning everyone! (It’s not really morning when I’m writing this, I’ll admit. I’m about a week early and listening to the Jessica Darling mix in my bathrobe.) Three months into the new year, and it’s time for another round of new adult fiction books you may or may not be interested in checking out. Anyone having any luck in this department? As of right now, I’ve read 2 adult fiction books out of 23 books for the year. I’m not sure how likely it is for me to grab some of the books I’ve been discussing in this meme but I have been browsing through the Literature section at Barnes & Noble and keeping tabs on some books to take out. Please be sure to comment if you have read anything I should be adding to any of my four million book lists! And now onto the books…

What They Do in the Dark: A Novel by Amanda Coe
Upcoming Release Date: March 19, 2012
Why I’m interested: The premise sort of reminded me of Summer Sisters.
Description from Amazon: Spoiled but emotionally neglected Gemma, who seems to have everything, and semi-feral Pauline, who has less than nothing, are two very different ten-year-old girls growing up in a tough Yorkshire town in the 1970s. Pauline longs for the simple luxuries of Gemma’s life: her neatly folded socks and her clean hair. Gemma, upset by her parent’s breakup, loses herself in fantasies of meeting the child television star Lallie. When Lallie shoots a movie in their hometown, Gemma and Pauline grab the chance for their wildest dreams to come true. But the film becomes a terrible catalyst for the larger forces acting on the two girls, a dysfunctional adult world that trickles down to the children; and playground bullying escalates, with dreadful consequences. [ Goodreads | Amazon ]

Make It Stay by Joan Frank
Upcoming Release Date: March 30, 2012
Why I’m interested: This book description is so different than anything I’ve seen in awhile. Secrets, marriage, love stories, etc.
Description from Amazon: In the tree-nestled Northern California town of Mira Flores, writer Rachel (“an aging typist with an unprofitable hobby”) and her Scottish husband Neil prepare dinner for a familiar “crew” of guests – among them Neil’s best friend, the burly, handsome Mike Spender, an irrepressible heodnist – and Mike’s wife Tilda Krall, a hard-bitten figure who carries her dark unknowability like an accusation.

Mike and Tilda have produced an enchanting daughter, Addie – who will also appear, unexpectedly, that night. As they ready the meal, Rae begs Neil to retell her the strange, twisted story of the Spenders – to include Mike’s secret life, and what happened once Tilda learned of it. Neil and Rae cannot guess how the shock waves from that story will threaten to destroy their own marriage – after a mysterious catastrophe propels all five individuals into uncharted realities. [ Goodreads | Amazon ]

The Singles: A Novel by Meredith Goldstein
Upcoming Release Date:  April 24, 2012
Why I’m interested: Oh the drama of wedding etiquette. And it’s Goldstein’s debut!
Description from Amazon:  Bee wanted the perfect wedding; she got the “Singles”

Back in her single days—before she met the man of her dreams—Beth “Bee” Evans hated being forced to attend weddings solo. Determined to spare her friends the same humiliation, she invites everyone on her list with a guest. Much to her chagrin, however, Hannah, Vicki, Rob, Joe, and Nancy insist upon attending Bee’s lavish Chesapeake Bay nuptials alone. The frustrated bride dubs them the “Minus-Ones” and their collective decision wreaks unintended havoc on her otherwise perfectly planned wedding weekend.

One of today’s most popular relationship columnists, Meredith Goldstein, has penned a sparkling debut novel that chronicles the promises and disappointments of love and friendship with humor, compassion, and wisdom. [ Goodreads | Amazon ]

The Age of Miracles: A Novel by Karen Thompson Walker
Upcoming Release Date: June 26, 2012
Why I’m interested: I love coming of age stories. But this also has a futuristic/fantasy feel, which I don’t normally go for. Plus this is Walker’s debut novel!
Description from Amazon: On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues. [ Goodreads | Amazon ]

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Upcoming Release Date: July 31, 2012
Why I’m interested: Ever since Rachel made me read Something Borrowed, I’ve been a huge fan of Emily’s and read every single of her books. (SoBo is still my favorite; Baby Proof is second.)
Description from Amazon: Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever. [ Goodreads | Amazon ]

The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Contemporary Picks (February)

Estelle here! Wishing you a happy Thursday! It’s a new month and time for another round of The Big Kids’ Table, a feature I started in hopes of focusing on some new adult contemporary reads! As if we all need another book to add to our to-read list… because if you are anything like Magan and I — we are drowning in books. Although, we really wouldn’t have it any other way. Truly. So that being said here are a few (new) books that caught my eye.

Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Why I want to read it: Best friends, old boy friends… recipe for a good book, I’d say.
Summary (from Amazon): For Willa Jacobs, seeing her best friend, Jane Weston, is like looking in a mirror on a really good day. Strangers assume they are sisters, a comparison Willa secretly enjoys. They share an apartment, clothing, and groceries, eking out rent with part-time jobs. Willa writes advertising copy, dreaming up inspirational messages for tea bags (“The path to enlightenment is steep” and “Oolong! Farewell!”), while Jane cleans houses and writes poetry about it, rhyming “dust” with “lust,” and “clog of hair” with “fog of despair.” Together Willa and Jane are a fortress of private jokes and shared opinions, with a friendship so close there’s hardly room for anyone else. But when Ben, Willa’s oldest friend, reappears and falls in love with Jane, Willa wonders: Can she let her two best friends find happiness with each other if it means leaving her behind?  ( Goodreads | Amazon)

 

The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Why I want to read it: Who can’t relate to the time after college when they just had no idea what they were going to do with themselves?
Summary (from Amazon):

What to do when you’ve just graduated from college and your plans conflict with those of your parents? That is, when your plans to hang out on the couch, re-read your favorite children’s books, and take old prescription tranquilizers, conflict with your parents plans that you, well, get a job?Without a fallback plan, Eshter Kohler decides she has no choice but to take the job her mother has lined up for her: babysitting for their neighbors, the Browns. 

It’s a tricky job, though. Six months earlier, the Browns’ youngest child died. Still, as Esther finds herself falling in love with their surviving daughter May, and distracted by a confusing romance with one of her friends, she doesn’t notice quite how tricky the job is … until she finds herself assuming the role of confidante to May’s mother Amy, and partner in crime to Amy’s husband Nate. Trapped in conflicting roles doomed to collide, Esther is forced to come up with a better idea of who she really is. (Goodreads | Amazon)

Broadway Baby by Alan Shapiro
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Why I want to read it: Um, did anyone say Broadway? And who doesn’t like an intriguing mother-children dynamic?
Summary (from Amazon): As a little girl growing up in Boston, Miriam Bluestein fantasized about a life lived on stage, specifically in a musical. Get married, have a family—sure, maybe she’d do those things, too, but first and foremost there was her career. As a woman, she is both tormented and consoled by those dreams in her day-to-day existence with her family, including a short-tempered husband, a cranky mother, and three demanding children, one of whom, Ethan, shows real talent for the stage.

It is through Ethan that Miriam strives to realize her dreams. As she pushes him to make the most of his talent, the rest of her life gradually comes undone, with her husband becoming increasingly frustrated and her other two children—Sam, a mass of quirks and idiosyncrasies, and Julie, hostile and bitter—withdrawing into their own worlds. Still Miriam dreams, praying for that big finale, which, when it comes, is nothing that she ever could have imagined. (Goodreads | Amazon)

A Summer in Europe by Marilyn Brant
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Why I want to read it: A grand tour of Europe sounds pretty good to me any day.
Summary (from Amazon):  On her thirtieth birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea’s Sudoku and Mah-jongg Club. The prospect isn’t entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting — an engagement ring from her boyfriend — doesn’t materialize, Gwen decides to go. At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it’s the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and stunning vistas of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment: skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre, and taste-testing pastries at a Marseilles cafe. Revelling in every new experience — especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor — Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within…
(Goodreads | Amazon)

Spring: a Novel by David Szalay
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Why I want to read it: Well this sounds like an interesting love story.
Summary (from Amazon): James is a man with a checkered past—sporadic entrepreneur, one-time film producer, almost a dot-com millionaire—now alone in a flat in Bloomsbury, running a shady horse-racing-tips operation. Katherine is a manager at a luxury hotel, a job she’d intended to leave years ago, and is separated from her husband. The novel unfolds in 2006, at the end of the money-for-nothing years, as a chance meeting leads to an awkward tryst and James tries to make sense of a relationship where “no” means “maybe” and a “yes” can never be taken for granted.  (Goodreads | Amazon)

The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Contemporary Picks (January)

Estelle here! Hope all of you have dove into some good reading already this year. I just completed my fourth book last night and so far so good. But I’ve heard some murmurings on Twitter and even just my own about finding some good adult contemporary books to try out this year. If you remember from my Bookish Resolutions, I want to concentrate on broadening my horizons when it comes to book selection. So I finally decided to take advantage of the stack of Publisher Weekly magazines I see every day at work and never open, and scout out some of the reads that I’m most looking forward to. I’m hoping to make this a monthly feature. And by all means, if any of you have any suggestions — old or new — please feel free to comment. You know we just can’t get enough of books around here. (Seriously, M and I have a major addiction going on.)

How It All Began by Penelope Lively
Release Date: January 5, 2012
Why it caught my attention: I love a book set in London and the idea of how one act can affect unrelated folks.

Amazon description:

When Charlotte Rainsford, a retired schoolteacher, is accosted by a petty thief on a London street, the consequences ripple across the lives of acquaintances and strangers alike. A marriage unravels after an illicit love affair is revealed through an errant cell phone message; a posh yet financially strapped interior designer meets a business partner who might prove too good to be true; an old-guard historian tries to recapture his youthful vigor with an ill-conceived idea for a TV miniseries; and a middle-aged central European immigrant learns to speak English and reinvents his life with the assistance of some new friends.

Through a richly conceived and colorful cast of characters, Penelope Lively explores the powerful role of chance in people’s lives and deftly illustrates how our paths can be altered irrevocably by someone we will never even meet. Brought to life in her hallmark graceful prose and full of keen insights into human nature, How It All Began is an engaging, contemporary tale that is sure to strike a chord with her legion of loyal fans as well as new readers. A writer of rare wisdom, elegance, and humor, Lively is a consummate storyteller whose gifts are on full display in this masterful work.  (Amazon | Goodreads)

Spin: A Novel by Catherine McKenzie
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Why it caught my attention: My husband and I just got done watching a Parks and Recreation episode where one of the characters showed up drunk to an interview. It made me think of this.

Description from Amazon:

Kate’s To-Do List:

  • Go to rehab
  • Befriend/spy on “It Girl”
  • Write killer expose
  • Land dream job
  • Piece of cake!

When Kate Sandford lands an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line, it’s the chance of a lifetime. So Kate goes out to celebrate—and shows up still drunk to the interview the next morning. It’s no surprise that she doesn’t get the job, but her performance has convinced the editors that she’d be perfect for an undercover assignment for their gossip rag. All Kate has to do is follow “It Girl” Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop—and complete the thirty-day program—they’ll reconsider her for the position at The Line. Kate takes the assignment, but when real friendships start to develop, she has to decide if what she has to gain is worth the price she’ll have to pay. (Amazon | Goodreads)

The Lost Daughter by Lucy Ferriss
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Why it caught my attention: Who doesn’t like to read about secrets and old boyfriends?

Goodreads description:

Brooke O’Connor — elegant, self-possessed, and kind — has a happy marriage and a deeply loved young daughter. So her adamant refusal to have a second child confounds her husband, Sean. When Brooke’s high school boyfriend Alex — now divorced and mourning the death of his young son — unexpectedly resurfaces, Sean begins to suspect an affair. 

For fifteen years Brooke has kept a shameful secret from everyone she loves. Only Alex knows the truth that drove them apart. His reappearance now threatens the life she has so carefully constructed and fortified by denial. With her marriage — and her emotional equilibrium — at stake, Brooke must confront what she has been unwilling to face for so long. 

But the truth is not what Brooke believes it to be. (Amazon | Goodreads)

Other Waters: a Novel by Eleni N. Gage
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Why it caught my attention: Reminded me of a Jhumpa Lahiri book (like The Namesake) – which I normally love.

Description from Amazon:

Maya is an accomplished psychiatry resident with a terrific boyfriend, loving family, and bustling New York social life. When her grandmother dies in India, a family squabble over property results in a curse that drifts across continents and threatens Maya’s life. Or so her father says– Maya (being a modern woman, an American, and a doctor) doesn’t believe in curses, Brahman, or otherwise. But when her father suffers a heart attack, her sister miscarries, and her career and relationship both start to falter, Maya starts to worry. A trip back to India with her best friend Heidi, Maya reasons, will be just what’s needed to remove the curse, save her family, and to put her own life back in order. Thus begins a journey into Maya’s parallel world– an India filled with loving and annoying relatives, vivid colors, and superstitious customs–a cross-cultural, transcontinental search to for a chance to find real love. (Amazon | Goodreads)

These Days are Ours by Michelle Haimoff
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Why it caught my attention: I’m a sucker for a NYC setting plus I’ve been reading many 9/11-focused novels lately.

Description from Amazon:

Six months after September 11th, New Yorkers are instructed to get on with their lives despite the terror advisories, streets filled with 9/11 merchandise, and mail that may contain Anthrax.

But for Hailey, still jobless after college and living in her family’s Fifth Avenue penthouse, getting on with life means getting closer to Michael Brenner, the Princeton graduate and future human rights lawyer who seems to have it all. The city feels as if it’s on the brink of apocalypse, and seeking out any sort of future seems pointless. So Hailey and her friends – Katie, already working at Morgan Stanley; Randy, a trust-fund kid who wears sweaters with holes in them; and Jess, confident of her future success regardless of her present inertia – stay out all night, dream up get rich quick schemes and aspire to greatness while questioning how much that greatness really matters.

But when Hailey meets Adrian, a transplanted Pennsylvanian and recent Brown graduate who doesn’t belong to Hailey’s privileged mileu, she begins to realize that her view of the world might not be the only one there is, and soon she is questioning everything she thought she knew. (Amazon | Goodreads)