Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson ( web | facebook )
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: marriage, betrayal, regrets, parenthood
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley! (Thanks Sourcebooks!)
Summary: A blind date between Matt (a cop) and Lucy (reeling from a horrible breakup) leads to marriage, and a life of contentment. Or so it seems. Bits of dishonesty crack at the surface as the years go on, leading Matt and Lucy to lives they never imagined.
What is it about those bad boys? They are the hardest to get over, aren’t they?
When we meet Lucy she is still in love with passionate and inconsiderate Griffin, who totally deserted her during a pretty crucial time in their relationship. In an effort to get over him and dig herself out of this rut, she finally listens to her best friend and goes on a blind date with a cop named Matt.
Matt is pretty much everything Griffin isn’t. He’s sweet, he’s caring, he wants commitment. Slowly but surely this first date leads to marriage and two children. While life feels safe and Matt is the poster child for a great husband, Lucy is never truly satisfied. It’s like she has one foot out the door all the time, and when Griffin reemerges in her life, an already rocky marriage crumbles into dust.
Okay, I know this doesn’t sound like the happiest story. It really isn’t. It’s full of mistakes and regret and too many important concerns and emotions left unsaid between a husband and a wife. Thomson’s detailed backstory for both characters (down to their best friends and their parents) is superb and the see-sawing between Matt and Lucy’s perspectives was uncanny. I found myself totally swept up in their stories, in their fight to find happiness for themselves and also for their children, who were bearing the brunt of this off-kilter union.
Both Matt and Lucy made mistakes, and it was so intriguing because sometimes these mistakes felt like the right thing to do. Could their problems have been solved in a more logical way? Of course. But both of them felt so strongly one way or another that their dramatic actions really drove the pace of the story and had me finishing this book in one day. I could not sleep without knowing how it all would end.
Lies You Wanted to Hear spans many years, and morphs into this unexpected psychological thriller in some ways. What would be the repercussions of Matt and Lucy’s actions? Would karma come into play at some point, and would it permanently damage their bond with their children? Were their moves propelled by selfishness, desperation, or an extreme need to protect? Or all of the above? The material is so discussion worthy, and I felt like it was possible to root for either side at various points in the novel, making it that much more of an enjoyable experience to gobble up.
I love when a book takes me by surprise, and I was even more shocked to see this was Thomson’s debut novel. It was so clear how much he cared for all of his characters, and worked to tell a well-rounded, detail-oriented story showcasing the grays of commitment and just how far we would go for happiness.
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Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing a copy of Lies You Wanted to Hear to one of our readers! Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only! Good luck!
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Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding (website | twitter)
Books Read by This Author: The Reece Malcolm List (Estelle’s Review)
Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: diverse families, adopted siblings, newspaper staff, older boyfriends
Format Read: ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley. (Thank you!)
Summary: Kellie’s always been a little uncertain of her place in life — she’s the underachieving sibling and the less attractive friend. When Kellie’s best friend, Kaitlyn, suddenly drops her for the popular crowd, and her older sister connects with her biological mother, she’s forced to discover who she is and what her passions are. And maybe, just maybe, that includes a boy named Oliver.
Yesterday in our Nailed It post, I teased you guys with hints of why I really enjoyed Amy Spalding’s secondary novel, Ink is Thicker Than Water. The family dynamics were absolutely one of my favorite aspects of the entire book. Kellie is a girl who doesn’t really know her place in her diverse family — her older-by-a-year, adopted sister, Sara, is extremely gorgeous and über smart. Kellie is most like her mother, but she’s scared that she won’t figure out who she is until much, much later in life, just as her mom did. And while he has the best intentions, her dad is always pressuring her to apply herself more and comparing her accomplisments to Sara’s. Her step-father Russell is a gem because he seamlessly fits into the family, but doesn’t overstep his bounds. Finn, Sara and Kellie’s half-brother, is this four-year-old ball of adorableness that everyone loves to take care of.
Is this family flawed? Yes. Do they have some issues? Absolutely. Do they fall-to-pieces because of them? Well… not necessarily, but things do get interesting when Sara’s biological mom emerges out of thin air. Everyone tries to give Sara the space to figure out her relationship with her mom without interfering, but just imagine how hard that would be without feeling like you’re being replaced. Kellie’s mom is the biggest proponent of personal space and there not being “gossip” amongst the family — she wants everyone to be open and honest, but when Sara begins distancing herself, no one knows how to navigate this bumpy road.
Aside from the family, there are some pretty strong secondary stories woven into Ink is Thicker Than Water. To make her dad happy and to quit being such a wallflower, Kellie immerses herself in the school newspaper, an activity she finds both a bit nerdy and uncool, but still intriguing. Meanwhile her best friend, Kaitlyn, suddenly transforms into this gorgeous babe that makes Kellie feel a little inferior, especially when Kait decides to try to connect with the popular crowd. There’s so much self-discovery woven into the pages of Ink; how does Kellie find her place amongst her family and how does she deal with the abandonment of two people she’s closest to — Sara and Kaitlyn?
Romantics, you may be wondering where the love interest comes into play. Oliver is a guy Kellie met several months prior, but didn’t keep in touch with. When they run into each other again at a local diner, the text and chat marathons begin. Except Oliver seems to come on a little too strong; his intensity level is set to high and Kellie’s a little unsure of how to talk with Oliver about his eagerness. While I am typically so invested in the love lives of main characters, I felt like something was askew with Oliver and Kellie’s relationship. I wasn’t fully invested, but maybe that’s purely because I was so concerned about how her family dramatics would work out. It’s really difficult when I’m extremely interested in one storyline and another doesn’t quite capture my attention in the same way. The romance was definitely there, but my heart wasn’t.
Despite the few things I felt needed to be finessed a little more, Ink is Thicker Than Water was an enjoyable read that allowed me to disconnect and relax in exactly the way reading should. And if you haven’t read Amy Spalding’s The Reese Malcolm List, you absolutely should. Both Estelle and I give it our stamps of approval.
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With Thanksgiving Day so so close (we can’t believe it), we’ve decided to change things up once again for NAILED IT and focus on books with great family influences. Sometimes books in YA tend to go heavy on romance and friendships and forget that there are parents at home, but we have always noted to one another when a book HAS GOT IT ALL aka the craziness and awesomeness of family. Today we are sharing some more nail palettes (yay!) and titles that celebrate all the important parts of life.
It’s been really hard for me to stop thinking about the Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone. It was one of those unexpected reading experiences for me this year, and I can’t wait to read it again. (How many books can you say that about?) Sure this book is rooted in romance, and how a relationship can survive when time travel complicates things but Stone does not forget how much family affects decisions, expectations, and just, life in general. Especially when you are a teenager.
In both books (Book 1 from Anna’s POV, and Book 2 from Bennett’s), concerned yet supportive families take centerstage. They might not necessarily know all the details of Anna and Bennett’s relationship but there’s a certain cause and effect when the families are involved too. I was really glad to see that layer in both of these books. So many times this is just glazed over in young adult fiction.
If you are on the prowl for a well-rounded story with present parents (who are as flawed as our main characters), be sure to check out these two books. For this month’s Nailed It, I decided to focus on the newer release: Time After Time.
I am loving this palette. It reminds me of early Thanksgiving mornings. Right?
Bette | Nadia | Vera ♥ Add Time After Time to Goodreads
I’m in the final 6% of Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding. My, oh my, how I love this family. The dynamics are really phenomenal — Kellie’s mom and dad are divorced, but they’re still both very present in her life. They’re two imperfect people that make mistakes, but that’s real life, right? Kellie’s stepfather is really incredible, too, as he balances his role of being her father the majority of the time, but knowing that he shouldn’t interfere and overstep his bounds.
I did some pretty major happy dances over Kellie’s relationship with her older sister, who was adopted. They’re each other’s go-to person, but things do get complicated when Sara turns 18 and her birthmother reaches out to her. Kellie doesn’t exactly understand why there’s distance between them, but she tries to be respectful at the same time. Really, though, I think everyone will fall in love with Kellie’s half-brother, Finn, this four-year-old ball of cuteness. And you’ll definitely love the way the older sisters accept responsibility for (and enjoy their time with) Finn.
Things definitely get a little bit sloppy as Kellie tries to find her place in the family and figure out who she is, but I love that Spalding so heavily focused on family. There’s also friendship and a love interest, but my heart sang with glee when I realized how heavily Kellie was influenced by her family.
I couldn’t find the perfect pop of pink to coordinate with her lipstick so I pulled the slight hint of blue from her scarf instead. I think the blue, white, and yellow translate to a bit more fall-ish than the pink would have anyway. Thoughts?
Millie | Nicolette | Catrina ♥ Add Ink is Thicker Than Water to Goodreads
Tell us, friends, what your favorite family-influenced books are.
Thanks for indulging in our nail polish obsession with another Nailed It!
If You Were Mine by Bella Andre ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Target audience: Adult/romance fans
Keywords: animals, big families, family secrets, unlikely friendships
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)
Other books by Bella Andre: I Only Have Eyes for You | Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Summary: Zach, a notorious playboy with no desire to settle down, finds himself unexpectedly caring for his brother’s new dog. The dog’s lack of discipline causes Zach to cross paths with Heather, a dedicated dog trainer who is adamant about keeping her guard up.
Who knew a dog named Cuddles could bring two people together?
Bella Andre has really done it again in If You Were Mine. Sure her male characters are very alpha but I was really charmed by Zach, a successful businessman who knows his way around a car. But he absolutely knows nothing about dogs and he can’t turn down his adorable niece when she asks him to take care of Cuddles for two weeks. Cuddles might be adorable but the dog is also a total terror and Zach needs help.
She’s practically a dog whisperer and feels instantly protective of Cuddles when she experiences firsthand how Zach cannot handle her at all. Begrudgingly, she decides to help him out and while it starts to work, she can’t help but be distracted by his good looks and ohmigosh, his flirting. But family drama has made Heather cautious and she knows she just can’t trust anyone right now. Especially super sweet, funny, successful, adorable Zach.
Here we get the brilliant “friends with benefits” idea. Zach doesn’t want to settle down, and Heather doesn’t want to fall in love so hey, this is the most perfect idea in the world, right?
Well, Zach and Heather are so intensely sexy together but it isn’t long before one of them starts thinking they could be something more. That this could actually mean something. Could they overcome their own insecurities and make a real relationship work? Oh, I was hoping so.
I loved watching these two fall for each other, and found it especially sweet when their dogs formed quite the bond. Plus the entire Sullivan clan is incredibly amusing, and their affection for each other just adds a whole new dimension to these books. They tease, they challenge each other, and they are so good at welcoming outsiders (especially us readers).
If You Were Mine is officially a new favorite!
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Covet by Tracey Garvis-Graves ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: recession, marriage, female/male friendships, love
Format read: ARC Paperback from Alexa at Alexa Loves Books! (Thanks!)
Summary: Unemployment and then long business trips start to take a toll on Chris and Claire’s marriage. Can things improve? Before they have a chance to work through things, Claire starts up a friendship with local cop, David. Will Claire give into the temptation she feels when she is around him? Covet is a look at marriage, commitment, and what could have been.
I went into Covet thinking I would be reading about infidelity and how a marriage does or does not heal afterward. And you know what? I was entirely wrong, and I’m so glad for that. Garvis-Graves, instead, gives us a story that made me so much more interested in why Chris and Claire’s marriage was on the rocks and why hearts have a mind of their own.
Even though the effects of the recession are all around us, I haven’t seen a lot of that infused in the books I’m reading. Garvis-Graves paints a real picture. A husband and father who is so used to taking care of his family, and what happens when he suddenly cannot. At first, he’s optimistic for new opportunities but when their savings account starts to show signs of wear, and Claire has to let go of their housekeeper, Chris starts to fall into his own black hole. It’s a funny thing. We like to think we are so past the times when husbands went to work and moms stayed home to cook and clean and take care of the kids. But that seed is still very much there for Chris and Claire. No matter how much support Claire shows Chris, his determination to support his family financially and and the failure he feels is the downfall of this family.
As I was reading, I was begging these two characters to just TALK to each other. But ya know, easier said than done.
With Chris traveling all the time for his new job (hoping to earn his keep), Claire is left home with the kids, her drama-filled neighbors, and obtaining more freelance graphic arts gigs. When she befriends local cop, David, she is instantly attracted to him and soon his attention is all she can think about it. She craves it, and who blames her really? Chris is totally wrapped up in his job, only takes a break to ask about the kids, and she is lonely. She is unbelievably lonely.
So Claire and David go to dinner and they talk a lot and they go on motorcycle rides. Their relationship borders on non-innocent and has the opportunity to cross the line, but does it?
I’m not telling you.
But whether they get it on or not is not really the point, and I applaud Garvis-Graves for bring this subject to light. We cannot control our hearts but we can control our actions. And if those actions are controlled, can we be punished for how we feel? I don’t know. Claire is an endearing character who loves Chris and her family. She tries everything to get him to open up to her but when he shuts her down the last time, she gives up. Time passes and they continue to grow apart. And with David, she feels a flicker of something that has been missing in her life.
Honestly, I had no idea how this story was going to end, but I was satisfied with it. This is my first Garvis-Graves book, and while it started a little slow and sometimes over-explained certain situations, she did a commendable job of creating characters dealing with huge changes within their home lives, neighborhood, and society. It’s a discussion worthy novel, and I’m interested to read On the Island and see how the two compare.
Food for thought: Marriage succeeds when you can communicate with your partner, and when you are willing to put in the work and the time each day. Is Chris’ ignorance due to his new job better or worse than Claire’s emotionally distracting friendship with David? Are they both at fault? Is one worse than the other?
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