The Big Kids’ Table: Summer is the Word

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

Hiya! I can’t believe I’m doing another one of these so soon, and also halfway through the year with my adult suggestions. It’s funny. During BEA week, many people would ask what kind of blog we run and I realize that for me, adult fiction is my “palette cleanser” whether it’s picking up something more serious or something a bit fluffier. It really does work!

Before we dive into some new big kids books, Elena from Novel Sounds stops by this month with her own recommendation:

novel sounds

Why she picked it up?: THE COVER.
What’s it about: Set in the 80s, it’s June’s coming of age story dealing with grief over her uncle’s death from AIDS. She befriends Toby, a man who seems to know a lot about her uncle and embarks on an unexpected friendship with him.
Three words to describe: A warm embrace
Last few awesome reads: Crown of Midnight by Sarah Maas, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

thanks to elena for putting together the graphic for me!

↔

I like to keep things fresh around here so I tried something new yet again when I went to the bookstore this week. I browsed the New Fiction tables for books with SUMMER in the title. The weather has been so August-like in NYC, the AC is up and running like crazy at work, and our Sweet Summertime Reads series has kicked off again so I’m in the summer mode + that means SUMMER BOOKS.

Let me know what you think of these beauties:

Big Kids Table Fiction Books with Summer in the Title

Summer Breeze by Nancy Thayer (Release Date: June 5, 2012) > a summer in New England
All the Summer Girls by Meg Donahue (Release Date: May 21, 2013) > New Jersey beach town!
The Wonder Bread Summer by Jessica Anya Blau (Release Date: May 28, 2013) > 1980s Los Angeles
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams (Release Date: May 30, 2013) > 1930s Rhode Island

↔

As always, I would love to hear what is accompanying you to the park these days, what books you are stuffing in your beach bag, and maybe ones that you’ve eyed at the bookstore!

Thanks for stopping by today + happy BIG KID reading!

The Big Kids’ Table: Fiction Picks (February 2013)

Why, hello there! Is it just about time for you to swap out your next young adult read for something a bit more grown up? Well, it seems like you are in the right place today!

This month, instead of searching through the pages of Publishers Weekly for some intriguing new titles, I snooped in the bookstore. Yes, I did. I ran to the new releases section and picked through many books to bring you a list of the books I’d be most interested in buying. I think you are really going to like these.

But first, our blogger recommendation…

↓

Hannah from So Obsessed Blog sings the praises of The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum

Big Kids Table Blogger Choice So Obsessed With

Why she picked it up? The cover and the most intriguing first five pages I’ve ever read.
What’s it about: Emily Haxby is a twenty-nine-year-old Manhattan attorney who begins to unravel. It starts when she ends her relationship with her boyfriend for reasons she can’t even explain, and then everything else starts falling apart. And so begins Emily’s journey to find her place in life and her sense of self. I read this pre-blogging, so it’s an older book, but I often pull it off my shelves to re-read my favorite parts. I want more people to discover Julie Buxbaum’s writing!
Three words to describe: Honest, touching and clever.
Last few awesome reads: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi; Unearthly & Hallowed by Cynthia Hand; Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

 ↓

My bookstore snoops…

The Death Bees by Lisa O'DonnellThe Death Bees by Lisa O’Donnell | Release Date: January 2, 2013 from Harper (Add to Goodreads)
Goodreads description: Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved. Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren’t telling. While life in Glasgow’s Hazlehurst housing estate isn’t grand, they do have each other. Besides, it’s only one year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both. As the new year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? But he’s not the only one who suspects something isn’t right. Soon, the sisters’ friends, their other neighbors, the authorities, and even Gene’s nosy drug dealer begin to ask questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls’ family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.

Love is a Canoe by Ben Schrank

Love is a Canoe by Ben Schrank | Release Date: January 8, 2013 from Sarah Critchon Books (Add to Goodreads)
Goodreads description: Peter Herman is something of a folk hero. Marriage Is a Canoe, his decades-old book on love and relationships, has won the hearts of hopeful romantics and desperate cynics alike. Peter and his wife lived a peaceful life, but now it’s 2010, and his wife has just died. He passes time with a woman he admires but doesn’t love—and he begins to question the advice he’s famously doled out for decades. Then he receives a call from Stella Petrovic, an ambitious young editor who wants to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Marriage Is a Canoe with a contest for struggling couples. The prize? An afternoon with Peter and a chance to save their relationship. The contest ensnares Stella in the opaque politics of her publishing house, while it introduces the reader to couples in varied states of distress: a shy thirtysomething Brooklynite whose husband may be just a bit too charismatic for his own good; a middle-aged publisher whose imposing manner has imposed loneliness on her for longer than she cares to admit. Then there’s Peter, who must discover what he meant when he wrote Marriage Is a Canoe if he is going to help the contest’s winners and find a way to love again.

Ignorance by Michele Roberts

Ignorance by Michele Roberts | Release Date: January 22, 2013 from Bloomsbury (Add to Goodreads)
Goodreads description: Jeanne Nerin and Marie-Angèle Baudry grow up side by side in the Catholic village of Ste. Madeleine, but their worlds could not be more different. Marie-Angèle is the grocer’s daughter, inflated with ideas of her own piety and rightful place in society. Jeanne’s mother washes clothes for a living. She used to be a Jew until this became too dangerous. Jeanne does not think twice about stealing food when she is hungry, nor about grasping the slender chances life throws at her. Marie-Angèle does not grasp; she aspires to a life of comfort and influence. When war falls out of the sky, the forces that divide the two girls threaten to overwhelm those that bind them together. In this dizzying new order, the truth can be buried under a pyramid of recriminations.

↓

Star Crossed by Jennifer Echols

And a huge reminder that Jennifer Echols’ adult fiction debut comes out on February 26! Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? Be sure to check out my review of Star Crossed to refresh your memory! Vegas! College rivals! Celebrities! The past! Such a fantastic read for those who love romance and easy breezy contemps!

Thanks for stopping in today! I would love to hear what you’re reading in the comments!

The Big Kids’ Table: 5 Adult Reads from Rather Be Reading (September 2012)

The Big Kids' Table, Rather Be Reading Blog's monthly break from young adult genre and introduction to some adult titles

The Big Kids’ Table is a monthly feature from Rather Be Reading Blog,
where we
take a tiny break from the young adult genre to shed some light on
five adult titles you may want to add to your reading list.

↔

Can you believe it’s the second week in September already? I woke up this morning to 54-degree weather, had to blow dry my hair, and wear a jacket. This has not happened in forever! With fall close by, I’m so excited about curling up with a latte and a few billion books as the months get colder over here. As far as my adult fiction picks are concerned, I am mighty excited about these titles and I think that if you are a young adult reader who may be itching to try something new but remain unsure… one of these books might be a good place to start! (One of these authors is actually super well-known in the YA world too!)

Please be sure to let me know if you have any great adult recs in the comments! Until next time… e

Laura Lamont's Life in PicturesLaura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub (Goodreads)
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Description (from GR): In 1920, Elsa Emerson, the youngest and blondest of three sisters, is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage, where she soaks up the approval of her father and the embrace of the audience. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child¹s game of pretend.

While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award­-winning actress—and a genuine movie star. Laura experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself. 

Finding Bluefield by Elan BarnehamaFinding Bluefield by Elan Barnehama (Goodreads)
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Description (from GR): Everything changes when Barbara enters Nicky’s diner and begins a journey that will last a lifetime as she falls in love against her better judgment and best-laid plans. The free-spirited Nicky later attends the 1963 March on Washington and impulsively and anonymously sleeps with a man in hopes of getting pregnant and starting a family with Barbara. When Nicky gives birth to Paul, her sister steps in to adopt Paul for his own “protection.”

Nicky, Barbara, and Paul escape Bluefield and make a life in upstate New York, only returning to Bluefield years later upon hearing of the death of Nicky’s sister. As their journey comes full circle, Barbara, Paul, and Nicky find their return to Bluefield is the catalyst for facing family secrets and forging family ties.

How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kate McLarenHow I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren (Goodreads)
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Description (from GR):  Jill Anthony spent her young adulthood in the ski town of Sparkle, Colorado.  But more than a decade has passed since she left when, only weeks after a very late miscarriage, she finds her husband in bed with another woman, she flees Austin, Texas for the town she knows:  Sparkle.

Lisa Carlucci wakes up one morning after another night of meaningless sex, looks in the mirror and realizes that she no longer wants to treat her body like a Holiday Inn. She’s going to hold out for love.  The only problem is, love might come in the form of her ski bum best friend, who lives next door with his ski bum friends in a trailer known as “the Kennel.”

Cassie Jones, at age ten, has lost her mother to cancer and no longer believes in anything anymore.  She knows her father is desperately worried about her, and she constantly looks for messages from her deceased mother through the heart-shaped rocks they once collected in the streams and hills of Sparkle. 

Three people at the crossroads of heartbreak and healing. Three lives that will be changed one winter in Sparkle.  One tender, funny, tear-jerking novel you won’t soon forget.

Sad Desk Salad by Jessica GroseSad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose (Goodreads)
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Description (from GR): Alex Lyons gets paid to be a bitch. As writer for Chick Habit, a website for women and one of the most popular blogs on the Internet, she’s fulfilling her dream of being a professional writer. Maybe she’s not quite championing the women’s rights issues she used to write about in college-but Alex churns out several posts a day, beginning with hard news at 8 am (a meth-addicted former beauty queen, perfect); morning and evening gossip roundups; and especially juicy posts for blog primetime , when women in their offices all over both coasts eat their sad desk salads.

So what if it means burrowing into the couch while her boyfriend is at work, compulsively scouring the Web from 6 am until 6 pm to find the next big celebrity scandal, and only moving for five minutes to grab a sad couch salad of her own…but the last time she left her computer for more than 10 minutes, Farrah Fawcett died, and she missed the scoop. It’s a chick-eat-chick world; and since Chick Habit’s parent company has been cracking down about page views, Alex knows her job is at risk.

So when an anonymous tipster sends Alex the juiciest scoop of the year-a politico’s squeaky-clean Ivy League daughter caught in the act of some very R-rated activity-it’s a no-brainer. As she prepares to ignite the next Internet feeding frenzy, she hesitates: is she ready to ruin the girl’s life? What Alex doesn’t anticipate is how the big scoop will send her own life spiraling out of control.

The Elementals by Francesca Lia BlockThe Elementals by Francesca Lia Block (Goodreads)
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Description (from GR):  The Elementals  is on one level an intriguing coming-of-age novel about a young woman, Ariel Silverman, facing the challenges of her first years away at college in Berkeley, California, while her mother battles cancer at home in Los Angeles. But the book takes on deeper, stranger meanings when we realize that Ariel is haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, Jeni, who vanished without a trace a few years before, closing Ariel’s heart and changing her forever.  Ariel wonders if she will ever be fully alive, until she meets three mysterious, beautiful and seductive young people living in a strange old house in the Berkeley hills.  Through them Ariel will unravel the mystery of her best friend’s disappearance and face a chilling choice.

The Big Kids’ Table: Sweet Summertime Reads Edition


Hope you all are doing well! I’m back with another helping of Big Kids’ Table… this month’s is part of Sweet Summertime Reads, a feature we are hosting along with Ginger (Ginger Reads Books) and Tara (Fiction Folio). I know a lot of our readers mostly stick to young adult but I’m hoping to get more of you to dabble in adult fiction at the same time! It’s good to switch it up, I promise!

So here are a few more books that are making their grand debut this summer:

Inside by Alix Ohlin ( Amazon | Goodreads)
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Amazon Summary:  When Grace, an exceedingly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man who has just failed to hang himself, her instinct to help kicks in immediately. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. In the meantime, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away from home and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband, who is a therapist as well, leaves the woman he’s desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic.
Why I want to read it: I like stories abou therapists… and all of these characters seem incredibly engaging. (Plus, how awesome is that cover?)

Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welch ( Amazon | Goodreads )
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Amazon Summary: In 1975, trying to find a place to belong, four young women found each other in the same sorority pledge class. Through parties and pranks; finals and skipped classes; boyfriends and break-ups, they forge a bond that takes them by surprise. No one expected it to last beyond college graduation. But some bonds are too strong to break.
Why I want to read it: I’m not a huge fan of soroities but I do like books about the friendships of women.


We Only Know So Much
by Elizabeth Crane ( Amazon | Goodreads )
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Amazon Summary: Jean Copeland, an emotionally withdrawn wife and mother of two, has taken a secret lover—only to lose him in a moment of tragedy that leaves her reeling. Her husband, Gordon, is oblivious, distracted by the fear that he’s losing his most prized asset: his memory. Daughter Priscilla (a pill since birth—don’t get us started) is talking about clothes, or TV, or whatever, and hatching a plan to extend her maddening reach to all of America. Nine-year-old Otis is torn between his two greatest loves: crossword puzzles and his new girlfriend.

At the back of the house, grandfather Theodore is in the early throes of Parkinson’s disease. (And he’s fine with it—as long as they continue to let him walk the damn dog alone.) And Vivian, the family’s ninety-eight-year-old matriarch, is a razor-sharp grande dame who suffers no fools…and still harbors secret dreams of her own.
Why I want to read it: I know, it’s a cheating book but… I happen to like those for some reason. I think I just like reading about a lot of different marriages.

America, You Sexy Bitch by Meghan McCain & Michael Ian Black ( Amazon | Goodreads)
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Amazon Summary: In America, You Sexy Bitch, Meghan and Michael embark on a balls-out, cross-country tour starting in California, the heart of liberal America, and ending in the state of Connecticut, the home of blue-blood Wall Street billionaires. Along the way, they visit such cultural touchstones as Graceland and Branson, party in Las Vegas and New Orleans, pretend to be Mormon in Salt Lake City (only for a second), and go to a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. They tour the nation’s capital; they fire semiautomatic weapons. But mostly Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black talk to each other: about their differences, their similarities, and how American politics has gotten so divided.

Why I want to read it: Despite my politics, I really like Meghan McCain and very much enjoyed her first book: Dirty Sexy Politics. I’m very curious to see how this second book holds up.

When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison ( Amazon | Goodreads )
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Amazon Description: As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and—oh yes—butter.
Why I want to read it: A love story, some baking… what could be better?

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!