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The Big Kids’ Table: Adult Fiction Picks (May)

Take it from me, sometimes you just need a little adult fiction to pep up your reading list. I just read Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins and it was refreshing! Here are a few of my picks for this month. I think it’s the best list yet. Perfect timing for vacations and summer break and all that fun stuff.

The House of Velvet & Glass by Katherine Howe (Goodreads | Amazon)
Publication Date: April 10, 2012
Amazon Description: An entrancing historical novel set in Boston in 1915, where a young woman stands on the cusp of a new century, torn between loss and love, driven to seek answers in the depths of a crystal ball. 

Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium.

But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.

From the opium dens of Boston’s Chinatown to the opulent salons of high society, from the back alleys of colonial Shanghai to the decks of the Titanic, The House of Velvet and Glass weaves together meticulous period detail, intoxicating romance, and a final shocking twist that will leave readers breathless.

Why I want to read it: I’m not normally a fan of historical fiction but I couldn’t pass this one up because if its Titanic connection. So maybe it’ll make me a fan.

The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service by Beth Kendrick (Goodreads | Amazon)
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Description from author’s website:  Lara Madigan has a gift. She can help you find your soulmate—your canine soulmate, that is. As a dog trainer with a soft spot for strays, she’s found perfect homes for sulky Shih Tzus,  broken-down Border collies, and diabolical Dalmatians. But while she’ll always make room for one more rescue mutt, she’s not sure she’s ready to commit to another human being. Especially after her live-in boyfriend drops the bomb: He’s not a dog person.

Horrified and temporarily homeless, Lara and her furry pack move in with her mother, a wealthy fashionista who forbids even a single drop of drool. As word gets around the exclusive gated community, Lara is overwhelmed with demands for her services. A model wants personal training for her overweight “flabrador”; an aging socialite preps her pedigreed puppy for dog show domination… If Lara can survive the breakup, the outrageous requests of her high-maintenance clientele, and her dogs’ systematically destruction of her mother’s McMansion, she might finally find the rescue dog who rescues her in return– leading her straight to the guy who could be her perfect match.

Why I want to read it: You can’t get cuter than puppies.

Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman (Goodreads | Amazon)
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Amazon DescriptionWhen Ruth returns home to the South for the summer after her freshman year at college, a near tragedy pushes her to uncover family truths and take a good look at the woman she wants to become.

Growing up in Alabama, all Ruth Wasserman wanted was to be a blond Baptist cheerleader. But as a curly-haired Jew with a rampant sweet tooth and a smart mouth, this was an impossible dream. Not helping the situation was her older brother, David—a soccer star whose good looks, smarts, and popularity reigned at school and at home. College provided an escape route and Ruth took it.

Now home for the summer, she’s back lifeguarding and coaching alongside David, and although the job is the same, nothing else is. She’s a prisoner of her low self-esteem and unhealthy relationship with food, David is closed off and distant in a way he’s never been before, and their parents are struggling with the reality of an empty nest. When a near drowning happens on their watch, a storm of repercussions forces Ruth and David to confront long-ignored truths about their town, their family, and themselves.

Why I want to read it: Sounds intense. That could be a good thing.

Shelter by Francis Greenslave (Goodreads | Amazon)
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Amazon Description: For sisters Maggie and Jenny growing up in the Pacific mountains in the early 1970s, life felt nearly perfect. Seasons in their tiny rustic home were peppered with wilderness hikes, building shelters from pine boughs and telling stories by the fire with their doting father and beautiful, adventurous mother. But at night, Maggie—a born worrier—would count the freckles on her father’s weathered arms, listening for the peal of her mother’s laughter in the kitchen, and never stop praying to keep them all safe from harm. Then her worst fears come true: Not long after Maggie’s tenth birthday, their father is killed in a logging accident, and a few months later, their mother abruptly drops the girls at a neighbor’s house, promising to return. She never does.

With deep compassion and sparkling prose, Frances Greenslade’s mesmerizing debut takes us inside the devastation and extraordinary strength of these two girls as they are propelled from the quiet, natural freedom in which they were raised to a world they can’t begin to fathom. Even as the sisters struggle to understand how their mother could abandon them, they keep alive the hope that she is fighting her way back to the daughters who adore her and who need her so desperately.

Why I want to read it: Sister story. Should I say more?

Gold by Chris Cleave (Goodreads | Amazon)
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Amazon Description: KATE AND ZOE met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling—a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair.

Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.

Kate is the more naturally gifted, but the demands of her life have a tendency to slow her down. Her eight-year-old daughter Sophie dreams of the Death Star and of battling alongside the Rebels as evil white blood cells ravage her personal galaxy—she is fighting a recurrence of the leukemia that nearly killed her three years ago. Sophie doesn’t want to stand in the way of her mum’s Olympic dreams, but each day the dark forces of the universe seem to be massing against her.

Devoted and self-sacrificing Kate knows her daughter is fragile, but at the height of her last frenzied months of training, might she be blind to the most terrible prognosis?

Intense, aloof Zoe has always hovered on the periphery of real human companionship, and her compulsive need to win at any cost has more than once threatened her friendship with Kate—and her own sanity. Will she allow her obsession, and the advantage she has over a harried, anguished mother, to sever the bond they have shared for more than a decade?

Why I want to read it: Friendship, sports, and I have yet to read anything by Chris Cleave but I heard great things!

Does anyone have any suggestions for us? Would love to hear them!

August 17, 2012 - 9:03 am

Adult Book Review: Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman - […] 08.17.12 Estelle: Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman Publication Date: May 1, 2012 Publisher: William Morrow Pages: 304 Target audience: Adult fiction Keywords: eating disorder, college student, racial prejudices, summer How I found out about it: A pick for Big Kids’ Table […]

June 18, 2012 - 12:55 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - As always, wonderful suggestions Estelle! I’m especially looking forward to Saving Ruth and Shelter – they both sound amazing 🙂

May 16, 2012 - 9:55 pm

Estelle - Hey Casee! Thx for stopping by! You know, I saw Shelter at B&N on Friday and I was so close to buying it. I may do that for my upcoming trip or borrow it from the library this month. I’m glad to hear you liked it for all of those reasons. Sometimes a slow read is really a nice change; you can really sink into it. I can’t wait to get to know your blog! I love Hannah and I’m so glad you stopped over from her place.

May 16, 2012 - 6:52 pm

Casee Marie - I just stopped over from Hannah’s blog and I have to leave a little note to say that I absolutely recommend Shelter! I read it last month for review and it’s been one of my favorites so far this year. It’s slow-paced, but in a really good way. It’s very literary and internal, very pensive, and it transports you a bit, keeps you deeply interested. If I had been in the mood for a quick, light read at the time I probably wouldn’t have clicked with it as well, but if you want that “literary experience” that challenges you and engages you in language it’s the perfect choice.

And also, I love the idea of this Big Kids’ Table series! I review primarily classics, adult lit and memoirs so I’m always curious to see insights into adult fiction on other blogs. (:

May 10, 2012 - 11:49 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Awww… I love the “big kid’s table” idea! I, like so many others, don’t read much adult fiction … but I should. I am an adult after all =P I LOVED Little Bee though (if you haven’t read, I would highly recommend it), and I’m excited to see what the new book is like! *fingers crossed that he’s not a one-hit wonder*

May 10, 2012 - 4:54 pm

VeganYANerds - I really enjoy your adult recommendations, Estelle! I like the sound of The Lucky Dog Matchmaking… and Saving Ruth

May 10, 2012 - 9:22 am

Sash from Sash and Em - *puts on Big Girl Pants*

Ahem. Adult fiction rarely makes me say “Oh! Look, that sounds mighty interesting.” but I’ve been dabbling in more “mature” YA (themes, contents, all that jazz) and some historical fictions that could possibly put me in the mood for something like the first book mentioned. 🙂

I’m trying to read more Adult novels. We’ll see if that happens! 🙂

xo

May 10, 2012 - 9:22 am

Jamie - LOVE THIS POST! You know I love my adult fiction in addition to YA..checking out a few of these that I haven’t heard of. AH I forgot the Katherine Howe one was out! I loved The Psychik Book of Deliverance Dane!

May 10, 2012 - 8:53 am

Jayla | LadyBlueJay - These all sound like really good books! I am particularly in the first two. I am not a fan of historical fiction, but I do love a good mystery. Plus, I am a dog person (even though I don’t have a dog). And who doesn’t love a little romance every now and then?

Thanks for sharing these reads!

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