Special Feature: ENCHANTED AUGUST by Brenda Bowen

Last summer I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing ENCHANTED AUGUST by Brenda Bowen and now it’s coming to paperback this summer!

This fun summer beach read, is out in paperback on July 5th from Penguin Books with a gorgeous new cover.

A Maine Literary Awards finalist, ENCHANTED AUGUST transports readers to a tiny island in Maine, telling the story of four mismatched people who learn that sometimes—if you’re lucky—a change of scenery can lead you right back to where you belong. Romantic, optimistic, and as refreshing as a summer cocktail, the novel itself is a perfect escape.

Mary Kay Andrews agrees—she recently recommended ENCHANTED AUGUST as a summer pick, saying “Do yourself a favor and escape from the withering heat and humidity of a Southern summer by steering a course for Little Lost Island.”

Below is a great Q & A with Bowen sure to get you excited about summer reading!

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Review: 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

This book came across my desk for review a couple of months ago and initially I passed on it for review and agreed to do a special feature instead.

I wasn’t sure that I could fit it into my review schedule and I wasn’t sure it was something that I really wanted to read. However when I did the special feature, I completely rethought my decision!

After reading the discussion questions of the feature, I was intrigued. This book sounded like it was going to be raw, honest, and dark but yet poignant and meaningful. This book was all of these things and more!

This book is set up with 13 different chapters, each of which reads like a short story. Initially I thought that each chapter was a short story about different women, but it was short stories about one main character, Lizzie (AKA Beth, Liz, Elizabeth).

Lizzie has never liked the way she looked. She has struggled with low self esteem and body images as well as a host of other issues when it comes to her weight. Each chapter addresses different aspects of her weight struggles. In some chapters she dates men online and trying to feel accepted by friends and boys, while others are a little more humorous such as when she talks about counting her almonds while trying to diet.

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Review: Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

This is a novel that I liked so much more than I expected to. I love when books do that!

I’ve read a ton of books this year that have been set in the 1920s and 1930s eras, some with the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood as a backdrop. So many books in fact that I am getting a little tired of the era.

So when I picked up this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect and how I was going to feel about it. As soon as I started the book and found out the backdrop was not just old Hollywood but also had hints of the movie Gone with the Wind, I was immediately caught up in this story!

Flash forward to modern day Los Angeles. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

The books then takes us back to Los Angeles, 1938.  Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her  dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind.

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Special Feature: RE JANE by Patricia Park

RE JANE: A Novel (Penguin Books ; On-sale: April 19, 2016; $16.00; ISBN: 978014310794) by Patricia Park is a fresh, contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre and a poignant Korean-American debut novel that takes its heroine Jane Re on a journey from Queens to Brooklyn to Seoul—and back.

For Jane, a half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, she toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation).

Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth-century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.

Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is.

Perfect for readers of Ruth Ozeki, Chang-rae Lee, Allegra Goodman, and—of course—Charlotte Brontë, RE JANE is a bright, comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just out of obligation to others, but for one’s self.

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Review: Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey

I don’t typically read a lot of ‘Southern fiction’ or women’s fiction, but there was something about this intriguing cover and description that lured me in.

After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.

Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.

But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves.

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