Review: The Art of Forgetting

Why I picked it: Thank you TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read The Art of Forgetting.  This book was also available on NetGalley so I requested a copy to read while on holiday (a book free vacation).

Synopsis: A moving and insightful debut novel of great friendship interrupted. Can the relationship survive when the memories are gone?

Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar.

And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken.

With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future.

The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: This novel was different than what I expected but in a good way.  Marissa and Julia are good friends, Julia gets hit by a car and yet this is Marissa's story more than Julia's.

Marissa wants to be supportive of her friend but when Julia tries to right a wrong (something that happened over a decade ago) Marissa is tested over and over.  Marissa is forced to deal with her past, first love versus current love and all the misunderstandings that happen along the way.  This is a fun novel, perfect for summer.

I love it when I read something in a book that resonates... memories are not just memories, the more time we revisit them the less accurate they become.

Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Review Copy/NetGalley

Review: Little Bee

Why I picked it: Little Bee was recommended to me over and over yet I kept passing it by, so I was happy to hear we were going to read this for The Omaha Bookworm's.

Synopsis: On a beach in Nigeria, the lives of Little Bee, a teenager from a small village, and Sarah O'Rourke, editor of a posh British women's magazine, are brought into brutal conjunction. Little Bee and her older sister have the misfortune to live on valuable Nigerian oil deposits, for which their family pays a deadly price. Sarah and her husband, heedless tourists out for a walk in the sand, are confronted in an instant with a choice: Save the girls at great personal cost or ignore them. (source: Washington Post Review)

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: My book club read/discussed this book in March and unfortunately I was only at the half way point the night they discussed it.  When they called me, it was a wonderful experience to listen to them talking about the book, breaking it down and mentioning that a few of them highlighted the same text (flagging it as brilliant).

Little Bee's story is very sad but with a glimmer of hope. Sarah does not welcome Little Bee into her home with open arms, but as the story unfolds Little Bee becomes a part of their broken family. Sarah is willing to do just about anything to keep Little Bee safe.

There are so many things to love about this novel, the writing a given... I adored Sarah's little boy and that he only wore a super hero outfit.  He is aware that his Daddy isn't coming home, yet waits for his return (heartbreaking).  Sarah is complicated, loved her! 

I wish I had finished this book before our discussion, I would love to chat about it.  Click here to read Lit & Life's review (Lisa runs our book club)

I wonder if I would be willing to give up something for a complete stranger.... Have you read this book?  I would love to hear your thoughts (or link to your review).

Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Audio (Library)

Country: Nigeria/England
Challenge: Teresa's Audiobook Challange

Review: The Ninth Wife

Why I picked it: It's summer, I enjoy chick-lit, and who isn't intrigued with the title? 

I started reading this book just before going on vacation in May, then my Nook broke so it feels like I have been reading this book for a long time! 

Synopsis: What sane woman would consider becoming any man's ninth wife? Bess Gray is a thirty-five-year-old folklorist and amateur martial artist living in Washington, DC. Just as she's about to give up all hope of marriage, she meets Rory, a charming Irish musician, and they fall in love. But Rory is a man with a secret, which he confesses to Bess when he asks for her hand: He's been married eight times before. Shocked, Bess embarks on a quest she feels she must undertake before she can give him an answer. With her bickering grandparents (married sixty-five years), her gay neighbor (himself a mystery), a shar-pei named Stella, and a mannequin named Peace, Bess sets out on a cross-country journey—unbeknownst to Rory—to seek out and question the wives who came before. What she discovers about her own past is far more than she bargained for.

Type: Fiction

Quick Take:  This is a cute summer read.  Told in two parts, before Bess finds out that Rory has been married eight times, and after.  Rory has a voice in the novel, spending complete chapters on the courting and marriage of each wife.  I really liked him, I may not understand eight wives but it all made sense.

Bess goes on a road trip with her grandparents and decides to find some of the wives in part two, hoping to find peace with the idea of being the ninth wife and understand Rory better (is he really the one).  She is in love this Rory and at 35 she really wants to believe in love.

After finishing the book, I found an author interview with Book Club Girl.  It was so nice to hear the author's take... Rory and Bess didn't end up together in the rough draft, and it was fun hearing how the marriages were developed. I don't want to give it all away, the interview is worth listening to!

Have you read it?  Did you like this one? 

Rating: 4/5 stars

Source: Review Copy via NetGalley

Review: Alice Bliss

Why I picked it: I was intrigued by the synopsis and thought this might be interesting. I haven't read many books taking place in the current day about how war can impact a family.

Synopsis: A profoundly moving, uplifting novel about those who are left at home during wartime and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.

When Alice learns that he father is being deployed to Iraq, she's heartbroken. Matt Bliss is leaving just as his daughter blossoms into a full-blown teenager. She will learn to drive, shop for a dress for her first dance, and fall in love all while trying to be strong for her mother and take care of her younger sister. Alice wears her dad's shirt every day, even though the scent of him is fading and his phone calls are never long enough. Life continues without him, but nothing can prepare Alice for the day two uniformed officers arrive at their door with news. 

Alice Bliss is a gorgeous, transforming novel about the support of a small town looking after its own in times of loss; the love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between Alice and her mother, Angie; and first love between Alice and the boy next door. It's a universal story and yet it touches on something very personal: these characters' struggles amid uncertain times echo our own, lending Alice Bliss an immediacy and poignancy that are both relevant and real. 

Type: Fiction

Quick Take: While I was reading this book my first thought was that I wondered if it's a young adult novel.  I guess I was expecting something different.  I can't say I loved this one but I did get a glimpse into what life could be like from a child's point of view when her father is deployed. 

I know a few mother's juggling life while their husbands are deployed and this may have been a factor in how I read the story.  I would have liked it if the story was told from the mother's perspective.  I think I would have connected more.   

Rating: 3/5 stars
Source: Review Copy

Review: The Wedding Girl

Why I picked it: While at the library a week or two before the royal wedding, I saw this audio book staring at me at the library.  I had just read several dark/twisty novels and thought this would make for a nice change of pace.

Synopsis:  Melissa Grace Havill is about to become Mrs. Simon Pinnacle in a dreamy, lavish wedding ceremony. Simon is the perfect groom: handsome, rich, and kind. But Milly has forgotten one little thing, a tiny detail -- her husband. That would be Allan, the man she married years ago so that he could apply for a visa. Her romantic wedding crashes around her ears when Simon leaves her in disgust, appalled by her false vows and her lies to him. Along with a divorce, Milly learns that lavish "society" weddings are as shallow as champagne. To most people, she decides, "the word 'wedding' meant happiness and celebration." But for her? The celebration is less important than the man to whom she actually speaks the vows. And when Milly finally marries, the church is echoing and empty, the flowers are nowhere to be seen, but the vows are spoken from the heart.

Type: Fiction/chick-lit

Quick Take: This is a fun book, just long enough to keep my attention.  It's a whimsical story about a girl who meets a boy and the boy falls in love with the girl.  One problem....Milly is not the intellectual girl Simon thinks she is, and she has a BIG secret.  One kept so well that Milly has suppressed it and seems shocked when the secret is revealed, threatening to destroy their future. This book is set in the UK and while listening I kept thinking Hugh Grant could play Simon :).

This is my first novel by this author. Have you read any of her books?  Do you recommend them?
Rating: 3/5 stars
Source: Library (Audio)

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