http://rstyle.me/~aeuIl The Blonde Bookworm

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger -- Review

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Title: When Life Gives You Lululemons
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Pages: 352
Publishing: June 5th 2018 by Simon Schuster
ISBN: 1476778442

Synopsis:


New York Times bestselling author Lauren Weisberger returns with a novel starring one of her favorite characters from The Devil Wears Prada—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who’s just landed the client of a lifetime.

Welcome to Greenwich, CT, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton, Miranda Priestly’s ex-assistant, does not do the suburbs. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children.

Miriam is the link between them. Until recently she was a partner at one of Manhattan’s most prestigious law firms. But when Miriam moves to Greenwich and takes time off to spend with her children, she never could have predicted that being stay-at-home mom in an uber-wealthy town could have more pitfalls than a stressful legal career. 

Emily, Karolina, and Miriam make an unlikely trio, but they desperately need each other. Together, they’ll navigate the social landmines of life in America’s favorite suburb on steroids, revealing the truths—and the lies—that simmer just below the glittering surface. With her signature biting style, Lauren Weisberger offers a dazzling look into another sexy, over-the-top world, where nothing is as it appears. 

Review: 

When I hear Lauren Weisberger had a new novel coming out, I was extremely excited. When I heard it focused on Emily Charlton... my excitement went through the roof. She was such a fun and spunky character in Devil Wears Prada and I was dying to read more about her. This novel really hit the spot and I thought it was the perfect read for a summer day spent by the beach or pool. It was hilarious, scandalous, and lighthearted all at this same time. 

As previously seen in Devil Wears Prada, Emily was still her snarky and witty self and I loved it! You could always count on her to lighten the mood with a bitchy comment or some straightforward honesty. I thoroughly enjoyed stepping back into her world in this novel and I'm just crossing my fingers that we get to read more about her in the future. Weisberger didn't disappoint in this hilarious and scandalous read and I would highly recommend it! 

Rating 3.5/5

Star Touched Stories Excerpt

Monday, August 13, 2018







Title: Star Touched Stories

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Pages: 304

Publishing: August 7th 2018 by St. Martin's Press

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Synopsis: 

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes. 

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram's new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love. 

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?
_________________________________________________________

About the Author: 



ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.
__________________________________________

Excerpt:

I stood outside the home, watching as the light beaded and dripped down the length of the Tapestry thread. I waited. There was never any rush. Not for me at least.
The light dangled from the end of the string, clinging and re- luctant. A passing wind stirred the ends of the thread, teasing out strands of memory. The memories plumed into the air, releasing the scent of a life lived in love. One by one, the memories unraveled— a pillow shared by two heads bent close in secrecy, a frayed blanket kept inside an eternally empty cradle, a table that sagged from the weight of uncertain feasts. Happiness stolen from the edges of sorrow.
I stepped over the threshold.
The lights in the hut extinguished. Shadows slipped off the walls to gather around my feet. Inside the hut, someone had propped up a stingy fire. Cinnamon scented the air. Past the dusty vestibule, rows upon rows of bay leaves hung from the ceiling. Strange runes scratched into small animal bones and ivory hairpins lay in carefully constructed patterns. I laughed. Someone had tried to ward me away. But there was no door that didn’t open to me.

At the far corner of the house huddled two people. A man in the arms of a woman. Old age had blessed him, yet for all his gnarled veins and silver-streaked hair, the woman cradled him as if he were a child. He murmured softly into the crook of her neck. I watched them. She wasn’t crying.
The woman looked up . . . and saw me. How refreshing.
“Greetings, Dharma Raja,” said the woman in a clear voice.
I took in the bay leaves and bone pins. “You were expecting me, I take it.”
“Yes,” she said, hanging her head. “I regret that I cannot serve you any food or drink or treat you as a guest in our home.”
“Don’t let it trouble you,” I said, waving my hand. “I am rarely a guest. Merely an inevitable occurrence.”
Her husband did not stir in her arms. His breath had grown soft. While the woman had kept her eyes trained on me, I had taken away his pain, siphoned it bit by bit. I was in a generous mood.
“You have come for him.”
“As I will for you, one day. I could tell you the hour, if you wish it.”
“No.”
I shrugged. “Very well.”
She clutched him tighter. Her hands trembled. I knew she could feel his life unspooling. She may have seen me, but she did not see his life pooling beneath him.
“May I ask something of you, Dharma Raja?” “You may.”
But I need not honor it.
“We always wished to leave this life together.”
“I cannot change your appointed time, even if I wished.”
She closed her eyes. “Then may I request, instead, that you not let him pass to the next life until I may join him there?”
Now this was interesting. I sank backward into the air, and an onyx throne swirled up to meet me. I tilted my head, watching her. “Why? I haven’t weighed your life yet. What if you were far more honorable than your husband in this life? I could pour your soul into the mold of a princess blessed with beauty and intellect, riches and wonders. I could add silver to your heart and fortify you from any heartbreak. I could give you a life worthy of legends.” She shook her head. “I would rather have him.”
“You’d rather have him, and whatever life that entails?” I leaned forward, eyeing the dingy room.
Her eyes flashed. “Yes.”
“He may not even come back as a human. Believe me. I’ve remade emperors into cockroaches and cockroaches into kings. You seem like a reasonably intelligent woman. Would you truly like to keep house for a bug?”
She lifted her chin. “I would be his mate in any form.”
A curious emotion prickled my skin, nudging the back of my thoughts. My hands tightened on the shadow throne. Before I could stop myself, the question flew from me:
“Why? ”
“Because I love him,” said the woman. “I would prefer any life with him than any life without him. Even the deities know love to the point that they will chase their counterpart through thousands of lifetimes. Surely you, oh Dharma Raja, understand how extraor- dinary love can be?”
I knew very well what could come of love. I had seen it. Been cursed by it. Even now, I thought of her. The way she ran away and left a shadow in her place. Love was extraordinary.
Extraordinarily spiteful. Extraordinarily blind. Extraordinarily misleading.
“Bold words,” I said.
“They do not move you?”
I shrugged. “You may appeal and supplicate and wheedle as you wish, but I have heard every excuse and plea and sputter, and my heart has never been moved.”
The woman bowed her head. She gathered her husband to her chest. Her wedding bangles clanked together, breaking the silence. When I left, custom dictated that she must remove those wedding ornaments. Widows did not wear such bracelets. I had not consid- ered until now that the sound itself was a thing near death. And that chime—gold against gold—struck me far louder than any keening. In the echoes, I heard something hollow. And lonely.
I dropped the noose. It slid through the man’s skin, noiseless as silk. Life had left him. All that was left was his soul.
You never forget what it’s like to withdraw a soul. It is an un- clasping. Sometimes a soul is tough and hard, surrounded by sin- ews of memories gone brittle with age. Sometimes a soul is soft and bursting like wind-fallen fruit, all bruised tenderness and stale hope. And sometimes a soul is an ethereal shard of light. As if the force of its life is a scorching thing.
This soul belonged to light.
When the woman looked down, she knew that her husband was gone. The thing she cradled was nothing more than meat soon to spoil. Tears slid down her wrinkled cheeks.
“Come now,” I said, standing from the throne. “I have taken hus- bands when their wives still wore the henna from their wedding. I consider you lucky.”
“I beg of you,” she said. “Don’t let him move on without me. He would have asked the same.”
I swung the soul into a satchel and the light faded. I headed for the door, more out of formality than anything else. If I wanted, I could’ve disappeared right then and there.
“Please. What would you do for someone you loved?”
I stopped short. “I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of that provo- cation.”
“You love no one?” she asked, her eyebrows rising in disbelief. “I love myself. Does that count?”

And then I left.


The Bucket List by Georgia Clark -- Review

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Title: The Bucket List 
Author: Georgia Clark 
Pages: 352
Publishing: August 7th 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Synopsis: 

From the author of the critically acclaimed “lively and engrossing parable for women of all generations” (Harper’s BazaarThe Regulars­ comes a deeply funny and thoughtful tale of a young woman who, after discovering she has the breast cancer gene, embarks on an unforgettable bucket list adventure.

Twenty-five-old Lacey Whitman is blindsided when she’s diagnosed with the BCRA1 gene mutation: the “breast cancer” gene. Her high hereditary risk forces a decision: increased surveillance or the more radical step of a preventative double mastectomy. Lacey doesn't want to lose her breasts. For one, she’s juggling two career paths; her work with the prestigious New York trend forecaster Hoffman House, and her role on the founding team of a sustainable fashion app with friend/mentor, Vivian Chang. Secondly, small-town Lacey’s not so in touch with her sexuality: she doesn’t want to sacrifice her breasts before she’s had the chance to give them their hey-day. To help her make her choice, she (and her friends) creates a “boob bucket list”: everything she wants do with and for her boobs before a possible surgery.

This kicks off a year of sensual exploration and sexual entertainment for the quick-witted Lacey Whitman. Ultimately, this is a story about Lacey’s relationship to her body and her future. Both are things she thought she could control through hard work and sacrifice. Both are things she will change by choosing to have a major surgery that could save her life, and will give her the future she really wants.


Review: 

I was so excited when I heard Georgia Clark was writing a new book! The Regulars was such a fun a quirky read so I knew Clark was one to look out for. I recently finished The Bucket List  and it was everything I had hoped for and more. The pacing was spot on, the amount of funny vs. serious scenes were evenly distributed, and the characters were hilarious. I think the synopsis gives a pretty good definition of what to expect from this novel, but I wasn't expecting to be so well versed on the topic of BCRA1 and the difficulties that so many women face. Georgia did an amazing job writing a fun and hilarious novel, but one also filled with important information about awareness for breast cancer and the BCRA1 mutation. 

The Bucket List was such an entertaining read and I couldn't put it down. I felt very connected to Lacey by the end of the novel and truly cared about what happened to her. If you are in the market for a hilarious, touching, and raunchy read about women in New York City, then The Bucket List is for you. I can't recommend this book enough! Thank you to Atria and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman -- Review

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Title: Something in the Water
Author: Catherine Steadman
Pages: 352
Publishing: June 5th 2018 by Ballantine
ISBN: 1524797189

Synopsis:


A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut--for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you? 

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman's enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we're tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

Review: 

Something in the Water had me totally hooked from the first page. The novel begins with a bang and then just continues to get better and better. I think what I loved the most was that I couldn't wrap my head around what would happen next. It also kept making me think what I would do in that situation, and to be honest I still don't know! 

This novel is filled with intrigue and excitement from the first page until the very last and I can't recommend it enough. The setting was incredible and the world building was perfect. I could picture the scene as if it were happening right in front of me or on my TV screen. And speaking of TV screen... I need someone to make a movie of this novel ASAP! 

All in all, Something in the Water is the perfect summer thriller and I would highly recommend it! It is full of twists and excitement that will leave you guessing until the last page. Thank you to Penguin Random House/Ballentine  and Netgalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza -- Review

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Title: Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win 
Author: Jo Piazza 
Pages: 320
Publishing: July 24th 2018 by Simon Schuster

Synopsis: 

From Jo Piazza, the bestselling author of The Knock OffHow to Be Married, and Fitness Junkie, comes an exciting, insightful novel about what happens when a woman wants it all—political power, a happy marriage, and happiness—but isn’t sure just how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it.

Charlotte Walsh is running for Senate in the most important race in the country during a midterm election that will decide the balance of power in Congress. Still reeling from a presidential election that shocked and divided the country and inspired by the chance to make a difference, she’s left behind her high-powered job in Silicon Valley and returned, with her husband Max and their three young daughters, to her downtrodden Pennsylvania hometown to run in the Rust Belt state.

Once the campaign gets underway, Charlotte is blindsided by just how dirty her opponent is willing to fight, how harshly she is judged by the press and her peers, and how exhausting it becomes to navigate a marriage with an increasingly ambivalent and often resentful husband. When the opposition uncovers a secret that could threaten not just her campaign but everything Charlotte holds dear, she has to decide just how badly she wants to win and at what cost.

A searing, suspenseful story of political ambition, marriage, class, sexual politics, and infidelity, Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win is an insightful portrait of what it takes for a woman to run for national office in America today. In a dramatic political moment like no other with more women running for office than ever before, Jo Piazza’s novel is timely, engrossing, and perfect for readers on both sides of the aisle.


Review: 

I feel like I need to have a disclaimer before I write this review... I don't like politics and they make me feel extremely uncomfortable. So, with that being said... this book was pretty uncomfortable for me. I love Jo Piazza's writing and I've read and enjoyed all of her books, but this topic just wasn't my favorite. I also happen to know that some people love the drama that comes with politics and they would eat up a book about it, so to all of you people, this one is for you. 

Now that we got that part out of the way, lets talk about the parts I enjoyed in this novel. As always, Piazza's ability to create amazing characters comes through once again with the character of Charlotte Walsh. I loved her ambition, her spunk, and her ability to be a good mom and a power house of a business woman. She is the type of hard working woman that so many women aspire to be. Another notable character for me was Roz. She had a take-no-shit attitude and I loved it! 

All in all, this novel was entertaining, and it was filled to the brim with secrets, lies, and betrayal. This wasn't my favorite novel by Jo Piazza because my issue with reading about politics, but I really think it is going to be a popular title this summer. If you love dramatic reads full of politics and secrets, this novel is for you! Thank you Simon and Shuster and Netgalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5 

The War Outside by Monica Hesse -- Review

Monday, July 23, 2018


Title: The War Outside 
Author: Monica Hesse 
Pages: 336
Publishing: September 25th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis: A stunning novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal from Monica Hesse, the Edgar Award-winning and bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat

It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other? 

Review: 

The War Outside was hands down one of my favorite reads of the year so far. It was so beautifully written and the characters were perfect. It was such a powerful and important novel! I love reading historical fiction, but I typically stick to adult novels for that genre. I was pleasantly surprised by The War Outside and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the little details that made the novel feel so real. 

The novel is told from two points of view. Haruko and Margot are young ladies who moved to an internment camp with their families. I think the two point of view gave a special something to the novel because the reader was able to see what the camp was like for both girls and their families. They were able to build this terrifying and unstable world for the reader that was real and heartbreaking. This was definitely a darker read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

The War Outside is a heartbreaking tale about bitterness and betrayal, as well as friendship and love. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy historical fiction. I was very impressed with Hesse's writing and look forward to reading more from her in the future. Thank you to The NOVL for sending this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 5/5 

Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart -- Review

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Title: Heart Land
Author: Kimberly Stuart
Pages: 320
Publishing: July 17th 2018 by Howard Books
ISBN: 1501180568

Synopsis:

A story of reconnection, lost love, and the power of faith, Heart Land follows a struggling fashion designer back to her small Iowa hometown as she tries to follow her dreams of success and finding true love.

Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.

Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.

And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.

But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland?

Review: 

Heart Land was a sweet and romantic story about second chances in life and in love. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I connected with the main character and I quickly came to love her personality as well as her grandmother's. The characters were well developed and the story was entertaining and full of romance. I was drawn in instantly and loved the pacing of the novel as well. 

Heart Land was a really cute and fun read. It kept me guessing and was full of emotional roller coasters. The characters from Iowa were by far my favorite portion of the novel because I just loved the camaraderie and joy that they brought to the story. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy contemporary reads. Thank you to NetGalley and Atria for sending this novel in exchange for and honest review. 

Rating 4/5 
 
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