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weekly wrap-up 7/23

• Nacho is 4 months old!!

• This week was a nightmare at work. A Big Deal guy from one of our clients was visiting and wanted to have a meeting with our team. Cue WEEKS of stress leading up to the day. Thankfully months ago I randomly took a day off earlier in the week, making last week a 4-day work week and I definitely needed it.

• Matt and I are super late to The Man in the High Castle but started (and finished) the first season over the past two days. Have you ever read the book? I’m extremely curious about it now!

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Just one review and it was a dud. Patricia Forde’s The List sounded like a really intriguing Middle Grade: a dystopian society where the only words allowed are those on a government-approved list. Sadly, I had way too hard of a time getting past the baffling logistics of this new world (which only takes place a decade or two in the future!) and couldn’t make sense of things.

Wish You Were Here by Renee Carlino
I shrieked when I opened this package, no lie. This New Adult novel is about a woman, Charlotte, who’s basically adrift in life: her tiny apartment and waitressing gig aren’t what she had envisioned. Then she meets Adam and over the course of one night, a night seemingly pulled straight from a romcom, she feels an instant connection. …only for Adam to give her the cold shoulder the next morning. Months later, Charlotte still can’t tear her thoughts from him and decides to find out exactly what went wrong their one night together. Thank you, Atria!

The Address by Fiona Davis
Back in May, I highlighted this one in a recently added post and am SO excited that I received a copy! Bouncing between the 1880s and 1980s, The Address is set in one of New York’s most famous houses. A chance encounter changes a housekeeper’s life forever when she’s given the opportunity to move to America and become a female manager of The Dakota. A century later, a former party girl is determined to get her life back on track and accepts a renovation job from her cousin..the cousin set to inherit a vast fortune. I LOVE past/present novels and can’t wait to dive into this one. Thank you, Dutton!

The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller
Magical Realism, y’all. A boy with a speech disorder that leaves him silent. A bakery where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. An overweight Golden Retriever. This sounds lovely and potentially heartbreaking??? Thank you, Putnam!

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The List by Patricia Forde

The List by Patricia Forde
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Source: e-ARC via netgalley (Thank you, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky!)
Summary: In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.
Genre: Middle Grade, Dystopia

There are readers who know what they like and stick to one particular genre. There are others who read everything, bouncing around from topics and styles. I’m definitely someone who enjoys branching out and trying new authors and genres – sometimes it works and I discover fantastic books I otherwise wouldn’t have picked up (I absolutely loved Karl Schroeder’s Lockstep, a hard Sci-Fi space opera that relied heavily on math). Sometimes, like with The List, I’m left disappointed and confused.

When the world nearly came to an end during the Melting, a massive flood that swallowed entire cities, the Ark became a safe haven. Determined to recreate civilization as how he saw fit, John Noa laid down guidelines, strict rules. Two government-provided meals a day, each November there’s a festival and it’s during this festival that the cobbler decides who deserves a new pair of shoes. If the pair you own can be patched and deemed acceptable for another year, that’s it. New garments are only made once the wearer grows out of them (dresses, for example, need to come a few inches above the knee before they’re considered too small and a new one is ordered).

Noa’s biggest, most radical idea however, is the List, a set of 500 cards, each labeled with a sanctioned word. If a word isn’t on the List it’s not allowed to be spoken. The only exception is if someone is in a particular trade (a Smith or a Carpenter, for example). In that instance, they’ll granted a few extra words specific to their craft. Anyone caught speaking List is immediately banished.

As a Wordsmith apprentice, it’s Letta’s job to provide the citizens of Ark with their Lists as well as discover and archive old words, words no longer deemed appropriate. When her master dies, Letta becomes the next – and final – Wordsmith and it’s in her new role that she uncovers an evil plan to do away with language forever.

I really wanted to like this one – a civilization that survives on only 500 words, a plot to suppress language forever?? It sounded great! Unfortunately, I think this was a case of the idea simply getting away from the author and some logistics that didn’t make much sense. The summary mentions the Ark set in a post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world. In reality, this is only a generation or two after the Melting. MANY people who were around then are still alive, still secretly teaching their children old words. Noa ordered a list of approved names, yet it didn’t seem to matter since those who were alive during the Melting are allowed to keep their old names. Noa tries to enforce the List, but there are scores of people who still remember the old way of speaking and have been teaching the words to their children (at one point Letta remarked on how the schoolteacher was constantly reprimanding children for not speaking List).

There were minor details that would have felt more at home in a fantasy novel set centuries in the past or future rather than just a few decades from now. Six bells, twelve bells instead of six o’clock or twelve o’clock. The term stride instead of…inches? Feet? I couldn’t quite tell. Music, art, literature, they’ve all been banished (though of course the nefarious Desecrators have amassed quite a collection of artwork and instruments). I didn’t find this at all believable – The List is only a few (if that!) decades in the future, yet these people were okay with paring down their vocabulary to a few hundred words, getting rid of their books, their movies. Like I said, it would have been more suited to a different time period than a handful of years from the present day.

Another thing I struggled with was Letta’s age. I couldn’t figure out how old she was supposed to be. At one point she recalls a school friend who passed away when they were 12, so she’s obviously older than that. Then there was a character, Werber (lol that was seriously one of Noa’s approved names? okay), who has his heart set on Letta and says he wants to “mate with her” when she turns 18.

The List sounded like a fun, action-packed read, but I found myself more confused than intrigued. The apocalyptic ideas didn’t seem plausible to me and felt better suited to a story set centuries from the present day rather than just a handful of years. The entire time I was reading, I was struggling with the logistics (not to mention List-speak) and never became fully invested in the story or characters – and I’m honestly not quite sure just who the target audience is. It’s a Middle Grade novel that missed its mark.

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weekly wrap-up 7/16

• Now that Nacho’s finished his last round of puppy shots, he gets to go on big boy walks ♥!

• This week the third (and for the time being, last) of my former coworkers/besties started working with me again! Even though the four of us don’t get to see each other much throughout the day, we Skype and e-mail and you can bet there have been – and will be! – lunch dates!

• The authors of my top two reads of last year (Black Rabbit Hall and Behind Closed Doors) have new books out this summer. I hate to say it but The Breakdown was a HUGE letdown, so I was more than a little hesitant to read The Wildling Sisters since I was so head over heels in love with Black Rabbit Hall. I’m almost finished and I’m thrilled to say it’s another great novel, though not quite as good as BRH. There’s another creepy house, another past/present story which feels more like a rehash of the book I fell in love with, but whatever. I’m enjoying it.

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Just one review, the disappointing Girl on the Leeside by Kathleen Anne Kenney. The lush Irish countryside was downright breathtaking, but the main character (a woman nearing 30) completely ruined it for me. She was SO sheltered, so unbelievably naive and the romance that blossoms between her and a divorced American professor came off as creepy and gross.


We Now Return to Regular Life by Martin Wilson
An LBGT novel about a boy who returns home after being abducted three years earlier. This one seems heavy: between coming to terms with sexual orientation and the kidnapping/abuse/trauma, I have a feeling this will be a hard read, but I’m really looking forward to it and plan on diving into it next! Thank you, Dial books!

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives
This was initially pitched to me as a grown-up version of From the Mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler aaaaand that’s really all I needed to know! The author is a poet (this is her first novel) and early reviews all talk about how beautiful the writing is so I’m definitely intrigued!! Thank you, Penguin Press!

Girl in Snow by Daniya Kukafka
Guys, the author is 25 and is being hailed as the next Gillian Flynn. This book has been blurbed by Ruth Ware, Lee Child, and Owen King (which is basically a step away from Stephen King!). A high schooler is murdered and her death rocks a sleepy Colorado town. Thank you, Simon & Schuster!

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller
A creepy old mansion (you know I love those!), ghosts, and a terrifying secret all wrapped up into one awesome-sounding Middle Grade novel. Thank you, Amulet Books!

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Girl on the Leeside by Kathleen Anne Kenney

Girl on the Leeside by Kathleen Anne Kenney
Pub. Date: June 20, 2017
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Nan A. Talese!)
Summary: Siobhan Doyle grew up with her Uncle Kee at their family pub The Leeside, in rural Ireland. Kee has been staunchly overprotective of Siobhan ever since her mother’s death in an IRA bombing, but now that she’s an adult, it’s clear that in protecting her Kee has unwittingly kept her in a state of arrested development. The pair are content to remain forever in their quiet haven, reading and discussing Irish poetry, but for both Siobhan and Kee fate intervenes.

A visiting American literary scholar awakens Siobhan to the possibility of a fulfilling life away from The Leeside. And her relationship with Kee falters after the revelation that her father is still alive. In the face of these changes, Siobhan reaches a surprising decision about her future.
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Coming-of-Age

The Irish countryside, ancient poetry, a whirlwind romance that spans an ocean – what’s not to love, right? Unfortunately, Girl on the Leeside couldn’t stand on its seriously gorgeous imagery alone.

When Kee’s younger sister Maureen died in a bombing, he was heartbroken. If only he said said this, done that, but he knew Maureen saw no life in the Leeside and her free spirit ultimately led to her death. What he didn’t know was that his sister had a little girl, a girl Kee was now the guardian of.

As Siobhan grew, the two became ever closer, each holding on to their sole relative. For Kee, that meant keeping his niece on an extremely tight leash – at 27, Siobhan hasn’t traveled out of their tiny village more than a handful of times. However, one summer and two men, an American professor studying ancient Irish poetry and a British soldier claiming to be Siobhan’s father, change everything.

I really wanted to love this one and I wasn’t joking about the beautiful writing. I truly felt like I was there; I could see the travelers’ caravan, I wandered the rooms of the pub. Kenney has a way with words and her descriptions were breathtaking. Sadly, the characters – namely Siobhan – were the story’s downfall.

My issue with her character came from just how sheltered she had been. I can get behind an introvert – hey, that’s me! I can get behind a character that might have bloomed a little later than the rest. But Siobhan…she went a step too far. This woman is 27, yet throughout the entire novel she acts (and is treated) like a child. In one chapter a close family friend passes and she’s genuinely surprised that grief hurts. She doesn’t understand what love is or what flirtation means. I highly doubt someone could be nearly 30 and be that naive – especially someone who lives above a pub!

Because of Siobhan’s innocence, the romance came off as creepy rather than inspiring and swoon-worthy. Tim is an American professor whose focus is on ancient Irish literature and poetry. Kee’s practically an expect on the subject, a passion he shared with Siobhan. Almost instantly Tim is attracted to Siobhan and she is equally as fascinated with him, though for her, it seems to be more of an interest in someone new in town, someone from a country she’s never seen. He’s divorced, she’s never so much as held hands with a boy. When she begins having feelings for him, she’s curious about love and wants to ask Tim about his ex-wife: does he still care for her, does he miss her? She’s constantly described as being child-like and made Tim seem so much older to the point where reading their interactions completely took me out of the book. Ew.

Siobhan’s father, the poetry, an arc where she tells a huge lie to Tim in order for him to like her, it all took a backseat to her character and I was so disappointed. Although Kenney’s writing and her vivid descriptions of the setting with gorgeous, Siobhan’s extremely sheltered innocence was more than a little hard to believe and had the romance coming off as gross and inappropriate rather than the sweet story it was meant to be. I’m sad to say Girl on the Leeside didn’t work for me at all.

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weekly wrap-up 7/9

• I went to a few cookouts last week and had a great time – the best part? When my cousin began doodling ‘tattoos’ on everyone! We weren’t allowed to look as she was drawing and I love how mine turned out ♥

• AAAHHHH tomorrow a third bestie begins working with me! Four of us will be together again and I couldn’t be more excited!

• This week’s wrap-up is another quick one: today will be jam-packed for me. Do you have any fun plans for today???

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? While I wasn’t a huge fan of Laura Dave’s Eight Hundred Grapes, I was pleasantly surprised with her latest novel, Hello, Sunshine! Sunshine Mackenzie is a vlogger-turned-bestselling author-turned-Food Network star…only to have it all ripped away when someone hacks her twitter account and lets the world in on a few secrets Sunny has been keeping.

I shared my Top Reads for the first half of 2017! I feel like releases this year have been pretty blah. Either they’re just okay or they’re a total letdown. There were a few titles that really stuck out to me though – what are some of YOUR favorite reads of the year??

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Leah’s Top Reads of 2017…part 1!

Are we seriously halfway through 2017 already?! You know what that means…rounding up my favorites for the first part of the year! Ugh, can I just say I had a really hard time with this – last year I read a ton of really fantastic books, but this year I’m feeling like everything I’ve read has either been decent and enjoyable or absolutely horrendous.

2017 RELEASES

The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams • my review
A new Beatriz Williams novel is always cause for celebration. The Wicked City bounces between 1998 and the 1920s, though it certainly focuses more on Gin’s story in the past (no complaints here!) Anyone familiar with Williams’ novels knows they all center on her Schuyler sisters and this one is no exception. Little details and further backstory for these women can be found within the book’s pages and I would love to do a long binge read someday! I have to admit the ending here felt a little hurried with some elements seemingly abandoned or forgotten, but there is a sequel, Cocoa Beach, and I’m hoping it’ll pick up where this one left off!

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens • my review
After a pretty disappointing introduction to Stevens’ work, I’m thrilled to say I’m now a big fan! Never Let You Go instantly drew me in: over the course of 20 years, it gradually lets the reader into the lives of a young married couple from their initial meeting, to their admittedly quick wedding, to the cracks that begin to form. By the time Lindsey realizes she needs help it’s too late, and in a fit of rage, Andrew drunkenly tears after her, killing an innocent woman and winding up in prison. Nine years later he’s released and swears he’s a changed man, although Lindsey, having moved on, begins noticing strange things, feels as though she’s being watch, finds her car keys in places she didn’t leave them and e-mails read that she certainly hadn’t opened. This was a novel I enjoyed immensely – although I am extremely concerned that one character, the boyfriend of Lindsey’s daughter, was labeled a good guy although he exhibited MANY of the same abusive tendencies as Andrew. That aside, I was hooked.

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner • my review
Every so often a book will come into my life that completely takes me by surprise. Meissner’s latest was one that certainly sounded like a book I’d enjoy (hello, WWII, vanishing women, and a present-day link), but I didn’t expect to be so thoroughly wowed by it! This novel is told through the eyes of three women: a ballerina forced into a marriage with a highly ranked Nazi officer, a woman who is part of the French Resistance (and witnessed both her brother and father brutally gunned down in the street), and a modern day woman who has the ability to see spirits though she considers it more of a curse than a gift. The famous ship Queen Mary also plays a large part here and once the mystery kicked in I couldn’t look away! The entire time I was reading I was loving it, but toward the end Meissner throws in a reveal and, my goodness, it took the book to a new level. SO good.

Missing by Kelley Armstrong • my review
Missing is one of only two YA novels to be featured in this list. I love Kelley’s novels but this is my first YA of hers. Winter lives in a broken, run-down town of Reeve’s End where her only bit of happiness comes from a shack in the woods. When she discovers a boy left for dead, she realizes there’s something definitely wrong going on…and could it have anything to do with all the kids who left? Winter always assumed they couldn’t take another minute of their go-nowhere lives in Reeve’s End and went off in search of something better. But what if they didn’t leave on their own? I read this one in a single sitting and was engrossed to the point where my dinner was a pb&j sandwich lol – I didn’t want to set the book down long enough to cook!

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson • my review
Alice-Ann was another novel that took me by surprise – in SUCH a good way! Since she was a child, Alice-Ann had been madly in love with her brother’s best friend Mack. Now, on the night of her 16th birthday party, she’s finally determined to tell him how she feels, praying he’ll see her as a woman and not just a little girl he taught to ride a bike. When news of Peal Harbor hits their tiny town, all the boys enlist – including Mack, though he promises to write. As the months turn into years, the two keep up a correspondence, with Alice-Ann all the while trying to make Mack view her as a wife, not a close friend. It’s when her brother’s other friend returns home that everything changes. Carlton is severely wounded – blinded and unable to walk – and as Alice-Ann helps to care for him, they grow close, though Alice-Ann still has her heart set on Mack, until the day a telegram arrives. I rambled on a LOT in my review – I absolutely devoured this book and am thrilled Everson has such a lengthy backlist!

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman • my review
This one probably wins for my favorite debut so far! Four years after her husband is tragically killed, Lilian is finally picking up the pieces of her shattering life and coming to terms with her new status as both widow and single mother. Her job as an illustrator for textbooks doesn’t scream glamorous and exciting, but a new project is about to change everything. The company she works for has been tasked with illustrating a series of gardening manuals – and what better way to draw fruits and vegetables than by getting up close and personal? Her boss signs her up for a gardening class and the group Lili comes to know what such a wonderfully random, rag-tag bunch! This book is near 400-pages and yet I read it in a single sitting. Don’t let the widow thing scare you off – this book was SO clever and witty and upbeat! I was so impressed with this one and can’t wait to see what Waxman does next!

City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker
One of just two nonfiction books on the list! I’m a little upset I never took the time to share my thoughts – even as a mini review. This is part true crime, part dark magic and I was hooked! After a mysterious string of murders, Paris’s first police chief installs lanterns throughout the city. As his investigation brings him into the court of the Sun King, he uncovers a secret world of poisoners and witches. That this is true fascinates me even more!

Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey • my review
The second of the two YA novels! Oh man, this book. It was my intro to Anstey and I couldn’t be happier to have her in my life! This Regency-era novel was fun and quick with fantastic characters. Miss Lydia Whitfield is set to inherit her late father’s vast fortune (and estate) once she comes of age, but until then, her uncle will see to things and he has decidedly disastrous ideas about how to run the grounds. Luckily for Lydia, she can bypass the who of-age issue by marrying and while Lord Aldershot isn’t exactly the love of her life, she’s content and so visits a law office to have the marriage contract drawn up. It’s at the law office that she and a young clerk are kidnapped and I had a blast with this one!

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin • my review
The moody atmosphere of this story is what sets Grief Cottage apart. That cover is perfect for this book and does a fantastic job at capturing the dreary tone. When his mother dies, Marcus is sent to live with an aunt he’s never met. Charlotte is the definition of reclusive artist and would be happy to spend the rest of her life holed up inside her seaside cottage, painting the ruins of an abandoned home the locals dubbed Grief Cottage. Decades ago a hurricane tore through, ultimately catching a tourist family in its wake. No one quite knows the story, but somehow the parents and boy were separated – were they out looking for him or did he leave the house in search of them? – and their bodies were never recovered. Grief Cottage is a quiet, slow novel and I loved it. One element I didn’t enjoy (surprisingly enough!) was the paranormal aspect. Marcus begins seeing the ghost of the boy who died and I could have done without that, but the rest of the novel is excellent!

Second Chance Season by Liora Blake • my review
The most recent read on this list and probably one of my favorites out of all the books mentioned! While Second Chance Season is the second book in this series, it features a different couple than the first and can easily be read on its own (though now that I’ve read this one I definitely want to go back and read the first!) Cara is a privileged girl from Chicago who threw away her cushy career to try her hand at freelance work. Her gig for the next eight weeks takes her to rural Colorado where she’ll be interviewing families who have been farming for generations as well as the new wave of hipster wine enthusiasts and brewers. Garrett’s plans were put on hold when his father passed and he learned how bad things had actually been on their farm. While a tiny apartment and a minimum wage job aren’t exactly what he had in mind, Garrett is content – until a hybrid Lexus rolls into town. I LOVED this book and can’t believe I’ve never heard of this author before!! I need to jump on her backlist ASAP.

PRE-2017 RELEASES

A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh • my review
I recently fell HARD for historical romance and when author Sarah MacLean posted a list of recommendations on her site, I definitely took note! One title in particular caught my eye, all because of her blurb: I don’t want to tell you anything about it, just trust me. And do not read about it before you read it. My curiosity got the better of me (helped by the fact that this novella is barely 200 pages!) and I tracked down a copy at my library. Like Sarah, I don’t want to spoil anything, but my goodness, this was great. A young woman’s reputation is permanently ruined when she’s caught running away to elope with the coachman. Her parents’ solution? Marry her off to the son of their neighbors. He’s been unruly for far too long and needs to settle down. So good.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Unlike million of high school students, I never had to read Steinbeck in class. I came to his work pretty late, picking up East of Eden in my early 20s (and to this day it still remains one of my favorite books EVER). One evening I noticed the audio of Of Mice and Men was available from my library and wasted no time grabbing it. I cried when it was over and still cry just thinking about it.

The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
And now the second of the two nonfiction books! Is anyone surprised this made it on the list? I have to admit I opted for the audio – though 29 hours was just as intimidated as the size of the physical copy! Montefiore covered the entire dynasty starting at the very beginning and, naturally, working his way up to Nicholas II. I made it a point to take my time and savor this one.

Misery by Stephen King
Do I really need to say anything here?

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Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave
Pub. Date: July 11, 2017
Source: ARC + finished hardcover via publisher (Thank you, Simon & Schuster!)
Summary: Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness—Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all. She and her architect husband have a gorgeous apartment in one of the most coveted areas of New York. After her YouTube cooking series became a runaway hit, publishing deals poured in – all three have become bestsellers – and she even has a Food Network contract in the works! Unfortunately for Sunshine, someone on twitter isn’t a fan and begins hacking her account, intent on telling the truth behind everyone’s favorite internet chef.

Initially the reveals aren’t all that damaging in the grand scheme of things. Okay, so maybe announcing to the world that Sunny’s producer’s wife was the true creator of the recipes Sunny touted on her show and in her cookbooks wasn’t the best move for her career. And, alright, dissecting her past (a farmer’s daughter Sunshine is not) might not win Sunny any fans, but what celebrity hasn’t blurred the lines before? Perhaps let on they were five years younger or that their big break was a little more exciting that what really happened. What sealed Sunny’s fate was a leaked photo…a photo that included her producer. Kicked out of her apartment (right after learning both the Food Network contract and her upcoming book deal are both instantly nixed), Sunshine heads for the one place she vowed never to return: her childhood home.

Hello, Sunshine is a pint-sized novel clocking in at under 250 pages and Dave wastes no time getting straight to the action: in the first few pages Sunshine lets the reader in on how her troubles began and how she watched her life crumble. From there the story isn’t so much about discovering who was behind the hack (though it’s revealing later on) as it is about Sunny coming to terms with her actions and how she plans on redeeming herself.

I loved that Sunshine got her start on YouTube. That detail made the book feel really timely and current, though I wonder if it’ll feel dated in five, ten years. There’s a rival vlogger whose specialty is toast and I thought that was not only hilarious but totally spot-on. What can I say, toast is trendy!

A constant theme in Hello, Sunshine is real life vs the image we portray online. I actually didn’t have a problem with Sunshine’s made-up backstory – made-up persona, but it felt as though every other character had a huge issue with it. On the one hand, I could understand where Sunny’s sister and her husband were coming from: it made her husband feel like he was living a big lie (lest he slip up and mention to someone about how they really met) and her sister feel like she wasn’t good enough, that Sunny got to live out her dreams and suddenly their family, their home, just didn’t cut it. On the other, who hasn’t taken 10 selfies and pick the best, only to pass it off as a spontaneous moment? If you follow me on instagram, you’d be under the impression that my pups are perfect angels. Like I’m actually going to post photos of the two of them going at it as they make a mess and argue over a toy (despite the house being FULL of other toys!) I know lots of bloggers I follow don’t post photos of messy houses or crying babies. I don’t consider this to be lying and felt like Sunny was being vilified for something we all do. Maybe it’s different for me because I’m not famous and don’t have my own television show?

Another thing I appreciated about Hello, Sunshine was the lack of romance. I thought for sure that’s where the book was headed after Sunny splits from her husband and there just happens to be a good-looking fisherman in town and was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t!

While I feel the ending was a little too sitcom-y and neat, I have to say I enjoyed this one – and I admittedly wasn’t a huge fan of Dave’s Eight Hundred Grapes so I was initially hesitant to read Hello, Sunshine. I’m so glad I did though. I love a good fall from grace story and that, combined with the great cast of characters, no romance, and the quick, easy pace (AND super short length) made Hello, Sunshine a fantastic lazy afternoon read and I’m positive it will find its way into many beach bags this summer!