Planning a New England Vacation? Then Bring Along These Summer Reads

There is nothing that quite compares to a New England summer vacation and over the next month, my family is going to be cruising through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Cape Cod and Nantucket. While I can’t wait to relax at the beach, shop at a few farmer’s markets and enjoy a blueberry mojito while watching the sunset, what I love most about vacations is getting the chance to dive into a great summer read.
If you’re going away for a quick weekend getaway or hopping on a plane for a week long adventure, make sure you download these books or go old school and pick up a hard copy! Thanks to Amazon for all the incredible descriptions below that caused me to order all these books in time for our vacation!

1. Jennifer Weiner’s The Next Best Thing – Can’t wait to dive into this delicious new novel by New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Weiner. At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.
2. Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead. Winn Van Meter is heading for his family’s retreat on the pristine New England island of Waskeke. Normally a haven of calm, for the next three days this sanctuary will be overrun by tipsy revelers as Winn prepares for the marriage of his daughter Daphne to the affable young scion Greyson Duff. Winn’s wife, Biddy, has planned the wedding with military precision, but arrangements are sideswept by a storm of salacious misbehavior and intractable lust: Daphne’s sister, Livia, who has recently had her heart broken by Teddy Fenn, the son of her father’s oldest rival, is an eager target for the seductive wiles of Greyson’s best man; Winn, instead of reveling in his patriarchal duties, is tormented by his long-standing crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid Agatha; and the bride and groom find themselves presiding over a spectacle of misplaced desire, marital infidelity, and monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.
Hilarious, keenly intelligent, and commandingly well written, Shipstead’s deceptively frothy first novel is a piercing rumination on desire, on love and its obligations, and on the dangers of leading an inauthentic life, heralding the debut of an exciting new literary voice.
3. Summerland: A Novel – A warm June evening, a local tradition: the students of Nantucket High have gathered for a bonfire on the beach. But what begins as a graduation night celebration ends in tragedy after a horrible car crash leaves the driver of the car, Penny Alistair, dead, and her twin brother in a coma. The other passengers, Penny’s boyfriend Jake and her friend Demeter, are physically unhurt – but the emotional damage is overwhelming, and questions linger about what happened before Penny took the wheel.
As summer unfolds, startling truths are revealed about the survivors and their parents – secrets kept, promises broken, hearts betrayed. Elin Hilderbrand explores the power of community, family, and honesty, and proves that even from the ashes of sorrow, new love can still take flight.
4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around. On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
5. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Nothing like a story set in Italy to give you the ultimate summer reading escape. The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
The story begins again in present time, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot–searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier. What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives.
Got a must read book you’d like to recommend? We’d love to hear about it!

Bubbe’s Book Reviews

Summer is here and that can only mean one thing. It’s time to start diving into some great books. Thanks to my mom, I’ve got a treasure trove to choose from and trust me when I tell you, my mother knows her books – she’s even in two book clubs – one in Florida and one in Southampton so she singlehandedly has her finger on the pulse of what’s hot among women this summer (in addition to Fifty Shades of Grey of course).
Check out some of my moms favorite picks:

The House of Tyneford by Natasha Solomons is both a love story and an historical account of the time period preceding World War II. The story begins in the spring of 1938 in Vienna, where it is no longer safe to be a Jew. Elise Landau is a 19 year old Jewish young lady living a life filled with elegant parties, champagne, and affluence. However, she is forced to leave her family and become a parlour maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay and life changes for her when Kit, the son of the master of Tyneford house comes home. It is a love story that is beautifully written filled with incredible descriptions of Tyneford that at times, have you feeling that you are actually at the house with Elise.
The DoveKeepers by Alice Hoffman is another book that I strongly recommend. Once again this novel is historical fiction. Based on the historical setting of Masada when in 70 CE(common era) 900 Jews held out for months against the Roman armies. According to the historian Josephus – two women and five children survived. The story is told by four women who have you mesmerized by their stories and their ability to survive in a setting filled with terror famine and unbelieveable conditions. The author did an incredible amount of research and the story is just outstanding.
Molokai by Alan Brennert is historical fiction that is an outstanding read. The story is set in Hawaii more than a century ago and it is a deeply moving novel. Rachel Kalama is diagnosed with leprosy at the age of 7. Her parents take her to a local hospital and from there she is sent to Kalaupapa – which was an actual colony for lepers on Molokai. The novel follows her life from age 7 to old age. Her resilience and will to live under incredibly difficult conditions is unbelievable. This novel will have you crying and smiling, but what will really tear at your heart is the fact that this was an actual place where individuals diagnosed with leprosy lived their lives without their families.

Our Latest Book Review…Writing Motherhood

41yHtGdwW9L._SL500_BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpgIt has been quite a while since I’ve read any books (and judging by my use of the English language lately, you can see that my vocabulary has suffered), and so, when I picked up a copy of Writing Motherhood, by Lisa Garrigues, I realized the importance of taking a refresher course and honing my craft as a mom writer.  The minute I started reading this informational and inspirational guide to mom writing, I realized why I got into this whole crazy blogging/writing world in the first place.  I was slowly losing myself to my job, my kids and the demands of life and the only place I felt free was when I was sharing stories that made me laugh, cry and reflect on the meaning of motherhood.  

Writing Motherhood is the perfect book for the mom who is already writing and is in need of some great ideas to get the juices flowing and it also offers support and helpful tips for novices who have been afraid to put their thoughts on paper and a need a great book to kick start their journey to journaling their life as a mom.  By reading this book, I’ve learned I’m a self-depracating kind of writer (translation – I make fun of myself all the time); I laughed and even became wistful reading the heartfelt stories shared by the author, and it even inspired me to continue writing about the things I love and the things that make me laugh.  So thanks Lisa for this book.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking to write about their personal motherhood experiences.  Don’t do it as a chore – do it because you love the process or because you want to capture the part of your life when you pretty much felt like the only thing you were in control of were your words (and sometimes that’s even a problem when you hurl a curse at someone who’s driving too slow in front of you and you forget your five year old is in the backseat).  
But back to the book review – if you don’t have time to sign up for a writing course, this is a must-read for aspiring mom writers.  For more information about Lisa Garrigues, visit her website at Writing Motherhood.  

Role Mommy Book Club Review

Thumbs up to a quick read for sarcastic moms everywhere!

I have to admit, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a book review and here’s the reason – I haven’t been reading much lately, and that gets me depressed – plus it makes me realize it’s time for a vacation.  So while I was searching my book shelf for a good read, I realized that I had read a hilarious book on my last vacation so I figured it was time to finally give it a proper Role Mommy shout out.

The book is called The Woman who is Always Tan and Has a Flat Stomach by Lauren Allison and Lisa Perry.  A title after my own heart, this book was originally self published but caught on with readers and it was eventually picked up by Grand Central Publishing.  On that feat alone, the authors get a high five in my book for their perseverance!

The premise of the book is simple – it features essays about all those annoying people you come in contact with as a parent and eloquently shares all the reasons why they get under our skin.  I have to admit, I found myself laughing out loud for 90 minutes straight and I pretty much finished it during a plane ride.  So if you only have a few hours to spare – or even a few minutes, then pick up this book – it’s a fabulous read!