Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin #TheEscapeRoomBook #stmartinspress #bookreview Pub Date 7/30/19

Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin #TheEscapeRoomBook #stmartinspress #bookreview Pub Date 7/30/19

*Thank you to St Martin’s Press for this free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Title : The Escape Room

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publish Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: St Martin’s Press, Macmillan

Purchase here

About the Book:

In Megan Goldin’s unforgettable debut, The Escape Room, four young Wall Street rising stars discover the price of ambition when an escape room challenge turns into a lethal game of revenge.

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style—but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.

Invited to participate in an escape room as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.

Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?

What I Loved/Thought:

“𝚆𝚎𝚕𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚎 𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚎𝚜𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚎 𝚛𝚘𝚘𝚖. 𝚈𝚘𝚞𝚛 𝚐𝚘𝚊𝚕 𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚒𝚖𝚙𝚕𝚎. 𝙶𝚎𝚝 𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚊𝚕𝚒𝚟𝚎.” —𝙼𝚎𝚐𝚊𝚗 𝙶𝚘𝚕𝚍𝚒𝚗, 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙴𝚜𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚎 𝚁𝚘𝚘𝚖

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 stars!

What a wild ride! Okay, let it be said that before this book, I toyed with the idea of trying An Escape Room strategy game at some point. After this book, yeah, no. I started this book and it was clear that I wouldn’t be getting much done before I finished. I connected with the characters, and needed to find out what the actual heck was going on. Was this for real or was it part of the game? Just who is behind this? I needed answers! This is exactly why I fell in love with mystery/thrillers! The fast ride, the fast turning pages, the crazy backstories.

Praise:

“One of my favorite books of the year.” —Lee Child

“Cancel all your plans and call in sick; once you start reading, you’ll be caught in your own escape room—the only key to freedom is turning the last page!” Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A sleek, well-crafted ride.” —The New York Times

Book Review: That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell #BallantineBooks Pub Date 7/30/19

Book Review: That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell #BallantineBooks Pub Date 7/30/19

Title: That’s What Frenemies Are For

About the authors: (credit to Goodreads)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Publish Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books, Penguin Randomhouse

Purchase here

Pages: 320

About the Book:

In this razor-sharp novel for fans of When Life Gives You Lululemons, a Manhattan socialite turns her spin instructor into a fitness superstar to impress her friends. But can she keep her little project under control? Or has she created a monster?

Julia Summers seems to have it all: a sprawling Upper East Side apartment, a successful husband, and two adorable children attending the best private school in the city. She relishes wielding influence over her well-heeled girlfriends . . . but her star appears to be fading. That’s why, when stranded in Manhattan for the summer as her entire crowd flees to the Hamptons, Julia is on the hunt for the next big thing that will make her the envy of her friends and put her back on top.

Enter Flame, the new boutique gym in her neighborhood. Seductive and transformative, Flame’s spin classes are exactly what Julia needs—and demure, naïve instructor Tatum is her ticket in. But rebranding Tatum as a trendy guru proves hard work, and Julia’s triumphant comeback at summer’s end doesn’t quite go as planned. Tatum begins to grasp just how much power her newfound stardom holds, and when things suddenly get ugly, Julia realizes she’s in way over her head.

Julia’s life is already spiraling out of control when her husband is arrested for fraud and bribery. As her so-called friends turn their backs on her, and Tatum pursues her own agenda, Julia is forced to rethink everything she knew about her world to reclaim her perfect life. But does she even want it back? Witty and incisive, Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell’s That’s What Frenemies Are For provides an engrossing glimpse into the cutthroat moms’ club of the Upper East Side.

What I Loved/Thought:

I am such a mood reader and seasonal reader, and was craving a fun, sassy book that would make me laugh out loud. I had to look no further than That’s What Frenemies Are For, the perfect summer read!

I’m telling you this book was so funny, and I devoured it! I can see this being a favorite by the pool or the beach, really anywhere this summer! It had the gossip, the drama, and all the fun that I love in a good Women’s Fiction.

As a huge fan of When Life Gives You Lululemons, the blurb this novel was being compared to, I knew I needed to read this, and it delivered in a big, feel good way!

*Thank you to the publisher and a Netgalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review

Praise:

Review: The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

Review: The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

*Thank you to Netgalley and publisher for this free ebook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Title: The Floating Feldmans

About the author: (credit to Amazon)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Publish Date: July 23, 2019

Purchase here

About the Book:

A family vacation dredges up a boatload of trouble in the next witty, insightful novel from the acclaimed author of The Intermission.

“An irresistible drama filled with humor and heart-tugging emotion about family and what it means to belong. I absolutely adore Friedland’s warm, witty writing!”—Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted

Sink or swim. Or at least that’s what Annette Feldman tells herself when she books a cruise for her entire family. It’s been over a decade since the Feldman clan has spent more than twenty-four hours under the same roof, but Annette is determined to celebrate her seventieth birthday the right way. Just this once, they are going to behave like an actual family.

Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo. 

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring—and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.

What I Loved/Thought:

“𝙸 𝚖𝚎𝚊𝚗 𝚠𝚎 𝙵𝚎𝚕𝚍𝚖𝚊𝚗𝚜 𝚊𝚛𝚎𝚗’𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝚙𝚎𝚘𝚙𝚕𝚎 𝚠𝚑𝚘 𝚠𝚎𝚊𝚛 𝚛𝚒𝚍𝚒𝚌𝚞𝚕𝚘𝚞𝚜 𝚖𝚊𝚝𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚌𝚕𝚘𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐. 𝚆𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚖𝚢 𝚙𝚒𝚌𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚎, 𝚗𝚘 𝚕𝚎𝚜𝚜!”

—𝙴𝚕𝚢𝚜𝚜𝚊 𝙵𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚍𝚕𝚊𝚗𝚍, 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙵𝚕𝚘𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝙵𝚎𝚕𝚍𝚖𝚊𝚗𝚜

After reading a ridiculous amount of mystery/thrillers this month, I needed a palate cleanse in the worst way! I was so excited to jump in with the Feldmans in this dysfunctional family comedy.

While it was full of funny banter and laughable antics by this high strung family, I was surprised at the depth and real issues and secrets many of the family members were facing. I liked some of the characters much better than others, but I didn’t let that tamper with my overall feel good factor with this book.

I’ll be honest and say that this adorable cover led me to pick it up, and I was happy to say that the story inside lived up to the cover.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!

Praise:

“When Annette Feldman decides to celebrate her 70th birthday with a family cruise, drama—and hilarity—ensue.”— People 

 The Floating Feldmans is a hilarious romp on the sea that is perfect for your poolside reading this summer! I read this book with a wide grin, and I know that you will too! Highly recommend!”—Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of I’ll Never Tell and Spin 

“Friedland uses multiple perspectives, witty dialogue, and complex characters that are incredibly relatable to deliver a funny, astute look at the family dynamic and the relationships shared within. Whether on a cruise or taking a staycation, contemporary readers will want to have The Floating Feldmans on deck.”— Booklist

 The Floating Feldmans is a fast, funny, surprisingly heartwarming ride on the high seas.”—Shelf Awareness 

“Friedland creates vivid characters with distinct voices, from the outwardly critical matriarch to the insecure teenager. The story is at its best when the whole family is together, allowing their individual personalities to bounce off one another. There’s also some sharp commentary about the pitfalls of cruises, and even readers who’ve never been on one will feel positively claustrophobic as they read about the cramped cabins the Feldmans stay in. A fun look at family drama on the open seas.”—Kirkus

 The Floating Feldmans is a story about an estranged family’s wild vacation. This book is so dramatic, that it might actually make your fam feel normal…even if you’re losing your mind on day five of your own trip.”— Cosmopolitan 

Bust the Slump

Bust the Slump

Talking reading slumps today. We have all been here before right??

This is the stack that I came up with that helped pull me from the dreaded slump. Whether I’d just read a few duds and needed a pick me up, or I just knew that the author would help me find my happy reading place again.

Helen Hoang is now a go to author for me, after reading The Kiss Quotient last year and being pretty much obsessed ever since!

I always say to go to a short, lighter read, or to try an audiobook or a short book that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Those are my tried and true tricks to bust the slump.

What do you do?

Pub Day Stack! 7/23/19

Pub Day Stack! 7/23/19

Happy New Book Tuesday to these lovelies!

I’ve made my way through most of these, and will be starting Good Girl, Bad Girl next! As you can see, I like a good mix of mystery/thrillers and historical fiction.

What books are you excited about that are on sale today?

*Thank you to the publishers for these gifted copies! #partner

Review + Feature: The Nine by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

Review + Feature: The Nine by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg

*I’m excited to be on tour today with Suzy Approved Booktours for The Nine by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg today. Thank you for this gifted copy! #sponsored

Title: The Nine

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

Genre: Fiction

Publish Date: August 20, 2019

Publisher: She Writes Press

Purchase Here

About the Book:

Hannah Webber fears she will never be a mother, but her prayers are finally answered when she gives birth to a son. In an era of high-stakes parenting, nurturing Sam’s intellect becomes Hannah’s life purpose. She invests body and soul into his development, much to the detriment of her marriage. She convinces herself, however, that Sam’s acceptance at age fourteen to the most prestigious of New England boarding schools overseen by an illustrious headmaster, justifies her choices. 

When he arrives at Dunning, Sam is glad to be out from under his mother’s close watch. And he enjoys his newfound freedom―until, late one night, he stumbles upon evidence of sexual misconduct at the school and is unable to shake the discovery. 

Both a coming-of-age novel and a portrait of an evolving mother-son relationship, The Nine is the story of a young man who chooses to expose a corrupt world operating under its own set of rules―even if it means jeopardizing his mother’s hopes and dreams.

What I Loved/Thought:

“𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙽𝚒𝚗𝚎,” 𝙼𝚊𝚡 𝚛𝚎𝚙𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚎𝚍. 𝙰𝚕𝚕 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚏𝚊𝚌𝚎𝚜 𝚝𝚞𝚛𝚗𝚎𝚍 𝚝𝚘 𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚝𝚎𝚗. “𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚎𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚎. 𝚈𝚘𝚞 𝚔𝚗𝚘𝚠, 𝚒𝚝’𝚜 , 𝚕𝚒𝚔𝚎, 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚑𝚒𝚐𝚑𝚎𝚜𝚝 𝚑𝚘𝚗𝚘𝚛 𝚊𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚌𝚑𝚘𝚘𝚕.”

—𝙹𝚎𝚊𝚗𝚗𝚎 𝙼𝚌𝚆𝚒𝚕𝚕𝚒𝚊𝚖𝚜 𝙱𝚕𝚊𝚜𝚋𝚎𝚛𝚐, 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝙽𝚒𝚗𝚎

As a mom of a 10 and 7 year old, I could deeply relate to this story of the nurturing relationship it takes to be a parent in today’s world. While I don’t think of myself as a “hover mom” like main character Hannah, I can see why she felt the need to be involved so deeply with her fourteen year old son’s private school life. With topics of bullying, sex, drugs, and the peer pressures of today’s teens.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!

Praise:

 The Nine uncovers the underbelly of an elite private school, revealing decades-long corruption, while also exposing how the fervent dreams of mothers for their children can shatter families. Jeanne Blasberg delves with unflinching precision into the chasms between parents and children, a novel revelatory for the author’s willingness to scrutinize both mother and son and their stifling bond.” 

—Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of The Widow of Wall Street and Waisted 

 The Nine is one of those suspenseful, highly addictive novels that keep you saying, “just one more chapter” until suddenly you’ve stayed up all night to finish it. Hannah and Sam – the tenacious, devoted mother and her humble, endearing son—make an irresistible team as they take on the dark narcissism and systemic exploitation of an elite world that attempts to break them. I love this book’s iconoclastic impulse and its ultimate faith in the values of work over privilege, and love over loyalty.” 

—Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men 

“Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg’s compelling new novel, The Nine, is a complex and beautifully wrought tale of the sacrifices parents and children make to join the ranks of the elite, and the shocking secrets they find once they get there. It will surely be catnip for book groups―Dead Poets Society crossed with a conspiracy thriller, with a helicopter mom’s midlife crisis thrown in for good measure―and it’ll keep the reader turning pages as fast as she can.” 

―Holly LeCraw, author of The Swimming Pool andThe Half Brother 

“…A poignant mother-son drama….In fluid prose, Blasberg combines two tales through two alternating voices.” 

 Kirkus Reviews

Review: Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

Review: Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly

*Thank you to the publisher for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

Title: Theme Music

About the author: (credit to Amazon)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publish Date: July 23, 2019

Publisher: Dutton, Penguin Randomhouse

Purchase here

What I Loved/Thought:

There is no question about it, when I heard of this book through the book community/bookstagram vine, I needed to get my hands on it. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to haunted houses and ghost story books, yet I’m also so fascinated by them. Almost as if to see just how scared it will make me.

This debut novel had all of the ghost story and haunted house vibes I was looking for, yet it’s told upfront so you know what you’re getting into, even from the synopsis. For a big scaredy cat like me, I appreciated that aspect so I could read with one eye open under a blanket as needed.

As the story unfolds, and we get to see Dixie Wheeler, all grown up after the tragedy where her family is brutally murdered, things begin to take on a sinister feel. More and more of her story unfolds and more ghosts reveal their past.

I really loved this book! I only wish that I’d read it closer to Halloween for that truly creepy factor. It’s gruesome and dark, but also grabbed me in from the beginning.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 stars!!

About the Book:

An utterly propulsive and unpredictable psychological thriller from stunning new talent T. Marie Vandelly.

She didn’t run from her dark past. She moved in. 
 
For the lucky among us, life is what you make of it; but for Dixie Wheeler, the theme music for her story was chosen by another long ago, on the day her father butchered her mother and brothers and then slashed a knife across his own throat. Only one-year-old Dixie was spared, becoming infamously known as Baby Blue for the song left playing in the aftermath of the slaughter. 

Twenty-five years later, Dixie is still desperate for a connection to the family she can’t remember. So when her childhood home goes up for sale, Dixie sets aside all reason and moves in. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the house that was once theirs, Dixie starts to question her own sanity and wonders if the evil force menacing her is that of her father or a demon of her own making. 

In order to make sense of her present, Dixie becomes determined to unravel the truth of her past and seeks out the detective who originally investigated the murders. But the more she learns, the more she opens up the uncomfortable possibility that the sins of her father may belong to another. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre to save her few loved ones that are still alive—and whatever scrap of sanity she has left.

Praise:

“[A] chilling, enthralling debut… Driven by a believable plot and populated with realistic characters, this delicious mix of horror, ghost story, and mystery marks Vandelly as a writer to watch.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

“A story as frenzied and hard-hitting as the characters bound within it…. Readers will be bombarded with uninhibited descriptions and dauntless curveballs.”— Fangoria Magazine 

“An intense thriller with horror vibes that I can’t put down…”— Book Riot 

“Vandelly shows a deft touch at creating characters and spinning plots, leading to an almost unbearably terrifying and bloody climax in this gripping debut.”— Booklist

“[ Theme Music’s] many twists, surprises, and reversals will keep readers hooked.” Kirkus 

“What a riveting and disturbing read this is! Charting the return of Dixie Wheeler to the childhood home where her parents and brothers were killed in front of her, Theme Music is a fierce and intense slice of psychological horror that will leave you vowing, Never Go Back. Never.”—Louise Candlish, bestselling author of Our House andThose People 

Book Review: The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke

Book Review: The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke

*Thank you to the publisher and KCCPR for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Title: The Two Lila Bennetts

About the author: (credit to Goodreads)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publish Date: July 23, 2019

Publisher: Lake Union, Amazon

Purchase here

What I Loved/Thought:

okay, I loved how clever Liz and Lisa were to take the idea of a parallel universe to lay out Lila’s life before her with two different ways her life could go.

Lila Bennett has made one bad decision after another, and her lies are catching up to her. As a criminal defense attorney, she sees one life where she’s taken hostage by a stranger that knows too much about her secrets and bad choices. In another life, she is being blackmailed by all the secrets of her past.

It’s a race to survival in this fast paced mystery! I flew through this book and it gave me all the ‘Maybe in Another Life’ vibes, which I loved.

3.75 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Book:

“One fateful decision. Two unexpected endings. A perfect summer read!” —Wendy Walker, bestselling author of The Night Before

Lila Bennett’s bad choices have finally caught up with her. And one of those decisions has split her life in two. Literally.

In one life, she’s taken hostage by someone who appears to be a stranger but knows too much. As she’s trapped in a concrete cell, her kidnapper forces her to face what she’s done or be killed. In an alternate life, she eludes her captor but is hunted by someone who is dismantling her happiness, exposing one secret at a time.

Lila’s decorated career as a criminal defense attorney, her marriage, and her life are on the line. She must make a list of those she’s wronged—both in and out of the courtroom—to determine who is out to get her before it’s too late. But even if she can pinpoint her assailant, will she survive? And if she does, which parts of her life are worth saving, and which parts must die? Because one thing’s for certain—life as Lila Bennett knew it is over.

Praise:

“Intriguing…Chapters headed ‘captured’ and ‘free’ alternate, each describing a parallel reality…Along with two perfect endings, this satisfying thriller offers food for thought. Flawless pacing will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” Publishers Weekly

The Two Lila Bennetts is a thought-provoking thriller that will have you thinking about the choices you’ve made and how your life could change in an instant.” —POPSUGAR

“Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke create an imaginative and unpredictable story of modern life, the choices we make and their consequences. The Two Lila Bennetts is an excellent summer read.” —Authorlink

The Two Lila Bennetts is heart-pounding action from start to finish. It’s Sliding Doors with a killer twist. I couldn’t put it down!” —Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author

“One fateful decision. Two unexpected endings. A perfect summer read! The Two Lila Bennettscleverly weaves together two sides of one story in an engaging thrill ride that keeps readers on their toes—and turning pages. Thoroughly enjoyable!” —Wendy Walker, author of The Night Before

Book Feature: The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

Book Feature: The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

*Thank you to Harlequin Publicity Team and Graydon House Publishing for this gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

Available now! Purchase here

Who doesn’t love a book about deep family secrets?

I’m excited to start reading this one! I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump this week and this sounds like the perfect book to bust me out of the dreaded slump!

About the Book:

“The talented Molly Fader will keep you turning the pages right down to the oh-so-satisfying final twist.”
―Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author

What drove their family apart just might bring them back together… 

It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Ohio hometown on the shores of Lake Erie. 

But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame—and best of all, each other. But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever. 

With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.

Review: The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Review: The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Title: The Most Fun We Ever Had

*Thank you to netgalley and publisher for this complimentary e-book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

About the author: (credit to Amazon)

Publish Date: June 25, 2019

Purchase here

Publisher: Doubleday, Penguin Randomhouse

Pages: 532

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction

Synopsis: (credit to publisher website)

When Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, they are blithely ignorant of all that’s to come. By 2016, their four radically different daughters are each in a state of unrest: Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator-turned-stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt when the darkest part of her past resurfaces; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she’s not sure she wants by a man she’s not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects. Above it all, the daughters share the lingering fear that they will never find a love quite like their parents’. 

As the novel moves through the tumultuous year following the arrival of Jonah Bendt–given up by one of the daughters in a closed adoption fifteen years before–we are shown the rich and varied tapestry of the Sorensons’ past: years marred by adolescence, infidelity, and resentment, but also the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.

Spanning nearly half a century, and set against the quintessential American backdrop of Chicago and its prospering suburbs, Lombardo’s debut explores the triumphs and burdens of love, the fraught tethers of parenthood and sisterhood, and the baffling mixture of affection, abhorrence, resistance, and submission we feel for those closest to us. In painting this luminous portrait of a family’s becoming, Lombardo joins the ranks of writers such as Celeste Ng, Elizabeth Strout, and Jonathan Franzen as visionary chroniclers of our modern lives.

What I Loved/Thought:

I started reading The Most Fun We Ever Had, and was immersed right away into the lives of the Sorenson family. I loved how the story opened and we first get to see the love between Chicago couple Marilyn and David, the matriarch and patriarch of the family tree, and their four daughters.

Little by little we get to meet each of the four daughters, from eldest Wendy, to baby Gracie, and I am once again reminded at how much I love a novel with rich family dynamics.

Spanning over the years from the 1970’s to 2016, this book takes you through the ups and downs of marriage, parenthood, friendship, trust, lies, adolescence, infidelity, resentment, joy, affection, love and at the true center, sisterhood.

*Thank you netgalley and DoubleDay books for this free ebook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

Praise:

An Amazon Best Book of July 2019: Claire Lombardo’s debut, The Most Fun We Ever Had, is the best kind of family saga—tightly woven with characters who are flawed and human, and who submerge us face-first into the messiness of familial and romantic love. Marilyn and David Sorenson have been inseparable since the 1970s, and even as life has thrown them challenges, their love is the sun around which all else orbits. In 2016, we see their four daughters all suffering from unique dysfunctions—and all fearing that they will never have a relationship as strong as that of their parents, “two people who emanated more love than it seemed like the universe would sanction.” Eldest daughter Wendy has suffered a devastating loss and soothes herself with alcohol and men; Violet is faced with a buried secret—the son she gave away in a closed adoption 16 years ago; Liza, pregnant by a man she’s not in love with, is weighing single parenthood; and Grace—the baby of the family, struggles to launch and is keeping a secret from her family. Told through flashbacks interspersed with the present day, The Most Fun We Ever Had is a beautifully written, intricately detailed look at a Midwestern American family. It’s an up-close examination of life, love, and the inevitable changes wrought by the passage of time that places Lombardo in the company of talented chroniclers of family life such as Celeste Ng and Meg Wolitzer. –Sarah Gelman, Amazon Book Review