Friday, August 19, 2016

The Couple Next Door

Anne and Marco Conti leave their baby sleeping while they go to a small birthday dinner party next door at their friend’s home. Cora is fast asleep, the baby monitor by her side. She generally sleeps through the night and they are a mere 20 feet away. They check on her every half hour. Between 12:30 and 1:30 she disappears. Did the flirtatious hostess that distracted Marco outside have something to do with it? Were Anne’s very wealthy parents being targeted through their only grandchild? Did a random stranger break into their home? From the very beginning what seemed like a random motiveless crime becomes a complicated twist of deceptive characters and a myriad of secrets and lies. It sounds like a great who done it. Unfortunately, the characters were outlandish, unlikeable and exaggerated figures. They spoke in robotic choppy conversation and I could not wait to be finished. Sorry, reader friends, I love a good psycho figure out thriller – think Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, The Widow - but this one does not make the list.

How to Party With an Infant

Mele Bart is a quirky, funny, smart, single mom in the San Francisco area. After getting pregnant and subsequently dumped by her chef boyfriend, Mele sets out on her own to raise her beautiful little girl Ellie. Trying to find the right “Mom” group is apparently something that doesn’t come as easily as one might think. Fitting in and getting picked feels like being back in highschool or pledging a stuck up sorority but it is a necessary evil to get through the long, tiring days on your own. Written through the hilarious theme of Mele’s application as a writer in a cookbook contest. She listens closely to the outlandish stories her fellow park mom’s share and morphs them into crazy recipes. This easy to read, laugh out loud story about love, loss, jealousy and acceptance is a perfect end of summer beach read. Mele accepts both the blessing and the curse of being a single parent in a busy vibrant city while the world flies by and she wipes sticky hands and gets lots of hugs. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend author Kaui Hart Hemmings latest novel. And if you haven’t read her others; The Descendants and The Possibilities, they are a must as well!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Truly Madly Guilty

Truly Madly Guilty takes place in Sydney, Australia. Clementine and Sam, a lovely couple, are visiting old friends Oliver and Erika. They bring along their two beautiful young daughters Holly and Ruby for the day. Unexpectedly, Erika's next door neighbors Vid and Tiffany bring the whole bunch over to their McMansion next door for a fun filled Sunday BBQ.  Something awful occurs. Something tragic. The couples, the friends, are torn apart. Through alternating chapters and a multitude of narrators the reader is pulled through a messy, exhausting, winding road to a little bit of redemption - finding out what actually occurred at the BBQ. Throw in a nosy neighbor Harry, Clementine's meddling mother Pam and the mentally ill hoarding home Erika grew up in. If you are not confused by the many characters and backgrounds of those characters yet, you will be. It is just too much. These characters are overdeveloped if there is such a thing. I have loved the breezy, humor of Liane Moriarty in her past novels (What Alice Forgot!). I love the Australian expressions and scenery but this was too long and pointless without the funny and I felt myself forcing the finish.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Trouble With Lexie

Lexie James is a counselor at Ruxton, an elite prep school in Massachusetts. Lexie has spent her life overcoming obstacles caused by her bizarre mother and father, their financial struggles and general parental neglect. She made her way to college and grad school through hard work and perseverance. At 33 years old, Lexie loves her job and her fiancĂ© Peter, a laid back musician who adores her. Finally having all that she has ever dreamed of - Lexie could not be happier, until the day she meets Daniel Waite. Daniel is the handsome, debonair parent of one of her senior students. Suddenly Lexie questions her upcoming wedding, her sex life and the true meaning of love. Her confidante Amy, a southern bell that works as the school nurse, is her side kick helping her navigate this confusing time. This story is laugh out loud funny, touching and (most likely) completely possible, which is both funny and sad. Author Jessica Anya Blau writes with such straight forward wit and humor, her characters say all the things people think but never say out loud. I should have known after (LOVING!) her first novel, The Summer of Naked Swim Parties, that I would not be able to put this one down.  If you would like to be highly entertained during your last days of summer, this is for you!!