Summer Secrets, by Jane Green (@JaneGreen) #review @NetGalley @StMartinsPress

About the book, Summer Secrets Summer Secrets

  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (June 23, 2015)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It’s a mistake for which she can’t forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it’s time to grow up. But she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.

    As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.

    Told with Jane Green’s keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms.

    Buy, read, and discuss Summer Secrets

    Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

    About the author, Jane Green Jane Green

    Jane Green is a bestselling author of popular novels. She has been featured in People, Newsweek, USA Today, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Connecticut with her family.

    Connect with Jane

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    My Thoughts

    For the longest time, Jane Green has been known for writing witty, engaging novels about women in their thirties undergoing major life changes. Sure, she deviates from that formula once in a while, but I’ve been reading her stuff since I was in my thirties, and she’s a go-to author when you want a beach read that’s deep enough to keep you interested, but not so heavy that your head starts to hurt.

    Summer Secrets, which I read as an ARC from NetGalley, is no different, though it is a little bit darker than some of Green’s previous novels, mostly because the main character is an alcoholic.

    What I especially liked is that even the minor characters felt like real people. Cat is a flawed (deeply flawed) protagonist, and there were times when I wanted to shake her and order her to make better choices, but having known enough addicts, I know it would not have helped, but even the people she works with, seen in brief exchanges in the office, or going for drinks after work, have their moments. Her teenaged daughter, as well, was suitable moody and mercurial, the way actual teens tend to be.

    I also liked that Green was pretty accurate with the addictive personality, and didn’t offer a magical ‘fix’ to Cat’s problem. She had to work – and work hard – to get from the place she started at the beginning of the novel, to the place where she ended.

    The dual settings of London and Nantucket, I thought, worked well in juxtaposition, and the shifting time periods, while a little bit confusing at the start of the book, really helped show Cat’s growth, albeit in a non-linear fashion.

    I don’t know if Ms. Green plans to continue making her plots as meaty as this one was – yes, it was still a romance, deep down, but still… – but if she does, I applaud it. I’ve always enjoyed her work, but I thought Summer Secrets offered the best blend of summer escapism and smart, contemporary fiction.

    Goes well withBoardwalk fries and lemonade, eaten while sitting on the beach.

About a Girl, by Lindsey Kelk (@LindseyKelk) #review @TLCBookTours

About the book, About a Girl About a Girl

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 14, 2015)

Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when the Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.

After accidently answering her roommate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, she might try being Vanessa. With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?

But Tess is soon in big trouble. And the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster. Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…

Buy, read, and discuss About a Girl

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads

About the author, Lindsey Kelk Lindsey Kelk

Lindsey Kelk is a writer and children’s book editor. When she isn’t writing, reading, listening to music, or watching more TV than is healthy, Lindsey likes to wear shoes, shop for shoes, and judge the shoes of others. Born in England, Lindsey loves living in New York but misses Sherbet Fountains, London, and drinking gin and elderflower cocktails with her friends. Not necessarily in that order.

Connect with Lindsey

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My Thoughts

From the first words of the preface to the last word of the last page I was hooked by the fresh, funny, fantastic read. Who among us doesn’t want to step into someone else’s life for a while? Which of us hasn’t been tempted to try to be someone we’re not?

What I love about this novel is that the author, Lindsey Kelk, really captured the truth inside a preposterous situation. Scenes that would have been played solely for laughs under less meticulous crafting, instead balanced humor and pathos. This is especially true with the lead character, Tess, whose voice narrates the novel, but even scenes where she wasn’t the central figure never felt two-dimensional.

I also love Kelk’s use of language, especially the way twenty-somethings tend to overuse casual curse words. I remember the my friends and I all had such potty mouths at that age, even though we were all working professionals. It was as if we were reveling in some kind of lingering linguistic freedom, a last frolic before we reached thirty. (Translation: Tess uses the word ‘fuck’ a lot. I find this to be a perfectly legitimate character choice.) Also, as an American reader, I have to say, I’ve always thought the British concept of “you’ve been made redundant” sounds so much kinder than “you’re fired,” even though the meaning is the same.

While Tess’s story may not appeal to everyone, if you’re looking for a fast, entertaining read – perfect for the beach or bathtub! – About a Girl is just about the best choice you could make. Read it now, so you’re prepared for the sequel, What a Girl Wants, which was published in the UK last summer, and is due to hit the USA soon.

Goes well with Poi, barbecued pork, and any drink that comes in a hollowed-out coconut or pineapple. Bonus if there’s also an umbrella.

Lindsey’s Tour Stops TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, April 14th: Unshelfish

Wednesday, April 15th: The Book Bag

Thursday, April 16th: BookNAround

Friday, April 17th: Stephany Writes

Monday, April 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Tuesday, April 21st: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Thursday, April 23rd: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, April 27th: girlichef

Tuesday, April 28th: Bibliotica – That’s ME!

Wednesday, April 29th: Books and Binding

Thursday, April 30th: fangirl confessions

TBD: Kahakai Kitchen