Tag Archives: Jennifer Weiner

New Releases: July 3rd

Finally after over a month off, I have a TWO new books to enjoy! July is loaded with five releases that I am eagerly anticipating.

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier, Sarah Rees Brennan

The Lowdown: This book is the first collaboration between YA authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan.

From Goodreads.com

Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity!

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Why you should check it out: Whenever I look at the the YA books that are featured on the Goodreads giveaways, I see a ton of vampire novels. All of these stories tell the same tale of the girl falling in love with the mysterious vampire. These plots–always told from the point of view of the girl–discuss how interesting and amazing this dangerous creature is. The protagonist’s friends are seen as the enemy for trying to get between her and the object of her affection.

Are you sick of these books? Are you tired of reading about a young woman who needs her supernatural boyfriend to survive? I have a feeling Team Human is the answer to this phenomenon, because this book focuses on the friendship between the girls more than the boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. I really feel that this perspective will make for a stronger and more interesting characters. I am really curious to see the authors’ take on a vampire story. I feel as if Larbalestier and Brennan can create a vampire story that I will enjoy.

The excerpt I read confirmed my high hopes for this story. The female characters seem smart and witty. The vampire is enough of a parody to be enjoyable without inducing eye rolls. When combined with author Maureen Johnson’s review of the story–“If you love vampire books, this is the book for you–if you hate vampire books this is also the book for you”–I realized I needed to buy this book ASAP. After all, if Maureen Johnson says you should read a book, you probably should.

Not sold yet? Check out the first chapter here and promo video here.

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

The Lowdown: This story follows the life of Ruth Saunders; a character Weiner previously introduced in a short story Swim. That tale details Saunders’ life as a freelance writer who edits the college essays of prospective students. Weiner’s latest novel discusses Ruth’s life as she prepares to rejoin the television world after an extended absence.

From Goodreads.com

Blockbuster #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner returns with an irresistible story about a young woman trying to make it in Hollywood…

At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she’s hit 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 show-runner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on a boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear and eye for writer’s rooms, bad behavior backstage and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood rollercoaster and a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

Why you should check it out: I checked out the prequel to this story–Swim–because it was free. After reading that small tidbit of Ruth’s life, I needed to know more. The first chapter only made me more excited about this book. I knew immediately that this story was a must-read.

I have previously discussed my love for the way in which Weiner depicts relationships in her novels. Whenever I finish one of her books, I can guarantee that I feel an emotional connection to the woman I just read about. Even though I may not have had the same life experiences as them, I still felt as if I understood where they were coming from and what they went through.

The stories are more than just tear-jerking tales of female bonding. Weiner takes the humor she constantly displays on her twitter feed and interjects it into her books. I am also hoping that Weiner’s experience as a showrunner for the short-lived TV show State of Georgia will be lead to interesting anecdotes of working in Hollywood.

After finishing this post, you must go and check out the short story Swim. It is free and can be read on your computer. I know that after reading it you will add The Next Best Thing to your to-read list.

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Rapid Reviews

I thought that the birth of my daughter would mean a decrease in time available for reading. The opposite has proven to be true. My evenings–which used to be full of me running around the house getting things done–are now filled with me sitting on the couch holding my sleeping daughter. I have found this is the perfect opportunity to clear my shelves of some books that have been sitting in my “to-read” pile for ages.

Unfortunately I have found little time to write reviews for these books. My free time usually comes with a baby on my lap, leaving no free space for a laptop. The result is a lack of book posts up on my blog. I have decided to rectify this by doing a sort of “rapid review” post discussing some of my recent reads.

Book cover of Thin, Rich, Pretty by Beth Harbison The first book I want to review is Thin, Rich, Pretty by Beth Harbison. The story is told from three alternating points of view that rotate between the present and past as the story unfolds. By using this technique each narrator only divulges small pieces of the story. The reader is able to use all of these tidbits to create the full plot. This approach helped the tale develop slowly until everything was revealed at the end and left room for interesting twists and turns. The resulting story was quite enjoyable.

The book cover for "Fly Away Home" by Jennifer WeinerJennifer Weiner uses also uses flashbacks and multiple narrators in Fly Away Home. I found this to be much less successful. The author’s use of flashbacks was less structured and sometimes left me feeling confused. I often wondered if I was in the past or present. Another disappointment was the fact that I found one of the women narrators to be boring. Her story lacked anything that would make it interesting to me. My final issue with the story was that the conclusion of the book left me with no resolution. I had high hopes for this book when I purchased it, but was left feeling disappointed.

Book cover for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg LarssonThere was no disappointment when I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I found all three of Larsson’s novels–Hornet’s Nest plus The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo–to be interesting and entertaining. All three novels in the trilogy started slowly, but soon were impossible to put down. This was a series that had sat on my shelf for several months. I ended up blowing through all the books in a week in a half. The characters were complex; the story was original. I’m glad I finally read this series.

Book cover of Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen I have no idea how Water for Elephants ended up on my bookshelf. It has probably been there for two years waiting for me to read it. It finally got picked up this weekend as a result of being the only book left unread on my shelf. I had very few expectations when I started reading this book. I ended up discovering a book that I would pick up again for a re-read. Recently I have found myself reading mostly YA stores and tales of women in their early 30’s. This story, told by a male narrator alternating between life in his 90’s and early 20’s, was a refreshing change. I loved how the plot focused on the life of a member of the traveling circus. I had never before wondered about such a life, but now feel inspired to know more. I don’t know how this book ended up in my life, but am glad it did!

Book cover of Hook Line and Sink Him by Jackie Pilossoph Like Water for Elephants, Hook Line and Sink Him has a male narrator. In Water for Elephants the author captures a man speech and thought in a way that I felt was realistic. The author of Hook Line and Sink Him creates a man who comes off as a stereotype. I hope that the men around me think of things other than constantly bedding women and the local sports teams. My inability to believe in the main character meant that I could never really get into the storyline. It was entertaining but not enthralling. The result was a book that I will probably forget about in a month or so.

Book cover of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch Girls in Trucks is a book I can’t wait to forget. I picked it up at Target after reading the book’s description. I found the book to be disappointing. Starting with a seventh-grade girl named Sarah, the novel jumps unpredictably through her life. These jumps were not executed well, often leaving me feeling jarred. Characters came and went with no rhyme or reason, making me feel as if I had missed something. There was no resolution to one story before being thrown into the next. The only constant was the main character’s habit of smoking pot, which just irritated me. Upon finishing this book I felt like I had wasted a lot of time. Very disappointing.

So now I find myself looking for book recommendations. I need suggestions! My shelves which were once full of “to read” piles are now in need of a refresh. I’ve given many book suggestions over the past year, and now am asking for you to return the favor. What books should I check out?

Books of Summer

As a book lover, I am very excited for this summer. Not only does the summer offer many opportunities for lying out in the sun and reading, it also brings a bunch of new book releases! I am eagerly awaiting many of these releases as they are from some of my favorite authors.

Heart of the Matter book coverThe first summer release that has me excited is Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin. Although this book has been released — its release date was Tuesday, May 11th– I still feel it is worth a mention. I discovered Emily Giffin’s first book, Something Borrowed, while waiting in line for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I picked up the book initially just to help me pass the time while waiting in line. An hour or so later I was engrossed in the story. I ended up buying it, and it has since become one of my favorites. I often find myself returning to this book for an impromptu re-read. I have since purchased and enjoyed Giffin’s other three releases. The author’s ability to depict relationships between people in her novels has consistently amazed me. This skill always translates to characters that I can relate to. I can’t wait to see if this is true of her new novel.

Insatiable Book CoverThe next summer release on my calendar is Insatiable by Meg Cabot. Due in bookstores on June 1st, this will be Cabot’s third release this year. Though Cabot has quite the collection of published works, none feel “cookie-cutter” in plot. I have read over thirty Meg Cabot stories and I have enjoyed them all. Each book or series has a different feel to it which really helps them stand out. That is certainly true of her newest novel. Cabot promises that Insatiable will take on the topics of Supernatural and Vampires in a new way. I can’t wait to see what that is!

Promises to Keep by Jane GreenThe third summer release I am excited about is Promises to Keep by Jane Green. I have read many of Green’s books and love how I have always been able to relate to her characters. When I was an unmarried college student, I was able to connect with the single women in her stories. Once I was married, I enjoyed her stories of the trials and tribulations newlyweds. As I leave that stage of my life, I am enjoying her stories of mothers-to-be and find them to be delightful. I hope that Promises to Keep: A Novel helps to continue that trend. This book is scheduled to be released June 15th.

Fly Away Home book coverJuly 13th is the release date of my next anticipated summer release Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner. Weiner’s ability to describe the complex feelings of relationships is a reason why she is among my favorite authors. She uses this skill in In Her Shoes to tell the story of two sisters, making this book a favorite of mine. In her novel Little Earthquakes, she is able to show the connection between young mothers with the same realism. I am interested to see which relationship she tackles in this new release as it is sure to be as moving as her previous works.

Mini Shopaholic book coverThe last summer release I am eagerly awaiting is Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. This book, to be released August 24th, is the latest in the author’s “Shopaholic” series. As a fellow shopaholic, I find main character Becky Bloomwood endearing. I have related to many of her antics and travels throughout the series. I have been wondering about Becky the birth of her daughter in the end of Shopaholic and Baby and can not wait to see what she has been up to in the time since.

These are the five summer releases that have me excited. Are any of your favorite authors releasing books this summer? What are your most anticipated summer releases? Thanks in advance for sharing!