Wow, I am ready for spring! We’ve had a few warm days here and there but the forecast says we’re getting snow on Thursday, and I’m OVER it. I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to lay in the warm sun (or under a shady tree) and read, read, read. Winter, go away!
Here’s what I’m reading this month:
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This was just selected for my May book club, and I’m excited that it won so we can eat Italian food when we meet. I’m hoping it makes for a good discussion — have any of you read this for a book club?
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.
And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s backlot—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. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.
Mother of Invention by Caeli Wolfson Widger
I was highly anticipating this novel last year when it was released (and disappointed I didn’t get an ARC from NetGalley), but then somehow it got pushed aside for other, more “pressing” reads. Well, I’m excited for it all over again! I picked it up from the library late last month and need to get going on it before the due date.
Meet Silicon Valley executive Tessa Callahan, a woman passionate about the power of technology to transform women’s lives. Her company’s latest invention, the Seahorse Solution, includes a breakthrough procedure that safely accelerates human pregnancy from nine months to nine weeks, along with other major upgrades to a woman’s experience of early maternity.
The inaugural human trial of Seahorse will change the future of motherhood—and it’s Tessa’s job to monitor the first volunteer mothers-to-be. She’ll be their advocate and confidante. She’ll allay their doubts and soothe their anxieties. But when Tessa discovers disturbing truths behind the transformative technology she’s championed, her own fear begins to rock her faith in the Seahorse Solution. With each new secret Tessa uncovers, she realizes that the endgame is too inconceivable to imagine.
Caeli Wolfson Widger’s bold and timely novel examines the fraught sacrifices that women make to succeed in both career and family against a backdrop of technological innovation. It’s a story of friendship, risk, betrayal, and redemption—and an unnerving interrogation of a future in which women can engineer their lives as never before.
*Waisted by Randy Susan Meyers
I have an ARC of this novel, which releases on May 21. I’m not sure it will make for a great blog post here, considering the content, but if I love it, I might share my thoughts over at Literary Quicksand. It definitely sounds like an interesting read.
Alice and Daphne, both successful and accomplished working mothers, harbor the same secret: obsession with their weight overshadows concerns about their children, husbands, work—and everything else of importance in their lives. Scales terrify them.
Daphne, plump in a family of model-thin women, learned only slimness earns admiration at her mother’s knee. Alice, break-up skinny when she met her husband, risks losing her marriage if she keeps gaining weight.
The two women meet at Waisted. Located in a remote Vermont mansion, the program promises fast, dramatic weight loss, and Alice, Daphne, and five other women are desperate enough to leave behind their families for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The catch? They must agree to always be on camera; afterward, the world will see Waisted: The Documentary.
The women soon discover that the filmmakers have trapped them in a cruel experiment. With each pound lost, they edge deeper into obsession and instability…until they decide to take matters into their own hands.
*Recursion by Blake Crouch
This is another NetGalley read (thanks to SUYB’s Steph for letting my know about it!) and I am SO PUMPED for it. I was a huge fan of Dark Matter, and am super glad I don’t have to wait until June to dig into this one.
“My son has been erased.” Those are the last words the woman tells Barry Sutton, before she leaps from the Manhattan rooftop.
Deeply unnerved, Barry begins to investigate her death, only to learn that this wasn’t an isolated case. All across the country, people are waking up to lives different from the ones they fell asleep to. Are they suffering from False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious new disease that afflicts people with vivid memories of a life they never lived? Or is something far more sinister behind the fracturing of reality all around him?
Miles away, neuroscientist Helena Smith is developing a technology that allows us to preserve our most intense memories and relive them. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.
Barry’s search for the truth leads him on an impossible, astonishing journey as he discovers that Helena’s work has yielded a terrifying gift–the ability not just to preserve memories but to remake them . . . at the risk of destroying what it means to be human.
At once a relentless thriller and an intricate science fiction puzzle box, Recursion is a deeply felt exploration of the flashbulb moments that define us–and who we are without them.
**Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
My last and final ARC to definitely read this month. I will be part of the book’s blog tour over at Literary Quicksand on 4/15, so there’s no time like the present! This book was blurbed by Kate Quinn (author of The Alice Network), and on top of that, the description makes it sound like an amazing ode to female friendship.
Duty. Honor. Country. That’s West Point’s motto, and every cadet who passes through its stone gates vows to live it. But on the eve of 9/11, as Dani, Hannah and Avery face four grueling years ahead, they realize they’ll only survive if they do it together.
Everyone knows Dani is going places. With athletic talent and a brilliant mind, she navigates West Point’s predominantly male environment with wit and confidence, breaking stereotypes and embracing new friends.
Hannah’s grandfather, a legendary Army general, offers a stark warning about the dangers that lie ahead, but she moves forward anyway, letting faith guide her path. When she meets her soulmate at West Point, the future looks perfect, just as planned.
Wild child Avery moves fast and doesn’t mind breaking a few rules (and hearts) along the way. But she can’t outpace her self-doubt, and the harder she tries, the further it leads her down a treacherous path.
The world—of business, of love, and of war—awaits Dani, Hannah, and Avery beyond the gates of West Point. These three women know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But soon, that adage no longer rings true—for their future, or their friendship. As they’re pulled in different directions, will their hard-forged bond prevail or shatter?
Which books are you most looking forward to this month? Share in the comments below and/or add your blog links to our TBR Mix ‘n’ Mingle linkup!
*I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
**I received a free digital copy of this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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