If you’ve been following along my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge, you’ll know why I joined to bring this giveaway to you. I’m all about reading for fun, for education, for expansion of the mind. But I’m also about doing it frugally. This giveaway should help you do just that with seven fab titles AND a $225 Amazon gift card!
It’s here, friends. The end of summer is upon us. I know. But that doesn’t mean you need to put your beloved books down! In fact, just the opposite. No time like the present to dig into your reading and escape the hassles and woes of Back to School prep and fuss. There is something solid to be said for hanging on to these last days of summer and making the most of them.
To embrace the end of our summer months, I teamed up with a bunch of my blogging buddies and asked the uber-important question: what book would you recommend for a last-blast at summer reading? What book would you love to share with others? Every month, The Mom of the Year and Normal Level of Crazy meet through a virtual book club* to allow moms to come together and chat about fab books while still rocking their PJ pants in the cozy-comfort of their own homes. It doesn’t get any better, really.
This month, we’ve blown the skies wide open and are coming to you with an entire list of great reads that you need to check out! Even better, we are giving one of you a $225 Amazon gift card along with a bunch of the titles on this list to read! Use the gift card to snatch up your reading wish list and dig into the books sent to your door. In short, you will be in a reader’s heaven. It’s sweet deal!
Enter to score the gift card and the hard copies of the books before 8/14/15 at 5:30am ET through the Rafflecopter below. As long as you are resident of the continental U.S. and 18 yrs. or older, you are eligible to win!
What’s on the list of recommended reads?
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (Jessica of Herd Management)–Possibly the best Sparks’ book I’ve ever read. Two couples in completely different time periods paths cross and the end result is amazing. Tear-jerking romance is enfolded within the pages of the characters’ captivating challenges. Plus, I can’t resist a cowboy. Read this before you see the movie!
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Courtney of Our Small Moments)– How would you feel if the one you loved turned out to be from one of the richest families? Crazy Rich Asians shows the complexity of that situation.
The Liar by Nora Roberts (MamaRabia of The Lieber Family)–What would you do if you found out that your recently deceased husband was not only a liar and a thief, but possibly worse? Shelby Pomeroy decides to take back her life by clearing her name and fighting to make a better life for herself and her young daughter. But her dead husband still has some surprises in store for her!
Cutting Teeth: A Novel by Julia Fierro (Meredith of The Mom of the Year)–With raw and heartwarming honesty, Fierro’s debut captures the sacrifices we make in order to seek understanding, compassion, and love.
The Book of Speculation: A Novel by Erika Swyler (Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy)–The immensely talented Erika Swyler sweeps seamlessly through generations and centuries, moving deftly back and forth and weaving the strands into an exquisite tapestry. I was immediately swept up in this quirky, raucous, and bewitching family saga.
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Jennifer of Real Life Parenting)–The primary female characters in this historical fiction are strong, feisty, and full of heart and personality. The way their lives in time are so far apart, their connections are close and poignant. I loved the blending of history with modern day happenings! A quick read because you just don’t want to put it down.
Child, Please: How Mamas Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself by Ylonda Gault Caviness (Stacey of One Funny Motha)–Maybe I like this book because I’m old-school myself. Or it could be the author’s funny, lively, entirely personable voice that makes reading it feel as though you’re talking to a friend. Or it could be that I write about similar issues myself and found much to agree with in the author’s perspective. Whatever the case, this memoir is a throughly enjoyable read of one woman’s straight-talking journey through motherhood and was selected by Ebony as 1 of the top 4 must-reads of the summer.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Alyson of The Shitastrophy)–Was the most amazing read for me. After having walked away from reading for pleasure for some time due to work commitments I selected this book to read on an airplane. I couldn’t put the book down and finished it within 2 days. The story winds and weaves through three friends lives together. The ending was something I didn’t see coming and was suiting to see how justice can come to fruition, even when not done judicially. I have gone on to read the rest of her books available and none have disappointed.
Now the Hell Will Start by Brendan I. Koerner (Femme of FemmeFrugality)–Part history, part thriller, all non-fiction. Now the Hell Will Start is the story of Herman Perry, a WWII American soldier on the run in Burma after shooting his commanding officer. Not only does it expose a massive part of WWII history we never learn about in school, it also follows his incredible run from the law, including marrying into a local, headhunting tribe.
The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran (Alicia of Sadler House)–Many writers have extolled the virtues of Italy’s countryside, but no other story of Italian transplants is quite like this one. This witty memoir recounts how an award-winning Hollywood comedy producer finds himself renovating a 300-year-old house in Tuscany, where escapism gives way to real-life hilarity.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Janene of More than Mommies)–We all have those reader friends who we want to be like. You know . . . the ones who are always reading WAY cooler books than we are reading? Well, this book came HIGHLY recommended by my reader friend who I have reader envy of, so, I think we should ALL read it and discuss! (I’m planning on reading it in August . . . so if you pick this one to read I’d love to hear your thoughts!)
Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown (Dani of Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine)–My BFF sent me Secrets of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown for my birthday in March and I absolutely COULD NOT put it down. I only ever trust her book recommendations, and she was spot on with this one. It’s the perfect late summer / back-to-school read, and will not disappoint!
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Norine of Science of Parenthood)–Though it reads like a Downton Abbey-esque drawing room drama, behind the mansions and manners and horse-drawn carriages, Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth is a fierce social commentary on the proscribed roles for American women in the 1880s. Wharton is a social commentator bar none. And Lily Bart, whose story this is, is my favorite tragic heroine. Every time I read this book, I root for Lily to emerge victorious … and am heartbroken all over again when she falters.
On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad (Amy of Funny is Family)–On Borrowed Wings is the story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to attend Yale University in the 1930s, before women were allowed to enroll. It’s a fantastic read that weaves well-researched historical details and the strong desire of a girl to break away from her predetermined life path.
All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (Meredith of Meredith to Mommy)–This book really struck me. Well-off, suburban, mom blogger who is trying to do it all winds up addicted to pain meds. This constant monologue of “I can fix this myself. I have a plan. I don’t REALLY have a problem.” as she falls deeper and deeper into addiction made me choke up at how easy it is to lose control and wind up in a hole that you have no hope of clawing yourself out of alone, while still keeping up a strong facade as someone who has it all. I’ve read it multiple times, and find myself just as drawn in as I was the first.
Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (Kimberly of Red Shutters)–Did you love Rob Lowe in “The Outsiders” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” as much as I did? Then, you’d love this memoir in which Lowe pulls back the curtain on his life in Hollywood, from 19-year-old heartthrob to award-winning actor, sharing life wisdom along the way. I enjoyed the audio version of this book, which Lowe narrates himself, complete with impressions of Christopher Walken, Francis Ford Coppola, and other film industry luminaries.
The Martian by Andy Weir (Kim of Let Me Start By Saying)–A man gets left on Mars by accident and his personality, smarts, creativity, and sense of humor carve a place in your heart for him as he tries to figure a way to survive–and eventually leave–his new home in space. What is happening back on Earth and in the ship that left him will have you cranking through the pages, itching to know what will happen next, because this book is full of surprises, laughs, details that make you feel right there.
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion)–A thought-provoking punch to the gut that, unfortunately, mimics reality a little too closely. I read it before I had kids, then again after I had my three, and I think a parent’s perspective is far more frightening. In the novel, a sociopath “kid” commits the darkest of sins and turns a town–and his family–upside down. *Shivers*
Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption by Brandi Rarus (Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases)–the story of a Deaf mother and how she came to find herself raising an adopted daughter who is also Deaf, as well as her biological children. As an adoptive mom myself, it can be hard to find other stories that relate to my own journey mothering a child with special needs who joined us out of foster care, and this book certainly does that. More than that, Finding Zoe also gave me a glimpse into deaf culture (which was neat for me because before my grandmother passed away she volunteered as a sign language interpreter) and was full of cool trivia, like the author being cast as Marlee Matlin’s understudy in a play, but it was also real and relatable on a human level. I think any mom will be able to relate to this memoir.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (Melanie of Not So Super Mom)– I like it for summer reading because it’s not too heavy of a story but it does make us think a bit about our own lives, the expectations we had when we were younger and how changing priorities can set our lives on a different course than we imagined. What a difference a decade makes, right?
Now that you have the whole list of fave recommendations, it’s time to get reading, friends! Grab up these titles and make sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below for a super sweet $225 Amazon gift card and a bunch of these books for your very own!
We are thrilled to have you reading with us in this last blast to summertime!
* Note to our dedicated book club fans: We WILL be discussing Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event as promised, but in the interest of this ginormous giveaway and recommendation list post, we’ve decided to table this discussion until September. Check in on the first Friday of the month, 9/4/15 to catch our thoughts on this book and snag our pick for the next month! We love having you read with us!
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I like the The Liar by Nora Roberts
Best of luck in the giveaway, Lisa! Thank you for commenting!
Heck yeah, back to school reading!
Agreed! I’ve read about half of three different books this summer… Planning on getting back to it seriously with the fall!
would like to read The Liar by Nora Roberts
Thank you for entering and good luck!!!
Rob Lowe is a cutie pie so I’m looking forward to reading Stories I Only Tell Myself .
Truth! I’m looking forward to that one and Finding Zoe…though I’m going to have to make my way through all of these reads eventually!
I’m excited to read Child, Please: How Mamas Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself.
It looks like a great one!!!!
Thanks. I love the list of recommendations and I will be bookmarking it. Sometimes I just walk around the library and choose based on the covers. Some are hits, some are not!
Well, you know what they say about judging by the cover… :p
Awesome giveaway! These books look amazing. I’ve been majorly slacking on my summer reading and I need some motivation to get back into it!
Glad to help provide it! $225 will get you a lot of books! (I’m a big fan of checking out the library for these titles, too!)
I’m really interested in the book you recommended. One of my mentors growing up was a Burmese woman who immigrated to the US after fleeing various refugee centers through her childhood and teen years. I’ve never taken the time to understand the fallout and various wars and of course the US involvement in that region of the world during that time.
Oh, man, it’s such a great one! It goes into it as far as who we sent there, why, and what the heck they were doing, though a lot of it deals with the US’s relationship with China during that time period. (For the why….the setting is almost entirely in Burma with a little bit about how Herman grew up.) If nothing else, it’s a great starting point for your goal, and a crazy interesting read.
I am the most excited to read What Alice Forgot. All of these books look great.
Great choice, Natalie! Best of luck!!!
Orphan Train has been on my to read list for way to long. I finally need to get on it!
This may be your chance! Best of luck!
Orphan train sounds like one I couldn’t put down. Such a great giveaway!
Awesome choice! There are so many good ones in here! Good luck in the giveaway, Vickie!!!!
id love to read the longest ride
I’m Excited To Read The Ocean at the End of the Lane!
I’d like to read Finding Zoe!
The Liar by Nora Roberts
The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian
ooh, I need some new reading ideas. I’ve taken to just wandering around the library and picking up books. Thanks for sharing!
They all sound great but I’m especially excited to read The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian. I love any books that have to do with Italy or Italian life!
Can never have enough reading. Thanks for the giveaway.
They all look interesting. Looking forward to light entertainment – All Fall Down . Thanks for the giveaway!
I’m excited to read The Liar!
They all look like great reads, but I really want to read The Longest Ride. Thanks for a great giveaway.
I want to read The Longest Ride.