31 May 2019

7 Novels You Don't Want to Miss

Here we are on the last day of May, and I haven’t yet finished all the books I wanted to read this month. Sob. The good thing about books, though, is that they don’t have an expiration date. What’s more, just because *I* haven’t yet found the time to read the novels I’m featuring today doesn’t mean that *you* can’t add them to your own reading list.

The following seven novels deal with a variety of issues and themes, and I’m sure there’s at least one that will call to you. I'm not quite sure which I want to read first.

Contemporary Issues

feature of Waisted by Randy Susan MeyersRandy Susan Meyers’s Waisted (Atria, May 21) is about two women who meet at a Vermont estate when they both enter an intense weight-loss program. For both Alice and Daphne, perceived excess body weight is causing problems with their families (though for different reasons). There’s catch to the Waisted program, however; the seven women enrolled in the program have agreed to be on camera, practically 24/7—the result will be a documentary charting their progress. How far will the filmmakers go to add drama to the experience and how much can the women be pushed before they rebel? Themes of overweight, friendship, and being in control of one’s own body. Audiobook: Simon & Schuster Audio; 9 hr, 53 min; read by Robin Eller and Amanda Ronconi

all about The East End by Jason AllenIn The East End (Park Row, May 7), Jason Allen introduces us to two families, one uber rich and the other struggling working class. One night Corey, a local Hamptons high school senior, successfully breaks into the mansion where he and his mother work; all is going according to plan until the owner shows up unexpectedly, a secret male lover in tow. The boy witnesses a horrible accident that Leo must cover up before his wife, family, and guests arrive for their annual Memorial Day getaway weekend. Who else knows what happened that night, and what won’t the rich do to protect their status? Themes include family, secrets, the socioeconomic divide, trust, and ethics. Audiobook: Harlequin Audio; 8 hr, 20 min; read by Angelo Di Loreto.

all about Mary Miller’s BiloxiMary Miller’s Biloxi (Liveright, May 21) looks at what it means to be middle-aged, lonely, male, and facing new beginnings. After an early retirement, Louis—divorced from his wife and estranged from his daughter—impulsively adopts a mixed-breed border collie, who changes his life for the better. No one is more surprised at the joys of owning a dog than is Louis himself, who begins to learn the lessons of loyalty and friendship and is motivated to get off the couch and turn off the TV to explore his Gulf Coast home. This novel about contemporary society promises the possibility of new beginnings and self-discovery, something we can all hope for. Audiobook: no information.

all about Birthday by Meredith RussoThey say one should write what they know, and in the #ownvoices novel Birthday (Flatiron, May 21), Meredith Russo does just that. Two boys, born on the same day, become friends for life . . . at least that’s what Eric thinks. Morgan, however, is less sure. Dealing with the death of his mother, a distant father, and new school is only part of Morgan’s worries. He’s completely unsure how to reveal his knowledge that he was born into the wrong body. He knows, deep in his soul, that he is really a she. But if he reveals his true gender, who will be with him? Can she have the relationship with Eric she dreams of? Will her father reject her? This is an emotionally deep story of gender identity, friendship, love, and family. Audiobook: Macmillan Audio; 7 hr, 59 min; read by Dana Aliya Levinson (includes a bonus interview with the author)

Friendship & Love

all about Jessica Francis Kane’s Rules for VisitingJessica Francis Kane’s Rules for Visiting (Penguin, May 14) is about a reclusive gardener who, at the start of middle age, decides to visit some her old friends in real life. When May is granted a sabbatical from her job, she uses the time to undergo a journey, reconnecting with each of her four best friends in turn. Her love of trees and cats helps her relish each day, and her knowledge of Emily Post and ancient Greece culture inspires her to be perfect guest. May’s decision to venture out into the world beyond her gardens reminds us that even in the digital age, nothing can beat face-to-face encounters with the people who matter to us and know us best. Audiobook: Penguin Audio; 6 hr, 34 min; read by Emily Rankin.

all about Wendy Wax’s My Ex-Best Friend’s WeddingWendy Wax’s My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding (Berkley, May 14) involves estranged friends, a beautiful wedding dress, and the struggle to forgive. When Lauren and her fiancee return to her home town on the Outer Banks to plan their wedding, she is dreaming about the beautiful heirloom wedding dress that’s been carefully stored and waiting for this happy day. Lauren also knows she’ll have to face Bree, once as close as a sister but now a source of betrayal and hurt. Will Lauren’s mother be able to heal the wounds, giving the Lauren and Bree a chance for a brighter future? Through Lauren and Bree, we learn that it’s never too late to seek and grant forgiveness. Audiobook: Penguin Audio; 11 hr, 28 min; read by Lauren Fortgang, Ellen Archer and Brittany Pressley.

all about How Not to Die Alone by Richard RoperHow Not to Die Alone (Putnam, May 28) by Richard Roper is about how a lonely health service employee finds a way to embrace life and love. Andrew’s job is to track down the families of Londoners who die alone. Trying to distance himself from his deceased clients, he pretends to his co-workers that he has a family and an active social life, though in reality he lives alone, guarding his heart. But when Peggy joins the office, Andrew gets a hint at what he’s been missing and must find a way to reveal his truths without alienating the only people he sees on a daily basis. Andrew’s story reminds us that the risks of being emotionally vulnerable are outweighed by the benefits. Audiobook: Penguin Audio; 8 hr, 52 min; read by Simon Vance.


Tina 5/31/19, 10:15 AM  

Lots of good books. I actually have so many in my backlog I feel bad adding more but....Biloxi and How Not To Die Alone have joined the to-read list.

You give me great ideas!

Vicki 5/31/19, 10:39 AM  

I may be adding My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding to my list.

shelleyrae @ book'd out 5/31/19, 12:26 PM  

Some great books as always )

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 5/31/19, 9:13 PM  

I always get frustrated when I take a look at my stack of unread books. Sometimes I think I just need to go ahead and give them away to someone who will offer to read and review them for me.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 6/1/19, 8:59 AM  

Thanks for the reviews.. Waisted in on my list to read!

Jackie McGuinness 6/1/19, 9:20 AM  

Added The East End to my TBR.

Les in Oregon 6/4/19, 1:45 PM  

I'm eager to read Rules for Visiting and How Not to Die Alone. I've heard great things about both!

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