Amy Clark

Great Reads for Moms: August ’10 Edition

I hope you have been getting in lots of reading time during these long days of summer! I started counting how many books I have read so far this year and I am just starting my 39th book since January. I think that I have officially gotten my reading groove back on! Summer is always when I get my best reading done and I have so many fun new reads for you to add to your library wish lists!

Just as a reminder, I read many more  books than are just featured here, but try to feature the ones that are my absolute best picks of the month here. If you want to read more, please feel free to friend me on GoodReads! My username is momadvice and I am always happy to connect with people there too! There is nothing more motivating than seeing what other people are raving about and my to-be-read pile continues to grow with all of my new friends on there!

I have another big stack of books that I have started for the next month’s reading round-up and I hope these book suggestions are offering some inspiration for diving into a new read yourself!

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares, best known for her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, is an author that I have not had the pleasure of reading yet. Her novel, “My Name is Memory,” sounded like a promising beach read though and perfect for those of us that are Time Traveler’s Wife fans and missing that “love through the ages” romance that we have been longing for. I expected a lighthearted read and instead found myself reading a fantastically paced novel full of beautiful characters and a cliffhanger of an ending, perfect for this planned trilogy.

Daniel has been searching for the love of his life, Sophia, for years. Not just a few years though… for over 1,200 years he has been looking for his one true love and hoping that they will be reunited at the perfect time and find love together again. Daniel has had many souls that transcends centuries from the eighth century in Turkey to WWI. Each time he dies, his soul returns and he spends his entire lifetime looking for Sophia.

The stars finally align for them when Lucy, a shy high school student, and Daniel meet. Lucy has an inexplicable connection to Daniel and when Daniel tries to explain to her that she is his Sophia, it pushes Lucy away because she is so scared and confused.

After Lucy heads to college, she decides to try to uncover the mystery of this Sophia and find out if Daniel is telling the truth. She admits that she feels a connection to him and a connection to the name Sophia, even though she has no idea why. The need to discover this sends her on a wild goose chase discovering and learning more about their relationship.

Daniel gives Lucy the space she needs to discover who he is while trying to protect Lily from imminent danger. You see, Daniel isn’t the only one with an old soul. His brother, and Sophia’s former husband in a past life, also wants Sophia in his life and to punish his brother for taking his wife away from him in a past life.

The book is a fast-paced adventure that transports you into different centuries as Daniel is reborn and trying to find the love of his life. His character is endearing and you will find yourself rooting for Daniel and Sophia to find true love again.

While this is an adult read, it still has the feel of a young adult book. The ending was also admittedly a little cheesy. That being said, it is a satisfying read that reads a little like Twilight and a little like The Time Traveler’s Wife- a story of unrequited love that transcends the ages. If you are a fan of either of those books, then I have a feeling you will love this book!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

In 1974, Philippe Petit decided to pull a stunt that both shocked and thrilled New York when he walked a tightrope wire between the World Trade Towers. This true life story is the common thread that ties all of the chapters of Colum McCann’s beautiful fictional novel entitled “Let the Great World Spin,” together.

Each chapter is its own short story, yet each story seamlessly weaves into the other as the reader makes the surprising discovery that the characters are not only drawn together by this exciting stunt in some small way, but in many more ways than the read could ever anticipate.

The book opens with a kind-hearted priest who has decided to plant himself in the roughest New York neighborhood to act as an aid to the prostitutes that have set up shop. His small and sparse apartment becomes a place of refuge for the prostitutes in his community and he puts his own reputation on the line to care for them and many others in his community. From there the writer takes you on a journey as each chapter segues into the next as you learn about other elements of the story that somehow seem unrelated, but then are pulled together magically in this book. To share what each chapter is about would give away a beautiful plot that is worthy of any reader to discover on their own.

I will say it was a difficult read for me at times and a little labor intensive for a summer read. The dialogue was also, at times, a struggle to read as the dialogue and writing mimic the speech of the characters that the chapter is being written about. Just like most books of short stories, some chapters were far more interesting in others, but it was one of the most unique novels I have read in a long time. It is a book that will stick with you long after the book is shut and will remind you how our own stories are so easily interwoven into others as the great world spins on.

Editor’s Note: There is graphic language in this book.

(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen

This is my first book by Anna Quindlen, but after reading this haunting book, I doubt it will be my last read from this author.

The book moves at a slow build and shares about an altogether typical family suffering from the same everyday life issues that so many families are facing. With three teen children, Mary Beth Latham is trying to play an active role in her children’s lives while still allowing them to become the adult people that they are shaping to be.

As her son becomes increasingly depressed, Mary Beth focuses her efforts on her son and trying to help him overcome his emotional issues, often to the detriment of other members in the family. You find that Mary Beth is trying to find that perfect balance in motherhood where she balances her career and loving each of her children equally, and the duties in her role as a wife. As we all know, it is not a balance that is very achievable.

In a shocking twist that I will never reveal, something happens that shakes the utter core of this family unit. It was so shocking that it literally took my breath away and caused me to think about how I, as a mother, would react if such a situation happened to me. More importantly though, how would I feel if my community and friends felt that something from my past or a decision I had made had caused harm to my family?

Mary Beth’s character really takes shape after the tragedy and we then begin to get small glimpses into her soul and her own struggles as a mother and wife that, I am sure, face many of us. We also see as Mary Beth reflects on her past decisions that cause others to place shadows of doubt upon her.

I will say, if you are feeling blue, not a good book to pick up. It is something that has stuck with me since I closed it and I can’t stop thinking about what has unfolded in it. For a book club discussion though, this would provoke a lot of discussion!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

The late, lamented molly marx by Sally Koslow

Molly Marx dies at the tender age of thirty-five, but she is unable to pass into the next life and held into a place of duration, witnessing life continuing to unfold around her. As she stands at her funeral, she is faced with wondering who at the funeral murdered her. While it sounds like the premise for a deep novel, it actually moves into a lighthearted book of fantastic chick lit as Molly reflects on the past and follows the life that is happening around her.

A wretched mother-in-law, a husband whose infidelity begins on their wedding day, a spunky twin sister whose anger over what has happened to her sister has consumed her, and a best friend that would have moved mountains for her, and the determined detective who has been assigned her case to figure out which of these people could want Molly Marx dead are a sampling of the strong characters within this book.

Molly is beautifully flawed and is a character that you will enjoy following despite those flaws as she discovers what really and truly makes her happy. Molly is discovering who she is and the decisions she could have made to have prevented her death, but it can’t change the outcome. It can, in the end, identify her killer though.

A perfect whodunit mystery with wonderful chick-lit flavor, this is a great book that is perfect for Sophie Kinsella fans or any fans of a great murder-mystery with a surprisingly fun heroine. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

I really love Emily Giffin’s books and this was no exception the other books I have read by her. Heart of the Matter is a fantastic quick read that would be perfect to tuck in your beach bag for summer.

Tessa Russo is a mother of two children and wife to the most successful and renowned pediatric surgeon in town. She is a wife that seems to adore her husband and is able to take his career and the nuances of being a doctor’s wife in stride.

One night their anniversary dinner is interrupted with an emergency surgery that must be performed. Six year-old Charlie, is involved in a tragic accident that will forever change his life and the life of single mom, Valerie Anderson.

Nick Russo, Tessa’s husband, immediately makes Valerie and Charlie feel at ease with his great bedside manner and his easygoing attitude with Charlie. As Charlie is under his care, they both began to rely more and more on Nick to help them through the tragic situation that has faced them. The comfort that he offers to Valerie quickly eases into a deep friendship and then a relationship that crosses the patient/doctor relationship borders.

The book is told in alternating pitches and allows you to glimpse into and sympathize with both women in the story. You began to empathize with both of the characters and find that you can find your heart torn between all of the characters.

As a mother, I really hated how Valerie’s relationship with Nick, at times, seemed more of her focus than caring for her son. I also hated how, as the relationship unfolded, it affected Charlie and his own world. I found myself sympathizing a lot more with the wife than I did with Valerie.

In the end, the book is about forgiveness, the discovery of love, the loss of love, and the healing that comes from all of those experiences.

(MomAdvice Rating- 3 Stars out of 5 Stars)

Not enough great reads for you? Check out our Books section of our site for monthly recommendations and ideas for making reading a priority again in your busy mom life!

Disclosure: All of the links above are affiliate links and are provided so you can locate the books quickly and easily. Feel free to order a book, but we encourage utilizing the library system and buying me a latte instead.  Then we both would be really happy and we could have our own little book club together! Wouldn’t that just be so much more lovely? Happy Reading!

What has been in your book stack this month? Feel free to share your book recommendations or feedback on any of the books that have been mentioned above! I love getting new suggestions for my book pile!

Published August 10, 2010 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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