Amy Clark

Great Reads for Moms: May ’10 Edition

May was another wonderful month of reading for me although I will admit that I am segueing into a time of lighter summer reading and swinging back into a fun summer of working on crafting and knitting projects. The picture here is the picture I took of what I asked to do for Mother’s Day. I sat in my favorite chair with a pile of books and managed to read three books over that Mother’s Day weekend. Wrapped in my favorite summer quilt, feet sprawled up on my little bench, and a giant cup of coffee in hand…it was the perfect way to spend my day!

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 is now over a hundred entries long.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

After reading The Hand that First Held Mine, I immediately became a super fan of Maggie O’ Farrell. I was anxious to dive into another book by her and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is perhaps one of the most haunting and twisted family drama stories that I have read since my high school years of devouring V.C. Andrews.

Iris Lockhart is a single young woman who spends her days tending to a vintage-clothing shop and trying to sidestep a commitment with her married boyfriend. To her surprise, she receives a call one day letting her know that her great-aunt Esme is going to need to find a new place to stay because the insane asylum that she has been staying at is going to be closing. The clincher is, Iris never knew that her great-aunt existed and that she has been housed in the asylum for over sixty years.

The story that unfolds is both dramatic and, at times, very confusing. It is told through the schizophrenic eyes of a young girl whose only true fault is being strong-willed and dedicated to her academics. It is told through the eyes of Iris, as the young woman is trying to discover her family secrets while carrying the burden of knowing she can’t make a commitment to any man until she deals with her own secrets. It is finally told through the eyes of Esme’s sister, Kitty, a nursing home patient who has been struck with Alzheimer’s in a fragmented and disjointed prose that mimics the mind of Kitty.

The story is haunting, the betrayal is shocking, and the twisted ending just begs for a sequel. It will leave you wondering what will become of Esme and it made me want to read it all over again once all the pieces have slid into place.

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars)

The Last Will of Moira Leahy by Therese Walsh

Moira Leahy always struggled growing up in the shadows of her wildly talented and fun-loving twin sister, Maeve. In the fall of their sixteenth year, Moira falls in love with a boy named Ian. What she quickly realizes though is that Ian’s love is meant for Maeve,and once again Moira feels as though she is in Maeve’s shadow. Thanks to being identical, she can easily pass herself off as Maeve to receive Ian’s affection. They meet secretly at night and Ian falls deeper and deeper in love with Maeve…never knowing that he is actually meeting Moira.

Secrets are hard to keep from a twin sister, and Moira has to make a conscious effort to block Maeve from reading her thoughts and discovering her secret. When the lies become too much, a fateful
accident occurs that changes Moira and Mave’s lives forever.

Now grown, Maeve has become a workaholic and professor of languages at a small college in upstate New York. She dreams often of her twin and is haunted by what happened that fateful night. She is detached from everyone in her life, but one night an auction changes her life.

At the auction a keris (a Javenese dagger) is put up for auction and it reminds Maeve of the long lost days of playing pirates with her sister. An uncontrollable urge to win it, whatever the cost, allows her to be the proud owner of the keris.

This dagger takes her on a wild adventure to Rome, to discover its origin and ultimately, to find a love that she thought she lost. Her adventure is full of magic, mystery, love lost, and love found. It is a story of self-discovery through an unlikely antique that will take the reader on a lovely little ride.

The beginning was a slow build for me, the middle was fast-paced and exciting, the ending a little long, but full of great twists that surprised me. It was a fantastically solid read from a brand new author,whom I discovered through GoodReads by author Allison Winn Scotch (a personal favorite of mine).

What I love even more though was that Therese is also a tweeter and I received several sweet tweets from her when she saw that I was reading her book. There is something special about an author that engages like that and I am excited to not only get the opportunity to share about her book, but also engage with her personally.

A fantastic debut and I look forward to reading more from Therese Walsh.

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars)

Hush by Kate White

Lake Warren is running a busy marketing firm and is hired by a Manhattan fertility clinic to devise a new marketing plan for the busy clinic. Her personal life is not going as well as her business though and she finds herself in the middle of a divorce battling for the custody of her children. Her lawyer’s best advice that he can give her is to not get involved in any relationships or engage in any behavior that can upset this custody battle.

Just days later following a company dinner, she is seduced by a doctor that she had been flirting with, and decides to risk it all and spend the night with him. After falling asleep on his penthouse terrace, she comes back to the bed and finds Dr. Keaton has been murdered.

Not willing to jeopardize her own custody battle for a one-night stand, she can tell no one that she was there that evening. Unfortunately for her, the killer knows that she was there and begins to stalk her and send her messages to let her know that she could be the next victim.

Instead of becoming the victim, Lake begins her own investigative case to figure out who the killer is. As she begins to discover more and more clues, she finds shadows are cast on the credibility of the clinic she is working for. As her case builds, she begins to wonder if her stalker is after her because of being witness to the murder or if someone at the clinic is worried that their reputation might be at stake.

I read this book in a day and thought it was a fun beach read. It is a typical thriller read, but it still had me guessing until the very end who the killer might have been. With a likable cast of characters and a solid storyline, I would recommend tucking this book in your beach bag for a great little murder mystery reading.

(MomAdvice Rating- 3 Stars)

Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright

Before you all send me horrible emails, throw rotten tomatoes at me,  and add comments on my GoodReads page, I just want to add this disclaimer that this book is pretty darn smutty. I add this as a fun beach bag read and want to be up front about that before reviewing it! Now that you have my disclaimer, here are my thoughts on the book!

Elyse Bearden is a typical suburban wife living the American dream. Her husband, Phil, is a dentist and they have a beautiful home, a beautiful neighborhood, a church family, and a beautiful daughter. Elyse is not happy though and has not been happy in her (almost) ten years of marriage.

A chance meeting an unexpected stranger on a flight throws Elyse’s life in a tailspin that she could never imagine. As she clutches this stranger’s business card in her purse, she contemplates if she should risk it all for a stranger and see if a relationship can happen. Elyse has been so unhappy for so long in her marriage, that she believes that she is entitled to a little bit of happiness and decides to see what will happen.

As the affair goes on, she attends marital counseling with her husband, and gab sessions with her girlfriends on marriage, sex, love, and freedom. Her best friend and fellow book club members all begin to reflect on their own relationships and what these issues mean to them. As Elyse heads down her own road to self-discovery, they are on their own journeys which add to the plot line of the story.

While this may seem like typical chick lit fare, it is actually a really great story with fantastic character development. I wanted Elyse to be committed to her marriage and family, but as the character of Phil is developed, you begin to understand Elyse’s longing to be desired and validated.

In the end, of course, Elyse learns that the validation really must come from within.

This is a fantastically fun novel that is perfect to throw in your beach bag this summer!

Editor’s Note-  There is graphic language and sexuality in this book.

(MomAdvice Rating- 3 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 June 15, 2010 by:

Amy Clark

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

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