Amy Clark

Great Reads for Moms: October ’10 Edition

I can’t believe it, but eight more books were devoured this month. No, I have no idea how that was possible  except that I did some traveling this month and all I did was read.  Does it help to know that my house has been suffering because I have so many great books in my book stack these days?  Or that my husband has been working a lot in the evenings and I have been unwinding with bubble baths and books since I have a little bit of solitude?  Or that the books that I read were just too simply awesome to put down? Or perhaps, that I have no social life at all? Deep thoughts!

A reader requested that we do a weekly check-in on what everyone is reading each week on our Facebook Fan Page. I hope you will swing by on Fridays and share about the books you are working on or request recommendations with one another. So far it is a huge success and I have gotten a few new ideas for my own stack!

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! In fact, many of the books featured are ones that I have found through my friends on GoodReads.

One Day by David Nicholls

The concept for Nicholl’s book is a genius one that I loved from start to finish. It chronicles the lives of two friends, Dex & Em, over the course of twenty years and each chapter begins a new year on the same exact day. It begins with what seems like a romantic relationship in 1988 and then each year jumps into a new place of their friendship and what is happening that year with them.

You began the journey with Dex & Em when they are in college and each of them is dreaming big for what they have in store for their future. You then go along on the journey as Dex lives off of the wealth of his family, as Em is stuck in a dead end job, as Dex finds fame, as Dex loses fame, and as Em finally begins living her dream. To say more than this would give it all away, but know that as a reader of the book, you get to glimpse into the lives and evolution of how we change as people as we grow older.

The relationship with Dex & Em is at times endearing and at times exasperating. Em puts up with a lot as Dex falls down a slippery slope in the world of Hollywood. It is a, “When Harry Met Sally,” love story that I simply could not put down.

The ending was a shocking one, that may disappoint some readers, but it did not take away from the story for me. Because of the ending, try to avoid reading any reviews of the book until you have finished it so you can draw your own conclusion on this book!

(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)


Fragile by Lisa Unger

It has been a long time since I have read something so suspenseful that I could not put it down, but Fragile by Lisa Unger is the kind of book that sucks you in and won’t let you go. It is reminiscent of Jodi Picoult’s earlier work with just the right balance of suspense and mystery to keep a reader enchanted until the final page. I must say that I am smitten with Lisa Unger and can’t wait to read some of her older novels now that I have had a taste of her writing style.

In the town of The Hollows, a fictional small town just outside of New York City, a young girl goes missing after a fight with her parents. The disappearance reminds the people in this town of another similar disappearance of a girl named Sarah, who had suddenly disappeared in the eighties, and many of the main characters find themselves flashing back to that first disappearance.

While the main characters are revisiting the disappearance of Sarah, they are also desperately trying to find the current girl who has disappeared. Charlene is a bit of a rebel-child and born to a family from the wrong side of the tracks. She is the girlfriend of Ricky, who is the child of Jones ( a cop) and Maggie (a psychologist) on the other side of the tracks, yet Ricky has no idea where Charlene has gone even though he loves Charlene.
When Charlene posts a status update on her Facebook page that she has left for New York City, Ricky and his friends are suspicious that someone has logged into her account because the status update sounds nothing like something Charlene would write. They began to fear the worst as the clues are uncovered and there are a cast of suspects that could have taken Charlene.

With Charlene gone, the clock is ticking to find her and bring her back to her family. Unfortunately, there are many suspects, but few clues as to where she could have gone. The reader is taken along on the journey as they try to uncover what has happened to Charlene as it is told through the eyes of everyone from the cop on the case, the psychologist whose family is battling their own demons, through the eyes of a troubled child, and even an exterminator who happens to have witnessed a few clues of his own to help the case.

While there are many characters, the plot somehow flows seamlessly as each person shares their innermost secrets and does not create confusion for the reader. Through these characters, the reader can begin to piece together both disappearances for a surprising twist that will bring the two stories colliding together, reminding us how small the world is and how intertwined our stories can be.

(MomAdvice Rating- 5 Stars out of 5 Stars)


Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Before I begin, I want to warn you that this thriller is not for the faint of heart and to please consider yourself warned before picking this book up! Chelsea Cain fans though will find a new author and psychopath to love-to-hate in this debut novel from Chevy Stevens.

Annie O’Sullivan has been trying to put her life together after a year of captivity as she rehashes what has happened to her through her weekly therapy sessions. As the story of her time in captivity unfolds, the reader is taken on a haunting journey and is able to witness the psychological traumas that face Annie as she tries to break the habits that she had to endure and find a new normalcy to her life.

Before her abduction, Annie is a Realtor who is hosting an open house on a relatively quiet Sunday. When a handsome young man comes to the house, she is thrilled to show him around and hoping for her first big sale. She realizes quickly, when a gun is pushed into her back, that this may be her last open house.

After giving her a drug to knock her out, she awakens to find herself in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, held in captivity by a man that she only refers to as, “The Freak.” The Freak has thought of everything to make her stay in the cabin as comfortable and sterile as possible. He has thought of every simple little detail from the childlike dresses he wants her to wear, to her grooming schedule, to her dinner schedule, and even how she is to meticulously care for the cabin. One misstep in this OCD world, calculates into beatings, the loss of food, and the loss of any human connection for days on end. When she is told that she is to have his baby, she knows that she may never see her friends and family again and that her stay may be a permanent one.

As the pieces are pulled together, it is shocking how The Freak has found Annie and who ultimately caused her captivity. Through the sessions with the therapist, you discover right along with Annie how she was betrayed and the irreversible damage that she has had to suffer, through this surprising ending.

The chapters are short, reminiscent of a James Patterson book, and the writing is not as solid as I would have hoped. I think that the story and the plot really held it together though for me, and ultimately was a book that I managed to read in a day because I just could not put it down.

Editor’s Note- This book contains violence, sexuality, and adult language. Did I mention it is not for the faint of heart? You were warned, friends!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)


A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

Phoebe Swift surprises her friends when she leaves a coveted position at Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London, but Phoebe knows that she is fulfilling a lifelong dream to have her very own store. The reader is taken on the journey of the opening of Phoebe’s shop, the relationships with her customers, finding love again, and the intricacies of friendship.

Phoebe is fascinated with the clothing from other eras and loves gathering the collections, pieced together by visiting the attics and closets of wealthy families. It is these chance meetings where she develops a very unlikely friendship with an elderly woman named Therese Bell.

Therese has an amazing collection of clothing that she is getting rid of and asks Phoebe to come to her home to sell her the clothes. Phoebe is instructed that she can only take items before a certain point in the closet, but Phoebe notices an unusual item tucked in Therese’s closet…a sky blue child-sized coat in mint condition.

It is through this coat that Phoebe hears a story of friendship and regret that Therese has lived with her entire life. She has never told a single person, but wants to tell Phoebe her story so that she can make peace with her life, as she is dying. What surprises Therese is that she is not alone in her tale of friendship of regret and betrayal because Phoebe has been living with a secret of her own that has caused Phoebe so much pain that her life has taken an entirely different direction than she could ever expect.

This book is a breath of fresh air and highly recommended to my fashionista friends because it feels as though you are transported in the shop and can enjoy all of the detail and thought that Phoebe has put into her shop of vintage frocks. Every piece of clothing has a story and the author carefully interweaves those stories of the customers and how the dresses find them in this charming book!

(MomAdvice Rating- 4 Stars out of 5 Stars)


Chosen by Chandra Hoffman

Chloe Pinter is the director of the Chosen Child’s domestic-adoption program and feels like she has the perfect job of completing and bringing families together through adoption. She is organized and meticulous about the details of the adoptions and does her best to insure that the mothers that are offering their children for adoption are cared for.

Chloe is dealing with three very different couples during the adoption process while she is struggling to hold her own life together with her demanding job. These three couples could not be any more different and the author tries to share their story without judgment of who is right or wrong in these cases, allowing the reader to make their own conclusions.

The Novas are a very well-off couple who have suffered with fertility for years and are finally blessed with their very own pregnancy, the McAdoos are a well-to-do couple whose marriage is on the rocks after years of failed adoptions and are hoping that this adoption will create the family that they have always wanted, and Jason & Penny who have absolutely nothing except a baby that everybody wants. Their stories are told in alternating points of view and the stories weave together when a child goes missing as the reader discovers how people will do just about anything to get that one thing they want.

While a fascinating premise for a book, it did not captivate me the way that I had hoped it would. It was a quick read, but the build-up for the story was a slow one and not one that gripped me the way I had hoped!

(MomAdvice Rating- 3 Stars out of 5 Stars)


Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Many books glamorize infidelity, but Leah Stewart does nothing to glamorize the tragedy that happens in a home when a spouse is unfaithful. The reader is taken on a journey through a demise of a relationship and when this happens, how you begin to wonder what-if about other relationships in your life.

Novelist Nathan Bennett seems to have it all and he thinks he finally has a success on his hands with his new novel, “Infidelity.” Just before the novel is set to be released, Nathan sits his wife Sarah down to tell her that the novel isn’t a fictional one and is based on his own infidelity with a woman that he met at a writing conference.

Sarah is now faced with what she should do with their two kids and begins to consider how different her life would have been if she would have acted on a relationship with a man that she always had feelings for before she got married.

When Sarah kicks Nathan out of the house, she decides to see what would happen if she explored that past love opportunity and tries to discover who she is and if she is the person she is because her spouse wanted her to be, or if she is that person because that is who she truly is. She asks the questions and expresses the sentiments of any woman who is in her thirties and looking back on love that has been lost and the new ailments and issues that plague us as we grow older, but I found that was where relating to her really ended.

I found this book to be a very depressing one, although it was well-written. I found both of the characters were acting very selfishly and it made me sad for the children that were involved in this relationship. I did love the sense of humor that Leah Stewart interweaved through the story, but was ready for this book to end so I could move on to something a little more uplifting. I am still a fan, but hope that her next novel will tackle something a little less gloomy!

(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 October 05, 2010 by:

Amy Clark

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

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