Contemporary Fiction
Falling Together

Falling Together

$11.74$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

Pen, Will, and Cat met ("met cute," in fact) during their first week of college and were inseparable during their years on campus. After graduation, they hated the thought of their amazing friendship slowly fading, so they decided to end it. Years go by with no contact, until Pen receives a strange email from Cat begging her to meet her at their college reunion. She can't help but say yes, and that's when their journey begins.

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The Forgetting Time

The Forgetting Time

Janie knows her 4-year-old son Noah is not like other children. He's terrified of water. He asks for his "other mother." And he always, always wants to go home—even when he's in his very own bed. But one night, thanks to a late-night bourbon-fueled internet session, Janie stumbles upon the work of an eccentric scientist, and begins to confront the possibility that her precious son not only lived a previous life, he'd been murdered in it. The plot resists simplistic solutions and easy answers which keeps you glued to the page. If you have a friend or loved one obsessed with reincarnation, this book is obviously for you—but you don't have to buy the premise to find this a satisfying read. Published February 2 2016.

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Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary

At the dawn of another New Year, Bridget Jones is 32, single, and desperate to take control of her life—so she starts keeping a diary. And such a diary. Bridget is a free spirit, fond of witty banter, enthusiastic about everything, and her enthusiasm lives on every page, where she shares her never-lukewarm opinions about everything from diet to work her love life. She may seem flighty, but she's always searching for deeper meaning. She also has great people skills. This might not be obvious when she first meets straight-laced barrister Mark Darcy (INTJ), but the novel is based on Pride and Prejudice, so of course they get off to a bumpy start.

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First Frost

First Frost

$14.87

Allen wrote Garden Spells in 2007, and eight whole years later—in January 2015—she published this sequel because readers kept asking her what happened next? and she was eager to revisit the Waverly sisters. Not quite as enchanting as Garden Spells, but still worth reading.

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Rich and Pretty

Rich and Pretty

$12.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

There's much to love about this book, and yet I've been very reluctant to talk about it here on the blog. It almost made the Summer Reading Guide. It almost made the list of 13 books everyone will be talking about this summer. And yet it's THE book that inspired the post the 8 uncomfortable lines I want to cut from the books I'm reading these days. You may LOVE it, but proceed with caution. Add Audible narration for $12.99.

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Lost Lake

Lost Lake

$9.99$3.49Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Hurray for Sarah Addison Allen--a great summer reading author! This isn't my favorite title of hers, but it's still Sarah Addison Allen for $3. Add Audible narration for $7.49.

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The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen

Sparkly Southern women, screwed-up family relationships, and magical realism mark this novel. One woman's unique magic is that the specific book she needs in her life right then mysteriously appears—on her bedside table, on her desk at work, in her handbag. That's enough to win me over.

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The Year We Turned Forty

The Year We Turned Forty

If you could repeat one year of your life, would you do it—and what would you do differently? That fun thought experiment becomes reality in this new novel. Thanks to a bit of Vegas birthday magic, three friends have the opportunity to go back ... to the year they turned 40, the year each woman made a mistake that may have ruined her life. If you have a hard time suspending belief or if you can't stand to watch characters sabotage themselves, keep moving. But if you're intrigued by this imaginative way to re-frame a life, and encouraged by watching fictional friends support each other through the tough and the crazy, this one's for you. A tad predictable at times, but charming and heartening. Pair this with What Alice Forgot and Maybe in Another Life for a fantastic book flight. Published April 26 2016.

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A Paris Apartment

A Paris Apartment

Booklist says "Vive le Paris apartment!"

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We Never Asked for Wings

We Never Asked for Wings

$9.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

Like many of you, I'd been anxiously awaiting a second novel from The Language of Flowers author Diffenbaugh. This standalone deftly weaves together tricky topics like immigration law, biology, and teen parenthood. Gorgeous prose, heartwarming story, likable characters.

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Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus

$20.992.95 (AUDIBLE DAILY DEAL)

This debut autobiographical fiction from screenwriter Rowley is at once poignant and kooky. This is the lightly fictionalized tale of the author's last 6 months with his beloved dachshund and the brain tumor ("octopus" that ended her life. This little book provided me with one of my more bizarre reading experiences, because the great similarity between Lily and my own beloved lab were uncanny (even if Harriet and I never played board games or compared the two Ryans, Gosling and Reynolds), so much so that when I described the book to my husband right after finishing it (with tears streaming down my face) we both collapsed in helpless laughter. Definitely a strange book, but a sweet and strangely powerful one for anyone who's loved a dog.

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Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr. Knightley

You all keep saying this fresh update on Jean Webster's 1899 classic Daddy-Long-Legs is your favorite Katherine Reay novel; I think it might be mine as well. Samantha Moore spent her childhood struggling in the foster care system, relying on her favorite literary characters to survive. She even expresses herself using their words when she can't find her own. Samantha's big break comes when a "Mr. Knightley" offers her a full scholarship at the prestigious journalism school at Northwestern University. The only requirement is that Sam write her benefactor regularly to tell him about her progress. Through their correspondence, Sam begins to find her voice ... but then things get complicated.

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Flight Behavior: A Novel

Flight Behavior: A Novel

$8.99$2.99Audiobook: 8.49 (Whispersync)

I thought this finely crafted novel had many wonderful moments and a truly horrible ending. (That's not a reason to skip: bad endings make for great book club reading.) Kingsolver's lyrical voice perfectly suits her prose.

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Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

Other audio editions are available for cheap as Whispersync deals, but this edition is the clear winner in the ratings, with an impressive 4.5 for the performance. I re-read this Austen title in June and thoroughly enjoyed it, again.

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Weightless
Arcadia

Arcadia

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

Entertainment Weekly calls this "a moving look at the value of human connection in a scary, chaotic world."

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Lady Cop Makes Trouble

Lady Cop Makes Trouble

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

From the publisher: "The best-selling author of Girl Waits with Gun returns with another adventure featuring the fascinating, feisty, and unforgettable Kopp sisters. Based on a true story, Girl Waits with Gun introduced Constance Kopp and her charming and steadfast sisters to an army of enthusiastic readers. Those readers will be thrilled by this second installment--also ripped from the headlines--in the romping, wildly readable life of a woman forging her own path, tackling crime and nefarious criminals along the way."

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The Rumor

The Rumor

$12.99$3.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

Nantucket novelist Madeline King is on deadline but has a huge case of writer's block: she needs a story for her next novel, and she needs it fast. Then her best friend Grace starts crushing on her handsome landscape architect. Madeline knows a good story when she sees it, and her novel practically writes itself. I loved Hilderbrand's comments about this novel at BEA: she said that because she was intimately familiar with writer's block, she had no trouble at all writing this novel. Writers will note that all the publishing industry details are spot-on. My favorite Hilderbrand so far.

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Dear Carolina
The Versions of Us

The Versions of Us

This is a terrific price on a new release. Eva and Jim meet by chance on a Cambridge Street, and as for the rest of their history? It plays out in three alternate versions, exploring the ramifications of a single decision Eva makes. From BookPage: "Barnett masterfully pulls the reader through these alternating tales. Each option is compelling and believable. Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here: Regardless of the paths we choose, the people who are meant to be in our lives will find their way there."

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Beach Town

Beach Town

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

In Andrews' latest summer novel, a movie location scout discovers the perfect sleepy town on the Florida coast, and then promptly falls for the man standing in the way of her plans. This is classic fluffy summer romance.

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A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

$34.994.95 (audiobook only)Audiobook: $4.95

Marybeth Whalen says: "Apart from any surprises the audio version, narrated by George Newbern, is holding out as my favorite read this year. The way Newbern portrays Ove—I literally laughed and cried in the span of two pages. I'm listening to Every Fifteen Minutes narrated by him now. It is possible I've given myself a reading challenge of bingeing on a large number of books he's narrated. #narratorcrush"

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Eight Hundred Grapes

Eight Hundred Grapes

$10.99$1.99Audiobook: 11.49 (Whispersync)

I enjoyed this one from page 1: the storytelling is excellent, and the author explored so many interesting themes about relationships. (But I have complicated feelings about how those relationships resolve—which would make this a fantastic book club novel.) The story is set at a small family vineyard in Sonoma County; the title comes from the number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine. Add Audible narration for $11.49.

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A Window Opens: A Novel

A Window Opens: A Novel

$11.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

I almost abandoned this book, and thought hard about including it in Quick Lit because I found it underwhelming. Its heroine, Alice Pearse, is a sandwich generation wife and mother of three who takes on a new and demanding job when her husband loses his. The book had potential: I found the premise relatable and the characters likable. But instead of thoughtfully addressing the issues Alice faces, Egan fabricates silly problems (such as a big bad corporate employer reminiscent of The Circle) for her characters and simplistic solutions. Alice works in the world of publishing, and I did appreciate the novel's unabashed love for books and readers. If you decide to read this, please read it with your book club: at least you can enjoy tearing apart the ending together.

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The Summer of Good Intentions

The Summer of Good Intentions

$10.99$3.99Audiobook: 4.49 (Whispersync)

When a strained family reconvenes at their beach house for their annual summer vacation, the secrets they've been carrying start to slip out. This is a summery novel in a sense, thanks to its Cape Cod vacation setting, but it's filled with heavy issues: broken relationships, dementia, and serious diagnoses. Pack your beach bag accordingly. Add Audible narration for $4.49.

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After You: A Novel

After You: A Novel

$12.99$4.99Audiobook: 9.49 (Whispersync)

Finally! The much-anticipated (and originally unplanned) follow-up to Moyes's word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. The bad news: the sequel isn't as good as original. The good news: Moyes at least had the guts to take her characters in an altogether different direction, and if it's not perfect, at least it's interesting. Moyes also left the door wide open to a third novel, which I would welcome.

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The Canterbury Sisters
The Actor and the Housewife

The Actor and the Housewife

8.09 $1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

At 7 months pregnant, a Mormon housewife has a chance connection with her celebrity crush (think Colin Firth), and the two strike up an improbable friendship. They're drawn together by their quick wit and brilliant banter (which are wholly responsible for the book's enjoyable dialogue). Over the years, the relationship becomes more significant to them both, even though they have little in common on the surface. An exploration of family, stardom, and whether or not men and women can be friends. I didn't love reading this book (well, except for all the witty banter), but I did love talking it over with a friend after I finished it.

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

This international bestseller was originally published in Sweden in 2009. It's drawn comparisons to Forrest Gump, because the 100-year-old man of the title finds himself involved in key political moments throughout the course of his long life. Many of you have already read this as your book in translation. Not everyone loves it, but those who do have labeled it "clever," "quirky," and "un-put-down-able."

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The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

$9.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)

The publisher describes this as You've Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake. A gruff British restaurant critic tanks a Milwaukee chef's career with a scathing review of her beloved French bistro. What he doesn't know is that he visited the restaurant on the worst day of her life. Of course, they later meet, and sparks fly, and then they both have a lot of explaining to do. The plot is utterly predictable, but anyone who knows anything about the Milwaukee food scene will forgive all.

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