July 1, 2016

Summer Lovin' This Summer Reading!

  


What's that, friends? You feel that gorgeous sunshine on your back and hear those birds chirping? Yup, it's officially SUMMER! And to all the readers of the world, that means one very, very important thing: it's time to dig into that summer reading list!


Been a little too distracted by the end-of-school insanity to bone up on what all hot summer reads are? No sweat! We've got you covered. Twenty of us blogging gals have teamed up with The Mom of the Year and Normal Level of Crazy virtual monthly book club to create a list of exactly what belongs on your summer reading list. Not only do these books come highly recommended (along with the reason you need to be reading them!), we are giving eleven of them away to one of you, along with a $225 Amazon giftcard. I know, it's insanely awesome! More details on the giveaway at the end of the post. For now, log into Goodreads, grab a notepad or settle in with however you track your to-read list and start adding these titles.

20 Books that Belong on Your Summer Reading List:

Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it!
  1. Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini (Toulouse and Tonic) is a GREAT summer read. Leah Remini doesn't hold anything back, from her decades-long experience with Scientology to celeb encounters along the way, especially experiences within Scientology. If you want to hear all the dish on Tom Cruise, including his "Scientology arranged and groomed" girlfriend and then his marriage to Katie Holmes, get the book now. Her honesty and lack of pretense is refreshing. I couldn't put it down!
  2. The Storied Like of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (The Not So Super Mom) This is a bit of a quirky book, but it is perfectly quirky without falling into the creepy or just plain confusing. A.J. Fikry is not the most immediately likable character but you find yourself rooting for him (and his bookstore) anyway. I appreciated that he was a bit of an oddball, because who in our lives isn't without their own idiosyncrasies? I enjoyed the themes in this book--loss, romance, mystery--all peppered with humor, and the format--each chapter moves the story forward in time and serves as an ode to one of Fikry's favorite books--was different but enjoyable to any book lovers who try to find themselves in the stories they read.
  3. Smart Women by Judy Blume (Meraki Lane) I was a huge Judy Blume fan when I was a kid (Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself was my favorite!), so it's no surprise I jumped with joy when I discovered she writes novels for adults as well, and this book did NOT disappoint. If you like a light read with a little racy romance thrown in, this is the perfect summer pick!
  4. A Window Opens by Elizabeth Egan (Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms) A great novel with a fresh, funny voice guiding it, this book tackles the classic struggle of moms trying to have it all and stuck with us to the point of recommending it to others long after we turned the last page.Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!
  5. Beyond the Break by Kristen Mae (Kristen Mae) Quoted from Melissa Mowry of One Mother to Another's review on Amazon: "This book absolutely crushed me. The writing is hauntingly beautiful and full of depth, with well-rounded characters and gorgeous imagery. As a card-carrying heterosexual, I expected to feel a little squirmy about the girl-on-girl aspect and was just reading because I love this author's writing. I was SO WRONG. The sex was, in a word, mind-blowing. None of that lazy, euphemistic smut book language (you won't find talk of anyone's blossoming flower here) just seriously hot, almost artistic love scenes. Hazel is a flawed but loveable main character with a haunting past and so much dimension. Claire is absolutely magnetic; even I was attracted to her. You owe yourself the pleasure--and I do mean pleasure--of reading this book. It will change everything you thought you knew about love, sexual attraction, and chemistry."
  6. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (Herd Management) Summer Sisters provides a fascinating view into the inner workings and dynamics of a close female friendship over the duration of their journey from young teens into adulthood. Many women will be able to relate to the power that female friends have over one another's hearts, and their ability to shatter them completely sometimes. Riveting, relatable, and emotional.
  7. The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews (Confessions of a Mommyaholic) This summer/beach town set book is the absolute perfect read this summer while you are sitting beach or poolside that is filled with just enough intrigue, suspense, drama, romance and more.
  8. Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher (See Mom Click) This is one of those books that draws you in and won’t let go, even after you’ve put it down. Senna Richard wakes up on her 33rdbirthday, locked in a house in the snow in the middle of nowhere, full of clues she has to piece together to gain her freedom. Not just a mystery, but a rip-your-heart-out love story, the author keeps you guessing while you become totally wrapped up in these characters’ lives.Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!
  9. Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (Shakespeare's Mom) In this collection of personal essays, Parker writes beautifully about her encounters and relationships with various men in her life - everyone from her grandfather to ex-boyfriends, to, in an essay that manages to be both brutal and hilarious, a male goat. I read the whole book in one day. I had to ignore my children and personal hygiene to do it, but finding myself sucked into the book's spellbinding word-webs was totally worth it.
  10. Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins (Andra Watkins) This story is a great summer read because we all struggle with loved ones. It's an easy, yet poignant, read that changes a lot of people.
  11. Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyangi (Femme Frugality) This true story of alternative education in WWII era Japan serves to inspire. If you've ever known a kid that doesn't seem to fit into a traditional education system, Tetsuko Kuroyangi's story will warm your heart and give you hope. Kuroyangi, after getting kicked out of a traditional school, grew up to be one of Japan's media sweethearts and a great, hands-on philanthropist.
  12. A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (The Whimsy One) will take you on a waltz between present day and the 18th century as Sara (present day) tries to decipher a journal written by Mary during the Jacobites uprising in Paris (1732) what she discovers in the handwritten pages is not at all what she was expecting.Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!
  13. Summerlong by Dean Bakopoulos (Jana Says) I fell in love with this author after reading another one of his books but this one, a stunning, sad, sometimes funny, heartbreaking, (mostly) realistic portrayal of a marriage in crisis and its subsequent implosion during a summer long Midwestern heatwave, solidified him in my top 5 favorite authors.
  14. What Alice Forgot By Liane Moriarty (Tamara (Like) Camera) This book gripped me - I felt all the joys and pains. I recommended it to both of my sisters who are still postpartum.
  15. Mosquitoland by David Arnold (Kiss My List) You will not regret spending an afternoon curled up with this smart, funny, and poignant novel about a teenage girl's bus ride back to her mom in Cleveland. Mim’s journey from Mississippi is filled with people who could be fascinating main characters in their own books.
  16. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (The Golden Spoons) Hawley alternates between perspectives of different characters as well as switches from past to present in this story of 11 people - some connected, some seemingly out of place - whose lives are changed or lost when their private jet goes down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard on a foggy August night.Wa-hoo! Summer is here and that means summer reading is here! Looking for the perfect beach book or captivating read to get lost in this season? We've got the list of the top 20 books that belong on your summer reading list. They all come with the reason WHY you need to snatch them up, not to mention this INCREDIBLE giveaway--11 books, a $225 Amazon giftcard...seriously, you have to check this out to believe it! Here's to fantastic books!
  17. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (The Lieber Family) This second Cormoran Strike novel follows our detective as he investigates the disappearance and later death of a controversial, not-well liked author whose last novel didn’t have anything nice to say about…well, anyone!
  18. You: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes (Pulling Taffy) If you love a good, creepy thriller, with an occasional chuckle, this is a great summer read. By the end you will be rooting for the serial killer and hoping his intended victim dies (Please. End. Her. Incessant. Whining.)
  19. The Show by Filip Syta (Normal Level of Crazy) I'm taken by Amazon's description of the book, "Think of the greatest tech company in the world. Imagine getting a job there. Picture the perks: free gourmet food, free booze, a gym, a swimming pool, and a holiday bonus . . . every month. Brilliant coworkers. No dress code. Great parties. More money. Everyone’s admiration." You know there are inevitably problems that will arise, but it sounds so exotic in comparison to my world, that I can't wait to dig in!
  20. The Tulip Factory by Kacie Davis Idol (The Mom of the Year) Amazon's description makes it sound like the perfect dreamy, fun summer book: "Before they exchange even a single word, Corrine knows that James will change everything. And sure enough, their serendipitous meeting in a North Carolina coffee shop sets off a whirlwind of desire and possibilities for the two." 

Now that you've got the whole list, I know you're dying to immediately lose yourself in book pages, but don't forget to first enter the fantastic giveaway here! Eleven of these books (Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, The Storied Like of A.J. Fikry, The Weekenders, Not Without My Father, Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window, Beyond the Break, The Tulip Factory, The Show, A Desperate Fortune, Before the Fall, You: A Novel) are up for grabs in addition to a $225 Amazon giftcard! Delight in the books and use the giftcard to get any others that are on your summer reading list--or for this sweet amount, even snag a new Kindle for reading on-the-go! As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental United States, you are eligible to enter the Rafflecopter below. All entries must be received before 7/8/16 at 5:30am ET. Here's to a summer of fab books, friends! And as always, happy reading! a Rafflecopter giveaway

****This post is not sponsored or compensated in any way. We are grateful to the following publishers for providing copies of the books for our giveaway: Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Grand Central Publishing, Kristen Mae, Algonquin Books, Sourcebooks, Andra Watkins, St. Martin's Press, Kodansha, and Inkshares. We bloggers have all chipped in together to provide the Amazon giftcard--because we love Amazon and we love you ;) ****
Second graphic credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:18594985, copyright:peshkova
Horizontal line of books in last graphic: depositphotos, image ID:6984753, copyright:aboikis
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April 5, 2016

Mom Caught Dealing on School Grounds

Missing Teeth

Proud to have another post featured over on MockMom.com at SammichesPsychMeds.

“I was looking through my sock drawer when I came across a bunch of old teeth that my older boy lost a year or two ago. They were just sitting there in little baggies, doing nothing. What’s so bad about trying to make a few bucks? I ain’t hurting anyone.”

How many of you have a "collection" of souvenirs from your children's developmental milestones? Anyone have a fetish fit for the Tooth Fairy? And who is just OVER the ridiculous rates kids are pulling for used body parts? This one might not be for the squeamish.
Who is OVER the ridiculous rates kids are pulling for used body parts? #MockMom @notsosupermom_

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March 22, 2016

The Art of No Regrets

I love the theater, but I didn't know myself well enough in college to know that I probably should not have been a theater major. Despite my lack of forethought, it wasn't a random decision. I went to a small enough college that I had the opportunity to do things both on the stage and behind the scenes. I took some classes and participated in several shows and found that I truly loved every aspect of it.


No real art comes without effort and make no mistake, the theater is hard work. It is as physically demanding as any sport and as mentally taxing as academics, and almost always at the same time. There is blocking and choreography to say nothing of moving scenery. And the mental demands of the memorization alone can be exhausting. 

It wasn't the hard work of the theater itself that put me off. It was the work of surviving in such an industry that made me realize that it was not for me. I was never going to move to the city and pound the pavement for a job. There is too much risk in that endeavor. I am not a teacher and so that avenue never appealed to me. I always thought that when my kids were old enough, I'd have the opportunity to participate in community theater somewhere and be happy doing something I loved while still being pragmatic. I have wondered if I should have found the courage to pursue it more aggressively.

I think about some of the friends I had in the Theater Department. Most of them--the ones I keep up with through social media, anyway--have stayed involved in the theater to varying degrees. I have seen the work they do and I see that they will leave their marks in many ways. If I was a pessimistic person I might regret that I have not left my own. But I am not, and I don't.

Yes, she's taller than me already.
It's not just the horns.
I have a very beautiful, very talented daughter who is already making more of a mark in the theater than I have in all my years before her. She knows the work that it is and does not shy away from it.  I have seen her grow and learn and blossom since her first step in front of an audience. She was a shy girl who found a passion that inspired a self-confidence that is palpable when she is onstage now.

I am unabashedly and annoyingly proud of her. So if I ever stop to wonder what my legacy is in this art, it is undoubtedly her.
My gorgeous girl as Dragon in Shrek Jr., her most recent role.
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March 12, 2016

The Last Battlefront of The Mommy Wars

I am honored to have another post published over on Sammiches and Psych Meds satirical corner of the world: MockMom.com. This latest joins my several previous posts The Youngest Person Ever to Appear on Hoarders, Mother Caught Dealing on Elementary School Grounds, and an unprecedented Oprah interview.

If you've ever helped your school collect, count and submit boxtops or labels, you can relate to this one...

torture devices
photo courtesy of my own
private collection of torture devices
...The details haven’t been fully confirmed, but it appears there was some sort of incident between two of the members regarding the collection of Box Tops for Education and Campbell’s Labels for Education. One witness said that two ladies were giving their counts on the collections when an argument broke out between them.
See the full post here and be sure to check out all of the funny over on MockMom.com!
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November 16, 2015

Diabetes Awareness Month: Stronger Because Of It

November is Diabetes awareness month.  My Moo has Type I Diabetes and was diagnosed just over six years ago.  It hasn't been incredibly easy or fun, but, as with everything in life, time and practice bring a measure of wisdom and familiarity.

I was asked to share our story over on The WIRL Project site.



Never in a million years would I have guessed that the doctor would come back in the room and say, “I suspect your daughter has Type I diabetes.” The Sugar.
My immediate thought was that we were going to get a pamphlet, go home, and come back in a few days for a follow-up visit. I had no idea. I think it took some time for the shock to wear off. Neither of us started crying until we were in the car on the way to the Emergency Room. Driving to a big hospital and an even bigger Unkown.

You can read the  full post here.
Diabetes: Stronger Because Of It. @notsosupermom_
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August 19, 2015

I THINX NOT!




Have you seen these? The latest and greatest in feminine-hygiene-product-free feminine hygiene panties? 

www.shethinx.com
Huh? (My thoughts exactly!) Like a lot of things I think THINX are great in theory--reduce stigma, save the Earth, help girls in underdeveloped countries--all good stuff. Although the concept is not new, I think THINX is making a splash because of its humanitarian efforts on the flip side, but I wouldn't trust it in practical use.  I just can't see this doing the job.

I am a woman. I get my period. I have it now. (Yes, It's probably not helping that I am sitting here writing this while on my period. You're in REAL TIME here people. Real time.)

I have gotten my period for about 29 years now and I have never, ever liked it. This has nothing to do with societal stigmas and EVERYTHING to do with itisamajorinconveneincetogoaboutyoureverydaylifewhileyouareBLEEDINGBLEEDINGBLEEDINGfromyournetherparts. It just fucking sucks. I don't need society to tell me that.

If you think it's a blessing to have a monthly reminder of a physical readiness for something you might not necessarily be otherwise ready for, then feel free to enjoy Aunt Flo's company. And even if you are someone who is hoping to see her period in lieu of being pregnant you're not convincing me that's there's a bright side.

Periods are gross. Maybe this isn't the most PC point of view nowadays but it's a fact. I try to put on a good face for my newly "blessed" teenage daughter, but the fact is there is no upside. What other bodily function requires such time and attention and gear? I have heavy periods and THINX claim that its heaviest pair of panties will "absorb as much as two tampons worth of blood" just doesn't do it for me. I can go through two tampons in TWO HOURS! Then what?

So I'm at the office and I feel the need to "freshen up." Instead of taking a discreet, sanitary, wrapped feminine hygiene product into the bathroom and throwing away the used goods, what would THINX have me do? Go to the bathroom, change into a fresh pair of THINX (are these individually wrapped as well?) and do WHAT EXACTLY with my not-so-fresh pair? Do they come with carry out bags? They are reusable for up to 2 years so I'm certainly not going to throw away any of my $200+ "cycle set."

I just don't get how these can work. If I'm not seeing it, feel free to enlighten me. I'll be sitting here in my pad and granny panties. I may not be helping to reduce any stigma about how annoying and gross the menstrual cycle is, but I'd appreciate it if you can help me find the silver lining. Pun intended.
No thanx, THINX! I'll keep my granny panties. @notsosupermom_

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August 7, 2015

Last Blast of Summer Reading!

Summer may be over soon, but that doesn't mean your summer reading is over! Meredith of The Mom of the Year and Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy have been on an amazing virtual book club journey since last Fall. I have teamed up with them and a great group of bloggers to give you the opportunity to win this epic giveaway! Check out our picks and why we chose them, then enter to win a $225 Amazon gift card and 7 of the books on the list. 




It's here, friends. The end of summer is upon us. I know. But that doesn't mean you need to put your beloved books down! In fact, just the opposite. No time like the present to dig into your reading and escape the hassles and woes of Back to School prep and fuss.

To embrace the end of our summer months, I teamed up with a bunch of my blogging buddies and asked the uber-important question: what book would you recommend for a last-blast at summer reading? What book would you love to share with others? Every month, The Mom of the Year and Normal Level of Crazy meet through a virtual book club* to allow moms to come together and chat about fab books while still rocking their pj pants in the cozy-comfort of their own homes. It doesn't get any better, really.

This month, we've blown the skies wide open and are coming to you with an entire list of great reads that you need to check out! Even better, we are giving one of you a $225 Amazon gift card along with seven of the titles on this list to read! Use the gift card to snatch up your reading wish list and dig into the books sent to your door. In short, you will be in a reader's heaven. It's sweet deal! Enter to score the gift card and the hard copies of the books before 8/14/15 at 5:30am ET through the Rafflecopter below. As long as you are resident of the continental U.S. and 18 yrs. or older, you are eligible to win!

What's on the list of recommended reads? 

  The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks (Jessica of Herd Management)--Possibly the best Sparks' book I've ever read. Two couples in completely different time periods paths cross and the end result is amazing. Tear-jerking romance is enfolded within the pages of the characters' captivating challenges. Plus, I can't resist a cowboy. Read this before you see the movie!

  Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan (Courtney of Our Small Moments)-- How would you feel if the one you loved turned out to be from one of the richest families? Crazy Rich Asians shows the complexity of that situation.

  The Liar by Nora Roberts (MamaRabia of The Lieber Family)--What would you do if you found out that your recently deceased husband was not only a liar and a thief, but possibly worse? Shelby Pomeroy decides to take back her life by clearing her name and fighting to make a better life for herself and her young daughter. But her dead husband still has some surprises in store for her!

  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Jennifer of Real Life Parenting)--The primary female characters in this historical fiction are strong, feisty, and full of heart and personality. The way their lives in time are so far apart, their connections are close and poignant. I loved the blending of history with modern day happenings! A quick read because you just don't want to put it down.

  Child, Please, How Mama's Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself by Ylonda Gault Caviness (Stacey of One Funny Motha)--Maybe I like this book because I'm old-school myself. Or it could be the author's funny, lively, entirely personable voice that makes reading it feel as though you're talking to a friend. Or it could be that I write about similar issues myself and found much to agree with in the author's perspective. Whatever the case, this memoir is a throughly enjoyable read of one woman's straight-talking journey through motherhood and was selected by Ebony as 1 of the top 4 must-reads of the summer.

  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Alyson of The Shitastrophy)--Was the most amazing read for me. After having walked away from reading for pleasure for some time due to work commitments I selected this book to read on an airplane. I couldn't put the book down and finished it within 2 days. The story winds and weaves through three friends lives together. The ending was something I didn't see coming and was suiting to see how justice can come to fruition, even when not done judicially. I have gone on to read the rest of her books available and none have disappointed.

  Now the Hell Will Start by Brendan I. Koerner (Femme of FemmeFrugality)--Part history, part thriller, all non-fiction. Now the Hell Will Start is the story of Herman Perry, a WWII American soldier on the run in Burma after shooting his commanding officer. Not only does it expose a massive part of WWII history we never learn about in school, it also follows his incredible run from the law, including marrying into a local, headhunting tribe.

  The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran (Alicia of Sadler House)--Many writers have extolled the virtues of Italy's countryside, but no other story of Italian transplants is quite like this one. This witty memoir recounts how an award-winning Hollywood comedy producer finds himself renovating a 300-year-old house in Tuscany, where escapism gives way to real-life hilarity.

  The Ocean at The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (Janene of More than Mommies)--We all have those reader friends who we want to be like. You know . . . the ones who are always reading WAY cooler books than we are reading? Well, this book came HIGHLY recommended by my reader friend who I have reader envy of, so, I think we should ALL read it and discuss! (I'm planning on reading it in August . . . so if you pick this one to read I'd love to hear your thoughts!)

  Secrets Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown (Dani of Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine)--My BFF sent me Secrets of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown for my birthday in March and I absolutely COULD NOT put it down. I only ever trust her book recommendations, and she was spot on with this one. It's the perfect late summer / back-to-school read, and will not disappoint!

  House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Norine of Science of Parenthood)--Though it reads like a Downton Abbey-esque drawing room drama, behind the mansions and manners and horse-drawn carriages, Edith Wharton's House of Mirth is a fierce social commentary on the proscribed roles for American women in the 1880s. Wharton is a social commentator bar none. And Lily Bart, whose story this is, is my favorite tragic heroine. Every time I read this book, I root for Lily to emerge victorious ... and am heartbroken all over again when she falters.

  On Borrowed Wings by Chandra Prasad (Amy of Funny is Family)--On Borrowed Wings is the story of a girl who disguises herself as a boy to attend Yale University in the 1930s, before women were allowed to enroll. It's a fantastic read that weaves well-researched historical details and the strong desire of a girl to break away from her predetermined life path.

  All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner (Meredith of Meredith to Mommy)--This book really struck me. Well-off, suburban, mom blogger who is trying to do it all winds up addicted to pain meds. This constant monologue of "I can fix this myself. I have a plan. I don't REALLY have a problem." as she falls deeper and deeper into addiction made me choke up at how easy it is to lose control and wind up in a hole that you have no hope of clawing yourself out of alone, while still keeping up a strong facade as someone who has it all. I've read it multiple times, and find myself just as drawn in as I was the first.

      

  Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe (Kimberly of Red Shutters)--Did you love Rob Lowe in "The Outsiders" and "St. Elmo's Fire" as much as I did? Then, you'd love this memoir in which Lowe pulls back the curtain on his life in Hollywood, from 19-year-old heartthrob to award-winning actor, sharing life wisdom along the way. I enjoyed the audio version of this book, which Lowe narrates himself, complete with impressions of Christopher Walken, Francis Ford Coppola, and other film industry luminaries.

  The Martian by Andy Weir (Kim of Let Me Start By Saying)--A man gets left on Mars by accident and his personality, smarts, creativity, and sense of humor carve a place in your heart for him as he tries to figure a way to survive--and eventually leave--his new home in space. What is happening back on Earth and in the ship that left him will have you cranking through the pages, itching to know what will happen next, because this book is full of surprises, laughs, details that make you feel right there.

  We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (Stephanie of When Crazy Meets Exhaustion)--A thought-provoking punch to the gut that, unfortunately, mimics reality a little too closely. I read it before I had kids, then again after I had my three, and I think a parent's perspective is far more frightening. In the novel, a sociopath "kid" commits the darkest of sins and turns a town--and his family--upside down. *Shivers*

  Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus (Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases)--the story of a deaf mother and how she came to find herself raising an adopted daughter who is also deaf, as well as her biological children. As an adoptive mom myself, it can be hard to find other stories that relate to my own journey mothering a child with special needs who joined us out of foster care, and this book certainly does that. More than that, Finding Zoe also gave me a glimpse into deaf culture (which was neat for me because before my grandmother passed away she volunteered as a sign language interpreter) and was full of cool trivia, like the author being cast as Marlee Matlin's understudy in a play, but it was also real and relatable on a human level. I think any mom will be able to relate to this memoir.

  What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (Melanie of The NotsoSuperMom)-- I like it for summer reading because it's not too heavy of a story but it does make us think a bit about our own lives, the expectations we had when we were younger and how changing priorities can set our lives on a different course than we imagined. What a difference a decade makes, right?

  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Ellen and Erin of Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms)--Stop looking to other authors to give you the next Gone Girl and just read Flynn's earlier work. Dark Places is told in a captivating flashback format, with Libby--complicated and damaged from a horrific tragedy in her childhood--narrating the present-day chapters in first person, while the flashback chapters, told in third person, describe the actions of several key characters on that one winter's day in 1985. The plot is gripping and complex enough to have you guessing how the puzzle really fits together until the very end. I only wish the story had been longer because it was the type of read you just want to binge on, but are sorry when it's over.

  Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro (Carrie of Normal Level of Crazy and Meredith of The Mom of the Year)--With raw and heartwarming honesty, Fierro’s debut captures the sacrifices we make in order to seek understanding, compassion, and love.

Last Blast of Summer Reading giveaway! Win $225 Amazon.com gift card and more! @notsosupermom_



Now that you have the whole list of fave recommendations, it's time to get reading, friends! Grab up these titles and make sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below for a super sweet $225 Amazon gift card and seven of these books for your very own!


We are thrilled to have you reading with us in this last blast to summertime!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
A huge thank you to the publishing houses that offered copies of the books included in our giveaway! All the books were chosen because we genuinely think they are fantastic. We love reading and we so appreciate working with you, Grand Central Publishing, St. Martin's Press, Penguin Random House, BenBella Books, The Crown Publishing Group, and Penguin Press.

* Note to our dedicated book club fans: We WILL be discussing Judy Blume's In the Unlikely Event as promised, but in the interest of this ginormous giveaway and recommendation list post, we've decided to table this discussion until September. Check in on the first Friday of the month, 9/4/15 to catch our thoughts on this book and snag our pick for the next month! We love having you read with us! 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, Image ID:1884440, copyright:phodopus
Third image credit: depositphotos.com, Image ID:7214753, copyright:mac_sim
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