BeachReads · Book Reviews · BOTMs,

Book Review: “Happy and You Know It” by Laura Hankin

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Thank you @berkleypub for my gifted copy of “Happy & You Know It” by Laura Hankin! (pub date 5/19)

A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers & the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies & finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives & dangerous secrets…

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on NY’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom & just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool mom’s who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets & betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Filled with humor & shocking twists, “Happy & You Know It” is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, & the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.

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I love well-written snarky, sarcastic, flawed characters such as Claire & Amara, but really all the women in this book are flawed in some way. This book has the wry humor, but it also has depth & complexity, & addresses some important issues. “Happy & You Know It” hooks you right from the get go & is a sharp, twisty, completely addictive quick read. It was also a May BOTM! Use my referral link HERE to join Book-of-the-Month & get this book at a discount.

Book of the Month is an online book subscription club that announces 5 selections each month & you can choose (1) as your monthly pick for only $14.99 & then up to (2) more at the even lower cost of $9.99 each (plus tax, but shipping is always FREE!). These are hardback editions, too, & for less than half of what you would pay elsewhere! Most of the monthly selections are early release editions, meaning you can get a copy before everyone else (generally a month in advance) & be one of the cool kids on the block! Not only that, after you have received (12) BOTM boxes, you become a BFF & even MORE exciting things happen!

As a BOTM BFF you get a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE add-on book during your birthday month, & every winter when they announce the (5) BOTM Book-of-the-Year finalists, you can choose one of them for FREE, too! Every year! Amazing, huh? I have been a BOTM member for about 3 years now & I love it! My BOTM’s are generally some of my favorite books, too, since they are well curated by varying monthly BOTM judges. You can skip any months you choose to, cancel at anytime, & the BOTM customer service folks are the BEST & they will help you with any issues you may have.

Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book & any others at a local independent bookstore. They need our sales now more than ever! I would hate to see these wonderful stores shuttering there doors permanently due to lack of sales. (Amazon does NOT need our sales & even with Prime, they consider books UNessential & they are often taking weeks to send a book that should have arrived in 2 days or so. I get that mail has delays right now, but don’t tell me books aren’t essential. They absolutely ARE!

Here are some editorial reviews of “Happy & You Know It”:

“For readers who want the fun of reality TV but the heart of a good drama.”—BookPage (starred review)

Absorbing.”—OK! Magazine

“A dramatic and immensely entertaining page-turner about secrets, lies, and mom culture.”—Kirkus

“With deeply drawn and relatable characters, this is an excellent read.”—Library Journal

“An engrossing and compelling story of the lengths women will go to convince the world–and themselves–that they’re as happy and successful as society expects them to be. It’s what would happen if the women from The Nanny Diaries met the women from Sex and the City in the social-media age. I devoured it in less than 48 hours.”—Jill Santopolo, New York Times bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words

“Combines wry humor and sharp social commentary with an utterly addictive plot. It’s nonstop fun, and I couldn’t put it down.”—Katharine McGee, New York Times bestselling author of American Royals

“The perfect mix of frothy fun, twisty mystery and social satireHappy and Your Know It is a guilty pleasure of a book that is impossible to put down. Laura Hankin creates complex characters with lives that, like their Instagram feeds, are never as they seem. This is the summer read for book clubs, beachgoers and playgroup moms everywhere.”—Kristy Woodson Harvey, bestselling author of Slightly South of Simple

A juicy look at how the other half livesHappy and You Know It is a page-turning treat in the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and Momzillas. This story of social-climbing and dark secrets heralds a delightful new voice in women’s fiction.”—Jamie Brenner, bestselling author of The Forever Summer

“Laura Hankin balances a sharp eye for the mad dynamics of a high-stakes playgroup with warm understanding of the occasional desperation of new motherhood. This book is bracing, fresh, and hilarious, like sticking your head in a freezer on a hot day.”—Judy Blundell, bestselling author of The High Season

“Hankin has concocted a delicious, rollicking story that features a captivating ensemble of cosmopolitan moms and a down-on-her-luck musician who’s paid to entertain their kids. Packed with laughs and unexpected twists, think Liane Moriarty meets Sex and the City–simply irresistible.”—Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls
“A skillful unraveling of desperate secrets and self-deceptions. Witty, unsettling, and all-too-believable. I raced through to the end.”—Emma Rous, USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair

Imagine if your hilarious best friend told you a really juicy story about a gaggle of rich new mothers While also delivering a sharp commentary about the expectations put on women. That is this book. Bonus for the excellent twist you won’t be expecting. Put it on your list, kids.”—Stephanie Wrobel, USA Today bestselling author of Darling Rose Gold

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Giveaway

Book Review: “A Week at the Shore” and GIVEAWAY(s) reminder!

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Thank you @stmartinspress for my beautiful, gifted copy of “A Week at the Shore“! (pub date 5/19)

In her new book, New York Times bestselling author, Barbara Delinsky explores how lives & relationships are forever changed when three sisters reunite at their family Rhode Island beach house.

One phone call is all it takes to lure real estate photographer Mallory Aldiss back to her family Rhode Island beach home. It’s been 20 yrs since she’s been gone—running from the scandal that destroyed her parents’ marriage, drove her & her two sisters apart, & crushed her relationship with her first love. But going home is fraught with emotional baggage—memories, mysteries & secrets abound.

Mal’s 13-yr-old daughter, Joy, has never been to the place where Mal’s life was shaped & is desperate to go. Fatherless, she craves family & especially wants to spend time with the grandfather she barely knows.

In just seven watershed days on the Rhode Island coast three women will test the bonds of sisterhood, friendship & family, & discover the role that love & memory plays in defining their lives.

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I am always drawn to books that take place in beachy, shoreline towns since I live in one myself. Gives me more of a sense of being there, even if my shoreline is Lake Erie & this books is the ocean. This book is not a light, fluffy beach read, as it is heavier on family dysfunction, fractured sibling relationships, drama, secrets, & confronting the past. It’s around 400 pgs & a bit of a slow-burn, but it’s also engaging, well-written & captivating.

Amazing writing, atmospherically breath-taking & emotionally gripping, this is a fantastic book that is full of heart & soul! Look for this book next week everywhere books are sold, & since many indie bookstores are starting to open back up, start there first. Use BookStoreLink to find “A Week at the Shore” & any other books at a local independent bookstore. They need our sales now more than ever to stay afloat & get back on their feet.

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Speaking of “beach reads”, be sure to enter my HUGE 3-winner giveaway on Instagram (Click HERE) AND the 3-book thriller giveaway (Click HERE)! And keep an eye out for ANOTHER one coming soon! I’m feeling very generous this week as I clean my office out & pull more & more books from my overwhelmed home library shelves. I am in full Marie Kondo mode!

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Here in Ohio many businesses are starting to reopen (even though Covid #’s continue to rise.) Personally I will continue to limit my socializing & where my family & I go for the rest of the summer (probably year). No summer day camp for my autistic sons either & they LOVED going. We do have an in-ground pool, so luckily we have that to keep them occupies & happy once Mother Nature gets her act together & realizes what month it is. High 70’s one day, low 40’s to high 30’s the next…that is life in Ohio for ya!

I am having such a hard time with wearing a mask everywhere I go. I will continue to & I definitely NEED to due a compromised immune system, but man…they get so freaking hot & I am claustrophobic so I tend to start getting into anxious, panic mode after about 15 minutes in one. I really feel bad for the healthcare workers & others out there that have to wear masks (& more!) for hours at a time. I truly can’t even imagine how awful that must be for them.

Me visiting my mom recently after not seeing her for 5 mos!

As always, stay safe out there. Stay home if you can. Reach out to others online or on the phone if you are getting out of sorts, stressed, exhausted, depressed, or just need a virtual hug. Think of others with all of your actions & reactions. Just stay safe… Now go wash your hands.