BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction

Book Review: “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman

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Happy Friday readers, writers, reviewers, publishers & so on!

In between trying to battle a week long losing battle with a butt-kicker of a migraine (that is still hanging on), I have been squeezing in a little reading when I get a bit of respite from the pain (via prescription pharmaceuticals). I have been a migraine sufferer for decades, & with 2 kids home 24/7, who treat being noisy like it’s their job, it’s getting more & more difficult to get rid of them in a timely fashion. I guess I’ll give it the weekend & then if it’s not better, then Monday I shall see the Doc.

Anyhow, let’s talk about “I Was Told It Would Get Easier” by Abbi Waxman. (That title could seriously be the name of my biography, just saying…)

Squashed among a bus full of strangers, mother-daughter duo Jessica & Emily Burnstein watch their carefully mapped-out college tour devolve into a series of off-roading misadventures, from the USA Today bestselling author of “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill”.

Jessica & Emily Burnstein have very different ideas of how this college tour should go.

For Emily, it’s a preview of freedom, exploring the possibility of her new and more exciting future. Not that she’s sure she even wants to go to college, but let’s ignore that for now. And maybe the other kids on the tour will like her more than the ones at school. . . . They have to, right?

For Jessica, it’s a chance to bond with the daughter she seems to have lost. They used to be so close, but then Goldfish crackers & Play-Doh were no longer enough of a draw. She isn’t even sure if Emily likes her anymore. To be honest, Jessica isn’t sure she likes herself.

Together with a dozen strangers–& two familiar enemies–Jessica & Emily travel the East Coast, meeting up with family & old friends along the way. Surprises & secrets threaten their relationship &, in the end, change it forever.

I am a mother to 4 boys & only 1 daughter, who it quite literally the spitting image of me in every way, shape & form. I am grateful for our friendship, conversations & candid talks now that she is a 22-yr old adult, but man, those teen years were TOUGH. I have thanked God on more than one occasion that my twins are boys, & not girls, because I honestly don’t know how I could deal with twin 14 girls & all the angst, hormones, & societal peer pressures that comes with our ever expanding technology & social media apps.

“I Was Told It Would Get Easier” (IWTIWGE from here on out) is Waxman’s 4th novel. I won “The Garden of Small Beginnings” back in 2017 & Waxman became an auto-buy author for me from then on. IWTIWGE is told from both Jessica & Emily’s POV’s & you will meet several interesting side characters along the way. I was definitely able to relate in many ways to the mother daughter relationship struggles & conflict, & even got a bit emotional a couple times as it brought back some memories both good & not-so-good.

This book is a witty, charming, touching, fantastically enjoyable read that is as insightful as it is delightful! If you are new to Abbi Waxman, you will not be disappointed & you should definitely check out her other 3 books as well.

Click HERE to add “I Was Told It Would Get Better” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Bookish Life of Nina Hill” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “Other People’s Houses” to your Goodreads list.
Click HERE to add “The Garden of Small Beginnings” to your Goodreads list.

What others are saying about “I Was Told It Would Get Better“:

“Waxman shines at creating characters that feel like best friends, inspiring compassion, laughs, and cheers, and fans of Katherine Center and Linda Holmes’ Evvie Drake Starts Over (2019) will adore this.”Booklist, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Waxman expertly navigates the fraught shoals of college admissions in this spot-on tale…. Waxman’s alternating first-person narration from Jessica and Emily rings true, while a memorable supporting cast…provide excellent support…This sweet treat doesn’t require a college-bound child to enjoy, though anyone who has helped their offspring weather the admissions process will definitely appreciate this sharp send-up.”—Publisher’s Weekly, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Funny and insightful.”BookRiot, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“We’re forever fans of Abbi Waxman’s sweet, witty, feel-good novels. Her latest, about a mother and daughter making college visits along the East Coast, is her best yet.”HelloGiggles, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“An aptly and hilariously titled novel…Waxman again delivers with her signature wit and laugh-out-loud writing, offering us authentic characters who feel like people we’ve met and loved in our own lives — all while offering sly commentary on the roller coaster that is the college application process for parents and their college-hopefuls.”Shondaland

“This book’s strengths are the exploration of the mother-teen daughter dynamics and relationship and the author’s remarkable gift for realistic, witty dialog. VERDICT: Recommended for fans of mother-daughter fiction with both lighthearted and serious moments.”Library Journal, on I Was Told It Would Get Easier

“Abbi Waxman’s warm, quippy novels explore familial dynamics with sarcastic wit and plenty of heart…. Being a teenager–or parenting one–is tricky territory, but Waxman steers her characters through it with compassion, snappy dialogue and the right dose of zany humor. Things may (or may not) get easier for the Burnstein women, but the ride, literal and otherwise, is highly enjoyable.”Shelf Awareness

Blog Tour · Nonfiction

Blog Tour for “The Opposite of Certainty: Fear, Faith and Life In Between” by Janine Urbaniak Reid

Thank you @wpublishing @thomasnelson @janineurbanurbaniakreid & @tlcbooktours for my gifted copy of “The Opposite of Certainty” which published on May 12th.

What happens when we can no longer pretend that the ground underfoot is bedrock and the sky above predictable?

All Janine Urbaniak Reid ever wanted was for everyone she loved to be okay so she might relax and maybe be happy. Her life strategy was simple: do everything right. This included trying to be the perfect mother to her three kids so they would never experience the kind of pain she pretended not to feel growing up. What she didn’t expect was the chaos of an out-of-control life that begins when her young son’s hand begins to shake.

The Opposite of Certainty is the story of Janine’s reluctant journey beyond easy answers and platitudes. She searches for a source of strength bigger than her circumstances, only to have her circumstances become even thornier with her own crisis. Drawn deeply and against her will into herself, and into the eternal questions we all ask, she discovers hidden reserves of strength, humor, and a no-matter-what faith that looks nothing like she thought it would. 

Beautifully written and deeply hopeful, Janine shows us how can we come through impossible times, transformed and yet more ourselves than we’d ever allowed ourselves to be.

Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads TBR

I found this story utterly compelling, touching, & heartbreaking, but also very heartwarming, uplifting, & inspiring. I have a family member who went through something similar with her son many years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer & she was raising 5 kids. The sleeplessness coupled with daily fatigue, battles with insurance companies & what they will or won’t cover, the daily uncertainty of what each new day will bring. Her son, just like Janine’s, was eventually cured, but the stress of it all really took a toll on my family member’s own health.

“The Opposite of Uncertainty” is a memoir about one mother’s deeply emotional & personal journey through motherhood, letting go of perfectionism & struggling with feelings of hopelessness & overwhelming fear after her son is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Advocating for a proper diagnosis & treatment for him while navigating the healthcare system, Janine details the ups & downs she went through daily trying to get her son the care he needed & while trying to be what she considered a perfect wife & mother.

I couldn’t put this book down. It just resonated with me & spoke to my very soul, not to mention that I, too, have a son named Mason, who has autism & has also given us some pretty frightening health scares in his lifetime. This book also reminds me of the old saying, “God only gives us what we can handle.” Sometimes all the little things that are overwhelming & emotionally exhausting you really are just that…little things, & we get reminded of that when the big things come at us out of nowhere to give us that reality check. “The Opposite of Certainty” is more than just a medical memoir. It will also lift your spirits & help you learn to live in the present, not the past or future, & be mindful about how much time & energy you are really wasting on the trivial aspects of your existence.

This book is so well written & articulated, you will want to reread it as soon as you finish it! Beautiful, inspirational & motivational, this book is already available for purchase. You can also read a sneak-peek of the book at the author’s website, JanineUrbaniakReid.com. You can also use BookStoreLink to find this book & others at a local independent bookstore. Many of them offer curbside pick up, home delivery or e-commerce sales.

Reviews from other authors:

‘The diagnosis of life-threatening illness is one of the most terrifying challenges any family or individual can face. Anger, resentment, fear, and loneliness rise up ready to do battle with hope, and all are made more powerful by love. The Opposite of Certainty is a deeply personal memoir about such a journey, told with brutal honesty and so much grace it will touch your soul.’ –Jacqueline Winspear, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, and nine other novels featuring Maisie Dobbs

‘A beautiful sucker punch, like life. When the ground crumbles beneath your hopes, big dreams, and great expectations, what do you stand on and for? Where do you find the strength to keep going? You find it in this gem of a book.’ –Ron Fournier, New York Times bestselling author of Love That Boy

‘Somedays it’s doughnuts and hot coffee. Other days it’s gurneys and scans. That’s true of almost every full life. Here’s the good news: observant and warm, the writing of Janine Urbaniak Reid is the finest company on both kinds of days.’ –Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me More and The Middle Place

About the Author

Janine Urbaniak Reid was born in Chicago and grew up in California. Before she began raising a family and then writing full-time, she was vice president of a San Francisco public relations firm.

Janine has been published in the Washington PostChicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle and is widely syndicated. Hoping to bring humanity into the healthcare discussion by sharing her experience as a mother of a son with a brain tumor, she penned a piece for the Post that went viral. She has been interviewed on national news networks and continues her work as a spokeswoman for healthcare justice.

Janine writes about her imperfect life, what connects us, and addresses the question of what it means to love fiercely in a sometimes dangerous and always uncertain world.

Janine is a graduate of the University of California at San Diego and lives in Northern California with her family and a motley assortment of pets. She attends St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City: all are welcome.

For more information, please visit JanineUrbaniakReid.com. You can also connect with Janine at Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

Book Reviews

Book Review: “Little Wonders” by Kate Rorick

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of “Little Wonders” by Kate Rorick!

If you like “Small Admissions” by Amy Poepell or “Class Mom” by Laurie Gelman you will love this novel about super mommies, private schools, & getting your worst moment plastered across the internet.

Her mommy meltdown is seen around the world!

When Quinn Barrett’s son refuses to wear his hand-crafted costume to the Little Wonders Preschool Happy Halloween Parade & Dance Party she loses it — complete with stomping, screaming, & costume-destruction galore. Not her best day. And caught on viral video. Yep, “Halloween Mom” is now internet famous.

The posting culprit: tattooed, blue-haired, west-coast transplant Daisy McGulch, out of place in the posh New England town & unable to blend with the other perfect mommies of Little Wonders Preschool.

While she couldn’t care less about organic snacks (paleo-preferred) or the winter quarters of the Little Wonders chickens, she’s not about to admit she’s the one who accidentally brought Quinn’s worst moment to the entire world—she’d be kicked out of town!

But when Quinn & Daisy find themselves unlikely cohorts in the fight for Little Wonders Parents Association supremacy, they also discover they have more in common than they expected…but the internet is forever. Can Quinn live down her new reputation? And how far will Daisy go to keep the truth from coming to light?

Click HERE to look for the book at an indie bookstore

Hilarious, clever, & unforgettable,Little Wonders” offers a glimpse into the high-pressure world of modern momming, with natural toys, scrutinized playdates, PTA politics, & social media gone amok.

Rorick satirically captured the “mom world” perfectly, in my opinion, when it comes to some of the moms in the area I live in. Mom’s who think they are above & beyond, & really just need to get over themselves. I enjoyed this book & took it for what it’s meant to be: entertaining. It gave me “Bad Moms” (the movie, which I LOVE) vibes in dealing with flawed parenting from both ends of the spectrum. It’s funny, but also heartfelt, insightful, & thought-provoking.

Look for “Little Wonders” on 3/17, and here are MY Little Wonders, my autistic twins!

The youngest of my loves!