Tag: kaira rouda

'The Favorite Daughter' by Kaira Rouda, 'Amelia Westlake Was Never Here' Erin Gough, 'The Corleone Family Cookbook' Liliana Battle

Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 5/23/19

What do a thriller about a perfect family, a high school rom-com critiquing sexism, and a criminally delicious cookbook have in common? Hopefully, one major thing: they’re all headed straight for your bookshelf. Summer is a time of excitement, adventure, and discovery—whether or not you have the luxury of a three-month break or a long weekend at the beach! Missing out on a good book would be criminal… though not more criminal than some of our protagonists! We’ve got a creepy thriller starring one controlling mother’s descent into mental instability, an LGBT+ romance filled with alternate identities and elaborate pranks, and a killer cookbook based on the recipes of one of cinema’s most famous crime families. These enormous stakes come with just as enormous rewards—the delicious payoff of reading this week’s selection.

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

OUR HOT PICK

 

Book cover for Kaira Rouda's The Favorite Daughter featuring a woman under water

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the page-turning domestic suspense Best Day Ever, comes another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

 

Why?

Kaira Rouda, acclaimed author of Best Day Ever, has delivered again: Kirkus Reviews calls her protagonist “impossible to love but equally impossible to look away from,” a car crash of a human being whose keen insight into human behavior is punctuated by dark humor. A PopSugar Best Book of Spring and one of Oprah’s Buzziest Books for May, The Favorite Daughter is a truly outstanding psychological thriller, subverting the notion of a perfect family with complex character development. Everyone loves a protagonist whose character arc, if drawn out, looks so much like the slippery slope they ultimately find themselves at the bottom of. Rouda’s mastery of prose will entice readers to sympathize with Jane and her increasing distance from her family—before horrifying us with a selfishness and sick desire for control we’ll be startled (and delighted!) to have initially missed. Publisher’s Weekly‘s starred review says that “suspense fans will be amply rewarded,” that is, rewarded AND chilled to the bone. If it feels impossible to look away from this book once you’ve finished, check out Bookstr’s exclusive live interview with Kaira Rouda herself!

 

OUR Coffee Shop Read

 

'Amelia Westlake Was Never Here' by Erin Gough

 

 

Synopsis:

A fiercely funny, queer romantic comedy about two girls who can’t stand each other, but join forces in a grand feminist plan to expose harassment and inequality at their elite private school.

Harriet Price is the perfect student: smart, dutiful, over-achieving. Will Everhart is a troublemaker who’s never met an injustice she didn’t fight. When their swim coach’s inappropriate behavior is swept under the rug, the unlikely duo reluctantly team up to expose his misdeeds, pulling provocative pranks and creating the instantly legendary Amelia Westlake–an imaginary student who helps right the many wrongs of their privileged institution. But as tensions burn throughout their school–who is Amelia Westlake?–and between Harriet and Will, how long can they keep their secret? How far will they go to make a difference? And when will they realize they’re falling for each other?

Award-winning author Erin Gough’s Amelia Westlake Was Never Here is a funny, smart, and all-too-timely story of girls fighting back against power and privilege–and finding love while they’re at it.

 

Why?

When we imagine a high school romance, we envision that all-encompassing bubble of first love, impervious to the sharp edges of the world outside that one other person. But sometimes, those edges are pretty sharp. Gough juxtaposes a confrontational depiction of sexism with a fun opposites-attract romance for some light reading that packs a heavy punch.  Kirkus Reviews lauds the novel’s “skewering of sexism and institutional hypocrisy,” and the novel touches on issues of race, class, and ethics in a manner far more nuanced than most high-school romance novels… because most of these books never address such topics. Shortlisted for nearly a dozen respected Australian book awards, Amelia Westlake Was Never Here IS now here in the United States—and, yes, it’s unapologetically queer. With Pride Month coming up, a hilariously witty LGBT+ high school romance with thoughtful societal commentary is a read that’s just as fun as it is socially relevant. (That’s both extremely fun and extremely relevant.)

 

 

OUR DARK HORSE

 

'The Corleone Family Cookbook' by Liliana Battle

 

Synopsis:

Become part of the family and make recipes no one can refuse with the official Godfather cookbook!

The Godfather trilogy is widely recognized as one of the greatest movie series of all time. Now, you’ll finally be able to make your very own family–inspired meals with recipes for Mama Corleone’s famous pastas, sauces, meatballs, breads, and desserts. Immerse yourself in the classic story of the Italian immigrant family determined to keep their long-held traditions intact in the new world. Featuring 75 authentic Italian recipes for infamous dishes such as “the best in the city” veal Marsala, Clemenza’s Sunday sauce, and of course, “Leave the gun” cannoli.

Elevating the strong themes of loyalty, family, and tradition, The Godfather: Mama Corleone’s Family Cookbook sheds new light on the legendary trilogy. Including images and quotes from the films, this in-world cookbook is an absolute must-have for all fans of The Godfather – especially those with a taste for the finer foods in life.

 

Why?

Want to be a killer chef? Honor one of the greatest film trilogies of all time with The Godfather: The Corleone Family CookbookAnd the recipes are as excellent as the cinematic marvels—though cookbooks aren’t generally Bookstr’s territory, this one is delicious enough for us to make an exception. The criminally well-curated cookbook includes quotes from the Corleone family and copious references to the film (“this pasta shape is… hearty and thick, thick enough to strange a priest apparently”). Even if you somehow aren’t a fan of this iconic trilogy—which is a crime in and of itself—the recipes describe the historical context of the meal and offer humorous tips outside of your typical step-by-step cookbooks. Are these phenomenal Italian recipes to die for, perhaps? Well, you should be dying to get your hands on this book. And if you cook any of these meals, it’s a guarantee you’ll be dying to eat them.

5 Amazing Psychological Thrillers If You’re Missing ‘Sharp Objects’

Don’t worry, you weren’t the only one suffering from withdrawal when Sharp Objects came to an end. I too suffered and continued to suffer… that is, until I found the perfect cure. “What is it?” I hear you cry. Well, I’m glad you asked. The cure is the following five amazing psychological thrillers that you will no doubt both devour and be devoured by. These books are so gripping, so creepy, and so enthralling, you’ll have no choice but surrender yourself to them, allowing them to totally rid you of those withdrawal symptoms!

So, without further ado, let me present to you the cure!

 

1. The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda 

 

Kaira Rouda's The Favorite Daughter book cover featuring woman underwater
Image Via Bustle

 

Kaira Rouda, author of Best Day Ever, is back with The Favorite Daughter, and you’re going to need to sit down. In addition to being one of PopSugar’s Best Books of Spring, and receiving a starred review from Publishers WeeklyThe Favorite Daughter has been described by USA Today bestselling author Cristina Alger, as “compulsively readable and deeply satisfying psychological suspense.” Liv Constantine, author of the national bestseller The Last Mrs. Parrishsaid it “leaves you wanting more;” New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf dubbed it  “a smart, wickedly plotted psychological thriller brimming with dark surprises.” The praise is as endless as you’ll wish this book was almost as soon as you begin. Check out the synopsis below, and don’t forget to grab your copy!

 

From the author of Best Day Ever, another gripping novel of psychological suspense set in an upscale Southern California community, for fans of B.A. Paris and Shari Lapena.

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

2. THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND by Karen Hamilton

 

Image Via The Nerd Daily

 

A Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller, Hamilton’s The Perfect Girlfriend is Culturefly‘s buzzed-about ‘addictive psychological thriller,’ and the Sunday Mirror notes: “You don’t often come across a character who is both sociopathic and compelling. Buckle your seatbelts, you’re in for a very bumpy ride… Let this supremely enjoyable thriller whisk you up, up and away.” Good Housekeeping advises: “Be prepared to put your life on hold.” So, are you prepared? Hope you’re ready for the description.

 

The Last Mrs. Parrish meets Fatal Attraction in this riveting, voice-driven domestic suspense novel about a woman who will stop at nothing to reclaim her ex-boyfriend, including training as a flight attendant at the airline that employs him.

Juliette has everything going for her: she’s young, pretty, and driven, and she’s training for an exciting new career as a flight attendant.

The darkness in her past doesn’t matter, because she’s moved beyond all that, and she’s building a great new life for herself—one that will impress her ex-boyfriend, Nate, who left her in a foolish moment of commitment-phobia, one that he surely regrets now. But he’ll be so proud of her once he sees how much she’s grown. And he will see her. After all, he’s a pilot at the very same airline where Juliette is training.

What kind of man wouldn’t appreciate the effort Juliette has taken to win Nate back? She cleans his apartment when he’s not there, and makes sure to leave all his favorite foods in the fridge. It’s only a matter of time before he leaves his airheaded new girlfriend and realizes Juliette is the only one for him.

He will realize it. Juliette will make sure of it. After all, she is the perfect girlfriend.

 

3. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll 

 

Cover for Jessica Knoll's Luckiest Girl Alive
Image Via Coast

 

Knoll’s debut Luckiest Girl Alive is not only New York Times bestseller, but it’s also the recipient of celeb Reese Witherspoon’s most serious attention. Witherspoon optioned it for a film in conjunction with Lionsgate. And don’t worry about it being one of those adaptations that the author has nothing to do with—Knoll herself adapting the screenplay. We’re safe! Of course, the characters may not be… “Loved Gone Girl?” asks Good Housekeeping. (Yes! you exclaim.) “We promise this is just as addictive.” Okay, and I can vouch that the same can be said for fans of Sharp Objects! Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Pradacalled Luckiest Girl Alive “biting and shocking—it kept me riveted from cover to cover.”

 

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll is an audacious, page-turning debut thriller that will appeal to fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins and Jodi Picoult.

Her perfect life is a perfect lie . . . Ani FaNelli is the woman who has it all: the glamorous job, the designer wardrobe, the handsome and rich fiancé. But behind her sharp edges and meticulously crafted facade lies the darkest of pasts . . .

When a documentary producer invites Ani to tell her side of the chilling and violent incident that took place when she was a teenager at the prestigious Bradley school, she hopes it will be an opportunity to prove how far she’s turned her life around since then. She’ll even let the production company film her lavish wedding, the final step in her transformation.

But as the wedding and filming converge, Ani’s past threatens to come back and haunt her. And as her immaculate veneer starts to crack, she is forced to question: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for – or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

 

4. Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

 

Book cover for Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbot
Image Via King 5

 

Okay, if Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, likes your thriller, you’re probably pretty great, and Hawkins had this to say about Abbott’s latest offering: “Megan Abbott at her very best. Cool, crisp, chilling.” The New Yorker said that Give Me Your Hand is “steeped in the feminine gothic… [the novel] explores what characters who have been beaten down and confined by sexism might be capable of. Abbott tempts us to read her tale as a study in what happens when female revenge overflows its bounds…” Sounds amazing, right? Thats because it is.

 

You told each other everything. Then she told you too much.

Kit has risen to the top of her profession and is on the brink of achieving everything she wanted. She hasn’t let anything stop her.

But now someone else is standing in her way – Diane. Best friends at seventeen, their shared ambition made them inseparable. Until the day Diane told Kit her secret – the worst thing she’d ever done, the worst thing Kit could imagine – and it blew their friendship apart.

Kit is still the only person who knows what Diane did. And now Diane knows something about Kit that could destroy everything she’s worked so hard for.

How far would Kit go, to make the hard work, the sacrifice, worth it in the end? What wouldn’t she give up? Diane thinks Kit is just like her. Maybe she’s right. Ambition: it’s in the blood . . .

5. As Long as We Both Shall Live BY Joann Chaney

 

Book cover for Joann Chaney's As Long As We Both Shall Live
Image Via Books 2 Screen

 

Kirkus Reviews called Chaney’s As Long As We Both Shall Live “a perfectly paced, shock-studded chiller from an author to watch.” People thought it was “unputdownable….anything but predictable,” and that “the female characters are forces of nature, and the plot twists are deliciously demented, a la Gone Girl and Big Little Lies.” The New York Times called Chaney a “thoughtful and nuanced writer,” who is always only “a half-step ahead of us but continually getting away, right through the book’s conclusion…” Don’t trust those sources? Well, trust your own eyes! Grab a copy and see for yourself.

As Long As We Both Shall Live is JoAnn Chaney’s wicked, masterful examination of a marriage gone very wrong . . .

‘My wife! I think she’s dead!’ Matt frantically calls to park rangers, explaining that he and his wife, Marie, were out hiking when she stumbled on a cliff edge and fell into the raging river below. They start a search but aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall.
It’s a tragic accident.

But when police discover Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances – a fire in their family home – they have a lot more questions for him.

Is Matt a grieving husband, or has he just killed his second wife? Detectives Loren and Spengler dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

‘My wife! I think she’s dead!’ Matt frantically calls to park rangers, explaining that he and his wife, Marie, were out hiking when she stumbled on a cliff edge and fell into the raging river below. They start a search but aren’t hopeful: no one could have survived that fall.
It’s a tragic accident.

But when police discover Matt’s first wife also died in suspicious circumstances – a fire in their family home – they have a lot more questions for him.

Is Matt a grieving husband, or has he just killed his second wife? Detectives Loren and Spengler dig into the couple’s lives to see what they can unearth. And they find that love’s got teeth, it’s got claws, and once it hitches you to a person, it’s tough to rip yourself free.

So what happens when you’re done making it work?

 

Featured Images Via Amazon and HBO