Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

recon amelia

Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia was June’s inaugural pick for Book Lovers Unite- and boy, was it a great pick. A compelling read, a good storyline, and a book that lead to a great discussion- Reconstructing Amelia had something for everyone.

Kate is a lawyer at a firm in New York City. In the middle of a meeting about a case that could make her career- Grace Hall, Amelia’s school, calls Kate to tell her Amelia has been suspended immediately for cheating. Kate knows her daughter prides herself on academic achievements- so this news is surreal.  As Kate heads to Grace Hall to get her daughter and find out what happened, Kate notices a crowd and a police presence at Grace Hall.  Kate works through the crowd and then faces the most horrifying news a parent should have to face- Amelia is dead.

Grace Hall states that Amelia jumped to her death due to being caught cheating- but Kate can’t quite believe that. Then she gets a text that changes everything: She didn’t jump.

That text sends Kate on a mission to find out exactly what happened to her beautiful daughter and why Grace Hall is closing ranks.  Kate learns all about Amelia’ social media life- and begins to realize that there were parts to Amelia’s life she had not clue about. Kate gets stonewalled in her many of her attempts, but a mother’s love is strong. And this mother is determined to find out what happened to Amelia.

What Kate finds out is shocking………..

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Compelling. Enjoyable. Dark and mysterious. Suspenseful. Reconstructing Amelia is highly discussable and should be read by parents everywhere. Perfect for book clubs. With themes of the TV show, Gossip Girl and the movie, The Skulls- this book has something for everyone- especially folks who like to read great stories.

If You Were Here by Alafair Burke

if you were here

Alafair Burke’s If You Were Here is a story that keeps twisting and turning till the last page. Each time I thought Alafair Burke was finished with a twist and turn of the book, she proved me wrong- and made the next twist even better. Alafair, with If You Were Here, is like a magician- she keeps the readers eyes right where she wants them focused and she is subtly setting up the next magic trick.

McKenna Jordan is a journalist for a New York magazine after her career as an Assistant District Attorney came to an end. McKenna accused a cop of planting evidence in a shooting that most thought was self-defense- and the boys in blue and her other law associates never really let her forget that mistake.

Years later, though, McKenna’s life is pretty good. Married to a man named Patrick, a man she met at one of her friends, Susan’s party, McKenna is pretty happy. Except for the fact that Susan disappeared- and McKenna wonders what happened to her. During a little news story about a woman rescuing a man from the subway tracks, McKenna gets a glimmer of hope about Susan. While everyone is wondering who the mystery woman is that saved the man from the subway- McKenna is sure that it’s Susan. The question is- if Susan is back in NYC, why has she not told anyone? And where has she been the last 10 years?

These questions set McKenna down a path that she must walk to find the answers- no matter how unpleasant the obstacles in her way. As McKenna’s happy life turns into something else (she’s fired from her job, her marriage hits a rocky patch, and McKenna begins to question everybody and everything she thought she knew)- McKenna can’t shake the thought that Susan’s disappearance is tied to some of the current events.

Why did Susan disappear? Did she reappear? Is McKenna being set up? And was McKenna closer to the truth 10 years ago when she went to the press and became a whistleblower about the cop shooting than she ever knew? If You Were Here answers all these questions and much more.

Traveling With T’s Thoughts:

Twisty and wonderful. Each time I thought Alafair was finished with the twists and turns- she had another one planned. McKenna is an interesting character- bright and smart. Looking for a book filled with suspense, good characters and a believable storyline? You’ve found it with If You Were Here.

Meeting Stephanie Evanovich, author of Big Girl Panties

me and stephanie evanovichA few weeks ago, I was checking the book signing schedule at Lemuria Books- and I saw the signing information for Big Girl Panties. With a name like that, I was curious- partly because I’d been reading tons of historical fiction and women’s lit that was good- but not always something light and funny (which I so desperately craved). So I marked it on my calendar and made plans to attend.

I arrive and after buying my book and checking out the aisles, I walk to the signing area. Sitting at the table is this woman with a big smile and a big laugh- and I just knew then that this event would be fun! I was not wrong! As Stephanie and I sat around talking about books, her experience in the publishing world and much more- it was not a feel of author/book blogger-reader, it was more like sitting and talking to a person who was fun and friendly- a person you would like to share a glass of wine with.

As we talked, I asked about if there was a possibility of Big Girl Panties being made into a movie- there is, but according to Stephanie, “it’s step 1 on a path of a million steps”. However, she did have her movie cast picked out: Channing Tatum could play all 4 roles- “because you can never have enough Channing Tatum” 😉 In all seriousness- this is the people that Stephanie would like to see in roles of Logan and Holly: Logan would be played by Channing Tatum and Holly- she likes Melissa McCarthy or Rebel Wilson. When asked if she would rather Holly be played by an unknown actress- Stephanie lit up and said that actually was  a dream of hers- to be able to give a shot to an unknown actress to play the role of Holly would be a dream comes true. Stephanie further explains that for years, she tried to find her big break in acting- but there are not enough roles for women with ample curves-  and casting Holly with an unknown could be a step in the right direction. Plus to help a woman out, to help a woman achieve her dream of acting- that would be great!

While talking, I asked Stephanie if she had a #literarycrush- and she thought for a minute- then said: Bobby Tom Denton, from Heaven Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Stephanie’s #literaryconfession is something else: When she was teen, she found this book by S.E. Hinton titled The Outsiders– in fact, it was the first book she’d ever read. And she loved it- had such a reaction to the book, thought it was such a great book, the characters and everything. Her #literaryconfession, though, is about the author’s name- S.E. Hinton. Stephanie’s initials are S.E. as well- so she used to pretend that S.E. Hinton and her shared the same name- Stephanie Elizabeth!

Stephanie said to me “all I wanted to do is entertain”. She had thought it might be as an actress- but she’s happy now that it’s in a book deal. Stephanie firmly succeeds in that goal in Big Girl Panties– because it is entertaining; with a life lesson or two thrown in the book.

Big Girl Panties is the first of 3 book deal with Harper Publishing- the second book will focus more on the secondary characters of Big Girl Panties, Chase and Amanda. The second book, untitled as of now, should be out in 2014.


*Liked reading about my meeting Stephanie Evanovich? Look for my review of Big Girl Panties this week on Traveling With T!

***Congratulations to Stephanie Evanovich- while we were having dinner that night- she got the news that Big Girl Panties had made it to the NYT list!