Darcy Jacobs

Summer Must-Reads: 8 Books for Your Beach Bag

Written on July 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm , by

There’s a lot of things I love about summer: the warmth (it can never be too hot), the long days and the amazing books. I’m like a kid in an ice cream shop unable to decide on my favorite flavors. In no particular order, here’s what I’ll be devouring.

 

Calling all fans—and fans-to-be—of Rainbow Rowell! The author of the acclaimed YA crossover Eleanor & Park dials it up in Landline (St. Martin’s Press), a back-in-time story of a magical phone that is also an honest, bittersweet depiction of grown-up love and marriage.

Emily Giffin scores again by bringing her discerning understanding of matters of the heart—as well as small-town football—to The One & Only (Ballantine), in which Shea Rigsby must learn to stop living her life on the sidelines.

It’s no mystery why Liane Moriarty is a summer staple: She takes hyperparenting down a notch with wit and compassion but still keeps it real. In Big Little Lies (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam) she throws a dead body into the mix.

A young mother going blind is no laughing matter, except, incredibly so, it is in Nicole C. Kear’s courageous, relatable and, yes, truly funny Now I See You (St. Martin’s Press).

 

Looking to connect with your teen and enjoy a great read? Turn to these four not-so-young-adult options. They’re guaranteed to give you something to talk about.

 

In Conversion (Putnam), Katherine Howe conjures up a spooky story of afflicted modern-day high school girls alternating with the actual account behind the accusations that led to the Salem witch trials.

Megan Abbott’s The Fever (Little, Brown) is a darker, more disturbing brew (parents, especially, may shudder) as a group of teenage girls’ maladies reveal secrets and deception.

Cammie McGovern channels her knowledge and passion for special-needs kids in Say What You Will (HarperTeen). Amy is trying to break out of the confines of her cerebral palsied body. Matthew is secretly trapped by the rituals of his OCD. Brought together, they push each other to overcome their fears and embrace life and love.

The deservedly best-selling Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Knopf Books for Young Readers)—required reading for every family—doesn’t just get you talking, it gets you thinking, feeling and rejoicing.

 

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10 Books to Read in 2014

Written on December 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm , by

Whether you’re looking for one good novel or want to cozy up to a stack, Family Circle rounded up some of the New Year’s most promising releases.

 

In the Blood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1). In the Blood (Touchstone) by Lisa Unger
A disturbing past keeps college student Lana hiding in the shadows of her life. But when her best friend goes missing, she finds herself caught in her own web of deception. A riveting chess match of twists will keep you guessing—and keep you up at night.

Before We Met

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2). Before We Met (Bloomsbury) by Lucie Whitehouse
Newly married Hannah thinks she knows her husband, Mark, until the night he doesn’t arrive home and she realizes nothing is what it seemed. Even when you think you’ve figured it out, this one is hard to put down.

 

Golden State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3). Golden State (Bantam) by Michelle Richmond
A stirring look at the ties that bind husband-wife, mother-child and even sisters, and what happens when they’re torn asunder. Set in a San Francisco chafing with unrest both political and personal, the world Richmond creates is exquisitely charged with regret and hope.

 

Mercy Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4). Mercy Snow (Grand Central) by Tiffany Baker
A school bus accident unearths a long-buried secret in the struggling mill town of Titan Falls. Baker is masterful at creating elegantly flawed characters who are both believably ordinary and extraordinary.

 

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5). The Museum of Extraordinary Things (Scribner) by Alice Hoffman
This promises to be classic Hoffman: a bewitching world of time and place (in this case, Coney Island and its boardwalk freak show in the early 1900s) suffused with magical moments, a mysterious disappearance and romance.

 

The Perfect Score Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6). The Perfect Score Project (Harmony) by Debbie Stier
It’s hard to resist a mom who puts her money—or, in this case, her No. 2 pencil—where her mouth is. Hoping to inspire her not-so- motivated son, Stier vows to learn all she can about the SATs by submitting to the testing ordeal, over and over again.

 

Steal These Books—From Your Kid’s Shelf

Check out what’s crossing over from the children’s and YA (young adult) worlds.

Allegiant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.) Allegiant (Katherine Tegen Books)by Veronica Roth
The last book in this dystopian Divergent trilogy promises to garner even more grown-up fans when the movie of the first book comes out this spring.

 

The Impossible Knife of Memory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.) The Impossible Knife of Memory (Viking) by Laurie Halse Anderson
Anderson has been lauded and awarded for her ability to channel the teenage mind (and heart) dealing with tough issues. Here, she takes on PTSD through the story of a girl coping with her troubled veteran dad.

 

The Book Thief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.) The Book Thief (Knopf Books) by Markus Zusak
Set in World War II Germany and technically written for teens, this exquisitely crafted book has been a nearly perennial best seller since its release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.) The House of Hades (Disney-Hyperion) by Rick Riordan
There is no age requirement for relishing the mythological fun of this book, written by Riordan of Percy Jackson fame.

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Chat with Momastery.com Author Glennon Doyle Melton

Written on April 17, 2013 at 11:55 am , by

Author and Momastery.com founder Glennon Doyle Melton joins Family Circle for a chat about her new book.

They say some people are like an open book, but I never opened a book that was like a person. A person who made me feel as if she had been there – channeling my inner thoughts and feelings. But that is what I experienced when I picked up Glennon Doyle Melton’s “Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed”.  Glennon’s writing – as her legion of Momastery fans can attest to – is like a warm embrace. She shines that little light of hers over the whole wide mommy world, reminding us that it is OK – more than OK, our right – to be who we are, no apologies. And we as mothers matter. Because when you spend so much time focusing on everyone else’s needs, you often forget that you count too.  (A virtual show of hands, please.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Glennon right before she left for her whirlwind book tour and she was effervescent, authentic and funny – just like she is on paper, but better because she was real. We wanted all of you to have a chance to meet her too, so this Thursday at 1PM go to our Facebook Page  for a live chat with Glennon.  Join us!


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“42″: Share More Than Popcorn With Your Teen

Written on April 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm , by

The True Story Of An American Legend

It’s not often a movie provides you with an opportunity to have a meaningful discussion with your tween or teen about the history of our country. Especially a movie they’ll probably want to see. And that alone makes “42” worth the price of admission.

While it doesn’t hit it out of the park – history is simplified, many characters are either sanctified or vilified – it’s a solid double heading to third. (Though Harrison Ford as bushy-eyebrowed, barrel-chested Branch Rickey – makeup or not – made me feel my age. Say it ain’t so, Hans Solo!) The sometimes glowy tone is balanced out by the too-true seething hostility and racism that is so hard to watch and comprehend. Who could imagine that wondering whether a pitcher is going to throw at Jackie’s head – no spoiler alert here, as it happened to him numerous times – is as threatening and disturbing as a potential lynch mob.

To see America’s favorite past time infused with such ugliness is shockingly surreal. At one point I turned to my son and said as much to him as to myself, “Can you imagine that it took another nearly 20 years to get to Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement.”

(In case you are wondering about age–appropriateness, this isn’t a movie I will take my 8-year-old to see – my son is 14 – though she wanted to go. There is racist language and an undertone of violence that may upset her. With next week’s New York State  ELA testing looming, I can not afford to give her any other reasons for nightmares. Though if you want to discuss the significance of Jackie Robinson with younger kids, Scholastic has just published Jackie Robinson: American Hero, by his daughter, Sharon Robinson.)

Even though my son was pretty familiar with Jackie Robinson – partly due to Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, where major league players don “42” uniforms in his honor – immediately after the movie, he was clicking away at his phone, looking up facts, stats and quotes. (Often the ones that seem Hollywood scripted, like Leo Durocher’s “I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a zebra,” are happily real.)

My son informed me that Larry Doby was the first African-American to play in the American League. And that supposedly some of the players in the Negro League felt Jackie Robinson shouldn’t have been chosen to be the one since he wasn’t the overall best player. I reminded my son that Jackie was picked because he was a great player and someone Branch Rickey thought could handle the situation. (Teachable moment alert!) And to remember that sometimes it’s not just your numbers and your achievements, but the person you are too. This is important for him to learn. And it’s just one of the many reasons “42″ is an important movie to see.

Watch the trailer below. 

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