Review: The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell

30753728

Synopsis from Good Reads:

In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Young Wives Club will be available February 14, 2017.

I had such a hard time putting this book down! It’s a really character-driven story about friendship and relationships and learning from your mistakes. The chapters switch POV between four young women and the relationship and life troubles they face.

*While I don’t consider any of the below descriptions a spoiler, some readers might find it mildly spoiler-ish, so proceed with caution*

Gabrielle

Gabrielle was probably my favorite of the bunch. However, her problem is one of my pet peeves in books, which is when one simple conversation could solve all the problems, but that conversation doesn’t come until close to the end of the book. Gabby has had a hard life and when she meets a nice, cute guy in a bar she lies a little about her life. (I loved Tony, by the way. He was so sweet and pretty much just the perfect guy – I was just waiting for him to do something awful because no guy can be that great.) She doesn’t expect to see him again, but she does and they fall in love and the lies spin out of control. The truth about Gabby, obviously, has to come out some time, though. I still didn’t like how Gabby handled it, but I did like how it all resolved in the end.

Madison

Madison was probably the hardest of the girls for me to like. She was one of the youngest, recently graduated from high school, and had the most growing up to do. She’s in a non-committed relationship with the clichéd bad boy musician, has no real future goals, her dad has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and her family is approaching financial crisis. When her dad’s former boss, George, comes to visit and shows a bit of an interest in her, she decides to milk it. While they both know what she’s doing, it still came across as a little too manipulative to me. But on the other hand, George is in his early thirties so I can’t feel too bad for what he puts himself through by pursuing a teenaged girl.

While Madison was probably the most selfish character of the group, she did grow up a little as the story went on. I did really like her close relationship with her father. I also liked how her relationship with George ended up.

Claire

I really wanted to like Claire and I did for the most part, but I just didn’t respect her for so much of the story. She is the wife of a pastor, who is running a mega-church, even though he’s in his very early twenties. Claire is also very involved in the church. When she finds out that Gavin is doing very un-pastor-like things, she doesn’t confront him, but starts to question what she did wrong and then blames a third party, as well. When the confrontation finally comes with Gavin I still wasn’t satisfied with it. There was very little emphasis about what this meant to his job as a pastor or to their church or the members of the congregation. In fact, we never even find out if there’s any fall out, other than what it means to their marriage. I’m just disappointed that once again the Christian faith is so poorly misrepresented in mainstream fiction.

Laura

Laura dropped out of high school to marry and follow her football star boyfriend to college. She’s planned her whole life around him becoming a professional player, but all that is put in jeopardy when he gets hurt and they have to move back home with his parents. Laura is another character who had so much growing up to do and I think she made the most progress. She decided to go back to high school and get her diploma. While there she befriends a new guy who challenges her academically and makes her really start to consider having her own goals and not just following Brian’s. Though she wasn’t my favorite of the girls, her story arc was. Not everything turns out perfectly, but it seemed the most realistic and I was really proud of all she learned.

Overall

Overall, I really enjoyed The Young Wives Club (and it’s gorgeous cover!). It’s a well-written, character-driven story that I could hardly put down. Though the characters weren’t always very likable, I really appreciated how much growth all of them showed throughout the book. I also really liked that things didn’t just magically work out for all of them, but they had to work at it and learn to be ok if things in their life turned out a little differently than they expected. I definitely recommend this to fans of character-driven novels.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

Advertisements

2016 End of Year Book Survey

capture-2016

This survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner and is always so much better than the end of year posts I try to make up for myself. Though I originally wanted to not use the same book for more than one or two answers, I decided just to go with the most honest answer, despite how many recurrences. Fair warning: this survey could also be called The Red Rising Survey.

Number Of Books You Read: 136 (as of 12/26/16)
Number of Re-Reads: 19
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I gave five books 4.5 Stars and while I could narrow it down to maybe my top 2 or 3, I think I’ll just name the 5 – in order I read them.

1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

2. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, et al.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

23308084

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn, but the conclusion to the series just really underwhelmed me.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

26245844

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I thought it would be really light and cutesy and was definitely surprised by the great character development and the major ups and downs they went through. It was a good surprise.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. While it could have *possibly* been because I read it the month before the final book came out, I’m totally taking credit for at least a couple people I know reading and loving it after I read/loved/hyped/talked endlessly about it. 🙂

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ok, we all know the answer to this one. SorryNotSorry

15839976

Started: Red Rising

18966819

Sequel: Golden Son

18966806

Ender: Morning Star

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Pierce Brown, obviously.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m a broken record and I know it. But I don’t really read sci-fi and the Red Rising trilogy is amazing.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Golden Son. The pace was so, so fast and there were so many surprises!

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

25883848

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Such a cute, quick read.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

27779275

This Adventure Ends

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Kaz Brekker will always be one of my all-time favorite characters. I loved him just as much in Crooked Kingdom as I did in Six of Crows.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

There isn’t really a book that stands out for this one. Though I think I described Pierce Brown’s writing as both beautiful and brutal in one of my reviews.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

23341894

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Though I haven’t been officially diagnosed, after reading this I am pretty positive I am OCD. I understand so many things about my life now that never made sense before. Mental Health Awareness, guys. It’s important!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Red Rising, yet again

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I’m awful at these questions. I don’t have one.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh – 9 pages

Longest: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – 698 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Golden Son. It had so, so many little twists and turns. I think the reason it was my favorite of the series is because it just continually surprised me when not many books can these days.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game.

Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Sloane and her friends from This Adventure Ends (though there is one romantic part to that, it focuses more on the friendship)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

26795352

I had zero interest in My Lady Jane but all the hype made me read it and I LOVED it. I rarely agree with hype, but I really thought this one deserved it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

24920901

Garret Graham from The Deal. Even though he’s the kind of guy I usually hate in books – and in life.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

25883848

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Red Rising

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

My Lady Jane! So funny!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

22752127

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner made me ugly cry at a few parts.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

27209421

I discovered Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series this year and it’s one of my favorite chick lit series ever.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m going to go with The Serpent King again.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

23203106

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

25891528

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy’s behavior absolutely INFURIATED me.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I love you all!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I am usually very disappointed with how my reviews come out, but it always makes my day when someone says they want to read the book based on my review. So the most recent review where that happened is for My Lady Jane.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner. I talked about my very strict rating system and how I’ve loosened up slightly from when I first started. But through the comments I also learned a lot about other reviewer’s rating criteria and as a result I am far less angry when I see 5 star reviews for books that I don’t think deserve it.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to 3 author events this year and they were all great (Linda Castillo, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer)! I also got to finally meet my long-time-online-book-world-friend, Amanda!

img_1926

steph-leigh

steph-and-marissa

steph-and-amanda

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Hmmm, I’m not really sure. I would probably go with getting my Six of Crows duology signed and meeting Leigh Bardugo (as stated above).

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

There seemed to be frequent reading slumps where NOTHING sounded good. Though I was often disappointed with the number of posts I had done at the end of most months, I am happy that I didn’t pressure myself to do posts I didn’t care about just to fill the days.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By views since I don’t know how to look it up by comments: Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) is the most viewed post of the year. The most viewed post that I actually wrote this year was my 3 Year Blogaversary Giveaway.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any reviews, really. Even though I’m sure it reads like I just throw them together, reviews take me so long to write so when some of them – especially on books I really loved – get really low views, it’s sad.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Book Outlet! Though I wish they had more of the books that I was looking for, I got most of my Christmas book shopping done during their Black Friday sale. It’s definitely a site I will be re-visiting.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

The only challenge/goal I do is on Good Reads. I had reasons to go really conservative at 75 books, but as of 12/26/16 I’ve read 136 books (181% of my goal).

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

29519517

I’m not sure if it will be the first book I read, but I really need to read Twisted Palace by Erin Watt!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

29217027

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t really think of anything. I always seem to be the last to find out about good debuts.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

There are a couple sequels I can think of, but neither are ones I’m super interested in.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Go to more author events!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

30753728   30265223

The Young Wives Club and Still Life are my two favorite 2017 releases I’ve read so far.

Reviewing the Unreviewed: November 2016

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

27833670

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Read November 4-6. 4 Stars.

Most of this book was around a 3 star read for me, but I’m upping it up to 4 stars for a couple reasons. The writing is very good. It was clever and I liked the style. The last third or so of the book is when it started to get trippy and I really started to enjoy it.

So what about up until then? The book, while unique, reminds me of bits and pieces of several other things (primarily the tv show, Fringe), so I wasn’t surprised by things I think I was supposed to be surprised by. The whole middle section of the book I found redundant and just wanted to get through. The science was really beyond me at times and I think it could have been a little more simplified. So overall, it was a good book, but it did not come close to living up to the hype for me. It does have great writing, though, and ended well, so I think it’s still probably worth the read.

22604588

The Honeymoon Prize (The Honeymoon Series #3) by Melissa McClone. Read November 6-7. 3 Stars.

Nothing was holding my interest and I wanted something cute and quick and this was just what I needed. It was a good fake relationship story with likable characters and no graphic scenes. The ending got a little too cheesy, but overall I enjoyed it.

30753728

The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell. Read November 11-12. 4 Stars.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Young Wives Club (and it’s gorgeous cover!). It’s a well-written, character-driven story that I could hardly put down. Though the characters weren’t always very likable, I really appreciated how much growth all of them showed throughout the book. I also really liked that things didn’t just magically work out for all of them, but they had to work at it and learn to be ok if things in their life turned out a little differently than they expected. I definitely recommend this to fans of character-driven novels. Full review to come closer to release date.

18584855

Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Read November 13-16. 3.5 Stars.

I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s writing and the whimsy. I shipped the romance (even though we all know it was destined to shipwreck). I enjoyed the book, but I don’t really feel like anything HAPPENED until the last quarter or so of the book and then it happened too quickly. I wanted a little more time spent with Catherine growing into the “Off with his head!” persona. The story, for the most part, was an insta-love romance interspersed with the characters having some random fun in a Wonderland setting. Because of that, even though I enjoyed it, I just can’t quite give it a 4 star rating. I think Wonderland fans will enjoy it, as will fans of Marissa Meyer’s other work.

27276194

For Better or Worse (The Wedding Belles #2) by Lauren Layne Read November 26-27. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the banter and how Josh and Heather’s relationship progressed throughout the story. The whole commitment-phobe/player and friends with benefits plotlines are overdone and not really my cup of tea, but I could overlook it for how cute everything else was. I’m reading this series backwards and while the books do work as standalones, I do feel like I have a lot more insight into Logan and Alexis who star in the third book and may have to go back and re-read that one to better appreciate it.

32606676

The Christmas Cottage (The Christmas Cottage #1) by Samantha Chase. Read November 27-28. 3 Stars.

I really liked Ean and Lacey. They really complemented each other well and I shipped the romance, though I did think things happened too fast. While Ava being a crazy bridezilla worked for the story, I thought it was a little too overdone and she came across as just a really unbalanced person. It makes me not want to read the next book in the series because she’s the main character in it. Overall, though, this was a cute, quick holiday-themed romance that I enjoyed.

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

31176886

The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer. I still have this from the library for a few more days, but I don’t think that I’ll get back to it before it expires. I was really optimistic about this book, but I got two chapters into and it’s just awful! I want to give it another try, though, to see if it gets any better.

****************RE-READS****************

25206843  25446202

Aimee and the Heartthrob and Mia and the Bad Boy. I got the complete series from NetGalley. I’ve read the first two books in the series before and decided to re-read them since it had been awhile. I feel pretty much the same about them as I did the first time, though I think I liked Mia and the bad Boy a little more than I did last time.