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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Your Summertime Reads by Fran Joyce


I’ve selected ten books this month… a little romance, history, drama and some incredible biographies designed to appeal to men and women. I’ve even included a book about minimalism to help simplify your summer.  Enjoy! 

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Set for release on June 4, 2019, it is one of the most highly anticipated debut novels of 2019. Written in the form of a letter from a son to his mother who can’t read, Little Dog tells his mother about his experiences while they were still in Vietnam filling in the details which lead up to a startling confession. It’s a story about love, social order and the importance of owning your own story.                          

Submarine: A Novel by Joe Dunthorne. It’s a coming of age novel about a likable and funny, but awkward kid named Oliver who’s just trying to figure out where he belongs in the universe or

Oliver is tumbling through adolescence at full speed. He’s determined to save his parents’ troubled marriage and still have time to win the affections of the lovely Jordana whom he hopes will relieve him of his tedious burden of virginity.

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood. Woods tells the story of the four women who captured the heart of one of the most powerful writers of a generation. Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary were the wives of Ernest Hemingway. Each thought she had found her forever love only to lose him to another woman. Their stories are taken from real love letters and telegrams. Beginning in the 1920s bohemian Paris, spanning wars and revolutions around the world and ending in 1960s Cold War America, the Mrs. Hemingways hobnobbed with the elite of the “Lost Generation” and struggled to understand the rules of the game.

Bridesmaids by Zara Stoneley. The bride has it all figured out. She’s selected the perfect venue, the prefect dress, the perfect bridesmaids and the perfect jerk to be her husband. Can her bridesmaids save the day while trying to find and manage their own happily ever afters? Guaranteed to be a laugh out loud beach read that will also touch your heart.

The Plus One by Sophia Money-Coutts. Polly is a single career woman in the U.K working at a fashion magazine writing all the not so glamorous filler pieces. Despite going through a dry spell in the romance department, she’s fine on her own. But, turning 30 and receiving an invitation to the wedding of the summer persuades Polly it’s time to find someone…at least a plus-one for the wedding. What if it turns out to be more?

The Invited by Jennifer Mc Mahon. How do you build a haunted house? Helen and Nate set out to build their dream home in the woods of a small Vermont town. Helen, a former history teacher discovers their property, formerly owned by the Breckinridge family is the scene of three generations of suspicious deaths. Helen begins buying artifacts and building materials salvaged from the original Breckinridge house to incorporate into their dream home. As construction continues the house seems to take on a life of its own filled with mystery and menace.

The Minimalist Way: Minimalism Strategies to Declutter Your Life and Make Room for Joy by Erica Layne Nielsen. Learn how to live with less by applying the minimalist mindset to every aspect of your life - your home, career, relationships, family, and money. Simple exercises and activities help you ease into minimalism at your own pace and learn how to let go and clear away your physical, mental, and emotional clutter.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. The story of how nine working-class boys from the American West dazzled the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. They were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers; the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team defeated the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain and shocked the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler.

The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero by Michael Kranish. Twelve years before boxer Jack Johnson and fifty years before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Major Taylor wanted to make his mark in the world of cycling. He faced racism at nearly every turn. Investigative journalist Michael Kranish reveals new information about Major Taylor based on a rare interview with his daughter and other never-before-uncovered details from Taylor’s life. Taylor became a world champion, traveled the world, was the toast of Paris, and was one of the most chronicled black men of his day.

The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II by Gregory A. Freeman. In 1944, hundreds of American airmen were shot down behind enemy lines in German occupied Yugoslavia during a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields.  Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue. The rescue was code named Operation Halyard and classified for over 50 years. Called the greatest escape of World War II, the trapped Americans had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes—without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. The cargo planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back—without getting shot down.


I Always Cry at Weddings by Sara Goff : A Review by Fran Joyce

Exciting Summer Reads for Young Readers by Fran Joyce