Book Club | Lori & Julia

Lori & Julia’s Book Club 2018


December 18th: “Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood by Karina Longworth


Karina is the a former film critic & author of 4 previous books as well as the creator and host of the podcast “You Must Remember This”. This book explores Hollywood’s “glamorous golden age” of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. This book is a deep dive into the careers that intersected with Howard Hughes …Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn, Jane Russell, Ava Gardner, Ida Lupino and other known and lesser known actresses. Thoroughly researched and fascinating read if you are interested in the machinations of Hollywood and the movies.

4 out of 5 stars


December 13th:  “Daughters of the Lake” by Wendy Webb



December 7th:  “The Dream Daughter” by Diane Chamberlain

The Dream Daughter,” by Diane Chamberlain, is a genuinely creative, captivating and unforgettable story that will have you on the edge of your seat wondering just how far a mother will go to save her child.
Carly Sears is a young, pregnant woman in North Carolina in 1970. Hoping for a new beginning following the death of her husband in Vietnam, she moves in with her sister, Patti and brother-in-law Hunter in Nags Head, NC. But tragedy continues to follow her. Carly soon learns that the daughter she is carrying has a potentially fatal heart defect and nothing can be done to save her. But Hunter, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells Carly he believes he knows a way to save her unborn baby. Yet Hunter’s plan shatters everything Carly knows to be true. To save her child will require an unimaginable leap of faith, breathtaking courage, and risk everything she holds dear. P.S.. Thanks to Nancy Harris at Booksmart for a perfect recap.

November 28th: “The Stranger Game” by Peter Gadol

This novel is a sharp and kind of terrifying examination on the ways in which “following” something can foster a pretense of intimacy between strangers. The author explores who do we trust and why? The story starts out with our narrator, Rebecca looking for her long-time boyfriend who has gone AWOL. Does it have something to do with the “stranger game” or has something bad happened to him? The book has been optioned by FX as a limited series. On a scale of 1-5 Julia rating is 2.5 and Lori is a 3! In many ways we can see this book being better TV than as a novel as it is somewhat offbeat.


November 20:  Leif Enger, “Virgil Wander”

A gorgeous sweeping story of a small town movie theater owner (Virgil Wander) on the North Shore who experiences something very dramatic in the opening pages of the book.  This is a story of new beginnings, amazing characters and beautiful storytelling. We also found the story to be funny, sweet and poignant. This is Leif’s 3rd novel…. Peace Like a River and  So Brave, Young and Handsome are the other 2 books. 5 out of 5 stars



November 13:  Ingrid Rojas Contreras, “Fruit of the Drunken Tree”


November 6:  Liane Moriarty, “Nine Perfect Strangers”

NY times best-selling author, Liane Moriarty, is one of our fav authors: Big Little Lies, What Alice Forget and Truly, Madly, Deeply to name a few. Her latest book (already optioned by Nicole Kidman) welcomes 9 people to Tranquillum House, a health and wellness retreat that promises a life changing transformation in 10 days. The main character is Frances, a writer who is failing at love as well as eight other interesting people. Then there is Masha, the mysterious and charismatic owner of the resort with some very draconian rules. This book is poignant, funny & tense. Julia really liked the audio version as well. 5 out of 5 stars.




October 30:   Lonnie Dupre and Pam Louwagie, “Alone at the Top”

Alone at The Top is the story of artic explorer and mountaineer, Minnesotan Lonnie Dupree’s attempt to summit Mt. Denali in the middle of winter. It took him 4 attempts and he finally soloed on his 4th attempt. We tore through this book because it was exciting and there is no way we are ever going to do this. But we are fascinated at people who do incredible feats that involve taking on nature. If you love true life adventure stories this book is for you. 5 out of 5 stars.




October 24:   Christina Dalcher, “Vox”

This debut novel had us up late at night tearing through the pages. Comparisons to the Handmaid’s Tale are inevitable but this dystopian story is compelling, riveting and a cautionary tale that will wake you up. Our hearts were racing reading this. Easily one of the best books of the year. 5 out of 5 stars.




October 16:     Dessa, “My Own Devices”

You may or may not be familiar with Dessa through her music as a singer & hip hop MC with Doomtree but either way get ready to enjoy her debut memoir about her life. Written with a thoughtful eye for detail (her love life) and describing her life in profound, funny or delightful ways (every story she shares), Dessa dazzled us with her storytelling and lyrical wordsmithing. We are ready to everything she writes.

5 out of 5 stars


October 12:      Mindy Mejia, “Leave No Trace”

This is a fast paced psychological thriller about ambition, obsession and what happens when the lies we tell ourselves can no longer be distinguished from the truth.
A character driven novel w/ so many twists and surprises you will not want to put it down. It all starts when a 18 yr. old Lucas Blackthorn, (thought to be dead for over tens years) shows up at the Condon Psychiatric Facility the city of Duluth. Everyone wants to know where he has been, where is his father and how did they survive off the grid? Then a former Condon patient, Maya is assigned to get Lucas to speak. Sparks fly. Fans of books like Gone Girl and A Woman in the Window will love this book.    4 stars



September 27:  Mary Kubica, “When the Lights Go Out

Jessie Sloane is forced to question who she is in this emotionally charged thriller by the best selling author of “The Good Girl”, Mary Kubica.

Jessi discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt her everything she has ever known about her life.  While figuring out her story, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole and both Jessie and “ the reader”  don’t know what is real and what isn’t.

3.5 stars


September 18:  Robin Green, “The Only Girl”

A rowdy and vividly dishy memoir by the only woman on the masthead of Rolling Stone Magazine in the 60’s.  Stories of stalking the Grateful Dead, sparring with Dennis Hopper, scandalizing fans of David Cassidy and sleeping with a Kennedy in his dorm room….just to name a few.  But this memoir is recklessly honest about being a young woman in search of her way which makes it powerful & poignant. Robin’s story also takes you on her journey to writing for TV (Northern Exposure), writing and producing for 5 years of THE SOPRANOS (she wrote Tony!) and creating Blue Bloods with her husband & writing partner. 5 out of 5 stars

September 12:  Linwood Barclay, “A Noise Downstairs”

We absolutely loved this psychological thriller. Paul is an English professor who witnesses a colleague trying to cover up a double murder – and almost gets killed himself. 8 months later he is still trying to recover and figure out what has happened. The creepy twists and turns of this book are incredible. Please John Krasinski & Emily Blunt option this book and star in it! 5 out 5 stars.



August 22:  William Kent Krueger, “Desolation Mountain”

Lori and Julia say:

This is the 17th novel in the Cork O’Conner series and the author keeps up the tension and mystery in the latest. Gorgeous writing combined with wonderful affection for his recurring characters make this latest story compulsively readable. The story centers around a plane crash & a dead senator, the mysterious disappearances of people involved in the search and a bitter dispute over a planned copper mine near sacred waters. 5 out of 5 stars



August 17: Rena Olsen, “With You Always”

Lori and Julia say:

A fairy tale romance that is not all that it seems. This is an intriguing story about how easy it can be to end up in the wrong relationship and how hard it can be to escape. Compulsively readable. 3 and a half stars




August 3: Jo Piazza, “Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win”

Lori & Julia say:

A smart, funny and enthralling page turner about the cost of being a woman in the public eye. We absolutely fell in love with Charlotte and you will too. You do not want to stop reading and the twist at the end…. Has already been optioned for a TV series! 5 out of 5 stars




August 2:  Paul Tremblay, “Cabin at the End of the World”

Lori & Julia say:

A suspenseful story about a couple renting a cabin in a remote part of New Hampshire when 4 strangers barge in and present them with an unthinkable scenario. The narrative is dark and intense and the ending is ambigious. If you are a fan of Stephen King you will like, if not then you probably will not. 2 stars Julia & 3 1/2 stars



July 25:  Liz Felton & Lisa Steinke, “Girls Night Out”

Lori & Julia say:

Three long time estranged friends go on a girls getaway to Tulum to mend the fractures in a 20 year friendship. But they are keeping secrets from each other and then one of them goes missing. What “happens” is told from the perspective of each woman. We guarantee you will keep turning the pages in this suspenseful novel.  5 out of 5 stars!



July 17:  Caroline Kepnes, “Providence”

Lori & Julia say:

Set in New England, this is a suspenseful “Stephen King’ish” book about the obsessive nature of love when an intense relationship between best friends is disrupted by a kidnapping…and what happens four years later when the kidnapped person mysteriously suddenly re-appears with no idea what happened but with a strange power.  The author also write the book “YOU” which will be a Lifetime limited series debuting Sept 2019. 4 out of 5 stars


July 12: Judy Blundell, “The High Season

Lori and Julia say:

The ultimate summer read! This novel of money, class, family and love is simply perfect. Set by the sea in a quiet village two ferry rides from the glitzier Hamptons, this story is packed with unforgettable characters, sparkling wit and “upstairs/downstairs” drama. 5 out of 5 stars!




July 10: Erin Carlson, “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

Lori and Julia say:

This is a behind the scenes book written by arts & entertainment report Erin Carlson that dives into the story of Nora Ephron & how she re-invented the rom-com. Erin gets incredibly dishy and interesting stories from everyone involved in these movies. From Tom Hanks to Rosie O’Donnell to Rob Reiner…the list goes on. Fascinating and vivid portrait of an iconic American filmmaker & how she made the magic happen in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, YOU’VE GOT MAIL, JULIE & JULIA… 5 out of 5 stars


July 6:  Aimee Molloy, The Perfect Mother

Lori and Julia say:

A  novel about a group of women whose lives become connected when one of their newborn babies go missing…the suspenseful story unfolds over 13 days in Brooklyn as the collection of new moms try to figure out what happened and what is going on… all while balancing their own fears, joys & insecurities about being new moms. Soon to be a movie starring Kerry Washington.




June 29: Simon Doonan, “Soccer Style: The Magic and Madness

Lori and Julia say:

A delicious deep dive into the off-field fashion of soccer’s biggest players. The result after 4 years of research and a lifetime of watching is a highly detailed  yet equally amusing  book. Simon categorizes the biggest soccer players in the world into 9 fashion tribes like Label Kings, Fauxhemians… 5 stars out of 5 stars!




June 26: Roz Nay, “Our Little Secret”

Lori and Julia Say:

For fans of In A Dark Dark Wood and All The Missing Girls…this twisty psychological thriller is about a missing woman,your first love, a tangled love triangle and the secrets we keep (and the secrets we share). Will keep you riveted until the very last page. 4 out of 5 stars.




June 22nd:  Allison Pearson, “How Hard Can it Be”

Lori and Julia say:

Kate Reddy is facing her 50th birthday with 2 teenagers, aging parents and a husband in a mid-life crisis. Oh and no one wants to hire her &  peri-menopause is on! This story is hilarious, deliciously sardonic and spot-on.  A worthy sequel to her 1st book “I Don’t Know How She Does It”. And  it’s been optioned for TV!




June 20th: Elin Hilderbrand, “The Perfect Couple”

Lori and Julia say:

Elin Hilendenbrand 21st book – is a hit.  We have read most and she ALWAYS delivers a perfect beach read.

5 stars.






June 12th: Jessica Knoll, “The Favorite Sister”

Lori and Julia Say:

The author of LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE has done it again. The story of 5 women on a reality show called “Gold Diggers” and 2 sisters with a dark secret.  It’s a smart, soapy and wildly entertaining book that is hard to put down. 4 out of 5 stars.








June 5th:  Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, “Sex and the city and Us”

Lori and Julia say:

From the NY Times bestselling author of SEINFELDIA, comes an amazing book about the most successful & lucrative TV show of all time. Smart, insightful, fun & dishy at the same time. Jennifer spoke with just about everyone connected with the show and every page is delicious!!!  5 out of 5 stars. P.S. our bodyperks (nipple enhancers) is the only show idea to come from outside the writers room! Season 4, episode 6!





May 31st: Madeline Miller, “Circe”

 Lori and Julia say:

This book took our breath away!  We read this book in like 2 days…we couldn’t put this book down!  Circe is really an incredible Woman because she’s basically ostracized…people are verbally and emotionally abusive to her…she really does speak to you as a character…like I really was just intoxicated with her!

(5 stars)





May 23:  Sally Franson, “The Ladies Guide to Selling Out”

 Lori and Julia say:

A smart, clever and funny story about the world of advertising and social media starring a heroine we fall in love with – Casey Pendergast! This story also is about friendship, ambition, love of books and men.  In the same vibe as The Devil Wears Prada, this book is a treat from the first page to the last page.  (4 stars)

May 17: Chris Bohjalian, “The Flight Attendant”

Lori and Julia say:

A twisty read-in-one sitting book! Right away we meet Cassie Bowden, flight attendant, who wakes up with a massive hangover and a dead man in her bed in Dubai. Expect the unexpected and get ready for literary suspense. Also add “this has been optioned as a limited tv series starring Kaley Cuoco” (5 stars)



May 14: Brian Freeman, “Altered Ego”

Lori and Julia say:

Brian Freeman knocks it out of the park with this latest Jonathan Stride novel! If you are a fan of the literary characters of Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch, Cork O’Conner or Lucas Davenport then this book series is for you! Hollywood arrives in Duluth, a John Doe ends up dead on page 2 and a someone goes missing from the movie set…whew! this is a page turner!  4.5 stars

May 4: Elizabeth Church, “All The Beautiful Girls”


Lori and Julia say:

A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas–and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love. This book captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most importantly, herself. We can see the movie!!

4 stars

May 2: Eileen McNamara, “Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World”


Lori and Julia say: 

This is an incredibly moving biography about a woman who should be more well known. Eunice changed the world in many ways and if you love biographies this is a story for you. Everything is well reported and artfully told by the author… the famous family, her impact on her brothers, how Special Olympics came to be and her bipartisan dealmaking over 40 years.

5 stars!


April 27: Christobel Kent, “The Day She Disappeared”

Lori & Julia Say:

This book is tense and exciting but also thoughtful and deliberate in how the author portrays everyone in this English town where a young woman has disappeared. We never figured out who the killer was until the end of the book. And this story kept us on the “edge of the page” the whole way through.

4/5 Stars




April 24: Joanna Coles, “Love Rules

Lori & Julia say:

This is a diet book for love! Just as there is junk food this former cosmo editor has a theory there is junk love. Joanna Cole has created a series of guidelines & 15 tips to finding love. And it’s excellent! Julia says she “ needed this book 2 years ago but is glad to have it now!”

5/5 Stars

April 18: Camille Pagan, “Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties”

Lori & Julia say:

Bestselling author Camille Pagan asks an age old question… can you face the world alone if no one sees you? At 53, Maggie thought she had a good marriage and then something she thought would never happen, happens. Her husband leaves her. A funny & hopeful story about a woman on the verge of finding herself again.

4/5 Stars


April 12: Louie Anderson, “Hey Mom: Stories For My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too”

Lori & Julia say:

A book of letters to his late mom, Louie Anderson moves us to tears with his poignant humor & makes us laugh because he is funny.  He shares his journey of turning life’s challenges into joy, as well as plenty of wisdom he’s still discovering from his late mother. And you ust watch him in BASKETS! He’s won an Emmy & is fantastic in this show!

5/5 Stars


April 11: Robin Oliveira, “Winter Sisters”

Lori & Julia Say:

This book has it all. It’s a thriller, a family saga, a courtroom drama and historical fiction all wrapped into one amazing story. Set at the end of the 19th century when a blizzard hits Albany, New York, two young sisters go missing.

5/5 Stars



April 5: Nell Scovell,  “Just the Funny Parts… And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club”

Lori & Julia Say: 

Nell Scovell has worked behind the scenes of iconic tv shows including The Simpsons, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Murphy Brown & Letterman to name a few. This is a juicy inside look at “how pop culture” gets made. And the stories, even the painful ones, are funny as hell.




 April 4: Amy Kaufman, “Bachelor Nation”

Lori & Julia say: 

We have to agree with Diablo Cody’s assessment of “Bachelor Nation”. “This is a fascinating read for anyone with an interest in pop culture, television history, and the phenomenon of real people becoming brands”.





 March 22: Karen Perry, “Girl Unknown

Lori & Julia say:

Imagine one day a 19-year-old walks into your family’s life by claiming she is your husband’s daughter. That is the premise of this tense and psychological thriller.

It’s very satisfying and kept us guessing until the last page of the book! Then we dropped the book on the floor! You’re left thinking “NO!”



March 14: Tayari Jones, “An American Marriage”

From Tayari Jones’ website:



Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.



March 8: Kristin Hannah, “The Great Alone”

Wonderful, spellbinding and powerful.

February 27: “The Wife Between Us”

Absolutely fantastic. Heart-pounding suspense.

February 22: Christopher Yates, “Grist Mill Road”

Lori read this on the way to Honolulu. A suspense thriller you can’t put down. it should be made into an 8 part mini-series for HBO!

Lori Vacation reads:

  1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen*
  2. Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me by Patti Boyd
  3. Grist Mill Road by Christopher Yates*
  4. Undone by Karin Slaughter
  5. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
  6. The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb
  7. Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
  8. Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

February 7: A.J. Finn, “The Woman in the Window”

Finn’s debut novel is perfection. The most wonderfully heart pounding suspense novel.

January 24: Anna Todd, “The Spring Girls”

Delicious and fun. A modern reimagining of “Little Women” with generational wallpaper of “now.” The family lives on a military base, and it’s all about sisterhood.

January 3: Ashley Hay, “A Hundred Small Lessons”

This book follows the lives of two women, an elderly woman who moves out of a home and the woman that moves into it. It’s about the intersection of two lives at two ends of the spectrum. Good read.