The Life You’ve Imagined by Kristina Riggle – Virtual Book Club

Welcome to the virtual book club for Kristina Riggle’s new book, “The Life You’ve Imagined’! If you’re not sure just what exactly we’re doing here, I gave away 20 copies of “The Life You’ve Imagined” for people to read the book and participate (sponsored by Harper Collins), but receiving the book from me isn’t a prerequisite to participation, anyone who has read the book is welcome to join in! In fact, I have two copies of Riggle’s debut, “Real Life and Liars” to give away to people who participate today and tomorrow. If you need more background on the book, you can read my review, which also hosts a Mr. Linky with other reviews of this book, so check those out, or leave your own review if you’ve written one.

Here’s what’s happening: respond to any or all of the questions in the comments below. As you are able, read through the comments other people have left (you may want to make sure that ‘notify me of follow-up comments’ is checked when you leave your comment), and respond to them. If you use the ‘reply’ link in their comment, your comment will show up right below their to make it obvious you are responding to them. Discuss! Have fun! Grab a glass of wine if you want! If you haven’t read this book yet, remember, there will quite likely be spoilers. Such is the nature of a book club. As is also the nature of a book club, these questions may be colored by my own experiences with the novel, or by reviews I have read. Feel free to take any question in another direction, or disagree with my basic premise.

  1. General thoughts?
  2. The title of this book is taken from a misquote of Thoreau. Do you think it fit the story? How or how not?
  3. Maeve was quite obvious about not being able to disengage herself from the past for a great deal of the book. What do you think held her there? Do you think any of the other women suffered the same problem?
  4. What were your impressions of the men in this book, what did you think about how they were portrayed?
  5. I thought Cami’s storyline was sort of a gutsy one, I don’t remember ever having seen a young woman with a gambling addiction portrayed in literature, or even on TV. It is always either older women (and only Marge Simpson that I can think of) or men. Why do you think Riggle chose to give her a gambling addiction? How did it inform her actions as a character?
  6. Multiple old relationships come back to life in “The Life You’ve Imagined,” both romantic and otherwise. Did you think these were portrayed in a realistic fashion? What is realistic to expect from an old friendship? Romantic relationship?
  7. What did you think about the ending? Were you satisfied? Did it wrap things up too much? Not enough?
  8. If you could ask Kristina Riggle one thing, what would it be?
  9. What else struck you about this book that you would like to discuss?
By the way, thanks for the inspiration for this book club go to Trish from and her Reading Series for “The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott” by Kelly O’Connor McNees

The Life You’ve Imagined by Kristina Riggle – Book Review

The Life You’ve Imagined by Kristina Riggle
Published by Avon A, an imprint of Harper Collins

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.
Misquoted from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”

Living the life you’ve imagined is something that may be easier said than done, at least that is what Anna, Cami, Maeve, and Amy are finding out. Anna and Cami, best friends in high school who have grown apart as they aged, both find themselves back in Haven, Michigan at the same time. Cami’s boyfriend kicked her out after she stole from him to feed her gambling habit, sure she would use his money to win back her own money she had lost. For Anna, the return has more to do with grief than misdeeds. Her beloved mentor, August was killed in a traffic accident while she was talking to him on the phone, and her law firm insists upon bereavement leave, since she’s essentially useless anyway.

As a result of their return – and Cami’s lack of any income – the girls find themselves back in Haven and at the Nee Nance Store, the convenience store run by Maeve, Anna’s mother. Unfortunately, Haven is not one for them. They worry about the letters Maeve has recently been getting from her long-gone deadbeat husband, and the fact that her store is now slated for destruction by Amy’s fiance. As all four women’s lives get increasingly complicated, they must consider whether they are truly living the life they’ve imagined and, if not, what to do about it.

What a rich, messy, and real book Kristina Riggle has written!I was very surprised when she gave one of her characters a gambling addiction, because that isn’t something I’ve seen very often, but she pulled it off beautifully as one of Cami’s character flaws, without overdoing it and making it too seedy, it was just this glorious, real weakness she had, much like Maeve’s weakness for the husband who left her, the draw Anna had to her now-married high school boyfriend, or the formerly-heavy Amy’s fixation on appearance. And by the way, keeping Amy so relateable and giving her so much depth when she could have come across as simply very shallow? Absolutely fabulous.

I think that after “The Life You’ve Imagined” and “Real Life and Liars,” Kristina Riggle is going to be my official go-to for novels about the complications of everyday life. The tragedies that her characters experience are always so real, and never feel simply piled on, and their responses are absolutely true to life, messy, complicated life. What they experience is nothing that can’t be worked through, especially if they do it together, but neither is it something with a simply, pat answer. She leaves the reader with an ending tied up enough to satisfy, but not so much that it becomes unrealistic. Like in life, there are always a few more questions, a degree of uncertainty.

I highly recommend both this and Riggle’s debut, “Real Life and Liars.”

If you pick up a copy of this book, please join us on September 7th and 8th for an online book club discussion right here at Devourer of Book! I will have two copies of “Real Life and Liars” to give away to randomly chosen participants. If you review the book online, please leave a link on the Mr. Linky below.

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound

This review was done with a book received from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Announcing: The “The Life You’ve Imagined” Book Club with Kristina Riggle

Friends! Have I told you again about “Real Life and Liars” recently?

“Real Life and Liars” was one of my favorite books last year, and it’s author, Kristina Riggle, is one of my favorite authors on Twitter.

Well, she has a new book out, and it is one of my most anticipated reads this summer.

“The Life You’ve Imagined” will be available from your favorite bookseller on August 17th, but you can get it here first if you’d like to join us for a book club discussion!

I’ll take the first 20 people who fill out the following Google form. However, to be eligible for a copy of the book, I ask that you agree to the following considerations:

  • Participate in our book club discussion here on this blog on September 7th and 8th
  • Either post a review of this book on your book blog or, if you don’t have a book blog, tell at least 5 friends about the book.

We’ll have some discussion, some Q&A, and Kristina Riggle herself may even stop by.

Sorry, all of the copies are gone, but “The Life You’ve Imagined” will be out on August 17th. If you really wanted to participate, feel free to get a copy on your own and join us!

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Devourer of Books Best Books of 2013

I know some of you think that I’m gone, but I’m not! At least not completely. I’m hoping to talk more over the next week about where I plan to take this blog in 2014 and beyond, but for now I want to wrap up 2013. I can’t tell you how many books I read or how many were audio or anything because sometime in September I sort of stopped actually tracking what I was reading. Oops. It happened around the same time I stopped blogging so much, I’m not really sure what happened there, other than I went on a short trip and didn’t get back into the swing of things when I returned. I do know, though, that I did a whole lot of listening with all the walking, and then running, I did after I got my fitbit back in May (plus a bunch of yard work trying to get our landscaping in some semblance of order). Many of the non-audiobook picks below actually were audiobooks, including all of the nonfiction picks, but despite the fact they were well-narrated I specifically chose some of them for their contribution to the genre rather than their audio production.


Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio, narrated by Leslie Carroll
Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer, narrated by Angela Brazil and Stephen R. Thorne
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, narrated by Khristine Hvam
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell, narrated by Matthew Wolf (links to Audiofile review)
Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
On the Come Up by Hannah Weyer, narrated by Yolonda Ross (links to Audiofile review)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caulfield
Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois, narrated by Emily Rankin (links to Audiofile review)

Historical fiction

The Other Typist by Susanne Rindell
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle
The House of Special Purpose by John Boyne (links to Audiofile review)
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Contemporary and Literary Fiction

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle (links to SheKnows feature)
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Driver’s Education by Grant Ginder
The Liar’s Gospel by Naomi Alderman
The Crooked Branch by Jeanine Cummins
The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch (links to Bloggers Recommend blurb)

Middle grade and young adult fiction

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman


Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew Goodman
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

What were your favorite books this year?

Many of the above books were provided to me for review.

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June 2013 Reading Wrap-Up

Goodbye, June. Goodbye, June is Audiobook Month. Hello me coming ever closer to not being able to keep up with my current posting schedule because I’m not reading enough. I finished a total of 13 books in June, 6 of which were audios (for a total of about 62 hours) and 7 of which were print (for a total of about 2300 pages).

What I Reviewed:

Snapper by Brian Kimberling, narrated by Macleod Andrews
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite
Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas, narrated by Bernadette Sullivan
Stormbringers: Order of Darkness by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Nicola Barber

Still Midnight by Denise Mina
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark
Penny, n by Madeline McDonnell

Young Adult/Middle Grades Fiction
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Burning the Page: The Ebook Revolution and the Future of Reading by Jason Merkoski

Other Posts:
Joe’s America – guest post by Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
Saint-Exupery in New York – and in Studio Saint-Ex – guest post by Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex
Going Public…In Shorts and an interview with narrator Cassandra Campbell
D.E.A.R. – June 2013
2012-2013, you audiobook year – Audiobook Week discussion
How do you choose your audiobooks? – Audiobook Week discussion
Audiobook Week mid-week meme
Audiobook tasks – Audiobook Week discussion
Learning about audiobooks – Audiobook Week discussion
Author and narrator roundtable – Mary Kay Andrews and Kathleen McInerney discuss Ladies’ Night

Pick of the Month:

Other Books Read, Watch for Reviews:

Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie, narrated by Marisa Calin
Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
Rescue for a Queen by Fiona Buckley, narrated by Wanda McCaddon
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell, narrated by Matthew Wolf

The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle
The Village by Nikita Lalwani
Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Blue Plate Special by Kate Christiansen
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Note: Some of these books were provided to me for review.

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