Saturday, July 04, 2020

REVIEW: #PleaseRetweet by Emily Benet

Title: #PleaseRetweet
Author: Emily Benet
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: August 2015
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Chick-Lit
Buy the Book: Amazon

Description: How to mess up your life in 140 characters…

Social media whizz kid, May Sparks has landed her dream job. Well, not quite, but the salary is great and all May has to do is handle the online profiles of C – list celebrities who have the tendency to say inappropriate things. Easy, right? #wrong

May’s clients include an ex big brother star (who she's definitely not going to sleep with #neversaynever), a disgraced TV presenter (who wants May to sort out his marriage as well as his Twitter account), and a woman who once flashed her boobs on X-factor. They're all relying on her to turn them into stars. But they're not going to make her job easy.

As May is sucked further and further into her job she begins to lose her grip on real life. Her friends don’t ‘like’ her Facebook posts anymore and even her gorgeous neighbor, who once seemed to be on the same wavelength, criticizes her career choice. Worse, May’s clients start getting trolled by an annoying tweep, who May happens to agree with.

Then May’s secret online identity is leaked, causing her to start trending on Twitter. It looks like the status update is over. Unless May can leave the superficial social media word behind and find her own voice again…

My Thoughts: In a world where so much of the thoughts and actions of the human race are driven by social media, this book could be a biography instead of a work of fiction. May Sparks is your typical social media aficionado. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…she knows them all and uses them effectively to document her life, as most people who live in this digital society knows all too well. May accepts what she thinks is her dream job, managing the online profiles of celebrities who don’t play so nice online, without anyone finding out.

I honestly didn’t understand the need for secrecy as I have long known that celebrities hire PR people to manage their online accounts not because they can’t but because they don’t have time. Isn’t that what PR are paid to do? Apparently in May’s world, nobody can find out, so of course, the reader already figures everyone will eventually find out. May’s clients aren’t people of integrity in the first place so trying to present them in a positive light online is going to be downright impossible to me.

This book swings between just OK and a good read for me. I liked May and though I thought her job was interesting, I got frustrated quickly at how she allows people to walk all over her, her clients, her boss, her client’s managers, friends, the list goes on and on. What I found annoying is that they are paying May’s company to provide them with an online presence they can’t pull off themselves because they lack human skills like kindness, honesty, restraint and manners but yet they are demanding of May, calling her round the clock, treating her like she’s their personal servant or at their beck and call. Her boss is a sycophantic dweeb, more interested in May taking on yet another client instead of looking out for his employee and having her back. Her friends resent the amount of time May spends on her tablet and phone (HELLO, IT’S HER JOB!) and even go so far as snub her by excluding her from her friend’s housewarming party. Her roommate and neighbors criticize her for the work she does, that she lacks integrity or values, somehow. Her family doesn’t really know the full extent of May’s job, so aren’t critical or negative, but when things get rough for May, she finds it hard to talk to them about what’s really going on.

I started enjoying the story more when things began getting worse for May. I was interested at how things would turn out for her and the path she would choose. I didn’t really understand what the big deal was when her identity was leaked, why people were so upset. For the most part, I thought these people really needed to get over themselves and get a life.

My Final Verdict: The story started out as just OK but became a good read. I liked May and was pleased with how everything turned out. Readers who enjoy stories featuring strong protagonists throughout the entire story and not just in the last few chapters may find themselves frustrated with May. Readers who enjoy stories where the underdog comes out on top will be happy with May’s choices and will be rooting for her as she crosses the finish line.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of #PleaseRetweet from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, June 05, 2020

REVIEW: Picnics In Hyde Park by Nikki Moore

Title: Picnics in Hyde Park (#Love London #6)
Author: Nikki Moore
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Publication Date: August 2015
Genre: Chick Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: The last story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore! The perfect novel for reading in the sunshine… and falling in love with London.

A summer to remember or forget?

When Zoe Harper returns to the UK after five long years in New York, the last thing she expects is to find her younger sister Melody jobless, homeless, broke and dumped. Unfortunately, life has a way of delivering the unexpected. She should know that, given her ex-fiancé Greg’s faithless behavior.

Filled with rage and determined to get revenge on the infamous Reilly brothers for her sister’s heartbreak, as well as get some answers, Zoe hatches plan Nannygate. Unfortunately that means moving in with the gorgeous but uncaring music producer Matt Reilly to be nanny to his two adorable, complicated children. But something isn’t adding up, and over the course of the hot London summer, she starts to think that perhaps Matt isn’t so bad after all.

Let down by his last nanny and weighed down with guilt about his wife’s death three years before, wealthy but camera-shy Matt has spent a long time pushing people away, including his own kids. His stunning new nanny challenges him every single day in completely different ways, but maybe that isn’t such a bad thing?

But what happens when you open your heart, and someone isn’t who you thought they were? And can it really be true love when it’s on the rebound, and starts off with a plan for revenge?

My Thoughts: I eventually liked this story but I had some problems with it in the beginning. I had a hard time with the fact Matt chucks Melody out of the house and her job without giving her a chance to explain. As her employer, I thought he handled it very poorly and thought he had some major character flaws and this was a big one. I also had a problem with Zoe’s motivations in going to Matt’s house to confront him. I personally felt it was impulsive and rash and not her place. When she is mistaken for an applicant for the nanny position and doesn’t set the record straight bothered me. Zoe is coming out of a very bad relationship and I suspected she was using her pain and outrage at the cheating fiancé to get revenge on Matt. When the plan of revenge was revealed, this book nearly became a wall-banger.

I had a hard time seeing these two flawed characters with major trust issues between them ever manage to become intimate, much less build anything solid together. As I read and got to know Zoe and Matt better, I began to warm up to them and empathize with them. Zoe brings a breath of fresh air into Matt’s world, though he really isn’t prepared for it or wants it. She gets him to see that he has withdrawn into himself since his wife’s death and that his children are suffering for it. Through Zoe’s efforts, Matt’s relationship with his children changes drastically for the better and that was wonderful to see. His relationship with his wife’s mother also improves.

In spite of her deceit in obtaining the job and continuing in the job, I admired that Zoe was committed to the welfare of the children and was really good with them. They bonded quickly and Zoe was able to draw them out of their shells too. It still bothered me that Matt never gave Melody a reason for her abrupt dismissal and acted without investigating what he had been told. It also bothered me how long Zoe waited to tell Matt the truth, the whole truth and I was frustrated at the consequences of her actions. All ends well, though the finale felt rushed and there is no closure between Melody and Matt. Perhaps this will be addressed in another book in this series.

My Final Verdict: Fans of chick-lit stories about forgiveness and second chances will enjoy this story. If deception, misunderstandings and miscommunication in the plot is frustrating to them, they may want to take a pass.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Picnics in Hyde Park from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

REVIEW: The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina

Title: The Other Harlow Girl (Love Takes Root #2)
Author: Lynn Messina
Publisher: Potatoworks Press
Publication Date: September 2014
Genre: Historical Romance
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: A woman in the British Horticultural Society! The very idea horrifies everyone, including ardent horticulturalist Lavinia Harlow, whose own name has been put forth for membership by the provoking Marquess of Huntly. He does it as a joke, of course, to get back at her for an imagined slight—well, to be fair, she had insulted his writing—and Vinnie, older sister to the infamous Harlow Hoyden, is far too sensible to rise to his ridiculous challenge.

Determined to head off further scandal (her name has already been recorded in the betting book at Brooks's!), Vinnie dashes off a polite note refusing the honor—which she has every intention of sending. Really. Only she can't help but chafe at the way everyone keeps demanding that she decline at once, even the Marquess. Oh, especially the Marquess, whose perfection she finds intolerable. Who ever heard of a gentleman being so handsome and so intelligent and so well informed about foreign flora? Clearly, the man needs to be taken down a peg, and somehow, despite all twenty-four years of faultless propriety, Vinnie is just the hoyden to do it.

My Thoughts: I found this story to be as delightful and charming as the first book in this series. This story centers on Lavinia “Vinnie” Harlow, the sister of the Harlow Hoyden, who has been in mourning since the demise of her despicable fiancé in the first book. Her adventures with the exceedingly attractive Marquess of Huntly, exploding hoses, drainage systems and whether or not she should accept the nomination of membership into the British Horticultural Society (she really wants to, though everyone is telling her to decline) will give the reader several hours of entertainment.

Though it had been several years since I last visited with the Harlow sisters and the Duke of Trent, I was able to fall right back in to their lives as if it were only yesterday. The author does a brilliant job of drawing the reader into the story and the lives of the characters so seamlessly that it felt like I was sitting in the drawing room with them.

I loved Vinnie and the Marquess. Their chemistry is amazing and though society demands certain protocols for the women of the ton to observe when in mourning, I personally couldn’t wait until Vinnie could shed the black and be herself once more. The scene at the dowager’s ball when Vinnie and the Marquess dance was wonderful and though Vinnie’s anxiety about the other attendees and their judgments gave her pause, I was happy to see that she took a page out of her sister’s book and did it anyway.

My Final Verdict: The story flowed very smoothly and I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend this book. I look forward to what the Harlow sisters get into next. London society will never be the same now that the Harlow sisters are there, and London is all the better for it.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Other Harlow Girl from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

REVIEW: Jillian Spectre & The Dream Weaver by Nic Tatano

Title: Jillian Spectre & The Dream Weaver (Jillian Spectre #2)
Author: Nic Tatano
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: April 2015
Genre: Teen / Young Adult
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: There’s a new villain in town…

One who can manipulate dreams and reality to the point that people can’t tell the difference.

This is a job for Jillian Spectre.

The snarky eighteen year old redhead with paranormal powers has already saved the world once but now she’s under attack by a force that might be above her pay grade.

The Dream Weaver.

When Jillian’s own dreams are invaded she finds herself desperately trying to separate reality from fantasy – and struggle with a totally inappropriate crush on someone who isn’t her mind reading boyfriend, Ryan.

When her own soul is on the line as the Dream Weaver manipulates her, Jillian has one shot to save herself and the rest of the world… or she and the rest of the world could be trapped in their dreams forever.

My Thoughts: It was great to meet up with Jillian Spectre and her friends again. A lot has changed for them since they defeated Jillian’s evil father. He now lies comatose in a vegetative state, high school is a memory, Jillian is now a college freshman and she and Ryan are dating. The future is bright and exciting for Jillian, Roxanne, Ryan and Jake or it would be if they didn’t have to take on a siren and possibly a dream weaver with nefarious plans to continue her father’s work and destroy the world. As in the first book, I really enjoyed how these four young people come together as a team, using their powers to make them stronger as they fight the evil surrounding them.

I really enjoy this author’s voice. He does an amazing job breathing life into these characters, making them easy to relate to and very likable. It’s very easy for the reader to connect with these characters and care about them. He blends the tension of the story-line with equal and appropriate amounts of humor and romance that propels the story forward at a pace that keeps the reader engaged and interested. There were major plot twists with the villains that I was not expecting but really enjoyed.

My Final Verdict: I really hope this series doesn’t end here as I would love to know what Jillian experiences next, as well as what’s in store for Jillian’s mom and Fuzzball. I’m also curious as to what will become of Jillian’s father, as I really don’t think we have seen or heard the last of him. I hope there may be more in store for us.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Jillian Spectre & The Dream Weaver from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, April 11, 2020

REVIEW: Switch A Wish by M.B. Earnheardt

Title: Switch A Wish
Author: M.B. Earnheardt
Publisher: Three Worlds Press
Publication Date: September 2015
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon

Description: Chris and Amanda Claridge are that couple. They look happy. They live in a well-kept house, have three little girls and fit squarely into the traditional roles of a husband and wife.

Chris is a handsome college professor, and easily charms most everyone he meets. He loves his job and can’t wait to go to work each day. Amanda is a dedicated mother and caretaker. She tends to the kids and appreciates how important her job is, even if others don’t get it.

Underneath the surface of this functioning family, things are unraveling. Their marital problems are about to split them apart when something magical happens. Chris and Amanda make a bedtime wish that forces them to live the life of the other person.

Chris must pretend to be his wife as he takes on childcare and household chores. Amanda steps out of her heels and into Chris’ shoes to tackle his job as a college professor. The role reversal is a revelation for the couple. Neither one has it as good, or bad, as they expected.

Can Chris and Amanda’s newfound understanding of each other survive when the secrets come out? Or, did a magical wish just cost them their marriage? Will they be able to switch back?
Switch A Wish examines the complexity of a stressed relationship through the eyes of partners who are required to live as each other. This unique perspective allows Chris and Amanda a chance to find their way back to the feelings of the love they once shared.

My Thoughts: I truly believe the biggest problem facing most relationships is the inability to communicate because the couple has lost the ability to relate to one another. Various reasons cause the couple to drift apart, lose the spark that connects them not just intimately but what brought them together in the first place. Resentments build because frustrations are not being communicated and that’s when the trouble begins. Chris and Amanda are just such a couple. They’ve been together a long time and have three children. Amanda gave up her journalism career so she could take care of the home and the children and often is taken advantage of by her mother in law, running errands for her as well. Chris is a university professor who is focused on his career and promoting to the chair of his department. Amanda is frustrated because she doesn’t feel like Chris supports her and never seems to engage with her and the family. She thinks life would be better if they got a divorce. Chris is frustrated because Amanda doesn’t show him any affection and he can’t remember when the last time they had great sex was. He is considering having an affair with one of his students. One night while putting the kids to bed, they each make a wish that the other one understood them. The next morning, they wake up to discover they have switched bodies.

They now have to live life as their spouse and figure out how to do that without making things worse. Along the way, they learn that their spouse doesn’t have it as good as they thought and they realize that the love that brought them together hasn’t gone away, it just needs a freshening up. As secrets are revealed, Chris and Amanda have to decide if what they have is worth fighting for.

My Final Verdict: I felt a lot of empathy for these characters and felt bad for the mess their relationship had become. I really enjoyed watching these characters struggle to figure out how they switched and wondering if they will ever be able to switch back. As both Chris and Amanda experience many realizations they never considered before and begin to fall in love with one other again, it gave me a good feeling to know that relationships are a lot of work, but worth it. I recommend this story for readers who enjoy a story that cuts to the heart of the matter with characters that are easy to relate to as their situation is all too realistic.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Switch A Wish from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

REVIEW: Sweet Girl by Rachel Hollis

Title: Sweet Girl (The Girls #2)
Author: Rachel Hollis
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Publication Date: May 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN | Audible

Description: Max Jennings is in a bad mood. It’s not anything you did; it’s just that secrets from her past make it her natural state of being. But she’s not going to talk about it or share her feelings, so don’t bother asking.

Max’s bad mood means that very few people actually truly understand her or know that her secret dream is to be a pastry chef. When a rare opportunity to work for world-famous Avis Phillips presents itself, Max jumps at the chance. Avis and her staff aren’t stingy with the tough love, so Max spends every spare minute practicing her craft. As she bakes brownies and custards, cookies and galettes, she builds an unlikely friendship with a man she once loathed and finds herself falling into something she’s spent the last six years avoiding. Will she let her painful past stand in the way, or will she muster the strength to forgive herself and realize her full potential?

My Thoughts: I first met Max Jennings in Party Girls, the first book in this series. Her bad mood and snarky attitude in this book came as no surprise to me as she was very snarky and cranky in the first book. However, instead of disliking her, I found her intriguing, independent and sassy. I was very curious why she kept most people at arm’s length with her biting sarcastic commentary or icy stare. She only allows a very small group of people into her inner circle, but if they piss her off, she would probably give them the boot to the curb too.

Max is still working in the same bar she worked at in the first book and life seems to be going pretty much as it always has. She plays her cards close to her chest so she doesn’t share her dream of being a pastry chef with anyone. When the opportunity unexpectedly presents herself, Max confides in the one person she never thought she would ever have a conversation with much less a friendship. Bennett Taylor is an extremely likable character and never lets Max’s bad mood or insults throw him off. Their banter is fun and illuminates the attraction they feel for one another but are trying so hard to hide not only from everyone around them, but from themselves. I thoroughly enjoyed watching their adversarial (on Max’s part) relationship shift into friendship and then something much more meaningful.

As with the first book, this author does another excellent job of bringing these characters to life. I felt great empathy for Max when it’s revealed what happened to her to make her wrap her heart in chains. I found her behavior and reactions logical and I loved how she changes when she realizes the people she loves aren’t going to abandon her. There is a scene where Max is wallowing in self-pity and her best friends show up with snacks and decide it’s time for a Sandra Bullock marathon. Max isn’t very welcoming or receptive to them, but she has a hard time staying in a shell and allows herself to enjoy the moment, which allows the ice to begin to crack.

My Final Verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was tickled to get to know Max and Taylor better. This story played on my emotions a little bit, so keep a box of tissues at the ready.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Sweet Girl from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, March 03, 2020

REVIEW: Stirred With Love by Marcie Steele

Title: Stirred With Love
Author: Marcie Steele
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: September 2015
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | BN

Description: Sometimes the best friends can be found where you least expect them…

Still grieving after the loss of her beloved husband, Lily Mortimer is determined to do something with the time she has left.

After the end of her fairytale marriage, thirty-something Kate is trying hard to mend her broken heart.

Chloe, a young woman with the world at her feet, is struggling to know what to do with her life.

When Lily embarks on a new venture in the picturesque town of Somerley, the three women come together to open The Coffee Stop, the most charming café for miles around.

But opening a coffee shop is never as simple as it seems, especially when you add neighboring competition, local heart throbs and heartbreak to the mix.

When tragedy strikes, can the three women pull together to make the new business fly, or will Lily’s last chance disappear down the drain along with yesterday’s coffee grinds?

My Thoughts: In Stirred With Love, readers are introduced to three wonderful characters that are as different as night and day but come together by chance and become closer than family. Grieving the loss of her husband, Lily decides to re-open the café she and her husband ran and turn it into a stylish coffee shop. She advertises and Kate and Chloe apply. Kate is going through a divorce and nursing a broken heart. Chloe is at a cross-road in her life deciding what path she wants to take so she decides to take the summer working in a coffee shop to help her figure it out.

I loved this story. All three characters are so different in their life experiences and the journey they have taken but they all have one common goal of making the coffee shop a success. These women bond over their life experiences and become fast friends as they work together to bring the coffee shop to life.

The author does an amazing job of taking the reader into each character’s life, giving the reader a front-row seat into what each character has gone through and is currently dealing with. I had a lot of empathy for each character and felt great compassion for each of them. They were easy to relate to and were very likable. This story brought many moments of laughter and tears while reading. I had a hard time putting the book down and hated to see it end.

One thing I especially liked was the coffee shop felt like a living character. I was completely entranced and mesmerized as the place begins to take shape and become a place of warmth, comfort and cheer to the customers. Lily, Kate and Chloe make this into a place they can call home. I wanted to spend my days there, bringing joy to the people sitting at the tables by the windows.

I highly recommend this book to all readers who look for a connection to the characters in the books they are reading.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Stirred With Love from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Followers

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)