Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Author: Elizabeth Bass
Publication Date: September, 2014
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: Becca Hudson has come a long way since she was a tween starring in the sitcom Me Minus You, but as far as she’s concerned, she finally has her act together. She’s relocated to Leesburg, Virginia, owns a successful bakery, and has a great set of friends—even a friendly ex-husband.
She ignores “Whatever Happened To?” speculation and the occasional overly obsessed fan, and flatly turns down a lucrative offer to appear on a reality show called Celebrities in Peril: Child Star Edition. She has an uncomfortable relationship with her Hollywood past, preferring to think of herself as more than a 1990s trivia question. Then one day a mysterious man appears and stirs up her past—all of it—in ways she never imagined...
My Thoughts: Life Is Sweet by new to me author, Elizabeth Bass was an enjoyable story about a former Hollywood child star who is trying to leave the past behind her and live a life without the glitz, glamor and tabloids that follow celebrities. No matter how hard Becca tries to lead a quiet life, her past seems to follow her.
Becca agrees to compete on a reality show to raise money to help an elderly homeless man Becca has befriended. The author does a good job of creating characters that are easy for the reader to relate to and a story that flows smoothly, leaving the reader wanting more with the turning of each page.
My Final Verdict: I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a sweet story of love, acceptance, forgiveness and moving on.
Disclaimer: I received the above mentioned book for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Friday, August 25, 2017
Author: R.J. Gould
Publisher: R.J. Gould
Publication Date: May, 2016
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. Despite their backgrounds, personalities and interests being poles apart, the relationship flourishes during their university years. It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they start work, Jack in the City and Jill as a teacher.
Way back when they first met, they’d shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognize that their lives are matching the plot – Jack falls down and Jill comes tumbling after.
Their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?
My Thoughts: An entertaining story by new to me author R.J. Gould about love found, love lost and love rediscovered. Jack and Jill meet at university and immediately fall head over heels for each other in what appears to be a solid relationship, despite their different backgrounds and personalities. As they finish university and begin their lives together, the reality of adult life of bills and responsibilities sets in and begins to fracture the relationship as they both make decisions that further damage the relationship beyond repair.
I enjoyed this story and liked both Jack and Jill immensely, flaws and all. Surprisingly, I never felt myself taking one side over the other. I thought these characters were written very realistically and easy to relate to. The plot kept me engaged throughout the entire story; my curiosity was quite high about what would happen and whether or not this couple could make their way back to one another. The road getting there was quite bumpy for them both and not without a few tumbles and falls.
My Final Verdict: Readers who enjoy the chick-lit genre overall will enjoy this offering by Mr. Gould. Witty and funny with several twists that keeps the story engaging and interesting.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Jack and Jill Went Downhill from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Description: Middle-aged bookstore owner Willa Chance is looking forward to the opportunity of appraising a valuable private library that hasn't seen the light of day for fifty years ... until she finds a dead body in the backyard and the ghost of the home's previous owner anxiously waiting for her inside.
Hampered by the persistent ghost who insists on keeping secrets from her, Willa navigates a sea of confusing clues as she struggles to uncover the connection between the recent murder and two murders fifty years ago.
Is the answer contained in the secret she found in the library? Or the unusual bequest left by the long-dead owner of the house? Or maybe it has something to do with the mysterious journal that everyone seems to be after.
Once again, Willa's cat Pandora has to help her figure out the clues, while she and the other cats of Mystic Notch try to keep vital mystical knowledge from getting into the wrong hands.
Can Willa discover the identity of the killer in time or will she end up being the fourth victim?
Description: Jaime Abernathy's life has been turned upside-down -- she no longer has a boyfriend, a job, or a place to live, but has a yearning for something that she can't quite place. She decides to follow her heart to Scotland, the home of her ancestors. Her parents have passed, and she feels called to the place of her roots. Her first morning there, while out walking in the woods of her ancestral family home, she falls and awakens in the 16th Century, in the arms of Alec McDermont.
Alec is soon to be Laird of the McDermonts. He is to be married to the wretched Alexandra Gillie of a warring clan in a pretence of creating peace, but he senses something trecherous. He'll do anything to keep the marriage from happening, and when he finds Jaime in the woods, he senses a way out.
Jaime doesn't believe she's in the 16th century. Alec doesn't believe she's time traveled. But their feelings for each other pull them closer together as everything else is tearing them apart. Will they find happily ever after?
Sunday, July 30, 2017
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: October, 2012
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Description: Young interior designer Ava O’Shea has an appointment for a first consultation at The Manor with the owner, Mr. Jesse Ward. She is expecting nothing more than an overweight, cravat wearing, well-to-do countryman, and on arrival, nothing would suggest otherwise. How wrong could she be? This Man is devastatingly handsome, charming and confident. He is also a conceited, hedonistic playboy, who knows no boundaries. Ava desperately does not want to be attracted to him, but she can’t control the overwhelming effect he has on her. Every instinct is telling her to run, so she does, but Jesse Ward is not so willing to let her go. He wants her and is determined to have her. She knows she is heading for heartbreak, but how can she run when he won’t let her?
My Thoughts: Well, whatever shock and surprise Ava had upon meeting Jesse Ward is nothing compared to how I felt when I met him. Where is my Jesse Ward? Yes, he’s damaged and broken, but I don’t care! The determination he possesses in his methodical pursuit and seduction of Ava had me shaking in my boots…oh wait, I don’t have any boots. The intense passion he demonstrates from the second he lays eyes on her is almost predatory. Show me a woman who doesn’t want a man to desire her like that and I will call her a liar to her face.
Ava wastes a lot of time trying to convince Jesse and herself she doesn’t want him. Girl, why even bother? You know you are going to lose this debate, so either go for it or get the hell out of the way. Of course, most women are hoping that Jesse has some redeemable qualities and can be “fixed”. Please don’t fix him. I like his bad boy naughtiness and wouldn’t change a thing about him.
My Final Verdict: This is the first installment and there are loose ends galore here, so I have to get book #2 so I can find out what happens next now that Ava has learned some things about Jesse and has her panties all in a twist. It's off to a good start, so if you want some heat and more heat in your reading, this is a good choice.
Saturday, July 15, 2017
Author: Marcia Clark
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: June, 2013
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Description: When the daughter of a billionaire Hollywood director is found murdered after what appears to be a kidnapping gone wrong, Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller find themselves at the epicenter of a combustible and high-profile court case. Then a prime suspect is revealed to be one of Hollywood's most popular and powerful talent managers--and best friend to the victim's father. With the director vouching for the manager's innocence, the Hollywood media machine commences an all-out war designed to discredit both Rachel and her case. KILLER AMBITION is at once a thrilling ride through the darker side of Tinseltown and a stunning courtroom drama with the brilliant insider's perspective that Marcia Clark is uniquely qualified to give.
My Thoughts: Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark is the third installment in the Rachel Knight series. One of my favorite things about this series is not that it’s a Rachel Knight series. No, Marcia Clark, does better and goes one step further by writing a series with several characters that the reader gets to know and bond with.
This story packs a punch right in the feels when Rachel and Bailey are brought in to investigate the murder of the daughter of a Hollywood mover and shaker after it appears she has been kidnapped. This story hit me hard because the victim is so young and it bothers me when life is snuffed out so needlessly, but even more so when the victim is young and has so much life to live. The story delivers a swift kick when the prime suspect of the murder turns out to be the best friend of the victim’s father. My first thought, was “with friends like this, who needs enemies?”
As more details about the case emerge and the Hollywood machine gets ugly, I was so impressed with how Rachel and her posse continue to persevere and dig for the truth and not take anything at face value.
My Final Verdict: This is an amazing series that I highly recommend reading in order. I truly hope there will be more Rachel Knight stories, though there appears to only be four at this time. Marcia Clark writes intriguing stories with characters that are easy to relate to and connect with.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Killer Ambition from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Saturday, July 01, 2017
Description: The New York Times bestselling authors of Nice Is Just a Place in France and creators of the online humor and advice phenomenon Betches.com and Instagram account @Betches return to explain the brutal truths of how to date like a true betch, with insights from the Head Pro. In the age of Tinder, Hinge, or any other dating app that matches you with randos, the dating game has grown complex and confusing. Cue the Betches—first, we helped you win at basically everything, and now we’re going to help you win the most important battle a betch can face: dating. Maybe you’re a Delusional Dater who needs to get in touch with reality (seriously, he’s just NOT that f***ing into you) or perhaps you’re a TGF who needs to stop being so desperate and start playing the game. Or maybe you’re just tired of swiping left and ready for the pro of your dreams to put a 15-karat diamond ring on it so you can stop pretending to do work. Either way, we’ve got you covered. So put away the Ben & Jerry’s fro-yo (just because it’s low fat doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat the whole tub) and start dating like a winner.
Description: Jack and Jill meet on Freshers Big Party Night at university and for both of them it’s love at first sight. Despite their backgrounds, personalities and interests being poles apart, the relationship flourishes during their university years. It’s not quite as comfortable when their studies are over and they start work, Jack in the City and Jill as a teacher. Way back when they first met, they’d shared the joke that their names were those of the nursery rhyme. Down the line, they fail to recognise that their lives are matching the plot – Jack falls down and Jill comes tumbling after. Their relationship is on the rocks. Can it survive?
Description: Lizzie Brown is about to have the destination wedding of her dreams. But as this former preschool teacher knows, being a demon slayer makes everything more complicated. The vengeful Earl of Hell is still on her tail. And now it seems that one of the guests at the eccentric, seaside mansion is possessed and trying to kill her. Maybe she should just elope. The groom, studly shape-shifting griffin Dimitri Kallinikos, vows to protect her at all costs. Yet even he is acting suspiciously. And minions of the devil are popping up everywhere. Now Lizzie must protect her socialite mother, her Greek in-laws and her grandmother’s gang of biker witches – all of whom are convinced they know what’s best for her, and her big day. As the wedding draws closer, Lizzie has to learn who is behind the attacks – and fast – or risk losing everyone she loves.
Thursday, June 01, 2017
Description: Ingrid and Emily are spoiled, incompetent witches who are attempting to begin a new life in the San Juan Islands when someone they both despise dies in their book shop. To prevent themselves from getting arrested for a crime they both totally would have committed, they decide to solve the mystery themselves before going back to their rigid schedule of naps and pedicures.
They probably shouldn't have so much fun trying to prove their innocence even when their spells go awry. But they do!
Description: Nora Ephron meets Bridget Jones's Diary in Guardian columnist Stella Grey’s heartrendingly honest, witty memoir about her online odyssey to find real love in a virtual world.
Singers may croon about love being lovelier the second time around, but it can also be far more complicated. When Stella Grey’s husband leaves her for another woman, she fears she'll be unhappy and alone for the rest of her life. But daytime vodka-drinking and ice-cream are only short-term consolations. Realizing that she needs to take her future into her own hands, Stella dives into the world of online dating. What follow are 693 days of hilarious, depressing, and baffling encounters that unfold both in person and online. Stella quickly discovers that the more perfect a man appears on her screen, the warier she should be. It's a game of chance, with some players perfectly willing to lie to get what they want, whether that’s a lifetime of love or a very brief encounter.
Amid flirty emails, Skype chats, and awkward small talk over glasses of bad wine (which may or may not lead to awkward sex), Stella struggles to remain optimistic. To succeed, does she have to redefine the kind of man she’s looking for—or change the kind of woman she is? Funny, raw, and heartwarming, this book is a brutally honest account of the world of online dating—a world which so many of us are a part of, no matter our age—drawn from Stella’s hugely popular Guardian column, “Mid-life Ex-Wife” (and expanded with new material) about her search for a second chance at love.
Description: The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.
Annis always suspected that her father was himself a spy, and following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.
Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on. And so she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and, in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer.
It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?
Description: For better or worse, two families are about to become one . . .
The Ashworth sisters couldn't be more different. Becky is focused, driven and about to marry her lovely fiance, Daniel Balfour. Lizzie, on the other hand, bounces from one temp job to another, keeps falling for the wrong man and is a whirlwind of chaos in Becky's otherwise well-ordered life. But they love each other fiercely and the Ashworth way has always been family comes first.
As preparations for Becky and Daniel's wedding get underway, it soon becomes clear that the Ashworth way is not the Balfour way. Daniel's family have never thought Becky was good enough for him but he loves her and that's always been enough for the happy couple. But when Lizzie gets caught in the crossfire between Becky and the Balfours, Becky and Lizzie find themselves drifting apart at a time when they need each other the most. Will they be able to repair the damage before Becky walks down the aisle?
Warm-hearted, fun, witty and romantic, My Sister's Wedding will have you crying with laughter one second, and then crying with emotion the next. It's Vicky Pattison at her very best!
Description: Four months ago, Rebecca Pendle’s husband disappeared. So did 14-year-old Kayleigh Jackson.
Just a coincidence? Rebecca wants to believe so… But as the police start to draw parallels between Chris and Kayleigh, it’s getting harder for her to trust his innocence.
Faced with an angry town that believes Chris has abducted the teenager, Rebecca tries to discover the truth.
But what she finds shocks her more than she ever thought. How well does she really know the man she loves?
Description: You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.
Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.
Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.
Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.
You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.
What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?
Description: An archaeologist discovers her presumed-missing boyfriend is trapped more than a hundred years in the past—a love story that transcends time and place, from the author of the New York Times bestseller The Memory Thief.
Eight years after the unsolved disappearance of her boyfriend Max Adair, archaeologist Isabel Griffin has managed to move on and rebuild her life with her young daughter, Finn, her last tie to Max. But after a series of strange incidents, Isabel begins to wonder if Max might still be alive somewhere, trying to communicate with her. She has no idea that the where isn’t the problem—it’s the when. Max has slipped through time and place, landing on his ancestral family plantation in 1816 Barbados, on the eve of a historic slave uprising. As Isabel searches for answers, Max must figure out not only how to survive the violence to come, but how to get back to his own century, the woman he loves, and the daughter he has only ever met in his dreams.
Description: Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she's dated since high school has gone on to marry the next girl they date. Not two or three girls down the road. The very next one.
Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?
When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she's not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle is wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?
Description: Book two in The Wedding Pact series.
Divorce attorney Blair Hansen is convinced that marriage should be based on practicality, not passion. But as her own wedding approaches, she finds herself remembering her law school boyfriend, the only man she's ever loved, and regretting what might have been. Then a twist of fate lands Garrett back in her life, and the man who loomed large in her past is suddenly casting a shadow over her wedding, making her question everything. To complicate matters further, the job she loves is in peril, and she can feel the ‘perfect’ life she’s fashioned for herself start to crumble under her feet. Could everything she's believed about life and love be wrong?
Garrett Lowry is a divorce attorney who's ready to settle down. The problem is that he can’t find a woman who suits him nearly as well as the one he loved and lost. He broke her heart by playing the field after their break up—something he’s always regretted. But after months of pining for Blair, Garrett stumbles across her in a freak coincidence—and then destiny keeps throwing them together, the coincidences becoming ever more unlikely. He’s convinced it's a sign they should give their love a second chance, but Blair is engaged to another man—a man who is absolutely wrong for her.
Can Garrett convince Blair that a player once isn’t a player forever, and that happy endings aren’t just for dreamers
Description: Maid of honor Sarah Carlton hasn’t failed at anything since her high school science project was sabotaged by a relentless competitor. So, she’ll do whatever it takes to make her best friend Jill’s wedding absolutely perfect. That includes taking the next flight out of Sacramento to retrieve the panicked bride’s cherished family wedding charm from her late grandmother’s attic in Atlanta Georgia.
Unfortunately, someone else has offered to come to the bride’s rescue—best man Ben Atkins, the same man who destroyed Sarah’s high school science project all those years ago. Now he wants to one-up her by retrieving the charm first? Sarah refuses to let that happen. The race is on.
When Sarah and Ben arrive in Atlanta, instead of finding the wedding charm there’s a letter from the bride’s grandmother directing the bride and groom to complete a series of tasks in order to prove their commitment to each other. With the wedding only two days away, Sarah and Ben must join forces by pretending to be the bride and groom in order to earn the wedding charm. Should be a cinch. After all, how hard can it be to fake true love for forty-eight hours?
Friday, May 05, 2017
Author: Michele Gorman
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publication Date: October, 2014
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: Cinderella meets Falling Down in this wickedly funny tale about having it all
Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues who put the "W" in banker.
How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and loses it all?
With humor and empathy, Perfect Girl lays bare the balancing act that working women face in a man's world
My Thoughts: Michele Gorman is one of my favorite authors in the chick-lit genre. Her stories and characters come alive with such bright, vibrant color, the reader feels a personal connection with the characters that is like being a participant in the story instead of a bystander.
I liked Carol immensely. She is easy to relate to with her intense desire to please everyone and though it bothered me how she is treated by the people in her life, she finds her courage and spine and comes out on top. In her shoes, I would probably be in jail facing homicide charges. It was easy for me to see a lot of myself in this story and I am sure other readers will have the same revelation.
I admired Carol for her strength of character and ability to remain sane while she is being pulled into so many different directions and then to top it off, she has to work for the boss from Hell who will throw her under the bus for his unethical behavior. She has a selfish mother and sister who think the world revolves around them and expect Carol to drop everything when they beckon and when Carol stands up for herself, the guilt trip is slathered on so thick, you could choke on it. Carol’s boyfriend, Ben, is a tool. He takes Carol for granted and expects her to make all the effort in the relationship. It’s a good thing he is a fictional character because when I found out just how much of a heel he turns out to be, I would have happily throttled him with my Kindle until he fell down and stopped moving.
My Final Verdict: If you are looking for a very good story about a woman who is a doormat, trying to be everything for everybody, but comes out on top, I highly recommend Perfect Girl by the very talented Michele Gorman. Don’t stop there. Just read all of her books…seriously.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Perfect Girl from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Sunday, April 30, 2017
Description: Every story needs a decent climax...
There are plenty of things Christina Barclay would like to do before she hits thirty at Easter. Having an orgasm with somebody else in the room is most definitely one of them.
Up to now, her love life has been sorely lacking in the toe-curling department - but luckily for Christina, she's just started dating Matthew Adrian Bunion, a man whose bedroom inexperience is more than made up for by his never-ending enthusiasm. Mr Bunion will not rest until his new girlfriend is satisfied - no matter what the cost in rechargeable batteries, physical injury or public embarrassment.
From the best-selling author of BLUE CHRISTMAS BALLS and LOVE... FROM BOTH SIDES, this is the story of one woman and one man on an epic quest to come together, and celebrate an Easter birthday in style.
Description: Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!
Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.
Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.
There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.
Description: Meet Mavis Upton.
As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It's time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong?
Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum's much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America.
Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham's humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.
Description: Cass Lehman has a terrifying 'gift'...The youngest in a family of extraordinary women with supernatural talents, Cass is cursed with the not-so-sexy gift of seeing the past...but not just any past; she sees death. For years she's hidden herself away in her family home. Now, desperate for a better life, she ventures into sleepy Jewel Bay, only to stumble upon murder and mayhem and a killer at large who's long been lurking in their midst. Taking a chance, Cass volunteers to assist Detective Ed Dyson with the investigation. Will Cass be able to save the latest victim - and herself?
Description: When stylish Hillary Whitney dies alone in a locked, windowless conference room at the offices of high-concept magazine RAGE Fashion Book, her death is initially ruled an unfortunate side effect of the unrelenting pressure to be thin.
But two months later, a cryptic note in her handwriting ends up in the office of the NYPD and the case is reopened, leading Det. Mark Hutton straight into the glamorous life of hardworking RAGE editor Catherine Ono, who insists on joining the investigation. Surrounded by a supporting cast of party girls, Type A narcissists and half-dead socialites, Cat and her colleague Bess Bonner are determined to solve the case and achieve sartorial perfection. But their amateur detective work has disastrous results, and the two ingenues are caught in a web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that changes their lives forever.
Viciously funny, this sharp and satirical take on the politics of women's bodies and women's work is an addictive debut novel.
Description: It’s going to be ever so hard to keep this secret!
David wants Lane and she wants him back.
But to a known lothario like him, how will Lane ever measure up in the bedroom? With just one disastrous sexual encounter to her name, Lane knows she needs help in that department, and fast – before David loses interest.
So when Adam, her best mate’s brother (with his own impressive reputation), agrees to her bizarre proposal, she’s ready to learn everything he has to offer about how to please a guy in bed. But as she soon discovers, there is no textbook for love…
Description: One girl. Two guys. It's complicated.
First there is Isaac, the ex-boyfriend who threatens her move to a sunny new life on the west coast when he suddenly comes back into the picture. The chemistry is intoxicating and Josie starts eating, breathing, and sleeping with him again until the move. Things are hard enough saying goodbye to her childhood home and very best friends, but when Isaac makes it seem like he might actually want her to stay, Josie wonders if she’s giving up on him too quickly.
Josie takes the plunge and moves to California.
Then comes Carter. Sweet, doting - and, oh my god! - former boy band heartthrob, Carter. Josie’s new life falls into place, with new friends and a job working as the personal assistant for Carter as he plans the re-launch of his career. When it seems like there might be something between Josie and her new boss, she can’t help but hold back in fear of crossing a line and, worse yet, getting her heart crushed. Once again.
What spirals into a complicated, heart wrenching, unexpected love triangle forces Josie to face a decision that she is not sure she can make. Carter or Isaac. Or - who knows?
It’s Sex in the City meets Bridget Jones Diary under the Hollywood sign. A masterful debut novel of love, sex and rock & roll in the New Adult genre.
Description: Three best friends decide to open a wine bar in Echo Park LA, where they encounter the trials and tribulations of dating, love, and life in Kim Gruenenfelder's Love the Wine You're With.
Jessie is finally about to realize her life-long goal of owning her own house, the first step to a wonderful marriage, kids, and life with her boyfriend of three years, Kevin; except after they find the perfect place, Kevin suddenly gets cold feet.
Nat is having a passionate affair with her gorgeous British boss Marc—unfortunately, he’s married. Now what?
Holly is an actress who still waits tables to pay the bills, and who is coping with the recent loss of her father. A particularly bad audition, where she snaps and tells off a big director, leads her to wonder what to do when you stop loving what you do. (And also what to do about her hot neighbor. Because, you know, hot neighbor.)
After each girl finishes a particularly awful workday, the three friends meet at their favorite wine bar, which has been sold by its owner for a huge profit and will close that night. In a moment of tipsy brazenness, Jessie suggests that the three of them open their own wine bar in the gentrifying Echo Park area of Los Angeles. An unapologetically girly place for good wine and good friends—which leads to a challenge for each woman: how do you fix a life that’s not actually broken, but needs an upgrade?
Description: Marnie Martin’s formerly perfect life is not quite going to plan.
Hard-hitting newspaper journalist turned stay-at-home mum and part-time failing food columnist, Marnie is wondering when her life went so wrong.
While her husband Matt’s career takes off, she’s left with the impossible task of pairing socks and locating Lego. His late nights at the office are turning into late nights who knows where else and they haven’t had a proper conversation in weeks, sex in months, or a full night’s sleep in years.
On the brink of losing everything when a fantasy about movie star Maddox Wolfe leads to a missed deadline and a disastrous case of food poisoning, Marnie becomes Mrs. Make Believe: anonymous blogger, secret spiller, and voice of imperfect mums everywhere.
However, Marnie Martin could never have imagined that her movie star daydream would walk off the screen and into her reality, turning her already muddled world totally on its head.
Will Marnie find happiness in the arms of the (literal) man of her dreams? Or will she find that true love is just make believe?
Description: Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle--even if it is her best friend's wedding. She's too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol' novel in the drawer to waste time on any man, unless it's Jason Segel. But when her be-fris stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they've hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She's skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she's out to prove she hasn't been too picky with men.
However, when a familiar fella's profile pops up--the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work (Nick)--Rae swipes herself right into a new problem...
Description: This heart-warming story is set in a time when computers and mobile phones were still in their infancy...
It is almost Christmas – one of the most wonderful times of the year. Nearly everyone is eagerly looking forward to spending the festive season with their loved ones. Children see it as a magical time. A time when wishes come true and longed for gifts miraculously appear under the Christmas tree.
But what about those who are facing Christmas alone? When Christmas means nothing more to them than working from home, rather than the office or the college?
Bill and Sally are two such people. Both are shy and rather lonely; both left behind when the rest of the country was caught up in the changes of the swinging sixties. Will they avoid the holiday season, as they usually do and spend it alone? Or, this year, just for a change, will Christmas catch up with them?
Though this story is set during the run up to Christmas, it is a tender love story to be enjoyed at any time of the year.
Description: We used to be best friends…
Magda used to be the girl everyone wanted to be – most likely to achieve her every wish. That is until suddenly her perfect life seems to be anything but!
Sophia has never regretted her life, sure it isn’t perfect, but being a single mum to a daughter she loves is pretty great. Perhaps she never moved away from home, or got to live out her dreams, but what she has right now isn’t so bad.
That is until an invitation to their school reunion arrives, throwing both their lives into a spin – because these two used to be friends and it might finally be time to face up to that one big mistake that happened all those years ago…
Description: Dagan Krayl, the Underworld's most powerful soul reaper, is the demigod son of the evil god Sutekh. He's on a mission to find his murdered brother's remains and resurrect him, but resurrection means that the secrets carried into death would be released and, with them, a war that could end gods and mankind alike.
Roxy Tam is searching for the same thing, but for completely different reasons. She means to make certain that the remains don’t fall into Sutekh’s hands, and that the soul reapers do not reanimate their fallen comrade. As a Daughter of Aset, Roxy is tasked with the protection of the human race, and if that means thwarting an all powerful soul reaper and making certain his dead brother stays dead, so be it. But when Roxy sees Dagan face-to-face, she realizes that she has met him once before—a meeting that changed her life forever.
Neither Dagan nor Roxy expects to join forces for the sake of mankind. Or to have their loyalties tested as they struggle against treachery, betrayal and the potent desire that threatens to consume them both.
Description: They'd met on their first day at school four little girls who were all very different from each other but who somehow became close friends. Their friendship has now lasted thirty-five years.
As their birthdays all fall in the same week they long ago made a pact to spend each big decade birthday together. So far they'd managed it.
Now as their thirty-ninth birthday looms, Angel, a famous Hollywood actress, announces that this will be her last birthday. Terrified of aging, she absolutely refuses to turn 40. So Lexi, the mother hen of the group and an artist, invites them to Florida for a week-long celebration of this, their last birthday together. Brenda, mother to five grown-up children, flies in from Dublin, eagerly looking forward to her first foreign holiday ever. Mel, however, has to be pried away from New York where she is a successful partner in a law firm - Mel is a workaholic with no other friends or love in her life.
The four come together for the celebration but soon things start to unravel and the week ends disastrously. Lexi is distraught. Can their friendship endure? Only time will tell.
Description: The Friday Night Brides are back! And this time, it’s their first season running the business! It was one thing to just model in a weekly fashion show, it’s quite another to be the ones calling the shots and making future brides’ dreams come true. Their first client has them wondering if they’re really prepared for their new roles!
The Bride: Julianne is big on fitness, small on patience. And planning her wedding is grating on her every last nerve. As a Zumba instructor, she loves the freedom to create and choreograph her routines and help others achieve their goals, but having to stand back and let others choreograph her big day has her wanting to hip-hop toward eloping!
The Matron of Honor: As the only married member of the bridal party, Natalie considers herself the aficionado on all-things weddings. And even though her time in the spotlight is over, that doesn’t mean she isn’t full of ideas on how her best friend’s wedding should look and feel and be! And it doesn’t take long for her to realize that maybe it’s not so much that she’s wanting to help as it is that she’s afraid of her own honeymoon ending.
The Bride’s Sister: Nothing screams unwanted relationship advice than when your younger sister gets married before you. It’s not that Harper doesn’t want to get married, after three failed engagements she really does! But finding the right man to walk down the aisle with is proving harder than she thought. And it gets even harder when constantly being compared to the perfect couple!
The Reluctant Bridesmaid: There is nothing Kayla wants more than to see one of her best friend’s get married…if only the whole process wasn’t so exhausting! Travel and adventure and being on the go fuels her. Having to stay in one place for an extended period of time while wearing taffeta? Not so much. Her job tends to take her away on a moment’s notice and this is one time she may have to pass up the trip of a lifetime in the name of friendship.
Description: You need to learn the rules, fast!
Sarah’s brother Adam has been educating her best friend Lane in the arts of the Kama Sutra for weeks, all in the pursuit of Lane’s real target, David Bennett. So when Sarah finds herself alone with David at an exhibition, weeping over her own terrible dating history, they strike up a conversation. A budding artist, he wants to paint her, so she agrees in return for a guarantee that he’ll find her a relationship that can last more than three weeks (her rather dismal personal best).
She reassures herself that she isn’t betraying Lane. After all, Sarah wants marriage and 2.5 kids, and David has made it more than clear he will never want that. Plus he’s going to sleep with Lane any day now. Isn’t he?
Description: The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive - but life has other ideas.
Saskia is an up-and-coming jewelry designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family's money. They're passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy's job in jeopardy and Saskia's jewelry label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.
As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?
Description: FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare is known for her fierce dedication and discipline on the job, chasing down the world’s most wanted criminals and putting them behind bars. Her boss thinks she is tenacious and ambitious; her friends think she is tough, stubborn, and maybe even a bit obsessed. And while Kate has made quite a name for herself for the past five years, the only name she’s cared about is Nicolas Fox—an international crook she wants in more ways than one.
Audacious, handsome, and dangerously charming, Nicolas Fox is a natural con man, notorious for running elaborate scams on very high-profile people. At first he did it for the money. Now he does it for the thrill. He knows that the FBI has been hot on his trail—particularly Kate O’Hare, who has been watching his every move. For Nick, there’s no greater rush than being pursued by a beautiful woman . . . even one who aims to lock him up. But just when it seems that Nicolas Fox has been captured for good, he pulls off his greatest con of all: he convinces the FBI to offer him a job, working side by side with Special Agent Kate O’Hare.
Problem is, teaming up to stop a corrupt investment banker who’s hiding on a private island in Indonesia is going to test O’Hare’s patience and Fox’s skill. Not to mention the skills of their ragtag team made up of flamboyant actors, wanted wheelmen, and Kate’s dad. High-speed chases, pirates, and Toblerone bars are all in a day’s work . . . if O’Hare and Fox don’t kill each other first.
Description: The hole they dug was not deep. A white flour bag encased the little body. Three small faces watched from the window, eyes black with terror.
The child in the middle spoke without turning his head. ‘I wonder which one of us will be next?’
When a woman’s body is discovered in a cathedral and hours later a young man is found hanging from a tree outside his home, Detective Lottie Parker is called in to lead the investigation. Both bodies have the same distinctive tattoo clumsily inscribed on their legs. It’s clear the pair are connected, but how?
The trail leads Lottie to St Angela’s, a former children’s home, with a dark connection to her own family history. Suddenly the case just got personal.
As Lottie begins to link the current victims to unsolved murders decades old, two teenage boys go missing. She must close in on the killer before they strike again, but in doing so is she putting her own children in terrifying danger?
Lottie is about to come face to face with a twisted soul who has a very warped idea of justice.
Description: Everyone deserves a second chance…don’t they? Jenny Masters finds herself living the modern dream. Wife to a millionaire, living in a mansion and mother to Kardashian-obsessed ten-year-old April, there isn’t anything missing. Until, her whole world comes crashing down, forcing Jenny and April to leave behind their glittering life and start over with nothing.
With village gossip following her wherever she goes, she finds refuge and a job in the new coffee shop in town. As the days pass Jenny fears she doesn’t have what it takes to pick herself back up and give April the life she always wanted to. But with the help of enigmatic new boss Noah, and housemate Elle, Jenny realises it’s never too late to become the woman life really intended you to be!
Description: Objectively, Sophie is a success: she's got a coveted job at a top consulting firm, a Manhattan apartment, and a passport full of stamps. It isn't quite what she dreamed of when she was a teenager dog-earing pages in exotic travel guides, but it's secure. Then her best friend bails just hours after they arrive in Hong Kong for a girls' trip, and Sophie falls for Carson, a free spirited, globetrotting American artist. He begs her to join him on his haphazard journey, but she chooses responsibility and her five-year plan.
Back in New York, that plan feels less and less appealing. As Sophie recalls the dreams she's suppressed, the brief international jaunts she sneaks in between business trips no longer feel like enough. Carson isn't ready to let her go either, but as they try to figure out their relationship, Sophie realizes she may have to pursue her passions with or without him.
Description: Young interior designer Ava O’Shea has an appointment for a first consultation at The Manor with the owner, Mr Jesse Ward. She is expecting nothing more than an overweight, cravat wearing, well-to-do countryman, and on arrival, nothing would suggest otherwise. How wrong could she be? This Man is devastatingly handsome, charming and confident. He is also a conceited, hedonistic playboy, who knows no boundaries. Ava desperately does not want to be attracted to him, but she can’t control the overwhelming effect he has on her. Every instinct is telling her to run, so she does, but Jesse Ward is not so willing to let her go. He wants her and is determined to have her. She knows she is heading for heartbreak, but how can she run when he won’t let her?
Description: What happens when two people who hate each other are forced to cooperate by law? A fun, feisty, feel-good romance for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.
Amalia and Ryan met at Yale Law School, from which their mutual dislike for one another was born.
Amalia Berger is a successful, high society New York lawyer. Chicago based lawyer Ryan O'Moore is the eldest of four sons whose chaotic family run a pub in the heart of the Big Apple.
New York beckons after Ryan is offered a promotion. But when the defence lawyer of his first case is the one and only Amalia Berger, things become complicated.
The courtroom clash escalates between them to the point that the judge sentences them both to a punishment of community service, forcing them to spend time together...
They say in order to find yourself you have to go home, but what if home is what you’re escaping from. I went to Miami to discover myself; never in my wildest dreams, did I think home would become a three-letter word.
I was the dream.
I was the illusion.
I was the fantasy.
Everything went to hell in a hand basket the moment we laid eyes on each other.
I wanted him.
He wanted me.
I have always been a man who made decisions based on other people’s feelings, wants, and desires.
I was selfless.
I never wanted to hurt anyone.
The moment I met her… I wanted her.
I loved her.
For the woman she was.
For the woman she wanted to be.
But most of all…
For the woman she was, when she was with me.
This isn’t a love story, but a story about love.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Author: Menna van Praag
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: December, 2014
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Description: Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her Grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
My Thoughts: An enjoyable story by new to me author Menna van Praag, The Dress Shop of Dreams could have used more magic to really knock my socks off. The magic that is referred to and inferred throughout this book really doesn’t have an impact on any of the characters and certainly not brought on by Etta. The magic of this story is that it resides within each of the characters and is up to them to reach for it and bring it to life within their lives.
This story is not a fast read. It’s very methodical and moves at a snail’s pace at times. Normally, that would annoy me, but with so many characters and their stories overlapping and intertwining with one another, if this book moved faster than it did, I would have been hopelessly lost.
Parts of this story made me laugh, made me cry and made me so angry I wanted to throw the Kindle against the wall in frustration. The magic awaiting all of the characters was a joy to behold and I had a hard time deciding which character was my favorite.
My Final Verdict: This is not a great book or what I would call “keeper-shelf”, but it was a good story that kept me engaged and interested in the characters and what would become of them all. I recommend this book to readers who have a curious nature about what will happen next.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Dress Shop of Dreams from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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