Saturday, August 29, 2015

How To Be A Grown-Up by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

3.5 Star

Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like taking a break from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, juggling their science projects, flu season, and pajama days, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time twenty-somethings.

A day out of b-school, these girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion that the future of digital media is a high-end lifestyle site for kids! (Not that anyone who works there has any, or knows the first thing about actual children.) Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? With her family hanging by a thread, Rory must adapt to this hyper-digitized, over-glamorized, narcissistic world of millennials whatever it takes.



Kathryn - 3.5 Star

There were many parts of How to be a grown up that I was immediately drawn to. The Rory that was the mother was endearing and natural and her alternating between so loving with her kids and wanted to throttle them was an honest portrayal of motherhood (at least from my own perspective!). I also liked that the authors gave a voice to both stay at home parents and working parents, gave us an idea of both their existences and at one point even said the world would not function in today’s society without having both. (We really need to stop beating ourselves up!).

I found the relationship between Rory and her husband really frustrating though. I never really got a good feel for them loving each other in the past and his selfishness was so infuriating I wasn’t sure why she didn’t just lose her mind at every turn.  He just removed himself from his marriage and fatherhood with zero explanation and didn’t get any repercussions to speak of- not a single person gave him a hard time or tried to get him to come back to his kids or even call them with a cause.  I would have liked his mother to step up and make him be responsible at least.

Rory picks herself up and re-inserts herself back into a career (luckily she’s a very strong creative business person and found a niche to create financial stability). I loved her job and all the descriptions of her work but she seems to go back to the working world without so much as a blink- it’s as if she’s completely unfazed by her husband’s desertion?  I found their separation emotionless.

The kids were perfect- I’ve always found Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin can portray children well so I found myself promptly rooting for them to come out of the fray as unscathed as possible. 
I always enjoy novels by these authors but there were some questions for me as the emotions seemed to be lacking.

Thank you to Atria Books for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin:


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Would you rather...with Jen Cumming

Please welcome Jen Cumming, author of Ms.Conception.

Jen Cumming:

 
Jen had two dreams: to be a mother and a writer. The first, it turns out, was much harder to accomplish, but it gave her plenty to work with for her second dream. Now she’s realized both and traded drug cocktails, injections and early morning line-ups at the fertility clinic for juice boxes, playdates and evening PTA meetings. Jen lives in Toronto with her husband and their two children.


Connect with Jen:
Website    Facebook     Twitter   Goodreads


Would You Rather... 
with Jen Cumming

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chips – hmm, unless it’s with wine…then cheese for sure.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Bridget Jones – Have been to “smug married couples” dinners many times before marrying.  Plus I love everything British.

Wine, beer or vodka?

Wine (or something bubbly).

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa vacation (my idea of roughing it is “no room service,” although my kids and husband would love to go camping).

Water or mountains?

Water.

Zombies or vampires?

Vampires.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs, hands down.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke (I rarely drink carbonated drinks – but I’d grab a Diet Coke first).

Coffee or tea?

Tea – chai tea every morning, or a London Fog as a treat.

Dine out or take away?

Take away – I can relax and enjoy at home.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Truthfully, flats.

Physical Book or ebook?

Physical book.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcover.

Pen or pencil?

Pen.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Downton Abbey – my absolute favourite these days, my British love affair continues.

Drama or comedy?

Comedy.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Hunger Games.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

 Lip-gloss.

Facebook or Twiter?

Facebook.

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

100% plotter – even in life I can’t fly by the seat of my pants.

Ms.Conception

Abigail Nichols has tried everything from rash-inducing herbal creams to acupuncture in a desperate, last-ditch effort to get pregnant. Wedged into her iPhone schedule among new business pitches and rebranding design meetings is Abby’s ovulation cycle, along with potential opportunities for illicit afternoon quickies. With all of their hopes and savings on the table, Abby and her husband Jack enter the whispered world of fertility clinics. Along with a meddling mother-in-law, competitive pregnancies, and constant obligatory sex, Abby’s baby-track mind conspires to ravage her career, her marriage, and her sanity. One thing she knows for sure: a healthy sense of humor (and the occasional glass of red wine) is the best coping strategy. One thing she wishes she knew: whether it will be enough. 




Available at:

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Things you've inherited from your mother by Hollie Adams

3 Star

Everyone deals with grief in their own personal way. Take Carrie, for example. To get over her mother’s death from ovarian cancer, she launches a passive-aggressive war with her fellow office workers, embarks on a campaign designed to let her ex-husband know she’s over him (which naturally only pushes her teenage daughter farther away), and plots to rid herself of her mother’s overweight cat, all the while consuming heroic quantities of red wine, spiked coffee, and coffin nails. Nobody’s perfect.

Situated at the midpoint between booze-soaked mayhem and middle-aged ennui, Things You’ve Inherited From Your Mother is a riotous assemblage of found objects, Choose Your Own Adventure-style in-jokes and useful facts about mice. In her startlingly funny first novel, Hollie Adams takes the conventional wisdom about “likeable” literary heroines and shoves it down an elevator shaft. 



Sabrina-Kate - 3 Star

Having recently been through loss myself, the idea of this book appealed to me because as it says, “Everyone deals with grief in their own personal way.” I thought that this book would be a little bit more serious about the topic but it turned out to be much more of a humorous oeuvre instead. I suppose that this preconception of mine changed what I thought about it somewhat. I did enjoy the book for what it was though I found the characters very strange and hard to feel for or like at times.

Carrie appeared to be spiraling out of control following the loss of her mother, which is something 
that anyone who is touched by grief probably feels at some time. The extremes she went to though are what I found a little difficult to appreciate or understand. As the mother of a teenage daughter, I would have hoped she would be able to hold it together a little bit more for her child.

The writing style was unique and the story was like none other, but I am not sure that it would be a story that would have mass appeal unless you like a story that is unapologetically unique and very zany. Not necessarily my cup of tea, especially when dealing with such a serious topic, though the comic relief might be just what some are searching for.

Thank you to NeWest Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.



Connect with Hollie Adams:


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby

3 Star

Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety. 

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading. 

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.



Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Kindle    Nook    Kobo


Kathryn - 3 Star

I was intrigued by the concepts in this novel from the very start and have always had a fascination with things like energy transference. Not sure I’m entirely a believer, until it happens to me it’s hard to truly get on board…but this book lends itself to an understanding of the possibility while accepting the possibility of scepticism.

I enjoyed Bette Lee Crosby’s writing style, it’s the first novel of hers that I have read, and I appreciated her ease of words.

My dilemma with the book is that I wanted more. I’m not sure what the intention was in this particular publication- from the author’s notes at the back each object in The Memory House can be linked to another one of her novels which is interesting but doesn’t actually give any closure in this book if this is the only one that you’ve read.

I felt like there was so much left unsaid and un-done to be able to give this novel the review stars I wanted to give it.  The subject was fascinating, the writing was lovely but the entity of this as a “novel” seemed so incomplete that I couldn’t give it the rating I feel it would have deserved.  I would advise perhaps reading one of the author’s other novels first and then picking this up as an accompaniment perhaps?


I had so many unanswered questions…did Annie take over where Ophelia left off?  Did Annie end up having a relationship with Oliver? Edward?  What happened to the apothecary shop?  How much time did Ophelia and Annie have together?  Too much was left undone for me to feel satisfied and while I realise this was intended as a first book in a series I was still left frustrated.


Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Bette Lee Crosby:




Thursday, August 20, 2015

Would you rather...with Sidney Halston

Please welcome Sidney Halston, author of Laid Out.

Sidney Halston:

 

USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It” Nike, and that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red, among four other novels currently in the works, including the sequel to Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing.

Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading… She’s a reader first and a writer second. 



Connect with Sidney:
Website    Facebook     Twitter   Goodreads


Would You Rather... 
with Sidney Halston

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

CHIPS! Although Cheese Puffs are my favorite. Would that fall into chips or cheese catagory?

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Carrie Bradshaw. Sex and fashion, baby!

Wine, beer or vodka?

Neither, scotch.

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa vacation.

Water or mountains?

Water.

Zombies or vampires?

Vampires (True Blood!)

Dogs or cats?

Dogs.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. Tea is ewww.

Dine out or take away?

Take away.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

High Heels.


Physical Book or ebook?

Ugh. I want to say physical book BUT I haven't purchased a physical book in years. I want my books NOW and eBooks are so easy. Instant gratification!

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcover.

Pen or pencil?

Pen.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Oh. Hmm? Mad Men or Breaking Bad? Do I have to choose? Breaking Bad.

Drama or comedy?

Comedy.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Twilight.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Lipstick. Red lipstick.

Facebook or Twiter?

Facebook.

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

Fly by the seat of my pants.
I'm still hung up over Breaking Bad and Mad Men!

Thanks for having me today!

Laid Out

Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.

Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.

Available at:

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

5 Star

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well? 




Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Anyone who has read the Princess Diaries knows that they are very addictive. Even though they are considered YA, I have obviously read, and loved, them. So I was quite pleased to discover that there would be the first adult installment in this series and I was not disappointed.

This story is the next logical step in the series, which brings Mia to the next step in her life, marriage. I loved catching up with the characters in this book and seeing where life had brought them. The best part though? Reading that they were still very much themselves, just older and perhaps a bit wiser.

Another great thing about this book is that even though you should read the rest of the series because it is just SO GOOD,  this book can definitely stand on its own with appropriate reminders and small descriptions of things from the past books so you never feel lost. It was almost like a tiny nostalgic trip at times when Mia would reminisce or remember something from one of the previous stories which also made it even more dear to me.

Written in the same classic writing style, Royal Wedding was a book that captured my heart, made me dream and entertained me with the usual flurry of activity and intrigue surrounding Mia and her fairytale life. So if you have read the rest of the series, you won't be disappointed and if not, maybe you should discover something new and wonderful!


Thank you to William Morrow for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Meg Cabot:
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Time For Friends by Patricia Scanlon

4 Star

When are the boundaries of friendship pushed too far, and when is it time to stop flying over oceans for someone who wouldn't jump over a puddle for you? There comes a time when Hilary Hammond has to make that call.

Hilary and Colette O'Mahony have been friends since childhood, but when irrepressible Jonathan Harpur breezes into Hilary's life and goes into business with her, Colette is not pleased.

After their first encounter, Colette thinks he's a pushy upstart; while he thinks she's a snobby little diva. And so the battle lines are drawn and Hilary is square in the middle.

But as the years roll by and each of them is faced with difficult times and tough decisions, one thing is clear: to have a friend you must be a friend.




Kathryn - 4 Star

A multi-generational tale of friendship that spanned decades A Time for Friends was an engrossing read. I may have found it took a few chapters to get everyone straightened out but in the end the relationships were solidly portrayed and you knew who they all were.

It was interesting to get a perspective on the friendships through the generations. I wish we’d been given a preliminary chapter or two about the two mothers, Sally and Jacqueline, in addition to the prologue. Though we know that essentially Sally was called upon to babysit it would have been interesting to see how this came about as a weekly occurrence. Their mixing in the same “circles” seemed unlikely during their adult lives? Perhaps they were themselves childhood friends as we know Jacqueline worked very hard to become a solicitor?

I was really frustrated by Colette-   I understood that she had a reputation to maintain and could even accept that she was used to having things her own way but what annoyed me was her insistence that Hilary remained her friend when they clearly had nothing left in common.  The jealousy was obvious every time they were together and Hilary really didn’t need the relationship any more either. It was apparent that she had everything she needed in Jonathan and other acquaintances so why insist on putting up with Hilary’s antics?

One of my favourite aspects of the novel was the reflection of the various marriages in the friendships. Patricia Scanlon touches on several marital issues while still keeping focus on the friendships being examined as the main focus.

The novel was really easy to read, the characters were natural and I really enjoyed the novel.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Patricia Scanlon:


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