Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Talli Roland's The Hating Game - Help her take on Amazon!

When we were approached several months ago by Talli Roland to review her debut novel, The Hating Game, the premise grabbed me and I jumped at the chance. Now that I've sunk my teeth into it, I'm thrilled she contacted us. I'm thoroughly enjoying the book, although unfortunately have not finished it before her online splash! Halfway through this novel though, I can say that I'm eager to read more and can't wait to see how it ends and I'm enjoying Mattie John's take no prisoner attitude!  Let's help Talli out and make her debut novel top the Kindle charts!  

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.


No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback

Keep up with the latest at www.talliroland.com


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing
recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting
down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating
strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out
long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's
revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront
her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally
wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose
 career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

With Her Boots On by Lisa Dow

4 Star

Mel Melrose is preparing to be a bridesmaid in her brother's wedding, but the over-the-top, construction cone coloured dresses and drunken bridal showers aren't the only stressors in her life. Worrying about her boyfriend's lack of commitment as the wedding looms, Mel's career is suddenly turned upside down but when she turns to her boyfriend for comfort she finds him interested in all things modern dance instead of her. With her life spiraling out of control, will the control freak in Mel manage to pull herself from the edge where she's teetering in her four-inch Prada boots?

Lydia - 4 Star

With Her Boots On has some hilarious moments and I laughed out loud frequently right from the first page. This is the story of Mel finding herself, discovering aspects of her personality she didn't necessarily want to accept, and finally learning and moving on.  I loved that she didn't shove her relationship issues under the rug, but dealt with an learned from them.

I found out half way through this novel that it`s a sequel and I had no idea, so it obviously stands well on it's own. Although somewhat predictable, this novel was still a satisfying read and I quite enjoyed the later part of the novel during Mel's journey of self discovery.  

Unfortunately there were a few inconsistencies that threw me including Mel's fear of sea creatures and then a mention of her having fish. There was also a mention of a Wrangler Cowboy commercial in the early 1980's which was such a tiny spot in the book, but it threw me right out trying to figure out when exactly this novel took place and whether the characters would remember (I don't). I'm just being really nit picky I know, but they really did throw me.

This novel moved along at a rapid pace, was frequently funny and I enjoyed how Mel manages to get out of her shell and seeing her self-discovery journey. I loved the relationship between Mel and her best friend, Kit, and their two families. I thought all the characters were well drawn and this novel had some quirky and unusual elements including Mel's personal translator at work, and the lawn ornament loving neighbours. There were definitely some unforgettable aspects to this novel.  

Overall, I really enjoyed reading With Her Boots On and will look out for Lisa Dow novels in the future.

Kathryn- 4 Star

I found this novel hilarious and would definitely like to read the prequel- I agree with Lydia though that With Her Boots On stands very well on its own and I never had a notion that I was missing any important information.

For me there were some writing style issues in the first few chapters - it seemed a little clumsy and not very well edited but all of a sudden though the writing tightened up and the story just started to flow off the pages and I was hooked!   Although there were a storyline things that were a little predictable I found Lisa Dow had a great way of making a funny situation extremely visual and so intense sometimes that I laughed out loud (at least twice- probably more!). 

I loved Mel and Kit and their siblings and their parents so much that I wanted to drive downtown and figure out where they lived so I could meet them.  The parents in particular were too funny and if they show up Dow’s prequel I will be very happy!  Mel and Kit are very close but their relationship didn’t feel forced at all- they seemed to have an easy respect for each other and I loved that they were even close with each other’s siblings.  It’s really nice to have a friendship be so long-standing and close that they families are intertwined.  I also liked that we were introduced to Mel through her career as well as her friendship with Kit and although the novel centered around Mel becoming single again I was never under the impression that she wouldn’t bounce back.

I will definitely remember this novel initially for a couple of key moments but in fact there are a lot of things that were appealing and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another Lisa Dow novel. 
Thank you to McArthur and Company for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Lisa Dow:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lydia and Kathryn Stuck on a Desert Island.

We only thought it fair that we should answer the same questions we're asking authors and thought it might give you a chance to get to know us a bit better too!


1. If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

2. What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?
My first reaction was my Burt's Bees lip balm. I'm not sure I could live without it, having had a lip balm addiction since discovering The Body Shop's strawberry tubs in high school, but I'm thinking a pillow would last much longer (yes, lip balm doesn't last long with me) and provide much needed comfort. I'm going with a pillow.  Final answer.

3. What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use? 
A knife of some sort. I'm thinking machete.

4. Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy? 
I enjoy being alone, so it might not bother me for a while, although the nights would probably scare the bejeepers out of me. Hopefully #5 would help with that and keep me amused for longer.

5. If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?
I guess I can get dreamy without a significant other: Johnny Depp – because he would have no choice but to fall for me with no one else around and my twenty year crush will finally be realized.

6. What modern technology would you miss the most?
Without a second thought:  my iphone.

7. What food or beverage would you miss the most?
Greasy Carbs if I have to pick something. In reality, I'd probably miss having a variety of food. I tend to get bored easily and swilling coconut juice and munching fish for days might make me insane.

8. How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?
A week.  Maybe longer with Johnny.

9. What is the first thing you would do when rescued?
Shower. Twice.

10. What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?
Stuck on Desert Island with Johnny Depp. No longer need to resort to stalking.


1. If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?
The Shell Seekers- Rosamunde Pilcher. 

2. What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with? 
Can I ask for running water?    If not then I'd like some soap please. 

3. What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use? 
My pillow.

4. Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?
Would definitely enjoy it briefly but knowing it was permanent I would start to go nuts pretty quickly I think!

5. If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?
My husband.

6. What modern technology would you miss the most?
Internet for sure.

7. What food or beverage would you miss the most?
Chocolate or tea...

8. How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

9. What is the first thing you would do when rescued?
Shower and then have a family dinner.

10. What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?
THAT was interesting!  Remind me to never use that tour group/airline again!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Isabelle Lafleche Stuck on a Desert Island

If Isabelle Lafleche, author of J'adore New York, was stuck on a Desert Island, how would she fare...

1. If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?
The Great Gatsby. I can never get enough of that story.

2. What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?
My Nespresso coffee machine. ( For further details, see answer below about food + beverage.)

3. What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?
A tent, I have trouble sleeping anywhere without having something over my head.

4. Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?
Yes, I would as I do enjoy being on my own. Especially if I have a good book and a computer.

5. If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?
Candace Bushnell. I'm sure we'd have fun writing something together, especially with an exotic cocktail on the beach.

6. What modern technology would you miss the most?
My computer. I love receiving comments from the readers of my blog, it's totally addictive!

7. What food or beverage would you miss the most?
A strong cup of coffee. I would never have written a novel without it. (or done much else, for that matter!) I absolutely need one in the morning otherwise, you don't want to be around me.

8. How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?
It would really depend on the weather. Being from Montreal, if it's warm and sunny and happens to be in the middle of the Canadian winter, I could definitely stay a while.

9. What is the first thing you would do when rescued?
Call my mother. I'm sure we would have lots to gossip about...

10. What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?
I’ve gone out for cappuccino! Ciao!

Thanks Isabelle for answering our Desert Island questions!  

Don't miss our review of J'adore New York and signed copy giveaway!  Click here....


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

J'adore New York by Isabelle LaFleche

4 Star

When Catherine Lambert, a fashionable Parisian lawyer, receives a transfer offer from her New York office, she jumps at the chance to move to the land of fashion and love. Initially thrilled, Catherine soon discovers a world of office politics, lecherous clients, billable hours, malicious secretaries and impossible ambition and finds herself swimming in work rather than the glamour she was expecting.  When Jeffrey Richardson, a rich and powerful client, takes an interest in her, Catherine finds all the glamour she was expecting, but soon it all comes crashing down with an unexpected request that forces her to question the career she worked so hard to build.

Lydia - 4 Star

J'adore New York is a fast paced, entertaining debut about moving to New York, not to escape, but as a career move and is full of office politics, ambition, fashion and love. This novel provides a glimpse into the harsh realities New York lawyers face and this novel had enough substance to transform it into a notch above typical chick lit surrounding a move to New York.

The short scenes made this novel fly and I felt gave it an authentic feel of the fast paced life of a lawyer. I loved that this story focused on Catherine's work instead of her searching for love and fashion, although the both were still prominent in the novel. I found the twist on moving to a new city as a career move refreshing and loved that the heroine was French which was also a nice change of pace.

I loved Catherine, and although couldn't completely relate to her, I could understand her motivations and confusion surrounding her new life and desire to remain true to herself throughout the turmoil.  I adored her assistant, Rikash, who brought a flamboyant and humourous element to this novel and laughed at every scene he was in. I felt all the characters were well drawn and couldn't wait to see how Catherine's trials and tribulations at the office would turn out.

This novel didn't go overboard on detail to the point that I got bogged down and bored. It was just the opposite and LaFleche's ability to make legalese readable with technical terms turned into easy to understand English made this novel much more interesting to read. 

I found J'adore New York a highly entertaining debut and can't wait to see what Isabelle Lafleche has in store for us next!

Kathryn -4 Star

I loved the detail and focus around Catherine’s job in this novel- there were many different faces to portray to the reader by having the novel set so heavily in the law office and Lafleche made sure we knew who everyone was so that the story flowed without any confusion.   I found myself very glad I wasn’t trying to climb any corporate law ladders to partnership in this lifetime- I think I would have found it a lot less satisfying that Catherine to be working so many long hours and I found a new respect for my lawyer friends!
 I liked though that Catherine, despite trying to become partner, still found herself interested in a relationship with a client as well as trying to have a social life with girlfriends.  It was a struggle to find any time for socialising but it made her human to me that the desire was there to get out of the office.  It’s also interesting to note that we are given the impression that Catherine is a well-dressed, chic lawyer from Paris which would lead the reader to believe that she would be quite a lot more confident than most- in reality the author creates a real vulnerability sometimes to contrast this well dressed exterior.  Her assistant was a great addition and I liked that she had to decide whose side he was really on, hers or the bosses (which added to her vulnerability as she didn’t know if she could trust anyone at all) - he helped to add some laughs to the story too.  
Throughout the novel there are random injections of French phrases or single words- I thought I would find them irritating and pretentious but they actually did add to the story for me.  It reminded me that Catherine was French (although she was actually working in English in New York) and newly deposited in a new city and I appreciated the refresher on some forgotten French swear words.
I liked J’adore New York and while the basic story was perhaps a bit predictable Lafleche made her characters unique enough that it is a memorable novel.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Isabelle LaFleche:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gladdy's Wake by B.K. Anderson

4.5 Star

Nawal Habib wakes to find herself in prison after an explosion where she was searching for her son. Terrified of terrorist connections, she remains silent as authorities search for him while praying he hadn't been killed in the blast. When they contact the family she left behind she's forced to confront the past she fled as a teen and later reinventing herself as a devout Muslim. When her brother, now a priest, hands her a book written by their grandfather, James Kelly, that had been hidden in their father's attic for decades, Habib becomes absorbed in the world her grandparents inhabited and draws parallels to her own.

An autobiography, the story Habib reads unveils how James Kelly was hired to search for her grandmother, Gladys Sage, who had disappeared from the Northern Ontario backwoods, leaving behind the body of her stepfather. Following her to New York, James discovers her involved in a radical political movement and goes undercover among them. Nawal Habib learns of her grandmother's turmoil as she suffers through her own as well as her grandfather's obsession, not only with Gladys, but with easy money, drink and woman and family secrets buried for generations. 

Lydia - 4 Star

Gladdy's Wake is a novel about radical politics, religion, prohibition, terrorism, and above all else, love and family. Sadly, I was ill much of the time I read this book and will have to go back and re-read it at some point to catch more of the symbolism I'm sure I missed and also because now that I know how it ends, I must reread it to follow through it again with that knowledge. I don't remember the last book I've said this about.

Upon finishing this unforgettable novel, I read the epilogue ten times as I processed the information and shook my head as I ran over the story and the epilogue's revelations and meaning.  I actually sat for several minutes, book in hand, saying "Wow.  Oh wow." over and over again. And where I usually pick up the next book in my pile, I couldn't that night.

I must admit this novel started slow for me (could have been the cold), and I wasn't sure about the 'second book' at first. But I plugged away and grew to love the historical story and in the end I was blown away by the emotional sucker punch this book delivered, how many times I gasped out loud and the tears I shed.  I've been dying for Kathryn to read this one so I can have someone to talk to about it. That's how much I was fascinated by it in the end. And seeing how big her TBR pile is, I just passed it to my dad to read so I can talk about it with someone. 

Part mystery, part love story and part family drama with a hint of Boardwalk Empire, this novel was gut wrenching, shocking, and intensely compelling. I couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen each time I had to walk away. There were twists and turns I wasn't expecting and I was surprised at the overall emotional impact it had on me considering I wasn't as attached to the present day story. If I had been, I might have been left shouting at passers-by on the street to read this book. 

I did love the story of James and Gladys more than the present day story and I'm having a hard time putting my finger on why. I think if I felt more connected to Nawal's character I would have enjoyed it more. At times I found her thoughts disjointed which I think distracted me or maybe because her story was largely narrative through memories and worries about her son in present day without a lot of interaction with others, I just couldn't feel as connected as I wanted, but Gladdy's tale took up much of this story and in the end I wasn't disappointed.

Please, people, read this book and tell me what you think of it! Everyone should read this book. I still can't stop thinking about it and can't wait to see what else B.K. Anderson has in store for us.

Kathryn - 5 Star

I’m still thinking about the plot in this story and trying to make sure I’ve actually got the whole thing cleared up and sorted away neatly.  Unfortunately I don’t think this is actually going to tidy away quite as nicely as I would like due to a tiny epilogue at the end of the novel that I don’t want anyone to miss- it’s really an epilogue though and not to be read until the end!

I found this book fascinating from the beginning which I think means that Lydia’s feeling of a slow start must have been due to her cold as we generally tend to agree on speed of addiction!  I got completely sucked into the main storyline immediately (which for me was the story of Gladdy and James) and even was pulled back happily to the present day plot of Nawa, at first.  However as the novel progressed I did lose interest a bit in Nawal which unfortunately was because I didn’t warm to her- I think perhaps we could have benefited from some more information about her past with her parents and brother.  It would have given us something to hold on to when we’re starting to question her involvement in the terrorist attacks later on.

James and Gladdy were firmly in my mind and heart as I read the story of their meeting, falling apart and coming back together.  I liked and disliked each of them intently at various points in their story but never thought that either of them should be given up.  The love stories intermingled really well with the political and religious stories and I admired greatly the way this was written.  I was also surprised many times reading Gladdy’s wake which I love!

Like I said at the start I’m still trying to wrap my head around the epilogue and like Lydia I will also be reading this one again with a new set of eyes in the future.
Thank you to Second Story Press for providing our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with B.K. Anderson:


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