Thursday, September 26, 2013

Uptown Girl by Holly Kinsella

2 Star

Emma Hastings has it all - a successful career as a fashion model, a flat in Kensington and now she may have even found her leading man, the wealthy and charming Jason Rothschild who ticks all the right boxes. 

Her days are filled with photo shoots and shopping trips. Her evenings are spent at dinners and glamorous launch parties.

She is seemingly living the dream.

But dreams can so often turn into nightmares.

After a number of chance encounters with the car mechanic William Flynn, Emma starts to evaluate what it means to truly live and love.

Kaley - 2 Star

I’m not surprised that the synopsis of Uptown Girl by Holly Kinsella says that it is for fans of Jane Austen. This novella reads a lot like a modern day Pride and Prejudice with a dash of Emma. Perhaps that’s why the main character’s name is Emma? Unfortunately, this P&P retelling (as I’m choosing to see it as) falls short and left me wanting more.

My biggest issue with this novella was the way it was written. There was way too much telling and not enough showing. There really wasn’t a lot of dialogue considering the number of interactions Emma had with other characters. I’m not sure we ever get to read dialogue straight from her so-called model friend. (Who is so unmemorable that I can’t even remember her name and I just finished reading the story.) The wording was also sometimes really odd, like it was trying to be too proper. I wish I had counted the number of times “whilst” was used. Does anyone really use that anymore? Because of these issues it was really hard for me to get into the story.

The other thing I didn’t like about this story was Emma. She was extremely unlikable. She and her friends all seem so shallow and silly. We know right away that she’s interested in Jason but he seems like a pompous ass and I immediately disliked him…before even actually “meeting” him. It’s hard to get into a story when a character is so unlikable (there’s a reason I read chick lit…I like to like the characters) even when you know they’ll go through a personal transformation and become a good person, like Emma did. Her initial personality was just so grating (she was so horrible to William when they first met) that I couldn’t really cheer for her as I wanted to.

Overall, Uptown Girl just didn’t work for me. I think if author Holly Kinsella changed Emma’s initial personality a little bit more I could have liked the novella. I just couldn’t get over how awful she acted in the beginning. Some people may be able to deal with it but I couldn’t.

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

The Book Of Someday by Dianne Dixon

2 Star

Three women. One stranger in a shimmering silver dress. Whatever binds them together has already destroyed one life. It just might consume them all.

Someday, Livvi Gray will break free from her past. Someday, she will escape her recurring nightmare about that stranger in a shimmering silver dress. Someday, she will have a family of her own. Now she's found Andrew, and someday seems to be right around the corner. But there's so much Livvi doesn't know.

Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, she will come face-to-face with the stranger from her dream-an encounter that will alter Livvi's future and crack open everything she knew about her past. Livvi is swiftly moving toward the ultimate turning point in her life-and she's not the only one. Linked by an unforgettable mystery, photographer Micah and young mother AnnaLee are also being rapidly drawn into a web of devastating secrets about the unexpected ways in which we choose to protect-and betray-the people we love.

Sabrina-Kate - 2 Star

I can't say I enjoyed The Book of Someday very much at all, and I actually am only rating it so high because the author is quite talented in describing things very well but her plot left a lot to be desired. A lot of inconsistencies, things just plainly left right out and a story that dragged on and on were just some of my issues with this book. The story wasn't very logical or thrilling. I sort of feel like the author left out certain details to try and create the suspense that this book was so sorely lacking. But instead of it being suspenseful, it was just irritating.

I found the characters to be weak and inconsistent. For example, one moment Livvi is the victim of abuse, a broken and hurt individual and the next she is completely different. I just didn't buy the fact that characters could be so different from chapter to chapter. After all, how many people do you know that change that radically from one day to the next?

The story had promise but it dragged on and on. And I don't know why it seems to be a trend lately, but why write a book with a character in the book who also wrote a book by the very same name? It isn't the first time I have encountered it and I find it equally as annoying every time.

In the end, The Book of Someday was one of the ones where I kept hoping it would get better and at some points it seemed like it might but in the end, it just felt short of the mark.

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

Connect with Dianne Dixon:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk

5 Star

I’d lost my job. I’d lost the love of my life. My mum wasn’t talking to me. My best friend was epically pissed off. And my flatmate probably had a hit out on me by now. I never meant for things to get so out of hand…

Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when her carefully constructed Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.

After accidently answering her flatmate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, why shouldn’t she try out being Vanessa? With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?

But Tess is soon in big trouble – she isn’t a photographer, she isn’t Vanessa, and the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster.

Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…

Lydia - 5 Star

Lindsey Kelk has done it again. About a Girl is such a fun, easy-breezy read that fans of Kelk’s I Heart series will also adore. This was such a fabulous romp and it was ridiculously fast paced, leaving me frustrated whenever I had to put it down.

There is something wonderful about the heroines Kelk writes. They’re very funny, often confused, and a bit at a loss in life. They need things shaken not stirred, and oftentimes figure out a thing or two out when they take a chance and do something, well, a bit crazy. I would probably never make any of the choices Kelk’s characters do – I’m not nearly as spontaneous as I like to think I am – but I can understand the impulse and appreciate the effort. Tess is as warm and lovely as she is confused and directionless in life. She’s a bit taken advantage of, and when she finally gets out of her comfort zone she begins to find the pieces of herself she’d lost – and a little romance along the way.

I loved all the characters in About a Girl, particularly Kekipi, the butler of the estate who was absolutely perfect, and of course, Nick, who was hot and sexy and spicy just as every love interest should be. I’m very tardy with this review, and I will be completely honest: it took me forever to even remember the other guy. I'm on team Nick all the way and can’t wait to see what happens next because, by the way, the ending was left wide open for the sequel.

The setting alone deserves a special mention. I wanted to jet off to Hawaii immediately and have decided I need to write a novel with a travelling theme so I can do some ‘research.’ The simple and sumptuous descriptions of the beach demanded sand between my toes with a cocktail in hand straight away – and I’m not talking about boring Lake Ontario sand either. In between reading, my fingers worked of their own accord and wandered all over travel websites, my charge card grumbling at the thought. Have I mentioned the ridiculous estate Tess ended up staying at yet? No? Well it was another piece of heaven. Sigh. It really was a great setting and what better place to find romance?

Kelk has another winner on her hands with About a Girl, and I’ll eagerly dive into everything she writes without fail. I don’t think I’ve read so many books by an author without being disappointed. I do believe this is a first, so if you haven’t already discovered Kelk’s incredible books, or if you have and want another, run along now. Click and buy. 

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

Connect with Lindsey Kelk:


E For England by Elisabeth Rose

3 Star

Annie never thought to use underwear to meet a man, but the trick works on her downstairs neighbour, Hugh. Though he’s a handsome English doctor, Annie wants nothing more than friendship. Luckily, neither does Hugh.

But their friendship is shaken and their resolve tested when Annie’s flatmate, sexy and voracious Leonie, meets Hugh. Annie has no claim on Hugh’s nights, but can she bear to lose him to Leonie? And when Annie’s husband suddenly reappears, will Hugh fight for the family he didn’t know he needed?

Kathryn - 3 Star

I had really high expectations for this novel, not quite sure why but I think it’s because I haven’t read an Australian Chick Lit book that I haven’t liked yet. I find them just a bit edgier than the norm and am always intrigued to read about new cities and intricacies of life in other countries.

E for England had some good points - I actually really liked the game-plan behind the title and thought it was both quirky and unique. I enjoyed the children in the novel - they were personable and true to life, especially given their circumstances. Rose gave them such warmth that you could feel it through the pages. I think my heart wanted to love the book more than I did. Much as I appreciated Annie’s circumstances and how much pressure she was under I found the connection between herself and her roommate/co-worker to be hard to grasp. We’re told a few times that an office email went out stating Annie’s need for a roommate and there are some hints that she and Leonie are friends enough to have Friday drinks together before they lived together - but their closeness wasn’t really plausible for me. I think it would be very odd indeed to move yourself and your two small children into an apartment with someone you’d only shared beverages with. I wish Rose had developed their closeness more or outlined it at some point. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of life points, and although Leonie is obviously lovely to the children it felt completely strange for them to be so close.

Annie’s friendship and possible love interest Hugh was challenging at times for me, too. I appreciated that they weren’t on the same page about their needs and therefore couldn’t open up to each other about their feelings, but they actually did both state or show at some point that they were into each other.  And yet the internal dialogue for each of them kept expressing their doubts about the others interest? I loved Hugh’s burgeoning attachment to Annie’s children - his reading of the bedtime stories was sweet enough to make me love him. I also think that Rose did him a great service by giving him a career we were privy to because otherwise he may have come across as a bit stiff.

I wish E for England had lived up to my high hopes and hadn’t ended so abruptly (I even flipped the pages to see if I’d missed something). There was more to be made of both the characters and the story line. I liked Rose’s writing though and would be tempted to try another novel in the future.

Thank you to Escape Publishing for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

Connect with Elisabeth Rose:

The Affairs Of Others by Amy Grace Loyd

2.5 Star

Five years after her young husband’s death, Celia Cassill has moved from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another, but she has not moved on. The owner of a small apartment building, she has chosen her tenants for their ability to respect one another’s privacy. Celia believes in boundaries, solitude, that she has a right to her ghosts. She is determined to live a life at a remove from the chaos and competition of modern life. Everything changes with the arrival of a new tenant, Hope, a dazzling woman of a certain age on the run from her husband’s recent betrayal. When Hope begins a torrid and noisy affair, and another tenant mysteriously disappears, the carefully constructed walls of Celia’s world are tested and the sanctity of her building is shattered—through violence and sex, in turns tender and dark. Ultimately, Celia and her tenants are forced to abandon their separate spaces for a far more intimate one, leading to a surprising conclusion and the promise of genuine joy.

Sabrina-Kate - 2.5 Star

I really wanted to like The Affairs of Others. I thought the synopsis sounded interesting but the book lacked a clear direction in my opinion. While reading, I often felt a bit unsure as to where the story was headed even if I was reading something current or in the past of the main character. The story seemed to skip around a lot and I am not sure if it was intentional to demonstrate perhaps a confused state of mind. Either way, intentional or not, that just did not work well with me. I have a hard time trying to follow books that skip around a lot unless it is perfectly clear that it is being done by a note at the beginning of the chapter for example.

I did quite enjoy the author's incredible descriptions and use of language. The book almost felt a bit too intellectual for me at times due to the vocabulary, but that is something I enjoy as the challenge is stimulating. 

I felt like the characters could have been much more interesting as we seemed to just get a glimpse into their lives and not a very profound one at that. They all seemed intriguing in their own ways and I kept hoping that the author would delve further into their stories instead of only alluding to things. I know Loyd is a new author so I am hopeful that as she progresses in her career that her obvious talent will be honed into something even greater. 

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

Connect with Amy Grace Loyd:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

5 Star

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

Lydia - 5 Star

The Sea of Tranquility is magnificent. And this is not a statement I make lightly. Everything in this novel from the plot to the characters to the ambiance and suspense is orchestrated with brilliance. The Sea of Tranquility evoked every feeling, and maybe some I didn't even know I had. It is raw, gripping, and suspenseful and yet hopeful, heartwarming, and uplifting. I loved every word and would definitely read it again – which is something I have not felt or said about a book in a very, very long time.

You can’t help but feel empathy for Nastya immediately. Although shrouded in mystery, it is immediately apparent that she has endured a traumatic and disabling event at the hands of someone else and she’s struggling to cope. She’s starting at a new high school in a new town while living with her aunt who is rarely home. And not only is Nastya running away from her family, her friends and her old life, but she refuses to speak, her attire choices are questionable, and she’s immediately outcast by her peers. The life she had dreamed about and worked so hard for as a concert pianist is over and she’s traumatized, fearful, and vengeful. Outwardly, she is so different from who she really is and as soon as once I thought I knew what she was all about her personality shifted, and I couldn’t help but love her even more. I found the psychology of her character utterly fascinating, and Millay did a fantastic job with this as well as conveying all that she did with a character that didn’t speak! As a writer, I frequently sat back in awe.

And then there’s Josh. Oh Josh. The connection that Nastya and Josh have is immediate and troubled. Nastya the only one emotionally damaged; Josh has plenty of issues of his own. Every single person he gets close to dies. No one wants to be near him – and he definitely doesn’t want to let anyone in. And then Nastya comes along. The constant push-pull as their relationship developed was brilliant. It was never over the top, but the perfect blend of tentative, sexy, tasteful, and loving. Any teen reading this is going to be ruined forever – OR will hopefully hold their standards higher. 

Really, the whole book was fascinating. It was almost magic. You are drawn so far into the worlds of these individuals that you feel their pain, their hurt, their agony – and the inklings of hope they start to feel. And not only are you rooting for the two of them to make it, both together as well as apart in their lives. 

Everyone should read this novel. It is brilliant, unusual, fascinating, and intriguing. Go on. Read it. I dare you not to like it.

***This novel is also fifteen-going-on-sixteen approved. I lent it to my niece who devoured it. It is now her favourite book.

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

Connect with Katja Millay:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Coming Clean by Sue Margolis

3.5 Star

Eleven years ago, Sophie and Greg couldn’t get enough of each other. A pair of full-time jobs and two kids later, they’re in therapy asking themselves where all the sexy times went. Sophie thinks she knows: They’re buried under Greg’s mess. And even though her slob of a husband tries to make up for his shortcomings by cooking the occasional meal, Sophie is left to clean umpteen dirty dishes.

The last straw is when Greg uses some inheritance money to buy a World War II Sherman tank, which starts World War III in their marriage.

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

My first impression of Sophie was of a tough, focused mother with a desire to get her life in order.  Husband Greg just seems to be making her life more difficult, from his lack of cleanliness to his inability to remain on task- he’s definitely not helping to keep their family life on track.  I wasn’t really expecting what happened to their marriage though, and I liked Margolis’ take on a domestic life gone haywire really affecting the intimacies of marriage.

Coming Clean started with lots of emotion, quite a lot of humour, and a realistic relationship, and I loved the honesty that came out during their therapy sessions. Once Greg and Sophie made a decision about their marriage I found I lost a bit of the tug that drew me to them initially. Greg’s new love-life was both bizarre and unrealistic - to be married to Sophie and then immediately choose someone polar opposite (who apparently made him clean up his act in a matter of weeks?) was just too sudden for me. And although Sophie’s reaction to her new state was more realistically emotional, I did have a hard time accepting her new love interest- it just didn’t feel natural a pairing.  Despite my misgivings about the new partners I was still interested in both Sophie and Greg and saw the glimmers of their previous life and how they interacted with each other before the disintegration began. I hope they would find their way back to each other and was invested in reading about their children and their family unit.
I think my own interest was piqued mostly by Margolis’ simple and well written story of a marriage that collapsed - purely from the tedium and pressures of normal family life, which was a unique take for me on a common story-line. 

Thank you to NAL Trade  for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

Connect with Sue Margolis:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Mermaid Of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn

5 Star


Formerly an up-and-coming magazine editor, Jenny Lipkin is now your average, stretched-too-thin Brooklyn mom, tackling the challenges of raising two children in a cramped Park Slope walk-up. All she really wants is to survive the sweltering New York summer with a shred of sanity intact. But when her husband, Harry, vanishes one evening, Jenny reaches her breaking point. And in a moment of despair, a split-second decision changes her life forever. 

Pulled from the brink by an unexpected ally, Jenny is forced to rethink her ideas about success, motherhood, romance, and relationships. But confronting her inner demons is no easy task. . . .

5 Star

I loved this book. I know that some reviews were less than favorable and I suspect the fact that I am a new mom had a lot to do with my perception of the book. The fact that the main character has two very young children that she ends up taking care of alone (mostly) is something that I can't even comprehend right now. I felt that a lot of the frustrations and difficulties she described are things that any new mom would be able to identify with.

I really enjoyed that Shearn was able to describe the minutiae of every day in a sometimes humorous and sometimes all too realistic way that resonated with me and deeply so. I think that there is of course a niche market that will enjoy The Mermaid of Brooklyn more than others, but I do think that the author is such a strong writer that it is a book that could be enjoyed by many.

I am still not sure however on how I feel about the rusalka in the book. It didn't particularly add a lot though I did find it very interesting and came to wonder if it was some form of mental illness manifesting itself in the main character. I did like the fact that the author didn't try to explain it more than she did so that I was able to come to my own sort of conclusion about it.

So many of the events that happened in the book were just every day ordinary things but things that no one necessarily talks about or at least not in the utterly frank way that they were here. This is definitely a big selling point for me as I felt the honesty was integral to this story being a successful one.

I know that this story is probably not for everyone but I did love it and count The Mermaid of Brooklyn among my favorites of this year.

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

Connect with Amy Shearn:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Life More Complete by Nikki Young

4 Star

Can you ever really outrun your past?

Krissy Mullins, an overworked, obsessive-compulsive publicist has been giving it her best shot for the past ten years. Throwing herself into her work and devoting all her time to her teenage starlet client, Krissy finds little time for anything else. But as fate would have it, her world is turned upside down when she falls in love with laid-back California native, Ben Torres. Unfortunately, her only frame of reference on love and marriage is her parents and they weren’t exactly the poster children for a happy relationship.

As Krissy attempts to navigate the precarious world of love, acceptance, and compromise, her past comes flooding back like she never expected. An ex-boyfriend returns from a life she has tried to forget, stirring up feelings in Krissy she had thought were long gone. Pulled in opposite directions as her past and present collide, she makes a rash decision that will forever change her life.

Jen - 4 Star

Reading A Life More Complete by Nikki Young was bittersweet for me. Bitter only because an unfulfilling romance made me feel sorry for the main character but so so sweet because of the lovable heroine, who I was routing for throughout the story, even when she made me a little aggravated. 

Whenever I read great chick lit, I always want the main character to fall madly, deeply in love. I’m obsessed with guessing who is going to be the handsome charmer to sweep her off her feet. What a surprise when I was reading A Life More Complete and I found myself wondering who Krissy would fall in love with. I’m usually pretty quick to figure it out, but this book kept me guessing!

Would it be her easy going friend Ben? Or would it be the mysterious man from her past, the one who broke her heart all those years ago? At the beginning of the book, Tyler was just a blip on her past’s radar. And even though Krissy didn’t talk about him right away, he was still the elephant in the book, so to speak. 

A Life More Complete tackles tons of life’s most burning questions. Does true love ever really fade? Is a successful career worth sacrificing relationships? How much forgiveness can one really give? All of these questions and more are thrown at Krissy and she proves to herself and the ones around her that she’s the kind of strong willed woman who can handle it. 

Nikki Young did an amazing job of writing a evolutionary character. Krissy isn’t the same person on the first page as the one who emerges at the book’s end. One moment, I am happy for her, the next I was mad at her, then I was waving my hands in front of her face, saying “Hello! What were you THINKING?” My reactions to her reminded me of many gab sessions I’ve had with my best friends over the years. One thing that stayed constant was my admiration for Krissy’s confidence and control. Whatever was thrown her way, she handled it like a champ.

There’s a surprise around every corner in this book. Some were a tad predictable, but that didn’t take away from the joy of watching the lively characters react to them.

Thank you to Nikki Young for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

Connect with Nikki:

Growing Up Beautiful by Lori Jones

1 Star

In the summer of 1986, three American models are shipped off to Italy to fill their portfolios with tearsheets. Thrust into a world of private parties, unlimited drugs and predatory men, these young women soon find themselves in situations that have nothing to do with photographs. 

Star’s dream of financial security takes an unexpected turn after a she gets into a fight with her new agent. She quickly learns it takes more than beauty to survive in a world already crowded with pretty faces. 

Seeking a reprieve from the demands of her privileged upbringing and Ivy League education, Joanne sneaks off to Europe without her parents consent. She meets a handsome photographer whose mere presence reveals a desperate longing in her heart she didn’t know existed. Time is not on her side, as a decision to honor family obligations or take a chance on love must be made. 

Casey is a naive seventeen year old who is tired of hearing her mother’s constant warnings about life. She is ready for adventure, but not prepared for the potential dangers that can be part of the journey. 

Together, these three learn the funny, unexpected and sometimes ugly truth about growing up beautiful.

Sabrina-Kate - 1 Star

Growing up Beautiful was a book that I didn't have that many high hopes for and apparently for good reason. I was disappointed that it was not that enjoyable though because I can only assume that it was written based on the personal experiences of the author as I looked her up and saw she worked as a model in her younger years. Unfortunately I don't think her experiences translated well to print as it fell very flat for me. 

My first and extremely huge irritation with Growing up Beautiful was the use or I should probably say misuse of Italian. The book is set in Milan, and I have no problems with the use of Italian, I actually love the language and also speak it a little bit, but when the author peppers her dialogue with it and doesn't write it correctly, well then it really irks me. Simple expressions are written wrong and shouldn't verifying the accuracy of your book and the language be a priority of any credible author?

There was some bad behavior and partying in the book but really, I have had wilder nights out and I am not a model. I guess there was a distinct lack of detail or believable emotion from the characters that just didn't make the story that interesting.

I really hate to give a bad review to a book but with so much available out there on the modelling world these days, I just don't think this book can compete.

Thank you to Lori Jones for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Lori:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Novel Escapes Announcement

After four incredible years, a plethora of books, and a multitude of new friends, it is with a heavy heart that I, Lydia, will be stepping down from reviewing at Novel Escapes. This is a bittersweet moment. The blog has grown beyond our wildest dreams, and we've helped spread so much bookish love, but the thought of shredding the administrative demands and the time involved in reading and reviewing on a deadline has made me buoyant again when I was struggling to stay afloat.

Maintaining Novel Escapes to the standards I wish to uphold has been a struggle during the last year while I was writing, publishing and promoting my own novel, working full-time, planning a wedding, and attempting to have some form of a social life. I am tired. I am so very tired – an inescapable fact that came to light during an interview with Book Cover Justice where I mentioned repeatedly how exhausted I was. I cannot do it all. And I’m finally ready to accept it – and let a few things go. After publishing my own novel, Redesigning Rose, in June, and with it so well received, I have decided to focus on and pursue my writing career.

I will, however, continue to be involved with Novel Escapes by working behind the scenes on all the technical mumbo-jumbo. All our lovely reviewers will still read and review with a few changes on their ends – and one on yours if you’re a publisher, publicist, or author pitching a review. These will now be done directly with each reviewer and the review policy will be altered to reflect the changes. I will no longer be involved in the process. Do you hear that HUGE sigh and see those shoulders dropping? That’s me, relaxing a little. The gleam in my eye is from thoughts of all those hours I can now spend writing my second novel.

I won't ever stop reading, and I will continue to post reviews. The only difference is that this will be on my own time and on my own blog, Goodreads, and Amazon (provided they allow me with all their new 'author' rules,) and from time to time I’ll pen a guest review for Novel Escapes. 

Thank you all for your understanding and patience while we shuffle through this change in the next few months as I phase out my reviews and involvement and transfer over the reins. We are also beginning a search for three new reviewers in the US and UK. I appreciate all your kindness and support over the years, and I’ll still be around, tweeting and posting, so I won’t be far away.

You can connect with me on the interwebs here:



Updated Review Policy
Apply to be a Novel Escapes Reviewer

Seeking Three New Reviewers!

Novel Escapes is seeking three new women’s fiction and chick lit reviewers, two from the US and one from the UK!

This is NOT a paying position. 
You will however find compensation in the form of books and bookish love.

Deadline to apply: September 15th, 2013.


You must be:

  • Residing in the UK or USA – we need to branch out as some publishers will not send books outside their country.
  • Able to write a comprehensive review in 300-500 words without spoilers and without scarring an author for life.
  • Able to commit to reviewing at least one book per week.
  • Willing to search out your own reviews via Netgalley and Edelweiss and correspond with authors, publishers, and publicists using your own email address.
  • Willing to perform a few other administrative duties including uploading your reviews on Netgalley and Edelweiss and updating the Novel Escapes “to-read” spreadsheet where we coordinate all our reviews.
  • Professional and able to  communicate effectively and efficiently via email.

How to apply:

Send an email to: admin(at) with:
  • Your name, country, and a bit about you, including your favourite genres.
  • Whether you have an e-reader.***
  • Tell us why you want to review for Novel Escapes in 200 words or less.
  • Include two reviews: One for a book you have loved recently, and one for a book you didn’t (1-2 star rating). Stay within our guidelines above. 

Deadline: September 22nd, 2013.

***Candidates with an e-reader will be given priority.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Place At The Table by Susan Rebecca White

5 Star

A Place at the Table tells the story of three richly nuanced characters whose paths converge in a chic Manhattan café: Bobby, a gay Southern boy who has been ostracized by his family; Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman whose life is upended when a family secret finally comes to light; and Alice, an African-American chef whose heritage is the basis of a famous cookbook but whose past is a mystery to those who know her.

As it sweeps from a freed-slave settlement in 1920s North Carolina to the Manhattan of the deadly AIDs epidemic of the 1980s to today’s wealthy suburbs, A Place at the Table celebrates the healing power of food and the magic of New York as three seekers come together in the understanding that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I quite enjoyed A Place at the Table from the captivating stories of the characters, to the rich and full descriptions. The story spans a broad expanse of time during the last century and it was interesting to see how attitudes and perceptions had changed or even in some cases stayed the same.

I was really drawn to Bobby's story, perhaps because it felt true and real. A very honest account of a gay man and how his life was touched by his coming of age during a time when it was not accepted. A time when the "gay cancer" was just starting to come to light. His story was brave and at times was heart-wrenching.

I identified much less with Amelia though her story was also quite powerful. A lot less detail was given so perhaps that accounts for, in part at least, why I did not come to love her like I did Bobby. Perhaps if a little more detail was given, especially about her marital issues, her story would have been more captivating.

I loved how these two people seemed so separate in their lives but were brought together by a simple yet completely complex detail. I truly enjoyed how the author tied everything together in such a absolutely believable way.

A Place at the Table was wonderful, honest and rich with incredible descriptions and characters that I grew to know and love yet there was something, perhaps in the way it actually did end, that just didn't make me love this book as much as I had started to at the beginning. I would definitely recommend it though, if only for Bobby's story, which is worth the read alone.

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

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