Friday, November 29, 2013

Rescue Me, Maybe by Jackie Bouchard

4 Star

If you lost both your husband and your dog to cancer within weeks of each other, but you were sadder about the dog, would you tell anyone? Maybe your closest friends. Unfortunately, Jane Bailey’s closest friends are on the other side of the country. That’s where Jane plans to go now that she’s free to leave Philadelphia, the too cold, beachless, street taco-deficient city her husband dragged her to six years ago. But with no job prospects in her hometown of San Diego, Jane is roped into helping out temporarily at her uncle’s southwestern small-town B&B. En route to her new role as innkeeper and breakfast chef, she finds a stray at a rest stop. With her heart in pieces from the loss of her dog, she’s determined not to let this mutt worm its way into her affections. She’s also determined to have next-to-no interaction with the B&B’s irritating guests, and the even more annoying handyman who lives next door. Can Jane keep her sanity—and her secret that she’s not really a grieving widow—while trying to achieve her dream of getting back to the place she thinks is home?


Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

Rescue Me, Maybe was a refreshing and cute tale of a woman with a life in transition. It showed how we can hurt those we love yet they don't give up on us. It showed that people can surprise us with their goodness. It showed that life goes on despite losing the ones we love. It also showed that dogs can be good friends through it all.

I liked how this book was realistic and touched on sensitive topics like falling out of love with someone, the issues we can have with our family members and in laws and also cancer. I was surprised and pleased at how sensitively these topics were addressed and how realistic the situations were written to be.

Jane was definitely going through tough times and was trying to figure out where she wanted to be. All she really knew was that she was unhappy and deeply so. I liked the fact that she took the lessons life threw at her and learnt from them. Everything was taken in stride minus a few little hiccups along the way but then again who doesn't try to fight against life sometimes?

I was expecting this book to be solely about the relationship between Jane and Maybe, the dog she unexpectedly rescued. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just one element in the story, one that was deftly woven throughout the entire story in a very realistic and enjoyable way. Maybe became a strong point in the story and an underlying source of strength to Jane herself.

I also liked how Rescue Me, Maybe ended. I was expecting some of it to happen and some things I expected to happen didn't which was great because then it was not too predictable and happy ending-ish which kind of concerned me.

I am very happy to have discovered this author, as she is new to me, and I will definitely be keeping my eye on her in the future as Bouchard writes from the heart and there is nothing I love better.

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

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Novel Escapes 2013 Favourite Books List



Hello everyone! The gifting season is upon us so we thought we'd post our favourite reads of the year so you'll know what to get the book lover on your list. I won't make any apologies for the lengthy list. Apparently we read a lot of fantastic books this year! 

Happy Shopping! And don't forget: eBooks make great gifts, too and can often be emailed with the click of a button.




Women's Fiction:

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband’s Secret is a book you've probably heard a lot about by now, and I was surprised to find it lived up to the hype. Gripping, moving and a pure joy to read, The Husband’s Secret had everything I want in a book from a thought-provoking, unpredictable (mostly) plot, to complex characters with real issues and plenty of drama.  READ MORE...

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I somehow knew straight off that Me Before You was going to rip my heart out with a grapefruit spoon. I barely knew anything about it other than the rave reviews, and when it popped up on Netgalley, I snatched up the opportunity and crammed it into my busy reading schedule. And am I ever glad I did. This novel is an unforgettable roller coaster ride, one which I devoured in a few short days.  READ MORE...



Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Forever Interrupted resided in my to be read pile for months. I was about to be married when this gem arrived in the mail and I immediately slotted it to the bottom of the pile. I wasn’t ready. And it took me a few months after my wedding day to finally pick it up. It was time. I’d had months to brace myself and I thought I could finally deal. Forever Interrupted is a tough, emotional read, but is absolutely fabulous and worth every word – and the tears they instigate.  READ MORE...


Shake Down the Stars by Renee Swindle

Shake Down the Stars was a much heavier read than I anticipated, but I LOVED this novel because I love an emotional read. Piper is a real character. She’s flawed. Scratch that, she’s more than flawed; she has serious issues, including swigging scotch straight from the bottle and drowning herself not only in alcohol but one night stands. Her struggle to overcome her demons, particularly the grief and guilt she feels after daughter’s death, makes for an absorbing, intense, and heartfelt read.  READ MORE...


The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

I loved this novel! The Life List is easy to read yet has a heavier plot that will make you think long after you close the cover. A novel about being true to yourself, you’ll ponder what happened to your teenage hopes and dreams while reading Brett’s transformative journey in this refreshing, unique novel.  READ MORE...

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

Only Beth Hoffman can make me shed tears within the first thirty pages or so of a novel. She did it with Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, and she’s done it again with Looking For Me. And the beginning wasn't the only time my eyes leaked during this fantastic, definitely top-5-of-the-year reads.  READ MORE...

 

Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell

Table for Seven is one of those books that leaves you feeling happy as you turn the last page. Does that mean everything ends with a perfect happily ever after? Not necessarily. Whitney Gaskell has written a lovely novel about friendships and relationships and how important those things are in life. 
READ MORE... 


Between a Mother and her Child by Elizabeth Noble

Much as this book is easy to read in the way it’s written I found it so intense in moments that I caught myself holding my breath. The storyline was original and the characters were all interesting, including (and maybe especially) the children. There wasn’t a single person brought into the story without a fully developed history, a unique personality and a purpose. READ MORE...


The Affair by Collette Freedman

I actually got The Affair while shopping one day. Usually I don't just pick up a book and buy it when I am not out in a bookstore itself but something about this cover spoke to me even though the design itself is quite simple. READ MORE...




The Partner Track by Helen Wan

I am so very happy I was chosen to get an ARC of The Partner track by Helen Wan because I LOVED it! I enjoyed absolutely everything about it and found the story interesting with a great voice. I would classify it as intelligent chick lit - a story in the chick lit genre but a bit more of a story behind it that just the usual love interest though there was there too of course. READ MORE...




Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Love Water Memory is exactly the type of book that I just LOVE. And yes, that needed capitals. Everything about this book was just fantastic. The story was entirely captivating and well paced. I didn't want to put the book down but of course had to but the story stayed so fresh in my mind that I didn't hesitate for a moment to remember where I was at and what was going on. READ MORE...


The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle

I have to admit right away that this was one of the books I was most excited about reading this year. I will not hide the fact that Kristina Riggle is one of my favorite authors and deservedly so. The Whole Golden World was no exception to her incredible writing talent and is definitely one of my favorite books of this year. READ MORE...



Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson

Lies You Wanted to Hear was one I knew I would love from the first page and I was not disappointed at all. I loved the dialogue, the characters, the story, just everything. This was a story with excellent pacing and it had certain complexities but everything fit together perfectly. I would end reading each chapter and not want to pause at all as the story was that engrossing. READ MORE...

Chick Lit:

Confessions of an Alli Cat by Courtney Cole

I loved this book and haven’t laughed so hard while reading in ages! I actually wept with laughter and I sculpted my abs while reading Confessions of an Alli Cat. It was that funny. This novel showcases moving on after marital infidelity along the help of a crazy BFF and discovering long ago forgotten passion via the most unconventional means - but they do live in Las Vegas after all, so it shouldn’t be so shocking. Funny, witty, sexy and smart, there is nothing not to like about Confessions of an Alli Cat. READ MORE...



I KILL ME: Tales Of A Jilted Hypochondriac by Tracy Tucker

I loved I Kill Me – Tales of a Jilted Hypochondriac. It was cute, witty and ridiculously funny. I read this novel in a few short sittings and couldn’t get enough of this amusing tale and it wasn’t as heavy as it might seem from the title, which was a nice surprise. READ MORE...


Bella Summer Takes a Chance by Michele Gorman

It's been awhile since I've read a really good, really funny Brit chick lit novel. Bella Summer Takes a Chance by Michele Gorman had me laughing out loud numerous times and was a great read. READ MORE...





Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding

We haven't formally reviewed this one, but Kathryn and Lydia both thoroughly enjoyed it!








Historical or Cross Genre Historical/Contemporary:

The Painted Girls By Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Painted Girls is a heartfelt and absorbing story about three sisters coming of age after their father’s untimely death. Set against a backdrop of Paris in the 1880’s, the alternating narrative between Antoinette and Marie portrays the girls as they struggle to find scraps of food, pay the rent and keep warm while minding their alcoholic mother and younger sister. The Painted Girls explores the art and ballet scene at the time as well as a string historical string of murders, expertly weaving fact with fiction. Part social commentary on the era, part a heartfelt story of sisters, this novel is a delight to read...  READ MORE


Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

I loved this book. A novel about friendship, love and acceptance, Calling Me Home is a riveting read that took me just a few sittings to devour. Interweaving a present day road trip between an unlikely pair, and a love story that from decades ago, Calling Me Home blends a forbidden love story, social commentary and unique friendships during an unusual and intriguing road trip. READ MORE...




The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford

Will we ever really know what killed Jane Austen? Was it some sort illness as is commonly believed or was it something more? Something sinister? That’s the question the novel The Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen by Lindsay Ashford tries to answer. While it is a fictionalized account, it makes one wonder what exactly happened to one of the world’s favourite authors. READ MORE...




The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Although she didn't review this one for us, one of our newest reviewers, Rebecca, selected this one, having read it this year and loved it. We concur with her selection and you can read Lydia's review here. 


 

The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch

I've been thinking about writing the review for this novel for a few days and I thought I’d better listen to Chopin’s The Raindrop Prelude as it is mentioned in the story several times.  As I was reading the novel I didn’t really link the music to the story but having listened to it several times now I have woven a bit more of Ada and madam’s feelings from the music into my feelings about the book.  It is a piece that forces one to focus and inspires inner interpretation. Perhaps that’s why both Ada and Madam both enjoyed it so much- their lives invariably required them to contemplate their positions in life and how they could resolve those positions with their own inner peace. READ MORE...


Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

I loved both Elspeth and Dave from the get-go, their pet names for each other were so touching and I actually didn’t realise where their relationship was going for ages. I thought I had the whole thing cleared up in my mind early on but it turns out I was wrong and it’s refreshing to be wrong sometimes! READ MORE...





New Adult and Young Adult


The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay


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. READ MORE...

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I have to admit something: I had no idea what Eleanor and Park was about when I started reading it. And you know what? I think that worked out for the best. Rainbow Rowell’s novel features teenagers and, as it’s been a few years since I’ve been one myself, I don’t normally read about teens. If I had known that the protagonists were only sixteen I’m not sure I would have picked up this book and then I would have missed out on a really good novel. READ MORE...



Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams was one of those books where I felt all the feelings. I’m not kidding. Name a feeling or emotion and I’m certain I experienced it while reading this novel. This will be a tough review to write because SO MUCH HAPPENED and I can’t get into too many details because that will spoil it for you all before you read it (and you should read it). READ MORE...