Monday, March 31, 2014

Three Souls by Janie Chang

4 Star

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this ... So begins the haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife. Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding. She must, they tell her, make amends.

As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life,she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was,a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval. At a party,she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator,and instantly falls in love with him.

When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate. Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death. And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

Three Souls will appeal to fans of Amy Tan or historical fiction, particularly historical fiction set in Asia. This book was quite exceptional in many ways especially in the wonderful way the story and setting were detailed. I am not the biggest fan of historical fiction yet I found myself completely engrossed in the story despite my initial hesitation.

The plot moved along over many years at a fairly rapid pace and I rarely, if at all, found myself bored which is what typically happens for me with fiction of this sort. It demonstrated to me the extreme power of Janie Chang's writing debut.

The story was set in an era that I do find captivating, namely the 20s and 30s, so it was interesting to see what China was like during that period versus what North America was like at that time.

Three Souls had so many things that appealed to me. The characters were quite real and seemed genuine in their actions and speech. The story involved a few love stories and heartbreak, which most great stories typically do but this one definitely had a unique take on things. I also liked the fact that a different type of family dynamic was described, in a lot of detail, to give me a new perspective on things that I had never considered before. 

The only thing that gave me pause was the three souls part of the story but after a little while, once I became used to it, it truly added to the story as I felt that perhaps it was something that would be part of the Chinese culture or beliefs that I was not previously aware of.

Three Souls truly was a wonderful and eye opening love story that enriched my understanding of a different culture.

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

Connect with Janie Chang:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mums on Strike by Laura Kemp

5 Star

It was just a squashed grape on the kitchen floor. Hardly a reason to get upset, right?   But six years of motherhood has left Lisa Stratton feeling like a skivvy.

Every morning before she's opened her eyes, she starts her mental inventory of jobs to do. And just like yesterday, the day before and every day since she became a mum, she's woken up knackered.

So when her husband deliberately steps over the grape because it's 'her responsibility' to run the house, it tips her over the edge. He wasn't always like this - they used to share everything. 

Then the kids came along and he saw it as an excuse to sit back. But this time things are going to change. Lisa has made a decision. She's going on strike.

Amazon     Kindle     

Kathryn - 5 Star

I loved Mums on Strike. I actually asked for this one from the author and was thrilled to get a copy and then had to wait to read it because of others on my to-read list. When I finally was able to pick it up I whipped through it in a couple of evenings.

This book will make every mother who feels the load of family, work, life to be falling almost entirely on their shoulders, feel validated.  I also know a few dads who feel this way on occasion so perhaps it’s not just for the mums out there either!  Kemp must have come at this from experience because the details of the minutea were perfect and made me laugh out loud.  The squashed grape on the floor was the epitome of the whole problem and she picked at it and made a point of it perfectly.  

As much as I loved Lisa I actually loved her husband just as much.  I wanted to smack him over the head and I wanted to hug him all at the same time which defines my own marriage to a T.  When you decide to start a family, and are lucky enough to have children, the actual running of such an entity creeps up on you until you realise you’re actually organising not only yourself, your kids and your house but sometimes your husband as well. I always struggle with the job of being the stay at home parent in terms of how much around this place is supposed to be my job.  If I’m supposed to be raising the children to be happy and productive members of society then how do I end up being the only one cleaning anything and getting grumpier and grumpier as each task mounts up?  This cannot possibly be the recipe to creating happy offspring and spouses.

This is a touchy subject in many homes I would imagine but well put on the table in this novel with humour, emotion and reality. All of Kemp’s supporting roles were warm, clearly defined and had purpose. She didn’t leave anything hanging or stick people in for no reason. She ensured that all the people in Lisa’s life were interesting and the plot moved swiftly and didn’t even have any lagging bits! Mums on Strike is an excellent read and I’ll be seeking out other Laura Kemp novels immediately.

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

Connect with Laura Kemp:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch

4 Star

When Sugar Wallace arrives in Manhattan with nothing but a beehive, a secret past and a taste for good manners, life starts to change for the dispirited occupants of 33 Flores Street.

But as love wings its way into their hearts and homes, it flies away from Sugar herself. That is, until a doorman without a door and a certain busy queen join forces in a sting to end all stings. It looks like love might be in the air once more ... but for how long?

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

The Wedding Bees was completely charming and had me hooked from the beginning. After all, who does not love a southern gal? Somewhat innocent and having also obviously been hurt before, Sugar was endearing, naive or perhaps just inherently genuine and the kind of person you would hope would be on your side.

Becoming involved with her neighbors and changing their lives for the better was charming. The bees only added a wonderful and interesting quality to the story but I can't say that I could picture them being in a major city. I do like it when life brings along little surprises though because it feels almost magical, much like this story did.

The lives and loves described in this book were original yet something I could not particularly picture in New York, and having spent quite a bit of time there, I would consider myself a little bit knowledgeable about the city. The city seemed somewhat impersonal so imagining lives becoming so entwined was a bit of a departure for me but I enjoyed it for the pleasure it could create through the simplicity of human contact and engagement.

Not to say that I did not enjoy this story because I truly did despite not being able to imagine certain aspects. I couldn't help but feel warm inside by the way things worked out perhaps against all odds at times. So if you are looking for a feel good wonderful charming tale, The Wedding Bees is a book for you.

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

Connect with Sarah-Kate Lynch:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Somebody Else's Shoes by Tiffany Wright

2 Star

Frumpy, insecure, London real life journalist Mia is unfulfilled with her life. Her job interviewing the weird and wonderful people of the world is thankless, she doesn't have a love life and her family are on the brink of driving her to the edge. If she were a pair of shoes she would be ballet pumps – reliable, comfortable and just a little bit dull.

Gorgeous Natasha Logue is a celebrity fashion stylist with everything she could possibly want at her feet. Her days are spent smooching around with celebs, wearing outrageously expensive clothes and dating London’s sexiest men. She is the epitome of a Louboutin – sleek, stylish and the envy of every other woman out there.

But one day Mia and Natasha’s worlds collide in a way neither could imagine possible and suddenly the shoes are on the other foot. But will a new chance of life be the opportunity both women need to change? Or is the grass always greener? We discover what it’s really like walking in somebody else’s shoes.

Kathryn  -  2 Star

I’ve been reading a lot of lighter novels lately and I’ve really been enjoying getting into the relationships, the mishaps and happy endings involved in some of these “beach” read type books.  Unfortunately I found Sombody Else's Shoes to be a bit lacking in something - I’m not entirely sure what it was.

The real Mia isn’t in the novel for very long before she’s placed in another person’s body and life. If we’d had more time to get to know Mia before she became this new person we might have grown more attached to her and with the exception of her best friend there wasn’t anyone rooting for her. I really felt sorry for her more than anything else.  Her search for her exes, to see if they were the one who got away, was a bit half-hearted and felt like a bit of an after-thought, as something that was added later to tie the novel together.  Mia’s new life is extraordinary and nothing like her old one- she got so excited about it that she almost instantly became someone more interested in herself than anything or anyone else. Natasha’s fashion clients were more real than Mia/Natasha and yet Natasha’s job was supposed to be reflection of Hollywood’s expectations- I felt that Natasha was putting the expectations on her clients more than any outside force.  It just seemed backwards to me.

I would have liked there to be more exploration with the exes and less Mia becoming the ultimately lonely, Natasha.  There were many good storylines throughout Wright's novel but they ultimately didn’t meld into something I found entertaining.

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

Connect with Tiffany:
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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Would You Rather with Barbara Oliverio

Please welcome Barbara Oliverio author Love on the Back Burner

About Barbara:

Barbara Oliverio is the daughter of Italian immigrants and grew up in North Central West Virginia with a love of reading and a passion for learning. Following a career path that included being a teacher, journalist, and marketer, she has lived as far away from home as Italy where she practiced her family's native tongue as well as took advantage of living near to other European countries to travel extensively. A rabid Pittsburgh Steeler fan, she lives with her husband, an equally committed New York Giants fan, in suburban Denver where off-football-season dinner conversation is calmer and is usually accompanied by a meal she cooks from one of her mother's treasured recipes. Other interests include New York Times crossword puzzles, good movies, and travel. She volunteers extensively for her parish and writes for its publications. She also teaches part-time for the St. Catherine of Siena Institute.

Connect with Barbara:
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Would You Rather... with Barbara Oliverio

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Chocolate - The darker the better!

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

Carrie Bradshaw - I think it's the fabulous shoes that draw me to her. 

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Vodka, if I must choose from these three, but I'd rather have a nice single malt scotch.

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa vacation, all the way! My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service.

Water or Mountains?

Water - Ah, the beach!

Zombies or Vampires?

Zombies - preferably those from "Shaun of the Dead"

Dogs or Cats?

Neither dogs nor cats -- sorry, just not a pet person.

Coke or Pepsi?

Pepsi -- And I've taken the taste test and can tell the difference.

Coffee or tea?

Tea, please -- Green, iced.

Dine out or take away?

Dine out  - let someone else clean up the table!

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

High heels - I refer you to Question #2

Physical book or ebook?

Physical Book - I'll read and pubish ebooks as well, but nothing feels as good as a brand new physical book.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback - Trade size

Pen or Pencil?

Pen - black

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad - No! No! No! I refuse to make this Sophie's Choice. Love them all!

Drama or Comedy?

Comedy -- but love a good drama on occasion.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

Hunger Games -- No vampires for me.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Lipstick -- M.A.C. brand, "Goes With Everything" color. If they discontinue it, I'll be lost!

Facebook or Twitter

Facebook -- Difficult to be constrained to 140 characters

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

Plot basics of  entire novel -- but then, occasionally let characters take me where they themselves want to go. Sometimes they have a better idea!

Love on the Back Burner

Readers' Favorite Award™-Winning Love on the Back Burner spins the story of sassy Alexandria D'Agostino. She is youngest in a tight-knit Italian-American family with a successful marketing career and a passion for cooking, yet her romantic life is less than 4-star. For years, she has tried cooking her way into men's hearts by flaunting her old world culinary skills, but now, she's changing the menu. She dishes up childhood favorites to a succession of first dates (recipes included). The book features an engaging cast of characters including a rock-star-turned- priest brother, a no-nonsense Italian immigrant grandmother, and a crew of friends who are always up for a good meal. With a dollop of persistence and a dash of laughter, will Alexandria discover the recipe for happiness -- and perhaps love?

Available at:
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Friday, March 21, 2014

The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson

4.5 Star

Jonathan and Rosie have been together so long they finish each other’s sentences—so when he (finally) proposes and asks her to move across the country with him, everyone is happily surprised.

But when things suddenly unravel, Rosie sends Jonathan packing and moves back home with Soapie, the irascible, opinionated grandmother who raised her. Only now she has to figure out how to fire Soapie’s very unsuitable caregiver, a gardener named Tony who lets her drink martinis, smoke, and cheat at Scrabble.

It’s a temporary break, of course—until Rosie realizes she’s accidentally pregnant at 44, completely unequipped for motherhood, and worse, may be falling in love with the sentimental, troubled Tony, whose life is even more muddled than hers. 

It’s not until Rosie learns the truth about her mother’s tragic story that she wonders if sometimes you have to let go of your fears, trusting that the big-hearted, messy life that awaits you may just be the one you were meant to live.

Kathryn - 4.5 Star

The Opposite of Maybe was a definite creeper for me- at first I found the voice a bit tricky to warm to but that niggle soon faded away as I got hooked on the Rosie’s predicaments and Jonathan’s contradictions.  I had difficulty in seeing these two people together so when they separated I was secretly pleased, though neither of them seemed content with the decision.

The central force of the novel was that Rosie was fighting herself most of the time. With the exception of Jonathan, those around her were always trying to get her to move past her own hurdles and therefore forward in her own life. Her grandmother Soapie was vocal and pushy about it and Tony was gentle and inspiring about it.  I’m not sure if Dawson intended us to like Jonathan or not?  I didn’t care for him much as I just couldn’t see past his selfishness. While I grasped that Rosie’s circumstances rather changed the goal posts on their relationship I felt he was completely unconcerned about Rosie’s new situation. With Jonathan intent on his ancient teacup collection we were perhaps meant to view him as cerebral and not oblivious but I didn’t go for it I’m afraid.  No one is that engrossed in teacups to allow their partner (that they say they love) to be alone.

Now apart from Rosie & Jonathan, the continuing saga, there were some complex and fascinating relationships that evolved in this book. I was surprised about almost all of them and loved each one. Even the once-removed personalities were greatly defined. Tony’s ex-wife and her new partner for example were clear as day to me and made the book circle in on itself so everything was tightly woven and felt warm.

I loved Tony- I think if you don’t then you’ve missed The Opposite of Maybe entirely.  I was actually really surprised how much I liked this novel and would probably even re-read it.

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

Connect with Maddie Dawson:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Heroic Measures by Jo-Ann Powers

4 Star

Honoring those who have served their country in war, most focus on those who have fought on the battlefields. But one group’s heroics under fire have slipped through the pages of history, a group whose blood and sweat were left in operating rooms and hospital tents, a group whose heroism has seldom been measured.

For nurse Gwen Spencer, fighting battles is nothing new. An orphan sent to live with a vengeful aunt, Gwen picked coal and scrubbed floors to earn a living. But when she decides to become a nurse, she steps outside the boundaries of her aunt’s demands…and into a world of her own making.

Leaving her hometown for France, she helps doctors mend thousands of brutally injured Doughboys under primitive conditions. Amid the chaos, she volunteers to go ever forward to the front lines. Braving bombings and the madness of men crazed by the hell of war, she is stunned to discover one man she can love. A man she can share her life with.

But in the insanity and bloodshed she learns the measures of her own desires. Dare she attempt to become a woman of accomplishment? Or has looking into the face of war and death given her the courage to live her life to the fullest?

Kathryn - 4 Star

Set initially in the US during World War II I was completely drawn into Gwen’s existence as a training nurse and her passion and determination to complete her training. I believe I read last year a similar story about nurse trainees in the UK and both novels had parallel notions of servitude that went  unnoticed by so many before these wars.  During this historical period the nursing profession was prone to be seen as glamorous rather than strenuous and the reality was that those who went to serve on the front lines or remained behind to pick up the pieces worked as long and as hard as the doctors who were given much of the kudos.  I am pleased that there are writers making a point of telling their stories.

Power’s book doesn’t dwell on the pain and suffering, instead she plows through with Gwen’s choices of perseverance and unquestionable sense of duty- despite the worry of leaving her sister behind.  Gwen’s home life was nothing to be comforted by so it made sense that she would want to see what else was out in the world. I did worry though about her leaving her sister in the hands of her aunt and while it does come out as a concern for Gwen I’m not sure I would have been able to leave, had it been me. The duty of the profession took over. Gwen’s romantic relationships were honest and realistic too. I would have loved a different outcome though as I think Power hinted at an alternative that would have better suited Gwen but she probably made the right choice for herself.

Heroic Measures was graphic at times and didn’t gloss over the details of the danger and horror of nursing in the trenches. I was shocked more than once about the circumstances for those on duty and those fighting. Reading details always hits me more than seeing a movie does, and it’s good to be reminded of the sacrifices so many have made for us.  

Thank you to The Wild Rose Press/Wilder Roses for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Jo-Ann Powers
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wake by Anna Hope

2 Star

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep 2) Ritual for the dead 3) Consequence or aftermath.

Hettie, a dance instructress at the Palais, lives at home with her mother and her brother, mute and lost after his return from the war. One night, at work, she meets a wealthy, educated man and has reason to think he is as smitten with her as she is with him. Still there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach...Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, more and more estranged from her posh parents, she looks for solace in her adored brother who has not been the same since he returned from the front...Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out of work veterans. But when he shows signs of being seriously disturbed—she recognizes the symptoms of "shell shock"—and utters the name of her son she is jolted to the core...

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

Sabrina-Kate - 2 Star

As much as I often want to love, or even like, historical fiction, it is something that I struggle with on a regular basis. I often, as with the case of this book, like the premise of the book and think that it is something that I would enjoy. Now Wake was obviously well researched as historical details were quite accurate. There was never a doubt in my mind that these things could have transpired.

There was something about this story that didn't resonate with me. At all. Wake is about three women and ultimately their connection through the three men in their lives post WWI yet I was unable to identify or empathize with any of them. Perhaps it was because I found the writing to be somewhat detached and not as emotional as one would expect some of the events to make them be.

The story also seemed to go back and forth without any clear indication from past and present which, to be very frank, drove me very crazy. I had to re-read a lot of sections a few times or at least skim through them to make sure what was going on. That to me is a waste of time and should be unnecessary when reading a book.

The historical details, as I previously mentioned, are incredible in their own right however and any history buff would probably be enthused by their merit alone.

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

Connect with Anna Hope:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Would You Rather with Talli Roland

Please welcome Talli Roland author of ten novels including The Pollyanna Plan and the upcoming No Kids Club

About Talli:

Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine).

Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories--complete with happy endings. Talli's debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK's Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States. To learn more about Talli, go to or follow Talli on Twitter: @talliroland. Talli blogs at

Connect with Talli:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads

Would You Rather... with Talli Roland

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Chips, chips, chips! Especially with added salt and vinegar. Yum. 

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

Definitely Carrie Bradshaw. I love her quirky style and optimism. 

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Wine. I do like vodka, but it’s more of a party drink. I love relaxing in the evenings with a glass of red. 

Camping or spa vacation?

Spa vacation all the way. I loathe the discomfort of camping! Sleeping bags make me shudder.

Water or Mountains?

Water. I grew up by the ocean, and I love the sound of waves breaking on the shore.

Zombies or Vampires?

Vampires. Vampires have class, while zombies are disgustingly messy.

Dogs or Cats?

I love both, but cats are more independent than dogs and less needy, and that appeals. 

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. I find it less sweet than Pepsi and it has a bit more bite.

Coffee or tea?

Ooh, it has to be coffee. When I need a strong hit of caffeine, it’s where I turn first.

Dine out or take away?

Definitely dine out! It’s hard to get out at night when you have a baby, and I’d relish glamming up and hitting the town.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

Hmm. Can I say just ‘flats’? High heels make me curse, sneakers are for running, and flip flops on grimy London streets? I don’t think so. Flats are the perfect compromise: comfy yet still a little stylish. 

Physical book or ebook?

I like both, but I have to say ebook. I love being able to purchase a new novel from the bath. 

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback. Less cumbersome and much lighter!

Pen or Pencil?

Pen. The scratchiness of a pencil annoys me.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

I’m sure this will mark me out as some kind of weirdo, but I haven’t seen any of them!

Drama or Comedy?

Comedy. There’s enough drama in my life already.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

Hunger Games. I love strong heroines. 

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Lip-gloss all the way! Easy to put on and doesn’t clash with anything.

Facebook or Twitter

Facebook – I love having more than 140 characters!

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

I always plot, but I very rarely stick to it. 

The Pollyanna Plan

Is finding true love as easy as an attitude change?

Thirty-something Emma Beckett has always looked down on 'the glass is half full' optimists, believing it's better to be realistic than delusional. But when she loses her high-powered job and fiancé in the same week, even Emma has difficulty keeping calm and carrying on.  

With her world spinning out of control and bolstered by a challenge from her best friend, Emma makes a radical decision. From here on in, she'll behave like Pollyanna: attempting to always see the upside, no matter how dire the situation.

Can adopting a positive attitude give Emma the courage to build a new life, or is finding the good in everything a very bad idea? 

Available at:
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Two of a Kind by Yona Zeldis McDonough

3 Star

Ten years after losing her husband, Christina Connelly has worked through the pain, focusing on raising her teenage daughter and managing her small decorating business. But her romantic life has never recovered. Still, it’s irksome to be set up with arrogant, if handsome, doctor Andy Stern at her friend’s wedding. If he wasn’t also a potential client, needing his Upper East Side apartment redesigned, she would write him off.

This is never going to work, Andy thinks. Still grieving his wife and struggling with a troubled son, he’s not looking for a woman, and certainly not someone as frosty and reserved as Christina. Their relationship will be strictly business. Yet to everyone’s surprise—including their own—these two find themselves falling in love.

But if reconciling with their pasts is difficult, blending their lives and children to create a new family is nearly impossible. They’ve been given a second chance…but can they overcome all the obstacles in the way of happily ever after?

Rebecca - 3 Star

I’ve been putting off writing this review, mostly because I have mixed feelings about this book which makes writing a coherent review that doesn’t contradict itself tricky. I had reservations from the outset; really this isn’t my sort of book but I thought I’d read it with an open mind and see how I got on because, well it’s good to try new things right?

The first niggle I encountered was that the love interest Andy is a doctor and the implication is that this fact alone makes him desirable and somehow in a different league to Christina who is merely an interior decorator. Now no disrespect to my lovely husband who is a doctor but I don’t think we really still live in an era where women still go weak at the knees simply because somebody went to med school.  I’ve dated enough medics in my time to be absolutely certain they are just blokes and quite a lot of them are more boring than the average guy on the street. But putting that to one side I think McDonough writes really well, in particular her characterization is superb, even minor parts are really convincing and colourful, and I was for a time swept up in the story.

And then came the moment Andy rescues a kitten out of a tree. Yep; a little girl’s kitten out of a tree. I could scarcely believe what I was reading! Short of a knight rescuing a princess from a fire breathing dragon, a more clichéd demonstration of manliness and compassion I don’t believe you could find and I had an almost physical reaction. Yuk! Actually that wasn’t what I said. What I really said isn’t polite enough to post but after this point I really struggled to take the book seriously, which is a shame as McDonough tackles some tricky issues such as anorexia and drug-taking head on and handles them expertly, and the love story between Christina and Andy is rather charming. 

After the closing chapters I mostly felt perplexed; how can an author who writes so convincingly, be so willing to rely on such clichéd plots and dated attitudes? Maybe her readership doesn’t mind, but unfortunately I do.

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

Connect with Yona Zeldis McDonough:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

She Effin Hates Me by Scarlett Savage

3 Star

Molly has arrived home from Vassar to reveal that she has an important announcement to make. Her mother, Suzanne, is convinced that Molly’s news is history repeating herself — and that she’s about to become a thirty-six-year-old grandmother. Suzanne’s mother, Ava, develops a case of impending great-grandmother fever—that is, when she’s not spying on the new next-door neighbor, Buddy McKinley, who turns out to be a blast from her past.

Decades earlier, Buddy was the business partner of Ava’s late husband, as well as his best friend during the Vietnam War. Ava feels she has good reasons for hating Buddy—she blames him for the fall of their business, an Irish pub that was a staple of the community. The loss not only destroyed her husband but also pushed her headfirst into the vodka bottle.

Suzanne eventually finds out that Buddy and Ava’s past goes back much further than either has admitted. She begins to wonder whether Ava truly hates Buddy, or whether her feelings are much more complicated, as are her own when Molly announces that she’s not pregnant, but gay.

Sabrina-Kate - 3 Star

She Effin Hates Me sounded like the exact type of book I love reading when I read the blurb on it yet it truly didn't end up being that at all. From the beginning I struggled with the pacing and the characters. If I had to pick just one word to describe it, I would probably pick 'plodding' because I just felt like I was plodding along, slogging my way through some slushy weather. You know what I mean; it felt like my feet were dragging (or at least someone's were!)

The characters were interesting, don't get me wrong. It is just that it felt to me like there was a lot of unnecessary detail that made certain parts just drag out and feel interminable. I usually race through books pretty quickly but it took me the better part of three weeks, off and on, to make it through this book which for me was not a great sign at all.

I know that this book was based on a play that the author wrote and I can't help but wonder why they wanted to develop it into a book. If it worked as a play, couldn't the age old adage, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' apply?

I couldn't find many other reviews about She Effin Hates Me to see if I was just off about the way I felt about it so I guess it is truly up to the reader to decide whether they want to venture further and see if this book thrills them in a way in certainly didn't me.

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

Connect with Scarlett:
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