Saturday, May 31, 2014

In The Mirror by Kaira Rouda

2 Star

Jennifer Benson has it all: a successful career, a perfect husband, two kids and abundant friendships. The only problem is she may be dying. IN THE MIRROR is the realistic love story about a woman facing a deadly illness, and her loves past and present. It's a story that unfolds with a delightful blend of humor and poignancy, ringing true in the heart of anyone who has ignored a warning of her own.

Sabrina-Kate - 2 Star

I hate to give In the Mirror such a low rating as I have loved Kaira's writing before but I really felt like it was not a realistic portrayal of someone fighting for their life against cancer. Unfortunately I have personal experience with this terrible disease and I just found the main character, Jennifer, to be preoccupied with things that truly didn't matter and in my mind, wouldn't if you were really worried about dying.

I also did not buy the character's reserves of energy despite being in the middle of treatments. She would have endless amounts of energy when she was seeing her ex-boyfriend but would be listless and exhausted when her own very young children were around? I just cannot see that as being a normal reaction when my own daughter matters more to me than anyone or anything else and I can only imagine a situation like this would just make that feeling much more intense.

The story was a good idea - I just feel like it was not very well executed especially the way that the marital relationship was resolved and the forgiveness that occurred as well as Sara's extremely speedy remission and return home. Sad to say that I had higher hopes for a book that would be truer to what I know.

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

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Friday, May 30, 2014

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

5 Star

It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity.

But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company.

Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?

Kathryn - 5 Star

I read somewhere that they thought this novel would make a great film and I utterly agree.  The Forgotten Seamstress has great visual components - the descriptions of the buildings alone that would make a fascinating backdrop for a movie.  I read it quickly because I was desperate to find out if Maria’s history would be believed and her child’s identity would be discovered in Caroline’s modern day storyline.

The transfer back and forth between Maria’s voice and Caroline’s was seamless and so well done that you felt like they were living during the same period despite that they obviously weren’t.  And the pace was perfectly executed too, everything introduced at the perfect time with just enough description to create a picture but never enough to slow down the information.  I’m gushing I think- but to be honest it was a greatly enjoyable read in every aspect from the way it was written to the story itself.

The concept of the quilt throughout the plot was fabulous, each snippet of information we got about Maria was also shown in a portion of the blanket she was making throughout her life and as we learnt more about Maria’s later life we were given a clearer image of the blanket. I’m positive though that everyone’s vision of the quilt would be different! 

Liz Trenow also was careful that the emotions between characters was clear, that Caroline’s struggle with her mother’s future was not left as an after-thought and that Maria and Nora were never far from each other’s minds.  I felt like nothing was left by the way side and every detail was thought through and wrapped up with satisfaction. 

Though The Forgotten Seamstress is peppered with sadness there was still an element of joy and positivity that stuck with me throughout.  I really enjoyed it and am certainly putting Liz Trenow on my list of author’s to seek out!

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

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Would You Rather... with Sally Koslow

Please welcome Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz

About Sally:

Sally Koslow artfully weaves a story of family secrets, midlife reinvention, and forgiveness in her inspiring fourth novel, THE WIDOW WALTZ (Plume; $16.00; ISBN: 978-0142180990; On sale: May 27th 2014), now in paperback from Plume.    When her husband, Ben Silver, suffers a fatal heart attack while training in Central Park for the New York City Marathon, 50-year-old Georgia Waltz finds her perfect life perfectly disassembled. The tragedy exposes a shocking revelation: Ben left their family penniless! The lifestyle that Georgia has enjoyed suddenly vanishes when she discovers that their savings have been plundered and their homes in Manhattan and East Hampton are mortgaged to the hilt.  While Georgia attempts to locate the family’s assets and understand who her husband really was, she is forced to find the grit to move forward, which means supporting herself for the first time—and helping her two twenty-something daughters do the same. As these three flounder, then gradually forge new and stronger bonds, they learn what they value most, a process that leads Georgia to discover new love when she least expected it.

Koslow is the author of three previous novels, The Late, Lamented Molly Marx, a Target Book Pick; With Friends Like These; and Little Pink Slips, inspired by her time as the editor-in-chief of McCall’s. She is also the author of Slouching Toward Adulthood, an amusing and insightful report from the parenting trenches. It is currently in development as a sitcom for NBC-TV.

Connect with Sally:
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Would You Rather... with Sally Koslow

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Dark chocolate.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

Bridget Jones! She is so sweet and well intentioned, but her impulsive nature and bizarre musings make me love her even more.

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Wine--red, please.

Camping or spa vacation?

A spa with hiking, yoga, Pilates and barre classes to absolve my sybaritic guilt.

Water or Mountains?

I love my cabin close to the Berkshires, which are almost mountains, bit I’d instantly swap it for something on the ocean should I win the lottery.

Zombies or Vampires?

More of a people person, actually.

Dogs or Cats?

Dogs! R.I.P Maggie, our cocker spaniel whose ears looked like Kim Basinger’s hair; Muzzy, a Puli with dreadlocks and Angelo, the pup my boyfriend—now husband—and I rescued in college.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke, rarely. Water, no ice, please.

Coffee or tea?

Winter: strong coffee with steamed milk, one Splenda. Summer: an Arnold Palmer—half iced tea, half lemonade.

Dine out or take away?

I’ll make the reservation.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

Love stilettoes. Live in sneakers.

Physical book or ebook?

A physical book that I can underline. I also like seeing the covers of books that other people are reading.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcover. I’m impatient.

Pen or Pencil?

Black Pilot Extra Fine Rolling Ball pens that I buy by the dozen.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

This is like choosing which child I prefer. Adore(d) all three. Haven’t missed one episode.

Drama or comedy?

I like a movie that is both, i.e., “Something’s Gotta Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Seen it enough to lip-synch the dialogue.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

Hunger Games, but not a groupie.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Lipstick. One of my editors turned me on to E.L.F. Cheap chic.

Facebook or Twitter

Love connecting with readers, childhood friends, other writers, and former colleagues on

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

I fly, no parachute, though I know where I want to land.

The Widow Waltz

Georgia Waltz has things many people only dream of: a plush Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park, a Hamptons beach house, valuable jewels and art, two bright daughters, and a husband she adores, even after decades of marriage. It’s only when Ben suddenly drops dead from a massive coronary while training for the New York City Marathon that Georgia discovers her husband—a successful lawyer—has left them nearly penniless. Their wonderland was built on lies. 

As the family attorney scours emptied bank accounts, Georgia must not only look for a way to support her family, she needs to face the revelation that Ben was not the perfect husband he appeared to be, just as her daughters—now ensconced back at home with secrets of their own—have to accept that they may not be returning to their lives in Paris and at Stanford subsidized by the Bank of Mom and Dad. As she uncovers hidden resilience, Georgia’s sudden midlife shift forces her to consider who she is and what she truly values. That Georgia may also find new love in the land of Spanx and stretch marks surprises everyone—most of all, her.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro

5 Star

Cutting Teeth takes place one late-summer weekend as a group of thirty-something couples gather at a shabby beach house on Long Island, their young children in tow.
They include Nicole, the neurotic hostess terrified by internet rumors that something big and bad is going to happen in New York City that week; stay-at-home dad Rip, grappling with the reality that his careerist wife will likely deny him a second child, forcing him to disrupt the life he loves; Allie, one half of a two-mom family, and an ambitious artist, facing her ambivalence toward family life; Tiffany, comfortable with her amazing body but not so comfortable in the upper-middle class world the other characters were born into; and Leigh, a blue blood secretly facing financial ruin and dependent on Tenzin, the magical Tibetan nanny everyone else covets. These tensions build, burn, and collide over the course of the weekend, culminating in a scene in which the ultimate rule of the group is broken.

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Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

This has got to be one of the best and most honest novels about parenthood that I have ever read and I have definitely read my fair share of those! Cutting Teeth was so brutally honest at times that I found myself nodding or cringing in recognition of the scene or thoughts of the character.

I really liked how the author changed the point of view and character in every chapter. It gave unique and interesting perspectives on a common situation (which was a weekend away for a playgroup). It was quite interesting to see how many sides of a story there could be and how people's lives may be similar but so very different at the same time.

This book had so many complex emotions and situations but also dealt with personal issues, couple issues and child issues in a very real way that I have not found before in a novel. The children's actions were very age appropriate and even their dialogue seemed realistic, which I find very rare when people write children into a story, so this was definitely a big plus for me.

Cutting Teeth far exceeded all of the expectations I had for it and I can see why it is a highly anticipated debut as I could not put it down and actually opted to not sleep to finish it. I cannot wait for this author's next work!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

Connect with Julia Fierro:
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off by Carolyn Brown

3.5 Star

In small-town Cadillac, Texas, Carlene Lovelle and her cousins' fancy panty business, Bless My Bloomers, is booming. But irony strikes when Carlene discovers another woman's silk bikini underwear in her husband's briefcase. Lenny Joe hasn't just crossed the line, he's left it in his dust, so Carlene's taking her revenge to the kitchen.

For ten years, Lenny Joe's team has dominated Cadillac's Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off. But with Carlene's Bless My Bloomers team now in the ring, it's anyone's game—and when there's pride and food involved, things are bound to get messy.

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Kathryn - 3.5 Star

This is the first Carolyn Brown novel I’ve ever read- I understand that she writes a couple of different genres so I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of The Red-Hot Chili Cook-Off except that perhaps it had something to do with chili!  

I actually really enjoyed the plot lines and action of the book- I found the characters funny and expressive and for the most part appreciated the pace of the novel.  For me the drawback was that there were a lot of different characters to try and keep track of. The town included a plethora of gossiping and sometimes interfering women so those ladies (although very amusing) almost became one voice for me.

The three cousins were well established character-wise but each of them had parents that I kept mixing up and they all moved house a lot too which didn’t help matters.  I was really interested in the running of Bless My Bloomers though, a great idea for a shop, a great name and a generally fabulous idea.  It gave the cousins a spirit that would have been lacking if they didn’t have this solid business to structure themselves with.  Although I liked each of them for different reasons I most related to Patrice for her sense of adventure and to Carlene for her gutsiness.  Alma Grace made me crazy but there’s always got to be one of those and all three of them made me laugh at one point or another.

My feelings about this novel are mixed- on the whole I enjoyed the story and solidly give it a good rating but I wish I’d spent less time trying to sort out who was who, I should have just rolled with it earlier on I think!

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

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Monday, May 26, 2014

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner - Spotlight and Giveaway News!

Is everyone as excited as we are at Novel Escapes for Jennifer Weiner's newest novel, All Fall Down!? Doesn't it sound fabulous? Let the countdown begin!

Allison Weiss got her happy ending—a handsome husband, an adorable little girl, a job she loves, and a big house in the suburbs. But when she’s in the pediatrician’s office with her daughter and a magazine flips open to a quiz about addiction, she starts to wonder whether her use of prescription pills is becoming a problem. On the one hand, it’s just prescription medication, the stuff her doctors give her. Is a Percocet at the end of a hard day really different than a glass of wine? Is it such a bad thing to pop a Vicodin after a brutal Jump & Pump class…or after your husband ignores you?

Back in the car, with her daughter safely buckled behind her, Allison opens the Altoid tin in her purse and slips a chalky white oval underneath her tongue. The pill unties her knotted muscles, erases the grime and ugliness of the city, soothes her as she frets about the truth of her looking-good life: that her husband’s becoming distant, that her daughter is acting out, that her father’s early Alzheimer’s is worsening and her mother’s barely managing to cope. She tells herself that the pills let her make it through her days…but what if her ever-increasing drug use, a habit that’s becoming expensive and hard to hide, is turning into her biggest problem of all?

All Fall Down is the story of a woman’s slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again. With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, this tale of empowerment and redemption is Jennifer Weiner’s most poignant, timely, and triumphant story yet. 

Read the first chapter HERE! 

And stay tuned for an exciting Giveaway in June for Novel Escapes' five year anniversary! Can you believe it's been FIVE years!?

The River Burns by Trevor Ferguson

5 Star

Wakefield is a small town where a unique collection of longstanding citizens has lived mostly in harmony, accepting of each other’s foibles. But underneath the picture perfect exterior a battle rages between those who wish to preserve the historic single-lane covered bridge across the river, and the loggers who want it replaced with a modern alternative. As the days pass with no change in the dispute, tensions begin to boil over, friends turn against one another, and the town seethes with potential violence.

Family man and second-generation logger Denny O’Farrell has been leading the charge to modernize the bridge. When the bureaucratic route fails to produce results, Denny and his friends need a new plan of action. But local police officer Ryan O’Farrell, Denny’s brother, is very worried about exactly how much Denny and friends are willing to risk in order to win the war. Swept up into the dispute, lawyer Raine Tara-Anne Cogshill, a newcomer hiding from her big-city past, hasn’t bargained on getting caught up in a summer of violence.

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Rebecca - 5 Star

Until this book popped through my letterbox I had never heard of Trevor Ferguson. Such an admission I suspect might be the literary equivalent of admitting one hasn’t heard of Ian McEwan back home in the UK but having scoured the UK amazon website and finding no trace of him there, I feel a little less embarrassed in confessing to not previously having read anything by “Canada’s best novelist”. Clearly us Brits are missing a trick in overlooking Ferguson and along with Thanksgiving, ice-skating and butter tarts (yup, we don’t do those either) he is a piece of Canadiana that I’m planning to export home when we leave.

What captivated me was Ferguson’s ability to plonk me the reader right down in Wakefield and convey the sense of small town Quebec and the beautiful surrounding countryside undulating through the seasons. There is a delightful cast of characters who lived and breathed for me (with the notable exception of the ‘tree huggers’ who seemed to run around half naked hurling explosives at people - clearly UK tree huggers are a far friendlier bunch) but despite this somewhat odd characterisation I was quickly swept along with the unfolding drama.

Apparently The River Burns began as a short story that then became a film script before transforming into a novel, although I can't help but wonder if it will make it to the silver screen before too long as it would transpose so well. I already have my casting preferences for Tara and Mrs McCracken. But in the mean time would somebody in the publishing world please introduce Trevor Ferguson to the UK? This sort of read is just too sumptuous to miss.

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

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Forgotten Daughter by Renita D'Silva

5 Star

‘You were adopted’. 

Three simple words, in a letter accompanying her parent’s will, tear Nisha’s carefully ordered world apart. Raised in England, by her caring but emotionally reserved parents, Nisha has never been one to take risks.

Now, with the scrawled address of an Indian convent begins a search for the mother and family she never knew and the awakening of childhood memories long forgotten.

The secrets, culture and people that Nisha discover will change her life forever. And, as her eyes are opened to a side of herself she didn’t know existed, Nisha realizes that she must also seek answers to the hardest question of all – why?

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I can say without hesitation that I absolutely loved this book. I had read Renita D Silva's previous book Monsoon Memories so jumped at the chance to read her latest work and was definitely very happy to have done so.

Her descriptions of people and places are so realistic and really drew me into getting to know and care about the characters. The Forgotten Daughter is quite lengthy but I found myself so drawn into the story, and so deeply, that time just flew by before I even took a pause to come up for air.

The story captivated me and I truly enjoyed that way that it alternated between Shilpa, Devi and Nisha's voices. Each one was fascinating and compelling in its own way. I found myself trying to figure out how they were all connected it took quite some time before that was revealed - I never would have guessed exactly how they were linked.

The story was set in the UK and in India and rich descriptions set the scene for both in such an amazing way that I could easily picture myself in the midst of everything happening no matter where it was taking place.

The Forgotten Daughter was a very intense novel at times, addressing such themes as adoption, betrayal and family obligations which of course are viewed very differently depending on the culture. I found it very interesting to get the different perspectives and see how closely they could be linked.

There was a lot of feeling in this book and you could tell that this was something that came from the author's heart so if a heartwrenching emotional novel is what you enjoy then I encourage you to pick this one up.

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

Connect with Renita D'Silva:
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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spun by Catherine McKenzie

5 Star

Life has been rough for starlet Amber since leaving rehab. She’s been two years sober, but no one seems to believe her -- not the gossip media, not casting agents, and most certainly not her spotlight-loving parents. With her friendships ruined by betrayal and her career at a standstill, Amber’s just trying to get her life back on track. It doesn’t help that her former love, movie star Connor Parks, keeps trying to draw Amber back in, not just to their relationship but to his hard-partying ways. One fateful night, Amber breaks down and agrees to join him on board his private jet as it readies for take-off -- a decision that will change her life forever and expose her to a whole new level of scrutiny and heartbreak.

Kathryn - 5 Star

Spun traces the backstory of Amber Sheppard who appeared in McKenzie’s novel Spin. I read Spin a couple of years ago so I confess that I started reading Spun with very little in way of pre-conceived story line.  Spun is a quick paced novella with more action and dialogue than one could normally expect from a hundred odd pages and I love McKenzie’s writing so I was pleased that she could also pack so much into such a short format. 

Spun is both heart-breaking and hilarious and Amber’s narrative is realistic, I would presume, for a starlet under scrutiny.  Not being a 20 something actress just out of rehab myself though, I could still relate to her confusion with regards to her feelings about the love of her life (who, by the way, isn’t good for her- at all). Our impression of this past love is suspicious from the outset but I think we were given enough detail of their good times to absorb that Amber wasn’t completely delusional to want him.  As for the other people in Amber’s world, I was particularly concerned when her close friend (and publicist) Olivia gives up a secret that should have turned Amber’s life into total destruction mode- but it turns out that the starlet could really have her act together  (despite the media pushing otherwise)?   I was so disappointed for her distance from her parents, though McKenzie doesn’t write them as entirely unsympathetic there wasn’t enough warmth there for me to think that their future relationship would be suddenly a bed of roses.

McKenzie skillfully wrote a main character that is relatable across many age groups and I would challenge people to not find empathy for her situation. Without giving much away this novella is full of intrigue, life and truths and I whisked through it happily.

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

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Would You Rather... with Janey Fraser

Please welcome Janey Fraser, author of After the Honeymoon, Happy Families, The Au Pair and The Playgroup.

About Janey:

JANEY FRASER  is a journalist and novelist. She attended North London Collegiate School and then  read English at Reading University before joining the Thomson Graduate Trainee Scheme as a journalist. Janey then went onto writer for Drapers Record, Parents and Woman’s Own magazine before turning freelance after the birth of her first child. For the next twenty five years, she contributed to numerous national publications including The Times, Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home. She was also a regular columnist for Woman and The Daily Telegraph.

 As Sophie King, she had five novels published by  Hodder & Stoughton, including The Wedding Party which was shortlisted for Love Story of the Year in 2010. She now writes  as Janey Fraser for Arrow (Random House).  Titles so far have included The Playgroup, The Au Pair, Happy Families and her new novel After The Honeymoon.

Fay Weldon has described her novels as ’unputdownable’. Her novels have won various prizes including the Elizabeth Goudge Short Story Trophy in 2005. She was also a runner up in the  Harry Bowling Prize.

Janey has also written numerous non-fiction books including “Family Memories”  (a series of children’s books); How To Write Short Stories For Magazines And Get Published; How To Write Your First Novel; How To Write Your Life Story; Tidy Your Room! How to get kids to do jobs they hate ; Everything a Parent Needs to know before their Child goes to University; Everything a Parent Needs to know before their Child goes to Secondary school.

In addition, she has had hundreds of short stories published in magazines such as Woman’s Weekly and My Weekly. She also gives regular talks/workshops at bookshops and literary festivals including Winchester and Guildford.  Until her recent move to Devon, she tutored at Oxford University and West Herts College. For three years, she was writer in residence at HMP Grendon, a high-security male prison where she helped lifers to write their life stories as well as poems, novels and short stories. Janey also invited in fellow writers such as Colin Dexter to give talks to prisoners.

Connect with Janey:
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Would You Rather... with Janey Fraser

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Cheese. Since moving to Devon, I’ve discovered all kinds of different cheeses. My favourite is nettle. There’s nothing nicer than cheese and crispbread on the beach while playing with the dog. Then again, I’m not averse to the odd chocolate ice cream.....

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

It’s got to be Carrie because I was a full-time journalist before I became a novelist. I identify with that enthusiasm that can get you into trouble sometimes! In fact, my newish husband bears a certain similarity to Mr Big (even though he’s blondish).

Wine, beer or vodka? 

This is going to sound SO boring. I had to have an op a few years ago and found, to my horror, that the anaesthetic changed my taste buds. Alcohol now tastes metallic so I drink lots of water and elderflower instead. The children think it’s hilarious and tell everyone that I don’t drink because I’m a reformed alcoholic. Not true. But I used to be a Bombay Sapphire girl on Friday nights.

Camping or spa vacation?

Camping? Are you kidding? I was a lousy Girl Guide and an thankful, every day of my life, that no one can make me go under canvas again. Five star spa please.

Water or Mountains?

Water. I’ve always been drawn to the sea, despite being brought up near Harrow. When I got married again, my husband said he wanted to live in Devon. ‘Where’s that?’ I asked. (Only half-joking. ‘By the sea,’ she replied. Done.

Zombies or Vampires?

I’m allergic to both  ever since I had to hide behind the sofa at the age of five when I saw a scary Tom & Jerry cartoon featuring a ghost.

Dogs or Cats?

My dog goes everywhere with me. In fact, he’s sleeping on the sofa behind me as we write. But I love cats too.  Unfortunately, my newish husband isn’t so keen on the feline breed. So it’s just Dog Are Us at the moment – until I can get him to change his mind.

Coke or Pepsi?

Diet Coke – usually. But I’ve given it up for Lent.

Coffee or tea?

Remember I was telling you about that anaesthetic? I used be the kind of girl who couldn’t get out of bed without a mug of tea in her hand. Now that tastes metallic too....So it’s hot water with lemon. I also do a very brave smoothie with whatever’s in the fridge. The quality varies.

Dine out or take away?

Both. There are times when we like to crash with a pizza. And when we have guests, they always want seaside fish and chips (probably because I can only cook six dishes). But we also love going out to eat, especially to fish restaurants.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

I try to pretend I can walk on high heels but to be honest, they went out of the window when I had to start chasing runaway toddlers. Years later, I’m easing my feet back in. Sneakers win over flip flips though. I hate that rubber bit between the toes. Should be banned along with camping.

Physical book or ebook?

Don’t tell my husband who’s just bought me a pink Kindle. But I like to physically turn a page.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Paperback. Less heavy. However, I love a nice hardback on the book shelves. It’s more likely to last for the next generation. I still have all my children’s books.

Pen or Pencil?

Nice sharp pencil please. Typing has ruined my handwriting. But a pencil slips less.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

Confession. I haven’t seen Breaking Bad. I caught a glimpse of Mad Men but I think I needed to be there at the beginning. However, I LOVE Downton. Love all that subtle Victorian and Edwardian intrigue. I’ve been lucky enough to meet Julian Fellowes and his wife and they’re charming.

Drama or comedy?

Both, depending on my frame of mind. I adored Outnumbered. Someone must have been writing about us! But we’re currently addicted to The Good Wife.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

The HG made me physically sick. I’m not that wowed by Twilight but I suppose it’s the best of the bunch. 

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Lipstick and lipgloss. I’m always buying myself a new dipstick as my daughter used to call them – and then coming home to find I’ve got that colour already.

Facebook or Twitter

Twitter. It’s quicker. And wittier.

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

Plot in so far as you think of the idea and characters plus their problems. Then fly on the magic carpet.

After the Honeymoon

Two couples, one honeymoon destination, and enough secrets to end both marriages. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell

How can one honeymoon cause so much trouble?

Much as Emma loves Tom, she would never have got married if he hadn't insisted. But with Tom sick for the whole week, shouldn't she at least take advantage of the entertainment?

Winston married Melissa after a three-month whirlwind romance. As a breakfast TV fitness star, he's anxious to keep things private. But the arrival of Melissa's two children soon puts paid to that.

Rosie arrived at the Villa Rosa homeless and pregnant when she was just seventeen. Now, sixteen years later, she runs the place. However, the appearance of Winston throws her into confusion. He might not remember her, but she has never forgotten him.

By the end of the week, none of their lives will be the same. But how will they cope after the honeymoon is over?

Available at:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Who Killed Tom Jones? by Gale Martin

2 Star

Ellie Overton is a 28-year-old rest home receptionist with a pussycat nose who also happens to be gaga for the pop singer Tom Jones. 

Regrettably single, she is desperate to have a red-hot love relationship, like those she’s read about in romance novels. Following an astrological hunch, she attends a Tom Jones Festival and meets an available, young impersonator with more looks than talent. Though he’s knocked out of the contest, he’s still in the running to become Ellie’s blue-eyed soul mate—until he’s accused of killing off the competition.

It’s not unusual that the handsome police detective working the case is spending more time pursuing Ellie than collaring suspects. So, she enlists the wily and witty rest home residents to help find the real murderer. Must Ellie forfeit her best chance for lasting love to crack this case?

Kaley - 2 Star

When I read the synopsis of Who Killed 'Tom Jones'? by Gale Martin, I was entertained. The novel sounded like a fun murder mystery (that seems like an oxymoron...) and I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, it just didn't do much for me.

The reason I gave the novel 2 stars (instead of 1 or a DNF) is because I wanted to keep reading to find out who the murderer was. If I hadn't wanted to know the whodunit, well, I may not have finished the book. Harsh, I know. It's not that the story was bad. It wasn't, really. I just wasn't exactly a fan of the writing. There were awkward sentences and sometimes the tone seemed so out of place. Let's not even get started on the one sex scene. OK, I started. It was flowery and belonged in a bodice ripper...totally not the right tone for this book. There were other times where the word choice was odd and when I wished the editing of the novel had been better.

Like I said, the story wasn't too bad. It was kind of entertaining – a murder at a Tom Jones impersonation event? Where the main character wants to find out who did it and is being helped by a madcap group from the residents of the rest home she works at? It promised the kind of hilarity I look for in a murder mystery, since I'm not one to read hardcore mysteries. The book was funny as it worked its way through the investigation but there was something, maybe the writing, that kept me from being really committed.

So, Who Killed 'Tom Jones'? was not a winner for me. Gale Martin has an entertaining enough story on her hands but I think the writing needs to be tightened and polished just a bit more. 

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

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Catching Air by Sarah Pekkanen

4 Star

A chance to run a B&B in snowy, remote Vermont—it’s an offer Kira Danner can’t resist after six soul-crushing years of working as a lawyer in Florida. As Kira and her husband, Peter, step into a brand new life, she quells her fears about living with the B&B’s co-owners: Peter’s sexy, irresponsible brother Rand, and Rand’s wife, Alyssa…who is essentially a stranger.

For her part, Alyssa sees taking over the B&B as the latest in a string of adventures. Plus, a quiet place might help her recover from the news that she can’t bear children. But the idyllic town proves to be anything but serene: Within weeks, the sisters-in-law are scrambling to prepare for their first big booking—a winter wedding—and soon a shy, mysterious woman comes to work for them. Dawn Zukoski is hiding something; that much is clear. But what the sisters-in-law don't realize is that Dawn is also hiding from someone…

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I have long been a fan of Sarah Pekkanen  so I was absolutely thrilled to have the chance to read this book as it was definitely one of the books I was most  looking forward to this year. Although I did really enjoy the characters and plotline in Catching Air (as I do with all of her writing) there was just something that I didn't care for as much as her other books and that is the reason I did not give it a 5 star review. Not to say that I didn't read it in a day (I did) and not to say that I didn't really like it (I did).

The story featured brothers Rand and Peter and their respective wives Alyssa and Kira, who were virtual strangers at the beginning of their living together. The brothers have past issues that kept coming up to the surface. And that, coupled with the tension between the women, felt a bit unbearable at times (though realistic).

Pair these often uncomfortable dynamics with a stranger who they decide to help, Dawn, and I sometimes found myself a bit unclear as to what was going on and would have to re-read a bit to refocus myself. Not something I particularly enjoy doing, though I can't say if it was more where my mind was and not necessarily the book itself.

Catching Air was interesting as it was quite unpredictable and I didn't find the characters were people that I could necessarily predict their next actions so that kept the story fresh despite the fact that I found it frustrating at times.

For fans of Sarah, you definitely won't be disappointed as it is written with her classic style.

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

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