Thursday, June 26, 2014

The No-Kids Club by Talli Roland

4 Star

At almost forty, Clare Donoghue is living child-free and loving it.

Then her boyfriend says he wants kids, breaking off their promising relationship. And it's not just boyfriends: one by one, her formerly carefree friends are swallowed up in a nonstop cycle of play dates and baby groups. So Clare declares enough is enough and decides it's time for people who don't have children to band together. And so the No-Kids Club is born.

As the group comes together?Anna, who's seeking something to jumpstart a stale marriage, and Poppy, desperate for a family but unable to conceive? Clare's hoping to make the most of the childless life with her new friends. But is living child-free all it's cracked up to be?

Kathryn - 4 Star

Talli Roland always writes a really fun and interesting story and The No-Kids Club is no exception.  Her subject in this novel though felt unique, something a bit original that hasn’t been overdone and that was as refreshing as her writing skills.

Clare was strong minded in her mission to create a club for those who don’t have children- either by choice or by circumstance.  (I almost wished Roland had made the club only for those who chose to not have children as that seems to be a void in the world in general- a place where people don’t ask when children are going to part of your life plan?)  However, that was not the story written. 

The relationship between the three women, complete strangers at the start of the club, develops entirely as it would out here in the real world. Obviously it’s really awkward at first and Clare is sometimes just itching to get away from these ladies but as the novel unfolds they slowly start to trust each other’s intentions and support each other, despite their different goals and plans in regards to kids.  

Clare’s relationship with her best friend (busy career woman and about to have a baby..) was as realistic as it was charming – she was gently supportive of all Clare’s desires for her life without letting her own plans take a back seat in their conversations. I liked her immensely.  I also appreciated the scenes between Clare and her ex, Edward. Their break up was so honest that it made the whole novel begin on a reassuringly straight and truthful path.  You could feel how genuinely sad they both were to be finding themselves with opposite desires to parent- their break up seemed abrupt – but in reality most of us would get out as fast as possible rather than risk further heartache. You can rarely change someone’s mind when it comes to the desire for children.

I’m not sure I loved how things unfolded for Clare- part of me wished there had been another path taken by Roland?  And having accepted said path I felt the whole thing wrapped up a bit too tidily given the original feelings of our protagonist.  However, I loved reading The No-Kids Club and Talli Roland’s novels will always be a hit with me.

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

Connect with Talli Roland:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Would You Rather... with Arleen Williams

Please welcome Arleen Williams, author of Running Secrets

About Arleen:

Arleen Williams is the author of two books: Running Secrets, the first novel in The Alki Trilogy and The Thirty-Ninth Victim, a memoir of her family’s journey before and after her sister's murder. She teaches English as a Second Language at South Seattle College and has worked with immigrants and refugees for close to three decades. Arleen lives and writes in West Seattle. To learn more, please visit

Connect with Arleen:
Website     Facebook     Goodreads

Would You Rather... with Arleen Williams

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

Isn't chocolate one of the major food groups? Rich, dark and decadent.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

Maybe it's generational or maybe I'm just clueless. I've heard of the first one. Give me a moment while I google them.

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Gin. On ice. A thick slice of lime. The perfect post-workout pain tonic. 

Camping or spa vacation?

I can't make a choice without experiencing both. I've camped all my life. Backpacking into the Pacific Northwest wilderness, preferably midweek, is an ideal escape from my hectic schedule. Should I try a spa vacation?

Water or Mountains?

Definitely mountains, unless of course we're talking tropical water. I'm in the Pacific Northwest where the ocean is frigid and the lakes never warm up quite enough for my taste. Here I hardly want to risk being on a boat for fear of getting splashed. Now Hawaii? That's a different story.

Zombies or Vampires?


Dogs or Cats?

Dogs. But honestly, I could live without the dog hair and dirt my daughter's pooch leaves behind. And no, Toby is not allowed in my new car.

Coke or Pepsi?

See #6.

Coffee or tea?

Morning coffee - dark French roast, strong and black. Can anyone really function without it? Afternoon tea. Preferably decaf. I do need my beauty sleep.

Dine out or take away?

Why would I want to clean up at home if I'm not cooking? I think take away should be limited to picnic options.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

They each have a place and time in my life. But honestly my feet prefer clogs.

Physical book or ebook?

I love the feel and smell of physical books, especially a new hardcover. But the convenience and environmental advantages of e-books are undeniable. I especially enjoy being able to read my e-book in bed at night in the dark without keeping my husband awake. Really, I just like not annoying him.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcover if it's a book I want to treasure in my home library. But I also shop a lot at my local secondhand bookshop for the $3 paperbacks.

Pen or Pencil?

Pentel Client ball point. No, I'm not getting paid to say that. I really love the feel of this pen. I use nothing else.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

Mad and Bad do nothing for me. I enjoyed the first few seasons of Abbey, but I'm easily annoyed when I'm left hanging and have to wait half a year to find out what happens. I like a solid beginning, middle and end - all within a reasonable two hours. I'm done with television shows.

Drama or comedy?

Comedy. I've got enough drama in my life.

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

Again, see #6.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

I rarely seem to remember any of it - except when my lips start peeling. So chapstick, I suppose.

Facebook or Twitter

I've got my hands full with FB. I couldn't possibly add Twitter to the social media mix or I'd never get another book written.

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

I have a clear idea of beginning and end, and I plot out most of the story using a detailed scene list. But that list is in constant flux as I write. The story goes where the characters take it.

Running Secrets

In RUNNING SECRETS, flight attendant Chris Stevens is bent on self-destruction until she meets Gemi Kemmal, an Ethiopian home healthcare provider. Gemi and Jake, a paramedic, help Chris heal from and confront her difficult past, and regain a passion for living. In the process, Chris and Gemi forge a friendship that bridges cultural, racial and age differences. Their friendship gives both women the support each needs.

Gemi comes to question restrictive traditions dictating her immigrant life, such as the headscarf she’s worn since entering puberty and the celibacy she’s practiced since the brutal death of her husband and infant in the violence that destroyed her homeland and family. Chris uncovers family secrets that challenge everything she's ever known to be true.

Together the women learn that racial identity is a choice, self expression is a right, and family is a personal construct.

Available at:
Amazon Kindle Nook

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Year After Henry by Cathie Pelletier

5 Star

One year after Henry Munroe’s sudden death at age 41, his family is still reeling from the loss. So is Evie Cooper, a local bartender…and Henry’s former mistress. While his widow, Jeanie, struggles with the betrayal, his overbearing mother is devising plans to hold a memorial service on this awful anniversary. And to make matters worse, she might even invite Evie.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I originally hesitated when I first picked up A Year After Henry because of the subject matter. A novel written about the first year after losing a loved one felt like it might be difficult to read to me and having lost my father earlier this year, I suspected it might touch a nerve and I thought that it would perhaps stir up difficult emotions in me, but I can say that I was quite pleased to have given it a chance.

I have read Cathie Pelletier's books before and always thought them sort of amusing in a small town tales kind of way but I can say that I truly enjoyed this book and felt that it was quite interesting to get the perspective of different characters about the person they had all loved and lost. The old adage about there being several sides to each story definitely rang true with this story and how the author tied everything together and made it all fit was almost magical.

Even the characters who did things that I would normally find reprehensible were somewhat appealing to me because she made them so inherently human that you couldn't help but understand why they did things that were not so nice.

A Year After Henry was a revelation in many ways. It wasn't something that I was expecting to be honest but was a novel that I enjoyed so much more than I had hoped for.

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

Connect with Cathie Pelletier:
Website     Facebook      Goodreads

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My Wish List by Gregoire Delacourt

3.5 Star

The number-one best-selling international phenomenon that asks, If you won the lottery, would you trade your life for the life of your dreams?

Jocelyne lives in a small town in France where she runs a fabric shop, has been married to the same man for 21 years, and has raised two children. She is beginning to wonder what happened to all those dreams she had when she was 17. Could her life have been different?

Then she wins the lottery - and suddenly finds the world at her fingertips. But she chooses not to tell anyone, not even her husband - not just yet. Without cashing the check, she begins to make a list of all the things she could do with the money. But does Jocelyne really want her life to change?

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

Whenever I read a translated novel I always, always wish I was reading it in the original language.  I’m convinced I’m missing something essential about the essence of the story by not getting the nuances of the author’s originally written text.  Irritatingly, in this case, My Wish List is a novel I could actually have read in its original language but I had forgotten said frustration before starting it.

“Kicking myself” lecture over- I really enjoyed My Wish List for its blatant honesty, tragic history and heartbreaking misunderstandings.  Jocelyne is an ordinary woman living a simple life, her children are grown and she’s not sure she completely understands her husband anymore and, though she loves him, she’s not entirely sure he still loves her.  Her fabric shop is an inspiration to many women and she has some lovely friends but when she wins an enormous sum of money on the lottery she can’t seem to cash the cheque.

I would have done. 

I was completely drawn to Jocelyne and her life, her musings and her conflicts but that she didn’t want to cash the cheque and be able to help her friends, family and community completely dumbfounded me. While I could understand not wanting to rock the boat in her somewhat shaky marriage I still would have wanted to be able to provide that generosity for those around me?

While reading the latter part of My Wish List I was therefore antsy, not only with Jocelyne, but the skewed route the novel’s plot ended up taking.  It seemed to not fit with the first half and left me feeling decidedly unsettled.  So while I enjoyed the novel for its differences I couldn’t love it because the feeling at the start didn’t match the feeling at the end for me.

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

Connect with Gregoire Delacourt:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Novel Escapes Turns Five Today!

Kathryn and I are a little shocked that it's been five years since we started Novel Escapes. It seems like just yesterday that we decided to turn our love of reading and our mini book club for two into a book blog.

So much has happened in five years, but we’ve somehow managed to persevere with the reviews, adding some wonderful new book bloggers as we went. In five years we’ve all seen our fair share of life’s ups and downs but our love of books kept us coming back to pen another review. 

Although I’ve had to step away from reviewing myself to focus on writing another novel, I’m still involved behind the scenes and write mini-reviews on Goodreads as time permits. This is also a double celebration week for me as my debut novel, Redesigning Rose, turned one! 

We also can’t believe how much fun we’ve had along the way, the new friends we’ve met from authors to other book bloggers to publicists, and all the new books and authors we’ve discovered along the way. It’s been a wild ride and we’re looking forward to the next five years! 

It's a bookish anniversary week so as a thank you to all our fabulous followers, we’re celebrating with some fabulous giveaways:

Our first review ever at Novel Escapes was Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner, who is one of our favourite authors! So, to celebrate, we’re giving away a paperback copy of her latest release, All Fall Down, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada (available to Canadian residents only).

Enter to win one of two $10.00USD Amazon gift cards because we want to share some bookish love. 
Also up for grabs are two ebook copies of Lydia’s debut novel, Redesigning Rose, because it's her Book Birthday this week, too!

Enter Below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Would You Rather... with Susan C. Daffron

Please welcome Susan C. Daffron, author of Chez Stinky.

About Susan:

Susan Daffron is the author of one novel and 14 nonfiction books, including several about pet care and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northern Idaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat--the last three, all "rescues." Her latest book, Chez Stinky ( is the first of a series of romantic comedy novels that will feature the small town of Alpine Grove.

When she's not writing novels, Susan works as the president of Logical Expressions, Inc., a book and software publishing based company in Sandpoint, Idaho. You can read more about her at her website

Connect with Susan:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads     Google+

Would You Rather... with Susan C. Daffron

Chips, chocolate or cheese? 

No question: chocolate.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw? 

Probably Bridget Jones I guess. I'm not into shopping or shoes.

Wine, beer or vodka? 

Vodka with some type of mixer to turn it into a tropical drink. Preferably on a picturesque beach somewhere exotic.

Camping or spa vacation?

Camping. I love the outdoors.

Water or Mountains?

Although I love the mountains and live there, I would rather live on the water if I could afford it. (Beachfront real estate can be mighty expensive.)

Zombies or Vampires?

Vampires. Zombies just gross me out.

Dogs or Cats?

Dogs. My dog Fiona is the cutest dog ever.

Coke or Pepsi?

Neither. I don't drink soft drinks. It was a huge pain when I was growing up before bottled water was available everywhere. You could only get soft drinks at events, so I spent a lot of time looking for water fountains.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. And it needs to be good coffee.

Dine out or take away?

Dine out. Someplace nice, please.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops

Flip flops. At the beach with my tropical drink, thanks.

Physical book or ebook?

Physical book. I like my Kindle for traveling, but I'd still much rather read a real dead-tree paper book. It's my inner Luddite coming out I suppose.

Paperback or Hardcover?

I like reading paperbacks, but hardcovers look prettier on my bookshelves.

Pen or Pencil?

Pencil. My handwriting is atrocious and I need to erase a lot.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad

None of the above. Haven't seen them.

Drama or comedy?

Comedy. I write romantic comedy for a reason ;-)

Twilight or Hunger Games? 

Neither. I couldn't even get past the description of Hunger Games. Yuck. I read Twilight, but the main character made me want to vomit. "Ooooh, he's so sparkly!" Ugh. Give me a break.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick? 

Chapstick. It's dry here.

Facebook or Twitter

Facebook. I loathe Twitter with a considerable amount of venom.

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

I'm a plotter. If I even try to "pants" a scene, I just sit there staring at a gaping expanse of blank screen. It's depressing. I like to have at least a rough outline before I start in on my first draft.

Chez Stinky

Kat Stevens is a slightly insecure, mostly bored technical writer who likes her cat a lot more than her boss. She hasn’t laid eyes on her great aunt Abigail since she was eight, so she’s stumped when she inherits Abigail’s house in the small hamlet of Alpine Grove.

Kat’s uncomplicated life gets decidedly less so when she discovers the inheritance comes with some hairy conditions: four dogs and five cats that her aunt wanted her to love as her own. Of course, the house smells like a barn–with a touch of antique skunk–and, naturally, has serious roof issues. And that’s before the three-legged cat gets stuck in the wall and the shower goes kablooey.

When Kat meets Joel, an unemployed techie type with no love lost for his sister, Kat looks past his obvious flaws, given his timely and desirable skill set: a talent for fixing things (and his own tools).

Despite out-of-control dogs, cat fights, dust dinosaurs, massive spiders and an old grizzled hippie passed out in the yard, Kat discovers the tranquility of the forests of Alpine Grove starting to seep into her soul.

And why she can’t she stop thinking about Joel?

Available at:
Amazon Kindle Nook

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

4 Star

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .

Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate--to be there for Kate’s children--but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.

Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Dorothy Hart--the woman who once called herself Cloud--is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need one another--and maybe a miracle--to transform their lives.

Rebecca- 4 Star

This is not a cheery novel. As early as chapter five I was surprised to find myself welling up in an embarrassing fashion at the poolside whilst my son had his swimming lesson. The following day I was mortified to find I’d done the school run with mascara-smudge racoon eyes as a result of grabbing a few minutes reading before I left home (I’m still a bit annoyed nobody told me; clearly Canadians are far too polite!) Still Kristin Hannah’s ability to draw you into the emotional landscape of this book is impressive and makes it a gripping read.

Fly Away is in fact a sequel to one of Hannah's previous novels 'Firefly Lane' but don’t let that put you off, I haven’t read the first book that apparently charts Tully and Kate’s friendship up to Kate’s death, but this novel stands on it’s own. Equally I didn’t ever get the sense of the author having to ‘fill me in’ on previous events in a clumsy fashion as is often the case in sequels. There are several voices in this book and the action often flashes back to show you an incident from a different perspective. I thought this was done quite artfully, leaving me feel that my understanding of the dynamics of the relationships between the characters was enhanced and I wasn’t, as you might expect, bored by the repetition. My main gripe is that we also have (dead) Kate’s voice to contend with; she has conversations with comatose Tully which I found implausible and (probably as I hadn’t read the first novel) unnecessary; I thought there were enough voices already and she seemed ridiculously serene and philosophical about her family and friends falling apart in the wake of her death. This is a small quibble with an otherwise excellent read – which I highly recommend. Just watch out for embarrassing blubbing in public.

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

Connect with Kristin Hannah:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

5 Star

In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-aunt, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

This was the first book that I have ever read that was set in Afghanistan and I found it a fascinating look into a society that I really didn't know much about. Of course I had an idea of how things were from news stories but I feel like I learnt so much about the people of this country and their customs and beliefs from The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.

The stories of Rahima and Shekiba were both so heartbreaking that they felt almost unbelievable because of the things that happened to them and the fact that they were able to survive such unimaginable pain and hardship.

It was a very emotional journey and often times I found it quite difficult to read, the awful lives they seemed doomed to seemed so desperate. It showed me so much about how people are resilient in the face of adversity and that you cannot crush someone's spirit if they won't let you.

I found it hard to believe that this was the author's first novel as her descriptions and character development are unparalleled. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell was so original, completely engrossing and eye opening all at once. It was an incredible tale that often left me unsettled and it definitely won't be a novel that I will forget.

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

Connect with Nadia Hashimi:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Grand Designs by Linda Mitchelmore

2.5 Star

You can change the house but can you change the man? 
Carrie Fraser is an interior decorator and cannot believe her luck when she is invited to work at Oakenbury Hall – a beautiful manor house in the heart of the English countryside. Nor can she quite get over the owner of Oakenbury – the gorgeous (not to mention, completely loaded!) Morgan Harrington. Morgan appears to have it all, but his previous life is clouded with sadness and heartache, which Carrie can relate to only too well. He is intent on running away from his troubled past to a glamorous, celebrity-filled existence in Cannes, but there’s a problem… 

Morgan is bound by his late father’s wishes to keep Oakenbury Hall within the family and have children, and the more time Carrie spends with him, the more she yearns to be the woman to fulfil this wish. But the likes of Carrie Fraser could never be enough for a high-flying businessman like Morgan …could she?

Kathryn - 2.5 Star

I feel Grand Designs had a great amount of potential but either I was just not invested in the characters or something in the telling of the story was lacking.  Writing a short story like this is difficult for character development and can certainly make it hard to get the action to reach a pinnacle while still creating warm, relatable personalities.   

My dilemma was unfortunately with the main character. Carrie was all over the shop and that made her internal voice appear a bit blah.  I didn’t expect her to be pushy but I still expected her to be able to either focus on her job or, failing that, scrap the job and let him know she was really attracted to him.  Her love interest was no secret for the reader from the beginning (as there were statements from both about their attraction for each other) so I found myself incredibly frustrated that the novel didn’t progress in that department as quickly as would have seemed realistic. 

I actually liked the storyline laid out in Grand Designs though so I think this may have suited me more as a full length novel- with perhaps the relationship being established early on and the pinnacle being her discovery about his position.  This would also have allowed for more time with her mother (who seemed to have quite a life of her own we missed out on) and the mutual friends running his company abroad (they seemed cheerful and quite good fun!).

I’ve read a number of interviews with the author and she’s always funny and seems to have a great sense of humour so I shall not give up!  Grand Designs was an easy read and perhaps I’m just being too picky from a novella!

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

Connect with Linda Mitchelmore:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

All I Love and Know by Judith Frank

5 Star

For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel's twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.

In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple's two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew's place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel's questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children-six year old Gal, and baby Noam.

The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I would rate this book even higher if I could and I definitely am going to count All I Love and Know as one of my favourite reads of the year,even perhaps on the best-ever list. This was one of those emotionally intense stories that made me just care so much about the people involved and feel like I was hearing about a friend's life.

The story focuses on the lives of Matthew and Daniel and their partnership together. Life has not been easy nor uneventful for this couple and it becomes even more complicated after the suicide bombing that leaves Daniel's brother and wife dead and their children orphans. Obviously this was a completely shocking beginning to the book, but what follows continues to pull on your heart strings in major ways. No stone seems to be left unturned as this story continues with issues of infidelity, adoption, acceptance and ultimately love.

I rarely find a story that so completely pulls me in as this one did. It was an epic story with characters that were so complete and well developed that I almost had trouble believing that they were not actual people who I already knew and loved. Despite that fact that Matthew and Daniel were sometimes at odds, I even found myself wanting for both of them to prosper, to find happiness and hopefully with each other.

All I Love and Know swept me away and made me care and cry as well as cheer the triumphs big and small and will be one that I cherish and hope to never forget.

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

Connect with Judith Frank:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Dr Pepper Prophecies by Jennifer Gilby Roberts

4 Star

25-year-old Mel Parker has a few tiny problems:
• Her job is terrible
• She's been dumped yet again
• Her ex is now her boss
• Her parents think she's a loser compared to her perfect younger sister
• All her efforts to improve her life seem doomed to failure
• There just isn't enough chocolate in the world to make up for the above.

The one good thing in her life has always been her best friend Will, who has seen her through every crisis from lost toys to pregnancy scares. But his girlfriend (who's prettier, better-dressed, more successful and secretly evil) is determined to replace Mel as the woman in his life and how is Mel supposed to compete?

So what do you do when you've pretty much given up on your own life? Help others, of course! After all, what's the worst that can happen? Well, Mel's about to find out.

Worse still, her misguided efforts seem to be driving a wedge between her and Will. Can Mel live without her best friend? Or is he the man she loves...?

Kathryn - 4 Star

The Dr Pepper Prophecies main character has a voice crossed between Bridget Jones and Becky Bloomwood and she had me completely hooked from the first few pages. The opening chapter was hysterically funny and really set the scene well for Mel’s personality- her cringe worthy decisions in fact should make most people giggle.

Apart from the quirky voice of Mel I really enjoyed what her friends brought to the story. Roommate Beth was gentle and supportive but was obviously also keeping some things to herself (I was as surprised as Mel was to discover what they were!).  I’ve never had a roommate I didn’t know before-hand which I know can sometimes go very badly- lucky Mel had Beth who not only provided support but also cooked her meals!   Mel’s relationship with Will was pretty special too, the warmth and love between them was sweet and although their outcome isn’t going to come as a great shock I did think that the author managed to provide enough realistic doubts to make their evolvement seem natural.  I even loved Mel’s co-worker Cynthia who came from nowhere as a genuine friend too.  One of the greatest sources of silliness was due to Mel’s ex (who now happens to be her boss) and the internal dialogue over him was great- every good chick lit read needs someone we want to throw something at!  

There are a couple of things I found didn’t add to the story, the use of instant messaging was a bit annoying as didn’t know why Mel’s “name” kept changing.  I also really got the idea that Mel liked chocolate….I got the idea a few too many times to the point that it became irritating to read about the obsession again and again.  These were tiny minor complaints that did take a bit away from the pace of the novel for me but didn’t affect the story line at all.

This novel isn’t going to give you thrills with its unexpected twists and turns but it gave me a happy, contended feeling at the end.  I was genuinely pleased for all the characters involved and enjoyed this read for its charm and friendliness.

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

Connect with Jennifer Gilby Roberts:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Goodreads


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