Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Hummingbird by Stephen P.Kiernan

5 Star

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborahs primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons. 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Picking up this book, I purposely did not read anything about it beforehand but the cover and title intrigued me enough to dive right in. It wasn't long before I was utterly captivated by this story.

I feel like this was a very timely story, speaking about modern veterans and the demons that plague them. I have heard some of the statistics and cannot imagine the horror they have lived through and this story just made it all become much more real. Deborah is the main character yet the story largely revolves around her husband, Michael, and what is happening to him since his latest return from duty. Far from easy to deal with, Deborah searches for answers and solutions to an ever increasing distance that sits firmly between them.

The story of Barclay, the hospice patient that Deborah is currently caring for, plays an intricate and essential part to this story. I found it fascinating to see how two lives could reflect each other and in the end help each other despite many differences and years separating them.

A must read for anyone who truly wants to understand our modern society and the ills that plague it, I just could not put this book down and was somewhat sadly nostalgic when it ended.

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

Connect with Stephen P. Kiernan:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

4 Star

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

Kathryn - 4 Star

I found this novel initially tough to get into (which is torture for me to write as I’ve been a Judy Blume fan since I was 8!) but I am bound to write an honest impression of my thoughts!  There are lot of characters and they didn’t become clearly established for me for a good hundred pages. That being said the premise of the historical sequence of events being laid out in the book persuaded me to push through my confusion.  Of course, I’m very glad I did.

My most immediate connection was with Miri. Her voice was so honest and of the right age, an age Blume has explored before of course. Her teenage thought process was sometimes child-like and sometimes very mature- I found her fascinating to read through.

There were a host of other evocative characters and while most were supporting roles to the main person for me (Miri) I did grow really fond of Miri’s Uncle Henry and was quite attached to Miri’s boyfriend Mason. I wanted to know so much more about Mason as well as Daisy who worked with Dr.O.  While I was initially taken aback by the numbers of voices there is no doubt that each one came alive in Blume’s story telling. I just wish each one of these people had their own books so we could follow them through! 

The historical aspect of In The Unlikely Event- the three plane crashes in Elisabeth, NJ over 58 days-was completely new to me.  Not something I recall ever hearing about but it is certainly sure to have been the source of nightmares for many a child an adult of that area for years and years to come.  The horror and fear to come repeatedly during such a short time frame would have felt like a personal attack on a small town.

The book is well worth reading, a long-time Blume fan or not, as the inter-weaving stories come together to form a realistic portrait of the voices of the town at that time.

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

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Friday, September 25, 2015

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brovig

4 Star

On the wind-swept southern coast of Norway, sixteen-year-old Else is out on the icy sea, dragging her oars through the waves while, above her, storm clouds are gathering. Surrounded by mountains, snow and white-capped water, she looks across the fjord and dreams of another life, of escape and faraway lands.

Back on shore, her father sits alone in his boathouse with a jar of homebrew. In the Best Room, her mother covers her bruises and seeks solace in prayer. Each tries to hide the truth from this isolated, God-fearing community they call home.

Until one night changes everything.

More than thirty years later, the return of an old friend forces Else to relive the events that marked the end of her childhood.


Michelle - 4 Star

The Last Boat Home by Dea Brovig is a slow and steady read.  Set in a small town in Norway, it is a very descriptive novel with a lot of emphasis put into describing the landscape and scenery.  For someone who has never been to Norway I found this helpful as well as somewhat educational.  I also found this was almost the author’s way of lulling the reader into a somewhat sedated and calm state of mind so that when the plot is finally revealed and the readers’ questions finally answered it is all the more climactic. 

I found the story of The Last Boat home realistic and tragic.  Else is a young girl who instead of enjoying life and having fun, is saddled with secrets.  Living in a small town with an emphasis on religion and Christian values, Else feels compelled to keep many secrets, not just her own, but those of her mother and her alcoholic and abusive father.  Dea Brovig does a good job of keeping the reader on edge trying to figure out who is the father of Else’s baby.  When the mystery was finally revealed, it was nothing that I could have predicted.  

The novel does a good job of jumping back and forth between the past when Else was a young girl, to the present, where she is now a mother and grandmother.   Dea Brovig does a nice job of transitioning the reader through both time periods without making it too confusing or hard to follow.  There are not a lot of characters and the ones that are introduced in the beginning carry out throughout the whole novel which made it easy to keep track of everyone and not have to go back and remind myself who was who again. 

Overall I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.  It was a nice slow read with an even pace. Great for rainy day or cottage reading.  

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

Connect with Dea Brovig:

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin

3 Star

Addie Andrews is living a life interrupted. Tragedy sent her fleeing from Chicago to the shelter of an unexpected inheritance—her beloved aunt’s somewhat dilapidated home in Eunice, Arkansas, population very tiny. There she reconnects with some of her most cherished childhood memories. If only they didn’t make her feel so much!

People say nothing happens in small towns, but Addie quickly learns better. She’s got an elderly next door neighbor who perplexingly dances outside in his underwear, a house needing more work than she has money, a best friend whose son uncannily predicts the weather, and a local drug dealer holding a massive grudge against her.

Most surprising of all, she’s got a dog. But not any dog, but a bedraggled puppy she discovered abandoned, lost, and in desperate need of love. Kind of like Addie herself. She’d come to Eunice hoping to hide from the world, but soon she discovers that perhaps she’s finding the way back—to living, laughing, and loving once more.

Sabrina-Kate - 3 Star

Although this book was very readable, I didn't necessarily find it entirely plausible so, for that reason, I did not rate it higher. Despite the fact that it was enjoyable, I wanted something more from the story and found myself a tiny bit disappointed in what I felt could have been much more.

The characters were cute but necessarily realistic. I was frustrated at times with what I felt was an unnecessary naivety on Abbie's part. Yes, it is normal to do some searching in your life to discover who you really are but I am not sure that it was entirely normal at her stage of life.

The story had a lot of interesting characters and plot twists and was definitely not at all predictable which is probably one of the things I enjoyed about it the most. I was not able to anticipate any upcoming event and this made the story more intriguing. But despite all that, I feel like it could have been a much more powerful story in some way. I can't say exactly how but it felt like there was something just off kilter about how things all played out.

So I didn't love but I didn't hate this story and know that I did enjoy it. I even read it quite quickly so it isn't that it isn't worth picking up but that you have to not expect anything more than a cute story.

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

Connect with Annie England Noblin:

Monday, September 21, 2015

Samantha March Stranded On A Dessert Island

Please welcome Samantha March, author of Up to I Do, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Samantha:
Samantha March fell in love with books at a young age. Thanks to her mother and grandmother, both avid readers, Samantha followed in their footsteps. Field trips to the library highlighted her week, and she went on to do volunteer work at her local library while in middle school. Her early works closely resembled characters from The Baby-Sitters Club and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies. In high school, Samantha excelled in writing courses and even the mundane tasks of writing history papers.

A slew of real work wake-up calls caused Samantha to shelve her dream of becoming an author. She took what she considered the practical route and enrolled in a business college in Des Moines, Iowa, where she graduated with honors in 2009. But her thoughts of writing never dissolved. In October of 2009, Samantha started the book blog ChickLitPlus.com. From her small blog, Samantha meant fellow readers and writers who pushed her to continue her goal of becoming published.

Samantha March founded Marching Ink and has published three novels since – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. Samantha currently lives in Iowa with her new husband and newer puppy. Besides reading, writing, and ChickLitPlus responsibilities, Samantha enjoys sports- especially the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs- and will never refuse ice cream. 

Connect with Samantha:
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Samantha March Stranded on a Desert Island

If you could only have one book with you, what would it be?

EEEEK! Cruel game. I am literally stumped.

What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with?

Probably something like a body wash!

What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use?

Oh boy...maybe something to catch water in – some sort of pot?

Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy?

I probably would enjoy it – I’m quite the introvert!

If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be?

I’ll say my husband! Not only because I love him of course, but he is super practical and handy and feel like he could be a big asset :)

What modern technology would you miss the most?

My laptop and the Internet!

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Ice cream!

How many days do you think you would cope without rescue?

Probably not many...maybe like a week. Two at the tops!

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Find my dog!

What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return?

I’M BAAAAACK! And yes, I will be writing a book about what just happened to me....  ;)

Up to I Do

Emerson Sinclair, twenty-seven year old hotel heiress, has said yes. With just over a year to plan her extravagant, over the top nuptials to Logan Worthington, it’s all hands on deck with the wedding plans. A Sinclair marrying into the Worthington family is the talk of their small New Hampshire town, and ideas include filming the wedding for a TV segment. But as the items get checked off the list, plans start to go ... not as planned. From not getting a designer dress to a selfish bridesmaid and unaccountable best man, Emerson is afraid her wedding will be more a joke than anything. 
When both her mother and sister seemingly begin to lose interest in her wedding plans in favor of their own personal lives, Emerson fears her big day will turn into the forgotten wedding. With the pressure to pull off a beautiful and elegant event that everyone expects from their respectable families, Emerson starts to forget the reason why she is saying I Do in the first place.
But her spirited Grams is there to make sure neither happens. With her help and guidance, Emerson not only has her wedding plans back on track, but she remembers the reason why they are going through the stress of wedding planning – because at the end of it all she gets to marry her true love, and marriage is defined by more than a wedding.

Available at:
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

After The Honeymoon by Janey Fraser

4 Star

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?

Kathryn- 4 Star

As I read this novel I was reminded of Rosamunde Pilcher but in today’s world. There was something that flowed so well about the writing and the story itself unfolded naturally with all the character and plot development that you would want.

I loved the honeymoon portion of the book. The time when all the characters were taking part in their holiday in Greece brought out the relationships in a legitimate manner and I even liked that Winston’s secrets were not dropped on us but rather slowly uncovered. Emma and Tom were so frustrating but Emma so endearing that I couldn’t help but like her and I was appreciative of the fact that Janey Fraser didn’t give them a just humdrum life but also gave Emma some spunk. Their relationship was tired and it unfolded as one would expect during the rest of the story. I liked that Emma unfurled during her vacation, detaching herself slowly from her children and becoming again a woman in her own right. There’s nothing like a holiday to remind you of who you are and for this Tom was in the right. Much as I didn’t care for him during their honeymoon there was something honest about him that I still liked during the start and remainder of the novel.

I found it a little long but that might just be me. There seemed to be some repetition about Rosie and the Winston/Charlie’s connection that could have been left out but on the whole the story missed nothing and it was well paced.  It was a fun summer read and I liked that Fraser did not fill the spaces with floaty descriptions, sounds and smells, I enjoyed being able to form the images in my mind on my own. 

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

Connect with Janey Fraser:
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Monday, September 14, 2015

Again and Again by Ellen Bravo

4 Star

If sexual shenanigans disqualified candidates for Congress, the U.S. would have no government. But what if the candidate was a pro-choice Republican supported by feminist groups—and a college rapist whose secret could be exposed by a leading women’s rights advocate? 

Again and Again tells the story of Deborah Borenstein—as an established women’s rights leader in 2010 Washington, DC, and as a college student, thirty years earlier, whose roommate is raped by a fellow student. The perpetrator is now a Senate candidate who has the backing of major feminist groups . . . which puts Deborah in a difficult position. Torn between her past and present, as the race goes on, Deborah finds herself tested as a wife, a mother, a feminist, and a friend. 

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

Again and Again was a real eye opener into the reality of life as a rape victim. Not an easy topic to address, Ellen Bravo handled it with aplomb. Writing about such a heavy topic must not have been easy, but she obviously had done her research as the story seemed very realistic, and at times almost personal.

I found it a little bit unbelievable that the story her first as the writing was so wonderful. Never did I question a reaction of a character and the dialogue just made sense. The only thing that made my eyes glaze over at times were the political discussions as I am not someone who is really into that at all. However, I do acknowledge that it had its place in this very poignant story.

The journey that we find each character on was such a powerful one that it was at times a difficult book to read but one that had drawn me in from the start and kept my interest until the very end. I was very satisfied with how things turned out in the end despite my fears that I would not be happy since I could not imagine how things would be resolved.

I feel like it was a very important story to tell. One that brought to light many things that I had not personally considered before and I truly hope that it will do the same for other readers. Perhaps if more stories were shared, then we would see real change in regards to this awful act.

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

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster

4 Star

Sure Jen has made mistakes. She spent all her money from a high-paying job on shoes, clothes, and spa treatments. She then carried a Prada bag to the unemployment office. She wrote a whole memoir about dieting…but didn’t lose weight. She embarked on a quest for cultural enlightenment that only cemented her love for John Hughes movies and Kraft American Singles. She tried to embrace everything Martha Stewart, while living with a menagerie of rescue cats and dogs. (Glitter…everywhere.)

Mistakes are one thing; regrets are another.

After a girls’ weekend in Savannah makes her realize that she is—yikes!—middle-aged (binge watching is so the new binge drinking), Jen decides to make a bucket list and seize the day, even if that means having her tattoo removed at one hundred times the cost of putting it on.

From attempting a juice cleanse to studying Italian, from learning to ride a bike to starting a new business, and from sampling pasta in Rome to training for a 5K, Jen is turning a mid-life crisis into a mid-life opportunity, sharing her sometimes bumpy—but always hilarious—attempts to better her life…again.

Kathryn - 4 Star

This is my first novel by Jen Lancaster, not sure how I missed out on reading her previous novels but I really was missing something, obviously. I love her ease of writing, I love her honest look at herself and I love the premise of this novel- living without regrets.

Sometimes you just need to read about someone else doing something positive to make their lives better to inspire you to take a look at your own life.  I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds, which seems to be a recurring source of frustration for Lancaster also, but I actually got quite a lot of inspiration about the little things and big things she put on her proverbial “bucket list”.  I was also thrilled to learn that I’m not the only one who put things on the list to immediately cross them off.  (Hooray! Always nice to find out you’re not as nuts as you thought.)

The novel is a memoir so there’s nothing to criticize about plot and character. The best thing about a memoir is that you are immediately connected to the author and the realism is, of course, apparent. The trick to a good memoir for me is either to make it inspirational or hilarious and I Regret Nothing was both.  I warmed immediately to the relationship between Jen and her husband. They seem to completely “get” each other while finding the other entirely frustrating at the same time.  Most good relationships are based on a healthy dose of “what is he/she thinking?”- if we were all the same life would be very dull!

I really enjoyed I Regret Nothing and am eager to ensure I don’t miss Lancaster’s next set of musings.

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

Connect with Jen Lancaster:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Lives Between Us by Theresa Rizzo

4 Star

How far would you go to save the one you love?

Reporter Skylar Kendall has run from commitment all her life, pushing people away before they leave her, until her niece worms her way into Skye’s heart and settles in tight. Skye relaxes into a career she enjoys and relishes being a doting aunt.

Then her niece becomes gravely ill. Unable to bear yet another loss, Skye is determined to find a cure, but the girl’s only hope lies in the embryonic stem cell therapy Michigan Senator Edward Hastings repeatedly opposes. When Skye fails to find alternative treatment in time, she vows to end the senator’s political career.

Curious about the woman behind the scathing articles on his best friend, Mark Dutton pursues Skye. Dating Mark gives her access to Hastings’s life and secrets that would launch Skye's career and satisfy her need for retribution… Only she hadn’t counted on falling in love.

Can she avenge the lives lost to politics at the expense of her new love and friends?

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this book is just how impressed I am by the knowledge necessary to write such a complex and yet very heartfelt story. Skye is the main character in this tale about the difficult circumstances that she finds herself in and the renaissance that takes place in her own life when she opens herself up to caring for others.

A lot of the story was about things that I was unfamiliar with, like embryonic stem cell therapy so I really enjoyed learning about these new and fascinating topics. I couldn't help but wonder about just how much research went into this book beforehand as it seemed like a fairly complex topic to write about properly.

I really liked getting to know all of the characters and finding out how this story unfolded. I did find myself frustrated at times with some of the actions of the characters, especially Skye, but that is just because I couldn't imagine reacting in the ways they did. 

A lot of parts of this book were sad but there were also those moments of human triumph that just made the story so worth it. Quite lengthy, I didn't even notice the pages turning as quickly as they did and was astonished when the story was already over with. I am definitely looking forward to Theresa's next book.

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

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

5 Star

A group of friends. 
A yacht. 
And a disappearance-at-sea that turns paradise into a chilling nightmare. 

Lana and her best friend Kitty leave home looking for freedom—and that’s exactly what they find when they are invited onto The Blue, a fifty-foot yacht making its way from the Philippines to New Zealand. The crew is made up of a group of young travellers bitten by wanderlust, and it doesn’t take long for Lana and Kitty’s dream of sea-bound romance to turn into reality.

Both women fall under the hypnotic spell of The Blue, spending their days exploring remote islands and their rum-filled nights relaxing on deck beneath the stars. But when one of their friends disappears overboard after an argument with another crewmember, the dark secrets that brought each of them aboard start to unravel.

Kathryn - 5 Star

I gobbled this book up in 24 hours. It was fantastic. I knew that Lucy Clarke was a great writer as my fellow reviewers had really enjoyed her other novels so I selfishly grabbed this one for myself and I’m thrilled that I did.

There is something of The Beach by Alex Garland about the novel- something hazy, with travellers in unbelievable places and situations, but the story is based on a yacht “The Blue” and doesn’t drift into the drug induced fog as much as The Beach. For me though, there were definite similarities in the emotions invoked by the travellers and characters involved.  They are all escaping something or trying to forget about something. That need to be apart from reality is a common thread for the characters in both novels.

Too many times I wanted to skip ahead and find out what was going to come clear in the next section and had to force myself to go back and read every word. I didn’t want to miss any clues or hints or some relationship detail that would be key later.  The thing about this book is that the relationships are just as important as the mystery and action part.  Lucy Clarke is a great story-teller and I absolutely cannot say anything about the plot for fear of giving anything away. Suffice it to say that the story is intriguing and I was thrown even to the end of the epilogue but the connections between the people on board are tangible and the inter-relationships perfectly played out while maintaining the feelings of the idyllic surroundings.

A great read!

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

Connect with Lucy Clarke:

Friday, September 4, 2015

Would you rather... with Collette Yvonne

Please welcome Collette Yvonne, author of The Perils of Pauline.

Collette Yvonne:


Collette is a writer, community volunteer, yoga teacher, and freelance journalist. Since graduating with honors from York University’s Creative Writing program, her short stories, reviews, articles, and interviews have appeared in numerous publications ranging from fictional anthologies to national newspapers. Collette lives in Ontario where she is working on perfecting her downward dog and corpse pose, and writing her next book. 

Connect with Collette:
Would You Rather... 
with Collette Yvonne

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chocolate. In a big splashy fountain, if at all possible. 

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

1. Bridget Jones (the book not the movie) 2. Carrie Bradshaw (the TV series, def not the movie)

Wine, beer or vodka?

You ask such hard questions.

Camping or spa vacation?

I’ll take the lavender scented bubble bath, the chocolate on my pillow and the hot stone massage please.

Water or mountains?

Just float me over to the Tiki Bar for another round.

Zombies or vampires?

Let’s give the zombies pointy stakes so they can kill all the vampires and then let’s put all the stupid zombies on a broken cruise ship and tow them out to sea. 

Dogs or cats?

My dog Marley is the most adorable dog on the planet.

Coke or Pepsi?


Coffee or tea?

Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Dine out or take away?

Table for two please.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Flip flops. Cute ones with sequins or colored beads.

Physical Book or ebook?

I love me some physical books. They never need recharging and I can write in the margins and fold over the pages.

Paperback or Hardcover?

Hardcover, if it’s a keeper. Paperback for the beach.

Pen or pencil?

The Pilot Hi-Tecpoint rolling ball pen. The kind with the see-through ink barrel. Black. Fine tip, NOT extra fine. They are smooth talkers, those pens. Can’t live without them. I order them by the dozen.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

The Lady Dowager Violet Crawley wins the vote at my house.

Drama or comedy?

Please make me laugh like Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara can. OMG, I can hardly wait for season 2 of Schitt’s Creek. Early 2016 is just so far away.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Hunger Games. (Or did you mean Lautner or Pattinson? Lautner please.)

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?


Facebook or Twiter?


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

I’m a pantser all the way. I have no idea how it’s all going to turn out until the end. And then I might decide to change things around. Eventually I have no idea what any of my characters are up to. Probably plotting against me.

The Perils of Pauline

Life seems "picture perfect" for Army veteran Pauline Parril--a solid career, a loving (though slightly absent) husband, two adorable young children.  Perfect that is, until the usual Friday meeting at the office ends with a termination letter.
As Pauline navigates the difficulties of unemployment, she finds the handles of her world turning upside down. Her estranged daughter, Serenity, returns home with shocking secrets.  Her husband, Donald, is not at all who she knows him to be, and a handsome stranger opens her eyes to the complex worlds of poetry and temptation.
In this uproarious female comedy of just how one event can change the course of...well everything. The Perils of Pauline follows an intrepid every-woman as she marches through the pressures of building the "perfect life," finding there's actually more to discover about yourself than you dreamed, and constantly answering the scariest question of adulthood: "What now?"

Available at:

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

4 Star


As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I just LOVE a great suspense novel more than just about anything else and Luckiest Girl Alive definitely delivered. I loved everything about this novel, from the stunning cover to the gritty story contained within.

This story was dark and twisted and sucked me in from the first page. A book that I didn't want to put down even as it made me shudder and cringe from being uncomfortable. Given that this was most likely the author's goal, I definitely think she accomplishes what she set out to do and then some.
Having a main character who reinvented herself then finds herself on the verge of losing it all was a reason why I loved this book so much. Who hasn't wanted to leave their past behind at times? The book dealt with some heavy issues though so it wasn't without moments that made me literally hurt and sometimes want to cry.

I can't really get into much of the plot because I don't want to end up spoiling anything but this is definitely a must read for those who love a heart pounding, heart wrenching twisty tale.

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

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay

2.5 Star

"Before she goes, she removes her wedding ring, and places it delicately on the hood of the car, without a word."

Does a fruit taste its sweetest when it is forbidden? Is that which is prohibited always the most pleasurable?

In this passionate and perceptive collection, Tatiana de Rosnay paints a portrait of the most forbidden of loves, in many different shades—sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartfelt, always with a dry wit and an unflinching authenticity. 

Kathryn- 2.5 Star

This collection of tales was short and intriguing- following Tatiana De Rosnay’s series of secrets behind affairs was unique and this was partially because you could read them so quickly. It was like having a bucket of ice water thrown on love.  Somehow though, you were fascinated by how each affair came about and you were intrigued by the sometimes callous look at how the one having the affair felt little to no guilt about the effect on their partner and family. Sometimes though, the guilt was palpable.  I finished reading it and wondered if it was true, that most partnerships endure an affair?  That the reality is the statistic?  That it is likely to happen to most of the people I know?

I find short story collections tricky to review because there’s not enough length to be critically thinking about character or plot development. I can really only comment on the subject matter and the writing. The subject matter was obviously thought provoking and the writing was perfect but I didn’t come away with any one story or character sticking with me. I enjoyed reading the collection at the time but nothing stayed with me which was a bit disappointing as Sarah’s Key is one of the books I will never forget reading.

I suppose I was expecting a bit more from Tatiana de Rosnay- something a bit more memorable perhaps?  It’s impossible to compare a full length novel with short stories though so I shall leave my thoughts right here.

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

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