Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Lake by Sheena Lambert

4 Star

A gripping murder mystery, with a compelling family drama at its heart.
September 1975.

A body is discovered in the receding waters of a manmade lake, and for Peggy Casey, 23-year-old landlady of The Angler’s Rest, nothing will ever be the same.

Detective Sergeant Frank Ryan is dispatched from Dublin, and his arrival casts an uneasy spotlight on the damaged history of the valley, and on the difficult relationships that bind Peggy and her three older siblings.

Over the course of the weekend, Detective Ryan’s investigation will not only uncover the terrible truth behind the dead woman’s fate, but will also expose the Casey family’s deepest secrets.

Secrets never meant to be revealed.

Kathryn - 4 Star

The story takes place in a small village in Ireland in the 1970’s where a body has been discovered down by a man-made lake. The question surrounding the body, and where it came from, is being investigated by a detective from Dublin and he quickly finds himself intrigued by the young woman running the pub.

There were theoretically two plot lines in The Lake, the attraction between Frank and Peggy and the mystery of the body. I felt like the focus was on Peggy in the pub and the undeniable connection between her and Frank rather than this poor deceased sole but at the same time Lambert also brought in a host of villagers who slowly gave details about the village and it’s past. Upon reflection there were a lot of details in The Lake that I only absorbed having finished it. I was reading it with the purpose of finding out about the body but there was a lot to explore that would benefit from a second read.

Sheena Lambert created a visual of the village and the time period with wonderful wording and language and brought in problems of the era and the unease of the time period in Ireland. It was much more than a mystery novel for me. And while I enjoyed the character development and liked the mystery in the plot the novel was too short.   I felt as if I was just beginning to know the characters and then the novel wrapped up and left me feeling a little bereft!  I want to know what happened to Peggy and her family – there was a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting at all and I wish I knew what happened next.

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

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart

3 Star

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who's moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.

In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created and reveal some secrets of her own.

Kathryn- 3 Star

I’m not at all sure how I feel about this novel. Some moments it was very intense and I was utterly engrossed in the plot and at other times I felt a detachment from the story.

I was mostly intrigued by Margaret’s story. Her thoughts of being invisible (because she’s 91 and not because she’s quiet by nature) were so very real and honest. We do tend to pass over older people and not see them – their past lives are equally valuable in the telling years later than ours are in the present.  It’s odd, isn’t it?  We will one day be old and likely the young will gloss over our existence.  Why do we do this?  Is it because we think they can’t remember or because we’re afraid to one day be in the same position. There are loads of memories out there without a venue for sharing them.  Thankfully I lived half of my childhood with one of my grandmothers and she had an outlet for her natural warmth. To be alone and elderly would be so very lonely.

Although I appreciated the exposure of these thoughts via Margaret I’m not sure I got all I could have done from her portion of the story. There was a lot more I wanted to know, the very least I wanted to know more about her parents, her siblings and her remaining family.

Jennifer wasn’t very likeable and I kept hoping for more of her backstory. There was so much missing with her relationship with Tommy and Zoe that I didn’t connect with her.  Although I appreciated her warmth for Milo there was too left out for me to relate to her.

The New Neighbor was a strange novel for me because I finished it not really understanding what had happened.  Hopefully that was just me because there were a lot of concepts and ideas in there that I found interesting.

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

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Idea of Love by Patti Callahan Henry

5 Star

As we like to say in the south: "Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story."

Ella's life has been completely upended. She's young, beautiful, and deeply in love—until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she'll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers' block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He's on the look-out for a love story. It doesn't matter who it belongs to. 

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It's the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It's an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what's a little white lie between strangers? 
But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I have always somewhat adored Patti Callahan Henry's books and the stunning cover of this one particularly spoke to me. Such a simple and classic design yet very beautiful. 

The main characters were Ella and Hunter, two people broken and trying to find their way after their respective lives were turned upside down. Ella's husband has recently died in a tragic accident but not all is what is seems with their relationship. As each detail is revealed it starts to make sense that you cannot always know the one you love. It also explains why Ella is acting as she is, in part.  Hunter is also going through his own tumultuous tragedy of sorts. He has lost his ability to write and as a screenwriter, this is devastating.

It makes sense to me that two people who area damaged and hurt can be drawn together. It was very interesting to see how they developed together. Compelling and with an interesting love story woven with lies. A strange premise at times. How does one fall in love with someone based on dishonesty? The absolute Southern charm radiated throughout this book though and it was an inspiring read full of the truth of life and what truly matters in the end. What really struck me was that despite all the painful and hard things that life can bring you, love can triumph.

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

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Drive Me Crazy by Portia MacIntosh

4 Star

It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime...

In reality it was a business trip, prettied up as a romantic mini break, but the man behind the wheel was meant to be Candice Hart’s boss and (married but separated, I swear!) lover. Not Danny the new guy!

Not only is Candice faced with a new driver, but the office’s far too handsome hipster expects her to share the cramped space inside his “fully” restored VW Beetle, aka The Love Bug, and put up with his constant opinions about her life…

Before long she is tired of playing the ‘good girl’ and, with Danny’s help, is determined to finally show the world the real Candice Hart!

Kindle    Nook    Kobo

Kathryn - 4 Star

Portia Macintosh has a definite knack for humour. I laughed out loud so many times I lost count!  There was something off about the start of the novel for me though and I didn’t relate to Candice at first. Apart from the fact that she was obviously with the wrong man she came off as dry and the writing didn’t flow very well for me until the road trip. Once Candice was off on the week-long “business trip” though I fell completely for scattered Candice and her road trip companion Danny.

Candice had obviously had a rough start in life with the loss of both her parents. The trouble at the beginning was that there wasn’t anything appealing about her- she was lost, a doormat and I really didn’t connect her with her friends very easily.  It was almost as if MacIntosh didn’t write the first few chapters herself!  Now perhaps I’m being too hard on Candice?  If she really thought she was in love with Nick then I can see how she’d become a bit dry and staid? 

The Candice that loosened up on the road trip though was hysterical, as Danny also observed, and their voyage was peppered with all sorts of silly, 20-year-old shenanigans that made me giggle.  I am well passed this free-falling point of life myself (or so I’m supposed to be with small children) but I loved re-living my youth through their silliness.  I actually completely got on board with the YOLO theory of life and enjoyed the book thoroughly.

I was also very happy for the ending to be what it was- it should not have been anything else otherwise I would have been immensely disappointed!

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

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stranded on a desert island with Samantha Tonge

Please welcome Samantha Tonge, author of My Big Fat Christmas Wedding, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Samantha:

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat that thinks it’s a dog. When not writing, she spends her days cycling and willing cakes to rise. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Her summer 2015 novel Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart. 

Connect with Samantha:
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Samantha Tonge Stranded on a Desert Island

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

Ooh, difficult one... I think The Fault in Our Stars. It would remind me that there is laughter to be found in the most difficult situations, and it is such a beautifully written story.

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

Sun cream. Freckle mania has descended on my face since turning forty (I prefer to call them freckles, not age spots) and I am super careful about looking after my skin. Last year I visited Japan and my whole face swelled up, due to a sun allergy, so I have to be careful!

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

A flare gun, so that if I spotted a ship in the distance, I could alert it to me. Plus it would look pretty at night!

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

I would. On holiday I always enjoy contemplating life (or my next writing project) whilst sitting by the sea. But it wouldn’t take long for me to miss my family and friends.

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

My husband. He is the perfect yin to my yang. Whilst I would be flapping about mosquitoes and sunburn and the prospect of never being saved, he would be getting on with the practical stuff like finding shelter and firewood, and telling me to take it one day at a time.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

My smart phone! I am obsessed with Instagram, having only recently discovered it – I mean, just think of all those wonderful shots I could take of wildlife and sunsets?!

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Ooh. Um. Chocolate or pizza or cocktails – or all three, please, as they amount to comfort food, and I turn to them during any of life’s emergencies. Hmm. That would be tough. Being in one of the worst situations you are ever going to face and having to manage on fish or root vegetables

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

As long as I had water, a few weeks. But having said that, to have drinkable water, I would need to work out how to light a fire so that I could boil it. The fact that I watch Bear Grylls might stand me in good stead.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

Eat – like those contestants who leave the I’m A Celebrity Jungle programme and head straight for the cooked breakfast bar. The vicarious pleasure I get from watching them scoff down those bacon and eggs, after a few weeks of rice, almost makes it my favourite part of the show!

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

“Just been away to a fab-u-lous detox and tanning spa, darlings. Terrific results.”
(I believe in keeping things upbeat for my readers!)

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding

Things don’t always run smoothly in the game of love…
As her Christmas wedding approaches, a trip back to snowy England for her ex’s engagement party makes her wonder if those are wedding bells she’s hearing in her mind, or warning bells. She longs for the excitement of her old London life – the glamour, the regular pedicures. Can she really give that all up to be…a fishwife?
There’s nothing for it but to throw herself into bringing a little Christmas magic to the struggling village in the form of a Christmas fair. Somewhere in amidst the sparkly bauble cakes and stollen scones, she’s sure she’ll come to the right decision about where she belongs…hopefully in time for the wedding…

Available at:
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Monday, October 19, 2015

A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

5 Star

For Alex Mercer, his wife Millicent and their eleven-year-old son Max are everything, his little tribe that makes him feel all’s right with the world. But when he and Max find their enigmatic next door neighbor dead in his apartment, their lives are suddenly and irrevocably changed. As the police conduct a methodical investigation, Alex becomes increasingly impatient for them to finish. After all, it so clearly was a suicide.

But as new information is uncovered, troubling questions arise. Why was the neighbor charging his home improvements to the Mercer’s address? How did a possession of Millicent’s end up in his apartment? And what has Max been listening to through the common wall they share with the neighbor? As the knot of suspicion grows tighter, this close-knit family begins to crack. Is Alex really the loving husband he professes to be? And where does Millicent disappear to on those long walks, stewing over something she can’t forget?

Each of them is suffering. Each has something to hide. And as they each question how well they really know one another, the Mercers will be forced to decide how far they’ll go to protect themselves—and their family—from investigators carefully watching their every move . . . waiting for one of them to make a mistake. 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I truly do love a great suspense novel especially when I cannot figure it out and the ending shocks me which was the case for this incredible book. The book doesn't beat around the bush at all but dives right into a complex and very detailed story from the first page which kept me reading, pulled in and needing to know what truly happened.

I did not enjoy the relationship between Alex and his wife Millicent, but the very strange relationship they had definitely played its part in this tale as it lent its own mystery to the story. They seemed like a somewhat odd match but the evolution of their relationship is unveiled to us which helps to make sense of it somewhat.

Their relationship with their son, Max, is a bit strange as well and he is definitely somewhat creepy, if I can even use that word for an 11 year old. I found it almost disconcerting to see how they interacted with each other but that also seemed to add to the level of suspense.

One of the things I really enjoyed was that I absolutely could not figure out what was going on. Not in a way where I was annoyed and confused but just when I thought I might have figured something out, the story twisted and I was kept guessing right until the end. A fantastic story with a lot of intriguing parts, I would recommend this to anyone who loves a bit of a creepy suspenseful story.

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

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Up To I Do by Samantha March

3.5 Star

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. 

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I had some troubles with Emerson- sometimes I wanted to shake her silly and ask her whether she really thought she wasn’t a bride-zilla?  Perhaps the frustration was really in that she had hired a wedding planner who seemed to be absent entirely from the plot of the novel- in theory I think a wedding planner should be taking care of the organisation of the wedding and making sure you’re not feeling overwhelmed but it seemed that this wedding planner was only there for a moment or two during the process.  There are kudos due then to Emerson who takes on the details and planning with the help of her sometimes absent family & friends.  I don’t think I’d be too keen on undertaking such an event, especially as her family and Logan’s were prominent enough names to merit some attention.

I liked Emerson the most when she was with her grandmother and when she was at work.  I found her to be the most empathetic when she was vulnerable with grandma Pearl and controlled enough at her job. She’s a tough business woman and obviously has everything under control in her job coordinating events in the family business.  I’m not sure though why this didn’t translate to her wedding so easily.  I think she was expecting more planning to come from the people around her and realistically she probably should have realised it was either going to fall on her or on the wedding planner.

I really enjoyed the last 20 pages of the novel- the whole thing came together in the end and I was reminded of how stressful planning a wedding can be and how the most important part is the one you’re marrying and your closest family and friends to share it.  Their last minute decisions made the novel for me. Their love for each other in those scenes drew me in like I had only been at moments before during my read.  Up to I Do flew off the pages, it’s my first novel by Samantha March and I’d be very happy to read another!

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

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ms.Conception by Jen Cumming

5 Star

Abigail Nichols has tried everything from rash-inducing herbal creams to acupuncture in a desperate, last-ditch effort to get pregnant. Wedged into her iPhone schedule among new business pitches and rebranding design meetings is Abby’s ovulation cycle, along with potential opportunities for illicit afternoon quickies. With all of their hopes and savings on the table, Abby and her husband Jack enter the whispered world of fertility clinics. Along with a meddling mother-in-law, competitive pregnancies, and constant obligatory sex, Abby’s baby-track mind conspires to ravage her career, her marriage, and her sanity. One thing she knows for sure: a healthy sense of humor (and the occasional glass of red wine) is the best coping strategy. One thing she wishes she knew: whether it will be enough

Kathryn - 5 Star

I picked Ms Conception because I was attracted to the baby bump on the cover!  I was curious to see how the author would navigate the infertility trials and tribulations. There is still a lot of secrecy around infertility and we don’t tend to fully open up about our struggles unless it’s with very close family or someone else has already opened the door for communication. Sometimes it’s easier to hold in it so you don’t have to repeatedly go through the pain of discussing it, but sometimes I feel we would benefit so much more from knowing that we’re not alone.

In Jen Cumming’s novel I was appreciative of her honesty and liked the outlaying of the procedures and her character’s feelings during the treatments.  There was enough of the clinical to really believe she’d gone through the process herself as well as enough of the emotional to feel how raw some of those feelings still were- even in her current position. I particularly liked the frustrations of the trouble she went through in taking time off from work to make it to all of the appointments. It’s hard enough not to feel guilty when you’re visibly pregnant to make all those appointments but when you’re not pregnant yet and have to hide your intentions it’s virtually impossible not to feel guilty and/or feel as if your job is in jeopardy.

While the novel is about Abigail and her husband on their journey to parenthood the author tempered their daily lives with some laughs. I loved Scott and he added levity and gave Abigail an ally at work- everyone should have “a Scott” to back them up.  I also thought it a nice touch that Charlie came into play too and I think that was Cumming’s way of showing that there are more people out there, going through the same fertility challenges, than you would ever think.

The novel is set in Toronto so I pictured myself in each process- but it could have been any city:  a room full of sleepy women at dawn waiting to get their blood taken and ultrasounds done for days upon days on end- all for one end goal.

My only complaint was that it was too short- not sure what else I thought I needed but I finished it all too quickly!

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

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo

5 Star

Mattie Wallace has really screwed up this time. Broke and knocked up, she’s got all her worldly possessions crammed into six giant trash bags, and nowhere to go. Try as she might, Mattie can no longer deny that she really is turning into her mother, a broken alcoholic who never met a bad choice she didn’t make.

When Mattie gets news of a possible inheritance left by a grandmother she’s never met, she jumps at this one last chance to turn things around. Leaving the Florida Panhandle, she drives eight hundred miles to her mother’s birthplace—the tiny town of Gandy, Oklahoma. There, she soon learns that her mother remains a local mystery—a happy, talented teenager who inexplicably skipped town thirty-five years ago with nothing but the clothes on her back. But the girl they describe bears little resemblance to the damaged woman Mattie knew, and before long it becomes clear that something terrible happened to her mother, and it happened here. The harder Mattie digs for answers, the more obstacles she encounters. Giving up, however, isn’t an option. Uncovering what started her mother’s downward spiral might be the only way to stop her own.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

A compulsive read, this book was all I had hoped for and more. I was utterly hooked from the first word until the very end. The book itself was written in such a way that the story just grabbed me as it seamlessly unfolded. The characters were utterly charming and likeable despite, and perhaps because of, all their flaws.

Mattie, the main character, is a wonderful person that quickly endeared herself to me as she was unashamed about all of her troubles and her past. Having been through a lot in her life, she was definitely admirable to me because she didn’t seem to let anything keep her down. Sadly, difficult times seemed to be a common theme in her life and she finds herself down and out time and again which I can relate to in part. She has a lot of strength in the face of adversity, probably more than she realizes.

The entire cast of characters in this book was well thought out and very unique. I could almost picture each and every one and having grown up in a small town, the interactions between them made me nostalgic at times and happy to not be living in a small town anymore at others! Each person brought their very important part to the story and sometimes I found myself either crushing or cringing on some of the men that Mattie found herself entangled with.

I probably would not have anticipated every place this story took me but I truly enjoyed this book a lot and was really baffled that such a strong story could be a debut. The book was so good that I wanted to pick it back up again as soon as I’d finished it! I certainly hope that Melissa DeCarlo keeps up with writing such fantastic stories because I am definitely a fan for life.

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

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Miss Emily by Nuala O'Connor

3 Star

Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted elder daughter living a spinster’s life at home. But Emily’s passion for words begins to dominate her life. She will wear only white and avoids the world outside the Dickinson homestead. When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened, however, Emily must face down her own demons in order to help her friend, with shocking consequences.

Kaley- 3 Star

Everything I knew about Emily Dickinson could basically be summed up in one word: poet. If pressed, I would have made an educated guess that she was American. So, because of my limited knowledge on the famous poet, I was looking forward to reading Nuala O’Connor's novel Miss Emily. Key word: was. There was something about this novel that just fell flat for me.

I did enjoy getting to learn more about a young Dickinson, albeit a fictionalized version of her. I liked reading about her home life which, as I learned, was really what her life centred around (other than poetry, of course). She was such an introvert and disliked leaving the house. This allowed for some drama as there were times throughout the novel where you expect her to go out and be social but she doesn't.  Would she ever leave if the occasion desperately called for it?

I hate to admit it but, as the story wore on, I really didn't care too much about Emily. Her storyline wasn't the one that captivated me in this novel and she didn't interest me as much as Ada did. I don't know if Ada's personality attracted me more simply because she was more interesting or because O'Connor had more leeway to create the character. Because Emily Dickinson is a well known historical figure, O'Connor would not have been able to treat her as a character as she could Ada.

I'm a Downton Abbey fan so I really liked the upstairs/downstairs vibe the novel had. I liked being able to see how the Dickinsons' lived and, at the same time, learn how Ada had to make it in the world and what her upbringing was like. Furthering this feeling was the fact that each chapter alternated perspectives between Emily and Ada.

Looking at the reviews for Miss Emily, it seems like I'm in the minority with my lukewarm feelings. Many others have enjoyed Nuala O’Connor's novel. I think it would be a good read for those who enjoy the time period (mid-1800s) and stories with a below/above stairs dynamic. 

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

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Better Man by Leah McLaren

5 Star

Every couple has a wish list. 
Maya wants
Nick to come home earlier
To engage with their children
To engage with her
Nick wants . . .
A divorce

Having decided that their marriage is over, Nick is determined to leave quickly and with dignity. But when he looks into the financial realities of splitting up, he realizes that more of his hard-earned income than he can handle will go to Maya. 
Then a mutual friend proposes that Nick improve the marriage in order to end it amicably, because the better father and husband he is, the more self-sufficient Maya becomes and the cheaper his pay-out will be at the end. 
But as Nick sets out to be a better man, he starts to feel like one. Time with his kids, dinners with his wife, fewer hours in the office has the strange effect of making him happier. As Maya starts to feel appreciated by her husband again, she starts to blossom, to unclench her fists from the parenting reins and start to do things for herself. 
Nick and Maya feel like they are falling back in love. How odd, how funny, how serendipitous. But if Maya knew what had promoted this marital metamorphosis? Then it would be war.

Kathryn - 5 Star

I found the whole novel dark with underlying greyness. There was obviously a reason for this as they couple are not the on the same page about their marriage or their positions in it (or indeed the world).
Nick was so bland at first that I hardly could understand where their marriage had come from but as the novel progressed the author gently gave us a bit of background information for their mutual initial attractions. I began to understand what they had had before the arrival of their twins.

It’s an honest portrayal of a marriage sunk into unhappiness by simple miscommunication.  Having a child completely alters your universe and most parents will agree that there is something in this novel that will resonate in their own partnerships.  One or other partner will feel neglected, superfluous, guilty, unappreciated, ignored or just plain lonely during the early stages of child-rearing.  It’s hard to address these feelings when you’re sleep-deprived and solely focussed on making sure this tiny being is getting what it needs to survive to the next day, let alone next week and next thing you know is you’ve gone several years without really looking at your spouse or wondering how they’re doing. It happens, a lot.

The novel really explores what went awry in Nick and Maya’s marriage and though it seems dark and depressing I think there’s actually a lot of hopefulness in their story.  Underneath everything they are still kind people and neither one is out to “get” the other.  They just cannot see a way to be happy together and be able to give the other what is needed.

It’s a good book, not an easy read but easily readable.  I would recommend it to those who have come out of the fog of early parenthood so they can recognise that they weren’t alone or to those about to head into the fog, so they can avoid all of our mistakes.

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

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Losing Me by Sue Margolis

5 Star

Knocking on sixty, Barbara Stirling is too busy to find herself, while caring for her mother, husband, children, and grandchildren. But when she loses her job, everything changes. Exhausted, lonely, and unemployed, Barbara is forced to face her feelings and doubts. Then a troubled, vulnerable little boy walks into her life and changes it forever.

Kathryn- 5 Star

I immediately was drawn in to Losing Me and I’m sure it was because Sue Margolis has a knack for instantly creating empathy and humour in her characters. 

I’m a little younger than Barbara but I could relate to her situation and her feelings. Her desire to leave  a legacy or make an impact isn’t something I’ve dwelled on much but in her job she really wanted her work to make a difference in the lives of the children who were struggling.

Barbara is a naturally giving person and this seems to have left her without someone to lean on- throughout her entire life she had been the strength and when she found herself adrift she finally realised that no one was left there simply to support her. Her relationship with her husband was distant, you could still see little glimmers of what it once was but Frank was so engrossed in his own purpose that he had really started to see Barbara was part of the furniture. Familiar in marriages all over the world it was a little reminder to try and remember why you chose that person in the first place. Margolis also tied in Barbara’s childhood and the relationship with her mother- the novel could have been presented without that additional history- but it added a little something to Barbara’s character. I was most fascinated with her mother’s struggles with her father’s agoraphobia. It was touched on gently but made an impact with me.

Apart from Frank and her mother Barbara’s children both still needed her to support them, financially and emotionally.  In her fifties the dynamics with her children had changed and I liked reading about it through Barbara’s eyes as it gave me some insight for my future with my children.  The in-between generation who is still needed as carer for parents, children and grand-children is not giving themselves permission to be what they need for themselves- they are still needed to provide care but as it’s not 100% of the time anymore there are hours to fill and re-discover oneself.  It’s just as every person older than myself always tells me, make sure you make time for yourself and your marriage…maybe they’re right!?

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

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