Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

4 Star

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Kathryn - 4 Star

The Edge of Lost had me hooked from the start with Shan’s difficult start in life. I was worried about him initially and then realised he was a pretty tough kid with a lot of heart and so I then relaxed into reading this twisted story of love, family and character.

The novel moves from Ireland to Brooklyn and then back again with a stop in Alcatraz where Shan faces more hurdles than he deserved. I found his honour fascinating. He was so loyal to the Capella family, who took him in, that he found himself in that prison.

The novel is full of decisions for Shan- much as most of us have in life- but his are more serious in their nature and made the plot push forward at a quick pace. The historical aspects of The Edge of Lost were fantastic. There were stories about Alcatraz, prohibition and the variety shows as well as the different areas of New York and Brooklyn with so many nationalities bringing their own traditions to a new city. I loved reading the Q&A at the end with McMorris about which bits she chose to follow to the letter and which morphed into fiction. Her research went deeply and I appreciated that but I could understand also how Shan’s fictional life got away from her and she followed her heart in writing the novel- a tough balance for a writer of historical fiction.

The novel was well balanced with action and history and I read it quickly and with heart. I wish we’d been given an epilogue, something to tie in the rest of Shan’s life with his adoptive family in New York perhaps?  I missed that they weren’t given a final voice and he wasn’t able to reunite with them.

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

Connect with Kristina McMorris:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

To be a child by Debra Schoenberger

4 Star

Images of children at work and play in ten different countries including Mongolia, India, Turkey, China, Nepal and Tibet. Documentary photographer Debra Schoenberger aka #girlwithcamera has travelled over 100,000 km to document and share the joy of play in its many forms around the world.

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

As I become more and more aware of the global reality, I find myself drawn to books of this type that transcend across borders. This one does quite literally with pictures from a few different countries gracing its pages. I found it heartening to see the smiles and joy that the children all shared, no matter where they were from or what their personal circumstances were.

The pictures themselves were a wonderful look into the lives of children, no matter whether they were playing or learning and no matter what continent they found themselves on.

The only thing I wish that would have been different would have been a more varied amount of locations versus the photographer having concentrated on a few specific locations. The descriptions were a bit unnecessary as well as they were not constant and did not seem to add anything to the book.

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

Connect with Debra Schoenberger:
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Phil Fragasso Stranded on a desert island

Please welcome Phil Fragasso, author of Still Counting, as he tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Phil:

I sold my first article at the age of 16. Since then I have written and published a wide variety of books, articles and essays.

After 25 years as an executive in the financial services industry - and a dozen more years split between the high-tech industry and the public sector - I left to pursue endeavors that were more fulfilling personally and more contributory on a societal level. Today I focus my time on writing and teaching.

Connect with Phil:
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Phil Fragasso Stranded on a Desert Island

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

 The One-Volume Columbia Encyclopedia.  There are many books I could re-read multiple times, but not continuously. The Columbia book could keep me interested for weeks and probably stimulate a lot of story ideas.

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

Assuming a Lear jet or helicopter was out of the question, I’d probably opt for a Bose music system loaded with my entire music library. I can cope with most anything with Springsteen and Dylan playing in the background.

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

Fishing pole and tackle. I’ve always loved fishing and stranded on an island I could entertain myself and fill my belly at the same time.

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

Depends on circumstances. Was I planning to be stranded? If so, I could probably go a month. If unplanned, I’d enjoy it for a week at most. I’m actually comfortable being alone. I did a major rewrite of Still Counting in Seville, Spain by myself. I was teaching at Boston College and went there for a week during spring break while my wife had to stay home and work.

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

That would have to be my wife because it’s likely she’ll read this. If it couldn’t be someone that predictable, probably Jon Stewart. He’d challenge my thinking and make me laugh in the process.

What modern technology would you miss the most?

 My iPad. It combines a laptop, phone, TV, stereo system, library, notepad, and movie screen into one compact package.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

That’s a no-brainer: ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

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

 I’m not a particularly handy guy so I wouldn’t be building a raft or canoe. I’d probably try to survive by fishing and crabbing. I tend to feel like “I’m starving” if I go a couple of hours without eating – so I’d probably start whining within the first day.

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

After kissing/hugging my wife and kids, I’d go to Regina’s in Boston’s North End for a large pepperoni pizza.

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

“There’s gotta be a book in this!”

Still Counting

A young couple (Adam and Nina) share an immediate and powerful connection to each other. Nina sees life in a 1000 shades of gray, while Adam tends towards black-and-white. Their conflict – and the resulting damage to their relationship – revolves around Nina’s bisexuality. Adam somehow equates bisexuality to promiscuity and feels he now has to compete not just with other men but also with every other woman in their circle of friends and colleagues. Nina wants trust, but Adam delivers irrational jealousy.

Available at:
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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Smoke by Catherine McKenzie

4 Star

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation. 

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

Kathryn - 4 Star

I read Smoke slowly which I made the novel creep like the smoke gradually encompassing the town in the novel (poetry in reading apparently).  I didn’t realise at the time that this made the story for me but it did.  You could read it quickly, Catherine McKenzie is a wonderful writer, but for me I was glad I didn’t rush through this one.  The pace of the novel asked for it to be read more quickly as one wanted to find out the source of the fire as much as Elizabeth did but at the same time I didn’t want to rush to conclusions either. 

The complications between Elizabeth and Ben explored human relationships but I didn’t love Elizabeth. Despite her story being told in the first person I felt very little connection to her until at least half way through the novel when her connection to fire-fighting and the reason she and Ben were having troubles surfaced.  She emerged a little more when McKenzie started to connect Mindy and Elizabeth, their friendship and how they’d let each other down. It takes relationships to be a complete character and it was a long time before I felt that way about Elizabeth.  I felt the opposite about Mindy and related to her immediately because we were given her thoughts from the start. It was interesting to have these two women presented to us so differently.

I was disappointed by the ending- I think I didn’t want the facts to end up as they were, but at the same time I liked the simplicity of the source in the end.  There were a number of types of relationships in Smoke that were explored and as they evolved this is what made the plot complete- I was also mesmerized by the story of the fire and its development so although I would have preferred a different outcome that was probably a bit of wishful thinking.

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

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore

5 Star

Jett Bennett moved to New York to become a music journalist. What she found was a temp gig as a proofreader, but at least she’s fitting in with the artists and musicians in the tragically hip Brooklyn neighborhood she calls home.

But when Jett opens up her mail and finds a mix tape meant for her neighbor, KitKat, a local queen bee renowned for her “enhanced” baked goods and retro videogame collection, everything changes. Jett drops off the cassette and discovers that it’s game over for KitKat: someone bashed her head in with a rolling pin… and left her pot brownies burning in the oven.

KitKat’s boyfriend, Bronco, is M.I.A. Her sister is so desperate that she asks Jett to snoop around. Then there’s that mix tape. Jett didn’t know KitKat well, but she knows music. And a tape full of love songs from someone other than Bronco screams motive—sending Jett and her best friend, Sid, on an epic quest to find KitKat’s killer through record stores, strip joints, vegan bakeries, and basement nightclubs—a journey that resonates with Jett, and her past, in unexpected ways.

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

As much as I dislike hipsters, and I sort of really do, I do love Brooklyn and I liked the utterly strange synopsis on the back of the book. Happily I gave this book a chance as I was not to be disappointed; I even found it compulsively readable!

Jett Bennett is the main character and as much as I found her to be somewhat annoying at times and definitely a bit oblivious for her age, I couldn’t help but like her and her chutzpah. Despite being somewhat of a mess emotionally, and well in most parts of her life really, she never gave up and continued to forge on. Her desire to find KitKat’s killer and her innovative investigative ways definitely helped make the book a resounding success. The most interesting parts for me were definitely following her off the cuff antics which resulted in a very good ending.

The book was definitely quirky and very unique, much like hipsters themselves I suppose. I liked a lot of the dialogue which could be utterly amusing and witty at times. The book also felt a little tongue in cheek ironic (imagine irony with hipsters!) and I suppose that was intentional and if not, then it was just meant to be.

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

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Alison Brodie Stranded on a desert island

Please welcome Alison Brodie, author of The Double, as she tackles our Desert Island Interview!

About Alison:
Alison Brodie writes romantic novels with a touch of suspense, sexual tension (although little or no sex) and humour.
Her books have been published in hardback/paperback by Hodder & Stoughton (London), Heyne (Germany), Unieboek (Holland) and serialised in Sweden.  Her debut was chosen by Good Housekeeping to be in their Pick of the Paperbacks.  The Scottish Daily Mail reviewed her novel, Face to Face, saying:  “vain but wildly funny leading lady.”   
Before becoming an author, Alison was a photographic model, appearing in commercials, such as Seven-Up and Schweppes.  She is Scottish, has travelled the world and now lives near Biarritz, France.
Alison’s next book – The Double – will be published on Amazon Kindle on January 5.   She loves writing, dogs, music, reading and ocean swimming. 

Connect with Alison
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Alison Brodie Stranded on a Desert Island

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

"Guide to Desert Island Living for Dummies." (if there is such a thing?).  But if I couldn't find that I would have all the writings of Dorothy Parker because she's fun and very, very snarky.

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

What luxury item?  An icemaker.  Desert island or not, there is no way I'm gonna sip a tepid cocktail!

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

 The practical item I would want is a little boat.

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

 I would like the solitude for the novelty of it - but only for a few weeks - after that I would go crazy!

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

 I would HAVE to be stranded with Bear Grylls.  If he wasn't free, then it would have to be Bradley Cooper (with sexy eyes like his, it won't matter if he can't make a fire or catch a crab).

What modern technology would you miss the most?

I would miss my laptop.  Without it I wouldn't be a able to give a world-wide invitation to my "Bring a Bottle" beach party.

What food or beverage would you miss the most?

Campari.  I would miss my evening Americano clinking with ice and orange slices.

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

Could I cope forever?  Absolutely!  With an icy Americano in one hand, and a handsome American in the other, while lying on silvery sand watching Orange is the New Black on my laptop ... what more could a girl want?

What is the first thing you would do when rescued?

The first thing I would have to do when I am rescued is to explain to my hubbie about Bear and Bradley

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

My first tweet would be:  "Watch out for my new book:  Life on a Desert Island with #Bear and #Bradley!"

The Double

Beth and Sonita look alike.  They will never meet but for ten seconds their paths will cross.

1982.  Sonita’s status as America’s rock goddess is fading.  Endangered by a psychopathic stalker, she heads into hiding on a remote Scottish island, knowing her disappearance will mean the end of her beloved career.
Aleksandr captains super-yachts from shipyard to owner.  When he discovers his nephew among a group of dying children in war-torn Transnistria, he writes to Sonita - who is famous for her children’s charities - and she promises to help.  But when he phones her, he is told she had disappeared.  Alexsandr is desperate.  How can he find her?  Then his smuggling buddies get information that the rock star is sailing to Glasgow…
On a Glasgow dockside, auxiliary nurse, Beth, becomes entangled in a millionaire’s fantasy game – or that’s what she thinks after seeing a TV documentary about it.  Thankful to escape the drudgery of her life, Beth eagerly assumes the rock star’s identity.  Beth gets the diamonds and the super-yacht.  What she doesn’t know is:  she also gets the psychopathic stalker…
Alternating between the glamour of St Tropez and a raging civil war in the Eastern Bloc, The Double explores disastrous choices, finding love in impossible circumstances, and how the language barrier can have outrageous consequences. 

Available at:


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

5 Star

Anil is the cherished son of a large family in rural India. As the eldest boy, he is expected to inherit the role of leader of his clan and arbiter of its disputes, dispensing wisdom and good advice. Leena is his closest companion, a fiercely brave girl who loves nothing more than the wild terrain where they live and her close-knit family. As childhood friends, they are inseparable – but as adulthood approaches, they grow apart.
Anil is the first person in his family to leave India, the first to attend college, the first to become a doctor. Half a world away in Dallas, Texas, he is caught up in his new life, experiencing all the freedoms and temptations of American culture: he tastes alcohol for the first time, falls in love, and learns firsthand about his adopted country’s alluring, dangerous contradictions. Though his work in a gritty urban hospital is grueling, Anil is determined to carve out his own life in America.
At home, Leena dreams of marriage, a strong and true love like the one shared by her parents, and leaves her beloved home to join her new husband’s family in a distant village. Then things start to go wrong: Anil makes a medical mistake with tragic results, his first love begins to fray and a devastating event makes him question his worth as a doctor and as a friend. 
On a visit home, Anil rekindles a friendship with the woman who seems to understand him better than anyone else. But their relationship is complicated by a fateful decision made years earlier. As the two old friends try to understand their feelings toward each other, they must also finally find a way to balance responsibility with freedom and loyalty with love. 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

Having already read Secret Daughter and absolutely loving it, I knew that I really wanted to, no HAD to, read this next book by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. It is no secret that I have a love for all books set in India. For some reason the culture appeals to me greatly and this book just reinforced that love tenfold.

Anil and Leena are the two main characters in this book and I absolutely adored how the story would alternate between them and also between the past and present. A very complex story, full of modern and traditional ways of thinking, I could not have enjoyed it more. The story was rich with detail and was woven together so masterfully that not one word seemed out of place. Almost lyrical at times, the story really brought the characters to life and at times I had trouble believing that it was just fiction. I wanted to believe in the characters so much and was so immersed in their story that I had trouble putting the book down.

An absolute must read, this book was all I had hoped it would be and more! Dramatic and full of moments of love, make sure you have time to devote to this book because I am sure you will also have trouble letting go of it!

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

Connect with Shilpi Somaya Gowda:

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Who do you love by Jennifer Weiner

3 Star

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to the emergency room and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they've been running toward each other all along.

Kathryn - 3 Star

Who Do You Love is written with two voices, one male and one female, their voices alternating throughout the novel.

I felt Rachel was a typical child despite her medical issues. She obviously had somewhat overprotective parents but this was to be expected given her fragile heart and her lack of strength due to many hospital visits and surgeries. As a teenager she also behaved as I would expect:  often selfish, a bit sneaky and then regretful of some of her behaviour.  As an adult I was actually less interested in her story but more proud of her as a person- as if I’d watched my own child grow up- and was really hoping her life would come together Rachel had grown to be caring of others and I hoped that someone would turn around and care for her back. 

Andy was the more intense childhood story, he interested me less as a teenager and I found him most frustrating as an adult.  He didn’t really have a path to follow and it showed when things turned badly for him and his career. His relationship with his mother gave me much food for thought though. It was obviously unsteady but throughout the whole novel I think his mother did her best. I wished that she’d been more honest with him.  

Perhaps it’s typical that two people, no matter how much they love each other, will often find ways to mess up their relationship!  Sometimes you can pull it back and move on and other times to have to cut your losses. I don’t think the ending will be a surprise to many but I was pleased by it!  What appeals most about a novel by Jennifer Weiner is the depth of her character exploration and I don’t think anyone will be disappointed, even if they don’t much care for Rachel and Andy.

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

Connect with Jennifer Weiner:

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Widow by Fiona Barton

5 Star

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. 

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage. 

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything… 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

When I think of this book, I automatically think of how utterly creepy but absorbing it was. I truly love a story like that that makes me squirm yet thrills me at the same time. The story seemed to be utterly straightforward but I suspected, and correctly so, that there was more behind it in the end. 

The cover was an appropriate tribute to the overall feeling of the book which was definitely mysterious and the fact that the story went back and forth between past and present until the final denouement really helped for the mystery to remain until the very final moments. I was quite pleased that I did not figure out what really happened even though I desperately tried to.

I found myself quite intrigued by Jean Taylor and her husband Glen and the very foundations of their relationship. It seemed quite interesting to me to note that they were both interesting characters with their fair share of secrets. In the end, I was quite surprised as to what really happened as it was not at all possible to get a good read on either of them. They definitely piqued my interest and kept it there.

A great read for any fans of suspense, I suspect that this will be one of the standout books in this genre for 2016.

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

Connect with Fiona Barton:
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge

3 Star

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…

Kindle    Nook     Kobo

Kathryn - 3 Star

There is something very natural about Samantha Tonge’s writing. Her stories flow easily and there are perfect relationships and heart-warming characters to wrap yourself up in which helps you immerse yourself immediately in the story. 

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding has Pippa and Nico getting married during the Christmas season in a small town in Greece. The novel is contemporary and sets us in the country during economic uncertainty. The plot also includes modern events which will no doubt leave you thinking about your own position in life. I liked that the author didn’t avoid these topics altogether but left them placed just so for you to contemplate- it was well done.

Julie has pre-wedding nerves, and not just the typical ones that have her questioning if she’s ready to commit to one man for the rest of her life, her nerves revolve mostly around if she’s ready to commit to the mental scope available to her from the small village life.  I could understand that she was worried that the idyllic setting would wear off and become less than she needed intellectually.  Nico, of course, is charming and the picture of what one would expect.  I’m glad he was also tough enough to make sure she knew his position and didn’t back down- we didn’t need a wishy-washy hero!   But most charming to me was the incorporation of the villagers lives and how everyone was involved (in a good way) in each other’s lives.  The simplicity in their helping of each other was encouraging on a larger scale.

Though the story was simple, the writing clearly expressed the characters turmoil and the hope for the village’s future.

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

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Girl's Guide to Getting Hitched by Sophie Hart

4 Star

Rule number one: Keep calm and marry on…

When new mum and events planner Julia Crawford is given the opportunity to plan three weddings, she jumps at the chance. What could possibly go wrong? … 

Forget bridezilla, Aimee’s future mother-in-law is the stuff of nightmares – hell bent on taking over the wedding entirely. Worse still, her fiancĂ©, Jon, seems oblivious. Aimee’s starting to wonder if she and her groom-to-be are right for each other after all… 

Body shy Debbie is on a mission. She’s determined to shed a lot of pounds before the big day. As the wedding inches closer, will the new Debbie lose sight of what’s really important? 

Gill loves Mike and their blended family of five kids to bits, but with a house full of teenage hormones and her eldest, Kelly, struggling with so much change, Gill is feeling the pressure... 

As the women bond over cake and a cuppa, can they each resolve their wedding woes before the big day? 

Kathryn - 4 Star

This novel really made me smile. Not the first book of Sophie Hart’s I’ve read, I was expecting to be immediately immersed in the story and I wasn’t disappointed. The characters are always realistic and I find them easy to relate to which is automatically a nice thing.

Julie is a fairly typical new mum I would suspect- completely besotted but also overwhelmed about the time management required with a new baby- the lack of one’s old life bringing issues up with your spouse, which then have to be dealt with around the needs of a child.  I liked her personal decision though to get back into event planning and liked that Hart made sure to have them navigate the new pressure on their schedules.  They were a good guide to what may happen after getting hitched.

I was also charmed by the friendships between the women that arose from Julie’s wedding planning. It was nice for them all to develop such closeness despite being at different stages of life. It’s not always easy to make new friends at this age and the author made it seem completely natural.
Debs and Gill were coming at their weddings from different perspectives and yet they both had solid relationships to build on with their partners whereas Aimee was in doubt about hers from the get-go.  It was obvious it wasn’t going to work out but I admired Aimee’s journey to find herself while realising what was wrong with her partnership.  (Plus the crazy mother in law made for some good moments in the novel. Wow!)

The Girl’s Guide to Getting Hitched was a heart-warming story of friendship and relationships which you will breeze through with a smile on your face.

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

Connect with Sophie Hart:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Best friends forever by Kimberla Lawson Roby

4 Star

Angry arguments between Celine Richardson and Keith, her husband of twelve years, have become common over the past several months. 

She resents that he's working very long hours and staying out, and he accuses her of not giving him the attention he deserves. The situation turns devastating when Celine is diagnosed with breast cancer and Keith moves out. Even more heartbreaking is how their ten-year-old daughter, Kassie, is affected. Celine's only comfort is her best friend, Lauren, who's there for her every step of the way. Even when Keith decides he's made a mistake, begs forgiveness, and asks to come back home. 

Now, Celine will be forced to make tough decisions, and for the first time in her life, she wants to give up. Lauren vows to help by any means necessary and makes the kind of sacrifice only a best friend can. But will it be too late?

Sabrina-Kate - 4 Star

I really enjoyed this book. Knowing that this was a smaller book, I picked it up one day, suspecting that I could get through it in a day or two. Luckily this was during the holiday period, because I felt myself drawn into the topics addressed in this book and I really could not put it down. I finished it in one day, practically in one sitting, and I did not regret taking the time to read through this genuinely touching story. The story of Celine and the breakdown of her marriage as well as her serious illness, was a story that touched me deeply. I could not imagine the depths of strength it would take for her to survive all of these hardships and continue to care for her daughter at the same time.

The story was short and definitely had its sweet moments. I had not yet heard of this author before, but have come to learn that she has many other stories and books. The cover art was definitely an appealing part of reading this book. I truly enjoyed looking at it every time I saw the cover. It also was an apt symbol for what the story was essentially about – friends supporting each other through difficult times.

Uplifting, heartfelt and inspiring, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a little bit of a cry while being encouraged through a tough spot.

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

Connect with Kimberla Lawson Roby:
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Name 3 things with Cat Lavoie

Please welcome Cat Lavoie, author of Peri in Progress, as she lets us into her life with our Name 3 Things interview!

About Cat:

Cat Lavoie lives in Montreal, Canada with her tempestuous cat, Abbie. She is the author of BREAKING THE RULES, ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN, and PERI IN PROGRESS. 

If Cat isn’t reading or writing, she’s most likely watching too much TV or daydreaming about her next trip to London.

Connect with Cat:
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Cat Lavoie on Name 3 things:

Name three things one wouldn’t normally expect to find…

 In your fridge

- Breath of Fresh Air toner from Lush. 
- Five different kinds of mustard (Hot, Honey, Dijon, Dijon Honey, Sweet Onion. I might have a problem.)
- Pink pickled turnips (so delicious!)
In your purse

- Packets of Splenda.
- Coupons (… that I never remember to use when I'm shopping.)
- Evian Facial Spray.

In/On your bedside table

- Four pairs of old prescription glasses. 
- A set of Shakespeare bookmarks I won in a grade school Spelling Bee.
- People Magazines from circa 2005. (I really need to recycle those!) 

In your car

No car…yet!
On your desk/writing spot

- Cat ears from an old Halloween costume. (Sometimes I put them on to write.)
- Twisted Peppermint fragrance mist from Bath & Body Works.
- Cat treats to throw at Abbie if she's begging for attention while I'm trying to work.
In the "junk drawer"

-Chargers for phones I don't own anymore.
-Salt & pepper packets.
-So. Many. Chopsticks. (Despite my best efforts, I'm still unable to eat with chopsticks.)

In your closet/garage/storage room

- A binder full of bad poetry I wrote in high school.
- VHS tapes. (I no longer own a VHS player.)
- Big, furry, cat slippers. (Of course.)

In your music or movie collection

- Box sets of British TV shows. (I am a huge fan of Britcoms.)
- The first cassette I ever bought—by MC Hammer! (I feel old.)
- Two DVD copies of Bridget Jones’s Diary. (I thought I’d lost the first copy when I moved years ago, but I found it at the bottom of a box a week later after I’d already bought a replacement.)

On your bookshelf

- A stuffed black sheep I bought when I visited Stonehenge.
- Sand from a beach in Mexico I visited in my late twenties. (Was I allowed to bring that back?)
- Harry Potter bookends.

Peri in Progress

You know what they say about best-laid plans…

After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof. 

It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’ 
But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated. 

Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning.

But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all? 

Available at:
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