Friday, September 30, 2016

The Wedding Sisters by Jamie Brenner

4 Star

Meryl Becker is living a mother's dream. The oldest of her three beautiful daughters, Meg, is engaged to a wonderful man from one of the country's most prominent families. Of course, Meryl wants to give Meg the perfect wedding. Who wouldn't? But when her two younger daughters, Amy and Jo, also become engaged to celebrated bachelors, Meryl has to admit that three weddings is more than she and her husband, Hugh, can realistically afford.
The solution? A triple wedding! At first, it's a tough sell to the girls, and juggling three sets of future in-laws is a logistical nightmare. But when Hugh loses his teaching job, and Meryl's aging mother suddenly moves in with them, a triple wedding is the only way to get all three sisters down the aisle. When the grand plan becomes public, the onslaught of media attention adds to Meryl's mounting pressure. Suddenly, appearances are everything - and she will do whatever it takes to keep the wedding on track as money gets tight, her mother starts acting nutty, and her own thirty year marriage starts to unravel.
In the weeks leading up to the nuptials, secrets are revealed, passions ignite, and surprising revelations show Meryl and her daughters the true meaning of love, marriage and family. Jamie Brenner's The Wedding Sisters invites readers to the most unpredictable wedding of the year. 

Kathryn - 4 Star

I adored the plot of this novel- I just wish it had been longer. There were so many great ways the story could have gone and threads that were taken that it could actually have been a story for each daughter which was then woven into this one from the perspective of the mother. I found the family reactions to each other fascinating and the little jealousies between the sisters true to life but there was also a sense of loyalty between the three that I liked. 

Meg has a huge weight of responsibility she seems to have put on herself. She’s the eldest and her parents seem to expect her to succeed in all aspects of life. The middle sister Amy is typically always trying to keep up with her elder sister and feels she is falling short which creates obvious jealousy and pettiness. Youngest sister Jo is marching to her own drum and completely happy to let the elder two stick to convention.  They were perfection.

I found it hard to grasp the father’s position- he was so oblivious and detached that it was hard to see him as anything but a distant relative and yet it seems as if he’d once been an involved parent, more information as to how that had happened may have helped me warm to him.

The mother was great- I found her equally charming and annoying but you could see that her entire purpose was to make sure her daughters had the best that she could provide. I also liked that she was given her own tricky things to overcome, mostly with her marriage.

All in all the novel covered too much ground in too short a book!  There was so much in there that the end result could have been double the length and still kept my interest! It seems unfair to not give a full 5 star review to a book I liked so much but I did feel a little let down that it was too short- I just don't know how that could have been avoided.

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

Connect with Jamie Brenner:
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Would you rather...with Louise Miller

Please welcome Louise Miller, author of The City Baker's Guide to Country Living.

Louise Miller:


Louise Miller is a writer and pastry chef living in Boston, MA. Her debut novel THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking) is both an IndieNext and Library Reads August 2016 choice. She is an art school dropout, an amateur flower gardener, an old-time banjo player, an obsessive moviegoer, and a champion of old dogs.

August, 2016

Connect with Louise:
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Would You Rather... 
with Louise Miller

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chips. Always chips. For a pastry chef, I have a terrible salt tooth.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Bridget Jones, of course. She and my protagonist Olivia Langford share the same editor!

Wine, beer or vodka?

Beer, Belgian-style.

Camping or spa vacation?

When I was younger the answer would have been camping, but I have to admit I love to be taken care of…can the spa be in the mountains?

Water or mountains?

Gosh, I love both. But if I have to choose, I will say mountains.

Zombies or vampires?

Ha! Vampires, because they have agency.

Dogs or cats?

Dogs. But don’t tell my two cats.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. Diet. From a fountain.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

Dine out or take away?

I love to dine out.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Sneakers—I love to walk everywhere.

Physical Book or ebook?

Physical book. I love the feel of a book in my hands. And I love book design—the cover, the type, the layout—all of it!

Paperback or Hardcover?

I always buy hardcovers of debut novels and of novels written by my most favorite authors, but I do love the lighter weight of a paperback.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. Extra fine point always.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Downton Abbey.

Drama or comedy?

I can’t chose! My favorite stories have both.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Hunger Games

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?


Facebook or Twiter?

But they are so different! I would have to pick Facebook because that is where my family and friends are, but I LOVE Twitter.

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

I wish I were a plotter, but I am a “I can’t wait to see what happens next” kind of writer.

The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

When Olivia Rawlings—pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club—sets not just her flambéed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of—the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.

Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired—to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.

With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy  comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.

But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee—or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected—it could be even better.

Available at:

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Falling by Jane Green

2.5 Star

 On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son. 
 Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before. But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all. 

Kathryn - 2.5 Star

Sometimes I connect completely with the characters in a Jane Green novel and sometimes I just don’t relate very easily.  In Falling I found it hard to truly give myself over to Emma. I found her a bit aloof and that was likely because she was trying to find herself also- she indeed came off the pages as unsure of herself.  By contrast I was instantly attracted to the town she moves to in New England- immediately visual was the home she rented and the landlord she rents from.

I understood how the relationship with Dominic evolved but Emma’s constant questioning was a bit distracting- it seemed to dominate the plot with her back and forth and took away from the natural evolution of their relationship. Yes it was quick but it seemed right if only she’d stopped telling the reader she was unsure.  I wish we had had more interaction with her friend Sophie and Sophie’s mother Terry- Emma immersed herself completely in the relationship (as did Jane Green) and left some other plot aspects a little neglected.  It actually wasn’t until towards the end of the novel that I truly felt Emma’s emotions from a real place.  Her visit to her parents put some things in perspective- it’s too bad we didn’t see that link to her present earlier in the novel.

I enjoyed the book, I just didn’t love it. There were characters and aspects I became attached too but it was a bit tricky to love it when I didn’t feel much for Emma herself.  However, I will always read the next Jane Green so I have not been put off!

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

Connect with Jane Green:
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Sunday, September 18, 2016

I'm Still Here (Je Suis Là) by Clélie Avit

5 Star

A modern take on Sleeping Beauty, for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late? 

Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

From the moment I picked up this book, I knew that I was going to love it. A wonderful and all encompassing read, I fell in love with all of the characters from the get go. Elsa and Thibault were both charming in their own ways and to be honest, I would never have guessed that this book was a translation. The chapters were short, which I love, and alternated between their perspectives which I also find helps make a story be complete.

I read this book while on vacation which made me enjoy my ability to laze around and fall into the story while falling in love with it. I kept wanting to page ahead to see what was ultimately going to happen as I so wanted for there to be a fairy tale ending for these star crossed non-lovers.

I really enjoyed seeing the different ways people treated Elsa who was in a coma and could only imagine how I would feel being either in her place or her loved ones. It definitely gave me something to think about aside from the obvious main point of the book, which was the blossoming love.

A fantastic and captivating love story from an author I can't wait to hear more from! 

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

Connect with Clélie Avit:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Would you rather....with Stacey Bryan

Please welcome Stacey Bryan, author of Day for Night.

Stacey Bryan:

Stacey was raised in the San Fernando Valley but born in San Francisco, where she left part of her heart. She received a BA in English from UCLA, studying under world-renowned Irish journalist and novelist Brian Moore. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines in New York and L.A., including Ginosko and The Rag. She is currently working on various short stories and the sequel to her novel Day for Night. She lives in “beautiful downtown Burbank,” as Johnny Carson used to say, with her husband who is also a writer.

Connect with Stacey:
Would You Rather... 
with Stacey Bryan

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chocolate and cheese are great but too rich. I could shove chips into my mouth for weeks straight and not realize what I was doing until I keeled over from high blood pressure.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Carrie Bradshaw of course; she writes for a living! And who’s going to say no to Chris Noth and Baryshnikov types for a roll in the hay?

Wine, beer or vodka?

Beer. In fact, I’d love to go back in time and pop a few with the ancient Egyptians, one of the first civilizations to invent beer, try out their home brew.

Camping or spa vacation?

A combination. Camping with flush toilets and a massage.
P.S.: I almost died hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Okay, I’m exaggerating. But I became extremely dehydrated and could barely walk.

Water or mountains?

Water, preferably the beach. I often imagine myself like the French Lieutenant’s Woman, standing on the freezing shore in a cape with the wind blowing my hair around in cinematically attractive ways.

Zombies or vampires?

Vampires, because you can reason with them. Before you can get the first, “Please, don’t—“ out of your mouth to a zombie, it’ll  already be munching on your intestines like it’s a free spaghetti dinner.

Dogs or cats?

Cats. Except I’m sort of a traitor because I only like cats that act like dogs. What’s the point of an animal that ignores your existence?

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. No hint of flatness. With a super fierce bite.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. Periodically the news announces that coffee causes cancer, then conversely a year later they’ll say coffee can help fight cancer. I drink it during all of its stages, good and bad.

Dine out or take away?

I prefer eating a pizza on the sofa while binge watching “Breaking Bad” and considering the merits of having an underground meth lab.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

I broke my toe when I was 13, so I can’t wear many high heels. Sneakers are comfy but I loathe socks. So flip-flops inhabit my Goldilocks zone. I even wear them to work.

Physical Book or ebook?

I used to go to the library every other weekend, then my husband bought me a kindle for my birthday, and I haven’t been to the library in two years!

Paperback or Hardcover?

Just out of sheer laziness, paperbacks because they’re lighter.

Pen or pencil?

Pen. Pencil is too light and tends to rub off. Pencil is for fourth graders!

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Well, I’ve already answered this one, haven’t I?

Drama or comedy?

Considering the logo of my website is “laughter over tears”, I’ll say comedy. I need endorphins like I need air.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Only saw the first Twilight movie, couple Hunger Games, but I have to go with Twilight because it’s paranormal. Hunger Games could actually happen, so it’s too depressing to think about.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Cherry flavored chapstick does the trick. I was a tomboy growing up. It’s why I broke my toe and can’t wear high heels.

Facebook or Twiter?

I don’t twat much, as Kathy Griffin says, so I’d have to say Facebook. I’ve got to admit the concept of Twitter confuses the hell out of me.

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

Plotted it out chapter by chapter, but each chapter itself was kinda “loose” on all the details. So even though I jumped out of the plane without a chute on, I made sure 200 firemen and rescue workers were waiting below to catch me on a giant life net.

Day for Night

When reality TV star Rae Miller is kicked unceremoniously to the curb by her back-stabbing cast mates, she quickly realizes that revenge fantasies and unemployment are the least of her problems after she witnesses an alien abduction in broad daylight. Worse, after escaping a terrifying almost-abduction herself, Rae succumbs to a sexy Nosferatu’s silky assurances, becoming undead in order to up her alien Ultimate Fighting skills. But even being supernatural can only get her so far. She still needs a job and going back to school wouldn’t be the worst idea ever. And once she figures out why her long-time college friend Rex refuses to have sex with her, she realizes her true nemesis is time.  Life is hard as a 38-to-40-something aspiring actress in L.A. Thank God for Jack Daniel’s and denial. 

Available at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Nook Kobo 

Friday, September 9, 2016

You and me always by Jill Mansell

3.5 Star

On the morning of Lily's twenty-fifth birthday, it's time to open the very last letter written to her by her beloved mother, who died when she was eight.

Learning more about the first and only real love of her mum's life is a revelation. On the same day, Lily also meets Eddie Tessler, a man fleeing fame who just might have the ability to change her world in unimaginable ways. But her childhood friend Dan has his own reasons for not wanting Lily to get too carried away by Eddie's attentions.

Before long, secrets begin to emerge and Lily's friends and family become involved. In the beautiful Cotswold village of Stanton Langley, nothing will ever be the same again... 

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

I always enjoy a novel by Jill Mansell. Sometimes though, they hit harder for me than others and this one was little on the lighter side. Mansell never fails to write characters with warmth and humanity though. I haven't come across a book of hers where I didn't instantly feel a connection with the people and the setting. She has a knack for making her protagonists feel like friends. 

You and Me, Always had a plot centered around one young woman, Lily,  who has spent most of her life being raised by both the literal and proverbial village as her mother passed away when she was young. Their bond is explored through letters she left for her daughter, to be opened on each birthday, and this is the last letter to be opened. I loved the connection made between parent and child just by a few letters. I wish though that the connection had been brought into the novel a bit more. Instead though we were treated to her relationships with the surrogate family who raised her and their bonds were wonderful, honestly portrayed with their obvious compassion for her. 

Jill Mansell gave us two romantic interests in this novel and while both were plausible I was definitely rooting for one over the other!   I would suggest though that the bonds between Lily and her friends were less interesting than they could have been. I found that Lily’s story was centered mostly around her growing up and moving on from her mother’s letters and finding someone to share her life with, as well as solidifying her surrogate parental bonds rather than focussing on her female friendships.  Regardless though the story was good and exactly what I would expect from Mansell.

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

Connect with Jill Mansell:
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Monday, September 5, 2016

Liar Liar by M.J.Arlidge

4.5 Star

Detective Helen Grace gets caught in an inferno of death and destruction in the red-hot new thriller from the author of Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Doll’s House

Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground...

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes. 

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her… 

Sabrina-Kate - 4.5 Star

I was not familiar with the Helen Grace series until the 4th book was already out but I quickly fell in love with them! Luckily I was able to get copies of the first four books when Liar Liar came out and I absolutely gobbled them up, staying up way too late for my own good because I was just that hooked!!

The stories focus on Detective Helen Grace and her uncanny ability to catch even the most slick criminal against all odds. I read the first three books to bring myself up to speed but even if I hadn't, I would have been thrilled to read this novel as each story is capable of standing alone although I always appreciate context.

Liar Liar focuses on a serial arsonist and is a gripping read. I love that the chapters are short and fast paced with a lot of twists and turns. Helen deals with her own demons, as usual, while saving the lives of others. I cannot stress how much I really enjoyed this book because it even felt like this could be something that happened. Terrifyingly enough!

Helen herself is an interesting character with a difficult past that affects her present and makes her a complex and extremely interesting person. I won't reveal too much but she definitely has skeletons in her closets and regrets.

Having just put down this installment, I am quite thrilled that book number five is already out and know that I will definitely be picking it up in the near future.

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

Connect with M.J.Arlidge:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Finding Fraser by K.C.Dyer

3 Star

Sometimes searching for true love can be a little...Outlandish. 

I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. I fell in love hard, fast and completely. He knew how to ride a horse, wield a sword and stitch a wound. He was, in fact, the perfect man. 

That he was fictional hardly entered into it. 

At 29, Emma Sheridan's life is a disaster and she's tired of waiting for the perfect boyfriend to step from the pages of her favorite book. There's only one place to look, and it means selling everything and leaving her world behind. With an unexpected collection of allies along the way, can Emma face down a naked fishmonger, a randy gnome, a perfidious thief, and even her own abdominal muscles on the journey to find her Fraser?

Kathryn - 3 Star

At first, Finding Fraser did not grab my attention. I think the start of the novel could have been shortened and made more concise as Emma’s pre-trip tour around the US did nothing for the plot except make her seem a bit desperate. I also found it a little seedy in some moments which was a feeling that did not really transfer to the Scotland part of the novel.  I didn't really like Emma at all until she got on that airplane. Until that point I thought her mission (and she) was nuts which did nothing to help me like her and I couldn’t work out if the popular character she was seeking was in her mind a real person or a romanticised hero. The super-fan situation was irritating.

Saying all of that I found myself liking the novel once she got to Scotland. There was something about her voyage of discovery that was honest and the format of the vacation/love blog was great. It also added something new to have the comments from readers on her posts. As she pursued her mission I began to like her more, there was more warmth or character development as we progressed and I was intrigued to see how the plot would play out. I was also more invested in her relationship with her sister at home (who was in the novel solely by her comments on Emma’s blog posts and emails).

The “love” portion of Finding Fraser was a fun, a bit silly and frustrating at times but I did find the link between them to be believable. It was sweet in the end.

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

Connect with KC Dyer:
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