Friday, August 18, 2017

How did this happen? by Mary D. Esselman, Elizabeth Ash VĂ©lez

3.5 Star


From the bestselling authors of The Hell with Love, a fierce, funny, touching collection that takes the sting out of "aging while female."







Sabrina-Kate - 3.5 Star

A funny little anthology of poetry that I sometimes loved and sometimes hated, but that I could entirely understand. How Did This Happen? was a funny little book. Some of the poems were amusing and profane and I loved those ones the best. I recognized some of the writers and some of the others were new to me.

I could have lived without the commentary between poems because I did not enjoy it as much as the poems themselves, and I did not see what it really added to the book as the poems were strong enough on their own.

Sometimes hilarious and also at times poignant, this was a great little book for anyone who is at the end of their 30s and feeling things change.


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

Connect with Mary D.Esselman and Elizabeth Ash Velez:



Monday, August 14, 2017

What Happens in the Alps by T.A.Williams

3 Star

UP IN THE MAGICAL, SNOW-KISSED MOUNTAINS…Two years ago, Annie Brewer’s life was turned upside down when her adrenaline-junkie husband died in a tragic climbing accident. So she’s hoping that moving to the beautiful village of Santorso in the Italian Alps will finally put her life back on track
…ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!    She might be going into business with her oldest friend – notorious lady-charmer Matt Brown – but men are definitely out of the question for Annie! That is, until she bumps into tall, dark and delicious Alessandro Lago on the ski slopes…and spontaneously says ‘Yes’ to a date!
It must be the crisp, mountain air but suddenly, anything seems possible. The only trouble is, chivalrous Matt is looking more gorgeous than ever…
Kathryn - 3 Star
I’m a big fan of T.A. Williams as he writes realistic modern romances with a female protagonist like a pro.  I’ve read every one of his novels that has come out in recent years and loved them all.
Unfortunately this one was not my favourite and I can’t really put a finger on why that was except that I didn’t warm to Annie in the same way I had warmed to the other female leads.  I ought to have done…. she has independence galore and a determination to succeed. She has overcome the loss of a partner which is obviously heartbreaking… I just didn’t desperately want to have dinner with her.
I had a hard time accepting her love interest.  He didn’t seem to fit, though I liked him, and it was very obvious from the start that she should have been looking closer to home instead.
What I did like about this novel was the setting- I loved the mountains, the lodges and the description of the snow.  I liked the skiing, the rock climbing and the workings of a new ski resort.  I felt completely immersed in the scenery.  The trademark mad dog was present all over the mountain and he added a certain freedom to the plot and I adored Annie’s assistant- a completely original character.
Maybe my issue was that I’m not a winter/ski girl?  Maybe I didn’t warm to the novel because I personally prefer warmth and water?  Perhaps that was it was but I certainly won’t let my mixed feelings about this story deter me from picking up the next T.A.Williams release!
Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with T.A.Williams:
Website      Twitter      Goodreads

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

5 Star

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…



Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I simply loved this book. From the gorgeous yet simplistic cover to the story within, The Garden of Small Beginnings is one of my favorite books of this year so far.

Lilian was one of those characters that you loved and just wanted good things to happen to. Having had a rough past few years, she was as true to life as they come. I felt for her, felt like her and sometimes wanted to be her. I loved how strong she was and what a great role model she was to her own children despite having been through so much.

Admittedly, the story was a bit easy to figure out at times, but that was part of its charm. I really do enjoy books that are inspiring and easy to read and this was definitely all of that and more!

I loved that the plot was endearing and amusing and made me want to cry and give Lilian and hug. I also really liked all of the supporting characters, from her kids, to her sister and to the oh-so-cute gardener. If you give this book a try, you will probably also fall in love as well!


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

Connect with Abbi Waxman:
  Twitter    Goodreads

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

After the fall by Julie Cohen

5 Star

When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they’ve come to know.

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could destroy the “normal” family life she’s fought so hard to build and maintain.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love―or the loss of everything that matters most to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances?




Kathryn - 5 Star

After the fall is a book full of emotion from every direction.  Because much of the feeling of loss wasn’t explained fully until the end of the book, I spent a lot of time speculating on what had happened in their mutual past.  It shines a light on today’s society with the sense of detachment we now have from our immediate family and the isolation we can feel by living via social media rather than in person.  

Honor lives alone and is determined to remain independent but a serious fall forces her to have to accept help.   It appears she doesn’t have anyone to turn to except her daughter-in- law and that’s only because the hospital calls her next of kin on her behalf.  Honor is a difficult person to unravel and the reader is immediately curious because Jo is the in-law and we don’t know what happened to Honor’s child?    

Jo’s swamped with two small children, a teenager and a frustrating ex-husband but the notion of leaving Honor to fend for herself isn’t an option.  There’s so much tension between Honor and Jo though that there’s whole sections of the book where you’re feeling edgy because you want them to sort out their issues...

Lydia, Jo’s teenage daughter, is navigating her first feelings of love and she’s not sure she can share how she’s feeling with anyone.  I was really invested in her story andI was thrilled to have her inching closer to her grandmother, to have that bond starting to form because her social life started to spiral rapidly out of control and I desperately wanted someone to catch on...

Overall this book will have you look more closely at the way we relate to each other and how much listening we really do.  I hope it’s given me some insight into how teenagers (particularly daughters) can hide things that are tearing them up inside and to try to be a better communicator. 


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

Connect with Julie Cohen:
Website     Facebook      Twitter     Goodreads




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