Reviews

Review: Elephant and Pinky Moon

Elephant and Pinky Moon: The perfect beach read, by Lilac Mills

Publication: Lilac Tree Books; July 31, 2017

ElephantAbout the book: 

Twenty-eight-year-old Nina lives a quiet, unassuming life, happy (ish) with her job, maybe not quite as happy with her non-existent love-life (but no one can have everything, right?) and content to trundle along with her nice, predictable daily routine.That is until Nina is persuaded to accompany her octogenarian grandmother on a beach holiday to Turkey. Nina envisages sedate walks along the promenade, afternoon naps by the pool, and bingo in the evening. What she actually gets is too much vodka, adult games of “pin the tail on the donkey” and dancing on a bar whilst flaunting her knickers – and that’s just her gran!

Nina envisages sedate walks along the promenade, afternoon naps by the pool, and bingo in the evening. What she actually gets is too much vodka, adult games of “pin the tail on the donkey” and dancing on a bar whilst flaunting her knickers – and that’s just her gran!

My Review:

Happy release day to Lilac Mills and her latest novel, Elephant and Pinky Moon!

Who, What, When, Where

Nina is a twenty-eight-year-old teacher in Worcester England and has a somewhat bland life. After her mother Alice calls her over to her grandmother, Flossie’s house, she learns that her eighty-four-year-old Gran has booked a vacation to Turkey, supposed before her grandfather passed away. Worried about Flossie traveling alone, Alice urges Nina to accompany her grandmother on the vacation. 

Leo is also traveling to Turkey with a friend who is suffering heart break over the woman he loves. Everyone that has met Gran has loved her, but when Gran starts trying to play matchmaker with Leo and Nina, sparks begin to fly. 

Besides enjoying the Turkish coast, Nina quickly learns that her Gran likes to go out and party, has no filter when speaking to others, and is quite sneaky. 

Thoughts and Reactions

This is my second time reading a novel by Lilac Mills and I’m not sure there are enough words to give her the praise that she deserves. Just as in her first novel, Under the Cherry Tree, Mills has created such unique, yet relatable characters. Nina was initially very cautious and reserved but as the novel progresses she slowly and realistically starts coming out of her shell. Flossie (Gran) is absolutely hilarious from beginning to end. Anyone that has one of those crazy grandmothers that will say or do anything without any concern about the opinions of others, this is the novel for you! At 84, she books a trip at resort meant for adults ages 30-45. Not long after their arrival, she’s partying with everyone at the bar and playing an x-rated version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. She plans all of these crazy experiences that have Nina completely stressing out, although Nina loves every one of them – much to her own surprise.

There was not a single boring moment in this novel. From beginning to end, I was dying to find out what Nina and Flossie would be getting into next. There are certainly a few serious and heart breaking moments, but otherwise, reading this novel is like taking a vacation for yourself! 

The funny moments aside, Lilac Mills reminds us all to actually live our lives, rather than just floating through the years. Unfortunately, life does not include do-overs, and through her Gran’s unconventional wisdom, Nina learned the importance of taking risks, facing fears, and taking control of her own destiny. 

Elephant and Pinky Moon is outstanding and I cannot recommend this novel enough! Get ready for such a fun ride of holidays, romance, and some serious laughter!

*Many thanks to the author for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Elephant and Pinky Moon on Amazon!

Learn more about Lilac Mills by visiting her web page.

Reviews

Book Review: Chocolate for Two

Chocolate for Two (The (Mis)Adventures of Waverly Bryson Book 4),

by Maria Murnane

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; April 9, 2013

choc for 2About the book: 

Waverly Bryson’s life is officially perfect: She’s engaged to her gorgeous boyfriend, Jake; her Honey on Your Mind TV segment is more popular than ever, and Waverly’s Honey Shop is growing by leaps and bounds. What could possibly go wrong? For starters…everything.

This is Waverly, after all, and drama follows her wherever she goes. Why should her trip down the aisle be any different? Now, before she can marry the man of her dreams, she’ll have to go head-to-head with his high-society mother, whose vision for their wedding isn’t exactly meshing with Waverly’s. Adding to the chaos is the impending departure of Paige, Waverly’s very pregnant retail partner; the arrival of her suddenly secretive best friend, Andie; and the meddling of a new TV producer who’s promising to “shake things up.” Suddenly Waverly’s perfect life feels like it’s about to come crashing down…unless the irrepressible Miss Bryson can prove to the world—and to herself—that she really can have it all.

My Review:

I have to begin with the fact that I am heartbroken that this series is over! It took me years to discover Waverly and now she’s gone. But what a fabulous ending 🙂

Who, What, When, etc.

Waverly and Jake are back, living in New York and engaged. Not only is Waverly’s spot on Wendy’s t.v. show doing well, her Honey merchandise business is booming. More great news is that Andie has work in New York bringing her out to the east coast for awhile and McKenna is still happily adjusting to motherhood back in California.

Problems arise when Waverly’s sales guru, Paige, announces she can no longer work for Waverly, and of course the insane control and meddling from Jake’s mother.  

Thoughts & Reactions

Besides being run ragged from her tv show and the merchandising of her Honey brand, Waverly’s biggest challenge this time around was Jake’s mother. Poor Waverly was willing to put up with just about anything in the hopes that she would start to like her, and she put up with a load of different crap between Jake’s mom trying to take over the wedding planning, choosing dresses, and then throwing in her trademark vicious remarks from time to time. Waverly being completely railroaded became irritating at times, but I also understood her desire to please Jake’s mom and earn her respect and affection.

Jake was as fabulous as always and although I wished he would step-in to defend Waverly from time to time, he was basically left in the dark about his mother’s controlling actions, so it wasn’t exactly his fault. 

Andie was different this time, battling her own fears about things getting serious with Nick, however, Waverly’s two interns picked up right where Waverly and her friends left off as far as experiencing and relaying tales of dating nightmares!

Once again, I fell in love with one of Waverly’s tales and Chocolate for Two was a wonderful conclusion to this series. It was fast-paced, funny, frustrating, and fabulous all at once! These have become my go-to novels when I am in the mood for something smart but funny, so now I must find my new happy place among new characters. However, I have been so impressed and honestly blown away by Maria Murnane’s writing, characterization, dialogue, and mostly – her beautifully crazy and somewhat inappropriate sense of humor! All of the stories about various bodily functions and freak happenings on their dates have made me laugh harder than I ever remember laughing at a book and I loved it. 

Maria Murnane is talented, creative, takes risks, and has become one of my absolute favorite authors. I cannot recommend this novel and this series enough!

*Many thanks to Maria Murnane for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Chocolate for Two on Amazon!

Learn more about Maria Murnane by visiting her web page.

Reviews

Review: Going Down and Man Candy

Going Down and Man Candy (Five Wishes Book 1), by Elise Sax

Publication: June 15, 2017

going downAbout the book: 

The Five Wishes Series: Novellas about wishes that go terribly wrong…fortunately. Five Wishes…A happy ending is just a coin toss away. Each novella is approximately 100 pages with NO cliffhanger.

Book 1: Going Down:
Marion MacAlister wants to nail her audition, not get nailed. Truly. Honestly. All right…maybe she does want to get nailed, but that’s just because her hottie landlord and local diner owner Mack Ryan is confusing her. Can friends become lovers? Especially friends who might not even be friends in the first place?

Book 2: Man Candy:
Raine Harper is in love with Wade Gates. But Wade likes women who are model thin, and Raine is model thin plus a whole lot of pounds. Desperate to make him love her, she trains just a little too hard and passes out in the arms of superstar movie star Dirk Adams. Dirk thinks Raine’s junk in the trunk is perfect and proposes to make Wade jealous by becoming her pretend boyfriend. Pretend soon seems very real. Is Dirk a great actor, or is something really developing between Raine and the movie star?

My Review:

I read the combo of Going Down (Five Wishes book 1) & Man Candy (Five Wishes book 2), the funny, light-hearted novellas by Elise Sax.

In Going Down, I loved the undeniable chemistry and sassy banter between the wannabe actress, Marion and diner owner, Mack. Mack has been serving up yummy diner food to Marion for two years and is also her landlord, but after a stroke of luck, they are stuck together in a compromising situation that gives them a chance to get a little closer. 

In Man Candy, Raine works with her parents catering to guests of their lakeside cabins. Raine is trying to lose as much as weight as possible before her forever crush, Wade returns to town. Instead, she meets a movie star named Dirk Adams. When he offers to pretend to be together to make Wade jealous, Raine learns a lot about herself and the type of man that she deserves. 

Both of these were very quick reads but packed with plenty of laughter, as well as, some pretty steamy moments. The most relevant thing that comes to mind thinking back on these stories is the very realistic and relatable female characters. Marion is trying (unsuccessfully) to become an actress while Raine is struggling with her self-esteem and weight loss. There are very real moments in their struggles, as well as, laugh out loud moments that we have all experienced. 

I also noticed that despite the short length of these novellas, Elise Sax developed these characters wonderfully, making it feel as if we had been reading about them much longer than you actually do. I could easily see and hear these characters throughout their stories and felt connected with all of them.

If you are looking for a quick, happy read, then check out these first two novellas in the Five Wishes series. Elise Sax packed a lot of character and exciting plots into a wonderfully small package!

*Thanks to Elise Sax for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Going Down and Man Candy on Amazon for free right now!

Learn more about Elise Sax by visiting her web page!

Reviews

Blog Tour and Review: High Hopes

HighHopes_TourBanner

Title: High Hopes

Series: Standalone

Author: Sue Lilley

Publisher: Sue Lilley

Cover Artist: Humble Nations

Release Date: April 19, 2016

Romance Genre(s): Contemporary

Words: 60,000

View on Goodreads

About the Book

Blurb

HighHopes

“It was one stolen night. He was my soulmate and I’d never felt more alive. I couldn’t tell him I got pregnant. It would’ve ruined everything. But now his daughter wants to meet him and I need to make things right.” Another tear escaped down her cheek. “Everybody’s going to hate me.”

Three friends are rocked when a 20-year secret blows their world apart. Steamy, passionate, and unpredictable. If you like sizzling love triangles you won’t want to miss it.

Grace has kept her heart-breaking secret for twenty years – a love child she gave up for adoption. She was a penniless student – how could she raise a baby alone? Then she receives a letter out of the blue. Her long-lost daughter is searching for answers.

Her two best friends are married and don’t know one of them is the girl’s father. If Grace confesses now, the marriage will be destroyed and it will surely be the end of their lifelong friendship. But what choice does Grace have?

Set in the wilds of Poldark-country – the stormy cliffs and windswept beaches of picturesque Cornwall – an engrossing saga filled with suspense, simmering jealousy and heartbreak. Can a future be built on the quicksand of secrets and lies? Surely there can be no second chances when three friends discover they don’t know each other at all.

My Review:

Welcome to my stop on the High Hopes blog tour!

This is the story of Grace and her best friends Sam and Dixie. Twenty years ago, Grace and Sam had a one night stand when he thought that he and Dixie had broken up. After learning that she was pregnant, Grace kept it a secret from almost everyone and then gave her daughter up for adoption. Grace has since gone through life, married a wonderful man Alexander, divorced him, but still maintains a friends with benefits relationship with her ex-husband. When her daughter contacts her wanting to learn more about her and her father, Grace is faced with the realization that she must tell Sam and Dixie the truth.

Once she returns to their hometown to visit, however, things are much different than she expected. Sam has had an affair, Dixie seems obsessed with her gallery owner boss, and their son Josh is dreading starting law school because he secretly wants to follow his true passion of music. Moreover, upon her arrival, Grace quickly meets the hot, sexy gardener Danny, who discovers Grace sunbathing topless. The longer Grace waits to tell Sam and Dixie the truth about the daughter that she gave away, the more tension builds between the three of them. Mixed in with all of this, Grace and Danny continue forming a bond between them that is not quite friends, but not quite sexual.

This is my second time reading Sue Lilley and I really enjoyed this novel.  I loved Grace’s style and charm and found that she is pretty thick-skinned to withstand some of the anger that Dixie shot her way. I also loved Danny!  I could practically picture him in my mind and found him adorable and witty, but also we got to see a sensitive and caring side of him as the novel progressed. The author created a suspenseful and emotional story line that was different from other romances that may read, making her characters and their lives believable and relatable.  There are so many exciting subplots among the characters in this novel, I would have liked an idea of what happened with them all. It’s not a cliffhanger ending by any means, but after getting so involved in the characters I wanted more!

High Hopes is a fantastic novel and highly recommended!

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

About Sue Lilley

Author Bio

SueLilley

Described as an exciting new voice in Women’s Fiction, Sue Lilley lives in the north east of England, when she isn’t escaping somewhere else in her imagination. She is often found eavesdropping for inspiration. Her first two novels were well received. Another Summer is “an alluring example of its genre”. High Hopes is “a story that holds immense appeal for readers who like plots containing sizzling love triangles.” She is hard at work on her third novel.

Connect with Sue

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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June 26:
Author Interview with Amy’s Bookish Life

June 29:
Book Review by Booklove

July 3:
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July 5:
Exclusive Excerpt at Obsessed by Books

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Exclusive Excerpt at The Bookworm Lodge

July 13:
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July 18:
Exclusive Excerpt at My Fiction Nook

July 21:
Book Review by EskieMama Reads

July 25:
Exclusive Excerpt at A Naughty Book Fling

July 27:
Book Review by Dandelions Inspired

August 1:
Exclusive Excerpt at Up ‘Til Dawn

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August 8:
Book Review by Underneath the Covers

August 10:
Book Review by All Things Bookaholic

August 16:
Exclusive Excerpt at Shh, I Am Reading

August 18:
Author Interview with Liz’s Reading Life

August 22:
Exclusive Excerpt at Lori’s Reading Corner

August 25:
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Exclusive Excerpt at Books, Dreams, Life

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Book Review by Wicked Babes Blog Reviews

September 4:
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September 6:
Exclusive Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews

September 13:
Book Review by Always Love Me Some Books

September 15:
Author Interview with I Heart Reading

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What Am I Reading?

Happy Tuesday! Here are the wonderful novels I plan to read and review this week! 

Bring Her Home, by David Bell

Publication:  Berkley; July 11, 2017

bring her homeAbout the book: 

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family…
 

Wish You Were Here: A Novel, by Renee Carlino

Publication: Atria Books; August 15, 2017

wishAbout the book: 

You know when you’re looking at someone and you can’t help but smile at how oblivious they are to their own charm? That’s what was happening to me, and it was making me feel…happy. Euphoric. Something indescribable. It was like we already knew each other like we had met in a previous life. Memories that didn’t exist began exploding in my mind like fireworks.

Charlotte has spent her twenties adrift, searching for a spark to jump-start her life and give her a sense of purpose. She’s had as many jobs as she’s had bad relationships, and now she’s feeling especially lost in her less-than-glamorous gig at a pie-and-fry joint in Los Angeles, where the uniforms are bad and the tips are even worse.

Then she collides—literally—with Adam, an intriguing, handsome, and mysterious painter. Their serendipitous meeting on the street turns into a whirlwind one-night stand that has Charlotte feeling enchanted by Adam’s spontaneity and joy for life. There’s promise in both his words and actions, but in the harsh light of morning, Adam’s tune changes, leaving Charlotte to wonder if her notorious bad luck with men is really just her own bad judgment.

Months later, a new relationship with Seth, a charming baseball player, is turning into something more meaningful, but Charlotte’s still having trouble moving past her one enthralling night with Adam. Why? When she searches for answers, she finds the situation with Adam is far more complicated than she ever imagined. Faced with the decision to write a new story with Seth or finish the one started with Adam, Charlotte embarks on a life-altering journey, one that takes her across the world and back again, bringing a lifetime’s worth of pain, joy, and wisdom.

Going Down and Man Candy (Five Wishes Book 1), by Elise Sax

Publication: June 15, 2017

going downAbout the book: 

The Five Wishes Series: Novellas about wishes that go terribly wrong…fortunately. Five Wishes…A happy ending is just a coin toss away. Each novella is approximately 100 pages with NO cliffhanger.

Book 1: Going Down:
Marion MacAlister wants to nail her audition, not get nailed. Truly. Honestly. All right…maybe she does want to get nailed, but that’s just because her hottie landlord and local diner owner Mack Ryan is confusing her. Can friends become lovers? Especially friends who might not even be friends in the first place?

Book 2: Man Candy:
Raine Harper is in love with Wade Gates. But Wade likes women who are model thin, and Raine is model thin plus a whole lot of pounds. Desperate to make him love her, she trains just a little too hard and passes out in the arms of superstar movie star Dirk Adams. Dirk thinks Raine’s junk in the trunk is perfect and proposes to make Wade jealous by becoming her pretend boyfriend. Pretend soon seems very real. Is Dirk a great actor, or is something really developing between Raine and the movie star?

Elephant and Pinky Moon: The perfect beach read, by Lilac Mills

Publication: Lilac Tree Books; July 31, 2017

ElephantAbout the book: 

Twenty-eight-year-old Nina lives a quiet, unassuming life, happy (ish) with her job, maybe not quite as happy with her non-existent love-life (but no one can have everything, right?) and content to trundle along with her nice, predictable daily routine.That is until Nina is persuaded to accompany her octogenarian grandmother on a beach holiday to Turkey.Nina envisages sedate walks along the promenade, afternoon naps by the pool, and bingo in the evening. What she actually gets is too much vodka, adult games of “pin the tail on the donkey” and dancing on a bar whilst flaunting her knickers – and that’s just her gran!

Nina envisages sedate walks along the promenade, afternoon naps by the pool, and bingo in the evening. What she actually gets is too much vodka, adult games of “pin the tail on the donkey” and dancing on a bar whilst flaunting her knickers – and that’s just her gran!

The Party, by Elizabeth Day

Publication: Little, Brown & Company; August 15, 2017

the partyAbout the book: 

A taut psychological tale of obsession and betrayal set over the course of a dinner party, THE PARTY tells the story of two married couples who, in a single evening, will come to question everything they thought they knew about each other, as the long-buried secret at the heart of their friendship comes to the surface, culminating in an explosive act of violence.

Ben, who hails from old money, and Martin, who grew up poor but is slowly carving out a successful career as an art critic, have been inseparable since childhood. Ben’s wife Serena likes to jokingly refer to Martin as Ben’s dutiful Little Shadow.

Lucy is a devoted wife to Martin, even as she knows she’ll always be second best to his sacred friendship. When Ben throws a lavish 40th birthday party as his new palatial country home, Martin and Lucy attend, mixing with the very upper echelons of London society.

But why, the next morning, is Martin in a police station being interviewed about the events of last night? Why is Lucy being forced to answer questions about his husband and his past? What exactly happened at the party? And what has bound these two very different men together for so many years?

A cleverly built tour of intrigue, THE PARTY reads like a novelistic board game of Clue, taking us through the various half-truths and lies its characters weave, as the past and present collide in a way that its protagonists could never have anticipated.

Have you read any of these yet? Let me know your thoughts!

Reviews

Book Review: Honey on Your Mind

Honey on Your Mind (The (Mis)Adventures of Waverly Bryson Book 3), by Maria Murnane

Publication:  Lake Union Publishing; July 24, 2012

honey on your mindAbout the book: 

For Waverly Bryson, life is anything but boring! And never is that fact more evident than in Maria Murnane’s delightful third novel about the irrepressible heroine. This time around, Waverly faces a game-changing opportunity: an offer to turn her popular advice column into a regular guest spot on the new TV show Love, Wendy. It could be the break of a lifetime—but for a few not-so-minor details. For starters, Waverly’s acceptance of the job means moving clear across the country, giving up her rent-controlled apartment, and leaving behind her best friends McKenna and Andie. Oh, and there’s the fact that TV host extraordinaire Wendy Davenport is none-too-pleased by the prospect of Waverly usurping her broadcast throne. Then there’s Jake, Waverly’s boyfriend. He’s as crazy about her as ever. His mother, on the other hand? Not so much. But Waverly wouldn’t be Waverly if she didn’t tackle these challenges head on, with all the zeal, good humor, and, yes, occasional catastrophe that we’ve come to expect from “the American Bridget Jones.” Witty, light-hearted, and fun, Honey on Your Mind is Waverly Bryson at her best.

My Review:

Who, What, When, Where

This time around, Waverly has just accepted a new job requiring her to move across the country to New York City. She’s excited but nervous, especially working with Wendy. 

Andie is considering whether or not she should move in with Nick and McKenna is still adjusting to motherhood. Jake is still around of course and still delicious, although very elusive at times.

This installment introduces us to Andie’s cousin, Paige, who helps Waverly grow her Honey merchandise business, as well as, relays some of her own hilarious dating stories. 

Thoughts and Reactions

I think this is my favorite of the Waverly books so far! Although not as funny as previous Waverly books, this one seemed to have a bit more substance and emotion. Maria Murnane presents Waverly so vulnerable several times, and not just her normal nervous issues. I got to see a very different, somewhat grown-up side of Waverly, while still possessing her hilarious quirkiness that I love.

Several twists were thrown into this novel, affecting not only Waverly but several other characters in both good and bad ways. I’m still not a huge fan of Wendy, but the author definitely sheds new light on her as a character and provided some insight as to why she is such an annoying and fake person. 

As always with Waverly, there was plenty of conflict and challenges in this novel, but they were new and different keeping things very interesting. Specifically, Jake’s mother… 

Once again I have completely fallen in love with one of Maria Murnane’s novels. They are such light-hearted, feel-good reads that I can quickly devour in just a few hours. Waverly is such an honest, relatable character and Murnane’s plot development is spot on. She has absolutely cornered the market regarding romantic comedy and women’s fiction and of course, I highly recommend Honey on Your Mind to any lovers of this genre. But don’t forget to start at the beginning with Perfect on Paper or you will miss out!

*As always, special thanks to Maria Murnane for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Honey on Your Mind on Amazon!

Check out Maria Murnane’s web page to learn more about this fantastic author!

 

Reviews

Book Review: The Heirs

The Heirs: A Novel, by Susan Rieger

Publication: Crown; May 23, 2017

heirsAbout the book: 

Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him.  The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him.  In disconcerting contrast, their mother, Eleanor, is cool and calm, showing preternatural composure.

Eleanor and Rupert had made an admirable life together — Eleanor with her sly wit and generosity, Rupert with his ambition and English charm — and they were proud of their handsome, talented sons: Harry, a brash law professor; Will, a savvy Hollywood agent; Sam, an astute doctor and scientific researcher; Jack, a jazz trumpet prodigy; Tom, a public-spirited federal prosecutor. The brothers see their identity and success as inextricably tied to family loyalty – a loyalty they always believed their father shared. Struggling to reclaim their identity, the brothers find Eleanor’s sympathy toward the woman and her sons confounding. Widowhood has let her cast off the rigid propriety of her stifling upbringing, and the brothers begin to question whether they knew either of their parents at all.

A riveting portrait of a family told with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable, patrician New York family. Moving seamlessly through a constellation of rich, arresting voices, The Heirs is a tale out Edith Wharton for the 21st century.

My Review:

Who, What, Where, When

The Heirs, by Susan Rieger, is her latest novel about a wealthy family in New York City, the Falkes. Rupert Falkes has recently passed away leaving his wife Eleanor and five sons: Harry, Will, Sam, Jack, and Tom. 

Rupert is from England, raised in an orphanage by a Reverand Falkes, but never knew his biological family. Basically a self-made man, he went to Yale Law School and went on to be extremely successful in his career. His marriage to Eleanor was pleasant and happy, but only included affection in the bedroom. He loved his sons but again was not affectionate. 

Eleanor loved raising her five boys and was a good parent despite being raised by a very cold and unaffectionate mother. Her first love was Jim Cardozo, but their marriage was forbidden due to differing religions.

A few months after Rupert’s death, Eleanor receives notice from her attorneys that the estate is being sued by Vera Wolinski, claiming that Rupert had fathered her two sons and financially supported them while they were growing up. 

Thoughts and Reactions

The Heirs was a unique and beautifully written novel. Overall, it read more like a family case study than a fiction novel but was absolutely fascinating. The novel flashed back between the past and present allowing the reader to get to know Rupert prior to his death. The switch in time also provided further insight and Rupert and Eleanor’s life prior to meeting one another. 

The five sons were interesting in that they were so incredibly different in some ways, yet so strongly bound together in other ways. They all want to Princeton after Harry enrolled there and they all became successful in various ways in their careers. While growing up, they noticed a lack of physical affection between Rupert and Eleanor but never suspected any problems or unhappiness in their parents’ marriage. 

The reactions to Vera Wolinski and her sons varied throughout the family, however, it ranged from curiosity to anger, especially towards Eleanor. Perhaps their mother’s own solemn, calm reaction to the allegations sparked the anger, but regardless, Susan Rieger depicted a once picture perfect family suddenly start to realize their own immortality and their own abilities to make mistakes, fail, and feel regrets. 

The Heirs most certainly not an action-packed read, as I stated earlier, it is more of a reflection and history of a family. It serves as a reminder that everything is not always as it seems, despite years of stability and routine. Especially with Eleanor and her sons, it also serves as a reminder of the secrets we keep as women, daughters, parents, husbands, sons, and so on. Eleanor’s life may not have played out exactly as she had wished, but she enjoyed her life and created her own happiness. It wasn’t until her sons started asking personal questions about her and Rupert’s life together, that they realized that they may not always want to hear the answers. 

I liked Eleanor and Rupert’s characters, especially their back stories about their upbringing, but otherwise, there weren’t any other particularly likable characters. Perhaps Edward, Eleanor’s father, but otherwise, I felt no positive connection with any of the sons while reading. 

Again, the writing and imagery in The Heirs were outstanding and I am glad that I read it, however, there are not any life-changing moments in the novel. What made this novel good and in my mind, stand out among other novels, was the characterization of Eleanor and Rupert and their contentedness in their lives. 

*Many thanks to Blogging for Books for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase The Heirs on Amazon!

Reviews

Book Review: Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls: A Young Adult Romantic Thriller, by Sienna Blake

Publication: Gypsy Publishing; 1 edition; April 24, 2016

paper dollsAbout the book: 

Salem is my twin sister. She loved me. She protected me. She forgave me, even after I failed her. I just got her back after searching for three long, lonely years.

Then there’s Clay. Sweet yet intense and nursing a dark past of his own, he’s all the redemption I don’t deserve. He wants to open me up and know the insides of my soul. I want to let him, but I’m scared he’ll run from what he finds.

But I can’t have them both.

My name is Aria. I’m 18. And today, I must choose. One of the two people I love has to die.

 

My Review:

Who, What, When, Where

This incredibly interesting and surprising novel is about 18-year-old Aria who is living and working in Mirage Falls. She works at a lingerie/toy shop for a woman named Flick, and as the novel begins, she is falling for a guy named Clay. The problem is, however, she is searching for her twin sister, Salem, that she hasn’t seen in three years. 

Aria and Salem obviously have secrets from their past and reasons they ran away, but Aria does not reveal this to Clay until a while into the novel. Clay also seems to have secrets, but again, these are slowly revealed throughout the novel, which left me insanely curious about what was going on, who was being honest, and so on. 

If it seems that I’m not saying much about the plot, that is correct. So many things happen in this novel that I would absolutely hate to give any spoilers. But I will say that Aria’s life seems basically happy and normal while she’s looking for Salem, however, things drastically change once they find each other again.

Thoughts and Reactions

I have to start by saying, “Wow!” There’s little I love more than surprise twists in novels and Paper Dolls definitely surprised me. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading but there was a huge “oh my God” moment that I never saw coming. I knew something was going on and suspected that it would be bad, but I truly had no idea what was coming.

Paper Dolls is well-written with very realistic and honest inner and outer dialogue. I struggled a bit with the character development, realizing several times that I could hardly picture the characters in my mind, unsure of what they even looked like. Beyond that, the plot was very suspenseful and absolutely entertaining. 

Sienna Blake addressed some difficult and serious topics in Paper Dolls but did it in a wonderful way. I highly recommend this novel to lovers of psychological thrillers. It has elements of romance and family but also has very challenging moments – all combining to make an amazing read!

*Trigger warning* This novel does deal with themes of sexual abuse and mental illness.

*Thanks to BookFunnel for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Paper Dolls on Amazon!

Learn more about Sienna Blake by visiting her web page.

 

Reviews

Book Review: It’s a Waverly Life

It’s a Waverly Life (The (Mis)Adventures of Waverly Bryson Book 2),

by Maria Murnane

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; November 8, 2011

WaverlyAbout the book: 

The formerly heartbroken singleton is now happily enmeshed in a new relationship, a new job, and a new decade. Her career as an advice columnist is taking off, and the future of her fledgling greeting-card line is bright. Of course, where Waverly goes, drama is sure to follow, and this time is no exception. Her broken engagement has left her gun-shy when it comes to love, putting strain on her long-distance relationship with handsome Jake McIntyre. And when her best friends both make life-changing announcements, Waverly fears she is being left behind by the ones she loves most.

In true Waverly fashion, things must get comically worse before they can get better. But in the end, she discovers that though life (before and after thirty) may be messy and unpredictable, friendship and love make it all worthwhile.

My Review:

Who, What, When, Where

Welcome to the second novel in the crazy (mis)adventures of Waverly Bryson! Waverly and her best friends (McKenna and Andie) are still doing their thing in San Francisco, she’s still writing her “honey notes,” she’s also writing a weekly column for the paper. The fabulous Jake is back again, although, remember he’s all over the place working as a trainer for the Atlanta Hawks. Waverly meets some new people this time around including Ivy and Nick from the Sun office, and her fantastic older neighbor named Red. 

Waverly is still gun-shy when it comes to Jake. She’s still scared to get too involved after what Aaron did to her, and she continues to just flub over her words whenever she’s in Jacke’s presence. Even worse, things are ever-changing at the newspaper so career security is out the window until she comes up with some new ideas regarding her “honey notes.”

Thoughts and Reactions

I’ve gone backward with Maria Murnane, starting with Waiting for Rain, then Bridges, then to Perfect on Paper, and so on. Do you have an author that when you want to feel happy, you grab one of their novels? That is what Maria Murnane has become to me! Everything I read of hers makes me laugh, feel happy, and even during sad or tense times in the novels – I still feel good after reading them.

It’s a Waverly Life was the perfect way to spend an absolute scorching, hot, humid, miserable day! Waverly’s such a real and honest character that I love, but also want to smack at times when her mouth moves faster than her brain (or when she stumbles over what she means to say and it doesn’t come out). There weren’t quite as many hysterical moments with the girls this time, but the humorous banter carried over into her new friendship with Nick. Another thing that I love is her embarrassing moments, and happily, those were plentiful in the second book!

Maria Murnane’s writing is flawless, yet simple and realistic. The characters were incredibly relatable, as was the story line. I think that the tone was a little more serious in this book as compared to the first one, but I liked it that way.  Waverly can’t be completely off the chain all of the time, and in this novel, the author gave her a lot more “grown up” emotions, joys, and regrets. This was an outstanding story and I cannot wait to read book 3!! 

*many thanks to Maria Murnane for graciously providing this novel in exchange for my honest review!

Purchase It’s a Waverly Life on Amazon!

Reviews

A Perfect Relationship, by Anna Anastase

Publication: August 31, 2017

a perfect relationship

 

About the book: 

Julia is a vivacious young woman living a stable life in Stockholm with her boyfriend, Jacob. During a weekend trip to Paris, she engages in a passionate affair with Eric, her friend, and former au pair charge. For a while, Julia’s double life goes well and she believes she’s struck a balance between her roles as girlfriend and lover. Then the trouble starts – with both men. Luckily Julia has her best friend Lisa standing staunchly by her side. With warmth and humor, Lisa loyally helps Julia get her life back on track.

 

My Review:

Who, What, When, Where

A Perfect Relationship tells the story of Julia, in her early thirties, that lives in Stockholm with her boyfriend Jacob. Julia goes to Paris to visit Eric – 10 years her junior and her previous charge when she lived with his family as his nanny. The most recent trip to Paris to visit Eric results in him boldly asking when they were going to sleep together. The rest of the novel involves Julia and Eric’s affair, her relationship with Jacob, and the conversations back and forth between Julia and her best friend, Lisa.

Thoughts and Reactions

When I read a novel that I don’t like, I always take some time to really think it over before writing a review. Sure, not every novel is going to be loved by everyone, but I try to identify positive points to go along with my negative ones. Unfortunately, I am unable to identify positives with this novel. 

Let me begin by saying that I am not some squeamish prude that is offended by infidelity in fiction novels. Even in the most romantic love story, unfortunately, there are moments when someone betrays someone else. However, in A Perfect Relationship, this is not the case. Julia is a happy, talented, successful woman that lives with and is loved by an amazing man. However, she meets up with the young man that she used to babysit, he propositions her for sex, and she’s like, “Oh, what the hell.” This begins a cycle of her flying from Stockholm to Paris to have sex with Eric, then come home to Jacob and pretend everything is all hunky-dory. 

I like to think I’m open-minded regarding sexuality, but I can’t wrap my arms around the point of this novel, except for this. The author chose to create a character that was basically an unpaid whore. Not only did she decide to do the deed with the young man that she used to babysit, she hit on an ex at the grocery store (and proceeded to call him for a late-night booty call the same night), flirted with an older guy at Yoga, but still seemed slighted and sad when Jacob tossed her ass on the street as he should have. 

She craved the attention of other men, but appeared hurt and devastated when Jacob booted her. However, after trying to get Jacob back and finally wooing him into letting her move back in, what does she do? Continues to flirt with yoga man AND meets up with Eric and continues their affair. But, God forbid while they are broken up she sees Jacob in a bar flirting with another woman. That just wasn’t o.k.

Enough of my ranting, but this novel depicts a narcissistic, controlling, sex-addict. Her best friend Julia wasn’t much better and was quite the co-dependent/enabler of Julia’s bullshit. Unfortunately, I just lost three hours of my life that I can’t ever recover. 

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.