Tour, Review & Giveaway: Just Like You Said it Would Be

Just Like You Said it Would Be
C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Did you ever want something so much that it felt like a kind of sickness, one you didn’t want to be cured of? On New Year’s Eve the feeling compels seventeen-year-old Amira to text the Irish ex-boyfriend she’s been missing desperately since they broke up at the end of summer, when she returned to Canada.

They agreed they wouldn’t be friends, that it would never be enough. But that was then— back when Amira’s separated parents had shipped her off to relatives in Dublin for the summer so they could test-drive the idea of getting back together on a long haul cruise. Back when Amira was torn away from a friend in need in Toronto only to fall in love with a Dublin screenwriting class and take a step closer to her dream career. And only to fall for cousin Zoey’s band mate, Darragh, the guy who is first her friend, then her enemy and later something much more complicated—the guy she can say anything to, the guy who makes every inch of her feel wide awake in a way she hadn’t known was possible. The guy she might never see again. Or is there, despite the distance, somehow still a chance for them?

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My Review: 

Just Like You Said it Would Be was such a wonderful YA romance! It tells the story of Amira that lives in Canada, but is sent to Dublin to spend the summer with family while her parents are on vacation and trying to mend their marriage. Amira is soon introduced to Darragh, one of her cousin Zoey’s band mates, and I love/hate relationship quickly ensues. Regardless of the tension between them and attempts at only being friends, they soon find themselves confiding in one another, spending a lot of time together, and falling in love. Unfortunately this is overshadowed by the lingering date for Amira to fly back to Canada. 

This novel drew me in from the first page and I was not able to put it down – despite it being a Teen/YA novel. It was so well-written and full of different and complex characters that I found myself easily invested in. Although Amira and Darragh’s relationship is definitely the meat of the novel, there are several other subplots going on regarding friendships, family, education, dreams, and definitely disappointments in life. Teen and YA readers will easily identify with the uncertainty that comes with growing up, going away to college, first loves, etc. Adult readers – prepare to find yourself quickly being swept away in the nostalgia of your own experiences at the age. Whether it was joy, curiosity, anger, worry, or sadness, author C.K. Kelly Martin perfectly captures the varying emotions associated with that age. 

While reading, I found myself cheering like crazy for Amira and Darragh, resulting in having to remind myself that first, it’s only a novel and second, they live on two different continents with their entire lives ahead of them. Amira with her talent and dreams of being a screenwriter and Darragh with his investment in his band made for a happily-ever-after not seem promising, but still, I hoped. 

Reading about the author I learned that this was a long work in progress in which she poured her heart and soul, however, I do cross my fingers that she has more to tell the world about Amira and Darragh because I will be the first on in line to grab a copy!

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

 

Author Bio:

Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major–not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. in Film Studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always thoughts I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that writing about young characters felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can. My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008 and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent YA book, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, was published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and I’m pleased to announce they’ll be releasing my upcoming contemporary young adult novel, Delicate, on September 16th. Watch my website for more details!

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Book Review: Who You Think I Am

WHO YOU THINK I AM,

BY CAMILLE LAURENS

PUBLICATION: OTHER PRESS; MARCH 28, 2017

who you thinkAbout the book: This is the story of Claire Millecam, a 48-year-old teacher and divorcee, who creates a fake social media profile to try to keep tabs on Jo, her occasional, elusive, and inconstant lover. Under the false identity of Claire Antunes, a young and beautiful 24-year-old, she starts a correspondence with Chris–pseudonym KissChris–which soon turns into an Internet love affair.

This is the story of Claire Millecam, a 48-year-old teacher and divorcee, who creates a fake social media profile to try to keep tabs on Jo, her occasional, elusive, and inconstant lover. Under the false identity of Claire Antunes, a young and beautiful 24-year-old, she starts a correspondence with Chris–pseudonym KissChris–which soon turns into an Internet love affair.

WHO YOU THINK I AM is a true novel of our times that brilliantly exposes the disconnect between desire and fantasy. Social media allows us to put ourselves on display, to indulge in secrets, but above all it allows us to lie, to recreate a life, to become our own fiction–a mixture of sentimental naivety and manipulative perversity which echoes the libertine novels of the 18th century.

My Review:

I was excited by the description of Who You Think I Am but was sorely disappointed. Prepare for one of my shortest reviews of all time. I thought the story sounded interesting with a woman creating a fake social media account to keep tabs on her ex, but it was impossible for me to get into the story or connect with Claire. This is a short novel at 196 pages but I must confess that I gave up on page 51. There are so many long run-on sentences and it’s confusing at first who is talking and who she is talking to. I can only think of one or two occasions where I put a book down and didn’t finish it, but it was necessary for my sanity. I looked over other reviews once putting it down to see if I am crazy and this is actually a fabulous novel, but it appeared that 3-4 other reviews agreed with me regarding the difficult to read writing style and the confusion regarding time, place, characters, and so on. This novel was translated from French to English so it could also just be a writing style I am not used to, but regardless, I couldn’t see this one through to the end. 

*Thanks to Edelweiss for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Review: Lovers Lies and Lilies Part 2

Lovers Lies and Lilies Part Two,

by Ronald D. Walker

Publication: December 12, 2016

lovers part 2About the book:

In 1945, Sarah Barnes no longer lives the meager existence of a battered housewife. She has outgrown the constraints of society’s expectations for women and experienced love and grief like none she ever imagined were possible.
A generous gift from Jon Bartleaux elevated her to the prominence of a respected businesswoman. Sarah’s life becomes so full and busy that she barely has time to spend with an unexpected suitor while jet-setting between Texas and New Orleans to rid her companies of theft and management executives’ tyrannical treatment of Bartleaux employees. Dale and Twyla’s situation is coming to a desired resolution, when Sarah learns of another friend suffering from violence in her marriage.
As love blooms, the dangers in Sarah’s life grow. She will learn who her close friends and trusted employees are as she adjusts to her new life and new love.
Will her carefully devised plans come crashing down? Will Sarah’s secret change the lives of another victimized woman, or will Dale’s demise be her undoing?

My Review:

Yesterday, I read and reviewed Lovers Lies and Lilies Part One, and although I had other things on my weekly reading list, I couldn’t go to bed until I had read the second one! Sarah is now in charge of all of Jon’s businesses since his death and that includes an enormous amount of money – especially for a woman in 1945. She begins traveling back and forth to New Orleans for meetings to review her current holdings and starts her own restructuring to grow the businesses even further. Sarah continues helping Twyla deal with her abusive husband, as well as, keeps entrusting Twyla and her sister to run Sarah’s business she started in Part One. Sarah also decides to pay a visit to Richard, whom she promoted to store manager in the last book, and quickly discovers that he’s in love with her. As they work on developing a relationship and work together on her new business ventures, Sarah meets numerous new people and finally experiences the feeling being wealthy and powerful, rather than the abused housewife that she once was. 

I’m not sure if I enjoyed Part One or Part Two better, but I loved watching Sarah continue gaining confidence and developing a full and meaningful life. I was hoping there would be a surprise plot twist regarding Jon but also applauded Sarah for moving on with Richard. Although I do find it peculiar that the characters in these novels can fall so madly in love with one another so quickly! In New Orleans, Sarah gets a driver named Dwayne and he introduces her to other people that new Jon or had business dealings with him. I loved Dwayne but was crazy about the chef/restauranteur, Tyronne. 

Sarah was still busy trying to rid the universe of Twyla’s abusive husband Dale, dealing with the police regarding Dale, and also playing matchmaker between Twyla and the county Coroner. There were moments I was sort of put off by Sarah’s attitude and demeanor because it appeared she had gotten a very big head and was flaunting her wealth and power. However, as the novel went on I understood she was simply trying to establish that she was now the person in charge and also trying to keep those close to her and that she could trust in important positions within the company. Regardless of my back and forth feelings about her, it was wonderful reading about a character in 1945 that had not only had a sexually awakening but had become the owner of numerous businesses and assets. By the end of the novel, it seemed as if Sarah was becoming the local “go-to” person for wives being physically abused, just adding to her already busy life, but I appreciated that she remembers where she was not long ago and wants to help and inspire others.

Once again, Ronald D. Walker has crafted a unique and engaging novel that defies female stereotypes in the 1940’s. Fans of women’s fiction, erotica and romance should absolutely enjoy this novel, but you do need to read Part One first. Walker’s writing style flows easily and you will find yourself unable to put this one down!

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Lovers Lies and Lilies Part Two on Amazon. 

Learn more about Ronald D. Walker by visiting his web page. 

Review: Lovers Lies and Lilies Part 1

Lovers Lies and Lilies Part One,

by Ronald D. Walker

Publication: Ronald D. Walker; 1 edition; February 4, 2015

lovers part 1About the book: In 1944, women were thought to be the weaker sex. Divorce was unheard of—a woman’s place was in the home, obeying her spouse and raising their children. After a miscarriage, Calvin Barnes blamed his wife Sarah for being too weak to carry out her duties. His violent, drunken rampages turned deadly.
A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger empowers Sarah to find freedom, sexual enlightenment, and love. Wealthy businessman, Jon Bartleaux, teaches Sarah there is more to life than the 1940s mindset of sex only being for procreation at the pleasure of the husband. Treated as an equal, he teaches her that tender, generous, mutually satisfying sex can be enjoyed by both partners.
Sarah puts the pain and guilt of her past behind her until her sister Carol asks for help with a neighbor who is desperate to escape her husband’s abuse, with the added danger of a standing hitman contract should anything happen to him. Will Sarah risk revealing her secret weapon for ending spousal abuse to help Twyla?
Will Jon’s terrible secret unravel it all?

My Review:

Lovers Lies and Lilies is a very unusual book, but one that I definitely enjoyed reading. So different than anything I’ve read, the story is set in the early 40’s with a woman named Sarah and her physically and emotionally abusive husband. Sarah is desperate to get away from Calvin but knows that she can’t just leave him, despite the begging from her sister Carol. When she finally gets the opportunity to be away from Calvin, she meets a rich business owner, Jon Bartleaux, who helps her in many, many ways. Jon assists with getting her finances in order, provides her with a wonderful home to start her life over, and opens Sarah’s eyes to how sex should be between two people. Sarah quickly learns that she has never experienced sexual pleasure before Jon, nor had she been in a respectful and loving relationship with a man. Jon employs her to help with his businesses while Sarah also starts up her own business – all while helping another woman escape from her own abusive husband. Everything seems to be going perfectly, except that Jon keeps reminding Sarah that they can’t be together for very long…

Here’s what I loved about this novel. First, I love that this is an erotic romance set in the 1940’s. Women were not meant to have high expectations of physical intimacy at that time and this story is Sarah’s own personal awakening or coming of age novel because she learns so much about her own body, men’s bodies, and what intimacy is really like. Second, I love how empowered Sarah became throughout the course of the novel and how her confidence grew, not just sexually but personally, financially, and professionally. Third, I loved Jon and how caring and generous he was with Sarah. The woman deserved to finally have some romance in her life!

The issue I had with this novel was some of Jon’s forever long dialogue. I found myself skimming as he analyzed men, women, sexuality, etc. Talking about a long-winded man, and I thought that I talked a lot. Also was his formal tone and way of speaking about sexual intimacy. It almost sounded robotic at times and would personally have sent me running out of the bedroom. Nevertheless, the erotic scenes were tastefully written with plenty of detail but not in a “dirty” way. 

I was cheering for Sarah and Jon to live happily ever after, but there is a huge twist at the end which left me incredibly eager to dive into Part 2. The author left the ending open but in a hopeful way regarding Sarah and her new life away from abuse. This was a creative and original story that was a quick read but full of characterization and emotion. *Warning about triggers regarding physical and emotional abuse – there are some horrific scenes of abuse involving both Sarah and Twyla. 

This was a great read and if you are a romance/erotica fan, this is a very different spin on the topic. I cannot wait to devour Part 2 and will post the review after reading!

*Many thanks to Ronald D. Walker for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Lovers Lies and Lilies on Amazon. 

Learn more about Ronald D. Walker by visiting his web page. 

Review: The Good Enough Mother

THE GOOD ENOUGH MOTHER, BY ANOUSHKA BEAZLEY

PUBLICATION: LARCHWOOD PRESS; JULY 9, 2016

good enough

About the book: 

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

 

 

 

My Review:

The Good Enough Mother is hands-down one of the funniest books I have ever read! This is the crazy story of Drea and the incidents occurring after her live-in boyfriend Alex lives her for a younger woman. Alex doesn’t just leave Drea, but his teenaged daughter, Ava – along with the burden of her expensive private school tuition. Drea and Ava live with Drea’s Dad, an old man obsessed with watching porn. Drea is not a cookie-cutter type of Mom, but instead drinks a lot, smokes a lot of weed, and frequently uses very colorful 4-letter words. So as Drea tries to figure out how to keep paying Ava’s tuition, she decides to turn to a life of crime. 

I thought Drea was absolutely fabulous, however, be warned that if you are easily offended by language then you probably won’t be a big fan of Drea or this story. But anyway, this is a book that had me laughing at loud the entire time. Drea is so inappropriate in the way she behaves with everyone, especially Ava, but Ava is a great girl and obviously has grown accustomed to Drea and the crazy things she says. While Drea is thinking up and carrying out criminal acts to raise tuition money, Ava is busy trying to make friends with the popular girls and also running for class President. Drea’s Dad typically stays in his room watching porn, but he’s started venturing out somewhere every day, although Drea isn’t sure where. Drea shifts from hating and arguing with the elite moms at Ava’s private school to trying to fit in with them, and even agreeing to participate in a bake sale. In the meantime, she has a therapist that hits on her and wants to take her home to his special “room,” as well as, a detective investigating the crimes in the area taking a special interest in her also. 

As outlandish and crazy as this story is, it does address a very real and possible situation for many of us – how to come up with school tuition? Granted there is the argument of sending your child to public school, but Drea wanted Ava to stay in the school she had attended for so long and maintain some normalcy for her in light of her father leaving. There are also several political undertones weaved throughout the story about the overall debate between public and private schools and how fair it is for some to get a better education because their parents have more money. The great thing about the whole thing, however, is an unexpected source for the tuition that emerges throughout the novel! 

Another issue is Drea’s lingering grief related to her childhood and the loss of her mother. Drea hasn’t had the opportunity to properly deal with and process what happened and her associated feelings, as well as, almost feels as if it’s her legacy to follow in her mother’s footsteps. I don’t want to provide spoilers but it does provide insight into why Drea is the way she is and there are pronounced personal improvements and changes in her by the time the novel concludes. 

If you’re a very prim and proper PTA mom then, this may not be the book for you. However, if you’ve ever felt slighted or outcast by the snobby, perfect, over-bearing mothers out there, then this wildly entertaining and hilarious novel may be just what the doctor ordered! Anoushka Beazley’s writing style, characterization, and blunt dialogue all add up to a fabulous novel that I was not able to put down!

 *Many, many thanks to the author for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase The Good Enough Mother on Amazon!

Learn more about Anoushka Beazley by visiting her web page!

Book Review: The Runaway

THE RUNAWAY, BY CLAIRE WONG

PUBLICATION: LION HUDSON PLC; FEBRUARY 17, 2017

runawayAbout the book: 

“Legends start with a kernel of truth and mine will begin here…”

Every teenager has thought of running away from home…or threatened to. What happens when one finally does?

At almost eighteen, Rhiannon Morgan’s life in a quiet welsh village is anything but serene. When another argument between her and her guardian, Diana, finally pushes her over the edge, Rhiannon does the one thing we all have considered. She runs away.

Reaching Dyrys wood, hurt drives her not to return. The woods will now be her home. But how will she survive? Struggling in isolation against harsh conditions, Rhiannon’s imagination takes flight. She dwells in a world of stories – stories that Maebh, the village storyteller, has been telling Rhiannon since the death of her mother.

Back in the small welsh village the fragile balance of community life begins to crack under the strain of Rhiannon’s disappearance. A dark truth, suppressed for a generation, starts to surface. And Maebh’s stories begin to seem less and less like folklore and more like a history retold…

Told with a gentle and sensitive touch, this beautiful novel is about the power of stories; about fitting in and wanting to be wanted. A must read for any story lover.

My Review:

When I saw this novel I was fascinated not only by the description but also the incredible cover. However, I’m sort of mixed on my overall thoughts about this story. Rhiannon is 17 years old and has been raised by her Aunt Diana after the death of her mother. Rhiannon and Diana seem to butt heads almost constantly and Rhiannon is known for verbal outbursts with others. She has always enjoyed spending time with the elderly Maebh, who knows everything about the village’s history and loves telling stories to anyone that will listen. Right before her 18th birthday, Rhiannon decides to run away after another argument with her aunt and heads to Dyrys woods to be alone. As she works to find food and shelter – determined to make it on her own – the townspeople work at finding Rhiannon and also get to know two newcomers who are there searching for information about their father’s past. 

I liked the character of Rhiannon, although I was a bit confused about her socially-unacceptable outbursts. It was clear that she felt like an outsider living with her Aunt and cousins and that she and her aunt did not see eye to eye. Her escape had always been stories – listening to them, telling them to her cousins, or telling them to herself during stressful or sad times. I loved Rhiannon’s whimsical imagination but also loved her useful and responsible survival skills in the woods, which she learned from her late Uncle. Diana seemed concerned only with her political role in the village and her two young children. There were several other key characters, but I didn’t feel like they were very developed. One character, Callum, comes to also hide in the woods after a misunderstanding and it’s obvious that he and Rhiannon hate one another, but I was never clear as to why. Grace and Adam show up in the village not long after Rhiannon runs away and quickly become friendly with the village residents and seem very pleasant and helpful, but again I didn’t feel like I knew them. I think that was what kept me from really loving this novel was the lack of connection with most of the characters. 

Claire Wong is clearly a creative and imaginative writer and I adored her concept of a girl running away to the woods, mainly because I believe I had that daydream SEVERAL times when growing up. Rhiannon was obviously strong and resourceful, but it was unfortunate that the only relationships she could create and maintain were either with Maebh and an injured hawk that she nurses back to health. The pacing and flow of the novel were great, but I did find myself skimming quite a bit when it came to some of Maebh and Rhiannon’s stories. I appreciated the themes of supporting one another rather than pointing fingers, but I still just didn’t connect with this novel. Perhaps a younger reader would find this more entertaining? 

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Claire Wong by visiting her web page.

Purchase The Runaway on Amazon. 

Book Review: The Idea of You

THE IDEA OF YOU, BY AMANDA PROWSE

PUBLICATION: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING;

MARCH 21, 2017 (Happy release day!)

idea of you

About the book: With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?

My Review:

Surprisingly, this was my first time reading Amanda Prowse and The Idea of You was absolutely wonderful. Lucy is at the ceremony where her Godson is being christened when she meets the handsome and witty Jonah. The two fall in love quickly, get married and our extremely happy – except that Lucy wants to have a baby. The novel follows along as they balance their marriage, trying to have a baby, their careers, and an extended visit from Jonah’s teenage daughter, Camille. Lucy must deal with her past and her feelings as the three become a family and several big changes come along. 

When I first started reading this novel I wasn’t super into it because it seemed like Lucy was just whiny about being almost 40 with no husband or babies – however, things quickly shifted and she became a very likable character. I loved Jonah also, and especially how happy and in love they were. Camille was a typical defiant teenager with an attitude upon arriving to visit with Jonah and Lucy and I struggled liking or empathizing with her, but once she let down her walls, I fell in love with her. I didn’t always agree with Jonah’s tolerance of Camille’s smart-mouth and behavior, however, I tried to remind myself of how rarely he got to spend time with her and that he was just trying to keep the peace in the household. 

*Warning that this novel does address the topic of miscarriages and could be a trigger to some readers, but that’s just a part of this complex novel. Lucy and Jonah want a baby so badly and they have heartbreak after heartbreak in the process. Lucy is haunted by an occurrence from her teen years that caused a strained relationship with her mother, as well as, a lifetime of guilt and sadness for Lucy. Then there is Camille having her own struggles with her mother, issues with her stepmom, and experiencing the join and pain of a first love.

The Idea of You perfectly portrays an “imperfect” family and all of the ups and downs they experience, with relatable characters and situations. As soon as I was through the first chapter, I was completely hooked and did nothing else until I had read the last word (except get up to get tissues).  Speaking of which, holy hankies I have never cried so much during a book in my life! I have read things that prompted a tear or two, but this was full-blown tears streaming down my face and several times I was practically sobbing. Despite the boohooing and nose-blowing, I found this to be an engaging and moving novel. It made me feel grateful for the family that I have and reminded me that not everything we want is meant to be – but we still need to find and embrace joy in our lives. I highly recommend this beautiful novel to lovers of women’s fiction, but do not apply make-up before reading and honestly, try to read it at home so you don’t frighten people in public with your crying!

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

Purchase The Idea of You on Amazon.

 

Book Review: Bridges

Bridges: A Daphne White Novel, 

by Maria Murnane

Publication: Kindle Press; April 4, 2017

bridges

About the book: 

It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.

Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path?

What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears.

And laughter. And love.

The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here’s to the power of friendship!

My Review:

I was so excited to read about this trio of ladies again! Bridges picks up about a year after Wait for the Rain ends, and this time, KC and Daphne are heading to New York City to celebrate Sklar’s engagement. Daphne has been submitting a manuscript to publishers and having a long-distance dating relationship with Derek, KC has been falling in love with her new granddaughter and Skylar has bought a new home with her fiance Jack, but struggling to connect with his college-aged daughter. Once again as they reconnect, they’re reluctant to share some things with one another, but still, have a wonderful time and enjoy their incredible friendship.

Daphne definitely started out much happier in Bridges versus in Wait for the Rain! After returning from the last girls’ vacation, she decided to write her first novel, as well as, has been keeping in touch with Derek. Unfortunately, her happiness seems to go down hill after arriving in New York, although I won’t go into that because of spoilers! Bubbly and energetic KC arrives in New York incredibly different than the last time we saw her – but again, I can’t tell why! Skylar is head over heels for her new fiance but thinks that her future stepdaughter Sloane hates her. She spends a lot of time trying to win Sloane over before finally understanding Sloane and her life. My favorite character in this novel is Skylar’s friend, Krissa. She’s single and dates all of the time, which leads to endless, hilarious tales of the men she meets. I loved everything about her, especially just her overall style of dialogue. I personally think that she deserves her own book – hint, hint! Oh – and don’t forget that Clay was from New York…. 

Once again I’m so impressed with Murnane’s writing style and dialogue that literally pulls you into the novel and into the moment. While reading you can feel the characters emotions whether embarrassment, anger, sadness, or joy. Some things were predictable in this novel and some were completely unexpected, but once again, Maria Murnane has written a realistic story about very relatable characters. I love this group of ladies and the silly things that they say and do, but this is not a picture-perfect story about a girls weekend in New York City. There are real emotions, celebrations, arguments, disappointments, and so on. I do have to say I’m not sure that I loved KC in this novel because she seemed so different than her personality in Wait for the Rain, but I still loved the novel and was disappointed when I realized I had reached the ending. I just recently discovered this author and after reading two of her novels over the weekend, I can proudly say I’m hooked! 

*thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Pre-Order Bridges: A Daphne White Novel on Amazon!

Learn more about Maria Murnane by visiting her web page

What Am I Reading?

Here is the list of what I’m planning on reading and reviewing this week! One thing I love about my list this week is that I’ve never read anything from these authors. Have a great week and happy reading!

The Runaway, by Claire Wong

Publication: Lion Hudson PLC; February 17, 2017

runawayAbout the book: 

“Legends start with a kernel of truth and mine will begin here…”

Every teenager has thought of running away from home…or threatened to. What happens when one finally does?

At almost eighteen, Rhiannon Morgan’s life in a quiet welsh village is anything but serene. When another argument between her and her guardian, Diana, finally pushes her over the edge, Rhiannon does the one thing we all have considered. She runs away.

Reaching Dyrys wood, hurt drives her not to return. The woods will now be her home. But how will she survive? Struggling in isolation against harsh conditions, Rhiannon’s imagination takes flight. She dwells in a world of stories – stories that Maebh, the village storyteller, has been telling Rhiannon since the death of her mother.

Back in the small welsh village the fragile balance of community life begins to crack under the strain of Rhiannon’s disappearance. A dark truth, suppressed for a generation, starts to surface. And Maebh’s stories begin to seem less and less like folklore and more like a history retold…

Told with a gentle and sensitive touch, this beautiful novel is about the power of stories; about fitting in and wanting to be wanted. A must read for any storylover.

The Good Enough Mother, by Anoushka Beazley

Publication: Larchwood Press; July 9, 2016

good enough

About the book: 

Gatlin – a leafy, affluent town: Chelsea tractors and ladies who lunch. However, all is not as it seems. Drea, a most unnatural mother, struggles to find private school fees for her step-daughter Ava after her boyfriend leaves her for another woman. Watching the yummy mummies she becomes inspired, hatching a daring and criminal plan…unleashing all hell in the quiet town of Gatlin. Can Drea survive the fallout and the wrath of the PTA? A satirical and hilarious black comedy about love, motherhood and the human condition.

 

 

 

The Idea of You, by Amanda Prowse

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; March 21, 2017

idea of you

About the book: 

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?

Who You Think I Am, by Camille Laurens

Publication: Other Press; March 28, 2017

who you thinkAbout the book: This is the story of Claire Millecam, a 48-year-old teacher and divorcee, who creates a fake social media profile to try to keep tabs on Jo, her occasional, elusive, and inconstant lover. Under the false identity of Claire Antunes, a young and beautiful 24-year-old, she starts a correspondence with Chris–pseudonym KissChris–which soon turns into an Internet love affair.

WHO YOU THINK I AM is a true novel of our times that brilliantly exposes the disconnect between desire and fantasy. Social media allows us to put ourselves on display, to indulge in secrets, but above all it allows us to lie, to recreate a life, to become our own fiction–a mixture of sentimental naivety and manipulative perversity which echoes the libertine novels of the 18th century.

 

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley,

by Hannah Tinti

Publication: The Dial Press; March 28, 2017

12 lives

About the book: 

Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.

Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew, Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents’ lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have known, the demons of her father’s past spill over into the present—and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.

Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

 

Def Her tour

defining

 

About Defining Her

Nellie Hawthorne is a woman who has it all. A devoted husband, her own business, a wealthy lifestyle. But the Nellie she is now is much different from her past. A past filled with abuse, addiction, and men. Nellie’s carefully constructed new life is suddenly in jeopardy when a blast from the past emerges in her small town and her overbearing mother-in-law starts pushing for grandchildren and questions start being asked. A budding new friendship presents itself at an opportune time, and a once friendless Nellie finds herself growing closer to Prue Doherty.
Prue Doherty is the quintessential good girl. Always making the right decisions, always playing it safe. Until she meets a man that could change all of that. Still reeling from a devastating breakup and betrayal that had her fleeing from Chicago and settling into suburb life with her mom close by, Prue finds herself in a damaging funk. But everything changes when she befriends Nellie Hawthorne. 
Nellie is trying to escape her past. Prue wants that perfect future. While both women strive to change their lives, they continue to cling to the past. But what defines us? Who we were then . . . or who we are trying to be now? Lies, manipulation, and deceit are woven throughout the pages of this edgy women’s fiction novel, with an ending you won’t see coming.

My Review:

This was a really different read regarding women’s fiction, but I loved how thought-provoking and emotional that it was. Nellie’s past is absolutely not picture-perfect and she has kept that past hidden from her husband Harrison. They are a successful, active couple but he wants children and she’s not so sure. Prue is trying to make a fresh start and feels that she’s been robbed of happiness too many times. Nellie and Prue become friends although it always appears to be strained and awkward. At the same time, Harrison meets a new friend and the appropriateness of the friendship isn’t exactly what you would expect from him. The good girl Prue seems like the wronged woman and damsel in constant distress, but you quickly realize she’s not as innocent as she seems. 

To be honest, none of the characters are very likable in this novel, each doing, saying, or thinking things that they shouldn’t, however, I preferred Nellie to anyone else. Yes, Nellie came from a horrible upbringing with a horrible mother, but she did turn her life around. She wasn’t honest with Harrison about her past, but she did become a better person, a good wife, and a successful business owner. It appeared that her marriage to her successful attorney husband was in a bit of a rut, but Harrison was struggling with desires to become a father and reconciling Nellie’s complete opposite mindset on the subject. Prue just grated my last nerve, playing the outcast and wronged person in basically every relationship. At first, I just found her weak and felt sorry for some of her pathetic thoughts and ramblings, but later realized she was really just a few shades off of crazy. 

I loved Samantha March’s honest and raw development of all of these characters, whether I liked the characters or not. Her writing style generously allows readers a window into the character’s minds and souls. However, silly, cringe-worthy, or inappropriate, the reader knows exactly how the characters are feeling, as well as, knowing their innermost thoughts. When I first finished this novel I was thinking to myself that there wasn’t that much “meat” to the plot, however, after thinking it over for awhile, I realized that I got a lot from reading it. Nellie had a dark and shameful past and was afraid of her husband learning the truth – but was trying to overcome it. Prue considered herself a victim for the majority of her life and decided that she was within her rights to deceive and hurt others because that had been done to her. Both women were living their lives based on the past and as the title alludes, allowing the past to define them as a person, rather than focusing on the present and future and the happy lives that they could lead. The author conveys an important message of being honest and truthful, as well as, provides a strong reminder that our past doesn’t make us who we are, it’s what we choose as adults on our paths forward that demonstrates who we are as a person. 

This is not light-hearted chick lit but a great read that makes you think and reflect on your own life and actions. I definitely categorize this as a must-read, especially for Samantha March fans or lovers of more in-depth women’s fiction. 

*Thanks so much to Samantha March for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nn88vt

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samanthamarch2017About the Author

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things beauty, fashion and fitness. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has five published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket, A Questionable Friendship, Up To I Do and Defining Her, and one holiday novella, The Christmas Surprise. You can also find her on Youtube sharing beauty reviews and creating makeup tutorials. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Find Samantha

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Snapchat: Samantha.March

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samanthamarchauthor

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Samantha-March/e/B005ZWOGJY

Blog: http://www.chicklitplus.com/

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