Reviews

Book Review: Katwalk

Katwalk, by Maria Murnane

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; August 12, 2014

katwalkAbout the book: 

Katrina Lynden has always walked a straight line in life, an approach that has resulted in a stable career and pleased her hard-nosed parents but that has also left her feeling unfulfilled—and miserable. When her best friend suggests they quit their Silicon Valley jobs and embark on two months of adventure in New York City, Katrina balks at the idea but ultimately agrees, terrified yet proud of herself for finally doing something interesting with her life. But when her friend has to back out at the last minute, Katrina finds herself with a tough decision to make. Much to her surprise, she summons the courage to go alone, and the resulting journey changes everything. Along the way, she makes new friends, loses others, learns what is really important to her, and finds a way to grow up without leaving herself behind.

My Review

Who, What, When, etc.

Katwalk is the story of Katrina Lynden, a young woman living in Silicon Valley, working as an accountant in an advertising agency. Katrina’s best friend, Deb, convinces Katrina to quit their jobs and head to New York for a few months for an adventure, but when Deb tries to quit, she is offered a promotion. Shy, reserved Katrina has already quit so heads off to New York on her own. 

Upon her arrival at her new apartment, she meets her neighbors Shana and Grace, then soon meet’s Grace’s boyfriend Josh when she goes with them for drinks, something that Katrina never does. An old college friend Brittany introduces her to the handsome but married Reid, and Katrina soon meets the very good-looking and charming barista, Justin. 

With her new friends calling her Kat, she starts sight-seeing, trying new things, and eventually finds herself in the big city with new dreams.

Thoughts and Reactions

As frequent readers already know, I am a huge fan of Maria Murnane and her stories about young women finding their way in this crazy world. In the beginning of the novel, I can’t say I was a huge fan of the main character. She was so incredibly shy and unsure of herself that it was frustrating. However, after arriving in New York and meeting new people, Kat slowly started to find and reveal her true self and true passion in life. 

I loved the plot of this novel that was fast-paced with the perfect amount of subplots on the side, however, the main focus was Kat and her new adventures. Specifically, I admired the way the author brought her out of her shell at a realistic pace and didn’t base Kat’s happiness on just one thing. She had attention from men that she had never experienced, wild and crazy friends that wanted to hit the bars all of the time, she started exercising and getting healthy, and she started following her heart about what she wanted out of life. All of these things combined were a part of Kat’s changes, rather than just a guy or a new job. 

As typical in Maria Murnane’s novels, I fell in love with all of the characters. They each brought their own unique contributions to the novel and were special in their own ways, even when they were being bad, such as Reid. Shana and Grace were fantastic, hilarious, and genuinely wonderful people – as was Grace’s boyfriend Josh. Brittany seemed genuinely nice in her friendship with Kat, yet she was so completely different from Kat she almost seemed like a mother. The only character I truly disliked from beginning to end was Kat’s mother. She was snooty, bossy, controlling, and drove me insane. 

Katwalk will definitely instill some wanderlust and inspiration into your soul, as well as, leave a smile on your face after you’ve finished reading. I have yet to read anything by author Maria Murnane that I didn’t find absolutely wonderful, and Katwalk is no exception. 

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

Purchase Katwalk on Amazon!

Learn more about Maria Murnane!

Reviews

Book Review: The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away,

by Melissa Pimentel

Publication:  St. Martin’s Press; August 22, 2017

the oneAbout the book: 

Melissa Pimentel delivers smart, funny, and modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, where a young woman comes face-to-face with a lost love, proving that the one that got away is sometimes the one you get back.

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . .

My Review:

Who, What, When, etc. 

Ruby is in her early thirties and spends the majority of each day at her office where she works in advertising. Her only real romance was ten years earlier when she met and fell in love with Ethan Bailey, whom she now sees all of the time due to his face being on magazine covers because of his brilliant techie career. Ruby heads off to England for her sister Piper’s wedding to Charlie, Ethan’s best friend, nervous about coming face to face with him again after so much time. Jess, Ruby’s best friend that is now married, pregnant, and living in New Jersey, urges Ruby to open her heart to see if there is still a spark between her and Ethan, but Ruby is reluctant.

Thoughts & Reactions

The One That Got Away is a bit tricky to review. The reason being that I was not crazy about the characters. I loved Ruby’s best friend Jess, there was a local doctor in England named Chris that I liked, and I grew to like Ruby’s stepmother, Candace. Ethan and Charlie were o.k. also, but despite this, it did not make up for the fact that I didn’t like Ruby, her father, and especially Piper. Piper was the epitome of a spoiled, hypochondriac narcissist. Honestly, those words may be too kind for Piper.

Ruby had some moments that made her almost likable, but overall, she was a selfish, work addicted, depressed, whiny person. Her and Ethan were in love when she left for New York, but she quickly became this miserable shell of herself, putting only work and the needs of her boss first. She withdrew, became dishonest, and lost sight of the love her and Ethan had shared. 

With that being said, I enjoyed the plot and storyline of the novel quite a bit! How romantic (and nerve-wracking) to meet up with a long-lost love ten years later at a romantic wedding in a castle in England?? Dealing with all of the family members, her God-awful sister, an old flame at an overseas wedding all added up to amazing potential for a novel. Then throw in two hottie, crazy-successful twins/bridesmaids to spark some jealousy, and the story became even better. But again, my enjoyment was somewhat dampened because of the characters. I also wish that the author would have alternated points of view between Ruby and Ethan. With everything coming from Ruby, it was frustrating even attempting to guess what was going through Ethan’s mind. 

I feel like I’ve been so negative but I did like The One That Got Away. Something about the novel had spunk to it and for me, it was a fast-paced page turner! Surprisingly, although I wasn’t crazy about the characters, I would love to see a sequel to this one to find out what happens with everyone. It was a good, quick read, but not the best thing I’ve read recently. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Learn more about Melissa Pimentel!

Pre-Order The One That Got Away on Amazon.

Reviews

Book Review: The Art of Hiding

The Art of Hiding, by Amanda Prowse

Publication: Lake Union Publishing; July 18, 2017

art of hidingAbout the book: 

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the run-down Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

My Review:

Who, What, When, Etc. 

Nina is a wealthy wife living in her beautiful home with her husband Finn and her two sons, Connor and Declan. She has always kept to herself and shied away from socializing with the other parents at her sons’ upscale school, preferring to take her sons to school each day, take care of their home, do the grocery shopping, pick the boys up, and cool dinner. 

One day when Nina is at Connor’s rugby game, she gets a call from the hospital informing her that her husband has been in an accident. After Finn’s death, Nina learns from their accountant and attorney that they have nothing. No home, car, or money.

Nina packs up her boys and the few belongings they have left and returns to a less than ideal flat in her old neighborhood. From there, Nina struggles to help her boys acclimate to their new school and new life, as well as, rediscover herself as an adult woman apart from her husband. 

Thoughts and Reactions

Over the years I’ve heard countless divorcees say they never handled the finances in their homes and were shocked after the divorce about various financial issues. Imagine losing your husband and then discovering that you are about to lose every material possession that you own. Whether we want to face it or not, this is a very realistic possibility for any number of us that aren’t in charge or involved in the financial affairs in our relationships, therefore, note to self and to everyone – get informed!

This story poses several issues about the overwhelming guilt and weight of debt, as well as, the absurdity of a spouse thinking they are being protective when they keep these issues from their loved ones. More importantly, this novel is about survival, growth, and reinventing one’s idea of happiness. 

Nina struggled with such burdens helping her sons through their father’s death, then the loss of everything, then adjusting to a new town, new school, and new peers. All the while she was struggling on her own trying to find a job and her only support system being her older sister that, until Finn’s death, they had not been very close. 

Nina’s strength and determination were incredible throughout this novel and I love that the author did not feel the need to include a love interest, but rather focus on Nina’s own personal growth. But the most outstanding and compelling character was her teenage son, Connor. His character was so wonderfully developed as he went from being angry to sad to helpful to caring. As time passed, his insight into his father’s death and their situation was so moving and so impressive, that he absolutely stole the show in this novel. 

Let me say that this novel leaves you with a wonderful and optimistic feeling about life, but only after taking you down to the lows of losing everything and having to put everything back together all alone. The Art of Hiding is intelligent, relatable, emotional, and inspiring. It was such a pleasure to read and review this book by an author that I already admired. There is no unnecessary drama or exaggeration in this novel, but it is real life with real people that will shake you to your core, but eventually, inspire you. 

*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing this novel in exchange for my honest review!

Purchase The Art of Hiding on Amazon!

Learn more about Amanda Prowse.

 

Book Blitz, Giveaway, Reviews

Release, review, & giveaway: Aim

 

 

Title: Aim
Series: Circle of Justice
Author: LP Dover
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: August 7, 2017
Blurb
When someone asks
what I do for a living, I answer it plain and simple . . . I’m a hunter. I hunt
the dregs of society and I’m very damn good at it.
I’m Ian Chandler,
FBI agent and a member of the Circle of Justice, an organization of justice
seeking vigilantes. My mission is to solve a string of ‘accidental’ hiking
deaths occurring around my Wyoming town. When Grace Myers –a woman who’s been
missing for days –shows up on my land, it turns out she’s the key to it all.
Someone is hunting her, and I make it my duty to keep her safe.
However, the deeper
I get into the case, the more dangerous it becomes; especially, now that I’ve
fallen for the woman I have to protect. If hunting is the game, I won’t fail. I
always hit my mark. 

**My Review**

Aim is the latest in the Circle of Justice novels by L.P. Dover. I have not read any of the other novels, however, they are each standalone so it didn’t matter in the least!

Grace Myers is a young woman in her small Wyoming town that is a successful marketing and event planner for a hotel. She has been flirting with the secretive and sexy Ian Chandler and they’ve even shared a kiss, but she hasn’t heard from him in awhile. One night she is kidnapped while leaving the hotel and Ian is contacted by Grace’s Dad, Colton, a local police officer, requesting his help in finding her. When Grace turns up on Ian’s porch, they get busy trying to figure out who kidnapped Grace and why, while also falling for one another. 

Grace was an immediately likable character that was sweet, charming, beautiful, smart, and so on. Devoting most of her time to her career or spending time with her best friend Mya, Grace hadn’t had a lot of luck in the love department. Ian was such a charismatic character that drew me in immediately. Sexy, dangerous, mysterious – but such a big-hearted romantic! I thought that their romance was a little on the fast side, but then again, this is a fast-paced novel full of tension that spurred on their relationship and protectiveness for one another.

I was quickly intrigued by the overall plot surrounding several disappearances and deaths, but I wished that the author would have developed the actual crimes and reasons behind the crimes a bit further. Written from Grace and Ian’s points of view, I wonder if one of the “bad guys” would have had a voice if it would’ve added to the suspense of the novel? 

Anyone that is a romantic suspense fan and loves strong, sexy alpha-males will love Aim. Ian is the epitome of a sexy, protective man that makes your heart melt. There is a wonderful blend of steamy scenes, suspense, sweet moments, and fearful moments. It was absolutely my pleasure to read and review this novel and participate in the release blitz and giveaway!

Purchase Links
AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

Playlist

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/authorlpdover/playlist/1PoZHRAj2PCFzYWpR7iJ6X
Excerpt

My phone rang and I thought it’d be Bryce, but it wasn’t.
“What can I do for you, Chief?”
Colton Myers was the chief of police back in Wyoming. His
call wasn’t unusual, because they often called me and my brothers when there
were cases the local PD couldn’t solve. “I need your help,” he replied, his
voice shaking.
The cab driver pulled up to the airport entrance and I
passed him a wad of bills before getting out. “What’s going on? I’m about to
get on a flight to head home.”
“Good. I’ll drop these files off with Reed, so you can see
them when you get back.”
The din of the bustling city made it hard to hear him, but I
could tell he was distraught. “Files for what?”
He sighed heavily. “You know how there’ve been missing
hikers in Montana?”
“Yeah, I saw something about it before I left for New York.”
It wasn’t uncommon for tourists to sway from the hiking trails or test their
limits by doing stupid shit. Most of those people found themselves dead. I
liked to climb the cliffs, but I was good at it.
“We’re missing people here too,” Colton confessed.
“It happens every year. Why does this case shock you?” I’d
been gone for three weeks, so I hadn’t even paid attention to what was going on
in Wyoming.
He huffed angrily. “About three weeks ago, eight men
supposedly went missing in our mountains. Just this morning, I couldn’t get a
hold of Grace. Her boss also called me and said she never showed up at their
meeting last night. Her car is still at the hotel. It’s like she disappeared.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” I growled low.
Grace was his daughter and a good friend of mine. Hell, I’d
wanted to be more than that for quite some time. I only held back from pursuing
her out of respect for her father. She was one of the most beautiful women I’d
ever known.
“Please, Ian. I have to find her.”
Hurrying through the doors, impatience flooded through my
veins. “We’ll find her, if it’s the last thing I
do . . . I swear.” 

 

Also Available

 

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU

 

 

Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she began her literary journey she worked in periodontics, enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

She loves to write, but she also loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes and white water rafting, and has a passion for singing. Her two youngest fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime, usually Christmas carols.

Dover has written countless novels, including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, and her standalone novel Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense, but if she got to choose a setting in which to live, it would be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency and Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management for dramatic rights. 

Author Links
Reviews

Book Review: Beautiful Animals

Beautiful Animals: A Novel,

by Lawrence Osborne

Publication: Hogarth; July 18, 2017

beautanimalsAbout the book: 

On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. Naomi, the daughter of a wealthy British art collector who has owned a villa in the exclusive hills for decades, convinces Sam, a younger American girl on vacation with her family, to help this stranger. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean Sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies. But when their seemingly simple plan to help Faoud unravels all must face the horrific consequences they have set in motion.

In this brilliant psychological study of manipulation and greed, Lawrence Osborne explores the dark heart of friendship and shows just how often the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.

My Review:

Who, What, When, etc.

Beautiful Animals is a novel about a young woman named Naomi while vacationing with her father and stepmother at their summer home in Greece. Naomi is in her twenties, finished law school, but has already had an unsuccessful career. Naomi has a strained, yet somewhat affectionate relationship with her wealthy, art collector father and has a very cold and distant relationship with her stepmother. 

Samantha (Sam) is also a young woman vacationing on the Greek island of Hydra, a few years younger than Naomi and with a more close-knit family. Although also from a very wealthy family, Sam is much more naive and innocent than Naomi, thus beginning an interesting friendship. 

During a day excursion on Naomi’s family’s yacht, Naomi and Sam discover a man on the far end of the island, sleeping, and obviously injured. After some time they realize he is there illegally from Syria, but without him providing much detail regarding his circumstances. They decide they want to help him and the young women continue bringing him supplies, helping him with private places to stay, and eventually provide him with means to a great deal of wealth without truly considering the consequences. 

Thoughts & Reactions

Occasionally I will look at reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. prior to writing my review, simply because I wonder if a particular reaction is just me, or if others have felt the same. Beautiful Animals is one that I did look at other reviews prior to writing this, but it appears as if the things I enjoyed, most others didn’t, and vice versa. 

Let me start with the actual writing. Lawrence Osborne has crafted a beautiful novel. This is one of those novels that while reading, you feel as if you are floating on some perfect cloud of perfect imagery, description, and dialogue. This is masterful writing that requires thinking and feeling on your part as a reader. Moreover, I cannot imagine how anyone could read this book without developing overwhelming wanderlust. The descriptions of the landscape, food, alcohol, people, etc. have solidified my desire and need to visit Greece (and Italy).

Similar to an issue I had recently with another novel, there was not one character in this novel that I liked, or even respected for that matter. Naomi has lived an overly privileged life, with the exception of the death of her mother when Naomi was a teenager. Living in London with family homes in Italy and Greece, Naomi has been sheltered and spoiled beyond belief, although she was also extremely intelligent and independent. Her father Jimmie and her stepmother Phaine were basically narcissistic, alcoholic social climbers with even fewer redeeming qualities than Naomi. 

Sam and her family were wealthy New Yorkers, but much less pretentious than Naomi’s family. There were several references to Sam playing Scrabble with her father or going to the beach with her mother – things that would never have occurred with Naomi’s family. Remaining characters included the angry and diabolical maid Carissa, Faoed the illegal young man from Syria, and Jimmie’s friend and odd, secretive business partner Rockhold. All of them had equally unpleasant characteristics. 

Regarding the overall plot of the novel, I found it unique, engaging, and interesting. This wasn’t the best novel for me to take along on a weekend camping trip, but I did find myself captivated and unable to put it down. This wasn’t just a “rich girl helping a refugee story,”  but something much more complex about people in general. Why are people willing to risk so much for a stranger? Why do some people feel compelled to put their own family at risk for a cause? What has happened in a person’s life to make them completely numb to consequences of one’s behavior?

As always, I don’t want to give spoilers, but this novel is a shining example of a wealthy, spoiled woman that feels so entitled she is unable to look beyond herself. Naomi frequently plays the “I had a bad parent card” throughout the novel as a justification to herself and others, but it did nothing to inspire me to be more tolerant of her. 

Recommendations

Readers that enjoy higher-level writing that is thought-provoking (both good and bad), should enjoy and respect this novel. I loved the writing, as well as, the overall plot idea. However, if you need to make a connection with a particular character in order to enjoy a novel, Beautiful Animals is not the book for you. 

*Thanks to Blogging for Books for this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Purchase Beautiful Animals on Amazon!

Learn more about Lawrence Osborne by visiting his web page.

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: 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. 

Reviews

Book Review: To Say Goodbye

To Say Goodbye, by Lindsay Detwiler

Publication: Hot Tree Publishing; September 24, 2016

to say goodbyeAbout the book: 

Feisty Sophia never shies away from life. Playful, romantic, connected—her marriage was the thing of fairy tales. But when tragedy strikes, Sophia is left to pick up the pieces of her life.

After leaving the army, Jackson is ready to start afresh. But when he returns home, his life spirals out of control.As Sophia and Jackson find themselves in each other, they start to see redemption is possible. 

Trying to piece together a new life, they must answer the question: Should they forge a life together and say goodbye to their pasts completely, or should they loyally go their separate ways to avoid heartache?

My Review:

I came across To Say Goodbye on NetGalley a few weeks ago and for some reason, this one just called to me. This was my first time reading Lindsay Detwiler and it was an amazing love story.

Sophia is a beautiful, vibrant woman that has experienced the tremendous loss of her husband Tim. She has a wonderful family and is part-owner of a salon with her best friend Stella. Jackson has returned from the Army and experiencing his own difficult losses in addition to losing Tim who was his best friend when they were growing up.

Sophia and Jackson’s losses are similar and different at the same time, however, they instantly seem to be drawn to and relate to each other because of their grief. As Jackson and Sophia get to know one another, the reader learns more and more about Sophia and Tim’s past, Jackson and Tim’s past, as well as, Jackson and his ex’s past. The characters are so well-developed and relatable, and the author’s descriptions make it easy to picture the characters and settings in your mind while you read. 

The main theme of this novel is grieving and overcoming loss, however, it strongly depicts moving on and being open to happiness again after tragedy. Grief looks different to everyone and feels different to everyone. There is no set time table for grieving, but it is important to continue living and finding joy where possible. This was so incredibly sad at times, yet so moving and uplifting also. The love, care, and respect portrayed in To Say Goodbye was incredible, as were all of the various characters. It was a raw and honest fast-paced story that I could not put down. To Say Goodbye is an exceptional piece of women’s fiction that everyone should read. 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase To Say Goodbye on Amazon!

Learn more about Lindsay Detwiler by visiting her web page!