‘I think I was so entranced with being a couple that I didn’t even notice that the person I though I was a couple with thougMy rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
‘I think I was so entranced with being a couple that I didn’t even notice that the person I though I was a couple with thought he was a couple with someone else.’
Heartburn is Nora Ephron’s first and only novel, and this breaks my heart because I adored this story. Never did I think it so thoroughly possible to take a story about heartbreak and turn it into something so full of life and jest. Heartbreak is a devastating thing that we humans are forced to suffer through, but can you even imagine having to undergo it at 38 years old and 7 months pregnant? Rachel discovers a note from her husbands lover in a book of children’s songs, suggesting that he sing them to his son. Him and Rachel’s son. Written with such stunning clarity, it’s effortless to understand the rage (and embarrassment) that Rachel felt. But being pregnant and having a toddler left her with a precarious decision on whether to stay or go.
‘Maybe he’s missed me, I thought as we came around the corner. Maybe he’s come to his sense. Maybe he’s remembered he loves me. Maybe he’s full of remorse. There was a police car parked in front of the house. Maybe he’s dead, I thought. That wouldn’t solve everything, but it would solve a few things. He wasn’t, of course. They never are. When you want them to die, they never do.’
Rachel Samstat has such a wry and cynical sense of humor (the best type of humor) that manages to never tread into bitterness. I’m not sure if it’s because Meryl Streep herself played Rachel in the 1986 movie adaptation of Heartburn but she voiced Rachel impeccably (do yourself a favor and listen to the clip here). I spent half the time listening to this story laughing uproariously with tears in my eyes. She portrayed a perfect combination of indifference and restraint while handling a tough situation but opening up the dam of emotions when absolutely necessary. It encompassed everything about true heartbreak and just how calamitous it can be, but galvanizing as well. Infused within her tale of heartbreak are comfort food recipes such as Sour Cream Peach Pie, plain ol’ mashed potatoes, and of course Key Lime Pie; perfect for consuming or weaponizing, if ever the situation calls for it.
Yes, throw a fit because your new husband is the fucking worst and you never should have married him because he's only willing to take a month off forYes, throw a fit because your new husband is the fucking worst and you never should have married him because he's only willing to take a month off for a honeymoon instead of the year you wanted. Gawd. Becky is a complete and utter nightmare....more
Laura Cunningham is a jewelry maker specializing in beautiful charms, lives with her long-term boyfriend Jack and has a secret side to herself that shLaura Cunningham is a jewelry maker specializing in beautiful charms, lives with her long-term boyfriend Jack and has a secret side to herself that she’s desperate to keep contained. When she’s commissioned to create a personalized charm bracelet for Rob Blake’s wife Cat, Laura ends up immersed in their lives and subsequently awakens a part of herself that she’s struggled to keep dormant.
So the not so great. The enigma of Laura’s past took up the vast majority of The Perfect Present and made it less straight forward than you would think. It was engaging at first and gave her an air of intrigue but this was such a long story that the desire to learn her secret became a need rather than a desire after a certain point. The mystery unfolded near to the very end of the story and could have definitely been given more page time in order to fully explain everything so as to make Laura’s actions throughout the story much more plausible.
Now the good. Karen Swan has managed to create a multi-layered character in Laura Cunningham. She remained a complete mystery throughout the entire tale (which is both good and bad as you’ll see below) which was infinitely important in a 500+ page story. In addition to Laura’s character, there is a full cast of characters which Laura has to interview in order to complete the commissioned job and each of them were given a solid back-story. Kitty was by far my favorite and was the most realistic and likable one of the bunch. The men were all the brooding sort but it was never taken too overboard. I also loved that this was a far from perfect tale and there wasn’t technically a happy ending, or at least not the type of happy ending that you would have gone in expecting.
After reading Christmas at Tiffany’s I was desperate to get my hands on more of Karen Swan’s work. Tiffany’s was A+ and one of my most favorite stories of the year. Perfect Present wasn’t an enthralling but was still enjoyable and was far from your typical chicklit type tale which I appreciated. Taking place throughout the month of December including Christmas day so this was the perfect time to read this story. This is now my second read of hers and I will either need to have more of her stories shipped from the UK or hope that US publishers pick up her stories… or both would work too. ...more
When Polly’s long-term relationship comes crashing down and with it the business they’ve built together, she’s left to start over completely from scraWhen Polly’s long-term relationship comes crashing down and with it the business they’ve built together, she’s left to start over completely from scratch. With so few options available to her, she agrees to rent a run-down flat with a leaky roof on the island of Polbearne. She finds solace in utilizing her baking skills and filling the air of the island with the enticing smell of freshly baked bread.
Polbearne, a quaint seaside village off the coast of England, is based off the actual island St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. Colgan’s descriptions of the village were thorough, detailing not only the people and their way of life but of the town itself and the sole causeway being the only way to come and go on the island. While the people in the village weren’t always the most friendly (since they saw Polly as an outsider), the village itself sounded like a such a lovely place to reside with its small shops on cobbled streets and a ruined yet still charming castle on the top of a hill overlooking the island.
Polly’s ever-constant baking was also given much detail and constantly left you craving delicious breads. After one particularly tasty sounding chapter I became determined to also become a master bread maker. Long story short, I failed miserably. Bread is FAR harder to bake than Polly makes it sound like just so you know! I didn’t actually attempt any of the recipes included in the story (Cheese Straws, Sweetcorn Fritters, Cinnamon Rolls, Focaccia, and my favorite: Shortbread) but I’m determined to try again. Someday.
This fun little foodie novel is not without its fill of drama though. Polly immediately begins butting heads with her landlord who is the sole baker on the island and Polly’s freshly baked bread is hampering her sales. Her landlord has her own personal history that ends up being told as a side-story. Polly also gets involved in some romantic complications that ends up being something akin to a love square. While I’m not a fan of love triangles and especially squares in general, what really disappointed me with this one in particular was the lack of chemistry between Polly and any of the men. What I loved most about Polly was her empowering story of hitting rock bottom and finding the strength to not only make a living but to find out who she is while being on her own again. The romance element wasn’t completely necessary in my opinion and especially not that many romances. It made it all avoidably messy and I would have appreciated a much more simplistic story in that regard.
I don’t know how I’ve failed to mention the best part of the story this far into my review! When Polly moves to Polbearne she unintentionally takes on a new pet which she names Neil. Neil, the puffin.
Neil was by far the cutest addition to the story even though he was unrealistically tame, but whatever! Now I want a pet puffin.
Little Beach Street Bakery is a sweet, entertaining tale about learning to navigate the harsh realities of life and finding what you’re passionate about. It’s the perfect read for foodie fiction fans and readers simply looking for a light-hearted read.
I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
Cassie married at an incredibly young age, at only twenty years old, to an older man and her first love. She never got to experience life or travel thCassie married at an incredibly young age, at only twenty years old, to an older man and her first love. She never got to experience life or travel the world but she was content and satisfied with her life despite all that. After discovering that Gil, her husband of ten years, had betrayed her, Cassie leaves immediately and doesn’t look back. She devotes the next year of her life to doing what she never did before: discovering who she is and what she wants out of this life to make her truly happy.
I could go into some serious detail about this book but it’s all Spoiler-ville and it’s one of those stories that you definitely need to experience firsthand. And what a wonderful experience it was. I’ve been in dire need of satisfying this deep-seated craving for a fluffy read for months now (especially after the 13 horror novels in a row I read for October). Suffice it to say, Christmas at Tiffany’s satisfied my craving completely leaving me with the goofiest grin on my face, all sorts of feels and looking incredibly similar to Sally:
Christmas at Tiffany’s is primarily about Cassie and the dissolution of her marriage, however, even though she’s the main focus there was still the most amazing cast of characters with their own stories as well. Between her trips to New York, Paris and finally London she meets all sorts of new people that color her life and make her realize how much she’s been missing all this time. Cassie was my absolute favorite though and her story was one of heartbreak and I so loved to see her transform and overcome it all.
Don’t let its massive size put you off because this is one story you will not want to have end. Any book that can keep me completely wrapped up and absorbed for 580 pages, STILL leave me wanting more and even make me want to start it all over as soon as I read the final page is certainly impressive. Also, sure, it’s chicklit or contemporary romance or whatever you want to call it, so it was slightly predictable and cliché. (I mean seriously, I wish I had fancy rich friends I was just able to crash with for 4 months at a time in different glamorous cities around the world.) You know pretty much from the get-go who she’s going to end up with but the pages in-between that happening were far from being mere filler. This wasn’t just a story about finding love again, it was about living life and learning from your experiences. It was about finding new passions, about truly opening your eyes to everything and exploring this wonderful world we live in. It was all the things. *sigh* And I’ve just decided this gets the full 5 star rating from me. This was such an incredibly feel-good book that has left such a lasting impression on me I can’t seem to think of anything else. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is an absolute must read. I can’t recommend this one enough.
I received this book free from the Publisher, TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
‘First frost was always an unpredictable time, but this year it felt more... desperate than others. Something was about to haMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
‘First frost was always an unpredictable time, but this year it felt more... desperate than others. Something was about to happen.’
First Frost marks the return to the beloved town of Bascom, North Carolina where the Waverley sisters reside. Claire has left her catering business behind after creating Waverley’s Candies. The business itself is lucrative and does extremely well, but the amount of time she must dedicate to the business leaves Claire with little time for her family or anything else. Sydney now owns her own business as well in Bascom, a hair salon that is equally successful, but her apparent inability to have more children is a painful reminder every day. Sydney’s daughter Bay is now in high school and because of her gift for knowing exactly where things belong she knows that she belongs with Josh Matteson, she just needs to convince him she’s right. First frost is an unpredictable time for the Waverley’s and it also heralds the arrival of an old man that brings a story that might change everything for these women.
I really, really enjoyed Garden Spells (the second time I read it at least) but the ending didn’t leave me anticipating that there would ever be a sequel so the announcement of First Frost was quite a surprise, but an exciting one for sure. First Frost centers around the two sisters but includes more of Bay and her struggles to understand her magical gift and coming to terms with it. It was wonderful to see her all grown up and matured, no longer the six year old girl that could spend all day in the backyard staring into the branches of the mystical apple tree. The inclusion of the mysterious old man that threw everything the family knew into question was an ill-fitting piece of the story. He was manipulative and conniving and even though he was a necessary piece in order to add drama to the plot, the motivations behind his actions lacked in logic. The majority of the story was spent explaining it to an extent and I would have much preferred to see that time spent telling more of Bay’s story which was my favorite part. While I felt the multiple storylines didn’t mesh together quite as well as they did in Garden Spells, it was still wonderful to be back in Bascom.
The magic of the Waverley’s is definitely back with the characters we all know and love, and even a few new faces. First Frost is an incredibly quick and entertaining read where the pages will fly as if by magic. It’ll be hard to say goodbye this time but personally I’m now hoping for future Waverley stories to come.
I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
My rating: 4 of 5 stars I received this book free from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book orMy rating: 4 of 5 stars I received this book free from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
‘So, too, have I gathered the ingredients of my life and carefully flavored them, patiently beat my whites, and lovingly folded together all the elements of my existence. Put my proverbial batter into the appropriately prepared ramekin and gently placed my world into the oven. And yet I must have done something wrong, made some false move or ignored an important step in the recipe, because my life has suddenly collapsed around me into a charred, inedible ruin.’
Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one day that he’s leaving her for another woman. Their marriage had been slowly dissolving for the past years so it’s not as devastating emotionally, but she’s left scrambling for a hold on life while managing her failing bakery and trying to figure out how to inform her children that their father has left them. Things start looking up when Ruby moves her husbands stuff out of the house, gets a makeover and decides to take a chance on the unexpected by signing up to teach a cake class. She also meets Jacob Salt, a man that makes her feel something she hasn’t in years.
This was such a fun and light-hearted read despite the serious nature of the topic. It could have easily been a sob story about trust being shattered and hearts being broken but I found myself laughing out loud at times and reading with a smile on my face. It was so refreshing to read a book about a heroine that is faced with a devastating loss but is able to overcome it all while still maintaining her sense of humor. Ruby’s character was fantastically written and was quite the inspiration.
Obviously, my favorite aspect of this book is the foodie bits. I’ll read the occasional chick lit of course but foodie books? Anytime. Ruby is a baker and ends up being a teacher of a cooking class so we’re given all kinds of fabulous baking details that made me want to hop up and bake some muffins (because I couldn’t bake half of the amazing things Ruby could so I had to settle for muffins.) Not only were the details absorbing but she was constantly coming up with new recipes as a sort of coping mechanism. Every time she’d get overwhelmed or stressed about something, her creative subconscious would come up with something amazing sounding to try.
‘Homemade marshmallow cream and roasted almonds sandwiched between bite-size graham-cracker squares, enrobed with Callebaut milk choolate.’
I pretty much loved everything about this book and I read it during a time where I needed to be reminded that despite hardships in life it’s possible to remain strong and power through. It was the perfect book for my current mood and Ruby delivered the emotional boost I needed. This is my first book read by this author but I’ll definitely be picking up her other works. Highly suggested for those looking for a fun and entertaining (and inspirational) chick-lit type read....more
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
JesI received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jess is a resolutely optimistic single mother who struggles with two jobs and two kids after her husband, seemingly suffering from depression, leaves them to move back in with his mother. When her daughter Tanzie gets the opportunity of a lifetime at a prestigious school, the only way the tuition can get paid is if Jess gets her to a Math Olympiad in Scotland. Only problem is, they don't have a car nor the funds to get there. Ed, a tech millionaire who's house Jess cleans, has gotten into a world of trouble involving being accused of insider trading and he needs to get out of town in hopes that his troubles blow over. Ed ends up offering to drive Jess, her two kids and they're stinky dog Norman to Scotland in what ends up being one seriously stressful yet hilarious road trip.
In this hysterical and emotional tale of opposites attract, Jojo Moyes continues to solidify her spot as one of my favorite authors. Her portrayal of life as a single mom struggling to keep her kids fed was sobering but terribly relatable if anyone has ever struggled financially. Jojo Moyes also tackles the topic of economic differences, bullies and deadbeat dads with ease. Her characterization is unerring with each and every character being well-written and detailed without managing to tread too far into predictable territory. Her stories have always managed to throw me with their unexpected twists and One Plus One is no different. The two main characters both possess enough wittiness and differences which cause their attraction to not be immediate. The romance is a slow, subtle build that even though you're expecting you still won't really see it coming.
One Plus One's summary would suggest a typical, formulaic chick-lit story of opposites attract but culminates into a simple and pleasing page-turner that fans of the genre won't want to miss....more
This is not a genre that I typically jump for but I was in dire need of some serious fluff since I had finished The Book Thief and Rose Under Fire inThis is not a genre that I typically jump for but I was in dire need of some serious fluff since I had finished The Book Thief and Rose Under Fire in the same day. Plus, I haven't heard anything other than amazing things about Rainbow Rowell.
Attachments was an absolute treat and I really loved it. The chapters alternate between Jennifer and Beth's conversations over e-mail which are written in the form of almost instant messages and then normally written chapters from the point of view of Lincoln. Lincoln was a charming character but Jennifer and Beth were the absolute frosting on the cake. Extremely witty and entertaining, Jennifer and Beth were two girls that I would love to be friends with. Jennifer is married and currently having issues dealing with a husband that wants to start having children while she's still not sure. Beth is in a long-term relationship with a guitarist in an up and coming band and wants to settle down but she doesn't think he'll ever want to. Their conversations were constantly cracking me up. Here's an example of how Jennifer and Beth's chapters appear and a little snippet of the humor.
<> Now that I think about, we've known each other six years, and I've never seen you in a bathing suit. Or a tank top. <> Not a coincidence, my friend. Iv'e got the arms of a Sicilian grandmother. Arms for picking olives and stirring hearty tomato sauces. Shoulders for carrying buckets of water from the stream to the farmhouse. <> Has Chris seen your shoulders? <> He's seen them. But he hasn't seen them. <> I get it, but I don't get it. <> No sleeveless negligees. No direct sunlight. Sometimes when I'm getting out of the shower, I shout, "Hey, look, a bobcat!" <> I bet he falls for that every time. <> It's Chris. So recreational drugs are a factor.
And my favorite, because I'm a total Jennifer.
<> Even construction workers don't whistle at me. <> That's because you ooze preemptive leave-me-alone death rays.
Lincoln was an interesting main character since I can't recall the last Chick-Lit type novel I read that featured a male character. It was a success though. Lincoln is in his late 20's and has just graduated (again) from college and has moved back home to live with his mom. He plays Dungeons & Dragons on the weekend, doesn't like to go out to bars and is terrible at connecting with females. He stumbles upon Jennifer and Beth's emails in the course of his daily job duties and while they were clearly violating the personal email rule he never reported them. Instead, he continued reading about their lives that interested him in a way he couldn't understand. While I was anxious to find out what happens when the two finally do meet, the ending was a bit overly mushy and leaned a bit too much towards 'perfect'.
Attachments is a charming and adorable tale of finding love in the least expected ways and a touching story of female friendship....more
A copy of Forever, Interrupted was provided to me by Washington Square Press for review purposes.
'When you love someone so much that you've stuck arouA copy of Forever, Interrupted was provided to me by Washington Square Press for review purposes.
'When you love someone so much that you've stuck around through all the interesting things that have happened to them and you have nothing left to say, when you know the course of their day before they even tell you, when you lie next to them and hold their hand even though they haven't said one interesting thing in days, that's a love I want. It's the love I was on target for.'
Elsie and Ben: madly in love and only recently married. Forever, Interrupted opens with a short view of their life together and how apparent their love is before that picture perfect view is shattered completely leaving Elsie all alone. Dealing with the aftermath proves even more difficult than normal as Elsie is stuck explaining herself to a family that never knew of her existence.
The story switches between the present situation and mixes in the story of when Elsie and Ben first met. We're already aware that there is an end in sight to their relationship, but getting a look back at when they met and how they fell in love was heartbreaking yet necessary.
Obviously I need to explain the reasoning for the fact that I'm (currently) the ONLY one to have rated this book any less than 3 stars. So here it is.
Ben and Elsie's courtship was quick and extremely spontaneous. I suppose that even though I personally have never had a perfect first date I shouldn't assume that they don't exist. But their first date was EXTREMELY perfect. And a quite a bit insta-love-ish. I ended up being a bit forgiving of that when they were able to think logically, take a step back, and realize things might be moving too fast.
"I think you and I are just...Yes, we are moving quickly but we're moving at a pace that feels natural for both of us."
They were logical about it and both had intense feelings for one another so it managed to work somewhat for me. It was obvious that they truly loved each other eventually but the way it began (and the thoughts of 'I-love-yous' after like TWO DAYS) was severely unrealistic for me (as was Ben because he acted like no man that I've ever met.)
I also had a huge issue with the whole reasoning behind why Ben never told his mother about Elsie. (view spoiler)[Ben's father died 3 years ago and his mother has never rebounded. In his mind, if he came home and told his mother that he was in love and that he was incredibly happy she would feel left out and would be upset that he's happy. Plus, something else about now that he has Elsie he will no longer have any room for her in his life. First off, this doesn't seem like a very male thought process. Also, come on... seriously? Sorry, but I call bullshit. It's been 3 years and besides, your mother should be HAPPY that you're happy. If I was his girlfriend I'm not sure I would have been as understanding. (hide spoiler)]
And lastly: (view spoiler)[The whole scene where she realizes that she could possibly be pregnant, runs down to the store and buys a test, comes home only to get her period like 5 minutes later was completely unnecessary and was a gratuitous addition to an already dreary tale. (hide spoiler)]
While I admit I'm a total Grinch and it takes a lot to get me to cry (I didn't cry, for the record) I still found this to be quite a grievous story. What really struck me hardest was Elsie's parents reaction (and several other people she encountered). They were immediately dismissive of his death since she knew him for only a few months and was married to him even shorter than that. They understood she's going through some pain of course, but they dismissed the fact that she could even consider herself a 'widow'. People can be so terribly dismissive and judgmental of others feelings and yet have no idea what you could possibly be going through. Even her best friend was like that:
"...at some point someone needs to remind you that you lost something you only had for six months. Six months. And I'm not saying this isn't hard, but it's not like you're ninety and you lost your life partner here."
It was heartbreaking to witness people's unwillingness to simply be there for someone without judgment.
Forever, Interrupted is a story about grief and about learning to overcome it and reassemble the pieces of your shattered life. While I wasn't the hugest fan of this novel, the ending was partially redeeming and managed to paint a very accurate portrait of grief and its indelible effects on you.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars A copy of Gossip was provided to me by William Morrow for review purposes.
'Interesting how things change: the people you thouMy rating: 1.5 of 5 stars A copy of Gossip was provided to me by William Morrow for review purposes.
'Interesting how things change: the people you thought would be friends forever disappear, and others become more and more important to you over time.'
Lovie French is a sixty year old boutique owner living in Manhattan and is the narrator of the story. She is still close to her two best friends, Avis and Dinah, that she went to school with when they were young and over time their families have become family to her. Lovie details how their lives unfolded over time and who they loved and lost and the ongoing gossip that prevailed.
There was a strange detachment in the writing that made Gossip feel very lackluster which in turn made it hard to connect to any of the characters. It's written as a retelling of past events and I couldn't help but think it would have been more interesting and easier to connect to if it was written in present tense and as a form of flashback rather than a long series of recollections which would have lessened the 'info-dump' feel.
I felt Lovie was a strange narrator choice even though she was a part of the story she didn't seem to have as much relevance. The story being told from Nicky or maybe even Grace (or both?) would have been a better choice as their story became the main feature in the end. The focus on the rest of the family formed the story as a whole but I would have liked to see more focus on Nicky and Grace to get a better idea of what led them up to the end events.
There were some beautiful moments of writing and I felt that the story had a lot of potential if not for the loose stitching that bound the multiple characters story lines together. Lacking in depth and a true connection to the characters, this was ultimately quite forgettable. ...more
My rating: 3 of 5 stars A copy of All You Could Ask For was provided to me by William Morrow for review purposes.
Brooke, Samantha and Katherine all havMy rating: 3 of 5 stars A copy of All You Could Ask For was provided to me by William Morrow for review purposes.
Brooke, Samantha and Katherine all have established and successful lives, each with their own different definition of success. Brooke has been happily married to her college sweetheart for 15 years. Samantha is a competitive athlete who after a whirlwind marriage finds evidence of her husband's infidelity 2 days into their honeymoon but it's the best thing that could have happened to her. Katherine is an extremely successful business-woman who decides to take her first vacation ever after a disastrous blind date on her birthday. All lead separate lives and have never met each other, but they will become forever entwined with one another when they all are forced to suffer through the same diagnosis forever changing their lives.
On my Goodreads shelf I currently have 79 books classified as Chick-Lit and of those 79 only one is written by a male author. This book. Now that's not to say that he's the ONLY male author that has ever written Chick-Lit but it's the only one that I've bothered trying out. The fact of the matter is Chick-Lit is not a commonly written genre by males, my guess is because of the difficulty they have in writing a solid and realistic female character. Well, not only has Mike Greenberg managed to write a solid and realistic female character, he was able to write three of them.
I was so very pleased when I first began this book. I loved the humor and I loved the individuality of each of the characters. I enjoyed learning the details of their lives and who they were as people. It was all very realistic and made these characters very distinguishable. Suffice it to say, I loved these characters and eagerly awaited the moment where their lives coalesced. While the second half of the story was what brought these characters together, it was my least favorite part of the book. It took a much too serious turn and I would have preferred to see the lightness that the first half of the story possessed to continue. While I understand the reason behind this since it aided in strengthening the characters further, I simply expected a much lighter read and would have enjoyed it more.
This is a definite must for fans of Jane Green, Emily Griffin, Jodi Picoult and fans of the like. All You Could Ask For possesses seemingly everyday characters with a powerful inspiring story of strength....more