As a beach/summer read, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane is perfect. If I had read it at any other time,this review will go live on the blog7/3
As a beach/summer read, The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane is perfect. If I had read it at any other time, however, I would have been less than impressed (and actually felt a bit disappointed I hadn't enjoyed it more while reading). This book reads like a check list of beach read staples: heartbroken main character, wise/quirky grandmotherly figure, handsome strangers (in this case, two), a passion for cooking/baking, etc etc. Really, all that was missing was a loyal dog.
Janey's fiance passed away unexpectedly five years ago and with his death her world shattered. While she had always been shy, Ned's death took her fear and turned it into a debilitating phobia. She was no longer able to pursue the teaching degree she had so desperately wanted and, instead, became holed up inside her apartment, only speaking to her Aunt Midge. She can barely hold down a job and any interaction with someone new causes Janey to break out into hives. Unbeknownst to Janey, Aunt Midge enters her into a nationwide dream home contest - and her name, Janine Brown, is chosen.
Nean's 24 years have not been kind to her. In and out of foster care and shelters, she's well on her way to following in her mother's footsteps (minus the heroin). She goes for the wrong guys, but at least those guys have a place to live, some food, and a television. Geoff isn't boyfriend material, as her bald patches and bruises show, and the night she hears her name, Janine Brown, announced on live television, she knows her life is about to change.
The two (make that three - 88-year-old Aunt Midge is in tow) women head for Maine, and it's not until they've reached the sprawling mansion with a state-of-the-art kitchen and lake view, that they realize there's another Janine Brown. Who's the real winner? How could Janey possibly survive living with a stranger? There's no. way. Nean is going to be put back on a bus to Iowa. And who's that cute farmer?
The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane doesn't pull any punches and any reader of this kind of fiction knows how the story will end before it even begins. So, yes, as a carefree beach read, this book is perfect. Entertaining enough without asking for a lot in return. While I can certainly get behind some good brain fluff, I had a good time getting past these characters and their actions. 24-year-old Nean is bratty and stubborn. Despite being nearly 90, Aunt Midge rocks out to the Rolling Stones and enjoys swimming in her birthday suit. Janey has a passion for cooking - which I loved - and she claims she loves cooking so much, she always makes way more than one person could ever eat and throws the leftovers away once she's had her fill. I couldn't excuse this, though it made for a nice coincidence since Noah just so happens to work at the local shelter. Naturally, the moment she meets him, her 5-year phobia all but vanishes.
As far as substance goes, there wasn't a whole lot to this story, but that's exactly what you'd want in a summer-y read. Unfortunately, this one was simply decent - and wholly forgettable....more
While there were issues I had with The Look of Love, it was still leagues better than her previous novel. At times it can be overly sweet, but it cameWhile there were issues I had with The Look of Love, it was still leagues better than her previous novel. At times it can be overly sweet, but it came about at a time I needed something happy and I really didn't mind at all. I'm disappointed with some of the endings (I didn't see what made Cam such a great guy), but I'm positive Jio's fans will be right on board with this novel. Pure escapism - with a gorgeous cover to boot!
On a beautiful day in June, in front of literally half the town, wearing a wedding dress that made her look like Cinderella and holding a bouquet of perfect pink roses, Faith Elizabeth Holland was left at the alter.
With that first opening paragraph, The Best Man hits the ground running. Faith Holland, baby - and therefore, princess - of the famed Holland family (not only was the family one of the founders, but they also run an extremely successful winery) had the ultimate dream wedding. She first met Jeremy in high school when he carried her to the nurse's office after she suffered a seizure. For the next eight years it was as close to a fairy tale relationship as you can get. Gorgeous, football-superstar (he was even recruited by the NFL) Jeremy and sweet, kind Faith. No one was surprised when Jeremy proposed and nearly the entire town turned up for the wedding.
Jeremy would have gone through with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids his best friend Levi. Levi Cooper was a good football player in high school, but he grew up in the trailer park and it wasn't until Jeremy came around that Levi had a real friend. Jeremy's parents never treated him any differently and Jeremy always had a great time whenever he stopped by Levi's for dinner.
After graduation Jeremy and Faith both left for separate colleges but still maintained a long distance relationship and Levi headed for Afghanistan. He came back a decorated war hero and Jeremy announced he was getting married and wanted Levi to be his best man. Finally, at the alter, Levi managed to convince Jeremy to tell Faith the secret he had been hiding from everyone - including himself! - for years: he was gay.
Three years ago Faith found herself sitting in an airport in her wedding dress, heartbroken and determined to still take that honeymoon, albeit solo: she flew to San Francisco and started up a fairly successful landscape design business. Now, at the behest of her family, Faith is back in her hometown and not quite ready to deal with her past.
That's how it went, right? Love came when you weren't looking, except in the case of the millions who'd found mates on Match.com, but, hey. It sounded good.
Sometimes you just want to throw on a big hoodie and pj pants and read some chick-lit. I was SO in the mood for one recently and decided to give Kristan Higgins a shot; customers adore her books, so she must be doing something right. I received a copy of her latest, The Best Man, and dove right in.
Guys, apart from a few bumps, this book was so. much. fun. Faith comes back to town and tries to avoid Jeremy for a few days. Ultimately, however, they decide to get together for dinner and finally sort out their feelings. Jeremy turned down the chance to go pro and instead opted to stay in town where he launched his own practice. As the town doctor - and a gorgeous one at that - business is booming. I loved how Jeremy and Faith truly cared for one another, even after what they went through. They're able to maintain a wonderful friendship - though at times, it seems as though Jeremy had more screentime than Levi.
Levi was awesome. I loved him. He and Faith go way back and there's definitely a history between the pair (including a forbidden kiss their senior year). However, she was also Princess Super-Cute, going out of her way to be polite and change the world and, quite frankly, Levi couldn't stand it. Not to mention she was Jeremy's girlfriend. Now that she's back in town, old memories have resurfaced and Levi is starting to look past the Princess Super-Cute surface.
The characters shine in The Best Man. Higgins is such a skilled author when it comes to fleshing out her characters and each one felt like a real person, someone I could easily picture meeting. Naturally, a few were totally over-the-top (Mr. Blind-Date-From-Hell and Lorena, the gold-digger trying to worm her way into Faith's dad's heart), but everyone was so fun and fantastic.
Be warned though. There were a few scenes I definitely did NOT enjoy, such as the 'she-male' (yes, that word was used in the novel) scene. Certain attitudes rub me the wrong way, and the way this character was portrayed - as little more than a comedic tool - put me off. However, over all, The Best Man was a quick, delightful read and perhaps I'm being overly emotional, but I cried more than once while reading. (And, a quick note: Faith is described more than one as not being a tiny, petite woman. The woman on the cover is so not how I pictured her.)
The Best Man was my first Kristan Higgins's book and I can assure you, it will not be the last! This one is the first in a new series and I'm beyond excited for the sequel!...more
After my disaster of a first experience with chick-lit I was a little hesitant to make another attempt. However, Gentlemen Prefer Nerds sounded like a book that would be right up my alley. Maddie is a gemologist and works at her aunt's jewelry store. While working on her PhD Maddie happened to discover a whopping 28 carat pink diamond and it set the gem world on fire.
The Rose (named after Maddie - Rose being her middle name) is first unveiled to the world at the jewelry store since Maddie was the one to find it then it's to be sent to a sultan who was more than happy to pay the hefty $20 million to add it to her personal collection. Unfortunately, there are others who also wish to own the diamond who aren't willing to pay such a large sum. Or any sum at all, for that matter.
While working at the store one day, Maddie is surprised when a complete stranger manages to break in and tell her the Chameleon has his eye on the diamond and will be around at some point to steal it. No big deal.
Naturally Maddie doesn't believe a word of it. However, on the day of the unveiling, the real diamond has been replaced with a near identical replica and Maddie is the number one suspect.
Gentlemen Prefer Nerds reads a LOT like a cozy mystery (and you know I'm all about cozies!). There wasn't any point in the story where I was bored or felt the pace had slowed. This is a short, fun novel that can easily be read in an afternoon.
I'm normally not a big fan of dual narratives, but I enjoyed it in this book. I knew Fabian wasn't being entirely true with Maddie and I wanted to know what was really going on. The "big reveal" had me eye-rolling a bit unfortunately.
The author definitely took the time to do her research and it shows. There are multiple points throughout the novel where Maddie starts spouting gem jargon, but not once did I feel overwhelmed.
Keep in mind: this is a makeover book and yes, there's the token 'getting-rid-of-the-glasses' moment (just once I'd like to see the girl keep her glasses! GLASSES ARE COOL, GUYS!).
The end felt a bit rushed, but overall Gentlemen Prefer Nerds was fun and a lovely little summer read....more
I had a nasty cold earlier in the week and wanted something fun and fluffy to keep me entertained. Improper English caught my eye and I couldn't wait to dive right in! It seemed perfect: reviews (particularly from some Big Names) declared it hilarious and a ton of fun; it was just the right length for a few days on the couch (369 pages); Sexy Scottish Lead! What more needs to be said?
Unfortunately, this book just didn't live up to expectations. The main character and the love interest have the same name... yeah. Alexandra "Alix" Freemar is from Seattle and for some reason her rich mother decided to pay for her to live in London for three months (I'm actually not sure how long she was there - the book at times said three months, yet other times it said two). There's a catch, though: Alix must write a novel while she is in London.
Alix leaps at the opportunity and winds up with a flat and some very lovely neighbors (seriously, the neighbors were my favorite characters and this book's saving grace). Isabella is the house...manager(??) type person (she wasn't the landlord, but she seemed to be in charge of everyone there). In the beginning she seemed like she was going to be the token BFF and I immediately took a liking to her. Then, after about 20 pages, she just vanished and wasn't mentioned again until toward the end of the book when she became one of the most irritating characters I've ever read.
Alexander "Alex" Black is another neighbor of Alix's and there's definitely instalove when they first meet. It's actually pretty...ick as their relationship progresses. Alix's constant descriptions of the ~fires~ Alex's touch starts within her caused much eye rolling on my part.
Ray & Bert are the awesome lesbian couple and I absolutely adored them. I want a Ray & Bert in my life. Even though they irked me a tiiiiny bit in one scene - more to come on that - they were great and without a doubt the most level-headed characters of the novel.
So Alix has settled down in London to write a best-selling romance novel (at the beginning of each chapter there's a little excerpt from her book and it's hilarious). You'd think she's actually, you know, work on writing a book. At first she does! But then Isabella decides to hook her up with someone (she actually says it's her lover...). Alix isn't looking for anything more than a casual hook-up every now and then. Alex, however, is all about serious relationships. Yet there's something that keeps bringing these two together (of course).
The biggest issue for me was Isabella. She had dated Alex at one point, but their relationship has been over for years by the time Alix comes along. Yet Isabella still refers to Alex as her lover, her dear friend, she cares about him very deeply, etc etc. I don't like that one bit. She's always discussing ~secrets~ with him and it's very odd. Isabella and Alex live on the same floor in the house and are neighbors. Just...no. I didn't like the situation at all. Isabella, strangely enough, practically forces Alex & Alix to get together and I was so confused.
The biggest gripe I had with Alix was that she was a typical chick-lit heroine: oblivious to the point of moronic, utterly selfish, rude, irritating, everything I can't stand about this type of character went into creating her. The scene that nearly caused me to fling the book across the room dealt with Alix. Her manuscript was rejected and she's feeling down, so she calls Alex. Understandable and I know I'd definitely want my boyfriend to console me if I had the same thing happen. However. HOWEVER. Alex is Detective Inspector Black, head of a unit of Scotland Yard. At that moment, he and his men are conducting a raid after planning it out for months. When he tries to explain this to Alix, she goes berserk and accuses him of betraying her, states that not only does he not care for her anymore, but it's painfully clear that she never meant anything to him in the first place. Is this woman for real?! I couldn't wrap my mind around her logic at all and instead, felt nothing but fury for her.
Later on that night Alix stays in her flat and just wants to be left alone. Her dreams of becoming a writer were crushed, and I sympathized with her for once. I could see why she wanted to be left alone and I wanted that for her. Unfortunately, none of the other characters in the book could take a hint. They bang on her door multiple times, practically blow up her phone, and even go so far as to get random tenants in the building to call her as well. Leave the poor girl alone!
Obviously the book was going to have a happy ending, but I wasn't left feeling very satisfied. I wish I could say otherwise, but Alex and Alix declaring love for one another (plus a random proposal???) didn't feel natural. I didn't buy their chemistry for a second. So many characters say they're perfect for each other, but that didn't come across in their actions at all. Sure, they've got great physical chemistry, but a long-term relationship? Eh....more
Oh, Abby Cooper, I've missed you so!! When I read a series, I tend to space out each book rather than reading it all at once. I suppose it's my way of savoring it? It's been a few months since I finished the sixth book in this series, Death Perception, and I couldn't wait to jump back into the story.
This book picks up with a case that was first introduced in the previous book, but went nowhere. Abby, a professional psychic, and her friend Candice, a PI, are aiding the FBI in the investigation of some missing teenagers. It's believed the kidnappings are linked because the teens were all children of senators.
Given that this book didn't take place in Abby's hometown, some of the best characters were unfortunately absent this time. In the case of Abby's older sister Cat, there was a brief mention in a single sentence and that was all. However, I was really excited to learn more about Candice. She was a central character in Doom With a View and I love that she's getting more and more time in the spotlight.
Abby's boyfriend Dutch works for the FBI (what a cool job!!). He recently got the position and now we get to meet some really awesome characters. Despite being a huge jerk for roughly 99% of the book, Agent Harrison grew on me. Can't wait to see him again! However, I will admit I was a little disappointed that the romance was so obvious (or maybe I'm just psychic :D!). Really, though, that was a bit of a let down and, to me, wound up feeling a bit forced and thrown together.
I wasn't completely happy with some of the previous books, but Doomed With a View sucked me back in and I can't wait to start the next book. Toward the end, a pretty big plan was announced and I'm both nervous and excited to see how it turns out!
These books (& cozies in general!) are so incredible. So, so much fun and just the right length for a cold and rainy day....more
Abby Cooper’s betting the house on her inner eye...
It took a while for Abby Cooper’s FBI agent boyfriend, Dutch Rivers, to accept her psychic gifts as the real deal. But these days he knows better than to question Abby’s visions. So when his favorite cousin Chase is kidnapped in Vegas, they both catch the next flight to Sin City. Abby’s inner eye insists that Chase is still alive, but nothing else about the case adds up—especially Dutch’s reluctance to involve his own Bureau.
On top of everything, Dutch is battling a mysterious illness, and Abby keeps having disturbing dreams that predict his death. Dutch wants Abby to promise that if the investigation goes south, she’ll head home to safety. But when the chips are down, Abby won’t fold without a fight...
I adore this series. At the beginning of the year, I made it a goal of mine to step out of my comfort zone and read some authors/genres I hadn't before. Through some book-hopping at goodreads, I discovered a whole new world in cozy mysteries. They are so ridiculous and fun and completely unlike anything I had ever read! While there were some brain fluff books I enjoyed, I would only read ~true literature~ and unfortunately missed out on so, so much. :) I'm so glad I decided to broaden my reading this year.
This series follows Abby Cooper, a professional psychic. The first four books worked as stand-alone novels; you could have started with book 3 and not be lost. Anything important is explained repeatedly (sometimes this becomes a little grating, particularly when you're halfway through the series and the author still insists on reminding you of Abby's dog's name/why he was named that). The fifth book, Crime Seen & this book however, are connected. Parts one and two if you will.
In Crime Seen Dutch begins to investigate a cold case involving a superior. Death Perception gets to the heart of the action and Abby finds herself in Las Vegas.
Although it was nice to have some sense of continuity, I miss the silly antics of the earlier books - the mafia dons, the haunted houses, it was all light and fun.
I'm far less judgmental when it comes to cozy mysteries than I am regarding other genres. These books aren't aiming to be anything other than fluff. That said, few things put me off more than a long-winded spiel from the villain detailing every last part of the plan. I. Hate. That. During the big reveal, the Bad Guy goes on for a few pages explaining absolutely everything!
Also, it just now dawned on me that the covers for this series are totally wrong. Multiple times it's been mentioned that Abby has waist-length hair..
Despite a few minor issues, I still enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next!...more
For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true
For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true. Surely Miranda can find a way to cut the hotshot chef down to size once she learns what really goes on at his trendy Manhattan restaurant. But she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: she has no idea how to cook.
Adam’s not about to have his reputation burned by a critic who doesn’t even know the difference between poaching and paring. He’ll just have to give the tempting redhead a few private lessons of his own—teaching her what it means to cook with passion…and doing more with his hands than simply preparing sumptuous food.
200 pages in; My patience is starting to wan. I wanted to like this book. I really did! I went into this thinking it would be a quick, light, fun read. The characters are boring - and annoying, the plot twists could be seen from a mile away, & both romance plots seem far too rushed and "magical." Even though food is the driving force behind this novel, I was immediately jerked out of the moment anytime Adam would have a food-related simile or thought. Ms. Edwards really didn't want me to forget that Adam is an amazing chef. Miranda is having a pouting fit again and Adam is comparing her mouth to dessert. See? SEE?? He's such an awesome chef, you know.
Adam is turned on whenever Miranda uses her "ten-dollar words" in the bedroom. Call me crazy, but having a restaurant review mixed in with the bedroom scenes is not sexy.
Frankie is, time and time again, referred to as a sex fiend who goes through both sexes without a second thought. However, once he lays eyes on Jesse, he's suddenly romantic and caring, and in love. Surprise, surprise.
I don't understand where all the 4- & 5-star reviews are coming from....more
Oh man. This book. I like to think of myself as not necessarily a literary snob, but someone who reads good books and casts aside the far less ~deep &Oh man. This book. I like to think of myself as not necessarily a literary snob, but someone who reads good books and casts aside the far less ~deep & thought-provoking~ tales. Sometimes, though, you need some fluff in your life. I had never before heard of cozy mysteries, much less read one prior to coming across this book. ..I do believe I have discovered a new favorite genre. :)
2011 has been a rebirth for me when it comes to literature. I've been going out on a limb, branching out and trying things I normally would run away from. Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye was one of my latest dapples into unfamiliar territory.
In the Royal Oak suburb of Detroit, thirtysomething Abby Cooper lives a life that’s kind of like vanilla ice cream—good enough, but a little bland. Her work as a P.I—psychic intuitive—can be rewarding, but she feels like somehow she’s missing out on the hot fudge topping…
Now she’s getting what she wished for—as one of her clients turns up dead and the clues start pointing in Abby’s direction. She just knows too many details about the murder for her own good. To make matters worse, the hot blind date she just met turns out to be the lead investigator on the case. And gorgeous Detective Dutch Rivers is convinced she’s a fraud.
No matter how great her psychic abilities are, Abby isn’t completely sure she can solve this case. Unfortunately for her, though, the killer’s pretty convinced…
As much as I wanted to turn tail and run, I manned up and dove into this book with an open (but sliiightly hesitant) mind.
Much to my surprise, the book was great! Not my favorite, but definitely far better than I had anticipated. I did, however, have a problem with all the eye-rolling that went on. Also, it seems that 1st person narratives use a mirror as their go-to device for describing a character's looks. Abby Cooper, Private Eye was no different. Abby's description came off as very Mary Sue-ish to me: waist-length hair, an oh-so-super high metabolism, etc.
I was extremely interested with how the author explained what receiving visions and seeing auras are like. It took away from the fluff factor a bit without launching into long-winded lectures about what being psychic really entails.
Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye was a really fun, extremely quick read. Immediately after finishing this book, I snatched up the rest of the series and cannot wait to sink in....more