TLC Book Tours Book Review & Giveaway: Dog Crazy by Meg Donahue

• Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 10, 2015)

The USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake and All the Summer Girls returns with an unforgettably poignant and funny tale of love and loss, confronting our fears, and moving on . . . with the help of a poodle, a mutt, and a Basset retriever named Seymour.

As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan uses a combination of empathy, insight, and humor to help patients cope with the anguish of losing their beloved four-legged friends. Though she has a gift for guiding others through difficult situations, Maggie has major troubles of her own that threaten the success of her counseling practice and her volunteer work with a dog rescue organization.

Everything changes when a distraught woman shows up at Maggie’s office and claims that her dog has been stolen. Searching the streets of San Francisco for the missing pooch, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that forces her to finally face her biggest fear-and to open her heart to new love.

Packed with deep emotion and charming surprises, Dog Crazy is a bighearted and entertaining story that skillfully captures the bonds of love, the pain of separation, and the power of our dogs to heal us.

Add to Goodreads badge

My Review:

HUGE DISCLAIMER:  I did not read this as a therapist, do not recommend therapist’s read this as a therapist, nor for non-therapists to assume that therapists provide therapy this way.

Dog Crazy is a light read that covers some heavy topics: grief, fear, anxiety, and sadness.  However, Meg Donahue writes this story in such a way that makes the issues so laden with heaviness and makes the book just as cozy as those cute dogs, who have personalities that many who are dog lovers will relate with.

A mystery (Maggie helps find a missing dog), adjusting to a new city, dealing with her own loss and family issues, Maggie is a woman many will relate with and find compassion towards.  She is a woman with a huge heart, one that has been broken, and while she ventures into a practice to help others-she finds that there is healing for her, too.

This was a quick read for me, but still had me shed a few tears.  Don’t let the cover fool you- it’s not all warm and fuzzy.  It deals with some heavy topics that people face everyday and will give hope…which always makes for a great ending!!

Overall, I enjoyed the book and am sharing this with one lucky winner!

 

excellent cupcake 5

 

Giveaway Details:

One person will receive a paperback copy of Dog Crazy by Meg Donahue.

To enter, please fill out the comment form.  Information entered on the form is only visible to me and will not be displayed online.  All information is confidential and not shared with anyone.  No P.O. Boxes, please.

Open to the US & Canada

Giveaway ends April 28, 2015

Review: Julie Farley & The New Ever After Series

I was first introduced to author, Julie Farley, being on tour for CLP Blog Tours, back in 2013.  She wrote a trilogy, which I love.  Here are the books and reviews for them:

Click here to read my review.

Click here to read my review.

Because I enjoyed the previous two books, I was quite excited to learn that Julie had written another book! The last book in the trilogy: Another Tomorrow.  This is a book that cannot be read as a standalone and is a compliment to the two previous novels.  The cover, in my opinion, doesn’t adequately represent the storyline.  Although, it is both Heather and Jenny, best friends who have endured a number of situations and life changes.  This book deals primarily with Jenny and her self discovery, after her divorce.  I was uncomfortable reading about the yoga retreat, where there is a lesbian kiss, although it doesn’t define Jenny and doesn’t really impact the rest of the story.  I think that scene could have been excluded, without affecting the overall storyline.  While the story revolves more around Jenny, it is great to still know what is happening with Heather, her new marriage, and her ever growing children.  They were just born in the last book!  I loved the romance that happens for Jenny and the way she finds peace with her ex-husband, learns to be a single mom and venturing into dating, as well as dealing with a serious health issue. Overall, Farley fans will enjoy this book and be glad for the happy ending!

great cupcake rating 4

*This book was provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.  No forms of compensation were given.

copyright 2015

simple signature 1

 

Short Stack Reviews

SHORT STACK REVIEWS

At the beginning of the year, I was reading so much that I simply didn’t want to stop and write about them. Before I knew it, they had accumulated and I wanted to share them with you here.  I plan to write more “Short Stack Reviews”, where you can gleam what I’ve read, add them to your TBR list (if you see any that you might like), and also to help me keep track of my reading.  Be sure and click on each book picture to read the synopsis!

This is my first DNF, this year.  I don’t typically include books I haven’t read because I certainly am in no position to rate them.  However, I am including this one.  From the first chapter, I was hooked into the storyline.  It was intense, an “edge of your seat” kind of book, that I just couldn’t continue reading.  I had so much anxiety worrying if Mark, the astronaut left behind, was going to die.  I didn’t watch Gravity, the movie with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, because I didn’t want to see him die.  I’m a wimp when it comes to movies and books.  Because I didn’t finish this book, I have no idea if Mark survives, but my heart couldn’t continue.  It is a book for sci-fi fans, those who want a narrative story (as Mark is the only one on Mars…and his potatoes), and for those who love intense books. So, what did I do with this book? I gave it to my son, who loves sci-fi, is fascinated with Mars, and loves an intense storyline.  He also saw Gravity and loved it, so there you go!

*This book was provided by the publisher and Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest opinion.  No forms of compensation were given.

I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan.  So, when Cyndi from “A Utah Mom’s Life“, suggested this book, I downloaded it.  I loved this book and the adventures Jane (Jane in the book, not The Jane) has in Austenland.  I don’t know if there is such a place, but wouldn’t it be amazing to jump back in time and meet people that are from Pride and Prejudice? Jane has a great sense of humor and does admit the corsets get old, not being able to be alone with a male is stifling, and lack of cellphones can be a bit hard.  However, she has her own adventure, has some love challenges, and finds her happily ever after…or so I hope.  The ending did seem a bit rushed, but it was in perfect Austen form-love always prevails!

excellent cupcake 5

 

 I must admit, before reading While Beauty Slept, I just didn’t have an appreciation for Princess Aurora.  This book is another twist on  Sleeping Beauty, where Princess Aurora wakes up but doesn’t have her happily ever after.  She isn’t in love with her prince, the kingdom is in disarray, and she learns that all is not as it seems.  This novel is the first to a trilogy, which I am excited about and is a great YA book for those who love stories about fairy tales with twists.  There are definitely some cliffhangers, which I am sure the other 2 novels will address, and can’t wait to read them!  This is definitely a book that different from Elizabeth Blackwell’s book, so don’t compare them because you will be disappointed.  They are vastly different and equally good in their own right.  I enjoyed this book very much!

great cupcake rating 4 *This book was provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest opinion.  No forms of compensation were given.

 

copyright 2015

 

simple signature best

 

 

 

TLC Book Tour: Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 28, 2014)

Synopsis:

What do you do when the man you pledged your life to breaks your heart and shatters your dreams? You pack your bags and travel the big, wide world to find your destiny—and your true love . . .

Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.

Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

My Review:

I think this is possibly the largest chick-lit book I have ever read!  It is a little under 600 pages, but it is worth every page!  Cassie is on an adventure, scheduled by her 3 closest friends:  Kelly, Suzy, and Anouk, who happen to be living in the most gorgeous places on earth-New York, Paris, and London!  It’s very Bridget Jones-esque in that while Cassie is nursing a broken heart and marriage, she has plenty of adventures to help her along the way!  Personally, I would love to drop everything and move away to let the adventures carry me (pre-marriage, of course!).

It’s a big book, but well worth it, because each place that Cassie visits is full of it’s own adventures.  In a way, it’s like having 3 books combined because of the very different, yet fun places Cassie visits.  In the end, Cassie walks away with some great nuggets of truth, some special memories (and crazy ones, too), and with a great sense of who she is!

Disclaimer:  Don’t let the name box you in.   It’s a book that can be read any time of the year, but as well know…anything with Christmas in the title has to mean that there is some magic sprinkled within the pages!

great cupcake rating 4

 

About Karen Swan: 

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

Karen’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, October 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, October 31st: Seaside Book Nook

Monday, November 3rd: Words by Webb

Wednesday, November 5th: Becca Rowan

Tuesday, November 11th: Tina Says …

Wednesday, November 12th: Spices Latte Reads

Thursday, November 13th: A Chick Who Reads

Monday, November 17th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, November 19th: My Bookshelf

Thursday, November 20th: Books in the Burbs

Thursday, November 20th: For the Love of Words

Friday, November 21st: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

TBD: BoundbyWords

TLC Book Review: Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes

 

My Review:

This book is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary!  For a book to be 10 years old and to still be ever so funny and relevant, says a lot about Plum Sykes quality of writing.

the perfect book to read between some serious reads!  I loved this book, as it reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite books: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.  It’s a book about the kind of people that “people like us” are sickened by because of how fake they are, but yet we still watch those reality shows about them and read the tabloids. Told with wonderful 1990’s detail, readers will love the way Plum Sykes brings a modern twist to living in New York.  I couldn’t help but think of the NY heiresses, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Aly Hilfiger, the Clarin sisters, etc.

The storyline is funny-trading a handbag for a PH (potential husband), and trading crystal facials for a fiancé to get that “glow”.  I love how quickly the storyline moves, the characters are really interesting, which makes for a fun read, and it’s a book that many will love who enjoy the Chick-lit genre and love books told in a comedic way about the tales of the “oh-so glamorous”, who are really just girls with lots of money trying to have it all.

The only issue is the overuse of acronyms.  It’s was hard to understand initially, but after awhile, it was easy to figure out.  Just stay with it, it is worth the light read!

excellent cupcake 5

*This book was provided through TLC Book Tours and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Plum Sykes

Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. The author of the novels Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante Divorcée and the Kindle Single memoir Oxford Girl, she is a contributing editor at American Vogue, where she writes about fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair. She lives in the English countryside with her husband and two daughters.

Plum’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, August 19th: A Bookish Way of Life – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, August 21st: booknerd – Bergdorf Blondes

Friday, August 22nd: Drey’s Library – The Debutante Divorcee

Monday, August 25th: Carpe Libros – The Debutante Divorcee

Tuesday, August 26th: Books in the Burbs – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, August 27th: Book by Book – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, August 28th: Reading in Black & White – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, August 28th: From the TBR Pile – Bergdorf Blondes

Monday, September 1st: A Bookish Way of Life – The Debutante Divorcee

Tuesday, September 2nd: Drey’s Library – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, September 3rd: Reading in Black & White – The Debutante Divorcee

Thursday, September 4th: booknerd – The Debutante Divorcee

Monday, September 8th: Mom in Love With Fiction – Bergdorf Blondes

Tuesday, September 9th: Staircase Wit – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, September 10th: Reads for Pleasure – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, September 11th: BookNAround – Bergdorf Blondes

Tuesday, September 16th: Cruising Susan Reviews – Bergdorf Blondes

Wednesday, September 17th: A Book Geek – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, September 18th: Books à la Mode – Bergdorf Blondes

Thursday, September 18th: Book by Book – The Debutante Divorcee

TBD: Books in the Burbs – The Debutante Divorcee

TBD: Cruising Susan Reviews – The Debutante Divorcee

CLP Blog Tour Review: Hold Me Down by Kathryn R. Biel

Synopsis:

Elizabeth Zurlo is lost. She’s a wife, a mother, a teacher, a PTA volunteer—but somewhere along the way, she’s lost herself. Depression and despair can lead to desperate measures and when she is pulled back from the brink of suicide, Elizabeth slowly tries to rebuild her marriage and reclaim her life. Just as she has finally started to put herself back together, a scandalous novel rocks her small town … and costs Elizabeth her social standing, friendships and ultimately, her marriage. However, the man who seemingly destroyed Elizabeth’s life, helps her realize who she is and what she needs to do to become the woman she’s not only capable of being, but the woman she used to be.

 

 

 

my book thoughts

I was drawn to this book because anything that has to do with mental illness, I naturally gravitate towards.  Being a family therapist, that always piques my interest.  However, this isn’t a book that dives too deep into that aspect and doesn’t go into much detail about her suicide attempt.  Kathryn Biel’s writing reminded me a lot of the movie, “Desperate Housewives”, all rolled into one book.

There is suspense, intrigue, love lost/regained, self empowerment, and the storylines flows well.  While this book could have easily dived into a darker side, Kathryn keeps this book to true “Chick-lit”, which balanced well.

I love the title, the storyline is really good, but I didn’t care much for the book cover.  It’s a “pre” Elizabeth, and not who she eventually becomes.  Otherwise, a good read!

good cupcake 3

Kathryn Biel’s Blog Tour:

 

May 19 – Tabby’s Tantalizing Reviews – Review

May 21 – Chick Lit Goddess – Guest Post

May 22 – Authors to Watch – Review

May 26 – The East Village – Review

May 28 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews –  Excerpt

May 30 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews –  Guest Post
May 30 – Books in the Burbs – Review

June 2 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

June 3 – Cupcake’s Book Cupboard – Review, Guest Post Q&A & Excerpt

June 4 – Two Children and a Migraine – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
June 5 – Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Review

June 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Guest Post

June 9 – Chick Lit Plus – Review

**Everyone who leaves a comment at CLP Blog Tours will be entered to win a print copy of the book! Please note this is open to US residents only.**

 

Author Bio:

Kathryn Biel hails from Upstate New York and is a spouse and mother of two wonderful and energetic kids. In between being Chief Home Officer and Director of Child Development of the Biel household, she works as a school-based physical therapist. She attended Boston University and received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The Sage Colleges. After years of writing countless letters of medical necessity for wheelchairs, finding increasingly creative ways to encourage the government and insurance companies to fund her clients’ needs and writing entertaining annual Christmas letters, she decided to take a shot at writing the kind of novel that she likes to read. Her debut novel, GOOD INTENTIONS, was released in 2013, and her second novel, HOLD HER DOWN was released in 2014. Her musings and rants can also be found on her personal blog, Biel Blather.

Connect with Kathryn!

Blog: http://kathrynbiel.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

CLP Blog Tour Review: Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

Synopsis:

Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements–her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude–Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself.my book thoughts

I love the cover and title of this book, Lydia Laceby’s debut novel.  This is the kind of book that chick-lit lovers will love immersing themselves in. Rose is ever the optimist, in love with her husband, and is thrown for a huge curve ball, upon finding out about her husband’s unfaithfulness-in every way.

Rose leaves the comfort of her home, has a huge break down, and stays with a friend-who becomes her confidant, biggest supporter, and cheerleader through it all.  Rose has to figure out what to do with her life, as she picks up the pieces of her life and comes to the realization that her marriage was a sham.  While doing this, she becomes great friends with Becky, reconnects with her mother on a closer level, nurtures the hobby she had pushed aside (gardening), and befriends those in her life that she otherwise may  not have met through those connections with Becky and the gardening club.

It’s a light read, that Lydia Laceby is able to share with readers, while covering serious issues of marriage, infidelity, mother/daughter relationships, and new beginnings.  It’s a fantastic book that I loved reading and is one of my favorite books this year, in the chick-lit genre!

excellent cupcake 5

 

LYDIA LACEBY is a co-founder of the fiction book blog, Novel Escapes. Since 2009, she has read and reviewed as much women’s fiction as humanly possible while designing, organizing and expanding the blog from two reviewers to seven.

In her spare time, she knits cute baby hats, would pick cheese over chocolate, and longs for the days she was able to cheat on her allergy free diet.

Lydia began her career writing a soap opera at the tender age of thirteen. It never aired. Redesigning Rose is her first novel.

 

 

 

 

Lydia Laceby Book Tour:

April 28 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt

April 30 – Change the Word – Q&A & Excerpt

May 2 – Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

May 6 – Chick Lit Plus – Novel Spotlight

May 8 – Crooks on Books – Review

May 9 – Karen’s Korner – Review

May 14 – Sweets Books – Excerpt

May 14 – Eat Write Love – Novel Spotlight & Q&A

May 15 – Julie Valerie’s Book Blog – Review & Q&A

May 16 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt

May 19 – Fiction Dreams – Q&A

May 20 – Little Whimsy Books – Novel Spotlight &  Excerpt

May 21 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy – Review

May 21 – Books à la Mode – Excerpt & Giveaway

May 22 – Books in the Burbs – Review & Excerpt

May 23 – Sammy the Bookworm – Excerpt

May 26 – The Book Geek Wears Pajamas – Review & Excerpt