TLC Book Tour: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Published:  Reprint edition (January 21, 2014)

Genre:  Chick-lit, Women’s Fiction

Source:  TLC Book Tours & Publisher

Synopsis:

Holly didn’t expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn’t expect to be so big. After her husband’s death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Then she meets Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer so hot that he makes her sweat in all the right (and so embarrassingly wrong!) places. Charmed by her witty wisecracks and sharp insights, he impulsively offers to help get her back in shape.

To Logan’s (and her own) surprise, Holly turns out to be a natural in the gym, slimming down into a bona fide looker with killer curves—and a new kind of hunger. Before either of them can stop it, the easy intimacy of their training sessions leads to even more steamy workouts away from the gym.

But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn’t fit his ideal? Now that Holly’s turning other men’s heads, does she even need Logan anymore? Are they a couple built to last . . . or destined to fizzle?

My Review:

If you’ve read chick-lit, then you know the storyline format.  Girl meets boy.  Boy and girl can’t stand each other.  Girl falls in love with boy.  Boy is too clueless to know he loves girl, too.  Throw in a little outside characters, add some issues, so that finally: boy and girl fall in love.  Ahhhh, we all love it! Otherwise, why would we read chicklit books???

Admit it…you love a great, predictable love story….because let’s face it…life is never predictable and we all love reading about the girl, who gets the guy to fall madly in love!

Big Girl Panties-isn’t that a fantastic title???  I love the book cover, love the synopsis, and being a big girl-I’m always rooting for the overweight girl, who falls in love with a sexy hunk, who reciprocates that love back.  Holly is a girl, that any girl can appreciate or identify with.  She is an intelligent woman, disconnected from her family, has only 1 really great girlfriend, and is grieving the loss of her husband.  She meets Logan, a personal trainer to the stars, on an airplane-where she is faced with the uneasiness of not fitting in a seat next to him.  After an hour of conversation, they both agree that Logan will train her and help her overcome the challenge of losing weight.

I loved the storyline, the characters were quirky and imperfect, and it all came together really well.   The issue of weight loss and dieting can get a bit mundane- BUT- that’s what makes this book purely genius.  Why?? Because what girl hasn’t tried (or is still trying) to lose weight and reclaim who she has hidden away in oversized clothes.  I couldn’t help but love the story, Holly, and even Logan.  I also loved the side love to Logan’s friends: Chase and Amanda!

This is a quick read, a fun read, and a book that will have you rooting for Holly and Logan! This book is filled with great timing on humor ( laughed out loud quite a bit), love the romance, and is full of surprises!! Think Swan Lake;) It’s a mashup of The Biggest Loser and the final rose on The Bachelor!  So, what are you waiting for???? Go get your Big Girl Panties and start reading!

*Thanks to the publisher and TLC for giving me the opportunity to join a great book tour!

About Stephanie Evanovich

Stephanie Evanovich is a full-fledged Jersey girl who attended New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, performed with several improvisational troupes, and acted in a few small-budget movies, all in preparation for the greatest job she ever had: raising her two sons. Now a full-time writer, she’s an avid sports fan who holds a black belt in tae kwon do.

Connect with Stephanie on Facebook.

Stephanie’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 21st: Book Journey

Wednesday, January 22nd: Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Thursday, January 23rd: Col Reads

Monday, January 27th: Seaside Book Nook

Tuesday, January 28th: Always With a Book

Wednesday, January 29th: Dear Brighton

Thursday, January 30th: Luxury Reading

Tuesday, February 4th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, February 5th: Book Marks the Spot

Wednesday, February 5th: Books in the Burbs

Thursday, February 6th: Savvy Verse & Wit

Monday, February 10th: Mom in Love With Fiction

Friday, February 14th: Books à la Mode

CLP Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt-The Hunting by Kerry Peresta

The Hunting by Kerry Peresta

Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Publication Date: November 24, 2013
Pages: 258 pages
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Chick-Lit
Synopsis:
Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper,  has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. After her last divorce, she shoved the  emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later. With three teenagers  to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she couldn’t  afford. Her mind needed a happy place.When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress  reliever and best friend. Often, she’d steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet  someone new. One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when  the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into  a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons.

Snarky, suspense-filled, and real, The Hunting is an exquisite entwining of the crippling  emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. This  inspirational story rivets!

My Review:
This book could easily be considered a Mystery/Thriller genre. Kerry Peresta writes the story in such vivid detail, that it was very easy to picture Izzy’s world!  Izzy is a busy woman, a single mom of 3 children, married 3 times, and working in high paced, stressed agency, where she has to compete against online advertising and print agencies/other agents.
I actually found the day to day grind at work quite interesting.  Reading about the challenges of what an agency goes through to keep clients, the competition with online ads, and the balance that a working mom has to deal with on a daily basis. It is a balance for Izzy to meet the demands of work, be a present mother, and have the desire of finding love.  I had a hard time understanding why she would want to meet men, when she was already so busy and had 3 failed marriages, however, she is not painted as a wild, promiscuous person.  Rather, just a woman seeking love in a very busy world.
With the world of online dating, Izzy could scan profiles quite quickly and decide who to meet.  While she is on “the hunt”, a mysterious man soon turns the tables on her, and she becomes “the hunted”.  Kerry describes the pursuit of online dating, showing the flip side to those warm and fuzzy commercials shown on tv, where people meet online and are now married.  The dark side of online dating is described and shows how quickly someone can lose control.
This is a story that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, and is certainly a bit darker than the chick-lit books you may be used to reading.  However, it a book worth reading!
*This book was provided by CLP Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review.
Read the Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

There is just one man at the bar, sitting in the darkest, most lonely corner of it, nursing a drink. I gaze around the room, looking for the mystery man I’d arranged to meet. I order a glass of wine as I wait and move toward the empty stools. The bartender works his way over, stops in front of me and smiles.

“What’ll it be tonight, Izzy?”

“A pinot, I think. Do you have Bearboat?”

“Yep.” He plucks a bottle from the shelves behind the bar, deftly uncorks, and pours.       “Give it a sec, Izzy.” I nod, wait impatiently for the wine to breathe. Turning the stool around, I scan the bar in case the man appears. After a few minutes, I swirl and sniff, then sip. Heaven in a glass. The man who had been sitting alone at the far end of the bar pushes off his stool and walks toward me. My eyes lock on his face as he emerges from the dark. The scene unfolds eerily, like something from an old Hitchcock movie. I clutch the stem of the wine glass like a security blanket and lift it to my mouth. The disgust I feel spikes as he pulls out a stool and sits beside me. The stench of cheap cologne curls up my nose. He must have freshened it since our meeting at the office. I still feel the sting of his words.

“Understandable that you are upset, Izzy. We need to clear the air, I think.” I turn my head toward him, my lips a firm line.

“I agree,” I spit out. “But this is not the time. I’m meeting someone in a few minutes. So can we talk about this at the office tomorrow?” Twin rows of perfectly straight, white teeth blaze through the dim lighting.

“Nope. We’re gonna talk about it right now. Who you waiting for, by the way?”

“My business. We’ve had this discussion.” His grin does not diminish by a single kilowatt.

“Yeah. We have. However, the discussion is ongoing.” A beat of silence. “Dreamsicle.”

The dread starts at my toes and slithers the entire vertical length of my body. My brain, a hiccup or two behind the dread, snags the realization I’ve been had. An impromptu prayer pops into my head before I can argue with myself that it never works.

I turn to him, my tongue finally loosed, mad as hell. “You? You! What are you thinking? This breaks every privacy law ever legislated, for Pete’s sake! This is . . . this is . . . unspeakable!”

The smile falters, then disappears. His eyes, in the murky light, are unblinking. Reptilian.

“Izzy, you and I have some business to process together.” His lips press close to my ear and he whispers, “For Chrissakes, you treat me like a leper. It’s going to stop. Now.”

My hand reaches instinctively to cover my ear and he backs away. The moistness of the whispered words lingers. I rub my ear and put my hand back in my lap. My hand still clenches the stem of the wine glass. I am afraid I will break it, so I unwrap my fingers, nestle the globe instead, and drink. The glass makes a soft clink when I set it down. I focus my eyes behind the bar. My mind spins furiously. Doesn’t this fall under the realm of predatory? How does one go about proving it?

CHAPTER 1

Izzy

            I tell myself the late night had been worth it. The date had turned out to be a disaster, I’d missed my alarm this morning and my kids had been upset and snarky before they’d left for school, but let’s look at the bright side. I can cross one more guy off the list. Dabbing concealer on the dark half-moons under my eyes in morning rush hour traffic, I strive, but fail, to keep my Honda in the lane. I ignore the angry honks of startled motorists, and correct my course with one knee. I screech into the Sentinel’s parking lot a few minutes late, swipe on tinted lip gloss as a final nod to looking presentable, grab my purse and speed-walk into the building, hoping my hair is not sticking out in all directions.

The ancient elevator in the lobby, a dubious attempt at historic preservation in the heart of downtown Chatbrook Springs, creaks from the third floor to the first when I push the button. The doors take a full four seconds to open. I wonder, as I step in, why I don’t just run up the stairs to save time. Leaping out of the elevator before the doors fully open, I toss my purse on my desk conveniently located exactly two steps away, and thread my way through the maze of cubicles to the corner conference room.

“Hey, Iz!” My assistant yells at me across twenty thousand square feet of industrial carpeting divided into two workspaces by a wide strip of ugly linoleum. I spin around on one foot. He lifts a fresh ad proof he has retrieved from the production department, unfurls, and points to it. I squint at it, and him, nod vigorously, then lift my hand in the classic thumb-and-forefinger circle, which translates as Go ahead and clear it.

The other assistants sprinkled throughout the room smile at the exchange, glancing at each other and the moon-faced clock on the wall. I huff an exasperated sigh. Single parents have a little more to do in the mornings than some people. A recently hired young assistant with a shocking splash of orange in her hair approaches, her hand motioning me closer.

About the Author:
Kerry Peresta’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper and e-zine humor column, The Lighter Side, and short stories in the published anthology, That One Left Shoe, and her debut novel, recently released by Pen-L Publishing, The Hunting, contemporary women’s fiction. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, and copywriter before deciding to devote more of her time to writing. She is currently working on her second novel, participating in writing conferences, and serving on the leadership team of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Kerry was a single mother for many years to four great kids, all grown and successfully carving out their own unique paths. She and her husband live in the Baltimore metro area. Her novel, The Hunting, is available in Kindle version and hard copy on Amazon.com, Pen-Lpublishing.com and her website. Visit Kerry at www.kerryperesta.com.
Connect with the Author:
Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway
Win A $20 Amazon Gift Card!!
 Leave a comment on The Hunting tour page,
and you will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!
Anyone who purchases their copy of The Hunting, before January 6, email your proof of purchase to Samantha@ChickLitPlus.com,
and you will get FIVE extra bonus entries.

CLP Book Tour Review & Excerpt: Tripped Up Love by Julie Farley

  Synopsis from CLP Blog Tours:

Heather Meadows lost the only love she’s ever known. Her perfect, yet ordinary life was turned upside down the day her 38-year-old husband died. Her happily ever after was gone in the blink of an eye. Heather’s life becomes the subject of scrutiny and pity as she tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered world and raise her three children on her own. In the midst of suburbia and gossipy neighbors, Heather tries to re-build a normal life. Little does she know she’s about to trip into a new adventure. An adventure she could never have imagined. Where will her misstep take her and how will Heather handle the prying eyes of those around her?
My Review:
Julie Farley is a gifted writer!! Within the genre of chick-lit, she balances a beautiful story that deals with the death of a loved one and the beginning of a new love.  Without getting too dark, Julie still manages to create a character that is challenged with being a single mom, balancing her writing and motherhood, as well as trying to keep some sense of normalcy for herself, her children, and her family….all while under the microscope of a very nosey, tight knit community.  Having lived there all her life, Heather knows the community simply want to help her deal with the grief of the sudden passing of her husband, however she really just wants to be left alone.
While out running, she falls, meets a man who will not only help her pick up the pieces of her heart, but learn that it is okay to love someone else without discrediting the love and commitment she had with her husband.  The story doesn’t give much detail about Heather’s relationship with her late husband, Hank.  However, there are snippets that Heather reflects on, as she tries to come to grips with the fact that she is possibly falling in love with Peter, 18 months after Hank’s death.
It was quite interesting to see how at ease Heather’s in-laws are with Peter, and the support they give them. Hank’s sister, while at first hesitant, does come around when she realizes that the love Heather has for Hank will never change and that both women will still be close friends. Heather’s children experience normal grief, which is both comical and heartfelt. What I loved most about the book, is that it is writtenin a way that doesn’t make the storyline so heavy, that is easily slips out of the chick-lit genre.
Written with a trilogy in mind, I am hopeful that Julie will consider including  more about the relationship Heather and Hank in one of the future books…especially considering how they met and at what age.  Overall, I loved this story! It’s one that will make you feel good, root for Heather, and have you buying the next book: The New Ever After!

*A huge thank-you to Samantha for working with me on the tour date!! I also am grateful to have had the opportunity to read and review this book for an honest opinion.  No forms of compensation were given.

Click on icon to submit comments for contest!

Click on icon to submit comments for contest!

Giveaway Contest!

**Everyone who leaves a comment at CLP Blog Tours, will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

Purchase your own copy of Tripped Up Love before Nov. 11 & send receipt to Samantha (at ChickLitPlus (dot) com, to get 5 bonus entries.

*click on the blog tour icon to be directed to the comment section!

______________________________________________________________

Excerpt:

Heather’s run was going so well she decided to extend it and go down to the river. She got to the corner to cross the street. Leash in one hand, bag of dog poop and cell phone in the other. There was a break in the traffic, and Heather took off. Straight into a pothole and smack down into the middle of the street. A navy blue Lexus slammed on its brakes and pulled over.

Fuck, thought Heather. She ran on this route so no one would see her. It was her few minutes of anonymity. Now she had fallen crossing the road every PTA mom traveled. People would be writing on her Facebook wall in a matter of minutes asking her if she was ok. All of her friends would wonder what else could possibly happen to this poor widow. Heather didn’t want to look up. She knew a perfectly coiffed blonde would be getting out of the car in her workout clothes. She tried to get up quickly and realized she had messed up her ankle. Coco was licking her face when she noticed there was a man grabbing her arm and pulling her up. He put her left arm over his shoulder and somehow half dragged her and half carried her over to the car. He opened the door with his free hand and effortlessly sat her in his passenger seat. Heather was still holding onto Coco, who was looking at this stranger quizzically. He bent down to pet Coco and look at her ankle.

That’s when she got her first look at him. He was wearing a short-sleeved v-neck t-shirt and jeans. Tight well-fitting jeans. And he had tattoos on his arms. Beautiful tattoos. For a minute, she thought he was the guy on The Voice or maybe his older brother. But then she remembered where she was and knew he would never be hanging out in her neck of the woods. He looked up at her with his big blue eyes and asked if she was hurt anywhere else.

“No. It’s just my ankle. I think I twisted it in the stupid pothole.”

Shit, she thought, realizing she was still carrying the bag of actual shit. She held it up, smiled and tossed it into the woods next to the car.

_______________________________________________________________________

Author Bio:

Julie Farley is the author of Tripped Up Love and The New Ever After.  She lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, four rarely quiet children and her 50 pound lap dog. Julie spends her days writing and teaching preschool. She chronicles her adventures on her blog atjuliefarley.com and is working on the next book in The New Ever After Series.

Connect with Julie!

  Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Farley/281778325176054

 Twitter: juliefarley1

 Website: www.juliefarley.com

CLP Book Tours Book Review & Excerpt: Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr

Synopsis from CLP Blog Tours:

What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out. A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” Kim, with her
blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm. While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving challenged associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads—and pages—a cross the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox—for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

My Review:

About time!! America finally has their own version of Britain’s, Bridget Jones! I absolutely loved this story and it reminded me why I love chick-lit fiction so much.  The book has a similar take on Helen Fielding’s, Bridget Jones Diary, however with its own great twists!

In a new age of social media and blogging, Meredith takes the reader into the very demanding, and oh-so comical life of Kim.  Kim’s quit wit and snarky sense of humor had me entertained and kept me engaged throughout the story.  It’s definitely a homage to Fielding’s own character, Bridget Jones, and will have readers loving the American version of BJ!

Kim is a legal secretary by day, blogger all day.  Literally.  While Kim works, she has the flexibility to blog at her job, because her “career position” isn’t really challenging.  Kim also has a desire to become a writer, and begins to draft a novel that doesn’t get completed fast enough.  Her high school arch nemesis, Hannah, has written her own book and Kim not only hears about it from her friends and the blogging world, but has to review it!!

While Blogger Girl isn’t true to plot with Fielding’s book, such as the absence of a love triangle, there is a lot of growing that Kim does with the rally of her ever supportive friends.  While I loved Kim’s circle of friends, I didn’t necessarily like the name “Bridget” as one of them.  It kept me going back to Fielding’s main character and I really didn’t want to be reminded of that book so much.  However, it is a fantastic read!! I loved everything about it, even the cheesy karaoking scene that made me cry!!

Meredith’s writing style is so light, easy to follow, with such great spins, that this book will keep you engaged the whole time.  It’s one of those books that you want to hurry up and read, so that you know what happens….but you really don’t want to hurry up, because you know there isn’t a sequel.  Yeah, it’s that good! She was also spot on about the life of a book blogger, in the reading world!!

I loved seeing the relationship between Kim and Nicholas develop, too! It’s such a great book that I am hoping Meredith will consider writing a follow-up!!

*Scroll down to read an excerpt of Blogger Girl, then go out and buy the book! It’s only $ .99 on Amazon!

 *A huge thanks to CLP Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

Excerpt:

“Penny for your thoughts, Blogger Girl.”

I snapped out of my list making and faced Nicholas, silently praying he was not a mind reader.  He looked at me expectantly.
I swung my free hand in dismissal and lifted my drink towards him. “Nothing important. Cheers!”
Nicholas clinked his glass against mine, said, “Cheers” and took a sip of his drink.
Following his lead, I took a sip of mine.  Nicholas inched closer to me. Speaking in almost a whisper, he said, “Having fun yet?”
Very aware that we’d never stood this close to each other and that these were practically the most words we’d ever exchanged one on one, I replied with faux nonchalance, “Can’t really complain about free drinks. You?” The cuffs of his shirt sleeves had been pushed up to his elbows and I pondered whether the dark hair on his arms was coarse or soft. I wondered what it would feel like to run my fingers up and down his arm. I also wondered if he could hear my heart beating through my chest.
“Definitely can’t complain about that,” Nicholas agreed. “And a break from work is always welcome, especially these days.” He smiled. “Doing anything good this weekend?”
I had practically forgotten it was Thursday night, which was odd for me since I lived for the weekends when my secretarial duties did not get in the way of my reading. “Not sure yet. Probably drinks with friends. And I need to catch up on some reading. For the blog. What about you?” Please don’t mention a girlfriend. 
“Oh, this and that.” His eyes glowed, almost like he was holding back a secret.
 I bit down on my lip and without thinking, blurted out, “Do This and That have last names?”
Nicholas gave me a once over before shaking his head laughing. “I’ll probably spend most of it at work actually. So, tell me more about this blog.”
I tipped my head to the side. “What do you want to know?”  “I don’t know. Like, what made you start it?”
“The condensed version or the truth?”
Nicholas cocked an eyebrow. “How long of a story is the truth?”
“Why? Do you have a date to rush off to?” I swallowed hard. Nice, Kim. 
Laughing, he said, “It’s just that your answer was rather mysterious, you know?”
I shuffled my feet. “Well, I usually tell people I started the blog because I’ve always loved to read, blah, blah, blah.”
“Blah blah blah. Gotcha.”
After he said that, he winked at me and when my knees wobbled in response, I grabbed the bar with my free hand. “The truth is that one day I was bored at home surfing the internet and I found all of these blogs dedicated to romance books, like Harlequin stuff, and then I found some more devoted to science fiction, thrillers and so on. But I could barely find anything dedicated to chick lit and it pissed me off because I love it. I figured if I love it, there must be other girls who love it too and maybe if I started this blog, I’d find them and we’d bond.” I paused. “Aren’t you glad you asked?”
As his phone rang, Nicholas distractedly responded, “Yeah, that’s cool,” before bringing it to his ear. He whispered, “Sorry” before answering it.
I wondered if it was from “This” or “That.”
_____________________________________________________________________________
Author Bio:A born and bred New Yorker, Meredith Schorr discovered her passion for writing when she began to enjoy drafting work-related emails way more than she was probably supposed to, and was famous among her friends for writing witty birthday cards. After dabbling in children’s stories and blogging her personal experiences, Meredith found her calling writing “real chick lit for real chicks.” When Meredith is not hard at work on her current work in progress, she spends her days as a trademark paralegal at a law firm in New York City. Meredith is a loyal New York Yankees fan and an avid runner. She also loves to read and is always on the lookout for her new favorite author. A State of Jane is her second novel.

Book Review: For Nick by Taylor Dean

Book Information:

Title: For Nick

Author: Taylor Dean

Publisher: CreateSpace

Pages: 297

Genre: Chick-lit

Source: Amazon Kindle

Cupcake Rating: The Ultimate Cupcake Supreme!

Synopsis:

What would you do for love?

Zachary Drake had love in his life—and tragically lost it. He knows it won’t come his way again. Andie Parker would do anything for the love of her life.

Even marry a total stranger.

In spite of the unorthodox manner in which Zach and Andie come together, there is no denying that things are unexpectedly good between them, taking them both by surprise.

However, when secrets come between them—and trust does
not—Andie soon finds herself vowing to never make the same mistake again. But, she’d do it again in a heartbeat and she knows it. She’d marry a hundred strangers if it helped Nick. She’d do anything for Nick . . . anything.

My Review:

If you’ve watched the failed movie, “The Bachelor”, starring Chris O’Donnell and Renée Zellweger, then this book will seem similar. The one huge difference-this book is a HUGE success!!!

I loved every bit of it and it reminded me of the reasons why I love chick-lit- because of the light romance, the comedy, and the times it’s soooo gooey with love that you don’t realize you are smiling from ear to ear and tune the world out ( because you simply want to stay in their world)! Yep, that’s how great this book is!!

Aside from the grandfather issuing an ultimatum for the grandson to marry in order to be given a multi-million dollar company, within a year, the storyline deviates for sure from the movie. So, it’s not a remake of the movie, has nothing to do with the movie, and you will love every bit of this book, unlike the movie.

I don’t know when this book was offered for free on Amazon, but I downloaded it and had it stored in my reader for a TBR later book. However, I kept reading great reviews and I have read Taylor’s sequel books (“Lancaster House” and “The Middle Aisle”), so I love her work. Rather than wait, I went ahead and read it this week and fell in love with Andie and her quirkiness. I also loved Nick, despite his stubbornness. Both Andie and Nick have secrets and while they both have their reasons to marry for money, they don’t realize that what brought them together, isn’t what will keep them together. They fall in love much too quickly, both realize they need to figure things out, all the while tormenting themselves because they are afraid of admitting how hopelessly in love they really are.

This is a great feel good book, one that you will want to grab a blanket and curl up on the couch and read. It’s a story that will make you smile, break your heart, and make you fall in love all over again- with Andi & Nick, as well as the genre: chick-lit!! It’s cheesy at times (don’t we expect that from chick-lit?), sometimes not realistic (isn’t that the point of reading fiction?), and ends with this great feel good scene that you will want to reread the chapter again, and again!! And, yes…this is a book that you will want to reread, too!! It’s definitely the best work of fiction, Taylor Dean has written, and I’m excited for more of her stories in the future!

About the Author:

Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding that she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of romance in her line-up.

My blog is the story of my path to publication. I’m not an expert by any means. However, I’ve learned a lot in the process, and hopefully, what I share with you will help you towards fulfilling your writing dreams. I’ll start at the beginning and work my way to the present day. If you want to learn the entire story, start at the first blog post! Otherwise, join at any time and enjoy the ride! I write in all sub-genres of Romance: suspense, paranormal, and contemporary. My novels are much like Forest’s box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. One thing is certain however, you will always get a healthy dose of CLEAN Romance. Lancaster House and Sierra will be available for purchase in June of 2012, with my other novels following shortly thereafter.

Review: Market Street by Anita Hughes

Product Details

  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0312643330
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (March 26, 2013)

Synopsis:

Cassie Blake seems to lead a charmed life as the heiress to Fenton’s, San Francisco’s most exclusive department store. But when she discovers her husband, Aidan, a handsome UC Berkeley professor, has had an affair with a student, she flees to the comfort of her best friend Alexis’s Presidio Heights mansion, where she wonders if she should give their marriage one more chance.

Whether or not she can forgive Aidan is not the only choice Cassie has to make. Cassie’s mother is eager to have her oversee the opening of Fenton’s new Food Emporium, which Fenton’s hopes will become San Francisco’s hottest gourmet shopping destination. Cassie’s true passion has always been food, not fashion, and Cassie suspects her mother might be trying to lure her into the Fenton’s fold by entrusting her with such an exciting opportunity. And then there is James, the architect designing the Emporium, who is quietly falling in love with her…

My Review:

First of all, the book cover does not do the book justice!!  I would have loved to have seen a red box or “princess” bag from Fenton’s because of the vivid detail Anita Hughes describes the bags and boxes at Fenton’s, a department store that becomes a focal point in the storyline.

Aside from the cover, I absolutely loved the book!  I connected with the characters, loved the plot, and enjoyed following the twists and turns throughout the book.  While I am not a fashionista by any means, I found myself mesmerized with the detail of Fenton’s (a department store), the fashion styles described in the book, and the trendy, wealthy customers that passed through Fenton’s each day.  There was such detail to the art, organic food co-op and emporium, that it made me feel that I was there.  Despite the detail, the storyline did not get bogged down with so much information.  Rather, it enhanced the reading experience and made me feel like I was a fly on a wall.

Cassie has some life decisions to make that will certainly alter her future.  Cassie processes her feelings and thoughts about her marriage, her career choices, and the demands of her mother (owner of Fenton’s).  Cassie’s best friend, Alexis helps Cassie through this difficult time as she helps Cassie figure out what to do next.  While the relationship between Cassie and her mother isn’t a primary focus in this book, it certainly affects Cassie in certain business decisions she makes.  I loved Cassie and Alexis’ relationship and how they remained close despite being so different.

While this book will certainly be a favorite among those who love the chick-lit genre, this book certainly crosses over genres that will attract a larger audience of adults.  Market Street will become a book club favorite among women, and a great read for anyone that loves fashion and gourmet food.  Sprinkle in husband/wife issues, mother/daughter issues, and a fork in the road with a career choice, and it is a recipe for a must read!

I hope Anita Hughes will consider a follow-up to this book as I would certainly read that in a minute!!  Buy this book, grab a cup of chai tea, and find a comfortable chair…you will love this book!

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*This book was provided by St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

Cup of Tea Books Review: Back on the Market by L.A. Frazier

Product Details

  • File Size: 402 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1939403014
  • Publisher: Cup of Tea Books, an imprint of PageSpring Publishing (December 15, 2012)

Synopsis:

Recently divorced, forty-something Vicky Andrews desperately needs a life.

Finding her boss naked and dead at an open house she’s hosting was not what she had in mind.

Wishing she’d spend more time reading Nancy Drew in her formative years, Vicky calls upon her own intuition and various investigative skills to try to find a piece of incriminating evidence the murderer thinks she has–before the murderer finds her.

She might decide that the world has it in for her if not for Detective Nick Carson, who shares frustration, information, and more than a few fantastic kisses as he tries to solve the case.

Throw in a rescued miniature dachshund, a skeleton named Max, and a coven of well-intentioned neighbors, and maybe, just maybe, Vicky has found exactly what she needs.

My Review:

From the moment I read page 1, I loved this book! It is fast paced, a light read, filled with mystery, bat crazy old ladies, and some love.  The author keeps the book light, even though there is this bizarre murder that takes place at a house that is for sale.  I love the charm and quirkiness of Vicky’s character and she is one tough cookie!  It’s a short read, however there is plenty of meat to this book to sink your teeth into.  I would definitely rank this book as one of my top favorites in the genre of “chick-lit”!  Anyone that wants a quick read, filled with some mystery and some speckles of love and chocolate, will certainly enjoy reading this book!

5 rating

*This book was provided by Cup of Tea Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Review & Book Giveaway: True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano

 

Synopsis:

Marlo Spencer relishes all things retro. Old TV shows, classic movies, and even the collectible lunch boxes to go with them. In fact, she’s quite cozy in her Malibu apartment, surrounded by her treasured knick-knacks and vintage memorabilia. It’s her best friend, Nik, who doesn’t get her fascination with all that “old junk,” as he calls it. He especially doesn’t understand why she’s so keen to get back to their hometown of Napa when her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris and nary a single phone call, eager to reunite with her. So, when Marlo heads up north to wine country to rekindle her relationship with Josh, Nik tags along, claiming he was already planning to visit his sister, Savannah, Marlo’s gal pal. Once they reach Napa, however, dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and past betrayals are revealed, leaving an unsuspecting Marlo to pick up the pieces. Can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?

 

My Review:

If you ever want to read a chick-lit book, pick this one! It has everything that makes me love chick-lit, which is a new genre for me.  I loved the charm and quirkiness of the characters, the back in time moments with I Love Lucy reruns, and even an old flame from high school.  With just a touch of romance, a whole serving of laughs, and some twists and turns, I was engrossed in the book and couldn’t put it down!!  I loved the way the story flowed, the storyline was interesting and had some real life challenges readers can relate to, and shows how love never truly dies.  This is not a heavy book, there are some unrealistic parts in the storyline, but isn’t that why we love chick-lit? It takes you away for just a moment in time and in the end, you can’t help but smile and feel good about it.  I highly recommend this book!

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

About the Author:

Nancy Scrofano grew up watching classic television shows, classic movies, and listening to oldies, all of which she still adores today. Nancy has a penchant for the fifties, mostly because of her favorite show, I Love Lucy. She has seen every episode countless times and will happily share the trivia she knows with anyone who will listen. Nancy worked as an editor and a journalist for her college newspaper, then went on to develop sociology textbooks for an academic publisher. She has a master’s degree in media psychology, as well as undergraduate degrees in communication, radio and television, and liberal arts. Nancy currently writes book reviews for a prestigious book review magazine. Additionally, she is the founder and managing editor of The Chick Lit Bee, a book blog that promotes and celebrates women’s fiction, and Good Humor Girl, a women’s entertainment blog. Nancy lives in southern California where she is at work on her next novel.

Connect With the Author:

http://www.nancyscrofano.com

http://www.twitter.com/writernancy

http://www.facebook.com/nancyscrofano

http://www.pinterest.com/nancyscrofano

WIN THE E-BOOK!

Book giveaway ends October 31, 2012.

Mini-Reviews- Cupcake with a Little Icing, Cupcake with Sprinkles, Cupcake with Cherry on Top Ratings!

Synopsis:

Adelia has no one to blame for her heartache. She’d been cautioned, many times and by many people. Everyone except her mother had told her it was folly to marry an elf, citing a host of reasons. Adelia knew their warnings were not unfounded. She knew he was very different from her and her kind, he was much older, and he’d had five other wives before her. She didn’t care. She had chosen her path.

The Sixth Wife is a novella of approximately 7,300 words (35 pages).

Review:

This is a short story that took me about 2 hours to read. It was a rather interesting storyline and one that I think many can relate to….aging and loving someone.  I would have loved for the story to have been longer because the author would have had more time to explain some of the history behind the elves and humans, how they live, and how their worlds merge.  Nonetheless, it was a good story.

*This book was provided for free through Library Thing by author, Laura Lond, in exchange for an honest review.  To purchase the book for your Kindle, please click on the picture and you will be directed to the purchase link.

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Synopsis:

A CASE FOR SOLOMON: BOBBY DUNBAR AND THE KIDNAPPING THAT HAUNTED A NATION chronicles one of the most celebrated—and most misunderstood—kidnapping cases in American history. In 1912, four-year-old Bobby Dunbar, the son of an upper-middle-class Louisiana family, went missing in the swamps. After an eight-month search that electrified the country and destroyed Bobby’s parents, the boy was found, filthy and hardly recognizable, in the pinewoods of southern Mississippi. A wandering piano tuner who had been shuttling the child throughout the region by wagon for months was arrested and charged with kidnapping—a crime that was punishable by death at the time. But when a destitute single mother came forward from North Carolina to claim the boy as her son, not Bobby Dunbar, the case became a high-pitched battle over custody—and identity—that divided the South.Amid an ever-thickening tangle of suspicion and doubt, two mothers and a father struggled to assert their rightful parenthood over the child, both to the public and to themselves. For two years, lawyers dissected and newspapers sensationalized every aspect of the story. Psychiatrists, physicians, criminologists, and private detectives debated the piano tuner’s guilt and the boy’s identity. And all the while the boy himself remained peculiarly guarded on the question of who he was. It took nearly a century, a curiosity that had been passed down through generations, and the science of DNA to discover the truth.A Case for Solomon is a gripping historical mystery, distilled from a trove of personal and archival research. The story of Bobby Dunbar, fought over by competing New Orleans tabloids, the courts, and the citizenry of two states, offers a case study in yellow journalism, emergent forensic science, and criminal justice in the turn-of-the-century American South. It is a drama of raw poverty and power and an exposÉ of how that era defined and defended motherhood, childhood, and community. First told in a stunning episode of National Public Radio’s This American Life, A Case for Solomon chronicles the epic struggle to determine one child’s identity, along the way probing unsettling questions about the formation of memory, family, and self.Review:I received this book to read and review by Simon & Schuster.  I felt like a reporter reading this book, because at times it read like a report or case study.  I had to actually remind myself that it read that way because it is a real story that happened in America!!  I was amazed at how many people were willing to lie to themselves because the alternative was too painful. As a family therapist, I was mesmerized and would have loved to have met the family.  There were so many family patterns and issues that weren’t dealt with, but with anything, a lie will slowly rip apart the seams of a very intact family.  It was a great book that I enjoyed reading.

*This book was provided for by Simon & Schuster for an honest review.  To purchase the book for your Kindle, please click on the picture and to be directed to the book.

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  Synopsis:

When Christine Blacksworth’s larger-than-life father is killed on an icy road in Magdalena, New York, a hundred miles from the ‘getaway’ cabin he visited every month, she discovers a secret that threatens everything she’s always held to be true. Her father has another family which includes a mistress and a daughter. Determined to uncover the truth behind her father’s secret life, Christine heads to Magdalena, prepared to hate the people who have caused her to question everything she thought she knew about her father. But what she finds is a woman who understands her, a half sister who cherishes her, and a man who could love her if she’ll let him. The longer she’s around them, the more she questions which family is the real one. . .

Included in the Kindle edition are 2 Chapters of PULLING HOME – She’ll risk anything to save her child…even the truth.

Review:

This was a great book!  This is the first book I’ve read from the author, and I love her writing. The characters are developed very well and it was interesting to read how Mary balances the characters with the plot, without making the book too bogged down with details.  While there are moments where the storyline is unrealistic, the issues of family secrets, alliances, and expectations, readers will certainly understand those family dynamics.  The story is about 500+ pages, but it sure does go fast!

 

Marina Girl by Heather Joy Hampton

Synopsis:

Olivia Michaels knew she was embarking on an adventure when she moved to San Francisco, but she had no idea her address would label her a social pariah commonly referred to as a Marina girl.
The Marina girl is a stereotype of a preppy, generic young woman who lives in the tiny neighborhood known as the Marina. You need to know about the history of the Marina to understand how and why the Marina girl developed into the albatross of San Francisco.
After the 1906 earthquake, the city pushed all the ashes and rubble north down the steep hills of Pacific Heights, creating a landfill adjacent to a former pasture that later became the Cow Hollow neighborhood. Hundreds of Mediterranean-style homes were constructed in the 1920s on land that jiggled better than Bill Cosby’s Jell-O when the 1989 earthquake hit.Most of the longtime residents moved away, leaving yuppie youngsters, perhaps less aware of their own mortality, to take over the neighborhood. Twenty years later, the Marina is the playground for San Francisco’s worst nightmare, otherwise known as the Marina girl.

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My Review:
I can’t give this book a rating. I was unable to finish the book for a few reasons, so I have listed this book as a “DNF”.  To read what a DNF means on my rating scale, please click here.
I truly wanted to enjoy this book. It has a great book cover, love the title, and the synopsis really sounds interesting.  However, I found myself not connecting with the main character or her cohorts (roommates) in a way that I would have liked.  Because I couldn’t connect with them, it was difficult to appreciate the writing that Heather Joy Hamptom poured her heart into.  My blog isn’t meant to discredit a book or author, it’s meant to shine a little light onto books that I have enjoyed. Because I only read half way through the book, it would not be prudent to give a rating. I’d like to encourage others to read the book and come to your own conclusions about the story. As always, every review is subjective and everyone may come back with a different point of view.  So, I encourage you to do this.  My thanks to Heather Joy Hampton for allowing me to read her book. I wish her much continued success!!