TLC Book Tour Review: Driving Lessons by Zoe Fishman

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date:   April 8/2014

Pages:  336

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Source:  TLC Book Tours


Sometimes life’s most fulfilling journeys begin without a map.

An executive at a New York cosmetics firm, Sarah has had her fill of the interminable hustle of the big city. When her husband, Josh, is offered a new job in suburban Virginia, it feels like the perfect chance to shift gears.

While Josh quickly adapts to their new life, Sarah discovers that having time on her hands is a mixed blessing. Without her everyday urban struggles, who is she? And how can she explain to Josh, who assumes they are on the same page, her ambivalence about starting a family?

It doesn’t help that the idea of getting behind the wheel—an absolute necessity of her new life—makes it hard for Sarah to breathe. It’s been almost twenty years since she’s driven, and just the thought of merging is enough to make her teeth chatter with anxiety. When she signs up for lessons, she begins to feel a bit more like her old self again, but she’s still unsure of where she wants to go.

Then a crisis involving her best friend lands Sarah back in New York—a trip to the past filled with unexpected truths about herself, her dear friend, and her seemingly perfect sister-in-law…and an astonishing surprise that will help her see the way ahead.

quick mix review

Buy/Borrow/Bargain:  Library Loaner

Quick or Long Read: Even thought it’s not a big book, it was a loooong read!

The Cover: Absolutely stunning!  However, I didn’t feel that it truly represented the storyline.  Perhaps, the cover is trying to encompass the life of a small town with hope in a jar, but that’s me stretching it.

The Title: I love the title.  The title is truly a reflection of what the book is about: learning a new life.

Audience:  Those like enjoy Women’s fiction!

Overall Thoughts: I really struggled with this book.  I loved the beginning of the book, but the storyline moved so slowly that I found myself daydreaming…and reading is my escape.  So, if I’m daydreaming, while reading, well- that’s just not a good sign.  The characters were likeable, the plot was quite realistic and ordinary to me, you, your neighbor.  I wanted a little bit more pizzazz, some bigger issues to show the strength and transformation of the characters, since the book was more character driver and not plot driven.  Overall, it was a good book.  It’s a cozy read that people will enjoy reading as a break from more heavier topic books.

good cupcake 3

About Zoe FishmanZoe Fishman

Zoe Fishman is the author of Balancing Acts and Saving Ruth. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and son.

Find out more about Zoe at her website, follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on Facebook.

Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 8th: BoundbyWords

Wednesday, April 9th: Bibliotica

Thursday, April 10th: cupcake’s book cupboard

Monday, April 14th: missris

Tuesday, April 15th: Books in the Burbs

Wednesday, April 16th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Thursday, April 17th: Seaside Book Nook

Monday, April 21st: Write Meg

Tuesday, April 22nd: Luxury Reading

Wednesday, April 23rd: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, April 24th: From L.A. to LA

Monday, April 28th: The Well-Read Redhead




Book Review: The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

Publisher: St. Martin’s
Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2011
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0-312-54270-2
Genre:  Women’s fiction
Format: E-book
Source:  NetGalley
An absorbing, highly entertaining novel about family secrets, The Never Never Sisters introduces you to the strong-willed and big-hearted Reinhardt women, as they reunite one summer in New York. Gifted storyteller L. Alison Heller has written another witty and moving page-turner that will captivate readers and keep them guessing right up until the satisfying end. 

Sometimes you just need to get away….Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.

As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?

quick mix review

Buy/Borrow/Bargain:  Borrow

Themes:  family secrets, mental illness, family separation, siblings, marriage issues

Quick or Long Read:  Quick

The Cover:  Beautiful cover! Love how it shows the sisters are close, or will be close…

The Title:  Didn’t quite understand it, as it’s not their last name and not any reference made to the title.

Overall Thoughts: Paige is a very part-time therapist, who sees one patient throughout the book.  Her husband is suspended for work and Paige doesn’t know why.  Sloan is her sister, who disappeared when Paige was a little girl, and never knew why.  Their mother is quite happy when Sloan returns to their hometown, with her fiancé.  Paige has many revelations regarding her marriage, her role in her parent’s life, and how to come to terms with not having a sister for the majority of her life.  Sloan is a free spirit, bi-polar (unmedicated), and never really addresses her issues with her parents.  Paige learns family secrets, has decisions to make regarding her own marriage, and the kind of relationship she wants with her family.  Overall, it’s a good story with not much depth to the characters.  I would have liked more information on Sloan’s life (before returning home), and the issue with her husband was quite glazed over. However, the ending was a little sweet.

Audience: Women’s fiction reader, who like cozy stories.

Rating:  A Good cupcake





TLC Book Tour Review: Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley

Title: Clever Girl
Author: Tessa Hadley
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
ISBN: 9780224096522
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 320
Source: TLC Book Tours


Like Alice Munro and Colm Tóibín, Tessa Hadley possesses the remarkable ability to transform the mundane into the sublime—an eye for the beauty, innocence, and irony of ordinary lives that elevates domestic fiction to literary art. In Clever Girl, she offers the indelible story of one woman’s life, unfolded in a series of beautifully sculpted episodes that illuminate an era, moving from the 1960s to today.

Written with the celebrated precision, intensity, and complexity that have marked her previous works, Clever Girl is a powerful exploration of family relationships and class in modern life, witnessed through the experiences of an Englishwoman named Stella. Unfolding in a series of snapshots, Tessa Hadley’s involving and moving novel follows Stella from childhood, growing up with her single mother in a Bristol bedsit, into the murky waters of middle age.

It is a story vivid in its immediacy and rich in drama—violent deaths, failed affairs, broken dreams, missed chances. Yet it is Hadley’s observations of everyday life, her keen skill at capturing the ways men and women think and feel and relate to one another, that dazzles, pressing us to exclaim with each page, Yes, this is how it is.

My Review:

Stella is anything but an ordinary girl.  She lives an interesting life, has relationships with men, and is a mom of 2 sons.  I liked how Tessa writes the storyline to read almost as if I’m reading a diary, that creates this space for Stella to relive some parts of her past and reflect on them.  It was interesting to see how her relationships with men could have stemmed from the absence of her own father and the lies she is told about him.  In a time when young girls and women had certain gender roles, even the issues between social class was prevalent, Stella breaks down barriers…perhaps not for the greater cause of the women’s movement, but she essentially was her own person.  The story flows well, with not too many moments of shock or surprise.  I imagined Tessa picking a time period, that was quite interesting, and picked one person’s life to follow through different time periods-as we meet those Stella knows and meets and how they are all interconnected in some way.  Overall, it was a good read!

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

About Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley is the author of four highly praised novels: Accidents in the Home, which was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award; Everything Will Be All RightThe Master Bedroom; and The London Train, which was a New York Times Notable Book. She is also the author of two short-story collections, Sunstroke and Married Love, both of which were New York Times Notable Books as well. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker. She lives in London.

Tessa’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 4th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 5th: BookNAround

Monday, March 10th: missris

Tuesday, March 11th: Read. Write. Repeat.

Wednesday, March 12th: She’s Got Books On Her Mind

Thursday, March 13th: A Bookish Way of Life

Friday, March 14th: Write Meg

Monday, March 17th: bookchickdi

Tuesday, March 18th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, March 19th: A Novel Review

Thursday, March 20th: The House of the Seven Tails

Monday, March 24th: Between the Covers

Tuesday, March 25th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, March 26th: A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, March 27th: 5 Minutes For Books

Monday, March 31st: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, April 1st: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

Wednesday, April 2nd: Sweet Tea and Lollipops

Thursday, April 3rd: The 3R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness

TBD: Books in the Burbs

book giveaway logo

TLC Book Tour Review: The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh

Title: The Moon Sisters
Author: Therese Walsh
ISBN: 9780307461605
Pages: 336
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Crown
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours & Publisher

Synopsis from TLC Book Tours:

This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories.

After their mother’s probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother’s unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest.

Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.

My Review:

The story starts with a mother’s suicide and one daughter’s quest to find the place her mother always wanted to visit.  Having an aloof, drunken father, and a grandmother that encourages this journey, Jazz goes after Olivia to help her reach the destination.  Told with such vivid detail, it was quite interesting to read Olivia’s take on foods, emotions, objects, etc.  Having synesthesia, Olivia’s point of view was quite interesting.  Jazz is the level headed sister, who felt most disconnected from her mother and sees her dysfunctional family as it is…nothing flowery…just insane.  Both embark on a journey that deals with train hoppers, getting sidetracked on their journey.

It was interesting for the author to break the book into the different stages of grief, based on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s model.  Each section also had a letter that the sisters’ mother wrote her own father (their grandfather, respectively).  Even though I couldn’t make the connection with the stages of grief and the issues the sisters were faced in those particular sections of the book, it did remind the reader that the sisters were grieving and both had their ways of coping with this loss and finding meaning in that tragic circumstance.

It’s a story of sisterly love, sometimes hate or resentment, and how one can move on when someone they love lets go.


About Therese Walsh

THERESE WALSH is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.

Follow Therese on Twitter and Facebook.






Therese Walsh’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, March 3rd:  Lit and Life

Tuesday, March 4th:  Beth Fish Reads – “Today’s Read” guest post

Tuesday, March 4th:  Book Club Classics!

Wednesday, March 5th:  Book-a-licious Mama

Thursday, March 6th:  girlichef

Friday, March 7th:  Books in the Burbs

Monday, March 10th:  Bookchickdi

Tuesday, March 11th:  Traveling with T

Wednesday, March 12th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Thursday, March 13th:  Book Snob

Friday, March 14th:  The Book Barn

Tuesday, March 18th:  Fiction Addict

Tuesday, March 18th:  5 Minutes for Moms

Wednesday, March 19th:  Time 2 Read

Thursday, March 20th:  Bibliotica

Monday, March 24th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage

Wednesday, March 26th:  A Novel Review

Thursday, March 27th:  A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, April 1st:  Suko’s Notebook

Wednesday, April 2nd:  A Reader of Fictions

Tuesday, April 8th:  Books a la Mode

A huge thanks to TLC Book Tours!!



TLC Book Tour Review : The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Publisher: William Morrow and Company

Publish Date: February 4, 2014

Pages:  256

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Literature

Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis from TLC:

The internationally bestselling tale of love, loss, and memories that run deep

When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother’s house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there. Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she’ll make a decision: keep it or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother’s cottage is an enchanting place, where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love’s embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried.

My Review:

As I first started to read this story, I was reminded of my own childhood at my great-grandmother’s house.  She had this huge tree, where I would eat the pomegranates, it would produce in the Spring.  This story has a touch of whimsy, beautiful descriptions, all mixed in with a crazy family.  I found the stories of  Iris’s family quite interesting and there were many times I wanted the storyline to go deeper in the descriptions.  At 256 pages, the book had so many interesting characters, that the author could have easily added another 100 pages to help make the storyline more seamless.  The story read more like someone laying on the couch in a Freudian like setting, and just telling whatever stories come to mind, like someone’s stream of consciousness: a bit disjointed, skips a little bit, but ultimately goes back to the magic in this small town,  connected by shared memories, and the different seeds the apple tree produces.  It would make for a great discussion in a literary class, because of the symbolism and literary style of the book.



About Katharina Hagena

Katharina Hagena is the author of On Sleep and Disappearing. She lives in Hamburg, Germany.



Katharina’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 4th: A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, February 5th: She’s Got Books On Her Mind

Thursday, February 6th: Broken Teepee

Monday, February 10th: cupcake’s book cupboard

Tuesday, February 11th: Bibliotica

Thursday, February 13th: From L.A. to LA

Monday, February 17th: Book-alicious Mama

Tuesday, February 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, February 19th: BookNAround

Thursday, February 20th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, February 24th: BoundbyWords

Wednesday, February 26th: Books in the Burbs






She Reads January Book Club Pick: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Publisher:  Gallery Books (January 14, 2014)

Pages:  352

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction

Source:  She Reads


If you could do it all over again, would you still choose him?

At age thirty-nine, Lucie Walker has no choice but to start her life over when she comes to, up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay, with no idea how she got there or who she is. Her memory loss is caused by an emotional trauma she knows nothing about, and only when handsome, quiet Grady Goodall arrives at the hospital does she learn she has a home, a career, and a wedding just two months away. What went wrong? Grady seems to care for her, but Lucie is no more sure of him than she is of anything. As she collects the clues of her past self, she unlocks the mystery of what happened to her. The painful secrets she uncovers could hold the key to her future—if she trusts her heart enough to guide her.

My Review:

This story is one huge twist!!  Lucie is engaged and finds herself staring into the ocean, far away from her life in Seattle.  Suffering from amnesia, she struggles to come to terms with who she was and who she is now.  With flashbacks to a childhood she has no understanding of, she begins a relationship with her estranged Aunt Helen.  Together, she and Helen will face the harsh reality of their younger lives and help them to forge ahead with forgiveness and understanding.  Through it all, Grady is also coming to terms with his engagement to a Lucie he doesn’t know anymore and figure out his future with or without her.

While Lucie reconciles with her past, she realizes that she doesn’t have to let go of any part of her, rather it completes her.  As I finished the reading the story, I realized that her amnesia really was an enlightenment to her whole life as she comes to grips with the realities of her childhood.  While I would have liked the story to delve further into her recovery and therapy, it was still a great read!

*A HUGE thanks to She Reads for providing this book to me, in exchange for an honest review.

Enter for your chance to win 1 copy of  Love Water Memory

by Jennie Shortridge! 

Follow Jennie Shortridge

Click here to enter a book giveaway!

Wrapping It Up for 2013!

wrapped book

I can’t believe that 2013 has come to an end.  It’s been a hectic year, a year full of wonderful beginnings and endings, and some great books that have made this year even better!

My daughter started prek this year, my oldest son is in his last year of high school, my husband had sinus surgery-turned hospitalization from anesthesia, remodeled our home, younger son took drivers ed, we adopted 2 brother pups, and I started on a road to healthier living-down 25 pounds so far!

So, that’s a very quick, very simplistic narrowing down of my year for 2013.  Now, let’s talk books!

Please click on each book to read the synopsis!

This is a story that is riveting, as it will keep you engaged the whole time and you will not want to put the book down, until you turn the last page.  Even then, you will wonder about the characters in the book.  It’s a story that easily could have turned a bit paranormal, a bit scary, even a bit too predicatable.  However, Kristina McMorris takes you to the very edge of the cliff, only to bring you back in for more.

It’s told through the alternating voices and time periods.  One is a widowed mother of a young son, the other is a the grieving, heartsick young lover of a solider.  Both of their stories will intersect at one point in the story, but not until you’ve truly become immersed in their stories.  While both stories have a sense of urgency, the story doesn’t feel rushed, or drawn out.  Rather, it has a very beautiful balance of expectation and being in the present.

I loved this story and appreciated the way a story in history was recreated in a way that shows the vulnerability and endurance that true love has: one for a man, the other for a son.

*This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


I absolutely loved this story!! It had me from page 1, literally.  First of all, I want to live on a house boat, or at least stay in one for a week.  Secondly, the mystery and love story is absolutely beautiful.  Sarah Jio does not disappoint her readers, new and established fans of her work.

Sarah has a gift of storytelling, and this is one of her best ones by far.  Told in alternating voices and timelines, the reader will be introduced to Ada ( a widow, who also loses her daughter), and Penny ( a lonely wife of an artist).  It is a story of love, loss, feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.  However, as the flower itself: morning glory, the spirit cannot be truly broken and new life always springs up.

It’s such a beautiful and tragic tale, that it left me truly missing the characters of the story at the end.  Sarah Jio is a talented writer, who can write a character that readers will recognize, sympathize with, and feel connected to.  This is a must read and should be on everyone’s TBR list for 2014!

 *This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


This is a sweet story, about love and new beginnings.  It is during a time when women had to do as they were told, with the exception of this one great heroine: Cora Kensington.  Because this is the 3rd book in the series, I had a very difficult time truly appreciating the characters and their stories.  It’s not a stand alone book, in my opinion, and should only be read after reading the first 2 books in the series.  It will be easier to understand Cora’s decision to return to the US and her decision to stray from what is expected of her with marriage and business.  It is a good story and I am sure readers following the series will absolutely love Cora’s journey to the States.

*This book was provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


I’m always leery to read books that everyone has read and raved about.  I know….I’m weird that way.  It’s just that I don’t starting a book with high expectations, that I am just so disappointed and wished I had just not opened the book.  However, this is one that will not disappoint!! I loved every bit of this story, cried, laughed, and as a mom of 2 teenagers, I could completely relate with the parents and hear my kids saying some of the things Hazel, Gus, and Ozzie say.  The story is so realistic, the emotions are so raw and revealing, and it’s a story that needed to be told in a way that readers can resonate with the characters and perhaps, be a little kinder and befriend someone battling an illness.  Because, if anything can be learned from this story, it is that “cancer” doesn’t define the person.  I read this book in 2 evenings, and researched Esther Earl, too.  While the story isn’t about her, John Green was inspired by her outlook on life, as she fought cancer and lived her life as best as she could.  I don’t know how a movie will be able to recreate the magic in the story, so that is a huge feat the director is taking on.  Nonetheless, read this book!

*I purchased this book, because it was a really great deal for $2.99.  P.S. Don’t let the cover dissuade you from buying the book.  The cover doesn’t do the story justice!


Book Winner for Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson is:

Angela J.

End of Year Reflection:

It has been a very challenging, but blessed week for us. My husband was hospitalized from a severe reaction to anesthesia and it was very emotional, very difficult to watch him in pain, and a lot of balancing the home, helping keep our children at peace, and relying on family.  I write that it was a blessing, because out of the worst case scenario for an outpatient procedure my husband had, something beautiful happened.  His family came together and they all reconnected in a way that has been truly missed.  It was wonderful to see my children with their uncles and grandparents, and it was wonderful to know that we weren’t alone in this minute by minute, day by day, stand-by. 

We also met some fantastic people, who are just so inspirational and full of love for Christ.  Christmas was spent in the hospital, but we all learned that it isn’t where you are, or what you do, it is who you are with that matters most.  Our children spent Christmas with me and their daddy at the hospital, and we were so thankful for the precious nurses and hospital staff, who worked that day with a cheerfulness that helps patients feel calmer.  Carolers came by the unit, a mom with her children handed out stuffed animals, and my husband was surrounded by his brothers and parents, too. 

Family.  It’s important that we make time for another.  Friends.  It is so important to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help.  Health.  Wow.  Never take anything for granted.  In the end, God granted our Christmas wish.  My husband was sent home without further surgery a couple of days ago and we get to spend the New Years together, at home. 

I hope everyone has a safe New Year’s Eve and that you are surrounded by family, friends, and much love.  Most importantly, that you are surrounded by a great book, or two!

P.S. My top books for 2013 will be posted soon.  Stay tuned, as there will a book giveaway, too!

 Wishing you a wonderful new year,


Atria Fiction Round-up Mini-Reviews!

With All My Love  My Mini-Review:

This book had all the ingredients for a great book: guilt, lies, secrets, mother/daughter relationships, family issues, 3 generations of strong women, and trying to rebuild together.  However, I just couldn’t find myself attaching to any one character and truly accepting the reasons for the secrets and betrayal.  Perhaps, I wanted it to be a bit more scandalous, or just even more layered.  While much attention is given to each character, this is one book that I would have preferred to have had only major lead.  Maybe because I love complexity and just love Patricia’s style of writing, but I would have rather seen this book in a series-broken down a little bit more, so that it didn’t seem so rushed.  All in all, a good book!


My Review:

This is one of those odd books that is like being a peeping tom. I don’t want to look in the window and see what’s going on, much less hear what they are saying, but I can’t stop.  The book seemed so scrambled at times, quite symbolic of the mice scrambling everywhere, but it somehow works.  It doesn’t matter that the book is loosely based on the author’s own personal life, but because it goes where people don’t always want to follow: the hard truth-life or death, acceptance or rejection, perfection or horrendous, etc.  It really gives a hard look into the way a couple copes with the loss of a dream: a perfect marriage, a perfect baby, and a perfect career.  What happens when none of it is perfect and in the midst of figuring out why, something happens: the finding of beauty in an imperfect world.  I loved the wacky characters that become housemates, the small town and it’s own scars, and the way a baby, no matter how imperfect-loves unconditionally and will slowly open the heart of others.  A brilliant book that will leave you wondering why in the world you’d want to read a book about mice and the parent’s rejection of a child born severely disabled.


  My Review:

Wow! This is a fantastic book that will draw you and keep you there, until the very last page!!!  I absolutely loved the storyline, the characters, and the way the story unfolds.  The description in the story brings everything to life and I immediately felt as if I was a fly on every wall.  It shows the bravery of one woman, who simply wants to be a housewife.  However, with her husband away at war, she also becomes part of the Resistance and trains alongside other men and women, to help free the people under Hitler’s regime.  It is so easy to place judgment on people, who befriended Nazi soldiers and to make grand assumptions about who they really are.  However, Lucinda shows the true complexity of those who had to balance their loyalty to their homeland and their relationship with the enemy.  However, love knows no boundaries, and we see a love that blossoms and how much it is tested, even after death.  This is a must read for any one that loves a great book! It is a fantastic book that will leave you wanting more!


My Review:

Grab your Kleenex!! You are going to need it for this one!  I was surprised at how much I absolutely loved this book.  Not because I didn’t like the synopsis, but because of how raw, real, and relevant this book is.  No one expects to lose their spouse, during their honeymoon, but this is what happens to Elsie, a woman in her 20′s.  I hurt so much for Elsie, that I found myself hoping the “what if’s” she had came true.  And, when they didn’t, I was sad with her….and grieved all over again, too.  While she grieves, she also tries to have a relationship with her mother-in-law…is that who she is?? Elsie doesn’t know if Susan (Ben’s mom) will even want to be a part of her life and if so, how will they fit in each other’s lives without the glue: their Ben.  I loved how the story slowly unfolded, never rushed, and just let the relationships and issues slowly fall where they may-like leaves falling from a tree.  It is a beautiful story, albeit, sorrowful, but in the end, there is hope…and that is all one can ever want!


  My Review:

I really wanted to love this book! I really, really did.  However, the further I went into the book, the less real it became for me. I loved the beginning and the weird relationship with Jago, an author who writes a book that seems to feed into Kate’s fears.  If the story had just focused on Kate finding her new normal with the loss of husband, and dealing with her over the top anxieties and in-laws that seem to be watching her like a hawk, it would have been great!  However, I just couldn’t buy into the other things that happened and I couldn’t understand the weird things Jago would make Kate do in the name of alleviating her anxiety.  Top that off with a psycho neighbor, who breaks in from the inside, and a big secret that isn’t disclosed until much later-that I just felt disconnected from Kate and felt hugely sorry for her son, Jack.  It’s a good read, but just not one that kept me fully engaged throughout the book.

*A HUGE thank-you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read some great books!!


TLC Book Review: Indiscretion by Charles Dubrow

Book Information:
Publisher:   Harpers Collins
Genre:   Contemporary Fiction/Adult
Source:   Publisher/TLC Book Tours
Rating:  A good cupcake with a little icing! (click here to see what it means!)


Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.One weekend, Harry and Maddy meet Claire, who eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But soon her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire, and she no longer remains one of their hangers-on.A story of love, lust, deception, and betrayal as seen through the omniscient eyes of Maddy’s childhood friend Walter, a narrator akin to Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, Indiscretion is an irresistibly sensual page-turner.

My Review:

This is a hard one to review.  Every once in awhile, I will come across these kind of books.  Love the storyline, hate the characters.  Feels the characters are a bit pompous, feel a bit too deserving, and all want see helping others as a “project”.  So, on one hand, I did enjoy the storyline.  On the other, I just couldn’t connect with the main characters.  I couldn’t understand why Harry would risk everything for a 20-something, just for sex-but with a specific someone who befriended the family and friends, then slips into Harry’s bed.  Perhaps, he was stressed about writing a novel after the success of his first one.  Perhaps, he was going through a mid-life crisis and couldn’t see beyond the breasts of a young girl that was willing and didn’t care what relationships she broke.  Or, perhaps, he was just an idiot and didn’t feel that he deserved all the goodness of a wife and mother, Maddy was.  Yeah…can you tell I really care for Harry???  And, Maddy…she experiences all the anger and humiliation a woman could ever hope to NEVER experience.  But, she does.  And while I could understand her anger and being hurt, I really just felt that there was a disconnect with her too. I wanted to know more about the couple BEFORE the affair.  I wanted to know what made them tick, how the fragility of their son impacted their marriage, and a little more about why they even let Claire (a random stranger) join their group.

This is a book that will either be loved or hated.  I don’t think the comparisons to The Great Gatsby give this book justice and really sets the book to fail.  I often found myself comparing the characters to those of Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan.

My suggestion to future readers: Don’t compare it to the book or movies of The Great Gatsby!!  Also, read this book with an open mind.  If you have issues with infidelity and you are okay with a sad ending, then dive in!

This book was slow in the beginning with huge chunks of information missing for me and speeds up too quickly for me in the end, feeling sad for Maddy and wishing there would have been some joy in the midst of such tragedy.

*This book was provided by the publisher, through TLC Book Tours!


Indiscretion Tour Stops

Thursday, July 11th: Under a Gray Sky

Tuesday, July 16th: Read Lately

Wednesday, July 17th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, July 18th: Lisa’s Yarns

Monday, July 22nd: Conceptual Reception

Wednesday, July 24th: Books in the Burbs

Thursday, July 25th: Good Girl Gone Redneck

Monday, July 29th: A Book Geek

Thursday, August 1st: The Little Reader Library 

TBD: The House of the Seven Tails

TBD: Proud Book Nerd


TLC Book Review: The Registry by Shannon Stoker

About The Registry

Genre:  Dystopian

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (June 11, 2013)

Source:  TLC Book Tours, Publisher

Rating:  A Good Cupcake with Icing (click here to know what that means)

Synopsis:  Welcome to a safe and secure new world, where beauty is bought and sold, and freedom is the ultimate crime.

The Registry saved the country from collapse, but stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained to fight and never question orders.

Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous questions. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.

All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.

My Review:

Ever since Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I have entered into the realm of Dystopian Lit!  And, another realm, it is!

The Registry is definitely a book that is possibly more geared toward a younger YA audience.  Perhaps, for those who haven’t yet read Hunger Games, or are too young to read it yet.

The book is set to be a trilogy! So, I’m hoping what was loosely written or not fully developed, will be as the stories progress through the next 2 books.  The second one is set to be published this Winter, 2013.  If you’ve read other reviews of mine, you will know how much I LOVE trilogies!!  I become invested in the characters and their lives, as a reader, so having extra books to look forward to-is always a treat!

I thought the premise was interesting: it’s set in the future, but the rules are so archaic that it takes you back to the Leave it to Beaver times…where the women are so submissive and obedient to their husbands, that their only requirement is to say, “yes, dear”.

The girls are a huge commodity to their families, as they are wed to the highest bidder.  Based on beauty, and not brains, girls are taught to primp and style themselves…think Toddler & Tiaras being the guideline for raising your little girls.

Boys are raised by the government, to be soldiers, who may survive after their service.  For those who do, they may be able to invest in a bride as well.

Mia, the main female character, is no different from the other girls being trained to be wed.  However, she is also a sister of 2 others daughters in her family and is surprised to learn that “happily ever after” doesn’t really exist once the sisters leave home.  Determined to be in charge of her own fate, she escapes before being wed.

From there, the storyline goes quite fast.  There is a love triangle, Mia is determined to go to Mexico (where she feels there is freedom from “the registry”), and along the way, people will help her.

The story is quite unique, but didn’t develop strong as the story went along. I wondered about Mia’s parents, the history behind Mia’s sister, why was the registry enforced in the U.S. (which is now sectioned off in regions), and how parents can subject their daughters to abuse and being more of a Stepford wife.

While it does seem the country (USA) is learning more towards giving up freedoms in the name of  so-called “security”, I don’t know how “realistic” this book seemed.  It’s almost as if the world goes full circle with men dominating women and women not seeing themselves anymore, but as a trophy wife.  Mia starts off quite head strong, only to get more clueless as the story progresses.  I also didn’t understand the motives behind those helping Mia, when they themselves were living under those same conditions and requirements.  It would have been great to have seen an anarchy type group, building it’s group up to overthrow the government by getting recruits (of those wanting to leave the registry).

I also didn’t understand why people would risk their own life for Mia to escape.  There wasn’t a strong enough motivation and the people, who helped, weren’t developed as strongly.  However, I still couldn’t stop reading this book! So, I finished it, wanted to know more…what develops between Mia, Andrew, and Carter.  Yes, there is a little bit of an awkward love triangle.  Nonetheless, it was a good book! And, yes, I will be reading the next book.

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


 Shannon Stoker About Shannon Stoker

Shannon Stoker is a licensed attorney who works for Northern Illinois University, assisting students and staff with research integrity. The Registry is her first novel. Shannon lives in De-Kalb, Illinois, with her husband and small dog.

Connect with Shannon on Facebook.

Shannon’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, June 11th: Jenn’s Bookshelves

Wednesday, June 12th: Doing Dewey

Thursday, June 13th: Unabridged Chick

Friday, June 14th: Let Them Read Books

Monday, June 17th: Kritters Ramblings

Tuesday, June 18th: Bookmagnet’s Blog

Wednesday, June 19th: Giraffe Days

Thursday, June 20th: Reflections of a Bookaholic

Tuesday, June 25th: From L.A. to LA

Wednesday, June 26th: Books in the Burbs

Thursday, June 27th: she treads softly

Monday, July 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Tuesday, July 2nd: Sweet Southern Home

Wednesday, July 3rd: Luxury Reading

Tuesday, July 9th: Drey’s Library

Wednesday, July 10th: From the TBR Pile