Short Stack Reviews & Book Giveaway!

SHORT STACK REVIEWS

While I haven’t been blogging a much, I have been reading.  Although, not as fast as I would like, I’m still a bibliophile and love to share good reads with you! Don’t forget to click on each book title to read the synopsis and add them to your TBR list!

My Review:

The storyline has a great premise: sisters on different paths come back together for one summer that will surely change their life courses.  The story moves rather quickly in the beginning, so that it was hard to feel a connection or compassion for Paul, who wants a divorce from Iris.  However, the story really focuses on unfinished business with sisters, family, and lost loves.  It’s a simple read, a little predictable, but a good storyline that will keep you engaged.

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My Review:

This is a book that had been on my TBR list since its release.   When I saw it at the library on audio, I immediately checked it out and downloaded it to my iPhone so that I could listen to on a road trip.  Well, that didn’t turn out well.  You can read why here

I’m really glad that I decided to buy the book and read it on my reader.  First, the audio did skip, so I wasn’t listening to the story in the order of the chapters.  Secondly, there is too much information and the characters are complex that it would have been difficult for me to listen and understand their role within the story.  Thirdly, there were many times I would reread a quote or a page, and that would have been too difficult and not realistic to do with an audio.

This story is magical, complex and has stories within a story, that it is beyond words to actually describe.  The descriptive writings to explain an outfit or a scene were so amazing that I wish this book had been written with colorful illustrations! This novel could have easily been made into a trilogy because there were so many stories within it.  It is a novel that stayed with me for a long time and definitely makes me appreciate the life of a traveling artist much more!

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swirlMy Review:

This is a sequel to Firefly Lane, which I read in January.  You can read my review here.  I really loved the first book and like anyone who loves a great story, I jumped on the chance to read the sequel.  This novel, Fly Away, is really for those readers who want to know about “TullyandKate”.   While the novel did share about what happens to Kate’s family, it really is about Tully and her inability to forgive herself and move on from Kate’s death.  This novel reminded me a little of A Christmas Carol, with Kate being the ghost.  Overall, it was a good book that explores friendships, forgiveness, and second chances.

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*With the exception of The Night Circus, the other books were provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

copyright 2015

Time for a Giveaway!

If you managed to read my mini-reviews, then I think you deserve a free book!

Giveaway

Win a copy of:

The Girl with a Clock Heart by Peter Swanson!

This is going to be an easy giveaway. Simply enter your email in the comments below and let me know if you read any of the books I’ve reviewed. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Giveaway is open until May 28, 2015. 

Open internationally!!

Yes, I’m going to mail these books across the oceans, if you are randomly selected! I know I have quite a few followers outside the US and Canada, so I want to include them, too!

One winner will be randomly chosen and I will contact that winner via email.  The winner will have 48 hours to reply, if not, another winner will be selected.  I don’t announce winners because it takes too much time and energy on my part, however the winner knows and is more than welcome to post their winnings on social media :D

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TLC Book Review: City of Liars and Thieves by Eve Karlin

About City of Liars and Thieves

On Sale: January 13, 2015
Pages: 266
Published by : Alibi

A crime that rocked a city. A case that stunned a nation. Based on the United States’ first recorded murder trial, Eve Karlin’s spellbinding debut novel re-creates early nineteenth-century New York City, where a love affair ends in a brutal murder and a conspiracy involving Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr erupts in shattering violence.

It is high time to tell the truth. Time for justice. . . . How she was murdered and why she haunts me. It is not only Elma’s story, it’s mine.

On the bustling docks of the Hudson River, Catherine Ring waits with her husband and children for the ship carrying her cousin, Elma Sands. Their Greenwich Street boardinghouse becomes a haven for Elma, who has at last escaped the stifling confines of her small hometown and the shameful circumstances of her birth. But in the summer of 1799, Manhattan remains a teeming cesspool of stagnant swamps and polluted rivers. The city is desperate for clean water as fires wreak devastation and the death toll from yellow fever surges.

Political tensions are rising, too. It’s an election year, and Alexander Hamilton is hungry for power. So is his rival, Aaron Burr, who has announced the formation of the Manhattan Water Company. But their private struggle becomes very public when the body of Elma Sands is found at the bottom of a city well built by Burr’s company.

Resolved to see justice done, Catherine becomes both witness and avenger. She soon finds, however, that the shocking truth behind this trial has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.

My Review:

The title itself truly depicts what this novel is about.  With so much corruption, lies, and scandal, this novel is wrapped in historical truths about the unsolved murder of a woman, Elma Sands, who is found at the bottom of a well.  What is most interesting about the book is the politics and maneuvering big business and prominent leaders will do for money and power.  While Elma Sands story is not truly known, Eve Karlin shines light on who she was and the possibilities of what happened, through the voice and lens of Elma’s cousin, Catherine (Caty).

Caty is a fascinating character to me.  She is Quaker and struggles to find her identity, adjusting to a large city, while trying to hold onto the values of her faith.  Her journey was most interesting to me and her determination to find out what happens to her cousin.  I found Caty to be a wonderful character in the story and her struggles and challenges is what made this book stand out for me.

The story doesn’t truly pick up speed until Elma’s disappearance.  Keeping in mind that this story is based on some historical fact, it was intriguing to learn how the judicial system worked back then.  All of this happened during a time when there wasn’t mass communication, social media, cellphones, etc.  So, I was simply fascinated with the way the investigation (albeit-it’s not told in very much detail), happens.  I was also fascinated with the way the court system worked back then, too!  Jurors actually had to sleep on the floor, at the courthouse…imagine that!  One thing is for certain, Eve Karlin shows how corruption infiltrates businesses, courthouses, families, and friends.  Sadly, finding justice for the death of one woman is simply part of what happens when someone gets in the way of business deals.

Overall, it was a good book!

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About Eve Karlin

Eve Karlin was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of Colgate University, where she studied literature and creative writing with Frederick Busch. Karlin worked in publishing for more than a decade in marketing, at Random House, Newsweek, and, later, as a foreign book scout with clients in the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Brazil, and Japan. She has had several short stories published in The East Hampton Star and has been a contributing writer for Patch.com. She lives in East Hampton, New York, with her husband and their sixteen-year-old triplets. City of Liars and Thieves is her first book.

Eve Karlin’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, January 6th: Mystery Playground

Wednesday, January 7th: Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, January 9th: Fiction Zeal

Monday, January 12th: Omnimystery News – author guest post

Tuesday, January 13th: Dwell in Possibility

Tuessday, January 13th: Kritter’s Ramblings

Wednesday, January 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Friday, January 16th: Reading Reality

Monday, January 19th: From the TBR Pile

Tuesday, January 20th: Sarah’s Book Shelves

Wednesday, January 21st: A Fantastical Librarian

Thursday, January 22nd: Chew & Digest Books

Monday, January 26th: History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, January 27th: Tales of a Book Addict

Wednesday, January 28th: Staircase Wit

Thursday, January 29th: 100 Pages a Day… Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, January 30th: Books in the Burbs

TBD: Back Porchervations

 

copyright 2015

Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

 Synopsis:

Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.

My Review:

I am a huge Jane Austen fan, so I was quite fascinated to read this book about Sam, who quotes Austen in daily conversations.  She grows up in a foster home, but manages to go to college with the help of a benefactor.  In exchange, she must keep a journal and write down her daily adventures.

I loved the relationship between Samantha and Kyle, who is in foster care, too.  I loved how they both understood each other and learned to develop a relationship through running.  Kyle’s journey is not unlike other foster children, where he is shuffled back and forth to various foster homes.  He also experiences some kind of abuse and retreats back inside himself.  Through the determination of Samantha, a coach, and priest, Kyle has his own happily ever after- that had me crying!  I used to work with homeless youth in a foster home, so his story truly touched me.

Samantha’s journey is unusual, but she has an innocence about her that is charming.  I liked how she learned to trust others and develops a sweet relationship with Alex.  Although, she and Alex definitely have their issues and deal with a major crisis regarding their relationship and trust, but in Austen true form-this book has many happy endings!

 

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*This book was provided through NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest opinion.  No forms of compensation was given.

 

Book Review: The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison

 

Publisher:  Soho Crime

Publication Date:  December 30, 2014

Pages:  350

Genre:  Mystery

Follow the Author:  Webpage, SoHo Press Information

Synopsis:

In the predominantly Mormon city of Draper, Utah, some seemingly perfect families have deadly secrets.

Linda Wallheim is a devout Mormon, the mother of five boys and the wife of a bishop. But Linda is increasingly troubled by her church’s structure and secrecy, especially as a disturbing situation takes shape in her ward. One cold winter night, a young wife and mother named Carrie Helm disappears, leaving behind everything she owns. Carrie’s husband, Jared, claims his wife has always been unstable and that she has abandoned the family, but Linda doesn’t trust him. As Linda snoops in the Helm family’s circumstances, she becomes convinced that Jared has murdered his wife and painted himself as a wronged husband.

Linda’s husband asks her not to get involved in the unfolding family saga. But Linda has become obsessed with Carrie’s fate, and with the well-being of her vulnerable young daughter. She cannot let the matter rest until she finds out the truth. Is she wrong to go against her husband, the bishop, when her inner convictions are so strong?

Inspired by a chilling true crime and written by a practicing Mormon, The Bishop’s Wife is both a fascinating look at the lives of modern Mormons as well as a grim and cunningly twisted mystery.

My Review:

I was intrigued by the synopsis and from the first couple of chapters, I really became invested in the “Bishop’s Wife”, Linda.  It was interesting to read what her role is within the ward and how she balances home life and church work.  She also is a seeker of truth and redemption, so it is no surprise that she sets off to find the truth about Carrie’s disappearance.

Linda is married to the Bishop and is a mom of 6 children, with her daughter having been born stillborn many years prior.  So, her plate is full.  Her older sons are living away from their family home, while her younger son is home and distant.  The relationship she has with her younger son doesn’t evolve as much as I would have liked, with some questions regarding her son’s sexuality and if her “hunch” is right.  However, the book does dive in a bit more into the lives of Carrie and that of her family.  While the police and community are searching for Carrie, Linda steps in to take care of Carrie’s younger daughter-Kelly.  Through that relationship, Linda comes to terms with her own issues surrounding grief and survivor’s guilt regarding her stillborn child.

Linda is a busy woman, but realizes that she is just that: busy.  Prior to the incidents in the book, she realizes that she has not taken the time to really get to know the women of her ward.  As she starts to take time to get to know some of the women, she finds out that things aren’t always as they appear on the outside.  With murders, a buried body in the backyard, incest, sexual abuse, abuse of power, the Mormon church and it’s leaders, there is a lot packed in this book.  While everything comes together in the end, it does raise great questions that Mormons may find themselves asking or have known others to ask.  Mettie raises significant questions and shows that people in power aren’t necessarily following the doctrine the way the should.

Even though this book is listed as Mystery, it can easily cross over to Women’s fiction.  Even though this book has a lot of history regarding the Mormon practices, it is not a book that is simply tailored to those who love LDS literature.  Overall, it was a good book and I am excited to learn that she is currently working on the sequel!  I am hopeful that her family’s relationship dynamics will be further explored!

good cupcake 3    *This book was provided by Edelweiss and the publisher, in exchange for an honest opinion.  No forms of compensation were given.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: God Gave Us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren

My Review:

The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! They are very vibrant and my daughter loved the pictures.  It was more of a question/answer format with Little Cub asking Papa Bear about angels.  Each page is a question that Little Cub asks his Papa, and Papa Bear answering back.  While it is a simple message, God is in control, angels guide us, the topic of angels can get overwhelming and rather difficult to answer in a children’s book.  Nonetheless, the author tackles a huge question I am sure children ask, in a kid friendly, approachable and understandable way.  There was a minor grammatical error in the book, however it was only one error.  Another issue I have is when an author writes the way he/she perceives the child to talk.  I didn’t care for some of the lingo used, but it’s readable. I found myself grammatically correcting Little Cub.  I know…it’s a personal issue and has nothing to do with this particular author.  Overall, a good read.

 

good cupcake 3*This book was provided by the publisher and Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest opinion.

Review: The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

This is a book that I’ve had on my TBR list for a year now.  After reading quite a few books for tours, I decided it was time to take this one out to read.  Before reading the book, it is hard for anyone to pick this book up and not already have an opinion about the death penalty and the inmates on death row.  However, regardless of a reader’s stance on the prison system, the judicial system, and crimes/punishments, this book is about the story of one woman: a woman who could really be anyone that grew up in a single parent home, with a promiscuous lifestyle, who has a father that has been in and out of prison all his of life.  Her life could have turned out so much differently, being the salutatorian for her high school class, being accepted into Yale, and trying to make a life for herself.  However, her past is always haunting her and she is never fully able to forgive herself and move on.

Noa is only 10 months old when she has her first experience with lies and the judicial system.  Her first experience is that of her mother, who is a struggling actress that makes a rash judgement to protect herself from the possibility of jail or child services.  This stays with Noa.  Honestly, I don’t have any recollection before the age of 4, but this seems to be ingrained in Noa (or not), as she says that her memory is foggy and it’s hard to separate fact from fantasy.  However, I somehow believe her because it starts the cycle of loss, feeling less than, isolation, and hopelessness.

While the story is told through Noa’s viewpoint, the reader will get glimpses inside Marlene’s head, through her letters to her daughter (Sarah), who is murdered.  While Noa’s life is that of someone who is tragically put in the line of fire due to circumstances by her parents, it is Marlene’s story that most interested me.

Marlene is a woman of influence, with a lot of money, who realizes early on that she really has no control over her daughter-her only child.  Paying off someone to follow her daughter and then threatening both that person and the boyfriend, doesn’t end there.  Marlene decides to mask her way back into Noa’s life, under the guise of MAD (Mothers Against Death), to find out what happened to her daughter’s last moments of life.  In some ways, Noa vindicates herself because she doesn’t give Marlene those last moments, although I don’t Marlene truly wanted to know.  I think Marlene has loads of guilt, hidden under her callousness towards others and her brashness, and she somehow wants to know that Noa doesn’t blame her for the events that happened leading up to Sarah’s death.  In some ways, if Noa doesn’t place any blame on Marlene, then Marlene can feel justified in her own role with Sarah’s death.

In the end, everyone wants something from Noa: her compliance, her silence, her devotion-and when they get that-they leave.  In the end, the judicial system only hears what attorneys want the jurors to hear, rich people get passes, poor people get passed the buck, and our system is truly screwed.

But there is hope.  There is hope, everyday, with the choices people make as humans, as parents, as children, as a society.

This is a book that is very character driven, with not a lot of unraveling until 200 pages in, but it’s still a great book.  It is at times dry, and sometimes it seems that the novel drifts, but be patient- there is a reason for it all.  I don’t think this book can be read without discussing it afterwards.  It’s what makes this book unique-because the dialogue continues long after Noa’s story, long after Marlene’s and long after the last page.  It is thought provoking, would make for a great book club discussion, and also in a class to talk about family cycles, the judicial system, and victims of circumstance.

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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!

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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

 

 

 

 

 

HFVBT Book Review: Puritan Witch by Peni Jo Renner

Synopsis:

On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls’ strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.

my book thoughts

I have always been fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials, because there is a plethora of information out there about the different areas, the way in which the trials occurred, and how out of control the whole issue became.  I read a book about the trials in high school, saw the movie, The Crucibles (remember Winona?), and read a lot about it in history class, while in college.

I was intrigued by the book, because it is based on the story of Rebecca Eames, written from her granddaughter (9th generation).  While there is not a lot of new information gathered from the trials, Penni Jo does a fantastic job of sharing the story of her grandmother, while also bringing in what happened to the townspeople, those in prison, and the family.  It’s a quick read, but does give a great glimpse into the life of Rebecca Eames and how incredibly courageous and strong she was, in spite of the accusations and shunning.  She is a remarkable woman and it is wonderful that Penni Jo shared this story with her readers.

Overall, it’s a good book that will certainly be a read for those who love the history of the trials and wants a deeper insight into the Eames family and those also accused.

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*A huge thanks to HFVBT for giving me the opportunity to read this book for review.  No forms of compensation were given.

 

About the Author

Peni Renner is the author of “Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames”, an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni’s 9th great 03_Peni Jo Rennergrandmother. The book is Renner’s first published work, and follows Eames’ life and struggles in 1692 Massachussetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts.

After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk.

I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to.

For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter.

Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, April 28
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Tuesday, April 29
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Wednesday, April 30
Review & Giveaway at Closed the Cover

Thursday, May 1
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, May 2
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Saturday, May 3
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Sunday, May 4
Book Blast at I’d Rather Be Reading

Monday, May 5
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner

Tuesday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 7
Review at Books in the Burbs
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Thursday, May 8
Book Blast at Curling Up with a Good Book

Friday, May 9
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at Carpe Diem

Monday, May 12
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Tuesday, May 13
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 14
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, May 15
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Review at Impressions in Ink

Friday, May 16
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, May 19
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, May 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, May 21
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, May 22
Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Friday, May 23
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at Reviews by Molly

Saturday, May 24
Book Blast at Book Nerd

Monday, May 26
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, May 27
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Guest Post at Layered Pages

Wednesday, May 28
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, May 30
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, June 2
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

 

 

 

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

Synopsis:

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.

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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
Synopsis:
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