#BookReview: The Future She Left Behind by Marin Thomas

the future she left behindAbout the Book

One woman’s journey home gets derailed by her soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law in a novel filled with humor, small-town charm, rekindled love, and the resilient ties of family.

Cast aside by her cheating husband, Katelyn Chandler is ready to pack it all in and drive home to Little Springs, Texas. She wants a chance to regroup, reconnect with her mother, and get back to her art.

But Shirley Pratt—master manipulator, elitist snob, and Katelyn’s terror of a live-in monster-in-law—has other ideas. Shirley insists on joining Katelyn’s trip after her son tries to pack her off to a retirement community. Katelyn has no choice but to play peacekeeper between the ornery old woman and the proud matrons of Little Springs. Yet the small town seems to be changing Shirley. And as Katelyn weighs the wisdom of picking up where she left off with Jackson Mendoza, the town bad boy and her high school sweetheart, she must find a way to believe in the strength of her dreams.

My Review

I have read Marin Thomas in the past, and I think she is a solid story teller. With this women’s fiction offering, we follow Katelyn Chandler, who is dealing with an impending divorce after finding out her husband is cheating. It’s interesting to get to know Katelyn – who came from very humble beginnings, to her now cushy life with her wealthy soon to be ex-husband. I loved the setting of Little Springs, Texas, from the cast of characters to the grocery store. I will say that I had trouble really connecting with the book. I think a lot of the characters aren’t necessarily likeable. Relatable – in a way, but hard to really start rooting for. I did like the way everything started to slide together toward the end, but I never really felt truly invested in the story. It was still a pleasing read and I wanted to see how the ending would play out, but not a favorite for me.

3.5 stars

#BookReview: Love at First Crepe by Heidi Renee Mason

love at first crepeAbout the Book

Who knew a delicious crepe, a kung fu attack, and an unexpected love could create such mayhem. In Heidi Renee Mason’s humorous romantic mystery, an easygoing chef soon discovers life can become complicated when you’re busy falling in lust and foiling murder plots.

Born into the wealthy Simpson family, free-spirited Willow is determined to make her own way in life. Cooking is her one true love, and she is content to keep it that way. Romance has never been on her agenda, but she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a deliciously decadent love triangle. With two gorgeous men vying for her attention, she vows to keep her distance from both, but the tantalizing chemistry is hard to ignore.

Unfortunately, it seems that someone wants to get rid of Willow, making her already tricky situation that much more difficult. One crazy night changes everything, and Willow’s life is turned upside down. Between thwarting her own murder plot, keeping her divinely tasty admirers at bay, and trying to stay on the good side of her finicky cat, Omelet, Willow’s plate is full. With far too many cooks in the kitchen, will she be able to stay alive long enough to figure out who wants to kill her?

My Review

I have read from Heidi Renee Mason in the past and I truly enjoy this author. From the sounds of the synopsis, I thought I would get along pretty well with this book. I will say this was fast-paced and funny, I read it in all in almost just one sitting and got quite a few laughs. The writing was strong but sometimes I felt almost too lighthearted. I found myself asking a lot of questions after the first murder attempt that weren’t addressed and almost made it just a little un-believable. Now, I’m also a big fan of thrillers so possibly more light-hearted mysteries are no longer my thing, which makes me sad, but I just had trouble connecting to the actual mystery part of the plot. Everything else – the romance, the secondary cast, the flow of the story – I thought was fun to read. If you are a fan of light-hearted, almost humorous-type mysteries, I really think you would enjoy this one.

3 stars

#BookReview: Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota

amanda wakes uAbout the Book

When Amanda Gallo, fresh from the backwater of local TV, lands the job of her dreams at FAIR News—the coveted morning anchor slot—she’s finally made it: a six-figure salary, wardrobe allowance, plenty of on-air face time, and a chance to realize her dreams, not to mention buy herself lunch. Amanda Wakes Up takes off as Amanda feels for the first time that she can make her mom and her best friend proud and think about an actual future with her boyfriend, Charlie. But she finds her journalistic ideals shredded as she struggles to keep up with the issues in a ratings-crazed madhouse—battling for hair and makeup time, coping with her sexist (but scathingly handsome) coanchor, Rob, mixing up the headlines with pajama modeling on the street, and showing Benji Diggs, her media maestro boss, that she’s got what it takes.

As the news heats up in a hotly contested election season and a wild-card candidate, former Hollywood actor Victor Fluke, appears on the scene, Amanda’s pressure-cooker job gets hotter as her personal life unravels. Walking a knife’s edge between ambition and survival, and about to break the biggest story of her career, Amanda must decide what she’s willing to give up to get ahead—and what she needs to hold on to save herself.

My Review

When the book first started, I was ready to hunker down and get lost in the world of morning talk shows with a dash of politics and some romance. Not quite halfway in though, I started to lose interest. I did like Amanda as a main character and the romance issue got entertaining, but there didn’t seem to be much moving the story besides all the politic talk, which I couldn’t get invested in, in part because everything seemed so over the top. There was also quite a bit of predictability and clichés, which surprised me for what I thought this book would be. I tried to hang on until the end to see how everything played out, but unfortunately this one missed the mark for me.

2.5 stars