#BookReview: The Barefoot Summer by Carolyn Brown

the barefoot summerAbout the Book

New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown returns with a heartbreakingly hilarious novel about three women who had nothing in common, except their husband.

Leaving one widow behind is unfortunate. Leaving three widows behind is just plain despicable. Oil heiress Kate Steele knew her not-so-dearly departed husband was a con man, but she’s shocked that Conrad racked up two more wives without divorcing her first. The only remnant of their miserable marriage she plans to keep is their lakeside cabin in Bootleg, Texas. Unfortunately, she’s not the only woman with that idea.

Fiery, strong-willed Jamie wishes Conrad were still alive—so she could kill the scoundrel herself. But for their daughter’s sake, she needs that property. As does Amanda—twenty-eight, pregnant, and still weeping over the loss of her true love. On a broiling July day, all three arrive in Bootleg…with a dogged detective right behind who’s convinced that at least one of them conspired to commit murder. One momentous summer filled with revelations, quirky neighbors, and barefoot evenings on the porch offers three women the chance to make the journey from enemies to friends, and claim a bright, new beginning.

My Review:

I did listen to this book in audio form, and the storyline definitely caught my attention right away. Three very different women, all married to one con artist of a man. They meet face to face to face at his funeral after Conrad is gunned down in a flower shop, and tensions immediately run high. Who is his legal wife? What about his children? Are there more wives? Kate, Jamie and Amanda each decide to find closure at the cabin in Bootleg, Texas – the cabin where Conrad took each of the three women on their honeymoon. Each woman has her own reason for wanting to stay in the cabin, so they must learn to co-exist with one another while coming to grips with who Conrad really was.

It was very interesting to read about how the women started to actually get along with one another once they all arrived at the cabin. Each has a different scenario – Kate and her oil company, Jamie and her daughter, Amanda and her unborn child, but each was interesting to read and learn about. I really enjoyed the first half of the story, but the second half little things started to stick out to me that I didn’t love. Kate had a near obsession with Jamie’s daughter that actually had me wondering if a big plot twist was coming, and Amanda just continually got on my nerves. The mystery of Conrad’s death was almost a bit of a let down as well. With so much build up along the entire read, it was over and done with in a blink. Other than those few areas, I did quite like the book and thought it to be very thought-provoking. I also liked the setting of Bootleg and the supporting cast fit in well with the story. Overall, it held my interest throughout and I would recommend for women’s fiction fans.

4 stars

#BookReview: Touch by Courtney Maum

touch courtney maumAbout the Book

Sloane Jacobsen is one of the world’s most powerful trend forecasters (she was the foreseer of “the swipe”), and global fashion, lifestyle, and tech companies pay to hear her opinions about the future. Her recent forecasts on the family are unwavering: the world is over-populated, and with unemployment, college costs, and food prices all on the rise, having children is an extravagant indulgence.

So it’s no surprise when the tech giant Mammoth hires Sloane to lead their groundbreaking annual conference, celebrating the voluntarily childless. But not far into her contract, Sloane begins to sense the undeniable signs of a movement against electronics that will see people embracing compassion, empathy, and “in-personism” again. She’s struggling with the fact that her predictions are hopelessly out of sync with her employer’s mission and that her closest personal relationship is with her self-driving car when her partner, the French “neo-sensualist” Roman Bellard, reveals that he is about to publish an op-ed on the death of penetrative sex—a post-sexual treatise that instantly goes viral. Despite the risks to her professional reputation, Sloane is nevertheless convinced that her instincts are the right ones, and goes on a quest to defend real life human interaction, while finally allowing in the love and connectedness she’s long been denying herself.

A poignant and amusing call to arms that showcases her signature biting wit and keen eye, celebrated novelist Courtney Maum’s new book is a moving investigation into what it means to be an individual in a globalized world.

Review:

Hmm. All right. This book was a little different for me, but I could understand (I think) what the author was trying to get across to readers and it definitely did make me think. The book focuses on our technology-driven society and trend forecaster Sloane. As someone who works in the social media industry, I am plenty guilty of being on my phone too much, and there were several interesting passages that I read. But very early on in the book I just couldn’t vibe with the story. I’m not sure if it was the plot, the writing, or simply the overall concept, but I just could not get invested in the story. Because I was interested in the theme of the book I really tried and even re-read sections that I found myself glazing over, but in the end it just could not hold my interest.

2 stars

#BookReview: The Bridal Squad by Samantha Chase

the bridal squadAbout the Book

The Friday Night Brides are back! And this time, it’s their first season running the business! It was one thing to just model in a weekly fashion show, it’s quite another to be the ones calling the shots and making future brides’ dreams come true. Their first client has them wondering if they’re really prepared for their new roles!

The Bride: Julianne is big on fitness, small on patience. And planning her wedding is grating on her every last nerve. As a Zumba instructor, she loves the freedom to create and choreograph her routines and help others achieve their goals, but having to stand back and let others choreograph her big day has her wanting to hip-hop toward eloping!

The Matron of Honor: As the only married member of the bridal party, Natalie considers herself the aficionado on all-things weddings. And even though her time in the spotlight is over, that doesn’t mean she isn’t full of ideas on how her best friend’s wedding should look and feel and be! And it doesn’t take long for her to realize that maybe it’s not so much that she’s wanting to help as it is that she’s afraid of her own honeymoon ending.

The Bride’s Sister: Nothing screams unwanted relationship advice than when your younger sister gets married before you. It’s not that Harper doesn’t want to get married, after three failed engagements she really does! But finding the right man to walk down the aisle with is proving harder than she thought. And it gets even harder when constantly being compared to the perfect couple!

The Reluctant Bridesmaid: There is nothing Kayla wants more than to see one of her best friend’s get married…if only the whole process wasn’t so exhausting! Travel and adventure and being on the go fuels her. Having to stay in one place for an extended period of time while wearing taffeta? Not so much. Her job tends to take her away on a moment’s notice and this is one time she may have to pass up the trip of a lifetime in the name of friendship.

My Review:

I have read Friday Night Brides, so I was excited to get another book from Samantha Chase in this series! I love reading wedding books and I got hooked right away meeting The Bridal Squad. Each friend has something different going on in their lives – planning a wedding, new relationships, career woes – and I found each girl equally entertaining to read about. I had an absolute blast going through wedding planning, a marital snag, a budding relationship and a career choice with each of the characters and was engaged throughout the entire read. And I loved the ending and how it tied back to the original Friday Night Brides. I’m hoping for more in this series!

5 stars