#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

#BookReview: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

the one that got awayAbout the Book

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .

My Review

This book had a little bit of everything that I loved. Likeable main character, a wedding, an England setting… yes please! I really enjoyed not only the dual POV between Ruby and Ethan, but also that we got to get glimpses into the past and see how Ruby and Ethan met, fell in love, and why they fell apart. The secondary cast is fantastic, from Ruby’s family, her bridezilla sister, her bestie, and even the England crew. I was entertained the entire way through, but I won’t lie – when I thought the book was ending, I actually felt my heart sink a little at the resolution I thought we were getting. Thank goodness it wasn’t over yet! For fans of romantic comedy, add this to your list!

5 stars

Author Interview: Sara Goff

sara goffCan you describe I Always Cry at Weddings  in a tweet (140 characters or less)?

>>A month till ‘happily ever after’ Ava realizes she’s met everyone’s expectations but her own & ventures out to find herself in NYC #CryatWeddings #ForLoveAndCourage

What are your favorite genres to read?

>>I grew up reading British and American classics. (My mother was my high school English teacher.) So, romance to me was the likes of Wuthering HeightsGreat Expectations, and Little Women. You would’ve thought I’d end up writing historical novels, but starting in my twenties, I switched to reading contemporary fiction. In both my reading and my writing, I’m more issue-focused than I am a romantic. Romance shapes everyone’s life in one way or another, and that comes through in my writing, but I prefer to explore the challenges we face in today’s world and the decisions we make.

How important do you think social media is for authors these days?

>>Social media is critical to authors, and it would take a concerted effort to try and avoid it. My approach is to choose one or two avenues that work best in my network of friends and readers, and dedicate my time, maybe an hour a day, to building up those particular platforms. For example, most of my followers are on Facebook and Twitter. I like Instagram, but that’s more for fun. I only blog for my charity, Lift the Lid, Inc., and I’m real shy about sending mass emails, although that’s something I’d like to get over.

Where do you complete most of your writing? Any certain time of day that you prefer?

>>Where do I complete most of my writing? Ha! Anywhere and everywhere. When I lived in Manhattan for 16 years, I didn’t have children, so my writing looked a little more typical: at a desk in my ninth-floor apartment, where I had views of the historical Charities Building and a French charter school across the way.

Since then I’ve written on the floor of a cabin in Stockholm’s archipelago, my dog and newborn son playing beside me. In London, I ventured out to cafés in Notting Hill and Kensington. Now living in Connecticut, with two boys, ages three and eight, I write standing up in the kitchen, late at night in bed, or wherever I happen to be waiting for them to finish school, sports, and their music lessons. I’ve learned to be flexible and to take whatever hour I can grab.

Are you currently working on another novel?

>>I’m working on the sequel to I Always Cry at Weddings, mostly because my readers, friends and family insisted that I keep going with Ava Larson’s story. Since I Always Cry at Weddings was published in September of 2015, I’ve moved four times. That’s right, four times in two years, from London back to Manhattan, and then three times in Connecticut, finally landing in Westport. Moving is not conducive to writing, or getting anything accomplished other than unpacking…but now that I’m more or less settled down, I’ve been able to pick up the pace on book two.

I will say, the second book feels very different from the first. Ava is four years older and in a totally different phase of life, devoted to teaching dance. I think we all know how much our lives/outlooks/priorities can change from one phase to the next. Ava does not yet have children, nor is she married, which is a source of frustration, but she’s moving in that direction as she finds an alternative path to starting a family.

i always cry at weddingsAbout I Always Cry at Weddings

Ava Larson is going to bring all the other brides to tears.

Engaged to a wealthy NYC socialite’s son, Ava is ready to set the city abuzz with her glamorous wedding. At least until she realizes her relationship isn’t what it should be. Then, in a move as daring as a red satin dress, she does the unthinkable–she calls it all off and makes a promise to God that from now on, she’ll save sex for marriage.

She’s convinced the future is hers for the taking, especially when an undercover cop promises a new romance…and an unexpected friendship with the homeless guy under her stoop brightens her days.

But when her carefully balanced life teeters out of control, weddings aren’t the only thing to make her cry. Ava has to figure out what life she really wants to live…and what in the world love really means.