Book Review: Condemn Me Not by Dianne Venetta

April 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review

Condemn Me NotI received a copy of Condemn Me Not by Dianne Venetta in exchange for an honest review.

Two women, who have been friends since college, Simone and Claire, have lived very different lives. Upon graduation from college, they both chose different paths. Now, years later, the two find themselves at a common crossroads where they must look into their past and their present and examine what really matters when their daughters issue opposing proclamations with regard to college. As the two long time friends battle the news differently, they soon come to the realization that some decisions are not easy and it may complicate each of their respective relationships with their daughters. In turn, that leads both of them to wander where they went wrong.

Oh man, I really, really enjoyed this book. For years I have sat back and watched people around me with kids make decisions and I will be honest, I sometimes judged them based on what those decisions were. But, as a new mom myself, I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes things aren’t as easy as they appear and everything always looks different from an outside perspective. Well, the same thing applies here. These two women are faced with a tough decision and the way that they react could really  have repercussions with their daughters. So, whats a parent to do? I think Dianne examines that question and really presents the characters in a very raw and real portrayal of what that might look like in real life. This book is really good and I am so glad that I had the privilege to read it.

4.5 stars

Book Review: Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee by Carolyn Brown

April 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review

blue ribbonI received a copy of BLUE-RIBBON JALAPENO SOCIETY JUBILEE by Carolyn Brown in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Miss Clawdy’s Café has won the Jubilee blue ribbon every year since the dawn of time. This year, town matron Violet Prescott is going after that ribbon with an iron-clad determination only thinly disguised by her perfect coiffure and flawless manners, bless her heart.

It’s time for café owners Cathy and Marty and their best friend Trixie to pull out their secret weapon. And this is where a lifetime of friendship, combined with just the right recipe at just the right time, might carry the day—or blow everything to smithereens.

Welcome to Cadillac, Texas, where the jalapeños are hot, the gossip is hotter, and at the end of the day, it’s the priceless friendships that are left standing…

Review:

I was instantly smitten with the title, description and cover for this book and knew I would love it from the get go. Author Carolyn Brown pleases from the get go with trademark southern char, twang and hilarious wit. The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee is a fun southern tale that delivers a very fun and authentic tale that could and would definitely take place in a small southern town. I loved the adventures of the women and I loved all of the gossip that went on. Friendship and family are key themes in this book and you can easily see how important they are to the main characters. I don’t really have any complaints because I enjoyed it so much. Full of sass and southern comfort, this book is a winner.

 4.5 stars

Book Review: Prior Engagements by Sarah Goodwin

March 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review

Prior EngagementsI received a copy of PRIOR ENGAGEMENTS by Sarah Goodwin in exchange for an honest review.

Prior Engagements begins with Annie, who isn’t really enjoying her time in the twenties as much as she expected. She was left at the alter by Stephen and is currently in the process of paying down the gargantuan mountain of debt leftover from the wedding that never happened. Then one day, she meets a man who is in need of a favor – to accompany him to the wedding of his ex. She decides on a whim to accompany him and then next thing she knows, she is getting married in Vegas to Dorian. But, that makes things complicated as she returns home and realizes that her best friend, who also happens to be her boss, has been working up the courage to pop the question himself. Will is not happy at all about the new discovery and wants nothing more than to get Dorian out of the way. Like I said, things are complicated and it gets worse as we are introduced to Dorian’s sister, his ex-bride and Annie’s dear old mother. Fun times ensue as some Annie tries to figure out just how her life ended up so complicated.

I really enjoyed PRIOR ENGAGEMENTS and thought that it was a really good read. At first I wasn’t quite too sure what to think about Annie but after a little hesitation on my part, I soon fell in love with her character. Sarah does an amazing job at crafting flawed characters who are also very realistic. On numerous occasions I felt that Annie and I would make great friends. I knew instantly that Stephen was a douche bag and ironically, am glad that she got left at the alter because she was so much better off without him. I must also admit that I was quite surprised when she married Dorian in Vegas … I definitely didn’t see that one coming. Overall though, this book is a really great read from a debut author. I think that if you are looking for a hilarious book with a lot of wit and heart, then this book is for you.

 4 stars

CLP Blogs Tours Book Review: White Diamonds by Shirley Hailstock

February 25, 2013 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review

white diamondsI received a copy of WHITE DIAMONDS by Shirley Hailstock in exchange for an honest review from CLP BLOG TOURS!

White Diamonds follows Sandra Rutledge, who has practically lived in front of the cameras most of her life. Instead of life in the public eye, she longs for a quiet existence and longs to be a professor at the university. She is incredibly smart, and she is at her family cabin in the Pocono Mountains when she meets Wyatt Randolph, who is a missing junior senator from Pennsylvania. Only, she finds him bleeding in the middle of the road. Only his entrance into her life makes things complicated because it turns out there is more to the story because he actually knows her father, only he accuses him of treason. But, is Wyatt telling the truth? At first, Sandra doesn’t believe him, but together they go on the search for the truth and what is behind the cache of diamonds that have set off a trail of murder and deceit.

I really enjoyed this story and found it quite suspenseful and thrilling. Shirley has a knack for crafting a very believable tale of intrigue and I thought she did an amazing job at crafting both Sandra and Wyatt. My heart was racing during most of the read and I kept wondering who to trust. Like I said, this book is full of lots of twists and turns and I found myself racing to catch up. Overall, this story is quite enjoyable and is very fast paced. I think you will enjoy it just as much as I have.

  4.5 stars

**Everyone who leaves a comment on Shirley’s tour page will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of White Diamonds before March 15 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

shirley hailstockAuthor Bio:

Shirley Hailstock began her writing life as a lover of reading.  She likes nothing better than to get lost in a book, explore new worlds and visit places she never expected to see.  As an author, she can not only visit those places, but she can be the heroine of her own stories.  A past president of Romance Writers of America, Shirley’s has authored 29 books and won many awards and accolades for her work.

Connect with Shirley!
Web Page – www.shirleyhailstock.net
Buy the Book!
Amazon – http://amzn.com/B008CAXJOY
B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/white-diamonds-shirley-hailstock/1005685458?ean=2940014718615
KOBO – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/White-Diamonds/book-Mj6UMCx0R02SEkG8vlWmzw/page1.html?s=GtVH3dSshkCoZTeHQ3C8Sg&r=1

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/173191

White Diamonds Button

Book Review: Afterwife by Polly Williams

January 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review, Sara's Favorites

afterwifeI received a copy of AFTERWIFE by Polly Williams in exchange for an honest review.

Sophie Brady is just one of those gals – funny, gorgeous, strong-willed, loyal and loving – and continues to be one after she dies. One tragic traffic accident cuts Sophie’s life short and she finds herself attending her own funeral. While there, she watches the reactions of those she holds closest to her heart. She worries most about her husband and their young son. She watches over them closely and although she loves him and wishes that she could have continued to be there for him, she knows that he must find love again and move on. So, she takes on the task and intervenes. Only, it appears that she is not the only one who is looking out for Ollie. Her best friend Jenny is doing so as well, only a big secret comes about that leaves Sophie wondering how well she knew her friend.

This book is an absolute knock out. It is funny, charming, witty, heart-warming, thoughtful, and most importantly, one-of-a-kind. When I first received a review request for this book, I immediately thought it sounded unique and probably unlike anything that I have ever read before, and I was right. This book has tons of heart but is also surprisingly honest. I loved every second of it and found myself constantly wondering what I would do if I found myself in Sophie’s shoes. I have to admit that she was rather generous in wanting her husband to find love and although I know that I wouldn’t want to, I would probably do the same. Overall, like I said, a complete knock out. I loved every second!

Rating: 5 stars

The Break-Up Test by Rose McClelland

April 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review

The Break-Up Test by Rose McClelland is a sweet, heartwarming story about love and its many faces. The story introduces us to the three main characters early on: Amy, Beth, and Sarah. All three are good looking, smart, kind, and intelligent women with one thing in common – rotten taste in men. They each have their own story and problem to deal with. Amy is strictly used as a booty-call. Beth is desperate. And Sarah is sleeping with a committed man – kind of. Upon hearing about their disastrous dating lives, mutual friend Jamie creates a list of items called “The Break-Up Test” that he feels will bring three girls better success with love. Will they clean up their acts? Will The Break-Up Test cure their dating woes? Only time will tell, but many dating adventures await them in the mean time.

I absolutely adored The Break-Up Test and found it endearingly heartfelt. The writing was witty and humorous and I thought that Rose McClelland created very realistic dating scenarios that many women (and some men) deal with on a daily basis- now if only we all had someone like Jamie come along and cure our dating woes. Speaking of Jamie, he was by far my favorite character. I found him sweet and charming … a modern day Romeo and I absolutely loved the way Rose handled his love interest. Overall, the story is sweet and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a light read with some humor.

[Rating: 4/5]

In My Mailbox: Week of April 1

April 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Plus, In My Mailbox, Updates

In My Mailbox: Week of April 1

In Samantha’s Mailbox:

Title: Misfortune Cookie

Author: Michele Gorman

Received: From Michele Gorman

Synopsis: “Following your heart will pay off in the near future”

The fortune cookie had spoken, affirming Hannah’s decision to move to Hong Kong to be with her boyfriend. She’s no stranger to rash decisions – after all she moved from the US to London on a dare, and that worked out, didn’t it? Ever the optimist, she’s determined to make a success of her move, no matter what anybody says.

Unfortunately, anybody seems to be everybody and her life isn’t going exactly to plan.

Sure, she’s found a career in fashion that she loves, her best friend Stacy moved to be with her, and they’re exploring the weird and wonderful in Hong Kong. It’s her love life that’s not quite living up to expectations. It isn’t easy having a relationship with a boyfriend who’s been posted to a job in another country. Particularly one who seems a bit too cosy with his new boss.

When things also start going wrong at work, Hannah begins to think her friends and family were right. Has she made the worst mistake of her life?

 

Title: The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit

Author: Amanda Egan

Received: From Amanda Egan

Synopsis: THE SEQUEL TO ‘DIARY OF A MUMMY MISFIT’

Think you knew Mummy Misfit?

Well, you might be in for a surprise.

After a year of struggling with school fees, trying to become pregnant and feeling like she didn’t belong amongst the prep-school ‘Meemies’, Libby is back.

Only this time, she’s got it all.

But how long can it last and will she ever be truly happy?

Join Libby on her hilarious, yet sensitive journey as loyalty, friendships and values are tested in ‘The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit’.

 

Title: True Love Way

Author: Nancy Scrofano

Received: From Lucie @ Simon and Fig

Synopsis: Marlo Spencer relishes all things retro. Old TV shows, classic movies, and even the collectible lunch boxes to go with them. In fact, she’s quite cozy in her Malibu apartment, surrounded by her treasured knick-knacks and vintage memorabilia. It’s her best friend, Nik, who doesn’t get her fascination with all that “old junk,” as he calls it. He especially doesn’t understand why she’s so keen to get back to their hometown of Napa when her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris and nary a single phone call, eager to reunite with her. So, when Marlo heads up north to wine country to rekindle her relationship with Josh, Nik tags along, claiming he was already planning to visit his sister, Savannah, Marlo’s gal pal. Once they reach Napa, however, dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and past betrayals are revealed, leaving an unsuspecting Marlo to pick up the pieces. Can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?

Title: Willow Pond

Author: Carol Tibaldi

Received: Via CLP Blog Tours

Synopsis: The Roaring Twenties crumble into the Great Depression. Bootlegging is flourishing. Virginia Kingsley, New York’s most successful speakeasy owner, is queen of that castle. Rudy Strauss wants to help with her business. Virginia, wisely suspicious, refuses. He shifts his trademark toothpicks to the other side of his mouth and asks about her niece, Laura, and Laura’s nineteen-month-old son, Todd. Virginia warns him off, but Rudy is intrigued. Laura is movie star beautiful but it is her ex-husband, Phillip, who is an actor. Laura, a writer, is devastated when Todd’s nanny calls, hysterical, saying Laura’s son has been kidnapped.

 

 

Title: Escape

Author: Barbara Delinsky

Received: From Laura @ Laura Sherlock PR

Synopsis: Publication Date: July 5, 2011

In her luminous new novel, Barbara Delinsky explores every woman’s desire to abandon the endless obligations of work and marriage—and the idea that the most passionate romance can be found with the person you know best.

Emily Aulenbach is thirty, a lawyer married to a lawyer, working in Manhattan. An idealist, she had once dreamed of representing victims of corporate abuse, but she spends her days in a cubicle talking on the phone with vic­tims of tainted bottled water—and she is on the bottler’s side.

And it isn’t only work. It’s her sister, her friends, even her husband, Tim, with whom she doesn’t connect the way she used to. She doesn’t connect to much in her life, period, with the exception of three things—her computer, her BlackBerry, and her watch.

Acting on impulse, Emily leaves work early one day, goes home, packs her bag, and takes off. Groping toward the future, uncharacteristically following her gut rather than her mind, she heads north toward a New Hampshire town tucked between mountains. She knows this town. During her college years, she spent a watershed summer here. Painful as it is to return, she knows that if she is to right her life, she has to start here.

 

In Sara’s Mailbox:

 

Title: When You Were Older

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Received: Unsolicited

Synopsis:

I was doing my best to get out the door.  And then the phone rang. I almost let it go.

 

New York, September 11th 2001

Russell Ammiano is rushing to work when he gets a phone call that saves his life. As the city he loves is hit by unimaginable tragedy, Russell must turn his back and hurry home to Kansas.

 Kansas, September 14th 2001

Ben Ammiano is mentally disabled, and a creature of habit. Any change to his routine sends him into a spin. But now his estranged brother has reappeared, and Ben’s simple, ordered world has turned upside down.

 In a story as heartbreaking as it is uplifting, two brothers must bury their pasts and learn from each other, if they are to survive.

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

March 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Review

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose is a suspenseful novel that will keep you on your toes. Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by her past and her mother’s suicide. She moves to America to escape and move on, only to find out fourteen years later that she (and her brother Robbie) have inherited the infamous House of L’Etoile, home of one-of-a-kind perfumes and scents. Hesitant at first, Jac leaves most of the responsibility to Robbie, which results in his disappearance when he stumbles upon an ancient secret that the House of L’Etoile has been researching since 1799. Jac goes on the hunt for Robbie, a quest that takes her places she never imagined … and to answers about her troubled past that she never thought existed.

I found The Book of Lost Fragrances hauntingly beautiful and suspenseful. The book travels through many places and a great deal of time, and I found that M.J. Rose did a fantastic job getting all of the details right. In doing so, she created a complex tale with twists and turns at every page and wonderfully believable characters who you find yourself rooting for until the very end. Will Jac ever find Robbie? Will she find the answers she is looking for? Or will she learn more than she bargained for? Only time will tell … and you have to read the book to find out. I for one, stayed up all night searching for the answers right along with Jac, deeply engrossed in the mystery of The Book of Lost Fragrances.

 

[Rating: 4.5/5]

What’s in My Mailbox: Week of March 25

March 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Chick Lit Plus, In My Mailbox, Updates

In My Mailbox: Week of March 25

Title: The Song Remains the Same

Author: Allison Winn Scotch

Received: Lisa @ SparkPoint Studio

Synopsis: One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the horrific experience-or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind, with the help of family and friends, who have their own agendas. She filters through photos, art, music, and stories, hoping something will jog her memory, and soon, in tiny bits and pieces, Nell starts remembering. . . .
It isn’t long before she learns to question the stories presented by her mother, her sister and business partner, and her husband. In the end, she will discover that forgiving betrayals small and large will be the only true path to healing herself-and to finding happiness.

 

Title: Save Me

Author: Lisa Scottoline

Received: Via SheKnows Book Lounge

Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of Think Twice and Look Again comes an emotionally powerful novel about a split-second choice, agonizing consequences, and the need for justice

Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom in her daughter Melly’s school in order to keep an eye on Amanda, a mean girl who’s been bullying her daughter. Her fears come true when the bullying begins, sending Melly to the bathroom in tears. Just as Rose is about to follow after her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen, sending the room into chaos. Rose finds herself faced with the horrifying decision of whether or not to run to the bathroom to rescue her daughter or usher Amanda to safety. She believes she has accomplished both, only to discover that Amanda, for an unknown reason, ran back into the school once out of Rose’s sight. In an instance, Rose goes from hero to villain as the small community blames Amanda’s injuries on her. In the days that follow, Rose’s life starts to fall to pieces, Amanda’s mother decides to sue, her marriage is put to the test, and worse, when her daughter returns to school, the bullying only intensifies. Rose must take matters into her own hands and get down to the truth of what really happened that fateful day in order to save herself, her marriage and her family.
In the way that Look Again had readers questioning everything they thought they knew about family, Save Me will have readers wondering just how far they would go to save the ones they love. Lisa Scottoline is writing about real issues that resonate with real women, and the results are emotional, heartbreaking and honest.

 

Title: How to Eat a Cupcake

Author: Meg Donohue

Received: From Meg Donohue

Synopsis: Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs’ housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.
A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia’s engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.

 

Title: Gossip

Author: Beth Gutcheon

Received: From Leyane @ FSB Associates

Synopsis: “Did you know that the origin of the word gossip in English is ‘god-sibling’? It’s the talk between people who are godparents to the same child, people who have a legitimate loving interest in the person they talk about. It’s talk that weaves a net of support and connection beneath the people you want to protect.”

Loviah “Lovie” French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need “just the thing” for major life events—baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals—or when they just want to dish in the dressing room. Among the people who depend on Lovie’s confidence are her two best friends since boarding school: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf.

Outspoken and brimming with confidence, Dinah made a name for herself as a columnist covering the doings of New York’s wealthiest and most fabulous. Shy, proper Avis, in many ways Dinah’s opposite, rose to prominence in the art world with her quiet manners, hard work, and precise judgment. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Lovie, they have been more or less allergic to each other since a minor incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented with what will prove to be unimaginable consequences.

These uneasy acquaintances become unwillingly bound to each other when Dinah’s favorite son and Avis’s only daughter fall in love and marry. On the surface, Nick and Grace are the perfect match—a playful, romantic, buoyant, and beautiful pair. But their commitment will be strained by time and change: career setbacks, reckless choices, the birth of a child, jealousies, and rumor. At the center of their orbit is Lovie, who knows everyone’s secrets and manages them as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out—a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.

An astute chronicler of everything that makes us human, Beth Gutcheon delivers her most powerful and emotionally devastating novel to date. Gossip is a tale of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship, competition, and motherhood that explores the myriad ways we use and abuse “information” about others—be it true, false, or imagined—to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.

 

In Sara’s Mailbox:

Title: Stiletto Safari

Author: Kate Metz

Received by: Kate Metz

Synopsis: Zara Hamilton has it all – a glamorous New York lifestyle, a gorgeous (and seriously rich) boyfriend and a job as a lawyer in a prestigious city law firm. But when Zara’s boyfriend is accused of insider trading her perfect world implodes. Thrown out of work by security and stalked by the press, Zara’s life can’t get any worse. Or can it? A snap decision (and a few wines too many) sees Zara fleeing to Africa to work as a temporary wildlife volunteer. But just when things start to cool down at home Zara realises her troubles have only just begun. Will Zara’s designer wardrobe survive? Will a supermodel ruin her only chance at happiness? Can a Birkin bag really solve her problems? And will Zara want her old life back at the end of it all….

 

Title: Falling Uphill

Author: Wendy Tokunaga

Received by: Wendy Tokunaga

Synopsis: Ruth Fenton is dead, but what does that have to do with me?” That’s what Candace Grey, 29, wants to know after receiving a puzzling phone message from San Francisco. A bright, but slightly absent-minded anthropology teacher at a small Michigan college, Candace is all set to leave for Los Angeles to conduct research on 1960s TV star Pamela Parrish—America’s Sitcom Sweetheart—for her Master’s thesis on television and female gender roles. But after discovering that Ruth Fenton is a long lost relative, she’s first off to San Francisco for her memorial service where she meets a crazy(?) old lady who claims Pamela Parrish didn’t commit suicide like everybody says—she was murdered. Now Candace has to get to the bottom of it, all while fighting the nagging feeling that her long-time professor boyfriend back home is getting a little too close to one of his students, and at the same time wondering if new-found friend Brandon, a newspaper reporter and budding painter who lives on a hidden stairway street in the hills of San Francisco, is really the guy for her. It’s a funny, but moving, uphill climb for Candace who finds that things are rarely what they seem in the ups and downs of love or in discovering a surprising secret about her not-so-perfect mother, or unearthing the truth behind the death of America’s Sitcom Sweetheart.

 

Title: Offbeat Love Stories & More

Author: Jennifer Lafferty

Received by: Jennifer Lafferty

Synopsis: A collection of humorous and unique short stories by noted fiction and nonfiction author Jennifer K. Lafferty. The majority of the stories center on love and romance. The pieces are an eclectic mix, ranging from historic farce, such as “Make Believe”, to contemporary comedy/dramas like “A New Verse”, and “It Happened at the Mall”. Other genres are represented by such stories as the suspense filled “A Familiar Place”, and the lighthearted coming of age tale “The Prom Date”. The characters are colorful, witty and multi-dimensional. The writing style is original and imaginative. Selections include: A New Verse, Periwinkle 26, Choices, Make Believe, It Happened at the Mall, A Familiar Place, Eye on the Prize, Overseas Adoption, Chance Meeting, Riddles and Jingles, The Surprise, The Prom Date, The Anniversary Gift, Unlikely Friends.

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