My Top Ten of 2013

And another year is in the books! 2013 was fabulous for me – bought a house, got married, got a puppy. Marching Ink published two novels, I finished my third (to be published in February), and went to BookBuzz Toronto – check out my author blog for that experience! Also on that blog are my goals for 2014. Instead of a resolution I thought of 10 goals I would like to achieve this year. I hope to be able to check them all off! I reviewed 189 novels in 2013 on Chick Lit Plus (crazy!) and while I think that number will go down this year because of the different projects I’m doing, I still hope to review around 100. I guess we’ll see…in 2015!

top 10Here are my ten favorite reads of 2013. Enjoy my list and Happy New Year all!

Blogger Girl – Meredith Schorr

Hush Little Baby – Suzanne Redfearn

The Girl You Left Behind – JoJo Moyes

Everybody’s Got a Story – Heather Wardell

The Life List – Chrissy Anderson

How To Eat a Cupcake – Meg Donohue

Becoming Mrs. Walsh – Jessica Gordon

Zoey & The Moment of Zen – Cat Lavoie

Caramel and Magnolias – Tess Thompson

Hard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

 

 

 

Book Review: How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue

how to eat a cupcakeI received a copy of How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

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.

Review:

What a home run of a book! It gives me chills when I find a book that I find irresistible from page one, and this exactly what happened with How to Eat a Cupcake. The dynamic between Annie and Julia was tense, loving, troubled, and supportive –all wrapped into one. These characters really leapt off the pages and made this impossible to put down. I loved the mystery surrounding the death of Annie’s mother and also with the cupcakery break-ins. I think I could go on and on about how much I loved this novel, but I’ll just say go read it – and grab yourself a cupcake!

Rating: 5 stars

What’s in My Mailbox: Week of March 25

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.