Shirley Benton’s second novel, Can We Start Again? is now on sale! Grab your copy now, and check out my review of Shirley’s debut novel Looking for Leon!
Is it ever too late for a second chance?
Tammy and Alvin had mapped out their entire lives together, including a pre-parental plan – a list of everything they wanted to do as a couple before they have children. But no amount of planning could have anticipated the heartbreaking problems that lay ahead of them – problems that shattered their once-perfect relationship and led to a traumatic break-up.
After years of trying to move on, Tammy’s world is turned upside down when Alvin comes back into her life asking for a second chance – with a difference. He proposes that they spend time together, doing the challenging activities they had once so eagerly planned, in a bid to remember why they felt they’d have children together some day, and ultimately recapture what they had.
Still in love with Alvin, Tammy finds herself powerless to say no even though their problems are still simmering in the background and threatening to boil over at any moment. Still, what they once had is surely worth trying to save?
But can something that’s broken ever truly be whole again?
Andie Appleton goes on holiday to Las Vegas for an escape. The last thing she expected to find was the man of her dreams- the too good to be true Leon. Leon’s zest for life is what attracts Andie immediately to this stranger, but a fire drill rips the two apart. Without getting any information from him, Andie feels desperate to find Leon from Arizona. When she must head back to Ireland and get back to work as a journalist, she figures she will never see Leon again. But when she is retelling her love story gone wrong to her co-workers, her conniving boss overhears and decides to push the story. Soon, Andie is retelling her Looking for Leon tale in columns, which is a hit for readers. A TV station decides to pick up the story and send Andie back to Vegas to continue her hunt for Leon. The search garners nation-wide attention- but no Leon. During the process, Andie gets thrown together with Colm the camera-man, who she immediately despises. But as the search continues and no Leon pops up, Andie begins to wonder if she possibly found the man of her dreams anyways…
Looking For Leon is the debut novel from Shirley Benton, and I found it to be enjoyable. The beginning and the end were both fast-paced and lively, but the middle really slowed the story down. I thought a handful of scenes could have been cut from the novel, I didn’t find that they moved the story or any characters along, and I think that is part of the reason why the middle was lagging. I thought the concept was unique and Benton can definitely write humor, which gave me plenty of laughs throughout the way. The ending was very shocking and quite sad; I shed a few tears during the last chapters. I thought this was a good debut but just a little lacking in a few areas, but I would still recommend Looking For Leon.
In My Mailbox: Week of March 13, 2011
Title: Crystal Balls
Received: From Amanda Brobyn
Synopsis: Tina Harding is a successful and ambitious estate agent. All is going according to plan and her painful past as a failed actress has been well and truly buried. Now she’s a down-to-earth and hard-headed businesswoman … Life, however, is full of surprises. While accompanying her more wide- eyed colleague, Chantelle, to a psychic fair, Tina herself falls victim to the lure of the Crystal Ball. She is warned that she must learn to trust her own decisions, and assured that the arrival of her soul mate is imminent. An elated Tina feels she has discovered a shortcut to fulfilment her very own life’s SatNav. Enter the gorgeous sex-on-wheels property-developer Brian Steen, who is very keen indeed to get up close and personal with Tina. But, call it fate, call it karma or just sheer bad luck, their steamy encounters are destined to fizzle out every time. But Brian is a patient man … up to a point … and, with help from Tina’s psychic guides, things are sure to pan out just fine … aren’t they? Crystal Balls … gaze into the unknown …
Author: Shirley Benton
Received: From Shirley Benton
Synopsis: Andie hadn’t gambled on meeting the love of her life on a holiday in Las Vegas- but when she meets Leon, love suddenly seems like a bet she can win. That is, until the wheel of fortune steps in and separates them during a fire drill. With next to no info on Leon, Andie finds it impossible to track him down-despite staging a series of publicity stunts to get the media in on the act. Back in Ireland, journalist Andie begins to write a regular newspaper column about her search. Readers love it and a local TV station flies her back to Vegas to take up the hunt for the man she can’t forget. What starts off as a simple low-budget documentary, spirals into a frenzied national media search. With the world’s most ambitious PR agents on board, Andie becomes a heroine for those who are looking for love.
Author: Linda Francis Lee
Received: From Tricia Carr @ Media Muscle
Synopsis: He was a man who didn’t deserve a second chance. But he needed one…
Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building. But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident. The funeral isn’t even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment. But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies.
Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn’t really gone. Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein. But is Einstein’s seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past? Can he help her find a future—even after she meets a new man?
Author: Jennifer Coburn
Received: From Jennifer Coburn
|Talk about bad timing!
When Lucy Klein gets her positive pregnancy results, she’s overjoyed. She and her husband Jack have been trying to get pregnant for years throughout their rocky marriage. But before she can tell him the big news, Jack has something he needs to announce – he wants a divorce!
Rather than split up, Lucy and Jack decide to live together as friends. This way, they can share expenses and parenting responsibilities. Co-parenting is a fine deal for Jack who is back in the dating scene by Lucy’s third trimester of pregnancy, but is a frustrating one for Lucy who has unfulfilled sexual fantasies about every man from restaurant delivery boys to puppeteers.
Meanwhile, Lucy’s mother is taking over her life. The grand dame of Planet Earth, Anjoli frequently visits her daughter to share her own brand of maternal wisdom.
As Anjoli leaves her Drama Queen bookstore to “help” Lucy with baby Adam, the new grandmother has an affair with baby’s pediatrician, hosts two weddings (including cousin Kimmy’s wedding to herself), and constantly frets about which kind of pie to serve guests. With a cast of family and friends from Lucy’s Jewish aunts to Junior League neighbor, Candace, Tales From the Crib is the story of how one baby can bring people together – so they can drive each other nuts!