Monday, July 9, 2018

The Brightest Fell

Book Description:
Things are slow, and October “Toby” Daye couldn’t be happier about that.  The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn’t have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.
Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.                When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do…until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes.  Now Toby doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks.  Not with Jazz and Tybalt’s lives hanging in the balance.  But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she’s never met, one who’s been missing for over a hundred years?                Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally.  Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine’s oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.                This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.


Sorry about the spoilers, however, I did warn you!

I hate to say this but the reason this book got such low stars from me (but not 1 star like I think I should have, 'cause I did manage to finish the book) is that it was one of the most boring and predictable of this series. I actually fell asleep several times while reading this book and it makes me question whether or not I should keep on reading this series.

Toby had just returned from her bachelorette party (for which she just sat around sneering and rueing the fact that she couldn't get drunk)-Gods forbid that such a badass admit to having a good time even if it was a Karaoke Bar to or just go with the flow (I'm rolling my eyes here if you can't already tell)- when she is visited by her mother Amandine and is forced to search for her sister August. Bad things happen to Toby's beloved and to Jazz (naturally) Simon re-enters the picture of course, and they leave on a quest to find August. Naturally, the Sea Witch has her hand in what will be an epic disaster.

Most of the book was spent explaining things that we the readers already knew and re-explained them over and over again -much like how we used to hear about Toby's coffee addiction in past books. She has lost most of her Fae-ness (again) and of course gets hurt (what's new?)

We finally and thankfully get to the end and of course things couldn't go worse, she is asked not to return to Sylvester's court, Luna still hates her, Toby and her beloved DON'T get married etc, Simon is now on the loose and looking to pay back Toby. *sigh*

*ARC supplied by publisher

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Book Description:
London, 1940. Emmeline Lake is Doing Her Bit for the war effort, volunteering as a telephone operator with the Auxiliary Fire Services. When Emmy sees an advertisement for a job at the London Evening Chronicle, her dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent suddenly seem achievable. But the job turns out to be working as a typist for the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.
Mrs. Bird is very clear: letters containing any Unpleasantness must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant notes from women who may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding. As the German planes make their nightly raids, and London picks up the smoldering pieces each morning, Emmy secretly begins to write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles.
Prepare to fall head over heels for Emmy and her best friend, Bunty, who are gutsy and spirited, even in the face of a terrible blow. The irrepressible Emmy keeps writing letters in this hilarious and enormously moving tale of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and ordinary people in extraordinary times.

For me, this was a very interesting read. I love historical fiction and had never read one for this time period. I'm glad I did because it brought home to me what it was (IS) like to live, work and play in a war-torn area of the world. I could never know what living with bombs raining down on me was really like and this author captures exactly what I imagined it would be like.

Some of this book left a bit to be desired since the heroine was so very naive, but that could be because of the time period and that most girls were just not used to being the 'strong' ones yet. And yes, those left at home to keep 'the home fires burning' were just as strong, in my opinion, as the boys defending flag and country.

A happily ever after for some a not so happily ever after for other's -I liked that this romance book showed that not everything was peaches and cream. There were humor and sadness and frustration in this book and they blended nicely.

I may not re-read this book but I certainly would recommend it to those that like historical fiction and especially to those who are younger than I am.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bubbles Reboots by Sarah Strohmeyer


Book Description:
BUBBLES IS BACK! And so is trouble in an all-new adventure featuring Lehigh, Pennsylvania's hairdresser/newspaper reporter Bubbles Yablonsky. Having survived a slip-and-fall on Payless heels, Bubbles catapults off a Caddy in the PolkaFest parade and into the arms of danger as she tracks down the whereabouts of two missing beauty queens while also keeping a mascaraed eye out for her hunka hunka burning love, Stiletto. On hand to help - or maybe hinder - are a couple of septuagenarian survivalists shilling their Die-O-Ramas, an office assistant obsessed with UPS drivers, a dude named Stinky and Josh Simon the billionaire casino owner who just be the knight in shining armor to rescue Bubbles from an aluminum-sided world. Or maybe not. Homemade beauty treatments and recipes featuring authentic Pennsylvania cuisine complement the writing. (It sucks and there's not nearly enough!) The 7th installment in this award-winning (Agatha, Romantic Times) and bestselling series published in seven language will have you smiling with relief that you didn't pay more.

Okay, so when is the next book coming out -dammit! You can't leave us hanging like this without us knowing when our misery will end!

Yes, this book ends on a sort of cliffhanger -now notice I said a "sort of" cliffhanger. I can't tell you much about the story itself, because anything I say is going to be a spoiler!

And let me tell you if you have been reading the entire series you may start out a little disappointed with this book at first. but stick with it-it really is a fantastic entry into this series. I just wonder why it took Ms. Strohmeyer so long to get back to it.

The characters are exactly as I remember them, but Bubbles has grown a bit, Dan is still the ex that I want to smack in the face with an iron frying pan, Sandy is still, well, Sandy and Bubbles Mom and Genevieve are still the same.

We are missing Bubbles daughter Jane who has sone her own way and Stiletto only makes peripheral visits and nothing hot to look forward to. (bummer) The heat has always been good n this series but never lewd or 'dirty' if you know what I mean. No graphic descriptions of body parts or fluids thank you very much!!! 

Another interesting thing to note -this series is really a good price -2.99$ for each book -not a bad value for something you might read a second or third time. HOWEVER -not all of the books are n e-book form yet and I really hope they come out that way very soon.

I recommend this series---so much so, that even though I finished the entire series yesterday, I may very well re-read it again when I finish the next 5 books I have on my TBR pile!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

Book Description:
Don’t miss this unforgettable debut novel, told in two timelines, about smart fashion, pursuing your dreams, and loving yourself! 
High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert. 
Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush, and put her life on track. 
Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day. 
Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

This is going to be a truly difficult review to write for me. Lately, I have needed this genre just to remind myself that I am wonderful just the way I am and had I read the synopsis for this book a little closer, I would have found that it wasn't written the way I expected. One thing that bothered me was the two different timelines and how they were labeled. I took some getting used to, but I managed after a while.

Please don't get me wrong -this was a wonderful book but not, perhaps, for the truly heavy woman (or man) who really loves themselves as they are. Most books of this genre do have to deal with the love/hate relationship of the fat is not something easily written, a fine line the author has to walk. And there lies the issue (mine) with this book -the heroine believes that her life will change and she will get everything she ever wanted if she just lost weight.

There are the usual stereotypes in this novel -the missing father, the high fashion model mother who abandons (for all intents and purposed her daughter) then uses her, the rich and perfect fat shamers at school and work, the regular fat-shamers, the boy that just couldn't speak his mind the best friend that lives half-way across the world and the man who used our heroine.

I did learn a LOT about the high fashion industry and how it does not want to deal with anyone over a size 8-12, I learned a lot about Claire McCardell (enough for me to learn more about her on my own).

What I did not like is the thought that Cookie (our protagonist) did diet and for what I felt are for the wrong things and I'm afraid that other younger girls are going to think the same way the heroine did. However, the reason I gave it a high rating is that Cookie did learn in the end not to care what other's thought and to learn to live life on her own terms.

It was a satisfying and interesting read for me---however, I would not recommend this book to anyone younger than high school (there is sex in this book).

*ARC supplied by the publisher.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Mr. & Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Bood Description:

The year is 1969. Dick Nixon was just sworn in as the thirty-seventh President of the United States. Neil Armstrong just took one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. And notable Palm Springs socialite Maxine Simmons just found out that her husband is leaving her for his twenty-two-year-old secretary. 
After a public meltdown at Thanksgiving, Maxine finds herself not only divorced, but exiled to Scottsdale, Arizona. However, these desert boondocks will not be her end―only her Elba. The former beauty queen sets her eyes on a new crown: that of the Mrs. American Pie pageant, awarded to the nation’s best wife and mother. 
Maxine only has one problem: to win the crown she’ll need to find―or build―a family of her own. 

I must start this review by saying that I'm sorry I ever started this book. Why? Because I started it just before bed and I couldn't stop reading it. It just sucked me in and held me rapt.

I loved the era that this book was set in and even though I was only 12-13 years old, I recognized everything that was spoken about. I spent may a good 5 minutes while reading just reminiscing. 

Now the story itself -it was unique, it was sarcasm at its best it was even satire---but most of all at the center of it all this book was filled with heart---you just have to dig for it! LOL!

While at times there was just a little too much detail and arguing over things that shouldn't have mattered-it ended up being the perfect way to tell this story.

This story was told in three different voices Maxine the main character, Robert, and Charles ( a youngster) and the voices are complimentary.

As I was reading this book for some reason the book Auntie Mame: An Irreverent EscapadeAuntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade kept coming to my mind and if you like big splashy women like Mame who have a huge heart -I think you will enjoy this book very much.

The epilogue floored me.

*ARC supplied by the publisher.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Weekenders: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Books Description:

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.
So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.
Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.

This is the third time I have read this book because I wanted to make sure that the first two readings weren't a fluke, that maybe I was having a bad day when I read it and that is why I didn't like it the first two readings...but alas, no.

I must really be out of it by rating this book so low when everyone else seems to have loved it I did not love it, I actually didn't even like it.

This is going to be more like a rant than a review and please excuse me for doing so:

Ms. Andrews seems to have decided that she was not going to be writing humorous books anymore, this book is filled with angst and awful characters including the main characters. Perhaps Ms. Andrews has had something terrible happen in her life that started about three books (or so) ago, but whatever happened this doesn't even seem to be her writing

I know that author's don't always want to stick to the script that we the readers have come to love and dare I say, expect. They want to branch out and let their muse fly free. Well, that is all well and good but this book just bites the big one for me.

And here is why:

I just wanted to b*tch slap Maggy. I have never met a more horrid child in all my life. Yes, her father was murdered so I gave her leeway for that, but how she treats her mother was just beyond my comprehension. 

The plot- well, having Riley's husband steal all of her and her families money was done before (see Savanah Breeze) and done a bit better.

Having a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes would have worked if it hadn't been stressed, discussed and explained on nearly every page. This daughter is also disrespectful (she is 12 going on 40) to nearly everyone around her (calling her mother a bitch and a whore are just two examples)-and the mother just pretty much accepts it. Illness and death should not excuse this sort of behavior all the way like it did in this book.

Then we have Bebo -Riley's brother and a high functioning alcoholic.

A murder where, of course, the heroine is the first person the police suspect.

A romance that is tepid at the very best. 

Rant over ---I think!

This book was so dark with so many side stories that I breathed a sigh of relief to get it over with. Yes, I was shocked by who-dun-it and that was good (that is why the extra star). As a beach read I would say stay away.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Book Description:

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.
In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

I was sort of wondering why this book was getting so many critical reviews (Yes I know that everyone's tastes are different) until I realized that this was actually a serious book, or at least most of it was. I think that most reader's are expecting something funnier, lighter. Yes, this book has its moments but the subject matter end's up being a bit more serious.

The book starts off humorously enough -but somewhat frustrating for me -when this couple is told that they may end up living long enough to be married 68 years. I couldn't see the problem here and why this couple freaked at this, but then again I just celebrated my 38th anniversary so this part of the book was a little ludicrous to me.

The next 2/3 of the book deals with misunderstandings. A possible affair comes up but finally ends up being a book about a mature woman growing into her skin and being a caring woman but not one who takes too much crap.

There are parts of this book that had me laughing, frustrated, angry and in tears and the mix of emotions was just what I needed.

Sylvie grows just so much and it was a fun trip to take with her.

*ARC supplied by publisher.