December 26, 2013

Holiday Gig: Erin Brady

Taylor Barnes thinks she has her life lined up. She pours everything into her work, so her relationship with her family has slipped a bit, but she is going to be partner this year. When she catches that she missed RSVPing No to her cousins wedding she finds that she can’t back out and not go. Then she finds that she needs a date and with a slip of the tongue needs a date to the office holiday part too. Now, her job and her family expect her to have a Significant Other that doesn’t actually exist.
So, she does what every heroine does, hires a boyfriend thinking that she can keep it all business. Hunter, with the name Tom Maguire, takes the job. They spend the month of December feeling each other out and each working towards what they think their goal is.

This is the type of story that you just sigh at the end of. Yes, you probably saw the ending coming. But, it is worth reading to get there. Hunter and Taylor are developed characters that you do want to see how they get there and learn more about.  I would give this book 4 stars. Moments were kind of like ok I know what is going to happen, but it kept you still interested that you wanted to keep reading and see how it all happened. It was a light fun nice holiday read that if you aren’t a new Mom should be the right length to not take you too long, as a new Mom well that is another story.

I was sent a copy of this book by Erin, but the review and thoughts are my own.

April 5, 2013

Elly in Bloom: Colleen Oakes

Elly left her home when she discovered her husband cheating on her and he has tried since then to look back on what she left in Georgia. Settled in the Saint Louis area, with a new best friend. She establishes herself with a business, a florist and is sought out by brides for weddings.

When the biggest wedding she has ever been offered walks in she can't turn it down. The financial security it would provide is something she can't pass up. Until, a part of her past comes back to haunt her and it is directly related to this wedding. Is the money worth the cost it might be emotionally. With her friends around her, including Snarky Teenager one of her employee's (how can you not love that name for a character). Elly has some decisions to make for herself and has to face what those decisions might cost her.

I enjoyed this book. It really fit the time of year we are in right now and thought it was a great read to pickup during the spring time, that is just my opinion since flowers make me think about spring. A few parts of the plot were a little predictable, in that I could see things coming. But, oddly I didn't find that as distracting as it could have been.

For the character of Elly I found her well flushed out and relatable. I thought that she acted in a very real way to the situations she was put in, not going overboard in the dramatic or acceptance of things. The other characters I found were developed enough for what they needed to do and the role they placed in Elly's life, but beyond that there wasn't anything to them. That disappointed me in a few ways, but didn't distract from the plot overall.

Overall, I would suggest you to pickup this book. It was a nice fun book that kept you wanting to keep reading. As a nice light fun read that would be nice to enjoy in the park on a bench under a tree. 3 Stars!

This review is part of chick lit plus blog tours.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

March 30, 2013

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality: Jacob Tomsky

Jacob Tomsky has worked in the hotel/hospitality industry since just out of college. Starting out as a Valet he moves his way up through housekeeping and ends up landing at the front desk, though he can tell you about all the other departments of a hotel.

A memories that says that it will give you insight into hospitality and how to get what you want at a hotel. Personally, that isn't really what I found or was interested in at the end of this book. I will tell you really want it all boils down to now, it is tipping. Drop a tip to the front desk person and you will be taken care of, at least according to Tomsky.

One of the reasons I was compelled to pickup this book is that for my day job I am a travel agent. Maybe, that is why I couldn't relate to working a front desk and how they can help you more than others in the industry. The other reason is that I like memories and I though this would be an interesting different perspective to read about. I liked it for the second aspect and appreciated Tomsky story about his personal experiences. I personally would lose all respect for the hospitality industry if I saw all of what he talked about going on and saw it everyday. But, I suppose that is what a tell all and peek into behind the scenes is about. I do believe it goes a little more extreme then most situations, but that is what makes it a fun and interesting read.

So, I would suggest this book to others as an interesting read, but take the advice in it worth a grain of salt, not forgetting your $20 of course. 3 Stars, but not something I would go back to again and again.

March 15, 2013

Staged: Ruby Preston

Scarlett from SHOWBIZ is back. With her own production company she is ready to present her first work on broadway, Swan Song. The problem is that she can't get a theater, but she can't let that hold her back. So, she works on finding a director, gets a young hollywood star as a lead lined up. As she keeps working on a place to present the work Scarlett has to consider what lines she is willing to cross and how many friends she is willing to alienate in order to pursue her dream.

I still love Preston's works. I am excited to see that this is a trilogy, so we will be able to continue to read about Scarlett and maybe see her dream come to fruition. Again as a theater person I found this plot very relatable, but don't think that others who don't have a theater background would be lost. Scarlett is developed in this book, but I personally think if you didn't have the background of the first book on her and some of her main supporting friends you may be a little lost. Having read both of the books I could relate to Scarlett and the situations she found herself in and feel due to that I could understand why she made some of the decisions she did in a way you might not without the background.

I would highly recommend this book to others especially someone who worked in theater/did theater as a hobby or even just someone who always wished they could work in theater. This plot focused more on the life outside the theater then the last one, but you knew that aspect was still there. Someone who enjoys Smash the television show would enjoy this book.

I was disappointed by a few aspects of this book compared to the last. That was time passed between the two books and character development/relationships changed in that time and those changes were not well presented to the reader but as kind of second hand news/after the fact oh yeah I should tell you details to fill us in. I personally would have liked to know more about those relationships too and have gotten that insight. I think that part of it for me was I felt like I knew the characters and they were like my friends, so I would like to know about the details I missed. That is just me and didn't distract from the overall plots.

I have to give this book 4 stars in it lacked a few things for me, but it was still really enjoyable. I would encourage others to go read it and the others in the series.

This review is part of chick lit plus blog tours.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

March 1, 2013

White Diamonds: Shirley Hailstock

Sandra Rutledge is at her remote family cabin trying to forget the world and prepare for finishing her doctorate. In getting there she finds a car on the road, in the car is Senator Wyatt Randolph. The Senator has been missing for days and on him Sandra finds a collection of imperfect diamonds, and he is just clinging to life.  Cleaning him up and nursing him back to health they are just both left with more questions. Not long they find themselves on the run for their lives and are not sure who to trust. As they try to piece together what they have, what it can do, and who they can trust of those around them that they are use to trusting. All while trying to work out there relationship to each other too.

Another classic romance type novel I really enjoyed this book as it didn't feel in my face with the romance/sex portion. The main characters were well developed and you could understand and appreciate most if their relationships with the supporting characters. There were a few characters that I had trouble with keeping all the names straight, especially since a few were referred to by two names once I worked out keeping the characters straight I understood how they were all woven together.

One thing I really enjoyed about this novel is that everything seemed to take place in real time. We knew what they were doing the whole time, you felt like you were traveling with them on the run. This was really relatable to me.

Personally, I would give this book 3 stars as it was very enjoyable and had great movement in the plot and character development. It didn't really have anything that stood out to me to give it more than 3 stars though. I would defiantly suggest it to others to read, not only if this is a genre you normally read, but maybe a genre you are interested in seeing if you want to read more in.

This review is part of chick lit plus blog tours.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

February 8, 2013

The Cinderella Blues: Obren Bokich

Kat Young has a tendency to take little mental vacations, visits what her long time boyfriend calls Katland. She puts herself as the Heroine of the romance novels that she enjoys. Unfortunately, her little escapes from reality are starting to effect the rest of her life. She has so many accidents she decides to try taking the bus in LA to save money. And people that she knows she should, stay away from/are off limits keep featuring prominently in her dreams.

Things begin to change bit for Kat when her estranged Aunt dies and leaves her the house that Kat has childhood memories about. Kat finds that the Princes are not always so charming and there is more than just the romance novel to think about. As she makes her way up the corporate ladder Kat has to consider what she wants and maybe how she can make her dreams come true on her own.

Although, I am probably the right/target audience of romance novels I have never really gotten into them though. I think my personal issue is with them being completely unbelievable and just focusing on the sex aspect of things. That being said that this was not an issue I had with this book. There was the nod to the romance novel side, but it also stay grounded in real life and the more everyday things that Kat had to work through too. The romance was acknowledged and accepted, but wasn't the be all end all or what saved Kat. That I really appreciated.

The only complaint I could say I had about this book is that though the relationships and time was speed up for the sake of keeping things moving yet, it seemed slow in character development/movement at times. The characters were doing things and living, but not growing or changing at all.  Looking back you could see how that time was needed and helped the characters come to the realizations they did that just work, but were noticeable to me at times.

Overall, I found this a quick, fun, enjoyable, read.  I would suggest it to someone who enjoys romance novels and those who like chick lit also. I personally found it a very enjoyable read.

I was provided a copy of The Cinderella Blues by Black Bear Media in exchange for my own review.

January 29, 2013

Slightly slower posts coming up

Just wanted to do a quick housekeeping note here. I have been good lately staying ahead and having a new review up every week. My reviews are going to become a bit more intermittent for a bit. I do still have reviews coming up, for blog tours and requests and just some books that I want to read. They aren't necessarily going to be consistent and each week like they have been.

My life is about to get more complicated for awhile. In that I am due this coming Saturday 02.02.13. So, I will have a few other things needing my attention, more than just my blog. I don't plan on letting this go entirely and will be posting reviews, just know that at least for the next few month they are going to be a bit more intermittent.

That is all stay tuned for more.

January 18, 2013

Death Turns a Trick (Rebecca Schwartz Mysteries #1): Julie Smith

Rebecca Schwartz, is a Jewish Feminist lawyer, who has found herself legal representation too and a growing friendship with operator of a bordello co-op. She happens to play the piano too, it is what her Mother wanted her to peruse but more of a stress reliving pastime for her. One night she ends up playing the piano for a party in whorehouse and during a police raid finds her job is to get a near0naked senator out. She finds herself picked up and spending some time at the Hall of Justice explaining her situation.
Finally, home Rebecca finds one of the girls from her the party earlier dead on her living room floor. The next morning she finds out that her new beau, Parker Phillips, is the brother of the dead hooker and has been arrested for her murder. With a new client to defend, a murder to investigate that has all sorts of new clues and things popping up in her apartment, and the press keep running into her. Especially, reporter Rob Burns who starts to help Rebecca, but the lines are starting to get blurred a little there too.

I enjoyed reading about Rebecca and feel like this book did a great job at establishing a character for Rebecca. I think there were some great support character that were built and established in this book too. As well as a mystery that was set up and solved in a say that it wasn't obvious to the reader the whole time, but wasn't a complicated mess to unravel either. I did find the end of the book a little abrupt at first. I don't know why, everything was really wrapped up. For, me it was this is just kind of how it all worked out and scene. But, I felt like I was ready to move on and read more about the characters. I think the Rebecca Schwartz has places it is going to go.

I would recommend this book to others who enjoy mysteries and were looking for a series. I would give it three stars.

This review is part of chick lit plus blog tours.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

January 11, 2013

The Darling Girls: Emma Burstall

Cat had only been with Leo for a little over a year, but it was the most passionate relationship she has ever been in. Attending his funeral she has to face the other parts of his life though. Victoria, who Leo had two children with a 17 year old and an 8 year old. Victoria was for all purposes Leo’s wife yet he never would marry her. There is also Maddy, who is also the mother of Leo’s youngest, and also Leo’s mistress. These women all seemed to kind of know about each other, though Cat is news to Maddy at first, but hadn’t meet each other before. Through together to figure out how each of them are going to survive without Leo, who they all seemed to depend on in a way especially financially. Piecing together how they fit into Leo’s life and maybe each other lives now.

The narrative rotates between focusing on each of the women, Cat, Victoria and Maddy. How each of them are effected by not only the change and lose of Leo, but also these new other women who all seem to find themselves becoming a part of each other’s lives and depended on each other in way they never would have thought possible before. Victoria goes about learning about Leo and more of his past that she feels compelled to share with the others. Maddy is finding that Ralph, Victoria’s oldest, is seeking comfort from the change in situation with her and his youngest half-sister. With changes in financial situation and growing closer to Ralph, Maddy finds herself walking a fine line of what she wants to do and what might be appropriate. Cat is just trying to tread water and figure out what direction to go. With these new women in her life she is getting help that she didn’t exactly ask for, but with her own Mother having checked out maybe it is just what she needs.

I enjoyed reading this book. I liked how all the characters were individuals yet there stories are woven together. I personally felt that I could relate to the character of Cat a bit more, maybe because she was closer to my own age, but at the same time I felt connected to the other women too. It felt a bit like Little Women in that way to me, where different readers feel the book is about  a particular character based on who they related too. The flow between character here and how they each grew, learned and help each other is what really appealed to me on this book. I would give it 4 stars and would suggest it to others. This was a great book to start the new year with.

This review is part of chick lit plus blog tours.

I was provided a copy of the book for review, but the summary and thoughts on the book are mine.

January 5, 2013

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey: Margaret Powell

My Husband always seems to manage to surprise me at Christmas, with something I love and didn't know that I was missing or needed and this year wasn't an exception. In my pile of books from him this year was this one and a memories about the Lady that inspired Downton Abbey.

This book is written by Powell who grew up in a family that was always growing and parents who would barely make ends meet to survive. As early as she could Powell was sent to work and ended up going into service as a kitchen maid. It funny to see how she choose what part of service to go into based on assignments. She didn't like sewing so she went into the kitchen so she didn't have to do repairs on things. Then she talks about her experience in service; what she learned and how she was treated differently from other servants and the "THEM" of the house. As well as how her position changed between households and moving from Kitchen Maid to Cook and how they had an effect on how she was treated.

During the time period that she served and the different situations that she served in. There was a change in serving, how people were treated, and how people acted/reacted to servants.

I enjoyed reading this book. I really do like reading about other peoples lives, autobiographies and biographies. But, I am very picky as I may have mentioned before in that I like hearing stories and ways I can relate to the person, beyond just a facts kind of list. They meet this person, worked on this item, etc. This was relatable to me. There was some of the I worked for these type of people who had these ideas or ways of doing things while this happened, but then it would go back to how it related to her personally and experiences more than just facts. This is what really appeals to me. I would suggest this to others who enjoy biographies and I can see how it inspired what it did, 3 stars.