by Kimberly Stuart, addresses the dilemma many women and men make, choosing one’s career or a relationship. Charlie is a pastry chef trying to establish herself in a famous NY restaurant under the tutelage of a famous baker, but no matter how hard she tries, she is not able to get the approval of her superior. When the opportunity arises for her to run the kitchen Continue reading
Readers who like romance with modern, real life circumstances will want to read Tracy Ewens’ Love Story series. As of this writing, there are eight books in the series. Ewens introduces a character in one book and features him or her in another. She has both men and women as the main characters, exploring reasons why a relationship will or won’t work. Though there are some formulaic aspects in the series as we can realistically assume the two love interests will work through their obstacles to find happiness together, Ewens manages to make each story fresh. One way she accomplishes this feat is by having many of the storylines take place at different locations, such as a farm, restaurant, city, beach, college, football arena, political venue and more. The characters have a variety of jobs too, which means Ewens appears to do extensive amounts of research to get it right. Their occupations range from chef to bartender to politician to actor to photographer to computer programmer to farmer. Ewens also represents people at different stages of life, which allows the reader to find someone to relate to.
I eagerly await Ewens’ next book, as I am sure it will hold my attention while also teach me something!
A Mother’s Promise is one of the most difficult, yet well written books, I have read in years. Hepworth has a great talent and accurately captures the essence of a mother / daughter relationship with finesse and compassion. The main character, Alice, is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has to figure out a way to take care of herself an her 15 year old daughter who suffers from severe social anxiety. Unfortunately, there is virtually no extended family support, so we are introduced to Alice’s primary nurse Kate and a social worker, Sonja, who is also assigned to the case. Though the story centers on Alice’s condition, each person has her own story to tell, and we are fortunate to be introduced to each one’s tale.
As a mom to a teenage daughter, I found it hard to read, because the topic is so difficult to process. Alice’s diagnosis is every mother’s fear and I did not want to consider the ‘what if’ that resonates throughout the book. However, I am so glad I persevered, because it is such a solid piece of fiction. The ending provides resolution and at the same time, keeps the door open for the next stage in the character’s lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who finds real life books compelling. The story has a few predicable elements, but there are also plenty of unexpected moments, both positive and negative, like real life. I have already told friends about it and will continue to read Hepworth’s novels, as they make me think and help me slow down and appreciate the people I love the most.
Just discovered this series. If you like reading about strong female lead characters who have a habit of unintentionally finding dead bodies, then try to solve the crime, this is your series. It is sort of a mix of Stephanie Plum and Hannah Swensen, to name two other similar female leads (authors Evanovich and Fluke, respectively).
I liked the pace, the who unknown, the side cast, and the twists. Book one is out now, book two will be released in early June 2016. I liked Swimsuit Body more, but Bones and Roses is good too. I also recommend reading in order, so the side stories make sense and don’t ruin a previous book.
I found “The Things We Keep” to be an emotional adventure. Months after finishing it, I still think about the main characters and what happened to them, especially Anna. See what you think…
Coping with Alzheimer’s is hard enough with adults over the age of 65. In The Things We Keep, the main character Anna, realizes in her late 30’s that she has a form of the disease, and decides she should live in an assisted care to avoid harming herself or her family. While there she meets Luke, another younger person facing a different form of Alzheimer’s, and the two develop a relationship, much to the surprise and dissatisfaction of her twin who is not affected by the disease. Anna and Luke’s friendship slowly evolves while her capacities deteriorate, adding some unexpected dimension and plot lines to the story.
A separate storyline involves a woman named Eve, who is facing her own obstacles after her husband defrauded people through a Ponzi Scheme. Facing life after privilege, finding a job, a new home, and trying to raise a daughter while coping with the aftermath are all pretty tough. Eve finds work at the assisted living care facility where Anna lives, and eventually, their lives intersect.
The book’s chapters alternate between the two different stories, as well as in the past and present, which gives the reader insight into the main character’s decisions, actions, and behaviors. I liked each plot, though as I was reading each, it was at times hard when a chapter ended, and I had to switch gears for a different character or time period. Emotionally, I felt awful for Anna, Eve, and Eve’s daughter. The losses they faced were not caused by anything they did, yet they had to deal with the fallout. There is a sense of injustice throughout the book, yet it is largely resolved by the end.
I think this book would be very good for book clubs, as well as for someone facing adversity or unexpected challenges. The author does a good job conveying feelings, and the reader leaves satisfied.
For those who like stories with magic, suspended reality, and unspoken wishes, The Witches of Cambridge by Menna van Praag will satisfy their reading desires. I liked the different situations each character faced, as well as how each resolved their problems. They use magic in subtle ways to influence the lives of those around them. I cared about the women featured in the story too-Noa, Cosima, Kat, Heloise and Amandine, and was unhappy when something unfortunate occurred to any of them. I also liked when the women offer to help one another to reach a goal-especially when they banded together to achieve the best result. One of the women makes a very poor decision in trusting someone and when it goes horribly wrong, the others are there to make it right. And though not all the character’s circumstances end the way the reader might want, they do all make sense for the overall plot.
The only aspect that was at times difficult, was when the author occasionally used French without always giving a translation, when Heloise was speaking to her deceased husband, Francois. I have some basic knowledge of French and understood the tone, but it was not always obvious. Otherwise, the story flowed and I think a sequel would be great, so readers can see how their lives continued in the wake of their decisions.
I had the chance to review this book for Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I like the author and have read some of her other books. Definitely someone worth reading, especially if you like stories with unexpected, magical elements.
Feeling awful after a nasty breakup of a five year relationship while living in Paris, France, Milla returns to the US to start over. She is a chef and finds work in a kitchen that offers stable hours and salary, if not the glamour of a five-star restaurant. While she figures out how to begin again, both personally and professionally, she is also stuck in the past, harping on why her relationship failed. To help her move forward, her best friend and co-worker Jake, encourages her to meet someone new, to get on the horse, so to speak. And so enters Hunter, a handsome single man with his own pile of baggage. The two begin a relationship based on mutual attraction and half-truths, and when reality hits, it hits Milla hard. With her lack of coping skills, she does not know how to handle her growing feelings toward Hunter or his evasion about significant members of his past.
Tied into the relationship story, are some noteworthy side characters, including the afore mentioned Jake, as well as Hunter’s brother, mother and best friend, Ivy. There are also some characters who are briefly mentioned but not developed, such as Milla’s family, which does create a little hole in the plot. Jake also has his own side story and though interesting, I found it a little distracting. Overall, the main romantic story and how Milla and Hunter figure out their feelings for one another is a solid read. There are good hints for communicating with someone you care about too. If you are looking for a romantic comedy, b/c there are a few laugh out loud moments in the story, with some depth too, then Baby, Not Tonight is worth checking out.
(A copy of the book was provided in exchange for an unbiased review.)