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
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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.
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.)
After suffering two losses (husband and beloved pet), within a week of one another, Jane Bailey realizes she needs to make some life altering decisions. Though experts and family caution against making major decisions within the first year of grief, Jane determines she must do just that, as her current life is stifling, making her miserable. Added to the feelings of loss and confusion, is guilt, as Jane wrestles with mixed emotions about her late husband. Their marriage was failing, yet she had not come to terms with her feelings before her husband become terminally ill.
As Jane reconciles what she needs to do, she slowly begins to heal. Along the way, she reconnects to family and friends, makes a few new friends, and adopts a new dog. She had no intention of acquiring another pet, and certainly not so soon, but this dog finds her way into Jane’s life and heart without much fanfare. Jane quickly learns that she can open her heart again too, that pain and guilt are not emotions one has to carry for a lifetime. One funny element throughout the book is Jane’s stance on people…she really does not Ike meeting new people or even socializing with some she knows. Her interactions with others when she is frustrated are quite humorous.
Aptly titled, Rescue Me, Maybe is a story of redemption and rediscovery. Jane puts her life back together, learns more about herself, and begins to carve out a new future. The ending does not wrap up everything in a tight bow, leaving the possibility of a sequel, though it is not a cliffhanger.
Have you ever wondered about parallel lives? Is it true that we could be living different versions of the same life, at the same time? These books explore what happens when there is a trauma, and as a result, the main character steps out of her daily life and into an alternative one. Ultimately, each time, she has to decide which life is true and which one is where she belongs. See if you can identify with the title character in any of these.
The Bookseller (2015) by Cynthia Swanson introduces us to a woman living two lives, and she does not know which is real and which is her dream life. The book starts out in one life and introduces a dream world, only to have them intersect, cross over and ultimately collide. The reader does not know which world is real and which is not, until the very end. Takes place in the 1960’s, which adds another dimension to the story.
Then and Always (2014) by Dani Atkins documents the life of a young woman who faces tragedy and lives to tell the tale after a bad accident. Her life is stuck though and after another incident sends her to the hospital, she finds herself living a life she does not recall. Yet she does not have amnesia. She does not know which life is true and neither do we. The ending is bittersweet, yet also fitting for the story.
The Lost (2014) by Sarah Beth Durst finds main character Lauren discovering a world that does not make sense, while she comes to terms with having a terminally ill mother. She faces adversity while living in a town only known as Lost and has to learn how to take care of herself, for the first time in her life. Only then, will she be able to return home. First in a trilogy, The Lost ends in a cliffhanger; the Missing follows in Fall 2015, and I am looking forward to reading it.
Cecilia Ahern’s There’s No Place Like Here (2009) explores what happened to someone who disappears without a trace. Where could the person have gone? Sandy spends her life finding missing people, objects, etc. until one day, she too, goes missing and winds up in a land filled with everything and everyone we have lost at one point in our lives (socks, baby blankets, baseballs, as well as people and pets). At first, I thought The Lost and this book had very similar plots, but they do have enough different aspects to make them both good reads.