Sunday, October 28, 2012

That Time of the Month by Emily Shaffer

About the Book:
Recently fired and almost broke, thirty-year old Ellie decides to push all distractions aside and form a crash-or-burn plan to save herself and finally pursue her dreams. She gives herself one month to make the near-impossible happen, otherwise she has to leave New York City and move into her niece's toy room. 

The plan seems simple but becomes complicated by a nosey best friend, a difficult roommate, a dreamy stranger, and a really bad ring. As the month progresses, Ellie must confront the realization that by deciding to focus on herself, she may have become completely self-centered. 

Will she let her own ambitions, insecurities, and assumptions ruin her friendships and get in the way of a possible romance? Ruled by endless lists and fueled by several plates of pie, Ellie's comical thoughts and mishaps drive this story from the office to the coffee shop during a month that will leave her with a broken foot, a great pair of shoes, and a forever changed life.

My Thoughts:
If a book makes me laugh, it is very likely that I will love it in the end.  This title didn’t disappoint me in this regard. That Time of the Month is a witty and very humorous novel that kept my attention throughout the entire ordeal that is Ellie.  Ellie, the lead character, is a bit clumsy –to say the least- and has a lot going on in her life.  During this period of transition and search for balance and purpose while chasing her dream, Ellie is supported by a wonderful set of supporting characters that will remind you of those in your life who love you despite your flaws.
That Time of the Month was a lovely book.  Fans of chick lit are sure to enjoy it. I started laughing within the first chapter as Ellie loses her job in a comical scene I still haven’t forgotten. When Ellie decides to chase her dream of becoming a famous author, the book takes off and the laughter doesn’t stop. Ellie is a character that is easy to relate to because she is in a phase of life we all reach at some point in time. The reader is given a comical story that demands attention and deserves it.  I highly recommend the read.

About the Author
I am a Tennessean by birth, and have lived pretty much everywhere. My Dad always says that when I was born, and the doctor tried to slap me to make me cry, that I stood up on the table and slapped the doctor instead…and from then on, I never did anything that I didn't want to do.

Luckily, what I want to do is write…and not carjacking or vandalism.

Like my main character, Ellie, I love making random lists…so here are some random facts about me: - I'm nearsighted in one eye and farsighted in the other. The world looks like a fun-house mirror if I don't wear my glasses or contacts.
- I was almost kicked out of Graceland for using flash photography in the peacock-mirrored front room, and my tour group shunned me the entire rest of the tour. That made for a lonely trip through the Jungle Room.
- I was once mistaken for a member of Hanson…granted, they all had long hair at the time, but still… not what you want to hear as a girl.

When I wrote That Time of the Month, I really saw it as though it was a movie. I can see every scene, every character and what they are wearing, every piece of pie, perfectly in my mind. I'm currently writing the sequel, That Time of the Year. I love the story and characters so much, that I am tempted to turn the series into a trilogy.

Connect with Emily

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Angels Landing

Angels Landing

Author: Rochelle Alers
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-455-50138-0
Source: The Season
Rating: Recommended
Heat: 2

As Kara Newell packs up to leave New York City for a fabulous, much needed, vacation, she receives a call requesting her appearance at the reading of a will. As a result, Kara puts off her plans to return home and heads to Cavanaugh Island, both confused and interested in the stranger who left her something in the wake of his death. Upon arrival, Kara learns the unexpected truth regarding her family, a truth that changes her life forever.

Angels Landing was a fun, light-hearted and romantic book, but didn’t have the block buster qualities that make novels a top pick, in my opinion. The characters are attractive, loveable and well developed, but they have some annoying qualities that kept sneaking up and making me wince. For example, Jeff, the hot sheriff that’s into Kara, calls Kara “baby” constantly throughout the novel. Jeff begins using this term of endearment almost immediately, which turned me off almost instantly. The term is used far too often and made me feel like Jeff was a player or that he didn’t respect Kara fully. He uses the term so loosely, right off the bat.

The pace of the novel is steady but it didn’t capture my attention and keep it. I would much rather be glued to the pages than find myself taking breaks from reading and putting the book down. I did however enjoy the setting immensely. Cavanaugh Island is a gem hidden in the form of land, surrounded by the sea. The close knit, family community stands up for each other, protects each other and puts their peers in their place when actions need to be corrected or adjusted. The town really had each other’s back, so to speak, and didn’t put up with discrimination or bullying from the developers attempting to take what’s not theirs.

Overall this romance was a good read, but not a favorite. The love story is all about surprise and the unexpected, as are many of the other story lines in this piece of fiction. If anything can be said about this book, it should be that you’ll find yourself wanting to be in Angels Landing, enjoying the locals, the culture, the food and the charm of an endearing island oasis.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquees

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess (Lords of Vice, #5)

Author: Alexandra Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martins
ISBN: 978-1250001375
Source: The Season 
Rating: Highly Recommended
Heat: 3

The Lords of Vice were not given their nicknames on a whim. In fact, their titles openly air their love of gambling, women and self-satisfaction.  Now, the Marquees of Sainthill, also known as Saint - to the Lords of Vice – is one of the few remaining unwed Lords. When Saint unexpectedly falls for Madame Venna, the unthinkable suddenly becomes a reality and Saint finds himself deeply in love with the proprietress of London’s most exclusive brothel.

Madame Venna has a secret.  Her former life leads her down a specific path that is full of success.  As the owner of The Golden Pearl, Madame Venna lives the life of a wealthy and mysterious business owner, tending to the needs to London’s men. However, outside the walls of the notorious brothel, Madame lives another life, hidden from all those who know her as Madame Venna – or so she thinks. When Madame breaks her cardinal rule and falls in love, her walls are slowly torn down, threatening to expose her secrets and ruin her carefully constructed life.

I greatly enjoyed this romance.  There is a little bit of mystery to the story, though the reader knows it all. The characters, however, are discovering the secrets bit by bit, while falling deeper in love with each passing day. Saint and the other Lords of Vice are well developed, well built upon characters. Those who follow the series are enabled to sit back and fall into the story as if they were meeting up with old friends. The characters are comfortable around each other and it shows. They give meaning to the phrase “Friends are the family you choose.” In addition, the author has found wonderful supporting characters for each Lord, Madame Venna is no different.  She is the perfect pick for the Marquees of Sainthill, who would be quite bored without the intrigue of this woman and her mysterious background.

The story is not without its flaws. There were a few parts that were left unaddressed in the end, though they are minor and did not stick with me for long. For the most part this story kept me turning the pages at a steady pace, I found very few areas that didn’t grab and hold my attention. 

On the upside this romance is full of heat.  The passion between these two is electrifying. It’s visible even when they are not together, which adds to the story in many ways. Though the story isn’t my favorite in the series, it is highly entertaining and addictive.  Hawkins writes in such a way that demands the reader’s attention and holds it effortlessly.  I would recommend this book as well as the series to others.  It’s definitely worth the read and delivers the unexpected.  I’m positive this is the first Marquees and Brothel proprietress romance I’ve read.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In the Pink

Author: Susan McBride
ISBN: 978-0062230768
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: Must Read

At the age of 40, Susan McBride was in her prime, comfortable and happy despite her mother’s fear that she’d never marry. Though still single and fully aware she had a greater chance of being killed by a terrorist than being married, the St. Louis-based author didn’t feel anything was missing from her life.

In 2005, McBride was named one of St. Louis’s top singles by St. Louis magazine. Ironically, at the magazine’s top singles party, McBride met the love of her life and future husband. With Ed, she found a companionship and love she never expected; she began to see what she might miss without him by her side.
A second surprise came in 2006: McBride was diagnosed with breast cancer. Six years later, she recounts her journey through love and survival in her entertaining memoir, In the Pink: How I Met the Perfect (Younger) Guy, Survived Breast Cancer, and Found True Happiness After 40. The book, released Oct. 2 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is a tribute to life and a letter of encouragement to women everywhere.

McBride writes candidly and openly about age, love, cancer and coping. The memoir is a laugh-out-loud account of the author’s journey, even as she navigates through sadness and pain. McBride takes the reader to a place of contentment and understanding, inserting humor to lighten the mood. In the Pink sends an uplifting message that calls on women to follow their dreams and develop self-worth. By sharing her darkest times, McBride encourages others to discover who they are. Readers will be inspired.

*This article is my review of In the Pink as seen in the October issue of Inside Columbia magazine. 
My contribution to the magazine was unpaid.  All thoughts are purely my own.*