Book Review: The One & Only by Emily Giffin

emily giffinSummary:

Emily Giffin, the beloved author of such novels as Something Borrowed and Where We Belong, returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both.

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

My Thoughts:

Emily Giffin is by far, hands down, my favorite women’s fiction author. I have devoured every book from her and will continue to do so, despite my feelings for her latest, The One & Only.

I was on the fence for a majority of the book and honestly, I think it was mostly because I was hoping it was going to end up the way I thought it was headed. There was a lot of back and forth in the book and it is something I’ve grown accustomed to with Giffin’s writing, but this time it felt…overly done. But, maybe that’s because I wasn’t a big fan of Shea or the story in general and couldn’t really appreciate what she was going through as a character.

Typically, I adore Giffin’s stellar writing, and this book is no exception. She is a fantastic storyteller, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one unfortunately. The whole time I kept picturing my best friend’s dad and that made things quite awkward. The character development wasn’t her best but it was still believable and even though most people had issues with all of the football stuff, I actually quite enjoyed it…especially since I am a Texas gal.

It really kills me that I can’t write a stellar 5-star review for Giffin, as I have done for all of her books in the past. This book, while still well researched and well written, was just a tad over-the-top for me. It is still a solid read though, maybe just not one I would recommend to everyone like I usually do with her books.

 

Book Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

sarah jioSynopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

My Thoughts:

For the past few years, it has been such a pleasure to watch Sarah grow as a writer and this book definitely proves why she has become one of my favorite authors to read. Jio is flawless as she transitions between time periods to tell this story, this time with letters from the 1940s between the bookstore’s owner Ruby and the infamous author of so many beloved childrens books, most notably Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown. When Ruby passes, her niece June, inherits the bookstore along with its fantastic, storied past.

My son and I read Goodnight Moon constantly before bed, so needless to say, Jio had me hooked from the get go. I was so intrigued to get started and absolutely adored the fictional account of the inspiration behind Margaret Wise Brown’s most beloved story. By far, the back and forth letters between Brown and Ruby were my favorite part, but I also enjoyed watching June grow as a woman and find her own happiness. There were some parts of the story that I feel came together a little too neatly, but overall, it was a great story in a fantastic setting.

Goodnight June is a wonderfully heartfelt story about love, friendship, family, and life. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

In the meantime, I will be anxiously awaiting the release of Jio’s latest, The Look of Love, due out in November.

 

 

A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

book picDisclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Charley Lambert has worked hard at creating a perfect life. She has an aspirational flat, a job of international significance and a very good pair of legs, thanks to a rigorous health and fitness regime. Best of all, her boss has asked her out after seven years’ hard flirting and a covert fumble in a cleaning cupboard.

Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her boss propose to someone else and – horror – is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy.

Charley, a certified workaholic, fears that she will go mad. 
Dangerously bored, she starts helping people who are talentless at internet dating. Then William arrives in her inbox and rocks her world. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with him and discovers she’s not who she thought she was.

But can she turn her back on her old life – all for a total stranger?

My Thoughts:

This book is hysterical! The main character, Charley Lambert, leads on crazy, hectic life. At times, it almost seems like every minute of her life is accounted for and she barely has time to think, let alone anything else. But, that all changes when she breaks her leg and is forced to take some time away from work. During this time, she decides to start her own business, and she has the perfect niche idea in mind. Author Lucy Robinson does a really great job at creating a story that is realistic and enjoyable, and not too predictable, like Chick Lit often times is. The characters were genuine and honest and the story flows flawlessly, which is hard for a book that features so many comedic twists and turns. Be on the lookout for  John MacAllister. He is probably one of my favorite characters in the book and I really enjoyed watching him blossom. Overall, this book is quite enjoyable and I am so pleased with Lucy as an author. She is quite talented and I can’t wait to read more from her.

I highly recommend this book.

Book Review: A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March

indexDisclaimer: I received a copy of A Questionable Friendship by Samantha March in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Brynne Ropert and Portland Dolish have been best friends since being paired as roommates in college. Seven years later they are now twenty-five, married, and living in Maine–– but the two women couldn’t be more different. Brynne finds fulfillment in her life as a wife, mother and owner of a small café and bookshop, but is struggling to expand her family. Portland is still coping with her mother’s death during her childhood, and her marriage is unraveling before her eyes. Portland envies her friend’s seemingly stable and easy life while Brynne doesn’t understand the growing distance between them and cannot begin to guess what secret Portland is hiding about her husband and crumbling marriage. While one woman feels shut out, the other enters into a web of lies to protect herself.

A Questionable Friendship explores what really makes someone a true friend, a support system, a sister. How much trust goes into a friendship and when is being a friend not enough? Brynne and Portland’s story will attempt to answer those questions, and show that happily ever after isn’t in the cards for everyone.

My Thoughts: When I first heard Samantha was writing a new book, I was so excited to read it. I’ve been a fan of her and her writing for quite sometime and was thrilled to be a part of her tour and finally get a chance to read her latest. The first thing I noticed was that this book is very different than anything she has written before, but it is still an excellent, engrossing read that was difficult to put down. Playing to her strengths as an author, this book has excellent, honest dialogue that I really enjoyed, as well as a very clever plot…one that will keep you on your toes, eager for more. I enjoyed both of the main characters and thought they were both developed very well. Overall, this story is really well written and I know it will be one that I come back to time and time again when I think about my own friendships and relationships. Definitely a must read!

And, an added bonus? There is a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2

Book Review: Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman

12345I am so excited to review Hard Hats and Doormats by Laura Chapman!

Book Summary:

Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too. But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol. While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders. Who says nice girls have to finish last?

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Laura Chapman for quite sometime and frequent her fabulous blog, Change the Word, numerous times throughout the week. So, when I found out she was publishing her debut novel, I scooped it up quickly and sat down to devour what I was sure would not disappoint. And,  I was very satisfied to say the least. Her main character, Lexi Burke, is a strong willed woman in a very male-dominated profession. There are a lot of workplace politics but that is to be expected given the surroundings … but I think it also adds to the charm of the overall novel and where we really get to see Lexi’s character shine in the beginning. She then goes through quite a transformation and I found this whole experience to be very realistic and truthfully, where Laura’s writing style really sparkled. There is so much candid honesty and wit that I found it all to be so enjoyable. And then there is the romance with hot Jason Beaumont. He is sweet and kind and teaches Lexi how to Texas two-step (which honestly, is probably my favorite scene of the whole book — but I’m a Texan, a sucker for a good romance, and I love a good two-step!). There are a few bumps here and there, but this is definitely one of the best written romances I’ve read in a while just because it is so honest and so real.

All in all, this book had it all and I am so excited to see where Laura goes next on her publishing journey. Hard Hats and Doormats is a truly great book that really displays Laura’s prowess as a writer with tight, witty dialogue and really detailed, visual writing — truly a great book for everyone!

 

A New Review for Love In Translation!

This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

This book sounded right up my alley, and I’m really glad I read it. After her boyfriend breaks up with her, Emily decides she needs to move on and not settle anymore. It was really great to see Emily grow and learn about herself and learn from past mistakes. This book is very fast paced and in a way I think it took away from the story.

As much as I enjoyed everything that was happening, I found that the story needed to be longer and a little more fleshed out with the story. Everything just seemed to happen so fast and then the story ended. I think the story could have been a few chapters longer so that readers could have gotten a little more.

I did really love most of the characters, Emily’s friends are so supportive through everything and I love reading a book with people like that. Both of her girl friends are the type of characters that just add that little extra fun into the story. But the one person I loved the most was Emily’s friend Stephen, he was adorable and seeing everything they had been through together was adorable, I wished there was a little more of him and Emily together.

What really grabbed my attention with the story was how Emily learns to put herself out there. And also, how Sara Palacios shows that sometimes you find what you are looking for when you actually take a step back and let things happen for themselves.

All in all I did enjoy the story, I just felt like there was a little something missing and that it was too short to really get into the story. The story starts and before you know it everything is happening and it’s wrapping up. The characters were good and there was a lot of fun things happening in the story though.

A wonderful new review!

Love_in_Translation_CoverThank you so much, Michelle! This review is wonderful and I am so thankful to you for hosting me! 🙂

You have to love a book that opens with your heroine “stalking” an ex-boyfriend, tailing him like a pro in her car, and ducking down to avoid being scene.  And ignoring your best friend wanting to know what in the blue blazes you are doing, of course.  That is how we meet Emily, broken-hearted after boyfriend, David, dumps her for another woman. Emily is a fun lead character to get to know.  She is charming, witty, a little naive at times, but always trying to do the right thing for everyone in her life.  I love the friendship that is displayed between her and her two best girlfriends, Deana and Sophie. And while she is blind to the obvious interest that her best male friend, Steven, has in her, there is a great vibe between them.  Add in the spicy hot new neighbor, Andres, and Emily has a busy schedule on her hands.  I love that you were never certain who Emily would pick…I definitely had my favorite and who I was rooting for (and yay, she picked him) but it was obvious that both men would do right by her.

This is the debut novel of Sara Palacios and you would never guess it.  She writes like she has been doing this professionally for years.  She knows what type of story to weave to get the reader completely invested and to hold them there until the book ends and you give a satisfied sigh of contentment. I read this book in one sitting, knowing that I would be dragging at work the next day but not caring. If you want a book full of humor, friendship, and romance, then I highly recommend taking this one for a spin.

You can purchase LOVE IN TRANSLATION here:

Amazon: Print or Kindle
Barnes and Noble: Nook

A new review!

love_in_translation_cover.jpgDid you know that LOVE IN TRANSLATION is now available for $2.99 as an eBook on Amazon.com?

A NEW 5 STAR REVIEW:

“The first chapter had me hooked and I finished this book quickly – Emily’s story opens with a bad break-up and the feeling that she is destined for one bad relationship after another. Her circle of friends are there to support but you definitely get the impression that her buddy Steven is looking for more even though Emily refuses to see it. Enter Andres the new neighbor. Wow! He is what women dream of . . . but before you can chalk this up to – and they lived happily ever after – you find some twists and turns to the story and emotions bubbling up from the past that need to be dealt with. Overall a very enjoyable book that makes you want to book a ticket to Madrid.”

 

A little Q&A about me and LOVE IN TRANSLATION

So, over the past few weeks, I’ve had numerous people ask a lot of questions about my book and about my writing, so I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A. A lot of the questions have been submitted by friends and family on Facebook. Please keep in mind that some of them are fairly simple … but some of them are really fun. If you have a fun question for me, feel free to ask away. As always, thanks for reading!

When did you know writing was for you? I have always been an avid reader but I didn’t start to dabble in writing until I was in college. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I’ve been writing ever since.

How would you describe your book? LOVE IN TRANSLATION really brings a lot to the table. At the heart of the novel, there is a love story – but there is so much more going on. Over the course of the book, Emily (the main character) is presented with many obstacles and as a reader, you truly get to see her grow into her own skin. So, in a nutshell, the novel is about personal growth and acceptance, friendship, love, family and forgiveness.

Where did you get your idea from and how did you decide what direction to take it? Wow! This is a great question! I got the idea kind of from my husband. As some of you may now, my husband is a native Spanish speaker and I thought it would be such a fun (and unique) idea to write a story where two people meet and have an instant spark, yet don’t speak the same language. What would they do? How would they navigate that situation? I was so intrigued that I dove right in, never looked back and I found my answer while writing.

What was the hardest part of the writing process for you? The hardest part for me was definitely pursuing publishing. To say the least, it isn’t for the faint of heart.

Are you nervous about how people will react to your book once it is published? To be honest, I am terrified! But, I’ve come to peace with the fact that it is all part of the process. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I love my characters so much that I just had to share them with the world and I hope that as a reader, you will love Andres and Emily (and Steven) just as much as I do!

Where did you get the name Andres from? And did you model him after anyone in particular? This one is top secret! I would love to hear your suggestions though once you read the book! I am curious if anyone can guess it! I might offer up a hint once the book is published though, so let me know if you would like that!

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you as an author? Hmm … I guess that I am just like them. This story (although not based on actual events) really brings to light a lot of challenges that we all face as we navigate life, love and friendship.

What would be your advice to aspiring writers? Write! Revise later.

How did you pick your title? This was actually quite a headache, albeit a fun headache. At first, the title for this book was A SUMMER TO REMEMBER, which is still very fitting, but I felt that it didn’t really encompass what the book was about. So, over my conversations with Ricardo, my little brother Kyle and my mom, I eventually settled on LOVE IN TRANSLATION. I really wanted the word TRANSLATION in the title because of the whole Spanish/English translation aspect but just couldn’t really make up my mind. Seriously, it took me weeks! Another favorite was LOVE IS BETTER FRIED. You can thank Ricardo and Kyle for that one. 🙂

What is your favorite book? This is a tough one, but I would have to say PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett.

Favorite movies? Here ya go, and in no particular order:

THE HOLIDAY with Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law

IT’S COMPLICATED with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with Keira Knightley

DEVIL WEARS PRADA with Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep

Who is your favorite literary character? This one is tough too but I would have to go with Jack Jackson (aka Jack Builder) from PILLARS OF THE EARTH. A close second would have to be Legolas from LORD OF THE RINGS. A close third, probably Mr. Darcy from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Who is your writing inspiration? I am a really big fan of Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner, Kristin Hannah and Jane Green … but, I also really love the indie authors who have made it big time like Sarah Jio and Tracey Garvis Graves! I am such a huge fan of BLACKBERRY WINTER and ON THE ISLAND!

Favorite junk food? It is practically impossible to name just one, so here are a few: KitKat’s, Oreo’s, PIZZA and mozzarella sticks.

Favorite guilty pleasure? I’m not really sure what this question means, but I will pretend that it means favorite hobbies … which would be anything outdoors, hanging out with my husband, son and doggies, exercising, reading, skiing, cooking and writing.

Favorite TV show? I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but right now, it would have to be Gossip Girl! The husband and I have also been flying through White Collar on NetFlix.

What is your must have beauty product? Lip Gloss! Hands down! Now, if we are being specific, I am a sucker for MAC lip gloss. And love all things hot pink!

Well, that was fun! That you so much to everyone who submitted questions. Only 19 more days until LOVE IN TRANSLATION gets released!

As always, thanks for reading!

Image