Suzanne Nicole: Unravelled in New York {book tour and review}

Unravelled

I’m pleased to be part of another CLP Blog tours book tour today! This time we’re featuring Suzanne Nicole’s Unravelled in New York. It features the enigmatic Charli Cooper, an Australian transplant working as an intern at a New York daily paper. In charge of writing “about town”-type columns, Charli is drawn to the charming Jack Manning. But soon, she has to wonder if there’s more to him than just good looks and family success. What is hiding? Why’s he so mysterious?
Charli is such a likable character! You can’t help but like her from the start. She’s the perfect friend and real to herself, with no hidden motives. She’s eager to make a new start after a failed relationship, and with the help of her friends Mia and Clark, Charli is soon immersed into New York and her new job.
Early on in the book, Charli questions Jack’s motives and ways – what’s his secret? What’s behind his family fortune? Definitely out of the ordinary for a “chicklit” novel, I loved that this novel veered off the typical path and followed the path of investigative journalism, via our protagonist Charli.
She’s not out looking for love, but rather uses her position to investigate. As for the relationship between Charli and Jack, at times I was rooting for Charli and Jack to get together, and at other times I was hoping she would discover a major secret about him.
I did find that the New York dialogue sometimes took on some Australian phrases. It didn’t ring true that New Yorkers would use Australian slang.
In the end, ‘Unravelled’ is a modern story made up of friendship, intrigue, and love. It occurred to me early on that it would make a perfect travel/airplane read.

Book Link **99 Cents During Tour!**

http://www.amazon.com/Unravelled-New-York-Suzanne-Nicole-ebook/dp/B010ZGGPMK

CLP Blog Tours is offering a giveaway along with this tour. For a chance to win $25 Amazon gift card, enter below!

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Excerpt from “Unravelled in New York” (S.Nicole, 2015):
“Mr. Manning, Charli Cooper, New York Herald. I would like to ask you a few questions.” I hold out my hand confidently to shake his, hoping he doesn’t notice my slightly shallow breathing and trembling hands.

“So,” he says, taking my hand and slowly raking his gaze obnoxiously down my body. He seems so much taller and broader than I remember and I suddenly feel small and out of place. “Marla sends the international office junior to ask me a ‘few questions’ after the allotted time for interviews is over. An unusual move by Marla, I must say.” His voice is rich and strong. I’m momentarily paralysed by his statement and have to quickly gather myself. Set times for interviews? I mentally search for something that I’ve missed. I shuffle my papers nervously and watch in horror as they lazily flutter to the ground between us.

“Excuse me?” I say. I bend down quickly to retrieve my papers and take a moment to gather myself.

He pointedly looks at his big, ridiculously expensive watch, then at his phone, and finally lifts his eyes back to mine with a maddening smirk. “I’m sorry, Miss…Cooper, was it?” I give a small nod. “I’m sorry but had you read your brief properly you would have seen that interview times are finished for the evening.” He points to a tiny line at the end of the programme I’m holding. “Why don’t you call during business hours and see if a more appropriate time can be arranged.” And with that, he turns his back on me and saunters over to a tall flaxen-haired beauty. I’m left standing alone with my papers, mouth agape, mortified. I turn when I realise Pete has stepped in behind me.

“Pete, did that just happen?” I feel the familiar tightening around my ribcage. “It would have only taken him a few minutes. What’s his problem?”

“Yeah, sorry, I only caught the end of it.”

I want the floor to open up and swallow me. Embarrassment crawls its ugly red stain up my chest and onto my face. I fumble through my notes again, peeved when I see other guests still giving interviews.

“What’d I tell you, asshole, right? Don’t worry kid, leave it with me, we’ll get something before the night is out.”

I quietly slink back to the press corner to lick my wounds and pull myself together. Tears threaten but I will not cry. Arrogant bastard. I busy myself checking through the notes I’ve already made. I’m grateful to Pete who introduces me to associates from other papers before he moves away to take more shots. Wrapped up in my foggy brain, I excuse myself and drift across the gallery looking for the restroom and a chance to escape when his resonant voice accosts me from behind.

“You gave up very easily, Miss Cooper. I was led to believe you would be more tenacious.”

“Pardon?” I turn and see his ocean-blue eyes staring at me through his dark thick lashes. Why does his mere presence rattle me? My mouth loses all moisture and I swallow nervously. The worst thing is, I sense he knows the effect he has on me and he’s enjoying it.

“Well, Miss International Roving Reporter, you can’t work in this city if you can’t secure a story. If you don’t mind me saying so, you seem a bit out of your depth, sweetheart. Next time, I suggest you get your priorities right.” He puts his hands into his pockets.

Okay, so this guy is a patronising jerk. Did he really just say ‘sweetheart’? Who the hell does he think he is?

“I have to say that in the time you’ve stood there reprimanding me, I could have completed the whole interview and we could’ve moved on. But I’m guessing this is some sort of revenge for the other night, am I right, Mr. Manning? It’s not very professional.”

“Professional? A professional would know what order to run the interviews in, Miss Cooper. A professional would have read all the details about the evening. And the other night?” He raises his eyebrow and arrogantly leans against the wall. “Do tell? Sounds like a good story.”

“The other night when you…when you…ran into me.” I glare up at him and he purses his lips, deep in thought, then lets out a hearty laugh.

“Ah that. I remember it very differently, Miss Cooper. I remember it as a young lady too busy flirting with a barman to notice where she was going,” he says with a wink, enjoying antagonising me. “You are amusing, Charlotte, I will give you that.”

I search my brain for a witty retort, which I’m usually so good at, but come up empty. The silence spills out between us, before I finally find my voice. “Charli, it’s Charli Cooper, Mr. err…” I fidget with my notes on the pretence of searching for his name, scanning the list slowly. “Mr. Grainger-Smythe?” I blame jet-lag or a long day for my momentary lack of judgement.

“Very amusing,” he says, “I am looking forward to seeing what you can salvage from tonight’s debacle.” He looks down at his watch again, making ready to move on.

“Please don’t concern yourself over my story, I have plenty of quotes. Some more interesting than others.” I smile sweetly up at him, while inside my blood is boiling. He walks away in his big shiny shoes with his hands in his pockets, and I can see his shoulders moving. Is he laughing at me? He turns around and looks back at me over his shoulder, then saunters back towards me. I crane my neck to look up at him.

“It’s Manning, as you know full well. And I assume you do know I am the major sponsor tonight, Miss Cooper? So write what you will, I’ll look forward to reading it.” He lifts his eyebrows, daring me to challenge him before walking away again.

Suzanne Nicole links:

https://www.facebook.com/Suzanne-Nicole-Author-1698891897005531/timeline/

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25863173-unravelled-in-new-york

Disclaimer: I was provided an ebook copy by ChicklitPlus Blog Tours in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.

The Truth About Caroline ~ by Randi Sherman {book tour, review and excerpt}

the truth about caroline button

I have another great book review and excerpt from CLP Blog Tours (Chick Lit Plus) to bring to you today: The Truth About Caroline, by Randi Sherman (FriesenPress, 2015)

Randi Sherman’s The Truth About Caroline is a laugh-out-loud, coming-of-age, whodunit novel that focuses on the newly widowed, Caroline Matthews.
With a cast of off-the-wall characters, the first part of the novel focuses on Caroline’s trial for “supposedly” offing her cheating husband, in a murder-for-hire style. I loved the caricature-like characters presented during the trial, from the witnesses to the buffoon-like opposing lawyer.
For me, this was the highlight of the book and I would definitely look forward to sitting through a another fictional trial like the one portrayed here. I could really picture how everyone looked and acted; it made for great entertainment!
Throughout the novel, we heard about many different versions of Caroline: a mother who did everything for her children, but not a perfect mother, long-suffering wife turned murderer, a bubblehead who was disorganized, and so on. A lot of contradictions! And since I hadn’t read the first novel, I wasn’t sure if a reader would already know the “real” Caroline had they already read Caroline Starts Over (FriesenPress, 2014). However, this made for a fun read. I couldn’t wait to find out “the truth about Caroline” and enjoyed all the predicaments and antics along the way.
As Caroline reinvents herself, we are drawn in to her new lifestyle and attempts at rediscovering herself and living a truthful life (a toughie, as she’s been lying her whole life, so we’re told). An offbeat, but likeable character, Caroline’s fate is eventually revealed to us all in a surprising turn and end to the novel.

EXCERPT from The Truth About Caroline the truth about caroline

Sitting in the Human Resource reception area at Morgan’s appliances reminded Caroline of a dentist’s office. The receptionist or as her name placard read, “Executive Assistant,” occasionally looked up, gave Caroline a half-hearted smile and then turned her attention back to her magazine. Pictures of her boyfriend festooned her work area, along with a nearly deflated, Happy Birthday Mylar balloon as it sadly hung in the air, just two feet above the ground. And there was a bowl of hard candy positioned on the corner of the desk, next to the Sign-in Please clip board with its pen attached to it by a piece of yard. Caroline’s stomach was growling, she had skipped breakfast and sat there wondering if the candy was an innocent offering or a test of some sort.

If she got up and took a piece of the candy would it be considered too presumptuous? Would the action reveal some character trait that would result in a pass or a fail, rendering the applicant ineligible. The candy, Caroline thought, had probably been sitting there for months, maybe years. Like every grandmother’s coffee table candy dish, the candy in it was probably decades old. Would it be delicious and worth the effort to free it from the cellophane wrapper? Would it be worth the risk? Caroline wondered if other applicants obsessed about that sad, dusty little bowl of candy too.

Caroline looked down at her “interview” outfit, hoping that the scotch tape that she had used to hem her pants would hold until the meeting was over. Without much money or time to shop, Caroline grabbed the first affordable interview-type suit she saw at the Women At Work Shoppe in the strip mall near the Super Cuts hair salon where she had her hair dyed and cut in preparation for today’s meeting. She hadn’t bothered to try on the suit in the store. It was navy blue. The suit included a companion blouse and, more importantly, it was on sale. Unfortunately the pants were tailored for a giant. Without a sewing kit or a stapler, Caroline had improvised with transparent tape.

When a quiet ring came from the receptionist’s phone, she picked it up, whispered something and glanced at Caroline. “Ms. Pratt,” she announced quietly, “I’ll take you back to see Ms. Herrera now.” As Caroline passed her desk, she took a candy, unwrapped it and popped it in her mouth. “Oh, my mouth is so dry.” She smiled.

“Tell me a little about yourself.” Ms. Herrera poised her fingers above the keyboard of her computer, ready to take notes.

The truthful answer would be: “I just got out of jail after spending six months awaiting trial for planning a hit on my husband. Fortunately I was acquitted. I have no prospects or work experience to speak of. I’m lazy and get bored easily. I’m terribly disorganized and have a problem with honesty. I desperately need a job because the insurance money will not last forever. When do I start?” But instead Caroline answered, “Oh heavens, where do I begin?”

“Well,” Ms. Herrera smiled. “Why don’t you tell me why you left your last job?”

Realizing that she was enjoying the hard candy a little too much, Caroline discretely spat it into her hand and began her answer. “Well,” glancing at the resume she had on her lap, “as you know I have been self-employed for a while and to tell you the truth,” she was thinking on her feet. “Freelancing is drying up and I am interested in working for a growing corporation where I can apply my skills and experience.” Aced it! She silently congratulated herself.

“Well, Caroline, this is an impressive resume.” She reached up and touched the crucifix that was hanging around her neck. “I see you were a missionary in Mexico. My family is from Mexico, where were you assigned?”

Oh crap! “Oh, um, truthfully Miss Herrera, it seemed like I was never in one place very long. I went where I was needed most.” She was hoping that the answer would be sufficient. “You know missionary work. Move, move, move. I wish I spent more time in the capital.” Caroline’s palms were sweating, the candy started melting.

***************************

randi sherman
Randi Sherman – Links

http://www.randimshermanbooks.com
@RandiMSherman
http://amzn.to/1jckt2v
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26036274-the-truth-about-caroline

Up To I Do ~ Samantha March {book review & excerpt – book tour}

Today, I’m am pleased to be showcasing a book excerpt and review as part of Chick Lit Plus (CLP) Blog Tours! ‘Up To I Do’ Samantha March is a wedding tale about what happens when a wealthy girl plans her wedding.

Hotel heiress Emerson Sinclair is all set to marry her childhood friend, Logan Worthington. Bringing two prominent families together obviously means that a seamless and perfect wedding has to be pulled off. Both sides of the family are counting on Emerson, but as details become more and more complicated, Emerson can’t help but wonder whether a big affair is all worth it. After all, isn’t it about being in love and being happy on your wedding day, instead of trying to fit an ideal that is expected of you?

I fell into this book so fast! Truly, I can’t remember the last time I read a chicklit book that revolved around a wedding. I used to read them all the time, WAY back in the day, but since I was married many years ago and all of that was behind me, I just hadn’t ventured into wedding lit genre as of late. But, before I knew it, I was checking back in with Emerson and her friends and family, to see how the wedding details were progressing. With an interesting cast of characters – my faves were Grams (Emerson’s maternal grandmother, Pearl) and Emerson’s intellectual sister, Milly. I really liked how the characters in this novel had faults, including Emerson, and they lived up to them. First and foremost, family was paramount and everyone wanted to make Emerson and Logan’s day special for them.

I enjoyed the writing style of this book, a lot! I think that’s why I kept gravitating toward the book. I knew I could read and read and then put it down for a while, and get right back into it. The entire book flowed with ease and I picked this up from the start. Just when I thought a detail might be forgotten, it was mentioned again and all was well. I can really appreciate a conscientious writer. But most of all, the book was fun! It was a blast to be emersed in wedding details, read about stylish dresses of today – I could envision them – what rings the bride and groom should choose, and all the other aspects that are important to a wedding. I loved how Emerson included her Grams a lot in the sentiment of the wedding, culminating in one final surprise that made you cheer on the entire family.

As a name fanatic over here, I adored so many of the names used in this book. I especially liked that Grams’ name was Pearl – a name and a gem – which was used as a symbol for many items in Emerson’s wedding plans.

If you’re looking for current wedding lit (or chicklit) to indulge in, then Up To I Do would be a perfect pick for you!

Check out the amusing excerpt below – one of the best scenes in the book and definitely a time where I thought “I’m glad that isn’t me!”

Up To I Do (Marching Ink, 2015)
Chapter Nine

MyWeddingPlans.com Status Update: Nearly lost a bridesmaid today. #needaredo #redhotmess

The day of the bridesmaid dress appointment felt similar to picking out my wedding dress. Once again, Mom, Grams, Milly, Sienna, and the rest of the bridesmaids gathered at the house for breakfast. Delilah had even made the trip down once again, and we were going to have a sleepover at Milly’s that night with the three of us. I couldn’t wait.

Once we were finished eating, we were off in the limo once again to the bridal shop where I had purchased my dress. I had to put my foot down on this. Evie (and also Honor and a tad bit of Tatiana if I’m honest) pushed for a New York trip to find the bridesmaid dress, throwing out all these top-notch shops filled with designer dresses. But . . . if I couldn’t have a designer dress, why would my maids wear one? I had finally come to terms that I had my dream dress and it just happened not to be a big name designer. I couldn’t handle if the other girls had one. The men were wearing Vera Wang for God’s sake. Cut me a little slack here.

Once we arrived at the store and were greeted warmly by Sandra, the owner, she ushered us to the back and I sat on the throne—a big fluffy red chair reserved for brides. Milly handed me scorecards that she had made so I could rate each dress from 1-10, and Sandra explained what would happen. We had fifteen minutes to walk around the store and grab dresses, then the fun would begin. Pretty simple.

On her mark, the lot of us scattered like marbles on a wood floor, on the hunt for the perfect bridesmaid dress. I managed to pull two, getting overwhelmed quickly by all the choices. How would I ever find one? Maybe each girl could wear a different dress in the same color. Would that be too busy? Did I care? Why was I here? Couldn’t I have made Katrina handle this on her own? But no, she probably would have been sucked into going to New York as well. It was better I was here and in control.

“Time!” Sandra stood in the middle of the floor, and I realized then that we were the only people in the store, which I had to think was unusual for a Saturday morning. I wondered if Mom had reserved the space solely for us. That was sweet and a necessity I hadn’t even thought of because I wasn’t sure I could concentrate if a bunch of other bridesmaids were traipsing along the aisles.

After handing my choices over to Sandra and taking a seat at the throne, I waited anxiously for the girls to come out. Each was coming out first in a pick of their own, and I was curious to see what each girl’s style was going to be. Milly was the exception. Since she was my maid of honor, I was going to let her off the hook for trying dresses on. I figured we had enough girls around. She had thanked me profusely that morning for the favor.

“Got your scorecards at the ready?” Sienna asked me, her eyes bright. As the countdown to the big day got closer, Sienna seemed to be more and more in her element. I think Mom was relieved she was taking some of the pressure off her, especially with the pageant taking up more time than she expected it to.

I held up the thick cards that Milly had clearly put a lot of time into. “Ready to roll!”

Sandra cleared her throat and started listing off the designer names and the dress features. Honor was in a strapless dress that fell to the knee, with a belted waist and crumb catcher top. Delilah’s dress also featured a crumb catcher top (these two were so alike it could be scary) but hers had no belt and was less structured than Honor’s. Tatiana had a long strapless dress with a keyhole in the chest area—a little too risqué in my opinion. Evie . . . Evie. Evie was in a short hot pink dress that dipped low in the back, nearly to her crack, and her boobs were pushed up so high I was sure a nip slip was going to happen in the store. How in the world that was a suitable bridesmaid dress for anyone was beyond me. I couldn’t even look at her.

“Gabby’s dress is my favorite out of this group,” I said, my eyes immediately going to her soft chiffon dress with delicate straps and a ruched bodice. It fit her well and looked so pretty and feminine. And to be honest—a crumb catcher scared me. Even the name was just plain weird.

“You have a little diversity here with styles and even lengths,” Sandra said, standing by me. “Let’s focus on Honor and Delilah first, since they are similar. Do you like the crumb catcher top?”

I held up a scorecard with a 4 on it. “Sorry, ladies. I think those tops are weird.”

“Emerson!” They both screeched, looking at one another and laughing. Milly joined in from her perch on the chair next to me.

“I bet this would look great in your wedding,” Delilah said, patting Honor on the arm, who I think turned a little pale at that. “Or yours, Milly. And I can’t wait to hear all about this Miles tonight!”

Milly blushed as we all—even Grams and Sienna—hooted at her. “Yeah, yeah, let’s get back to the task at hand. So nothing fashion forward for the bride. No crumb catcher. Got it.”

“How about Tatiana’s? What do you think of a long dress?” Sandra asked.

I flipped through my stack and held up a 7. “I like this one more, but I’m not sure about long. Most of the pictures I’ve been pinning are short.”

“Long tends to work better for more formal weddings,” Mom said as her cell phone started to ring, piercing through the quiet store. “My gracious, my apologies. I thought I turned the ringer off.” She fumbled in her Prada for her phone, looking at the screen and frowning. “It’s the pageant. Again. Third call this morning. I’m sorry, let me just step outside quick and I’ll be back in a shake.” She rushed outside without even grabbing her coat, and I stared at her retreating back, frowning. For someone who was donating her time and efforts to the pageant cause, she sure was pretty invested in that event.

Shaking my head, I focused again at the task at hand. “Let’s keep it long then,” I said. “I like the idea of a more formal wedding, so if that will help with the pictures, let’s do it. And it’ll be September, so not like the girls will be overheated or anything.”

“Long it is,” Grams confirmed.

“Let’s move to Gabby’s,” Sandra suggested.

“I thought you didn’t want chiffon,” Milly said, remembering a conversation we had in the past about bridesmaid dresses.

“I didn’t think I did, but seeing it on her, it looks really good. I especially like how it’s tight in the middle. I think it would be really flattering on everyone.” I eyed the dress, liking it more with each passing second. I held up a 9. “This is a serious contender.”

Sandra cleared her throat. “And how about . . . Evie’s?”

Everyone was silent. “No,” I said simply.

Evie stomped a foot. “But, Emerson, this color is gorgeous! And not to diss any of these other top-notch dresses, but this one really is the best.” Her tone dripped in sarcasm.

I raised a brow. “No,” I said again. “I’m not even going to touch on how hideous that dress is—no offense, Sandra—or how inappropriate it would be for not only my wedding, but the majority of weddings that take place. Now go back, pick a dress that is actually suitable, and come back. Or leave. I honestly don’t care which.” I folded my arms and stared at her.

She wavered under my glare—I saw it. “Fine.” She flounced away and everyone stood frozen to their spots, not sure of what to say.

Sandra cleared her throat. “Well, um, a successful first round. Let’s head back into the dressing room and I’ll do one of your picks, Emerson, along with picks from the others in the group.” Sandra ushered my maids away and I leaned back in the chair, replacing all the score cards and gearing up for round two.

______________

NOTE: Thank you to CLP Blog Tours for the complimentary ebook of “UP TO I DO” in order to participate in this book tour (review).

UpToIDo_blog tour

CLP Tours has a giveaway going on now, so be sure to enter below:
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http://www.clpblogtours.com/2015/09/book-blitz-up-to-i-do-by-samantha-march.html

About Samantha March

Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.

Keep In Touch with Samantha March:

https://instagram.com/marchbooksbeauty/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDnb5YAcjk7pnu25YckVL6g
https://www.facebook.com/samanthamarchauthor
https://twitter.com/BySamanthaMarch

Book Links

http://amzn.to/1QECZvH
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/up-to-i-do-samantha-march/1122377630?ean=2940150767386
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/up-to-i-do

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26007111-up-to-i-do

Waiting on Wednesdays…Corrupted!

I’m back with another installment of the ‘Waiting on Wednesdays’, a weekly event hosted by Jill, from ‘Breaking the Spine’. Our WoWs showcase forthcoming books that us bloggers are eager to read. Today, I have chosen Corrupted!, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Press, October 27, 2015).

What a title, one that I feel needs an exclamation point when I write it. Corrupted is the latest novel by Lisa Scottoline, as part of the all-female Rosato and DiNunzio series (#3). I’d say this is more of a “loose” series, where you can read the books out of order and not get lost. I chose this title because a.) I really enjoy Lisa Scottoline’s work and b.) because I’m reading one of her books right now (Every Fifteen Minutes, St. Martin’s Press, 2015). I knew she had a forthcoming novel coming out, and after reading many of the books separate from this series, I felt the “need” to get back into the world of Bennie Rosato and friends. Now, I have to say that the Rosato and DiNunzio series is a spin-off of the popular Rosato and Associates series – same cast of characters, same type of novels. It’s a great series of crime fiction/legal drama that draws you in with fun characters – you get to know them and their families.

So, without further ado, the cover for Corrupted! and a blurb from Goodreads:
corrupted

Bennie Rosato the founder of the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm hides her big heart beneath her tough-as-nails exterior and she doesn’t like to fail. Now, a case from her past shows her how differently things might have turned out. Thirteen years ago, Bennie Rosato took on Jason Leftavick, a twelve-year-old boy who was sent to a juvenile detention center after fighting a class bully. Bennie couldn’t free Jason, and to this day it’s the case that haunts her. Jason has grown up in and out of juvenile prison, and his adulthood hasn’t been any easier. Bennie no longer represents those accused of murder, but when Jason is indicted for killing the same bully he fought with as a kid, she sees no choice but to represent him. She doesn’t know whether or not to believe his claims of innocence, but she knows she owes him for past failures–of the law, of the juvenile justice system, and of herself. Forced to relive the darkest period of her life, Bennie will do everything in her power to get the truth, and justice.

Looks like a good one! What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Link below if can.

Happy Reading!

Wake-Up Call, by Amy Avanzino {Book Tour and Review}

I am so excited to be posting today as part of a book tour for a debut novel!

Amy Avanzino’s Wake-Up Call was published on September 1, 2015 by Henery Press.

WakeUpCall
About the book:
Sarah Winslow wakes up with a terrible hangover… and a kid in her boyfriend’s bed. She makes the horrifying discovery that, due to a head injury, it’s not a hangover. She’s got memory loss. Overnight, five years have disappeared, and she’s no longer the hard-living, fast-track, ad executive party girl she thinks she is. Now, she’s the unemployed, pudgy, married, stay-at-home-mom of three kids under five, including twins. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of how her dreams and aspirations could have disintegrated so completely in five short years, she finds herself utterly failing to manage this life she can’t imagine choosing. When Sarah meets the man of her dreams, she realizes she’s got to make a choice: Does she follow her bliss and “do-over” her life? Or does the Sarah she’s forgotten hold the answers to how she got here… and how she can stay?

My Review: When Sarah Winslow wakes up and discovers her new life is no longer “single girl in the city”, but rather “stay at home mom in the suburbs”, she has to reconsider everything that’s important to her and start fresh. “Wake-Up Call”, a debut novel by Amy Avanzino, is a modern-day take on that old adage: “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

I loved that this book is honest about motherhood, the hardships, and the life you give up to raise children. Most of us have chosen this role, but I can’t imagine being Sarah Winslow and being thrown into the lion’s den so suddenly. At least for those who have (three or more) kids, it’s a gradual buildup. Sarah, who has experienced a bout of amnesia after a skateboard fall, has forgotten the last 5 years of her life. When she’s practically thrown into the lion’s den to look after her three children alone, she says “How hard can it be? I have a 12 year old girls’ job”. Not quite!

This book can be described as part chicklit, part coming of age/realization. There are plenty of humourous moments, with a serious undertone. I laughed out loud many times, probably because I could relate so much to the main character and her family. The relationships are real – hard times between Sarah and her husband, just like many of us go through. But, they’re a family and love each other, and that’s where this book really excels. Showing that the love of family – and not material things – is what’s truly important. Good friends, great kids and a loving husband are the real joys in Sarah’s life, something she has to discover and realize for herself (again). Sarah has a great group of friends, just not the ones she’s expecting. The divide between her past life and present becomes more obvious as she learns the new way of doing things, with lots of help from her children. The innateness of motherhood is hard to resist as Sarah leads her charges (her own children) from activity to playgroup to school. As Sarah tries to reclaim her old life, Sarah becomes a mother bear in the true sense, standing up for her son against a bully child AND her mother, for example. Basically, she’s doing her best to raise her children and exceeds her own expectations of what she’s able to accomplish!

My favourite laugh-out-loud part of the book –

“I can’t stand my shape”. Sarah exclaims!
“I love your shape”, says Kofi.
“Then you must love circles”, replies Sarah.

Ha!

I flew through this book which is a pretty big feat for me. It helped that my toddler was napping on me…so, what else was I to do? Love that! Not all books are like that though, so it shows that “Wake-Up Call” is an engaging, fast-paced read with likeable characters and plot.
Even more exciting is that this book is first in series – the Wake-Up Call series. New series, and new authors, are always fun to discover.

Thank you to the author for providing me a with an ebook copy of ‘Wake-up Call’ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

AmyAvanzino
For more about Amy Avanzino, visit her website

Waiting on Wednesdays…

I’m back with another “Waiting on Wednesdays” post which is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Honestly, I’m having a blast reading everyone’s posts and love that so many of you keep commenting!

The idea behind this tag/weekly meme is that book bloggers showcase – either with a cover art or post – about a “can’t wait to read” book.

My “can’t wait to read” title for this week is the upcoming Shopaholic to the Rescue (Dial Press, 2015) by Sophie Kinsella!! Yup, she’s at it again and this latest installment to the Shopaholic series comes out in late October.
I am a HUGE ‘Shopaholic’ fan. I love Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood, the lead character) and laugh out loud every time I read one of these books. As a fan, I’m very excited to see that this follow-up is published on the heals of Shopaholic to the Stars (Dial Press, 2014). We barely had to wait at all (one year exactly). So fun! I really hope Sophie Kinsella just keeps writing the Shopaholic series ’til the end of time! It could happen…right?!?

The cover art above which mimics the novel from last year 🙂

So, what’s you WoW of the week? I’ll be visiting blogs, but feel free to link below in the comments.
Are you a ‘Shopaholic’ fan? Woukd you read the latesr installment? Let me know below.
In the meantime here’s a blurb on the storyline.

Goodreads summary:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella returns with another laugh-out-loud Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adventure: a hilarious road trip through the American West to Las Vegas.

Becky is on a major rescue mission! Her father has vanished from Los Angeles on a mysterious quest with her best friend’s husband. Becky’s mum is hysterical; her best friend, Suze, is desperate. Worse, Becky must tolerate an enemy along for the ride, who she’s convinced is up to no good.

Determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has disappeared, help Suze, contain Alicia, and reunite her fractured family, Becky knows she must marshal all her trademark ingenuity. The result: her most outrageous and daring plan yet!

But just when her family needs her more than ever, can Becky pull it off?

Waiting on Wednesdays!

Another week is here and I have to say, I loved participating in last week’s ‘Waiting on Wednesdays’ meme that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I’m taking it a little further by adding a book synopsis for you, along with my thoughts and cover art! I sincerely hope you like it.

It was also great to visit other book blogs and see what their ‘Waiting on Wednesdays’ picks were. We all have such diverse tastes, and I rarely saw the same book repeated twice. What a fantastic way to add books to one’s TBR (to be read) pile!

Without further ado, my pick for this week is the forthcoming ~September 1, 2015~The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick (William Morrow).

sparrowsis

I chose this book because it’s something outside of the realm of books I’ve been reading. For quite a while, I’ve been mainly focusing on women’s fiction, chicklit, and some mystery and suspense. It’s not often that I read a novel that incorporates some fantasy, or magic, into the novels. I’ve enjoyed Alice Hoffman in the past, and the Goodreads blurb below suggests fans of Practical Magic (a novel by Hoffman) might enjoy this one, too. To me, this book suggests it might have notes similar to A Birth House (Ami McKay, Vintage Canada, 2007), which I loved! Perhaps it’s just the usage of herbs and other mystical remedies that is similar, but I loved that aspect of McKay’s first novel. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued!

Goodreads:
With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen

The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?
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So, what do you think? Does that sound like a good novel or what?!?

I’ll be making the rounds, but if you comment and have your own WoW, please leave a link below.

Happy Reading!
Charlene