Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Dress

My Review (3 Stars: Liked it!)

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck is fairly predictable, but still enjoyable.  It is a ‘Christian’ based novel.  I found the religious undertones to be distracting.  I think the story would have stood better on its own without some of the ‘preaching’.

Instead of magic, there is divine intervention that takes place with a wedding dress sewn with gold thread that is beautiful, timeless and fits every bride who wears it (without alterations).

 

(purchase from amazon)
  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 50 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: April 13, 2012

I tagged this review with Romance and Light Reads. This novel is not too complicated. It was a pleasant read I think, especially because of its predictability.

There is some meat to the novel as it switches between present day Birmingham Alabama,  and 1912.  I always like going back in time.  The examination of relationships leading to marriage is also entertaining.

I enjoyed the southern setting.  The narrator, Eleni Pappageorge, does a good job with the southern accent and representing both male and female characters.

So, if you like romance, light reading and can take a little preaching to, this would be a novel to enjoy.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck”

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game: A Novel by Sally Thorne

William Morrow an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublisher, 2016

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

I’ve been in the mood lately for chic-flicks (i.e. staring Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts or Hugh Grant) and chic-lit, The Hating Game: A Novel by Sally Thorne.

The Hating Game is cute, fun and sexy.  Two young co-workers who sit across from each other are already engaged in many games such as the ‘staring’ game when they both become competitive for the same promotion to a new position.

Sally Thorne in her debut novels draws an interesting, smart plot with fun antics.

This novel was better than comfort-food and perfect for me for this time of year.

What Others Are Saying

“Lucy Hutton absolutely detests her office mate Joshua Templeman. He’s a pompous, self-important, obnoxious ass. But, she’s got to admit, he is pretty cute.”

“From the opening page, readers will know the outcome of Lucy and Joshua’s relationship, but what happens in between is magic. From Lucy’s hilarious inner dialogue to Joshua’s sharp retorts, the chemistry between them is irresistibly adorable—and smokin’ hot.” – Kirkus Review

“I love this book so much!! Couldn’t put it down, and it got me out of a book slump. So so good!!” – Brandie @ Brandie Is A Book Junkie

First Paragraph

“I have a theory.  Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.  I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations.”

Read More or Purchase

About The Author

Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!), so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation.  She lives with her husband in a house filled with vintage toys, too many cushions, a haunted dollhouse, and the world’s sweetest pug.  The Hating Game is her first novel.

Review: Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazlet

 by Lisa Beazley

New American Library an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, April 2016

Release Date (April 5, 2016)

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley is a terrific debut novel.  It has the perfect amount of lightheartedness mixed with seriousness.

Two sisters decide to correspond thru actual physical handwritten letters. We know from the book blurb that these letters become inadvertently published on the Internet.

Cassie is a 36 year old mother of three-year old twin boys who lives in Manhattan.  She is full of self-doubt and insecurities, about for example, how to raise her children and whether or not she still attractive.  Her head is often buried in Facebook.

Cassie’s slightly older sister, Sid, living in Singapore, has her own, but different set of problems.  However, she is more at peace with herself.  She has little or no technical/computer experience.

Their candid letters back and forth are cringe worthy, knowing they are unknowingly being published for the world to see.

Of course, considering my blog title, how could I resist this title.

Bloggers, sisters and just about everyone else will enjoy this novel!

If your looking for a light beach read, this might be it!

Continue reading “Review: Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazlet”

Review: The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe

The Summer’s End (Lowcountry Summer) by Mary Alice Monroe

(This title will be released May 19, 2015)

Gallery Books An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2015

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

The Summer’s End (Lowcountry Summer) is the third book of the Lowcountry Summer trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe.  It focuses on Harper, the youngest of three half-sisters featured in the series.

The family home, Sea Breeze, located in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, is too much for the girls’ grandmother, Mamaw, to handle.  Mamaw decides to bring her granddaughters together for one final summer before she sells Sea Breeze and moves into an adult home.  The girls had not spent a summer together since they were children.  Each of the them, while different, have uncertain futures.  Over the course of the summer, they each come to terms with finding their way forward.

Carson, Mamaw’s favorite, struggles with alcohol and commitment issues.  Dora, the eldest, is going through a divorce.  She has an eight  a nine-year old son with autism Asperger’s syndrome and struggles to have some fun and independence.  Harper is the wealthiest of the three.  Her mother is a controlling “narcissist” (Wikipedia).  Harper spends the summer contemplating her future and working secretly on her first novel.

Monroe’s trilogy is robust in it’s description of the Lowcountry.  She brings this story to a satisfying, romantic, conclusion.

Each novel is heartwarming and sensitive.  I highly recommend reading each book in order.   Below are links to my reviews of the first two books.  All three novels are light reads, but pack an emotional punch.

Continue reading “Review: The Summer’s End by Mary Alice Monroe”

Review: New Uses For Old BoyFriends by Beth Kendrick

New Uses For Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay Novel) by Beth Kendrick

New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 2015

Description (from the author’s website)

After growing up in privilege and marrying into money, Lila Alders has gotten used to the good life. But when her happily ever after implodes, Lila must return to Black Dog Bay, the tiny seaside town where she grew up. She’s desperate for a safe haven, but everything has changed over the past ten years. Her family’s fortune is gone—and her mother is in total denial. It’s up to Lila to take care of everything…but she can barely take care of herself.

The former golden girl of Black Dog Bay struggles to reinvent herself by opening a vintage clothing boutique. But even as Lila finds new purpose for outdated dresses and tries to reunite with her ex, she realizes that sometimes it’s too late for old dreams. She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something—someone—she desperately wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget…and a second chance has never felt so much like first love.

My Review (4 Stars: Liked it a lot!)

As the title indicates New Uses For Old Boyfriends (Black Dog Bay Novel) by Beth Kendrick is a fun novel!  There are two main characters, newly divorced, 29 year old, Lila and her recently widowed mother, Daphne.  They both start out broke and helpless.

Lila has lost her position as late-night TV sales host and can’t get an interview for another job.  She comes out of her divorce with little more than the money from the sale of her wedding rings.  She returns home to find her mother is in financial ruin.

Daphne, over 30 years ago left the life of being a model to marry and live happily with her husband.  He loved Daphne,  but left her in debt after he died.  Daphne being in denial, racked up additional debt to add to her financial problems.  She can no longer afford her beloved, oceanfront, home.

Lila has a ‘take action’ attitude to save their home while Daphne remains in denial.   Lila has the idea to open a shop, selling Daphne’s vintage clothes.  Daphne is more interested in making sure Lila’s appearance will impress old boyfriends than she is in her financial predicament.

Black Dog Bay is a close knit community where everyone knows everyone else and the adults gossip more than the kids.  I enjoyed the warmth that the locals show one another in this story.  I enjoyed the snappy dialog.  I also enjoyed the message that friends help one another when the going gets tough.  I categorized this novel under, Humor, Light Reads and Romance.

(This story takes place in, what I believe is the fictional, Black Dog Bay, oceanside Delaware.  A previous novel by Kendrick, Cure for the Common Breakup,  also takes place there.  However, New Uses For Old Boyfriends is a stand alone novel.)

Continue reading “Review: New Uses For Old BoyFriends by Beth Kendrick”

Review: The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag

The Dress Shop of Dreams: A Novel by Menna Van Praag

Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York, 2014

 Description (from amazon.com)

Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.

My Review (4 Stars: Liked it a lot!)

The Dress Shop of Dreams: A Novel by Menna Van Praag is a sweet romance with magical realism.  The multiple romance parts while enjoyable were fairly predictable, but the magic was not.  Eta owns a dress shop that among other things changes color with changing times and plays music depending on who is there and what state they are in.  Eta’s dresses open up new and exciting possibilities for the women who come into the shop, no matter their circumstances in life.

Eta works her magic on her granddaughter, Cora, whose heart has been closed since her parents died when she was five.  Before Cora can open her heart for love, she needs to learn more about the tragic circumstances concerning her parents death.

As new characters are introduced, we see additional themes about lost opportunities and forgiveness come into play.

Overall this was a very pleasant read.  I enjoyed opening my mind to the possibilities of magic that author, Menna Van Praag shows us.

Continue reading “Review: The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag”

Review: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
VIKING, Pengin Group (USA) LLC, 2014

 Description (from the author’s website)

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever. One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again.

My Review (5 Stars: Loved It!)

Jojo Moyes is sure-fire with One Plus One.  I devoured One Plus One in a day and loved it!  I agree with the above description.  This story at times will make you laugh out loud or smile and at other times weep.  I love knight in shining armor stories.  As Ed bonds with Jess’s family on a trip to Scotland, I felt an attachment to all of them, including the dog.

Moyes hits on topics such as honesty, family structure, rich versus poor, bullying, and girls and Math, to name a few.

One Plus One was shortlisted on the GoodReads 2014 Choice Awards in the Fiction Category.  It is easily one of the best I’ve read this year.  (Update: It didn’t win.)  I recommend checking out how votes tallied by clicking on the category titles @ GoodReads 2014 Choice Awards.  You can see lists of other’s favorites in a variety of categories.

I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read by Jojo Moyes.  I’ve reviewed three others so far on Posting For Now.  Here are links to my reviews:

 

Review: The Summer Wind by Mary Alice Monroe

Simon & Schuster, 2014

Description (from the author’s website)

Book Two of THE LOWCOUNTRY SUMMER TRILOGY

The Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe’s Lowcountry Summer series, following the New York Times bestselling The Summer Girls. This series is a poignant and heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds. In book two, Dora’s facade collapses and she suffers “broken heart” syndrome. Carson returns from Florida to face life changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and an unexpected visitor has Harper reconsidering her life’s direction.

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

The second book in The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy, The Summer Wind  by Mary Alice Monroe, pulls at your heartstrings even more than the first.  While the focus is more on Dora, we become closer to the other sisters, Carson and Harper, as well.

Dora has “let herself go” over the last ten years of her marriage, has a young son with autism, and is going through a divorce.  With the help of her sisters, Mamaw and Lucille she is getting stronger, gaining self-confidence, exercising and having some fun.

Carson’s story, from the fist book, The Summer Girls, is carried on. Dora’s son, Nate, and Carson travel to Florida to visit the dolphin, Delphine.  Also Nate enters a special program where he works with dolphins and learns more about them.While this is an uplifting story, there are some tough challenges and sad events that brought tears to my eyes.

If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend reading The Summer Girls first and then The Summer Wind.  I loved both of these books and can hardly wait to read the final one of The Lowcountry Summer Trilogy.

Note

Click here to read my review of the first book: The Summer Girls by Mary Alice Monroe

Disclosure of Material Connection

I received this book (ARC), The Summer Wind (Lowcountry Summer) by Mary Alice Monroe, free from the publisher, Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel by Sun-mi Hwang (Author), Nomoco (Illustrator), Chi-Young Kim (Translator), Publisher: Penguin Books (November 26, 2013)


Description (from amazon.com)

The 2-million-copy bestselling modern fable from Korea that is winning hearts around the world

This is the story of a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command, only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and comes up with a plan to escape into the wild—and to hatch an egg of her own.

An anthem for freedom, individuality and motherhood featuring a plucky, spirited heroine who rebels against the tradition-bound world of the barnyard, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a novel of universal resonance that also opens a window on Korea, where it has captivated millions of readers. And with its array of animal characters—the hen, the duck, the rooster, the dog, the weasel—it calls to mind such classics in English as Animal Farm and Charlotte’s Web.

Featuring specially-commissioned illustrations, this first English-language edition of Sun-mi Hwang’s fable for our times beautifully captures the journey of an unforgettable character in world literature.

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

International bestseller, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang is a short novel.  It is 134 pages including intros, table of contents and illustration pages for each of the eleven (11) chapters.  It is a modern day fable.  Since it is told from the aging hen, Sprout’s perspective, I think adults would relate to the story.

Readers will take away their personal meanings from this story.  For me, among other things, it was a story about survival and a mother’s love.  The variety of farm animals might represent individuals we encounter in life.

This was especially enjoyable because it is not a typical type of novel.  If you would like to take an enjoyable break from routine, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang is a good choice.

If you would like to read another 5 Star review of this novel, check out a wonderful review by Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea.

Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

New York Times Bestseller: Big Girl Panties: A Novel
by Stephanie Evonovich
William Morrow, An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. EPub Edition February 2014.

Description (from amazon.com)

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back—and a whole lot more!

Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief.

Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals—and other men are noticing?

My Review – 4 Stars

Overweight Holly Brennan meets tall, dark, handsome, Prince Charming-ish, Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer.

What follows in Stephanie Evonovich’s debut novel, is pure entertainment. This Romance novel has wit and charm not to mention physically charged sex scenes. We are shown that beauty is only skin deep. In other words, a person’s character is more important than their appearance.

While needing to accept ourselves for who we are, it is still important to work on our shortcomings.  I read this novel in two days.  It made me laugh and made me cry.  (I might have rated this five stars.  However, I felt some of the sex scenes were overly explicit.)

If you would like to read another positive review about this novel check out Sheila’s review at Book  Journey.  For more information about Stephanie Evonovich check out this interview from USA Today by Joyce Lamb.

Review: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
Simon & Schuster, 2014

Description (from the author’s website)

Waking up knee-deep in the San Francisco Bay with no understanding of how she got there, thirty-nine-year-old Lucie Walker discovers she has no memories of her past or her loving fiancé, Grady. After being diagnosed with a rare form of amnesia, Lucie returns to her previous life with Grady in Seattle only to find evidence of the “old” Lucie—an insecure and shallow personality she no longer recognizes, or wants to. Like a detective, the new Lucie attempts to find the path from past to present, only to remember shocking pieces of a dark childhood that tempt her to run away from everything all over again. To complicate matters more, she finds herself falling in love with her fiancé and his big close-knit clan of a family just as he seems to be falling out of love with her. But as Lucie begins to open up to the world around her, she realizes that she can build a future as the woman she wants to be, rather than the one her past dictated.

My Review – 4 Stars

In Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge, Lucy suffers from amnesia and is found standing in the San Francisco Bay.  Her fiance’, Grady, not knowing where she went, was searching for her.  After seeing news reports, he travels from their home in Seattle, Washington, to bring her back.

The most interesting part of this story was how Lucy and Grady reconnect.  Lucy knowing nothing of her former life, relies on Grady for her survival, even though she doesn’t remember him.  I have never known anyone who suffered from amnesia, but thought Lucy might have been more frightened than she seemed.  Lucy’s personality is very different from before her amnesia.  Before she was somewhat aloof, after she was more down to earth.  Grady having strong feelings for Lucy, tries to adjust as she tries to find herself.

I enjoyed exploring their feelings as they both adjust to revelations about the past and changes in their relationship.  Some parts of this story brought tears to my eyes.
Note: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge is the January Book Club Selection for She Reads.  You can go to Shereads.org to find links to additional reviews on this book and enter their contest to receive a free copy of this book.  I would like to thank the She Reads Organization and the publisher, Gallery Books,  A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.,  for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from the publisher, Gallery Books,  A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., as a member of the She Reads Network.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom

 

The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom
HaperCollins, 2013

Description (from the author’s website)

One morning in the small town of Coldwater, Michigan, the phones start ringing. The voices say they are calling from heaven. Is it the greatest miracle ever? Or some cruel hoax? As news of these strange calls spreads, outsiders flock to Coldwater to be a part of it.

At the same time, a disgraced pilot named Sully Harding returns to Coldwater from prison to discover his hometown gripped by “miracle fever.” Even his young son carries a toy phone, hoping to hear from his mother in heaven.

As the calls increase, and proof of an afterlife begins to surface, the town—and the world—transform. Only Sully, convinced there is nothing beyond this sad life, digs into the phenomenon, determined to disprove it for his child and his own broken heart.

Moving seamlessly between the invention of the telephone in 1876 and a world obsessed with the next level of communication, Mitch Albom takes readers on a breathtaking ride of frenzied hope.

The First Phone Call from Heaven is a virtuosic story of love, history, and belief.

My Review – 4 Stars

I’ve read three books by Mitch Albom now.  The first ones were: The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Time Keeper.  I am finding his books to be light easy reads, including this one,  The First Phone Call From Heaven.  However, while light and easy to read, throughout his stories, I’ve had many times to pause and consider the circumstances.  I find his stories to be modern day fables, where I am eager to hear the messages and see how they tie in.

In The First Phone Call from Heaven, from the first phone call through the following weeks, as excitement and media frenzy builds in the small town of Coldwater, Michigan, Albom draws the reader in.  I considered the various characters and  wondered: How would I respond or react under their circumstances?  I especially liked how Albom, draws parallels to the invention of the telephone.  This story slowly builds to an exciting pace and interesting conclusion.

If you would like to read another review, check out a great review by Suko @ Suko’s Notebook.

Also by Mitch Albom:

Click here to link to Mitch Albom’s Bio.