Fishbowl: A Novel by Bradley Somer

  • FishbowlTitle:  Fishbowl: A Novel
  • Author:  Bradley Somer
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  August 2015 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

There’s the handsome grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s super who feels invisible and alone; the pregnant woman on bed rest who craves a forbidden ice cream sandwich; the shut-in for whom dirty talk, and quiche, are a way of life; and home-schooled Herman, a boy who thinks he can travel through time. Though they share time and space, they have something even more important in common: each faces a decision that will affect the course of their lives. Within the walls of the Seville are stories of love, new life, and death, of facing the ugly truth of who one has been and the beautiful truth of who one can become.

Sometimes taking a risk is the only way to move forward with our lives. As Ian the goldfish knows, “An entire life devoted to a fishbowl will make one die an old fish with not one adventure had.”  (publisher)

My take:  Fishbowl is the story of Ian the goldfish who finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime. He observes many goings-on along his way to the pavement. Each humorously titled chapter depicts a different scene on Ian’s trip.

As the description above notes there are all kinds of people who live in the building. What they need is connection to others so as not to feel lonely. I loved the various ways Somer showed that need in his characters. Not only the need but then actually taking the risk to reach for something more in life.

All this plays out in a quirky, funny, sexy, heart-breaking, and ultimately uplifting story of a brave goldfish named Ian. I’m so glad I had the chance to read it. Adding to the enjoyment of the novel is the clever visual of Ian’s plunge in the margins of the pages. When I finished reading the book I flipped (for lack of a better word) the pages quickly and laughed, knowing the outcome.

Bradley Somer_credit Nenad MaksimovicBRADLEY SOMER was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up in Canada and holds degrees in Anthropology and Archaeology. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals, reviews and anthologies. His debut novel, Imperfections, published in Canada, won the 2013 CBC Bookie Award for debut of the year. Bradley currently lives in a little old house in the city of Calgary, Canada, where he works on his writing projects and tries to ignore the wild growth that his backyard has become.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Bliss  the last chance Christmas ball (9:29)  christmas at lilac cottage  the gift of a charm (10:13)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Christmas in Mustang Creek by Linda Lael Miller
  • Review:  Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne
  • #FitReaders Weekly Check-in

christmas in mustang creek (9:29)   Evergreen Springs (9:29)

Currently reading:

Rainy Day Sisters (8:4)

We saw The Martian yesterday and loved it. When my husband told me our tickets were for the 3D version I was pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy it (I once got motion sickness from a Woody Allen film, lol). I was wrong – it was great and I recommend seeing it that way if you have a choice.

I’ll be away next week but I have a few posts scheduled. I’ll be back visiting blogs and commenting after Oct. 12th. Have a great week!

Evergreen Springs by RaeAnne Thayne

  • Evergreen Springs (9:29)Title:  Evergreen Springs
  • Series:  Haven Point #3
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  September 2015 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Christmas is the last thing on Cole Barrett’s mind this year. He’s barely hanging on trying to care for his two grieving children since his ex-wife died in a tragic accident. For the reclusive Cole, this is no time for gift-giving and celebration—and certainly not for a sunny-natured optimist to blow into his screwed-up life. 

Physician Devin Shaw has long researched the curative powers of Lake Haven’s mineral waters. Unfortunately, the hot springs are on Barrett property, forcing Devin to strike a bargain with the ranch’s attractively gruff owner: she’ll give Cole’s children a magical Christmas, and Cole will allow her patients access to the springs. But can she work her holiday magic to heal the Barrett family’s battered hearts—and her own? (publisher)

My take:  Evergreen Springs is the third book in the Haven Point series. It can stand alone but I recommend reading in order from the start. Even though I’ve read her books for a year or so I consider myself a new fan of RaeAnne Thayne’s books. I love the emotional tone struck in each book.

In Evergreen Springs Cole Barrett is trying to do right by his children. He wants to give them a safe and secure place to live – something that’s been missing in their short lives. He also wants to establish his horse-training business at the family ranch he recently inherited. If that doesn’t seem like enough to juggle his very pregnant-with-twins sister has just moved in with him.

Devin Shaw is a doctor and, of course, wants to help people. When she meets Cole she can see he needs to be helped if not saved. He also needs to cut himself some slack. They hit it off but then he starts to feel she can do much better than him. But what if that’s not what she wants.

The theme of forgiveness runs through Evergreen Springs which makes it a perfect book to read during the holidays (or any other time of the year!). I loved seeing Haven Point decorated for Christmas and the cameos by previously featured characters were fun.

I enjoyed Evergreen Springs and recommend it to fans of RaeAnne Thayne, the Haven Point series, and contemporary small-town romance.

Best-selling author RaeAnne ThayneNew York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story.

Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor. Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews magazine.

RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at


Christmas in Mustang Creek by Linda Lael Miller

  • christmas in mustang creek (9:29)Title:  Christmas in Mustang Creek
  • Series:  The Brides of Bliss County #4
  • Author:  Linda Lael Miller
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  272
  • Published:  September 2015 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Charlotte Morgan grew up in Mustang Creek, Wyoming, and couldn’t wait to escape to the big city. But life in New York isn’t as fabulous as she’d like to admit—she’s lonely, doing a job she doesn’t love and dating too many frogs she meets online. 

There was one potential prince, though—Jaxon Locke, a veterinarian with definite possibilities—but his move to Idaho to fill in at his dad’s vet practice ended things just as they were getting interesting. What Charlotte doesn’t know is that he misses her, more than he expected… 

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s great-aunt Geneva—the woman who raised her—needs to enter an assisted-living facility. So, just before Christmas, Charlotte moves back home. When Jax catches wind of her move back West, he’s determined to get to Wyoming and do whatever it takes to win her back. 

Christmas in Mustang Creek is a magical time in a magical place, not least because of a mysterious visitor named Mrs. Klozz. She knows that love is the greatest gift of all, and she’s ready to help out Santa by giving these two a push in the right direction!  (publisher)

My take:  The book description above tells you everything you need to know about Christmas in Mustang Creek. With the backdrop of the Wyoming mountains and a quaint town, Linda Lael Miller’s setting of her Brides of Bliss County series is gorgeous at the holidays.

It’s filled with familiar characters from previous books as well as a few new ones. One or two might even seem to possess magical powers! Or perhaps it’s simply the magic of the season. Either way, this is an entertaining book sure to cheer the reader.

Though I’m posting a review before October I have no doubt this will be just the book for fans of the series and Miller to get into the holiday spirit in a few weeks. I would suggest getting it now so you have it on hand when you’re ready to read it. Again, recommended to fans of the series, Linda Lael Miller, and contemporary romance. Although it’s the fourth book in the series it can easily stand alone.

Miller_Linda Lael_09-2The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than one hundred historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Washington, the self-confessed barn goddess now lives in Spokane, Washington. Linda hit a career high in 2011 when all three of her Creed Cowboys books—A Creed in Stone Creek, Creed’s Honor and The Creed Legacy—debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Linda has come a long way since leaving Washington to experience the world. “But growing up in that time and place has served me well,” she allows. “And I’m happy to be back home.” Dedicated to helping others, Linda personally finances her “Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women,” which she awards to those seeking to improve their lot in life through education.

More information about Linda and her novels is available at She also loves to hear from readers by mail at P.O. Box 19461, Spokane, WA 99219.


Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

The Scoop by Fern Michaels (audible:kindle)  put a ring on it (NAL 11:3)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr
  • Spotlight/US Giveaway:  If I Knew You Were Going to Be This Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go by Judy Chicurel
  • Review:  Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold
  • #FitReaders Weekly Check-in

Wildest Dreams (8:25)   9780425277966   naked - a novel of lady godiva (7:14)

Currently reading:

Rainy Day Sisters (8:4)



Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold

  • naked - a novel of lady godiva (7:14)Title:  Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva
  • Author:  Eliza Redgold
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  July 2015 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story. Lady Godiva is a true legend. She famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. She did this to convince her husband to lift a high tax on her people. But there is more to the story. Naked is Godiva’s tale with a twist. A tale of sensual passion, obsession, greed, and mercy, this epic retelling lays bare the lengths this legendary woman went to fight for what was right…and fight for her heart.  (back of the book)

My take:  Several weeks ago I posted a Spotlight about Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva by Eliza Redgold. While I didn’t have time to read it then I knew as soon as my schedule opened up I would be diving into Godiva’s story.

As noted in the description above I knew the basics of Godiva’s story but not much else. Redgold’s version captivated me from the start. I loved the vivid descriptions of setting and era as well as the main characters and townspeople.

I learned about the danger and subterfuge that regularly challenged Godiva and her people. The Danes (Vikings) were determined to take the Saxons’ land by any means. Lucky for the good people of Coventry – they had their brave and determined Lady Godiva. Would Godiva think herself lucky to have Leofric as her husband?

I won’t risk a spoiler by revealing more of the book. If you enjoy historical fiction/romance I think you’ll enjoy Godiva’s story. I certainly did.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: If I Knew You Were Going To Be This Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go by Judy Chicurel



Incisive and compelling stories link together to form a keenly observed coming of age novel. Unfolding during the summer of 1972 in a down-on-its-heels Long Island beach town, this moving debut explores the friendships and connections of young people on the cusp of adulthood, trying to make sense of the changing world that surrounds them with a mixture of fear and bravado.

Observed through the perceptive eyes of Katie, life among the denizens of Elephant Beach comprises a blend of clinging to convention and yearning for something more. Working class, and more than a little run down, the community percolates with generational tension. For Katie and her friends, just graduating from high school, there are limited expectations, and even those are often cut short by unplanned pregnancies and hasty teenage marriages.

During this one memorable summer, Katie and her friends will experiment with sex and drugs, fall in love and have babies, all the while holding the greater world at bay as they try to figure out what to do with their lives. Longstanding relationships will change forever or solidify into something immutable. A new generation, uneasy and unsure, will take the first steps toward the indeterminate future.


“An emotionally resonant collection of coming-of-age stories . . . moving.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[A] hauntingly written debut . . . lovely.”The Boston Globe

“. . . A beautiful and honest coming-of-age story. . . . A stunningly evocative portrait of a down-on-its-luck town and its people.”—Booklist, starred review

About the author:

Judy Chicurel’s work has appeared in regional, national, and international publications, including The New York TimesNewsday, and Granta. Her plays have been produced and performed in Manhattan. She lives by the water in Brooklyn, New York.

US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form






Wildest Dreams by Robyn Carr

  • Wildest Dreams (8:25)Title:  Wildest Dreams
  • Series:  Thunder Point #9
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  August 2015 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Blake Smiley searched the country for just the right place to call home. The professional triathlete has traveled the world, but Thunder Point has what he needs to put down the roots he’s never had. In the quiet coastal town, he can focus on his training without distractions. Until he meets his new neighbors and everything changes. 

Lin Su Simmons and her teenage son, Charlie, are fixtures at Winnie Banks’s house as Lin Su nurses Winnie through the realities of ALS. A single mother, Lin Su is proud of taking charge and never showing weakness. But she has her hands full coping with a job, debt and Charlie’s health issues. And Charlie is asking questions about his family history—questions she doesn’t want to answer. 

When Charlie enlists Blake’s help to escape his overprotective mother, Lin Su resents the interference in her life. But Blake is certain he can break through her barriers and be the man she and Charlie need. When faced with a terrible situation, Blake comes to the rescue, and Lin Su realizes he just might be the man of her dreams. Together, they recognize that family is who you choose it to be.  (publisher)

My take:  Wildest Dreams is the 9th book in Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series. The main characters are Blake, a world-class athlete and new Thunder Point resident, and Lin Su, nurse to Blake’s neighbor. The two meet and the attraction is almost immediate – at least in Blake’s case. Lin Su is a single mother who is determined to make the best life for her son Charlie and that means she’s not interested in a relationship. So, even though she likes Blake and might be a little attracted to him, that’s not going to happen. She’s controlled her life since she was eighteen after all. Charlie and Blake might have a say in that though.

I thought the characters were believable. Reading about the triathlons Blake competed in was very interesting. I appreciated the details of Lin Su’s care of her patient Winnie who has ALS. We also catch up with three pregnant women (featured in previous books) who are due to give birth very soon. But the stars are Blake and Lin Su. These two were more alike than they imagined and yet pride and stubbornness might prevent a wonderful relationship. Will Lin Su start to realize life can be good and allow herself to trust Blake? I enjoyed finding out.

I liked Wildest Dreams and recommend it to fans of Robyn Carr and contemporary, small town romance. It could stand alone but it involves characters from One Wish (book #7 in the series) so you might want to read that book first. I recommend the entire series!

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

The Rumor (audio)  A God in Ruins (audio)  Secret Sisters (12:8) Berkley  six sisters stuff

Last week on Bookfan:

cold feet   if you only knew (8:25)

Currently reading:

silver linings (8:11)

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

  • if you only knew (8:25)Title:  If You Only Knew
  • Author:  Kristan Higgins
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  August 2015 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny’s new best friend. Sensing this isn’t exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, a guy who’s utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time. 

Rachel’s idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she’d walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a family secret she’s been keeping since childhood. 

Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present and find a way to get what they want most of all.  (publisher)

My take:  Kristan Higgins’ novel about sisters who face challenges and choices will be on my 2015 Favorites list. I loved how real the challenges were that faced Jenny and Rachel and how they met those challenges. Jenny, the strong and outgoing sister, is starting over in her hometown after her husband told her he didn’t want to be married to her anymore. She’s an optimist though and is determined to move forward. Rachel, the introvert who takes pride in her orderly house and life, thought she could keep her family safe and happy by spending every moment trying to keep them insulated from anything bad. I was pulling for them both and was so pleased with how Higgins brought them both through at the end.

The support characters are pretty wonderful too. A few are as well-developed as the primary characters and had a hold on my heart through the entire novel – I’m looking at you Leo and Evander and… well, you get the idea. Even though I wanted to throttle Leo a couple of times everything became clear in the end.

If You Only Knew is a book I’d recommend to book clubs whose members (adults) are of varied ages. I think that would bring a lot to the discussion because of the different perspectives. If you’re like me and aren’t a book club member I’d recommend it to fans of Kristan Higgins and women’s fiction.

Note:  I read most of this book while on the treadmill but I knew when I had about 100 pages left I would need to find a quiet room (and a box of tissues). So that’s my heads-up.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Cold Feet by Amy FitzHenry

cold feet


Emma Moon is T-minus one week from getting married to the emotionally stable Sam Powell when she decides it’s time to try and find her family. With no relationship to speak of with her mother, there’s only one option. She has to find her father.

Enlisting her best friend and lifelong partner-in-crime, Liv, on a last minute dad-hunt, Emma heads to San Francisco with one mission in mind: to find her dad, the elusive Hunter Moon. As Emma and Liv make their way through the city, new romances bud, wine flows and memories surface of a past that had long since been buried. But when their detective work leads to revelations about Emma and Sam’s own history, suddenly everything is thrown into jeopardy.

In the 11th hour before her wedding, and in the face of shocking truths about her family and her relationship, Emma must confront these truths, roll up her sleeves and deal with her past, in order to decide what is right for her future.

Praise for Cold Feet

“Funny, incisive, and relatable…[A] smart, big-hearted debut [that] will have you flying through the pages.” —Steph Opitz, book reviewer, Marie Claire 

“A heartwarming and uproariously funny debut about the way our pasts can shape our futures when it comes to love.  FitzHenry explores female friendship, marriage, and family with wisdom and wit.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Commencement

“A heartwarming and effortlessly relatable novel about friendship and commitment, fidelity and marriage, and how to let go of the past in order to create a great future. A winning and funny debut.” —Laura Dave, author of Eight Hundred Grapes

“FitzHenry”s voice, vivid with wit and charm, pops off the page from the very first words…An absolute treat from start to finish.” —Bethany Chase, USA Today bestselling author of The One that Got Away

 “A dazzling debut—clever, charming, and insightful all at once.”—Emily Liebert, the author of Those Secrets We Keep

amy fitzhenryAbout the author:

Amy FitzHenry, a Virginia native, attended the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia School of Law. She is currently living in LA and, when she isn’t writing, practices law as the in-house counsel for the global men’s health charity, the Movember Foundation. Cold Feet is her first novel.

US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form


cold feet


A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

  • a window opens (8:25)Title:  A Window Opens
  • Author:  Elisabeth Egan
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  August 2015 – Simon & Schuster
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  From the beloved books editor at Glamour magazine comes a heartfelt and painfully funny debut about what happens when a wife and mother of three leaps at the chance to fulfill her professional destiny—only to learn every opportunity comes at a price.

In A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor, and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker, or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers—an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life—seems suddenly within reach.

Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up, and her work takes an unexpected turn. Fans of I Don’t Know How She Does It, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she—Alice Pearse—really want?  (publisher)

My take: When Alice Pearce’s husband quits his job after learning he won’t make partner Alice starts searching for a full-time job that will help make ends meet until Nicholas can get his private law practice up and running. She lands a job with a company that, while the income is wonderful, may require the sale of her soul.

Life as Alice knew it quickly changes. On top of the new job learning curve, Alice’s father is quite ill, Nicholas seems to be drinking more than she’s ever known him to, and their three kids need her more than ever before. Alice has to bring home a paycheck so she keeps trying to hold things together.

For as anxious as all that may make a reader feel I found Egan’s writing engaging to the point where I didn’t want to stop reading. My kids are raised and yet I find myself in the “sandwich generation” in that I help out by watching my grandchildren and have elderly parents who are dealing with health issues.

I enjoyed all the characters in the novel but most of all Alice. I could relate to her on a few levels. My heart went out to her because I understood her unenviable position. I loved that, from time to time, Alice remembered quotations from people such as Frost and Churchill. And I loved Alice’s relationship with her dad. Their scenes and exchanges made me tear up a few times.

A Window Opens is a wonderful debut and I look forward to Elisabeth Egan’s next book.