Put A Ring On It by Beth Kendrick

  • put a ring on it (NAL 11:3)Title:  Put A Ring On It
  • Series:  Black Dog Bay #3
  • Author:  Beth Kendrick
  • Genre:  Chick Lit; Romance
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  November 2015 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Brighton Smith doesn’t do outrageous. As an insurance actuary, it’s her job to assess risk and avoid bad investments. But when her fiancé calls to confess he’s married someone else on a whim (“I looked at her and I just knew!”), she snaps…

That night, at a local bar, Jake Sorensen—hot, rich, and way out of her league—buys Brighton a cocktail. At midnight, she kisses him. And by dawn, they’re exchanging vows at a drive-through chapel.

Brighton knows Jake is a bad bet, but she doesn’t care. After a lifetime of playing it safe, she’s finally having fun. Until the whirlwind romance gives way to painful reality…and Brighton finds out the truth about why a guy like Jake married a girl like her. With her heart on the line and the odds stacked against them, Brighton must decide whether to cut her losses or take a leap of faith that this love affair is one in a million.  (publisher)

My take:  I read the second book in the Black Dog Bay series so I was familiar with some of the characters (including Jake) as well as the scenic beach town of Black Dog Bay. For some reason this little town attracts women who’ve recently gone through a break-up.

Brighton is a by-the-book, serious woman who plays it safe. When her fiancé asks for the ring back she decides to visit Black Dog Bay where her best friend from college has opened a practice (she’s a therapist). She meets Jack at the local pub and her life takes an unexpected turn.

Jake is a man of mystery and he seems intent on keeping it that way. That’s why I had a hard time believing Brighton would become involved with him. I guess she went a little crazy and then just went with it. It may sound as if I didn’t like the book but I really did. I thought that, despite their ridiculous situation, these two had real chemistry. Their entertaining dialogue often had me laughing. All in all, I was pleased with how their story wrapped up.

I’d recommend Put A Ring On It to fans of Beth Kendrick, the Black Dog Bay series, and fun, romantic novels.

Blog Tour: New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick

  • new uses for old boyfriends (Feb26)Title:  New Uses for Old Boyfriends
  • Author:  Beth Kendrick
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Chick Lit
  • Published:  February 2015 – NAL Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  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.  (publisher)

My take:  Lila Alders may have lived a sheltered life once upon a not so distant time ago but now she has to be the one in charge. She’ll have to be the one to get her life back on track. She recently came through a divorce that left her with a big SUV (or FUV as she refers to it) and her clothes. After pawning her wedding rings she heads to her hometown, Black Dog Bay, Delaware. That’s where she finds her recently widowed mother, Daphne, in complete denial about her finances. It seems Lila’s father left her with a lot of debt. The house needs to be sold to pay a mountain of bills.

The mother-daughter dynamic made for interesting scenes. Outspoken Daphne is not afraid to say anything about anything to her daughter. Lila is compelled to stand up to her mother and lead the way out of their money problems. The fashion fates smile on Lila and Daphne and they begin to crawl out from under their seemingly insurmountable challenges. There’s more than just furniture and memories under the roof of their gorgeous beachfront home and the two will find a way to make a go of a new venture.

This is a small town and most of the people will do anything for each other. They also gossip and stick their noses into other people’s business. That makes for comic relief and lots of interesting secondary characters. I liked the second chance relationship for Lila. Malcolm was perfect for her. Their repartee was fun as they got to know each other once again.

New Uses for Old Boyfriends is the perfect read for anyone who has the midwinter blahs. I enjoyed it and it made me long for a beach vacation. If you’re a fan of chick lit or contemporary fiction I recommend it!

Redesigning Rose by Lydia Laceby

redesigning rose

  • Title:  Redesigning Rose
  • Author:  Lydia Laceby
  • Genre:  Contemporary Women’s Fiction; Chick Lit
  • Published:  June 2013 – Lydia Laceby
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  Rose Parker’s husband has been lying. About everything.

When a conversation with her husband triggers questions, Rose Parker uncovers alarming answers that shatter her perfect life. But it is only when she shoves her belongings in her SUV and drives off that Rose realizes just how far from perfect her life actually was. She has nowhere to turn.

While debating between distressing sleeping arrangements-her mother’s house full of questions or a hotel room with too much solitude-Rose bumps into an acquaintance from her gardening class and allows bubbly, exuberant Becky to indulge her in a wild night full of whiskey, weeping, and whispered confidences. Suddenly, Rose has a new friend, a roof over her head, and two gorgeous men moving her out of her marital home.

As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she remains determined to comprehend her past. And with time and distance and especially wine, comes knowledge. Frank wasn’t the only one lying to her. Rose was lying to herself. (author)

My take:  It was easy to sympathize with Rose and her new situation. She found out her husband was not the man she thought – perhaps something she’d known all along. With some distance between them she realized she had become a different person since marrying him. With that awareness Rose started on a path to rediscover her true self.

I loved the new people in Rose’s life beginning with Becky, the acquaintance who takes her in, as well as Becky’s brother, other friends, and Rose’s mother. They all had a hand in helping Rose move forward. It wasn’t an easy path. She moved backward a couple of times but eventually learned to listen to and trust her instincts again.

Redesigning Rose is Lydia Laceby’s debut novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story and characters charmed me and I couldn’t help thinking as I read that it would make a good movie. Recommended to fans of Chick Lit.

A Girl Like You by Maria Geraci

Title:  A Girl Like You

Author:  Maria Geraci

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  August 2012 – Berkley

Trade Paperback – 320 pages

Synopsis:  Emma Frazier is smart, hardworking, and loves her job as a journalist for a Florida lifestyle magazine. Emma knows she’s no great beauty, but she’s pretty certain she has a shot with her handsome new boss, Ben Gallagher—until Emma overhears a mutual acquaintance refer to her as the “ugly friend.” In an effort to reclaim her battered self-esteem, Emma decides to impress Ben at work by promising an exclusive interview with NASCAR legend, Trip Monroe.

Emma and Trip went to high school together and although it’s been fourteen years since they’ve spoken, Emma is certain she can score an interview with the elusive super star. But connecting with Trip turns out to be harder than Emma imagined. Her quest for the interview leads her back to her tiny hometown of Catfish Cove, where old secrets and a new romantic interest shake up Emma’s views on life and teach her that maybe the key to finding true love is as simple as accepting yourself for the person you were always meant to be.

My take:  I’ll just go ahead and start by saying A Girl Like You is the most enjoyable Chick Lit I’ve read in a long, long time. Whether you’re in the genre target age or not (I’m clearly not) Emma Frazier is a character most female readers will find relatable. She doesn’t consider herself perfect (in beauty, weight, etc.) but she has a fairly good sense of herself that I found endearing and made me want to cheer for her as she navigates the path of relationships.

That said, the night she overhears someone refer to her as “the ugly friend”  – meaning she makes her other friends look better, she starts to question herself. She goes home where her moms (yes she has two moms) give her unconditional love and support. She also runs into a former classmate whom she’d had a crush on back in high school. He does a lot for her self-esteem. Emma goes back to her apartment and job a few hours away where she still has a crush on her boss. In hopes of impressing him she offers to get the interview of the year with another former classmate who has hit it big on the NASCAR circuit. He’s almost impossible to track down so Emma has her work cut out for her. Will she be able to get the interview, impress her boss, and maybe fall in love? You’ll have to read to find out 🙂

Maria Geraci has a new fan in me! I read this novel in just a few hours because I couldn’t put it down. Her writing style is so easy and smooth (addicting, some might say). And I liked the humor she injected along the way. Like I said earlier, I was cheering for Emma all the way – and I wasn’t even sure how it would or should end. Geraci threw in a few small twists that kept me wondering. I liked that.

So, if you like Chick Lit and you’re looking for a good book to read anywhere, I can enthusiastically recommend A Girl Like You!

Disclosure:  I received a review copy from the publicist for the blog tour. I was not compensated for my review. Please see sidebar for full disclosure policy.

♦  ♦  ♦

Maria Geraci’s website; Facebook; Twitter

About the author:

Maria Geraci was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. Her love of books started with the classic Little Women (a book she read so often growing up, she could probably quote it). She lives with her husband and their three children in north Florida where she works as a part-time labor and delivery nurse by night and a full-time romance writer during the day.

When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

Title:  When In Doubt, Add Butter

Author:  Beth Harbison

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  July 2012 – St. Martin’s Press

Synopsis:  (from the back of the ARC) Gemma Craig has spent her career as a private chef taking care of other people. From Lex, the fussy department store owner straight out of a movie from the thirties; to grossly overweight Willa who must radically change her eating habits or die; to the strange Oleksei family, with a constant parade of mysterious people coming and going; to the hideously demanding Angela who is “allergic to everything” and foists her tastes on her hapless family; to the man Gemma thinks of only as “Mr. Tuesday” because they’ve never met. Everyone relies on Gemma, even while she goes home alone each night and feasts on cereal and quick meals. But when life takes an unexpected turn on a road Gemma always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and learn to move on in ways she never imagined.

My take:  When In Doubt, Add Butter is a light and enjoyable novel – just what I wanted at this particular time. It reminded me of Hallmark channel chick lit movies.
I loved Gemma, the main character. She’s a personal chef whose clients are mostly oddballs. And then they start to get even stranger! There’s one, though, who leaves notes for Gemma – very witty notes to which she responds in kind. I loved that aspect.
The author ties things up quite neatly by the end – and I was glad she did. I would definitely read another Beth Harbison novel (this was my first). Recommended to fans of the author and Chick Lit. A perfect beach read!

Source:  The publisher via Goodreads First Reads

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Thin Rich Bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn

Title:  Thin Rich Bitches

Author:  Janet Eve Josselyn

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  March 2012 – Amazon

Synopsis:  Leaving her cheating husband in Boston with the paralegal he impregnated, Pippin Snowe and her son move to a ramshackle farmhouse that she inherited in the exclusive community of Dover, Massachusetts. Pippin finds employment with a local architect, designing kitchen renovations for wealthy Dover women who treat her as they treat the rest of the hired help. Concluding that social climbing is just another sport that she is no good at, Pippin opens a country club for dogs that offers services that the Dover women didn’t know they wanted until they found out that admission was required and spaces were limited.

My take:  Janet Eve Josselyn’s peek inside the lives of people with (some would say) too much money is entertaining, snarky, and had me cheering Pippin on as she learned the ropes of her new world. About a third of the way in I was wishing I’d started a character list but, little by little, the characters distinguished themselves.

If snark bothers you then this may not be the book for you. Most of the time it made me laugh. The pace of the book was pretty good. I thought the first half was mostly explaining the characters and setting up the story but the second half of the book picked up steam and I was kind of sorry to turn the final page. There’s definitely reasons for a sequel – and I’d read that book!

This was a fun summer read – a good one to read poolside or on the beach.

Source:  Thanks to the author for sending me a review copy!

Disclosure:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

J’adore New York by Isabelle Laflèche

Title:  J’adore New York

Author:  Isabelle Laflèche

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  April 2010 – HarperCollins

About:  When Catherine Lambert accepts a transfer from the Paris office of the Edwards & White law firm to their Manhattan base she doesn’t know what she’s in for. Sure she’s used to working long hours but she wasn’t ready for the cut-throat office politics at the firm’s headquarters. Catherine aspires to be a partner in the firm but what will it take to reach her goal? And is she willing to do what it takes?

My take:  Isabelle Laflèche’s fast-paced novel is filled with entertaining characters. Some are larger than life, some are stereotypes, and a few are understated and relatable. The attorneys are type A, power hungry, ‘get out of my way’ people who pretty much make Catherine’s life a living hell. Her flamboyant assistant Rikash provides the comic relief and always has her back.

Catherine’s days are spent trying to reach her quota of billable hours, juggling contemptible clients, and if she’s lucky she may find time to sleep. A personal life? Forget about it! Unless it’s mixed with business, she rarely gets out. Catherine starts to wonder how long she can keep this up. Is this really what she wants to do for the rest of her life.

J’adore New York made me a bit anxious while reading about Catherine’s work pressures but, in the end, I enjoyed it. Most of all, I liked Catherine. She’s on a roller coaster ride to finding a fulfilling life and it was fun to be along for the ride. I look forward to more from Isabelle Laflèche.

Source:  BookSparks PR

Disclosure Policy:  see sidebar

Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

Title:  Until There Was You

Author:  Kristan Higgins

Genre:  Chick Lit; Contemporary Romance

Published:  October 2011 – HQN Books

About:  (Pub. synopsis) Posey Osterhagen can’t complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she’s surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something’s missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.

When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he’s back, sending Posey’s traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….

My take:  Sounds like another fun Kristan Higgins novel, doesn’t it? Well, it is that and more.

Higgins’ trademark humor and sympathetic heroine-with-a-wacky-family are definitely there but, in my opinion, the true star of Until There Was You is Liam Declan Murphy.He is not your run-of-the-mill former bad boy. Liam Murphy is a complex man. He is also a widower with a teenage daughter. He’s just trying to be a good father and make a home for his daughter. I loved that Higgins revealed his layers throughout the entire novel and not in one pat description.

Posey is an ordinary young woman who wants to find what seems so easy for her brother and cousin – someone to love. She is such a relatable character that it was easy to cheer her on. What she finds is that her impression of people and events (present and past) may or may not have been accurate. That knowledge makes all the difference to Posey and her life going forward. Until There Was You  is charming and heartwarming. I really enjoyed it.

Recommended to fans of Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, and Kristan Higgins.

Source:  HQN

Disclosure Policy: see sidebar

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews (audiobook)

Title:  Summer Rental

Author:  Mary Kay Andrews

Narrator:  Isabel Keating

Genre:  Chick Lit

Published:  June 2011 – Macmillan Audio

About:  (from the Goodreads synopsis) Ellis, Julia, and Dorie. Best friends since Catholic grade school, they now find themselves in their mid-thirties and at the crossroads of life and love… A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what each of them needs.

My Take:  The first half of the book pretty much fills the reader in on each character’s background. When Dorie brings home a woman to rent one of the beach house bedrooms the story picks up. She’s on the run from her crook of a husband and needs a place to hide out. There are also sparks between Ellis and Ty, the owner of the rental house. Ty’s about to lose the house to the bank so he’s  moonlighting as a bartender and day-trading during regular hours. The rest of the time he’s trying to keep his renters happy by getting rid of bugs, you know – landlord stuff. Ellis is the one who lets him know when anything’s wrong but she has to do it via email. The email exchanges between the two were quite funny and endearing.

I really liked Isabel Keating as narrator. I’m not from the south but if the conversation between author and narrator at the end of the audiobook is any indication, she did a great job on the voices.  I learned that Keating is the only narrator of Mary Kay Andrews’ books and the author is thrilled with her performances.

So, despite my feeling that the first part of the book was a little slow, I enjoyed Summer Rental. Listening to it made me feel like I was on the beach and enjoying vacation with the characters in the novel. Recommended to fans of Mary Kay Andrews and enjoyable beach reads.

Source:  I bought it.

Slim To None by Jenny Gardiner

Title:  Slim To None

Author:  Jenny Gardiner

Genre:  Chick Lit

About:  (Goodreads synopsis) Abbie Jennings is Manhattan’s top food critic until her expanding waistline makes staying incognito at restaurants impossible. Her cover blown on Page Six of the New York Post, her editor has no choice but to bench her—and suggest she use the time off to bench-press her way back to anonymity. Abbie’s life has been built around her career, and therefore around celebrating food. Forced to drop the pounds if she wants her primo gig back, Abbie must peel back the layers of her past and confront the fears that have led to her current life.

My thoughts:  Abbie Jennings is a character after my own heart. Abbie has struggled with her weight all her life. When she’s forced to address it yet again after losing her restaurant critic job she realizes eating too much might be the least of her issues.

Jenny Gardiner gives us a character to relate to and cheer for in this breezy, entertaining, and at times emotional novel. Feeling a bit like a silent partner lately, Abbie’s loving and patient husband gives her some space and time alone to work on things. On her own Abbie deals with the challenges of a dieter as she attempts to get to the core of her issues. She also tries to figure out why she’s so reluctant to have children when her husband has wanted to start a family for a while.

A side story involving a homeless man winds through Slim To None – I thought it would make a good separate novel but here it helps to bring Abbie’s story to a satisfying conclusion. Recommended.

Source:  I bought it.

Blog Tour: The D Word by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Title:  The D Word

Authors: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Genre:  Chick Lit

From the book description: There are always two sides to the story, especially when it comes to divorce. Jordan Daniels and Elle Ryan thought their lives would become less complicated when they walked away from their respective relationships one year ago. But instead they find themselves vying for a relationship with the same divorced man. In The D Word you’ll walk in the shoes of Jordan and Elle as they discover that sometimes you’re not that different from the person who makes you feel the most insecure.

My thoughtsWhat struck me first about The D Word is that Jordan and Elle made the decision to leave their relationships and then spent a lot of time second guessing themselves. Jordan thought she was moving on until Kevin, her ex, dates Elle – a woman who is Jordan’s complete opposite. She starts to wonder if maybe they could make it work after all and she certainly doesn’t want another woman taking her place in her young son’s eyes. Jordan pulls out all the stops – even dates a nice guy to make Kevin jealous.

Elle called off her wedding a month before the big day. She lost her fiancé and his sister (Elle’s best friend) in one shot. She’s just trying to move forward and concentrate on her job as a free-lance writer. Elle is covering a singles’ event at a park when she meets Kevin who just happens to be walking his dog through the park but not attending the event. They are immediately attracted to each other and start to date soon after.

Of the two women I found it easy to sympathize more with Elle. Yes she has baggage but for the most part she’s just a nicer person than Jordan who at times is like a grown up ‘mean girl’. She seems to have it all and then wants what isn’t hers anymore. Of course this gives the characters opportunity to grow throughout the novel. Without giving spoilers I was satisfied with how the authors took the two characters down that not-so-straight path of personal growth. I think fans of Chick Lit will enjoy The D Word.

Source:  BookSparks PR

About the authors: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been friends for over twenty years. They both  attended Cal Poly Pomona University and each graduated with a degree in Communication. They co-wrote their previous novel. I’LL HAVE WHO SHE’S HAVING, in 2009. Liz also blogs as the Drama Mama for ModernMom.com while Lisa contributes frequently to Barnes & Noble’s Unabashadly Bookish blog and Mall of America’s Fashion Sense blog. Liz is married with two children, and Lisa is married and gave birth to a daughter in January. Liz resides in Long Beach, California, while Lisa lives in Chicago.

For more information visit www.chicklitisnotdead.com or follow Liz and Lisa on Twitter www.twitter.com/lizandlisa.

I’ll Have Who She’s Having by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Title:  I’ll Have Who She’s Having

Authors:  Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Genre:  Chick Lit

My thoughts:  I’ll Have Who She’s Having is a fast-paced and entertaining tale of two sisters who are not happy with the way things are. The story is told alternately by the sisters with the occasional added perspective of a few others – this worked to flesh out more than the two main characters.

About to turn thirty-three, Kate is single and tired of listening to her friends talk about their perfect lives with their husbands and babies. Kelly, two years younger than Kate, is married with one toddler and hasn’t felt remotely attractive for a long time. She loves her husband and little girl but misses her job and interaction with adults. In other words, Kate wants what Kelly has and Kelly would love a little bit of Kate’s life.
Kelly gets Kate to take a volleyball class and then a singing class with her. That’s where the novel takes off. Without giving spoilers I’ll just say sibling rivalry, moral conflicts, and issues of insecurity are major themes that Fenton and Steinke explore as Kate and Kelly struggle to move forward in their lives.
There were times when I laughed out loud but also times when I thought “oh for pete’s sake” in disbelief of the sisters’ actions. That said, the authors did a great job giving each sister her distinct voice. I think fans of Chick Lit will enjoy I’ll Have Who She’s Having.
Source:  BookSparksPR
♦  ♦  ♦

Stop back next week for my review of The D Word by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke