Tag Archives: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release Day Review- If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

Title: If You Only Knew

If you only knew

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

Author: Kristan Higgins

Publisher: HQN, August 25, 2015

Pages: 416

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5 not explicit

Description from Amazon.com:         

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.

**

Kristan Higgins is definitely a favorite author of mine, especially her Blue Heron Series of Contemporary romances. So I was surprised to find out she has written a book in the Women’s Fiction genre and I was all so “I’ll be the judge of that”. I was hoping that it would not disappoint me like those authors who jumped ship from one genre to the other that did disappoint. I’m here to tell you that this author can write in any genre and be a 5-star entertainer.

This is a book brimming with a plot that is insightful as well as intelligent and so realistic you will swear you know these characters personally. Jenny is adjusting to a divorce and trying her best not to get hurt by the handsome, strange guy who lives downstairs. Rachel is struggling with anger and humiliation when her husband cheats. Her entire sense of “self” is threatened. What keeps us turning pages is for us to see how both of these women handle their personal journeys with love, marriage, children, lovers and sisterhood.

There is romance and Love in all its forms.  I think you will like this one as much as I did.

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Review- Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

Title:  Hidden

Hidden

 Genre: Women’s fiction

Author: Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: New Harvest

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: alluded to

Description from Amazon.com:

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.

Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

**

Having read Ms. McKenzie’s novel ARRANGED, I was expecting a good read and that is precisely what I got.  I could not put this book down. The author brings you into the lives of these people and you somehow have a vested interest in how things turn out.  For each character, no matter if a central character or a side character, we feel their pain and concerns. We are privy to their personality foibles and pluses.  There is understanding of a marriage and of a liaison and there is no judgment, just the results.

I highly recommend this book.

 

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Review- What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

Title:  What Nora Knew

What Nora Knew

 Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author:  Linda Yellin

Publisher: Gallery Books, Jan. 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with the Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-yearold chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance “in the style of Nora Ephron,” she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.

**

Oh my, yes,yes,yes!!  This is so funny you will be laughing out loud and like me telling all your friends to read this book.  Molly Hallberg’s assignment from her magazine editor is to write a romantic article about people falling in love and staying in love, a la Nora Effron, says her editor.  Somehow Molly has weeks to write it but blows the article and nearly her job.  She is romantically challenged it seems.  So starts the Briget Jones  type antics and Molly continues to be clueless about love.

Linda Yellin can write wickedly witty scenes and dialog.  She captures that NYC vibe of disdain and disregard in the office and the snobby vibe of a weekend in the Hamptons, but all played for fun and laughs…for us…but not for our heroine.   Molly can’t seem to put a foot right.  Will she let her destiny be downtrodden?  We turn pages almost violently to find out if she can be saved from herself.

Oh please give yourself a treat and a lift during this snowy housebound winter and get this book.

**

(Now for a story from Deet:  Four, or maybe five, years ago I was attending a conference in Providence, Rhode Island.  I was sharing a room at a motel with my friend Cyndie and I awoke early one morning and trying not to wake her I grabbed my Kindle and headed for the breakfast room and please, Lord, coffee.  I settled myself in a chair in the already crowded room (lots of leaf peepers were up early to get some coffee before boarding their bus to see the blazing colors of Autumn). I turned on my Kindle and between sips of coffee I was reading and eating a rather crumbly blueberry muffin.  Someone said in my distracted ear, “Excuse me but how do you like it?”.  “What,” I mumbled through a mouthful of crumbs,”Do you mean the muffin?”. “No,” she laughed, “your Kindle, how do you like it?”  Well I extolled the virtues of Kindle and I think I convinced her she really would enjoy it.  Then she said to me, “you know, my daughter is an author.  Her name is Linda Yellin.  Have you heard of her?”  I apologized for being clueless about Ms. Yellin and promised to read her new book coming out the next year.  The next year I did look for Ms. Yellin’s book and decided to write her an e-mail telling her how her cute mother was on a leaf-peeper-book-promo-tour of New England and had led me to her book.  I never heard from Ms Yellin or her publisher.  I was a bit put out.  I decided not to buy the book.  Then this book, 5 years later, or maybe 4 years later was offered and I accepted to read it for review.  It”s fate I tell you.  I was meant to read Ms. Yellin’s work, one way or another, just as fate worked in her new novel.  I hope her mom is doing well, a delightful lady.)

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Review- The Holdout by Laurel Osterkamp

Title: The Holdout

The Holdout

 Genre:  Women’s fiction/romantic elements

Author: Laurel Osterkamp

Publisher: PMI, Amazon Digital Services, 2013

Source: purchase

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Robin wanted to win The Holdout, a cutthroat reality TV show, so she gave it her all, challenge after challenge. Then she fell for Grant, with his irresistible eyes and heartbreaking life story.
But Grant was only using Robin as they competed for a million dollars. Once home, Robin wants to hide from the humiliation as episodes of The Holdout are aired, and she worries her family was right all along; she’s not a survivor.

Yet she could surprise everyone, and have the last laugh.

Besides, Robin now has jury duty. And as she forges ahead, confronting her demons about bravery, justice, and romance, Robin will come to decide which is more important: the courage to stand alone, or the strength to love again.

**

I’m about to gush here…this book has as its premise elements of my guilty pleasure, Survivor the TV show.  It is also a can’t-put-down page turner.  I picked this up at Amazon for $.99 on my Kindle and started to read it and could not stop until I had finished. This is the story of a thirty something woman who is still trying to find herself.  She is often bullied by her older brothers who love her but have carried on the teasing dynamic so long they don’t know how to stop. Robin learns how to hold her own both in the family and in the outside world.  The romance is slow in coming but ultimately very satisfying for both Robin and the reader. The writing is good, the plotting is good and the characterization is spot on. I HIGHLY recommend this book.

About the author:(It is always a thrill to discover new and accomplished authors)

Laurel Osterkamp is the author of four novels and two novellas, including the November Surprise series, which, like The Holdout, features the Bricker family. Laurel was recently on a federal jury, and she loves watching Survivor.

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, E-Book

Review- The Beach House by Jane Green

Title: The Beach House

Genre: contemporary Women’s Fiction

Author: Jane Green

Publisher: Plume, 2009

Source: Library

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5 (not explicit)

Description from amazon.com:

Nan Powell is a free-spirited, sixty-five-year-old widow who’s not above skinny-dipping in her neighbors’ pools when they’re away and who dearly loves her Nantucket home. But when she discovers that the money she thought would last forever is dwindling, she realizes she must make drastic changes to save her beloved house. So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach.

Slowly people start moving in to the house, filling it with noise, laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family and friends expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside down. As she did so masterfully in her New York Times bestseller Second Chance, Jane Green once again proves herself one of the preeminent writers of contemporary women’s fiction.

**

Let me preface this review by saying this is not a book I probably would have picked up if it had not been put forth by my dear Myerlee Circle Book Club.  But I have to give them credit for finding a good read.

This read like a Lifetime movie, but a very good lifetime movie.  In the beginning I found it a bit confusing since all of the characters were introduced, each with their own story in separate chapters.  I had a bit of trouble keeping people straight.   I assumed that they would all come together at some point but it didn’t happen until late in the book.  Reading was like sneaking looks at a therapist’s files.  Goodness knows these people all needed the therapist!  Still, Ms. Green made them very real and I found myself hoping for their happy futures.  There were some surprises that were not expected and some that we could see a mile off.  However, I read this book in one sitting and have to say it was a most enjoyable experience.

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