Source: Random House

#BookReview
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
@KinsellaSophie @randomhouse

#BookReview I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie @randomhouseTitle: I Owe You One

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Published by: Dial Press on February 5, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?


Review:

Sweet, comical, and delightfully uplifting!

I Owe You One is a charming, heartwarming read that takes us into the life of the thoughtful Fixie Farr as she struggles to keep her family’s home goods shop thriving while juggling an on-again/off-again relationship with her high school crush, two overbearing, older siblings, and a back-and-forth IOU with a handsome businessman.

The prose is well turned and light. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are unique, amusing and reliable. And the plot is a smart, engaging tale full of quirky mishaps, tricky moments, awkward situations, delicious chemistry, romantic drama, self-reflection, and the intricacies of familial relationships.

Overall, I Owe You One is another light, refreshing, entertaining read by Kinsella that’s perfect for fans of insightful, witty, contemporary romance novels.

 

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is a writer and former financial journalist. She is the number one bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night, the hugely popular Shopaholic novels and the Young Adult novel Finding Audrey. She lives in London with her husband and family. She is also the author of several bestselling novels under the name of Madeleine Wickham.

#BookReview
Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg
@randomhouse

#BookReview Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg @randomhouseTitle: Night of Miracles

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Series: Arthur Truluv #2

Published by: Random House on November 13, 2018

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

A delightful novel about surprising friendships, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change a life, from the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community–just when they need it the most.


Review:

Honest, pensive, and affecting!

Night of miracles takes us back to the small town of Mason, Missouri and into the lives of many, including Lucille Howard who’s still teaching people to bake, befriending those who are lonely, and selflessly helping those in need; Iris, a middle-aged woman, struggling to move on after a recent divorce; Tiny, a large man with no confidence and courage; and Abby, a young mother battling for her life against a relentless disease.

The prose is vivid and sincere. The characters are complex, genuine, and engaging. And the absorbing, astute plot takes us on a heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride of love, loss, friendship, family, community, thoughtfulness, loyalty, and companionship.

Overall, Night of miracles is another beautifully written tale by Berg that made my heart fill with joy and burst with heartbreak. It’s a perceptive, sentimental, poetic tale that reminds us that life is not only about the highs and lows but also all those quieter moments in between.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

Photo by Joyce Ravid

#BookReview
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
@KinsellaSophie @randomhouse

#BookReview Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie @randomhouseTitle: Surprise Me

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Published by: Dial Press on February 13, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.


Review:

Warm, affecting, and extremely entertaining!

Surprise Me is a lighthearted journey into the lives of married couple Sylvie and Dan who have it all, beautiful girls, successful careers, and a rock-solid marriage until the suggestion of another 68 years of marriage sends them into a tailspin that makes them question their goals, dreams, and each other.

The writing is smooth and effortless. The characters are quirky, comical, genuine, and lovable. And the plot is an engaging, moving tale bursting with witty banter, embarrassing situations, awkward moments, hilarious hijinks, and sweet romance.

Surprise Me is, ultimately, a story about marriage, secrets, commitment, family, introspection, and enduring love. It’s classic Kinsella with well-crafted characters, humour, heart, a surprising twist and a delightful ending that will definitely make you smile.

 

This book is available now. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is a writer and former financial journalist. She is the number one bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night, the hugely popular Shopaholic novels and the Young Adult novel Finding Audrey. She lives in London with her husband and family. She is also the author of several bestselling novels under the name of Madeleine Wickham.

#BookReview
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
@PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg @PenguinRandomCATitle: The Story of Arthur Truluv

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Published by: Random House on November 21, 2017

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 240

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A beautiful, life-affirming novel about a remarkably loving man who creates for himself and others second chances at happiness.

A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.


Review:

Powerful, poignant, and charming!

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a touching novel that reminds us that life should be lived to the fullest and that family can be any unit created by love and not limited to those related by blood.

The story is told from three different points of view; Arthur, a kind-hearted widow whose loneliness is palpable and who spends the better part of his days at the graveside of his late wife; Maddie, a troubled teenager, struggling with bullies at school and an apathetic father at home; and Lucille, a retired school teacher who has spent most of her life pining for a lost love.

The prose is eloquent and reflective. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are strong, multi-layered, and endearing. And the plot is a compelling tale of friendship, happiness, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, honesty, humour, unconditional love, growing old, and the true meaning of family.

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a moving, delightful story that will make you laugh, make you cry and is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

Photo by Joyce Ravid

#BookReview
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
@gabriellezevin @PenguinCanada

#BookReview Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin @gabriellezevin @PenguinCanadaTitle: Young Jane Young

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Published by: Viking on August 29, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Random House, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the author of the international bestseller The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes another novel that will have everyone talking.

Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss–and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins: slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.

She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up–an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.

Young Jane Young is a smart, funny, and moving novel about what it means to be a woman of any age, and captures not just the mood of our recent highly charged political season, but also the double standards alive and well in every aspect of life for women.


Review:

Clever, humorous, and highly entertaining!

Young Jane Young is an engaging, satisfying tale that reminds us that the internet although an invaluable source of information and a blessing is also often a curse where mistakes are never forgotten.

The story is divided into multiple sections and told from various perspectives; Rachel, Aviva’s mother whose attempts at online dating is dismal at best; Jane/Aviva, a young events planner who has successfully carved out a new life and identity after falling in love with the wrong man; Ruby, Jane’s inquisitive and direct teenage daughter; and Embeth, the congressman’s forgiving and supportive wife.

The characters are strong, female, and resilient. The prose is smooth, fresh, and exceptionally witty. And the plot interweaves and unfolds effortlessly using unconventional, unique writing styles, such as emails and “choose your own adventure” to keep you intrigued and absorbed from start to finish.

Young Jane Young is ultimately a lighthearted, warm, enjoyable story about empowerment, survival, feminism, shame, acceptance, adultery, politics, scandals, and the unfair sexist stigma that still surrounds women and their sexual behaviour today.

If you haven’t already checked out my review for The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, one of my favourite books from last year,  be sure to check it out here:

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Gabrielle Zevin

GABRIELLE ZEVIN is an internationally bestselling author whose books have been translated into over thirty languages.

Her eighth novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (2014), spent months on the New York Times Best Seller List, reached #1 on the National Indie Best Seller List, and has been a bestseller all around the world. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book “a powerful novel about the power of novels.” Her debut, Margarettown, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. The Hole We’re In was a New York Times Editor’s Choice title.

She also writes books for young readers. Her best known young adult novel is Elsewhere, an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. Of Elsewhere, the New York Times Book Review wrote, “Every so often a book comes along with a premise so fresh and arresting it seems to exist in a category all its own… Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin, is such a book.”

She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Best First Screenplay. In 2009, she and director Hans Canosa adapted her novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (ALA Best Books for Young Adults) into the Japanese film, Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR’s All Things Considered. She began her writing career at age fourteen as a music critic for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University. She lives in Los Angeles. Her 9th novel is Young Jane Young.

#BookReview
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
@AnnBrashares

#BookReview The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares @AnnBrasharesTitle: The Whole Thing Together

Author: Ann Brashares

Published by: Penguin on April 27, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Pages: 295

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Random House, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

We live in the same place, but never together.

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.


Review:

Poignant, tragic and excessively complex!

In this latest novel by Brashares she delves into the emotional and psychological effects of blended families on all those involved and highlights the challenges faced by those specifically caught in the middle.

The characters are vulnerable, troubled and coming of age. The prose is simple and clear. And the plot, which is ultimately about guilt, love, life, loss, yearning, heartbreak, deception, friendship and family just seems to have a little too many subplots, too much angst, too much drama and too many issues, including class, divorce and race to not get bogged down and overpower the characterization and fluidity of the main storyline.

I am a huge fan of Ann Brashares from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series and I look forward to reading other novels by her in the future but for me this one wasn’t one of her best.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

 

 

Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways, especially Random House Canada, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now, 3 Willows, The Last Summer (of You and Me), and My Name Is Memory. She lives in New York City with her family.

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