Review: Me & Mr. Jones



This was the third book I have read of Ms. Diamond's.  I have previously read and loved "The Beach Cafe", which was the first book that I read and had me undoubtedly hooked on this fab "new to me" author, and also "Sweet Temptation".  Both were very excellent books.  I have had Me and Mr. Jones sitting on my shelf for quite some time.  One of the things I did during tax time this year, was purchased up a whole bunch of books that I had yet to read.  Unfortunately, one of the downsides, was I was inundated with so many books I was overwhelmed as where to begin. 

As were the other books, this was a lovely story, by an author who has yet to disappoint.  As the title suggests, we are introduced to the Jones Family.  The Jones family consists of Lilian Jones and her husband Eddie, and their three sons.  As with all siblings, they each have their own distinct personalities.  

Hugh is the eldest son, and is of course the more serious of the brother's as well as possibly the most "stable".  Hugh is married to Alicia and has three wonderful children.  Alicia, who is about to "not be in her thirties" anymore, is having somewhat of a late meltdown at the prospect of no longer being a "thirty-something".  She suddenly finds that maybe she doesn't want to be the reliable, do-gooder she's always been.  She finds herself wanting to try new adventures.  Let's just hope that she doesn't have "too many adventures."

Then we have David and his wife Emma.  David is the middle child and has always been very dependable to his mother.  An architect, recently David has had some career difficulties, that has left him a tad withdrawn.  Emma meanwhile, has her own secret desire and hopes and fears.  They each are going through some things, but neither being very forthcoming with one another.  They find themselves pulling apart and Emma begins to wander of perhaps "splitsville" might not be too far away.

Last we have Charlie.  Charlie is the stereotypical "baby."  He has wandered along in life without a care in the world.  He has no strings holding him down and has made a bit of a name for himself as being "unreliable."  However, one small favor for his sister-in-law changes all of that.

Izzy is desperately trying to escape her not so lovely past.  She's seemed to have found a nice new start.  She has a new home for herself and her two small girls, Willow and Hazel.  She currently is working two jobs.  One as a waitress at a local cafe and then as a dance instructor.  Things are starting to look up for her.  However, things can change when you least expect it.  One class might just change her life.

Lilian and Eddie are getting on up in their years.  They turned the family home into a lovely little B & B.  However, Lilian feels that it might just be time to retire.  She starts thinking about the future and what to do with the family home when they decide to retire.  Lilian, who's not been too great as a mother-in-law, is about to get a big scoop of a med called a dose of reality.  Sometimes the truth hurts, but it needs saying in order for us to examine ourselves and to take an inventory.

This was a fabulous story and I found myself getting drawn deeper and deeper into the Jones' family.  It was several plots interweaved beautifully.  Each of the characters, you find yourself rallying for and sometimes even getting a bit pissed at.  There were truly some shockers that I didn't EVER see coming.  Sometimes, when you've read books so much, especially by the same author it can be hard for an author to really shock you.  However, this time there were a couple of moments that shocked me.  I love when an author can pull one over on you.  Sometimes, books are SO predictable that you may not know which road your going to take, but you know where your destination is.  

I need to make me some star icons so that when I rate books, it can be a pretty visual image.  However, haven't done this yet, so...  I definitely give this 5 stars.  It had everything in it.  There were at least two separate times in which I found myself crying.  One of those times, I was literally crying like a 16 yo girl whose first love has just dumped her.  I was beside myself with agony.  

It is truly a gift to be able to connect a reader so passionately with the characters you create.  Lucy Diamond, definitely has that gift.  Even if you get angry while reading a book, then the author is doing their job.  So glad that I had the foresight to purchase multiple books by Lucy Diamond, as I won't have to wait the usual month (about how long for the UK books to make its way over to the US.  The next Lucy Diamond book on my bookshelf TBR: Over You.

I still have so many left to read.  That excites me.  I love when I still have a whole catalogue of books by an author that I haven't read yet.  All of her books look absolutely dazzling.  Can't wait to get my hand on all of them!

To purchase this book:                    CONNECT:  On FACEBOOK    TWITTER   Author Site
                 

Until we meet again:

XOXO

Sassy GAL

Review: The Long Weekend by: Veronica Henry


This was the first book I have read of Ms. Henry's, but I can say with 100% certainty, that it won't be the last.  Before even finishing, I had instantly gone onto Amazon to buy "The Beach Hut", as I know that when ordering import books, it can take sometimes a month.  I didn't want to leave it too long, before I began reading up her backlist of books.

The Long Weekend is several stories, within a story.  You have a cast of characters in which all have their own plots and subplots.  Stories like this are always a favorite, as you have so many different layers, so much drama that the pace never slows down.  Perfect for those of us with ADD.

THE STAFF

The story takes us to the lovely, idyllic seaside town of Pennifleet.  The destination: "The Townhouse by the Sea."  The people who work at the gorgeous "Townhouse" have been keeping secrets. First, we meet Claire Marlowe and her longtime companion, Luca are the owners of this charming B & B.  Claire runs the operations of the hotel, while Luca is the star chef.  Claire, is an instantly likable character, who we soon discovers has some secrets.  The past that she's for so long has been running from, is about to come back.  The pain of the life she left behind, and all the memories she's tried so hard to keep at bay, will come flooding back.  

It's no surprise that Angela, the assistant manager has been so successful in her work life.  She has had to grow up all too soon.  With a less than happy home life and a mother who definitely won't be winning mother of the year, she has overcome the obstacles in her life and is determined to make a way for herself.  If only the secret she carries doesn't destroy all the hard work she's put into getting ahead in her career.  This weekend will, unknowingly, be a test for Angela.

Then we have the investors.  Trevor and Monique own a 20% stake in "the Townhouse", although they have been the perfect silent partners needed to be able to build "The Townhouse" into the great resort hotel it is today.  Trevor and Monique have come on a mission.  They have a dream, one that requires the cooperation of Claire and Luca.  There's much more at stake than they both dare to reveal.  They look on the outside to be a perfect, happy and shiney couple, but then again, things aren't always as they seem.  We all have pain, and for them, the secret pain they share is enormous.

THE GUESTS

The rooms are all booked, and the guests are about to check-in.  They have no clue that by the time they checkout, their lives will be changed.

Dan and Laura, on a visit from London, have come for a single purpose.  Laura has come seeking some answers.  Hoping to discover who she really is.

A seemingly normal couple, Colin and Karen along with their child have booked a room.  To outsiders, they may seem to be just another family.  In reality, their anything but normal.  This weekend will be a turning point in this "couples" relationship.  Colins life as he knew it will never be the same.  He's about to have to face up to his deep, dark secrets he's managed to bury for so long.

Then, we have the "Stag Party". The Townhouse has never before allowed a stag party before, but on the promise of the best man that there would be no hard partying, they made an exception.  The weekend is far from what the groom, Nick, had anticipated. It forces him to take a look at his life and what it is he truly wants in life.

This was a book that I savoured every delicious word.  The stories are weaved together, so beautifully.  I felt truly invested in all of the characters.  Oh how I wish I could just tell you all the juicy bits, *sigh* but I know that would take away the mystery and the joy away.  It was so intriguing to read as the layers came unpeeled and we saw glimpses into the secrets that these people had been hiding.  Neither the workers, nor the guests will ever be the same by the time the weekend has come to an end.  This has it all, all the drama you could hope for, by a brilliant storyteller.  

Veronica Henry definitely has a gift with being able to balance a wide range of characters and manages to so expertly weave their stories in and out seamlessly.  I honestly cannot wait to get her next book!

I definitely would give this a Five Star rating! 

You can find all of Veronica Henry's books on www.amazon.com

Review: Moody but Not Broody: by Kathryn Player

The Little Book that Could


I am super excited to review this book.  I really have a hard time opening myself up to trying new authors.  It isn't that I don't like trying new things.  It's the fact that so many times I have found myself unable to get past the first chapter.  So, I honestly wasn't holding out much hope when I downloaded this on my kindle.  In fact, I believe I started reading two other books before I got around to trying.

"Moody not Broody" captured me from the get-go with its title.  Whomever chose this title, knew what they were doing.  It isn't just a cute and quirky title that some publisher sat around and decided to throw on the book, it truly gives you a sense of the mood of the book.  It had the same humor throughout every single page.

The story centers around Emma, who does not in anyway, want to have children not now, nor ever.  Her husband, Mike, on the other hand is all guns blazing, ready for lift off.  The very first page, Emma tells us to not make promises to your husband, because you have to keep them.  At some point in a drunken state, she declared to Mike how much she wanted to have his children.  Well, now about around the first anniversary of their marriage, they are discovering that they may not be on the same page when it comes to reproducing.

I have read a ton of chick-lit that centers around women and having children.  I have to admit, that it's become a topic they I tend to pass over.  Those books always seem to have the same plot with such similar storylines. So, I am glad I didn't really look at the synopsis, instead trusted the twitter feeds which were all praise for this book.

Ms. Player, however, has managed to take the whole "baby" topic and give it a refreshing point of view.  She truly has been gifted with a wonderful wit.  Giving this book some brilliant dialogue and hilarious scenes.  I think that I laughed or smiled on every single page.  This wasn't a book that had some funny moments.  It was a book that was littered with humor.  Literally every single page there was something going on that made me smile and most times laugh out loud.

Emma and Mike are both in the educational field.  So, along with the baby theme, you also have it told from the perspective of a teacher.  It gave a whole new and fun perspective on the teaching field and added a human element to teachers.  Even as an adult, I tend to look at teachers as these infallible super creatures who do no wrong.  These were teachers I would want to hang out with.

Practically the whole cast of characters were teachers, and it definitely made you feel as if teachers actually have normal lives outside the classroom.  Shaun, one of Emma's teacher friends, is a bit of a pervy guy.  He's so immediately likable though and he's not pervy in a pervy way, but in a "I'm a man" kind of way.  His character was probably one of my favorite parts throughout the story.  Along with Shaun, you also have Mike's mom, Emma's parents, as well as Emma's best friend (who is desperate to get married).

Ms. Player was able to so expertly create a great cast of characters and dialogue that left you laughing and waiting for the next antic.  There were so many humorous notes.  It was one of those books that instead of a non-stop action, it's non-stop humor.  It didn't really have any low notes.  It took a serious topic and gave it a funny point of view.

The writing was honestly flawless.  In reading it, I would have NEVER in a million years have assumed that this was a debut novel.  It read like a seasoned professional instead of a writer's first book.  If she was able to create this much magic in her first go, I can't wait to see what else she comes up with. 

I definitely give this book Five stars.  The quality of writing was superb.  The dialogue hilarious, and the pace just right.  It had humorous moments that stay with you.  Even now thinking about one notable scene containing some "dog food" leaves me with a smile on my face.  A good writer is someone who can make you forget all that's around you and transport you into the world that they create and Ms. Player has definitely managed to do just that.  



On Kindle: $2.99 or FREE for Prime Members!

Visit Kathryn Player on FB and learn even more about this fab new author!



Review: The One and Only by: Emily Giffin

 

So, I have about read all of Emily Giffin's books.  The only one I haven't read yet is Baby Proof.  Although strangely enough I own two copies.  I'm a bit of a book hoarder.  I'm a sucker for second hand books at low prices, so I tend to grab them up anytime I see a book from a beloved author.  I have been a huge fan of her work for sometime now.  Before it was ever a movie,a I had read and Reread "Something Borrowed" two or three times.  Was pretty obsessed with the world and character she created.

Now, first I must make a disclaimer.  I am a southern girl. I hail from West Blocton, AL.  My hometown is just a twenty minute drive to T-Town (or Tuscaloosa, AL). Home of " The greatest NCAA football team" EVER.  When you are raised in the south, and more notably Alabama, football is born and breed in your blood.  I'm not just being melodramatic.  We honestly worship our players, coaches and Universities (as long as they have a kick a** football program). Being from Alabama, where we have not one, but two major SEC football programs, all the more obsessed we are.m in our state, you must align yourself from an early age.  And it isn't very often that you ever change side.  (Apart for perhaps a few rebellious moments as an angst ridden teen.). You primarily though, will always go back to your roots.

That being said, it was a mixture of joy and frustration when I discovered that the primary subject of this book was NCAA Football.  I was delighted to be reading a book by a beloved author who was giving our favorite past time such a spotlight.  However, it was a bit if a hard pill to swallow when the book centered around a Texas team, albeit a made-up team.  Still, there is still plenty of bitterness over one certain coach abandoning us for a certain Texas team.  Although, now we have arguably, the best coach in the history of NCAA history.  

So, having gotten over my trepadation that it was a Texas team, I dug in and really focused on the meat of the book.  The story is set on Walker, Texas.  The home of one of the top football programs in the country.  Our main character, Shae, is best friends with the Coach of said team (Walker) daughter, Lucy.  A death on the family sets off a series of events that changes Shae's comfortable existance.

Now a writer, she still has strong ties to the city and the college for which she has so worshipped.  She grew up right alongside the Carr family from the time she was in diapers.  Her and Lucy's friendship is one that has stood the test of time and boyfriends.  They have a very genuine affection for one another and it was one of my favorite aspects to the whole story.  It is quite evident early on how much respect and admiration that Shae has for not just e Carr family, but for Coach Carr.  She views him as the perfect man.  A perfect husband, father and Coach.

This is a story about not being afraid of yourself.  Not holding ourself back, and going after your dreams.  Shae for too long just went with the flow, and was in a sense not moving forward.  The death of Mrs. Carr brings about some major changes to Shae.  She will begin to question what it is that she wants out of life and begin to make some uncomfortable changes to venture forward.

This one is so hard to summarize without giving up all the juicy bits.  It was a gripping novel.  I literally read all night, until finally at 7:30 am, my eyes and brain could take no more.  Even in the first or second chapter though, although I didn't know which route we would go, I pretty much figured out the destination.  If I had one complaint it would be that it was too transparent and didn't leave u wondering where u were gonna go.  Sometimes it's nice when you go for a ride thinking your gonna go somewhere and finding yourself in a completely different place than you anticipated.  That was definitely lacking with this book.  

Also, the end was a tad bit anti-climatic for me.  I just felt that it wasn't tied up real well.  I can understand why it ended the way it did, and I can even see how it may have seemed like a good place to stop.  But somehow. It just was like oh ok.  I didn't feel much emotion during the book.  I didn't cry.  I got a little mad.  Although, the maddest I got was really the lack of notable mention of the great team that is Alabama.  

So, while I definitely without a doubt, liked this book, it wasn't the best.  It was a very, very good book. I could easily see it being a great movie even, but I can't quite put my finger on it.  I guess it was just too predictable.  You could pretty much guess what was gonna happen before it happened.  

Having just finished a book in which I was honestly unsure of where we were going next, it was so apparent at how transparent and predictable it truly was.  Although, it still made for a great read.  I still would give it four stars!  I guess when Emily Giffin has her name on a book, I'm always going to expect that biggest wow factor.  If you love Emily Giffin, I'm certain you will love this book.  I always feel dreadful when I have anything bad to say and almost as if, "Who am I" to judge it...  I have no BA in literature or English.  The only thing I expect that might qualify me is, I'm a fan.  A true book lover, who has mad love and respect for this industry and the writers who work so hard to help us escape from our own mundane lives.

I feel like I'm disrespecting an author to criticize their work, but this is just one lowly country bumpkin from Alabama's opinion.

Have you read this fab book yeta.  Did you find it predictable, or were you on the edge of your seat wondering what was coming around the corner?  Would LOVE you to give me a shout-out and tell me if my review was utter crap!  Lol

Thanks for once again tuning in to read my Ramblings.  Hope I didn't bore, irritate, or piss anyone off too badly!

Much love to ya!
๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

Sassy Gal
Xoxo

Review: Teashop on the Corner- By Milly Johnson

So, I'm going to be honest here.  I don't know if I will ever have the ability to read a book by Milly Johnson without a bit of bias.  It was only a little over a year ago that I first read one of her books.  She had long before been recommended to me by a fellow Jill Mansell fan on twitter.  It took me over a year to finally grab up one of her books, but once I did, I was hooked.

Milly Johnson has that rare gift of being able to truly bring her characters and the places alive.  She is so wonderful at connecting her reader to her books.  You can visualize running around in the little towns, or villages in her books.  She also knows how to balance drama with a light hand and leave her world a light, and peppy world in which you would love to be in.

The thing that has always drawn me to the world of chick lit is that while there are problems, things always turn out ok in the end. Milly Johnson's books are all like that. She has a unique ability to create a world in which you would love to live, with characters you would either love to be, or be friends with. I find myself wishing that I could form strong bonds as most of the characters in her books tend to do. There is always a huge element of friendship to all of her works. I always wish that I could climb inside the book and live the lives of the women within the books. This book was much the same, but a bit of a departure in that it had a bit of a darker overtone lurking. There were definitely some darker situations than what you may find in your everyday chick-lit. But she handled them with the utmost respect and while she definitely talked about a few of the darker truths of the world she didn't make it too central to the story, but just a small aspect. She balanced it perfectly.

As with all of Milly Johnson's works, her book is filled with memorable and likable (and unlikable) characters. Her characters are probably one of the things that draws me to her work in the first place. She truly is able to connect the reader to her characters and makes you empathize with their plights. You feel like you personally know them all. This book was no different and offered us a great cast of characters in which to fall in love with, get pissed at, and cry with.

I guess I'll start out with Leni. She is afterall, the owner of the teashop and as the title centers on the teashop, it seems a good place to start. We don't meet Leni straight off, but it isn't long until we are introduced to this central character. We don't really know much about Leni. She owns the teashop, which has just opened up and she has a daughter Anne whom sends postcards from her travels. The teashop and Leni is what brings all the cast of characters together. It's the conduit for all of these strangers' lives to intermingle. Shaun, is Leni's landlord, and a bit of a grump. He seems a man who doesn't trust very easily and hasn't had the happily ever after. He is emotionally distant to anyone and everyone he comes into contact with. Although he's a grump, he isn't an unlikable guy by far.

I am the type of reader who must be intrigued within the first few pages to keep my attention. If you can't keep my attention and grab me within the first couple of chapters (1 if your chapters are long) then I will most likely put your book down, never to return again. This book DEFINITELY grabs you in the very beginning.

The book starts off at the funeral of the husband of Carla Pride. There we of course, meet Carla. We automatically sympathize with her in her grief. However, that grief is soon overshadowed and her grief is combined with anger and hurt. Before the dirt is even thrown on her husband's grave, Carla learns that everything she thought she knew about her life for the past ten years is not what it seems. Immediately our empathy for her grief turns into getting mad on her behalf.

We then meet Molly and her twin Margaret. Molly is the more laid back and subdued twin, while Margaret is the confident and speak your mind twin. I loved Molly and Margaret's storyline immediately. It doesn't take much to see that Margaret while not overbearing, definitely is her sister's keeper as well as her champion. She would fight to the death to protect her twin. Molly is a single lady with only one child who is now grown and with a family of his own. Immediately I didn't like the sound of her son as he sounded like a complete ahem.... Margaret and her husband are about to head off on a cruise, this will be the first time in their lives that they have been apart for any length of time. And while she doesn't voice it, Molly seems a bit unsure of how to cope without her sister near by. Margaret's husband built Molly a house next to their mammoth of a home years ago, so they have always been quite close in distance.

Then there's Will a self-employed Roofer who owns his own company. However, as we meet Will, his business is crumbling and he's about to lose it all. His trophy wife, Nicole decides that being poor isn't what she signed up for so she jets off shortly after learning of Will's newfound status. Will is a man who is definitely down on his luck. He has a great spirit about him though and you can tell that although his life might be falling apart, he's going to make his own way. There is one huge kink in rebuilding his life, brought on by the stress of losing everything, he finds that he's had an onset of fear of heights. He is mortified by the thought that he's a roofer who is afraid of heights, the irony isn't lost on him.

Each of these people's lives will intersect thanks to the Teashop on the Corner. They are all somehow drawn to the little shop and the lovely owner. It's kinda like a respite they each find there and they all form a strong friendship with one another. The characters I mentioned above, are just a few of the characters that we meet. I love a book that has different characters and plots within the main storyline. It takes a pro storyteller to be able to expertly weave the tale of multiple people so seamlessly.

You will fall in love with each of these characters. Even Molly, who is older, and I'm always hesitant when I read that a story has an older central character because I always am afraid that I won't be able to relate or that the story will be boring. But, when you have a writer as wonderful at her craft as Ms. Johnson is, then you are always in capable hands and she will never steer you wrong.

If you have never read one of Milly Johnson's books, I urge you to do so. If you love chick-lit, but without all of the x-rated bits then this is right up your alley. If I were to compare her to an American author, it would have to be Mary Kay Andrews. Not that they are exactly the same, but Mary Kay Andrews is so able to capture the south and it's charm and the same is true for Milly Johnson. Both ladies know how to entertain and how to draw their readers in, so it's you who is living within the pages.

You will get mad, you will laugh and you will also cry. There is a bit more sadness than I am used to, but sometimes, it's good to have that element too.

If you have read Jill Mansell or Katie Fforde, Sophie Kinsella or Marian Keyes, than you would truly enjoy this book. If you do buy it and read it, please tell me how you liked it !

Use the link below to grab your copy.  It's definitely an excellent purchase!



Thanks For Reading!  I'll TRY not to leave it so long before my next post.  Next time: "The One and Only" by Emily Giffin!

Book Reviews To Come



So, although I am quite new at this whole "Blogging" business, I am not new to reading.  Over the years I have book stalked many authors and have read practically all of their current books.  As such, I find that I probably need to go back through, give myself a tad of a refresher course and feature them little by little.  My home literally looks like a mini- library.  I have a very hard time doing the decent thing and "letting go" although, I have donated (to the local library) quite a few during one of my more charitable and clearing out phases.  Although, I'm VERY selective when it comes to doing such.  

I also am notorious for buying up multiples of the same books, unfortunately, my mother has quite a lot of my Mary Kay Anderews, Jill Mansell, Milly Johnson and Katie Fforde books.  I would love to try to collect them from her at some point so I could perhaps have a giveaway.  Oh well...  

A look at reviews to come...



These of course, only the beginning to Project Catch-up.   Missing notably is a Jane Costello book. She is another author I "book stalked". I will definitely be featuring her as well!!  

So, this is just a short and sweet post about what you can be expecting soon.  Clearly I'm a tad obsessed with UK and Irish Chick-Lit (love the chocolate too- Galaxy and Cadbury are freaking divine). I hope, or rather it is my goal to one day be able to visit the places inside the books I have read and fallen in love with! But, that's a whole other issue in itself.  

Do you have books or authors not shown, that you think I should read?  I'm always on the lookout, as unfortunately the authors can't write quite as fast as we can read.  

Until next time... Xoxo

Sassy Gal Reads

**Authors included in above pic are as follows:  Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Jenny Colgan, and last but certainly not least Milly Johnson 

Other books that will soon be reviewed:  The Tea Shop on the Corner- Milly Johnson (currently reading) 
& Lucy in the Sky- Paige Toon (Just finished reading)

Review: "Things We Never Say" by: Sheila O'Flanagan






So, please bear with me as I am quite new to blogging.  I am almost guaranteed to make some mistakes.  Especially those of the grammatical, typo variety.  I also am not the most pertinent when it comes to using things like spellchecker, will work on this character flaw....

Ok, I purchased this book a couple months back, and it as have many others, have lingered around my room whilst I was working on getting my "other" venture off the ground.  Having gotten to a point where I quite literally was ready to tear my eyes out from posting pictures of jewelry items and even got to the point I was contemplating dumping the lot, I decided it was perhaps time for a break from that gig.  So, yesterday I had just finished re-reading a Jill Mansell book and picked this gem up.

I had lucked up in finding a couple of her books at a second hand bookstore in town.  Which, it's not that often that I am able to find Irish, English, etc writers in our local stores.  Generally, I have to order them online and wait a month before it finally arrives.  So, when I saw a couple of her earlier works I grabbed them up and instantly knew I had found another author to "book stalk".  I liked her style of writing.  Her characters were easy to relate to, likable, and she made me laugh.  Anytime an author can make me laugh, I'm sold.

So, I knew somewhat to expect, having read previous works by Ms. O'Flanagan.  However, I was slightly taken aback when it seemed more a generational saga, then my regular "Humorous Chick-Lit".  I even had read through the first chapter about a month ago, only to get distracted and no return.  So, I am really glad that I gave it another shot.  This time once I started reading, I was unable to put it down.

The story shows us three generations, although we really are in the present for the most part, with just a glimpse into the past.  The story centers around Abbey Anderson a 28 year old San Francisco native.  I found her character to be instantly likable, and could relate to her.  When we first meet her she is going through a bit of a rough patch, her boyfriend (who had ALSO borrowed money from her) had up and left, telling her on all things, a post it note...  (Rates up there with being broke up with by your boyfriend's mother)

The story vacillates between Abbey in San Francisco to Ireland.  In Ireland, we meet Fred an eighty something year old man whose wife has passed on and who has three adult children.  Before his wife passed away, Fred came into something of a windfall when he sold his company.  His most extravagant purchase:  A stately home.  All his children seem to be vying for his money and the house.  Almost it seems at times as if they are counting the days until the old man withers away.  Fred, like a lot of older characters you read about likes to use his impending death and will as a way to manipulate his family.

His children:  Suzanne, his daughter with whom he has beside biological, no connection to.  Suzanne left home long ago and hasn't looked back.  She is busy making a life for herself, hoping at some point to perhaps win her father's approval, which she hasn't ever felt from him.  Suzanne works in the hotel industry and is hoping to go into business for herself along with some investors.  She's pretty self-sufficient.  She's the most likable of the bunch (in my opinion.)

Donald is the eldest of the Fitzpatrick children.  He went into the "family business" and stayed on with the new ownership when it was purchased several years before.  Donald has been divorced and has two children from his previous marriage, and has remarried to a much younger woman.  Zoey, whom being the obligatory trophy wife, has expensive tastes and her hobbies include shopping and then more shopping or so it seems.  She definitely brings an energy to the story and a sense of "naughty", which she makes seem ok, because she's very honest about it. 

Last we have Gareth and his wife Lisette.  Both are teachers and years ago, after Gareth's father sold the company, invested money into real estate.  They were doing quite well, and then things changed for the worse.  They are in debt way over their heads.  They do have one property that they could sale and instantly relieve some of the burden, but as Lisette is French and the property is in France, it's out of the question as far as she is concerned.

These two worlds will converge.  Abbey, who is now a nail artist (despite having an art degree) finds that her mother has been summoned to meet the elder Mr. Fitzpatrick.  Abbey, who seems quite mysterious about her mother, decides to go in her stead.  Abbey's mother, Ellen is a mystery throughout the book and it's much later that we uncover the mystery.

This was a story that had me hanging on to every single word, I didn't want to skip a single letter.  The mystery surrounding Ellen (Abbey's mother) was one of the elements that really kept me reading on.  This wasn't your light, fluff chick lit, at least not in my mind.  It had a more dark overtone to it.  It definitely had its humorous moments.  

I would definitely give this book 5 stars!  Probably more if it were allowed.  It had all the elements of a great story.  There was a love story, there were stories inside the main story.  The way that the story was laid out was perfect.  I honestly got angry when reading it, laughed and even cried.  All the hallmarks of a truly great novel.  

I never know if I'm saying too much or too little when I summarize a book.  Sometimes when a book is so great and  you invested so much of yourself into it, you just want to share every detail of it with everyone else.  That's how I feel about this story.  It was a highly enjoyable book.  I was afraid for awhile that I wasn't going to like how it ended, but thankfully our writer gives us the obligatory happy ending we all have come to love about chick lit.  I truly hope that you will consider picking this book up if you haven't all ready!  It is a gem!!

Thanks for reading and for looking over my incorrect usage of the English language.  I truly hope I didn't chop it up too badly and cause you to wince in pain.  If I did, please do forgive me!!  You guys on the other side of the pond know our school systems aren't up to snuff...  LOL  

Until next time....

Sassy Gal
xoxo


Mary Kay Andrews Spotlight

๐ŸŒŸMary Kay Andrews๐ŸŒŸ

A few years ago I was completely oblivious to the world of chick-lit.  It was nothing but, mystery, thrillers and crime novels for me.  Johns Grisham being at the head of the pack as far as my choice of reading materials were concerned.

That all changed when I picked up, completely randomly, a copy of Hissy Fit.  Thus began my love of all things chick-lit.
This book was my first foray inside the wonderful world of humorous fiction.  I completely fell in love with the writing style of Ms. Andrews and quickly grabbed up every single book I could get my hands on.

The title of this book was what drew me in, if you aren't from the south, you may not be familiar with the term "Hissy Fit". If the Websters Dictionary were to describe it, it would possibly be a verb.  "Hissy Fit" v. A southern slang term for desciribing a tirade one throws when not getting their way.  Can include fist balling, lying on the ground horizontally and kicking feet against bed, ground or whatever other object in which the "usually woman" has hurled her body on, pounding fists against said object and usually mixed with tears and a whole lot of whining (or whinging - I believe is how th Brits pronounce it). 

Being from the south and ahem**. Throwing my own "Hissy fits", the title def is what grabbed my attention, but the storyline and writing is what kept my attention.  Mary Kay Andrews definitely gives an endearing spotlight to us southerners.  She captures the feel of the true southern lady with grace and humor.  Her writing is very easy to read, it's not that I want to make this seem like the worlds greatest novel- type of book.  It's good, honest, and fun chick lit.

Reading her books, leaves you wanting more and going in search of everything she's written!  She is by far my favorite American author and is the American equivalent to authors such as Jill Mansell, Milly Johnson and Katie Fforde.  If you are a chick living across the pond, and you've run out of great "European chick lit". I would suggest you give Mary Kay Andrews a go!  She's definitely a top notch writer!

REVIEW: "To the Moon and Back" by Jill Mansell

Kindle Cover: "To the Moon and Back" by: Jill Mansell
It's been only a few years now that I was first introduced to "The ladies across the Pond" Chick-Lit (I used to say UK until I was immediately corrected by an author, ever since this is the terminology I have adopted....). Chick-lit was a new genre for me, having only read Mary Kay Andrews briefly before reading the lovely books of Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell and eventually Milly Johnson.  There are many other authors that I absolutely adore, but these ladies in my mind are like the Meryl Streep's of writing chick lit.

This was a Re-Read for me.  While I am an avid reader and can read sometimes a book a day, it really does take a lot to be able to capture my attention.  That is why these lovely ladies are my "fall back". I always know if I can't break through another book, I can count on them to keep my attention.

So, the first time I read it, I honestly couldn't pay much attention.  I was in recovery (that's a whole other blog ). So, being in recovery, my attention span was at an all time low and add to that a job taking care of adults who needed assistance (at night time on top of it all), I honestly don't think that it all really sunk in.

So, I decided to give it another go.  I am certainly glad that I did.  Now, it honestly wasn't my favorite of Ms Mansell's works, but it was love able just the same.

In the story, we first meet Ellie Kendall as she and her husband Jamie are about to each go their separate ways for an evening with friends.  We instantly can feel the love for one another that these two share.  Of course you know before you ever open the book that Ellie's husband dies, so it is no surprise when he does very shortly into the story.

The story fast forwards to 15 months later and we find Ellie not moving forward.  Ellie, while overcome with her loss, isn't a droopy character that you find unlikeable or unreal.  Even when she sees and talks to Jamie, her deceased husband, it's on no way cheesy or over the top.  You can really feel the love she has and can empathize with her plight at losing her husband.  She remains close to Her father-in-law, who also happens to be a famous actor.  There relationship is what you would hope to have with your in-laws, should your loved one pass on.  This relationship was one of my favorite parts throughout the whole story.  Everyone should have a father in law as wonderful as Tony.

In the very beginning, we meet Todd, Jamie's very dear, but very single best friend.  It was Todd that Jamie had been with when tragedy struck.  So while Todd is struggling with survivors guilt, Ellie struggles with Todd being alive and Jamie not.  It's not that she's angry at him, but every time she sees him it's very painful. Which I find pretty understandable. I could perhaps see myself hitting my fists on his chest and telling him ,why not you!  So I get it!

Ok, see this is where I start just wanting to continue to tell you everything about the story.  Ok will make myself stop.  So, other fab characters we meet along the way are, Roo an aging has-been pop-star (who couldn't carry a tune to save her life). She definitely provides some fun, upbeat moments and she's a super fun character.  You even love her despite the fact that she's made some not very wise choices.  We also meet Martha a lady who is a little more beyond her years than our central characters.  Martha is an artist and we find that she has been keeping a secret.

There are of course other characters and believe me, O could go into detail about them all.  To the Moon and Back is about Ellie's life after her husbands death and going along with her during her grieving process.  We get to watch her once again start to live her life and enjoy it.

I found this book totally relatable on the sense that you could imagine that if you were the one who had lost a husband. It's a book that makes you feel sad,  there are even a few parts that might make you mad, but there are a lot of parts that make you laugh and at the end, it's tied in a nice bow for us, with our happy ever after.

Ms Mansell is sable to so vividly conjure up these characters, that you instantly feel a connection to them.  They are most always, loveable and usually quirky characters who generally are very flawed.  I think that's one reason I am drawn to these books, for one, there is almost always my happy ending I long for.  Secondly, the characters are all fallible.  Being an extremely fallible person myself, I like to be able to somewhat be able to relate to the characters in a book or at the very least wish that O was living their life.

Jill Mansell transports you from your nice, cozy living room into the Cotswolds or whichever village she takes you next.  I have even created a Pinterest board to "pin" my view of Englad, etc based on the writings of my favorite authors.  I honestly cannot convey enough how wonderful These books are.  I truly hope that I am able to help others discover these fab authors and their brilliant works. Now, please keep in mind that this is escapism chick-lit.  They aren't the books that give graphic love scenes, nor are they the type that are trying to go for a Pulitizer Prize.  It's just good, clean and fun romantic comedy chick-lit!  I hope that if you are reading, you will at least give Ms Mansell a go!  I seriously doubt you would be disappointed!!  Please forgive my grammatical and punctuation problems. That's why I could never be a write, nor an editor.  Too many mistakes.  Plus auto-correct seems to change my words without my knowledge....

Please if you have read some of Jill Mansell's works comment and tell me what you thought!

Restoring Grace- by Katie Fforde

Restoring Katie....
Awhile back I was browsing the Amazon Recommendations trying to find a book I could read based on a few books I knew I had read and loved.  I clicked on Restoring Grace to see what Amazon would recommend based on that book.  I had read this book a couple of times and loved it.  I was completely astonished to find that the book only had an average 3 star rating.

I honestly was furious.  Here was a beloved book by a beloved author getting crap reviews.  I immediately sat down and fired my own review off. Here is the review as posted on Amazon:


First of all.  This is chick lit.  Not the I want to write something and sound smart kind.  The good,

honest escapism. The problem with American literature, and especially that of the chick lit variety, is it tries to be serious and witty all at the same time, which is truly a hard task to pull off.  We, Americans take ourselves waaaaay too seriously and trying too hard makes you look like an idiot in my opinion.  There is nothing worse than reading a book where it's apparent that the writer is trying to win an award or get some kudos for bringing something more to the chick lit genre., there are perhaps those writers who can pull this off, one is Emily Giffin, she can take a serious subject and fill it with wit and humor.

Ok now onto Restoring Grace.  No joke I have read and retread this book three times and am sure will again.  I own all but one of Ms. Fforde's books and while there are def some I love more than others, she never disappoints.

We meet Grace, who has recently inherited a family home and an ex-husband. Clearly the subject of this book would be restoration.  We also meet Ellie, who arrives at Graces home selling house portraits.  What she gets is a friend. Shortly after they meet, Ellie is at loose ends as she finds herself pregnant and with no home.  She and Grace form a formidable duo.  They, while different, compliment each other's strengths and weakness'

There of course are antagonists along the way, including Graces sister (who is wealthy by marriage) who is very disturbed and envious of Graces inheritance and is determined to make her sale.  While we def have the house drama and restoration plot, we also have Ellie's sub-plot to keep is entertained.  She apprentices for a talented, but moody (of course) artist!  They def have a rocky relationship at best!

Through it all you have some drama, mixed with a good balance of humor and a great storyline.  It's not the next Pulitzer contender, but it is a great juicy read totally PG rated.  No parts that you skip over because really who needs to read detailed "love" scenes, if that's what your after, perhaps this isn't your thing.  It's good, clean chick lit!

Katie Fforde has a talent for bringing her characters to life, you feel as if you are right in the mix.  She also transports you completely to another place.  She is a master at her craft!  She's on my top three fav authors of all time.  Right alongside Milly Johnson and Jill Mansell.  If you have never tried UK authors or Irish authors, I'm telling you they will make you search the earth for their books.

I love that they all Re so fun and quirky with fantastic characters.  For the most part, yes it usually is going to have a happy ending.  But isn't that what we all want out of life?  If you like Sophie Kinsella / Madeliene Wickham you def should give these ladies a try.  And Restoring Grace along with Floras Lot and the Rose Revived, Living Dangerously (all really) are my favs!!

*****
To say that I pitched a verbal "Hissy fit" might not quite be the appropriate wording, but I was flabbergasted that there were so many harsh reviews of this lovely humorous piece of fiction.  I suppose that is why we each were made differently. We aren't made to all like the same things, Thank God!  I just think that if you pick up a "chick lit" book then you shouldn't be basing a review upon the same criteria as you would an "Oprah" pick.  They are two separate types of books.  If you want to read a "chick lit" book trying to win some kind of literary notoriety than perhaps this isn't the type book you should be reaching for.

There are some people who thrive on the drama a book can provide.  The. There are those who yearn for a good starting over story set on a sweet "village" full of fun and vibrant characters.  Don't get me wrong, there is conflict.  Just not generally a shoot them up, drug and sex filled romp.  These are fun and sweet but there's definitely always conflict and drama on spades to these stories.  Just not the kind that perhaps that Americans are used to.

I honestly seek out books such as this one.  I've almost become a reverse snob of sorts only seeking UK authors, because I can't find many American authors who can hold my interest as these fab authors can.  The exception being Mary Kay Andrews (Please see the Author Spotlight blog I did on her). If you like clean chick lit that has interesting characters, DOESNT have sexually graphic scenes, and is almost guaranteed a happy ending, then you will most likely enjoy the works of Katie Fforde!  

Thanks for reading...  If you made it all the way through this blog, could u pls just leave like a little comment so I know I'm not talking to myself.  :).

Until Next Time!!
Xoxoxo
Sassy Gal! ๐Ÿ’‹

"Unlike" a Virgin by Lucy-Anne Holmes

Lovely Read!
So I have now been obsessed with all things UK for around three or four years now. I blame Jill Mansell and Katie Fforde for this obsession. They are so good at their craft, that they totally transport you to the little villages inside the pages of their books. Ever since I cracked open that first book (Honestly, have no recollection which came first) I have almost become a book snob. I actively seek out European authors because their writing is so unlike that of their Amerocan counterpart.

Having almost read all of the aforementioned authors books, I "amazoned" the recommendations based upon those authors and came across Lucy-Anne Holmes. I sure am glad I did!!  I have found yet another fab author to stalk their books!  Unfortunately, authors can't seem to crank out the books as quickly as we can read them!

Onto the book!!!   We meet Gracie Flowers, a top-notch realtor who is an honest to a fault type girl.  I was immediately drawn in within the first two pages I knew that this was a book that would capture my sometimes hard to focus, ADD attention!!  The first few lines captured me as Gracie Flowers proceeds to tell us how she isn't like all the other "estate agents" aka realtors (for us Americans).   Ms. Holmes has that great comedic voice that I love.   Gracie Flowers is an instantly like able character. She is in a relationship that has spanned a decade.

Gracie Flowers  didn't always want to be an estate agent. From the time she was a little girl her dream at one time had been to be a singer. When her father died whilst she was still in her teens, that dream was pushed aside. She stopped singing. We meet Gracie as of course as her life is about to go through an upheaval.

She has been on a five year plan, and has been hitting every goal. Within the first couple of  chapters, things start to go off course and virtually her plan falls apart.  The starting of it all is when she loses out on her big promotion to some new guy, endearingly nicknamed "Posh Boy".

We meet a variety of characters throughout the book including, Posh Boy, the new guy who  "stole" her promotion and therefore threw all her plans down the drain. We meet Wendy, Gracie's long time friend. Wendy helps to provide some stability to the storyline and is a strong supportive figure to Gracie's woe storyline.  Other central characters we meet are Anton and Freddie a father and son pair also friends of Gracie's.

There are definitely enough mishaps along the way to hold your interest.  And I must say that I honestly had no clue who Gracie's "Prince Charming" was supposed to be.   It had plenty of twists and turns along the way.  Of course the ending was wrapped in a nice bow.  This book made me laugh, it pissed me off and it made me cry.  It hit on every emotion and to me that makes an awesome book!

To purchase this book from Amazon:
"(Un)Like a Virgin" by Lucy-Anne Holmes

NEXT BOOK: Things We Never Say- Sheila O'Flanagan

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