Review: Now That You Mention It

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Now That You Mention ItNow That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Published by Graydon House on December 26th 2017
Genres: Commentary
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: This was a good book and I enjoyed reading Nora’s story. The romance, however, was slim in this book (not surprising because this is NOT a romance genre book) and I couldn’t help but wish for more romance less personal drama.

THE STORY: Doctor Nora Stuart has a personal crisis when she is hit by a car, ends up in the emergency room and has her boyfriend flirt with another doctor over her unconscious body. Deciding that her “near death” experience was a sign, Nora returns to her hometown to recover. Nora has to confront her bad relationship with her mother, her non-relationship with her niece, bad memories from high school that just won’t let her go. Confronting the pain from her past, Nora tries to build a new future.

OPINION: This is Nora’s story. A success by all external measures, she still lives with incidents from her past that have left her scarred and which she has never gotten past. She has trouble with personal and when she goes home, so many people blame her for “ruining” the chances of the town’s golden boy. Her personal “time out” gives her time to deal with and put in perspective events in her past.

While there is a romance here, it isn’t the focus of the story and honestly, while it was a sweet a romance at times, it also left me unsatisfied. Although at times I have enjoyed greatly the romances in Higgins women fiction books, I wouldn’t read this one again for the romance.

There is a lot of self-reflection and dealing with high school stuff. At times, I got annoyed with Nora because honestly a lot of people have drama in their lives and at some point you have to stop whining about high school and people being mean to you. Also, her self-flagellation about her getting a scholarship in high school was pretty ridiculous at times.

But I did enjoy watching her build a relationship with her mother and niece. It was her growing up and understanding the past and accepting people for who they are. Even though I only reluctantly read these women fiction books at times, I thought this was pretty good as a story.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a chick lit or women’s fiction book not a romance, but there is a romance involved although it is a side story.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Any Day Now

Review: Any Day NowAny Day Now (Sullivan's Crossing, #2) by Robyn Carr
Series: Sullivan's Crossing #2
Published by Mira Books on April 18th 2017
Genres: Commentary
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Serious but not dark look at a woman who is trying to rebuild her life and the man she meets who helps her look to the future.  Enjoyable and soul enriching story that focuses on hope and redemption.

THE STORY:  Sierra Jones has come to Sullivan’s Crossing as part of the beginning of her new life.  She comes to be close to her brother (Cal from WHAT WE FIND) as she works on her recovery from addiction.  As she moves day to day in building a new life, she finds herself becoming part of the community and meeting Conrad (Connie) Boyle, a local firefighter with whom she begins spending time.  But even as the future begins to unfold, darkness from Sierra’s part threatens her future.

OPINION:  This is a serious and thoughtful look at a woman who is struggling to rebuild her life and the sweet man who doesn’t want complicated, but can’t help but be attracted to it.

Sierra is a woman who is working hard to recover from her addiction.  This book is unflinching in its portrayal but this isn’t a downer book.  Indeed, this book is about triumph and recovery and hope.  I liked her as a person and I admired her determination to overcome her illness.  I also admire this book for giving Sierra an addiction where there is still stigma.  I can’t help but cringe at reviews which complain about having a main romance character with an addiction — as if such people are not deserving of a happy ending.  I enjoyed flawed characters making their journey through the world.  This book is serious, but not dark.

I great deal of the lightness in this book surrounds Connie who is a gentle, giving soul.  He is an uncomplicated man in that he just wants a happy ending and a family.  Of course, Sierra upends those dreams but he is a good contrast to her and a great support.  (Plus who can resist a sexy firefighter?)

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book takes a serious look at addiction and recovery.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ANY DAY NOW is the second book in the Sullivan’s Crossing series.  While there are overlapping characters, this book reads as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: When All The Girls Have Gone

Review: When All The Girls Have GoneWhen All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: ,
Published by Berkley on November 29th 2016
Genres: Commentary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is a nice romantic suspense but not spectacular.  I liked the characters and there was good action but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again.

THE STORY:  Charlotte Sawyer is a social director for a retirement community.  Charlotte is careful, caution and risk adverse. She was just ditched by her “perfect” fiance. She receives a key and a note from a friend of her stepsister and finds out that her stepsister’s friend just died under somewhat strange circumstances.  Her own stepsister is unreachable at a “tech-less” retreat and when Charlotte comes to see what the note and key are for, she meets Max Cutler.  Max is a private investigator and former-profiler who has come to Seattle after his divorce to build a new life. Max is looking into the death. He and Charlotte partner up to investigate what is going on. The two find themselves in danger.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this book while reading it, but I didn’t feel that it had the power and memorability of many of Krentz’s books.  The romance was good and the suspense aspect was interesting with lots of twists, but I didn’t walk away thinking I would want to read this book again.

I liked the characters of Max and Charlotte.  They are grounded people who are both rebuilding their lives.  I thought that they had a good rapport.  I did feel the relationship between them grew naturally out of their interactions. I also enjoyed that they are both flawed and there isn’t any big drama between them.

The suspense story was twisty and although much of the story was revealed during the book, there were still surprises.  Things were not what they seemed to be. As I mentioned, I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t a story that I loved so much I would return to it again.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I think this book appears to be the beginning of a series.  UPDATE: this book is the first of the Cutler, Sutter and Salinas series although it is not advertised as such.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WHERE ALL THE GIRLS HAVE GONE is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: The Official Essex Sisters Companion Guide

Review: The Official Essex Sisters Companion GuideThe Official Essex Sisters Companion Guide by Eloisa James, Jody Gayle
Series: Essex Sisters #4.4
Published by Avon Impulse on May 24th 2016
Genres: Commentary, Historical
Pages: 592
Goodreads
four-stars

The OFFICIAL ESSEX SISTER COMPANION GUIDE contains information about the creation of the books in the Essex Sisters series.  There are small, easily read essays regarding the background to the books, historical information surrounding various aspects of the books including clothing and publications, and some thoughts on the themes of the books.

Even readers who are not interested in the academic writings here should at least read the new material for the series.  There is the final 10 years later epilogue to the series which gives readers the updates on the characters including children. There is also a short story entitled A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DISGRACE which tells the story of one of the women who was also branded with a notorious nickname like Josie in PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE.  In A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DISGRACE, Cecilia who was tarred by her brother’s nickname “Silly Billy” because men where afraid that her brother’s mental disability might be hereditary.  In this story, Cecilia gets her happy ending.  She decides to court ruination in order to be able to avoid continuing in society.  When she approaches the musician who caught her attention, she gets more than she expected. While the story is short, it is sweet and I enjoyed the interaction between the hero and heroine.  While only tangentially connected with the series, Josie and Mayne make an appearance.

Finally, there is an alternate ending for KISS ME, ANNABEL. This definitely should not be read until after the novel itself.  Apparently, the entire second half of that novel was re-written and the original draft is included in this guide.  It was interesting to see the differences between the original and final book.  I prefer the final story, but I did like that in the original version, a portion of Rafe and Imogen’s story from THE TAMING OF THE DUKE.  One of my complaints of that book was the Rafe’s kicking of his addiction to alcohol happened too close to the romance for me.  In the original version of KISS ME, ANNABEL, Rafe begins his sobriety in that book which is exactly what I wanted emotionally for Rafe and Imogen’s story.  It was a fascinating exercise to see how that story might have been different.

For readers of the Essex Sisters series, this Companion Guide is worth reading even if you just read the extra material for the series itself.

four-stars