Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Review: All the Way by Kristen Proby

Posted September 12, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: All the Way by Kristen ProbyReviewer: Rowena
All the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1) by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys and tell you that I picked up this book because of that gorgeous cover. When I decided that I was going to read and review this book, it was because the book cover caught my eye and I wanted to love this book as much as I loved the cover. I hadn’t even read the blurb before deciding that I had to have this book. I was so excited to jump into a New York romance between an actress and her late parent’s lawyer.

I should also note that this is my very first read from Kristen Proby and I’m sad to say that I spent most of the book bored. I didn’t really connect with London, I liked Finn well enough though he was really controlling so while I liked him, he’d never be a favorite hero of mine and I wanted to spank the shit out of his niece. Don’t even get me started on London’s brother.

So the book centers on London, who lost her parents in a house fire where she barely escaped. She is a Broadway actress who has to take time off to recuperate and so when she inherits all of her parent’s properties, she heads to the place she called home in the summer to try to figure some shit out. She’s surprised when she finds out that her parent’s lawyer is her next door neighbor and she’s still a little annoyed that he tried hitting on her right after the reading of her parents will.

Finn is interested in London and is still kicking himself for his ill-advised attempt to ask her out after reading her parent’s will to her. His niece is staying with him because she’s going through some stuff and not dealing with her mother’s death so well so he’s got his hands full but he’s drawn to London and he’s not really going to question it.

There’s a lot going on this book but not a lot of it was interesting to me. I’m not sure if I didn’t connect with Proby’s writing style or if it was the characters that I couldn’t connect with it but I spent much of this book bored. Now, it wasn’t all bad. I did enjoy London’s friendship with Sasha and I liked Finn’s interactions with his brothers and the niece came around in the end but for the most part, I was just uninterested. It took me a lot longer to read this book than it should have and in the end, I was ready to move on.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue this series and I’m even more unsure if I want to go back and read other books by this author but who knows, maybe another book will be a better fit for me.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: All the Way by Kristen Proby

Posted August 19, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Kristen Proby is one of those authors that I have wanted to read for ages but for some reason or another, I keep not reading her stuff. The cover for All the Way caught my eye and then the blurb captured my attention so I’m really looking forward to reading this book and I’m super thrilled to be featuring this book on today’s Sunday Spotlight.

Sunday Spotlight: All the Way by Kristen ProbyAll the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1) by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Also in this series: All the Way (Romancing Manhattan, #1)
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

If I didn’t know better, I’d say I had a crush on the sexy Finn Cavanaugh.

Strike that. I do have a crush on Finn. What’s not to like? He’s kind, funny, loves his family, and looks like that.

So I’m going to spend as much time as I can with him, since he’s been the best thing to come into my life since the fire, since the day in his office with my brother, since trying to heal from it all.

He brings a smile to my face and makes me want to climb him like a damn tree, and that’s a good feeling.

I take a deep breath and, with a smile, walk into the house to get breakfast started. I had planned to just have a bagel and some egg whites, but now that’s changed up a bit. I love to cook, especially for others, so I pull my hair up in a messy bun and stand in the middle of my white kitchen, getting my wits about me.

I could make omelets, or pancakes, or biscuits and gravy.

I buy way too many groceries.

I smirk at myself and decide on biscuits and gravy with home fries and scrambled eggs. It’s a heavy breakfast, but it’s also delicious, and I want to feed him something especially delicious.

“Like me,” I mutter, and then laugh. Oh, the dreams I’ve been having about Finn the past few nights have been one hundred percent pornographic. I wake up hot and bothered, and not just a little sexually frustrated.

Damn him.

I jump at the soft knock on the back glass door, and turn to find Finn standing there in another pair of cargo shorts and a T-shirt, his hair wet from a shower, grinning at me through the glass.

Hot damn.

I motion for him to come in, and stir the biscuit batter.

“I hope you worked up an appetite on that run,” I begin as he walks toward me. “I’m making a feast.”

“I’m hungry,” he says in a gruff voice, making me glance up at him. He’s staring at me with hot eyes. Not just hot. Scorching. Like he wants to do me on the kitchen counter.

I’m not against that in the least.

“Hungry for biscuits and gravy?” I swallow hard.

“We can start there,” he says. “You’re making it from scratch?”

“Of course.” I set the batter aside and gather more supplies. “Isn’t that how everyone does it?”

“No, I buy those biscuits in the roll that always scares the shit out of me when I bust it open.”

I chuckle as I roll the dough out and cut it into circles. “Well, no scaring the shit out of you today. These don’t take long.”

“Do you need any help?”

“Nope.” I pop the pan in the oven and get started on cutting potatoes. “Actually, yes. How are you at cutting potatoes?”

“I’m a champion potato chopper,” he informs me, and takes the knife from me. “I’ve got this.”

“Do you like to cook?” I try to keep my eyes off of his strong hands and muscly forearms as he chops up the potatoes. Why is it that everything he does is sexy?

It’s not exactly fair.

“I do,” he replies. “I just don’t always have time for it.”

“I don’t either, but it seems I have nothing but time lately.” I shrug and throw the potatoes in a pan so they can start frying while I get the gravy going. “I’ve been cooking way more than I can eat.”

“How are you feeling?” he asks casually.

“Better,” I reply, happy to be able to finally say that truthfully. “I still have moments when it hurts, but I think the walking is better, and my range of motion is coming back. My physical therapist is happy with the progress, but I think it’s too slow.”

“You’re too hard on yourself,” he says, and I just shake my head.

“That’s what he says too. Being physical is what I’ve always done. Dance, theater, is physically demanding, and I’ve always been in excellent shape. So having lost so much of my endurance is disappointing.”

“You’ll get it back,” he says with confidence, and I look up to find him smiling at me, his brown eyes happy. “You’re too stubborn to do otherwise.”

“Boy, that’s the truth.” I pull the biscuits out of the oven. “I know that I probably won’t be able to work the way I used to. They’ve already recast my old part, which, let me tell you, will tear your heart right out of your chest.”

“I can’t even imagine.”

“And I’m not young, Finn.” I’m just talking now, talking about my career, my fears, and it feels like the easiest thing to do with him. I haven’t confided like this with anyone. Not even Sasha.

“You’re only thirty-two.”

“That’s old for theater. Especially in musicals. There are girls more than ten years younger than me fighting for the same parts, and they’re in better shape, and it’s easier for them to keep up with the rigorous schedule.”

“Have you seen Hugh Jackman in the musical movies he makes?” Finn asks. “That guy’s almost fifty.”

“He’s a man,” I reply simply. “Men are given better roles, longer into their lives. It sucks, but it’s true. But I’ve changed my attitude a bit. I was convinced before that I wouldn’t be able to get back to work, but now I’m determined to do exactly that.”

“Would you consider doing film? I don’t know anything about show business, but I would think that might be less rigorous.”

“I hadn’t before.” I stop and lean my hip against the countertop, irritated that my leg is starting to ache from being on it too long. “But I could talk to my agent and see what she thinks. She’s come to me before with scripts, but I have always had a steady job in New York.”

“Might be something to consider,” he says casually. “You’re hurting right now.”

“Not too badly.”

“Look at me.” He grips my shoulders and makes me look him in the eyes. “You’re hurting.”

“Yeah, it’s aching.”

“Sit.” He leads me to the stool on the other side of the island. “I’ve got this handled.”

Romancing Manhattan

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Gleam widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: August 2018

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author

Kristen Proby

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Kristen was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.

During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.

Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.

Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats.


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Review: Regrets Only by Erin Duffy

Posted May 23, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Regrets Only by Erin DuffyReviewer: Rowena
Regrets Only by Erin Duffy
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the author of Bond Girl and Lost Along the Way, comes a fiercely funny, insightful story of marriage, family, and the crooked path to figuring out who we really are.

Claire thought she had everything a woman was supposed to want—a loving husband, a newborn son, a beautiful home in the suburbs. Then she walks in on her husband canoodling with their realtor in their newly renovated kitchen, and in an instant, her perfect life comes crashing down.  

With her marriage heading for divorce, Claire knows it’s time to stop feeling sorry for herself. But how can she move on when she’s still stuck in the orbit of her husband’s world? For starters, she can get rid of her soon-to-be ex’s possessions—including his prized, gigantic foosball table—by dumping them onto the curb…until complaints from the neighbors get the police involved. Now Claire is busy dodging the mean mommies at story hour and hiding from her ex-husband’s girlfriend in the grocery store. But as Claire soon learns, suburbia still has a few surprises in store for her—surprises that will make her question her choices from the past, send her down an unexpected road to self-discovery, and maybe even lead to new love.

Desperate for a positive outlet to channel her frustrations, she turns to girlfriends Lissy and Antonia for help. Together they join forces to rebrand Lissy’s local stationery store and turn it into a thriving business. But as Claire soon learns, suburbia still has a few surprises in store for her—surprises that will make her question her choices from the past, send her down an unexpected road to self-discovery, and maybe even new love.

Featuring a second coming-of-age story, Regrets Only deftly explores the subtle nuances of marriage, family, friendship, and what it means to be a woman today while delighting readers as its unforgettable heroine acts on impulses we’ve all been guilty of having.

I found myself wanting to read something outside of the straight-up romance genre while browsing Edelweiss a few months ago and this book caught my eye. A second chance at life for a woman who walks in on her husband having an affair with an old high school girlfriend. This woman is pretty much all alone at first. She moved from her hometown to her husband’s hometown, they start a family and she leaves her job to be a stay at home Mom and then she forgets her wallet as she’s driving to the hotel her husband booked for her, to get a break from their little family. She was to relax and shop and go to the spa and it all sounded heavenly until she forgets her wallet and walks in on her husband and their realtor.

All at once, her world has exploded and she can’t even go home because their life is in Connecticut and she can’t take her son with her home to Chicago. So she’s stuck. She’s stuck in a town where her husband has a support group but she doesn’t. She’s stuck in a house that is a constant reminder of everything she no longer has with her husband and that same house is a constant reminder of the day that her life fell apart.

Claire really goes through the wringer in this book and I completely understood where she was coming from but in the beginning, it was hard to read her lashing out at her husband in the most childish of ways. The beginning and the middle of this book took a lot out of me because I spent so much of that part of the book, annoyed that Claire kept doing stupid things. I guess I wanted her to be above such stupid things and she wasn’t.

I didn’t completely hate her though. I understood why she did what she did and she does eventually grow as a person and I really bought her growth over the course of the book. It felt real and complete and I was glad that she was eventually able to move on. She really does come full circle and I was glad. This book was hard to get through at times and that kind of figured itself into my rating of this book. I was glad to finish it but I didn’t absolutely love the book as a whole. It had great moments but it lacked the depth that I was hoping for. Still, Clair was an engaging heroine and I was happy for her when all was said and done.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Roommates Wanted by Lisa Jewell

Posted May 8, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Roommates Wanted by Lisa JewellReviewer: Rowena
Roommates Wanted by Lisa Jewell
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 11th 2008
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 480
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

1990. Please write and tell me why you should live here.

Toby Dobbs received a big Victorian house with too many bedrooms to count as a wedding present from his father, but his marriage is over within a month. Very alone, and very lonely, Toby posts an advertisement seeking the "Unexpectedly Alone" to become his roommates. Fifteen years later the wayward souls he takes in are still living with him, with no intention of leaving.

2004. Please tell me how I can convince you to move out.

Toby Dobbs has met Leah Pilgrim from across the road, and they're falling in love. But before they can begin a new life together, Toby and Leah must help Toby's house of sweet slackers and lovelorn misfits grow up, solve their problems, and set themselves free. But can their new relationship survive the test?

This is the first book by Lisa Jewell that I’ve ever read. Truth be told, I’ve never even heard of this author until I picked up this book to read. I really like the chick lit books from authors over in Europe and Lisa Jewell is from North London so I went into this book thinking, alright…I can do this, I can read this, enjoy it and then review it.

Well, I read it, I enjoyed some of it and now I’m going to review it.

This book is about Toby, Toby who got a house from his father as a present to him and the woman he married. The marriage didn’t last all that long before the wife, Karen left Toby high and dry with a big ol’ house. Toby filled the house with different tenants in an effort to fill the void brought on by loneliness. Beside Toby, living in the house is Ruby, a girl who’s never known hard work before and doesn’t have a job. She lives off the many sugardaddies that parades in and out of her room and she swears she’s going to be a famous singer or actress. Then there’s Con and his Mom, Melinda. Con is in love with a sick girl from work and Melinda just won’t leave the boy alone. She’s determined to be by his side through thick and thin and in good times and bad times and all because she was a lousy mother to him when he was young. She’s trying to make up for all of that now, nevermind that the boy is older now and doesn’t need a Mom as often but hey, whatev. Then there’s Joanne. Joanne has secrets and she’s an odd one but I actually liked her. Oh and then there’s Gus. Gus who ends up dead and wills a bunch of pounds and a cat to Toby with the rule to use the money to make his life the best one that it could be.

Toby meets and falls in love with Leah from across the street and they want to start a life together but they find that they can’t do that without getting rid of all of the tenants living with Toby. So instead of just tossing them all out on their ear, like I would have done…he reaches out to Leah to help him, help them so that they can all live happily ever after.

The story is told in first person as most chick lit books are and the story started out really slow for me. I picked it up and put it down about 10 different times before I just buckled down and read the entire thing, I’ll be honest though there were times that I skimmed but I did end up finally finishing it. I was happy that I finished the story but I don’t think that this was the best book to start my Lisa Jewell reading adventure with because it was just…okay. It wasn’t spectacular and it wasn’t horrible, it was just okay.

I thought Toby and Leah were cute but I’ve read cuter. I thought everyone living with Toby were unique in their own little ways but even though I enjoyed their different storylines and I enjoyed seeing them grow as the story progressed, I still can’t say that this was the best book ever. The book is sad and it almost depressed me. It’s just an average read for me. It was just slow to pick up but once you get past that hump, you’ll be okay. I liked the story. I liked that everything worked out nicely in the end but the execution to get there for me was just off so this was just a so so read for me.

But hey, you might enjoy this book more than me so give it a try.

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Harper Collins. You can buy it here or here .

three-stars


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Review: The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life by Kerry Reichs

Posted May 6, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life by Kerry ReichsReviewer: Rowena
The Best Day of Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: May 6th 2008
Pages: 431
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Despite being cursed with a boy's name, Kevin "Vi" Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the "marry-tale." The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it's the Best Day of Your Life, and it's seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she'll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends' choices don't provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else's story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.

I was really excited to read this book because let’s face it, I’m a cover snob and this cover was just too cute. It’s all chick litish and adorable so when I saw it, I was glad that I got it.

There’s already a blurb about what the book is about above so I’m just going to jump into what I liked and what I didn’t like about this book.

The book starts off sort of like 27 Dresses where we see how Jane got addicted to weddings. Well in this book, we see Vi’s wedding beginnings. Vi’s in 3 different weddings for her childhood friends and even more important is she’s the Maid of Honor at all 3 of them. Weird? Yeah, but hey, she must be a popular girl.

Anyway, so in the beginning of the book, we meet a whole slew of characters. Say what? Say who? That was the bulk of what I was thinking through the first few chapters. Throughout the book there’s an onslaught of weddings, family, friends introduced and I was seriously having to write all of the characters down in an effort to keep them all straight.

And the characters just kept coming to. There was an Imogen, an Ethan, a Mona, a Jen, Amy, Mom, Dad, Maeve, Butch, Al and the names just kept coming and coming until I was coughing up characters.

The more I read the story, the more I liked it. The book was a little slow to start but for the most part, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed Vi’s voice and thought she told her story quite well. She had a great set of friends, both childhood and adult, that brought more depth and just…more to the story. I had a soft spot for her adult friends though with the way they pulled together to help Vi with her wedding toasts because after that first one, I could not stop laughing. I was seriously embarrassed for Vi after she delivered that first wedding toast. You know how when you’re watching a movie and you know the main characters are going to do something stupid and you don’t want to watch it because you know that stupid thing is coming and you cringe right before it happens? That’s how I felt when I read Vi’s first wedding toast. Her second toast was much better. It was actually my favorite of them all, corny but still good.

What I really liked about this story is watching Vi grow and learn from her past. Watching her find the courage and the power to walk away from her first love, Caleb was liberating, even for me. I’m the same age that Vi is and I could totally relate to everything she was going through in this book. Her problems and her fears are real and I’m sure every woman at that age felt the same way Vi did which is what made this book good.

Besides the whole too many characters that threw me off, the only other issues I had with the book was that it was slow to pick up for me. I picked it up and put it down a total of three times before I got to the meat of the story and from there on, it was easy to read. All in all, this book was good and I’m looking forward to more from Kerry Reichs.

Oh and the guy she ends up with? Yeah, totally hot and the perfect boyfriend, EVER.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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