Tag: 5 Reviews

Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Posted May 19, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill SmolinskiReviewer: Tina
Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Publication Date: May 1st 2012
Genres: Fiction, General, Contemporary
Pages: 320
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five-stars

In the humorous, heartfelt new novel by the author of The Next Thing on My List, a personal organizer must somehow convince a reclusive artist to give up her hoarding ways and let go of the stuff she’s hung on to for decades.

Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.

While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

Found this little gem in the library the other day and was in the mood to take a break from the psychological thriller binge that I’ve been on lately. So glad I picked this one up! Objects of My Affection is a perfect book to have when spending a relaxing day reading. l really admire the fact that the author, Jill Smolinski, was able to bring some heavy topics such as mental illness (hoarding, depression, etc..) and substance abuse to the table, but still make the story enjoyable and even humorous at times. The book had just the right balance so that the story didn’t get “heavy”. (for lack of a better word..)

The book is about a woman who is facing her own share of life challenges after achieving her “5 minutes of fame” for writing a book about organizing. Her love life has gone down the tubes, she has just sent her son to rehab, and she is newly homeless when she is contacted by a man who is the son of the infamous Marva Meier Rios – a reclusive painter with a secret hoarding problem. He approaches her with an opportunity that couldn’t have come at a better time….organize his mother’s home while maintaining absolute secrecy about her “problem”. She is given a deadline, a couple guys to help haul things off, and a HUGE assignment. With not much of a choice and the thought of “how bad can this be?” she accepts. What she finds is a eccentric woman who is very used to having her way, and who has a very hard time letting go -of everything!

That being said, I do want to say that this book is SO much more than my little blurb above. Like I mentioned, it does deal with some serious issues as well. The way the author presents them and makes them readable is what I think I enjoyed most about the book. The characters are so real and easy to relate to, and I really enjoyed the various personalities. Just wanting to know what was going to happen next made this a hard book to put down.

At first I thought this book was going to be a fluffy beach read, but I found that it wasn’t that at all. It was a book about people. About people trying to let go but yet hold on at the same time. It was a book that I will remember and bring up in conversation. It would make a fantastic book club read as well. This was my first book by Jill Smolinski, but it won’t be my last. I would definitely recommend it to my “bookie” friends.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: Sidebarred by Emma Chase

Posted May 17, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sidebarred by Emma ChaseReviewer: Rowena
Sidebarred by Emma Chase
Series: Legal Briefs #3.5
Also in this series: Appealed
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: April 24, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 101
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five-stars

There was a time when Jake Becker had it all together. He was controlled, driven, ruthless—in and out of the courtroom.

Then, six irresistible orphans and their heartbreakingly beautiful aunt crashed into his perfectly ordered life. They changed everything. They changed him. Now he’s a husband, an upstanding member of society, a father figure—a family man. And he’s pretty damn good at it.

Sure, he has to referee sibling smackdowns, re-learn algebra, ensure his clients stay of jail, and keep his wife happy—but it finally feels like he’s got it together again....

So, of course something has to screw it all up. It’s huge. Life-changing. Kind of terrifying.

And it will be the most amazing, perfect thing he’ll ever do.

Oh happy day!

When I heard that we were getting more Jake, Chelsea and the kids, I was over the moon. I couldn’t contain how happy I was because I absolutely loved their book. I loved their romance, their kids, the chaos that was their life and I loved their friends as well. Well, Jake’s friends…Chelsea’s friends from school? Ehh. As much as I loved Brent in his book, for me, it’s always been about Jake Becker. I love him most. His personality, the wealth of love he had for that single mom and all of those crazy kids she came with. I was so on board for a little extra tid bit from their life in this new novella.

Jake and Chelsea are back at it again with all their kids and the madness that is their life. They’re still making things work at home, at work and at all of the kids different after school activities. Seeing them figure things out together as a family was so nice. I just loved seeing everyone back together again. Emma Chase writes such great contemporary romances with witty banter, great male POV and steamy, sexy scenes. This book was filled with all of that and it was such a short story.

I loved this book! I loved it so much. It was damn near perfect. I loved getting to see the gang all together again and that ending? So.much.love. I got teary eyed when we were in the hospital and Rory shares the special news with Jake. And Jake’s reaction to Rory’s news? OMG, swoon. If you enjoyed the Legal Briefs series than you’re going to love this book. It was freaking great!

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Guest Review: A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

Posted January 27, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: A Criminal Magic by Lee KellyReviewer: Whitley
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 432
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five-stars

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive - and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It's 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city's magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters' crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer's shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC's most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family's home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic - and when their paths cross at the Shaws' performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

I had so much fun with this book. The premise was something you just can’t go wrong with (Prohibition era outlawing addictive magic instead of alcohol? YES PLEASE) and then on top of that we got some extremely engaging characters, solid worldbuilding, and a plot that just won’t stop.

There is nothing about this book that I wouldn’t recommend, though I will throw out one caveat: this isn’t a YA book. I have no idea why it was ever billed as a YA book. This is I thought New Adult was going to be, before contemporary took over the genre and publishers somehow forgot that college kids like fantasy adventures, too. Not only are the primary characters in that 18-22 age group, but some of the major themes are about striking out in the world and making your mark in your first job and making compromises between morals and surviving and finding out that all bosses are soul-sucking devils. (Plus there’s all that smoking and drinking and drug taking that’s going on.)

Back to the fangirling glee. Like I said, every part of this book appealed to me. It follows two primary characters, Joan and Alex, as they navigate the dark, illegal world of gangs and magical speakeasies. Both of these characters have shaky pasts and dark sides, and though they get mixed up with gangs for mostly good reasons, they wind up doing some fairly heinous things. I loved watching them struggle to reconcile the terrible things they do with their good intentions, watching them rationalize and compromise and build an increasingly-unsteady house of cards until the whole thing just implodes. A+ flawed character arcs for both of them, and it was glorious.

There’s really not much I can say about the worldbuilding and plot that isn’t just “it’s X, and isn’t X so cool?” which is why 5-star reviews are so hard for me. I want you to discover it yourself! Everything about the world hangs together so well, it’s gritty and beautiful at the same time. But yes, gangs and guns and magic speakeasies and stage magic and undercover cops and plots and machinations and murder and sex and what more could you want? If any of those things appeal to you, you need this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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