Tag: Melissa Senate

Review: The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate.

Posted December 13, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments


Rowena’s review of The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate.

Main Character: Rebecca Strand
Love Interest: ??
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

As 28 year old New York paralegal Rebecca Strand’s widowed father lays dying, he confesses a secret: he had an affair 26 years earlier when Rebecca was just a toddler. Now he wants Rebecca to deliver the secret stash of letters he wrote, but never mailed, to the daughter he fathered. Rebecca’s lawyer boyfriend, Michael, is adamant that she forget the woman exists. He’s sure the woman will be an opportunist who will demand half of Rebecca’s father’s million-dollar estate. But Rebecca, now without any family in the world, can’t help but wonder about her one living relative. With her relationship with Michael in tatters, Rebecca drives from New York City to Maine to find Joy Jayhawk, who operates a Weekend Singles Tour service out of an orange mini-van that her regulars dub “The Love Bus.” Enter a cast of lovable, colorful characters, from Joy’s eccentric mother to the singles on The Love Bus, and a sexy carpenter for whom Rebecca finds herself unexpectedly falling in love…

Melissa Senate is definitely one of my go to chick lit authors. She writes the kind of stories that even though I have nothing in common with the characters in her books, I connect with them anyway. She has a unique talent for writing stories that I can’t put down. This was definitely one of them. The last book by Melissa Senate that I read was Love You To Death and I really enjoyed that book. I can still remember the day that I read that book. I cried and I rejoiced in everything Abby Foote went through and at the end of the book I was so damn happy for her.

I felt the exact same way for Rebecca Strand. Rebecca was just an average 28 year old woman living in New York City with her boyfriend, Michael happy as can be until the day before her ailing father dies, he drops the biggest bomb on her that a father could ever drop. He dropped the I’m dying but you won’t be alone in this world even though your Mom already died and I’m going to die tomorrow because you have a long lost half sister that I never claimed even though she’s my daughter bomb. It’s pretty crazy to even consider finding something out like this from your dying father but to live with this knowledge after he’s gone? What do you do with this bit of information?

Do you look her up and go meet her? Tell her who you are and who your father was? Do you keep the information to yourself and pretend your father was making his last final haha in your face joke? What would you have done?

Me, personally I have no idea. I mean, if you think about it…this long lost sister of yours has a mother and her mother was the woman that your father cheated on your mother with. Do you let that one go even though this long lost sister is the last familial tie you have on the face of the earth? There could be nothing but trouble and emotional upheaval if you go through with this but do you really want to risk not knowing the sister that you should have known about? I know that I would be deathly curious about this sister.

I thought Senate did a phenomenal job of writing this story out. She wrote a story and covered it from all angles. There really wasn’t a good side and bad side in this story but an entire gray area of what if’s. Since Rebecca was the main character in this story, it would have been so easy for us to be on her side. See things from her point of view and stick up for her but instead of doing that, Senate made us see Joy’s side. She made us see Pia’s side. She made this situation real by making the other people in this story real. She made the woman that Rebecca’s father had a two week affair with real and she made us see things from her point of view. She wrote about the daughter that came from the affair and she made us see things from her point of view. Nobody got off scotch free in this story and I really enjoyed the life lessons I learned from this book. You can’t judge someone just because you were hurt from the actions of others because they were hurt too. Things happened to them too. This book wasn’t easy by any means but it was …good. It was a damn good story that made one think about the choices they make in life and I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed the romance between Rebecca and Theo. I loved watching them meet, watching their attraction grow until the end and I loved watching them interact with each other. The way that Theo was with Rebecca made my heart pitter patter in my chest. It was a great addition to the book even though it wasn’t the main focus of the book. Chick lit books are more like real life. They aren’t perfect and though there’s romance in them, there’s so much more than just the romance. It’s always great to read a chick lit every once in a while because I feel more like these things could happen.

Senate excels at writing character development. She is a home run hitter when it comes to making me connect with her characters and coming to care for them. All of them. This was a beautifully written story that had me gripped from the beginning. It was a fantastic story with characters that were charming, rich and just downright lovable. From the girls in the Divorced Ladies Club to Harry and Rex to Arlene at the restaurant, I loved them all. I was glad to get to know Joy right along with Rebecca and it was hard to read through the first hiccups of their relationship but at the end of the book when I closed it, I was so satisfied with what I had read that I wanted to start all over again. It was a good one. A book that I could see myself buying a copy for all of my sisters. I enjoyed it and I think everyone who reads it will enjoy it too. So would I recommend it to others? You betcha!

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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The Secret of Joy Winner Announced!

Posted December 17, 2009 by Rowena in Giveaway Winners | 1 Comment

The winner for the copy of The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate is:

Congratulations to Kara and thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway, we do these for you guys! Kara, please shoot us an email at admin[at]the book binge . com (no spaces) with your snail mail addy and we’ll get your book shipped off just as soon as we can.

Thanks again and happy reading,
Rowena, Casee & Holly

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Review and Giveaway: The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate.

Posted December 3, 2009 by Rowena in Reviews | 30 Comments


Rowena’s review of The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate.

As 28 year old New York paralegal Rebecca Strand’s widowed father lays dying, he confesses a secret: he had an affair 26 years earlier when Rebecca was just a toddler. Now he wants Rebecca to deliver the secret stash of letters he wrote, but never mailed, to the daughter he fathered. Rebecca’s lawyer boyfriend, Michael, is adamant that she forget the woman exists. He’s sure the woman will be an opportunist who will demand half of Rebecca’s father’s million-dollar estate. But Rebecca, now without any family in the world, can’t help but wonder about her one living relative. With her relationship with Michael in tatters, Rebecca drives from New York City to Maine to find Joy Jayhawk, who operates a Weekend Singles Tour service out of an orange mini-van that her regulars dub “The Love Bus.” Enter a cast of lovable, colorful characters, from Joy’s eccentric mother to the singles on The Love Bus, and a sexy carpenter for whom Rebecca finds herself unexpectedly falling in love…

Melissa Senate is definitely one of my go to chick lit authors. She writes the kind of stories that even though I have nothing in common with the characters in her books, I connect with them anyway. She has a unique talent for writing stories that I can’t put down. This was definitely one of them. The last book by Melissa Senate that I read was Love You To Death and I really enjoyed that book. I can still remember the day that I read that book. I cried and I rejoiced in everything Abby Foote went through and at the end of the book I was so damn happy for her.

I felt the exact same way for Rebecca Strand. Rebecca was just an average 28 year old woman living in New York City with her boyfriend, Michael happy as can be until the day before her ailing father dies, he drops the biggest bomb on her that a father could ever drop. He dropped the I’m dying but you won’t be alone in this world even though your Mom already died and I’m going to die tomorrow because you have a long lost half sister that I never claimed even though she’s my daughter bomb. It’s pretty crazy to even consider finding something out like this from your dying father but to live with this knowledge after he’s gone? What do you do with this bit of information?

Do you look her up and go meet her? Tell her who you are and who your father was? Do you keep the information to yourself and pretend your father was making his last final haha in your face joke? What would you have done?

Me, personally I have no idea. I mean, if you think about it…this long lost sister of yours has a mother and her mother was the woman that your father cheated on your mother with. Do you let that one go even though this long lost sister is the last familial tie you have on the face of the earth? There could be nothing but trouble and emotional upheaval if you go through with this but do you really want to risk not knowing the sister that you should have known about? I know that I would be deathly curious about this sister.

I thought Senate did a phenomenal job of writing this story out. She wrote a story and covered it from all angles. There really wasn’t a good side and bad side in this story but an entire gray area of what if’s. Since Rebecca was the main character in this story, it would have been so easy for us to be on her side. See things from her point of view and stick up for her but instead of doing that, Senate made us see Joy’s side. She made us see Pia’s side. She made this situation real by making the other people in this story real. She made the woman that Rebecca’s father had a two week affair with real and she made us see things from her point of view. She wrote about the daughter that came from the affair and she made us see things from her point of view. Nobody got off scotch free in this story and I really enjoyed the life lessons I learned from this book. You can’t judge someone just because you were hurt from the actions of others because they were hurt too. Things happened to them too. This book wasn’t easy by any means but it was …good. It was a damn good story that made one think about the choices they make in life and I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed the romance between Rebecca and Theo. I loved watching them meet, watching their attraction grow until the end and I loved watching them interact with each other. The way that Theo was with Rebecca made my heart pitter patter in my chest. It was a great addition to the book even though it wasn’t the main focus of the book. Chick lit books are more like real life. They aren’t perfect and though there’s romance in them, there’s so much more than just the romance. It’s always great to read a chick lit every once in a while because I feel more like these things could happen.

Senate excels at writing character development. She is a home run hitter when it comes to making me connect with her characters and coming to care for them. All of them. This was a beautifully written story that had me gripped from the beginning. It was a fantastic story with characters that were charming, rich and just downright lovable. From the girls in the Divorced Ladies Club to Harry and Rex to Arlene at the restaurant, I loved them all. I was glad to get to know Joy right along with Rebecca and it was hard to read through the first hiccups of their relationship but at the end of the book when I closed it, I was so satisfied with what I had read that I wanted to start all over again. It was a good one. A book that I could see myself buying a copy for all of my sisters. I enjoyed it and I think everyone who reads it will enjoy it too. So would I recommend it to others? You betcha.

Giveaway alert: And to see that I mean business, I’m going to be giving away a copy of this book just because I enjoyed it and want someone else to enjoy it too. I’ll be giving away a copy of this book to a random commenter of this review.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Downtown Press. You can buy it here or here.

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Review: Love You to Death by Melissa Senate.

Posted December 3, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments


Hero: Benjamin Orr
Heroine: Abby Foote
Grade: 4.5 out of 5

When did Abby Foote’s life become an episode of Law & Order?

First, a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced. Then two other ex-boyfriends report attempts made on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr, of the Portland Police Department (and Very Probing Questions and Incredibly Delicious Face), doesn’t think so. Neither do Abby’s friends, family, coworkers and other exes–who are suddenly shaking in their shoes. Soon everyone is sucking up to her as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of poisoning their drinks….

Is someone trying to frame her? Who? And why? She has to find out fast. Because by-the-book Ben is bound to break her heart. Which makes him next on someone’s list…

I’ve been reading a lot of writing manuals and writing how to books and in each and every single one of those books, they’ve talked about writing a book that makes your readers connect with the characters and keep them turning the pages.

I think Melissa Senate did a great job of making me connect with the main character in this book, Abby Foote. As a 28 year old single woman living in L.A. with a string of bad relationships under my belt, I felt Abby’s pain. I understood where she was coming from and I understood some of the stupid things she got herself into and I cheered her on from the time I opened this book until the time I ended it.

This book is about Abby Foote and her trying to clear her name of murder. Her ex boyfriend, Ted Puck has been murdered and Abby is the prime suspect in the case. She’s the spurned ex girlfriend of Ted and the day that his engagement is announced in the papers, he shows up dead on the pier and all leads are pointing toward Abby.

To make matters worst, the cop investigating the case is the guy that Abby had a fierce crush on in high school, the one that never noticed her and when she’s reacquainted with Benjamin Orr, she finds out that he doesn’t even remember either and that sucks for Abby because Benjamin Orr didn’t grow up to be a fat old man who went bald, oh no, the guy that Abby remembers from high school is even hotter now that he’s got a few years under his belt. Age has done this guy a whole lot of good and it’s only a matter of time before she’s right back where she was in high school, crushing on Benjamin Orr.

I really enjoyed getting to know Abby through this tale. She’s witty, she’s fun and she’s the most caring person in this whole book and to see all of these bad things happening to her made me want things to get better for her. Watching her and Ben get closer and closer was exciting and cute.

Benjamin was a great hero, one that had you guessing right up until the very ending. You knew he was digging Abby but you couldn’t tell because he was the good cop. He was a very by the book kind of guy and you just knew that he wasn’t going to act on his attraction to Abby and because you knew that he wasn’t going to act on it, it had you guessing if maybe you had it wrong and he didn’t even see Abby the way we all wanted him to.

There were plenty of things that I loved about this book, Abby and Ben being the number one thing but there was a lot of things that drove me bat shit crazy and those things aren’t the author’s fault or anything, it was just stuff that were a part of the book like Abby’s family taking out Order of Protections against Abby? You would think that her sisters would have stood up for her because she did need someone in her corner since everyone in the world was out to get her. It just really sucked that Abby had to go through a lot of the murder investigation all by herself. I hated that the only way she was allowed to get anywhere near them was by having a police escort TO HER OWN FAMILY FUNCTIONS! That really pissed me the hell off and made me hate her stupid step mom.

*sigh*

But other than that, this book was an enjoyable read. I enjoyed the storyline, the characters and I enjoyed the ending. I wanted more from Abby’s family, I wanted more groveling but I wasn’t too unhappy with their whole bit. Abby was a great heroine, very engaging and this book was a fast and fun read.

I would definitely recommend this book to those of you who enjoy chick lit with a bit of suspense in the books, the suspense isn’t over the top but it does have you guessing throughout the book about who done killed Ted? I was surprised when I found out who it was because I so thought it was someone else so good on ya, Melissa Senate for writing a pretty entertaining read. I’m looking forward to reading more by MS in the future.

This book is available from Red Dress Ink. You can buy it here.

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Review: The Solomon Sisters Wise Up by Melissa Senate.

Posted June 21, 2008 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments


Grade: 4.5 out 5

Between the reality of being six weeks pregnant by a guy she’s dated for two months and the fantasy of pushing a baby stroller down Columbus Avenue with a wedding ring on her finger were a lot of possibilities for twenty-nine-year old Manhattan publishing peon Sarah Solomon. Will the baby’s father run screaming for the nearest subway . . . or pop the question?

“He’s going to deny they ever had sex!” bets cynical sister Ally, an uptown lawyer who catches her “perfect” husband cheating . . . and happily retaliates on FindAMate.com.

“He might surprise everyone and propose,” offers half sister Zoe, a celebrated relationship guru who critiques dates for a living but would have to rate her own love life a big fat zero.

“Huh?” asks their clueless father, too busy planning his society wedding to trophy wife #3 to notice what’s up with his daughters. Until Sarah, Ally and Zoe find themselves suddenly sharing a bedroom in his Park Avenue penthouse . . . . “

And thanks to a little help from each other and some unexpected allies, the Solomon sisters are about to wise up in this heartwarming and hilarious novel by Melissa Senate, author of See Jane Date.

What a pleasant story about family relationships to go with the complicated romantic relationships that we read about in The Solomon Sisters Wise Up. It’s about three sisters who wise up about life, love and their family.

Growing up, Abby, Sarah and Zoe didn’t have much of a relationship. They all have very different personalities and those personalities always clashed whenever they found themselves in the same room. But when different incidents happen to each of them, they all find themselves under the same roof again, the roof of the father that all of them have NEVER had a relationship with.

It was great fun to read about these sisters with no kind of relationship with eachother, form a bond that cannot be broken. The bond of sisterhood heals all wounds and binds you to other women you know will share your burdens, share your secrets and keep them safe and sound. They’ll shelter you from the world when you need it and they’ll take care of you when you don’t think you can, and most importantly, they’ll hold your hand to get you through the toughest situations life hands you.

The story of Abby, Sarah and Zoe was truly great to be apart of and I’m so glad that I picked it out of the box from the office and ran off away with it. I didn’t think that I would like it as much as I did, I loved it even more. It was just what I needed to get me out of my reading funk, because not only do I want to read more, I want to read more Melissa Senate.

Of all the sisters, I related more with Sarah because she was the one who struggled with her secret pregnancy and when I read about her story, it sort of struck home because a lot of what she went through, I went through when I was pregnant, but that’s where the similarities stop because Sarah got her happy ending and I’m still waiting for mine.

The characters were all relatable and even though the situations each sister were in were cliche’d or typical to read about in these kinds of books, it was still a great read. The story was all over the place because each chapter was told through the eyes of one sister, but I think it worked well and added a bit of spice. It made me want to call each of my sisters and tell them how much I love them and just hug them to death. It was just an all around great read for me and I would totally recommend it!

And just so you know….

DANNYMARSHISMINEDAMMIT! *snicker*

This book is available from Red Dress Ink. You can buy it here.

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