Tag: Sarah Strohmeyer

Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

Posted April 16, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Rowena’s review of How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer.

Main Character: Zoe
Love Interest: Ian
Series: None
Author: Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl’s summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they’ve hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she’s assigned to serve “The Queen”-Fairyland’s boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe’s job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

I’m a huge fan of contemporary romances (YA and adult) so it wasn’t a surprise when this book caught my eye.  I’ve never read anything by this author before but I’ve always wanted to and I’m glad that I picked this one up for review.

This book reminded me of that one movie, The Devil Wears Prada where the main character worked for a beast of a woman and that’s exactly who Zoe works for in this book.  She scores an intern to work at what is the equivalent of Disney World but the re-enactment camp version.  At Fairyland Kingdom, everyone is in this huge play.  While the customers are on site, everyone is in character.  There are the Princes and the Princesses (Cinderella, Snow White, Prince Charming, etc…) and all of the minor characters.  While the park is open, if you’re on shift then you’re in character.  There are rules that come with this gig and if you break those rules, you get sent home….without a chance to win the $25,000 Dream & Do grant for college.

So that’s where Zoe is spending her summer.  She’s at Fairyland and her role is to play a Lady in Waiting to the Queen.  It’s a pretty big job, one that has her doing all sorts of things to try to save everyone and a job that had me laughing a great deal while reading.

Getting to know Zoe as she tries to do her job so good so that her cousin (who needs money for college) can the grant and they can all live happily ever after.  Getting to that happily ever after took a lot of hard work on Zoe’s part and when all was said and done, I really liked Zoe’s character.  She was fun, she was strong and she was loyal.  She was everything that I like in main characters and I liked the story because of her.

A couple of things that took me out of the story were very minor things.  Like, in the beginning of the story, Zoe is describing her cousin Jess and here’s what she said:

Jess is petite like that. Childlike fingers. Wispy, pale blond hair that she usually yanks into ap onytail so it doesn’t fly into her clear blue eyes. All her life people have been telling her she’s a little Cinderella, sweet and kind. (Yeah, right. They haven’t seen her spike a volleyball with seconds on the clock.)

This bothered me because I attend a lot of volleyball games and most of them are high school volleyball games.  I have a lot of nieces and a nephew that play so when I read that, it sounded wrong.  First off, volleyball players don’t say spike anymore.  They say hit, easy peasy and secondly, high school volleyball (at least here in California) isn’t a timed sports.  It’s like baseball, it goes by the number of points scored.  First team to 25 (you have to be win by 2 points though so if it’s 24-24, they’ll keep playing until one team goes up by 2 points) wins.  And you play the best of 3 or 5.  So yeah, that took me out of the story because it didn’t sound right to me.

Another thing that I didn’t think was right is the guy on the cover doesn’t look at all like an Abercrombie and Fitch model.  I just, well, I don’t see it.

Aside from that, this book was fun and it was cute.  Two things that I adore in books.  I really enjoyed getting to know Zoe, I thought Ian was too cute for words and I really liked the way that the story came together.  I definitely recommend this book.

…and that’s your scoop!

This book is available from Harper Teen. This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com

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Review: Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer

Posted June 18, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Holly’s review of Sweet Love by Sarah Strohmeyer

Julie Mueller, once a brilliant local television reporter, has been fired for the sin of being forty. Broke, divorced, unemployed, and struggling to raise a teenage daughter alone, she had given up on happiness until she receives for Mother’s Day four dessert classes that spark not only a new burst of culinary creativity but a burning passion for one of her fellow students, Michael Slayton, a true love she let slip away.

Before Julie can win back her soul mate, however, she must make amends to those she’s unwittingly hurt in her past and stare down a crisis every woman must face. Armed with the love of her mother, her daughter, her own determination, and lots and lots of chocolate, Julie takes to heart Shakespeare’s plea: “Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said thy edge should blunter be than appetite.”

Bestselling author Meg Cabot has said that “opening a book by Sarah Strohmeyer is like opening a box of chocolates – sweet, a little nutty, and absolutely irresistible.” With this new novel, Sarah Strohmeyer – author of The Cinderella Pact and The Sleeping Beauty Proposal – proves those words especially apt and delivers a story as rich and satisfying as a chocolate layer cake.

An interesting tale of a middle age woman dealing with changes in her life. Her daughter is getting ready to leave the nest, her career is changing, her mother is getting old. It was at times poignant and gritty, showing us both the selfish and selfless sides to human nature.

I feel the blurb is very misleading. Julie didn’t actually lose her job. She lost the chance at a promotion because of her age and because of something that happened with Michael Slayton years before. Michael was her brother’s best friend growing up and became an honorary member of their family since his parents weren’t much to speak of. As the years went by and they grew up together Julie developed a crush on Michael. But her brother and mother warned Michael away from her, so despite his growing attraction to her he pushed her away.

Years later they reconnect over a political issue Julie is covering. Michael is an aide to the presidential hopeful and Julie uncovers some information about him. Michael asks her to hold the information and Julie refuses, causing a breech between them. Now, a decade later, Julie’s mother decides she made a mistake in keeping the two apart and arranges for them to be in the same dessert class without the other knowing.

But Julie’s life is in complete upheaval – her daughter is getting ready to leave the nest, her mother is starting to show her age and is becoming more dependent on Julie and the promotion she desperately wants is contingent on her going against her integrity to do something she doesn’t think is right.

Julie was a complex character. One I think many of us can relate to. She was just a normal, single mother trying to do the right thing for her family. At times she resented it and other times she relished it. I think she was the epitome of everything woman. There were times I got so frustrated with her, mostly when she was frustrated with her mother. But when I put myself in her shoes, I know I would have felt the same way. Who wants to give up a date the man you’ve had a crush on for 30 years to take your mother to the eye doctor?

I did have issues with the romance angle. I never really understood why she was in love Michael, nor when exactly he fell in love with her. Because this is written in 1st person we didn’t get much from Michael, but even so I couldn’t really understand the connection between the two. Michael seems shallow and interested in nothing more than a light fling. I couldn’t understand why or when his feelings changed. Also, the actions of both seemed rather immature at times, considering they were both over 40.

I also had an issue with her father. He was emotionally unavailable – and physically unavailable 95% of the time – for her or her mother, and I didn’t feel that was fully explained or explored. I didn’t think the other secondary characters were as fleshed out as they could be, especially Julie’s daughter.

Having said that, in the end I enjoyed her journey and was emotionally involved in her life. Julie Mueller really represented every woman and the trials and tribulations each of us face.

4 out of 5

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

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