Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Matchmaker's Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Matchmaker's Playbook,' A Wingmen Inc. Novel by Rachel Van Dyken. 
When injuries occur to potential professional athletes, their career choices must change. In The Matchmaker’s Playbook, A Wingmen Inc. Novel by Rachel Van Dyken, we meet Ian Hunter, a former NFL prospect and one-half of the team in Wingmen Inc. His new company is a secretive, word of mouth dating service where he and his partner use their skills with women to help them become noticeable to their crush, and possibly even get them to hook up.
They have garnered a reputation for success and when Ian gets a new client named Blake Olson, he is sure he is ready for his next triumph. Blake is everything he dislikes in a woman, from her choice of clothing to her footwear as well as her irritating attitude. He finds her to be very annoying and even he is not sure he is up to the task of helping her realize her crush.
As he pushes forward and his recommended transformation occurs he realizes that he is beginning to like her, her spunk and humor are engaging. However, he knows he must stay clear, as his job is to help her succeed in reaching her own goal of romance. He is beginning to wonder if he can make it, for his final ploy is in making the target jealous and that will require some closeness with which he is no longer comfortable.
What will he do when he succeeds; his heart is already feeling the terror of loss. Can he move forward and get past his hurt as he helps Blake realize her dream?
Dyken creates strong male characters with charisma and charm, and puts them in the business of helping women find mates. This also makes her characters just a bit bold but also a little vain. Good looking and charismatic, their own thoughts and quirks make sure they have just enough flaws to make them likable.
Her interaction between characters is initially subtle, but the heat begins to build as Ian begins to loose just a bit of his armor. This keeps your interest as each chink he develops makes him more likable. With Blake being so entertaining and feisty, you will love the way Van Dyken gradually develops their relationship.
If you enjoy romance and fun, you will enjoy The Matchmakers Playbook. It will make a great summer read, sure to keep you enthralled. This would also be a great gift for any of your book-reading friends, sure to keep them entertained.
Rating 4/5

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Restaurant Critic's Wife by Elizabeth La Ban

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'The Restaurant Critic's Wife,' A Novel by Elizabeth La Ban.
The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth La Ban is a great take on how each individual reacts to what each believe is living the dream. Lila Soto has a master’s degree, but she has chosen to be a stay at home mom. This has worked pretty well but when they move to Philadelphia, her husband, Sam is suddenly taking his job just a bit more seriously. He is a restaurant critic, and while always just a bit eccentric, Lila believes he may be taking it too far. Striving to protect his credibility and with his entry into a new market, he is determined to remain anonymous.
His new direction hinders the lives of both Lila and the children. She wants to meet new friends, but Sam is sure that they will find out his identity and it will ruin his career. Lila loves him but she is beginning to feel as though he has gone over the edge. Trying to follow his wishes about his anonymity and still make friends, she begins walking a tightrope of decisions.
When she finds out she is pregnant again, she finally loses her patience, leaving her questioning all of her decisions. These include taking a break from her career, her marriage, and even breaking up with her ex-boyfriend after meeting Sam. As Sam grows more fixated, Lila wonders if her own identity has begun to disappear. She is determined to discover herself and do whatever it takes to get back on track to a life of substance.
La Bar has given us an interesting look at life that seems both bizarre and funny on the outside, but creates pain and hurt on the inside. Her characters are both amazing. With Lila, a woman feeling lost and losing her identity but clinging to her remembrance of love, and her husband Sam who feels threatened by the overall populace and is concerned about his own secret job getting out. For him he feels it makes him a target for those looking for good reviews plus those unhappy with his assessment
If you enjoy romance and family with just a bit of zany action and incredible food, you will find this to be a fun and surprising read. La Bar takes you on an unexpected and crazy ride, one you will not soon forget.Though it all she keeps a thread of humor that keeps you chuckling at times. However, you can also understand the disbelief his wife and children feel at some of his antics. It is charming and warm with bits of the way we as humans must find to come together in spite of our differences.
This would be a great book for a reading or book club with a great deal of discussion for debate.
Rating 4/5

Monday, May 23, 2016

Saving Abby by Steena Holmes

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Saving Abby', A Novel by Steena Holmes.

In Saving Abby by Steena Homes, we meet a couple, Claire Turner and her husband, Josh. He is a celebrated author of children’s books and she is the illustrator. While they seem to have it all, there is that one thing that they have always dreamed of, a child of their own. After trying for years, Claire has finally accepted the fact that fulfillment of their dream will never be realized.

Yet it is finally when all hope is gone, she finds that miracles do exist.  She has become pregnant. The first few months are like a cloud, happiness and excitement abound.

When debilitating headaches begin disrupting her life and sleep, her roller-coaster begins. Her doctor finds a tumor, and Claire must make a decision. Any treatment could put her pregnancy at risk. After trying for so long, she is firm in her decision that she must hold off on treatment until the baby is far enough along to be born. Yet if Claire’s treatment isn’t started in time, she risks certain death.

Can this span of tightrope work in both directions, with a miracle on both sides.

Holmes gives us characters that are strong yet vulnerable. Love and strength is essential to the story, and both happiness and grief vie for the win. She takes you to the highs and lows of life with the flick of a pen, and yet she holds that hope as an enchanting chain, daring cancer to break it. She holds you in thrall to the very end.  She brings into play a life for a life, with the hope for a double win. The tension keeps you reading far into the night.

If you enjoy romance and family, woman’s literature, and contemporary drama, you will find this to be the perfect work for your library. Holmes takes you through the list of emotions without ever giving it away.

This would be a great book for both a reading group and book club with a myriad of discussions generated off the questions and decisions generated within the pages.

Rating 4/5

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Some Women by Emily Liebert

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Some Women,' A Novel by Emily Liebert.

Life is often difficult and changes in many ways as we grow older. Marriage and children add another twist but also bring both joy and often heartache. In Some Women by Emily Liebert, we are introduced to and won over by three different women with very little in common who find a way to connect and develop a friendship that helps them each to move forward and live the life that is thrust upon them.

Annabel Ford devotes her time to twin boys and her home. When her husband suddenly tells her he is leaving she is unprepared and finds her world spinning out of control. Piper Whitley has always been in control and run her life faultlessly. Raising a daughter and having a career as a reporter, she seems the epitome of a super mom. Yet when she finally meats the man of her dreams, her daughter’s father decides to show up, creating a maelstrom of emotion, causing cracks in the fa├žade of her reality.

Mackenzie Mead has everything, she is married to the heir of a huge media outlet, and life seems to be hers for the living. Yet she has a strong and difficult boss at work, one who is also her own mother-in law. The life that seemed so perfect is eroding as she finds she can no longer find that connection for communicating with her husband.

Life is suddenly not coming out as planned. Thrust together, these women form an unlikely friendship and against all odds. Yet it’s this bond that helps them each reach within to find the person they each know is inside. Can such a friendship help them to cope with the changes and challenges of their unraveling lives?

Liebert brings us life and humor where we often see only struggle. She takes us into the hardships and challenges of modern day life. She brings together three very different women who become the backbone and the strength that helps them to move forward. Each character is very different from the other and yet Liebert finds a way to make the bond work in a realistic and tantalizing way. You find yourself immersed in the lives and problems, rooting them on, urging them to find a way to mend the hurts and hardships they are struggling with.

If you enjoy women’s fiction, drama, and witty, funny dialogue you will find this a great work to keep you entertained. Liebert keeps you entranced from start to finish in her heartwarming and funny look at the life of those we often deem most perfect. Life happens to us all, and Liebert’s work gives us the blueprint to keep moving forward.

This would be a great book for a Book club or discussion group. Full of interesting and challenging subjects it will create great open dialogue and fun.

Rating 4/5