31/03/2014

Review+INT Giveaway: Double Dip (Davis Way Crime Caper series, #2) by Gretchen Archer




If Gretchen Archer keeps up with this Davis Way pace, I suspect humor, touches of delightful romance, extreme doses of action, masterpiece plots and loads of best-selling accolades to her name.


Blurb: “A smart, snappy writer who hits your funny bone!” – Janet Evanovich
It’s Davis Way’s first slot-tournament season. And it may be her last.
Things are dicey at work. A personal assistant goes missing, a little old lady goes on a suspicious winning streak, and a Bellissimo executive goes gaga for Davis. She follows a disappearing slot-tournament player trail to the So Help Me God Pentecostal Church in Beehive, Alabama, then jumps headlong into a high stakes holy scandal.


She’s on a losing streak at home, too. Her days, nights, and dinners run together, as Davis juggles a revolving door of uninvited guests, namely her rotten ex-ex-husband, Eddie Crawford. And Bradley Cole thinks three’s a crowd.

The worst? Davis doesn’t feel so hot. Maybe it’s the banana pudding, or maybe it’s a little bundle of something else. DOUBLE DIP. A reckless ride in the fast lane, and Davis Way can’t find the brakes.




MY SYNOPSIS

Double Dip takes reins from Double Whammy to tell the story of Davis Way’s mysterious/romantic/hilarious/undercover life. If you were Davis Way, here are a few pointers to begin with your (messed-up) life:


1. You are on the security force of a Casino, sort of a spy on the team.


2. You are not easily ruffled by theft, murder, shooting because that’s what you combat on a daily basis.


3. You are the splitting image of your boss’ wife (if you coat an additional heavy layer of foundation and change your hair color) and that makes her your boss too.


4. Your relationship with your boyfriend is on the rocks because your shithead ex-ex husband is always in the picture.


5. You might be pregnant so you would want to tone down on all the action stunts… only if you have convinced yourself enough there might be a due date.


So now that we are settled on your persona, let’s brief you on your mission. One, your boss’ wife has fired her Personal Assistant, I mean, really fired her with a gun and she’s missing. No body, no trace of the last bullet, nothing and she wants a new P.A, even. It’s your duty to find her a new one, find her old one, make sure the old one is alive and probably keep the new one from being shot. Two, there’s a mystery old lady signing into a lot of competitions on the slots in your casino, and your boss, No Hair, wants you to be in charge of ruining what might be the happiest moments in the life of this senior  citizen. You have to investigate on her in order to spoil her fun. But quit with the guilt trip, you are not alone on this, your partner, Fantasy, will be there to help. Three, you and your man are moving into a new, big space to cater for your grandmother’s reluctance to give you (two) some much needed privacy. And you must make this a positive move for the two of you, indicating a promising future, but if only your man wouldn’t arrive every time to see you in a very compromising (as well as complicated) position with your ratty ex-ex husband. Four, you haven’t told your boyfriend you are pregnant (because you haven’t told yourself you are pregnant), get it over with. Five, on the case of the old woman, during an undercover mission as one of the casino players, you pass out in the casino (Google symptoms of anemia associated with pregnancy) only to be caught by the casino’s Mr. Microphone, the slovenliest emcee alive. He wants you, you can refuse him, but your boss gives you no chance to, so date him. Six, your boss is holding out info from you, find out. Seven, a man-stealer/an almost-home wrecker wants to dig her claws into your man. No, I mean literally dig her claws into your man, stop her before she gets him. Eight, as if I haven’t briefed you enough and you are really exhausted by now from all your personal problems (your mother, your sister, your ex-ex’s mother), your boss’ wife wants you to be in charge of all her social activities. No, I mean really be in charge, take over her, become her double. All the charity events to make fashion statements and good public impressions are your duty, she might even demand you to get a boob job considering she’s contemplating one. Everything in outfits that barely cover your ass or your boobs or your every inch of skin, because she says so, and you might want to lay low on the carbs else you would get fired. Goodbye blueberry pie and Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. Welcome your new life…


Which is Davis Way’s hell summed up for your entertainment.

MY REVIEW

In my life, there are three authors of one chick-lit sub-genre I’ve put on a pedestal. Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series), Sarah Strohmeyer (Bubbles Yablonsky series) and now, Gretchen Archer for Davis Way Crime Caper series (applause, applause), so even if I end now, my review looks just complete.


The first thing that makes this book deserve a star, is Davis Way. I simply wanted to pull her out for a lunch date (mostly to force her ingest something for the baby she was carrying). Like all the other leads of my favorite, favorite series, she’s independent (one thing that draws me to a woman), she’s sassy, she’s sexy. We all want to read books about chick-lit heroines who make us feel secure, that no matter how the plot is twisted and turned they’d emerge victors (with perhaps a bullet wound to make them look hotter).──


I like authors who take a topic we’d all run away from and make it look chic. We might not relate to the lead girl’s current dilemma , but sometimes reading a book that makes you feel the hottest accessory to finish off your outfit are red Manolo Blahniks and a holster (in case you can’t get licensing done quickly), is just worth it.──★★


I’m a fan of humor. So to make your book a really laugh-out-loud number is so sinister an attempt to give your book my ultimate rating score. This book was high-larious, hit my head against the bed post on one occasion. Davis’ voice is a plus, very funny, very lighthearted. It’s these books that make me wish everyone would stop using the term chick-lit loosely. We all know if it isn’t humorous (as Double Dip) it should be mama-lit. This is one of those books that make you crack a rib in the face of your toughest, lowest moments.★★★


The characters in this book added to this book’s humor and would make anyone have a blast. From Fantasy──for we all need a partner who would dive into a dumpster, for us, to retrieve a dead body; Bianca──’cause we all don’t need a boss who might shoot a hole through us right when we go against her orders (for a boob job); Meredith──sometimes reluctant sisters who would just take charge for whenever we have to move and our job gives us no time to organize, are important; Granny Dee──nothing like a grandma who loves the slots, speaks like a narcissistic bitch but you know if she didn’t have an ear problem  she’d actually whisper to sound like normal people do when whispering; Bea──an ex-ex mother-in-law might always come in handy in case you do not want to submit your own grandmother for a makeover and an undercover mission; No Hair──we need a boss who is annoying, yet adorable but wished he had a strand of hair, even if it fell from someone’s onto his; Bradley Cole──oh, who we’d kill to get a boyfriend who’d get back with us when caught looking up from our ex-ex husband’s crotch; Eddie──ugh, who would help get rid of the ex-ex husband. These and so many other characters I fell in love with, Mr. Microphone, Davis’ Mother, Cyril, Baylor/Cowboy──★★★★


This novel’s plot is a masterpiece. I like that Gretchen starves you then hits you in the face with the hot towel right when you think things are getting too fast for you to catch up. Perfect.──★★★★★


It’s obvious I’m giving this book five stars!


Get Double Dip, the second book in the Davis Way crime-caper series here. In any case if you want Double Whammy, get it here too (though you don’t need to read book one to get an understanding of book two)



 Enter to Win one SIGNED copy of Double Dip. Contest Going INTERNATIONALLY a Rafflecopter giveaway

I don’t know about your feelings after this review, but I know I am continuing the Davis Way Crime Caper series.


I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a book in their Manolo Blahniks holding onto their holster on their thigh.  Anyone who wants chick-lit with mystery, fun and suspense. Anyone who loves the big two, Janet Evanovich, Sarah Strohmeyer should get this. And if you want a book that you can get a follow up on, a chic series you want to keep up with, and a heroine you want to keep seeing, get Double Dip(ped).


My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.

26/03/2014

Review+ INT Giveaway: Cassidy Lane: A Novel by Maria Murnane




Blurb: From the author who brought us the unforgettable Waverly Bryson and the bestselling Perfect on Paper series.

Bestselling author Cassidy Lane walks into her twentieth high school reunion with several novels under her belt, but no date on her arm, and deep down she still feels like the smart girl no one asked to the prom. Then handsome Brandon Forrester confesses his teenage crush, and soon Cassidy finds herself swept up in a modern-day fairytale romance not unlike the tales she spins for a living. While their relationship blossoms, however, the new book she’s writing isn't going as well, and for the first time in her career she considers crafting an ending that doesn't include a proverbial walk into the sunset. Contemplating the simultaneous reversal of her own romantic fortune and that of her protagonist’s is daunting, but maybe it’s time for both her writing and her personal life to take a new path. Or is it?
Filled with Murnane’s trademark wit and optimism, a charming cast of secondary characters, and loads of heart, Cassidy Lane will have you cheering for its heroine down to the very last delightful word.



                                            MY SYNOPSIS

Imagine this: What’s your stance towards high school reunions? Hesitant to attend or eager to show up? The feeling is mixed, for you actually. It’s fun to go see who’s bloated the size of a barnyard, or who became what, and who’s still a bitch. When you are forty, you look out for:

1. Who is recently divorced?
2. Who's had their face done and by whom?
3. Who is close to death, faced by an illness or is aging like a breakup letter received with ire?

Your high school life wasn’t what everyone would wish their high school life would be. You weren’t asked to Prom. You didn’t have the body of a cheerleader. You had crushes on the jocks who didn’t notice you. And even the nerds couldn’t even acknowledge you, because who would like to be a braces-wearing geek anyway? But your best pal wouldn’t let you decide against attending. So you have no option than to face your past, which was much of a blur to everyone else anyway. And hark, you are not only going a successful writer with so many books under your belt, you are going single. There’s a whole look they give to single spinsters at forty in a high school reunion and you would soon find out.

You admit to yourself, you were overreacting a bit. The high school reunion didn’t turn out bad, or great either. The cheerleaders have grown the size of Cindy Crawford’s mole. Jocks that had muscular thighs and legs as long as Lindsay Lohan’s criminal records now have arthritis. Apparently rehabs couldn’t contain the crack junkies. The dorky nerd whose proximity determines the degree of your embarrassment, is still who she is, except she might be a mother of two (equally dorky kids). The school bitch, is still pretty, plastic and divorced. But there’s someone you never noticed, someone whose transformation has taken on a ‘woah’ factor according to everyone. Brandon Forrester.

So what if you get back to New York and everything returns to normal? Your life is as solitary and mundane as ever, being a successful writer and all. Your deadline, as though it isn’t already looming, has been pushed forward. The pressure to produce something that might be your finest to date is daunting. You know reading fan mails are the only perks of your job.  But what if you open your inbox one time, and saw Brandon Forrester, an email from him. With your deadline, you can’t afford to be distracted. It isn’t an option. But what if you reply, and within a twinkling, he does back? Then the messages keep piling, and piling. Can a long distance relationship work, you begin asking yourself. And even if it can, perhaps, can you rewrite your entire high school life and get back the happy ending you missed out on when no one asked you for prom?

Cassidy Lane’s life summed up for your delight!                                        


MY REVIEW

The story-line of this book is a winner. Reunions, forty year olds, life after high school, spinsterhood. Perfect! I mean, who hasn’t wanted to find out what their high school mates have become after over twenty years. Another reason to be nuts for Murnane’s settings.──

Everyone wants to write full-time these days, a few people have accomplished that. So the appeal this story would hold to all the wannabe full-timers, shouldn’t be debatable. Not only wannabe writers per se, on odd days who wouldn’t wish they had their work right at home. The perks are that perky. The trip to the fridge is short, you have no boss looming around to call on your mistakes, and perhaps no one to monitor if your emails are work-related, no one to tell you when you can leave work and when to actually work at work. To create a character like Cassidy who’s very relatable──on the outside appears very successful, an equation we give to all full-timers, but behind closed doors not really feel like the million-dollar book deal she is, is what would draw in readers to pick this title.──

The in-depth view into Cassidy’s life would also win another star from me. The thing about writing what you know really comes into play for Maria Murnane here. It’s an insightful take on what really goes on behind the pastel chick-lit covers. The struggle to stay focused, the editors who keep pushing forward the deadlines, the writers’ workshops you are invited to speak at with the pressure of what to give away and what-not-to-tell, the fear of losing your fans if you ditch the ‘walk into the sunset’ endings for a more realistic one, the fight to stay inspired always around everyone and everywhere. This book puts down the notion that after signing a book deal with a big, big Traditional Publishing house, all is roses. Perhaps the most annoying feature into that aspect of a full-time writer’s life would be the fact that, whatever happens, whatever masterpiece you create, you are always, always going to be among the D-List of celebrities (when even shits like the Jersey Shore cast are proportioning to incredible levels).──

I had some fav characters that made reading this book fun. Danielle and Patti, the kickass friends, were the stars of this book. Brandon Forrester was also one of the characters I constantly looked forward to reading about. I wish like him (and me of course) all men knew women hated mixed signals and men who keep them thinking on their feet for meaning to their words.──

The humor is subtle. I loved Cassidy’s voice, very insightful, very without-the-fluff (which is basically saying, very forty). And it has been very well established I love Older Women Books.──

The suspense in this book is very unsettling. One feature that got me glued to this book. I wanted to find out what would happen, and perhaps test its predictability. But Maria Murnane never made her plot stand out like a skanky see-through top, it was all fed at a read, no prescience by me could figure the turn of events. But thinking of it, that’s just life. A feature about this book that makes it very realistic.  I wished though, it wasn’t that rigid. I wish it was a bit predictable enough for me not to slash one of its stars into a half.──

So my rating: 4.5 stars!

Buy Cassidy Lane, Maria Murnane’s so-true-to-life latest on Amazon in both kindle and paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Cassidy-Lane-Maria-Murnane/dp/1477849947

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassidy-lane-maria-murnane/1117243364?ean=9781477849941

Three print copies are up for grabs. This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway. Enter the rafflecopter below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

I recommend this book to anyone who loves their women’s fiction very real. Anyone who wants anything that’s not easy to predict at all. Anyone who loves their Women’s fiction with ample romance to keep them glued. Anyone who has always wondered what goes behind closed doors of very successful authors should also pick up this title.

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.  

18/03/2014

Review+Giveaway: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger





Blurb: Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.

Debut novelist Susan Rieger doesn’t leave a word out of place in this hilarious and expertly crafted debut that shines with the power and pleasure of storytelling. Told through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, and legal papers, this playful reinvention of the epistolary form races along with humor and heartache, exploring the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails. For Sophie, the whole affair sparks a hard look at her own relationships—not only with her parents, but with colleagues, friends, lovers, and most importantly, herself. Much like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Divorce Papers will have you laughing aloud and thanking the literature gods for this incredible, fresh new voice in fiction 






Debut novelist, Susan Rieger, mixes law, family and separation to tell a beautiful tale rich with insight, humor and unsettling suspense. Divorces can be sweet and thrilling too?

Imagine this: You specialize in criminal law at a big firm. You don’t necessarily get your raison d’etre practicing it. But you do it because there is no other field in law you find worthy enough. Now a big time client has brought in a case everyone specializing in civil litigation would jump at, the separation of his daughter from her husband after seventeen years of marriage. Now there’s a divorce, and there’s a divorce. So much money, so much wealth, so much property to divide which could turn nasty. No one wants to drag a divorce to the courtroom, especially the husband who can’t wait for his philandering days (with a dermatologist) to begin. A senior partner approaches you with the case because all other divorce lawyers are booked with others jetting away to visit their parents. Just an interview with a client, he tells you, no big deal. You take him up on his offer, sit through the interview with the daughter. Now all you can think of are her gestures, her humor, her references to good ol’ literature, her sophistication, her so-not-behaving-like-a-woman-who’s-being-legally-separated-from-her-husband behavior.

But still you wouldn’t take the case if you are begged to.

Then you are demanded to. You think your boss is inconsiderate when he knows your past with divorcing parents. You have to take the case, no other option for you.

Now you are dangling in the mess of a divorce. Undergoing civil litigation training, dealing with aggravating lawyers and endless negotiations, getting a whole sense of déjà vú when an eleven year-old daughter of the couple comes into the picture, fighting off opposition at work from the other office bitch who specializes in divorce cases but didn’t get this because she was off to her parents, dating a super-sweet stage-actor introduced to you by your brilliant stage-actress friend, wondering if your best-selling writer mum is “misbehaving” with your boss, dealing with clients tearing at each others throats in every sense of the word, wondering why your parents had to part away, wondering why your dad would never show any interest in you or what you do for that matter, feud after feud, negotiations after negotiations, back-to-stage-one after back-to-stage-ones. Life gets hard and hectic, as much as you try to make time for your personal life──there’s one thing, you can only keep in touch through emails. Emails everywhere, as if the pile of letters from the mail of your firm aren’t enough. Your life is as messy as a divorce.
Until you manage to sort it out, it would stay that way for over a year.

Sophie Diehl’s hectic life, summed up for your undivided attention.
──────────────


MY REVIEW

This book made me have blast! Like a grenade blast! I ah-dored every piece of it. But this blog isn’t about me, it’s about you. So this why you would love, love this title.
It’s beautiful in every sense of the word, the writing style. I loved that it was an epistolary. I have never, ever read one of these titles before. Or perhaps I have, but they weren’t as memorable as this. Divorce, social life, professional feuds all embraced in this epistolary, to give it a real feel. An effect some books with dialogue struggle to achieve.───

The storyline was perfect. Uh-huh, Uh-huh──the storyline! It was surprising because I said earlier, written in an epistolary, blah, blah, it did have a storyline that can be easily related to. Who hasn’t gone through a divorce, or at least seen one? The effects it has on its participants and the children── even the pets! It’s mind-blowing how all this was captured in this title. The fact that it was an epistolary yet left nothing untold is what would make lovers of Women’s Fiction (and other genres) grab this title. Portrayed so real with depth that made it feel so true to life, I wonder if I’m shrieking about a storyline or rather a lifeline. ───

The characters in this book truly had character. I couldn’t believe anyone could execute a piece written from start-to-finish in letters but still embody the unique traits of each character. Through letters, you could tell you were reading about a strong, successful yet self-conscious Sophie Diehl. Through her letters, you could predict Maggie Pfeiffer, Sophie’s friend was the kind quick to admonish, advice type. Through her letters, you could tell Maria Meiklejohn, the client was well-poised, well-read, sharp, embodying every elegant, firm mother in their forties. Jane, the eleven year-old daughter, stuck between the divorce was intelligent, precocious, confused and hurt (much like every child in the midst of parental wars). Elisabeth Dreyfus, aka Maman, aka Sophie’s mum, was French, funny, sophisticated, exotic, and someone you’d like to take to lunch and listen to. Daniel, the client’s husband, was a moron. David, the boss and trainer, was firm but playful. Harry, Sophie’s sort-of-boyfriend, was an asshole in gentleman’s clothing. Fiona, the office bitch, was well, an office bitch. It’s a characterization party in there all through letters and I could go on and on. I loved each and everyone of them───

The suspense in this book was riveting. I really wanted it to end, end, end or at least take a little break. But it kept increasing as things got complicated and complicated. I found myself rooting for Maria, hoping, praying she squeezes a chunk out of her SOB husband. If this is how divorces are, I’m not sure I have the heart to go through one. Stick with your partners (Ouch, no pun intended).───

As I said earlier, this book felt more of a literary piece than a book, more of a masterpiece than a literary piece.  References to classics that stole the hearts away of many born in the seventies and beyond (would go look ‘em up), all the subtle humor, the wisecracks, again, the writing style and the voice of each character, was breathtaking. Authors hardly get it write on their debut, but not debut novelist, Susan Rieger.───

I talk a lot. No news. That’s why, I’m further going to:

Give this book: a whooping Five stars

Tell you to: Go buy this book in hardcover because kindle just doesn’t do it justice on....

 
Give you a chance to: Win one of Two Hardbacks of The Divorce Papers from Crown Publishing, Random House

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Recommend this book to: Anyone who has been through a divorce or not. Anyone who wants to find the topic of divorce interesting, insightful as well as damaging and perhaps an opportunity to let go of the past and begin anew. Anyone who loves a well-written piece. Anyone less interested in material with fluff. 

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.