Saturday, March 17, 2018

Finding Felicity (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: Finding Felicity
Author: Stacey Kade
Publication: Simon & Schuster, hardcover and eBook, 2018
Genre: YA
Plot: Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with. But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real.

However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home — and a lot of therapy. Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

Giveaway Link: Enter by 3/29/18 to win a copy of Finding Felicity:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase Links: Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks IndieBound Book Depository

Audience: Fans of books in which the heroines muster their wits, but an older YA audience might find the heroine a bit pathetic or the story too tame.

My Impressions: I never watched the TV show Felicity but I always meant to, as I was living in New York when it began and I always enjoyed stories set at college (a subset of the school story), so was interested in the concept behind this book (also was curious because I remembered one of the actors turned up on Scandal). Finding Felicity is a poignant story about a young woman whose natural shyness has been exacerbated by the departure of her father with his second wife, while Caroline moved across the country and had to start her sophomore year of high school at a new school in Arizona. She is so lacking in self confidence that she literally becomes speechless when confronted by the cool kids at school. Her obsession with the TV show Felicity is an understandable way to escape from the casual cruelties of adolescence (even if she takes it to unbelievable extremes) and I faulted the mother for failing to recognize how miserable her daughter was.
Surely we have all anticipated new beginnings, whether at school, work, or a new home, and yearned to be perceived differently, and I have enjoyed many books with this theme such as Emily of Deep Valley, Don’t Call Me Katie Rose, This Adventure Ends, and a hilariously funny book that turns the theme upside down called How Not to Be Popular in which the heroine/new girl in town tries NOT to make friends because it is so painful when one has to move. However, I did get tired of Caroline’s abject misery and lack of self-esteem. Her story becomes more interesting when she stops moaning and – with the help of her new roommate - starts making an effort to find out who she really is instead of pretending to be someone else.

I liked the character of Lexi, the daughter of the college janitor, who has (with some justification) a chip on her shoulder about being a scholarship student at a college full of rich kids but comes through when Caroline really needs a friend. Even Liam, the boy Caroline foolishly follows to Ashmore, is extremely convincing: the kind of young man who is carelessly kind when he remembers and it does not inconvenience him but ultimately will not consider the feelings of anyone but himself – the best moment of the book is when Caroline turns down his invitation to play Beer Pong. Luckily, there turn out to be some kindred spirits for Caroline and Lexi and, refreshingly, the book ends with the promise of friendship rather than a romance cure-all.  And I think a less cluttered cover would have worked better.

About the Author: The daughter of a minister and a music teacher, Stacey Kade grew up like many of us reading Harlequin romances on the sly. She is the author of two young adult series and recently published her first adult contemporary, 738 Days. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and dogs.

Source: I was provided an ebook by the publisher and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for review purposes. Please follow other stops on the tour below:

March 14th

Pink Polka Dot Books- Welcome Post

Match 15th

Vicky Who Reads- Review & Favorite Quotes

March 16th

We Live and Breathe Books- Review & Favorite Quotes

March 17th

Books, Boys, and Blogs!- Creative Option

March 18th

Life at 17- Review

March 19th

Bookmark Lit- Creative Option
Book Crushin- Review

March 20th

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sunburn by Laura Lippman (Book Review)

Title: Sunburn
Author: Laura Lippman
Publication: Harper Collins, hardcover, 2018
Genre: Suspense
Plot: New York Times bestselling author Laura Lippman returns with a superb novel of psychological suspense about a pair of lovers with the best intentions and the worst luck: two people locked in a passionate yet uncompromising game of cat and mouse. But instead of rules, this game has dark secrets, forbidden desires, inevitable betrayals—and cold-blooded murder.

One is playing a long game. But which one?

They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware.  Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets.

Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Something—or someone—has to give.  Which one will it be?

Audience: Fans of psychological suspense and of authors such as Gillian Flynn, Tana French, Megan Abbott

My Impressions: Laura Lippman, you get darker and darker!  As always, this talented author delivers a fascinating look at the innermost thoughts of people with secrets but here she has
outdone herself as everyone seems to have multiple secrets and trusts no one.  The creepy factor is extreme (although not as extreme as in I’d Know You Anywhere, which is like a perpetual skin crawl), the characters were the type of people you are grateful not to know personally, and yet – bit by bit – the reader becomes invested in their story and starts rooting for Polly not to be exposed, for Adam to either come clean with her or leave town, and for nothing bad to happen to 3-year-old Jani.  There are some books where you can tell what is going to happen a mile off, and sometimes that interferes with your enjoyment of the story.  With Laura Lippman, there is endless suspense but no predictability except that you will be up late reading!

Long ago and oh so far away, I was sitting in a meeting when talented editor Carrie Feron said she was excited about a first mystery with a wonderful sense of place set in Baltimore.   She said the author’s name was Laura Lippman, and I sat up and said, “I’ve read her!”  No editor ever turns down support from the Barnes & Noble sales manager so Carrie hid her surprise and didn’t miss a beat, promising me a manuscript later that day.  I told the room I had recently read a fabulous article by Laura in the Baltimore Sun although perhaps did not mention it was praising the Betsy-Tacy books, one of my favorite series.  In fact, back in those early days of the Internet, it was still pretty rare and exciting to find Betsy-Tacy fans so someone from DC had joyously shared the Baltimore Sun article with me.   Laura is a true fan, and usually hides a clue in her books for fans of Betsy-Tacy and Beany Malone – here, I found two (spoiler below).   Her “in the know” readers love looking for these mentions.  When I couldn’t find it in Wilde Lake (my favorite of her standalones), I broke down and asked her, then was annoyed with myself for missing it.

Maud Hart Lovelace, author of Betsy-Tacy, will be celebrated in Minnesota at a conference in August 2018, and Laura Lippman has promised to speak, which will be a great treat for attendees.  I know she is concentrating these days on her “bigger” standalone books but I am fond of her journalist-turned-sleuth heroine, Tess Monaghan, and hope Tess will find some new fans too.  I gave my copy of Baltimore Blues to my niece when she was about to start at Johns Hopkins because her mother and I wanted her to see her new home with Laura’s eyes (you have to admit, if she saw it through Laura’s husband’s eyes (mesmerizing though that might be) she might have been too scared to leave her Boston high school!).  

Purchase LinksAmazon  B&N  IndieBound  HarperCollins
Source: I was provided a pre-publication copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes.  You can visit other stops on the tour via the links below:

Instagram Stops

Tuesday, February 20th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Tuesday, February 20th: Instagram: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Thursday, February 22nd: Instagram: @hippiechickreads
Wednesday, February 28th: Instagram: @ACaffeinatedBibliophile
Thursday, March 1st: Instagram: @acouplereads

Review Stops

Tuesday, February 20th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Wednesday, February 21st: The Book Diva’s Reads
Thursday, February 22nd: Into the Hall of Books
Friday, February 23rd: bookchickdi
Monday, February 26th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Tuesday, February 27th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, February 28th: Novel Gossip
Tuesday, March 6th: A Book a Week
Wednesday, March 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, March 13th: Clues & Reviews
Wednesday, March 14th: Julie’s Bookshelf
Thursday, March 15th: Thoughts On This ‘n That

Spoilers: In Chapter 25 it is revealed that Polly lives on Lilac Way, which is the name of the community center where Beany Malone finds her true calling (and her true love). In the next chapter, Adam quotes from Kipling: "Down to Gehenna or up to the Throne, He travels the fastest who travels alone," and although I did not know it was Kipling, I immediately recognized it as the first lines of Betsy and the Great World.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Girl Unknown (Book Review)

Title: Girl Unknown
Author: Karen Perry
Publication: Henry Holt & Co., hardcover, 2018
Genre: Suspense

Plot: David and Caroline Connolly are an ordinary couple in Dublin with two children when their lives suddenly go wrong. One minute, David is expecting a big promotion at the university where he has taught history for many years and Caroline is doing well in a new job covering for someone on maternity leave. It's true there has been a slight rift in their marriage but they agreed not to let their children, teen Robbie and 11-year-old Holly, know anything was wrong as they work past it. Then everything changes when David is approached by a lovely blonde student who says he is her father. It is unclear exactly what Zoe wants but her every existence is an immediate threat to the Connolly family . . .

Audience: Fans of psychological suspense; authors such as Clare Mackintosh, S. J. Watson, and Emma Healey

Quote: "Explores emotional danger with relentless, surgical accuracy," bestselling author Tana French

My Impressions: This was a fast paced novel full of believable (if unlikable) characters and told in alternating chapters from David's and from Caroline's points of view. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the author is really a male/female team. I was reminded, however, of something my sister said recently when I had recommended a book to her - that she really doesn't enjoy reading novels where the characters do such stupid things. There were certainly a number of poor choices made by a variety of characters. David is not a very nice guy but even he does not deserve the downward spiral Zoe brings in her wake to his family. While some aspects of the story were predictable (and I wished for more of a sense of place for Dublin) there were enough twists and surprises to keep me entertained - and the light on until the wee hours.
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews below:

Tuesday, February 6th: Tina Says…
Thursday, February 8th: Write – Read – Life
Friday, February 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, February 12th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Wednesday, February 14th: Instagram: @ACaffeinatedBibliophile
Friday, February 16th: Into the Hall of Books
Friday, February 16th: Not in Jersey
Tuesday, February 20th: Novel Gossip
Wednesday, February 21st: Sweet Southern Home
Thursday, February 22nd: What Is That Book About
Monday, February 26th: Helen’s Book Blog
Tuesday, February 27th: Instagram: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Thursday, March 1st: Dreams, Etc.
Friday, March 2nd: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, March 5th: The Ludic Reader

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Look for Her (Book Review)

Title: Look for Her
Author: Emily Winslow
Publication: William Morrow, paperback, 2018
Genre: Suspense
Setting: Cambridge, England, and environs
Plot: Lilling might seem like an idyllic English village, but it’s home to a dark history. In 1976, a teenage girl named Annalise Wood disappeared, and though her body was later discovered, the culprit was never found. Decades later, Annalise maintains a perverse kind of celebrity, and is still the focus of grief, speculation, and for one young woman, a disturbing, escalating jealousy.

When DNA linked to the Annalise murder unexpectedly surfaces, cold case detective Morris Keene and his former partner, Chloe Frohmann, hope to finally bring closure to this traumatized community. But the new evidence instead undoes the case’s only certainty: the buried body that had long ago been confidently identified as Annalise may be someone else entirely, and instead of answers, the investigators face only new puzzles.

from the Church of Our Lady
and the English Martyrs
Whose body was unearthed all those years ago, and what happened to the real Annalise? Is someone interfering with the investigation? And is there a link to a present-day drowning with eerie connections? With piercing insight and shocking twists, Emily Winslow explores the dark side of sensationalized crime in this creepy psychological thriller.

Audience: Fans of suspense; authors such as Megan Abbott, Ruth Ware, and Mary Kubica

My Impressions: This book was my introduction to detective duo, Morris Keene and Chloe Frohmann; although it started off slow, I liked them and wanted to read more about them. It is the fourth in a series but worked fairly well as a standalone although there has been a rift between the two former partners that clearly took place in an earlier book. However, there is a lot more going on in Look for Her than a police procedural. The story centers on the long-ago disappearance of a young girl and right from the beginning we learn that people still remember Annalise and are haunted by her. Even the therapist has a connection to Annalise, although she is primarily still grieving for the husband she lost four years ago when she isn’t worried about her adult children and failing to appreciate her new husband. I especially liked the glimpses of student life as experienced by the two Cambridge undergraduates. Although some of the plot was improbable, most of the time it was sufficiently fast paced that I was too puzzled to object, and I liked the way the author wove the strands together, eventually tying up the loose ends (except one – why Henry married Hannah-Claire).
Look for Her is set in Cambridge, England, just as I am planning a trip there, which was an unexpected bonus. In fact, my mother just mentioned she wanted to visit the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs (above), and Winslow sets a funeral there (I wondered why the character was Catholic; if there was significance, I missed it). Even more coincidentally my middle sister checked this book out of the library and was reading it the same time I was! This does happen to us occasionally but usually when we are both waiting for a new book by a favorite author. Like me, she did not realize we would be starting mid-series. Although I found this book intriguing, I think my recommendation would be to go back and start with the first book, The Whole World.
Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes. You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews below:

Wednesday, February 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, February 15th: Novel Gossip
Friday, February 16th: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Tuesday, February 20th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, February 21st: Instagram: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Thursday, February 22nd: Dreams, Etc.
Thursday, February 22nd: Jessicamap Reviews
Monday, February 26th: The Ludic Reader
Tuesday, February 27th: Rockin’ and Reviewing
Wednesday, February 28th: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Thursday, March 1st: Thoughts On This ‘n That

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Piece of the World (Book Review)

Title: A Piece of the World
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Publication: William Morrow, Trade Paperback, 2018 (originally published 2017)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Plot: From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”

To Christina Olson, the entire world is her family farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. The only daughter in a family of sons, Christina is tied to her home by health and circumstance, and seems destined for a small life. Instead, she becomes Andrew Wyeth’s first great inspiration, and the subject of one of the best-known paintings of the twentieth century, Christina’s World.

As she did in Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction to vividly reimagine a real moment in history. A Piece of the World is a powerful story of the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, her complicated relationship to her family and inheritance, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

Audience: Fans of historical fiction, books set in New England; those who look at a painting and wonder about the people in it.

My Impressions: This is the third book by Kline I have read, and by far the best; I was completely captivated from beginning to end, and couldn’t wait to recommend it to my younger sister (can there be greater praise?). The author answers questions the rest of us had never gotten around to articulating but yes, now we realize we too wanted to know more about Christina and her world. Kline creates quiet characters whose personalities are larger than life as their strength is revealed.

The story moves back and forth from the past to the then-present in a way that is logical instead of jarring, as the author reveals family conflict and secrets. Christina’s story is sad and painful, and Cushing, Maine is not really the kind of place one wants to visit, but when she leaves briefly it is startling to realize she has never been farther from home than one ill-omened medical visit to Rockland. Fortunately, a kind train conductor makes sure that Christina and her brother get the most out of their first train trip when they travel to see a friend in Boston. There are many little details that show how difficult life was in rural Maine and that Christina was separated from the world not simply by a mysterious illness that crippled her but also physical isolation and parents who actively prevented her from expanding her horizons.  In Orphan Train, I much preferred the historical story to the present but here the timeline is all in the past, albeit at various times during Christina's life.

Purchase Links: Harper Collins Barnes & Noble Amazon IndieBound
Other: This paperback edition includes a color reproduction of Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World, along with a Q&A with bestselling author Kristin Hannah that would be suitable for book groups, also a bonus short story, “Stranded in Ice” about Christina’s unpleasant father.

Source: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and TLC Book Tours for review purposes.  You can visit other stops on the tour and read the reviews below:
Thursday, February 1st: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, February 5th: Instagram: @a_tad_bit_bookish
Wednesday, February 7th: BookNAround
Friday, February 9th: Peppermint PhD
Monday, February 12th: Openly Bookish
Wednesday, February 14th: Life By Kristen
Thursday, February 15th: Man of La Book
Monday, February 19th: Book by Book
Tuesday, February 20th: Rockin’ and Reviewing
Wednesday, February 21st: Instagram: @Novelmombooks
Friday, February 23rd: Instagram: @jackiereadsbooks
Sunday, February 25th: Instagram: @lavieestbooks
Monday, February 26th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Caryn, The Book Whisperer

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Chalk Man (Book Review and Giveaway)

Title: The Chalk Man
Author: C. J. Tudor
Publication: Crown Publishing, Hardcover, 2018
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Giveaway:  I have one copy to give away to someone who likes suspense.  Please leave a message by March 3rd telling me why you would like to be entered and I will pick a winner.  U.S. only.

Plot: In 1986, Eddie and his friends are scruffy English schoolboys on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is a solitary adult who thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.  Alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the kind of suspense novel where the characters are compelling, albeit creepy, and where the twists will surprise even the most cynical reader.

Audience: Fans of authors such as Paula Hawkins, Ruth Ware, Jonathan Kellerman.

My Impressions: Set in the depressing present, looking back at the sordid past, this is a novel of suspense about four 12-year-old English boys, juggling a surprising number of secrets between them (some they know and some which are just beyond their grasp), and how those secrets have endured and poisoned their adult life.  Eddie Adams is at the heart of the story, both as the narrator and because he was in the right place to help save a life at the beginning of the story. As we all have heard, if you save someone’s life, it then belongs to you – or, at the very least, you share a special bond with that person.  And it is surely no coincidence that Eddie became a teacher like the odd Mr. Halloran, who taught at the boys’ school and, among other things, saved Eddie and his father from abuse and false accusations, respectively.  

The best books are about secrets, and this one is fast paced and full of quirky individuals. It was a quick and entertaining read, marred only by the lack of any appealing character. I was reminded of In the Woods by Tana French but she has a defter hand at creating multi-dimensional characters who are flawed yet likable. However, while French and her narrator Rob deliberately leave questions unanswered, C. J. Tudor is more considerate of her reader and clears up some loose ends at the end, which I appreciated.  Then she adds a startling new development on the last page, just to make sure we were still paying attention! Nice touch!

Source: I was provided a pre-publication copy of this book by TLC Book Tours and the publisher for review purposes.
Please join C.J. Tudor for other stops in her tour and follow her on Twitter
Tuesday, January 2nd: BookBub blog “18 Books for Stephen King Fans Coming in 2018”
Friday, January 5th: BookBub blog and Facebook video “16 Novels We’re Looking Forward to Reading in 2018”
Monday, January 8th: Katy’s Library blog and @katyslibrary
Monday, January 8th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, January 9th: @everlasting.charm
Tuesday, January 9th: Clues and Reviews and @cluesandreviews
Wednesday, January 10th: She Treads Softly
Wednesday, January 10th: Moonlight Rendezvous
Wednesday, January 10th: Tome Tender
Thursday, January 11th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Thursday, January 11th: Rockin’ & Reviewing
Friday, January 12th: Snowdrop Dreams
January 15th: BookBub Blog – author guest post “Eight Thrillers with Scary Children/Teenagers”
Tuesday, January 16th: Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, January 16th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, January 17th: Suzy Approved
Wednesday, January 17th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, January 18th: Lit Wit Wine Dine
Thursday, January 18th: Bibliotica
Friday, January 19th: Write Read Life
Friday, January 19th: 5 Minutes for Books
Monday, January 22nd: What is That Book About
Monday, January 22nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, January 23rd: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, January 23rd: The Book Diva’s Reads
Wednesday, January 24th: Girl Who Reads
Thursday, January 25th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Reviews
Friday, January 26th: Lovely Bookshelf
Monday, January 29th: Novel Gossip blog and @novelgossip
Monday, January 29th: A Literary Vacation
Monday, January 29th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, January 30th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, February 1st: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Wild Woman's Guide to Traveling the World (Book Review)

Title: The Wild Woman’s Guide to Traveling the World
Author: Kristin Rockaway
Publication: Trade Paperback, Center Street/Hachette Publishing, 2017
Genre: Fiction
Plot: Sophie is a busy IT consultant, used to leaving New York for weeks at a time to work for various clients, savoring the frequent flyer miles she earns to satisfy her wanderlust. When she meets Carson in Hong Kong, she is immediately attracted to a man who is her opposite – a carefree artist who isn’t interested in a traditional career but has been traveling around the world. Sophie thinks it’s a once in a lifetime fling and throws herself into it, ignoring the emails piling up from her boss and skipping an important meeting. When it’s time to part, she heads back to NYC where she is punished for her vacation inattention by being stuck preparing for audits with a lazy coworker. She misses Carson but his lack of ambition bothered her. Sophie is conflicted between her commitment to the tedious job that she has worked hard to get but doesn’t enjoy and her fear that leaving would make her a failure. It takes losing Carson to make Sophie realize he was right to challenge her to take risks and she can use her inner “wild woman” to find fulfillment – and that perhaps he is not gone for good . . .

Audience: Fans of women’s fiction such as Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, and Emily Giffin

My Impressions: This book is a light-hearted escape, written for armchair travelers and those with their noses to the grindstone who yearn to escape from their jobs for an adventure. At times, it was easy to identify with Sophie who is very good at her job and used to working long hours, trying to get the most out of her work travel by adding a few hours exploring on her way home, as I used to do, but I also found her annoying and overcritical. When the story begins, Sophie is in Hong Kong with her best friend on vacation, and the tearful friend decides to leave after less than a day because she misses her boyfriend. That brought me right back to a time when my friend Christine canceled a trip to England (for a man, of course) with me after I had bought my plane ticket (it took years to forgive her)!

I did feel that Sophie brought most of her troubles on herself. If your boss reluctantly says you can take a vacation if you squeeze in a visit to an important client in Hong Kong and you fail to show up without even calling to cancel, that is rude and irresponsible even if you have met a sexy stranger. And if you have sex with a coworker at the holiday party, it is inevitable that you will have embarrassing interaction with him later. And if you call in sick, it is stupid to stop by your office later in the day looking healthy. And getting drunk in a strange city and picking up strangers in a bar as a woman traveling alone is the opposite of sensible, but has apparently been Sophie’s pattern during her travels. (I think these things were irksome because she was a little sanctimonious while being far from perfect herself!) However, all these missteps lead to Sophie gaining the courage to recognize and follow her dreams, and she gains maturity along the way.   I just wasn't vested in her right to a happy ending!

I enjoyed the cast of characters and the vivid descriptions of New York, especially the charming German restaurant downstairs from Sophie’s apartment. I am not a big beer fan but I would try a pint of Bitburger if ever I come across it!

About the Author: Like her heroine, Kristin Rockaway has an insatiable case of wanderlust. After working in the IT industry for far too many years, she traded the city for the surf and moved to Southern California, where she spends her days happily writing stories instead of software. This is her debut novel.   Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Source: I was provided an electronic copy of this book by the author and publisher for review purposes.
Please join Kristin on her “wild woman” travels with TCL Book Tours by visiting these other bloggers:
Monday, January 22nd:
Friday, January 26th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Friday, January 26th: Wining Wife
Tuesday, February 6th: Rockin’ and Reviewing
Friday, February 9th: Bibliotica
Monday, February 12th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, February 13th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Wednesday, February 14th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, February 15th: Eliot’s Eats