Ladies’ Night

Ladies' NightLadies' Night
by Mary Kay Andrews
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 9781250019677
Publication Date: June 24, 2013
Pages: 456
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Grace Stanton's life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool. Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style. Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal. So is attending court-mandated weekly "divorce recovery" therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality. When their "divorce coach" starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday "Ladies' Night" sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined. Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there?

Heartache, humor, and a little bit of mystery come together in a story about life's unpredictable twists and turns. Mary Kay Andrews' Ladies' Night will have you raising a glass and cheering these characters on.


 

Definitely not one of her best books, but not nearly as poor as I was led to believe.  Admittedly, it’s set in my home town, which never fails to delight me as my home town only read made it on to the map in the last 15 years or so.  But I enjoyed following the main character’s vision and her hard work on restoring the Cracker house, and I thoroughly enjoyed the romantic interest’s background of owning Jungle Jerry’s, a fictional but entirely accurate take on Sarasota Jungle Gardens, right down to the parrot that rides a bike.

Nostalgia definitely bumped the rating on this book at least a star; the villains were too villainous to be real – although in Florida non of them were impossible – and the plots were superficial at best.  I always hold up her non detective fiction against her an early work of hers, Hissy Fit, and this falls far short of that incredibly readable story, but it’s not, as I said, her worst.  Living as far from home as one can get and still be on the planet, I thoroughly enjoyed the virtual trip home, so, 4 stars.

 

The Bookshop on the Shore

The Bookshop on the ShoreThe Bookshop on the Shore
by Jenny Colgan
Rating: ★★★★
isbn: 0062850180
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Pages: 416
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

This one was an average chick-lit/romance that was only marginally about books, though they sounded like heavenly books in a library out of my dreams.  The setting was the same as The Bookshop on the Corner, and a couple of characters from the first book play minor roles in this one, but otherwise the story is completely stand alone.

And it’s ok.  It’s saved from complete mediocrity by a plot twist that was unexpected – at least by me; with my limited backlist of books in this genre, it’s probably not hard to surprise me.

It was a diverting read, though not as good as The Book Charmer, whose strong sense of place kept interfering in my mind with the weaker one here;  Perhaps I might have enjoyed this one more if it hadn’t come on the tails of that more vividly written and charming book.

Death, Taxes, and Hot Pink Leg Warmers

Well, I’m not sure about the ending, but the rest is excellent! Great characters, snappy dialogue and excellent story lines.

 

I enjoy the way the author goes between two or more story lines in these books, each one is a nice break from the other and it keeps things interesting. The main plot line was intense, so the secondary plot offered a breather and I enjoyed reading about the individual agencies working together.

 

The sexual tension between Nick and Tara is fun and the author does an excellent job with the writing – enough to be steamy, not so much as to be veering into erotic writing.  This has been a strong series from the beginning and I’m looking forward to the next book, which luckily is only a couple of months away.

A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses

I loved Molly Harper’s Nice Girl’s series – the characters were people I wanted for friends. If I could live in one of the fictional universe’s in my books, Half Moon Hallow would rank in my top 5 list – IF I could work at Specialty books.

 

So having said all that, of course I loved this book. While Jane and Andrea aren’t center stage, they are a major part of the book and plot – as is Dick. Nola isn’t quite as left of center as these loveable members of HMH, but she plays a great straight-man to many of their antics.

 

I’m a sucker for treasure hunts, so the plot of this book appealed to me: searching for four objects necessary for the continuation of her family’s magic. Ms. Harper tried to keep each artefact search a little bit different, nothing too clichéd. I loved the scene at Jane’s parents house – very funny.

 

Overall, a great addition to the Half Moon Hollow Universe. I hope Ms. Harper continue’s to spin her tales in that little town in Kentucky for some time to come.

Garden Spells

I put off reading this book for a long time because I figured it had to be one of those emotionally manipulative tear jerkers, but the lure of a book with magic and the recommendation of a trusted book-twin had me cracking it open.

 

Just a lovely, brilliant book that grabbed me from the first page. Each character came to life vividly and I just didn’t want to stop reading about any of them. I genuinely enjoyed that the author did not take us down the clichéd path with Sydney or with Fred – in a book all about magic (or mostly about magic), the author chose to take the more realistic path. The book’s climax is predictable, given the plot points, but thank you Ms. Addison Allen for not drawing it out and making it any more melodramatic than it needed to be. It was just right – and deliciously ironic.

 

My only complaint: I truly feel that poor old apple tree is just horribly mis-understood.

Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria (Tara Halloway #4)

This series is just so much fun. While Peach Sangria is a mystery, it’s not your typical murder mystery.

 

Tara is after terrorists by going after their source of money. It’s a slow story to develop and there’s a lot more character development going on, bulking up the book. But I like the character development so I don’t mind at all that the ‘plot’ isn’t front and center and taking up Tara’s every move.  

 

In the land of character development, Ms. Kelly gave us a love triangle a few books ago, and it’s resolved in this book (thank goodness!). She also does something I don’t think any author to date has done: gotten me to switch loyalties from one man to the other. Usually once a love interest is introduced, and it’s a good one, I get really snippy about author’s messing with the status quo. But Ms. Kelly has done a very good job of changing my loyalties and handling the love triangle resolution with grace.  

No Quest For The Wicked (Enchanted, Inc., #6)

This is such a great series for anyone looking for a light, fun, humorous read. No Quest for the Wicked is so action-packed it’s almost exhausting to read, but a lot of fun during the wild ride. I hope this is a series she continues to enjoy success with as I look forward to seeing all the great characters again soon.

Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray (Tara Holloway Mystery #3)

I think this may be my favourite book in this series so far. I thought that the plot was a slightly different spin on the typical mystery – no murders for a start – and the need for Tara to be creative in order to bring down the ‘bad guy’. I put this on my shelves as a cozy mystery, but really it’s a bit more of a chick-lit mystery – the romance is just a little bit more explicit and the language just a little bit more vulgar than what most would consider ‘cozy’. But the humour is dry and wry and the romantic tension is ratcheted up a notch in this book as Tara tries to decide who is a better fit in her life, Brett or Nick.  An excellent read, I really enjoyed it.

Trail of the Spellmans (Spellman Files Series #5)

I can’t say anything except this is an excellent book. Funny, endearing, interesting. As with all the previous ‘documents’ there are quite a few plot lines and Izzy Spellman does her usual excellent job at getting to the bottom of all of them. The evolution of character development throughout all the books has been interesting, humorous and at times painful to witness and bittersweet.

 

I’d have given this book 5 stars, but was personally disappointed with the resolution of one of the story lines.

 

A definite recommendation for anyone who enjoys some hilarity with their sincerity.

Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte (Tara Holloway Series #2)

I took a break from reading this book after about 6 chapters because it wasn’t holding my attention. I picked it back up after a few days and found myself much more interested in the rest of the book.

 

Slow start or short attention span, the book picked up quickly afterwards and while you pretty much always know who the bad guy is, I found myself looking forward to finding out how they catch him in the end. Lots of action, a few slapstick moments and great characters. I’ll be on the lookout for the third book.