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All posts for the month May, 2015

Fat Girl Walking review

Published May 27, 2015 by francesothomas

I am definitely not the right demographic for Brittany Gibbons’ new book Fat Girl Walking. I am far more comfortable with the likes of Erma Bombeck and Phyllis Diller. I know. Scary, right? Those long-ago women chronicled the day-to-day travails of suburban housewives with less profanity but also, I must admit, with less honesty.

Diller built a career by putting down her own appearance. Gibbons too starts down that path, describing how being overweight negatively affected her life. I found the first half of her book really difficult to read. To me, it seemed her weight was the least of her problems. The photos on her website reveal a stunning woman.

Dealing with her father’s behavior after he suffered a traumatic brain injury sounded much harder. And sadder. This is supposed to be a humorous book, but I was not laughing.

It is when Gibbons gets to the point in her life where she has a daughter of her own that the book finally began to resonate even with me. Her realization that her daughter is beginning to reflect and mimic her attitude about her body starts Gibbons down a different path, that of acceptance of her body, no matter what its size.

Gibbons has trod that path all the way to a TED talk on the subject and now a book. Brava to her. May her courage and wisdom rub off on all of us.

photos of Brittany Gibbons

photos of Brittany Gibbons

Four Nights with the Duke review

Published May 20, 2015 by francesothomas

It cannot be said too often that I am a huge fan of Eloisa James. She is just so darn smart. Her latest novel Four Nights with the Duke is a delight.

As she often does, Ms. James sneaks in English literature references. See if you recognize the one on page three. This time, she also gives a sly shout out to fellow authors Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas. The heroine, Mia, is herself a romance novelist, and it was great fun to see the progression of her writing as her own story unfolded.

The dialogue between Mia and Vander, her duke, sparkles. Vander’s perpetually inebriated uncle and Mia’s nephew are wonderfully drawn characters. Even the duke’s horse has a “winning” personality.

Poor Mia has no idea that the figure she considers dumpy and unappealing has quite the opposite effect on men. Vander, on the other hand, is quite confident about his own charms. He foresees no problem in insisting Mia will have to beg him for those precious four nights of the title, but what she wants is a marriage of convenience only.  At least with him. She needs his name, but she hasn’t forgiven him for making fun of her and her literary pretensions years before.

Mia is the eighth of James’ desperate duchesses. I can’t wait for the ninth.

Eloisa_hallway

Fish Perfume review

Published May 13, 2015 by francesothomas

fish_perfume_cover_for_kindle

Ya gotta love a romance with the title of Fish Perfume. This novel by Sammie Grace is almost too cute for words. There isn’t really much of a plot since all the citizens of Cozy Harbor are too nice to have much conflict. Sometimes, however, a lightweight and funny read hits the spot.

The author obviously knows her way around a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. I particularly loved the nicknames of the characters and the clever names of the boats. The marina where this is set sounds like such a great place to visit that the romance takes a back seat to the atmosphere and the supporting characters.

I got a few mixed messages though. The language sometimes veered into raunchy territory, yet the physical romance stayed behind closed doors. Nobody seemed to be concerned about drinking and driving. Even the hooker was just a likeable girl with a second job.

I see on Ms. Grace’s website that she has written and self-published a second Cozy Harbor book. Definitely worth a look.

Getting Lucky review

Published May 6, 2015 by francesothomas

Jennifer (1)

I’m grateful to Avon for granting me access to a review copy of Jennifer Seasons’ Getting Lucky. This is the first in her Fortune, Colorado series. Having been to Aspen and to the Kentucky Derby and thoroughly enjoying both, I thought I’d love this book, but that was not to be.

I couldn’t work up any sympathy for Shannon, the heroine of this one. She is a grown woman still desperately seeking the approval of her not-very-nice daddy. To do so, she agrees to deceive and spy on Sean, a rival horse breeder.

Physically, Sean fits the bill of a romantic hero, but he too is lying about his identity. The fact that he’s been growing very rich while living in this sweet little place under an assumed name for years without anyone ever questioning his background seems a stretch.

I felt as though this book couldn’t decide whether it was romantic comedy or  suspense. It was too dark for one and too light for the other.

The town itself sounded charming. So did the town librarian who will be the heroine of the next book in this series.  I’m holding out hopes for the librarian’s book.

Blurb

Welcome to Fortune, Colorado—where the air is clean, the men are rugged, and the all the good ones… are bachelors.

Born into the infamous Charlemagne equestrian empire, Shannon has been raised to do whatever it takes for the family business. Even if it means going undercover and digging up dirt on a competitor. It’s easy enough when she believes he’s a bad guy whose success seems too good to be true. In fact, Shannon’s excited to put the aggravatingly sexy Irishman in his place and get back in her father’s good graces. All she needs is to stay focused on the goal … and out of Sean Muldoon’s arms.

From stealing a thoroughbred racehorse from the Irish mob to striking gold in the mountains of Colorado, there’s little Sean hasn’t experienced. But when it comes to resisting his hot new stable manager, he’s out of luck. With the mob hot on his heels, keeping Shannon off their radar is all but impossible, and he’s not about to put her in danger too. Sean wants Shannon, but how can he offer her a future … when he can’t even guarantee tomorrow?

Getting Lucky review

Published May 6, 2015 by francesothomas

Jennifer (1)

I’m grateful to Avon for granting me access to a review copy of Jennifer Seasons’ Getting Lucky. This is the first in her Fortune, Colorado series. Having been to Aspen and to the Kentucky Derby and thoroughly enjoying both, I thought I’d love this book, but that was not to be.

I couldn’t work up any sympathy for Shannon, the heroine of this one. She is a grown woman still desperately seeking the approval of her not-very-nice daddy. To do so, she agrees to deceive and spy on Sean, a rival horse breeder.

Physically, Sean fits the bill of a romantic hero, but he too is lying about his identity. The fact that he’s been growing very rich while living in this sweet little place under an assumed name for years without anyone ever questioning his background seems a stretch.

I felt as though this book couldn’t decide whether it was romantic comedy or  suspense. It was too dark for one and too light for the other.

The town itself sounded charming. So did the town librarian who will be the heroine of the next book in this series.  I’m holding out hopes for the librarian’s book.

Blurb

Welcome to Fortune, Colorado—where the air is clean, the men are rugged, and the all the good ones… are bachelors.

Born into the infamous Charlemagne equestrian empire, Shannon has been raised to do whatever it takes for the family business. Even if it means going undercover and digging up dirt on a competitor. It’s easy enough when she believes he’s a bad guy whose success seems too good to be true. In fact, Shannon’s excited to put the aggravatingly sexy Irishman in his place and get back in her father’s good graces. All she needs is to stay focused on the goal … and out of Sean Muldoon’s arms.

From stealing a thoroughbred racehorse from the Irish mob to striking gold in the mountains of Colorado, there’s little Sean hasn’t experienced. But when it comes to resisting his hot new stable manager, he’s out of luck. With the mob hot on his heels, keeping Shannon off their radar is all but impossible, and he’s not about to put her in danger too. Sean wants Shannon, but how can he offer her a future … when he can’t even guarantee tomorrow?