The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas

The Family Tabor

1 Stars

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Date of publication: July 17, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find The Family Tabor: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Harry Tabor is about to be named Man of the Decade, a distinction that feels like the culmination of a life well lived. Gathering together in Palm Springs for the celebration are his wife, Roma, a distinguished child psychologist, and their children: Phoebe, a high-powered attorney; Camille, a brilliant social anthropologist; and Simon, a big-firm lawyer, who brings his glamorous wife and two young daughters. 

But immediately, cracks begin to appear in this smooth facade: Simon hasn’t been sleeping through the night, Camille can’t decide what to do with her life, and Phoebe is a little too cagey about her new boyfriend. Roma knows her children are hiding things. What she doesn’t know, what none of them know, is that Harry is suddenly haunted by the long-buried secret that drove him, decades ago, to relocate his young family to the California desert. As the ceremony nears, the family members are forced to confront the falsehoods upon which their lives are built. 

Set over the course of a single weekend, and deftly alternating between the five Tabors, this provocative, gorgeously rendered novel reckons with the nature of the stories we tell ourselves and our family and the price we pay for second chances.

My Review:

There are times when I request a book from NetGalley, get accepted and immediately think “Oh man, what am I in for“. The Family Tabor is such a book. When I saw it on NetGalley, I immediately thought it would be a book like The Ring by Danielle Steele. A drama that crosses generations of the same family. In a way, The Family Tabor is like that. But it also is not like that. This book isn’t a multigenerational drama. Instead, it focuses on secrets and how they can wreak havoc with lives.

I found The Family Tabor to be confusing to read. The 3rd person perspective jumped from family member to family member in the same chapter. I could be reading about what Roma was thinking and then it switched to Phoebe with no warning. There were times that I had to reread the chapter to understand who I was reading about. I do not like it when I have to do that. It ruins the flow of reading for me.

While I understand Harry’s guilt over something that happened over 20 years ago, I don’t understand how he suppressed the memory of it. I am not an expert on these things but his company was funded with some of the missing money. You would think that he would remember something like that. It didn’t scream realistic to me. It also didn’t make me like him once the full truth came out. He took advantage of a situation and got away with it.

Out of the 3 kids’ issues, the only one that I actually connected with was Camille’s. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Simon’s issues were spiritual. Phoebe was the one that I couldn’t understand. She didn’t have to lie about having a boyfriend. But she did. It made no sense.

I didn’t like Simon’s wife. When he told her that he wanted to look more into his religion, she flipped her wig. She didn’t want him to be a Jew? Seriously? And to end her marriage of 10 years because of that was ridiculous. So much for true love. Also, her irritation with Lucy and her repeating words was beyond annoying. To be honest, after that bigoted comment, I skimmed over her parts. I didn’t want to read anything more about her.

I wish more attention had been paid to Roma. I was fascinated by her grandmother’s story and how it shaped Roma’s life. I was also fascinated by Roma’s profession. I wanted to know more about her patient and why that child was running.

The last half of the book was as awkward to read as the first half. I barely hung in throughout Harry’s epiphany and disappearance. The only thing that perked me up was the almost mystical dreams that Camille, Simon, and Phoebe had. I felt that their resolutions to their problems were convenient. Even the end of the book was blah. I saw it coming from a mile away.

What I liked about The Family Tabor:

A) Nothing. Normally I find something nice to put here but yeah, not this time

What I disliked about The Family Tabor:

A) Confusing to read

B) Simon’s bigoted wife

C) Everything after Harry’s disappearance

I would give The Family Tabor a rating of Adult. There is mild violence. There is mild language. There are sexual situations and sex but they are very vague. I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 21.

There are no triggers in The Family Tabor.

The Family Tabor is a book that I would not recommend to family and friends. I would not reread this book or be willing to read any other books by the author.

I would like to thank Flatiron Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Family Tabor.

All opinions stated in this review of The Family Tabor are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall

The Subway Girls

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: July 10th, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find The Subway Girls: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever.

Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job—and her future.

The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.

My Review:

I like reading women’s fiction and historical fiction, I have had issues finding books that can focus on both of those genres. They are few and far between. So when I read the blurb for The Subway Girls, I almost didn’t get this book. I almost passed it over. I am glad that I didn’t because I would have missed a fantastic book that takes place in 1949 and present day.

I liked how the storylines mirrored each other. I didn’t get confused when going between the time periods because they were doing (or trying to get into) the same field of work. Even the mindset of the men (past and present) were the same. The only time the storylines stopped mirroring each other was when Charlotte was in the Miss Subways contest and Olivia was working on finding a way to keep her job. Even then, it was only for a couple of chapters. Then it was right back to mirroring each other.

I thought Charlotte was progressive for her time. She was trying to get into a field that was dominated by men (think Don Draper). She was optimistic until she got the last rejection letter. I liked how she called the guy and told him to keep her in mind. She had no real interest in doing the beauty contest, she entered on a whim. She needed the money but thought that she would at least have a job if they got back to her. I loved her reaction to being asked to do something that she was uncomfortable with. I was chanting “You go girl” the entire time.

I liked Olivia but I felt that she wasn’t as developed as Charlotte’s character was at first. Then she gained depth. She was a strong person but she also had a certain vulnerability to her. I didn’t get her being in love with her boss. I felt that the book didn’t have to go that way. I also felt that her co-worker was a little too hostile to women. Considering what happened at the end of the book, I wasn’t surprised. But still. I liked how she made time for her elderly next door neighbor and her grandson.

Rose’s betrayal set the tone for the last half of the book. Not going to get into it but Charlotte did the absolute right thing when she did what she did.

I loved how the author brought the two storylines together. How I didn’t see what I didn’t see is beyond me. The author did a great job at keeping Ben’s grandmother’s identity a secret. There were a few red herrings thrown out. Same goes for Olivia’s Subway Girls revival. I was so mad when the events happened the way they did.

I should mention that the contest was based on a contest that was run in New York City. The author had an afterward where she described how she took that contest and made it her own.

The end of the book cleared up some details that I figured out but needed to see in print. I like that it ended happily but realistically.

What I liked about The Subway Girls:

A) That it was based on a real contest.

B) Well developed characters

C) Interesting plot with plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

What I disliked about The Subway Girls:

A) Olivia’s relationship with her boss.

B) Charlotte not being taken seriously in her career choice

C) Rose’s betrayal

I would give The Subway Girls an Older Teen rating. There are sexual situations but nothing graphic. There is language. There is mild violence.

There are no trigger warnings in The Subway Girls.

I would recommend The Subway Girls to family and friends. This is a book that I could see myself rereading.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Subway Girls.

All opinions stated in this review of The Subway Girls are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

Before and Again

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: June 26th, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Trigger Warning: Traumatic loss of a child

Where you can find Before and Again: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends―and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made―though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself―or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

My Review:

I did something that I keep swearing that I’ll stop doing. I judged the Before and Again by its blurb. I figured it would be one of those chick lit books where the heroine was insufferable. Guess what. It isn’t. Instead, this is a beautifully written book about accepting loss and second chances. I will warn everyone, you will need Kleenex. You will cry. Not a “maybe” you will cry but a definite yes you will cry.

I felt bad for Mackenzie/Maggie. In a short amount of time, she lost everything. She decided to start over in Vermont because of the media frenzy that surrounded her court case. She fought hard for every bit of peace and quiet. When her ex-husband showed up as the new owner of the spa that she worked in, she could see her hard-won peace of mind slipping. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to handle it if my ex showed up. I would have lost it. I don’t blame her for acting the way she did. She was dealing with a lot.

What got me the most with this book was the amount of pain and guilt that Maggie had. My heart broke every time she thought about Lily. When Edward showed up in her town, it brought back all those memories that she tried to suppress came back…good and bad. Everything that she didn’t get a chance to resolve started bubbling up. My heart broke during those scenes between Edward and Maggie. So much was left unsaid 5 years before. So much that it drove them apart.

I will be honest, I didn’t like Grace at all. She was self-absorbed. I thought her friendship with Maggie was one-sided for most of the book. Maggie tried to be there for her and kept getting pushed away. Even when Maggie was instrumental in finding out Grace’s big secret and getting her help, she was still ungrateful. She kept pushing her away. Made me think that she was an ungrateful idiot. Plus, her reaction when Chris was first brought in for questioning grated on me too. More concerned about what people would think about her than the trouble her teenager was in.

The storyline with Maggie’s mother was another one that had me ugly crying during it. The regret that her mother had been almost tangible. I felt bad that it took 5 years and a broken hip for the reconciliation to happen.

The end of the book was what I expected. Everyone’s storyline got wrapped up. Some I was happy with and some I was not. I did think that Grace’s big secret should have been revealed earlier in the book. I felt that it was kind of a letdown when she finally told what it was. I also didn’t like how Maggie’s brother showed up out of nowhere after no contact for 5 years. And acted like everything was OK. Everything was not OK.

What I liked about Before and Again:

A) Well written characters

B) The storylines. Fantastic

C) Great world building

What I disliked about Before and Again:

A) How much this book made me cry

B) Grace. Couldn’t stand her

C) Maggie’s brother showing up out of the blue

I would give Before and Again an Adult rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Before and Again. They would be a traumatic loss of a child.

I would reread Before and Again. I would also recommend this book to family and friends

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Before and Again.

All opinions stated in this review of Before and Again are mine

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers: Book 1) by Erin McCarthy

The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers, #1)

3.5 Stars (rounded down to 3 stars for all outlets that need a star rating)

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of Publication: May 8th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Series: The Jordan Brothers

The Hookup – Book 1

The Breakup – Book 2 (expected publication date: August 14th, 2018)

Where you can find The Hookup: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Is there an equation for the perfect hookup? Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than one plus one. . . .

Sophie: Numbers are my comfort zone, which explains why my sex life is a big fat zero. Then again, if I’m smart enough to earn a PhD, why can’t I calculate a way to get a guy into bed, just to see what all the fuss is about? With my prima donna sister, Bella, getting married in Maine, I figure her wedding is the perfect opportunity for my little experiment. And Cain Jordan seems hot enough—he’s certainly drunk enough—to show me what I’ve been missing. Judging by the body of evidence, it’s a lot. . . .

Cain: Being stuck in the same town as my lying SOB twin brother, Christian—who may or may not be the father of the son I’m not allowed to see—is a hell of a reason to drink myself silly after the lobster boat docks each day. Any port in a storm. . . . But Sophie’s different. She doesn’t play around. And she’s becoming a habit I don’t want to break. Because the smartest woman I’ve ever met is also the sexiest—and the only one who makes me want to change.

Don’t miss Bella and Christian’s story in The Breakup!

Continue reading

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away

5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: May 15th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find How to Walk Away: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.

 

Continue reading

Royal Treatment (His Royal Hotness: Book 2) by Tracy Wolff

Royal Treatment (His Royal Hotness, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Trigger Warning:

Series: His Royal Hotness

Royal Pain – Book 1 (review here)

Royal Treatment – Book 2

Where you can find Royal Treatment: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Trigger Warning: PTSD, talk of past torture

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

What’s a crown prince to do with time on his hands? Or better yet, who? It’s Prince Garrett’s turn to find love in this mouth-watering standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Royal Pain.

Once upon a time, I was being groomed to sit on the throne of Wildemar. Now I’m lucky they let me into the palace through the front door. After I was kidnapped and tortured by extremists, my reward upon my release is that nobody trusts me enough to let me be king. And since my twin brother, Kian, has assumed all my responsibilities, I figure why not take over as the black sheep?

But after breaking things off with my betrothed—we never had much chemistry, anyway—and giving the jet-setting playboy lifestyle a try, I’m starting to wonder if I’m cut out for this s***. Then I meet Lola Barnes, a drop-dead gorgeous entrepreneur from the States who’s as refreshing as she is feisty. 

It’s supposed to be a one-night-stand—until the press catches wind of my “new American sweetheart.” Trouble is, Lola’s no sweetheart. But the more I see our names together in the headlines, the more I find myself craving another taste. . . .

My review:

Don’t let the blurb of Royal Treatment fool you. There is more to this book than a jet-setting prince. I went into Royal Treatment thinking that this was going to be a light read. A book with plenty of sex and Instalove. While I got the latter two, I was not expecting the heavy subject that the book explored.

The author did a fantastic job of catching us up from Royal Pain. Garrett is no longer the Prince Regent. His kidnapping deemed him unfit in his father’s eyes and he was let go of his duties. Now, Kian, his twin, is now the Prince Regent. Garrett is hurting. From the kidnapping and torture. From his father’s unrealistic view of what happened to him. Meeting Lola was what he needed. She soothed his broken soul. Can Lola help Garrett face what happened to him? Or will she be another person who turns their back on him when he needs it the most?

I wasn’t the hugest fan of Lola at the beginning of the book. She came across as brash and argumentative. But, the more the story went on, the more I could see how she affected Garrett. She was able to keep his nightmares at bay. More importantly, she soothed him. It was in Paris where I started to like her. I loved her when she stood up to Kian for Garrett. I said “You go girl” and double fist pumped the sky. I also got her hesitation about being a relationship with Garrett. I know I wouldn’t have dealt with paps all over the place. Which is also why I wonder how Megan Markle deals with it? I would have been driven bat poop crazy.

Garrett was such a tortured person. As I was reading the book from his perspective, I realized that he was still recovering from his kidnapping and torture. His nightmares were a huge clue for me. I got his pain from being relieved from his duty as Prince Regent. That was his life. It was all he knew and when he was told “No more“, he didn’t know what to do with himself.

There is Instalove. Dreaded Instalove. I do expect some degree of Instalove in romance novels that I read. But when it is laid on thick, which it was in this case, I do a lot of eye-rolling and sighing out loud.

I couldn’t get over how cruel the King was to Garrett. As a parent, I was appalled by how callous he was to him. If my son had been kidnapped and tortured, I would have been devastated. He was more worried about how the people would view Garrett. I didn’t see an ounce of compassion towards him. At all. After the phone conversation with Garrett, I wanted to drop kick him in the boy bits. What Garrett went through couldn’t be healed like a physical injury. He needed time to heal. He also needed a family to support him. Which he kinda got with Kian. But not from the King.

Of course, the sex was fantastic. Lola and Garrett could heat up the sheets with the best of them. If my Kindle was a book, the pages would have been on fire for sure.

I am not going to get into the ending of Royal Treatment. All I have to say is that it was one of the rawest, most emotional endings that I have read to date.

What I liked about Royal Treatment:

A) Lola. Took me a while to like her but she was awesome towards the end of the book.

B) Garrett. Read above

C) Kian and Savvy making appearances. Loved it!!

What I disliked about Royal Treatment:

A) Instalove. Bleh.

B) The King. Couldn’t stand him

C) What happened towards the end of the book.

I would give Royal Treatment an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is violence. Also, there is a scene of a breakdown that could trigger people. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Royal Treatment. They are: PTSD, talk of past torture, and a scene containing a breakdown.

I would recommend Royal Treatment to family and friends. I would include a note about the triggers. This is a book and a series that I would reread.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Royal Treatment.

All opinions stated in this review of Royal Treatment are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

The High Tide Club

4 Stars

Publisher: St.  Martin’s Press

Date of publication: May 8th, 2018

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery

Trigger Warning: Rape, Attempted Rape, Domestic Violence

Where you can find The High Tide Club: Amazon | Goodreads

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekender comes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations.

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons Brooke Trappnell to Talisa Island, her 20,000 acre remote barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter with Brooke, who is an attorney, but Brooke knows that Mrs. Warrick has long been a client of a prestigious Atlanta law firm.

Over a few meetings, the ailing Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, secrets, betrayal and a long-unsolved murder. She tells Brooke she is hiring her for two reasons: to protect her island and legacy from those who would despoil her land, and secondly, to help her make amends with the heirs of the long dead women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth and Varina. When Josephine dies with her secrets intact, Brooke is charged with contacting Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met.

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found.

My Review:

I went into this book thinking that it would be your typical chick-lit book. Well, it isn’t. What I discovered is that The High Tide Club is so much more than that. This was a wonderfully written book that didn’t let its secrets up until the end.

I loved the main storyline of the book. A 99-year-old heiress summons a lawyer to her island. The lawyer agrees to take on her requests: protect her island from the state and to find her friends heirs. But in doing that, the lawyer uncovers more secrets. When the heiress dies before her will was finalized. But there are questions about the heiresses death. There is also a question about who should inherit her fortune. The more digging the lawyer does, the more secrets and mysteries are uncovered. Can the lawyer fulfill her client’s requests and keep impartial? Or will she be swept away by the secrets that keep turning up?

 

This book had everything to keep me engaged as a reader. Romance? Yup, there. Mystery? Tons of it. Action? Surprisingly yes. Suspense? Yes. Thriller? Surprisingly, yes. When an author can combine different genres into a book and make them work, it is great. And this author did that.

I thought the main characters, Brooke and Josephine were well written. Their strong personalities came off the pages. I couldn’t help but care about what was going to happen with the island and its inhabitants after Josephine dies. I also came to care for Brooke. She had her problems but she strove to meet them head on. I could see her character growth throughout the book. The change in her from the beginning of the book was amazing.

The secondary characters added that extra “ummph” to the book. They were able to fill in the gaps in the storyline with their own stories and personalities. That makes a book so much more enjoyable for me to read.

There was only one thing that I didn’t like about this book. It was how the book went from past to present and back without warning. I did get confused at times about what era I was reading about until names were given. It did affect my rating because I like my books to run smoothly. And for the most part it did.

I loved, loved, loved the mystery angle of the book. Not only did the author keep the main mystery under wraps but she did a fantastic job of keeping all the other ones too. I only figured out two of them and that was by doing a process of elimination. The twist that she threw in for the main one got me because I was not expecting that to happen. But, it was the murder mystery that shocked me. Looking back, I could see it now. And I understood why that person did what they did.

The romance angle of the book was kind of messed up. Almost every one of the romances ended badly. Even the one that was hinted about at the end of the book, I was iffy about. But when the romance was on, it was good. Sweet, almost.

The end of the book was bittersweet. The author did a great job of wrapping up all the storylines. As a reader, I was very satisfied by that.

What I liked about The High Tide Club:

A) Excellent storylines

B) Kept me engaged as a reader

C) Romance and Mystery angle was fantastic

What I disliked about The High Tide Club:

A) Book didn’t transition smoothly between past and present

B) The C.D. storyline.

C) Brooke. I didn’t like her

I would give The High Tide Club an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is mild violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. Mainly because of the triggers.

The High Tide Club does have trigger warnings. They would be rape, attempted rape, and domestic violence. There is a scene with a young teenager about to be raped (the author didn’t get into it). There is also a scene that features attempted rape along with domestic violence. If you are triggered by any of these, I suggest not reading the book.

I would recommend The High Tide Club to family and friends. I would include a warning about the triggers. This is a book that I would reread.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The High Tide Club.

All opinions stated in this review of The High Tide Club are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**