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review 2020-08-11 12:25
A Walk In The Park by Jane Green
A Walk in the Park - Jane Green

A descrepency, but it didn't ruin the story. You, as a reader, have to be willing to look past the little things. Like whether the dog had stitches or not.
Still this was short and sweet!
I definitely am left wanting more, and wanting to know how this relationship develops further between Bill and Olivia. 
In such a short time I was able to see what a talented writer Jane Green is. She pulled me right into their chaotic and funny world, and left me pining away!
Gotta go find more from this author right away!



Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2020/08/a-walk-in-park-by-jane-green-42.html
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review 2018-12-24 13:09
Saving Grace by Jane Green
Saving Grace - Jane Green

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted's rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted's longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it's clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.





Grace Chapman has been married 20 years now to Ted, a once wildly popular crime novelist whose career now seems to be on the wane. Conversely, Grace's career as a chef has been on quite the climb locally.  An impressive feat, managing to building a career for herself while also serving as her husband's career manager since Ellen, Ted's assistant of 15 years had to leave the position to become the caretaker for her mother battling Alzheimer's. Along with stepping into the roll of Ted's manager comes the added stress of how to get his popularity back on the rise.


Starting to feel the pressure just a little too much, Grace reluctantly decides to interview for an assistant to her husband. In walks Beth, whose credentials and work ethic seem too good to be true... and you know how that saying goes. Eager to get some relief and extra help around the Chapman homestead, Grace doesn't hesitate much in hiring Beth. All seems wonderful and glowy at first. Grace even finds herself starting to consider Beth a friend. But then there's that quiet shift, where things begin to turn odd.


The change is almost imperceptible at first, but grows in steady intensity along with Grace's suspicions, as the story progresses. Things go missing or get damaged. Little changes in Beth's demeanor start to show. Though she arrived as a shy and mousy type, she begins to grow more bold in speech and dress. Beth even begins to mimic Grace's fashion, right down to Grace's hairstyle... Grace finds it all flattering at first, but once her clothes start to go missing, she starts to get the first inklings of something problematic. Little by little, behind the scenes, Beth carries out little details and schemes that leave Grace questioning her own sanity... to the point where Beth actually convinces Ted to have Grace committed. From there, the story becomes Grace fighting her way back out of this hell to prove to everyone she's not insane and she means to have her life back!


One thing this novel does well is convey the adult fears of someone who had been raised by a bipolar / manic depressive parent. Having been through it myself, I can attest that that fear of "will I be like them when I grow up?" does follow you and plague you all through your adult years, having noticeable affect on your relationships down the road. Grace's therapist, at least his form of care, I found deeply disturbing yet not uncommon in the mental health field these days, I suspect. The whole idea of "This is what you have, take this pill, don't research it just take my word for it that you need it."


The mountain of pills Grace gets buried under! The therapist starts her on Depakote, later moves her to Nuvigil, then adds on Metformin. At this point, the meds are causing her to have insatiable food cravings for carbs / junk food. After developing BED (binge eating disorder), Grace's therapist suggests incorporating Topamax, Lexapro, maybe even Provigil into her pill cycle. No surprise that despite anything she thought she was sure of about herself, Grace begins to question if, in fact, everyone was onto something and she is possibly losing her mind.


Grace, unfamiliar with doctors at every level, finds herself regressing back to a child, where doctors were akin to God, where when they told you they knew better than you, you believed them. Who is she, wife, mother, friend, who is she to tell the psychiatrist he might be wrong? He does, after all, do this for a living. If he says this is so, then what else can she do but let it be so....


She examines the bottle, turning it over and over, preparing herself to set foot on a journey she does not want to start... 


But think, she tells herself, of what you having been feeling of late. Think of the anger, the tears, the way you sometimes feel as if your head will explode with all the chaos it contains. What if he is right, and my resistance, my lack of willingness to believe in the diagnosis, is part of the disease? What if these pills do indeed turn out to be magic, and I am restored back to my old self? Then it would be worth it. She doesn't have to stay on them for long. Right now she doesn't have much fight left in her. The easiest thing to do is to take them to make everyone happy. And if they don't work, she'll simply stop. 


Speaking of her binge eating.... while I sympathize with Grace's struggle during the ridiculous flood of medications, one of the struggles I HAD with this book is having to listen to the amount of moaning she did about her clothing size going up just a few sizes. At the start of the novel, I think she's somewhere around a 4-6 size, a number of passages describing how much Grace loves her tiny body in all these fashionable designer threads. Over the course of the novel, as there is more and more binge eating, naturally her size creeps up, and she has a good cry at each number increase. While I understood the frustration of this to a point, what bugged me is that by the end of the story, it sounds like Grace only climbs to maybe a 12-14 size --- I'm guessing because I don't remember actual sizes being mentioned, I'm only going by how Grace describes her body and the fact that I don't recall her ever crying over having to break down and go shopping for plus sized clothes. Seems like she always had an easy enough time finding clothes off the rack, even with the weight gain.


Yes, going from a 4 to a 12 is a noticeable change in the body -- again, a path I've been on myself --- but good lord, the sheer amount of crying and self hate she unleashes, she acts like she's going to be cast for My 600 Lb Life any day now! Even when an old friend from her past comes back into her life full of compliments and affirmations, telling her he finds her more full figure gorgeous, she initially casts his love away like "he clearly must have some weird fat fetish". I felt for the guy, the amount of convincing he had to do that he was not some kind of feeder type! Meanwhile, as the reader, I'm over here internally screaming, "You're not event that big! WTF!" Horror of horrors, your tops temporarily had to go from a small to a large... I swear, first world problems LOL. And it's not just that, there are also pity parties she throws herself over having to use drugstore makeup instead of her beloved Chanel. *eyeroll* Welcome to the peasantry, Grace. Let me show you around my hometown. I wanted to be invested in Grace's mental health journey but her all around personality ended up ruining things for me a bit. 


Considering the premise, I expected this story to be much more gripping than what it actually turned out to be. I went in expecting a kind of The Hand That Rocks The Cradle feel. In actuality? Such a slooooow build followed by an (IMO) unsatisfying finish. It takes nearly 160 pages before any real hint of mystery or suspense kicks in ... and then that ending. The way Jane Green sets it up, I could kind of see it working in a film format, but here it felt too rushed. The dramatic "takedown" that's planned for dirty schemer Beth ends up feeling anticlimactic and, ummm --- did I miss it? --- It seemed like there was no follow up whatsoever on what happened with Ted? We hear about where Grace ends up after all this, but where'd Ted go?!


The recipes were a nice touch, kind of a fun side project for creative readers. There are Grace-inspired recipes at the end of nearly every chapter, either something she crafted in that particular chapter, or a dish that was mentioned or made for her. 

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review 2018-12-22 14:19
Mr. Maybe by Jane Green
Mr. Maybe - Jane Green

To Libby Mason, Mr. Right has always meant Mr. Rich. A twenty-seven-year-old publicist, she’s barely able to afford her fashionable and fabulous lifestyle, and often has to foot the bill for dates with Struggling Writer Nick, a sexy but perpetually strapped-for-cash guy she’s dating (no commitments–really). So when Ed, Britain’s wealthiest but stodgiest bachelor, enters the picture, her idea of the fairy-tale romance is turned on its head. Libby soon finds herself weighing the advantages of Nick’s sexual prowess and tender heart against Ed’s luxurious lifestyle and unlimited retail therapy. But when the diamond shopping commences, Libby is forced to realize that the time for “maybe” is up. 







Londoner Libby Mason has busted her tail all her life to make a little notch for herself in the world. Now a successful publicist to the stars, Libby has carved out a relatively comfortable, mostly financially stable situation for herself as a single gal, but she comes to the realization that she's not really interested in working THIS hard for it for the rest of her life. Feeling her 30s quietly encroaching on her little by little, Libby sets out to nab a rich husband willing to foot the tab for the rest of her life. In her ultimate fantasy, not only will the mystery guy set her up for life financially, but he'll also be insanely good-looking and wildly in love with her til the end of their days. Rich, hot, romantic AND with a crazy generous sex drive --- that's right, Libby's taking us on the hunt for that relationship unicorn! 


Just a little hiccup along the way: Nick. Introduced through mutual friends one night, Nick and Libby click instantly. Going through Libby's mental checklist, Nick is undeniably  gorgeous, charismatic, funny, attentive... and as it soon turns out, tons of fun in the sheets! Only one problem for our main girl --- charming as the guy is, Nick is POOR. Gasp! Horror!  Ahh, poor Libby -- so close! But yeah, charmer Nick is a currently unemployed (living on unemployment checks for the time being) aspiring novelist. One other hitch: he says from the beginning that he's not in the market for a serious relationship, just some fun. Raise your hand if you've had a Nick in your past. *waves* 


Unable to give up the good time that this guy is, Libby decides to put the rich husband search on hold and revel in this "have some fun" period with Nick. But what pretty much always inevitably happens in that FWB scenario? Yep, someone here caught a case of the feelings, despite their best efforts. In this instance, it was both of them, though a good bulk of this story is both of them adamantly denying it. In a bit of a panic, Nick decides to end things with Libby, claiming that he can see SHE is the one who is falling too hard for him, and he just likes her too much to hurt her further. 


Heart and ego bruised, Libby scuffles around in a mope fest for awhile before deciding to dive into her rebound fella, investment banker Ed McMahon (*Note: this is a UK publication, so obvs not the same Ed McMahon known in the States, but still, I had a hard time shaking that image... but it sort of helped with the gag-factor Libby tends to describe around outings with her Ed LOL... wonder how many stars he gave her... ). Again, introduced through mutual friends, Libby and Ed have a decent chat one night while the group is out on the town, but she's not really feeling anything spark-wise on her end. She also doesn't find him terribly attractive (for one, he rocks a mustache -- just the 'stache -- which grosses her out). Ed does ask her out to dinner though, an offer Libby puts off accepting UNTIL she discovers he's a bit of a small time celebrity about town as a highly desired eligible bachelor. Libby doesn't entirely understand his celebrity status, as she finds him kind of ugly and socially awkward, but she likes the idea of being seen with him and having the envy of others, so after a few dates, she agrees to let a relationship develop between them. 


Before long, Libby finds herself engaged to a man whose touch still seems to induce her gag reflex no matter what she tries. But his bank account does fulfill some most excellent shopping sprees at all the poshest stores around town! She secretly pines after Nick, but figures that door is solidly shut. Little does she know, Nick hasn't been able to shake his case of the feels either. Libby's best friend, Jules, becomes concerned that, in the case of Ed, Libby's "falling for how he treats you rather than the man himself." Libby's immediate response to her friend's comment, naturally, is "I really don't think that's the case..." even though throughout the rest of the story she goes on and on about how Ed spoils her like no one else before in her life... mmmhmmm.


What's a girl to do? Go for the guy who honestly makes her heart flutter but may be ages away from a place of financial security ... or settle in with the one who can fulfill all her materialistic needs right off (but all fumbly thumbs in bed) ? The choice might seem obvious, but then we wouldn't have a much of a novel, would we? ;-) 


Told in first person perspective, with Libby talking right at the reader like a close friend, this ultimately ends up being about how Libby narrows down what she really truly wants in her heart of hearts, sorting out what would be nice versus what does she honestly need to feed her soul. A journey all of us have to set out on one time or another. Granted, Libby's here is a little more superficial and entertaining than most, but still. Libby starts out as pretty relatable but becomes progressively more obnoxious and shallow the more she becomes involved with Ed. At least she admits the personality shift near the end of the book though, I'll give her credit there.


Being based in London, there is some Tony Blair-era political discussion amongst the characters, as well as some debates regarding the Labour Party. This could possibly leave US readers feeling a bit isolated (or bore them) if they're unfamiliar with international government history but if this might be an issue for you, these passages only crop up momentarily so you could easily skim and not lose the meat of the novel. I'll also note for more sensitive readers that there are a few passages in this story that are mildly sexually explicit, but again, it's only a paragraph or two here and there. The bulk of the novel is pretty tame. Don't expect a lot of depth here, just one of those ones that's fun for what it is.

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review 2018-07-10 20:03
Not Really Chick Lit
Bookends - Jane Green

I finished my re-read of this a few days ago, just didn't have the energy to post a review. I think the main issue I had was that the re-read was a bit of a bust. Probably because this wasn't as chick-lit as I was hoping. There are some serious issues here (discussion of HIV and AIDS) but also there is some mean-girling crap that goes on that just didn't fit the characters who were supposed to be adults in their 30s. The main character of Cath just reads as a doormat throughout this book and I just wanted her to be stronger and push back on people more. The ending was okayish, just not great.


"Bookends" has Cath and her best friend Si dealing with being unlucky in love. Living in London they seem to be going through the motions of things. Cath refuses to try her hand at love again after having her heart broken and Si is desperate to meet Mr. Right even though the men he is usually with are terrible.


Cath and Si have boring, but familiar get togethers with their college friends Josh and Lucy and things seem to be carrying along fine until a woman (Portia) from their college days pops up again.


Most of the book is Cath thinking about Portia and how Portia supposedly held them all together until she broke up their friend group. What gets me though is that when we readers finally get a glimpse of Portia, she's not all that Cath (or Green) makes her out to be. There is no there there, and I wanted there to be better development of her.


Cath stumbles upon a love interest that wasn't that interesting and Si ends up with a shocking new way of life after a betrayal. The book just ends up taking too many things on and not doing them well.


If the above isn't enough, we also have Cath trying to open a bookstore.


The writing is typical older Green (when she wrote her chick lit books taking place in London). This just doesn't read or feel like chick lit. The flow is okay, though going back to past and present was a bit much.


I guess I was just put out by the whole lesson to be learned about real friends that people who should be old enough should already know at this point.

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review 2017-12-20 14:46
The Sunshine Sisters - Jane Green

The sunshine sisters by Jane Green
Have read other books by the author and have enjoyed them.
This one is about 3 sisters and their mother who's sick. Starts at present day then goes back to 1970's then 2000 then back again.
To me it's so mixed up and hard to keep track of who os who. There are three sisters and the best part for me is when they are summoned home from their jobs and family.
Their mother is very ill and she tells them a secret she's held close for a long time.
The sisters are once again together, something that's not happened since they were young.
Good story and I've though of doing same thing, my husband and myself if our circumstances get to that point. It's legal in OR already.
Wish each of the sisters had gotten their own book because I like to get to know my characters.
Liked mixture of careers and relationships but I couldn't tell you who was who at any given point.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device).

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