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review 2018-09-24 19:06
Secrets of a Dysfunctional Family
Secrets of a Happy Marriage - Cathy Kelly

I honestly like most of Cathy Kelly books, but this is my least favorite book that she has published. The main problem is that no one feels very developed. Usually Kelly does a great job juggling multiple characters in a book, but too much was going on with anyone for you to even get settled with anyone. Also, two of the three "leads" sucked. I didn't like the characters of Bess or Jojo. Also Kelly's ultimate message that a widowed man needs to remarry (quite quickly) when he loses his wife since apparently they need a woman to take care of them just made me want to tear my hair out. Apparently women are fine after their husbands die (HUGE FREAKING EYEROLL). Also one wonders if this applies to gay men or just a man and woman? This whole book was problematic as hell.

 

"Secrets of a Happy Marriage" divulged very little secrets. Instead if just acted like it had these huge eye opening moments about marriages such as men need to be married after losing a wife cause they can't get by without some woman taking care of them. I don't know. I was pretty rageful while reading this book.

 

This book revolves around three characters. Bess, newly married to widowed Edward. Bess is so happy with Edward and doesn't get why her new stepdaughter (JoJo) hates her. It's not her fault her mother died and her father remarried less than two years after she passed. Bess proceeds to act entitled and whiny through this whole freaking book, so enjoy that. I think my last little bit of patience with her was when she literally cursed out Jojo and acted as if she was a monster that should not darken their doors again. Edward rightfully found his spine. However, these two never discuss anything and it was just frustrating to read. 

 

Jojo is reeling from her mother's death, her father's fast second marriage, and also her suffering multiple miscarriages. She is pulling away from family and friends and can't seem to get a handle on her grief. I at times thought that Jojo was acting impossible with regards to Bess, but I get why she was so angry. I can't imagine my mom or dad getting married a year plus after the other one died and being okay with it. I was also sick of people acting like Jojo just didn't get that men need to move on after losing a spouse. It just made it seem as if her father was heartless and clueless.


Cari had the best storyline. She was jilted at the altar and since has thrown herself into work and avoiding men. After getting shafted at her job (she's an editor) she meets a new guy who seems to be everything she has wanted and avoided. Cari and her mom and dad were the best. Plus I loved her whole work storyline and how that was resolved. Kelly paints Cari as competent at her job and happy with her house though at times wanting more. If we had just stayed with her, things would have been better.


The book also includes perspectives from Edward, Edward's son (and Jojo's brother) and Bess's daughter. They honestly were not needed and took me out of the book a bit. There was no need to cram so many characters in.

 

The writing was not very tight in this one. I found some typos in my Kindle copy of this book and also a few times wondered if I had misread something. Seems to be an issue based on comments in other reviews I have seen.

The flow was awful too. The book drags until the end and then we spring forward to an ending. 

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review 2018-09-17 17:26
Used to be a Fav, But Re-Read Showed Glaring Problems
Getting Over It - Anna Maxted

I read this in between Halloween reads last week and just forgot to update and publish a review. " I used to really love Anna Maxted. She was one of my go to chick lit authors. Then she disappeared and I fell into like/love with other authors. I think that "Running in Heels" was interesting though on a re-read I realized how problematic it was. The same thing happened with "Getting Over It." It used to be a favorite, but I realized that the main character (Helen) is a jerk to her friends and to people she dates. Without realizing it, she's the female version of her jerk of a father. There is no scales falling from her eyes side of the road moment though. Instead there are just a bunch of things that happen and then the book limps off to a happish ending. 

 

Helen Bradshaw is in a dead endish kind of job (she's an assistant to a tyrant) and has two really good friends (Lizzy and Tina) and an okayish relationship with her parents. When her mother calls and tells her that her father is in the hospital after suffering a heart attack, both women are left stunned when he passes away. For Helen, her father was always there. She tries her best to be there for her mother, grandmother, all while dating and dealing with her cat Fatboy. She makes a connection with a vet named Tom the day of her father's funeral, and then due to circumstances keeps coming back to him while she tries to grow up. 

 

Helen is in her late twenties and self absorbed. I realized on re-read she's also selfish as hell too. She breaks up with a boyfriend who is a prat (Jasper) and then admits she still wants him hanging around cause of her not being able to stand on her own two feet. And then she gets involved with her roommate Marcus and blows off Tom cause Marcus commands her to. When that blows up she drifts back over to Tom and honestly I was sick of reading her bouncing from guy to guy since she wanted them to fix everything wrong in her life. I just realized she's no better than her mother who needed her father to tell her what to do as well. 

When Helen finds out something about her close friend, she gets mad when another friend doesn't believe it (Helen tells it to her in a gossipy I head way) and then she doesn't do much but call that friend and try to force her to break up with him. It just felt like a weird side plot to put in this book. It didn't help that then the friend seemed to maybe getting pushed into another relationship after the disastrous one and I really didn't understand what the heck was going on.


Helen's friends have some backstory to them, but we don't get to spend much time with them. Unless Helen is mocking them to the readers or to their face, she doesn't seem to give a good crap about them. Same issue with the men in her life. I just realize that I started to find her unpleasant and I was only halfway through the book.


The writing is okay, there is a lot of banter, but none of it really made me think much besides the fact most of the people except for Tom, Izzie, and Tina sucked. 


The flow was awful though. I am still confused about the timeline, but it appears to be a year in Helen's life showing the effects of her father's death on her and their family. 

 

The ending eh. It was a happy ending, just not much of one I thought. 

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review 2018-09-15 22:22
And One Last Thing...
And One Last Thing ... - Molly Harper

Completely non-bingo related, but I've been itching to read this book since it arrived, and I was heading to Key West for a short stay, so into the bag it went.

 

Molly Harper has, until recently, been best known for her hilarious series of books set in the town of Half-Moon Hollow, about a community of vampires.  Her newest books are a departure from the Urban Fantasy and focus on women's fiction/chick-lit.  And one more thing is an earlier effort at the same: no vampires or werewolves, just a screwed over woman getting her own back in a deeply hilarious and outrageous way, then facing up to the consequences.  There's a new love too of course; without it this would be an incomplete book, but it's not insta-love and it doesn't smack of rebound.  Harper makes reader and characters alike wait for it and work for it.

 

I put off reading this one for years thinking it would be too shallow for my tastes in chick-lit, but after reading her recent series set in Georgia (Sweet Tea and Sympathy), I realised I might be missing out.  I was.  It's not a life changing read, but it is more thoughtful and involved than the title and synopsis would lead you to believe.  It was light, but not frivolous, funny but not at the expense of character development.  A perfect beach read.

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review 2018-08-13 19:45
Terrible, Thank Goodness it Was Only 99 Cents
A Country Affair - Alice Ross Colver

Bah.,


If you want to read a book about terrible people and the decisions they make, this is for you. I loathe romance books that have adultery as the main theme. We have a married couple (each contemplating adultery) a woman who has had an affair (and gotten pregnant due to the affair) two teens, one who is horrified that her mother is not special/awesome enough and that's pretty much the whole story.

 

Ross jumps around to Julia (married woman), Miranda (had the affair) and Faye (Julia's daughter) and also Julia's husband Paul. We get their four points of view throughout the story and honestly I didn't root for anyone. The majority of this book was people excusing or being excused for terrible crap they did. The fact that Julia and Paul's son had an eating disorder (at least it seemed to me) was glossed over. I hated that Julia and Paul never had  real conversation, instead they both are looking to other people to paper over the cracks in their marriage. I loathed Paul more since he was contemplating an affair with his assistant. Apparently sexual harassment isn't a thing in the UK?


The writing wasn't great. Maybe if Ross had stuck to Julia and Miranda and left out the other POVs. The flow was too choppy too. At one point I was confused on the timeline and realized I didn't care and continued on with it.


The ending was definitely some pie in the sky stuff, not realistic at all. 

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review 2018-08-13 19:21
Skip This Terrible Book
Falling for You - Jill Mansell

This will be short. This book is terrible.


The characters are not redeeming except for two of them (Maddy and Kerr) and if the book had stayed on just Maddy and Kerry I would have liked it more. Instead we have male characters calling female characters fat, ugly, and all kinds of crap. We get some ridiculousness when one character treats a woman separate from his girlfriend with respect (that is how you know he cares about her) and the constant bed hopping though people claimed to be in love with someone was it.


Usually Mansell can juggle multiple story-lines, she can't in this one. And I am realizing that most of her books follow the same formula and it's getting old. We usually get a woman who is in her 40s and widowed (Maddy's mother) a woman who can't seem to find a boyfriend or has a terrible one (Maddy's best friend) and then just random characters that flit in and out of the story. 

 

I didn't take any pleasure in the writing or flow since I just felt annoyed and wanted the book to get over with already. The ending was a big old shrug from me. 

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