Review: Recipe for a Perfect Wife

Title: Recipe for a Perfect Wife
Author: Karma Brown
Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 31, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When Alice Hale reluctantly leaves a promising career in publicity, following her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. However, she is determined to become a writer–and to work hard to build the kind of life her husband dreams of, complete with children.

At first, the old house seems to resent Alice as much as she resents it, but when she finds an old cookbook buried in a box in the basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner: 1950s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she begins to settle into her new surroundings, even as her friends and family grow concerned that she has embraced them too fully: wearing vintage dresses and pearls like a 1950s housewife, making elaborate old-fashioned dishes like Baked Alaska, and drifting steadily away from her usual pursuits.

Alice justifies the changes merely as research for her novel…but when she discovers that Nellie left clues about her own life within the cookbook’s pages–and in a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to Nellie’s mother–she quickly realizes that the housewife’s secrets may have been anything but harmless. As she uncovers a more sinister side to Nellie’s marriage and with pressure mounting in her own relationship, Alice realizes that to protect herself she must harbour and hatch a few secrets of her own… 

Review:

This book was so good!

This story follows Alice in 2018 and Nellie in 1956. Alice has just purchased the house that Nellie lived in until her death. They both had private struggles in their lives as housewives. They had very different experiences, since the stories take place six decades apart, but there were some similarities. For example, they both had secret and creative ways of preventing themselves from having children.

The two storylines of Alice and Nellie reflect each other but they are separate. Sometimes characters in other books with mirroring lives, like these ones, end up having their stories blend together so they seem like one person. These two characters had similarities but they had very different stories.

There were also some very tense moments. I found myself holding my breath until the end because I didn’t know what would happen. There were some dramatic twists that I didn’t expect.

This was a great novel!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

In This Moment by Karma Brown

Have you read Recipe for a Perfect Wife? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Husband Material

Title: Husband Material
Author: Emily Belden
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Graydon House
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Sometimes love is unpredictable…

Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.

But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.

Review:

This story started out as a romantic comedy, but turned into a suspenseful story.

There were so many twists that kept me guessing. Just when I thought I had things figured out, there would be another unexpected twist. I liked that so many surprising elements were slowly revealed, such as how Decker died and what had happened in the past between Charlotte and Brian.

I don’t think the title or cover of the book really matched it. From the title and cover, it looks like a fun romance, but there were some dark parts to the story, including Decker’s death.

I really enjoyed this book! I was glued to it until the end.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway

The Love Solution by Ashley Croft

Author Info:

EMILY BELDEN is a journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novel Hot Mess and Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. She lives in Chicago. Visit her website at http://www.emilybelden.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @emilybelden.

Buy the Book:

Have you read Husband Material? What did you think of it?

Review: Christmas Shopaholic

Title: Christmas Shopaholic
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: The Dial Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Celebrate Christmas with the ultimate Shopaholic! 

The brilliant laugh-out-loud festive novel from the Number One bestselling author.

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It’s always the same – Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers.

And now it’s even easier with online bargain-shopping sites – if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted!

But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky’s parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she’ll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong?

With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper – surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . .

Will chaos ensue, or will Becky manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas?

Review:

This was one of the funniest books I’ve ever read!

There was loads of shopping in this story, but there were also a lot of other Christmas traditions, too. I really liked that everyone had their own storyline, including Becky’s sister, her daughter, and even another parent at school. Since every character had their own plot, it felt like they were real people.

I laughed out loud so many times while I was reading it. There were so many clever punchlines that developed throughout the story. Some of them only came out close to the end, but they were built up through the story. This was a hilarious and clever story.

I loved this book! I’ll have to reread it next Christmas too!

Thank you Random House for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

One Week ‘Til Christmas by Belinda Missen

Have you read Christmas Shopaholic? What did you think of it?

Review: The Almost Sisters

Title: The Almost Sisters
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of Gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality – the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. 

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy – an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows. 

Review:

This story had romance, comic books, and a murder mystery. It was so good!

I loved the comic and geeky references in this book. Leia (who is named after Princess Leia in Star Wars) was a graphic novel artist for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. She made lots of references to different comics. Her one night stand at a fan convention is what sparks the events in the story. These kinds of references aren’t usually in books categorized as Women’s Fiction, so this was a nice surprise.

Race relations were a big part of the story. Leia is pregnant with a baby who will be half black. Her grandmother lives with her best friend, who is a black woman. The town that her grandmother lives in is divided in many ways between black and white people, including the churches they attend and where they live. It was problematic in many ways. This is an important part of the story.

I really enjoyed this story!

What to read next:

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

Have you read The Almost Sisters? What did you think of it?

Review: Dater’s Handbook

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Title: Dater’s Handbook
Author: Cara Lockwood
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Hallmark Publishing
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Cassandra Barber has a history of picking bad boyfriends…and she’s ready to change all that. She turns to Dater’s Handbook, the bestselling self-help book by relationship expert Dr. Susie, to improve her ailing love life. Surely, Dr. Susie’s advice will help her choose between her two new suitors: the laid-back, fun-loving Robert, and the sophisticated, dependable George.

The two men take her on very different kinds of dates, often with hilarious results. Cass juggles the opinions of her mother and her sister as well as Dr. Susie’s rules and checklists. But is she forgetting how to listen to her own heart?

This funny, feel-good novel contains an exclusive Hallmark recipe for Lemon Elderflower Mini Bundt Cakes.

Review:

I’ll admit, I chose this book because it has Meghan Markle on the cover. This is the book based on her Hallmark movie. Having her on the cover, especially with a release date during the same week as her royal wedding, is a huge selling point for this book.

I liked this cute romance. Cass has always had bad luck with guys, so her sister insists that she read a love guide by Dr. Susie. Cass follows Dr. Susie’s instruction and ends up with a choice between two guys. Robert is sweet, funny, and romantic. George is also romantic but he is more serious. Cass has to decide which guy is right for her.

Sometimes, when a book is written about a movie or TV show, it can sound flat and robotic. One book that I read based on a TV show read like the closed captions on the show. But this one sounded like an original story. It is told from Cass’s perspective which helped the narrative. She’s quirky and sometimes makes mistakes, but that made the story funny and entertaining.

I really liked this story. I’ll definitely have to look for the movie!

Review: Then She Was Gone

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Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Thriller, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

Review:

I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down!

I was hooked right from the beginning. Ellie’s disappearance was so mysterious. Even though we get a hint of who was involved in her disappearance early on in the book, the details of what happened are saved until the end. I didn’t want to stop reading because I really wanted to find out what happened to her!

I found Floyd so creepy right from the moment he was introduced. He was a little too good to be true. He seemed like the perfect guy for Laurel, which was too convenient. His daughter was a little odd too. Poppy is very mature for her age and she looks just like Laurel’s daughter. Their appearance in Laurel’s life was suspicious.

Though the novel was very suspenseful, the ending was so emotional that it made me cry. If you’re looking for a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, go read this book!