Tag: chick-lit

A Double Review of Sunset Beach

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews (MKA)!  We just love her at Jessica’s Reading Room and both of us awarded Sunset Beach 4 stars. Kim was also lucky enough to attend a signing and meet Mrs. MKA again!

Sunset Beach
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Published: May 7, 2019
432 Pages

Book Description:

Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm.

Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars
Dates Read: August 26- September 13, 2019
Jessica’s Review:

Here I am reviewing another MKA book!  She is a ‘go- to’ author for me!  MKA’s books are always enjoyable.  This one has a double dose of mystery to it: present day and back in 1976, and the two stories are connected.

I really liked Drue and I identified with her as she is close to my age.  She has had a hard run of life and then finds herself working for her father in a dead-end type job. He has also remarried, and what makes that situation  worse is that she is an old classroom frenemy of Drue’s.

Drue finds herself looking more into a recently closed case that she personally connected with and also finds some old newspapers/file in her grandparents attic that also catches her attention.  It says something about the professionals of this town that Drue, who in essence becomes an amateur sleuth figures things out that they couldn’t!  I guess a pair of fresh eyes helps?  Though I did like detective Rae Hernandez.

This is definitely a beach read with the mysteries involved and to find out how they are connected!   And just look at the cover! It is meant to be read while relaxing.  I look forward to seeing what MKA brings us next year!

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for sending me an arc copy via Goodreads.

Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Kim’s Review:

Mary Kay Andrews is one of our absolute favorite authors here at Jessica’s Reading Room. She consistently writes wonderful novels and creates memorable and likable characters. I really enjoyed Sunset Beach, but I’ll also admit that it’s not my favorite of all her novels. It kept my attention, I was emotionally invested, and the ending surprised me. However, it just felt slightly shallower as compared to her other books. I love the romance component to each of her stories and this one seemed to be lacking that. There was some romance and I really liked Jonah a lot, I just needed more.

My other issue was all the racial stuff she decided to throw in. Thankfully, she was very balanced, showing the problems on both sides of the “color spectrum”; I guess I just don’t understand why it had to be included at all. I really don’t think anything would have suffered had she not included such a focus on race. Other than that, the story was interesting, the mystery was solid, the characters were relatable and likable. And the cover of Sunset Beach is definitely one of my favorites of all the MKA books. It’s beautiful and totally appeals to a summer lover and beach bum like me! Definitely a good book that I would recommend for a great summer read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman
Published: July 9, 2019
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options:

  1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
  2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
  3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Kim’s Review:

This book is fantastic! As soon as I read the description, I knew I had to read it. And the cover is gorgeous. From the very first page, I was completely engaged. I’ve said before that I very rarely ever “relate” to many characters. I enjoy them, I sympathize with them, I get very emotionally involved with them, but I usually don’t identify with them. Nina Hill is a big exception. I identified with her from the very beginning. To this day, I’m still the one in any group who is the know-it-all nerd who pulls out random trivia. I’m the one who makes plans, but then at the last minute backs out cuz I’m in the middle of a good book.

Thankfully, I’m a successful enough gold digger that I get to stay home and read and review books all day. But a good second choice dream job would be at a bookstore. Plus, all the dialogue is flippin’ hilarious. Nina’s interactions, not just with her friends, but with random people she meets along the way, are so much fun to read. One thing that the author does so well is the seemingly contradictory nature of LA. I have never been there so I can only base my knowledge on things I’ve read or seen on TV. While in one sentence, Waxman makes fun of the usual LA stereotypes, in the next she applauds the beauty of the city. It was just fascinating and now I kinda want to visit.

Overall, this was a really fun read that made me laugh a lot. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only weird one in the world. I had a great time reading it and I would love to read other things that Waxman has written. I adore this book and I think y’all would too!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Adorable Fat Girl Takes Up Yoga

Author: Bernice Bloom
Published: April 28, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 21-24, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

The Adorable Fat Girl needs to do something to get fit. What about yoga? I mean – really – how hard can that be? A bit of chanting, some toe touching and a new leotard. Easy! She signs up for a weekend retreat, packs up assorted snacks and heads for the countryside to get in touch with her chi and her third eye. And that’s when it all goes wrong.

Featuring frantic chickens, an unexpected mud bath, men in loose-fitting shorts and no pants, calamitous headstands, a new bizarre friendship with a yoga guru and a quick hospital trip.

Jessica’s Review:

Mary Brown is the Adorable Fat Girl and she stars in her own series of novels by Bernice Bloom. In fact there are 14 novels and each can be read as a stand-alone novel, but they also follow up with each other. I have read a few of the novels and have enjoyed them. I hope to read more! 

This time Mary decides to take up yoga and go on a retreat.  And it is full of unexpected adventures!  Like Mary, I know nothing of yoga and have never tried it.  I didn’t even know what downward dog is: I had to Google it.    

There was only one thing that bothered me in the novel: Mary brought WAY too many snacks for a weekend retreat, it just seemed too extreme. It was as if she was not going to be eating at all during the retreat. (Yes, they did eat meals, albeit very tiny ones. The snuck in snacks would have come in handy in this case, but not as much as she brought.)

Adorable Fat Girl takes up Yoga is a short read, I listened to the audio version and it was just under 3.5 hours long.  I enjoyed the ending and how it directly followed into the next Adorable Fat Girl novel which I have already read (Adorable Fat Girl and the Mysterious Invitation). 

Many thanks to the author for sending me an audio copy to read and review! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US  
Amazon UK

My reviews for the other Adorable Fat Girl novels I have read:
Diary of an Adorable Fat Girl
Adorable Fat Girl and the Mysterious Invitation