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21 October 2016

Review: 'Saving Phoebe Murrow' by Herta Feely (2016)

Phoebe's mother, Isabel, is precariously balancing her career and her family. Hard-working and caring, worried but supportive, all Isabel wants, in a world of bullies and temptations, is to keep her daughter Phoebe safe. With her busy schedule, though, she fails to recognize another mother's mounting fury and the danger Phoebe faces by flirting with a mysterious boy on Facebook. A cyber-bullying episode aimed at Phoebe pushes her to the edge with horrific consequences. In her search for justice, Isabel, a DC lawyer, sets out to find the culprit behind this cruel incident.

Today I've got quite an interesting review to share with all of you, if I may say so myself. One of the positive things about being a book blogger is that you get approached by publishers and authors to read and review specific books, which also provides you with the opportunity to pick up some novels you might not have read otherwise. I think this is the case with Herta Feely's 'Saving Phoebe Murrow'; knowing me, I don't think I would have as quickly read this novel as I ended up doing now, because it was offered to me for review. Another great thing about book blogging, especially if you end up enjoying the book more than you thought you would...!

As a working mother and wife, Isabel's main goal in life seems to be making sure all the balls are kept in the air. She loves her job as a Washington DC lawyer, but at the same time she wants to be a good mum to her kids, especially her fourteen-year-old daughter Phoebe who has had some problems in the past. Phoebe has a history of self-harm, mainly caused by bullies at school, and Isabel hopes a new school will fix these issues. However, Phoebe's age means she's now slowly getting into touch with boys and alcohol, and Isabel can't seem to switch off her panic-mode. But it's not until Phoebe meets a new online friend that things slowly start to go in a downwards spiral.

'Saving Phoebe Murrow' is a contemporary and convincing novel about the effects of bullying, the pressure of belonging and fitting the picture, and the relationship between mother and daughter. It's also a strong debut novel by author Herta Feely, and a read that made quite an impression on me. The book itself is character-driven with a strong focus on the different characters, particularly teenager Phoebe and her mother Isabel. I thought both characters were interesting and even though there's not too much going on in the story plotwise, I was fascinated from the beginning of the novel until the end and wanted to keep on reading, curious to discover where things would lead.

I actually wasn't too sure what to think about the cover of the book, but another reviewer actually pointed me at the significant use of the butterfly; a beautiful insect that only gets hurt when stopped from flying and kept in a glass case, which is undoubtedly linked to the story inside this novel. I really enjoyed the author's well-paced and detailed writing style and already  look forward to Herta Feely's next novel. On the whole, 'Saving Phoebe Murrow' is a compelling contemporary read, perfect for women's fiction fans; an intriguing and well-written story and a read that actually managed to surprised me!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

20 October 2016

Review: 'Out of Practice' by Phoebe Fox (2016)

When your relationship is on life support, the Breakup Doctor is on call. 

There’s no shortage of broken hearts in Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden’s successful breakup counseling practice—if love is a battlefield, then Brook is the cavalry. Luckily her own love life is in full recovery: after a long, tortuous road, she and Ben Garrett are finally headed down the aisle. 

But when a local TV personality—and former frenemy—invites Brook onto her show, she’s blindsided live on the air when the interview turns into an act of long-delayed revenge meant to publicly humiliate her. Brook’s an expert at getting back on your feet when life knocks you down, but as the blows keep piling on—with a betrayal she never saw coming and a family crisis that threatens to pull the foundation out from under her—her confidence starts slinking away. With her clients dropping her faster than a one-night stand, suddenly the Breakup Doctor’s career is in critical care.

I love a good book series and that’s exactly what I found when I picked up Phoebe Fox’s ‘The Breakup Doctor’ in 2014. This novel was the start of a thoroughly enjoyable four-part book series (click here to read my review of the third part ‘Heart Conditions’) and I have to admit I had some mixed feelings about the October release of the fourth part ‘Out of Practice’! On the one hand I was really excited to jump back into the story and see what was going on with all the characters, especially main character Brook, but at the same time I was really sad to reach the ending of the series. But, I guess it’s unavoidable; everything comes to an end, so I just had my fingers crossed it would be a pretty good one…!

Breakup doctor Brook Ogden is doing pretty well; her business which focuses on helping others deal with a broken heart is still going strong and she is now engaged to her lovely boyfriend Ben. However, things slowly start to fall apart when Brook is invited to appear on a morning TV show where she is publicly humiliated. It doesn’t take long before other things start to go wrong and catch up with her, such as the relatively recent death of her father and the fact that she’s been working non-stop for the past few years. It’s definitely time for Brook to take a break, but will she be able to take some time for herself while also dealing with the effect the bad publicity has on her business, some serious family issues that need attention, and, oh yes, the planning of an entire wedding…? 

I can't believe 'Out of Practice' is already the fourth and final part of Phoebe Fox's 'Breakup Doctor' series; what a ride it has been! We are once again looking over the shoulder of main character Brook who owns her own relationship counselling practice while at the same time also doing a weekly radio show, a newspaper column, planning her very own wedding and dealing with family issues (which there always seem to be at least one or two)... no wonder Brook is getting a bit stressed out! Once again Phoebe Fox has filled a novel with a thoroughly entertaining story, focusing on different parts of Brook's life with appearances from some loved familiar faces such as her best friend Sasha, fiancee Ben, a few patients and the most adorable dog ever, Jake.

I really enjoy Phoebe Fox's writing and think this novel, just like the other parts of the series, has everything an entertaining chick lit read needs. It's a great ending to a great series and I have to admit I'm quite sad to see this series coming to an end, but it's been a great journey and I've loved following Brook during this quite tumultuous period in her life. I wouldn't necessarily give this book 10/10 or 5 stars, but I feel that this series and Phoebe Fox both deserve it. 'Out of Practice' is a simply great and thoroughly enjoyable read, especially when read as the last part of the 'Breakup Doctor' series which I can recommend to any chick lit fan. Sad to see this come to an end, but incredibly excited about Phoebe Fox's next read!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher and author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

19 October 2016

Review: 'Sacking the Quarterback' by Samantha Towle (2016)

The golden boy of football just went bad.

Quarterback Grayson Knight has a squeaky-clean reputation in the football world. So when he's arrested for drug possession, lawyer Melissa St. James knows that something doesn't add up. It's clear he's hiding something, though he denies it. But there's one thing he can't deny--he wants Melissa.

Several weeks ago I was contacted by a publisher and introduced to 'BookShots', a new way of reading developed by world-famous author James Patterson. I hadn't heard of BookShots before, but they're basically small and light books you can finish in one sitting that will keep you on the edge of your seat; short, fast-paced, high-impact entertainment (click here to read some more about it). I read my first BookShots read, 'Little Black Dress', a few weeks ago (click here to read my review) and more recently had the pleasure of reading 'The Mating Season'. Today I'm excited to share my review of another BookShots example with all of you, a steamy romance read this time around, namely 'Sacking the Quarterback'!

Thirty-one-year-old Melissa St. James is completely devoted to her job as assistant state attorney in Miami. She has no time for anything else such as friends, fun, or relationships; her career is her number one priority, so when she is phoned by her boss in the middle of the night to take on a case starring an NFL quarterback, Melissa is already on her way to the police station. Grayson Knight was arrested for the possession of drugs and Melissa knows her boss wants her to make an example out of a celebrity like Grayson. However, the chemistry between Melissa and Grayson is undeniable and Melissa soon realises this case is going to be even more interesting than she could have possibly imagined...

Well, if you're looking for a quick and steamy read, then this Samantha Towle novella is definitely what you want to pick up next! Just as the BookShots reads promise on the cover: fast-paced, easy to read, and entertaining, and that also counts for 'Sacking the Quarterback.' The book focuses on career-driven Melissa who finds herself assigned to a case concerning Grayson Knight, a player for the Miami Dolphins. I really enjoyed the story at the core of this read and was curious to discover what was going to happen, both between Melissa and Grayson (tension that's difficult to ignore!) and in general.

I have to admit this wasn't my favourite BookShots read, especially since it took me a bit of time to warm to the characters and the story didn't seem as gripping as some of the other reads I've been able to check out so far, but I still really enjoyed reading it. The format of these BookShots is just perfect, especially for people that travel a lot, and I also think it provides readers with the chance to quite easily check out new authors they might not yet be familiar with. Overall, 'Sacking the Quarterback' is another enjoyable BookShots experience; a spicy and steamy read, great for any romance fans out there looking for a quick read!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.