Katie Parker is about to get a new life—whether she wants one or not. With her mom in prison, and her father AWOL, Katie is sent to live with a squeaky-clean family who could have their own sitcom. She launches a full-scale plan to get sent back to the girls’ home when she finds herself in over her head…and heart. When Katie and her new “wrong crowd” get into significant trouble at school, she finds her punishment is restoring a historic theater with a crazy grandma who goes by the name of Mad Maxine. In the midst of her punishment, Katie uncovers family secrets that run deep, and realizes she’s not the only one with a pain-filled past. Katie must decide if she’ll continue her own family’s messed up legacy or embrace a new beginning in this place called In Between. (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: I have found a new favorite author – and so has my teenage daughter. You know an author is good when I finish a book and NEED to buy the next two books immediately, which is exactly what happened with the Katie Parker books by Jenny B. Jones. And as for my daughter? I let her read the first book one morning during the last days of summer vacation and I swear to you she did absolutely nothing else except read. All three books. Luckily she reads freakishly fast!
Sissy: Here’s the thing about Jenny B. Jones. She’s hilarious! This you would not expect from a young adult genre book but I laughed out loud so many times. The dialogue is so witty I wished that I could come up with stuff like that. My favorite character was, of course, Maxine, Katie’s foster grandmother.
Bubby: I LOVE Maxine! I want to BE Maxine!
Sissy: Excuse me, I was not finished. Anyway, when you read the conversations between Maxine and Katie (especially in the second and third books) you’ll see that Jenny B. Jones totally channels a crazy 60 or 70 something year old lady. I went to the author’s website and looked at her picture and look at her! She’s this young thing! Awesome humor, Jenny. You and me should be friends. Then I would be more popular.
Bubby: Wow, Sissy. Popularity isn’t everything, you know! I really enjoyed the arc of the three books. First we have our introduction to Katie and to James and Millie, her foster parents. We get to watch Katie struggle with being accepted in the town and with learning how to live in a loving home. And then there’s book two, On The Loose. It’s the perfect middle book. Everything goes wrong. The town gets hit with a tornado, Millie gets cancer, and it’s just drama, drama drama!
Sissy: Plus a new male character is introduced, et voila! We have a love triangle! Tate, who supposedly looks like Channing Tatum (need I say more?), brings interest/confusion to Katie’s life. Will she end up with long time crush Charlie or new boy Tate? You may think you know the answer to that question by the end of book three but then Ms. Jones decides to kill us with a teaser for a yet-to-be published novella (Can’t Let You Go) in which things seem to go a different direction. I read somewhere that the novella is supposed to come out September 21st but that is not confirmed on the website. I truly went crazy at that point and wanted to go camp out on Jenny Jones’ doorstep until she fed me the end of the story!
Bubby: Exactly! I have strong feelings on how I want it all to turn out but my strongest feeling is that I want to know! Right now! I can’t possibly recommend these books highly enough. I loved them. I bought them as ebooks and I will probably buy them in hard copy as well. And maybe build a shelf just for them. And hold them and squeeze them and call them George…
Sissy: Okay, now you’re getting creepy.
Bubby: Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to say all of that out loud. Oops. Anyway, 4.5 bloomin’ bubbles from me. Loved them.
Sissy: Great series. I’m only giving them 4.87 bubbles and not 5 because of the crazy-making novella that I cannot read yet.
Click HERE to buy In Between by Jenny B. Jones from Amazon.com.
Click HERE to buy On The Loose by Jenny B. Jones from Amazon.com.
Click HERE to buy The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones from Amazon.com.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Can a stack of long-hidden love letters from a WWII war hero inspire a heartbroken woman to love again? Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier.
The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love. (From Amazon.com)
Bubby: We’re back! Wow, what a summer. I think Sissy would agree that what we really need now is 6 months of really boring life. No drama, no excitement, no big events, nothing. But for some reason, I doubt that will be the case!
Sissy: I know. From your lips to God’s ears, Bubby. At some point during the summer, I don’t know when, we both read this book and found it to be so sweet and poignant. We knew we needed to share it with you! Two love stories happen within its pages, one beginning in the WWII era and one in the present day. The thing that weaves them all together is the bundle of love letters bound with one lavender ribbon – hence the title. And let me tell you: those letters were beautifully written. I fear in this fast paced age of texts and tweets that such lovely writing is becoming extinct. I have a bundle of love letters that my husband wrote me when we were courting. Does that make me sound ancient?
Bubby: Yes, but so does everything you say, so…
Sissy: Wow. I see your summer experiences have not polished off your rudeness! My love letters are a magnificent treasure, just like the ones in Heather Burch’s novel.
Bubby: I actually think that I do have a few letters somewhere from my dear husband. I’ll have to see if I can find them. I’m sure that they are quite romantic, just like yours.
Sissy: Not possible. My husband is the King of Romance.
Bubby: I don’t know about that. My husband bought me a yard full of sod for our 20th anniversary. And an ironing board for my birthday. Can’t beat that! (For the record, we went to Spain last month and celebrated our anniversary early, and I REALLY wanted that ironing board so…) I have to say that of the two love stories, I prefer the older one. It’s just so sweet to see love that stands the test of time. Besides which, there’s a nifty little twist that really makes the whole story sing. I could expound but then Sissy would have to kill me.
Sissy: I only want to kill you because you got to go to Spain and I didn’t.
Bubby: Get over it.
Sissy: Anyway, if we can stop talking about SPAIN, if you are looking for a heartwarming reading interlude, One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch will truly satisfy you. 3.7 bubbles from me.
Bubby: It was a wonderful story. Heather Burch does a fantastic job of evoking romance, nostalgia and hope. Loved it. 4.25 lavender bubbles.
Click HERE to buy One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch from Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
“The best times of my life, the times that have passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild.”
The lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. That’s what Kate Bowman learns when she moves temporarily—with her husband and baby son—to her grandmother’s Missouri farm. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother’s heart.
Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma’s journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life—and her grandmother—in a completely new way….
Sissy: In the absence of Bubby this week I am doing something new in conjunction with something old, just to shake things up and see if I can get myself in trouble (when the cat’s away…). The NEW thing is that we are going to revisit some of our favorite reviewed authors of the past and see what else they have up their sleeves, whether new or old. The OLD thing is Friday Favorites, which Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate qualifies for since it was published in 2001. Get it? (I’m also putting all my text in green, just because Bubby’s not here to stop me!).
We first reviewed Firefly Island by this author in April of last year, and later found out that she has written many award winning books and series’. I decided to introduce you to Wingate’s very first book, Tending Roses, which is also the first book in a series of 5. Here are Lisa Wingate’s own words about the genesis of Tending Roses:
“My grandmother came to stay with me when the baby was small, and together we decided to plant flowerbeds in front of my house. One day, when the baby was fussy, we had to go inside rather than finishing the flowerbed. Grandma bundled the baby and sat down in the chair with him, and soon he was quietly drifting off to sleep. As the afternoon sun streamed in the window, Grandma leaned back, closed her eyes, and began telling me the story of her life, and her flowerbeds, and the lessons she learned there. That story, “Time for Tending Roses,” eventually became the inspiration for my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, which was published by New American Library (Penguin Putnam) in June, 2001. Of all of the books, Tending Roses remains my sentimental favorite, because of the real-life connection with my grandmother.”
Now, I’ve got to tell you, I felt like the lessons Kate (the main character) learns through her grandmother’s story journal were universal, having application for me and for everyone. I just wish I could have perfect recall of them at the exact moment I needed them (and was about to do or say something stupid…). This story is so real, so human, so emotional–it makes complete sense that it was inspired by the author’s own feelings and experiences. Tending roses is a complex and heartwarming tale of family relationships, love, and plain old human life, and is well worth the read. I give it 4.25 bubbles, and I definitely plan to read the rest of the series!
Click HERE to buy Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Advertising copywriter Leigh Koslow doesn’t pack heat–just a few extra pounds. And she doesn’t go looking for trouble. When she moved into her cousin Cara’s refurbished Victorian house, she wasn’t planning on discovering a corpse–certainly not one that had been embalmed ten years before. But as anyone in the small Pittsburgh borough of Avalon could tell her, her cousin’s house has a history attached. A history dating back to two mysterious deaths in the summer of 1949. Someone wants Leigh and Cara out of the house–someone who has something to hide. But that someone doesn’t know Leigh’s impetuous cousin, and when Cara digs her heels in, Leigh looks to her old college chum, local policewoman Maura Polanski, for help. But the answers the trio find only point to more questions. Were the scandalous deaths of fifty years ago really an accident and a suicide? Or were they murder? The nearer the women get to the truth, the more desperate someone becomes. Because some secrets are better off kept. Especially when they hit close to home!
Sissy: We decided to do a new thing this Friday–revisit some previously reviewed favorite authors and tell you what else they have for you to read! Because if you’re like me, when you read a good book you want to read everything else that author has written. I remember when Agatha Christie died in 1976 (zip it, Bubby, I know what you want to say) and I felt so sad that re would be no more books in her own beloved yet specific style. We originally reviewed Long Time Coming by Edie Claire in February of 2013, and thought you might like to know about her Leigh Koslow series. There are nine books in the series so far, and the latest just came out this month. Never Buried is the first book in the series.
Bubby: You’ve got to love a story that starts off with a dapperly dressed dead man in the backyard hammock! I may never be able to nap in my hammock again! I loved all the twists and turns in this wonderfully written cozy mystery. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Leigh and her cousin Cara, even though I have to admit I wasn’t too fond of Cara’s husband Gil.
Sissy: Since when were you ever in a hammock? And what’s wrong with Gil?
Bubby: I’ve spent many happy hours in hammocks, thank you very much, and hope to install one in my current backyard soon.
Sissy: Your imaginary hammock? And you don’t have any trees from which to suspend it. But, first thing when you get some trees and a hammock, I am going to install a surprise there for you!
Bubby: I guess they didn’t have hammocks with their own frames back in your day….like 1976. And I do have trees. Very small trees. And there’s nothing wrong with Gil, except that he is overbearing and ever protective and thinks that money can solve all problems.
Sissy: Anyway, the thing about Never Buried by Edie Claire is that it starts off with a wallop and careens crazily from caper to caper in a most entertaining fashion. Bet you’ll never guess “who done it” or why or even how until it all shakes out at the end. 4 pasty, corpse-like bubbles from the geriatric!
Bubby: Great story. I fully intend to get the rest of the series immediately. I might even let Sissy borrow them if she’s nice. 4 bubbles from me too.
Click HERE to buy Never Buried by Edie Claire from Amazon.com
© 2014 Bubble Bath Books
Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart.
Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with her grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth. (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: Then and Always has just skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorite books list. Turns out it was released in 2013 in the UK under the title “Fractured” and guess what? It made tons of best book lists over there too. And for good reason. There is a massive plot twist right in the beginning of the book, another about 1/3 of the way through the book and one or two more thrown in for good measure. Not to mention the ending. The ending! I so want to talk about THE ENDING! I must admit that I was bawling by the last page, but not necessarily because I was sad. The ending is perfect. And heart-wrenching. And oh so good.
Sissy: Bubby read this first and told me I had to read it right away because it was one of those fantastic books. She said to me, “It’s like oh no! And then, what’s happening? And then wait, what? But ok, this is good, no! No! Wait! Oh, that’s so sweet!” Bubby was waving her arms about like a crazed loon and getting choked up just trying to describe the plot so I gave her a sedative and started to read Then And Always for myself. And guess what? Bubby was right, although I managed to convey that sans tears and lunatic ravings.
Bubby: First off, I don’t recall being QUITE that dramatic about the whole thing. And secondly, of course I was right. I always am.
Sissy: Right. *cough, cough.* This book caught me in its spell immediately and wrung me out with its emotional intensity. A good, “must continue reading until I drop” intensity, not a painful one. Rachel goes through so much in a short period of time, you can’t help being all involved in her feelings and reactions. Jimmy is sweet, loyal, loveable, and heartbreaking. Andy is complex. Cathy needs to be put down. The relationship between Rachel and her father is so lovely, you want to weep (I just wanted to weep; Bubby did all the actual weeping).
Bubby: I am a deeply emotional woman who feels things strongly. Thus, I cry.
Sissy: People who cry during boy band videos have issues. Still love you, though.
Bubby: That was one time! Back to the book. I fell in love with the character of Rachel. I wanted so much to fix her life for her, to make her happy. I cheered when she was happy, cried when she was sad, and got really ticked off when that *unmentionable word* Cathy did what she did (more than once, mind you!). Every aspect of this book is so well done; the writing, the characterizations, and, oh my gosh, the plot? So original, and so riveting! It’s almost impossible to believe that this is Dani Atkins’ debut novel.
Sissy: The problem we are having in reviewing “Then And Always” (aka “Fractured” in the UK) is that the whole plot-twisty premise of the thing prohibits us from saying much, because we are not spoilers! As Bubby said, the story line is so unique and original, it was a captivating joy to read. You’re just going to have to trust us on this one.
Bubby: Did I mention THE ENDING? It played out in my mind like a movie montage, complete with violin music and a slow, misty fade-out. Dani Atkins needs to be locked in a room with a laptop and some chocolate so that she can produce a novel every three months. And I will buy them all. Oh, there’s this one little bit where you think its going to get all naughty/steamy, but don’t worry. We shall protect you from too much naughty, never fear! I give it 5 bubbles.
Sissy: I’m not sure of your methods, but okay! Lock Ms Atkins away so I can read more (searching for non-over-used adjectives) splendiferous books like this! 5 heartwarming/wrenching bubbles from me!!
Click HERE to buy Then And Always by Dani Atkins at Amazon.com
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.
A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself. Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter’s town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam’s girlfriend while he’s in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn’t at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what’s real and what’s fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds – her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?(From Netgalley.com)
Sissy: I! Loved! This! Book! Call me a star-spangled sapster, call me a stuck-in-my-teenagehood starry-eyed lulu, but what the heck! Catch A Falling Star is the sweet and delightful tale of unlikely love that every teenage girl dreams of.
Bubby: Well, then. Star-spangled sapster? I like it! And I loved the book too. It was delicious. The romance, both scripted and real, between Carter and Adam was quite nice and well done but it was the relationship of the three friends that I enjoyed the most. Alien Drake and Chloe have got to be some of the best friends ever written. And yes, you read that right. It’s Alien Drake. You’ll see why when you read the book.
Sissy: Carter Moon is as real of a girl as real can get. She works hard in the family diner, helps her dad keep it all together while activist mom is off doing her thing –
Bubby: And don’t forget that she loves her delinquent brother in spite of himself. Just like I love you.
Sissy: Right. She’s good to her troubled brother John, just like Bubby is always feeding and caring for the poor unfortunate Sissy. Not. And our hero, the actor Adam Jakes starts out being a real spoiled brat stinkpot but we find hidden layers of goodness as we peel off the outer crunchiness, much like a deep-fried onion. Bubby is so stunned by my depths of literary philosophy that she can’t think of a thing to say. After that, I should just give my bubble count and shut down the review, right?
Bubby: Let’s write a blog, she said. It will be fun, she said. Had I only know the full extent of her insanity before I agreed, you’d not be reading this right now!
Sissy: Bubby knows in her soul that her life would be completely pathetic and boring without me, which is sort of how Adam thought all his fans felt about him.
Bubby: Oh, so much I could say here. To be safe (Sissy is giving me that impending violence look) I will just stick to how I feel about Catch A Falling Star. And avoid speaking further of my sister’s many and varied personality quirks. So. I have decided that no matter how good the celebrity life may seem on paper, it is actually pretty horrible. To be expected to be perfect at all times, be available to everyone 24/7, to project the perfect “image”, it’s just all too hard. I can see why so many celebrities are messed up. Adam seems to be in this category at the beginning of the novel. Fortunately for him, the staged romance with Carter shows him what he’s missing.
Sissy: When you’re so handsome and good-looking like Adam, it is hard to get over yourself and let people into what’s inside. It’s also hard for people to see past your looks. It becomes really tiring for me when all the time people can’t see past my gorgeous face. I just want to say, “Look! There’s a real person here!”
Bubby: I am thinking that NOW it’s time to shut down the review. Sissy has obviously missed a pill or two recently and I think I need to limit her exposure to the public!
Sissy: I was going to say that in Carter, Adam finds the one person who sees him, really SEES him and in the end he cannot let her go. Love it x 100! I also liked how they started out each chapter with “Yesterday’s Sightings”, which is the three friend’s blog about the sky and the stars and their philosophy of relating star sightings to real life.
Bubby: I loved that also. Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson is a winner. A great read for teens and adults alike. 4.5 bubbles.
Sissy: Great read.
Bubby: I just said that.
Sissy: Okay, Ms. Snobby Thesarus-Pants. It was a splendid, tip-top treatise. 4.5 froths of effervescense.
Bubby: That was better.
Click HERE to buy Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson at Amazon.com
We received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has won the hearts of millions of readers with her moving and inspiring stories. Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love.
Bubby: Sometimes you just want a lovely romance novel with a guaranteed happy ending. Debbie Macomber always comes through and Blossom Street Brides is no exception.
Sissy: Bubby stole my line. I was going to say that Debbie Macomber always delivers. So yeah, what she said.
Bubby: Wow, Sissy. That was so insightful!
Sissy: Bubby says I have to say something useful now. Macomber weaves a great tale of love and relationships, obstacles that you know will eventually will be resolved, and you enjoy the journey of how that comes to pass. Blossom Street Brides played like an a-list chick flick on the screen of my mind.
Bubby: It may be a bit early for a beach read, but with Spring Break upon us, this is a perfect vacation novel. 4 bubbles from me.
Sissy: If you deserve a happy afternoon of reading (and who doesn’t?) this is the book for you. 4 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber at Amazon.com
We received this title from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
Ella Martin’s always done what she should. But has she lost touch with what she wants? When she gets the call that her father and stepmother have been injured in a freak accident, coming home to Green Pines to take care of them isn’t really what she’d planned. She’s spent her life getting away from small-town Green Pines. If ever there was a dying community in need of Ella’s expertise in neighborhood revitalization, though, this is it. She’s willing to give a shot at saving Green Pines, but things get complicated when billionaire real-estate developer Covington Black moves in up the road. Sure, she’s got a crush on him – who wouldn’t? But he’s just taken out an injunction to keep her from picketing his construction sites, so when he starts romancing her, he must be up to something. Whatever game he’s playing, she knows he’s only going to break her heart. Covington Black knows what he wants. He’s seeking solace in the only place he’s ever been truly happy – his grandfather’s farm in Green Pines. He’s got big plans for the place and he’s looking for a partner to share his dreams with. He wants to believe Ella’s the one, and yet it seems like falling for her is the one thing he shouldn’t have done. A tender tale that hits the sweet spot at the intersection of family, community and the love of your life.
Bubby: I just fell in love with Reclaiming Home. It had everything I am looking for in a book – romance, intrigue, obnoxious relatives, you name it. The romance bit of the plot was a bit predictable but only in the best way – that of a happy ending. In other words, it ended just the way I hoped it would. I loved the setting of Green Pines. Me and Sissy, we are small town girls and this town felt like it could have been home. My best friend’s dad ran the town lumber yard/hardware store and we always knew that if we had done something naughty Friday night our dads would be discussing it over paint and lumber on Saturday.
Sissy: That pretty much happened every Saturday, in other words. Dad had discussions with the Baptist minister about me and all my good works, on the other hand. Nauseating, really. Bubby and I were both like Ella in that after high school we couldn’t wait to get out of town forever, but we weren’t altruistic like her–we never went back and saved the town. I think we let the casino take care of that–right Bubby? Anywhoodle, this is a situation where we both read a list of books and then tell each other which ones are good so we can review them and Bubby got the best of the lot–Reclaiming Home by Milou Koenings. It was a delight to read from start to finish, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unlike most of the books on my list, which were crap.
Bubby: Tell me about it! It was such a relief to read something both well written and clean! Milou Koenings does not feel the need to swear every third word or have her characters making mad passionate love at the drop of a hat. Instead she writes about relationships and self-exploration. I loved the character of Johnny, Tony Black’s younger brother. He is a sweet and kind soul and the kindness that Ella shows to him is what attracts Tony to her in the first place. I see a deep thought in there somewhere- something about how hard we try to attract attention when all we really have to do is be the kindest possible person to those around us that we can be. See? I have depth. I am a philosopher at heart!
Sissy: And then you woke up… Ella’s sister Katie is a well-written character that I love to hate. But she provides a dramatic understory and a lovely tale of redemption. This is one of those books where you just fall into the story and it carries you along and two hours later you become cognizant of your surroundings and say “Oh rats! The book is over!” and you are sad and head directly to Milou Koenings’ website to see if she’s written anything else because she’s that good.
Bubby: Wow, Sissy. Run-on sentence much? But I have to agree. I spent a great deal of time reading the website because she’s dang funny! Unfortunately, there are no other books yet. But we can hope that there will be soon. Loved it. 4 1/2 bubbles.
Sissy: I swear I read somewhere that there would be another tale set in Green Pines. I’m going to read it. Reclaiming Home gets 4.5 bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy Reclaiming Home by Milou Koenings at Amazon.com
We received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review from Netgalley.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Fifteen-year-old Thea Wallis was born to entertain. Her mother, Oscar winning actress Cassie Hartley, thinks differently and has kept her daughter out of the spotlight since day one. Coming from showbiz royalty, it hasn’t been easy to go unnoticed, but mismatched surnames, a family home in Tasmania and a low-key scriptwriter father has made this possible. Just like her cousin Rory on the hugely popular TV show Saturday Morning Dance, Thea loves to dance. She learns the show’s routines off by heart each week, despite her mother’s attempts to convince her that dentistry would be a far more fulfilling career choice. However, when Rory goes off the rails in LA, Thea’s mother is suddenly left with no choice at all – Rory needs them and to LA they must go. Within forty-eight hours, Thea finds herself a long way from Tasmania and living her dream – on the road to Las Vegas with the Saturday Morning Dance team. It doesn’t take long before Thea’s talents are discovered and she’s offered everything she’s ever wanted on a plate, including the dance partner she’s had a crush on forever. But, as her mother has always told her, Hollywood dreams come at a price. Thea soon realizes she will have to work out just how much she’s willing to pay. And, ultimately, discover her own way to be Hartley. (From Netgalley.com)
Sissy: Being Hartley by Allison Rushby was just a fun little read. Thea lives in a world that seems magical to me, but was slightly annoying to her. I kept thinking that being in a famous family and having no money worries and travelling the globe would be, I dunno, rather fun, but I guess it has its downsides too. I am willing to give it a try, though. “Hollywood!! Yoohoo–I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille!”
Bubby: I know, right? They kept ordering room service or buying jewelry or reserving cabanas the same way I buy drinks at Sonic (only during 1/2 price happy hour) and socks at Wal-Mart. How the other half lives, I guess. But as much as the money and recognition would be nice, I think the constant pressure to be “on” and perfect would kill me. I’d go from happy homemaker to star to dead of a heroin overdose in the blink of an eye.
Sissy: Once you get past the mindless spending of money, you find a great teenage story. No super powers or magic, unless you count the platinum visa, just kids growing up and finding out how to be. A little family drama, a little romance, a little bungalow in Tasmania, all great stuff.
Bubby: All Thea’s mom wants is for Thea to grow up as a normal teenager, without all the pressure of stardom. All Thea wants is to be allowed to make her own decisions. Seems like the issues between kids and parents are pretty much the same no matter if you are famous or not. (Except for the bungalow in Tasmania). I love reading stories that are good enough for me to enjoy and for my teenagers to enjoy as well. This is one that they will really like.
Sissy: Also all the Hartleys have beautiful distinctive curly blonde hair and are beautiful and talented, sort of like me and Bubby. Without the curly bit. Could have been named “Being Sissy”. Great fun of a book. I give it 3.75 bubbles.
Bubby: Sissy is delusional. I love her anyway. 3.5 bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy Being Hartly by Allison Rushby at Amazon.com
We were given a copy of this title by Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Emma Burcelli has suffered over a decade of dating disasters. But she concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi suddenly passes, leaving her grandmother Nona devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which Nona insists must be decked out in sweetheart décor as Poppi would have done for Valentine’s Day. Although she feels like a Valentine’s Day Scrooge, Emma quickly learns to enjoy the task with the help of a handsome family friend, Lane Forester, who shows her that hanging hearts is much more fun when done to the tune of Dean Martin. As Emma and Lane share time and memories of Poppi, she reconsiders the notion that romance is alive. Just as Emma’s heart begins to lift, however, she learns her sister has already staked a claim on Lane. Emma’s mother and sister insist Lane only sees her as a future sister-in-law, but she can’t help wondering if it could be something more. (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: My heart is all warm and fuzzy after reading Once Upon A Winter’s Heart. I feel the need to play Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra music at loud volume and dance about my kitchen. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this story. Delicious!
Sissy: Okay. Bubby just put on the Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Frank Sinatra Pandora mix. So here we go. Do you remember the movie Return To Me with Minnie Driver and David Duchovny? This story kinda has that background feel. It lifted me up and made me happy in the magical way that few books can. Some reviews I’ve read of this kind of book are very critical of the fact that they prefer their romance with lots of sex and/or heavy duty dark subject matter.
Bubby: Not us! There’s a reason why our blog is called Bubble Bath Books, not Coffee House Existentialism Books. Or Steamy Sexbite Books. Seriously, Once Upon A Winter’s Heart is EXACTLY what we love to read.
Sissy: Well said, Bubby. It just delighted me. I really can’t think of a better word than delighted. Imagine me swing dancing with my imaginary partner around the living room with a big smile on my face. Of course there were bumps in the plot line to make it interesting, like Anne, Emma’s sister. Anne is a pretentious snob, albeit beautiful, with a stick up her … nose. She has a terminal case of “the grass is greener on the other side” and she doesn’t appreciate the wonderful things that are right in front of her nose. Also Emma’s mother made me crazy! She reminds me of my Aunt Matilda (names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent) with her agenda that she can’t see past, even though she is hurting those she’s supposed to love.
Bubby: I lied when I stated above that there was nothing bad to say about the story. I do have one criticism. There was this tension-filled issue between Emma’s parents that just suddenly went away without much explanation. I would have liked to know a little more about what happened there. But it’s a little tiny criticism. Maybe Melody Carlson felt that fleshing out that side plot would have taken away from the main story. Anyway, I’m over it now. I love the concept that romance blooms when it’s made a priority. I know so many couples who don’t go on dates and don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day and anniversaries because they are secure in their relationship and don’t want to buy into the whole “romantic mythology”. For me, it matters. I don’t need a big production of dozens of roses and a lavish dinner to know that my husband loves me. But when he brings home flowers just because or when we go out to dinner just the two of us and hold hands across the table? That makes me happy and all gooey and melty inside. Even after all these years.
Sissy: The relationship between Nona and Poppi was a great example and represented not just good fortune but years of good practice. And that is the truth about relationships. Every worthwhile one has to be worked at. Bubby and I have proved that with our relationship. It wasn’t too many years ago that Bubby wanted to kill me because of my great and exorbitant talents and I wanted to maim her because of her unfathomable beauty. But look at us now! Things that matter to us, we make work.
Bubby: That’s not exactly how I remember things, dear one, but we all know your memory is going fast! It’s true, though. Love takes effort. It took no effort, however to love Once Upon A Winter’s Heart. 4.75 blissfully floaty lovey-dovey bubbles.
Sissy: Wow, over the top much? 4.75 for me too.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.