Welcome to Ivory Owl Reviews

Just browsing?
Click on any of the above photos to jump to one of my popular posts (on desktop version)

Want to see what's new?
Scroll down for my most recent posts (desktop and mobile versions)

Looking for something?
Use the search box in the right hand column (desktop) or at the bottom of the page (mobile)

My Paris Kitchen

Title: My Paris Kitchen
Author: David Lebovitz
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
ISBN: 9781607742678
How I Got It: NetGalley
Number of Pages: 352
Format: Kindle


A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

It’s been ten years since David Lebovitz packed up his most treasured cookbooks, a well-worn cast-iron skillet, and his laptop and moved to Paris. In that time, the culinary culture of France has shifted as a new generation of chefs and home cooks—most notably in Paris—incorporates ingredients and techniques from around the world into traditional French dishes. 
In My Paris Kitchen, David remasters the classics, introduces lesser-known fare, and presents 100 sweet and savory recipes that reflect the way modern Parisians eat today. You’ll find Soupe à l’oignon, Cassoulet, Coq au vin, and Croque-monsieur, as well as Smoky barbecue-style pork, Lamb shank tagine, Dukkah-roasted cauliflower, Salt cod fritters with tartar sauce, and Wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate. And of course, there’s dessert: Warm chocolate cake with salted butter caramel sauce, Duck fat cookies, Bay leaf poundcake with orange glaze, French cheesecake...and the list goes on. David also shares stories told with his trademark wit and humor, and lush photography taken on location around Paris and in David’s kitchen reveals the quirks, trials, beauty, and joys of life in the culinary capital of the world.

My Review: 

What a beautiful book! The pictures are gorgeous and the stories read like Parisian foodie love letters.  Give this book to anyone who loves to cook or buy it for yourself if you need a little kitchen inspiration. Food blooger David Lebovitz provides detailed backgrounds on many of the common ingredients used in French cooking. For example, the many different types of chocolate and which dishes produce the best outcome from each variety. Equal parts cookbook and stories, you will find yourself reading (with great interest) about which types of eggs and milk to buy, as well as when to buy and how to mince garlic. 
I would categorize this beautiful ode to French eating somewhere between "food porn" and "comfort food." The eye-rolling, ecstatic moaning when you see the photos and read the ingredients lists leads to a totally different type of  warm-all-overs when you read the personal stories that allowed Lebovitz to compile this book. A perfect reflection of the food, friends, family Parisian lifestyle.  

*** I received this book in exchange for an honest review***

Giving Myself Away

Title: Giving Myself Away
Author: Grete DeAngelo
Publisher: Panoptic Books
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
ISBN: 9781628279153
Number of Pages: 292
How I Got It: direct from author
Format: paperback

In Giving Myself Away, divorced mother Adrienne Manning is devastated to find out she's pregnant after messing around with a guy who's clearly not boyfriend material. He's a lonely mortician with a spiteful daughter, and things just happened late one night after a funeral. When Adrienne meets George Freihoffer in a coffee shop to tell him the news, he asks her to get married and promises to take care of her. Adrienne hasn't been single long and she doesn't trust men so easily after Drew, her high school sweetheart turned husband, left her for a perky soccer mom. Adrienne and Drew's two sons don't like spending weekends with their dad and his new wife, who has four wild boys of her own. They are confused about why Adrienne plans to give up the new baby and they worry she'll get rid of them too. Adrienne gives George an ultimatum: agree to the adoption or she won't talk to him anymore. He accepts, but in the meantime, drifts into a relationship with Carolyn, a woman Adrienne initially set him up with to get him off her back. Adrienne realizes when he's gone that although she might not have been madly in love with him, George was a good friend and she misses having him around. Being alone causes Adrienne to second-guess her decision about the baby. Giving Myself Away grabs readers by the heart and guides them through a realistic journey fraught with tough decisions.

My Review:
I don't like books with an "agenda" and at first I was worried this novel would push the adoption agenda. But it does not. Grete DeAngelo created a relatable character in Adrienne Manning. What would you do if you were recently divorced with two young boys and found yourself pregnant after a one night stand with a friend? Adrienne has a lot of options but none are without consequence and heartache. After deciding to give the baby up for adoption, Adrienne must still progress through life's daily challenges plus new situations and obstacles due to her pregnancy. DeAngelo gives readers a perspective not often seen in novels. I personally can not think of a single other novel where a financially responsible, non-addict, "good" mother makes the decision of adoption. The logic and responsibility behind Adrienne's decision is admirable but DeAngelo doesn't make her a martyr. Adrienne's decision is not supported by everyone. The baby's father, George, offers to marry Adrienne and when she refuses, he resigns himself to any decison she makes. George's daughter is a whole ball of teenage mood swings and Adrienne is the perfect outlet for her. Adrienne's sons try to wrap their minds about why they can't keep the baby. Her mother is very concerned with appearances and Adrienne's appearance at her mother's book club exemplifies how strong and determined she is in her decision. 
While the subject matter would seem to be heavy and highly emotional, DeAngelo injects a good amount of comedy. From the very first pages when Adrienne finds her sons playing with "swords" and one of them is her pregnancy test, readers know that even though the novel is about an adoption, it is also about the lives swirling around the situation. 

** I received this novel in exchange for an honest review ** 

Ideal Movie Cast for Until You're Mine

Tamara over at Traveling with T and I are posting today about our ideal cast of characters if (when?) UNTIL YOU'RE MINE would be (is) made into a movie. So here are my choices:
Claudia: I picture blond, rosy cheeked, calm demeanor-----Naomi Watts or Scarlett Johansson 
Zoe: I said yesterday that I pictured Emma from the TV show "The Following" but I think it could be Kristen Stewart because there is something a bit "off" about her or Kristen Bell because she is so bubbly but gets sneaky as Veronica Mars.
Lorraine: hard working detective resentful of her husband-----Sandra Bullock 
Stella & Grace (Lorraine's daughters) Kendall and Kylie Jenner. They are a little older than Grace and Stella but they ooze rebellion. 
Adam: I didn't really have a mental picture of Adam. The female characters drove this book and the male characters were not much concern to me. I guess maybe----Gerard Butler
James: I also didn't really picture much for James but let's throw Ryan Gosling in there because....um, because it's Ryan Gosling

I'm interested to jump over to Tamara's page and see who she picked now! Did you read the book? Who would you choose for a movie cast? 

Book Talk with R & T: Until You're Mine

This week is all about Samantha Hayes' new release UNTIL YOU'RE MINE, both here and over at Traveling with T's blog. So far this week you can read my review as well as Tamara's and enter our giveaway. Today we dig a little deeper into the psychological thriller that had us both up way past our bedtimes. Over on Tamara's blog she is featuring an interview with Samantha Hayes and you can read here. Here on Ivory Owl Reviews Tamara and I further discuss our reactions to the novel.


I was browsing through Netgalley (dangerous place!) and the cover caught my eye. Then the synopsis, well knowing from the synopsis that Zoe was a character to not be trusted intrigued me. Seeing that Claudia had this picture-perfect life- that intrigued me. I had a definite inkling of THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE (you know that creepy-good movie with Rebecca de Mornay in it?) I immediately clicked the “Request” button and held my breath till I was approved.  Perfect nanny with a mysterious air-check! Pregnant woman who is unsure whether to trust her instincts or not- check! Creepy attacks on pregnant women- check and check!

I found the summary very interesting and I also requested this title from NetGalley. Rarely do I ever read about pregnant women in any way other than idyllic settings, or maybe pregnant mistresses, pregnancies from affairs, etc. Attacks on pregnant women fascinated me in a tragic, Nancy Grace topic sort of way. When I read the book I thought of THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE throughout the book, too! And Tamara and I never said that to each other before now!


Ok, I have to be ugly here. I didn’t pick up on this in the synopsis and it really shouldn’t matter, but it kind of does- settings in England are not my fav. There, I said it. I mean I freaking love a British accent, but the last fewpsychlogical thrillers I’ve read that were set in England were just kind of disappointing to me (I’m looking at you THE LAST WINTER OF DANI LANCING!) So, when I started reading this and realized the setting- I briefly considered quitting. Again, it shouldn’t matter, but I still have a bitter taste in my mouth from previous books- and I think that almost influenced my feeling of the setting. After reading UNTIL YOU’RE MINE, after thinking about it for days (I’m obsessive!) it wouldn’t have worked set in America. It had to be set where it was- even though the setting itself was NOT a huge character. But you just have to read to understand more!

I have to really think about if the setting affected me at all. I think the fact that certain agencies operate under different protocols made it easy for me to not over analyze situations that I may have been more critical about. For instance, when the investigators examine the attack victims or  the confidentiality of social services. Not that I know proper police procedures or legal allowances in the United States, but it was easy to brush it off and say "that's just how they do it there" instead of being distracted by possible inconsistancies. 


Zoe- dear golly- I did not care for Zoe for quite some time. I mean she was crazy. Baby-obsessed.  She had redeemable sides to her- it was like you could tell as you were reading that someone else was pulling Zoe’s strings.... Or else she was one heck of an unreliable narrator. I was never quite sure where exactly I stood with Zoe.
Claudia- you know how people love pregnant women? Talk about that glow they have? Claudia glowed in this book- here she is, on the verge of having everything she wants, and then... It’s like the universe just threw Zoe into her life. I can’t tell you the number of times that I was like “Claudia, pull it together and fire Zoe. Get yourself to a hotel or call the police or something and let a person know you are feeling vulnerable!”
Lorraine- it was all in my reading of who is attacking pregnant women and how much danger is Claudia in that Samantha Hayes had to throw a character in who is having marital issues, child issues and, quite honestly, for the most of the book- Lorraine almost seems unnecessary. Oh, by the end, I understood her role- but I could have lived without some of her drama.

Zoe- I watch The Following and I kept thinking Zoe is Emma! Anyone who watches this show knows what I mean, especially because Emma was originally Joey's nanny and seemed perfect. But we all know that underneath it all she was a "follower" and secretly liked killing people. 
Claudia- Oh Claudia, finally getting everything she wants. She loves her job and after marrying a widower with two small boys she is pregnant. Life is grand, right? 
Lorraine- I really liked Lorraine a lot although I couldn't figure out why Hayes was really giving so much of her story until much further into the book. Seriously the issue with her husband using her body wash was so small that most readers may have missed it but I rolled my eyes and talked to the book saying "EXACTLY!" Or that she acknowledged the fact that Lorraine wasn't as accomplished as her husband because she had taken on a majority of the caregiving for their daughters. The underlying resentment was palpable. 


So, as documented above- I was loving this plot. LOVING it. Then, I opened the book. And it began letting me down- it wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I read along, because I really wanted to see how the Zoe/Claudia dynamic played out... I was interested; but not overwhelemed with interest. And then... THEN, it was like the bookish gods read my “ho-hum” interest in this book- and rewarded me. Big time. Huge. This book quickly went from “I’m mildly interested to I’ve got to flip the pages on my Kindle faster so I can know what in the world is going to happen next!” I hate to harp on Lorraine, but I wasn’t just loving her. Like I was digging the whole being a strong woman in the work place (totally digging that!), but her personal drama was a bit ehh....  James- Claudia’s hubby- as a reader, I never did get a fully formed picture of James. He smacked a bit of some shady behavior (and I wondered if we were going to find out some big dark secret of his past!)

I was excited to read this novel when I first read the summary, then even more excited when Tamara and I decided this would be our initial feature for Book Talk with R & T. As I began the book I was a little confused. Then I started tweeting Tamara questions and guesses about what was going to happen. I began to pick up the pace as the story progressed because the fact that Claudia is about to have a baby lends an urgency to each day that passes. And then.....And Then!! The climax and ending of the book had me mouth open in shock reading. I actually said "What the f*ck?" and "Holy Sh*t!" out loud several times. 


Yes. Yes, I think I would. Samantha had a way of writing that did entertain me- so I’m def curious to see more from this author!
Absolutely! I don't usually find myself drawn to thrillers or mysteries, but I will definitely read more by Samantha Hayes.


Tamara: Thumbs up, baby!
Rhiannon: Two thumbs up!

Until You're Mine

Title: Until You're Mine
Author: Samantha Hayes
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: April 15, 2014 U.S. release (first released January 1, 2013 in U.K.)
ISBN: 9781780891484
Number of Pages: 416
How I Got It: NetGalley
Format: Kindle

You're alone. You're vulnerable. And you have something that someone else wants. At any cost.
 Claudia Morgan-Brown finally has it all. Pregnant with a much-wanted first baby of her own, she has a happily established family of two small step-sons and a loving husband with a great career. But she is also committed to her full-time job as a social worker, and her husband travels often. So when Claudia hires Zoe to help her around the house in anticipation of the baby’s arrival, it seems like the answer to her prayers. But despite Zoe's glowing recommendations and instant rapport with the children, there's something about her that Claudia cannot trust.

 Moreover, there has been a series of violent attacks on pregnant women in the area, and Claudia becomes acutely aware of her vulnerability. With her husband out of town for work and her family far away, who will be there to protect her? And why does she feel unsettled about Zoe? Realizing appearances can be deceiving even in her seemingly perfect world, Claudia digs deeper into Zoe’s blurry past and begins to wonder – how far would someone go to have a child of her own?
 Riveting from its very first pages, Until You’re Mine is a multilayered masterwork of twisted, psychological suspense. Readers of Before I Go to Sleep and Turn of Mind will be enthralled by this multilayered novel, featuring a twisted plot that ends in a breathtaking and shocking finale.

My Review:
This was an "OMG Whoa!" book! It's going to be very hard to write a review of this novel because I don't want to give too much away. This book is comparable to the smash hit "Gone  Girl" in that you do not know what will happen next. I am always disappointed if I figure out a story twist early on and then find myself bored completing a book. This was NOT that kind of book! I found myself constantly tweeting my book buddy Tamara who was reading this also. I was trying so hard to figure it out but just could not.  I was pleasantly confused throughout the entire story. 

Upper middle class blended family with social worker mother hires a nanny amidst a rash of fetal "abductions." Plus husband and wife investigators with two teen girls add a great secondary storyline. 
You will have creepy chills from the first time you read: "You're so lucky to be pregnant" until the final taunting line. This thriller is a definite recommendation for any reader, even ones that don't usually read this type of book...like me.

Be sure to check out Tamara's review (link to come) and enter our giveaway for a copy of Samantha Hayes' UNTIL YOU'RE MINE. Also, keep checking back all week as Tamara and I chat more about this release.

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **

New Feature: Book Talk with R & T

Ok guys! Guys! I'm so excited for a super fun collaboration week between my blog and Tamara over on Traveling with T!! I consider Tamara one of the best book buddies EVAH! We both love wine, Designing Women, and books (obvs!) We've been discussing ideas of a joint venture for quite some time and decided to do a week long feature of a single book on both of our blogs. After much deliberation we decided we will be featuring Samantha Hayes' UNTIL YOU'RE MINE!
So all week we will be talking about UNTIL YOU'RE MINE: what we loved, hated, a potential movie cast and more! Plus you can enter to win a copy of UNTIL YOU'RE MINE over on Traveling with T or here on Ivory Owl Reviews (over on right upper side of blog.)-------->>>

Please join us for a fun week of everything UNTIL YOU'RE MINE here and over on Traveling with T. Plus, we are big Tweeters so please chat with us here on our blogs or over on Twitter (Tamara: @RockStar1023 & Me: @IvoryOwlReviews)


Title: Spindrift
Author: Laura Madeline Wiseman
Publisher: Dancing Girl Press
Publication Date: February 7, 2014
Number of Pages: 30
How I Got It: from the author
Format: paperback and e-copy 

Author supplied summary:
Launched into the underworld realms of sunken ships, myths, and mercurial pop cultural representations, Spindrift dives into waters where who we thought mermaids were wavers with possibilities, dangers, and hopes.

My Review: 
This flash fiction piece of work may appear small, but it is indeed mighty. Part journal format, part poetry, but all fiercely female, Spindrift deconstructs feminine ideals through modern perceptions of mermaid myths. While a few statements in this work contain flashes of thought toward the idealized concept mermaid's represent ("paint their lips with crushed anemones,") Wiseman provides a feminist interpretation of the fantasy.  In Against Myth the mermaid is not long flowing hair and seashell pasties, she exists regardless of belief and outside of scientific explanation (no exoskeletons or horns) and gender norms (hairy armpits and unibrows.) In Whoppers, Wiseman references Peter Pan's mermaids and gives a chillingly realistic interpretation of Melville's Moby Dick and Disney's The Little Mermaid: 
Ahab lied. There was no whaler, no dick of Moby. Ahab was simpy a dick. The old man in the sea, he lied. Not a marlin. Ariel lied. She wasn't mermaid or fish, just another voiceless woman with amnesia. Anyone would forget an event that turned every step into a feeling of knives. 
Wiseman walks a fine line between providing us with another, more feminist, mermaid narrative and pointing out inconsistencies in yet another perpetuated myth personifying feminine concepts. The effect is a dreamy swirl of bedtime story and call to action. Again, I am beyond impressed with Wiseman's work and strongly recommend it to anyone, but especially those interested in gender theory. 

Additional Info about Wiseman: Originally from Iowa and currently residing in Nebraska, Wiseman has been a writer-in-residence at The Prairie Center of the Arts is in Peoria, IL three times. Her dissertation (Queen of the Platform) focused on Matilda Fletcher, the suffragist, poet, and lecturer from Illinois, who was also her great-great-great grandmother. 

Be sure to also checkout Wiseman's website and one of the Spindrift videos as well as my review of another of Wiseman's works Intimates and Fools

** I received a copy of this work in exchange for an honest review **

On Grace

I featured this book in June of 2013 as a review (reposted below) and as one of My Three Summer Reading Picks. I was so excited for the author when I found out that On Grace was being re-released because I really loved it and thought that with a little more exposure, it would be sure to resonate with a large demographic of women. Be sure to check out the author's website and if you have the opportunity to read On Grace, I'm sure you will love it.  

New Cover !!! 

Title: On Grace
Author: Susie Orman Schnall
Publisher: originally Sing Out Press / relaunched with SparkPress
Publication Date: June 9, 2013 / relaunch April 8, 2014
ISBN: 978-0615809830
Pages: 258
How I got it: from the author

SUMMARY (Author Supplied)
Grace May is truly excited about turning 40 in a few months. And now that her boys are both in school and she has a stimulating new writing job, the next chapter in her life can finally begin. She can't wait to rediscover the intelligent and interesting woman deeply buried under the layers of mother and wife.
But when Grace loses her job and gets unexpected news from her husband and her best friend, life suddenly gets complicated. Grace stands to lose everything: her marriage, her best friend, and her sense of self. But by her 40th birthday party, Grace will realize who and what matter most. With laughter. With tears. With grace.
ON GRACE embraces themes that will resonate with every woman who owns at least one pair of Spanx: fidelity, friendship, and finding oneself at 40. It's soulful and sweet, sexy and sad, straight up and smart, and, ultimately, quite satisfying. The story's relatable authenticity definitely connects with readers. 


Have you ever read the first ten pages of a book and sat, mouth gaping, saying "This is my life."? Well I hadn't until I read ON GRACE. The novel opens with Grace anticipating her soon to be free days. Her youngest will be starting school and she can now decide what she wants to fill her days with beyond the demands of motherhood. Wanting to re-enter the workforce, Grace encounters obstacles due to her lapse in work history and rethinks what she should be doing with her time. Should she keep pursuing trying to get a writing job or should she focus on non-employment endeavors?

It is important to note that this should not be categorized as a "mommy wars" novel, as the story is not centered around working versus stay-at-home mothers. Schnall presents characters doing variations on that previously presented binary with the focus not on the labels themselves but how each woman expresses her individual identity.  However, Schnall doen't shrink from drawing attention to the inequalities and benefits of unpaid labor.  For example:

As I chop lettuce, I fantasize about the stay-at-home moms going on strike. Picketing all the school book fairs, hospital benefits, and canned food drives that, if it weren’t for their unpaid labor, would never happen.

Expanding out from Grace's individual career decisions Schnall provides a realistic and identifiable view of Grace as a wife, friend, sister, daughter and mother. Grace is faced with deciding if one mistake eradicates years of wonderful marriage, as well as stepping up for a friend in need.

Author Susie Orman Schnall provides a glimpse behind the white picket fence but not in a dramatic, "Desperate Housewives" sort of way. She gives us an everywoman with Grace, a woman juggling all her duties and always looking ahead with equal parts fear and excitement. Written in an approachable style with relatable characters, dialogues, and events, Schnall's style captures an entire demographic and provides comfort to those that identify with her work. I will be recommending ON GRACE not only for the story itself, but for Schnall's true voice.  I hope for more great works from her in the future.

** I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review **

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Algonquin
Publication Date: April 2014
Number of Pages: 258
How I Got It: SheReads April Selection
Format: paperback

Goodreads Summary:

On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.
A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming. As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
My Review:
I first heard about this book from Ariel Lawhon. She was absolutely raving about it to me and everyone else at a recent author event. She said she read the entire book on a flight and that every book lover will love it. She was right! First of all, let's just say that the main character A.J. Fikry owns (and lives above)  a book store on a sleepy island! Is this not every book lover's dream? Each chapter is introduced with a short suggestion of what A.J. believes another character should read and why. Multiple authors and novels are interspersed throughout the book and A.J. provides his very intense opinions of them as well as his thoughts on short stories, memoirs, and author parties. This book depicts the feelings I have about a book's effect on a reader due to time and place. A story you may have read and hated years ago, you may love when you revisit it (or vice versa.) You may re-read a novel and take away an entirely different "lesson" or story line than you did during a previous read. Our personal interpretations of the works we read is dependent upon where we are in our own life journeys. A single book can mean one thing to you at one point in your life and mean something else another time. Isn't that magical? That the story itself didn't change, but you as a reader changed? And that unchanging text can cause such personal introspection? That amazing aspect of a book is just one of many reasons I call myself a book lover. If you call yourself one too, then do NOT miss reading this great story.

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **

Fly Away

Title: Fly Away
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: 
ISBN: 9781250031815
Number of Pages: 400
How I Got It: via publicist
Format: paperback

Goodreads Summary:

Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than thirty years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on. . . .
Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate--to be there for Kate’s children--but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people.
Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her . . . until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.
Dorothy Hart--the woman who once called herself Cloud--is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs.
A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need one another--and maybe a miracle--to transform their lives.
An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness.

My Review:
I have not heard of Kristin Hannah and was quite surprised to find out that she has written 20 other novels! Fly Away is the sequel to Firefly Lane and I usually don't like to read sequels without reading the first book. That being said, I found Fly Away to be what I consider "a bathtub book" maybe even a "beach read." The story of how a woman's death causes her best friend and daughter to spiral out of control holds a generic, mass appeal that I know is mooned over by some female readers, just not me. 

Order the book, watch the trailer and read an excerpt here

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **

Paris, Rue des Martyrs

Title: Paris, Rue des Martyrs
Author: Adria J. Cimino
Publisher: Agency Editions
Publication Date: February 10, 2014
ISBN: 9781940392066
Number of Pages: 286
How I Got It:  author
Format: ebook

Some encounters make a difference.

Four strangers in Paris. Each one is on a quest: to uncover a family secret, to grasp a new chance at love, to repair mistakes of the past. Four stories entwine, four quests become one, as their paths cross amid the beauty, squalor, animation and desolation of a street in Paris, the Rue des Martyrs. 
Rafael's search for his birth mother leads him to love and grim family secrets. Cecile’s view of herself as an unsatisfied housewife is radically changed by the promise of a passionate liaison. Andre, an aging actor, troubled by the arrival of the son he abandoned years ago, must make a choice, to either lose his son forever or put aside pride and seek redemption. Mira travels to Paris to begin a new life and forget about love… or so she intends.
Four strangers, four stories, one riveting novel.

My Review:
Throughout my reading of this novel, I thought of the movie "Crash." Like "Crash," "Paris, Rue des Martyrs" interweaves multiple characters beginning as several equidistant, individual stories. As the movie and the novel progress, the movie-watcher and reader start making connections between the characters, as they eventually crash into one another. Quite a complex angle for a debut novelist to attempt, yet Adria Cimino proves a reliable narrator, guiding readers through a tangled maze, and rewards them with the realization of the interconnectedness of her characters lives, as well as the readers' own.
Emerald dealers in South America, lovers in Italy, romantic and familial love, "Paris, Rue des Martyrs" does not shy away from exposing the true nature of people, good and bad. This book is perfect for you if you've ever looked at an apartment building and wondered about the lives of the tenants, or simply wondered how connected we are to those around us without even knowing it. Cimino puts her finger on the theory of "degrees of separation" and delivers a wonderful story exemplifying the network of connectedness around us every day.

** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **