Wednesday, August 31, 2011

INCOGNITO by Gregory Murphy

I absolutely love the Gilded Age. It just seemed like such a beautiful time in history. My favorite movie of all time is Somewhere in Time and when I lived in Newport, RI I made sure to tour the Vanderbilt summer house The Breakers. I would have loved to live in the Gilded Age, if I was exceptionally rich. Either way, Incognito is everything a girl like me wants in a book. It was rich (not just the characters) in story; there was love, betrayal, mystery, fantastic character development and beautiful descriptions.

William Dysart, is a lawyer working on a case where he is to try a purchase some land from a young unmarried Sybil Curtis. His client will not take no for an answer, in fact she will have the property condemned in order to seize it. When William meets Sybil he is taken aback by her unwillingness to sell her property to him (Sybil realizes who really wants it) and is rather willing to be thrown out of her home than to sell. Neither woman will tell William what their previous relationship was. William can’t help but attach himself to the young Miss Curtis and wants nothing more than to help her.

As William struggles with his feelings for Sybil Curtis, his home life begins to unravel. His beautiful socialite wife, Arabella shows her manipulative ways making William realize she is not the woman he thought she was. His lost memories surrounding the death of his mother make him question his father and the things he’s been told his whole life. All the seams of William’s life begin to unravel, leaving William with truths more disturbing than he had ever suspected.  

This is a dramatic story of New York high society in 1911 that you will not want to put down.  The further I read the more captivated I became by the story. I would have thought a man who becomes so entangled with another woman would enrage me as a married woman, but truthfully I felt nothing but compassion for William. I was absolutely fascinated with every twist and turn of the novel. The only negative about this book is I had trouble keeping a number of the supporting characters straight.

I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just Friends with Benefits by Meredith Schorr

Thirty-something year old Stephanie Cohen is looking for the love of her life and she’s afraid she may have already met him. Once upon a college campus, Stephanie had a thing for hottie Craig Hillie, but ended up dating one of his best guy pals for years. Ten years after college and she still carries a torch for him. Stephanie goes on a mission to hook up with Craig. Craig turns hers down and then comes back the next day and they hook up. Stephanie soon believes “Hillie” and her are meant to be.

Shortly after they hook up, Craig tells her they are just friends with benefits. Stephanie finally realizes this might not be good enough for her. Moving on, Stephanie ends up meeting Ryan. Ryan seems like a perfect match for her. Everything between them is going great. Well, they were going great until Stephanie and her friends get together for their week long summer vacation at the beach. Leaving Ryan behind, Stephanie goes and has lots of fun with Craig (who is showing her how much he cares) and is having lots to drink. Stephanie realizes maybe she’d been right and Craig really is the one. Believing Craig is jealous and makes a go of it, Stephanie makes a monumental decision. You’ll have to read it to see if she regrets it or gets her happily ever after!

This is a Chick Lit novel if I ever read one! Now I felt some of the language was a little crude for my personal taste, but Schorr used the language in a way to really portray the characters and lifestyle. Not my thing, but it worked. It also seemed to me the actions of Stephanie and the rest of the characters are more likely how I picture twenty year olds behave and not as much thirty year olds. However, I really really enjoyed the book! It was funny and the characters seemed so believable. I loved all the 90s pop culture and music. I couldn’t help, but sit there saying out loud, “you are delusional!” when dealing with Craig and when she met Ryan! I was so excited for her, but sadly some girls don’t see what they got when they’ve had eyes on some guy for forever ago. This is one of those books you don’t want to put down. I know I read most of it in one day!

Really, a fun fun read. I highly recommend this book to any and all lovers of Chick Lit!

I know you want to read it, so order your copy today!

Wanna learn more about Meredith

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today I'd like to introduce to you Meredith Schorr, author of a fantastic new book Just Friends with Benefits. I'm very excited to have Meredith here at A Novel Review to tell us what are: 

THE FIVE W’S  OF Meredith Schorr

WHO? Who is Meredith Schorr?

As both a writer and a woman, I view myself as someone who always strives to be happy, to make the people I love happy, to learn from my mistakes, to treasure the good times and find some way to improve as a result of the bad times.  When asked to describe myself in five words, I usually go with kind, sensitive, passionate, quirky and loyal!  On the flip side, I'm messy, klutzy, over-sensitive, over-analytical and impatient!
WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?

I love running - am training for my first half marathon.  My favorite sport is baseball and I am a die-hard New York Yankees fan.  I love to read and am the organizer of a chick-lit book club.  And sleeping, eating, watching tv, listening to music and chilling with my friends and loved ones are among my favorite pastimes.

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

When I discovered that writing, whether a story, in depth email to a client or a blog post, gave me almost the same kind of "high" as running and I started to receive positive feedback and encouragement from folks who read my work, I knew I had found my calling. 

WHERE? Where do you write?

I tend to write in short increments of time wherever and whenever I get the chance.  Sometimes it is a coffee shop, sometimes it is a park, sometimes it is at the beauty parlor waiting my turn.  I don't enjoy writing in my apartment all that much, except for revisions. 

WHY? Why do you write?

That's simple: because it makes me happy and is one of the best escapes from my own overactive 'noggin.  My brain never shuts down except, maybe, when I'm sleeping and writing allows me to forget my own issues and concentrate on those of my characters, even if it's just for a little while.

I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know The Five W’s of Meredith Schorr. Make sure to stop back on Thursday this week to read my review for Meredith's new book, Just Friends With Benefits.

Thank-you so much for joining us today at A Novel Review, Meredith! 

To learn more about Meredith you can visit her at her webpage:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Little Black Dress By Susan McBride + Giveaway

Every woman deserves to have the perfect little black dress.  McBrides’ newest release is about a magical black dress, which enhances the figure of any and every woman’s body who slips it on. But the magic of this special black dress doesn’t stop there. Sisters Evelyn and Annabelle couldn’t be any more different, but when they each slip on the magical black dress from the gypsy shop they both get a glimpse of their future.

Antonia Ashton gets word her mother, Evie, has had a stroke and is in the hospital in a coma. Leaving her successful wedding coordinator business and boyfriend Greg behind in St. Louis she returns home to Blue Hills. Having not been back since her father’s death two years earlier she begins to see how her mother’s life was beginning to spiral out of control. As she begins digging into her mother’s affairs she unearths questions about her mother’s past and finds a mysterious little black dress at the heart of it all.

The novel shifts chapters between Evie and her daughter, Antonia. Evie’s stories are first person accounts from the past leading the reader to the present, while Antonia’s story is what is currently going on and in third person.  I loved going back and forth getting to know Evie in a way her daughter, Toni doesn’t know her, while at the same time getting to see Toni realizing some her own mistakes and seeing her mother in a new light. 

I wasn’t sure about the whole idea of a future seeing black dress, but it worked! This is a story about how three women respond when getting a glimpse, how it can change everything in a moment. More than that it’s a story of family and sisters and the love they have for one another. It was heartwarming and beautifully written. I’d love to go on and on about this book, but I don’t want to say too much and ruin the story!

This was one of my favorite books I’ve read this summer.  I am definitely recommending you go and buy a copy! You can pre-order your copy at today!


Not only do I recommend the book I’m giving a copy away! Want to win it? All you need to do is be a follower, post a comment saying so and leave me your email address (sorry US only). I will choose one winner at random and email them. Giveaway ends August 30. The winner has 48 hours to respond with their address if the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours I will choose another winner. Good luck!

also by Susan McBride

Get to know about Susan at her website: 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

SILVER GIRL By Elin Hilderbrand

Start with Bernie Madoff type scandal, toss in a backdrop of Nantucket, mix an old friendship turned bad, add a sprinkle of love story with a hint of mystery and you have Silver Girl. Meredith Martin Delinn is living a dream life with her financial wizard of a husband Freddy. Only he ends up being a liar who is running a huge ponzi scheme. After Freddy ends up in jail, Meredith finds herself and her son under Federal investigation. Meredith finds herself completely alone (even her hairstylist won’t do business with her). She makes a desperate phone call to her high school best friend, Connie Flute. Connie dealing with her own share of tragedy agrees to take Meredith with her to her summer home in Nantucket to escape the media frenzy.

The book goes back and forth between Connie and Meredith, but it doesn’t stop there. Both ladies take us back in time to get back story. We know from the beginning there is tension between them, but there are also a number of other relationships clouded with questions. The story for Meredith seems to go from bad to worse, finding no peace and no escape in Nantucket from the scandal surrounding her. Meredith needs to decide who she is and who is she going to be.

If you have read Elin Hildrebrand books before, you will notice straight away this is different than her other novels. I have to be honest I’m a huge fan of hers, but when I first started reading I wasn’t excited about the book. I felt like I was so suppose to feel bad for Meredith, who had it all and because she kept her head in the clouds during her marriage she was sideswiped by her husband’s misdeeds. Even the shocking revelation that comes later in the story I picked up on right away (though I believe Hilderbrand expects the reader to, but also to show us how clueless Meredith was when it came to Freddy).

On the other hand, I really liked Connie. Wish I had a Connie in my life. Not only does she have her own issues she is dealing with, but she comes in and saves Meredith. Then I like her even more when I learned the back story between the two women. It really showed her character. As the story progresses over the summer, we do see Meredith slowly evolve then she seems to go backwards a bit than grows again and by the end of the book I really liked her.

I found this to be a great book of how friendship can carry us and help us to be our best. I would recommend this book.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Before Ever After Book by Samantha Soto

Here's a link to order a copy!


Kate Conway is a television producer working on crime shows, but she never thought she’d find herself smack-dab in a murder mystery. In the midst of a divorce to her husband of twenty years, she gets a call from her soon-to-be ex husband Frank’s new girlfriend in the middle of the night. Racing to the ER, Kate discovers Frank has passed away from a heart attack. The doctor is suspicious, and suddenly the police
are investigating Frank’s cause of death, and the soon-to-be ex-wife, Kate, is the prime suspect. 

While the investigation into Frank’s death is going on, Kate gets a call to produce a new show called Missing Persons. This is a perfect distraction from her life. Her first Missing Persons case involves twenty-two year old, Teresa Moretti. Teresa seems to be almost saint like, but the deeper Kate digs the more questions arise and the list of suspects grows. Suddenly, it seems both cases intertwine in Kate’s life and she begins to fear if she doesn’t solve the mysteries she might just be the next victim.

I thoroughly enjoyed Missing Persons. This was a fast paced action filled book. Since O’Donohue herself is a producer, I felt like I really got an idea of how some television shows are made. I loved Kate. She seemed so real to me, going through all sorts of emotions and self-examination. I also really enjoyed all the supporting characters. But most of all, I enjoyed the ending. I was surprised by the outcome of the mysteries. This isn’t some dark dreary who did it book, but a fun entertaining who did it. I highly recommend Missing Persons.


Not only do I recommend the book I’m giving a copy away! Want to win it? All you need to do is be a follower, post a comment saying so and leave me your email address (sorry US only). I will choose one winner at random and email them. Giveaway ends August 18. The winner has 48 hours to respond with their address if the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours I will choose another winner. Good luck!

Want to make sure you get a copy you can order your copy today!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Clare O'Donohue has worked on shows for The History Channel, truTV, Food Network, A&E, Discovery, and TLC. She has also written a numerous novels and we welcome her today on A Novel Review. She has been gracious enough to tell us what are:

THE FIVE W’S  OF Clare O'Donohue  

WHO is Clare O'Donohue
Underneath the sarcasm, I’m pretty shy. I spend a lot of time with family and friends, and pride myself on having close friendships that pre-date grade school. I prefer tea to coffee, staying up late to getting up early, and flats to high heels. I’m not outdoorsy, but I have things like, “go camping” on my bucket list. I have a bucket list. This is mainly because I’m kind of anal retentive and I’d hate to be on my death bed and realize I I’d forgotten to do something really cool because I didn’t make a list.

WHAT do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
I love creating things –so I quilt, I draw, I bake. I like being around artists. I go to the weekend art fairs and I take classes in things like pottery and glassmaking. I also love to travel. I think it’s so easy to be on automatic pilot, doing the same things in the same way every day, and travel is one way to wake up the brain. So is learning a new skill. And since writers don’t just write what we know, we write about what we want to know, learning something new or traveling to a new place is research for a possible book. 

WHEN did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was about five I used to tell my older sister stories about the good people who lived under the bed, who protected us from the evil people who lived in the closet. I made up my own endings to Cinderella and Snow White, and read every book I could from the time I learned how to read. When I was fifteen, I wrote a novella, a mystery, just to see if I could follow through on the story to the end. I majored in International Politics in college to become a political speechwriter, but ended up working as a newspaper reporter and then TV writer/ producer. So I guess I’ve always been a writer, and since I was about 24, I’ve made a living as one. It helped that my mom was an English teacher, so words and stories are important in my family. My sister has written a parenting book and both my brothers have published articles.

WHERE do you write?
At the moment, I’ve got my laptop propped on my bed. I usually write on a chair in the living room or at the kitchen table. Sometimes I write at Starbucks, or a local coffee shop that doesn’t mind me sitting there for hours. I travel a lot for my day job as a TV producer, so I write in airports, hotels, and often at a shoot while I’m waiting for the crew to set up the lights. A lot of Missing Persons was written that way. I don’t as yet have a home office dedicated to my writing. That’s the dream.

WHY do you write?
There is no non-pretentious way to say this. I have to write. I really find the writing process to be so fun and joyful, even when it’s frustrating and hard. I can’t imagine not writing and I feel grateful that I’ve been able to do this for a living, especially since I have so few other marketable skills. 

Thank-you so much for stopping here at A Novel Review and sharing with us, Clare!

I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know The Five W’s of Clare O’Donohue. Make sure to stop back on Thursday this week to read my review for Clare’s book plus your chance to win a copy of her new book!

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.