Jane of Manchester by J.G. Dow

1D4B550C-4E90-40CC-9063-11A26C3F666C-3426-00000D141389008B

Jane has to be the loneliest and most bored woman in existence. She is thirty and pretty, but it has been a year since her last boyfriend. She works for a florist who doesn’t particularly like her and she goes out for drinks with her friends several times a week for ‘Is this all there is?’ drinking. When she dines with her friends there is a lot of discussion about what to eat, what they like to eat, and agreement that they have never had such amazing food before. Every meal, except breakfast, inevitably has a delicious wine to discuss.

No wonder Jane is such a boring person. She hangs out with the most boring people imaginable. Even when one friend has a bridal party, interestingly called a hen-do, the women travel out-of-town and proceed to drink themselves silly for a weekend, expressing joy over the approaching wedding. One friend, Natasha, gets so drunk that she invites a young man to accompany her to the ladies’ room. Her friends are horrified, but somehow this action doesn’t appear to be the first time and won’t be the last.

Jane’s friends, and even her mother, begin mentioning how long it has been since Jane had a boyfriend, so she starts to give it serious consideration. After all, she needs a date for the wedding. Her mother’s neighbor, Dan, has recently broken up with his girlfriend, and according to her mother, Jane should give him the chance to prove himself boyfriend material.

The following week, pondering the attractiveness of Dan, she sees him on the sidewalk near her work. She stares. Then she notices Dan with a bunch of coworkers at her favorite drinking hole. He doesn’t see her and she decides not to call attention to herself by speaking to him. What if he doesn’t know who she is? Her friends egg her on, but Jane figures she needs to think about this for a while more. As she thinks on what to do, she does nothing.

This book was slow. The only reason I kept reading is that I found the British expressions fascinating. Some of the phrases are definitely different: totally cheesed off, feeling a bit knackered, wardrobe full of natty dresses, make a pot noodle for lunch, hen-do, etc. These make Americanisms sound down-right dull. I think the hardest part was slogging through all the drinking and the hangover headaches. They were in abundance. So, I find myself wanting to read more of these fun and interesting expressions, but in a different subject matter.

The grading:

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary. The reading age is difficult. I don’t think it would hold a teen’s attention.
  • Level of sexuality – Very little.
  • Is there graphic language? Yes, but it has to be read in context, otherwise you may wonder what the gist of ‘that!’ was.
  • Did I cry? No.
  • Did I laugh? No, but occasionally I smiled internally.
  • Is this part of a series? I haven’t heard of a sequel, but it has the best cliffhanger ever!
  • Level of character development – What you see is what you get.

Due to the incredible cliffhanger, I give this ⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars.

Available here on Amazon

Crashed: Siren’s Call by Kerri Ann

07D064FE-EB5F-4017-864E-8B547B7DBD81-4898-0000105D60CAE57C

As the title ‘Crashed’ implies, this is not an easy read and deals with the aftermath of the first book in this phenomenal series. It has moments of beauty, pain, anger, regret, and caused me a lot of frustration. After finishing Casper’s Ghost, I was dying to get my hands on this one. The wait was blessedly short, but still felt too long, as I was overwhelmed with the need to know what happened next.

The story is the opposite of the first book. While Casper’s Ghost had a good deal of interaction, this one focuses on the individuals. I was thrilled that China saw a lot more action. She’s a magnificent character and now I’m anxiously waiting for her book to come out. The first allowed readers a hint at her strong, sassy character, but this one did her justice, allowing her the freedom to become a fully fledged member of the series. Whiskey is another nice touch, although he is not included in much, I got a good sense of his upbringing and his reasoning behind his decision to stay away from the Crown family. Their stories will be wonderful additions to this series.

I admit I was frustrated for a long while. I had expected more one-on-one between Wyatt and Circe, but the story is so much more than that. It is the back story and emotions of each character outside of their relationship and how it affects them as an ‘us’. Wyatt is allowed a lot of time for introspection and, due to his manic depression, suffers a lot with his heightened emotions. It was difficult to read about his struggles to survive and deal with his past and his regrets. I was ecstatic to finally discover the secret of Circe’s past. It was brutal and brought tears to my eyes. The fact that these lovers are kept apart while they deal with these issues is a strength to the story, even though I longed desperately for them to come back together. It was more than worth the wait.

The story is well-done, but it is the author’s writing and connection to her characters that really drew me in. I could feel what they were feeling and it is apparent that the author was fully invested, loving them as much as I do. This is not your typical love story and must be read after Casper’s Ghost, but is a perfect finish for their tale. The story is quick and short, but fulfilling. I did not want for anything, as this book had it all. When I came to the end I was sad that it was over, but I was relieved to finally see the power of their love.

Now, for the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – Romance for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – There was one scene that was rather graphic, but it was mellow compared to the first book. The focus was not on sex, but it was touched upon.
  • Is there graphic language? You betcha.
  • Did I cry? There were definitely moments that pulled at my heart-strings.
  • Did I laugh? Not this time. It was far too serious.
  • Is this part of a series? Yes, it is book two in the Crown and Anchor series.
  • Level of character development – The characters are extremely well done and the fact that this book focuses more on the emotional aspects of each one, allowed me to connect with them. They are consistent the entire way through without any weaknesses in the plot.

I love the series and I love this book. It is a perfect follow-up for Casper’s Ghost and is unique in its own beautiful way. It opened my eyes to the mental anguish of someone with Wyatt’s condition and the aftermath of a great tragedy. I’m excited to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. This is one that will stick with me.

Available here on Amazon

Available here on Barnes & Noble

Confess by Colleen Hoover

IMG_0366

This book evoked every emotion, from heartbreak to anger to joy. I was hooked from the very beginning by the characters and the author’s incredible writing style. It is more than a romance; it’s a story of fate and sacrifice.

The story starts with a stab to the heart, but it is the underlying theme throughout and is a necessary tear-jerker moment. Thankfully, it’s very brief and just long enough to make you have to wipe away a tear. After that, it switches to adult Auburn, who is hilarious and has suffered a lot of loss, but does not let it keep her down. She is an incredible character that is impossible to not love. Since it is written in first-person, I was able to read her thoughts and she made me laugh all the way through, even when the scenes were more serious.

Owen, with the mysterious past and secrets, is equally loveable. He is what a man should be. He does not seek to own her. In fact, he is livid over the fact that another man lays claim to her. In his opinion, it is not a matter of ownership, but a matter of deserving and loving someone with all you have. He offers that to Auburn, but life has a way of coming between love and responsibility.

One of my favorite aspects of this novel is the meaning of the word Confess. It is the backbone of the story and brings new meaning to the word. Owen is an artist who paints people’s anonymous confessions. Some were incredible and shocking, while others were heart-wrenching and painful. A wonderful surprise is the inclusion of some of his artwork. They are truly magnificent and give the reader a true feeling for the confessions. The story starts with a confession and it ends with a confession. All the confessions in-between added so much to the story that I was overwhelmed.

I have read other books by this author and been a little disappointed due to the overwhelming stellar reviews. This time, I made sure to ignore any of the hype and go into it completely blind. I am so relieved that I did, because it is truly a beautiful story. The ending felt a bit abrupt and I wish it had a bit more meat to it, but it is a strong story throughout and the characters are consistent and incredibly well-developed. This is one book that will stay with me forever.

For the rating:

  • Genre and general reading age – It is a romance, but there is so much more going on that it is also contemporary fiction. It is definitely for adults.
  • Level of sexuality – There are definite steamy moments, but they are beautifully done and are not graphic. There is a scene that is hard to read, but was not over the top. It is a sensitive topic, though, and some readers might find it hard to read. I know I did and it only scratched the surface of what could have been.
  • Is there graphic language? There is a moderate use of the f-word, but it is not extreme.
  • Did I cry? I got misty eyed on more than one occasion.
  • Did I laugh? Over and over. The first half is especially entertaining, but even the second half has moments that made me chuckle.
  • Is this part of a series? Nope.
  • Level of character development – Owen and Auburn are magnificently done. I was thrilled to read their story and they never lacked or left me wondering how they felt or what their motivations were. The side characters received less attention, but Trey had enough screen time to create strong emotions.

To say I loved this book is an understatement. It was beautiful and has left its mark. I flew through this book as quickly as possible, because I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a light and fluffy read, but it is addictive and I highly suggest it for readers who are looking for a more emotional read that is not time intensive. I am happy to award it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ shiny stars.

Perfect Tenn by Heather Dahlgren

IMG_0365

This romantic comedy is a difficult one to review. There are so many strengths, but there are some weaknesses that detract from the overall story. I enjoyed it immensely and read it very quickly. It is a book that I definitely suggest for romance readers.

Regan is a gorgeous redhead who lives with her equally gorgeous best friend, Tennyson. They’ve known each other almost all their lives and at twenty-three they decide sharing an apartment is perfect for them. It’s a typical premise, but has some flair that makes it a unique read. Regan hasn’t had a date in over two years. The author doesn’t just come out and say it is due to her subconscious desire for Tenn, but it is obvious from page one. Her friends, including Tenn, convince her that she needs a real man, instead of her drawer of sex toys. So, they set her up on a series of hilarious but disastrous dates. The story is told first-person Regan and she is a riot. From start to finish, she never let me down and I laughed until I cried.

Initially, Tenn sleeps with everything in a skirt with such exuberance that Regan has to wear earplugs. It becomes clear within a few pages that he has the hots for Regan, but won’t just come out and say it. So, like many other romance novels with this storyline, he thinks having lots of sex with anonymous women will get her attention. It certainly does. Only instead of making her realize he wants her, she thinks he’s a man-whore. Slut status aside, he’s a very likeable guy. He’s not as funny as Regan, but it’s not told from his perspective and he cannot hold a candle to Regan’s sarcasm.

One of my issues with the book is the parents. Both Regan’s and Tenn’s parents are best friends and apparently do everything together. They are also single-minded and think about nothing but sex. They draw their children into these wildly inappropriate conversations and give descriptive details of their own insanely active sex lives. The first encounter was awkward, but humorous. The second was still funny, but even more awkward. This went on through the entire book. Regan would beg them to stop, but it seemed that they could only discuss sex. At one point, both mothers take Regan for a girl’s day, which included a trip to a sex shop. The mothers are overjoyed and act like they are in heaven. Regan hides outside in the parking lot. I felt sorry for her, because they did not seem to care that they made her so uncomfortable that she had to down a bottle of wine just to get through dinner. What was incredible was that they had dinner with their parents several times a week. If my parents humiliated me and asked about my sex life, then compared it to theirs, including what they had just been up to seconds before I rang the bell, I would rarely see them.

Another aspect of the book that bothered me was Tenn’s idiotic idea that having scream-inducing sex every weekend right on the other side of the wall from Regan would make her realize he was attracted to her. It’s a premise I’ve seen a million times and I’m always confounded. I know that it is for drama and it definitely fits the bill, but she would have to wonder if he had picked up something nasty after banging a thousand easy women. Apparently, nothing says ‘I love you’ like excessive copulation with anyone other than that person.

Even with my personal issues regarding this book, I still read it all the way through and enjoyed most of it. Regan was the perfect storyteller; she was a riot, she was a strong woman who swore like a sailor, and she was the perfect amount of aloof when it came to Tenn. The side characters were entertaining, although the parents were too much for me, and added just the right amount of funny without detracting from the couple. Typos were a huge problem. I read the e-book, so I do not know if the print version has been edited, but it was obvious that this one hadn’t. I am amazed, because the author is clearly gifted and was able to produce such a wonderful story without reading through it to check for errors. It was enough to make me pause, but the fact that I finished says a lot for this book.

For the rating:

  • Genre and general audience – romantic comedy and only for mature readers.
  • The level of sexuality – is incredibly high. It’s dirty and graphic. Not only do the parents think about it constantly, so does Regan. The difference is she doesn’t give play-by-play until later on.
  • Is there graphic language? Tons. It’s always refreshing when it’s not just the guy who swears, which is a stereotype of most romances, and Regan has no problems using colorful descriptors.
  • Did I cry? Only from laughing so hard.
  • Did I laugh? Like I said; I laughed hard enough that I had to wipe a tear from my eye.
  • Is this part of a series? It is a stand-alone.
  • Level of character development – Both Regan and Tenn are highly developed. Regan is a well-rounded character and never slips. Tenn is also a constant, once he makes a story-altering decision. Of course, Regan doesn’t pick up on it, but the reader sees it right away. The side characters are fairly one-sided, but they are consistent and serve their purposes well.

I loved the book, even with the plethora of typos. I can forgive a certain amount and after that I usually stop reading, but this story kept me hooked and I had to see what entertaining scene was going to happen next. For being a popular storyline, it stood out amongst the others I have read, because it was so well-written (aside from the lack of editing) and the never-ending laughter. If the parents had been toned down just a bit and a second round of editing done, I would have given it one of my very rare five stars. What can I say? I love to laugh. As it stands, I’m happy to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars. I highly recommend this book for romance readers who want a light, happy read and I am looking out for more from Ms. Dahlgren.

Available here on Amazon

Didn’t Get Frazzled by David Z. Hirsch, M.D.

didnt_get_frazzled

Seth Levine has always wanted to be a medical doctor and his first year of medical school consists of equal measurement of intimidation and being overwhelmed. Wanting to be able to share the agony, his friends are mostly medical students who can relate. Sometimes they meet at each other’s homes for parties, sometimes it’s just drinking themselves almost beyond the point of recovery, and other times it might be a really strange club with people doing really strange things. Medical school means open your mind to the future and why shouldn’t that mean the same for entertainment? Spending four years of school together leads to their lives entwining to the point that they rely on each other for support, entertainment, and if someone needs a new special friend there is always a kind student waiting to introduce their rather unattractive classmate from high school. These students’ attitude seems to be ‘work hard and play harder’, sometimes with a little more joy than commonsense.

Seth has a mischievous sense of humor. For example, naming his cadaver Homer, after the Simpsons, and then feeling he has done him a disservice and claims that he’s named after the Greek poet instead. In another instance, he helps a patient get out of the hospital by telling her to simply repeat, “I want to go home,” over and over to her doctor. Guess what? It works and with enough of it, her doctor is more than willing to send her home. There’s also the first gynecological exam, which consists of examining the instructor with three other students as witness. Eww. There is plenty of amusing tales to keep readers’ minds running in circles.

Seth’s girlfriend, April, is his buffer between school and his reality outside of medicine. She’s a bit of a quirky gal, sometimes taking herself a little too seriously, forcing Seth to adjust to these moments. They’ve been together since college, and even though he knows they’re not the perfect couple, he figures they’ll probably go on forever. Gradually, it dawns on him that his friends are not hers and that she is finding companions of her own. As his life becomes consumed by medical school, he’s not surprised when April announces she has found another man, a smarmy one who will focus only on her. They decide to ride it out for a month, due to their lease. For Seth, it can’t be over soon enough, especially since he hates her new man, Dennis, enough to daydream about punching his face in until he’s just a smear on the floor. He also finds he can barely manage to be civil, when she announces a weekend away with Dennis. He already knows that life without her will be a big challenge and, of course, there is an unattractive classmate waiting in the wings.

This book is entertaining from start to finish. Even with down moments that come with life, these people go through medical school focused on success and the shenanigans that give them just the right amount of laughter, the reader too. This is the grease to our squeaky wheels of life. There are moments that I found hilarious and I read it in two days, happy to spend my time with this book. It is more than worth your time.

And now for the stars!

  • Genre and general reading age – Contemporary fiction for mature readers.
  • Level of sexuality – Miniscule. After all, they’re studying a lot of anatomy in class already.
  • Is there graphic language? Only in ‘medicine-ese’.
  • Did I cry? No, no, no!
  • Did I laugh? Long and loud!
  • Level of character development – Seth can’t help but mature. He has no other choice.
  • Is this part of a series? No.

I’m more than happy to give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars!