Tag Archives: New York

Techbitch, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

27 May


Format: e-ARC, 449 pages

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Published: May 27, 2015

ISBN: 9780718181666

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, Techbitch is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.

When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyoncé. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, Techbitch is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

My review: I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Firstly, the subject matter was right up my alley, as an ex-journalist who knows after her time out to raise children that she has been rendered seriously obsolete by new technology. In the book, Imogen is only off work for six months but returns from sick leave to find her fashion magazine has become an app. Although her job remains intact, her every move is usurped by her former assistant, Eve, back from Harvard with big plans and an even bigger ego.

Eve is one of the nastiest characters I have ever read, but I recognised her all the same. The number of times I said “yes!” to myself while reading was ridiculous. I cheered as Imogen came to grips with Twitter and Instagram and met new techie friends who didn’t consider her a dinosaur. The parallel storyline involving the cyber-bullying of Imogen’s daughter was well done, although it wasn’t too hard to figure out well before the end who the culprit was.

I laughed, I gritted my teeth, but mostly I smiled as I read. I highly recommend this book.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5






The One In My Heart, by Sherry Thomas

7 May

oneinmyheartFormat: e-ARC, 260 pages

Publisher: NLA Digital LLC

Published: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 9781631280122

Genre: Contemporary romance

Back cover blurb: When Evangeline Canterbury meets the gorgeous, intriguing doctor next door, all she wants from him is a bit of distraction, to help her get over a few rough days.

Her one-night stand, however, has other plans: He needs an accomplished and presentable girlfriend to bring before his parents—and for six months of her time, he is willing and prepared to spend an obscene amount of money.

Nothing but trouble can come of such an arrangement. But can Eva stop herself? Or will she fall headlong in love with a man who will leave her when their contract expires with a smile, a check, and hardly a backward glance?

My review: Sherry Thomas’ first contemporary romance is a great read. I’m not a great fan of the “fake relationship” trope, but here it is done with a lot of thought and realism, and free of annoying angst. The story starts off HOT and continues that way, and the banter is fantastic. I especially loved all the geeky LOTR and pop culture references – any book which mentions New Zealand has a special place in my heart.

Bennett has a family link to one of Thomas’ historical novels, and I couldn’t help thinking as I was reading that he’s kind of a modern-day rake: a snappy dresser with money and a good position but in need of his family’s approval and the love of a good woman. I didn’t trust him at first, but grew to love him more than I did Evangeline. She has a fear I could genuinely relate to, and I liked her journey to overcome it.

The secondary characters are wonderful, and I would love to see them with HEAs of their own. I hope this won’t be Thomas’ only venture into the contemporary genre.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4.5/5




The Blondes, by Emily Schultz

19 Apr

theblondesFormat: e-ARC, 400 pages

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

To Be Published: April 21, 2015

ISBN: 9781250043351

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: “Wow!” —Margaret Atwood
A hilarious and whipsmart novel where an epidemic of a rabies-like disease is carried only by blonde women, who all must go to great lengths to conceal their blondness.

Hazel Hayes is a grad student living in New York City. As the novel opens, she learns she is pregnant (from an affair with her married professor) at an apocalyptically bad time: random but deadly attacks on passers-by, all by blonde women, are terrorizing New Yorkers. Soon it becomes clear that the attacks are symptoms of a strange illness that is transforming blondes—whether CEOs, flight attendants, students or accountants—into rabid killers.

My review: The first two-third of this really dragged for me, mainly because I felt no sympathy for the main character. I didn’t get Hazel’s relationship with her married lecturer, Karl – neither seemed very attractive as people – and she felt very detached from what was happening with the blondes around her.

Things improved when Grace came more into the picture. I liked her even though she was a prize bitch, and by that stage there were a few mysteries in the book I had to keep reading to figure out.

The time-jumping narrative didn’t work for me in the beginning because it made things even more confusing, and some of what she was telling the baby seemed highly inappropriate to me. The ending also left a lot of unanswered questions.

The cover blurb describes this book as hilarious but I found little to laugh about. It made me wonder in what tone of voice Margaret Atwood allegedly said “wow.”

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 3/5





Ghosts of Our Pasts, by Sophia Duane

29 Dec

Format: ebook

Published: December 29, 2011

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

A love beyond understanding, a loss unfathomable, a grief unbearable.

He was her anchor and hero, and in the blink of an eye he was gone. Emily Martin has spent the past ten years creating a life of comfort, but still being held back by the weight of the past. As a successful owner of a small gourmet food store in SoHo, her fierce independence is a brutal lesson learned as the result of a tragic loss in her youth.

But after years of giving away only pieces of her heart, Emily is beginning to realize that this leaves her with nothing in the end. For while love is fraught with risk, turning away from love may be the biggest risk of all…

Will Darcy once held the world and his future in the palm of his hand. Engaged to marry the love of his life and on the cusp of a brilliant financial career, he loses everything in a horrifying act of violence that still ripples through his life almost ten years later.
A shell of the man he once was, frozen in grief, he surrounds himself with the beautiful things she loved that only remind him of all that was lost. She was only feet away, but he could not save her. As life tumbles forward around him, Will has to make a decision—to live in the pain of the past or reach out to grasp a new chance at life and love.

Thrown together by fate, these two wounded souls in the heart of a wounded city must do what neither of them have done in years: open up and learn to love.

My review:

When Emily becomes strangely attracted to the quiet, bearded man she sees in the park, little does she know they are inexplicably linked by one of the greatest tragedies of our time, and that they are both still consumed by it. Sophia Duane’s harrowing debut novel, Ghosts of Our Pasts, doesn’t explicitly state what the horrific event was—instead merely giving the reader clues throughout the first half of the book—but it is not too difficult to guess which shocking act killed her firefighter father in New York ten years ago.


Harder to figure out is Will Darcy, but his story, when it unfolds, is achingly painful. While Emily has buried her grief, mostly with casual sex, Will has never gotten over what happened and relives it every night by replaying old voice messages and staring at photographs. His character is, for me, the most intriguing of the pair: He is so numb he has to rely on notes stuck on his bathroom mirror to complete even basic hygiene tasks, yet he spends his days making beautiful floral creations.


The grief in this novel is palpable, making it difficult to read at times. But there is hope, and the recovery of both main characters leads to a satisfying ending. Duane is a major talent to watch—you know a book is hitting its mark when you have chills while reading it. She has tackled an important, very real topic with respect and compassion, and even though it is a work of fiction, it gave me a new insight into the event. Ghosts of Our Pasts is likely to bring tears to your eyes, and you won’t be able to sing the falsetto part in Ms. Jackson again without feeling a little sad.

My rating: 5/5