Book Review: Brunch at Ruby’s by DL White

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 09.55.15DL White has done it: written a wonderful book about friendship and all its foibles in such a way that you don’t want the book to end. In Brunch at Ruby’s, we meet lifelong friends Debra, Renee and Maxine when all three are a crossroads in their lives: Maxine is convinced she’s met Mr. Right (based on standards her mother has instilled in her since her youth–wealthy and cultured and above her station), Debra has been caught in a clinch with her lover and the shit is about to hit the fan at the school where she’s principal (especially since her lover is the Athletic Director at the school) and Renee is struggling to deal with her father and his quickly declining case of dementia.

White takes us through the highs and lows of the women’s lives in alternating points of view and does so with a deft hand. There is NO head-hopping here; instead, we have confidently drawn characters whose voices are unique and whose storylines are differentiated enough that we understand all the time whose story we’re following. This pleases me as there are far too many books out there told from alternating POV in which less confident authors jump from head to head mid-paragraph and end up confusing readers.

What I love about Brunch at Ruby’s is that DL White has taken everyday life and made it so compelling that you don’t want to put the book down. This is a story every woman can relate to–the ups and downs of friendships, marriage problems, dealing with ageing parents–and it does so without becoming maudlin or predictable. Loved this book! Looking forward to DL White’s next release!

My rating?

5_Star

Review: You Had Me at Hello — the title says it all

you-had-me-at-hello-high-res-coverI will freely admit that I am a sap for a good romantic story, especially a story about two people who should obviously be together but aren’t. Call it the old softie in me, call it me being a romantic dreamer even though I often think I am a cynic. Give me a story like One Day, Notting Hill, Such a Girl, Felicity or A Nice Girl Like Me, and I am hooked. So when I heard about You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane, I knew I had to read it.

So what’s it about? Back in university, Rachel and Ben were inseparable. They were so close that everyone assumed they were dating, no matter how many times they denied it.   Now’s it been ten years since they last spoke, and time has moved on. Rachel is engaged to Rhys, her long-term wanna-be rock star boyfriend, and Ben is married to Olivia. They’re paths haven’t crossed, though they’ve often thought about one another.

One night while having dinner with her close-knit group of friends (practical Caroline, enigmatic Ivor and quirky Mindy) dinner, Rachel finds out through Caroline that Ben has moved back to Manchester and that she bumped into him at the library. Intrigued, Rachel makes sure she accidentally-on purpose bumps into Ben, setting everything in motion for their reunion and the inevitable quandary spending time together again brings them.

You Had Me at Hello is an emotional rollercoaster of a page-turner. You’ll love Rachel and Ben, even when they’re both being  cagey or indecisive. You’ll laugh out loud at Mindy and her crazy bits of advice (that occasionally make sense, even when they really shouldn’t). It is the sort of rom-com novel that makes you a bit nostalgic. I’m completely convinced some production company is going to snap up the film rights to this book…it would make a great movie…

So if you like stories about friends coming together again, about finding your path to love and to rediscovering the true you, then you should read You Had Me at Hello. I loved it. And I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The title truly does say it all…:)

 

Hating Heidi Foster Is Heartbreakingly Compelling…

ImageSometimes you read a book that stays with you for a long while. You think about the characters and their fates, what they’ve learned through the course of their emotional journey. Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount is one such book. The deceptively slim book packs major emotional punch.

Hating Heidi Foster is a YA novel about friendship and what happens when one selfless act destroys what was considered by all to be an unshakeable, unbreakable bond. Mae McBride and Heidi Foster have been friends for as long as they both can remember. Even in high school, everyone thinks of them as being joined at the hip. All that changes when Mae’s father dies while saving Heidi’s life. A distraught Mae cannot forgive her father for leaving her and for saving Heidi instead of saving himself. As Mae’s anger intensifies and consumes her every waking moment, Heidi’s own guilt eats away at her, breaking her down physically and mentally. Heidi longs for Mae’s friendship again but Mae–unable to forgive and forget–cannot see past what losing her father has done to her and her family. Is there any way these girls can find their way back to friendship?

If I were still teaching, Hating Heidi Foster would be required reading for all of my students. This chronicle of the trials and tribulations of what can divide and ultimately reunite friends was powerful and beautifully written. Don’t be fooled by the slimness of the book; the emotional complexity of the novel and the pitch-perfect way it handles the ups and downs of being a teenager and how grief and anger affect each person differently…just read it. And then give it to your teenage daughter or niece or cousin.

You won’t be disappointed. Hating Heidi Foster is a definite must-read.