Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review: Sunset in Central Park

I told you I'd have the review of Sunset in Central Park done in a more timely fashion! This is the second book in Sarah Morgan's From Manhattan with Love series (the first is Sleepless in Manhattan and you can read my review here) and it was just as delightful as the first. (So, pretty delightful!)

Here's the synopsis:
In the chaos of New York, true love can be hard to find, even when it's been right under your nose all along…
Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents' divorce, she's seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that's strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…
Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he's known forever and doesn't want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset? 
As with most series like this - where each book follows a different couple - I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much as the first. Happily, I really enjoyed Frankie and Matt's story. It's been interesting that both couples have been very similar - in personality, work ethic, and so on. I have a hunch that Eva, the third friend who will get her Happily Ever After, will be matched with someone very different. Perhaps a certain favourite author of Frankie's? (PS I just read the synopsis of the third book...score one for me.)

As I mentioned in my review of Sleepless in Manhattan, I like that I get to see how the couple in the previous book was doing after their story wrapped up (ie once they realized they wanted to be together forever and got engaged). What I especially like about this series is it kind of ties into Morgan's Puffin Island series (I've only read and reviewed one story of the three but really liked it because, hello, small town romances are my favourite). I didn't notice it as much with book 1 but in this book, Matt and Frankie actually head back to Puffin Island, where they grew up, for a wedding. Whose wedding? The couple from First Time in Forever, the first book in the Puffin Island series. How fun is that?

Just like in Sleepless in Manhattan, there is a lot of history between the main characters, with one, Frankie, carrying a heck of a lot more baggage. I liked getting to know Frankie more as Matt did. I, like Matt, knew she had her issues but had no idea they ran so deep or affected her so much. I appreciated that Matt wasn't trying to "fix" her, he just wanted her to be her best self and to acknowledge and deal with her problems.

Even though I have the follow up to Sunset in Central Park, and the final book in the From Manhattan with Love series, I'm trying to hold off reading it. I want to have some time to really enjoy Frankie and Matt's story and also because Miracle on 5th Avenue takes place around the holidays. Must exercise great willpower! It's hard though because I really enjoy the characters Sarah Morgan has created and the big city world they live in. The romances are so sweet and real that I just cannot wait to read Eva's story. Romance lovers, take note of this series!

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Sleepless in Manhattan

Sleepless in Manhattan is the first book in a new series from Sarah Morgan. This one actually published back on May 31 and even though I read it before the pub date, I just never wrote a review. Which was silly because I totally adored it! Since the second book in the From Manhattan with Love series is now out (Sunset in Central Park, released August 30 and also lovely - stay tuned for a slightly more prompt review), I figured I should get my book reviewing butt in gear!

Here's what the first book is all about:
Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she's now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.
Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother's best friend, New York's most in-demand date, and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige's fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever? 
I've read a lot of series that focus on a group of friends and has each book follow a different male or female as they get paired up. Some may say it's an overdone trope but I quite enjoy it. It makes me feel like I'm a part of their group, like I'm one of their friends. I also like it because it allows me a new couple to learn about in each book but I also get the chance to see how the other couple(s) are doing after their story has sort of concluded.

I also really enjoy books about event planners. I actually took an event management post-grad course and have worked a few events at various jobs I've held over the years. So, it's something I understand and enjoy. I liked that Morgan had the girls make lemonade out of lemons and launch their own planning company after the company they worked for had cutbacks. Their niche was an interesting one. They called their business Urban Genie and essentially want to make their client's every wish come true, whether that's arranging for doggie daycare or throwing a bridal shower. Neat, eh?

But we have to get back to the romance! It wasn't hard to see who Paige was going to end up with but I wasn't sure how Morgan was going to get Paige and Jake together because there seemed to be so much in the way - family, history, their stubbornness. Their relationship is steamy, it's sweet, it's so perfectly them. I loved reading about Paige and Jake!

Sarah Morgan has come up with fun, smart, wonderful women who deserve their own Happily Ever Afters. Sleepless in Manhattan had me hooked on their stories and diving into the rest of the From Manhattan with Love series will be such a delight. If you're a fan of sweet and easy romances, you definitely want to check out this series!

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Friday, September 30, 2016

Readalong: Stop in the Name of Pants! & Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me?

It's well past time to share my thoughts on the final two Georgia Nicolson books but the tail end of summer was busy! (More about the challenge and why I'm rereading the series here at The Paper Trail Diary.) Stop in the Name of Pants! and Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? were typical Georgia madnosity that had me giggling and shaking my head. Sometimes at the same time.

The synopsis of Stop in the Name of Pants! is here on Goodreads and Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? is here.

This is a totally delayed and random observation that I'm finally remembering to share because it's in the synopsis of Pants: I need to start working the term "nip-libbling" into my conversations. Simply because it amuses me. Though I really have no idea how that's going to work out...

It's a bit of a sad state of affairs when I'm trying to write a review on two books and I don't have many thoughts. After eight other reviews of the same kind of book...what else is there to say? Georgia is still pretty awful to her parents and her friends. There are still questionable comments made about gays and lesbians. She's still incredibly self-absorbed (but what teenager isn't, I suppose). And she can't figure out that she's not meant to be with Robbie or Masimo because she's not true to herself with them like she is with Dave. Who, as it turns out, is a bit of an annoying dude. Which is a shame. I always loved Dave the Laugh.

The only real thing of note in Stop in the Name of Pants! happened with Angus. This will be a spoiler but it doesn't exactly spoil the overall story. If that makes sense. Angus is a loony toon cat (and I love it) and he, as Georgia's mum says, loved to chase cars because he "thought they were big mice on wheels." And those big mice got him. Yes, Angus gets hit by a car - but don't worry! The crazy cat survives! The scenes where Georgia is so worried about him are heartbreaking and is one reason I can't say I dislike Georgia. She's just a teenage girl but, deep down in her hormonal heart, she knows what's most important in life.

Everything gets wrapped up nicely in Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? There aren't any loose ends and all the characters are set on the paths that are best for them. Of course, I do have to say that it's, as Georgia would say, vair vair annoying that the book ended when it did. I needed more of that last scene so I could see how it all worked out! I also have to say I wish Georgia had come to her final realization about Dave and Masimo and who she "belonged" with differently. It's not like she really chose one over the other. It was sort of like one made a decision that prevented her from being with him so she decided, why not, and ended up with the other. I know that's the way of teenage girls (hell, I'm pretty sure I did something similar when I was a teen) but it's still a tad frustrating.

As always, there were funny moments throughout the books. Georgia has a way with words that is well and truly unique. She's kind of completely bonkers but she's usually pretty quick with a retort or joke. Thank goodness because if I didn't find some humour in these books I may not have been able to finish them.

So, there we have it, friends. Our Georgia Nicolson Readalong is complete. I've been lucky with a lot of the books I've reread in the last while because I still adore them. The Georgia books, though? Jessica and I agreed they may have been best left in the early 2000s when we were still teenagers. I am glad I finally got the chance to finish the series though and see the HEA (as "ever after" as things can be when you're a teenager!) I wanted for Georgia. I'm sure I haven't convinced anyone to pick up these books but what can ya do? Are there any books you read as a teen that you've reread and wondered what your younger self was thinking? I think Georgia and her Ace Gang were great for when I was a teen but these days there are better role models out there for young girls. Of course, not many of them talk about a mad cat name Angus and snogging! Thanks for following along with our readalong!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: The Bookshop on the Corner

As soon as I read about Jenny Colgan's latest novel, The Bookshop on the Corner, I knew I had to read it. It's a book about - and for - book lovers. How could I say no?

Here's the synopsis:
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more. 
Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling. 
From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.
What I absolutely loved about this book is that it's a story of following your dreams no matter how crazy they may seem. That's a scary and hard thing to do and I love that Nina did it. She fought against some things (not wanting to stay in the small town with the van at first) but gradually came to realize that things were unfolding in a way that made perfect sense for her new venture and her new life.

The romance in this novel is pretty predictable (at least it was for me) but that's ok. It wasn't really the point of Nina's story. I think everything that happens to her (no spoilers here, folks!) is needed to make her realize that she is worthy of a great love and especially worthy of someone who treats her with respect.

The Bookshop on the Corner is funny with a healthy dash of silliness - in the best possible way. Nina gets herself into a few scrapes but she has so much heart. She's lovable, real, and so much fun to read. Plus, she's such a quiet, almost forgettable character at the beginning of the novel and it's so wonderful to see her changing into a strong woman.

Jenny Colgan is an author who has so many books on my TBR list and after reading The Bookshop on the Corner I'm definitely going to make time to read from her extensive backlist! I also wouldn't mind at all if Colgan decides to visit Nina and her friends again in another novel someday soon. I kind of miss them! PS Keep scrolling for an excerpt from this new book and a giveaway! (The giveaway is US only as per the publisher...sorry!)

About the Author
Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

Connect with Jenny Colgan

Excerpt from The Bookshop on the Corner:

The problem with good things that happen is that very often they disguise themselves as awful things. It would be lovely, wouldn’t it, whenever you’re going through something difficult, if someone could just tap you on the shoulder and say, “Don’t worry, it’s completely worth it. It seems like absolutely horrible crap now, but I promise it will all come good in the end,” and you could say, “Thank you, Fairy Godmother.” You might also say, “Will I also lose that seven pounds?” and they would say, “But of course, my child!”
            That would be useful, but it isn’t how it is, which is why we sometimes plow on too long with things that aren’t making us happy, or give up too quickly on something that might yet work itself out, and it is often difficult to tell precisely which is which.
            A life lived forward can be a really irritating thing. So Nina thought, at any rate. Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, was telling herself not to cry in public. If you have ever tried giving yourself a good talking-to, you’ll know it doesn’t work terribly well. She was at work, for goodness’ sake. You weren’t meant to cry at work.
            She wondered if anyone else ever did. Then she wondered if maybe everyone did, even Cathy Neeson, with her stiff too-blond hair, and her thin mouth and her spreadsheets, who was right at this moment standing in a corner, watching the room with folded arms and a grim expression, after delivering to the small team Nina was a member of a speech filled with jargon about how there were cutbacks all over, and Birmingham couldn’t afford to maintain all its libraries, and how austerity was something they just had to get used to.
            Nina reckoned probably not. Some people just didn’t have a tear in them.
            (What Nina didn’t know was that Cathy Neeson cried on the way to work, on the way home from work—after eight o’clock most nights—every time she laid someone off, every time she was asked to shave another few percent off an already skeleton budget, every time she was ordered to produce some new quality relevant paperwork, and every time her boss dumped a load of administrative work on her at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon on his way to a skiing vacation, of which he took many.
            Eventually she ditched the entire thing and went and worked in a National Trust gift shop for a fifth of the salary and half the hours and none of the tears. But this story is not about Cathy Neeson.)
            It was just, Nina thought, trying to squash down the lump in her throat . . . it was just that they had been such a little library.
            Children’s story time Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Early closing Wednesday afternoon. A shabby old-fashioned building with tatty linoleum floors. A little musty sometimes, it was true. The big dripping radiators could take a while to get going of a morning and then would become instantly too warm, with a bit of a fug, particularly off old Charlie Evans, who came in to keep warm and read the Morning Star cover to cover, very slowly. She wondered where the Charlie Evanses of the world would go now.
            Cathy Neeson had explained that they were going to compress the library services into the center of town, where they would become a “hub,” with a “multimedia experience zone” and a coffee shop and an “intersensory experience,” whatever that was, even though town was at least two bus trips too far for most of their elderly or strollered-up clientele.
            Their lovely, tatty, old pitched-roof premises were being sold off to become executive apartments that would be well beyond the reach of a librarian’s salary. And Nina Redmond, twenty-nine, bookworm, with her long tangle of auburn hair, her pale skin with freckles dotted here and there, and a shyness that made her blush—or want to burst into tears—at the most inopportune moments, was, she got the feeling, going to be thrown out into the cold winds of a world that was getting a lot of unemployed librarians on the market at the same time.
            “So,” Cathy Neeson had concluded, “you can pretty much get started on packing up the ‘books’ right away.”
            She said “books” like it was a word she found distasteful in her shiny new vision of Mediatech Services. All those grubby, awkward books.
Nina dragged herself into the back room with a heavy heart and a slight redness around her eyes. Fortunately, everyone else looked more or less the same way. Old Rita O’Leary, who should probably have retired about a decade ago but was so kind to their clientele that everyone overlooked the fact that she couldn’t see the numbers on the Dewey Decimal System anymore and filed more or less at random, had burst into floods, and Nina had been able to cover up her own sadness comforting her.
            “You know who else did this?” hissed her colleague Griffin through his straggly beard as she made her way through. Griffin was casting a wary look at Cathy Neeson, still out in the main area as he spoke. “The Nazis. They packed up all the books and threw them onto bonfires.”
            “They’re not throwing them onto bonfires!” said Nina. “They’re not actually Nazis.”
            “That’s what everyone thinks. Then before you know it, you’ve got Nazis.”
With breathtaking speed, there’d been a sale, of sorts, with most of their clientele leafing through old familiar favorites in the ten pence box and leaving the shinier, newer stock behind.
            Now, as the days went on, they were meant to be packing up the rest of the books to ship them to the central library, but Griffin’s normally sullen face was looking even darker than usual. He had a long, unpleasantly scrawny beard, and a scornful attitude toward people who didn’t read the books he liked. As the only books he liked were obscure 1950s out-of-print stories about frustrated young men who drank too much in Fitzrovia, that gave him a lot of time to hone his attitude. He was still talking about book burners.
            “They won’t get burned! They’ll go to the big place in town.”
            Nina couldn’t bring herself to even say Mediatech.
            Griffin snorted. “Have you seen the plans? Coffee, computers, DVDs, plants, admin offices, and people doing cost–benefit analysis and harassing the unemployed—sorry, running ‘mindfulness workshops.’ There isn’t room for a book in the whole damn place.” He gestured at the dozens of boxes. “This will be landfill. They’ll use it to make roads.”
            “They won’t!”
            “They will! That’s what they do with dead books, didn’t you know? Turn them into underlay for roads. So great big cars can roll over the top of centuries of thought and ideas and scholarship, metaphorically stamping a love of learning into the dust with their stupid big tires and blustering Top Gear idiots killing
the planet.”
            “You’re not in the best of moods this morning, are you, Griffin?”
            “Could you two hurry it along a bit over there?” said Cathy Neeson, bustling in, sounding anxious. They only had the budget for the collection trucks for one afternoon; if they didn’t manage to load everything up in time, she’d be in serious trouble.
            “Yes, Commandant Über-Führer,” said Griffin under his breath as she bustled out again, her blond bob still rigid. “God, that woman is so evil it’s unbelievable.”
            But Nina wasn’t listening. She was looking instead in despair at the thousands of volumes around her, so hopeful with their beautiful covers and optimistic blurbs. To condemn any of them to waste disposal seemed heartbreaking: these were books! To Nina it was like closing down an animal shelter. And there was no way they were going to get it all done today, no matter what Cathy Neeson thought.
            Which was how, six hours later, when Nina’s Mini Metro pulled up in front of the front door of her tiny shared house, it was completely and utterly stuffed with volumes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*An eARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, HarperCollins, in exchange for a review for a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own*

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cover Reveal: Heat Wave

I'm pretty sure I haven't made it much of a secret that I'm a wee bit obsessed with Karina Halle's contemporary novels. (And if it's not obvious to you maybe I haven't been beating you over the head on social media enough!) She writes all sorts of books - including paranormal and really dark, twisty stories - but I'm a bit set in my genre ways and tend to stick to slightly lighter stories. What I love about Halle's books, the ones I've read anyway and I'm up to nine now so I think I know what I'm talking about, is they have a (usually steamy) romance but a freaking amazing storyline and real, flawed characters you simply cannot stop reading about. So what's my point? My point is I'm thrilled to share that Halle has a new book coming out on November 3 called Heat Wave and I have the cover to share with you today!

This is the synopsis of the upcoming novel:
They say when life closes one door, another one opens.This door happens to lead to paradise.And a man I can never, ever have. Still grieving the loss of her sister who died two years ago, the last thing Veronica "Ronnie" Locke needed was to lose her job at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants and have to move back in with her parents. So when a window of opportunity opens for her – running a kitchen at a small Hawaiian hotel – she’d be crazy not to take it. The only problem is, the man running the hotel drives her crazy:Logan Shephard.It doesn’t matter that he’s got dark brown eyes, a tall, muscular build that’s sculpted from daily surfing sessions, and a deep Australian accent that makes your toes curl.What does matter is that he’s a grump.Kind of an asshole, too.And gets under Ronnie’s skin like no one else. But the more time Ronnie spends on the island of Kauai, falling in love with the lush land and its carefree lifestyle, the closer she gets to Logan. And the closer she gets to Logan, the more she realizes she may have pegged him all wrong. Maybe it’s the hot, steamy jungles or the invigorating ocean air, but soon their relationship becomes utterly intoxicating. There’s just one major catch. The two of them together would incite a scandal neither Ronnie, nor her family, would ever recover from. Forbidden, Illicit, off-limits – sometimes the heat is worth surrendering to, even if you get burned.
Now, are you ready for the cover?

*drum roll*

Gah. I love it so freaking much. The colours are just so swoonworthy. 

You can already add the book to your Goodreads shelf. And you should...right now. I'll wait.

I am so so so excited for this book and hope you are now too!

Curious about Karina? Read her bio below and follow her on social media. She posts some great pics on Instagram - she lives in a gorgeous area of BC and always seems to be traveling. 

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Readalong: Startled by His Furry Shorts and Love Is a Many Trousered Thing

I'm very behind on the Georgia Nicolson Readalong! (More on the readalong here at The Paper Trail Diary). But, I have a good (ish) reason. I've been requesting each book from my library to show up at the branch closest to my house and they've all shown up within a couple of days. I asked for Startled by His Furry Shorts...and waited...and waited...and waited. Finally I check my account and the catalogue and realize, horror upon horrors, the book is lost! I'm not surprised the library didn't know it was missing - it's a ten year old book, after all - but I was annoyed that I didn't know sooner because the interlibrary home took forever to arrive so I didn't get it read in time. Ah well.

I'm not going to include the synopsis for both books - it'd take up too much space - so check out the Goodreads page for book seven and eight for a description of each novel.

Honestly, I've completely forgotten what happens in Startled by His Furry Shorts. The main thing is Georgia's school performing MacBeth (or MacUseless as the Ace Gang calls it). It was pretty amusing reading the differences between the girls and how they approached the play. Georgia, as you could expect, couldn't care less about "Billy" Shakespeare. Jas, on the other hand, took her role as Lady MacUseless very seriously. Dave the Laugh and his mates help out with the play so Georgia has many confusing encounters with him. It's something I feel with every book, but I wish she'd realize that Dave is a solid (yet annoying) guy who is so much better for her than the Sex God or the Luuurve God.

I say Dave is annoying not because he is, exactly, but because I am 29 and he is a teenager. I totally understand Georgia's dilemma though. Two really good looking guys are into her and she's so blinded by their looks and interest and cool factor that she doesn't realize the steady, funny guy (who, by the way, is her own age) is the best for her. Ah, the things we don't understand as teenagers :) Though I hated that he called the Ace Gang his bitches (page 85 of SbHFS)

There were quite a few lines that had me giggling out loud while reading Startled by His Furry Shorts but I've realized they require too much context to share. So, I shall just say that I laughed throughout. :)

There continues to be unfortunate and constant nunga-nunga ogling from the younger boys Georgia encounters. In a way, I'm glad Rennison includes this kind of thing because it shows that teenage boys are idiots and always have been. But, for the most part, Georgia and the Ace Gang don't seem to be offended by the rude comments the boys make. They're annoyed, sure, but I don't think they realize how awful they're being. Though I doubt I would have been that conscious of this sort of sexism when I was a teen.

There are also way too many negative comments about gays and lesbians. Sigh. I find I'm skipping over these comments after an inner groan because they just keep happening. I'll have to just keep reminding myself that these books are 10+ years old (not that that's any excuse).

Finally, on the negative side, I am still frustrated at Jas who is still constantly implying Georgia is a tart for kissing all sorts of boys and not knowing who she likes. The slut shaming is hard to ignore. Teenage girls can really suck. :(

Getting back to the plot...there isn't much of one in Love is a Many Trousered Thing. Robbie (who surprised her and came home from New Zealand at the end of SbHFS) and Masimo are vying for Georgia's affection and Dave the Laugh won't get out of her head. There are, randomly, new Ace Gang trainee members (where did they come from all of a sudden and why are they there?). The big event in LiaMTT is a two night class camping trip. If you thought Georgia was less than thrilled about this you would be right. You could kind of see her finding some aspects of it fun though, which was nice.

I'm pretty sure I hadn't read Love is a Many Trousered Thing before so I'm looking forward to reading the next two books. Gosh. Only two more. I can't believe it!

I'm going to leave you with the most ridiculous and corny joke Rosie tells Georgia.
What do you call a French man in sandals?
Philippe Philoppe.


The next book we'll be reading is Stop in the Name of Pants! and we'll be chatting about it on September 6.

Review of book one, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging.
Review of book two, On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God.
Review of book three, Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas.
Review of book four: Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants
Review of book five: Away Laughing on a Fast Camel
Review of book six: Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Review: The Regulars

I wasn't sure what to expect with The Regulars, Georgia Clark's new novel. What I ended up getting was an entertaining, thought-provoking, feminist novel that I did not want to put down. Bonus: it had a hint of magic which I loved and which, I think, makes it a novel that will stand out from the all the other books about twentysomethings in NYC.

Here's the synopsis:
Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.
Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well...gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.
But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:
What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?
It's been too long since I've read a contemporary novel with a magical twist. I hadn't realized I was missing stories like this! Everything about this novel is placed in reality - except for Pretty and it's side effects. I loved fantasy books as a kid but, as I got older, I found I wasn't reading them nearly as often. So, when I find a book like The Regulars, I'm pretty happy and it makes me want to look into more magic realism type stories. (Suggestions welcome!) Although...I have to say the way the girls turn pretty after taking the potion is...well, it's ridiculous. I'm not going to go into it because it's, er, messy, but even I found it far-fetched and unnecessary. 

There were a few things that I wished had been wrapped up or, at the very least, not glossed over. For example, Krista is an actress and when her supermodel gorgeous alter ego, Lenka, gets hired for a movie, she gives the HR department her, Krista's, social so she can get paid. The girls say that's probably fine because she can just say Lenka is a stage name. But (slight spoiler but you'll see it coming), Evie-as-Chloe gets hired to be the host for the webseries the magazine Evie works for is starting. There is no mention, that I found anyway, of her getting paid. I wouldn't have even noticed this if it hadn't been for Krista's comment. Also, Penny is the woman who gives Krista Pretty and her storyline is left wide open and that frustrated me. Mostly because I wanted to make sure she was OK (she was not in a good place). And what exactly did Jan and Marcello know? I feel like there were hints that maybe they knew about Pretty but nothing was ever really brought to light.

Those looking for sexually diverse characters should take note of this novel. Evie, who is sort of the main heroine, is bisexual. And you know what's great about this book? Her sexual orientation is Not a Big Deal. Is this because Clark herself is gay? (She thanks her partner in the acknowledgements.) Maybe. But equally likely is that the book world is slowly embracing different characters and allowing them out into the world. 

Final verdict? The Regulars was a good read. It has a few tiny issues (almost every book does) but it was fun, fresh, and full of flawed characters (which is great because, let's face it, we're all flawed.) Most of all, it's wicked smart. I should caution that is not a book for everyone. If you have to have likeable characters and cannot stand crude humour or sex scenes, skip this book. In the acknowledgements, Georgia Clark says her book was pitched as a "feminist fairy tale" and I absolutely love that. It's exactly the best way to describe it! 

*An ARC of this novel was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for review consideration.*