Tailored for Trouble, by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Taylor Reed is trying hard to recover after being fired, all for speaking her mind and delivering the truth to a less-than-caring CEO. She knows she should have bit the bullet, but the man in question was well-known for his treatment of fellow female employees, often crossing the line with his harassment. She can see a silver lining to her situation, though. Maybe she can create an executive training program, something to assist those in high ranking positions to be better bosses to their employees. It’s sound in theory, but launching it off the ground is a cumbersome prospect, especially when her first client is none other than the less-than-caring CEO who fired her in the first place!

Bennett Wade has a reputation that precedes him. Women want to sidle up to him, and men want to be him. Unless you work for Bennett. Then, all bets are off. It’s about the dollar signs and how much he can acquire, so when he discovers Taylor was let go due to his own actions, it’s not about making amends, but figuring out a way to become part of her program, a great idea that she’ll have no way of launching off the ground without his influence. It always boils down to, “what’s in it for him”, but in this case, he’s getting way more than he could have ever bargained for.

Tailored For Trouble is a cleverly-written novel that takes us on a romantic roller coaster, the kind that leaves you breathless in anticipation. There’s much to discover for both characters, the inner workings of a couple who are nothing short of explosive! Will Taylor ever be able to find what really makes Bennett tick, and can Bennett let go of the safety net he’s built around his heart, to let Taylor in? It’s hard to anticipate from one page to the next, how their story will turn out. I also found “Tailored” to be full of surprises of the, ahem, provocative sort, as well. What starts out innocently enough streamlines into a steamy experience that made me blush, but totally in a good way. Well worth the read!

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

The Twenty Year Reunion

I’ve been friends with the same person for nearly thirty years. We’ve known each other since grade school, and amidst the highs and lows, peaks and valleys that often come from sustaining a friendship during those crazy adolescent years, we’re still friends. Pretty good friends, in fact. Best friends.

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We made a pact shortly before our high school’s ten year reunion. It wasn’t anything monumental, really. Just a simple understanding between the two of us. We’d go to the reunion, together. We’d go together to any and all reunions in the future, too.

What I remember most about the ten year, is that it didn’t feel as though much time had gone by. Not really. Most of us still looked a lot like we had in high school, although my appearance was different. I had a hippie vibe to me, when I was a teen. Long hair down to my butt. I carried a man’s wallet in the back pocket of my Levi’s, and I rarely wore anything even remotely feminine. Which is probably why someone had made the comment that I was the most changed.

At the 10 year
At the 10 year

The last ten years went by quickly, a blur of children, husbands, life choices and commitments, changes in my occupation, a myriad of the stuff that makes life, life. Suddenly, the twenty year loomed ahead, a reminder that another decade had swallowed most of us up, and it was time to go back and be reminded of the kids we used to be.

And, you can’t escape that feeling. No matter how hard you try, or how often you tell yourself that we’re all twenty years older now. There’s still that part of you that clings to the memories of what you’d been, how someone else had treated you, the friendships or frenemies you’d made back then. It’s still the same, for the most part. At the party, I really didn’t associate with the girls who picked on me, and they vaguely remembered who I was. If they remembered the rough times, they weren’t saying.

For some, there was no divide. I reconnected with people who I loved whole-heartedly. The ones who were great friends of mine, still are, really. I also connected with those who I never would have connected with in the old days. Those moments felt wonderful. It was like getting to meet someone new for the first time, that you have common ground with. Something you may have never achieved when you’re on different sides of the fence.

Time has changed me. I think I was a lot more outgoing, although inside I was hiding a shy girl, trying hard to squash her. Now, I’m a little more shy, trying to coax the independent, outgoing girl to make an appearance, to show who she is. My best friend, she’s still the same girl. Fiercely headstrong. She had no qualms about talking to nearly every single person there that night, whether they’d ever been friends or not.

Karaoke at the pre-party
Karaoke at the pre-party

There were moments where I sat alone, reflecting, taking it all in. It was a strange. Fun. Awkward. Exhilarating time. I got to dance. I had a few drinks. My feet were killing me. (I’m still a bit of a tomboy, so I rarely wear heels. ) Afterwards, we tried to go to an after party, but the bar had reached max capacity. We were turned away. We made the best of it by eating dinner downtown, at an all-hours eatery conveniently named, “Kitchen”. Maybe it was the booze. Maybe it was the ambiance, but the food was more than a little delicious. One of the best chicken avocado sandwiches I’ve ever had, hands down.

When I’m asked how my reunion went, I say, “It was fun. But it wasn’t fun.” It’s hard to explain my conflicting emotions. There were a few things I wish had gone down differently, but overall, it was well worth the visit. Spending time with my best friend, another close friend of mine in town, family, friends, and attending a pre-party in downtown Portland where I got to reconnect with the people I love and form new friendships- well, they say you can’t ever go back, but you can. I’m different, but in some ways, I’m still that girl with really long hair and a wallet in her butt pocket. She’s an independent, outgoing girl, and it’s okay to let her out every once in a while.

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The 20 year

The Amicable Divorce, by Marla Bradeen

Already dealing with a suspended driver’s license, despised job, and looming thirtieth birthday, Vanessa Collins doesn’t think much more can go wrong…until her husband Brian announces he’s filing for divorce.

Acting on her thrice-divorced sister’s advice, Vanessa steals Brian’s financial documents. She’s determined to either escape her marriage with a six-figure settlement or day trade her way into retirement. But Vanessa ends up with something she never bargained for, and now her entire future may be in jeopardy unless she can figure out what’s going on before it’s too late. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

Vanessa is one of those characters you can’t help but feel sympathy for. Life is passing her by, while she is content on working for an employer she despises, married to a man who has lost interest, and there are no hobbies or other extracurricular activities she enjoys or engages in. It’s as though she wants to settle for mediocrity, not feeling as though she’s able to achieve anything else in her short thirty years on earth.

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After her husband Brian pulls the trigger on their impending divorce, a domino effect begins. There are plenty of hidden secrets Vanessa never knew Brian was capable of. Soon, she’s being followed, threatened. There are documents within Vanessa’s possession that has put her life in grave danger. What sort of connection does Brian have to the documents? When he’s not at his day job, what else is going on behind the scenes?

The Amicable Divorce was such a fun read, and sprinkled within the pages are bits of mystery that will keep you guessing. I was trying to figure out the motive and the reasoning behind Brian leaving his wife, never knowing there would be an undercurrent of danger. I really enjoyed getting inside Vanessa’s head, because she’s just a funny, wonderful person. Very real and down to earth. She’s far from perfect, which elicits a lot of crazy situations and comic relief. Will Vanessa find a way to save the day, and her marriage, in one fell swoop? And more importantly, will she ever realize she’s capable of so much more than mediocre?

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

One Wrong Move, by Meirav Oz

Karnie has always wanted to lead a life that exudes success. Something that would really impress others, which is why she’s an Account Executive at an Advertising Agency in Tel Aviv. It’s fast-paced, incredibly busy, she works with big-name clients on a near daily basis. It’s the kind of lifestyle she could only dream about.

Yet, being an Account Executive looks good only on paper. The reality of the job is filled with frustration, irritation. She doesn’t understand what a typical nine to five even means, because Karnie puts in at least twelve hour days, if not longer. Her work encompasses her world, and she’s having a really hard time finding any sort of balance between her personal life, and her professional one. Her mother is constantly on her to find a man, settle down. Have children. And it’s not as if Karnie hasn’t thought of those things, but she finds herself in a situation where that life just isn’t in the cards.

Until she finds herself ensconced within a whirlwind romance, one that has suddenly struck her like lightning, unable to even catch her breath for one moment to reflect on their relationship. He’s an artist, and a brooding one at that. While her heart wants to sink into everything this man has to offer, her head is trying to get her to rationalize, to think about what exactly she’s getting herself into. Is he the man for her, or like her job, will he only look good on paper?

Karnie feels as though she can’t find any sort of moderation at her employment, because there is always someone else who is waiting to fill her coveted role. But by the same token, doesn’t she deserve to have a life, too? It’s become a lonely existence for her, and there have been too many nights where she finds herself alone, at home, with no one to share it with. Are there any benefits to leaving her single life behind, or will she be giving up everything she’s worked so hard for? Can’t she find a way to have it all?

One Wrong Move was cleverly written from a single woman’s perspective, yet the theme of the story can apply to any one of us. We’ve all experienced the burden of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, not quite sure on which direction to go to break free. While the initial read started out a little slow-paced, it does pick up, and I found I was starting to learn more about Karnie, as well as the co-workers who in some ways are like her family, along with her “real” family, who she doesn’t always get along with. I found myself rooting for her, even during the moments where I felt my own frustrations, especially when she’s just not seeing the writing on the wall. Life is like that, though. Sometimes, it might take us a little longer to understand what we really want to accomplish, even if it’s not the general consensus.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Branching Out, by Kerstin March

Branching Out picks up where it’s predecessor, Family Trees (reviewed here), left off. While Shelby and Ryan embark on a new journey, ready to form their union and spend forever together, they have secrets that threaten to damage their relationship and everything it stands for.

For Shelby, so much of the foundation of her life has been uprooted. It’s so hard for her to settle into a life with Ryan that’s so vastly different from what she’s known. And for Ryan, he can’t get over the past. It weighs heavily on him, but he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to admit that to Shelby. I felt as though Branching Out went more into the backstory of both main characters, allowing us the opportunity to understand the why’s behind who they’ve become and the dynamics of their relationship.


When tragedy strikes, the only place where Shelby feels she can heal is back home at Lake Superior. But in the midst of her own turmoil and grief, she’s left behind the one person she swore she’d spend eternity with, for better or for worse. Will their relationship survive?

Branching Out gives an honest look into the lives of two people who are trying hard to make it, and live a happily ever after in the process. There were many moments during the novel where I was overcome with emotion, teary-eyed, angry and undeniably sad. I knew there was a chance that all would end well, even if that meant the status quo had changed, which is so true to the way life works for most of us. I highly recommend the “Meyers Orchard” series, hopeful there will be a part three to Shelby and Ryan’s story.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Waiting for Ethan, by Diane Barnes

Gina Rossi has been waiting for Ethan. Her Ethan. The one her best friend’s psychic grandmother, Ajee, had predicted for her, back when Gina was just a preteen. Others would scoff and probably not take heed to some silly prediction from years ago, but Gina had witnessed the abilities first-hand. So much of what Ajee foretold really did come true. It’s enough to make Gina wait. And wait.

At thirty-six, Gina finally runs into Ethan, in one of the most bizarre of circumstances. He’s nothing like what she thought he’d be, and his personal life is nothing short of messy. Running concurrently is the budding friendship she’s developing at work with a fellow coworker. Someone who she never thought she’d be interested in, or more importantly, would be interested in her. But he’s no Ethan. And, he never will be. So why does she feel so drawn to him?

I felt as though Waiting For Ethan is a story about unrequited love, loss, and the hope in finding that one special person, the one who makes you feel complete. Only, what if the person you’ve been destined for practically your whole life, isn’t really the one for you? Do you really need someone to make you feel complete? Or, is giving up only giving up on potential happiness?

When I delved into this book, I had a really hard time focusing on anything else. I didn’t want to put it down. I could totally relate to Gina, having been in situations myself where I questioned the validity of a relationship, having a difficult time separating my head from my heart. It’s so easy to say what should be done, vs. doing it. This was an honest look at a struggle within a woman who has to decide on what’s most important: loving Ethan, or loving herself.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

Truth or Date, by Portia MacIntosh

Truth or Date was such a great example of how opposites can attract, and whether that’s ultimately a good thing, or a bad thing. There is nothing about Nick that Ruby feels she could ever be compatible with, considering how totally different they are. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that she still feels drawn to him. I think that might have something to do with Ruby sharing a few characteristics with Nick, and not realizing it, or maybe she doesn’t want to. If they have anything in common, it might mean she’s boring, too.

Often, your deepest desires are illuminated in your dreams, which is exactly what Ruby experiences. She hates admitting to herself that Nick’s the only guy she’s ever truly felt herself around, allowing him to see her even when she feels at her worst. Well, other than Millsy, her best friend. He’s another guy in Ruby’s life who has seen her hit rock bottom, with only a smidge of judgement. When Ruby hatches a plan to win Nick’s heart, Millsy becomes one of her biggest supporters, offering up some of his own sage advice on the subject, as far off the mark as that may be. Ultimately, it won’t break his heart if things don’t work out with Nick. He can’t stand Nick, and doesn’t get why Ruby feels the way she does. In Millsy’s world, there are always plenty of fish in the sea. Why can’t Ruby adopt that philosophy?

This was an interesting take on relationships between friends, roommates, frenemies and even coworkers, and how sometimes the people you least expect to be in your corner shows up, and the ones you felt would always be there, isn’t. Having read a few of Portia MacIntosh’s books (Bad Bridesmaid, How Not to be Starstruck, Drive Me Crazy), I felt this was a wonderful addition to the MacIntosh collection.

Reviewed for Chick Lit Central

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