Holly Banks Full of Angst

By Julie Valerie

 

Book Blurb

A laugh-out-loud debut novel for anyone who’s tried to live the perfect life—and learned the hard way there’s no such thing.

Holly Banks could not have made a worse first impression on the seemingly perfect moms in her new affluent community, the Village of Primm. Turns out wearing pink piggy pajama bottoms while dropping off her kindergartener late to the first day of school wasn’t her best look.

Not to mention Holly’s worried her husband may be having an affair, she can’t get her daughter to stop sucking her thumb, her hard-won film degree is collecting dust, and to top it all off, the power-hungry PTA president clearly has it in for her…

To make matters even worse, Holly’s natural eye for drama lands her smack-dab in the- middle of a neighborhood mystery—right as her own crazy mother shows up in Primm “to help.” Through it all, Holly begins to realize her neighbors may be just as flawed as—and even wackier than—she is, leaving her to wonder: Is there such a thing as a perfect mom?

My Review

Did I read the first line of the book blurb right?  Did it say, “a laugh-out-loud debut novel?” Well, I am still laughing.  This is the funniest book I think I’ve ever read.

Holly Banks doesn’t seem like the type of mom who would have so much happen to her as a new resident of the Village of Primm.  She’s not prim and proper, but seems like a normal mom, that is, until she meets the PTA president Mary-Margaret St. James. Everything goes downhill for Holly.  She wears the wrong T-shirt to the first PTA meeting of the year, and that is just the beginning.  Mary-Margaret is in overdrive making Holly feel incompetent as a mother.  I instantly had a disliking for Mary-Margaret.  I felt sorry for Holly and wanted to yell at her to stand up against the overbearing PTA pres.

The first couple of chapters were a difficult read for me.  I wasn’t laughing, yet. I wanted to shake Holly and tell her to believe in herself and not listen to Mary-Margaret.  At the same time, I wanted to take Mary-Margaret out behind the school and whop some sense into her and bring her down a peg or two. In the end, I was glad I kept reading.  The story is a satire on the life of real moms and real PTA officials, and I felt the author executed it well.

As a former PTA member, PTA president, and general PTA-go-to when something needed to be done, I have run across all kinds of PTA presidents, though none quite as bad as Mary-Margaret.  As a mother and grandmother, I know there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  I felt by the end of the book, Holly found her place and Mary-Margaret mellowed.

 

About the Author

Holly Banks Full of Angst, Book One in the Village of Primm series, is Julie Valerie’s debut novel, available now for pre-order, publishing December 1, 2019, with Lake Union.

Julie is the founder of the 85K Writing Challenge and serves on the board of directors of James River Writers. She earned an editing certificate from the University of Chicago Graham School and has a master’s degree in education, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion, and certification in wilderness first aid. She enjoys books, the study of wine, hikes on the Appalachian Trail, and travel. Julie married her college sweetheart, and they live in Virginia with their four children and two English labradors.

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A Wedding in December

By Sarah Morgan

 

Book Blurb

This funny, charming and heartwarming new Christmas novel is USA TODAY bestselling author Sarah Morgan at her festive best! 

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget!

Book Cover and Blurb from Goodreads

My Review

This is one of the funniest stories I have ever read!  Besides humor, the story was heartwarming. Even though it had its ups and downs, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Often, I felt Katie was overbearing, but meeting Jordan, the best man in her sister’s wedding, softened her. Rosie was flighty and let her sister’s doubts sniggle their way into her mind bringing doubts about her upcoming wedding. Then add to the drama of the sisters, their parents, Maggie and Nick, brought their own spectacle to this comical, romantic  Christmas tale.

The characters were well-drawn, and the storyline was fascinating. There were a lot of loose ends, but the author did a wonderful job tying the story together, creating a book worth reading.  I recommend A WEDDING IN DECEMBER to anyone who loves reading about sisters, enjoys humor, and a Christmas romance.

My thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of A WEDDING IN DECEMBER in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes romance and contemporary women’s fiction and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives near London, England, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors.

A WEDDING IN DECEMBER, a fun family drama set around the festive season, is out in the US/Canada Sept 24 and the UK Oct 31.

Author Bio and Photo from Goodreads

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Spare Change By Bette Lee Crosby

Spare Change
Ethan Allen Doyle had a tough life. His mother was so wrapped up in herself, and his father had a mean streak. He had more on his plate than any eleven-year-old should ever have, and then, he witnessed a brutal murder. Fearing for his life, he takes off in search of his grandfather, known only to him by the Christmas cards he received.
Olivia Westerly is settled into her single life when she meets Charlie Doyle, who sweeps her off her feet. Her married life quickly takes a turn to the unexpected, and Olivia was forced into a situation that causes her to re-evaluate her life. Through various events, the most important of which is having the care of Ethan Allen forced upon her, she finds all of her preconceived notions of the kind of person she is, are no longer applicable.
SPARE CHANGE is a murder mystery. The storyline drew me in quickly with its superstitions, mystery, romance, friendship, humor, and its flawed characters that are so realistic that every reader can find them believable. The story moves quickly and is told from several different points of view. It’s about how we deal with life’s challenges and the power of love in changing who we are.
When I first started reading SPARE CHANGE, I thought I wouldn’t like it very much, but once into a few pages, I was captivated by the story, the writing style, the author’s voice, and the characters. I am amazed that so much emotion, mystery, and story is found in just 280 pages. It is a book I heartily recommend to all readers in every genre. I look forward to reading more of Bette Lee Crosby’s work.
According to Amazon, SPARE CHANGE is their number one bestselling historical mystery and the winner of five literary awards.
You can find out more about Bette Lee Crosby on these websites:

 

Her website – Bette Lee Crosby Words, Wit & Wisdom

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Buy SPARE CHANGE and Bette’s other books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, BooksAMillion, or your favorite Indie bookstore.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.