Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: Totlandia (The Onesies, Book One)

By Melissa Amster

As many of you may know already, I am a mother of three children ages seven and under. So I flock to mom-lit whenever possible. When I found out that Josie Brown was coming out with a new series about motherhood, my ears immediately perked up. Not only is Josie a fantastic writer, but she's also choosing a subject of interest to me. The best part is, with the story being set into four parts, the books are "bite-size" and easy to read in a short period of time between chasing a toddler and trying to keep my older two from ripping each other's hair out.

The Pacific Heights Moms & Tots Club is the most exclusive children’s playgroup in all of San Francisco. For the city’s ultra-competitive elite, the club’s ten annual spots are the ultimate parenting prize.

But not everyone is PHM&TC material. The club’s founder, Bettina Connaught Cross, adheres to strict membership rules: Moms only. No single parents or working mothers allowed. Membership is an arduous commitment. And there’s no room in the club for scandal, bad behavior, or imperfection…from tots or their moms.

In a world of power and prestige, no one has more than Bettina. And as every mom in Pacific Heights knows, you simply cannot cross her. But this year’s admissions process is more rigorous than ever, pitting prospective members against each other to prove their mettle.

But four of the six candidates vying for the remaining four slots have a secret that would knock them out of the running. Can these hopeful moms keep up appearances long enough to outlast the competition? Or will their chances—and their private lives—go up in flames?

Friendship. Lies. Seduction. Betrayal. Welcome to Totlandia.
(Shortened synopsis, courtesy of Amazon.)

Totlandia: The Onesies (book one) starts out with a bang....or at least a struggle over a diaper between an adult and a young child, no less! (A bratty one, at that!) Gradually, we are introduced to all the major players in the story:

Lorna is the mother of Dante, the new favorite grandchild of her mother-in-law. Her sister-in-law, Bettina, runs the PHM&TC and is like the evil sorority sister you never want to come up against. (The club really is like a sorority where both the mothers and their children are being judged over every action.)

Jillian, Ally, and Jade (and her ex-husband, Brady) are in the same boat as Lorna, fighting for a spot in the exclusive club, but becoming friends at the same time. However, they all have secrets they hope will not come out or their chances at membership will be ruined. I don't want to spoil all the interesting surprises in store and book one is short enough that you find out each of their secrets by the end.

Josie Brown writes Totlandia with her usual storytelling flair. The dialogue is smooth and flowing. The characters are easy to side with or become angry with, depending on each situation. The scenery is easy to visualize. And we musn't forget all the sex (blushworthy, at that) and scandal that is a staple of a true Josie Brown novel. Totlandia: The Onesies (book one) kept me entertained and on my toes the entire time. It showed that there are mothers who are human and sometimes screw up even with the best intentions at hand. Lorna, Jillian and Ally are very easy to sympathize with. I'm still warming up to Jade. And I'm dying to know who Madame Ovary is. There's only one decision a character makes that I don't agree with so far, but I hope it gets resolved in book two. All in all, it's like a soap opera for mommies. Guilty pleasure, anyone?!? I look forward to reading book two next and will share my thoughts on that one, as well!

Thanks to Coliloquy for the e-book in exchange for an honest review. BOOK ONE is currently FREE for Kindle, but only for today! We'll be giving away e-books of BOOK TWO when Josie visits CLC.

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