Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Double Feature Book Review: The Sisterhood of Friendship

By Melissa Amster

The novels I'm reviewing today are both light, fun stories that involve either a woman's relationship with her best friends or her sister. I enjoyed them equally and I adore both of these authors (not only because they're both fans of The Mindy Project), so I'm pleased to share my thoughts on them today. (I also love the covers for both.)

Both synopses courtesy of Amazon.

How Do You Know? by Meredith Schorr

On the eve of her thirty-ninth birthday, Maggie Piper doesn’t look, act, or feel much different than she did at twenty-nine, but with her fortieth birthday speeding toward her like a freight train, she wonders if she should. The fear of a slowing metabolism, wrinkling of her skin, and the ticking of her biological clock leaves Maggie torn between a desire to settle down like most of her similarly aged peers and concern that all is not perfect in her existing relationship. When a spontaneous request for a temporary “break” from her live-in boyfriend results in a “break-up,” Maggie finds herself single once again and only twelve months from the big 4.0. In the profound yet bumpy year that follows, Maggie will learn, sometimes painfully, that life doesn’t always happen on a schedule, there are no deadlines in love, and age really is just a number.

When I first got this book, I kept thinking of a song from Enchanted. (Even though they usually say "How does she know?") The story proved to be as enchanting as the movie though. I easily got swept away in the story. Even though Maggie and I are at different places in our lives, I found her easily relatable and sympathetic. I have friends who are in Maggie's situation and think they would enjoy having a character who just "gets" them. I felt a twinge of "survivor guilt" at times, but some of Maggie's friends had lifestyles closer to mine and she still was close with them. Overall, I laughed, smiled, and even cringed sometimes. I still think about it at random times and can't wait until the next installment in Meredith's "Seeking Happily Ever After" series is published. She hasn't disappointed me yet and I know there's more fun in store from her. And no story of Meredith's is complete without casting for a movie:
Maggie: Judy Greer (she's got the look and is just about the same age...her birthday is a week after Maggie's).
Melanie: Ellie Kemper
Amanda: Mila Kunis
Doug: Josh Meyers
Jodie: Amanda Peet
Cheryl: Rachel Weisz
Philip: Robert Downey Jr.

Thanks to Booktrope for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Twin Piques by Tracie Banister

Forensic accountant Sloane Tobin and kooky pet psychic Willa may have the same face, but that’s the only thing these identical twins have in common.

How she can read the hearts and minds of animals has always been a mystery to Willa, and her rotten luck with men is equally baffling. Although she’s been looking for “The One” for what feels like forever (A teenage marriage to a French mime and dating a guy named Spider seemed like good ideas at the time!), optimistic Willa refuses to give up on love. When she meets Brody, the handsome rose expert hired to save her grandmother’s garden, she’s instantly smitten, but why does he keep sending her mixed signals? Does he return her feelings, or is their attraction all in her fanciful head?

Unlike her twin, Sloane has zero interest in romance. Her passion is her job, where she uses her gift for numbers to take down slimy embezzlers and asset-hiding spouses. When she’s assigned two high profile cases, Sloane feels confident the promotion she’s been angling for is within her grasp. But will her plan to climb the corporate ladder be thwarted by difficult clients, her co-worker-with-benefits, or – most surprisingly of all – her own sister? And how’s she supposed to stay focused on the drama at work when her childhood friend, Gav, moves in next door and the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore?

To get what they both want, can Willa and Sloane band together and rely on each other’s strengths? Or will their differences drive them apart once and for all?

This was my first Tracie Banister novel and I definitely want to read her others now. She has an easygoing banter throughout the story. She incorporates humor really well and also makes you really frustrated for situations that happened to her characters. I loved the ways Sloane and Willa interact with each other and the supporting characters. You can definitely see the contrasts in their personalities throughout. I felt an affinity toward both characters and can't decide which is my favorite. Tracie's use of dialogue, plot, and creativity makes her a strong writer and one to watch. She just knows what she wants from the story and runs with it. I also love how she incorporates pop culture, including her love for The Princess Bride. The only thing I wished for was that the "evil" characters were at the receiving end of their karma. We don't really know what comes of their wicked ways and it would have been fun to see them taken down. However, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story at all. I even bought it for a friend recently when she was having a rough week. It's such a great pick-me-up! And since Tracie was asking for casting choices in her book club last week on Facebook, it's only fair that I share mine.

Willa/Sloane: Tatiana Maslany (Since she is already used to playing different versions of herself, I feel she can pull this off well. I could easily see her as both characters.)
Brody: Channing Tatum
Gav: Steve Talley (after seeing him on Hindsight, he made me forget about casting Ryan Gosling in this role)

Thanks to Tracie Banister for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Meredith Schorr:

More by Tracie Banister:


Janine said...

I loved Twin Piques. How Do You Know sounds like it will be really good too.

Meredith said...

Thanks so much for the great review and the excellent casting choices! So pleased you loved How Do You Know? And honored to be in the company of Tracie Banister. I've heard great things about Twin Piques and have loved her other books :)

Tracie Banister said...

Love your review, Melissa, and am delighted to have Twin Piques featured here on CLC along with Meredith's latest release, which I am looking forward to reading soon. Your casting choices for TP are inspired! Steve Talley is delicious on Hindsight and would make the perfect Gav. Sorry, Ryan! ;)