Monday, March 25, 2019

Book Review: Cats, Chaos, and Condo Board Wars

By Sara Steven

Recovering from an amazing-turned-terrible date, Hilary Brandt lives each day as best she can with her successful event planning career, flamboyant assistant, escape-artist cat, and eccentric roommate.

Most events run smoothly for Hilary, but occasionally, one goes awry and a client turns...evil. Relieved that her boss knows that type of client, Hilary quickly jumps into her next event, planning two parties for a very handsome executive.

When elections for condo board president come around, Hilary lets her friends and neighbors convince her to run against the by-the-letter, long-sitting president — also known as Hilary’s number one personal critic. As the election campaigns launch, the romance-that-almost-was reappears, a coworker tries to steal a client, and her opponent starts to fight dirty.

Hilary quickly realizes she may just be in over her head, but can she fight fire with fire? Stumble through the awkward encounters with the hot neighbor or swoony client? Fight for a new event when the election begins to meddle with her career? Or is the chaos just too much? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Cats, Chaos, and Condo Board Wars is a story with such well-written, unique characters- with Hilary becoming one of my favorite to date! She has her successes with her event planning career, has close-knit friendships, and lives in a lovely condo her grandfather had bestowed upon her, yet for all her successes, she has a hard time with standing up for herself and being assertive. Nothing showcases that more than the continual issues with the condo board president, Glover.

Glover is the perfect antagonist, a little bit Cruella Deville mixed in with Miranda Priestly, Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Whenever Hilary and Glover are on the page together, you can feel the drop in temperature! Hilary has tried desperately to get into Glover’s good graces, but Glover has made it her personal mission to make Hilary’s life a living hell, a feud that only escalates when Hilary runs against the evil president. Quite a few fantastic scenes of contention, a build-up into why Glover feels the way she does about Hilary, a shocking discovery.

The romance in Cats presents itself as the typical love triangle, at first, with Hilary in the middle of Warren, a client whom she nicknames “Adonnis” for obvious reasons, and Neal, the man next door she’d had deep feelings for before he ran out on her after what she’d felt had been an amazing date. There are obvious signals and mixed signals, a road map of failed attempts and potential, it kept me guessing on who Hilary is interested in, who she really could see herself with, in the end, and showed me that this is anything but the typical love triangle!

And of course, there’s Eli, Hilary’s right hand man. Her junior event planner. He’s a fashionista character who balances Hilary’s edges out, at times the voice of reason, at times the one who helps her in achieving the voice she so desperately needs and has the courage she doesn’t. While it was more than fun to see the roughness of Hilary vs. Glover, it was sweet to see the closeness of Hilary and Eli, a true confidante.

While Cats is an obvious eventual love story, there is a more subtle lesson, of finding your way as best you can, of finding that voice even in times of fear. Of pushing yourself outside of the proverbial comfort zone, and Nikki LeClair has created an atmosphere that showcases that so well within her characters. It was a fun read, with an important message, a well-deserved five star experience!

Thanks to The Letterers Collective for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Visit all the stops on Nikki LeClair's blog tour:

March 20
Kindred Ink Press (Playlist)
March 21
Living Life With Joy (Review, Excerpt)
March 22
BreakfastAtShelbys (Review & Q&A)
Karan Eleni, Author (Excerpt)
March 23
Ellen Wilder (Excerpt)
March 24
Twenty Qs Book Clubs (Q&A & Excerpt)
March 25
Chick Lit Central (Review)
Jena C. Henry, Author (Review & Excerpt)
March 26
Chick Lit Goddess (Excerpt)

More by Nikki LeClair:


Karan @ The Letterers Collective said...

Thanks for taking part in Nikki's tour!! Great review!! <3

Janine said...

This sounds like my kind of book