Love and Death go hand in hand: Undertaking Love by Kat French Book Review

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Undertaking Love

By Kat French

Released April, 2013 by Authonomy, HarperCollins

Length: 280 Pages

Genre: Chick Lit

Rating: Four and a half stars

Acquired: via netgalley

What can go wrong when a funeral parlor opens up next to a wedding chapel? 

Undertaking Love is Kat French’s debut novel. Known as Kitty French in the erotica genre, French tries her hand at something new and succeeds brilliantly.

American Marla Jacobs moved to England ten years prior. Never a believer of love or marriage, she has owned her own Las Vegas style Wedding Chapel for the past few years. When the building next to her opens up, and her new neighbors move in, it isn’t the cupcake shop she thought was coming. Instead it is a funeral parlor ran by the new man in town Gabriel Ryan; his business threatening Marla’s and all she has built for herself in the quiet town. Too bad Gabriel Ryan is good-looking and everything Marla has wanted. Even with her protests, petitions, and newspaper boyfriend, Marla has to fight for her business and protect her heart. But, can she?

Gabriel Ryan didn’t know there was a Wedding Chapel next door. He just wanted to open up  funeral parlor in a town that didn’t have one. Was that too much to ask? Then, he meets Marla Jacobs. While she is after his head, he tries to protect himself from the woman he can’t stop thinking about. Can a funeral parlor and a wedding chapel really coexist? Will Gabriel and Marla get their act together?

This was a great read. I am not a big fan of women’s literature. I do read it from time to time, but don’t often find myself gravitating towards it. The title was too witty to pass up. Undertaking Love? Made me smile. Then, I read page one, then page fifty, and just couldn’t stop myself. I immediately got caught up in the story. Everything Gabriel Ryan did made me smile and swoon a little more. Marla Jacobs was a smart, strong, and level-minded woman. She was one of those characters I would want to be friends with. And slap her each time she made a mean comment to sexy Gabriel she didn’t mean.  And, Gabriel. My did I ever swoon? He did so many sweet things for her. Swoon worthy. And, melt did I ever? Read it and see all the things he did. Fireworks, the perfect birthday present, and so forth. If I could find a man like him.

French also wrote perhaps the best metaphor for love. Every day this woman wore a lighthouse broach wherever she went; it was a gift from her husband. Why a lighthouse? Why? Because she was her husband’s lighthouse on top of his rocks. How sweet is that? That metaphor continues through the end of the book; it was just so awe-inspiring to think of. And how it connects in the end is great. I didn’t have tears, but I was close. It was just too sweet. And, a quote I will always remember.

If you are looking for a sweet, light read, this is for you. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. Even after a week or so, I am still thinking about the book and the lighthouse. I hope you pick it up. I might just read it again and buy myself a copy. It would make a great Valentine’s Day reread.

Happy reading!

Some Books can’t be read: Waking Sleep Beauty Freak Book Review

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Waking Sleep Beauty Freak

Released June, 2013 by Winking Buddha Press

Length: 256 pages

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir

Rating: DNF

Acquired: via netgalley

 

Waking Sleep Beauty Freak is about waking up and realizing you are on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. Now what? It is a non-fiction inspirational tale about disillusionment, self-discovery and the universal web of pain and growth. Its “Girls-grown-up” style narrative addresses what happens when an ambitious, hard-working, world traveling girl-verging-on-woman wakes up from a seven-year relationship to realize she is on the wrong life path and married to the wrong person. The subsequent unraveling and reweaving is crafted and delivered in a clever conversational tone, sharing ‘just enough’ – in a fun, poetic, modern philosophical way – to hold attention while simultaneously allowing the reader’s mind to wander down its own self-reflective path. While hilarious and bawdy at times, it digs deep and across multiple continents to provide a unique inspirational window into a journey through divorce – parental and her own – and disease (diabetes). This is an ideal summer beach read, especially for women between the ages of 25 and 45 who have lived in New York and/or experienced any of the above. If candid, witty, seemingly gorgeous, ambitious and fun on the surface – she’s imperfect. She’s real. Raw. Rough. A little dirty. Growing. And wanting the reader to grow alongside her..

goodreads.com description

When I was looking through titles on netgalley, this book jumped up at me. I thought the title was creative and witty. Although the description of the book is somewhat lengthy, it is a little vague as well. The description isn’t the only thing that is vague, though. I couldn’t get very far reading this book. There were a couple pages that had funny analogies, or that I thought were insightful, but the majority of the pages fell short for me. Even at page 50, or so, I never got a true feel of what the book was about. Maybe if I tried to keep reading; but, it took me over two weeks just to get to around that page. I might have stopped half way. There just wasn’t enough substance in it.

The author, who does not have her name printed on the cover, gave nicknames to the people mentioned. These nicknames were not helpful, descriptive, or useful at all. There was creative ambition. I don’t know what he really looks like. I can’t tell you a single personality trait of his other than he must have some creative ambition. Then, there is her husband, Ferrari. Given that he is named after a fancy car, I am going to make a hypothesis and assume he is wealthy. Do I know his age? Occupation? Anything special? Not really, other than that he was a poor husband. I think he worked on Wall Street, and was an older gentleman. I didn’t feel anything for him, creative ambition, and the other creative ambition she later added. I didn’t feel much for her, either.

She is a well-traveled woman, used to fancy things, and more than slightly obnoxious in her writing. She seemed selfish, especially when she cheated. I wanted to like her, to feel something, anything, for her. I just didn’t. There was nothing but a slight distaste for her. Maybe she got better, I just didn’t have the patience or desire to learn more about her or her diabetes (I never got to that part).

I guess a good title does not mean the quality and quantity of the writing is on equal footing, or better. I am not one to not finish books, but I couldn’t continue. I needed to wake that sleeping beauty freak up.

Anxiety Freaks Me Out: Freaking Out Real-life Stories About Anxiety Edited by Polly Wells

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Freaking Out

Edited by Polly Wells

Published in June, 2013 by Annick Press

Length: 130 Pages

Genre: YA Non-fiction; YA Mental Illness

Rating: Two Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

Freaking Out features thirteen vignettes written by teenagers, as well as those in their early twenties, about an event during their adolescent to high school days that caused them severe anxiety. Ranging from bullying, a loss of a parent, a fear of dogs, and more, the authors describe the anxiety they felt and how they managed to survive and get over the said anxiety.

With the exception of three to five stories, a lot of the authors anxieties were solved either pretty immediately, or suddenly on its own. For one teen, he was afraid of dogs, which seemed more of a phobia than an anxiety. At the end of his vignette, he had successfully overcome his serious anxiety simply by being in the same room as a dog. Another teen, who was afraid of public speaking, had a line about cutting her stomach; it was a sentence that was not given enough attention. I would have preferred to learn about the map she craved into her skin. It seemed insignificant when it is, in reality, a serious addiction that is not to be treated lightly. One female teen who was bullied, was suddenly cured of her intense anxiety by a single talk with her guidance counselor. I felt those few stories were rushed to a conclusion and resolution. I felt too much of a disconnect to them.

There were a couple I did feel connected to. Their struggles were not minimized and felt genuine. I understand people’s anxieties are different in their severity, but the vignettes written with more serious anxieties, like OCD and anxieties over becoming a refuge, were ones I could emphasize with; and felt connected on an emotional level. I felt their hopes, fears, and resolutions truly in my core.

Unfortunately, the ones I did like were few in between the  collection of thirteen stories. A majority of the stories were written well, but their anxieties and how they dealt with them did not connect with me. Sadly, I would not recommend this collection as one to read about this topic. Anxiety is a tough issue that many people, including teens, suffer through.  This collection’s representation of that just fell so flat for me to recommend.

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