Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer.

Kat is in her 40s, married, living in the suburbs, and has a slight shopping problem.  Ok, maybe a major shopping problem. 
But when she discovers some emails and a secret bank account her husband has been hiding she realizes she needs to save some money and fast before her husband drops the bomb that he is leaving her.  After she discovers evidence of an affair, she meets with a divorce lawyer who confirms that her finances are in shambles and suggests she keeps her mouth shut and saves enough money for herself before her husband announces he is leaving her.
Kat joins a group called The Penny Pinchers Club who teaches her cost cutting ways to get her finances under control- from pumping gas at dawn when it is cheaper and thicker, to group shopping trips so they can maximize their coupons and buy in bulk, to dumpster diving for hidden treasures- Kat takes this stuff seriously.  An added benefit is that she starts to spend more time at home with her husband and they grow closer as a couple, even though it doesn’t seem as if anything has changed on the affair front.
Kat also has the added complication of taking on the man she almost married way back when as a new client.  He is newly divorced and a millionaire who has money to spend.  She would be stupid not to take advantage of that opportunity but will their past get in the way of everything?  Or was this who she was really meant to end up with?
I really enjoyed this book.  I liked reading about how Kat went about saving money and getting her finances under control.  Also the tangled web of secrets and lies that starts to unravel keeps things interesting right to the end.  And there is a twist near the end that even I didn’t see coming.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown

I really liked this book!  It had so much going on it was hard to ever get bored.  The three main characters are Janice and her two daughters, Margaret and Lizzie.  Janice's husband just had a very successful public launch of his pharmaceutical company but that day Janice learns that her husband is divorcing her and has been having an affair with her best friend.  Talk about timing!  Meanwhile 28 year old Margaret is in debt up to her eyeballs and is realizing she is finally going to have to give up on her homegrown magazine ever making it to the big time.  And 14 year old Lizzie finds out she is not becoming popular, but instead has made a name for herself as the school slut.

I think this except from Paperbackswap.com sums up the story pretty well:

The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country club ladies, evangelical neighbors, their own demons, and each other, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can't help but root for, even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything crackles with energy and intelligence and marks the debut of a knowing and very funny novelist, wise beyond her years.

My heart broke for these three characters as they each dealt with their worlds falling apart in very different ways.  It opens your eyes to the fact that not everyone has it together, and as much as they try to make it seem like they do, one thing, or a series of events, can bring them tumbling down.  But at the same time it is inspiring because you see that no matter how far you fall you can always just pick yourself back up and start to put the pieces back together again.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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