Tag Archives: St. Martin’s Press

Review: Shoulder Season

Shoulder Season

Shoulder Season
By Christina Clancy
St. Martin’s Press, 9781250239631, July 6, 2021, 336pp.

The Short of It:

The Playboy empire makes for an interesting story, no matter how you feel about the empire itself.

The Rest of It:

I never knew that Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was home to a Playboy resort. It seems like a very odd location but I looked it up and it was a very popular resort and attracted girls from all walks of life. In this story, Sherri is a small-town girl who spends most of her time playing the organ for her church. She’s a very pretty girl though and when her friend Roberta invites her to interview for a position as a Playboy bunny, she thinks the whole thing is a bit ridiculous. Her? A Bunny? But the Bunny mother sees something in her and offers her a job.

At first, Sherri is completely overwhelmed. Getting to live on the property with all these glamourous, beautiful women makes her feel like an outcast even though many continue to tell her that she has that sweet, pretty quality that the Playboy organization loves. But what she didn’t realize was just how much work was involved. Tight costumes, weight checks, standing in stilettos for hours on end, putting up with drunk club members and yes, dealing with all the numerous propositions that many of the girls accept as a side gig.

As Sherri begins to acclimate to the lifestyle, she finds herself struggling to find happiness. Drugs and drink don’t help and the abundance of male attention makes it hard to find true love but there are some good people looking out for her which gives her hope.

I found this book to be a quick read and I was pleasantly pulled along for most of the story but Sherri makes some very bad decisions and I kind of lost interest in her. Then, the last quarter of the book took a huge leap and turn. My copy was a review copy and it’s quite possible that something was left out because it seemed to lack a transition piece into the next part of the story. It was abrupt and jarring and not believable at all. I literally put it down and said, “Oh, come on.”

I really loved and enjoyed Clancy’s last book, The Second Home. I highly recommend it. However, Shoulder Season missed the mark for me. It lacked heart. I wanted to know Sherri more, which made her a likable character even though she did things to frustrate the heck out of me but the story was not believable and I feel like there was so much more to know.

This was a review copy but also on my 10 Books of Summer list so I am making progress with that list!

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs
By Rachel Hawkins
St. Martin’s Press, 9781250245496, January 5, 2021, 304pp.

*No Spoilers*

The Short of It:

This is the perfect read for now. Quick, impossible to put down and some twists for good measure.

The Rest of It:

Jane’s life has been less than luxurious. As a product of the foster care system, she is skeptical, guarded and envious of those who have it easier. Scraping pennies to get by and forced to live with a roommate she truly cannot stand, she finds a job walking dogs in a ritzy neighborhood. Jane is not much of an animal lover but she is fascinated by the McMansions in this community and the people who live in them. The women, all rich and well-taken care of, have no idea what it’s like to not make the rent. Jane wonders what it would be like to be one of them.

Jane’s fascination with these women leads her to Eddie who is recently widowed. His wife Bea went missing in a boating accident with her best friend Blanche. Bea was eventually declared dead even though they never found her body because in order for Eddie to take over her home decor business her death had to be legally noted. Eddie lives alone in his big, beautiful house but when he sees Jane walking the neighbor’s dog there is a little spark. A spark that prompts him to get his own dog so that Jane can walk his dog too. The two find an instant connection but Jane senses something more there.

Eddie’s wife has only been gone for a short while and since many of the ladies in the neighborhood were good friends with Bea and Blanche, they can’t help but be skeptical over this new, young woman in Eddie’s life but Jane is determined to be one of them and when Eddie provides free use of his credit card, she begins to find her way in.

It all sounds very superficial but it’s superficial in the way those rich housewives shows are. Juicy and full of gossipy goodness. Jane is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but as the story unfolds, you quickly begin to realize that something much darker is at play and it’s good, very good. I picked this book up and didn’t put it down until I turned the last page.

It’s being called a modern retelling of Jane Eyre which I find interesting. I didn’t see it as that myself but it was juicy and twisty in all the right places and perfect for my mood. Very entertaining.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.