~ About the Book ~
Life post-graduation was supposed to see the launch of paisley-loving Jadyn’s art career, or at least an art gallery showing one of her watercolor paintings. Instead, this Pittsburgh native is locked into a low-paying, buttoned-up consultant position with an impossible boss. When another colleague is dismissed, Jadyn inherits extra workload, including the company’s biggest client. If she loses him, she’s fired.
Jadyn people-pleases her way through life, resulting in extra work opportunities and a community classroom of art students. But when two guys appear on her doorstep, she just might not be able to people-please her way out of this love triangle. At the end of the day, she can’t please everyone.
Then, because of a small spending problem, Jadyn is evicted from her apartment, and she must move in with her know-it-all sister. Jadyn needs to decide between a job transfer that would place her near her love interest, or a full-time art career with all its risks.
Stretched like canvas between responsibility and dreams, she must choose. Will practicality always win?
Genre: Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy
Release date: 15 November 2018
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
~ Excerpt ~
My ringing cellphone pierced through the quiet of the now empty office. I pushed through stacks of papers and finally found it crammed under a mess of folders that I had been trying to organize. When I saw Mel’s name, I hit answer.
“Sister! You picked up! I figured you’d be busy primping.”
“Primping?” I shoved my hand through the wiry curls on my head, trying to clear my brain of the clients, ideas, and organization that I’d been stuck with for most of the day. “What are you talking about?”
She exhaled into the phone. “Don’t tell me you’re still at work.”
“Okay. I won’t.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
One of Mel’s favorite rants centered on how Victoria overworked me and how I never told Victoria “no.” I knew better. Victoria believed in my ability to do the job right and to put in the necessary effort. She trusted me. My job description probably listed working late in the fine pint. All this annoyed my sister but didn’t really put a damper on her plans. After all, she had a boyfriend.
A boyfriend. A date. I had a date!
“Pickled cucumbers.” I yanked the phone away from my head to check the time on the screen: 6:25. I had thirty-five minutes to get home, clean up, and welcome Ethan into the messy apartment that I promised myself I would clean after work today.
“You say the weirdest things.”
“Mel, I have to go.” I didn’t wait for her reply. I tossed the phone into my purse and gathered the nearest priority files into a pile. Grabbing my work bag, I rose from the floor and stepped toward the cubicle opening. My heel caught on the box and I struggled to stay upright. Three steps out the door, I recalled the paisley tights in my desk drawer. I spun around, skipped over the box, and threw open the drawer to retrieve my tights. No way would I leave without them.
~ Review ~
This novel ticks a lot of chick-lit boxes. Somewhat quirky female protagonist: check. Career-oriented, but trying to find a better balance in life: check. Personable and engaging voice: check. I could even relate to Jadyn on several levels. Once upon a time I had trouble saying no too. I frequently overestimated just how much could be achieved in 24-hour days, and I wanted to be the person everyone needed me to be—which turned out to be a lot of people! And I didn’t even have any teal paisley tights to help me!
For me, though, there were some weaknesses that held this story back from being all it could have been. While I generally enjoyed the author’s (character’s) voice, it didn’t have the sass and humour that really energises chick-lit. And while I don’t mind the romantic thread taking a smaller role in the story, this one didn’t convince me. The impression I formed of the romantic interest from his actions in the early stages of the story didn’t mesh with who he was in the rest of the story, and I only really got snapshots of their developing relationship, which made it seem more casual than it apparently was.
There was also a lot going on in this story. Given Jadyn’s circumstances, that’s not really surprising. In fact, it’s kind of the point. She’s overworked and underpaid, living beyond her means, trying to make time for her passion (art), and trying to iron out the kinks in several different relationships in her life, from romantic to familial. That’s a lot to try and balance—in real life and as an author creating a story. In this case, I think certain aspects of the plot needed to be tightened or trimmed down to make a more cohesive story.
All that being said, it was an enjoyable read, and I liked the way the story concluded. It was an excellent way to demonstrate not only the way in which Jadyn had grown as a person across the story but also that it was her most significant achievement, even as she had been striving for so many other measures of success.
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Barbara Brutt, a born and raised Pittsburgher, spent her growing-up years with her nose in a book. After claiming her bachelor’s degree in English, she plunked down hard into a smattering of jobs from shop girl to communications director with a healthy dose of nanny and house-cleaner. Flying to new adventures is her favorite, especially on an airplane or aerial silk. Barbara adores ice cream and only buys purses that provide room for a book or two.