Tag Archives: chick lit

Review of On Her Own Two Wheels, by Stacy Xavier

I’m in England for the holiday and the blog is on hiatus, but I wanted to make sure I managed to get this review written and posted, since On Her Own Two Wheels (by Stacy Xavier) is my 2019 X-authored alphabet challenge book.

Description from Goodreads:

Just three years out of college and Cassie Wright has hit a dead end. Still living at home with her mom and dad and dating the same writer masked as a waiter, Devon, for just as long, she knows she wants more out of life. Motorcycle lessons seem like a fun idea and the perfect escape. Cassie soon finds herself breaking away from her dull life and starts on a journey to self-confidence as she learns how to make each day extraordinary. 

While driving home from visiting her grandmother in Wisconsin, she drags a reluctant Devon to a local biker event at a motorcycle dealership. From there, she becomes inspired to take riding lessons for some much needed fun and adventure. In time, she meets Marcus, the part-time riding instructor and full-time college administrator. He is drawn to Cassie’s ambition and adventurous spirit, and a romance quickly blossoms, forcing Cassie to realize she deserves better than what Devon chooses to give. 

Becoming more confident in her everyday life through her riding, Cassie quits the electronics shop to become the motorcycle dealership’s new marketing director, opening herself up to an entirely new set of professional and personal obstacles. Cassie must learn to approach her issues in a whole new way while striving to be the type of woman she herself would want to emulate. 

An inspirational coming-of-age novel for any woman who has ever settled for less, romantically or professionally, On Her Own Two Wheels tells the moving tale of a young woman finding the courage to challenge herself, break the mold, seek adventure, and make the ordinary in her life extraordinary as she truly comes into her own.

Reviews:

This was light and fluffy, but I also thought the writing quite pedestrian and the plot shallow. I very much appreciate the themes the book took on—sexism in the workplace, respect in relationships, finding yourself after college, etc. But the solutions were presented as too simple to be believed. She shattered long engrained sexual harassment habits in a garage full of men with professional dress and a quelling glance, for example. 

I think my biggest issue with the book however is that it starts with the main character deciding to change her life and she does, in big ways. But we’re never given any reason for this change in her attitude. It feels anchoress and random. If she’s such an outspoken, feminist, respect driven woman why has she let her life get to the point it has. If she hadn’t been up until the beginning of the book, what changed? I feel the book really needed that information. 

All in all, not bad but not great either.

Review of A Lowcountry Christmas, by Mary Alice Monroe

A couple weeks ago, I did a Christmas Challenge. I read the four paperbacks that had been languishing on my shelves because they were all Christmas novels. I figured what better time to get them read? I finished it and, low and behold, another one landed on my doorstep. I won Mary Alice Monroe‘s A Lowcountry Christmas through Goodreads. Again, I figured there was no better time to get it read that Christmas Eve.

Description:
As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, the stress and strain darken the family.

Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can’t afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. In the midst of this emergency, the splintered family must come together and rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.

Review:
For those who enjoy this sort of book, I imagine this will be a winner. Personally, I gave it a shot, but I call this sort of book Misery Porn. Yes, there is a happy ending and you get a taste of it in the prologue to know it’s coming. But the whole rest of the book is people being miserable.

I can sense Monroe had a good intent. She obviously wanted to inform readers about PTSD and the healing powers of service dogs. But the book often felt didactic and I felt the ‘healing’ happened too abruptly.

Further, I had a hard time buying into the whole, “The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, their family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.” when the father is so obviously left out of the equation. He’s the only family member without a POV and until you’re supposed to go “awww” and believe everything suddenly happy he’s the antagonist of the book.

The writing however is perfectly readable and the book seems well-edited. I honestly think this is just a matter of wrong book for the reader. But it’s Christmas Eve and I wanted to read a Christmas book.