Tag Archives: book reviews

The Last Chance Matinee: Book Review

Guess what? I have your newest fun series to read about women, friendships, small towns, and love matches. Not romance. Not chick-lit. This is women’s fiction which was inspired by a true story (see below) making it that much more compelling. It was a great read and the good news is that it was the first in the Hudson Sisters series, by Mariah Stewart.

I was happy to receive a copy of this book from NetGalley in order to review it, but my opinions are 100% honest 100% of the time! This post contains affiliate links.

THE LAST CHANCE MATINEEMariah Stewart
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
$16.00 Trade Paperback Original
ISBN: 9781501144905
Fiction, Book 1 in the Hudson Sisters series
Look for Book 2 in 2018 and Book 3 in 2019!

About the Book:

When celebrated and respected Fritz Hudson passes away suddenly, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Specifically, two daughters with one wife and one daughter with the other.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters (Cara, Des, and Allie) are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had, but only if the sisters come together to achieve their given tasks spelled out in the will. Self discovery, open hearts, forgiveness, love, and fairness are themes.

My Take:

Mariah Stewart sets up this first book so nicely by giving us just a taste of all the characters in such a well thought out and realistic way. Three sisters (the Hudsons) who didn’t even know each other are forced into a situation where they live together and must find out why their father never told any of them he was leading a double life.

While you sort of know what is going to happen, it is fun to read about these interesting women and complex emotional lives. I also like the setting, which is a small rural town, with quirky characters and places, and lots of history that relates to the sisters. The book ends on a high note, which I like, as it feels resolved a bit, given that it doesn’t actually come to a conclusion.

In the end, she leaves you waiting for the next book, to see what happens next…and I want to! Like now- but I have to wait. Book 2 comes out next year (2018), and then Book 3 the year after that 2019). Looks like I will have to wait, but I will wait. It was a fun trade paperback women’s fiction/contemporary romance.

I have just loved this book, and Mariah Stewart has written so many books, that now I have to go back and read her other books! In the Hudson Sisters series she has set up the characters so well in this book- Cara sort of was the primary character in this first book, so I wonder if she will feature each sister more in the other books that will follow. Either way, I am excited to find this series, and I hope you will look into reading this first title.

The Real Story That Inspired the Book, from the Preface:

Everyone is familiar with the adage “write what you know”; it’s a saying that has dictated much of my decades-long career in publishing. But this time, it was what I (or rather, my mother) didn’t know that formed the basis for this first book in my new Hudson Sisters series.

When my mother was in her mid-forties, she received a letter from a woman named Alice, the wife of her recently deceased cousin Bill. Alice thanked my mother for the sympathy card she’d sent her, and finished her note by saying, “You do know that Bill was your half brother, right?”

Ah, no. She did not.

Of course, I was fascinated. My grandfather died when I was four or five years old, and I have very little memory of him other than his deep, hearty laugh. I’ve been thinking for years that this foundation of a love child and secret siblings would make a great story; but not knowing all the facts, I was free to fill in the blanks—and so I did. Years passed before I felt I had the right story in my head. This is that story. I hope you enjoy my version of what could happen under such circumstances.

—Mariah Stewart

About Mariah Stewart & the Real Story Inspiring the Book:

image: Goodreads

Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. She lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors county life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel.
*Mariah Stewart’s separate series, the bestselling Chesapeake Diaries, has been a favorite with readers since 2010. The eleventh installment, The Chesapeake Bride, will publish August 29, 2017.

Visit her at mariahstewart.com and follow her on Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart and on Instagram @mariah_stewart_books.

Upcoming Author Tours:

Wednesday, April 5th, 6:30 pm
The Doylestown Bookshop
16 S. Main Street
Doylestown, Pa 1890

Tuesday, April 11th, 7:00 pm
Towne Book Centre
220 Plaza Drive – Ste B3
Collegeville, PA 19426

Blog Tours Past:

USA Today Happy Ever After – Down & Dirty Q&A
Happy Mom Blogger
Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog
Devilishly Delicious
Collectors of Book Boyfriends
Tome Tender Book Blog
Uniquec’s Book Blog
The Book Nympho
Books and Bindings
Rockin’ and Reviewing
Lovey Dovey Books
Bubble Bath Books
Sour Puss Reviews
The Blonde Bookworm
Bookfan
I Wish I Lived in a Library
PNW Bookworm
Mesha’s Corner
The Librarian (Authors on the Air Global Radio Network) – Interview 7:00 pm EST
Kritters Ramblings
My Novelesque Life
Reviews by Crystal
Novelgossip
Romance Junkies
Abigail Books Addiction
Rainy Day Reviews
Books According to Abby
Once Upon A Page
That Book Lady Blog
Suzy Approved Book Reviews
The Written Word(s)

Blog Feature Dates Upcoming:

March 29th
Hardly A Goddess

March 30th
Lit Living Mom

March 31st
Tiff Scribes

April 1st
Bigreadersite’s Blog

April 3rd
Staircase Wit

April 3rd- HAG’s giveaway for the book!
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 7th
Svetlana’s Reads and Views

April 10th
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 14th
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

April 17th
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 21st
Community Bookstop

April 24th
Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

May 25th
First for Women
Review in First for Women magazine’s June 19th print issue, on stands May 25th!


REVIEWS from others:

“The combination of a quirky small-town setting, a family mystery, a gentle romance, and three estranged sisters is catnip for women’s-fiction fans, and the backdrop of the faded movie palace adds a fascinating element to the story. Stewart’s lively, warmhearted series starter [The Last Chance Matinee] will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.”

—Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance. Readers will look forward to the next installment.”

—Library Journal


*This post contains affiliate links, where if you click on them and make a purchase, I make a small percentage. I include them so that you can find what I am referencing and loving!*

What’s On Your Nightstand? April Edition

What's On Your Nightstand? April | Hardly A Goddess

Let’s talk about books!

I was hoping this series of “What’s On Your Nightstand,” every 4th Tuesday of the month (see? I am late even for this…again!) would keep me accountable or at least give an account of what I have actually read but also be a motivation to read more. And it is! I have been reading a ton for me, this 2016, and I think it is improving my happiness overall. I am doing something that I love…just for me! If you love reading too, I am so glad for you. It is cheap, healthy, smart fun! Let’s share! Tell me in the comments what you are reading! I love talking book.

Books reading in April:

Girls’ Weekend, Cara Sue Achterberg (Publication Date May 3rd!)
I had the great luck of getting to read this fun book ahead of publication (Thank you publishers!)  about three mom-friends “facing forty” who go away for a girls’ weekend and decide they can’t return to the life they’ve been living for separate reasons. Part beach read, part chick-lit, part just perfect for anyone who has contemplated over dreams deferred, our identity after children, and our choices in life. It was a book that I didn’t plan on reading, but then I got into it quickly, and couldn’t stop! I could identify with the character’s stories and the tone of the book was light and fun to read.  You can read more about the author and this book on the author websiteHighly recommend.

The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker
Literally ON the nightstand, this is one that I haven’t even turned to page 1 yet…we shall see. It is a fantasy book that comes highly recommended both personally and on GoodReads. We shall see!

Girls and Sex, Peggy Orenstein
Just starting this one, and to be honest, I know the title. Ugh. And the entire concept. Ugh. Heavy duty reading that every mother of tweens entering public school needs to at the very least be aware of. I am a mom to 2 girls and 2 boys. I need to know  this information no matter how shocking or painful it is to read. What is nice, is that Peggy Orenstein writes without judgement, and with insight, and is less academic, and more person, as she writes. It pulls you right in, without resorting to shock and awe. I read her, Cinderella Ate My Daughter book, and I like her writing style and feminist voice. Not for everyone. But a “yes” for me.

Books Listened to in April:

Wicked, Gregory Maguire
This is an anti-hero type of book, where the “bad one” gets her story told. I love it. I love this type of back-story that is the reveal about “more than meets the eye” type of characters. I loved explaining it to my daughters, and how much I like these type of stories that I think are more popular now with movies like “Malificient” that show that people are not just good or bad, but have experiences and stories that shape who they are. I am looking forward to reading more of this author and the series that keeps the story going! Definitely recommend this, in audio!

Year of YES, Shonda Rhimes
I am still listening to this one. Honestly, it was a tough transition from Wicked. This is a non-fiction memoir, read by the author, and I am mid, disk-4 hoping that I still like her by the end. The beauty of this book and the draw for me, is Shonda herself, as a powerful-go-getting woman, and Feminist for our current time.  She is young, smart, and her tone in the book is pretty darn funny. I will keep going, because I have a feeling that I will end up liking her more as it goes on and no doubt feeling a little inspired to be bad-ass as she so clearly is. Recommend.


What’s on YOUR nightstand? Comment below to share– I am not a book snob, clearly, so bring it on! I love hearing what’s out there: good, bad or ugly!

Check out these nightstands at 5 Minutes for Mom:

Also linking with: Booknificient, Book Nook.