Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Lola's Secret

'Lola's Secret'
Author: Monica McInerney

Format: Paperback
Published: Ballantine Books; Oct. 2012
Pages: 352
Genre: Christmas fiction
Grade: B
Source: TLC Book Tours

Synopsis: Nestled in a picturesque corner of southern Australia, the Valley View Motel has been run by the Quinlans for years—and nobody adores the place more than Lola, the family’s lovable and mischievous Irish-born matriarch. So when she insists that her relatives spend their Christmas elsewhere, the close-knit bunch can’t help but be a bit curious. Lola has always had a knack for clever schemes; after all, she once slyly reunited her three feuding granddaughters, whom she nicknamed the Alphabet Sisters. And with the holiday season fast approaching, Lola decides it’s time to stir up some extra excitement.

Plotting in secret and online, Lola thinks it would be fun to invite a select group of strangers to stay at the motel for Christmas. Will these guests become friends, ignite sparks, fall in love? As she counts down the days until their arrival, Lola’s own family dramas threaten to upend her best-laid plans. Yet amid moments of humor, heartache, and unexpected twists of fate, Lola finds that she’s the one who’s in for the biggest surprise of all.

My Take: I love books set around Christmas time! I know, I know, it's barely the beginning of November and to be honest, when people ask me if I've started my Christmas shopping I get a little twitchy because we've barely recovered from our wedding around here so to think Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away is freaking me out! However, Christmas fiction is always nice and relaxing and nothing ever really goes too bad in it. It's like a warm cup of cocoa!

Such was the case with Monica McInerney's latest novel Lola's Secret! Don't be confused by the title, Lola's Secret isn't a dirty one so get your mind's out of the gutters people! Lola is an octogenarian but a spicy, totally with it one who lives in Australia in a motel. She runs the motel with her son and daughter-in-law, but this year, at Christmas, she wants to spend some time away from her family relaxing a little. I can relate!

Now, when you read a book set in Australia during Christmas time don't expect to get lots of snow capped mountains and cozy times by the fire! It's the peak of their summer folks. So it's more intense heat, bar-b-q'ing and finding the nearest pool. Totally weird to me but it's fun to imagine that being your normal.

Anywho, Lola is the matriarch of a fabulous family who are all up in each other's business and often go to Lola for their problems but sometimes Lola has some of her own too and she doesn't always have someone to go to. What I enjoyed most about this novel was that it wasn't the normal leading lady of a story that I read but I still found Lola totally relatable and fun. To be honest she reminded me of one of my grandmas and I hope I can be that with it when I am her age. Additionally, within her family, I could relate on a more personal level to her granddaughters and the struggles they faced and I liked to see how they all worked out them out.

I'll admit there were parts of the story-line that could have been tightened up, but ultimately Lola's Secret was a delightful read from an author I hope to read more of in the future.

Cover Lust: Honestly, I don't get this cover. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything contained in this book. Not a fan!

For more opinions on this book, check out the full TLC Tour here!

Giveaway Details
Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this novel to give away! The deadline for this giveaway is Nov. 21st; entries open to those in the US and Canada (no PO boxes please).

To Enter (Mandatory)!
Comment below with a way for me to contact you.

For Extra entries (Optional), indicate that you are:
+1 Follow this blog on Google Connect (see right sidebar)
+1 Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (include @amusedbybooks in your tweet)
+1 Blog/Post about this giveaway on your sidebar

3 extra entries available. Giveaway open until 11:59pm PST Nov. 21st. I will draw the winners using and announce them here on my blog. Good luck!


  1. I'm glad you mentioned that the cover has nothing to do with the story because I don't understand the cover at all. The book sounds good!

  2. I adore this story already. I hope I win, I connect with google connect with your blog and subscribe by email,. I will email you with my contact info Thank you for this amazing opportunity.

  3. I follow your blog and would love to win this book to share with a friend from australia!

  4. The book sounds wonderful. I am a follower and will tweet at rhondareads.

  5. Ooh, I love books set at Christmastime, too -- and how crazy to imagine that Christmas in Australia is in the dead of summer! I'm picturing Santas in swimming trunks and holiday mornings sipping lemonade by the pool. Actually, that sounds . . . kind of fun! :)

    I'd love to be entered for the giveaway!

    +1 I follow on Google Connect, too.

    Thanks! :)

    writing.meg [at]

  6. thanks for this fascinating novel. Great giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. I would enjoy this wonderful book. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. Lola sounds like a delightful character.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  9. I just posted my review of this one today, and stopped by to see what your thoughts are! It sounds as if you enjoyed it as well! :)

  10. thanks for this giveaway!

  11. I never understood the cover either :( and the loose ends drove me crazy :( I'm glad you enjoyed it though :) Great review!

  12. I'm not sure if I could handle a warm, outdoors-y Christmas, at least not every year ... it might be fun to try it for once holiday season though!

    Thanks for being on the tour.


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