Double Review: Fat Fridays and Sassy Saturdays (Books #1 and #2: Fat Fridays Group) by Judith Keim

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Five Women, Five Stories, Five Reasons to Band Together
Following an ugly divorce, Sukie Skidmore is invited to join four other women for Fat Friday lunches, where everybody orders whatever they want, no calories counted. But their fun, friendly gatherings take a dark turn when one of the women shares shocking news that puts them all in jeopardy and each woman has strong reasons to believe she might be in danger. Facing an uncertain future, the women support one another through surprising situations as they search for the love and happiness each deserves.
A story of strong women and the friendships they form to help each other through difficult times. These five women, of varying ages, each have a different story. Betsy, the oldest, is a widow who’s never known true love; Tiffany, the youngest, is discovering being married to a wealthy young man from a prominent family isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; naive Carol Ann is looking for the perfect man; Lynn is a mystery to them all until she tells them she’s not who they think she is. It is Sukie who holds the group together even as she must decide if it’s worth taking a chance on new love.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Fat Fridays sure are a good idea and Sukie Skidmore has never been more grateful for a group of women.  Each Friday for one hour, the women gather for lunch, discuss their lives, solutions to their problems, and how best to support one another.  Best of all, none of the consumed calories count!  As this is a character-driven read, the easiest way to break down the book is by, well, the characters. 

Sukie: Sukie is by far my favorite of the Fat Fridays women.  When she meets the Fat Fridays ladies, Sukie is going through a terrible time in her personal life and desperately needs the happiness, sympathy, kindness, and support she finds among her friends.  Thanks to her friends, Sukie is able to dig deep and find a wellspring of personal strength she never knew she had.  Her life may be a mess, but Sukie has a lot to offer and with the help of her friends, she’s willing to do so.    

Betsy: Betsy is the matriarch of the group and the one responsible for bringing everyone together.  Everyone assumes the sadness always present in Betsy’s demeanor has to do with the death of her husband and her current life as a widow.  The truth of the situation, which Betsy struggles with daily, is far from the assumption and something Betsy is sure will cost her everything and everyone she loves. 

Tiffany: Behind Sukie, Tiffany is my favorite character in this read and proof that you certainly can’t ever judge a book by its cover.  On the surface, Tiffany’s life is absolutely perfect.  She has a beautiful home, a brand-new car, the best labels and brands on all her clothes, and a husband who is to-die-for dreamy.  That’s what’s on the surface.  Underneath the façade, Tiffany lives in misery.  Her husband is controlling and abusive and her in-laws are concerned with nothing but their image and see nothing wrong with how their son keeps his wife in line.  In fact, they encourage the abuse.  Yeah, they’re a whole new level of awful.

Lynn:  Lynn is the quiet member of the group, and as my granny always used to say, “It’s the quiet ones you need to worry about.”  And worry about her, the group does.  Little by little, Lynn opens up to the group and the story she has to share has the entire group frightened for her safety and for theirs.  Lynn’s past is dangerous and in the past six years, she has lived her life on the run.  Just when she is on the verge of running again, her Fat Fridays friends convince her to finally take a stand and take back the life she so desperately wants.   Before all is said and done, all of the Fat Fridays women are going to face danger unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. 

Carol Ann: By far, my least favorite character and the primary reason I don’t feel comfortable rating this book above four stars.  Carol Ann is completely and utterly ridiculous.  All she wants out of life is a man to take care of her, buy her pretty things, and be panty-dropping gorgeous.  Despite what she knows about Tiffany’s situation, Carol Ann is still jealous and often lashes out at Tiffany about her “luck” and “good fortune.”  Every time Carol Ann opens her mouth, ignorance just rolls on out and I found myself having absolutely no sympathy for her or her personal situation.  Carol Ann comes off as petty, juvenile, stupid, and a detriment to the overall group and read. 

The Bottom Line:  With the exception of Carol Ann, Fat Fridays is a very good read that is all about the kindness, respect, support, and friendship that can be found among a group.  Each of the five women brings something unique to the group which keeps the book from being tedious.  Seriously, who wants to read about five women who are all exactly the same? J  Each woman in the group has a particular situation that varies in its degree of awful and I am so glad the author didn’t try and tie up each situation all in this single read as it would have been a disservice to the individuality of each woman.  With that being said, there is some resolution in this read and I think most readers will be as satisfied with the ending as I was.  On to book two, Sassy Saturdays.

Amazon | B&N

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Sassy Saturdays –The Fat Fridays Group – Book 2 Tiffany Wright begins her independent life supported by her friends in the Fat Fridays group. Singing at The Glass Slipper lounge on Saturday nights gives her the freedom to find herself and recover from a broken marriage to Beau, a man she still loves. With Beau’s unexpected death and the birth of their daughter, Tiffany is given a new purpose in life, a new reason to fight his family to protect his wishes and their baby girl. But Sassy Saturdays isn’t her story alone. The other women in the Fat Fridays group face new challenges and opportunities with mixed results as they support one another in the search for the happiness each deserves.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

**DO NOT READ REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ BOOK #1, FAT FRIDAYS!!!**

Sassy Saturdays picks up right where Fat Fridays left off, and man is this one a wild ride of crazy emotional.  A roller coaster doesn’t really have much on this read J

Sukie: Sukie is delightful as ever and now that she’s got her man and her life is on a seriously happy path, she’s in a much better position to help the other girls in the FF’s group.  Though she didn’t start the group, or even bring them together, Sukie has become the backbone of the group and always ready to help her girls. 

Betsy:  Betsy’s story continues to be a mixed bag with her love life being squared away, but her family life beyond her lover being a hot mess.  With her son continuing to fall under the sway of his pathetic, homophobic wife and her grandkids so far out of her reach, Betsy has no choice but to bide her time and pray things will get better. 

Tiffany: This book is Tiffany-heavy and I was so glad for it!  At the end of Fat Fridays, Tiffany’s life was a horrible mess, and it only gets marginally better in this book.  Tiffany is learning to live on her own (well, almost J) in the wake of her separation from her husband which means supporting herself and living on far less money than she’s used to.  As if life weren’t hard enough, her husband is acting incredibly weird, her new next door neighbor knows a great deal about Tiffany and her husband, and her in-laws are making very real threats that terrify Tiffany and have her calling on her FF friends on a very regular basis. 

Lynn: Though the threat to Lynn’s life is now gone, she still has a long way to go toward reclaiming what was once hers.  Lynn is unbelievably strong, but that strength is sorely tested when she discovers her daughter wants nothing to do with her.  Though she shares little, even with her FF friends, they know she’s hurting and are by her side no matter what.  With that knowledge, Lynn is able hatch a plan that will take some time, but will hopefully see the return of her beloved daughter to her life. 

Carol Ann: WOW!!  I don’t even know where to go with this one.  I truly disliked Carol Ann in the first book, and I dislike her even more now.  Carol Ann is one of the most ridiculous characters, and I found myself actually enjoying her getting exactly what she deserves.  Her attitude, her disposition, her actions, everything about Carol Ann is off-putting. 

The Bottom Line:  With the exception of Carol Ann, I absolutely enjoyed this book!  As I said in the beginning, it is a crazy, roller coaster ride of emotions that will damn-near give you whiplash.  Ultimately, Sassy Saturdays is about the bonds of love and friendship and how those things know no bounds.  With the exception of Carol Ann, the FF women are strong and capable, kind and caring, intelligent and witty.  These women personify what it is to have true friendship and that is what I find most appealing in these books.  As is clear by the end of this read, there is a great deal more story to tell for each of the FF women!

Amazon | B&N

About the author and where to find her:

judith-keimGrowing up, books were always present – being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us in the family a wealth of knowledge and a lot of imagination. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on. I particularly love to write about women who face unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way. As J.S. Keim I write children’s middle-grade novels. I love to write about kids who have interesting, fun, exciting experiences with creatures real and fantastical and with characters who learn to see the world in a different way.

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