Sunday, April 21, 2013


Dolls Behaving BadlyGenre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: 2/5/13
Format: eARC
Pages: 352
Source: Received from publisher for review
Carla Richards is a lot of things. She's a waitress at Anchorage's premier dining establishment, Mexico in an Igloo; an artist who secretly makes erotic dolls for extra income; a divorcée who can't quite detach from her ex-husband; and a single mom trying to support her gifted eight-year-old son, her pregnant sister, and her babysitter-turned-resident-teenager.

She's one overdue bill away from completely losing control-when inspiration strikes in the form of a TV personality. Now she's scribbling away in a diary, flirting with an anthropologist, and making appointments with a credit counselor.

Still, getting her life and dreams back on track is difficult. Is perfection really within reach? Or will she wind up with something even better?

  "Yesterday, I was so worried about money I stayed home from work and tried to drown myself in the bathtub. I sank my head under the water and held my breath, but my face popped up in less than a minute. I tried a second time, but by then my heart wasn't really in it, so I got out, brushed the dog hair off the sofa, and plopped down to watch Oprah"  ~eARC, 1%

With that morbidly hilarious scene within the first few pages of Dolls Behaving Badly, I knew I was in for a treat. Set in Anchorage, Alaska, Dolls Behaving Badly is a multi-faceted story of a small group of women, centered around single mom Carla Richards. Carla is nearly broke, struggling to make ends meet for herself and her young son, Jay-Jay. Besides waitressing, she supplements her income by making naughty dolls for an erotic website. She has a love/hate relationship with her ex-husband, Barry, but that doesn't stop them from sleeping together when they both get lonely. She is an artist who let her dreams go by the wayside. And there's a guy...Francisco. He's handsome, intelligent, and interested. But is taking another shot at love worth the work?

Carla is also the rock for the women in her life. There's Sandee, a co-worker who's husband ditched her without a trace while on vacation in Las Vegas. Stephanie, her wise-beyond-her years babysitter who's home life is a disaster, leading her to move in permanently.  A self-absorbed sister, Laurel, who's left her husband after becoming pregnant with another man's child. Rounding out this group of ladies is Carla's deceased Gramma, whose memory is a constant influence from beyond the grave.

I found Dolls Behaving Badly to be such a thought-provoking and moving story. One moment I would be struck so profoundly by the author's knack for pinpointing the highs-and-lows of womanhood right on the head. The next moment, I would find myself smiling at the Carla's wry, matter-of-fact tone, marking the absurdity of life and love. I found myself reminded of the funny tone in "chick lit" books such as those by Sophie Kinsella or Helen Fielding. I also found myself smiling the bittersweet, knowing smile I often held while watching a television show that focused women, like Desperate Housewives.

Dolls Behaving Badly is a book that almost every woman I know would identify with. Even if you've never experienced all of the trials Carla has faced, there are pieces to the story that all women can inherently identify with. Dolls Behaving Badly was an honest and funny looks at one woman's life, and I'm so happy to have read it.

Favorite Quotes:

  Love is too complicated. It takes too much effort. It's something we all want, but we want it our way.  ~eARC, 15%

  Oh, children will break your heart, they way they leave, a little more each day, pulling and pulling, and no matter how much you long to pull them back, you have to let them go. You have to follow them until you know the shape of their shoulders, the set of their knees, the way their feet turn inward or outward as they move confidently away from you.  ~eARC, 52%

Purchase Dolls Behaving Badly at:
About the author
Alaska writer and author of "Dolls Behaving Badly," releasing Feb. 5 from Hachette Book Group; lover of good books and hot baths or, better yet, reading good books while lounging in a hot bath. Secret wish: To hike up a mountain while holding Emily Dickinson's hand.
Connect with Cinthia at her website.



  1. This one sounds different. I'm not a women's fiction reader but it does sound interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  2. When i first saw the cover I was scared this was about actual dolls talking and shit, I would have pooped myself. I can't handle talking dolls.. (i.e. chucky, teddy ruxpin, etc..) Thankfully this sounds funny and charming! Thanks for the review!

  3. This sounds like an Alaskan Steel Magnolia's. I like chick lit when I pick it up. I must say the cover is a little deceptive. I thought this might be a paranormal story where dolls are changing into humans. Lol! Wonderful review, Andrea. :)

  4. Sounds good. I like reading Women's Fiction from time to time.

  5. I don't know if this is a book I would have even considered reading before seeing your review. The cover is really great actually, but I don't read a lot of books like this. It sounds really good though. Thanks for the great review!

  6. This sounds like a great books. The Barbie legs had me wondering, but when I read the quote you began with I thought that this has to be good :).

  7. You know, Andrea, this is a book I probably wouldn't have given a second thought to. Something about the title or maybe the cover...but from your review, it sounds like I'd be missing something special! It's now on my TBR! ;)

  8. Hi, Andrea! Thanks for the wonderful review of "Dolls Behaving Badly." It makes me so happy that you "got" my characters because I kind of love each and every one, even though they aren't real. But they are, they are!!
    Big, big writerly hugs, and thanks again.


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