Book Review: Go Small or Go Home by Heather Wardell

When massage therapist and aspiring artist Tess begins treating stressed but attractive hockey star Forrest, her art career soars due to his gallery-owning mother, but her creativity plummets under the weight of rules and deadlines. Soon, she's lost the freedom and joy she'd always found in art. Is having her dream career worth losing doing her art her way, or can she somehow have both at once?

Release Date:  April 1, 2010 
Age Group:  Adult 
Source:  Author

Heather Wardell is my favorite new author.  She takes the emotion of Anita Shreve, the relationship development of Jodi Piccoult, and the romance of Nicholas Sparks, and puts them all together to create books that are impossible to put down.  I really enjoyed Wardell's Planning to Live so I was looking forward to Go Small or Go Home.  

I liked Go Small or Go Home even better than Planning to Live!  I made the mistake of starting this book in the middle of the week and I dropped everything to finish it.  Wardell drew me in right from the start and I simply could not put this book down.  I don't think I talked to my husband hardly at all for the two days I spent reading this book.  I did manage to go to work, but all I could think about was, "When can I sit down and read more?" 

Wardell writes about women trying to balance a career, their personal dreams, and finding love.  Her female leads are strong women who are in the process of self-discovery.  Go Small or Go Home features a driven woman who has a hidden passion and who finds love unexpectedly.  Tess is a massage therapist who takes a job working for a hockey team.  She knows nothing about hockey and is unimpressed by the celebrity of the team's injured star player.  Tess dreams of having an art career and starts having trouble balancing her responsibilities to the team with her art.  

What made this book for me was the emotion.  It was a powerful read without being schmaltzy or preachy.  I felt for Tess and rooted for her the entire book.  I would recommend this book to anyone.  It is adult fiction, but it is not full of bedroom scenes like so many other adult books.  This book was outstanding, and I will definitely be reading more from Heather Wardell. 

Just One Gripe: 
I would have liked more physical descriptions.  I found myself wanting to go back and remind myself of what the characters looked like.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
The emotion and the way Wardell develops her relationships.  Not only is the relationship between the two main characters well-developed, the minor relationships are important too, and Wardell weaves them all together seamlessly as part of the bigger story.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 
Probably not.  

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Setting/Imagery: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Total Score:  25/25



  1. Oh, excellent review! I love when characters are clearly defined physically, so that would probably irk me, too. Love the honesty and that the book was still enjoyable :)

  2. Wow! I'm so glad you liked the book so much! And the authors you compared me to? You've made my day. :)

    You're right, I don't describe the characters enough. I find it hard to figure out how to describe the narrator in first person writing. The whole "walk by a mirror and see yourself" thing seems so cheesy. But I'll try to do it better in the future since it clearly does make a difference to readers. (Going back to check out my current book now. :)

    Thanks so much, Kelli!

  3. Did you say "romance of Nicholas Sparks"??? You did not mention this in our email conversations missy! I'm anxious to read this :)

  4. Sounds like an interesting read. It must have been tough having to work and not being able to read. LOL.


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