Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blog Tour: Review of Jessica Bell's 'Bitter Like Orange Peel' with Giveaway

Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell
Publication date:
November 1st 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Six women. One man. Seven secrets. One could ruin them all.

Kit is a twenty-five-year-old archaeology undergrad, who doesn’t like to get her hands dirty. Life seems purposeless. But if she could track down her father, Roger, maybe her perspective would change.

The only problem—Roger is as rotten as the decomposing oranges in her back yard according to the women in her life: Ailish, her mother—an English literature professor who communicates in quotes and clichés, and who still hasn’t learned how to express emotion on her face; Ivy, her half-sister—a depressed archaeologist, with a slight case of nymphomania who fled to America after a divorce to become a waitress; and Eleanor, Ivy’s mother—a pediatric surgeon who embellishes her feelings with medical jargon, and named her daughter after “Intravenous.”

Against all three women’s wishes, Kit decides to find Roger.
Enter a sister Kit never knew about.
But everyone else did.


If Jessica Bell could choose only one creative mentor, she’d give the role to Euterpe, the Greek muse of music and lyrics. This is not only because she currently resides in Athens, Greece, but because of her life as a thirty-something Australian-native contemporary fiction author, poet and singer/songwriter/guitarist, whose literary inspiration often stems from songs she’s written. Jessica is the Co-Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and annually runs the Homeric Writers’ Retreat & Workshop on the Greek island of Ithaca. For more information, please visit her

My Review:

I received an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really had no idea what to expect going into this book seeing as how I have never read a book anything even remotely like this one. I think that might be the main reason that I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. The characters in this story are unlike any I have ever read before and the twists and turns that make up the plot kept me guessing the entire time. Not once did I have any idea of what to expect next.

Normally at this point I give a quick version of the plot, but that isn't so easy in this case because we have a lot of characters and a lot of story. Basically we have Kit who is studying archaeology in college. Her life has little direction and she decides the best way to shake things up is to find her father whom she hasn't seen in over twenty years. Her father, Roger, is a douche bag. Her mother lacks the ability to emote properly. Her half-sister suffers from depression and has an obsession with sex. Her half-sister's mother is a surgeon and for all intents and purposes a real weirdo. The three women in Kit's life think she's a fool to look for Roger, but ultimately she finds out about another sister that everyone, but she, knew about.

This story was, in a strange way, a sort of coming of age story. Kit is searching for some sort of purpose in her purposeless life. I don't exactly agree with how she decides to look for that purpose (looking for her deadbeat dad), but ultimately she uncovers the fact that she is not alone. Her two sisters and all their mother's were ultimately affected by the same person, or lack thereof, that she was.

This story is told in multiple voices and the characters' stories interweave into a beautifully twisty story. The characters in this story are all flawed and somewhat nutty, but real and believeable. I have a tendency to get pissed off and yell at characters that do things I see as idiotic, but I felt like I could totally understand these characters and understood why they did what they did. I wouldn't say this novel is a 'feel-good' story, but it's real and gritty and truthful. A lot of fiction tends to lack that these days so I really appreciated it here. I didn't exactly rip through the pages in a matter of hours, but I had no desire to stop reading and needed to know what ultimately happened with all of these characters. The bottom line is this story is beautifully written, well drawn out, and captivating. I cannot wait to read more from Jessica Bell.

My Rating:

Click here for guest posts, excerpts, and more reviews on the Bitter Like Orange Peel Blog Tour.
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  1. Great review, Caroline! This sounds like a really good and profound story! Those gritty reads are often my favorites, too! Glad you liked it! :)

  2. Great review, I love the story, the characters seem very very interesting and beautiful cover.

    Thank you for the giveaway!
    Raffle name: Demitra Giote

  3. Wow Caroline. Thank you so so much! I appreciate this review more than i can express. Thank you!