Cover Image: The Shoe Diaries

The Shoe Diaries

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Member Reviews

Such a solid debut! Special Edition has been killing it lately and I am so excited to see what more we get from this series. I loved the first person pov we get in Darby's book. The romance was perfection. I loved everything about it.
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The Friendship Chronicle series begins with Reagan's story. For every event, there is a shoe that fits the bill. While I don't have a thing for shoes, I have a thing for romance novels, and The Shoe Diaries hits the mark straight on. A second chance romance is rekindled when Rae and Jake meet again at a wedding. Sparks may have been flying, but not in a good way. What would it take for Rae and Jake to find out if things could turn around for them?

While I enjoyed the romance developing for Rae and Jake, the whole vibe of the story was great - and relatable. Rae was an influencer and that fits with today's world. Their obstacles were intense but the hope of a HEA was never too far away. 

Considering this book is also the story of good friends, it was hard not to think of it as a black Sex and the City. I loved how the girls were always there for each other, even to the point of gifting a longed for pair of shoes when the chips were down. Ultimately, Rae and Jake found their way to one another, thus wrapping up this story and setting the groundwork for the next book in the series.

Many thanks to Harlequin Special Edition and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
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3.5 🌟

If you’re a fan of friendship fiction with a side of romance, this is an excellent book for you. Oh, and then there are the shoes. 

Reagan or Rae is a journalist in Washington D.C., and she’d love to write more freely, but her boss is putting a lot of restraints on her. Rae has a great group of friends, but when one of them becomes ill, it causes Rae to re-evaluate how she has been playing her life too safe. Life is too short not to take some risks - in work and love.

I thought this story was sweet, and although I would have enjoyed a little more depth to the plot and characters, it still was an enjoyable read. There is a second chance romance, but it takes second stage to Rae’s friendships and all her shoes! 

Thank you to @harlequinbooks and @harpercollins for a spot on tour and a gifted copy.
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Fantastic book. 
I think this one might be one of my favourite Harlequin book! 

I love the story and the writing.  

I recommend
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4.5 stars.

After one of her best friends, Christine, is hospitalized, Raegan Doucet realizes that her life isn’t the way she always envisioned it on every possible level. This is why she decides to make a “risk list” to get out of her comfort zone. The reward? A new pair of shoes for every goal achieved on her list. In the process, Rae will discover several interesting things about herself in terms of work, love, relationships and emotions. In addition, she will have to leave behind her fears and overcome her past with Jake Saunders in order to give love a new chance.

I have to say that this book impressed me with its writing format. Everything goes around Raegan and her introspection process that leads her to make the decisions which will make her a better woman. The story is very well written and narrated in an amusing way. Also, the secondary characters are well drawn. That said, one little detail that I can’t miss is that Christine is Latina, and there are a few misspellings on some Spanish words (sorry; as a Latina, I can’t help notice them. DM me next time, Ms. Baham! 😉).

On the other hand, I would have liked more Jake and Raegan interactions. At least one or two more scenes (since this is all about Rae, as I said earlier), to fully appreciate their love.

This story could be called “the black version of Sex & the City”, but it’s much more than that; the plot highlights the union between friends, family values ​​and how love always wins over fear.

This is my first book by this author, and it won’t be the last. The clever way Ms. Baham shows Raegan’s emotional journey was unique. I look forward to the next book in this series.

P.S.: I want Raegan’s shoe collection!!

FULL REVIEW IN HARLEQUIN JUNKIE: @harlequinjunkie
https://harlequinjunkie.com/review-the-shoe-diaries-by-darby-baham/

• ARC given by Harlequin Books via Netgalley. Thanks for your trust.
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Raegan lives and works in Washington, DC. She has a great life. She is a writer for the magazine, has a tight circle of friends and has an awesome shoe closet. Her dating life is quite bad, though. When one of her friends get very sick, it makes her rethink her life. She comes up with a risk list, set of goals, that will take her out of her comfort zone and to a happier life.

It's a lovely storyline, my favourite part being the friendship. However I had a hard time liking Rae, she was acting very selfish at times.
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Heat Factor: It’s low heat, but only because the hero and heroine aren’t in the same room together all that much. 

Character Chemistry: When they ARE in the same room, hooo…it’s fluttery.

Plot: Rae loves shoes and ends up making a “risk list” to push her to open her life up to happiness—and one of those items seems to keep circling back to her college love, Jake.

Overall: This was absolutely more of a Women’s Lit than Romance because Rae’s dealing with so many other plot critical things—but it’s fun, romantic, and makes your heart swell up.

I was not prepared for the variety of feelings this book took me through, but I have to say it was well worth it. 

After getting her heart broken in college, Rae has played strictly within the rulebook–she’s gotten a safe and steady job (even if she’s not fully satisfied with what she’s writing), she’s dating (but avoids long term entanglements at the first sign of trouble), and she stands firm as the emotional caregiver for her close-knit group of friends (but she doesn’t really let people return the favor). When her friend Christine ends up in the hospital with a serious illness, Rae decides to make a “risk list” to push her to open her life up to possibility and greater happiness. As a reward for each item completed, Rae gets a new pair of shoes. 

There are so many things going on in Rae’s life that are challenging–besides Christine’s illness, Rae’s dating situation is endlessly frustrating, and so is her job. Although she gets along with her boss fine on the surface, it’s mostly because Rae is pushing down huge parts of who she is and what she COULD be creating in order to be palatable to her boss and the paper’s homogenous readers. It’s hard to read, because from the beginning of the book Rae’s voice is meticulous, honest, and straightforward–so by the time you’re reading about her issues at work, it’s very clear that she’s got more to offer than she’s being utilized for. (Not to mention just the basic scream-into-your-pillow race and socio-political bullhonky she’s facing as a black woman in the workplace…in Washington, DC…at a place analyzing news and politics…with what’s going on in this country…)

The relationships in this book were phenomenal. Although you don’t get to know the other friends in this group all that intimately (except for Christine), their interactions are buoyant and feel so real. It’s a much-needed antidote for the sadness and tension going on with Christine. In fact, I felt that the women were so powerful that Rae’s relationships with the men in the story were less vibrant in comparison…and I was really okay with that. I thought the many shoes that were mentioned would get in the way for me personally (I pretty much wear one pair when it’s hot / one when it’s cold, and that’s it), but I ended up having a blast looking up what the shoes could look like online while I read.

I have to say that I was totally captivated by Christine and Rae. Christine’s illness progression was so visceral and wrenching–it took me by complete surprise. I think above anything else, her friendships and watching her love her very sick friend caused the biggest heart tugs and swoops.

That’s really the reason I would argue this is a solid women’s lit book rather than a romance (it was marketed as both). Rae’s relationship with Jake becomes more of a symbol of her inner work and courage than it is the primary driver of the plot. But don’t let that stop you hardcore smut readers–it’s a really fantastic book with characters that shine, and it swept me up pretty effortlessly. A very beautiful and engaging read.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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What can I say? I like shoes. So a romance called the shoe Diaries? Definitely something for me. And yes, the story has a lot of shoes in it. And it is very funny to read about Rae’s choices for shoes in regards to her mood or activities. And maybe a little too close to home (LOL) The story also gives you a lot to think about, regarding your life choices and priorities.

Of course, Christine’s illness and her going in and out of the hospital is very confronting and sad.

And you have to admire Rae and her friends for making that risk list and pushing her to follow through. The ex Jake is making appearances throughout the story, but he felt a bit like an afterthought. It still isn’t clear to me why Rae’s friends chose his side.

But in all, a nice story. It made me think, and made me buy a new pair of shoes… Three out of five stars from me and a special thank you to Netgalley for providing the arc.
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Reagan “Rae” Doucet has it all (or thinks she does). She has a good job, lots of friends and shoes....LOTS of them. 

I requested this wanting a bit of retail therapy and what I got was that and so much more. I was wondering how life would work out for Rae, and I wanted her to succeed. I also wanted as many shoes as she had. 

I'm so glad that The Shoe Diaries is first in a series, and I love the name of the series: The Friendship Chronicles. 

I like the plot, characters and pacing of this novel and can't wait for the next book. It reminded me a lot of Sex in the City, of which I am a fan. 

Perfect for shoeaholics everywhere.

Thanks to Darby Baham and publisher for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars.
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Looking for a fun ChickLit series featuring successful friends looking to make the most of the life they have made? Then the Shoe Diaries by Darby Baham is what you need.

For me, the romance takes a backseat to the female friendships featured in the book. There is something special about girlfriends that are there for each other through thick and thin, good and bad times, men that come and go, sickness and health, and last but not least, the shoes!

Reagan has a wake-up call after one of her best friends is laid low by illness. She's tired of living a safe life. It's time to create a risk list to start living her best life. It's time to take chances on romance, go for the brass ring at work, quit making lists, and take charge of her happiness.

This book is a quick, entertaining read that will make you think about your own choices in life... or maybe just the shoes. The shoes are a character in their own right in this one.
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Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin for access to this book.

This really is more of a self discovery, women’s fiction than romance. Over the course of the book, we see three men in Rae’s life – none of whom I wanted her with. One is a shitty old boyfriend from college who cheated on her. I totally approved of how she publicly shot him down when he tried to explain her life to her. Another seemed too good to be true and the last I never liked as he acted like an ass in almost every scene including when he blamed Rae for how he acted. “Bag of dicks” is too kind to express my opinion of him based on what we’re shown in the scenes with him. Rae does end up restarting a relationship with one of them at the end of the book but (yes!) lays it out that they’ve both changed, she’s grown stronger, and they’re starting over. When a book ends and I’m not thrilled that one character is with another, nope it’s not a romance book.

What I did like is how we are shown Rae’s challenges as a Black professional woman, some flashback scenes of Rae and her longtime friends at  their HBCU (Howard University), that they view themselves and their bodies positively, and that Rae puts herself out there in life and takes some chances. She does some things that are challenging but stays true to what she wants and seems to be on her way to getting them. Her friends are obviously being set up to have their own books but in this book, they have roles to play and are not just two dimensional place cards. But though I enjoy looking at pretty shoes as much as the next person, there was just a bit too much of them and if the book had ended with Rae and her girls toasting each other with champagne while dancing to their 90s RnB list, I would have been perfectly happy. I’m going to average my grade for the romance and the women’s fiction at a C+
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For me, this was just an okay book. I had a hard time liking the main character, Rae. Early in the book, she seems to have a constant litany of complaints, from her job to her love life, but no intention of actually doing anything about them. The best part of her life is her vast closet full of shoes, and even there, she shows discontent over the ones she's never worn.
 
Rae is a journalist who works for an online magazine in DC, writing about political and social issues. She'd love to take her articles in new directions, but her boss is resistant to the idea, and Rae doesn't push. Instead, she backs down and grumbles to her friends about being stifled. She runs into her ex-boyfriend from college, who apologizes for being a jerk and indicates an interest in trying again. But Rae isn't interested in risking her heart on someone who's already broken it once.
 
Then one of Rae's best friends falls ill. Christine encourages Rae to stop playing it safe and go after what she wants while she can. With the encouragement of her friends, Rae begins a "risk list" of goals to break out of her safe little world. But writing it down and doing it are two different propositions, and weeks go by with no progress. I liked seeing her other friends hold Rae accountable for her delaying tactics.
 
I was happy when Rae finally started taking those risks, though I ached for her over the catalyst for it. I especially enjoyed her confrontation with her boss, though I initially thought she would back down again. Her fears are understandable, and the realism of her job search was well done. It was great to see that someone appreciated her drive and creativity when she found a good fit for employment.
 
My biggest disappointment was in the lack of romance. At the beginning of the book, there's a brief sighting of Jake, the college ex, but then Rae gets involved with this other guy. It looked serious, which left me confused. When that relationship crashed and burned, I ached for Rae and understood what happened. I liked the support she received from her friends and family but wondered if/when we'd see Jake again. Though he made a few more appearances, I never felt any connection between him and Rae, so the so-called romance fell flat for me.
 
This book felt much more like a chick-lit story than a romance. I liked seeing the growth that Rae experienced and enjoyed the linking of her shoes to various life events. It isn't unusual for inanimate objects to trigger memories, which was well done. I would like to have seen an epilogue with a bit more of Rae and Jake together. Hopefully, they will show up in the next book.
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The shoe diaries by Darby Baham.
The Friendship Chronicles, Book 1.
From the outside, Reagan “Rae” Doucet has it all: a coveted career in Washington, DC, a tight circle of friends and a shoe closet to die for. When one of her crew falls ill, however, Rae is done playing it safe. The talented but unfulfilled writer makes a “risk list” to revamp her life. But forgiving her ex, Jake Saunders, might be one risk too many…
A very good read with good characters.  I liked the cover.  I liked the cover.  4*.
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After her best friend Christine suffers a health crisis, political writer and shoe lover Reagan "Rae" Doucet realizes that it's time for her to reevaluate her own life because she's spent too much time focused on the things she thinks she should do rather than the things that actually make her happy. She comes up with a "risk list" to help get herself out of her comfort zone and start living life on her own terms, promising herself a new pair of shoes for every item she checks off. Coming up with the list proves to be easier than actually completing it, but with the help of her friends, Rae explores new career opportunities and tentatively opens her heart to love again. When her college ex-boyfriend, Jake Saunders, comes back into her life shortly after yet another romantic disappointment, will Rae be able to embrace the spirit of the "risk list" and give him the second chance he's asking for, or will she give up on love for good?

To me, the strength of this book was its exploration of Rae's journey to find career fulfillment and her friendships with Christine, Robin, Jennifer, and Rebecca. It gave the book more of a chick lit or women's fiction feel, though there were certainly romantic elements to the story. I also really enjoyed the book's setting in Washington, DC, especially the way the author included real places as parts of the story. As someone who has lived and worked in DC for going on 20 years, it felt very authentic to me. In addition, I was intrigued by the insider's view of a "liberal media" that isn't always as forward-thinking or inclusive as many would like us to believe. 
 
I was less enthusiastic about Rae's romance with Jake, which felt like an afterthought for much of the story. Most of their interactions took place in flashbacks, and there weren't very many of those. Based on this limited information, it was tough to tell what was so good about their relationship or why Rae's friends kept trying to push her back towards Jake. Further, they didn't actually get their "second chance" until the very end of the book (95% on my Kindle). It's tough to get invested in a relationship that starts with only ten minutes left in the book. It would have been nice if there had at least been an epilogue.

Overall, I enjoyed "The Shoe Diaries" and recommend it for fans of books that feature strong female friendships. I will certainly be watching to see what the author writes next. 
 
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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great book about finding one's way and romance. I did like that shoes were involved. I loved the friendships and great way that she finally figures things out. I loved that she put herself first and made choices for herself . I loved the group of girlfriends.
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3/5 Stars 

** I received this as an E-ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review, Thank you!** 

I've very in the middle about this book. While I really enjoyed the overall book and the general atmosphere, I feel like it went a little too hard on the shoes. While reading I absolutely thought about sex and the city because of the similarity between the two in a couple of aspects. I also have to admit I wasn't really the biggest fan of the romance or the love interest jake. I often found myself a little annoyed with him. I just wanted more from the romance in general. Like I stated I did enjoy it, it just felt like something was missing. I will say it was very easy to read and the writing was pretty good. I think if you're looking for an easy-to-read and do it in one sitting this would be a good recommendation.
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I think that romance novels are a good way to understand how the world changed and what is going on.
This is a riveting and entertaining story, a story about black women who have to fight and the love for shoes.
To be honest I've got some shoe fetish and couldn't help loving the shoe description and how the heroine love them.
It's a multilayered story: you can read it as a romance (root for the characters and blah blah) or as a description of what a black professional woman has to face.
I loved both the aspects, rooted for the characters, and had fun.
An excellent story.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Harlequin Special Edition and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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There's a good lesson to be learned from Reagan's story - take some risks, they can be so worth it. I think we could all do with a "risk list" from time to time, I know I certainly could. In this case,  Reagan has a journey to figuring out who she is and learning to trust, and Darby Baham takes us along. There are, of course, ups and downs, and some romance, but the overall vibe is upbeat. The story moves at a good pace and is easily read in an afternoon, so it's great for a lazy day read, and it'll leave you with a smile.
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Growing up, taking risks, girlfriends, and fabulous shoes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rating and equating your life to shoes might be a bit farfetched, unless you have the closet, and apparent unlimited funds, for fabulous shoes. This story is a journey through finding your insight to who you are and growing beyond your own self limitations. Having friends that know and love you, and you loving and supporting them. But it also learning to trust yourself and others with your heart.

Close friends know you better than you see and know yourself sometimes and I enjoyed the journey that Reagan took through her work and self development. Learning to trust yourself and your heart can be a huge journey and we traveled that journey with her. Multiple ups and downs, disappointments, but growth continued throughout with a positive spin.

One thing that was a sad was that fact that we had to wait until the end to see what would happen with Jake. I somehow felt it could have been so much more. I missed an epilogue that would have leveled up The Shoe Diaries and brought in the “sigh” factor to wrap it up in a sweet bow.

Overall, this was a great read, written in a beautiful, insightful way that will inspire you to look at your relationships, friends, and happiness with your life. We all deserve great things and to live happy.
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Essentially A Black Sex And The City. This story is essentially Sex And The City, but replacing the mostly white cast with a mostly black one and replacing the "city" in question with DC. Same shoe fetish (though possibly amplified here?), used remarkably well as a plot device in this particular case. Same big oops moment with a former flame early on, only for the book to ultimately become a second chance romance later - with an interesting interlude in between. Minor discussions of the HBCU life and the central character wanting to be much more radical as a professional journalist than the "stodgy old white men" are allowing her to be, but at least here said "old white dudes" aren't thinly veiled racist caricatures, as so many similar novels from less talented authors have done. (The desire to be more radical is more central than the HBCU mentions, to be clear.) Overall a strong tale that will clearly play well with a couple of demographics in particular, but may not be something that will play as well in a more general audience. Still, excellent book and very much recommended.
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