July 12, 2012

Beyond Your Wildest Dreams • Exceeding Expectations

Exceeding Expectations book cover
Exceeding Expectations by Lisa April Smith
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Source/Format: Author (Thanks!) || e-book
[I received this book from the author. This in no way affects the contents of my review.]

It’s 1961 and Palm Beach socialite, irresistible rascal and devoted father Jack Morgan encounters genuine danger while staging his suicide to shield his beloved daughters from disgrace. Next, meet his daughter Charlotte (Charlie), an over-indulged 23 year-old struggling to cope with the traumatizing loss of her beloved father, her sister’s resulting mental breakdown and the discovery that she’s suddenly penniless. Fortunately Raul, an admiring young attorney, appears to offer assistance. As terrified as she is about daily survival, Charlie soon realizes that she has to learn what drove her father to kill himself. With Raul’s much needed ego-bolstering, the drive of necessity and unforeseen determination, Charlie finds a practical use for her annoyingly lean 5’ 11” frame. In time, this career finances her hard-wrought independence, her sister’s costly treatment and an emotional eye-opening journey to Paris.

I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting as I read EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS, but the novel was certainly an interesting read. As promised, it's filled with surprises, mystery and just a hint of romance - and these elements all certainly came together to create a captivating story.

I actually read an excerpt of the novel (the first chapter, to be precise) before I started reading the actual novel. This chapter mainly focuses on Jack Morgan and how he stages his suicide, and while it is quite interesting, I personally feel like this bit of the story could have been shortened. I can understand, however, that it was probably a necessary plot device so that we could have a little bit of insight into Jack's character.

While I normally go for more character-driven stories, I wasn't particular enamored with Charlotte. I can certainly see how she develops and grows throughout the novel, but I never really connected to her. In fact, I didn't find particularly relate to any character in this novel, though that's not necessarily a bad thing.

It simply means that what drove my interest in this novel was the story itself. It's a well-crafted sort of mystery, a tale of a father's intriguing past life and his daughter's search for the truth. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns, including acquaintances that would pop up out of nowhere and things that her father left behind. All the elements combined made for a tale that was very imaginative and fun to read about. Plus, I love stories with a logical plot conclusion - and this is certainly one of those stories.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS is a journey that takes you on one young woman's search for the truth, from Florida to New York to Paris and back again. LISA APRIL SMITH certainly knows how to craft a good mystery, and the novel she's written left me feeling fully satisfied at the end.


  1. Very interesting story. The characters are great and the plot is unique. I am going to enjoy reading this book. Great review Alexa.

    1. I hope you do! It's a pretty good mystery, and I didn't figure things out until nearly the end.

  2. Thanks for the review! I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds intriguing...I'm more of a character girl myself when it comes to most books...but I do like a good mystery!


    1. You're very welcome! And we're alike - I love good characters in books. This one is alright, but it's the story that carries it forward, not so much the characters.

  3. I love your blog, i have read some of this book. Currently I'm reading my life next door. Lock and key by Sarah Dessen is a good one too.


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