Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Subway Girls


It is 1949 and Charlotte is almost finished with Hunter College in NY. Her dreams of success in the world of advertising are dashed when her father’s failing paint store in Brooklyn desperately needs her assistance and her romance with Sam has all but fallen apart. It is 2018, and Olivia has lost the biggest account her agency was depending on to keep the doors open. Suddenly, she and her boss Matt, struggling with their on again off again relationship, have an opportunity to pitch the MTA subway and save all they have worked for these past few years. When the world’s of these two very likable women collide, the history of Manhattan comes alive and it’s hardly a surprise that 70 years later some things absolutely never ever change. Based on an actual ad campaign from 1941-1976, this fabulous New York story is easy and enjoyable, although slightly predictable. If you like historical fiction - a must read for summer.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Trust Again


Dawn has tried really hard to restart her life. After a nasty ending with her longtime sweetheart she goes off to college to regain confidence and become a real and true writer. Dawn secretly writes erotic novels and publishes them online. She has quite a following. Fearing judgement from her family and friends, her writing has become an outlet for dreams and desires in a fantasy world where no guy can break her heart ever again. With a feisty roommate named Sawyer and her best friend Allie at her side, Dawn is finally coming out of her shell. Another in their small group is named Spencer. Although he is handsome and smart, Dawn cannot allow herself to be become more than friends with him after her recent heartache with Nate. They share a fantastic friendship and can both feel the romance building. This is a coming of age struggle between trust and love, one’s learning of how to protect and take care of yourself - but leave the window open enough to let others be a part of it. This is book two in a series by author Mona Kasten. I appreciate her writing and simple but meaningful relationships. Translated from German, it can be a standalone but I have really enjoyed reading them in order. Third one is yet to hit the bookshops here but I look forward to it. Thanks NetGalley!

Ghosted


Sarah Mackey goes back to England every June in remembrance of the day that changed her life forever. For the past nineteen years she has been living in California, trying to move forward, guilt weighing her down, suffocated by the past. Her and her husband Rueben run a charitable organization called ClownDoctors and helping children helps Sarah, a little. But things with Reuben were coming to an undramatic ending and Sarah’s visit this year is heavier than most. Walking down a country road she unexpectedly meets Eddie. At almost forty years old, Sarah stopped believing in true love - soul mate kind of take your breath away love - a long time ago. But then there is Eddie. And Sarah’s life will never be the same. Their time together is a gift that feels like it will last forever until Eddie disappears. He stops returning calls, texts, messages. Their conversations replay in her mind over and over again. She can’t have been ghosted. There has to be an explanation and painful or not, she is going to find it. I thoroughly enjoyed this love story page turner. Excellent writing by debut author, Rosie Walsh. Her descriptions of love are breathtaking while the reader slowly travels through their winding hearts to the truth buried deep inside. I highly recommend this fabulous summer read. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating


Hazey Crazy. Every guy she has dated has so much fun with this vivacious, funny, endearing character until a few weeks in - when they are utterly exhausted by her antics and suddenly feel embarrassed by any unwarranted attention. Hazel is beautiful, sexy with a heart as big as Portland but she definitely beats to her own drum. And she is okay with that. Hazel happily teaches third grade and the kids are her salve to a world where many people just don’t get her. Her mom does. Her new friend Emily does. Emily and her husband Dave have a BBQ and Hazel bumps into Josh Im, the blueprint for Perfect. The guy was her TA in college but had never taken her seriously and seen her in some compromising situations. Seven years later, they are reunited. He is Emily’s brother and down in the dumps after a recent breakup. Hazel cannot resist the challenge to cheer Josh up and become his new best friend. They are complete opposites but somehow really get each other. Her playful personality is exactly what this serious guy needs to turn his life upside down. This adorable love story of friendship reminds us all that the key to real happiness is to always be true to yourself. Highly recommend this easy and enjoyable read, surely another bestseller from the wonderful writing duo Christina Lauren.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Girls Night Out


Three old friends get together for a few days in Mexico. A paradise vacation to reconnect and hopefully mend some past and present disagreements. Ashley and Natalie run a successful company together but are at odds regarding its future sale. Lauren, recently widowed has been distant for a year. The three women have wonderful memories of their college days but more recently shaky marriages and hidden betrayals have slowly dissolved the trust they once shared. Ashley, always the flirtatious leader of the trio quickly meets a handsome stranger who immerses himself in all of their plans and activities. One morning the girls awaken in a hazy fog most likely from drunken escapades the night before, to find Ashley is missing. Trying to remain calm they admit she may have spent the night with the handsome stranger but as they slowly investigate her whereabouts it becomes quite clear, foul play of some kind has transpired. The authorizes are contacted and everyone is a suspect until the truth and every secret they had each buried comes to light. This was a 3 star read for me. I like these authors but it was predictable and a bit repetitive. Easy read if you like these thriller type stories.

Marriage Vacation


Kate runs away. From her marriage, her girls, her life. She didn’t go to the wedding in California intending to do anything so extreme but as she watched her friends take vows and glanced at Karl’s empty seat, it suddenly didn’t seem like the craziest idea. Kate is invited to a retreat in Thailand, a few weeks will not be the end of the world, she thought. Karl will understand, the girls will be fine. When two weeks turns into a year Kate’s life is turned upside down and her NY world will never be the same again-  if it exists at all. Kate begins to write, a huge part of herself she had regrettably left behind, she spends her time living in the moment, remembering who she is and what kind of life she wants to live. Mid life crisis? Maybe. Another version of Eat Pray Love? Sort of. But here’s the catch; this book is a take off from the hit tv show Younger and Pauline Turner Brooks, the author, is a character on the show. If you watch Younger, it brings this story to life and if you don’t, it’s still a great take on something most of us would never ever imagine doing. I bet many women have fantasized about taking a break, reevaluating, making sure we are living the life we want before its too late. The guilt leaving the children and expectations of our society would never condone such behavior. But guess what? You can reevaluate and change your life right from your own backyard. You don’t have to wait for mid life or a plane ticket to Thailand. You can make changes big or small any day of the week. I thoroughly enjoyed this quick glimpse at pseudo reality, tv show or not. Thanks ghost writer Jo Piazza for bringing it to life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What Kitty Did Next


Because I never ever tire of Jane Austen, it is always a pleasure to read novels starring the infamous Bennet sisters. It is 1813 and in the beautiful countryside we find Kitty left at home feeling sorry for herself and her uneventful foreseeable future, 19 years old, with three of her four sisters recently married. The Bennet family has quite the history and beautiful home but no fortunes to be had. It is imperative that Kitty marry a gentleman with means, and although she is quite aware of her place in the world, Kitty is convinced she will find love as well. When she has the opportunity to spend the season in London at her sister Jane’s home and later at Pemberley with the Darcy clan, Kitty’s world expands beyond her wildest dreams. After finally returning home to Longbourne nearly a year later, Kitty realizes she has suddenly grown up and can be the fearless woman who follows her dreams. Highly recommend this wonderfully written, enjoyable continuation of the sisters we hold dear to our hearts. Thank you author Carrie Kablean for taking me back on this classic journey.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Masterpiece


There is no place like Grand Central Station. Its majestic beauty shines through the crowds to reveal decades past. Millions of people quickly coming and going in the heartbeat of the greatest city on earth. Clara Darden is a young artist, struggling to make her way in 1928 as a teacher at the Grand Central School of Art. She is a beautiful, confident illustrator fighting for her place in a man’s world. Finally attaining success, Clara has made a name for herself juggling her wealthy, handsome boyfriend and fellow artists despite the looming Depression. After tragedy strikes, Clara disappears as if she never existed at all. Almost Fifty Years later, in 1974, Virginia is taunted by her chauvinistic lawyer husband who left her with little money and lots of sadness. Having been a homemaker for most of her adult life, Virginia scrambles to find work through a temp agency. She accepts a job in the information booth at Grand Central. Even though the terminal is now covered with dirt and not so shiny, Virginia is immediately enamored by its history. As she begins to explore her future as a single woman once again, she discovers a painting hidden on the upper levels of the terminal that had been abandoned decades ago. The mysterious unsigned painting greatly resembles one that is currently up for auction. With Virginia’s flourishing confidence and new station friends, she is determined to solve this mystery. Author Fiona Davis has done it again. A thoroughly enjoyable work of historical fiction based in NYC capturing the imagination through time and art. Highly recommend The Masterpiece for a fabulous summer read!

Friday, July 13, 2018

You Me Everything


Jess and her son William head off to spend the summer in the charming French countryside of the Dordogne. Her best friends Becky and Natasha are going to join them in the later weeks and William is beside himself with excitement. Jess, on the other hand, is a quiet mess as this quaint chateau is run by none other than the love of her life, Williams father, Adam. It has been 10 years since Jess was forced to accept that she was in this on her own. At 22 and pregnant, she was single, terrified and alone. But the minute William’s beautiful face turned to look at hers, she was in love and with the gracious help of her adoring parents nearby they have managed just fine. Now, her mother, whose illness has turned tragically serious pleads with Jess to try and propel a relationship between William and his biological father. Love, laughter and heart wrenching truths are uncovered as Jess discovers her purpose in life and just how precious every single day can be. Highly recommend this beautifully written story about family, friends and gratitude. Absolutely the most perfect summer read, FIVE STARS!

Monday, June 25, 2018

That Kind of Mother


To say that Rebecca Stone is a frazzled new mother, is to put it mildly. When she hires Priscilla, a warm, experienced nanny to help her at home her life is turned around. Priscilla teaches Rebecca how to be a mother. She makes everything look so easy. And half the time confidence is the key. Priscilla watches and loves the baby while Rebecca sits in her office daydreaming about the poetry she used to write. When Priscilla dies during her own childbirth, Rebecca offers to raise (and later adopts)w her son. Raising two boys, one white and one black seems to “want” be the focus of this story. In my opinion children easily accept differences and change, its Rebecca’s bad parenting, not lack of love, that causes their tumultuous home to fall apart. I loved the writing, I loved the themes but really disliked all the weak characters. It was just a depressing mess. 

The Wedding Date


As Alexa is on her way up to her sister’s hotel room, the elevator comes to a jolting halt. And that is how Alexa Monroe meets Drew Nichols, gorgeous pediatric surgeon. Sharing snacks and life stories, the elevator finally begins to climb again and so does Alexa’s heart rate as Drew invites her to attend his ex-girlfriend’s wedding at that very hotel the next evening. To his surprise, she accepts. After having an incredible weekend together, (fake date or not!) this surprise becomes the beginning of a roller coaster love affair. He lives in LA, she lives in SF. They both have demanding jobs and Alexa is terrified Drew will break her heart, but neither can deny their intense chemistry. With light humor and lots of romance, The Wedding Date will be sure to grab your heart. A flirty, delicious story that forces you to smile. Perfect, easy, enjoyable summer read. Looking forward to reading more work from debut author Jasmine Guillory.

Lawn Boy


Mike Munoz is a young man who cuts lawns for a living. Well, thats what his job description says but he considers himself a topiary artist, carving shrubs into works of art. He lives in a run down house with his mom and disabled brother who eats un unbelievable amount of junk food. Just a couple of years out if highschool, Mike is not a bad guy. Mike is an average guy. He dreams of just paying the rent, getting a new car and helping out his hard working mom. When Mike loses his job he accepts one bad situation after another because he has no other choice. Guys not so reputable take advantage of his hard work and kind heart. It seems that every time Mike takes a few positive steps forward he gets sent back to start. I kind of like him, he definitely means well and there are a bunch of life lessons as we all search for some hidden meaning, some rating card that says what it means to be successful. Twisty end, somewhat entertaining but I’m on the fence with my recommendation. Author Jonathon Evison has an awesome way with words but for me the story dragged and I lost interest. It was more like a short story stretched into a book. 

The Ever After


Josie Moore, a typical stay at home mom, living in the Chicago suburbs thinks her life is idyllic. She knows marriage to Frank is not always perfect but its hers and they are blessed with two gorgeous little girls. One Saturday when she is frazzled and Frank runs into Starbucks to get them coffee, Josie notices a message on his phone and her life is turned upside down. Clueless and naive, Josie’s world is shattered as she realizes there is a part of Frank’s life that she knows nothing about. All the plans she ever had for her marriage and their family are destroyed and Josie cannot see the future clearly anymore. Any insecure self doubt she had harbored as a young girl and every argument they have ever had takes center stage. Author Sarah Pekkanen has once again written a thoughtful, easy to read novel about the unpredictable twists and turns life may throw our way. This one felt only too real and maybe I have the - it’s not you, it’s me syndrome - and perhaps a book club would have field day tearing this one apart, but I found it sadly depressing. I know this happens, probably every day, I just don’t feel like being entertained by it. Absolutely a well written book with excellent characters, it just has to be something you are in the mood for. #notmysummerread

Sweet Filthy Boy


When Mia and her best friends Harlow and Lola go to Vegas after their college graduation their lives are turned upside down. What happens in Vegas doesn’t exactly stay in Vegas as Mia wakes up with a wedding ring on her finger. Her sexy, gorgeous, sweet, husband is lying next to her and inviting her to spend the summer in France. Normally Mia is the girl that never does anything out of the ordinary and follows her demanding father’s path to success, but finding Ansel irresistible she decides just this once to give destiny a chance. Mia scrambles off to have the summer of her dreams and finds more than she ever imagined possible. After recently enjoying Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, I decided to reach back to one of their popular series I had never tried. Well, here is the 50 Shades-ish book I had been looking for. What a treat for a hot summer day, and lucky for me - its a trilogy. This just keeps getting better, ha! If you’d like to spend the day in Paris, this adorable, delicious, easy to read fantasy will be happy to take you there for free, maybe just hide the cover from the kids :-)

The Book of Essie


Essie Hicks is part of a religious reality tv sensation that literally is her life. Her father is the famous evangelist whose sermons are watched by millions. Her controlling mother secretly runs the show while Essie and her five siblings have been viewed daily their entire lives. Every word they say and move they make is scripted, edited and cut to form the image that is Six for Hicks. When Essie, barely 17 years old finds out she is pregnant, Celia, her mother falls into full action mode. It is decided that Essie will be married to a local boy who is an outstanding student hiding secrets of his own. What started out as a disaster may be Essie’s escape to independence and revenge and Roarke Richards is the perfect husband to help her. Pulling the puppet strings gets easier as Essie has TV journalist Liberty Bell in her pocket. Liberty, who has her own demons on her trail desperately wants to help Essie find the freedom her family has destroyed. This twisted absolutely original story had me on the edge of my seat. It is an unputdownable page turner about family, trust and the insane obsession of reality television, that is anything but real. Highly recommend this well written, perfect summer read. It is a FIVE STAR MUST!

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Lost Family


Peter Rashkin escaped the horrors of WWII but not the devastating memories of losing his beautiful young wife and twin baby girls. After moving to NYC and being taken in by cousins Sol and Ruth, Peter became a successful chef and works night and day avoiding any meaningful relationships. One day Peter unexpectedly meets June Bouquet. She is twenty years his junior, a cover model and devastatingly beautiful. Their future is a rollercoaster of emotions and they eventually marry and have a daughter Elspeth. Always polite, handsome Peter is continually withdrawn and June becomes lonely and restless, looking for life outside their marriage and their home. This latest novel by author Jenna Blum is well written and an interesting peek into a marriage that is being destroyed by the past, a ghost of a family and a tragedy that cannot compete with everyday life. I like this storyline and the characters were well defined but midway it started to drag and by the time it took a most bizarre twist (near the end) my interest had already begun to wane. Solid good but didn’t love.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Happiness for Beginners


Helen Carpenter is about to embark on a journey that she is hoping will change her life. She is 32, divorced and all around pretty miserable. Helen is not just single, she is alone. After an unexpected debacle with her younger brother Duncan, Helen learns that his best friend Jake is also signed up for the survival course she is attending. Her adventure of a lifetime now tainted with Jake needing a ride to Wyoming, not off to a great start. On the long car ride Helen meets a different Jake. While her dreams of a happy marriage were shattering, Jake grew up - a lot. When they meet up with the group, Helen realizes this frat party atmosphere with college students 10 years younger is definitely not what she expected. Despite her reservations, she submits all her strength, mind and body - to the extreme 3 week challenge and tries to leave her petty anger on the bus. In order to make real change, Helen knows no-one can do this for her. For the first time, she becomes her own leader. Through the painful ups and downs of this arduous journey she finds her strength and the truth. After being mesmerized by How to Walk Away by Katherine Center, I immediately began to search out her other novels. After starting, I recognized how hauntingly familiar this trip sounded. My son accomplished a NOLS challenge a few years ago and I was mesmerized by his stories. Add in the delicious romance thrown in by this author, it turns out she did one years ago as well! Maybe I should start living my life instead of just reading about it? Highly recommend this absolutely perfect summer read. #onesitting  #unputdownable