Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Well Behaved Woman


Alva Erskine Smith was a resourceful young woman. Her successful parents were socialites and raised their daughters to be educated, independent and worldly. After her mother unexpectedly passed away, her father quickly succumbed to his own illness and loss. The girls were left with very little. All they had was each other and their superior family bloodline. It was up to Alva to marry well and get their family back on their financial feet. She managed to seduce William Kissam Vanderbilt. Their family fortune was growing steadily but the Vanderbilt name was not yet considered amongst the higher ranks of New York. They could help each other. And for the next twenty years that is precisely what they did. While William spent money and wooed various women behind her back, Alva was out to make sure the Vanderbilt’s name would be set in stone. Alva was forward thinking, generous and intelligent. Author Therese Anne Fowler takes us on another incredible journey through time. New York City comes alive in our imaginations as history is made. This well written, interesting and enjoyable read is a must for anyone who loves historical fiction. 

In Another Time


In 1931 Hanna Ginsberg and Max Beissinger fall deeply in love. She is a rising superstar violinist and he is quietly running his parents quaint store after they pass away. Over the next 5 years Germany rapidly changes with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. What began as seemingly minor restrictions quickly becomes dangerous and life threatening. Max has begged Hanna to run away with him but her mother is unwell and disapproves of their relationship because Max is not Jewish. Hanna is deeply engrossed in her music and future life she envisions with the Berlin symphony. In 1946 Hanna awakens in a field desperately grasping her violin without a single memory of the last decade. The war has just ended but Hanna looks healthy with no signs of struggle. Does she have amnesia? A psychological disorder? Or does this have something to do with the magical closet Max has held close to his heart? Narrated by both Max and Hanna from the very beginning of their love affair to their desperate search for each other and the truth, In Another Time is a fast paced journey through history with a little bit of time travel thrown in to make this a most unique look at the sliding doors theory of how every choice we make affects not only our own but many lives in the future. Highly recommend another wonderful novel by author Jillian Cantor. A must for your summer reading list.

Out East


Beautiful memoir by John Glynn reflecting on a summer spent by the beach. Friday means catching the train to Montauk, New York where buildings disappear and the blue of the sea and sky merge as one. John is 27, working hard at a Manhattan publishing company and living in a hip part of town with two awesome roommates. He is livin’ the dream. Lately, even when surrounded by tons of friends, John is painfully lonely. His buddies are starting to pair off, life taking them to the next stage. He realizes he has never felt that deep romantic connection with anyone. John spends the summer at the Hive, a shared house where 30 young adults enjoy sun filled days and alcohol fueled nights. John is consumed with the drama of fitting in, finding love and most unexpectedly, figuring out his sexual identity. While closely observing the world of these privileged, beautiful people John finally allows himself the freedom to choose. This sensitive, well written, fast paced memoir is a peek into growing up, acceptance and the importance of love. Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking, highly recommend this perfect summer read.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Daisy Jones & The Six


Daisy Jones grew up  in L.A. with everything and nothing at all. A child of the 60’s, she was beautiful, young and humming along to the music scene erupting on the Sunset Strip. Her parents had no idea where she was. Along comes The Six, a band from the east coast hoping to make it big. They have a mix of solid musicians and a frontman named Billy Dunne oozing that special something the fans craves. Daisy Jones & The Six write hit after hit. Billy struggles with the music he lives for and the husband and father he yearns to be. The dangerous magnetism between Daisy and Billy is what makes rock stars and also what everyone fears will tear them apart. Written as a running interview, this incredibly unique novel of love, passion and friendship follows an iconic band through the 70’s; a world overflowing with peace, love and rock’n roll. If you enjoyed the movie Almost Famous, you are sure to be swept away by Daisy Jones & The Six. Get your copy and get comfortable because this one sitting read will leave you speechless.

When We Left Cuba


When the Cuban Revolution forces Beatriz Perez and her family to flee Havana, they rebuild their lives in Florida. Leaving with very little, her father is intent on reestablishing himself in the profitable sugar industry, while her mother obsesses over finding suitable husbands for Beatriz and her sisters. Beatriz, however, is solely set on revenge. She is filled with devastating anger over the loss of her friends, her fortune, and her twin brother. She is given the perfect opportunity, when she is recruited by the CIA to aid the fight for freedom, putting in reach her dreams of returning home to the life her family left behind. However, a dangerous love affair with a well known senator complicates her ambitions as readers are propelled on this page-turning adventure through history.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How to Hack a Heartbreak


It’s been four years since Mel Strickland graduated college and started working the IT help desk at Hatch, a startup incubator. But Mel is tired of assisting these spoiled frat boys who give a great pitch but can’t manage a paper jam - this girl coder has just about given up. She can barely make the rent, repeatedly meets Mr. Wrong and ultimately yearns to leave what was supposed to be a stepping stone into the real world of coding. Crushed when her Fluttr date is a no show, Mel codes the ultimate revenge; an app called JerkAlert (as a joke!) and is shocked when it goes viral. With the help of her incredibly resourceful girlfriends Mel finds her way to both success and her true match in this absolutely hilarious, very contemporary peek at our outrageous startup phenomena, girl power coding and bizarre culture of online dating. Highly recommend this fast paced, laugh-out-loud beach read! #stockupforsummer  Pub date: July 30, 2019 Thanks for the early read NetGalley!

Trophy Life


It has been a decade since Agnes survived on peanut butter and scrimped pennies for the rent. Her dreams of living in sunny California all came true the day she unexpectedly met Jack in a bar. With movie star good looks and impeccable taste, Jack, twenty years her senior, became her knight in shining armor and Aggie the epitome of the textbook Trophy Wife. Squeezing in yoga between her manicure and shopping, a house staff to care for her adorable baby - Aggie has more than she ever dared to imagine. The day Jack disappears, this life is over. In one fell swoop (Madoff style) Jack and every bit of their idyllic existence is shattered. Finding herself at the mercy of Jack’s smarmy best friend, Aggie has no choice but to accept a job at a fancy private school in NY teaching middle school English to a bunch of delinquents. Life’s sharpest turn and greatest challenge become Aggie’s salvation. Witty, charming and well written, highly recommend this absolutely hysterical take on finding the life you were meant to live. Pack this one in your beach bag ladies! It’s a winner!!

Little Fires Everywhere


As mysteriously as Mia Warren and her teenage daughter Pearl, enter each and every one of the Richardson’s lives - they just as simply vanish. The Richardson family live in Shaker Heights, a painstakingly well planned community in Ohio. Mrs. Richardson is a model citizen and shining example of motherhood. Or so she thought. When Mia, a wandering artist enters their lives by renting the Richardson’s spare apartment, all of their beliefs are quietly turns upside down. Each of the four children develop a special friendship with the Warren’s, while Mia creates her art and longs to finally give Pearl a place she can call home. This orderly town is further turned sideways when Bebe, Mia’s co-worker, is forced into a devastating custody battle over her baby girl with a local family very close to the Richardson’s and sides are quickly taken. Examining each type of relationship, it is clear that the bubble people create to live in rarely resembles the painful truth. This insightful, well written novel is filled with wonderfully descriptive characters. The boundaries they cross neither made me laugh or cry. As much as I enjoyed reading this story it didn’t pull my heartstrings as expected. Looking forward to book club discussion as it has many paths to tread.