Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Heart Bones


Beyah Grim is hanging on by a thread when she discovers her drug addict mother dead in their trailer. Beyah has kept her head down, worked hard after school and excelled at volleyball all with one goal in mind - get the heck out of the rinky dink town she grew up in! She plans to move far away from the harrowing memories of her mother’s mistakes and poverty that has controlled them. With a few months left before college begins and nowhere to live she is forced to spend the summer with a father she barely knows and his “new family.” Arriving at their beach house in Texas her father has no idea what Beyah has had to overcome to simply survive. Her new stepsister thinks a bad day has to do with hair. Nevertheless she quickly takes Beyah under her wing and a surprising friendship takes hold. Beyah is thrust into a novel world of beach parties and bbq’s. When she meet Samson, the very hot rich boy next door they are both lost in false first impressions but their chemistry is unmistakable. Slowly coming out of her shell Beyah must protect her future plans and most importantly, her heart. I couldn’t put down this fast paced story filled with romance, friendship, and family drama - another must read by author Colleen Hoover. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Flatshare


L. Twomey placed an ad looking for a flatshare mate. It was his latest idea to raise the funds needed to fight his dear brother’s unjust sentence. Since Leon worked nights as a hospice nurse and spent weekends at his girlfriend Kay’s, it only made sense that someone could be using his flat when he wasn’t there. Tiffany’s days stretched out long and hard as she returned to Justin’s place after work each day. He generously let her stay on after their dramatic break up but Tiffy knew (and her besties insisted) that it was finally time she must move on. Having never met in person, Leon and Tiffy begin to communicate through post it notes. In a world of instant messaging, these seemingly old fashioned notes have both Leon and Tiffy opening up to each other in ways they never imagined. This thoughtful communication in the age of swiping brings unexpected intimacy and eventually feelings that can no longer be ignored. With a cast of quirky, wonderful friends The Flatshare is an absolutely enjoyable read that will have you smiling from beginning to end. (And possibly wanting to crochet a scarf!) Highly recommend!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Why I Held Your Hand


North Powell is a small town in the mountains. It is as quaint as it is beautiful. Laura has a small knitting business and has just volunteered to commandeer the towns future marketing plan. The surrounding areas tend to draw larger crowds and more tourism than North Powell but Laura is determined to make it the destination she believes it could be. They hire an esteemed firm to represent them and Laura is shocked to find the team leader includes a very handsome charming young man named David. Their instant chemistry and common goals make for the perfect match, she is smitten. Along comes Spencer Markham who is sent on behalf of the firm to assist Laura with launching the new and creative campaigns. Although awkward at first, it doesn’t take long for Spence and Laura to find themselves on exactly the same page. She must now quickly figure out how far she is willing to go to save the town and her own heart as well. Just as I devoured Gilmore Girls, Sweet Magnolia, Virgin River and Hart of Dixie (you get the picture!) I fell in love with North Powell and this wonderfully sappy, slightly steamy romance that should not be missed! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Shipped

 


Henley Evans has been marketing manager for a cruise line offering exciting sea expeditions around the globe. No-one in the office exerts more energy or puts in longer hours. Her nemesis Graeme works remotely, replies to her emails in obnoxious one-word responses and has recently become a little too friendly with her male chauvinist boss James. While Henley and Graeme battle for the latest director position, their boss decides to send the duo on the Galapagos cruise to brainstorm a genius campaign and winner takes all. Henley is out for blood, prepared to take her competitor down but when she lays eyes on this gorgeous hunk in person for the first time all her resolve melts away. As hard as Henley tries she cannot resist this charming foe. Through a series of laugh out loud mishaps and loads of steamy chemistry, the young marketing gurus make the most of this very cool adventure and unexpectedly learn the truth of their own desires. Pack your bags and set sail with this delightful romcom! Releases January 2021. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

White Ivy

 


Ivy Lin grew up in Boston on the wrong side of the tracks. Her Chinese immigrant parents barely made ends meet and Ivy yearned for more. More clothes, more friends, more money. More everything. Impatiently waiting for her real life to begin, Ivy’s grandmother teaches her the subtle art of shoplifting. Sometimes to acquire an item she truly wants and often just for the thrill. An opportunity to attend the very posh private school where her father worked, Ivy’s desires dive even deeper. These beautiful children of rich and important people mirror her deepest desires. Over the years, Ivy becomes a master manipulator. After college she unexpectedly bumps into her childhood crush, Gideon. He and his family represent everything she has ever wanted. Ivy will stop at nothing to become part of their world. Filled with suspense and shocking acts of deception, I could not put White Ivy down! The cultural differences are so accurately portrayed that in the end it’s not clear who the imposters really are. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Children's Blizzard

 


In 1888 the immigrant homesteaders faced brutal winters in the Dakota Territories. Lured off the ships of New York, these families were promised land and future prosperity if they could survive the unimaginable snow and ice, spring floods and blazingly hot prairie fires. Farming in these lands tested every bit of strength these families could muster. One particular January day seemed rather mild and the children were thrilled to venture outside for recess. When the sky suddenly darkened no-one could understand how this storm moved in so quickly. Raina, a young teacher, barely more than a child herself, braves the storm with the young ones tied together using apron strings, her sister Gerda dismisses the students to their homes, a decision that will haunt her the rest of her life. Annette Pedersen - in fear of the family that took her in - grabs her only friend to try and make it the short distance to their farm. As all these lives unfold on this treacherous day, we watch in awe the bravery and determination of the young. Newspaperman Gavin Woodson later interviews those involved to share these harrowing stories of both victims and heroes with the world. Based on true events The Children’s Blizzard is a chilling recount of this fateful catastrophe. Releases January 2021.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Twelve Dates of Christmas


Kate Turner is an independent successful woman, but her dating life - not so much. This year all she wants for Christmas is a date (or twelve.) As the quaint English village of Blexford transforms into a winter wonderland, Kate signs up with the latest matchmaking service as a gift to herself. Twelve dates, each with an exciting activity to take the pressure off and turn the romance on! With her friend Laura by her side and the prying eyes of the entire town cheering her on, Kate repeatedly finds herself in one jingle bell jinx after another. As she continues to bake holiday treats that will make your teeth ache (recipes included) Kate takes us along on each dating adventure, all the while secretly hoping her partridge in a pear tree is really Matt who runs the Pear Tree Cafe. My face hurts from smiling non-stop throughout this heartwarming, delicious holiday story. Thumbs up to debut author (and baker extraordinaire) Jenny Bayliss. Perfect holiday read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, October 26, 2020

Dog People


OMG, I’m a little bit speechless with this one. Last year I read and loved Jennifer Weiner’s Halloween-ish e-short story so I couldn’t wait to download her latest. I’m not sure what happened this year - but add it to the list of reading disasters. Lucky for me this a short story so it was over quickly. A creepy kid (think budding serial killer) with a sad, lonely probably crazy mother changes his life by leaving home to go to college and meets a lovely normal woman who saves him from himself. They live a normal boring life until he becomes obsessed with their dog. I can’t say much more without completely spoiling it. I’d like to say it’s not you, its me but I can’t imagine anyone liking this - and I generally enjoy halloween stories!!

In a Holidaze


Maelyn Jones finds herself in a mistletoe mishap. Spending the holiday in an idyllic snowy Utah cabin has been the highlight of Mae’s life. Returning every year with her parents, their college friends and all their offspring as one big happy family brings traditions that cannot be matched. Games, challenges, sleigh rides and egg nog by the fire, memories she holds most dear to her heart. Time has marched on and the kids aren’t exactly kids anymore. Both Maelyn’s longtime (very handsome) young crush and his brother pull quietly on her heartstrings causing mishap and mayhem. When she begs the universe for another chance Mae is granted with a Groundhog Day repeat until she gets it right. Hilarious, romantic, heartwarming drama that brings family and friends together to celebrate the magic of the holidays. Sometimes the gift of truth has to be unwrapped to be revealed. Another delicious treat from this rom-com duo! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Noel Letters


Noel’s father, Robert Book, had a last dying wish, to see his daughter just one more time. Twenty years since she stepped foot in the small Salt Lake City home she grew up in, Noel Post arrives. But she is too late to make amends or resolve her many unanswered questions. Overwhelmed by a recent divorce and losing her NYC apartment, Noel decides to stay in Utah a little bit longer than expected and get some closure. Intending to organize her father’s estate Noel begins by working in his iconic book shop, rediscovering her father’s passions and meeting the small circle of people who were an integral part of his life. Haunting memories of her mother’s untimely death and a chain of letters from a mystery author slowly reveal the difficult truth Noel must face if she is ever to find love in her heart again.This tender story offers many lessons of forgiveness. Perfect for the holidays! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When We Were Young & Brave

Elspeth Kent fled to Shanghai to escape her beloved’s memories and the alternative proposal she abandoned. Accepting a teaching position at the Chefoo School, a British missionary in northern China, Ms. Kent becomes responsible for a group of young girls who achingly missed their parents as they became young women. Nancy Plummer is one of those precious students. Only eight when she arrived with her brother, their missionary parents have already been gone far too long. Near Christmastime 1941, this small school is taken over by Japanese forces. Each and every student and teacher quickly become labeled as an enemy. Under the leadership of Ms. Kent and the brave administration the students navigate these treacherous times. Losing all routines and everyday comforts the children must quickly adapt with no end in sight. Cold, hungry and terrified their parents will never return, they find faith in friendship, hope and the smallest acts of kindness. As almost all the WWII books I read are Europe based, this story taking place in China was very interesting and well written. Highly recommend. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It Ends With Us


Lily is a young beautiful woman starting a business in Boston. She meets Ryle Kincaid and he seems too good to be true. He is handsome, smart and a well known neurosurgeon. At first Ryle is hesitant to become serious with Lily but their chemistry is explosive and the two fall deeply in love. When Lily’s past suddenly reappears she finds him hard to ignore. Now a successful chef, Atlas’s deep rooted feelings have never faltered. He suspects Lily is covering something up and cannot ignore the signs that something is seriously wrong with her “too perfect” relationship. Lily must figure out the truth about Ryle and face her own feelings for a love that once was. As a recent Colleen Hoover fan, I reached back to this 2016 bestseller and loved it. Romance, drama, friendship. What more could a girl want?⭐⭐⭐⭐

Penthouse Prince


Need a minute of delicious? Corrigan is a first grade teacher in small town North Carolina. Her first love Lex Dane is back in town and needs a favor. They haven’t spoken in ten years following a nasty break up when Lex left for college. Corrigan has never gotten over her first love and sadly compares every date to her one and only. Still bitter she finally faces the truth. Lex is all grown up and more gorgeous than ever. He would like Corrigan to nanny his two year old daughter. Stop the presses, Corrigan has about a million questions but first she must catch her breath as this sweet dad hunk introduces her to precious little Grier. Another whirlwind, hot read from author Kendall Ryan. It’s like a little book dessert. ⭐⭐⭐

The Midnight Library


Nora Seed faces a life and death decision. Her own. Her dreams have been shattered over and over again. Her non existent family. Long lost friends. Really, she has nothing left to live for - - or so she thinks. One night Nora enters the Midnight Library. Her dear old school librarian, Mrs. Elm greets her as if no time has passed at all. Each book in this cavernous room is filled with the life Nora could have led, her alternate universes. An Olympic swimmer, rock star or falling in love. While disappointment overcame her in the present, every missed opportunity may have very well led to happiness if only she had been willing to try. This out of the box fantastical journey is somewhat sad and alternately very hopeful. Every single person makes decisions daily that affect their lives and ultimately those around them. The theme of this unique story started out strong (books, libraries, second chances), it dragged a little in the end and then wrapped up quite nicely. The Midnight Library gives the reader much to think about.
 ⭐⭐⭐

Just Like You


Lucy is a forty year old English teacher, nearly divorced from her addict ex and doing her very best to raise two rambunctious boys. Her everyday London life is predictable and her social life - nonexistent. Every Saturday she queue’s up at the local butcher where gossip runs rampant. Joseph is the very handsome, very young man behind the counter. He always smiles and flirts with Lucy and inadvertently offers to babysit. As her middle aged dates continue to flounder, Joseph and her boys get along famously. Soccer, video games and general roughhousing keeps them begging for more. Slowly, Joseph agrees to stay for a meal and non working visits to spend time with this little family whom he truly adores. Trying to avoid becoming a cliche, Lucy deflects anything romantic. Mental lists, including their twenty year age difference, race, religion and social status fill Lucy’s mind but her heart thinks otherwise. Breaking down what makes two people truly compatible makes this story a unique and often funny romance that I just couldn’t put down. Another great one by author Nick Hornby.⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Emma is a math whiz. She and George are finally seniors and co-presidents of the coding club at their New Jersey high school. As they are about to enter the national coding competition for their school, Emma designs a matchmaking app that will help their fellow high school students find a date for the big dance. Focusing on the most basic traits people have in common, their love app is the ultimate busybody, creating potential romance for everyone except Emma, who fears putting her own name into the algorithm. Fixated on winning and getting into Stanford, Emma cannot see the forest for the trees. This enjoyable YA (Young Adult) romcom is a timely story filled with wonderful characters and some very simple swiping lessons. A big fan of author Jillian Cantor’s previous novels (mostly historical fiction) I couldn’t resist checking out her latest. Perfect book (and gift idea!) for middle school age girls. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Swap


Low is a high school senior on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. As idyllic as it may be, Low is a bit of an outcast at school. Although rather pretty, she never reached the confidence level to match her extremely tall gangly frame. Not to mention being mocked because of her free spirit parents who live on a love commune. Low signs up for a local pottery class with new town resident, minor celebrity Freya - an influencer from LA with an ice hockey hunk of a husband. She immediately acquires a crush on this beautiful woman who enjoys Low’s idolatry. Jamie, also recently relocated from Seattle, sells Freya’s beautiful ceramics in her quaint gift shop. The two women form an immediate bond, both craving distraction from loneliness and young marriages that have recently become quite rocky. One night after letting loose the couples cross the line. This may be just the opportunity Low has been waiting for, to prove she is Freya’s most trusted friend and the one she cannot live without. More than a love triangle, this suspenseful dramatic read will keep you on the edge of your seat. I simply loved this fast paced page turner.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, October 12, 2020

The Three Mrs. Wright's

 


Holly met Jack in medical school. They have built a beautiful life that includes three wonderful children and a successful business. Handsome and charming Jack travels often for work and Holly’s suspicion escalates as he becomes more and more distant.


Jessica has just been named as medical director at a successful start up in Chicago. Having just completed her oncology residency she dreamed of changing the world. Jonathan’s surprising job offer seemed too good to be true - not to mention their secret steamy romance.


Lark, a hip young game designer meets Trip in a bar. Normally this blue haired beauty wouldn’t look twice at an older man sitting a few seats away. With her sales pitch looming Lark decides to have some fun if only to take her mind off of her trembling nerves.


Three women. One very attractive wealthy man. Read on, ladies - I don’t want to give anything else away but this suspenseful drama is absolutely unputdownable! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Love Your Life

 


Ava is a young woman who believes in love. While her friends in London obsess over the latest dating app, algorithms and deal-breakers, she believes an actual soul mate is out there in the universe just waiting to meet her. Ava joins a weeklong writing retreat in a charming Italian monastery. She is going to 100% focus on her novel and soak up the delicious food and sunshine. The catch is the attendees do not use their real names, nor talk about their home life. They are here specifically to put everything else aside as to better concentrate on their writing. Naturally, Ava (Aria), falls madly, and wildly in love with “Dutch”. And best of all - he feels the same. When the week is up they begin to navigate what life could be like if they are a couple at home. Work, friends, finances, family obligations. All the things Ava was confident one should put aside appear front and center. Along with her quirky friend group and devious dog Harold this exhausting young woman is absolutely adorable. Sophie Kinsella once again weaves a story that is laugh out loud delightful and the perfect romantic adventure.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐