Thursday, September 22, 2022

Wherever the Wind Takes Us

When Becca was barely an adult she met Alistair Larkin. He was older, a successful lawyer and from a prominent wealthy family. She was smitten and quickly pregnant with their daughter Olivia. Eventually finishing college (just to prove she could) Becca was mostly content as a stay at home mom raising her child and managing the family’s ever growing social calendar. Twenty two years later she can no longer ignore that her marriage is a sham, Alistair has changed for the worse and she has not been happy in a very long time. After the divorce is final, and Becca did not contest the prenuptial agreement, she walks away with little more than her dignity and Alistair’s prize possession, his 40 foot sailboat. For all practical purposes she must sell the boat having no idea how to sail and desperately needing the cash.  When what was meant to be a cathartic, relationship building experience with her daughter turns into a catastrophe, in walks Grant Murphy, the hottest sailing Irishman she has ever seen. Grant offers to sail the boat to the buyer in Miami and off they go on an adventure. For the very first time Becca is rolling with the waves, facing her fears of the ocean and her future. I simply loved this delicious sailing adventure of a woman deemed past her prime learning how to navigate life on her own terms. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Other Birds

Off the coast of South Carolina is a small charming island called Mallow Island. It’s history as sweet as the marshmallows it once produced. Eighteen year old Zoey arrives at the Dellawisp condo complex with her invisible bird Pigeon to claim her inheritance. This apartment is all she has left of her mother besides a few very early, blurry memories. She is quickly introduced to an eclectic group of tenants. Twenty six year old Charlotte, a surprisingly reclusive henna artist finds a way into her heart. Mac, an award winning local chef with his own haunting past befriends them both as he provides meaningful comfort food. Her neighbor Lizbeth, a mean spirited hoarder dies unexpectedly leaving Zoey with the tedious job of cleaning the apartment and the happenstance of meeting her very handsome son who hasn’t been home for years. Then there is Frasier, the older man who runs the complex and truly cares for them all, including the mysterious exotic birds that control the court yard. Feeling alone since her father remarried, Zoey is determined to use this special summer before college to create a new life for herself. As ghosts of the past embody the natural elements around them, these new friends are guided towards the mystery that has kept the Dellawisp alive. Other Birds is a delightful literary mystery filled with magical realism and moments of pure love and friendship. These are ghosts to be embraced. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wrong Time Wrong Place

It’s almost Halloween, the pumpkin is beautifully carved and lit on the porch. Jen anxiously waits by the window in their quiet Liverpool neighborhood for her teenage son Todd to get home. Initially, she only sees Todd walk towards their front path, then Jen glimpses another man approaching, an older man she does not recognize. Todd pulls out a weapon and stabs the man. Jen runs outside and as she tries to stem the bleeding she notices Todd’s withdrawn, pale face. He is as unrecognizable as their futures seem to be the moment the police take him into custody. Horrified and distraught Jen and her husband Kelly barely get a wink of sleep that night. But things only get worse when she wakes in the morning and it is the day before. As each day passes Jen finds herself going back in time. Days, months, years before. Each new episode she discovers more lies and clues as to what led their little family to this horrendous conclusion. For the love of her son Jen must figure out why this is happening and she will stop at nothing to change their destiny. This unputdownable fast paced psychological thriller is wholly original as a mystery solved backwards. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Something Wilder

Lily’s father Duke was never around much. He was always out chasing one of his treasure hunting dreams. The ranch was sold long ago and Lily, a hard working and resourceful young woman has managed on her own taking small groups on outdoor adventures. Lily shares just enough of her father’s old tales to give these guests a little mystery. Mostly, it pays the bills. When the ranch is for sale once again it is Lily this time that finds herself chasing the treasure dream. The handwritten maps her father left, with notes only she can interpret are her last chance to get back to the place she always believed she should be. The next group of tourists includes a ghost from her past. Leo once spent a summer helping on the ranch. Lily was young and impressionable when Leo disappeared her heart was completely broken. Here he is in the flesh with his buddies from the big city. Even though Lily is not quick to forgive and forget, Leo is willing to risk everything to win back her love. I have read every single book by this dynamic duo author team and this one is most certainly my least favorite. I think I know where it was heading with a mix of romance and adventure but the mark was way off. Silly beyond belief and just wanted it to end. ⭐️⭐️

The Lifestyle

Georgina and Nathan are a busy young couple living in NYC climbing the ladder at a prestigious law firm. Georgina has worked hard her entire life to attain each and every one of her goals. When her marriage hits an insurmountable bump in the road she is forced to make a tough decision. To remain on track with her life plan, Georgina decides to give Nathan a second chance and that what their marriage needs is a little more excitement. With questionable guidance from a female client she and Nathan are introduced to the mostly secretive world of swinging. Her best friends Norah and Felix (harboring their own marital issues) tag along for the ride and the unlikely foursome set out to navigate this new lifestyle. At the very first party they attend Georgina bumps into her old college boyfriend - the one that got away. This in itself has Georgina questioning whether it’s her plan or her husband that is the actual problem. Not a great way to begin this new adventure, one that demands the utmost of trust between partners, problems quickly snowball. Perhaps farfetched but definitely thought provoking and a quick read, this novel interweaves the complexities of marriage and friendship with a twist. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Love

Nina Lejeune has been working on a super yacht for the last ten years. She is now chief stewardess and runs her team with an iron fist. Nina’s ex-boyfriend, Irish chef Ollie, no longer works on the yacht but their on-again off-again romance is still off the hook. When they are together their attraction is unstoppable and neither have been able to maintain an actual relationship outside of their own. When Nina steps aboard after a long summer she is ready for the season and shocked to find Ollie in the kitchen, as he had been working in a fancy schmancy Miami restaurant the last few years. Naturally he is adorable, talented and has an accent that melts hearts but Nina refuses to be dependent on anyone. After the disappointment she experienced with her own parents, she trusts no-one. Believing it is easier to be on her own, Nina pushes away Ollie’s affections whenever it feels too real. Their secret past comes back to haunt them and Nina must choose her future or lose him forever. Very cute, Below Deck - ish, fun characters but the push pull is exhausting when someone really cannot get out of their own way. Its a quick easy read, I liked but not loved.  (I did not read Love, Lists & Fancy Ships which is the first in this series and has very good reviews.) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thank You For Listening

Sewanee is an award winning audiobook narrator. Her dreams of acting were crushed at the beginning of her career when she was involved in a horrific accident. After recuperating she found recording audiobooks kept her creativity flowing while remaining behind the scenes. One night at a Las Vegas book convention Sewanee has a completely unexpected one night stand with a very handsome stranger. After returning home she is offered an opportunity of a lifetime to dual narrate a romance by her favorite author for an ungodly amount of money. This windfall will help her care for her beloved grandmother who is losing her memory at an alarming speed. Her fellow narrator is Brock McNight, a well known, although never seen in public persona, with an Irish lilt that women swoon over. They begin a friendship/workship leads to a closeness she hasn’t experienced since her self imposed isolation. As her movie star friend Adaku encourages her to reach for more and her grandmother Blah Blah barely recognizes her, Sewanee senses this is a challenge she must face on her own. With multiple names I could not pronounce (and I am usually ok with that?) and an ending that was just within reach but dragged on and on, I cannot recommend this read. I loved her first novel and adored this premise (especially knowing Julia Whelan is an actress and admired audiobook narrator) but it just did not work for me. ⭐️⭐️

Scandalized

When Georgia Ross landed at the Seattle airport she was already beyond exhausted. Her work in London had been stressful, difficult and even dangerous but Georgia’s life changing deadline is looming and she refuses to give up. Her connecting flight to LAX is delayed over and over again, ultimately being canceled and leaving Georgia with too many other passengers racing to book hotels and flights for the next day. Recognizing exactly one face in the crowd, it takes Georgia - or as she used to be called “Gigi” - a minute to realize it is Alec Kim, the brother of her childhood best friend. And boy, did he grow up. Alec is even more gorgeous than her 13 year old crush remembers. When she finally gets the courage to say hello, she finds Alec is as charming as he is handsome. A completely unexpected one night stand turns leaves Gigi secretly begging for more but she is focusing on her journalistic ambitions at the moment and not about to let a man get in the way. Easier said than done. Not only is Alec larger than life but he is part of her actual story. Nice twist of suspense plot added to an extremely steamy romance. Completely enjoyed this hot little book candy. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, September 5, 2022

Mad Honey

Two single moms. Two high school students. One charming town in New Hampshire trying to solve an inexplicable murder. Olivia McAfee grew up in Adams and she couldn’t wait to leave. Dreaming of college and a career as a zoologist Olivia couldn’t get away quick enough after graduation. She never dreamed she would find herself taking over her family’s beekeeping honey business and raising her precious son Asher on the very same farm she fled. Ava Campanello is another local single mom. This brave, independent woman drove across the entire country to start over with her daughter Lily. Both seniors and instantly attracted to one another, Asher and Lily become inseparable. With holiday cheer in the air, college applications in the mail and hockey practice at ungodly hours, Olivia is shocked to receive Asher’s phone call from the police station. Lily is dead and Asher is the person who found her. Heartbroken and terrified, Asher is questioned and quickly released. Days later the puzzle pieces begin to fall into a devastating picture that simply cannot be true. Asher is arrested for murder. As this mystery unfolds completely unexpected twists and turns (no spoilers here!) will keep you on the edge of your seat. The chapters are expertly narrated and intertwined by the past and present lives of these two grieving families - one thing becomes crystal clear, you most certainly should not judge a book by its cover. Loved the suspense, education, characters and dual writing skills of these incredible authors. FIVE STARS! Wow! A must read for fall!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, August 26, 2022

Our Last Days in Barcelona

In 1964 the eldest daughter, Isabel Perez, travels from Palm Beach to Barcelona. She is searching for Beatriz, her sister whom they have not recently heard from. Always the rebel, Beatriz was recently involved in mysterious work with the CIA. The sisters fear the worst. After arriving, Isabel finds her apartment empty and the door ajar. Minutes later a terrified Isabel has a visitor. A handsome stranger named Diego offers assistance to help. Isabel quickly finds herself searching for more than her beloved sister as she is drowning in her loveless marriage and a bleak future with a man that does not understand her. In 1936, Alicia Perez, Isabel’s mother also traveled to Barcelona, running from her own crumbling union. As Spain explodes with fascism and violence Alicia debates whether she should return to Cuba and realistically faces what kind of happiness a woman can expect. She spends months with her parents and reunites with a man from her past while contemplating her daughter’s future and her own.  As history and the present connect these strong, brave women must finally learn to follow their hearts. #5 in the Perez series, these novels are filled with captivating history, culture and family drama. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reasons to Stay Alive

Prefer to listen? I highly recommend the audible version of this memoir, expertly narrated by the author himself. Many lives are touched by mental illness. You may have a family member or friend silently suffering and do not know how to assist them. Or you may recognize symptoms within yourself and have not found a way to ask for help. Matt Haig openly and honestly describes his personal struggles with severe depression and anxiety. Matt reveals his most private thoughts and feelings that he experienced throughout his life. Plagued for many years Matt was often petrified he was going to die. It didn’t matter that this made no practical sense, it is what he feared every minute of almost every day. There seemed to be no reason to go on living this way. His girlfriend Andrea and his parents were there every step of the way trying to help Matt find the path to wellness. It wasn’t always easy. Reading this memoir may seem daunting and even scary but there is much to learn from other peoples experiences. In the end this beautiful human truly believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is worth discovering. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, August 18, 2022

An Affair of Spies

In 1938 Nathan Silverman’s parents sent him to the United States to live with his Aunt Gertrude. Life in Berlin had become unbearable, the family anticipated the worse was yet to come. Nathan’s father, a well known nuclear physicist made the dreadful decision to remain in Germany with his wife and daughter. As a young man Nathan began taking classes at Columbia in NYC. A few years later the war is full blown and Nathan is offered an opportunity with the U.S. Army to help fight the Nazi’s. With his sharp insight, language skills and geographical expertise, it is not long before he is transferred to work on the top secret Manhattan Project. The race is on for the U.S. to develop nuclear weapons before Germany. On his first assignment Nathan is disguised as a Wehrmacht officer and will travel with the beautiful and brainy Dr. Allison Fisher on his arm. Their mission is to enter Berlin, learn everything they can about the Nazi nuclear weapons program and extract a world renowned theoretical physicist who wishes to defect. This fast paced WWII novel takes us deep into the evils of Nazi Germany and a peek into the creation of the atomic bomb. A nail biting chase from until the very last page. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, August 15, 2022

Mr. Perfect on Paper

CEO of a successful Jewish dating app, Dara Rabinowitz is a wealthy, well known young woman living in Hoboken, NJ. While multi-tasking and list making is her specialty, this perfectionist young woman suffers from GAD, a severe anxiety disorder. This is beyond feeling stressed, Dara’s condition can be completely debilitating. As Dara juggles her hugely popular company called JMate and also keeps a watchful eye on her beloved Bubbe (grandmother) Miriam, she must contend with her disease. When a local daytime television show has Dara and her matchmaking Bubbe as guests they are an unexpected hit and the very charismatic (hot) host Chris Steadfast suggests Dara and her matchmaking business help their diminishing ratings, presently in the tank. Chris takes Dara’s perfect on paper husband list and runs with it. Going viral would put it mildly. The viewers love it and Chris’s show attempts to find the perfect husband for this modern matchmaker through a series of laugh-of-loud dating mishaps. There is one little problem - Dara is falling for Chris, head over heels and everything she has ever believed in. Although he checks none of her boxes, her heart has other plans. Adorable romance with a capital C for comedy. Wonderful and easy to understand references to the Jewish holidays and traditions. I simply had a smile on my face through every single page. Another winner by author Jean Meltzer (The Matzah Ball) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Woman of Intelligence

In 1954 post-war New York City Katharina Edgeworth is a socialite with every advantage a woman could desire. A handsome, wealthy husband who saves children’s lives on a daily basis as a pediatric surgeon; two beautiful sons and a fancy apartment on Fifth Avenue. But Rina lived another life. She has a graduate degree in languages from Colombia University, speaking four fluently and was deeply passionate about her career at the United Nations. Before motherhood took over every detail of her life, Rina had friends, she traveled and enjoyed an exhilarating social life. Most women would be grateful in her position but all she feels is lost, lonely and regretful. When Rina is mysteriously offered an opportunity from the FBI to assist as an informant, she cannot refuse. Completely out of her comfort zone yet mesmerized by this secrecy and newly found purpose Rina puts her skills and a friendship from her past to work. What initially begins as a way to escape her restlessness quickly turns into unimaginable escapades in the mysterious world of espionage. Rina must find a way to balance subterfuge and responsibility to survive. Fast paced cold war spy novel, A Woman of Intelligence is the perfect mix of history, politics, feminism and family drama. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Carrie Soto is Back

Six years after retirement Carrie Soto and her father, Javier are in the heart of the massive screaming crowd at the 1994 US Open finals in Flushing Meadows, NY. She is mesmerized by Nicki Chan, leading the way in women’s tennis as Carrie herself once did when she held the title of number one player in the world. At 37 Carrie has multiple world records, titles and quite a lot of wagging tongues as she was nicknamed The Battle-Axe back in her heyday. At this moment Nicki Chan is one win away from overtaking the most Grand Slam wins ever. By a stroke of fate or luck, Nicki doesn’t win that match and Carrie decides to come out of retirement with her father coaching to take one more victory. This incredible journey through the cut throat all-consuming world of tennis, beautiful relationship between father and daughter and most surprising friendship with top seeded men’s player Bowe Huntley who helps Carrie get back in the game and weasels his way into her hardened heart. I was completely swept away by this peek into women’s tennis which I know very little about. The pages turned themselves as I desperately needed to know what happens next. Great characters, a lot of passion and yes, surprise, Carrie Soto is the tennis player that had an affair with Nina Riva’s husband in Malibu Rising (clever clever!) Could not put down this fast paced story of a woman attempting to hang onto who she “was” while accepting life has changed. Absolute five star summer stunner!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, July 25, 2022

Out of His League

Gretchen Harper has a thriving business as a wine sommelier. She is independent, trustworthy, a planner and has under no circumstances been a risk taker. Gretchen is single but she definitely has never tried to pick up a strange man in the airport. When she sees Joshua Malvern, her all time favorite heartthrob baseball player in the wait lounge looking incredibly sad she buys him a coffee (just the way he likes it.) This small gesture warms his heart and they begin a quick easy friendship. The entire flight to Las Vegas is a dream come true. Just to be near him makes Gretchens heart sway and to learn how nice he truly is - well, thats just icing on the cake. Imagining this is just a fling she decides to let loose of the first time in her life. Even though she cannot visualize the details of what a future with Josh would look like she knows that their meet-cute was definitely a home run. Fast paced, steamy sports romance. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

How to Fake it in Hollywood

Behind the scenes, it’s been almost a year since Grey Brooks has had actual job. When her long running teen drama series came to an end so did the offers. Having been an actress since she was eight years old, at 27 Grey considers herself lucky. She was able to help her mother pay the bills when her dead beat dad disappeared and has been independent ever since. Smart, pretty and possibly a little lonely, Grey has stayed out of the gossip mags and done the hard work. While she eyes a new role that could put her back on the map her feisty publicist feels the directors need a little nudge. She proposes Grey create a fake relationship with an absolute A-lister that has been reclusive for over 5 years and requires a creative come back as well. A decade older, Ethan Atkins was Grey’s teen heartthrob. A poster of this gorgeous hunk hung on her wall fulfilling all her young fantasies. She agrees with the crazy plan. Little did she know sparks would mutually fly, their chemistry off the rom-com charts. When the paparazzi become uncontrollable Grey and Ethan must put down their scripts face actual feelings Hollywood style. The grass is not always greener but it’s a wild ride to read about. Beach reading at it’s best! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, July 22, 2022

One of the Girls

Lexi is getting married to the perfect guy. He is successful, handsome though just a tad bit too controlling. After a decade of dancing professionally and partying hard Lexi is ready to settle down. Her closest friends and future sister-in-law are throwing her a hen party (bachelorette to Americans!) They have arranged an idyllic weekend in the Greek Islands. As soon as the women arrive things start to go wrong. With emotions running high it is clear each of the women are hiding something and one of them won’t make it back to London. I desperately wanted to like this latest book by Lucy Clarke, having loved all her others but this one didn’t fly for me. Didn’t like a single character and the story felt like a retelling of something I’ve already read. ⭐️⭐️

The Displacements

The Larsen-Hall family has relocated from Michigan to Miami, Florida. In a big beautiful house by the bay Daphne is still adjusting to this fanciful life as an artist, a wife and mother of three. Oliver and Mia are in elementary school and Gavin, who should be finishing freshman year at Stanford, is unexpectedly taking a break. Brantley, her pretentious surgeon husband hasn’t been around very much since they arrived. Closely following the news, Daphne is alarmed one morning that a category 6 hurricane, the largest the world has ever seen, changed direction and is heading their way. Quickly arranging the kids, the dog and a few necessities in the minivan they race to pick up Brantley at the hospital only to be told he will meet them in northern Florida as he is in charge of evacuating patients. Panic beginning to simmer along the highway, suffocating traffic and long gas lines, the Larsen-Hall bunch just keep driving. When absolutely nothing works out as planned the family is transported to a FEMA megashelter in Oklahoma with thousands of evacuees, now called IDP’s - Internally Displaced Persons. The days pass slowly, the news out of Miami is devastating. There is no sign of Brantley. As the plot thickens life at Tooley Farms is no picnic. Other residents don’t look like Daphne with her manicured fingers and huge diamond ring. With no choice but to remain in place each member of the Larsen-Hall family quickly learns the hard truth about family and the unethical world they live in. Fast paced novel, like watching a train wreck the reader are unable to turn away. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️