Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fix Her Up


Georgette Castle is a clown. Seriously, she has a professional clown business and makes a decent living. Her family runs a renovation company in town where her brother bosses everyone around and her sister handles the interior design. Always the baby of the family, neither her parents nor her siblings seem to have much faith in her natural talents which make children smile and put parents at ease. Her brother’s best friend Travis comes back to town as his professional baseball career plummets. He needs a break and some privacy. Georgie’s lifelong crush has returned and “the silly younger sister” is finally grown up and has the curves to prove it. She may be the only one who can talk some sense into Travis as he is haunted by a not-so-perfect childhood and the unknown future. Quick adorable read as Georgie makes over her home and herself to get the attention she deserves!

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen


Rose Wallace religiously follows everything and anything Jane Austen. Having spent her entire life in Bath, every choice she makes and plans she devises revolve around the annual festival and fun she will have with her Janeite friends. When her best pen pal Morgan, travels across the pond to attend, Rose could not be happier. After assisting the very handsome Dr. Aiden Trevellyan with his lecture Rose is ready to enjoy her week off work and let the festivities begin. What she can’t help noticing is the woman upstairs named Jenny, who dresses and speaks meticulously in the Regency era. Who would ever believe that she is the real Jane Austen, appearing through time travel devices of a magical necklace? Who would dream that after their meeting Rose could become trapped with her in an alternate world where Jane has never been published and Mr. Darcy does not exist? Rose needs to find a way back to her world and life filled with her beloved novels. Fan fiction, fun fiction, paradies. Call it whatever you like, if you love Jane Austen then you can never get enough! 

This Is Not How It Ends


Charlotte Myers has an unexpected seatmate on her flight back to Kansas City. This pretty, small town school teacher is immediately entranced by Philip’s charm, good looks and irresistibly sexy British accent. More worldly and generous than anyone she has ever known, she is swept off her feet - all the way to Islamorada in the Florida Keys. Philip’s constant business trips leave Charlotte lonely with a little bit too much time to contemplate her future. The ring placed firmly on her finger may not represent the life she was once certain of. As mother nature tempts the couples resilience with a hurricane, a handsome chef tests Charlotte’s desires and it is the calm after the storm that slowly tears her apart. Have the tissues ready, this heartbreakingly beautiful story is sure to be the romance of the year. Releases January 1, 2020.

Find A Way


Diana Nyad was swimming throughout her tumultuous childhood and adolescence. Her unwavering commitment and mantra “Never, ever give up” drove her to become a world champion swimmer in her twenties, and a household name when she set a record swim around Manhattan Island. After retiring, she enjoyed success as a popular sports broadcaster and motivational speaker. Thirty years later, at sixty, Diana Nyad shockingly reentered the competitive swimming world with one goal in mind; an ocean swim from Havana to Key West, 111 tortuous jelly-fish, shark infested miles never done before without aid of a shark cage. Her unending determination to realize The Dream and overcome deeply buried pain from past physical and emotional abuse, took Diana on the ultimate race of her life. Unputdownable memoir of courage, faith and friendship.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

American Royals


What if when America won the Revolutionary War instead of George Washington becoming our first President, he became our first King? Imagine if our entire American history became based on a monarchy? Author Katharine McGee has done just that. 230 years later, Princess Beatrice, the eldest of the Washington children, has been groomed her entire life for the throne and America prepares for their first female monarch. Her father, the King, wants her to marry quickly and she is handed a short list of contenders but no-one knows that Beatrice’s heart is already taken. Her sister, Princess Samantha has a crush she must keep hidden and her twin brother Prince Jefferson is a handsome rule breaker that every girl in the country wants to snag or shag. Throw in a couple of friends and frenemies and this fast paced romantic history lesson is the most fun, clever story I have read in a long time!

And Now There's You


Leila Brandt is a woman in her mid-fifties, living in the Philadelphia suburbs and passionate about her interior design business. With a picture perfect model home and successful daughter living around the corner one would assume Leila couldn’t ask for more. But they would be wrong. For the last five years, since the untimely death of her husband Leila has done everything possible to keep her loneliness at bay and let her predictable routine pass the time away. When she begins a project with local architect Ayden Doyle, the comfort Leila found in the mundane starts to fade. Feelings carefully hidden begin to surface and Leila finds herself opening her heart to the idea of new love. In theory I like the premise of this story filled with hope and second chances - but the painfully tedious, stilted language, immature relationships and excessive details of decor was just too much for me. Easy read but I wanted so much more from this story.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Layover


Joshua Fields is a handsome twenty-something, diligently working with his father in a thriving commercial real estate business. He travels frequently, enjoys his on again - off again girlfriend and up until now his life seemed pretty predictable. While waiting for a flight to Tampa, Joshua bumps into a lovely woman in the gift shop. At the airport bar he buys her a drink. They chat, have instant chemistry and she passionately kisses him goodbye. And just as quickly as the beautiful Morgan appears in his life, she is gone. Moments later still thrumming from the kiss, Joshua glances at a television screen and glimpses Morgan’s face on a missing persons alert. He calls the police and dives into a twisted mystery he must slowly unravel to save this damsel in distress. It appears Joshua is the handsome knight determined to rescue the girl - unless of course the damsel turns out to be the danger. Fasten your seat belts because this fast paced, suspenseful novel is now boarding!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Our New Normal


Hazel is a lovely, smart, typical 16 year old girl living in Maine. And then she gets pregnant. It is not in spite of - but because of  - her intelligence and warmth that she insists she will figure out a way to raise this baby, that she and Tyler are in truly in love. The Ridgley family is turned upside down. The natural order of things would have her mom, Liv, take care of the baby while Hazel finishes high school and continues her education to become the doctor she always dreamed of. But Liv just packed her son off to college and is finally going start the renovation business she has spent years planning. She loves her family, cares for her aging parents but she doesn’t want to start over again. This intense pressure put on every family member is a realistic look at each of our roles and how one persons decision affects them all. Can we change without disappointing the ones we love? Are we, as moms, daughters, sisters, wives allowed to choose ourselves? Highly recommend this thoughtful, well written novel. Would be an excellent book club discussion!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Remind Me What Happened


Claire, a globe trotting journalist, wakes up in a hospital in the Florida Keys. She does not know how she arrived. Oddly, Claire remembers specific events as a child, her parents lives and even her grandparents, all long gone. But yesterday, last month, last year - absolutely nothing. Her passport reveals she has recently arrived via India and doctors confirm the swelling surrounding her brain was caused by Japanese Encephalitis. A virus caused by a mosquito bite, there is no cure. As she heals, her memory may slowly return. Her husband Charlie and best friend Rachel help put together the puzzle that is her life. Steering Claire through photographs and stories, buried secrets of love and regret come bubbling to the surface. Are these their memories or hers? Narrated by three different perspectives we go along on an emotional roller coaster of time, curiously examining the value and beauty of our precious past.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Idea of You


Solene Marchand, a sophisticated art gallery owner in Los Angeles takes her daughter and a few friends to see a boy band called “August Moon” in Vegas. Her ex-husband won the tickets at an auction but at the last moment is too busy with his girlfriend and work to take the girls himself. From the moment they land everywhere they turn is a loud, packed venue of hysterical young girls. When they have the opportunity to meet the band behind the scenes, Solene leans off to the side, allowing the fans their moment in the spotlight. She unexpectedly catches the eye of the lead singer Hayes. He is handsome and sexy and - OMG - she could be his mother, why is this young man staring at her! After a ridiculous phone number exchange, a supposedly innocent lunch turns into a roller coaster ride hotter than fifty shades. In addition to being famous around the globe, Hayes is sweet and smart and considerate. He is also only twenty. But chemistry is a funny thing, and as Solene rediscovers passion, excitement and happiness, she realizes how lonely she has been since her divorce. The problem is; what will the rest of the world think? What will her daughter think? This was an unexpected little treat that I stumbled upon and COULD NOT PUT DOWN. Well written, fun and totally sexy read will surprise even the harshest critics. Beach reads don’t get better than this!

Very Nice


Rachel Klein is a fairly plain girl from a wealthy Connecticut family. Her investment banker father recently left her mother Becca for a much younger woman named Mandy. Nineteen year old Rachel goes home for summer break to work in a local camp and brings along her writing professor’s dog whom she promised to look after. Rachel has an obsessive crush on the handsome professor, Zahid, a writer suffering from his enormous ego. The professor bizarrely moves in with the family and begins an affair with Becca. The woman he sublet his apartment to is the father’s assistant. And so on. And so on. Each chapter is more confusing than the last. What started out as a quirky, funny story went downhill fast as the author brought in extraneous characters desperately trying to weave together seven degrees of separation. Sorry folks, I wish I had better news to report but this one was not a winner for me.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Meet Me in Monaco


Sophie Duval is a beautiful and elegant perfumer in the south of France. She has taken over her beloved father’s business after the war. As Sophie struggles with business debt, a drunken spiteful mother and manipulating boyfriend, she serendipitously meets none other than Grace Kelly. Chased by the paparazzi into Sophie’s boutique in Cannes, the two women strike up an unexpectedly sweet friendship. When Miss Kelly sets the date to marry Prince Rainier, Sophie is given the opportunity to design the perfect wedding fragrance and turn her business around. In another twist of fate the handsome English photographer that did the chasing, James Henderson, enters Sophie’s life and strengthens her resolve to fight for her perfume and believe in herself. Filled with pages of the beautiful lavender fields in Grasse, the complicated art of perfumery and the magnificent wedding detail of American actress Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco, this novel is a delightful traipse through time. TIP: Story feels a bit contrived and haphazardly ends but it is lovely if you are a francophile and/or Grace Kelly fan.

We Are All Good People Here


Eva and Daniella meet as roommates at Belmont College in the fall of 1962. Daniella grew up in Georgetown and Eva, Atlanta. Both beautiful and smart they quickly realize they see the world through distinctly different glasses. While they are busy pledging sorority on their pampered little campus, other college students are risking their lives to fight injustice and the right to vote. After freshman year the girls transfer to Columbia, in NYC, where Daniella feels they can change the world and break out of this privileged cocoon. It is surprisingly  southern belle Eva that leans towards an extremely radical group and gets mixed up in a web of freedom fighters that turn her life upside down. Across thirty years we watch Eva and Daniella hold on desperately to their thread of friendship; through marriage and parenting, women’s lib, racism and just about anything else the author could manage to throw in the pot. This story starts strong with a college bond that is memorable and relatable and then it is strewn in a thousand different directions. After following the maze and (too) many years of characters, I was exhausted and after admitting I never liked either one of them very much to begin with, just wanted this rollercoaster to end. Sorry folks, it may have the coolest cover ever but this read did not work for me.

Monday, August 12, 2019

All the Flowers in Paris

It is a beautiful spring day when Caroline awakens in a Paris hospital. Lucky to be alive after a horrible bike accident, Caroline is filled with fear when she realizes she neither knows her name, where she lives, or that the year is 2009. Hoping her brain heals quickly, all she can really do is begin to put the pieces of her life back together again. Grateful for the smallest daily pleasures, Caroline sadly learns she had no friends or close family, she lived a reclusive bitter existence. Beginning to enjoy a newfound friendship with the handsome owner of the local bistro, Caroline is not sure she wants to return to her old life and the loneliness that lived there. With the serendipitous discovery of letters hidden in her apartment from another time, she has different puzzle to put together. Caroline learns that while the Nazi’s occupied Paris the lovely widow Celine, her daughter Cosi and her father lived in the very same apartment. They ran an exclusive florist shop until an evil officer became overly enamored with Celine and threatened everything the small family treasured. As Caroline confronts her own past and present, she learns that love, beauty and even people can withstand the test of time. New beginnings are possible if you plant the seeds and give them a chance to bloom. Highly recommend this enjoyable, well written novel from bestselling author Sarah Jio. If you’ve got time for one more summer read, this is it!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Art of Racing in the Rain


A semi-professional race car driver named Denny Swift adopts a terrier/lab, the pick of the litter, and names him Enzo. From the beginning Enzo has his favorite television show (Speedchannel) and favorite food (pancakes). He listens carefully, learns quickly and believes he is just one step away from being reincarnated as a human man in his next life. After Denny’s wife Eve gets sick, his world comes crashing down and it is his faithful companion who teaches his master how to stay on track and win the race. Perfectly narrated by Enzo himself - you will be mesmerized by this laugh out loud and deeply meaningful look at life’s beauty and sadness from a wholly different perspective. With Enzo’s voice as Kevin Costner (too perfect!) the story comes alive on August 9th!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Nickel Boys


Elwood Curtis, raised by his loving grandmother, spends his days sweeping the floor at the cigar shop and getting straight A’s at school. It is the early 1960’s in Tallahassee, Florida and as Elwood plays the speeches of Martin Luther King over and over again on the turntable, he dreams of college and a brighter future for all. He is raised on good manners, kindness and hope. Sadly, on the first day of a college class that he has proudly gained entrance, Elwood is detained and mistakenly sent to a juvenile detention center called The Nickel Academy. With no means to fight this archaic system filled with prejudice and a sadistic self serving staff, Elwood and his only friend Turner, struggle to survive and plan their escape. These boys are beaten, raped, lied to and stolen from. Most boys barely survive and those who do not are labeled as run-aways. Based on an actual reform school called Dozier, which closed in 2011, University of South Florida archaeology students have discovered remains of many bodies mysteriously buried nearby and evidence of the brutality that made up this “school” for boys. This well written, painful look at America’s past (and present) is another novel by author Colson Whitehead that simply cannot be missed.