Liv and Nora, cousins from Los Angeles, take their families on a dream cruise for the Christmas holidays. Liv, a successful movie producer, her engineer husband Benjamin, their outspoken 11 year old daughter Penny and son Sebastian are over the top excited. Nora and handsome movie star Raymond (yes, Liv introduced them) bring their introverted son Marcus and 6 year old daughter Junie. The plan is that the parents will get a much needed break from work and household duties and the kids will have entertainment galore. The ship is everything they hoped and they easily fall into a daily routine that suits all their needs. Feeling like its time to finally get off at one of the stops in Central America - Liv organizes an exciting zip line adventure. Little did she know their lives would never be the same again. After an unfortunate succession of bad decisions with unknown consequences the families are separated. The children have disappeared. The families camp out at a hotel while they work with professionals to follow the few clues they have and get their children back safely. The once loving cousins are at each others throats, the wives resent the husbands for having gone to the golf course that day and it is very hard to decipher (in Spanish) who they should trust. WOW! This adrenaline rollercoaster of emotion by Maile Meloy is UNPUTDOWNABLE. Fast paced and filled with suspense and flashes of reality, my heart was racing as I turned each page. It is to a certain extent a mystery but it is also about marriage, parenthood and survival of the fittest in every culture. Highly recommend this #SummerRead. It will keep you on the edge of your beach chair!! Don’t fall in and ruin your kindle!
Sunday, July 23, 2017
Marti Trailor, her husband Elliot and their three children have a beautiful home in the suburbs near Richmond, VA. They live in place where the social scene demands you act, dress and behave a certain way. Marti, like her father, a well known congressman, understands the public eye but definitely beats to her own drum without apology. After surviving the weariness of stay at home mom status for years, Marti is offered a social work job at the same hospital as Elliot, who is a leading OB/GYN in the department. Marti will care for pregnant women who need assistance, some of them not being older than children themselves. Elliot does not seem thrilled about this new position but since his residency ended he has seemed distant and secretive. Marti has been on this rollercoaster with Elliot for years, always hoping the next step would bring the family closer. But Elliot is never home and as she tiptoes around their life as stranger she fears what the future may bring. From the beginning the reader is aware a great tragedy has occurred. Marti is on trial for a crime. The story is told as it flashes back to the envied life everyone thought she was living. As the truth begins to unfold through her best friend who is a stealth reporter, Marti leans more and more on her sweet handsome boss Win and reevaluates everything she once naively believed about her husband and the life they built. Best Intentions brings the reader deep into the hearts of this model family to uncover the truth of marriage, motherhood and friendship. Filled with twists and turns and fabulous characters, I highly recommend this well written suspenseful novel.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
Nancy, Chuck and their teenage twin boys move to Hawaii filled with the hope of starting over. With her marriage on the rocks and the boys growing up, Nancy does not know what kind of life she wants anymore. Chuck’s job transfers smoothly to the Costco in Kona and the boys seamlessly become star players on their high school water polo team. But what about Nancy? With middle age settling in and her body expanding out Nancy decides to try a yoga class. The class and teacher Ana become Nancy’s new mantra. Eat healthy, focus on the moment and thoughtful words of wisdom that become life changing. Her friendship with Nancy is on a fast track. She immediately begins spending all of her time with Ana who is in remission from breast cancer and sees the world through the bright eyes of karmic resolution. She constantly cajoles Nancy into helping her do what she feels are good deeds to keep the bad vibes at bay. Their sister friendship is instantly overwhelmed with need and emotion which Chuck tolerates as he still carries memories of his own guilty affair from San Diego. As Nancy digs deeper into her own psyche, things with Ana become more bizarre and demanding. Nancy becomes leery of the destructive path this has taken and her boys begin to get into trouble as they sense the unrest in their parents marriage. I wouldn’t call this a thriller but definitely a psychological twisted drama. As I loved author Swan Huntley’s first novel We Could Be Beautiful, I am amazed at how completely different but equally well written this new novel is. Love the characters, love the Hawaii setting, highly recommend The Goddesses. Definitely a thumbs up #SummerRead!
Cassie Hugo is an American soldier’s wife. She has survived in Jordan, where Dan is stationed by learning the rules and customs and following them as carefully as possible. Lonely and struggling to get pregnant, Cassie’s marriage is beginning to falter. The couple silently blame each other for everything that is missing from their lives and elusive family. When Margaret Brickshaw arrives she appears to be all that Cassie dreams of. Thin and beautiful, married to a handsome, strapping soldier and carrying a beautiful baby boy named Mather. Cassie is given the job of hosting or introducing Margaret into life in Amman. What initially feels like babysitting morphs into Cassie’s desperate desire to have friendship, companionship and most importantly purpose. But the grass is not always greener. Life in Amman is difficult and the image of Margaret’s happy home is not remotely close to what Cassie has conjured up in her mind. It is not until she mistakenly finds Margaret’s journal that Cassie slowly learns about marriage, loneliness, friendship and the scary truth about herself. Highly recommend this extremely unique, well written glimpse into expat lives living abroad in a war torn region of the world and the solitary walls of loneliness we build to protect ourselves which simultaneously keep everyone away. Written with such in depth clarity that I felt like I was the one surreptitiously reading the journal! Great summer read from a fabulous new author.
Monday, July 10, 2017
When Rupert Falkes dies after being ill for quite some time, his widow Eleanor handles it perfectly. Living the well to do life she was raised for, Eleanor has maintained her friends, social life and close relationships with her five very different sons. When a mysterious woman places claims on the estate for the supposed two sons Rupert secretly fathered, their prestigious Manhattan world is turned upside down. The brothers all handle their father’s death, their inheritance and this new accusation very differently -according to their varied lifestyles and personalities. Their closeness with each other, protection of their beloved mother and their father’s memory clash as the boys’ strive to move on with their lives and keep damages to a minimum. This witty, humorous portrayal of self preservation could not have had better characters. All the money and success in the world cannot stop the bizarre family dynamics found between siblings the world over. Its simply amazing how we create our own unique memories even when they were shared. Absolutely loved and highly recommend this well written, smart, new novel that is the perfect easy beach read to take you away. Look forward to reading more from this wonderful author Susan Rieger.
Saturday, July 8, 2017
In 1991 Anton, a ten year old boy, is left alone in a stifling hot apartment and his drug addicted mother does not return. On the seventh day, hot, hungry and scared Anton breaks a window to escape and search for his mother to bring her home to safety. He is temporarily placed in foster care with the Colemans. His mother Juanita is given the maximum of 3 years, which turns into a sentence of a lifetime. The Colemans can offer Anton a life he had never imagined; beautiful home in an exclusive neighborhood, top rated schools with college in his future and all the attention a ten year old boy needs in a eerily quiet home that thought it would never hear laughter again. The Colemans have their own past, their own secrets and although they begin this journey with the best intentions, Antons future is wrapped up in their past. It is many years later when his success exceeds even his wildest dreams that Anton learns the meaning of these simple words: truth, love, mother and father. Author Thrity Umrigar has beautifully painted a picture of an incredible journey that will tear out every one of your heartstrings. This novel is full of characters you will be thinking about long after the last page is turned. Highly recommend this unputdownable summer read. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE!
Friday, July 7, 2017
Katie Nelson was always very close with her kind, loving stamp collecting father. Now she sadly awaits the day that he will not recognize his only child as his memory fades away in a nearby nursing home. When Katie discovers his cherished collection, she brings it to Benjamin, a local stamp expert. Together, Katie and Benjamin are determined to learn the history behind a mysterious stamp on an unopened letter from WWII era, found amongst the many stamps her father collected. Each step of their journey brings them closer to the history of this famous stamp engraver, his apprentice Kristoff and his disappearance during Kristallnacht. The story is narrated between two voices from two very different times - Katie in 1989 and Kristoff in 1938. This magnificent story comes alive with love, friendship and decisions that will change their lives forever. Author Jillian Cantor grabs the reader in the first chapter and does not let go. Filled with small love stories, the terror of WWII, a lesson on philately and even a mystery to solve. This is the perfect summer read to take you away on a journey you will not soon forget. Highly recommend this fabulous new read!