London is the surfer chick of the group and Luke has always been quite the player. Number 4 of the Wild series and the last of the couples to ignite their romance, it is no less intriguing to watch this pair find out that more than just flirting can set your heart on fire. Once again Christina Lauren captures our imagination, narrating from both Luke and London’s point of view with this sexy finale to a wonderful series.
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Dark Wild Night
Lola has always wanted Oliver and Oliver has incessantly fantasized about Lola, thats why their Vegas non-hookup was pretty hard to swallow. This sexy Aussie opens a comic book shop just minutes away from Lola’s studio where she writes her graphic novels and is happy being a closet geek. Even though Lola pretty much keeps to herself, unless her friends drag her down to the local pub, she cannot stop wondering if he feels the same way. As their friendship gets closer, they can no longer ignore the sparks that are flying. #3 in the Wild Series. Remember folks, these are one sitting reads, super fun and great in between the heavier stuff.
From the best selling authors Christina Lauren, this is number two in the Wild Series. Harlow and Finn, another pair in the ‘went crazy in Vegas’ group, pair off for a wild romance. The California girl, confident daughter of a famous wealthy producer and the off the grid hot fisherman find out they have more in common than they realized. Figuring out friendships and futures, this duo entertains once again.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Sarah Harper has a full busy life in New York. When she loses her job and her world comes crumbling down she travels home to Texas to see her sister Mackie. Mackie is happily married with a beautiful home but what she wants more than anything is a baby and unfortunately that is not going to happen. Sarah decides the once in a lifetime gift she can give her loving sister is to become a gestational carrier. Pregnant with swollen feet and hormones raging Sarah becomes fidgety in her new role. With days moving excruciatingly slowly, it is certainly not the ideal time to become reacquainted with her old high school flame Everett. Sarah is genuinely happy to help her sister but at the same time she must figure out her own complicated future. Delightful characters fill this small town story. Katherine Center’s easy writing style brings humor and tenderness to this heartfelt story.
A new character takes center stage in the Beautiful series. We always new Will worked with heart throb Max but haven’t learned too much about him. Will is one of the group and making his way through New York one night stand at a time. He is good looking, smart and has no intention of settling down like his friends have recently done. While his buddies continue to poke him about his male prowess, an old college friend asks him for a favor. Jensen’s brilliant youngest sister is doing her PhD at Columbia and needs a little prompting to get out of the lab and into the social scene. Will remembers her as a sweet quiet 12 year old. Well, needless to say the 24 year old beauty that enters his life is no chemistry major wall flower. An MIT grad, funny and sweet and sexy, inexperienced Hanna has never had a serious relationship. She wants Will to give her dating lessons. Let’s just say she is an excellent student.
Bennett and Chloe have finally gotten engaged and this mini read is the guys big Vegas weekend. Filled with fun, and all things naughty, the players escape to celebrate and the girls manage to surprise them anyway. What happens in Vegas …
Chloe and Bennett have successfully established their New York office and are working night and day. Since the romantic duo never seem to take a break, Bennett borrows Max’s French villa to surprise Chloe with a magical romantic vacation. This one is more like a mini book. Less than half the size of a standard but just as much fun.
#2 in Beautiful series by Christina Lauren. Max is an old college mate of Bennett’s. He is British, handsome and known as quite the player in NYC. When Chloe and Bennett open up the firm’s New York office they bring along Sara, a friend of Chloe’s and member of their finance team. This bright, gorgeous girl has just escaped a nightmare long term relationship with a politician that was as crooked as they come, especially with the ladies. Sara and Max inadvertently meet and although Sara is very skeptical about finding a guy who can give her what she needs, bad boy Max is starting to surprise them all. Another sexy romp by authors Christina Lauren. These quick quick easy reads are like a little dessert without the calories.
Hard working, beautiful, and driven, intern Chloe Mills sees only one obstacle in her future, her boss. When Bennett Ryan joins the family firm in Chicago, Chloe is thrown for a loop. She knows she does her job better than anyone else in the department and is on track for her MBA until this difficult, obstinate man is placed as her new boss. Bennett and Chloe are immediately at each others throats, arguing constantly with an underlying sexual tension that neither of them can ignore. Chloe knows hooking up with your boss breaks all the rules. Bennett is accustomed to women falling at his feet. What will it take for these two to learn to get along? Enjoyed this push and pull and push some more romance novel by my fave authors Christina Lauren. This is the first in the Beautiful series. It’s a fun, quick, hot read and if you like it, you are in luck because there are 9 more to follow.
Maggie Carpenter returns to London after a long quiet summer missing Samir. Having ended in a night of bliss, Maggie can only hope that Samir feels the same way. When the gang of friends is together again Maggie immediately feels the intense pull towards her beautiful crush. Samir knows the truth, it is his senior year. His family expects him to graduate, marry the “right” person that has already been chosen and begin his political career with his father in the middle east. The two try hard to remain friends but it is impossible to ignore their hearts. The countdown is on. Wonderful sequel to I See London. Another delicious romance novel by author Chanel Cleeton. She has an easy enjoyable way of writing. You know it’s a good read when you don’t want the story to end.
Alice is a middle-aged woman hitting that all too typical hum drum wall. Kids almost grown and flown, husband works a lot, seems distracted, haven’t had sex in awhile. Icing on the cake Alice is almost the age that her mother was when she passed away, which has been the sore spot in her heart through all these years. When Alice receives an email inviting her to join a research project and get paid to answer questions, she is all in. Alice becomes Wife 22 and Wife 22 takes on a life of her own. She answers thoughtfully and sometimes provocatively. Alice begins an online friendship with her researcher. They seem to really click and she feels she can be more honest about her life and herself than she has been for years. By analyzing her past Alice begins to get a clear picture of what she wants for her future. I thoroughly enjoyed this laugh out loud portrait of a spirited middle aged woman who is not afraid to face the truth and wants to live her life to the fullest. Debut novel, dragged a tiny bit at the end - (but I MUST comment, it did not stop me from reading this author’s next novel called Valley of the Moon, which I devoured and gave 5 stars) Definitely recommend Wife 22 for a fun easy read.
Friday, December 28, 2018
Bookshop of Yesterdays
Miranda unexpectedly inherits her Uncle Billy’s infamous Los Angeles book shop. Having escaped to the east coast to venture out on her own, Miranda must temporarily leave her boyfriend and fly back to California to face the untimely death of her estranged uncle and the childhood memories of precious time spent with him at his shop. As days turn into weeks and then the entire summer, Miranda immerses herself into saving the unstable store that can barely manage its week to week obligations. An unlikely relationship begins with the current manager who is both hiding his attraction to Miranda and her uncles’s secrets that she is desperately trying to uncover. Whats not to love about books, literary references and owning an adorable dream worthy bookshop? Excellent characters and storyline, even the long winded ending (common with a debut novel) would not stop me from recommending this love letter to all things books.
Holland Bakker travels the same path every day to work at the theater with her uncle. She is drawn over and over again to the beautiful music played by a street musician on her way to the subway. To make matters worse, he is gorgeous and when she finally speaks to him, his lilting Irish accent knocks her off her feet. This silent crush becomes a small obsession and Holland is dying to find out more about this curious heart throb. When her uncle needs a new musician for the show Holland discovers a way to help Calvin, both with his career and apparently his green card. I loved this absolutely adorable rom-com filled with the bright lights of Broadway and young love. Happy, easy, fun read. Another winner by my favorite, Christina Lauren.
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Tell Me Lies
Lucy is just starting college in a small town in California. Tolerating a horrible relationship with her mother, Lucy left her Long Island NY home and traveled as far as she could to start her new life. As a freshman Lucy quickly makes some friends and then next step, search for the cute guys. Lucy meets Stephen DeMarco. One of those popular guys that derives his greatness from his self absorbed confidence. He is not that cute, or that smart, but from the beginning he makes Lucy feel like she should be honored to have his attention at all. In addition to his deceptive persona, Stephen is a master of manipulation. Half his pleasure is derived from knowing Lucy is waiting for him, always. This exhausting cat and mouse chase is not thrilling as the marketing blurbs tell us. I found it pathetic. I bet, sadly, there are plenty of Lucy and Stephen couples in the world but there is nothing sexy about a psychopath.
The Lost Husband
Libby Moran lives with her self-centered mother and two young children. It is not easy. Her mother loves them but complains incessantly, manipulates everyone and concerns herself with shades of lipstick over life lessons. Libby receives an unexpected letter from her aunt. Jean is her mother’s sister, and although Libby has never met her, Jean has offered Libby an escape she cannot refuse. Even though she is a bundle of nerves to begin this new journey, Jean has invited Libby and her children to come live and work on her farm. It is the perfect opportunity to give Libby a fresh start. Since her husbands unexpected accident life has been a series of disappointments and Libby imagines a simpler country life with family and pies cooling in the kitchen. It’s a chance to learn new things and solve the family secrets that her mother has kept hidden all these years. Fabulous story of family, motherhood and finding happiness in the most unlikely places. Currently being filmed and will star Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel. Pick up a copy of this sweet novel before it comes out!
I See London
Maggie is starting college in London. Raised by her grandparents in small town South Carolina, Maggie hasn’t seen much of the world. She did not get into Harvard, her father hasn’t called in months and her mother has been MIA since she was a young girl. Maggie is ready for her dreams to unfold, meet new people, experiences, maybe even love. She quickly becomes friends with Samir. He is worldly, wealthy and speaks many languages. They have virtually nothing in common. And yet they are drawn to each other over and over again. Samir is the first person she can be completely honest with. He becomes her first of many firsts. After realizing author Chanel Cleeton (Next Year in Havana) had another life as a romance writer, I had to check it out. This quick, easy, adorable read reminded me of traveling, college and first loves. Always a nice break from the heavies, this was an absolute pleasure and I look forward to checking out the rest of her series.
All We Ever Wanted
Nina is living the elite life in Nashville. With her only son about to go off to Princeton, she has dove into the world of philanthropy, tennis and lunches at the club. The sale of her husband’s company has shot them into the fast lane and Nina is trying her best to keep up with the crowd. Spending her evening in a ball gown at another boring event, Nina is confronted in the ladies room by her jealous nemesis and shown a photo that will change her life forever. Her son Finch, although spoiled through and through, has always been an excellent student and polite young man. Until now. Something has happened with a girl from school named Lyla and Finch is in trouble. Nina, who was preparing for the empty nest and patting herself on the back for a job well done is confronted with the horror that she may not know her son at all. As she tries to get to the bottom of this twisted situation, Nina becomes friendly with Tom, Lylas’s single father, and with every passing day she realizes her life is built on lies and manipulations. Nina desperately wants to discover the truth about her son and herself. Highly recommend this well written, fast paced family drama. Frankly it was better and more original than I expected and another - - get your head out of the sand - lesson for parents. Well done Emily Giffin.
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Anne Frank is 16. She has survived the concentration camps and returned to Amsterdam, where she reunites with her father Pim and learns they are the only two from the annex that have survived. This imagined alternate world where Anne Frank lives to go back home and retrieve the infamous diary has left my head spinning. The what if’s do not seem wasteful, they are thought provoking alternatives analyzing the depth of anger, forgiveness, and guilt that survivors struggle with for their entire lives. Forgiveness may seem impossible but is also necessary to be free. As a child I read The Diary of Anne Frank over and over again. As an adult I continue reading these reimagined novels focusing what could have been, what may have happened. It may not always be pleasant to revisit such a painful story but it is sometimes necessary. In some way we are still feeding this desire to understand how this atrocity happened and never forget those we lost. Excellent author, well researched and a truly touching story.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
The Life She Was Given
In 1931 Lilly Blackwood is marched by her mother over to the circus grounds late one night. She is sold to Merrick who runs the freak sideshows. She is ten years old and this is the first time she has ever left the attic where she is locked because she is different. In her bitter mother’s eye’s her existence is a punishment from God. She performs in many sideshows but her real talent lies in her unique communication and way with animals, especially the elephants. Twenty years later, 19 year old Julia is found waiting tables in a small greasy diner. After running away from home a few years prior, she has been tracked down by a detective. Her mother has passed away and Blackwood Farms now belongs to her. Even though her fears and memories of her family home is anything but pleasant, Julia returns to the manor where she discovers her deep love of the horses raised there and the hidden attic secrets that will change her life forever. I read this novel for book club and look forward to the upcoming discussion. Although the storyline is unique, I found the writing repetitive and dragging. Not much interest in the extensive circus description.
Monday, December 17, 2018
Things You Save in a Fire
Cassie is the only female firefighter in her Austin firehouse. And she is a super star. Cassie is fearless, smart and a natural born leader. As she is climbing the ranks for promotion, her very distant mother calls with a dire emergency. She is having health issues and needs Cassie to abandon everything she has worked for and come help her in Massachusetts. It is the last thing in the world Cassie wants to do and the only thing she can do. She finds a job with a small, old fashioned fire station. They never had a “lady” fire fighter. Cassie does everything in her power to show them all how hard she can work. But the one thing she would never ever allow may be her downfall. The rookie she is training, the same one who may steal her position away is melting her heart. No matter how hard she tries to avoid him; where there’s a spark, there’s a flame. Loved this absolutely adorable, delicious, unputdownable story about family, friendship, love and most interestingly - firefighting. Author Katherine Center is a wonderful writer. As I near the ending of her books I find myself slowing down, not wanting to turn that last page because then it will sadly be over. Thanks for the early read Netgalley! This one is a winner.
Nine Perfect Strangers
Nine people gather at an exclusive health resort for a ten day retreat of wellness. This diverse little group includes an ex-rugby star, a once popular author on the verge of obscurity, an insecure divorcee, mom dad and teenager threesome hiding a terrible tragedy and a young wealthy couple too young and beautiful to possibly have any problems. This quirky group converge in paradise for extreme measures of clean eating, exercise, meditation and therapy. The catch is the bizarre founder of the resort who leads her guests through some very unconventional methods that morph into real danger. A little bit funny but lacking any real direction, this latest novel by one of my favorite authors was not what I expected. Too many annoying characters and a weak storyline covered up with insane behavior to try and catch the reader’s attention. Unfortunately, it just all seemed silly and messy. Maybe we expect too much from author’s coming off of a huge hit. Maybe they are rushed to get the next one out. I don’t know but this one just didn’t work for me.
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Valley of the Moon
After Lux fled her childhood home and strict parents on the east coast she unexpectedly became pregnant. Now as a young single mom in the 1970’s, she lives in San Francisco with her son and best friend. Lux spends long days waiting tables and dreaming of a better future. When her 5 year old goes to visit grandma for the first time, Lux goes on a small camping trip in Sonoma Valley. She stumbles through the fog and finds a small farming community. She feels an immediate and meaningful connection to Joseph, the community leader, his wife, sister and many others as she shares a meal and tours their beautiful farm. A peaceful feeling lingers in the fragrant air and beauty is found at every turn. The catch is this community is from the past. Time has all but stopped for them since the huge earthquake that occurred in 1906. Lux spends decades traveling back and forth between two worlds. One where her son is everything and the other where she feels truly at home. I could not put down this incredible novel by Melanie Gideon. Filled with history, family, romance and friendship, and of course time travel, which I love! You will be thinking of these characters long after the last page.
Saturday, December 15, 2018
My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Nearly 30 years old, Millie has best friends for the first time in her life. Growing up, Millie kept mostly to herself, she lost her mother at a young age and never really dug in deep when it came to emotional issues. Alex, Ed, Reid and Chris work with Millie at UCSB. They are all young, intelligent, up and coming professors - and just a little bit nerdy. They don’t date much and tend to spend their off time playing Monopoly and drinking beer together. Millie is one of the guys and although they all joke, protect and love her like a sister, Reid is the one she is closest with. For two years he has been her confidant and her companion on a daily basis. One day, a little drunk, what started out joking around turned into a night of passion that neither Reid nor Millie ever expected. This laugh out loud, clever rom-com, brings you into the heart of true friendship and complications of the online world filled with apps for modern dating. Fabulous characters, easy, delicious romance. Another hit by Christina Lauren, don’t miss this enjoyable read.
Friday, December 14, 2018
Beck is in high school. He is smart, handsome and a football superstar about to graduate and most likely go to Notre Dame. Beck’s home life has been difficult the last year when his father was killed in a tragic accident. His mom has fallen apart, she neglected her job and has all but forgotten his younger siblings. Beck has pitched in to help out and take care of them whenever he can, but anxiety is mounting as he realizes his college plans may be put on hold. Beck smokes pot occasionally. As an athlete he has never been a fan but lately it is the only thing that calms his nerves. A friend offers him H - which is a pill form of low dose heroin. This is the beginning of the end for Beck, as he finds a place where the guilt, pain and burden that consumes him are lifted in a cloud of drug induced peace. When his drug use spirals horrifyingly quickly out of control he disappears into a world he never knew existed. His mom, siblings and beautiful girlfriend are devastated by this indescribable destruction. This book of fiction was beautifully and well written by author Courtney Cole who shares some of her own experiences at the end of the story. In a manner much like Beautiful Boy by David Sheff, this novel shredded my heart. The reality of addiction and strength of these harsh elements are hard to read about but necessary to understand. This should be mandatory reading.
Tom Fitzwilliam is the headmaster of the local school. Handsome, charming, intelligent. Maybe a bit too sweet with the teenaged girls he mentors. He lives with his wife, a passionate runner, younger, always seems a little bit off and their son who methodically observes the neighborhood with binoculars from his perch at the top of their home. Joey, a late twenties misfit has a crush on Tom. She lives across the way with her perfect heart surgeon brother, his mysterious wife and her unsuspicious husband Alfie. Jenna is a student who lives nearby with a psychotic mother who believes she is being gang stalked and Tom is the notorious leader. These characters converge on a mission to figure out Tom’s mysterious past and his wife’s deceptions. With many twists and turns author Lisa Jewel takes us on a suspenseful journey with shocking surprises and quite a cast. Highly recommend this new one if you are in the mood for a mild psycho thriller that is enjoyable and easy to read.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
The Only Woman in the Room
Hedwig Kiesler was an Austrian born beauty that most people remember as Hedy Lamarr, the glamorous Hollywood movie star from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Talented, beautiful, exotic and married six times - her intelligence was not the first thing one might have noticed. But Hedy was brilliant, observant and possessed a confidence that quickly catapulted her to stardom. She was a powerful woman at a time when women were often put in their place on the arm of an important man. The Only Woman in the Room shares the story of Hedy’s life from her early days as a young stage actress in Vienna, to dinners she shared with Nazi’s and her first husband Fritz who manufactured weapons and played both sides of a very dangerous game. Later, Hedy made her escape to Hollywood and fulfilled her self imposed penance with inventions that could change the war and the world. Another fabulous work of historical fiction by author Marie Benedict, who brings these female figures to life. Highly recommend this incredible new page turner!
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
One Day In December
Most of us don’t know if we believe in love at first sight but when Laurie glances at Jack through a bus window their eyes meet. Being young and adventurous she is tempted to race off and introduce herself to this handsome young man. But as the bus pulls away she too quickly loses her chance. Finding this man becomes a joke between Laurie and her best friend Sarah, looking down alleyways and around crowded pubs. Until one day Sarah beings home her new beau for Laurie to meet. And in walks Jack. For the ten years that follow secrets of the heart painfully twist and turn while time marches on. That snowy day in December changes their lives forever. This enjoyable rom com was absolutely adorable. It’s a tad long on the ending and becomes a little repetitive but definitely fun chick lit for the holidays.
Next Year in Havana
The year is 1958 and Elisa Perez, one of the many beautiful Perez sisters, has fallen deeply in love. This beautiful man she innocently met at a party is older, he is not part of the wealthy society set of the Perez family and he is a revolutionary, working secretly to oust Batista and give the Cuban people the freedom and equality they deserve. Fifty nine years later her granddaughter Marisol visits Cuba for the very first time. She has come from Miami as a journalist but also to grant her precious grandmother’s last wish and spread her ashes in the country she was born. As Marisol discovers both the secrets and dreams Elisa kept hidden for decades, she also meets a man who will open her heart to discover more about her family, her heritage and herself than she could have ever imagined. This wonderfully written family saga describes unimaginable love and loss for an island where millions of people struggle for the past and their unknown future. Highly recommend and looking forward to reading author Chanel Cleeton’s upcoming novel (2019) When We left Cuba.
Friday, November 30, 2018
From the Corner of the Oval
Beck Dorey-Stein attended Wesleyan University and like so many shiny new graduates the after life became a little daunting. After bouncing from one job to the next, mostly teaching, she found an opportunity on Craigslist, (of all of places!) and with a sort of Jack of all trades, master of none attitude, accepted the position and spent 5 years as a White House stenographer. At the time Dorey didn’t quite understand what the job entailed but when she stepped onto Air Force One to travel with the elite team, the actual inner circle of President Obama, she left all her questions on the tarmac and got to work. Through new friendships, sleepless nights, trips around the entire world with the people who ran it and even an unlikely romance, Dorey’s memoir is absolutely unputdownable. Dreaming for a moment, (I wish this was me!), thinking of the young people I know searching for a meaningful job, and all the while kvelling over the love and admiration this entire team had for Barack Obama. This memoir is funny, interesting and written with so much heart. Highly recommend this fabulous read and so grateful Dorey found her voice and shared her incredible experience with us.
Thursday, November 1, 2018
Another Woman's Husband
Rachel’s boyfriend takes her on a whirlwind romantic getaway to Paris. It is everything she has dreamed of as they plan their future and imagine what their lives will be like. As they are heading to the airport they witness a horrible accident in the tunnel. It is none other than Princess Diana. Rachel’s boyfriend becomes obsessed producing a documentary of Diana’s life, Rachel happens to have a client who grew up with Diana. As words are twisted and secrets revealed, the tragedy that rocked 1997 becomes unexpectedly entwined in their simple lives and almost tears them apart. Flashing back to the early 1900’s is portrayed the friendship of Mary Kirk and Wallis Simpson, later known as the Duchess of Windsor, an American socialite whose marriage to the British King Edward VIII caused a crisis that led to Edward's abdication. This work of historical fiction is both real and imagined: the lives of these strong, brave women that fought for independence, friendship and love, the connection to Princess Diana and Rachel, an average girl with a vintage clothing shop in London. Absolutely loved this fabulous page turner and I am equally excited to have found author Gill Paul, another British author to add to my list of favorites. Highly recommend this terrific read.
Monday, October 15, 2018
A Spark of Light
A group of people are taken hostage at an abortion clinic in rural Mississippi. Detective Hugh McElroy is the lead negotiator when he surprised to discover that his sister Bex and daughter Wren are inside. Each hostage has a different background, a different story. A nurse who is pregnant and hasn’t told her boyfriend, a lonely waitress from an airport bar, and Bex who is accompanying her niece Wren to get birth control for the very first time - to name a few. The story is told counting the hours backward to uncover how each person found themselves in this terrifying position facing an unbalanced man carrying a fierce vengeance. Jodi Picoult’s novels normally flow easily and often touch on significant events of our time. Unfortunately, this one failed to grab my heart. From the beginning the characters felt all over the place, I did not connect with a single one (and there are just so many!) Instead of the story building, this going backward method was slowly losing me until I was glad it was finally over. Can’t say you would not like it, hey, this is Jodi Picoult. If you are a fan, you may love it, just was not for me.
Friday, October 5, 2018
The Truth About Us
It’s always just been Rowan and her dad. Living in a small town and working at his automotive center while she goes to college, Rowan has never known anything bigger than this. Until she falls in love for the first time. Normally Rowan would never trouble herself with the difficulty of dating someone who works for her dad but when she meets Tyler there is nothing that can tear them apart. Three years later she mysteriously breaks up with Tyler. They are both devastated and the twist is to figure out why. This very simple love story has a sweet romance but very little substance. Cute, easy, light but not really enough to recommend.
Jay is a talented, intelligent, free spirited addict in the early 90’s. He is addicted to drugs, alcohol and a desperate desire to find love - which he confuses with intimacy and sex. He goes to Paris just shy of finishing college so he can write, drink, do drugs, have sex and define his choices as freedom and art. Author James Frey is the same mind streaming, insightful, detailed writer that he was with his bestseller A Million Little Pieces. Nothing has changed except he is now reflecting on his life; he is older, possibly wiser, and definitely more honest with himself. This book is nothing like I gathered from reviews, both the good and the many bad. His character is that of a selfish addict that is insecure, confused and yet has a sweet and loving heart. The story to me is neither romantic or insightful. The prose is exhausting to follow and very little actually happens. I remember loving his other book (whether it was true or not, I never cared) but this one did not grab me. I don’t know why some people have such struggle finding happiness but reading about it felt pointless and sad. Can’t really find a reason to recommend.
Saturday, September 29, 2018
One summer vacation changes the lives of two families forever. Rosie and Lisa are best friends. They marry friends and each have a boy and a girl. They vacation together every summer at a beach house that has been in Rosie’s family for generations. A mysterious note, a drunken husband, a spiteful teenage girl and an affair. Too many secrets repressed and unexpected consoling by the wrong husband to the best friend and you have a mash up of lies, cover ups and destruction. Excellent writing, interesting characters, kind of predictable behavior. The best part of this novel was the format. Narrated from different character perspectives reveals how different people handle the perception of a situation and how seriously the warped memories we cling to affect all of our life decisions going forward. Interesting novel, dragged a little at the end.
The Dream Daughter
Carly Sears lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She married her childhood sweetheart and is 6 months pregnant with their baby girl when she receives the terrifying news that her unborn child may have a fatal heart defect. It is 1970 and the medicine of today does not exist. But Carly’s brother-in-law, Hunter, a physicist and one of the smartest people she has ever met, reveals his truth and everything she ever believed is turned upside down. Putting all her fears aside, Carly will do absolutely anything to save her daughter’s life. This novel by Diane Chamberlain is unputdownable. Filled with an incredible cast of characters, this touching story takes us on a unforgettable journey through time travel, testing the strength of sisters, motherhood and marriage. Tough decisions and difficult choices will have you dreaming of all the many possible outcomes for a rather surprising ending. Highly recommend The Dream Daughter and looking forward to more from this incredible author. Five Star Read!!!
Thursday, September 20, 2018
In This Moment
Meg has just picked up her precocious teenage daughter Audrey from school. Distracted by life, she barely glances as she comes to a stop and waves a boy to cross the street. Out of nowhere another car appears, going too fast and definitely not looking. After unimaginable screeching and slamming there is pure quiet. The victim is Audrey’s boyfriends twin brother. Unrecognizable but thankfully alive, he is rushed to the hospital. Meg can’t help but blame herself for the role she played and horrors she witnessed. Her own teenage guilt of losing her best friend come flooding back causing her intense sadness and insomnia. She finds herself lashing out at her husband Ryan, fighting with Audrey incessantly over nothing and everything - and completely running out of patience with her boss at the real estate firm. The only person Meg thinks of is Andrew, the boy’s father. She does everything in her power to help Andrew who is sad and lonely and in need of comfort. Meg needs absolution and Andrew needs a shoulder to cry on. The height of such emotions are a dangerous combination when lines are drawn and slowly crossed. Stories about the frazzled working mother can become literally exhausting but I really liked these characters and voyeuristic peek inside the family dynamics many of us face. Doing it all, doing it well and hoping the world sees an unrealistic image of perfection. Highly recommend this well written novel.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
The Girl From Berlin
Gabi is being forcefully removed from her farm, her vineyards, her life. At 77 yrs old she has led a quiet peaceful existence producing some of the best award-winning wines in Tuscany. Since she was a small child she has known no other home. A huge corporation has filed suit against her. Vital documents are missing, no-one will listen to her story. Liam and Catherine begin their Italian adventure when a local Chicago restauranteur/friend begs them to fly to Italy and rescue his Aunt’s property. Liam begins to uncover each layer of carefully buried deception while Catherine maneuvers around Italian lawyers and judges. A fast paced mystery woven through present day and WWII, when Gabi was just a child and Italy fell to the Nazi regime. Through a memoir written by her mother Ada, an aspiring violinist and her family in Berlin, we learn how these brave and kind people kept their faith and hope in each other while facing the horrendous perils of wartime Europe. Absolutely loved and highly recommend this touching, fast paced novel, #5 in the Liam and Catherine series, by fabulous author Ronald Balson. Note: they are only connected through the appearance of characters Liam and Catharine, not their individual story lines. Each novel is an excellent stand alone!
Monday, September 10, 2018
Not Our Kind
After a minor taxi accident in NYC, Patricia and Eleanor’s lives become unexpectedly intertwined. Patricia is a wealthy Park Avenue sort, with her fancy apartment and even fancier friends. Eleanor, having been born and bred only a few blocks away on 2nd Avenue, could not have had a more opposite upbringing. Her father passed away and her milliner mother struggles to make ends meet. Understanding the value of education, Eleanor was encouraged from a young age to excel and rise from her station in life. She attended Vassar with a full scholarship, almost unheard of for women in the early 1940’s, and especially for one who is Jewish. Although they don’t have much in common, Patricia is out of options with her difficult daughter Margaux, who at 13 is a polio survivor who has missed a lot of school and has had a hard time accepting the physical limitations in her life. Eleanor just happens to be a teacher looking for a new position and they instantly hit to off. Maybe too good to be true, Patricia’s husband, Wynn, does not approve of this arrangement, immediately insisting Eleanor changes her last name to something less Jewish for the sake of the neighbors. Her brother Tom falls head over heels for the new tutor and Eleanor is forced to dig deep and learn life’s greatest lesson. Filled with love, friendship and family, this beautifully written novel instantly took me away to another time, another world with hats and gloves rules to be followed. Absolutely loved and highly recommend this fabulous fall read.
Friday, September 7, 2018
The Rain Watcher
The Malegarde family reunites for a weekend in Paris to celebrate the father’s 70th birthday and parents anniversary. Family only, their American born mother Lauren insists. Grown now, Linden and his sister gather for this special occasion. In turn, Paris is experiencing an historic flood as rain pelts the city and the Seine rises to devastating heights. The family becomes trapped as the weather and declining health of both parents hold them hostage for a number of days. Linden, a likable character and famous photographer flashes back through his life and struggles. This novel is beautifully descriptive but the contrived series of events followed by one tragic remembrance after another is over the top, entirely constructed for a family the reader never has a chance to sincerely care about from the start. Having loved many novels by this author, I was sorely disappointed by this early read that failed to capture my heart.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
Lilli de Jong
Lilli de Jong is a young woman, a teacher, a daughter and sister in the Quaker community of Germantown Pennsylvania in the late 1800’s. She is well educated, pious and falling in love with her father’s apprentice Johan. With the promise of marriage and a life in Pittsburgh, Lilli and Johan have a romantic evening that changes her life forever. Pregnant and alone, Lilli has lost her teaching position and is forced from her father’s home. She finds solace in a charitable home for women throughout the pregnancy but after her daughter Charlotte is born Lilli is faced with a future she never imagined. To keep her baby she risks both their lives and while the world at large shuns an unmarried woman with child, Lilli chooses hope as her salvation. As Lilli tells her story in the format of journaling, this unbelievable story describes one woman’s strength as she learns what it is to be a woman and a mother. Highly recommend this well done, heartfelt, incredibly detailed work of historical fiction by author Janet Benton.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
The Life Lucy Knew
After an unexpected accident Lucy wakes up in a hospital bed grateful to be alive. Surrounded by her family, all seems like it is going to be okay until she sees Matt by her side and thinks, what is he doing here? Matt is her devoted, handsome, intelligent boyfriend whom she thinks and BELIEVES is only an acquaintance from work. Mystified by this confusing rollercoaster of emotions, it is discovered that Lucy is suffering from a syndrome you might call “honest lying.” Her brain has filled in blanks while she was in a coma and to Lucy they seem perfectly real. So while devoted Matt is ready to resume their routine and relationship, Lucy honestly, truly, heartbreakingly believes she his married to her ex-boyfriend. She can visualize their beautiful wedding, her dress, every detail. She misses him terribly and even as she gets help from her doctors, her family and friends to fill in gaping holes that make no sense, she is painfully in love with a man she hasn’t seen in four years, who is married - to someone else. Will she get her memory back? Will her feelings for Matt return? Lucy doesn’t know if things will ever make sense again. I adored this incredibly unique love story filled with the complicated angst of family dynamics, trust and friendship. Fabulous characters and an absolute page turner. Highly recommend this intriguing, romantic, well written novel by author Karma Brown.
The Girl He Used to Know
Sunday, August 26, 2018
The Kiss Quotient
Stella is brilliant and beautiful, successful and wealthy. But Stella has trouble looking you in the eye. She has trouble with certain fabrics, foods, smells, noises and being touched. Her Asperberger’s has made her a bit out of the box her entire life and at thirty years old she is finally ready to make the social leap she has been dreaming of. Stella wants a boyfriend. Her analytic mind has reasoned that if she took lessons in love all her problems would be solved. Stella hires Michael, an escort, to accomplish the practice and training she desires. Turns out Michael is gorgeous, they get along perfectly and even though she is paying him she swears the connection is mutual. Now she only has to win his heart. This fabulously funny, well written, beautiful. VERY sexy love story will have you smiling from first page to the last. The characters are completely lovable as is this author and I cannot wait for her next novel! I guess reviews really do work because for some bizarre reason this was not on my radar until I saw review after review raving about this book! I am so glad I listened. Absolutely one of the best I’ve read this year!
When Daphne’s mother, June unexpectedly passes away she inherits her prized possession. Her 1969 yearbook. It is filled with notes, comments and secret codes following the class through years of reunions, triumphs and tragedies. Daphne moves from her small hometown in New Hampshire to NYC to reboot her career and life. While trying to fit into her stamp sized apartment Daphne tosses the yearbook. It is found by a neighbor and aspiring filmmaker who takes an obsessive interest in June’s life and is convinced the yearbook cover’s up something much more scandalous. Sending Daphne, sort-of-boyfriend Jeremy and even her father into a tailspin adventure. Good Riddance is a quick witted humorous romantic comedy, filled with wonderful characters and thoroughly entertaining. Pub date not until February 2019 but I could not resist taking an early early read thanks to Edelweiss.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Roxana’s parents are in the midst of a horrible divorce. After highschool graduation she escapes to Copenhagen to attend a study abroad summer program before college begins in the fall. Her program guide meets her at the airport. Soren is a 28 year old guy, good looking with a reserved, serious demeanor that immediately intimidates and intrigues her. Roxana has little experience with men and literally zero self confidence. When their unexpected relationship begins she quickly is enamored by his every attention. Unfortunately, I found her both extreme naivete and her unhygienic habits unrealistic and unappealing. The writing and storyline were good but my hopes that it was going to pull me in at some point were dashed as it spiraled deeper off track of this supposed coming of age story.
Playing with Matches
Sasha Goldberg is your typical college grad, struggling with NYC life, searching for a job, career, future. Obsessed with his work in finance, her longtime boyfriend Jonathan has always been way out of her league - even though he repeatedly pledges his allegiance, Sasha begins to seriously wonder if he is even listening when they speak. Sasha finds a job as a matchmaker at an exclusive dating service called Bliss. She uses her writing skills and common sense to help her clients find true love. Sasha learns all the new dating apps and hand picks their perfect match to arrange a date. She meets a slew of men that are SO good on paper (or rather on-screen) but very quickly realizes this is a lot harder than it looks. One hysterical bump in the road after another, this laugh out loud, very adorable story is a (most likely) realistic look at the dating app world and how it has forced people to make a ridiculous life check list when really, as mysterious as it can be, love just doesn’t work like that. Highly recommend this entertaining end of summer read!
Thursday, August 9, 2018
The Subway Girls
It is 1949 and Charlotte is almost finished with Hunter College in NY. Her dreams of success in the world of advertising are dashed when her father’s failing paint store in Brooklyn desperately needs her assistance and her romance with Sam has all but fallen apart. It is 2018, and Olivia has lost the biggest account her agency was depending on to keep the doors open. Suddenly, she and her boss Matt, struggling with their on again off again relationship, have an opportunity to pitch the MTA subway and save all they have worked for these past few years. When the world’s of these two very likable women collide, the history of Manhattan comes alive and it’s hardly a surprise that 70 years later some things absolutely never ever change. Based on an actual ad campaign from 1941-1976, this fabulous New York story is easy and enjoyable, although slightly predictable. If you like historical fiction - a must read for summer.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Dawn has tried really hard to restart her life. After a nasty ending with her longtime sweetheart she goes off to college to regain confidence and become a real and true writer. Dawn secretly writes erotic novels and publishes them online. She has quite a following. Fearing judgement from her family and friends, her writing has become an outlet for dreams and desires in a fantasy world where no guy can break her heart ever again. With a feisty roommate named Sawyer and her best friend Allie at her side, Dawn is finally coming out of her shell. Another in their small group is named Spencer. Although he is handsome and smart, Dawn cannot allow herself to be become more than friends with him after her recent heartache with Nate. They share a fantastic friendship and can both feel the romance building. This is a coming of age struggle between trust and love, one’s learning of how to protect and take care of yourself - but leave the window open enough to let others be a part of it. This is book two in a series by author Mona Kasten. I appreciate her writing and simple but meaningful relationships. Translated from German, it can be a standalone but I have really enjoyed reading them in order. Third one is yet to hit the bookshops here but I look forward to it. Thanks NetGalley!
Sarah Mackey goes back to England every June in remembrance of the day that changed her life forever. For the past nineteen years she has been living in California, trying to move forward, guilt weighing her down, suffocated by the past. Her and her husband Rueben run a charitable organization called ClownDoctors and helping children helps Sarah, a little. But things with Reuben were coming to an undramatic ending and Sarah’s visit this year is heavier than most. Walking down a country road she unexpectedly meets Eddie. At almost forty years old, Sarah stopped believing in true love - soul mate kind of take your breath away love - a long time ago. But then there is Eddie. And Sarah’s life will never be the same. Their time together is a gift that feels like it will last forever until Eddie disappears. He stops returning calls, texts, messages. Their conversations replay in her mind over and over again. She can’t have been ghosted. There has to be an explanation and painful or not, she is going to find it. I thoroughly enjoyed this love story page turner. Excellent writing by debut author, Rosie Walsh. Her descriptions of love are breathtaking while the reader slowly travels through their winding hearts to the truth buried deep inside. I highly recommend this fabulous summer read.
Monday, July 30, 2018
Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating
Hazey Crazy. Every guy she has dated has so much fun with this vivacious, funny, endearing character until a few weeks in - when they are utterly exhausted by her antics and suddenly feel embarrassed by any unwarranted attention. Hazel is beautiful, sexy with a heart as big as Portland but she definitely beats to her own drum. And she is okay with that. Hazel happily teaches third grade and the kids are her salve to a world where many people just don’t get her. Her mom does. Her new friend Emily does. Emily and her husband Dave have a BBQ and Hazel bumps into Josh Im, the blueprint for Perfect. The guy was her TA in college but had never taken her seriously and seen her in some compromising situations. Seven years later, they are reunited. He is Emily’s brother and down in the dumps after a recent breakup. Hazel cannot resist the challenge to cheer Josh up and become his new best friend. They are complete opposites but somehow really get each other. Her playful personality is exactly what this serious guy needs to turn his life upside down. This adorable love story of friendship reminds us all that the key to real happiness is to always be true to yourself. Highly recommend this easy and enjoyable read, surely another bestseller from the wonderful writing duo Christina Lauren.
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