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. 

Friday, August 2, 2019

Paris, 7 A.M.


In June 1937, American poet Elizabeth Bishop, travels to Europe with friends after graduation from Vassar. Easily falling into an upper echelon group of both expatriates and patrons of the arts, Elizabeth explores her writing and sexuality during a grave time in history. As war looms throughout Europe, Elizabeth questions her own abilities and friendships with this mixed troupe of characters. For three weeks, this life long journal keeper’s diaries are blank. These fictionalized weeks are imagined by author Liza Weiland who poetically tells of Elizabeth’s adventures and many famous relationships. Flashing back to her years at Vassar and her sad, lonely childhood, we are quickly immersed in Elizabeth’s heart and the beginning of her life as a poet. Unfortunately, this novel is scattered with too many unimportant characters and events filling the pages. After intimate, excruciating daily detail, the storyline races to the finish, ultimately skipping years and then decades, and finally losing its focus and my interest.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Gifted School


Four families in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado find themselves fighting for a few precious spots in the new “gifted school” being built. They have been friends for years but there is not as much competition in baby wipes compared to travel soccer (best in the state) and IQ tests required for this new program. As the competition to read younger, speak foreign languages and perform on and off the field increases each year, so do the buried secrets and escalating lies. Through painful divorce, untimely death and the financial strains of keeping up with the Jones’s - these families desperately struggle to maintain the close friendship they once treasured. Well written and with uncanny humor, this fictionalized reality is filled with our absurd race to nowhere and the reminder that it is vitally important to re-examine ones parenting behavior on and offline. Enjoyable read and filled with scary truth, I highly recommend this clever summer novel!

The Arrangement


Natalie is an art student in NYC, chasing her dreams and escaping the small town life she grew up in. She barely scrapes by and has little support from her remarried mother and dad who disappeared when she was ten. Waiting tables at a bar and harassed daily for her late rent payments, Nat has become desperate. When Ava, a beautiful, well dressed, seemingly well-off fellow art student quietly whispers her magical secret Nat may finally have the solution. There is a web site where wealthy older men want companionship and offer a monthly allowance in return. Sex is not required and love is not an option. Breaking all the rules, Nat meets Gabe. She falls in love and while this may or may not be fantasy world for others, she is mesmerized by his every move and the family he is hiding. Nat drinks too much, wallowing in her self pity and deep desire to be taken care of and supported by someone. She entwines herself deeper in his life and unintentionally sets off a string of events that will turn their worlds upside down. Sex, intrigue and murder fill the pages of this latest summer thriller. I read it in one sitting.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

We Came Here To Forget


Katie Cleary has been skiing since she learned to walk. Raised in Couer d’Alene, a city in North Idaho, Katie is plucked out early as a champion and trains with her two best friends, Luke and Blair - two local brothers. They are VERY good and have what it takes to win. As they grow, Luke and Katie become an inseparable power skiing couple, deluged with sponsors, world travel and their eyes on the prize, the Olympics. Everything is about skiing until Katie’s sister Penny begins to unravel. A dark history of lies and manipulations comes to light and Katie, heavy with guilt that her parents favored the superstar, feels she must be there for Penny, even if it means sacrificing everything. Katie escapes to Buenos Aires. She creates an alternate life as Liz, surrounding herself with a hodgepodge group of expats and the world of tango. No matter how hard she tries Katie cannot escape her past or the black cloud that now follows her tracks. Narrated by both Katie and Liz, this stunning, fast paced novel will have you on the edge of your seat. Immerse yourself into the worlds of competitive skiing and tango and the complicated strains of family - you will not put down this fabulous summer read. Loved this author and can't wait to check out her other books!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Breathe In, Cash Out


Allegra Cobb always strived for the top tier. Princeton for college, exceptional internship and now the fast track as an analyst at an esteemed bank in Manhattan. The days and nights are long as Allegra pastes on a fake smile and creates useless material for ungrateful bosses. The high of attaining any goals she once had disappear from sustained exhaustion, fear and repeating the word team as many times as possible. The only rainbow in sight is the pot of gold on bonus day and as Allegra enters the last phase before her pod mates are handed their fate she decides it is time to follow her heart and wake to a job she has long coveted; to become a yoga instructor. As she secretly prepares with a wily coach named Skylar, Allegra learns more about the pursuit of real happiness than any follow on instagram could possibly reveal. Fall in love with Allegra and this laugh out loud glimpse into the fast paced world of Wall Street with just a sprinkle of romance and a lot of heart. Perfect for a day at the beach! This debut author is most certainly one to watch.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

By the Book


Anne Corey is an attractive English professor at a small prestigious college in California. Goal #1 is to get tenure and enjoy her literature teachings endlessly. On track and determined to get published, Anne’s plan begins to unravel when her ex and first love Adam Martinez shows up as the new college president. Preoccupied with her ailing father, obnoxious sister and the new (very sexy) writer in residence, Anne has to work even harder to stay focused and out of trouble. This ode to the Austen classic Persuasion will have you infatuated with books and romance all the day long. Once again, I am a sucker and completely enthralled with any books about books!

Evvie Drake Starts Over


Evvie (rhymes with Chevy) Drake lives in a small town in Maine. Her mother skipped off to Florida years ago and her father, a lobsterman, struggled to raise her on his own. After marrying her high school sweetheart, the “doctor,” Evvie’s world is tragically turned upside down when a horrific accident throws her life plans completely off course. She takes in a handsome tenant named Dean to offset expenses and embarks on the most unexpected friendship with this baseball superstar that mysteriously lost his pitching powers. As the truth about friendship, marriage and self acceptance slowly come into focus, so do second chances. A breezy page turner filled with delicious characters that will surely be a home run this summer.

Magic For Liars


Ivy and Tabitha Gamble may be twins but they could not be more different. Ivy, a private Investigator, has been hired by Osthorne Academy of Mages where Tabitha is an established professor of Theoretical Magic. Resenting Tabitha for her troubles and the early loss of their mother, Ivy has kept her distance for many years. While Tabitha flourished in the world of charms and potions, Ivy struggled with her career and loneliness. A hideous murder has taken place at the academy and it is Ivy’s job to solve the case and see clearly through the very magic that has cast a spell over her entire life. With a little bit of Hogwart’s wizardry and whodunit mystery, this beach read is a magical ride.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler


What mom wouldn’t love a “Momspringa?!” When cardigan toting librarian Amy Byler is offered a ticket to attend a reading conference in NYC, she jumps at the chance to have a desperately needed break. Three years ago her husband went on a business trip to Hong Kong and never returned. Too busy raising her children and working full time, Amy has become an expert at hiding her pain and denying herself any private life at all. When the “hot librarian” at the conference not only loves her ideas but invites her to coffee, Amy quickly reinvents herself via her bf Talia who runs a woman’s magazine. Enter #Momspringa and you’ve got the full makeover including highlights, spin classes and twitter dates. Her 3 days turns into weeks and this librarian is ready to start a brand new chapter. Absolutely unputdownable, laugh-out-loud beach read for any mom, booklover and believer of second chances.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Drawing Home


Emma Mapson has worked at the iconic American Hotel in Sag Harbor for years. Practically having grown up in the hotel as her father famously bartended, the front desk is practically her second home. When legendary local artist Henry Wyatt suddenly dies, he leaves his estate to Emma’s teenage daughter and aspiring artist Penny. Henry’s long ago power partner Bea turns up to stake her claim in the riches and with her travels Kyle, the very handsome assistant who quickly makes himself at home. To further increase the drama is the reappearance of Penny’s suave deadbeat dad who tries to re-charm his way into their lives. This unexpected inheritance turns this small town upside down in the battle for the house, the art and most importantly, the truth. Even though the twists are a bit predictable, this pleasant summer read is completely delightful, just like a day at the beach.

The Unbreakables


When Sophie Bloom turns forty-two an elegant dinner celebration with her closest friends is arranged. But a sparkly night of dressed up champagne toasts quickly turns disastrous when it is revealed that her darling devoted husband has been serially cheating on her for years. Maybe worse than a mid-life crisis, her closest friends have betrayed her, and as the scandal blows up the internet Sophie decides to escape the shame and pain by visiting her grown daughter who is studying in Paris. What begins as merely a quick escape turns into Sophie’s chance at another life filled with her rekindled passion for sculpting, the truth about her marriage and a window into new possibilities. Filled with charming frenchmen, great art and hot sex, this is a page turning and unputdownable summer delight. I definitely think when the going gets tough, a trip to Paris may be just the answer! 

Little Stones


Reading like a memoir, this novel by Elizabeth Kuiper journals the adventures of Hannah Reynolds. Narrated by this precocious 11 year old, Little Stones depicts Hannah's early life in Zimbabwe. Raised by her single, smart mum Jane and her housekeeper Gogo, Hannah reveals her fears and triumphs as her grandparents lose their tobacco farm, guardianship is endlessly argued and their home is brutally attacked by thieves. Young Hannah also lets us peek at her typical little girl life; playing dress up with friends, worrying about her Shona language exams and birthday surprises. Living in Zimbabwe is both simple and complicated as a loaf of bread inflates to tens of millions of Zimbabwe dollars, power and water are often intermittent and electronic gates no longer guarantee safety. Highly recommend this well written, enjoyable debut novel that will take you to Africa without leaving your lounge chair!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Enlightenment of Bees


Mia West is a 26 year old baker living in Seattle, Washington. Having grown up on a small lavender farm, Mia dreamed of traveling the world and helping others less fortunate. She never knew exactly how she’d become Saint Mia but was confident that when the time was right, her meaningful path would be revealed. When her boyfriend Ethan unexpectedly ends their 6 year relationship, Mia is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Reclusive billionaire Lars Lindstrom lives on an island in the Florida Keys. Afraid to leave the island, Lars creates a humanitarian foundation and funds teams of volunteers to bring aid wherever it is needed most. Convinced this journey will transform her future Mia and her happy-go-lucky best friend Rosie sign up to test their idealistic hearts in some of the poorest, neediest and saddest places on the planet. Highly recommend this enjoyable, heartwarming summer read about friendship, family and selflessness.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Searching for Sylvie Lee


Sylvie Lee, the overachieving older sister, glides easily from Princeton undergrad to Harvard MBA and later a career in the elite NYC world of consulting. Sylvie’s seemingly perfect life wasn’t always as it appears. Her earliest years were spent in the Netherlands where her maternal grandmother and cousins’ family raised her. She arrived in the United States at age nine to help care for her younger sister Amy, while her immigrant parents worked long hard hours. Amy has always idolized and depended on her beautiful, smart sister, but it is not until Sylvie goes missing on a trip to visit grandma, that Amy finally realizes she barely knew her at all. Follow Amy on this complicated journey to the Netherlands, where she will follow every clue and scrap of hope to find her beloved sister. This fast paced, suspenseful mystery is filled with love, jealousy and unexpected secrets. Truly surprised by this wonderfully written novel, I highly recommend for your summer list!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Ten Beach Road


When a Madoff style scheme steals every cent Madeline, Avery and Nikki possess, these three strangers are left with one asset; ownership in a dilapidated beachfront historical mansion in Pass-a-Grille, FL. Leaving behind a rocky marriage, failed television series and missing brother, they all have one thing in common; a desperate need to rebuild this home and their personal lives. Finding the most unexpected friendship and sisterhood, the women rely on each other to overcome their fears and discover how capable they truly are. Book #1 in this adventurous, friendship filled Florida based series, ideal for a day at the beach.


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rough Magic


Lara Prior-Palmer, a nineteen year old British girl, signs up to compete in The Mongol Derby, known as the world’s longest horserace. One thousand kilometers in 10 days or less, the derby recreates the horse messenger system created by Genghis Khan in the year 1224; it is the toughest, loneliest, and most unique race that exists. Completely unprepared and filled with trepidation, Lara sets off for East Asia to begin this difficult challenge through the steppes of Mongolia. Although she is initially motivated by her innocent love for horses and a naive desire to merely finish the race, she soon finds herself on a mission to become the only female and youngest winner the derby has ever known. Told in detail, with humor and painful honesty, Lara takes us along on this treacherous, demanding adventure. Knowing absolutely nothing about horses did not stop me from enjoying the ride.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek


Cussy Mary Carter is the last of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky. It’s 1936, and with few options, Cussy has been lucky enough to get a job as a Pack Horse Librarian, a government initiative to distribute reading materials. As one of the few literate folks in this isolated mountain area, Cussy is determined to bring hope and comfort to the often forgotten people. While the men risk their lives daily at the local coal mine, these impoverished hungry women and children work their fingers to the bone, barely scraping by. This novel is both heartbreaking and beautifully written, historically defining education and socioeconomic struggles we continue to battle today. The profound joy and promise that books brought to these simple, good people is priceless.

Mine


Tessa Taylor seemingly had it all; a successful business, three beautiful children, and an adoring husband. After dropping her children off for a visit with their grandmother, in Georgia, Tessa returns to Florida to find a Category 4 hurricane unexpectedly barreling her way. Ethan is stuck in New York on business and Tessa quickly prepares their home. Getting ready to hunker down, she borrows Ethan’s iPad and discovers photos of a young, beautiful woman named Lindsey and evidence of a mysterious affair. In a fury more powerful than any hurricane, Tessa lures this woman over to ride out the storm and uncover the truth. This novel quickly escalates into a swift-moving suspenseful thriller. Narrated by both Lindsey and Tessa, Mine races with gale force winds to surely become the most intense read of the summer.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Normal People


Connell and Marianne grow up in the exact same countryside town in Ireland, but they appear to be complete opposites. Connell, getting by with his single mother, is a popular, handsome, charismatic teenager while Marianne’s home may look like a mansion but is filled with self loathing, anxiety and loneliness. Connell’s mum cleans Marianne’s home for her work and very slowly the two teenagers find each other. Fearing their secret friendship will be misunderstood, it is not until they go away to college in Dublin that they begin to learn who they truly are. This incisive peek as the couple grows towards and away and back to each other again cleverly reminds us of life’s greatest lessons. I have a penchant for Rooney’s Irish voice and whispered words that linger long after the final page. Highly recommend this beautifully written glimpse into the heart of hearts.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Under the Table


Zoey has just moved to NYC to reboot her life. Marrying her midwestern childhood sweetheart has not brought her the happily ever after she always dreamed of. They are taking a one year separation to figure things out and Zoey is ready to follow her passion by starting a catering business. She has just crashed at her bossy sisters apartment and is excited for the future when she is hired by Tristan; a nerdy, shy, uber successful computer geek. The wonderful dinner party gig leads to an out of the ordinary arrangement; Tristan hires Zoey for a complete makeover to adjust to big city life and get him out of his awkward shell. Hands off because she is technically married, it becomes harder and harder to admit her true feelings are more than just whats on the table. Light, fun, easy read, you will be smiling the whole way through this adorable rom com. My first read by author Stephanie Evanovich and will definitely not be my last!

The Last Book Party


Eve Rosen is a young woman working an entry level position at a publishing house in New York City. Her foot-in-the-door to the literary world and writing career she has always dreamed of. But Eve is bored. She hasn’t written a word in a a long time and she jumps at the chance to work for the summer as assistant to famed author Henry Grey, in his Cape Cod home. Impressed by the world that has always been just out of reach, Eve worships his poet wife Tillie and crushes on his son, an artist, who is happy to take advantage of the situation. Fascinated by the life of the famous author, Eve is honored to take on even the smallest task for this revered man. It is a long, hot summer leading up to the night of the infamous book party. Gradually Eve realizes that this world she has obsessed over is nothing more than a very long, twisted embellished story. Lessons learned the hard way, this coming of age book is an absolutely captivating read. Perfect for booklovers this summer, releases July 9th, a beach bag MUST!!

The Bride Test


Khai Diep is a smart, successful man. He has a good heart and an agreeable disposition. Khai’s overbearing Vietnamese mother cannot bear to see her handsome son miss out on love, even though he believes he is incapable of those intense feelings. She flies to Viet Nam to find the perfect bride and administer the perfect test. Three months in California to get to know Khai and all his goodness. If it’s a match, they will marry. Esme Tran is the unlikely winner. Cleaning bathrooms at the hotel, Esme exudes a unique blend of intelligence and sincerity. This is the story of friendship, of love, of everything that is unexpected when we categorize people and deem them different. Told with humor and sensitivity, author Helen Hoang’s latest is an easy, sweet summer read. It doesn’t flow quite as smoothly as her first bestseller - and frankly I think publishers are rushing these wonderful authors for marketing purposes - but nevertheless I will continue to follow her beautiful stories.

Miracle Creek


Miracle Creek, Virginia is a typical small town where the Yoo family settles to start up a medical treatment center called the Miracle Submarine. Recent immigrants, the Yoo’s quietly struggling with language and customs, finding it most difficult to fit in. As the head of their family Pak invests everything they have with a fellow Korean acquaintance into a business running a hyperbaric chamber, treating patients with pressurized dives as therapy for a variety of illnesses, autism being one of the most popular and controversial. Young helps out her husband while Mary studies for the SAT’s, her future being the primary reason for their move to America. A year has passed since a horrific explosion took place during one of the dive sessions. The murder trial has just begun and this no longer charming town is upended with accusations, mysterious clues and layers upon layers of alibis. Narrated by a multitude of suspects, the reader is instantly drawn in to the drama and misconceptions tossed violently throughout the court. When a novel’s first words are “My husband asked me to lie,” there is no stopping until the final page. This suspenseful, emotional courtroom and family saga proves to be an addictive rollercoaster. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Otherwise Engaged


Gabe and Molly are a young couple living the artsy life in New York. Gabe writing his novel, waiting tables at night; Molly at a practical monotonous desk job to pay the bills. Patiently waiting to actually feel like a grown up, mesmerized as their friends marry and get pregnant. When Gabe unexpectedly sells his novel through Molly’s obnoxious co-worker’s agent, their lives are quickly turned upside down. Molly soon learns that The Charms of Dahlia is a fictionalized account of Gabe’s psycho ex-girlfriend. After years of Talia-less tranquility, this woman reappears grabbing every ounce of attention she can steal. This fast paced, witty romance is filled with all the neuroses most young women carry when post college life kicks in and expectations soar. Most books about books feature bookstores. But this, my reader friends, had my mind spinning! Imagine if your partner wrote about his ex, insisting it was fiction, while America drooled over their breathless love affair and every sexual position! I couldn’t even envisage how I’d write up that review! Laugh out loud, completely enjoyable and well written. Thanks author Lindsey Palmer for the perfect beach read. This is definitely a must. #stockupforsummer

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mrs. Everything


Jo and Bethie are two sisters growing up in Detroit, Michigan during the 1950’s. A typical Jewish middle class family living in the suburbs; mom cleans and cooks, dinner on the table at 5 every night. Jello for dessert. The American dream. Jo and Bethie are nothing alike as youngsters and even more different as adults but their sisterly bond is deep and true. Exploring race, sexual identity and the women’s liberation movement throughout the sixties and seventies, best selling author Jennifer Weiner takes us on Bethie and Jo’s journey for equality in the work place, abortion rights and the racial divide in America. The decades pass too quickly and while triumphs are slowly made, many still remain out of reach even today. Though this was a very different tone for Jennifer Weiner - no romantic comedies here - I thoroughly enjoyed her exploration of family dynamics and the consequences of choices we make every day. Emotional at times, Mrs. Everything touches on many tough issues and would be an excellent book club discussion. Highly recommend this solid summer read. Pub date June 11th 2019. #stockupforsummer This one is a winner. Thanks Netgalley for the early read!!

The Mister

Maxim Trevelyan, movie star handsome and known as the spare in the family, moves about London with the power and grace of the privileged few. When his beloved older brother unexpectedly crashes his motor cycle on an icy night, Max becomes the heir and inherits the wealth and aristocratic responsibility that comes with it. A few weeks later, drowning in his grief Maxim falls madly in love with his mysterious, beautiful, cleaning woman, known as his “daily” named Alessia. She calls him the Mister. He must save her from the monstrous men who brought her from Albania. Even though Max has been with hundreds of beautiful, sophisticated, wealthy women, there is something about Alessia that leaves him utterly speechless. Okay, dear reader friend, I am very sorry to announce that although this author was (finally!) edited, this slow, meaningless, boring, predictable story has literally no steam whatsoever. The real deception is this book’s place on the bestseller list, simply because of the author’s past success. Sorry, but this is NOT your summer read! Having been a huge 50 Shades fan, I am thoroughly disappointed.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Meet Cute


Kailyn is beautiful, smart and ready to rock law school. Walking to class on the first day of school while repeating her self mantra, Kailyn stumbles upon a group of guys and literally falls over one of them. It is none other than Daxton Hughes, child television star all grown up and her one and only teenage heartthrob. Throughout law school Kailyn focuses on her classes and secretly watches Dax from the corner of her eye. Eight years later he is standing in her office, still movie star gorgeous and desperately in need of her help. Kailyn cannot decide if Dax is sincere but his sad story breaks her heart and she vows to help him for the sake of his sweet younger sister whom he has just become guardian. Kailyn puts the sparks aside while her boss offers her a deal to become partner if she can get Dax on their team. This adorable love story is filled with friendship and hope and will satisfy the daydream of any girl that had that crush poster hanging over her bed! Perfect quick, happy, sexy read. Better start packing that beach bag!

A Well Behaved Woman


Alva Erskine Smith was a resourceful young woman. Her successful parents were socialites and raised their daughters to be educated, independent and worldly. After her mother unexpectedly passed away, her father quickly succumbed to his own illness and loss. The girls were left with very little. All they had was each other and their superior family bloodline. It was up to Alva to marry well and get their family back on their financial feet. She managed to seduce William Kissam Vanderbilt. Their family fortune was growing steadily but the Vanderbilt name was not yet considered amongst the higher ranks of New York. They could help each other. And for the next twenty years that is precisely what they did. While William spent money and wooed various women behind her back, Alva was out to make sure the Vanderbilt’s name would be set in stone. Alva was forward thinking, generous and intelligent. Author Therese Anne Fowler takes us on another incredible journey through time. New York City comes alive in our imaginations as history is made. This well written, interesting and enjoyable read is a must for anyone who loves historical fiction. 

In Another Time


In 1931 Hanna Ginsberg and Max Beissinger fall deeply in love. She is a rising superstar violinist and he is quietly running his parents quaint store after they pass away. Over the next 5 years Germany rapidly changes with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party. What began as seemingly minor restrictions quickly becomes dangerous and life threatening. Max has begged Hanna to run away with him but her mother is unwell and disapproves of their relationship because Max is not Jewish. Hanna is deeply engrossed in her music and future life she envisions with the Berlin symphony. In 1946 Hanna awakens in a field desperately grasping her violin without a single memory of the last decade. The war has just ended but Hanna looks healthy with no signs of struggle. Does she have amnesia? A psychological disorder? Or does this have something to do with the magical closet Max has held close to his heart? Narrated by both Max and Hanna from the very beginning of their love affair to their desperate search for each other and the truth, In Another Time is a fast paced journey through history with a little bit of time travel thrown in to make this a most unique look at the sliding doors theory of how every choice we make affects not only our own but many lives in the future. Highly recommend another wonderful novel by author Jillian Cantor. A must for your summer reading list.

Out East


Beautiful memoir by John Glynn reflecting on a summer spent by the beach. Friday means catching the train to Montauk, New York where buildings disappear and the blue of the sea and sky merge as one. John is 27, working hard at a Manhattan publishing company and living in a hip part of town with two awesome roommates. He is livin’ the dream. Lately, even when surrounded by tons of friends, John is painfully lonely. His buddies are starting to pair off, life taking them to the next stage. He realizes he has never felt that deep romantic connection with anyone. John spends the summer at the Hive, a shared house where 30 young adults enjoy sun filled days and alcohol fueled nights. John is consumed with the drama of fitting in, finding love and most unexpectedly, figuring out his sexual identity. While closely observing the world of these privileged, beautiful people John finally allows himself the freedom to choose. This sensitive, well written, fast paced memoir is a peek into growing up, acceptance and the importance of love. Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking, highly recommend this perfect summer read.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Daisy Jones & The Six


Daisy Jones grew up  in L.A. with everything and nothing at all. A child of the 60’s, she was beautiful, young and humming along to the music scene erupting on the Sunset Strip. Her parents had no idea where she was. Along comes The Six, a band from the east coast hoping to make it big. They have a mix of solid musicians and a frontman named Billy Dunne oozing that special something the fans craves. Daisy Jones & The Six write hit after hit. Billy struggles with the music he lives for and the husband and father he yearns to be. The dangerous magnetism between Daisy and Billy is what makes rock stars and also what everyone fears will tear them apart. Written as a running interview, this incredibly unique novel of love, passion and friendship follows an iconic band through the 70’s; a world overflowing with peace, love and rock’n roll. If you enjoyed the movie Almost Famous, you are sure to be swept away by Daisy Jones & The Six. Get your copy and get comfortable because this one sitting read will leave you speechless.

When We Left Cuba


When the Cuban Revolution forces Beatriz Perez and her family to flee Havana, they rebuild their lives in Florida. Leaving with very little, her father is intent on reestablishing himself in the profitable sugar industry, while her mother obsesses over finding suitable husbands for Beatriz and her sisters. Beatriz, however, is solely set on revenge. She is filled with devastating anger over the loss of her friends, her fortune, and her twin brother. She is given the perfect opportunity, when she is recruited by the CIA to aid the fight for freedom, putting in reach her dreams of returning home to the life her family left behind. However, a dangerous love affair with a well known senator complicates her ambitions as readers are propelled on this page-turning adventure through history.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How to Hack a Heartbreak


It’s been four years since Mel Strickland graduated college and started working the IT help desk at Hatch, a startup incubator. But Mel is tired of assisting these spoiled frat boys who give a great pitch but can’t manage a paper jam - this girl coder has just about given up. She can barely make the rent, repeatedly meets Mr. Wrong and ultimately yearns to leave what was supposed to be a stepping stone into the real world of coding. Crushed when her Fluttr date is a no show, Mel codes the ultimate revenge; an app called JerkAlert (as a joke!) and is shocked when it goes viral. With the help of her incredibly resourceful girlfriends Mel finds her way to both success and her true match in this absolutely hilarious, very contemporary peek at our outrageous startup phenomena, girl power coding and bizarre culture of online dating. Highly recommend this fast paced, laugh-out-loud beach read! #stockupforsummer  Pub date: July 30, 2019 Thanks for the early read NetGalley!

Trophy Life


It has been a decade since Agnes survived on peanut butter and scrimped pennies for the rent. Her dreams of living in sunny California all came true the day she unexpectedly met Jack in a bar. With movie star good looks and impeccable taste, Jack, twenty years her senior, became her knight in shining armor and Aggie the epitome of the textbook Trophy Wife. Squeezing in yoga between her manicure and shopping, a house staff to care for her adorable baby - Aggie has more than she ever dared to imagine. The day Jack disappears, this life is over. In one fell swoop (Madoff style) Jack and every bit of their idyllic existence is shattered. Finding herself at the mercy of Jack’s smarmy best friend, Aggie has no choice but to accept a job at a fancy private school in NY teaching middle school English to a bunch of delinquents. Life’s sharpest turn and greatest challenge become Aggie’s salvation. Witty, charming and well written, highly recommend this absolutely hysterical take on finding the life you were meant to live. Pack this one in your beach bag ladies! It’s a winner!!

Little Fires Everywhere


As mysteriously as Mia Warren and her teenage daughter Pearl, enter each and every one of the Richardson’s lives - they just as simply vanish. The Richardson family live in Shaker Heights, a painstakingly well planned community in Ohio. Mrs. Richardson is a model citizen and shining example of motherhood. Or so she thought. When Mia, a wandering artist enters their lives by renting the Richardson’s spare apartment, all of their beliefs are quietly turns upside down. Each of the four children develop a special friendship with the Warren’s, while Mia creates her art and longs to finally give Pearl a place she can call home. This orderly town is further turned sideways when Bebe, Mia’s co-worker, is forced into a devastating custody battle over her baby girl with a local family very close to the Richardson’s and sides are quickly taken. Examining each type of relationship, it is clear that the bubble people create to live in rarely resembles the painful truth. This insightful, well written novel is filled with wonderfully descriptive characters. The boundaries they cross neither made me laugh or cry. As much as I enjoyed reading this story it didn’t pull my heartstrings as expected. Looking forward to book club discussion as it has many paths to tread.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Woman at the Light


Emily and Martin Lowry, along with their three young children live on Wrecker’s Cay, a small island off the coast of Key West. Martin is the lighthouse keeper, sometimes known as a “wickie,” because of his job trimming the wicks.They live a quiet, solitary life and their lighthouse is of vital importance as many ships crash on these shallow reefs. Lives are lost and treasures often found. Martin mysteriously disappears one afternoon and Emily continues to care for the lighthouse and her family, optimistically waiting for his return. Emily is apprehensive but strangely relieved when the children find a runaway slave on the shore one afternoon. Andrew is charming, strong and resilient. This is the beginning of many secrets Emily must keep for the sake of the lighthouse, her children and her newfound, highly forbidden love. Wonderfully written, Key West author Joanna Brady takes us on a historical journey beginning in 1829, when Key West was a collection of fishing shacks, Ellen Mallory ran a boardinghouse and it became known as the wrecking capital of the world.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Just Call Me Miri


Miri Engle is a young girl from Miami desperately searching for her identity, purpose and most importantly, her one true love. On a high school study abroad program in Israel, Miri immediately connects with the wondrous land of her familial ancestors. And so begins decades of Miri’s journeying around the world, trying to find the right place to call home. Meeting one colorful character after another, Miri learns lessons of friendship, family and the heart that never seem to come very easily. Often experiencing frustration, rejection and painful loss she is determined to move on and not be a victim of circumstance. Just when most people would think it may be time to surrender, Miri makes one more attempt at finding her happiness and charges off again at full steam. Funny, smart, independent and relentless, this firecracker girl never gives up on the people she loves or her dreams of the future. Beautifully written, Just Call Me Miri is an incredible debut novel by author Mandi Eizenbaum. Whether you find yourself laughing out loud or crying from heartbreak, we can’t help but see a little bit of Miri in ourselves and recognize that feeling, that surely there is “more” just waiting to be discovered. Why should anybody settle and not make that bold leap to keep searching? Highly recommend this fabulous new read and look forward to more from this exciting new author. #adventure #travel #friends #love #family #history

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Unhoneymooners


Olive and Amy are identical twins but complete opposites. They may look alike but Olive is unfailingly the most unlucky person on the planet and Amy is the contest winning champion. With her Type A personality at the helm and entire wedding party set (including hideous green dresses!) Amy is beyond excited for her big day. The one downside for Olive is she has to spend time with Ethan, the very adorable but despised brother-in-law to be. When the “prized” seafood buffet sends hundreds to the Emergency Room, Olive and Ethan are the last two standing. They are coerced to go on the all expenses paid, non-refundable, non-transferable trip to Hawaii. And pretend they are the happy newlyweds. So begins, the HILARIOUS, adorable, heart warming story of Ethan and Olive’s adventure. This is a one sitting, can’t get the silly smile off your face type of read. Throw in some typical Christina Lauren - be true to yourself, give people a chance vibe and we have another winner. Available in May. This is going to be a huge summer beach read! Thanks for the early peek @NetGalley

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Red White & Royal Blue


President Claremont is the first woman in the White House and about to run for reelection. Her brilliant, charming son Alex, has fallen in love for the first time. Living in the White House is not always easy, and Alex cannot wait to work on his mother’s campaign when he graduates from Georgetown in a few months. Together with his feisty sister and the Veep’s coding granddaughter they make up the White House Trio. As glamorous and adventurous as this seems (and it is!!) when the tabloids get hold of Alex’s private emails and texts it becomes a public scandal. The world learns that Alex’s secret relationship is with none other than Prince Henry of Wales, spare to the throne. While both American and British PR guru’s are in damage control Alex and Henry must figure out how they can live truthfully and not hurt their families. As their lives are turned upside down; witty, wonderful new author Casey McQuiston takes us on a rollercoaster of laughter, acceptance and hope. I have to admit this is the very first romantic story I have read of this nature and absolutely loved every minute of it. Incredible how this young debut author was able to imagine this alternative love story mixed with mainstream politics and harsh reality. Totally enjoyable, rom-com. A MUST read!!

Southernmost


After a tragic flood hits this small Tennessee town, preacher Asher Sharp’s life is literally washed away. Everything he knows is about to change. He finally finds the courage to face guilty memories of his brother’s departure and his mothers abuse that eat away at his heart. Asher realizes his wife’s judgement runs deep and is sadly never going to change. He wants to teach his son to think for himself, not be forced upon the evangelical masses. When he preaches his last sermon the church he has always known turns him away. Asher and Justin sneak off to find Asher’s brother Luke. They wind their way to Key West where they form the most unlikely friendships and learn the truth about love, family and faith. This colorful, heartfelt story will take hold of your imagination and won’t let go. Wonderful characters, excellent writing, lots of life lessons all rolled into one touching novel. Great book club selection, highly recommend.

Swamplandia!

The Bigtree family run an alligator theme park in the Florida Everglades. Swamplandia! is on one of the Ten Thousand Islands at the far end of Loomis County (think Miami!) Since his wife, the alligator wrestling champion passed away, Chief Bigtree is struggling to keep the theme park afloat. Raising his three children amongst mosquitos the size of small cars and the snapping gators, the kids are loosely homeschooled and gather their soggy reading materials from the library boat that was abandoned years ago. Spunky Ava believes the show must go on and continues her gator training. Ossie has become a spiritist and is currently dating a ghost and Kiwi, an autodidact, desperately wants to attend high school on the mainland. When another park called The World of Darkness threatens to completely destroy their livelihood, these three resourceful kids jump into action. The Bigtree’s somewhat remind me of the Brown’s on Alaskan Bush People (Discovery Channel) a rather twisted, sometimes dark, funny and very imaginative family. Interesting read, wonderful author.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Other Half of My Soul


Rayna, a beautiful, smart, youngest daughter of a religious Jewish family in New York begs her parents to allow her to go away to college. She is rarely denied and has always been her father’s favorite. They finally permit her to study journalism at the University of Maryland as long as she continues to follow their strict religious codes of eating and socializing as they do in their small Syrian community in New York. When handsome Rami sits beside her in class she immediately feels her world turn upside down. He is instantly enamored with her as well. As the two young people get acquainted she learns that Rami is also Syrian. His family lives in a small village, they are Muslim and part of the Shi-ite minority. The more Rayna and Rami learn about each other’s customs and beliefs they are surprised by the similarities but well aware that neither of their families, nor the terrorist group sponsoring Rami’s scholarship would approve of their friendship and vehemently forbid a romance of any kind. But they are young, idealistic and in love. Rami and Rayna naively believe they can find a way to be together without anyone getting hurt. This novel is a unique story filled with passion and determination. It brings up a lot of difficult issues regarding family, religion, politics and deep rooted history. The writing is average (needed serious editing) but I must say it was an extremely interesting read and will be a heated discussion at book club this month.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Last Romantics


The fours Skinner siblings survive the Pause. This is a 2 year period where their mom, after the unexpected demise of their father, enters a state of suspended life. She rarely leaves her darkened bedroom and the children manage on their own. Renee, the eldest takes care of everyone; clothes washed, mouths fed and games played - while they wait for the Pause to end. Renee, Caroline, Joe and the youngest Fiona form an unbreakable bond during this time that will guide them and affect all the choices they make for the rest of their lives. Later, Fiona becomes a renowned poet and her most famous love poems are the essence of her and her family. From the perspective of Fiona - at well over 100 years old - this story flashes back back back through the Skinner timeline; the relationships, the triumphs and the losses. The siblings search for true love, and learn that their lives have been deeply affected by everything that happened during the Pause. After reading and loving the historical fiction novel by Tara Conklin years ago, I jumped at the chance to read her latest work. The writing is once again astounding but I have to admit the story of a dysfunctional family and how siblings survive is not very original. Sometimes it is just timing but I had to force myself to the finish line.