Monday, October 21, 2019

Olive, Again


Bellyacher, crab, crank, sourpuss. Yup, Olive Kitteridge is back. Henry has passed away and Olive continues on in her small, quiet town of Crosby, Maine. A little older, wiser and still muttering about with her “Yuh’s”, “Hells Bells” and all the funny Oliveisms that made us love her the first time around. This novel feels like a loosely connected group of short stories (structured similarly to Anything Is Possible - the sequel to Lucy Barton.) Each scenario is beautifully written and touches Olive’s life in some way but doesn’t necessarily focus on her as the main character. She stumbles upon many former students, old neighbors, still shaky ties with her son Christopher who is experiencing his second difficult marriage and Olive’s own surprising relationship with Jack, the Harvard snob. If you watched the HBO series, actress Frances McDormand is firmly ensconced as Olive and Elizabeth Strout’s words are poetic. But, it is also very sad. An almost too honest insight into the worst case scenarios of old age and the relationships, both good and bad, that we endure throughout our lives. A fairly quick read, I recommend Olive, Again if you liked the first book - but you definitely have to be in the mood.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Giver of Stars


Alice Wright lives a suffocating existence in England. She is repeatedly disappointing her stuffy parents and dreams of a new life. When she meets the very charming Bennett Van Cleve it is her chance to start over in America. Alice and Bennett marry quickly and travel across the ocean where to her shocking dismay, they continue on to a small town in Kentucky. It is in Baileyville that Alice has the opportunity to join the packhorse librarians, a group Eleanor Roosevelt created to make jobs and spread literacy in these remote parts. As her marriage  all but disappears Alice realizes she traded one kind of loneliness for another. Going against her father-in-laws wishes she finds immense happiness with this brave group of women who deliver books throughout the difficult mountain terrain. The first half of this well written novel moves quickly focusing on criminal coal mine owners, women’s rights and racism. The second half, a murder trial when librarian Margery is thrown in jail, drags a little. It is an enjoyable historical fiction novel by Jojo Moyes that has MANY similarities to The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson, which came out months ago. If you read Troublesome it is impossible to ignore these unmistakable coincidences. Putting that aside, I enjoyed them both.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Twice in a Blue Moon


Tate was raised in a remote small town in northern California. Her beloved hardworking Nana Judith takes her on a graduation trip to explore London before college begins. Having never been very far from home, their two-week adventure is precisely scheduled to be filled with non-stop shows, museums and lunch at Harrods. The ladies never expected to meet the charming Luther and his handsome grandson Sam on their very first day. Sam and Tate immediately connect and manage to escape the over protective clutches of Judith to experience their very first young love. Tate feels things she has never experienced before. She shares her most precious secret - she is the missing daughter of the worlds' most famous film star. When this information is leaked to the media her life is turned completely upside down and an entire destiny is changed forever. Fourteen years later on the set of her break out film co-starring her father, Sam and Tate meet again. Realizing their chemistry is as passionate as ever, these star crossed lovers must decide if it is possible to find trust and love again. Slightly different from their long list of bestsellers, Twice in a Blue Moon is another delicious romance from the never disappointing duo Christina Lauren. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Write Escape


Antonia Harper, a beautiful thirty-something editor based in Chicago loses her job and her fiancĂ© on the same day. Overwhelmed by her intrusive mother, meddling sister and a lot of wedding plans to undo, Antonia decides to finally focus on the novel she began but set aside long ago. Winding up on her honeymoon in Ireland alone, Antonia finds herself in a quaint village rental next door to Aiden Byrnes, a charming literature professor chasing his own demons. As their push pull friendship slowly turns into more, Aiden and Antonia both learn lessons that open their hearts to the most unlikely possibilities. Filled with laughter, hope and a hot guy with a great accent - this is an adorable romantic journey (of two book lovers!) to one of my favorite places. 

The Dutch House


Danny Conroy gracefully narrates this magnificent story centered around his childhood home in the beautiful suburbs of Philadelphia. After their mother disappeared, his older sister Maeve and the housekeepers essentially raised Danny while their father ran a successful real estate empire. Lonely but loved, the siblings adapted. After a few years their father married a much younger woman named Andrea. She moves into The Dutch House with her two young daughters and incrementally takes over their lives. Ultimately exiled by this evil selfish woman, Danny and Maeve find themselves torn from the only home and family they have ever known. This house becomes the obsessive center of their lives and every important decision is later made with a mix of regret and resentment based on this profound loss. A deep-seated attachment to the past and unfaltering commitment to each other breeds jealousy from Danny’s wife and solitude for Maeve’s future. Told over a period of fifty years, The Dutch House is more than just a house, it is a tale of love and hope. Every day we live our lives we are making memories, whether you realize it or not. Absolutely loved this latest novel by the talented storyteller Ann Patchett.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Grammarians


Laurel and Daphne Wolfe are identical twins who are as fierce and feisty as their flaming red hair predicted. Obsessed with words and grammar since childhood these inseparable twins spoke their own treasured language and continuously outwitted the adults in their lives. A fine line between constant amazement and “is there something wrong with them?” - their psychiatrist uncle and loving parents couldn’t quite figure them out. Daphne unsurprisingly creates an eminent column devoting herself to the usage and meaning of Standard English while Laurel becomes a kindergarten teacher and poet. Both living in NYC, the sisters begin to grow apart for the very first time in their lives. Marriage, children and opposing views of destiny slowly unravel this tight-knit relationship. A lifelong battle over ownership of their father’s precious Webster’s dictionary seals their fate. While the ending fell a tad short, logophile (my new favorite word!) and storyteller Cathleen Schine never fails to entertain.

Friday, September 27, 2019

The World That We Knew


1941, Berlin. The streets are swarming with Nazi’s. Hanni’s husband, the good doctor has been murdered and her mother is very ill. Even though it breaks her heart Hanni must send her daughter Lea away. Only 12 years old, Hanni wants to keep Lea safe and far away from the nightmare that has invaded their world. She secretly engages Ettie, the Rabbi’s daughter, to use her forbidden knowledge and create a golem to protect Lea during her travels. This mystical creature of Jewish folklore looks human but has no soul, she is as strong as one hundred men. Throughout their escape to France and the three years afterwards, Ava faithfully guards Lea’s life. From the convents that hid Jewish children to the brave French Resistance that led them through the mountains to Switzerland, countless hero’s saved thousands of lives. This magical story filled with dancing birds carrying messages of hope and the angel of death eerily filling his notebook will take you to a fairytale version of a very real atrocity, remembering the many who tragically disappeared and the few who survived. Author Alice Hoffman is the extraordinary talent to bring this story to life.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fix Her Up


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

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen


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

This Is Not How It Ends


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

Find A Way


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

Sunday, September 8, 2019

American Royals


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

And Now There's You


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

Monday, September 2, 2019

Layover


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

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Our New Normal


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

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Remind Me What Happened


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

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Idea of You


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

Very Nice


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

Friday, August 16, 2019

Meet Me in Monaco


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

We Are All Good People Here


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

Monday, August 12, 2019

All the Flowers in Paris

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

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Art of Racing in the Rain


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

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Nickel Boys


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

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!