Monday, October 12, 2020

The Three Mrs. Wright's

 


Holly met Jack in medical school. They have built a beautiful life that includes three wonderful children and a successful business. Handsome and charming Jack travels often for work and Holly’s suspicion escalates as he becomes more and more distant.


Jessica has just been named as medical director at a successful start up in Chicago. Having just completed her oncology residency she dreamed of changing the world. Jonathan’s surprising job offer seemed too good to be true - not to mention their secret steamy romance.


Lark, a hip young game designer meets Trip in a bar. Normally this blue haired beauty wouldn’t look twice at an older man sitting a few seats away. With her sales pitch looming Lark decides to have some fun if only to take her mind off of her trembling nerves.


Three women. One very attractive wealthy man. Read on, ladies - I don’t want to give anything else away but this suspenseful drama is absolutely unputdownable! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Love Your Life

 


Ava is a young woman who believes in love. While her friends in London obsess over the latest dating app, algorithms and deal-breakers, she believes an actual soul mate is out there in the universe just waiting to meet her. Ava joins a weeklong writing retreat in a charming Italian monastery. She is going to 100% focus on her novel and soak up the delicious food and sunshine. The catch is the attendees do not use their real names, nor talk about their home life. They are here specifically to put everything else aside as to better concentrate on their writing. Naturally, Ava (Aria), falls madly, and wildly in love with “Dutch”. And best of all - he feels the same. When the week is up they begin to navigate what life could be like if they are a couple at home. Work, friends, finances, family obligations. All the things Ava was confident one should put aside appear front and center. Along with her quirky friend group and devious dog Harold this exhausting young woman is absolutely adorable. Sophie Kinsella once again weaves a story that is laugh out loud delightful and the perfect romantic adventure.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, September 28, 2020

A Borrowed Life

 


Mrs. Elizabeth Lightsey has been the pastor’s wife for the majority of her adult life. As a young girl, in a troubled home, she was only too happy to have the attentions of Thomas. When this handsome man of the church asked for her hand in marriage she envisaged a respectable life filled with love surrounded by the entire congregation. Through the years unhappiness has piled so heavily upon her heart that she does not know who the real Liz is anymore. It is only when Thomas unexpectedly dies that Liz realizes she is more relived than sad. Thomas’s verbal abuse had worn her down in every decision, thought and feeling she has had for 26 years, but no more. She immediately tries to repair her relationship with Abigail, the daughter she regrets has been molded in Thomas’s eyes. Liz is determined to do whatever it takes to rediscover her true self through the community theater, new friends and throwing her mattress to the curb. At almost 50 years old it is finally time to follow her heart and not the expectations of others. From the very first chapter I could not put down this incredible story that had me laughing and smiling equally. Wonderful characters and superb writing, this is an absolute must read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Outnumbered


 Max is a young boy growing up in Havana, Cuba. His step father is a cruel man and while his sad mother tolerates his insults, Max cannot. He often escapes by running the streets with his best friends, playing his bongo’s and visiting his beloved grandparents. The one thing where he discovers his luck is picking the charada, the local lottery. Players translate common words into numbers and Max finds meaningful combinations that often make him a winner. This little bit of luck helps Max keep his faith in the future and his dreams alive. Barely getting by in school, one evening his mischief leads to real trouble in a night club and Max’s mother wastes no time packing his bags for  America. Everything is scary in this foreign land. His first plane ride, learning English and fitting in with this small New York Cuban Jewish community. It is there he later meets the love of his life and finally begins to figure out how to be the man he longs to be. This sensitive story of family and friendship tests the true nature of one young man’s desires to make a better life for himself while hanging on to his oldest friends, his passion for music and his heart. I highly recommend this wonderful read filled with lovable characters and fascinating Cuban-American history. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Dinner List

 


Sabrina and Jessica are best friends in college at USC. They attend an art show where Sabrina briefly meets the cutest boy. She never forgets him. Four years later, the girls are living in NYC - the single, struggling while having a blast life. And there he is on the subway, Tobias. It is fate, kismet, call it whatever you’d like. It is the beginning of everything. Presently she is at her birthday dinner with her long lost father, favorite college professor, Tobias, Jessica and of all things unimaginable - Audrey Hepburn. Alternating between the complicated relationship Tobias and Sabrina navigate and her 30th birthday dinner party, The Dinner List completely tore my heart apart. It is about real and true friendship from two sides of the coin. It is filled with forgiveness and acceptance that are not just words but the kind that allows you to live again. I feel like the initial description I read of this book in 2018 was misleading and it never grabbed my attention. When I recently loved this author’s latest novel In Five Years, I knew I had to check the older one out. Never judge a book solely by its book jacket review, listen to the readers!! I am so very glad I did! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Roommate


 Clara Wheaton is a stereotypical pretty Connecticut socialite. She has all the right connections and impressive degrees. The Wheatons are well known for their money and scandalous family dramas and Clara just needs a break from it all. When her handsome childhood crush invites her to restart her life in Los Angeles, Clara does the most unWheaton, unlikely thing and jumps on the very next flight. To her dismay Emmett’s band gets a last minute booking and will be traveling for the entire summer. Clara has to rethink her plan and fast. She has no job, no car and Emmett rented out his room to a porn star named Josh Darling who is every bit as hunky as his stage name infers. Completely out of her league Josh taunts Clara to be brave and change up her life. His unexpected friendship turns into a steamy roommate crush that has Clara’s life in a tizzy, feeling things she never believed possible. This steamy, quick paced romcom is filled with adorable characters and is hotter than hot. Great way to end the summer! It is supposed to be over, right? ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Knock at Midnight

 


Brittany K. Barnett is an American heroine. With little resources she sets her sights on devastating injustice and case by case - Brittany saves lives, offering hope for many who had none. For those of us who were unaware of her mission or of the widespread atrocities she is up against, this enlightening memoir will make you equally mad and in awe of this dynamic young woman. Brittany grew up in the south. Her family didn’t have much but she had love and support even when times were extremely tough. She worked hard, helped those she could and made her success one that the entire town could be proud of. As a law student at SMU Brittany dove deeply into cases of wrongful incarceration and draconian judicial structures that left thousands serving life sentences with no parole. Brittany took on appeals and made pleas for clemency. She met with prisoners and their families and fought for them as if they were her own. Learning as she went along, this corporate lawyer worked pro bono every moment she could squeeze out of her day to fight for freedom and second chances. Her remarkable story is only a piece of her very personal journey. I loved reading about this beautiful, intelligent and selfless soul. I couldn’t put down this book as I read about her life and learned something I knew very little about. Brittany’s words will be with me always. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Magic Lessons

 


And now we go back to the beginning. Hannah Owens lives a quiet life in the woods of rural England. In the 1600’s it is of the utmost importance that she keep her powers and gifts of healing an absolute secret - her life depends on it. Witchcraft is a crime and it doesn’t take much to hang a woman with no husband and an inexplicable ability in the Unnamed Arts. Hannah finds an abandoned baby in the woods. Maria is special and Hannah raises her with love and all the lessons she will need to survive in this world. Some years later Maria is sent on a ship to the Caribbean and she falls in love. Following this stranger to Salem, Massachusetts she finds herself in the heart of a world that has no tolerance for beauty, love and most certainly not for witchcraft. This magical series began with modern day Practical Magic (also a fabulous movie!), then came The Rules of Magic and now we finally learn how the Owens family began. Highly recommend this bewitching series that will set your imagination on fire! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Last Story of Mina Lee

 


Margot Lee is a young woman on a road trip from Seattle to Los Angeles with her best friend Miguel. They are going to get him set up in his new apartment and Margot will visit her mother Mina whom she hasn’t seen for a year. Having grown up in Los Angeles (Koreatown) Margot never felt like she belonged. Rebelling against the language and embarrassed by the poverty they endured, Margot could not get away fast enough. After high school she began college in Seattle and never looked back. Mina, an undocumented immigrant has led a painfully lonely existence. Orphaned as a young girl then subsequently losing her family in an accident, she escaped to America hoping for a fresh start. Unfortunately, Mina could never shake the ghosts of her tragic past. Alternating between Margot’s discovery of her mother’s death and Mina’s past, this story tells the tragedy of a mother and daughter who deeply loved each other but never managed to open their hearts. This sensitive novel is beautifully written but hopelessly sad. I am on the fence friends, it’s good - but you have to be in the mood for a slow unraveling that is rather depressing. ⭐⭐⭐

Majesty

 


America is about to have its first female monarch, Queen Beatrice. She has been learning and perfecting her every move since birth for this exact moment. Marriage to Teddy Eaton has been artfully arranged and her true and (mostly) secret love will have to accept the reality of her future. Princess Samantha is not going to let Beatrice forget for a minute that Queen or not, she has taken more than her share of the attention both publicly and privately. Prince Jefferson and Nina have broken up and friendship does not appear on the horizon if the wicked Daphne has anything to do with it. And then there is adorable Ethan, waiting in the wings while admitting to the defeat of his own troubled heart. This absolutely adorable, unputdownable sequel to American Royals was exactly what I needed to take me away for the day. Maybe a bit YA - but when you’re reading it’s never too late to imagine life as a princess. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Exiles


In 1840, a young Aboriginal girl named Mathinna is taken from the only family she has ever known to become an eccentric trinket for the governor’s wife on Van Dieman’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. The British who reside there are intrigued by this unique young lady that quickly learns their language and their manners. Evangeline Stokes is a governess for a wealthy family in London. She becomes the conquest of their handsome elder son and their naive decisions have landed her in prison. She is lovely, well educated, pregnant and sentenced to be shipped to Van Dieman’s Land. On the ship Evangeline befriends Hazel, another young convict sentenced to seven years for stealing a spoon. During the long passage the two women form a special bond and help each other in any way possible. The chapters of this novel alternate between Mathinna, Evangeline and Hazel. The history is fascinating and the writing is superb but something about the plot felt scattered. I cannot be more specific without spoilers but it took way too long to capture my attention. It is a solid good but I was hoping for more. ⭐⭐⭐

The Book of Lost Names

 

Eve Abrams is an old woman, a widow living in Florida and mostly retired yet still shelving books at the local library. One day an article appears in a magazine with a photo of a man holding a familiar book. This is not just any book - it once belonged to Eve and she hasn’t seen it since the war more than 65 years ago. As Jews living in Paris in 1942, Eve’s father was arrested and taken away. Terrified, she and her mother fled to a small village with hopes to escape France entirely. As fate would have it, Eve’s unique artistic talents lead her to become a forger of documents and although frightened for their lives, Eve knows she must do everything she can to help these orphaned children on their way to neutral Switzerland. As she produces their necessary documents she simultaneously creates a secret ledger so their names will never be forgotten. After the war Eve doesn’t just leave France, she leaves her history and much of her heart behind. When the book is discovered after all these years Eve must go to Berlin, she knows it is finally time to come full circle and reclaim her past. Highly recommend this fabulous read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Paris Is Always A Good Idea

Chelsea Martin is a successful fundraiser at the American Cancer Coalition in Boston. Following her mother’s death seven years earlier, Chelsea threw herself into her job and quickly rose to the top. Intelligent, organized and a workaholic, there was little room in Chelseas’s life for any nonsense - like romance, fun or flirting. After a surprise announcement from her father Chelsea is desperate to find her old self, the fun and adventurous young person she had been when she experienced Europe during a gap year falling in love, not once - but three times! Chelsea realizes that opening her rigid schedule for travel is just as hard as opening her heart. Searching for her past loves in Ireland, Paris and Italy proves more surprising than she could have imagined. If you have ever wondered about your younger self or daydreamed of finding her once gain, you will fall in love with this adorable rom-com. Fun fun beach read (yeah, I’m still doing those!) ⭐⭐⭐

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Cactus League

The star Outfielder Jason Goodyear looks perfect on the outside but his marriage is unraveling and so is his reputation. Batting coach Michael Taylor and his wife find their home vandalized when they return to Arizona for the season. Tamara is a longtime sports muse who has been the girlfriend of many a hot rising star. And Herb Allison is an eccentric sports agent that is losing his place on the totem pole. This story is narrated by a legendary sportscaster as the hot dessert sun makes everyone this season just a little off kilter. Great idea and writing for a behind the scenes, albeit fictional, peek at the professional world of baseball. The character stories jumping around became alittle confusing - but I am not a seasoned baseball fan. On the fence for this one folks, I’d say if you really love baseball, it’ll be a home run. ⭐⭐⭐

The Roommate

It has been awhile since Paige had romance, it’s been a long while since she had any fun at all. When her best friend’s younger brother Cannon unexpectedly needs a place to crash, she has a room to spare. The tall, gorgeous hunk that shows up at her door is nothing like the young nerd she remembers. He is coming out of a bizarre relationship and confides in Paige that the problem is after women sleep with him, they fall in love. Even though she is suddenly finding this young man hard to resist, Paige assures Cannon that he is full of himself and sets out to prove him wrong. Super hot steamy sex ensues (of course it does!!) Throughly enjoyed this fast paced, entertaining romance read. Now I find myself hooked on author Kendall Ryan whenever I need a quick fix! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Age of Consent

Justine and Eve are unlikely friends at a boarding school in Connecticut. Justine has hippie parents who run a well known theater in New Haven and live a penniless, haphazard existence leaving Justine free to do as she pleases. Very bright and well read she snags a scholarship to this prestigious school only to find it very difficult to fit in and make true friends. She enjoys the illicit attentions of a male teacher, a few fringe students and a sophisticated NYC socialite named Eve. At the end of an unexpected first year Justine decides to spend the summer working and living in the city. She rooms with another friend called India and dives deep into the art and club world she had only imagined. Cool 80's nostalgia but that’s where it ends for me.  All the relationships in this story feel contrived and it becomes tedious to follow when you don’t care about a single one of them. ⭐⭐

Monday, August 24, 2020

Mr. Malcolm's List

Selina is a vicar’s daughter from a small village in England. She has spent the last three years as a lovely companion to a very kind, wealthy widowed lady. At the time if a girl doesn’t have the means to secure a certain kind of marriage she would wind up living in the smallest of villages simply as a housewife. Selina, beautiful, well read and fiercely independent has always wanted more for her match. She wants to be worldly, she wants to be in love. When her companionship ends Selina is invited to visit an old school friend named Julia at her London townhome. Amid the chaos of extravagant balls and parties, Julia sets Selina up to seek revenge on Jeremy Malcolm to whom she was briefly courted and been quickly disposed of. Mr. Malcolm apparently has a list and Julia did not meet his strict criteria. With the tables turned Mr. Malcolm instantly falls for Selina and it is up to her to conjure up her own list! Filled with quirky, adorable characters - this fast paced rom com will have you waltzing through ballrooms and riding in carriages with very handsome gentlemen. Absolutely delicious tale of love and friendship. This little taste of book candy is just what I needed!!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Regretting You

Morgan and Chris are the idyllic in-love high school couple - and then she gets pregnant. Their lives are turned upside down and against all odds they manage to build a beautiful life and have a wonderful, if not feisty teenage daughter. Morgan is just turning 34 and regrets not going to college, regrets that her husband now has a busy, successful career and her daughter, Clara, is soon to leave the coop. Her best friend/sister Jenny has a newborn and is going to marry Jonah, their oldest and dearest friend who recently reappeared in their lives. As easily as plans are made, they can be taken away. An unexpected car crash leaves the family in pain deeper than they ever imagined possible. Relationships that were already strained take on heartbreaking clarity and Morgan desperately wants to make sure her daughter does not make the same mistakes she made. Could not put down this beautiful story of love, trust and friendship. Author Colleen Hoover takes us deep into the hearts of this family and even when the going gets tough her words easily flow to the next chapter. Highly recommend this perfect beach read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

With or Without You

Stella and Simon have been a couple for almost twenty years. An unlikely match, Stella is a somewhat quiet, kind nurse at a busy NYC hospital and he is a gorgeous hard core rock n’ roll musician. While in the past supporting Simon on his musical rollercoaster had always made Stella happy, she suddenly yearns for more stability, maybe even a baby. The night before a huge opportunity awaits him in Los Angeles the two disagree and a fork in their relationship can no longer be ignored. After a night of unexpected drug use Stella falls into a mysterious coma. Simon becomes the devoted boyfriend she had always dreamed of, Stella is someone completely new. They must unravel who they have become to each other and to themselves. There are parts of this story I really enjoyed, not to mention Caroline Leavitt’s writing is always a pleasure - but the truth is that Stella became annoying and I could not sympathize with her journey. In fact, all the many relationships were a bit off to me. I’m on the fence with this one friends. ⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, August 23, 2020

One to Watch

Reality hit series The Bachelorette meets rom-com delight! Bea, a plus size fashion instagrammer superstar is chosen to compete on the next bachelorette series and make tv history. She is beautiful, funny, smart, sweet and a more than a few sizes bigger than the average contestant. Bea faces a chance to choose a love match from 25 handsome men ferociously fighting for the spotlight. Thinking it’s a good business boost, Bea and a spunky female producer want to show America that it’s time to change the way we think, letting love, not body type, lead the way. When the camera’s start filming it is harder than she ever expected. Insults are hurled, opinions flood the internet and Bea is not sure what reality means anymore. This read is filled with fun quirky characters and a lot of heart. Fans of The Bachelorette reality series will get a kick out of this romantic twist. ⭐⭐⭐

The Boys' Club

Gorgeous, smart, Harvard grad Alex Vogel is taking NY by storm. She is about to begin a coveted position at one of the top law firms in Manhattan and just moved into a swanky apartment with her longtime beau who is plugging away at a start up. The junior associate class has few girls and none make it into Mergers and Acquisitions, so naturally, Alex, a competitive former athlete, cannot resist going for the gold. Slowly drowning in the insane work hours she faces, Alex feels an adrenaline rush with every successful deal she closes and the handsome partner’s she is drawn to. With all morals generally thrown out the window this fast paced novel is an absolute page turner as Alex tries to figure out how far she is willing to go down the rabbit hole of BigLaw and big bucks in the big city. This FIVE STAR novel has already been optioned by Netflix and is a perfect end of the summer read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, August 10, 2020

All the Rivers

Liat is a beautiful Israeli translator spending a year working in New York City. She is apartment sitting for family friends and thoroughly exploring this dense exciting metropolis. One day Liat unexpectedly meets a friend of a friend, named Hilmi. She is immediately captivated by this handsome, charming, talented artist. The two quickly fall into a steamy, thoughtful friendship in and out of the bedroom. Their chemistry is undeniable. Their past is unavoidable. Hilmi is Palestinian. As they explore this bustling city, visiting art galleries, museums, and an endless array of restaurants they can no longer hide from the black cloud following every step they take. Friends cannot begin to understand, their families would be irreparably devastated. My heart was pounding for this couple, the dreamworld they were living in and self imposed deadline of their hearts. A hopeless romantic, I was immediately intrigued and in love with both characters, the politics and drama they cannot escape and literally could not put this book down. It was only afterwards (and I’m glad I waited because spoilers abound!) I found an array of articles written by and about the author and this novel. Highly recommend this 5 star read!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Pull of the Stars

It is 1918 in Dublin, WWI is just ending and the Spanish Flu pandemic has in a sense taken over the world. Nurse Julia Power works in an understaffed hospital Maternity ward for flu patients. Since she has overcome a mild case, she is a perfect candidate to help as she will most likely not contract the virus again. In this dark, small, musty space Julia helps a variety of women get through some of the toughest days of their lives. She assists a rebellious (almost unheard of) female physician and an unexpected volunteer shows up called Bridie that surprises everyone she meets. It is an interesting novel with an imaginative cast of characters but to enjoy you must have some interest in obstetrics which is painstakingly described in detail throughout the book. Because it is Emma Donoghue and so well written, I had no trouble immersing myself in this gloomy scenario but there is not a lot of action here. The entire story is a hospital setting during a tough time in history. ⭐⭐⭐

Friday, August 7, 2020

Float Plan

Anna waits tables at a pirate themed bar in Fort Lauderdale. The last year spent in a haze as she grieves the loss of her fiancĂ© and the life she hoped to build with him. The sailboat they refurbished sits idly at the dock filled with memories of Ben and all of their dreams. As the day set for their maiden voyage approaches Anna decides to take her chances at it solo. She sets off on the journey alone towards the Bahamas. After a difficult night at sea Anna realizes she cannot complete the planned trip without some assistance. She looks for an experienced sailor to get her to Puerto Rico and through the Caribbean. That is when she meets Keane, a gorgeous Irishman who fits the bill and more. Following Ben’s itinerary, Keane and Anna sail well together and they both learn more about sailing and life than either of them ever expected. If you love the romance of the sea filled with sunsets, dolphins and hidden island treasures you will adore this wonderful tale that reads like a cool breeze on a hot day. Highly recommend - although not out until 2021 - so keep your eyes open for it’s release! Worth the wait! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Without Her

Claudia and Hannah were inseparable at their all girl’s boarding school. Growing up in England and feeling abandoned by their parents these young girls bonded like sisters. Always dreaming of running away together the pair eventually attend Cambridge and their lives take completely different paths after graduation. Claudia follows her passion for filmmaking all the way to America and Hannah marries Phil and settles down into a somewhat predictable English life. It is many years later that Claudia receives an urgent message from Phil reporting that Hannah is missing. As Hannah’s oldest and dearest friend, he doesn’t know who else to turn to. Together they search out the many possibilities of Hannah’s sudden disappearance. This absolutely beautiful story is a witness to a most fragile and precious friendship. All the choices one makes throughout their lives affect not only themselves but those closest to them as well. The meaning of love, jealousy, loyalty and even friendship changes as we age and is redefined over our entire lives. This is a quiet, intense and very well written novel. New author for me, I would definitely read more of her work. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Verity

Lowen is a young ambitious writer struggling with her next deadline and publisher’s demands. She is offered an unlikely opportunity to co-write and finish a series for renowned author Verity Crawford who has mysteriously been incapacitated. Jeremy, the handsome husband has handpicked Lowen to spend some time at his home, in Verity’s office to read her notes and write in a style her fans are familiar with. Lowen discovers a manuscript that reveals Verity’s innermost thoughts and feelings and it scares her to death. Not one but two of their daughters have succumbed to tragic accidents. In this stately mansion lives the handsome Jeremy, his sweet little boy and Verity staring off in a comatose state. As Lowen grows attached to this complicated family, her affection for Jeremy grows and she cannot shake the feeling that she is being watched. Could not put down this absolute page turner. I don’t know how author Colleen Hoover was not on my radar but this thriller cannot be missed ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Come Again

Kate and Luke have been together since college and married for 28 years when Luke is diagnosed with a tumor and quickly passes away. Kate, a brilliant IT specialist has also recently uncovered a dangerous scandal at work which makes her despise her longtime boss even more than she already had. With no children, a frivolous mother and a handful of distant friends, Kate has pretty much decided it’s over. One day she mysteriously wakes up from an alcohol induced episode and it’s 1992. Kate has a chance to meet Luke all over again, change the future and maybe even save his life. This read had a really promising storyline that disappeared in an avalanche of words. I love stories based in London, I love romances and I love time travel. This would have had a great chance if it was edited properly. Sorry folks, this is barely ⭐

Friday, July 31, 2020

How To Date A Younger Man

Layne is a beautiful young woman living in Los Angeles. She has worked diligently her entire life to become a success. Now, in her mid 30’s, Layne works long hours establishing a name for her small law firm, defending clients and putting out small fires late into the night. But Layne knows there is something missing. Although surrounded by people all day, she finds herself feeling lonely. Dating has become an anxiety producing online battlefield and her therapist assures her that she has forgotten how to just have a good time. When Layne unexpectedly meets her friends younger brother who is a grad student, there are fireworks she has never experienced before. Griffin is painfully handsome, smart, sexy and - ten years younger - she could never .… Could she? This take-me-away read is an absolutely delicious break from reality. Have fun with this hot one!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thin Girls

Rose and Lily Winters are identical twins. Their parents are in a dysfunctional marriage. The mother, often cold, distant and obsessed with her weight didn’t stick around for long. Their father battled his own demons and pacified himself with alcohol. Rose and Lily only had each other. They were inseparable and their love ran deep and strong. As they approached high school their sameness became an obstacle and the twins subconsciously fought against the tides with food. Rose completely eliminating it and Lily gorging herself with it. Flash forward and at 24, just as Rose approaches her one year anniversary at the rehabilitation facility she swindles her escape to help Lily. It is finally her turn to do the saving. This debut novel by Diana Clark is well written, disturbing, scary and hard to put down. It is not an easy read. Anorexia and an array of eating disorders are horrible diseases and sadly prevalent in society today. From a very young age the media, our peers and often our own families distort the way we see ourselves. While the book focuses largely on Rose’s disorder it equally emphasizes the extraordinary bond between sisters and friends. With a distinctive voice this remarkable story unfolds and I am really glad I read it. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Sex and Vanity

Lucie Churchill is a young, beautiful woman of 19 when her very good friend invites her to the wedding of the year on the island of Capri. Lucie is swept away with the charm and romance of this magical setting. Her “half-Asian” beauty attracts quite a bit of attention, especially from an extremely wealthy and handsome guest named George. As their moment in the sun is quickly snatched away the story flashes forward 5 years to find Lucie engaged to the absolute bachelor of the year. As the couple and all of their perfectly wealthy, beautiful friends galavant down Fifth Avenue and through East Hampton, Lucie once again meets up with George and must admit that her feelings are real. Crazy Rich Asians in Capri and New York, with a diversity twist and plenty of humor. If you are a Kevin Kwan fan, Sex and Vanity is a quick, cute summer read. Perfect for a day at the beach!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Older

As Liza Miller is about to turn 50 she returns from her cabin in the woods and publishes a novel, loosely disguised story of her life posing as a younger woman in the workplace. Sound familiar? The little troupe had split in many directions; Sexy Josh concentrating on his successful business in Brooklyn, Maggie now a mom and Kelsey is quickly building her career in Los Angeles as a producer. It is time for Liza to once again reinvent herself and more than anything she wants the truth to set her free. When Kelsey ops her book for a TV show, Liza heads west and gets caught up in an LA movie star crush. With all the fun flirting and crazy antics of Younger, this group never fails to entertain. Fans will go wild for this sequel to a show we wait for with bated breath. Pure rom-com enjoyment, an absolute must read for the beach this summer. Thank you Pamela Redmond, just the right amount of “Take me away!" during these crazy times!

I Was Told It Would Get Easier

Jessica Burnstein is a single mom and successful attorney living in Los Angeles. She is raising her daughter Emily with the help of an efficient nanny and a meticulous schedule. When mom and daughter duo set out on an upscale college tour, Jessica analyzes her highly stressful job and rocky relationship with her demanding teenage daughter. Overcompensating with lots of LOL’s this quick read was little too true/annoying. Perhaps it’s a timing issue and I am way past the college app extravaganza but this read felt repetitive while the storyline faded fast.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

28 Summers

Mallory is a young woman struggling with life in the Big Apple. She loves to read and dreams of writing but the fast paced, competitive nature of the city just doesn’t fill her heart. Unexpectedly, Mallory inherits a cottage on Nantucket. Her adored aunt, that most of the family misunderstood, has bequeathed her an idyllic ocean paradise. Mallory quickly adapts to island living. She makes friends, teaches high school English and lives in her own little dream world. When her brother visits with some friends, Mallory has an instant connection (love at first sight) with his old roommate Jake McCloud. He is on the fast track in D.C. as a lobbyist with his on again/off again girlfriend Ursula. Because they are young idealists (and hot for each other!) Mallory and Jake begin a “Same Time Next Year” (like the classic movie circa 1978.) As Jake’s wife climbs the political ladder it becomes more difficult to continue their promise to meet every Labor Day. This complicated romance is a delicious summer read. All the elements of sand and sun and just enough tears to contemplate the one that got away. Perfect for a day at the beach, or yard, or park or wherever you can escape! Thanks Erin Hilderbrand, I needed that!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Last Flight

Claire is married to a powerful man, a politician through and through. Although it began as a whirlwind romance a decade ago, their marriage is now a sham. Rory’s words slowly turned cruel and over the years became physical. The abuse Claire succumbed to overwhelmed every aspect of her life. Once upon a time this beautiful, independent woman had a career and friends. Rory has taken that all away. She  represents the family foundation and nothing Claire does meets her husband’s expectations. Claire finds herself at JFK airport being sent on yet another Cook Foundation task. Last minute changes alter her route and Claire’s meticulously crafted plan to disappear through Canada is upended. When an unexpected opportunity falls at her feet, she cannot resist. Switch places and tickets with a complete stranger, a woman named Eva. As this suspenseful thriller twists and turns in the most unexpected ways, freedom lies just up ahead. The question is … for whom. Could not put down this irresistible read. Narrated by both woman The Last Flight will take you far far away from the daily grind. Highly recommend this FABULOUS FIVE STAR summer read!! 

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Rural Diaries

Hilarie Burton Morgan recounts her life on Mischief Farm as a mother, wife and newcomer to a small quaint town in upstate New York. Realizing her acting dreams as a young woman, the “biz” wasn’t exactly what Hilarie hoped it would be. Not sure if it was just a case of the grass is always greener, Hilarie reached back to her feelings of childhood; a rural community and true friendships which were increasingly hard to find as her career shuttled her between LA and NYC. After a love at first sight intro to her actor (husband) Jeffrey, they quickly had a beautiful baby boy and purchased a farm filled with green hills and wide pastures. Their everyday struggles are written plainly and honestly. While Jeffrey chops wood between jobs, Hilarie holds the farm together, growing vegetables, caring for the animals and even saving the iconic town candy shop from ruin. Hilarie perfectly describes this charming search to find the place her family can truly call home. I picked this memoir up rather randomly and it was an absolute delight - well written, funny and heartwarming. The perfect summer read during these uneasy times. Thanks for sharing your story Hilarie! 

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Golden Cage

Faye had a shaky past growing up in a remote part of Sweden. Alone in the world, she changes her name and heads off to the big city to attend college, determined to make a better life for herself. Faye meets golden boy Jack. He is a handsome superstar who seems to know anybody and everybody. Jack takes her under his wing and Faye leaves school in her last year to support his endeavors. Unfortunately, as Jack’s success soars Faye is left at home with their daughter. Her opinions no longer valued, it seems the more money and status Jack acquires, the less he needs Faye at his side. When an affair is discovered Faye is set for revenge. Jack has no idea of her violent past or just how far she will go to seek revenge. This fast paced psychological thriller is unputdownable. Translated from Swedish is carries a different tone that I loved. Once you find your rhythm The Golden Cage is completely unputdownable. Highly recommend for your suspenseful summer pick!

What You Wish For

Sam Casey is the librarian at a quaint, eclectic elementary school on the island of Galveston. She has pink bangs, wears colorful clothing and delights in the children and everything that is books. When the head principal passes away the whole community is deeply saddened and Sam is shocked to discover that her old crush Duncan Carpenter has been hired to fill his shoes. Unfortunately Duncan has completely changed, and the fun loving kid hero aims to turn their school upside down.This cute, completely light hearted story had the Katherine Center flair of humor but for me lacked any substance. Unlike her other novels, which I adored, the characters and plot in this one did not grab me at all :(

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Lies that Bind

Cecily is a beautiful young woman trying to make it in the big city. Originally from the mid-west, she finds herself stuck in a ho-hum job at a second rate newspaper. When her handsome boyfriend of three years refuses to talk about the future, she ends their relationship and finds herself in a seedy bar, alone at 2 in the morning. Just as she is about to cave and dial his number, a man approaches and tells her not to do it. Throwing all common sense to the wind and following her heart - Cecily begins an intense friendship with Grant that is filled with a passion she never before experienced. Grant has his own issues to deal with but their connection is unmistakable, he is her soulmate. And then 9/11. As quickly as this mysterious man entered her life, he vanishes. Desperately struggling to figure out what happened Cecily learns the meaning of love and just how important the truth really is. Another perfect summer read by author Emily Giffin (albeit with a twist!)  It’s a must for the beach!

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Henna Artist

Lakshmi is alone in the city of Jaipur. It is the 1950’s and this simple young woman who escaped her arranged marriage at 15 years old will do anything she has to do for a better life and a brighter future. Fighting against traditional roles, she finds herself alone in the world with a very unique talent. She is both an artist and a healer. If only one good thing came out of her violent marriage, it was her mother in law, who taught her the many secrets of natural medicine. This captivating story will take you away to the noisy crowded streets of India. The caste system tries to keep Lakshmi in her place but her gifts have even the palace requesting her services. With careful planning she is building her own home and becoming quite a commodity. Appreciating every moment of her hard won independence, Lakshmi is thrown for a loop when her former husband reappears and some of the jealous ladies are more concerned with their reputations than the truth. Beautifully written, I highly recommend this colorful novel filled with the tastes, sounds and traditions of another place in another time.

Head Over Heels

Like most little girls Avery Abrams had one dream. To be an Olympic gymnast. Unlike most young girls, she was beyond good. Avery was the best and her promising career was real. She trained her entire childhood; no junk food, few friends, no sleepovers and eventually homeschooled. Avery and her loving parents sacrificed what most people take for granted. When she tragically injured herself at the Olympic trials, her one chance to lead the girls team was gone forever. Age wise, she was done. Avery dabbled in college gymnastics but her heart just wasn’t in it. Her disappointment so great that her life spiraled out of control for 7 years. Back home in the small town she grew up in, this former superstar has to learn to face her past and figure out some sort of future. When Coach Ryan (a former gymnast she crushed on throughout her teenage years) hires her to assist a promising young gymnast for the upcoming Olympics, Avery is finally ready to begin the healing process. Funny, well written and timely. This adorable romcom is filled with gymnastic dreams and the crushing reality of the sport. You will definitely be rooting for this all around winner.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Rodham

Hillary Rodham grew up in a small suburb in Illinois. Close with her lovely mother, tolerating her overbearing father and cheered on by her two brothers, she was a straight A student, a leader and an overachiever - always. After a successful college career and delivering her famous commencement speech at Wellesley Hillary went on to attend law school at Yale. It is at Yale that Hillary has her first true romance, with none other than Bill Clinton. From the start Bill is a smart, fast talking southern charmer and she cannot grasp how this handsome, popular boy is so smitten with her. Through hard work, determination and drive the world is her oyster and those close to her are shocked when she follows Bill and his proposal to Arkansas to teach at the university while he runs for office. This is where the sliding doors open - Hillary says no. She says no to his philandering, no to his undeniable allure and yes to a future where she can follow her own heart while it is still in one piece. The rest is - well, you’d have to read the book to find out! This work of fiction is beyond a doubt extremely creative and interesting but the truth is, I did not enjoy it. When Hillary Rodham Clinton lost the election in 2016 many of us were devastated for a multitude of reasons. I loved the idea of an alternative story to the one we all (think) we know. Unfortunately the daily mundane campaigning details, of which this book is filled, are kind of boring. This alternative scenario made the truth of politics all the more sad.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

In the center of Seoul, South Korea, lives a small family. Kim Jiyoung is a recent stay at home mom, having left her office job to care for their young infant. At first the couple blames her swinging moods on postpartum baby blues. But when Kim Jiyoung begins acting strangely, mimicking voices of other women and sleeping for extensive lengths of time, her husband arranges for her to see a psychiatrist. After carefully detailing their present life this author takes us back through Jiyoung’s rather ordinary upbringing. From early childhood relationships at school, her desperate search for a career and the eventual meeting of her husband. This book was quite different than described in the summary. It was a  great success in Korea a few years ago and has recently been translated and rereleased. The obvious inequality of men and women in the South Korean workplace is displayed in detail, as is the basic struggle in this culture for the older generation to behave in one way and the more westernized, young adults to rebel. This novel had some very interesting views but failed to bring the story to life in the way I am accustomed. Because it was well written, interesting and very short - I was able to get through it but there was definitely something missing for me.

A Good Marriage

Lizzie Kitsakis works long, hard hours at a prestigious law firm in NYC. Her marriage to Sam is on on the rocks and although she loves him with all her heart, she doesn’t know how to fix this mess. Her new job at Young & Crane will at least help reduce their debt and fill a spot on her resume. Late one evening she gets an urgent collect call from Rikers Island Jail and shockingly finds herself speaking to one time friend and fellow Penn law student Zach Grayson. His wife has been murdered and he is being railroaded as a prime suspect. Pleading innocence, Zach swiftly guilts her into taking his case. Lizzie, both bright and tenacious, is quickly pulled into the underworld of Park Slope - investigating Zach’s marriage to the beautiful Amanda, his life of luxury and a group of private school moms that appear to have many secrets lurking beneath their fashionable surface. While battling her own marriage demons and hidden past, Lizzie learns that facing the absolute truth is the only path to freedom. Another fabulous thriller from author Kimberly McCreight. The many twists and turns make this read completely unputdownable. Exactly what I needed! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

That's Not A Thing

Meredith and Aaron are a young, successful couple making their mark in New York City. Recently engaged, Meredith is working for a prestigious law firm while Aaron finishes up a coveted residency saving the lives of babies. One night they are invited to an engagement celebration dinner at one of the hottest new culinary spots in the city. By random chance, the chef comes out to greet them and he is none other than Wesley, Meredith’s ex. The forbidden Wesley, love of her life whom she never got over and refuses to speak of. Throwing all good things for a crazy loop, Meredith is completely distraught that Wes is back in the states. When she learns that his shaky hands are signs of his recent ALS diagnosis, she can barely breathe. The what if’s of her past hauntingly return and although Aaron is a spectacular guy - how much understanding can one man possibly have? Meredith must decide exactly who she is going to be when she grows up. This fast paced heartbreaking love story has wonderful characters and a lot to think about. Highly recommend and don’t forget to have the tissues handy.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Kind of Famous

Layla Beckett’s lifelong dream has come true! After the last ten years as a number one fan and incognito fansite administrator, Layla has landed her dream job at a prestigious NYC magazine called The Rock Paper. A small town girl, she is both nervous and excited for her new life in the Big Apple. On Layla’s very first day she serendipitously meets and befriends a famed photographer/girlfriend of a rockstar, leading Layla to a life she never dared to imagine. Introduced to guitarist handsome Shane Morgan at a backyard bbq, she learns quickly the ins and outs, along with the many ups and downs of the music industry which is filled with these beautiful talented young artists. If you love music and fun romcoms, this is the latest sexy story from author Mary Ann Marlowe. Perfect snack for a much needed day at the beach.

Sea Wife

Juliet is depressed and boy does she hate that word. A lover of poetry, Juliet is a mother of two, deserter of her PhD and wife of Michael. She became progressively blue after the births of both of her children, now 7 and 2. Experiencing his own mid-life crisis, Michael’s long buried dreams of freedom on a sailboat are coming to fruition. All he has to do is convince Juliet, who has never sailed a day in her life. With their marriage on the rocks, both husband and wife admit a fork in the road is imminent. Cajoling her with visions of blue skies and sunsets, the novice sailors set off on their adventure in Panama aboard the newly christened “Juliet.” Each chapter filled with divorce docking, sleeplessness, bickering and the well known saying that voyaging is merely fixing your boat in exotic locations, suddenly those sunsets feel few and far between. Told in fascinating detail, Juliet explores what led her to this point with humor and honesty while Michael’s version is expressed through his daily log book turned diary. Mildly seasick from the swells of their marriage, relationship to their mothers and messy past - I devoured each and every page of Sea Wife, not wanting to miss a beat. Cannot believe with such detail that author Amity Gaige is not a sailor herself! I also am positive my husbands sailing dreams are now permanently crushed because I am quite sure that I would never, ever be brave/crazy enough to undertake this challenge!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Your Blue Is Not My Blue

Aspen meets Justin while on her famous trek from Mexico to Canada, detailed in her first memoir Girl in the Woods. Falling in love at 19, she is excited to share her life with this handsome, mysterious man 10 years her senior, who literally saved her life in the woods. Quickly accepted by his family, the newlyweds explore the hills he grew up in and beatnik scene of Northern California. A bit naive, Aspen doesn’t think to ask questions regarding their finances or future plans. She is enjoying her newfound adult freedom, letting the days easily arrange themselves with Justin leading the way. The couple soon finds themselves in NYC so Aspen can return to college and focus on her writing career. Slowly their wandering thru-hiker existence is filled with school and writing responsibilities along with exorbitant rent to pay. As Aspen’s world expands, Justin’s free spirit begins to fade. A few years later, on a dark November morning Justin leaves to attend a friends funeral - and disappears. Aspen is left alone to pick up the shattered pieces of her young life. This honest, expressive memoir is heartbreaking and beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Aspen’s descriptive scenery and adventurous spirit as she deciphers the true definition of love.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Beach Read

January Andrews is a romance writer with a dreadful case of writer’s block. Penniless, mourning the loss of her father and her Mr. Perfect boyfriend, January is struggling to piece the puzzle of her life back together. With pressure from her agent to finish (ha! How about start!) the book she has committed to, she decides to spend the summer months at her father’s lake house before it sells. Much to her dismay it is filled with someone else’s memories and an annoying neighbor who turns the music up much too loud her very first night. The neighbor turns out to be Gus, her handsome secret college crush and fellow writer who has a tad more success in the ratings and evil sexy eyes that melt way more than her heart. The two writers in residence decide a small competition is in order. He will write the romance she is stuck on and she, the Great American Novel. And so begins this HILARIOUS and ADORABLE and DELICIOUS romcom by Emily Henry which I completely devoured on one perfect beach day. This fun, witty, well written story will grab your heart and make you believe in happy endings all over again.

Darling Rose Gold

Patty Watts is getting out of prison. After five long years this master manipulator is exhausted and cannot wait to reunite with her daughter Rose Gold and move on with her life. But Rose Gold is a grown woman now, 23. She has a job, lives on her own and recently, a newborn baby. Rose Gold is no longer the helpless child, wheelchair bound and surviving her mother’s carefully orchestrated emergencies. After years of endless fundraising and supporting the struggling duo this entire town paved the way to send Patty to jail and free her daughter from her dangerous clutches. Since Patty is an expert liar and sincerely believes her own fabricated stories, her love for Rose Gold runs deep and she will accept nothing less than winning her back. This outrageous take on a very real syndrome of Munchausen by proxy is a severe mental illness and form of child abuse. Author Stephanie Wrobel weasels her way into the very heart and mind of both mother and daughter with ease. Reminding me of The Act on Hulu, which I only watched a few episodes because it is so completely unpalatable, this fast paced, suspenseful book is full of unexpected twists and truly unputdownable.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Last Couple Standing

Four Baltimore couples who have been best friends since college find their lives turned upside down as they hit their forties. Now in the burbs, with kids, mortgages and typical mid life sagging, one by one they divorce. The last couple intact are Jessica and Mitch. Jessica is an attractive, insightful therapist and Mitch teaches high school English. With two adorable kids and a comedic rapport they decide to ward off the contagious D word and spice up their marriage with a twist. They decide a relaxed marriage would do the trick and are each allowed a sexual encounter outside the marriage, think free pass. Quickly their little experiment turns to disaster when simple things like jealousy, truth and family get in the way. Love the title and the cover but this romcom could have been so much more than a silly wrap that began about 1/2 way through. Any lessons, even funny ones were lost in the random shuffle. Not my best as far as romcoms go.