Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The House Mate


Book 3 of the Roommate series does not disappoint. Max Alexander is in his mid 30’s. Successful, gorgeous and raising a beautiful little girl Dylan on his own. Max doesn’t have time to play dating games. When he decides to relocate to be closer to his ailing mother in the town he was raised Max’s life takes an unexpected turn. He hires an old flame Addison to help with his daughter. Addison and Max shared the typical high school romance but when Max left for college he never looked back. Their chemistry is still sizzling after all these years apart but it will take a lot of convincing to get Addison to trust him again. ⭐⭐⭐

My Brother's Roommate


#2 Frisky Business series. The title pretty much says it all. Wolfie Cox and Conor have been friends, roommates and business partners for many years. Wolfie is the dark, handsome silent type and rarely has a girlfriend or a smile to spare. Polite, hard working but not exactly an easy going guy, Wolfie is the last person Penelope, Conors younger sister, ever expected to crush on. While Wolfie tries to keep his admitted attraction at bay, Penelope manipulates him into giving her a chance. It is no surprise this steamy quick love story will have you begging for more. According to author Kendall Ryan #3 is on the way. ⭐⭐⭐

The Boyfriend Effect


#1 in the Frisky Business series, author Kendall Ryan does it again. Hayes is taking a break from women. Too many crazy break ups and drama filled days. Maren is the younger sister of one of his best friends and business partner, officially off limits. Hotter than hot Hayes has always had a little crush on Maren, but she was just a kid back in the day. Now, she has become a beautiful, smart woman that he is finding hard to resist  — and Maren knows what she wants. Typical, quick steamy romance. A well done and easy to read treat. ⭐⭐⭐

Anna and The French Kiss


Anna is an average teen living in Atlanta, excited to face senior year and her future as a hopeful movie critic. Currently flirting with the cutest boy at the theater where she works part time and hanging out with her best friend is pretty much all that’s on her mind. When her divorced parents inform her that she is to spend her senior year at a posh boarding school in Paris, everything she hoped for falls to pieces. As soon as her parents leave the dormitory Anna commits to being miserable and alone. That is until she meets Etienne, the very handsome boy downstairs and his group of friends become hers as well. Seeing the sights and all the local films bonds Anna in a way she never thought possible. Etienne and Anna fight their unquestionable chemistry as his past girlfriend refuses to let go. The romantic city brings more to light than just the Eiffel Tower. Anna is forced to test the true meaning of friendship both old and new. This adorable YA romance has all the charm and innocence of first love and of course, there is Paris! Adored this quick enjoyable treat and will definitely check out more by this author. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, December 28, 2020

A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow


Lila Reyes just graduated from highschool in West Dade, Miami. Happily living with her Cuban-American family and working in La Paloma, the successful bakery her grandmother established many years ago. When her abuela unexpectedly passes away it sets off a chain of events that turns Lila’s life upside down. Her longtime boyfriend dumps her a few days before prom and her best friend’s secret to work in Africa comes to light. Everything Lila had planned, all her dreams to be the best baker in Miami and run the business with her sister come tumbling down. As sadness overwhelms her, the family decides Lila must leave to recuperate from the difficulties she has faced. They send her to Winchester, England to stay with Aunt Cate, rest and relaxation the key to recovery. Lila is unable to stay out of the kitchen and as she regains her strength Lila’s baking takes the village of Winchester on a Cuban journey through deliciousness. She wins every heart including Orion who runs the tea shop. This adorable YA novel takes a girl from a tight knit community out into the world and while nourishing the needs of other’s she manages to find herself again. Beyond adorable, I highly recommend this recipe for travel with a little bit of romance. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Kindred


Dana is a 26 year old African-American woman in 1976 California. She and her white husband Kevin just moved into their lovely first home and aside from a few family complications these two aspiring writers live a rather simple life. One day Dana feels strangely dizzy and as the room begins to blur she is terrifyingly swept away to another time. Dana awakens in Maryland in the early 1800’s. She sees a little boy in the distant lake and he is drowning. Without a moments hesitation Dana saves his life and begins a journey none of her creative writing could have ever imagined. She time travels back and forth between centuries to repeatedly save this boy called Rufus. As a black woman she is thought to be a slave on his father’s plantation. Going along with the ruse and the historical facts she knows, Dana must learn to survive while she figures out this mysterious existence she has acquired. This book originally published in 1979 is part fantasy/part historical fiction and one hundred percent mesmerizing. To physically live, even for a short while, during a time in history that tested everything we believe about freedom and humankind is almost unimaginable. Author Octavia Butler takes us on a journey you will remember long after the final chapter. An absolute must read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Swear On This Life


Emiline, an English lit grad student had a rough childhood. Raised by an abusive alcoholic father, she clung to the boy next door, her best friend. Jackson fed Emiline when she was hungry, he dried her tears when she was sad. Jackson was the only person in rural Ohio who protected Emiline down this dirt road they called home. When she finally was taken away by the authorities to be raised by a distant Aunt in California, she never saw Jackson again. Now, as a teacher, Emiline yearns to write her own story but she cannot quite find the words. Her roommate is raving about the latest bestseller by “J. Colby” and when Emiline finally gives it a chance, she finds herself speechless. This is her life, in detail, on a page. The painful story she has not found the courage to tell. And the author is none other than Jackson. Angry and terrified of revisiting the past, Emiline reads the novel is pieces while she reflects on memories she buried long ago. This romantic drama had an absolutely fantastic concept and I loved the flashback chapters of her life but the present storyline in between was not compelling at all. 
Hence, only a mediocre review. ⭐⭐⭐

The Simple Wild


Calla Fletcher left rural Alaska when she was two years old. Her mother loved her husband Wren with all her heart but could not manage in this remote isolated land. And Wren, a bush pilot to his very core, could never leave Alaska. Her mother eventually remarries and Calla’s strained long distance conversations over the years have left her with a father she barely knows. When a surprising call comes from a neighbor that Wren is not well, the stars align and Calla makes her way to this estranged man she yearns to call Dad. Upon arrival it is clear this city girl has a lot to learn. Her high heels don’t work in the mud and cell reception is scarce. When she meets her Dad’s right hand man Jonah, she can barely make out his smirk hiding beneath a bush of a beard she names yeti. The back and forth banter quickly becomes flirting and naturally there is an extremely handsome sky cowboy hiding under there. Just as her mother warned before her departure, between her father’s illness and her budding friendship with the hunky pilot, Calla’s world is turned upside down. Couldn’t put down this quick, vivid romance set in the wilds of Alaska. Armchair travel at its best. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Library at the Edge of the World


Hanna Casey has spent the last few years starting over. Escaping a failed marriage in an upscale London suburb with little more than the clothes on her back and her beautiful daughter Jazz, Hanna now runs the library in the rural village on Ireland’s west coast that she grew up in. Jazz, now grown and working as a flight attendant has left Hanna miserably on her own, living with her oppressive mother who criticizes her every move. When it comes to light that Hanna is the owner of a late Aunt’s crumbling cottage on the outskirts of town it becomes her mission to start her life again. Throw in the most peculiar but kind hearted handyman, a local council who threatens to close the library and a handsome city clerk who hides his own complicated past and there is quite some drama to contend with. A lot of driving around in her mobile library van, gossip that spreads like wild fire and an ocean view to die for … add some books and I’m in. Always a fan of Irish authors and stories that take place in the land of leprechauns, this one was pure delight. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This Time Next Year


Minnie Cooper meets Quinn at a fancy New Year's Eve bash thrown by his girlfriend. With little in common and both romantically involved with others, it comes a complete surprise that not only do they share a birthday on New Year's Day but their mother’s delivered in the same hospital and Quinn actually stole Minnie’s name! As she struggles with her small catering business and is forced to move back in with her parents, Minnie begins the most unexpected friendship with this handsome very successful man that she is convinced would never be attracted to her. The two lives accidentally intertwine at every turn which Minnie mistakes for coincidence that may actually be pure destiny. Adorable rom-com characters reinforcing the power of opposites attracting and sometimes putting best laid plans aside while you follow your heart. Fun, quick, happy holiday read. ⭐⭐⭐

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue


Addie LaRue is a young woman in the early 1700’s. At 23 years old she is practically an old maid in this quaint French village. Her stern mother and artistic loving father are desperate for their daughter to become a wife, a mother. Happiness, love, Addie’s dreams of travel are beyond their scope of understanding. Minutes before her arranged marriage to a local widow, Addie runs to the forest and begs the god of gods to show her mercy. She is desperate to avoid this wedding and a life contained in this small world. Now, 300 years after her deal with the devil, Addie’s curse may be broken. After centuries of living a lonely existence where she can do as she pleases but not a single person ever remembers her, Addie meets Henry at a small bookshop in NYC. She returns the very next day for another book and Henry remembers her. Addie does not know what makes Henry special or different but as they share the truth the future becomes even more complicated. Flashing back and forth through time, Addie keeps marching onward through history and her endless search for home. A lot of subtle lessons and beautifully written, this book received a ton of excellent reviews. My only complaint is with editing - a bit repetitive and about 100 pages too long. ⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Admission


Chloe Berringer is a senior at the most prestigious (most expensive) private high school in Los Angeles. The SAT pressure is on full blast and her beautiful, celebrity mother and handsome, successful father are playing the helicopter parents from hell. As Chloe’s grades appear mediocre at best her mom hires a highly recommended college consultant get the job done. Chloe is more focused on her longtime crush and spending weekends with her best friend but figures whatever makes her parents happy is just fine by her. The morning the FBI comes banging down the door is the day her life is no longer her own. This high priced college assistance turns into the college scandal of the decade. Chole’s mother is facing federal charges along with a slew of other rich, entitled parents who were claim they were naively trying to help their beloved offspring. Not only has Chloe lost everything she loves, she faces the fact that her parents did not believe she could succeed on her own. They have risked her future and that of her sister’s to ensure their own bragging rights. Loosely based on the recent admissions scandal that rocked the nation, this fictionalized account was unputdownable. Highly recommend this fast paced, well written read!! Will definitely be following this author going forward! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany


Emilia lives alone in a small family apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Perpetually single, she dotes on her cat, bakes at her grandfather’s deli and hasn’t changed her hairstyle in more than a decade. As a second-born daughter in the Fontana family, Emilia is burdened with a two hundred year old curse that she will never find love. Having lost her mother when she was just a baby, Emilia remains under the thumb of her fierce, unrelenting nonna, bitter sister and timid father. When her estranged, eccentric Aunt Poppy invites her and cousin Lucy on an all expense paid dream trip to Italy, Emilia’s life is instantly turned upside down. Poppy, another second-born daughter, plans to reunite with her long lost lover Rico at the Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday. Battling the curse and a lifetime of regret Emilia and Lucy have a lot to learn from this Aunt they barely know. There is a world outside of Bensonhurst just waiting to be discovered. As this quirky trio travels through the canals of Venice, picturesque streets of Florence and majestic hills of Tuscany, they uncover not only the many wonderful delicacies but Aunt Poppy’s deepest, darkest secret. Buon viaggio. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Playing Nice


Two families, two little boys, two years old and born prematurely on the same day at a private hospital in London. Theo and David have little more in common. One day Miles Lambert, a wealthy and handsome man knocks on the door of Pete Riley, stay-at-home dad. Accompanied by a private detective, Miles proceeds to inform Pete that little Theo is not his biological child. Naturally, the first thought Pete entertains is that Miles is insinuating his wife had an affair. It’s turns out much worse than that. Miles describes how the children were wrongfully switched at birth and the lawsuit he is pursuing against the hospital, hoping Pete and Maddie will join in. Displaying all good intentions and calm demeanor Pete, in complete and utter shock, has no reason to disbelieve this man. Their lives slowly become deeply entangled and it is no longer clear what intentions the Lambert’s have at all. Hanging onto Theo and their sanity by a thread Pete and Maddie are racing along a rollercoaster of emotions and deception they could have never imagined. Highly recommend this heart stopping, unputdownable page turner that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Christmas Swap


Emma is a young teacher living in Arizona. Her parents are off in Uganda making the world a better place. Finding herself alone for the holidays, her fancy friend Gillian invites her to spend a week in Colorado for a traditional white Christmas. Gillian and her family arranged a house swap and Emma has no doubt it will be a beautiful home in the perfect ski location. Having never seen snow Emma is thrilled to join them. There is a little hitch to the swap plans as they arrive; the owner Tyler decides to stay in the guest house posing as the caretaker. Tyler Prescott keeps his actual identity hidden. This handsome hunk does not want any additional attention for his songwriting fame. When Gillian discovers the truth a tug of hearts war ensues. Mishaps occur at every turn on the slopes as Emma and Tyler face their undeniable chemistry. Highly recommend this perfect holiday romance! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Sight of You


Joel was born with a gift that has been nothing but a curse. He has dreams about people he loves and can see their future. It may be something good or something horrible. It may happen tomorrow or in ten years time. As he gets older he becomes a recluse. It has become impossible for him to be close with people and the thought of falling in love - out of the question. One day Joel meets his new neighbor Callie. Their chemistry is unmistakable. Their attraction is powerful. As their relationship deepens Joel must make a decision. Can he live knowing the inevitable? He truly wants Callie to live her very best life, he just doesn’t know if he can be a part of it. This beautiful story is told by both Callie and Joel. As you fall in love with their love it is impossible to know how the final chapter will end. Absolutely unputdownable, I highly recommend this romance with a twist. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Happy Ever After Palylist


It’s been two years and Sloan is just barely getting by. After losing her fiancĂ© in a horrible accident she hasn’t taken care of herself at all, home alone most of the time, eating little and barely painting. One day the strangest thing happens. A dog jumps in her car and she literally cannot get rid of him. Tucker is the name on the tag but after two weeks of leaving messages for the owner Sloan claims him as her own. He may just be the company she desperately needed. Eventually the owner calls, a musician named Jason. When Sloan agrees to care for Tucker until his return it is the beginning of her brand new life. With Jason on the cusp of fame and fortune and Sloan’s heart on lockdown, it is unclear if either of them can survive this unexpected romance. Great characters. Great music vibe. Highly recommend this FIVE STAR laugh out loud, enchanting love story.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Heart Bones


Beyah Grim is hanging on by a thread when she discovers her drug addict mother dead in their trailer. Beyah has kept her head down, worked hard after school and excelled at volleyball all with one goal in mind - get the heck out of the rinky dink town she grew up in! She plans to move far away from the harrowing memories of her mother’s mistakes and poverty that has controlled them. With a few months left before college begins and nowhere to live she is forced to spend the summer with a father she barely knows and his “new family.” Arriving at their beach house in Texas her father has no idea what Beyah has had to overcome to simply survive. Her new stepsister thinks a bad day has to do with hair. Nevertheless she quickly takes Beyah under her wing and a surprising friendship takes hold. Beyah is thrust into a novel world of beach parties and bbq’s. When she meet Samson, the very hot rich boy next door they are both lost in false first impressions but their chemistry is unmistakable. Slowly coming out of her shell Beyah must protect her future plans and most importantly, her heart. I couldn’t put down this fast paced story filled with romance, friendship, and family drama - another must read by author Colleen Hoover. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, November 16, 2020

The Flatshare


L. Twomey placed an ad looking for a flatshare mate. It was his latest idea to raise the funds needed to fight his dear brother’s unjust sentence. Since Leon worked nights as a hospice nurse and spent weekends at his girlfriend Kay’s, it only made sense that someone could be using his flat when he wasn’t there. Tiffany’s days stretched out long and hard as she returned to Justin’s place after work each day. He generously let her stay on after their dramatic break up but Tiffy knew (and her besties insisted) that it was finally time she must move on. Having never met in person, Leon and Tiffy begin to communicate through post it notes. In a world of instant messaging, these seemingly old fashioned notes have both Leon and Tiffy opening up to each other in ways they never imagined. This thoughtful communication in the age of swiping brings unexpected intimacy and eventually feelings that can no longer be ignored. With a cast of quirky, wonderful friends The Flatshare is an absolutely enjoyable read that will have you smiling from beginning to end. (And possibly wanting to crochet a scarf!) Highly recommend!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Why I Held Your Hand


North Powell is a small town in the mountains. It is as quaint as it is beautiful. Laura has a small knitting business and has just volunteered to commandeer the towns future marketing plan. The surrounding areas tend to draw larger crowds and more tourism than North Powell but Laura is determined to make it the destination she believes it could be. They hire an esteemed firm to represent them and Laura is shocked to find the team leader includes a very handsome charming young man named David. Their instant chemistry and common goals make for the perfect match, she is smitten. Along comes Spencer Markham who is sent on behalf of the firm to assist Laura with launching the new and creative campaigns. Although awkward at first, it doesn’t take long for Spence and Laura to find themselves on exactly the same page. She must now quickly figure out how far she is willing to go to save the town and her own heart as well. Just as I devoured Gilmore Girls, Sweet Magnolia, Virgin River and Hart of Dixie (you get the picture!) I fell in love with North Powell and this wonderfully sappy, slightly steamy romance that should not be missed! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Shipped

 


Henley Evans has been marketing manager for a cruise line offering exciting sea expeditions around the globe. No-one in the office exerts more energy or puts in longer hours. Her nemesis Graeme works remotely, replies to her emails in obnoxious one-word responses and has recently become a little too friendly with her male chauvinist boss James. While Henley and Graeme battle for the latest director position, their boss decides to send the duo on the Galapagos cruise to brainstorm a genius campaign and winner takes all. Henley is out for blood, prepared to take her competitor down but when she lays eyes on this gorgeous hunk in person for the first time all her resolve melts away. As hard as Henley tries she cannot resist this charming foe. Through a series of laugh out loud mishaps and loads of steamy chemistry, the young marketing gurus make the most of this very cool adventure and unexpectedly learn the truth of their own desires. Pack your bags and set sail with this delightful romcom! Releases January 2021. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

White Ivy

 


Ivy Lin grew up in Boston on the wrong side of the tracks. Her Chinese immigrant parents barely made ends meet and Ivy yearned for more. More clothes, more friends, more money. More everything. Impatiently waiting for her real life to begin, Ivy’s grandmother teaches her the subtle art of shoplifting. Sometimes to acquire an item she truly wants and often just for the thrill. An opportunity to attend the very posh private school where her father worked, Ivy’s desires dive even deeper. These beautiful children of rich and important people mirror her deepest desires. Over the years, Ivy becomes a master manipulator. After college she unexpectedly bumps into her childhood crush, Gideon. He and his family represent everything she has ever wanted. Ivy will stop at nothing to become part of their world. Filled with suspense and shocking acts of deception, I could not put White Ivy down! The cultural differences are so accurately portrayed that in the end it’s not clear who the imposters really are. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Children's Blizzard

 


In 1888 the immigrant homesteaders faced brutal winters in the Dakota Territories. Lured off the ships of New York, these families were promised land and future prosperity if they could survive the unimaginable snow and ice, spring floods and blazingly hot prairie fires. Farming in these lands tested every bit of strength these families could muster. One particular January day seemed rather mild and the children were thrilled to venture outside for recess. When the sky suddenly darkened no-one could understand how this storm moved in so quickly. Raina, a young teacher, barely more than a child herself, braves the storm with the young ones tied together using apron strings, her sister Gerda dismisses the students to their homes, a decision that will haunt her the rest of her life. Annette Pedersen - in fear of the family that took her in - grabs her only friend to try and make it the short distance to their farm. As all these lives unfold on this treacherous day, we watch in awe the bravery and determination of the young. Newspaperman Gavin Woodson later interviews those involved to share these harrowing stories of both victims and heroes with the world. Based on true events The Children’s Blizzard is a chilling recount of this fateful catastrophe. Releases January 2021.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Twelve Dates of Christmas


Kate Turner is an independent successful woman, but her dating life - not so much. This year all she wants for Christmas is a date (or twelve.) As the quaint English village of Blexford transforms into a winter wonderland, Kate signs up with the latest matchmaking service as a gift to herself. Twelve dates, each with an exciting activity to take the pressure off and turn the romance on! With her friend Laura by her side and the prying eyes of the entire town cheering her on, Kate repeatedly finds herself in one jingle bell jinx after another. As she continues to bake holiday treats that will make your teeth ache (recipes included) Kate takes us along on each dating adventure, all the while secretly hoping her partridge in a pear tree is really Matt who runs the Pear Tree Cafe. My face hurts from smiling non-stop throughout this heartwarming, delicious holiday story. Thumbs up to debut author (and baker extraordinaire) Jenny Bayliss. Perfect holiday read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, October 26, 2020

Dog People


OMG, I’m a little bit speechless with this one. Last year I read and loved Jennifer Weiner’s Halloween-ish e-short story so I couldn’t wait to download her latest. I’m not sure what happened this year - but add it to the list of reading disasters. Lucky for me this a short story so it was over quickly. A creepy kid (think budding serial killer) with a sad, lonely probably crazy mother changes his life by leaving home to go to college and meets a lovely normal woman who saves him from himself. They live a normal boring life until he becomes obsessed with their dog. I can’t say much more without completely spoiling it. I’d like to say it’s not you, its me but I can’t imagine anyone liking this - and I generally enjoy halloween stories!!

In a Holidaze


Maelyn Jones finds herself in a mistletoe mishap. Spending the holiday in an idyllic snowy Utah cabin has been the highlight of Mae’s life. Returning every year with her parents, their college friends and all their offspring as one big happy family brings traditions that cannot be matched. Games, challenges, sleigh rides and egg nog by the fire, memories she holds most dear to her heart. Time has marched on and the kids aren’t exactly kids anymore. Both Maelyn’s longtime (very handsome) young crush and his brother pull quietly on her heartstrings causing mishap and mayhem. When she begs the universe for another chance Mae is granted with a Groundhog Day repeat until she gets it right. Hilarious, romantic, heartwarming drama that brings family and friends together to celebrate the magic of the holidays. Sometimes the gift of truth has to be unwrapped to be revealed. Another delicious treat from this rom-com duo! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Noel Letters


Noel’s father, Robert Book, had a last dying wish, to see his daughter just one more time. Twenty years since she stepped foot in the small Salt Lake City home she grew up in, Noel Post arrives. But she is too late to make amends or resolve her many unanswered questions. Overwhelmed by a recent divorce and losing her NYC apartment, Noel decides to stay in Utah a little bit longer than expected and get some closure. Intending to organize her father’s estate Noel begins by working in his iconic book shop, rediscovering her father’s passions and meeting the small circle of people who were an integral part of his life. Haunting memories of her mother’s untimely death and a chain of letters from a mystery author slowly reveal the difficult truth Noel must face if she is ever to find love in her heart again.This tender story offers many lessons of forgiveness. Perfect for the holidays! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

When We Were Young & Brave

Elspeth Kent fled to Shanghai to escape her beloved’s memories and the alternative proposal she abandoned. Accepting a teaching position at the Chefoo School, a British missionary in northern China, Ms. Kent becomes responsible for a group of young girls who achingly missed their parents as they became young women. Nancy Plummer is one of those precious students. Only eight when she arrived with her brother, their missionary parents have already been gone far too long. Near Christmastime 1941, this small school is taken over by Japanese forces. Each and every student and teacher quickly become labeled as an enemy. Under the leadership of Ms. Kent and the brave administration the students navigate these treacherous times. Losing all routines and everyday comforts the children must quickly adapt with no end in sight. Cold, hungry and terrified their parents will never return, they find faith in friendship, hope and the smallest acts of kindness. As almost all the WWII books I read are Europe based, this story taking place in China was very interesting and well written. Highly recommend. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It Ends With Us


Lily is a young beautiful woman starting a business in Boston. She meets Ryle Kincaid and he seems too good to be true. He is handsome, smart and a well known neurosurgeon. At first Ryle is hesitant to become serious with Lily but their chemistry is explosive and the two fall deeply in love. When Lily’s past suddenly reappears she finds him hard to ignore. Now a successful chef, Atlas’s deep rooted feelings have never faltered. He suspects Lily is covering something up and cannot ignore the signs that something is seriously wrong with her “too perfect” relationship. Lily must figure out the truth about Ryle and face her own feelings for a love that once was. As a recent Colleen Hoover fan, I reached back to this 2016 bestseller and loved it. Romance, drama, friendship. What more could a girl want?⭐⭐⭐⭐

Penthouse Prince


Need a minute of delicious? Corrigan is a first grade teacher in small town North Carolina. Her first love Lex Dane is back in town and needs a favor. They haven’t spoken in ten years following a nasty break up when Lex left for college. Corrigan has never gotten over her first love and sadly compares every date to her one and only. Still bitter she finally faces the truth. Lex is all grown up and more gorgeous than ever. He would like Corrigan to nanny his two year old daughter. Stop the presses, Corrigan has about a million questions but first she must catch her breath as this sweet dad hunk introduces her to precious little Grier. Another whirlwind, hot read from author Kendall Ryan. It’s like a little book dessert. ⭐⭐⭐

The Midnight Library


Nora Seed faces a life and death decision. Her own. Her dreams have been shattered over and over again. Her non existent family. Long lost friends. Really, she has nothing left to live for - - or so she thinks. One night Nora enters the Midnight Library. Her dear old school librarian, Mrs. Elm greets her as if no time has passed at all. Each book in this cavernous room is filled with the life Nora could have led, her alternate universes. An Olympic swimmer, rock star or falling in love. While disappointment overcame her in the present, every missed opportunity may have very well led to happiness if only she had been willing to try. This out of the box fantastical journey is somewhat sad and alternately very hopeful. Every single person makes decisions daily that affect their lives and ultimately those around them. The theme of this unique story started out strong (books, libraries, second chances), it dragged a little in the end and then wrapped up quite nicely. The Midnight Library gives the reader much to think about.
 ⭐⭐⭐

Just Like You


Lucy is a forty year old English teacher, nearly divorced from her addict ex and doing her very best to raise two rambunctious boys. Her everyday London life is predictable and her social life - nonexistent. Every Saturday she queue’s up at the local butcher where gossip runs rampant. Joseph is the very handsome, very young man behind the counter. He always smiles and flirts with Lucy and inadvertently offers to babysit. As her middle aged dates continue to flounder, Joseph and her boys get along famously. Soccer, video games and general roughhousing keeps them begging for more. Slowly, Joseph agrees to stay for a meal and non working visits to spend time with this little family whom he truly adores. Trying to avoid becoming a cliche, Lucy deflects anything romantic. Mental lists, including their twenty year age difference, race, religion and social status fill Lucy’s mind but her heart thinks otherwise. Breaking down what makes two people truly compatible makes this story a unique and often funny romance that I just couldn’t put down. Another great one by author Nick Hornby.⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Emma is a math whiz. She and George are finally seniors and co-presidents of the coding club at their New Jersey high school. As they are about to enter the national coding competition for their school, Emma designs a matchmaking app that will help their fellow high school students find a date for the big dance. Focusing on the most basic traits people have in common, their love app is the ultimate busybody, creating potential romance for everyone except Emma, who fears putting her own name into the algorithm. Fixated on winning and getting into Stanford, Emma cannot see the forest for the trees. This enjoyable YA (Young Adult) romcom is a timely story filled with wonderful characters and some very simple swiping lessons. A big fan of author Jillian Cantor’s previous novels (mostly historical fiction) I couldn’t resist checking out her latest. Perfect book (and gift idea!) for middle school age girls. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Swap


Low is a high school senior on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. As idyllic as it may be, Low is a bit of an outcast at school. Although rather pretty, she never reached the confidence level to match her extremely tall gangly frame. Not to mention being mocked because of her free spirit parents who live on a love commune. Low signs up for a local pottery class with new town resident, minor celebrity Freya - an influencer from LA with an ice hockey hunk of a husband. She immediately acquires a crush on this beautiful woman who enjoys Low’s idolatry. Jamie, also recently relocated from Seattle, sells Freya’s beautiful ceramics in her quaint gift shop. The two women form an immediate bond, both craving distraction from loneliness and young marriages that have recently become quite rocky. One night after letting loose the couples cross the line. This may be just the opportunity Low has been waiting for, to prove she is Freya’s most trusted friend and the one she cannot live without. More than a love triangle, this suspenseful dramatic read will keep you on the edge of your seat. I simply loved this fast paced page turner.  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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. ⭐⭐