Friday, January 31, 2020

Anyone But You

Nina is turning 40. She is newly divorced and living on her own for the first time in forever. Happy in her small apartment, selfishly focusing on her needs and loving her new job in publishing, Nina’s next triumph is to get a puppy, something her ex had forbidden! She teaches Fred to go down the fire escape and do his business. Fred discovers a friendly neighbors window instead. When Alex walks into her life Nina realizes things will never be the same again. This handsome, ER doc is a decade younger and their chemistry is instantaneous. Logistics make this rom-com a laugh out loud adorable journey and it was the perfect one sitting, feel good read that I needed!

Such A Fun Age

Alix Chamberlain has two sweet little girls and an adoring news anchor husband. When life in NYC becomes overwhelmingly expensive and difficult they move to Philadelphia where Peter lands an ace position with a local television station and Alix continues her business from home. Alix writes to companies and both compliments and criticizes them to receive free products and services. This hobby turned professional when her brazen outspokenness lands her a book deal and speaking gigs. Alix hires Emira from a Craigslist ad to babysit Briar, her 3 yr old, while working on these projects. She becomes obsessed with Emira’s skin color, personal life and boyfriend whom Alix coincidentally dated in high school. Emira is a college grad who along with her closest gal pals is still trying to find herself. And that’s it folks. This story bizarrely turns into one of racism. Alix is unexplainably jealous and desperate to bring Emira into their lives and while I think there is some scattered meaning the only likable character in the entire story is the toddler, Briar, who is quirky, funny and painfully honest. Despite the hype I was disappointed by this new release.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tell Me Everything

Jessica and Jake Snyder are enjoying a typical date night. Their teenage kids are at her ex’s house for the weekend and they are relishing an adult evening at a local dance/bar club in Seattle. Lately their lives are overbooked with work responsibilities, soccer games and basic family chores. It seems like they never have enough time for themselves as a couple, often too tired for anything more than a quick goodnight kiss. Frustrated, Jessica intends to bring back the spark she once treasured. A few drinks in, a handsome stranger asks Jessica to dance and Jake encourages it. After the dance the handsome stranger quietly slips them his business card and they can barely stumble to the car - let alone make it to their bedroom. This one simple act has them sexually aroused for weeks and Jessica is thrilled with their recharged intimacy. Weeks later when they decide to call this man and arrange a meetup, their lives are changed forever. The rules of marriage must be altered to suit this newfound excitement. Their number one promise to each other: honesty always. As this risky new lifestyle spirals out of control, it threatens their marriage and businesses. Everything Jake and Jessica cherish is at risk. This scandalous story explores marriage, parenting and the perils of the social media age. It originally published as A Casual Encounter with a very different cover and received little hype. Either way, I found this risqué story unputdownable and highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for a steamy fast paced read.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

American Dirt

Lydia lives a fairly quiet life in Acapulco, Mexico. She runs her quaint bookstore and is madly in love with her husband Sebastian and 8 yr old boy, Luca. At 32 she is content with her comfortable life and is slightly surprised when a stranger befriends her in the bookstore. This customer is called Javier and their unexpected literary and spiritual connection thrills Lydia. Nothing more than friends, she treasures Javier’s visits and his charming intellect. As a journalist her husband runs a risky piece exposing the local drug cartel that has destroyed their city and filled it with violence and fear. When Lydia accidentally learns that the head of the cartel is none other than her beloved friend Javier, her peaceful life is ripped to shreds. Fleeing with Luca, Lydia is suddenly fighting for their lives and must use all her strength to get them out of Mexico. This absolute page turner is a suspenseful, tragic, heart stopping read from the first page to the last. It took every ounce of my restraint to not be tainted by the massive controversy surrounding this new release so I could give an honest review. The writing is excellent. I loved the characters and waited with bated breath for each new chapter. It is FICTION and I highly recommend this fabulous read.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A Good Neighborhood

Picture a beautiful, quiet neighborhood in North Carolina. Valerie Alston-Holt, an African American woman and passionate community leader lives in a small home with her straight A, talented son Xavier. She is an ecology professor at the local university and he has recently been accepted with a scholarship to a prestigious San Francisco conservatory program. In the lot behind them the Whitman family has recently built a magnificent home and to do so destroyed much of the local greenery. The Whitmans are a white family with two lovely daughters, the eldest named Juniper. As an incensed Valerie watches her ancient Oak tree begin to die, her son and Juniper are secretly falling love. It took 75% of this book to set up the characters and lead up to something actually happening. It is narrated by too many voices along with an alternating “we” as if the neighborhood was telling the story. The author tried to highlight an overabundance of subjects at once; racism, love, law, history, nature, suicide, molestation - to name a few. The “we” part, although unique, was ultimately confusing - by the time something happened in this novel I was completely bored, confused and could not wait for it to be over. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Big Lies in a Small Town

Morgan Christopher is sitting in a jail cell while her handsome, brilliant boyfriend is attending law school at Georgetown - as if nothing ever happened. Smart, pretty and a wonderful artist, Morgan was once a typical college student excited about her future. Now serving a three-year sentence in North Carolina after a night she prays to forget, Morgan finds herself alone in the world with nothing to look forward to. One day two women show up to speak with her. Stern and not exactly friendly Morgan is shocked when they offer her a way out. All she has to do is successfully restore a famous mural in an unheard of little town. The mural was originally painted by Anna Dale, an artist who mysteriously disappeared in 1940. A well known benefactor is paying her way if she can accomplish this monumental challenge. Filled with art, intrigue and even a little romance, I absolutely loved unraveling the secrets in this latest novel by fabulous author Diane Chamberlain!