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! ⭐⭐⭐⭐