Friday, December 31, 2021

The Stud Next Door

 


The Spark

 

Did you ever check your luggage tag and check it twice as the carousel went round and round? Autumn was just about to unpack when she realized she had grabbed the wrong suitcase. Once it was open it couldn’t hurt to take a peek. Autumn uncovered some very beautiful expensive clothes and shoes and it only took a moment to imagine the kind of handsome man that might wear them. More importantly, she needed her belongings back. After finally contacting the owner, Autumn walks into the coffee shop where they agreed to meet and he literally takes her breath away. Gorgeous, sexy and sweet - Donovan is surprisingly friendly and coffee turns into dinner and escalates into the hottest weekend of her life. But Autumn’s world is complicated at the moment so instead of hurting his feelings, she disappears. A year later they meet up again. She is on a date. With his boss. When their eyes meet there is no doubt that the spark from that fabulous weekend is still on fire. Hot, quick romance. Thumbs up. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Invitation

 


When Sparks Fly

 

Spark House is an event planning business that Avery runs with her sisters in Colorado. Best friends, the three girls have clung tightly to each other since their parents passed away. They are doing their best running the family business while their Aunt is traveling. Avery is beautiful, sweet and smart but Avery is like one of the guys when it comes to her tight knit group of college friends. One of them is Declan, who is both her close friend and super sexy roommate. Just friends, Avery secretly smirks at the parade of beautiful women who leave Declan’s room in the morning. When Avery has a horrific accident it is Declan who steps up to take care of her. It is Declan that she suddenly realizes can fulfill her every need. Sweet and sexy romance about friends becoming more than friends. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

He's with the Band

Twenty years ago Campbell Cavett was a groupie. Well, not exactly a lovelorn groupie but she was an amateur photojournalist following the hottest rock band around the country trying to get her foot on the tour bus. Blocked by an overprotective manager and a harem of girls with big hair, Campbell didn’t get the ticket to ride. Back to Iowa and normal people life, Campbell met Jake and has spent the last two decades suffocating in a loveless marriage. With their recent divorce finalized and a benign portrait studio job, Campbell doesn’t have a lot to lose or look forward to. In an attempt to recapture her youthful spirit, she and best friend Marissa buy tickets for the Golden Tiger reunion concert in Chicago. At 41, Campbell easily blends in with the roaring crowd of screaming middle aged women. Fighting her way to the front of the mob and being pulled onstage by Davis Scott - lead heartthrob, is a fantasy. Given the opportunity to photograph the band while on tour is just too good to be true. Campbell is not sure if she is more excited by Davis Scott himself or his manager Vince who is more handsome than she remembers. Diving deep into the rock star life on the road she always imagined, Campbell will do whatever it takes to make this journey a success. A story filled with second chances and rock n’ roll, I simply loved these characters! Could have replaced a bit of repetitiveness with some hot scenes, i.e. “The Idea of You”, but this is definitely a fun rockin’ read not to be missed! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, December 27, 2021

Three Weddings and a Proposal


At 38, Delphie Mertens has it all, or so she thinks. As assistant to the CEO at a highly successful firm, Delphie has worked day and night and traveled the world to climb the corporate ladder. Her family constantly berates her for sacrificing her personal life and more specifically the idea of marriage and family. Always searching for a plus one to the nonstop parade of events, Delphie is at her brothers wedding with her ex-boyfriend when she receives the awful news regarding her beloved boss Conrad. This catalyst sets Delphie up against her male chauvinist rival at the office and she is suddenly fighting to survive. As Delphie uncovers secrets to save her position and her boss’s widow from ruin she finally has the chance to reevaluate the future she has always dreamed of living. A little misleading, the title doesn’t really fit the story as well as I imagined. Characters were predictable and somewhat disappointing. Not my favorite. ⭐️⭐️

The Heart Principle

Anna Sun has been a violinist her entire life but when a you tube video goes viral, she becomes a star. Exhausted from trying to keep up with her performing schedule and popularity, Anna experiences a breakdown and must take a hiatus from the violin and pressures of the stage. Anna decides she is ready to have some fun, other experiences that she has not allowed herself to enjoy. Initially furious that her longtime boyfriend requested a break, she retaliates with a mission to have her own hot romance or at least a sizzling one night stand. When Quan Diep rides his motorcycle into her life he appears as dangerous as he is gorgeous, just perfect. To Anna’s surprise the two become fast friends. Quan offers Anna an unconditional acceptance of her quirks and sometimes irrational behavior with and open mind and true friendship. When her father becomes ill Anna goes home to help with his care. As difficult as this time may be she has an opportunity to learn that even though she knew she was different, her family has denied her undiagnosed spectrum. Putting the pieces together, Anna finally has a chance to be herself. A good read and better than book #2 but I must admit The Kissing Quotient is still my favorite. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Heard it in a Love Song

Layla teaches music class at the local elementary school. Thirty five and recently divorced, she truly enjoys her job and the children. Happy to finally be free from a suffocating and loveless marriage, Layla is trying to rebuild her life one day at a time.Years ago she was part of a successful local band that was making quite a name for themselves. Imagining a life on stage, Layla followed her dreams of making music to share with the world. When she got married her husband slowly convinced her to move on with her life as it was time to be grown-ups and put silly fantasies aside. But Layla never forgot the way it felt to sing and play, to perform in front of a live audience. Josh is a single dad, also going through a difficult divorce. Having married his high school sweetheart at such a young age, he feels they have grown too far apart. His daughter is in Layla’s class and they slowly and carefully become friends. Layla builds a music studio in her basement and for the first time in years begins to explore her old feelings and figure out a brand new future. Guarding both their hearts and protecting Josh’s sweet little girl the two can no longer deny their instant chemistry and the happiness they allow themselves to feel when they are together. Heard it in a Love Song is a really simple, sweet romance about second chances. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The People We Keep

In 1994, April Sawicki was 16 years old and living alone in a motorless motorhome. Her mom skipped town long ago and her less than responsible dad recently shacked up with a local woman and her son. Flunking school, often annoyed with her sex driven boyfriend Matty, April only had one love, one passion - her guitar. Self taught with a voice like an angel, April even wrote her own music. She believed that someday these songs and her music would set her free. Reaching the end of her patience with another failed math test and believing in her father would be relieved, she packed a bag, “borrowed” a car and hit the road. The only one to notice or care was Margo, her boss and possibly only friend at the diner. As April travels the country singing for her supper, she experiences petty theft, homelessness, hunger, loneliness, friendship and happiness for the first time. Collecting an odd ragtag group of friends through the years April never stays in one place too long. When she finds herself desperate for help she realizes for the first time that there are people who care, people we keep, someplace we can call home. An unputdownable, beautifully written, memorable must read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Die With Zero

We are taught all our lives to save for a rainy day and contribute part of our earnings to a retirement fund as early as possible. Most of us have watched our parents do better than their parents and their grandparents live longer and fuller lives than their parents. Soon we many be watching our children exceed our wildest dreams. Ideas about saving, spending, donating and waiting for our golden years is deeply ingrained in our beings and we tend to make financial decisions on auto pilot without thoroughly evaluating what we truly want. Bucket lists are a fairly new way for this generation to list experiences they are looking forward to - when they have the time and money. Overspending is often frowned upon as irresponsible. Author Bill Perkins shares his personal views on our collective mistake. Working long and hard, living frugally and saving for the future. If we are lucky enough to make it to retirement age (deemed by the government) many of us will find ourselves without the health and energy and desire to do the things we once fantasized about. Sadly each decade we may have more money to do things but less time. When we have the most time we will not have the health to optimize the experiences we’ve been waiting for. This book analyzes the value put on experiences that far outweigh any balance in our bank accounts. Taking a break from work and spending time with loved ones creates memories that are far more valuable than cash in the bank. Die with Zero is a simple, straightforward reminder to live each day of every year to the fullest. There is no question that time is our most limited resource. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Beautiful Little Fools

In August 1922, Jay Gatsby is found dead in his swimming pool. The lead detective refuses to be fooled by three beautiful suspects. He has nothing to lose and is further induced with a monetary incentive from yet another shady character to solve the case. Daisy Buchanan is beautiful, smart and was raised as a proper Southern Belle. Long ago, Gatsby was her first love. Now she hides behind her cheating, lying husband Tom. Jordan Baker is Daisy’s lifelong best friend and confidant. She is a golf superstar and secretly having a love affair with another female player on the team. Jordan would do anything for Daisy - but the question is whether she will sacrifice herself for the truth. Catherine McCoy fled to NYC in hopes of starting a new life fighting for women’s rights and freedoms both voting and sexual. She will do anything to protect her sister from an abusive marriage and stop at nothing to transform her future. In this reimagining of the literary classic The Great Gatsby, it is the women who finally take center stage. Filled with the swanky jazz age, romance gone wrong and the women’s suffrage movement - Beautiful Little Fools brings it all back to life. This original delightful  reinvention of our favorite characters is absolutely unputdownable. A must read for 2022! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Reckless Girls

Lux McAllister and super hot Nico may seem like the golden couple but looks can often be deceiving. Frustrated cleaning hotel rooms while Nico’s days are filled doing odd jobs at the marina and soaking up the sunshine. All of this work to fix up the Susannah, Nico’s sailboat. Lux is losing her steam as months pass and life in Hawaii is not what she expected. She didn’t leave much behind in California except for a miserable past and painful memories. Meeting sun kissed Nico changed her life and it was no choice at all to follow him to the islands in hope of starting a romantic adventure of their own. When two random pretty girls hire Nico and his boat for a ridiculous amount of money, it is too good to be true. A two week stint to Meroe Island and enough money for Nico and Lux to finally be free. Once anchored, the foursome meet up with Jake and Eliza - a too beautiful couple, sailing a magnificent catamaran and only too happy to share expensive food, wine and whatever else may follow. They learn this idyllic location has a history filled with murder and tales of cannibalism. By the time another (creepy) sailor turns up in the cove Lux is on edge. Something does not feel right and her mind begins to unravel, suspicion at every turn. Everyone seems a little off and she is determined to find the truth. Romance, sailing, mystery and everything in between. In this modern day Lord of the Flies no-one can be trusted. Start the year off with this brand new unputdownable fast paced thriller. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Last House on the Street

Kayla and her young daughter finally move into the house at the end of the street of Shadow Ridge Estates. The one up against the dark, dense forest. Both architects, Kayla and her late husband designed every inch of their dream home with thoughtful and loving detail. Sadly, a horrific accident took his life months before completion. Kayla is determined to love their home despite the sadness she feels every time she enters the door. An odd woman with a bright red wig mysteriously stops by her work, suggesting no-one should ever live in that house. At first brushing it off as a nosey small town neighbor, Kayla soon becomes frightened when her daughter is found alone in the tree house and garbage is strewn on her lawn. Kayla befriends Ellie Hockley, an elderly woman that grew up in the neighborhood and moved away long ago. Back home for the first time in decades, Ellie is nursing her brother and mother, she too suggests Kayla will never be happy living on that land. Secrets slowly unravel revealing long ago KKK meetings, a forbidden friendship and violence that can never be forgiven.  Silence and suspicion surrounds them. Kayla’s own father will not utter a word. Narrated through history and the ghosts of justice, this suspenseful mystery will have you on the edge of your seat. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Debt

The day of the shooting changed Jessica Charles’s life forever. Walking down a London street on that unfortunate day, her timing could not have been worse. Lucky to still be alive, her leg was saved and back in Edinburgh, her sister helps her face the long recovery ahead. No more life as a fit yoga instructor and broken up with her longtime boyfriend Jessica searches for ways to recover both physically and mentally. The PTSD of survivors meets once at week at the church in the village. One day she is at the pub across the way from the meeting when a shockingly handsome Scotsman introduces himself. Kier is unlike anyone she has met before. The man is huge and movie star gorgeous. Kier and Jessica hit it off instantly. He is an incredible listener and as she begins to reveal her past and greatest fears he gives her the courage to move on. But Kier is not sharing much of his own past. As the two become more than friends it is clear he is hiding something that threatens their future. Jessica must protect her heart and decide if she is brave enough to risk her future. Sweet romance with a hot Scot is always good but this is not my favorite Karina Halle (whom I adore!) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Eight Perfect Hours

Noelle Butterby is returning home from her school reunion when she faces stand still traffic in blizzard conditions. Alone in the cold with her phone losing power and a broken charger, panic sets in. A knock at the window both surprises and startles her. The handsome American named Sam offers her assistance with both her phone and her anxiety. Grateful for the company but nervous with this very handsome stranger, the next eight hours quickly pass. Noelle is genuinely disappointed when they must finally part. Sam returning to the airport and his journey back to Portland and she must get home to her mother who is not well and completely dependent on Noelle’s care. Repeatedly meeting Sam again and again over the next few months cannot be an accident. Their chemistry is unmistakable. Noelle decides fate must be sending this sexy, kind man into her life for a reason and she is determined to follow her heart no matter the consequences. Two strangers and one unexpected evening can change the course of everyones lives … if you let it. Sweet, romantic comedy with quirky lovable characters. Dragged a tiny bit for me but enjoyed as one of my snowy holiday reads. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lucky

Luciana Armstrong and her handsome, charming father John have lived a life of crime. Often rationalized in a Robin Hood like manner, she and her father were as generous and they were conniving. Traveling the country, Lucky was taught that they were a team and no-one else could ever be trusted. Smart as a whip, Lucky dreamed of a normal home, school, friends and to finally meet the mother who abandoned her when she was just a baby. John is eventually imprisoned for his escapades and Lucky meets the perfect guy, Cary. Ready to build a new life and deal with the complicated identity issues her father created, Cary helps Lucky attain her goal of a college degree and a home to call her very own. It is no surprise to learn that sadly Cary is no different than her hustler father. When he disappears without a trace she is left with nothing except the stupid lottery ticket she bought on a whim at the gas station. Days later, Lucky discovers the lottery ticket is the big winner but she cannot easily turn it in without being arrested for a life of crime. This sets Lucky on the search for the one person she believes can set her free. Grifters, con artists or just plain crooks - this fast paced thrilling adventure will take you on a wild ride. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Made in Manhattan

Raised in New Orleans by a struggling single mom, Cain Stone is the furthest thing from New York elite that one could imagine. Long dark hair held back in a pony tail, large hulking - very nonsuit shoulders - and ripped jeans that he likes just fine. As the long lost grandson of Edith Rhodes, a socialite who runs the family’s billion dollar corporation, Cain is being groomed to keep the Rhodes name alive. Violet Townsend, lovely, polished and politically correct in every possible way, is positioned to help Edith prepare Cain for the interviews, meetings and hopeful role of CEO to follow. At first Violet is merely assisting Edith with what she assumed was a big city makeover; clothes, art, wine lists and which fork to use. But what began as a mere task has turned into much much more. The immediate bickering between Cain and Violet is nothing compared to the magnetic electricity that runs between them at every turn. Violet has been following the rules of society for her entire life. It is only now as Cain awakens all of her senses that she can begin to choose the path of her very own future. Modern day version of My Fair Lady and deliciously enjoyable entertainment for even the most well bred women. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Christmas Bookshop

Running a bookshop in posh Edinburgh is not where Carmen ever imagined herself to be. Between losing her job in the village and her meddling mother pushing her daughters to get along, she has little choice in the matter. Old Mr. McCredie’s archaic bookshop is on the brink of ruin and his lawyer (her sister) Sofia arranges for Carmen to revitalize the store in time for the busy and profitable holiday season. Saving the sweet man’s business and maybe her little sisters future as well - perfect Sofia, with her immaculate home and three adorably feisty children could use some help around the house, as she is pregnant yet again. Initially feeling sorry for herself Carmen admits she has few options and succumbs to Sofia’s plan. Amazingly Carmen learns she has quite the knack for bookshop revitalization. It doesn’t hurt one bit that she enjoys some harmless flirtation with the handsome visiting author Blair and is smitten by the sexy Brazilian student named Oke. As Christmas approaches Carmen gets quite attached to her nieces and nephews and learns her annoyingly accomplished sister isn’t so bad after all. Set in the magnificence of Scotland, this charming HEA is the absolute perfect treat for the holidays. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, November 28, 2021

The Christmas Promise

Richelle and Michelle were identical twins. Inseparable as young girls, they let their personalities and imaginations soar. At three years old their mother left home and the girls were raised by their ever loving and sentimental father. Growing up seemed to push the pair further and further apart. Richelle became the perfect, overachieving student and rule follower while Michelle ran wild, barely graduating. Things came to an abrupt ending when Richelle and her fiancรฉ’s dramatic breakup featured her sister at the center of the chaos. Years later Richelle, now a Pediatric nurse taking care of the sickest children, finds herself alone and lonely. With few close friends she focuses on her work and pours her heart into writing. It is at her weekly writer’s group that Richelle meets Justin and her world is turned upside down. Extremely handsome, kind and intelligent Richelle is quickly drawn into his open arms. Almost too good to be true, there are things Justin admittedly hasn’t shared. His mysterious weekend disappearances to Texas and unlikely text messages begin to poke holes in the story Richelle would like to believe. Terrified of having her heart broken again and of losing this amazing new love Richelle must face her own past and put the daily life lessons she has learned to the test. Sweet and beautiful holiday story. The simplicity about forgiveness will most certainly warm your heart. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Startup Wife

Asha was the nerdy computer geek all through high school. Way out of her league, she assumed cool, sexy-cute Cyrus Jones didn’t know she was alive. Years later the two unexpectedly cross paths. Now Asha is a hot shot in her PhD program at MIT, ready to take over the world of artificial intelligence. Cyrus is an brilliant, creative and more handsome than ever. A nomad who hasn’t quite decided what he wants to be when he grows up. The two become inseparable. Cyrus’s allure is contagious to Asha and anyone else who crosses his path. Cyrus and Asha marry and soon after, along with best friend Jules, join Utopia an workshop incubator for new ideas. The trio creates a social platform called WAI (pronounced Why) meaning We Are Infinite. With charming Cyrus as the face and Asha coding her heart out their start up explodes taking over social media and the internet. Swiftly attaining both success and fortune - millions flock to obtain guidance from the man called the new Messiah. But as Cyrus’s popularity soars Asha feels disconnected, their passionate romance seems to have vanished. Running the company from behind the scenes Asha is well aware of the problems they face. As she struggles to make sense of it all she does not know if she can save both the company and her marriage. Fast paced tech story of love, friendship and the sometimes scary look at the not too distant future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Wish You Were Here

Diana and Finn have a plan. She will climb the corporate ladder at Sotheby’s while he finishes his surgical residency. They will marry, have 2.5 kids, a dog and a white picket fence outside of the city. Spending countless hours looking at homes online they can only dream about - their bucket list grows. The first check box is soon to be filled as the young couple prepares to leave for an exciting and much needed two week vacation to the Galapagos. Coronavirus is splattered intermittently through the news but Finn is confident with so few cases in the city, it will not affect their plans. As the trip approaches it is apparent how very wrong he was. When his program director nixes his time off, Finn encourages Diana to continue on with their nonrefundable travel plans. Diana sets off on the arduous journey and while in the air NYC spontaneously combusts with Covid cases. Minutes after her arrival on the small idyllic island of Isabela, it too goes into lockdown. Diana has few choices and even less wifi connection. With little communication and her luggage vanished she climbs out of her comfort zone befriending a local family. Beatriz a young girl desperate for a friend, her handsome intelligent father Gabriel and their nurturing Abuela. As weeks turn into months Diana reevaluates her career choices and tumultuous relationship with a famous mother she barely knew. When she returns home it’s as if she is entering an entirely new world. It has been a while since I have read one of my favorite author’s, Jodi Picoult. Written from the heart she explores the rollercoaster we have experienced the last two years through the eyes of unforgettable characters whom you will be thinking of long after the last page. Absolutely unputdownable. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, November 12, 2021

A Season for Second Chances

When Annie Sharpe catches her husband in flagrant delicto with their newest waitress at the restaurant, it is the end of one life and the beginning of another. Having forgiven Max way too many times throughout their marriage, this 44 year old chef is ready to begin again. With her children grown and flown, Annie realizes that their marriage had been over for a long time. She finds an opportunity to care for an historic home by the sea and the best part is the price; rent free. Having gotten pregnant and married at 17, Annie worked hard her entire adult life side by side with Max. Now, for the first time, she has a chance to dig deep and figure out what she wants her future to look like. Annie falls instantly in love with the beauty and warmth of Willow Bay. As the holidays approach she makes friends, starts a book club and to everyones surprise, successfully reopens the tiny cafe downstairs. Naturally, the “evil” nephew of the owner turns out to be a handsome, charming man who simultaneously sweeps her off her feet while arranging to sell the home she has quickly grown quite attached to. With Christmas approaching Annie can no longer ignore their striking chemistry and creative spirit. Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this delicious, funny and thoughtful holiday story of second chances. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, November 11, 2021

All Together Now

Eccentric billionaire Robbie Malcolm runs one of the most successful companies in the world. This mathematical genius extraordinaire has built an empire at 35 years old. But now he finds himself reflecting on life. Alone. Dying. Robbie has just been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. Rethinking all of his future plans he organizes a weekend for his dearest and lifelong friends from high school. Once upon a time Robbie, Blair, Cat and Wade were known as the Baltimore Prep Rejects as they were all expelled from the iconic institution. Blair, the beautiful artist is now unhappily married with twins. Wade managed a one hit wonder but finds himself as a drifting writer without a publisher. And Cat, whose married girlfriend has broken her heart is desperate to find true love and have a baby while she can. Robbie is going to fix everything. A weekend at his beach mansion on Fenwick Island is arranged and the ragtag group reminisces the good times and the bad discovering the depth and truth of their friendships. Fast paced, very Big Chill-ish, I thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful, surprisingly witty story of old friends that truly know you best. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, November 5, 2021

Mistletoe in Paradise

As kids, Hannah, James and Jason were the best of friends. Their holiday sailing adventures with their families was the highlight of their year. Daring each other to do things they wouldn’t normally dream of, Hannah would literally jump off a cliff (and did!) for the brothers she adored. But they are not children anymore. Hannah’s mother on the brink of divorce has sent her to deliver the heartbreaking news (and paperwork) to her dad and James is determined to not get his heart broken again by the only girl he ever loved. No-one ever dreamed that Jason wouldn’t be there to join them. The weather is perfect and the sunset as beautiful as ever. They each accept their fate and are determined to make amends. As this bittersweet Christmas journey sets sail through the Caribbean they must find a way to forgive and open their hearts to love again. Don’t miss this perfect holiday novella. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Holiday Swap

Charlie Goodwin has an unexpected accident on the set of her hit reality baking show filmed in Los Angeles. As she is battling her handsome nemesis for next season’s coveted spot, this is not the ideal time for a chef to lose both smell and taste. Identical sister Cass is a few hours away in their hometown running the iconic family bakery. With Charlie in the spotlight it has been easy for Cass to ignore her personal desires and fill the shoes of devoted daughter. As the critical ending of the baking competition draws near, the girls decide to switch places, a la The Parent Trap, to seal the deal on Charlie’s future. Taking over each others lives proves way more complicated than expected. Naturally, they can handle the baking logistics but neither anticipated falling in love. The sweet physicians assistant Miguel that follows up with Charlie’s injury falls head over heels for Cass - and Charlie kindles her own flames with hot local firefighter Jake Greenman. Find out if it’s a recipe for disaster or happily ever after as the twins navigate this holiday season. Whip up some eggnog while enjoying this adorable romantic comedy! Yuletide tidbit: Double the authors, double the fun! Maggie Knox is actually  the pseudonym for beloved authors Karma Brown & Marissa Stapley. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Matzah Ball

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt has a secret life. Having grown up on Long Island with her prominent father and perfect mother, expectations soared throughout her childhood. Life as the Rabbi’s daughter held the responsibility as role model for all the other children. Rachel’s diagnosis of a chronic illness in college changed her life forever. For the last decade Rachel has given up on the possibility of romance and love even though she has become an expert through her own words. Rachel is a successful closet Christmas romance novelist. She writes under a pseudonym and it may not be kosher but no-one except her very best friend knows the truth. The home office where she writes her happily-ever-afters is filled with Christmas decorations that would make her family plotz. Even though her shelves hold awards and dozens of bestsellers, the publishers have demanded their very first Hanukah romance. Oy Vey! As much as she adores her family and heritage, Rachel does not see Hanukah in a romantic light, eight candles or not. That is, until Jacob Greenberg, her camp nemesis and first kiss waltzes back into town to throw the Matzah Ball. Rachel must find a way to snag an invite to his highly anticipated sold out event. Rachel spins the Hanukah dreidel and learns that against all odds there is little she can do to avoid their fate. Highly recommend this adorable, funny, trailblazing Hanukah romance by Jean Meltzer. It is easy to become obsessed with the sparkling lights and beauty of the holiday season. I can’t say I’m ready to come out of my Christmas closet but I would love to see more romcoms like this join the fun! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Holly Jolly Diwali

Niki Randhawa is a data analyst in her late twenties living in Seattle with her mother and father. The conservative parents who once forbid boy talk are busy matchmaking - she is practically an old maid! While her rambunctious older sister ran wild, Niki was the good Indian daughter. She did everything right and never rocked the boat. After unexpectedly losing her job Niki decides to finally stop being a wallflower watching life from the sidelines. She quickly books a ticket to attend her best friend Diya’s wedding in India. The week long extravaganza in Mumbai and opportunity to celebrate Diwali, the joyous festival of lights, is just the adventure she desperately needs. And she will absolutely positively NOT have a fling with Sam, the heartthrob in the band who can’t stop staring at her and just happens to be one of Diya’s oldest friends. While their chemistry is undeniable, Niki is terrified of falling in love and having her heart broken again. Swirling through the mesmerizing sights, delectable foods and traditions of this vibrant country, Niki cannot avoid this chance to reimagine her entire future. Adored this delightful rom-com lighting the way to the start of the holiday season! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Missing Hours

Claudia Castro is an “it” girl in New York. Beautiful, a talented artist and member of an uber wealthy famous family. As a freshman at NYU she is struggling a bit. Unknowingly filmed in a compromising reality show, losing her confidence and recently dumped by Ben, whom she thought she loved - Claudia disguises her self-doubt with designer clothes and partying. One night her life is changed forever. Claudia wakes up bruised, swollen and in pain. Later, a video is sent that explains it all. The boys are laughing. She remembers nothing of those hours. Broken hearted and afraid Claudia reaches out to a boy in her dorm named Trevor who seems like a well intentioned church going mid westerner. Instead of alerting her family she clings to him for help. The two young adults takes matters into their own hands. Torment and sorrow morph into anger and violence. Blaming herself, Claudia searches for a way to reconstruct that horrible night and ultimately make her predators pay. Author Julia Dahl has done it again. Another page turning suspenseful novel that I could not put down. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Nowhere Girl

Harbhajan, meaning "song of God” in Sanskrit, was only four years old when it became glaringly clear that her family was uncommonly different. Repeatedly changing identities, continents and even religions - the only consistency was that her family unit was the only thing that ever mattered. Harbhajan idolized her handsome older brother Frank, tolerated her angry sister Chiara and was completely devoted to her parents. Intelligent, free spirits Harbhajan’s parents simply floated around the globe “appearing” to live a truthful, spiritual existence. Little did she know that they would spend the next two decades on the run because in actuality her charismatic father was a wanted criminal and her beautiful soft spoken mother was desperate to escape her complicated past. With very little formal schooling it is amazing how quickly Harbhajan and her siblings learned random subjects while she and Frank also excelled at a variety of athletics that her parents obsessively required. As Harbhajan morphed into Crystal and later Cheryl she began to analyze her father’s increasingly unhealthy temper and abusive and continuous manipulation of those closest to him. Although familial love and commitment ran deep Cheryl finally reached her limits when her health declined and she miraculously found the strength to reinvent herself once again. Similar to The Glass Castle, this fast paced, well written memoir is hard to put down. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Year Off

When Alexandra and David started dating it was quickly apparent they had a lot in common. Both in their early 30’s, they were immersed in their careers and filled their lives with travel, friends and family. Dreaming of quitting the rat race and taking a year to travel the world went from a game of bucket list bingo to a an actual plotting map taped to the wall. Negotiating one destination for another, each of them digging deep and often compromising to make this fantasy a reality. With careful planning and heaps of imagination Alexandra and David prepared for their trip to circumnavigate the globe. In this entertaining and engaging account they share how they tackled each objective from practical advice like staying on budget to delays and big decisions when things go awry. The young couple also had to navigate what they did not know about each other as their relationship evolved. Narrated in essays and fascinating photos from each of  their perspectives, the excitement leaps off the pages so the reader can easily armchair travel along. For better or for worse, the couple made it around the world capturing the good, the bad and the beautiful and lovingly share their travels with us in this delightful memoir. My valuable takeaway - vacation and traveling are two different things. It is probably smart to know before you go! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, October 11, 2021

We Are Not Like Them

Since kindergarten Riley and Jenny have been the very best of friends. The kind of friends that finish each others sentences and always protect each other. Growing up in Philadelphia they dreamed of all the things they would do someday and places they would travel. The only family in Jenny’s life, her mom Lou, was more than happy to dump her at the Wilson’s house on a regular basis so she could bartend, date and have “adult time.” Riley’s home was filled with family meals, chores, structure and a lot of love. Neither girl questioned the color of their skin. Their bond was so strong that even as they got older they couldn’t believe the world would treat them so very differently outside of their little happy bubble. After attending Northwestern Riley finds herself back in Center City following her dreams to become head news anchor. Jen is married with baby on the way. When Jen’s husband Kevin is involved in a police shooting leaving a young unarmed boy named Justin dead, all of Philadelphia is in upheaval. Riley must cover the marches and protests for work - both peaceful and often not. She interviews Justin’s devastated mother. As the past and present collide in a standoff Riley and Jen question everything they ever believed about friendship, family, motherhood and race. Trying to navigate their grownup lives in a violent and changing world may be the hardest thing they ever had to do. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Add Cyanide to Taste: A collection of dark takes with culinary twists


People say don’t bite the hand that feeds you have not read this type of culinary noir before and neither had I. Fill your appetite with these murderous tales containing spells, fantasy and even tiny amounts of cyanide found innocently inside of apricot seeds (true)! A business lunch making deadly deals, a mysterious pub only to be found by lost souls, two friends reunite playing a deadly game of spy and journalist and a lethal cake destroys the cursed family bakery. These are just a few little tastes of the fourteen short stories that leave you literally on the edge of your seat. With each and every twisted one better than the last it will be sure to chill and thrill you. A little book I stumbled upon just in time for Halloween filled with the most bizarre mini-mysteries and all the creepiness you could possibly imagine. The author closes with a collection of recipes to make at your own risk, of course. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Letter To Three Witches

In the quaint upstate town of Zenobia lives three witches. Gwen, Trudy and Milo are close cousins and although their family no longer practices their craft - the cocktail coven are inseparable. Then there is Tannith who was adopted by Gwens family at a young age when her parents tragically passed away. Pretending to be “sisters” with Tannith was never easy for Gwen as the beautiful, manipulative and seemingly perfect Tannith made her life miserable. One day Tannith delivers a note to each of the cousins suggesting that one of their partners has been bewitched and will be departing with her to the city in a weeks time. Since their great great grandfather caused an insurmountable catastrophe nearly 100 years ago their entire family has been banned from witchcraft and the cousins do not know how to stop this madness. Will it be Gwen’s fairly new live in beetle loving boyfriend? Trudy’s boring history professor husband? Or Milo’s handsome, mayoral candidate? As the trio slowly unravel this mystery they are subsequently caught up in spells and potions well out of their comfort zone. Throw in some potentially powerful cupcakes, frogs and bunnies and poof! - these three witches will have you completely enchanted. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Night She Disappeared

In 2017 Tallulah Murray goes to the pub with her boyfriend (and father of her child) Zach and they are never seen again. Barely out of highschool, the young couple was seen leaving the pub and going to a party at an old nearby mansion called Dark Place. The town begins a search party, devastated and frightened that an innocent couple could disappear. In 2019 Sophie finds a strange note attached to a fence post near the woods of the boarding school where she is the girlfriend of the new headmaster. It says DIG HERE. Sophie, a mystery writer, cannot resist following every clue and detail she can get her hands on. Sophie quickly befriends Kim, Tallulah’s heartbroken mother and opens up this cold case that no-one in the small English village can understand. Narrated within two timelines and filled with a cast of excellent characters, this fast paced drama uncovers buried secrets that were never meant to be found. Twists and turns until the very end, this is another unputdownable read from one of my favorite authors Lisa Jewel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Book of Magic

The Owens family witches have been cursed for over 300 years. They are forbidden to fall in love. If one of the family members breaks this rule, their loved ones suffer fatal consequences. When Aunt Jet is nearing the end of her life she sets the wheels in motion to end this curse and release the family from a loveless life. The story begins in the Magnolia house outside of Boston and we are reintroduced to the many (many) characters and their plight to hide love. Ultimately traveling to Europe to reunite with long lost brother Vincent, Jets sister Franny and the younger nieces use their unusual gifts to search for answers and break the spell that has been controlling their lives all these years. This is the fourth and final of the Owens saga. I have read them all and unfortunately this was my least favorite. There was an enormous amount of extraneous background information and too many confusing character timelines to follow. I love the witches but this one dragged on and on with very little happening. If you have read the other three - The Book of Magic brings closure for the Owens but is sadly not very enticing.  ⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Talk Bookish To Me

Kara is a bestselling romance novelist. After a string of huge successes she is completely stuck. Writers block is a nightmare. With her deadline fast approaching and daily reminders from her publisher, Kara is beside herself with worry. The only bright spot lately is helping her very best friend with her extravagant wedding plans. At the couple’s celebratory dinner, the first of many events, Kara bumps into her oldest and truest love. The man who stole and broke her heart in college - Ryan Thompson. Apparently an old friend of the groom, Kara is speechless facing the man she has tried to forget about for the last decade. The two unexpectedly leave the past in the past and as they are brought together by nuptial duties and sneaky friends the chemistry is bursting into flames. And the best part is - Kara is writing again. Writer’s unblock, a gift from the gods. Serious worries aside, she will do whatever it takes to keep this momentum going. Adorably hot, I loved the book in the book writing and truly likable characters. Like Kara, the author had a little trouble wrapping it up as well but all is forgiven. An HEA is an HEA. (Happily Ever After) And this is a cute one! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Perfect Family

The Adler family live in a lovely upscale neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Thomas is a successful realtor and Viv, with her impeccable taste, has just started her own decorating/design firm. One typical summer morning they awake to find their house was egged. Disregarding the event as kids acting out, they begrudgingly clean the mess and move on with their day. Until the smoke bomb is tossed on their lawn. The tires are slashed on Thomas’s car. And their relatively quiet lives are turned completely upside down. Thomas recently attended an out-of-control bachelor party and is now receiving threatening messages. Daughter Tarryn is a mouthy troubled teen exploring a dangerous online community. Star soccer player Eli announces he is dropping out of college and Viv silently punishes herself for her recent indiscretions. As each family member narrates a chapter it is clear someone is out to get them. The Adler’s struggle to keep it together while they question their own culpability, friendships and the importance of maintaining the perfect family facade. Fast paced suspense at its best. Apparently everyone is capable of hiding something. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Royals Next Door

Romance reader and podcaster Piper Evans has some new neighbors in the mansion next door and they just happen to be royalty. The British entourage that shows up literally swinging from the trees sternly introduce themselves and deduce that Piper and her meek mother living on the edge of the property are of no threat to the Prince and his beautiful wife. Harrison Cole heads up security. This tight lipped incredibly gorgeous man behind the shiny aviators slowly eases up in her presence. Piper and Harrison slowly become friends and their chemistry blossoms as summer on this small beautiful island really starts to heat up. Piper has a few months off from her job at the local elementary school and since she expected a few quiet months reading and taking care of her needy mother, she never dreamed  of being swept off her feet by this knight in shining armor. When the media gets a tip of who is behind the newly installed gates Piper’s mundane life becomes more than complicated. Steamy hot romance with a nod towards the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drama - this unputdownable read was my second by author Karina Halle and no doubt five very romantic stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Her Turn

Editing one of the most well known columns in a premier Washington DC paper keeps Liz on her toes. My Turn features essays (selected anonymously by Liz) that reflect the daily lives of their readers. Lately she has been reaching out of her comfort zone choosing pieces that dangerously rock the boat of her somewhat quiet and mostly uneventful life. After relocating to DC post divorce ten years ago, Liz relies on a small group of quirky friends, her college aged son and work to sustain a semblance of normalcy. She keeps busy doing yoga, Italian lessons and book club, sprinkled with an array of unappealing affairs. When her ex’s new wife submits a very personal essay, Liz begins a secret communication threatening all of the bottled up anger she has embraced for a decade. A journalist by trade, Liz is a bit of a know-it-all searching for a way to accept, forgive and find love once again. Delving into the painful memories of her marriage weighed against her mother’s severe dementia brings the truth into focus. For a quiet story this one moves quickly and is beautifully written. This Canadian author should not be missed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, August 27, 2021

The Guide

Jack snags a position as a guide at the Kingfisher Lodge working the beautiful streams of Colorado. Its remote, pristine location makes it a highly sought and elite camp for the very famous and wealthy. For handsome cowboy Jack it is a chance to reinvent himself and heal as he battles PTSD. He is paired with country singing sensation, the very beautiful Alison K. The two have immediate chemistry fishing and otherwise. But Jack, a rancher at heart is overly observant and quietly begins to put the mysterious pieces together. Something evil is going on at this faraway location. With no cell phone service, a barbed wire perimeter and required social distancing, very few appear to know what is really going on. When Jack stumbles upon clues that are impossible to ignore he can no longer be a bystander. Armed and on a mission he infiltrates this ominous asylum and risks everything. Thrilling and suspenseful, set in the near future where the pandemic has not been eradicated and continues to threaten the economy and moral of the entire world, The Guide is a heart stopping adventure that had me on the edge of my seat. FYI, I did not read The River (also starring Jack) but this second masterpiece by author Peter Heller stands alone as well. A spine chilling glimpse of the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

One Hot Italian Summer

 

Grace Harper doesn’t know if she can do this on her own. After losing her closest friend and writing partner of many years, her harsh agent Jana has contracted for a completely different sort of novel, a drama. Writing mysteries came easily from Grace’s dim apartment in Edinburgh that eerily faced the cemetery. Suffering from severe writers block and longstanding sadness Grace feels like she is drowning. Jana offers her a month at her villa in Tuscany filled with rolling hills, Italian sunshine and a chance to quietly write. Jumping at the chance, she is on the next flight. Arriving at this magnificent villa leaves Grace speechless. While taking a quick dip in the pool her hopes are quickly dashed with embarrassment when the most handsome Italian man she has ever seen walks onto the patio with his son in tow. After learning Claudio is Jana’s ex - who was supposed to be away - it is decided they can manage to share the space for a month. As Grace and Claudio become closer they explore their art, his home and eventually his bed. Claudio is a charming, sexy and very talented artist. Although Grace finds him utterly irresistible they are concerned for both his son and Jana finding out the truth. Saying this is just a hot read does not give it justice. It is fireworks, explosive volcanic HOT and was an absolute perfect summer getaway set in one of the most magnificent places in the world. Mamma Mia! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

An Observant Wife

When Leah entered Yaakov’s world it was only as a babysitter to help out with the children. After becoming a crucial part of all of their lives the handsome Orthodox widower began to fall in love. Yaakov began to imagine what it would be like to have Leah’s calmness and joy in their lives every day. Leah, only recently studying traditional Judaism visualized a future with certainty, love and faith, something she could not resist. After their marriage daily life is more tricky than Leah thought it would be. The community, still very hesitant of this newcomer holds back and although she falls more in love with Jacob and the children every day, she struggles with loneliness and the hostility displayed by neighbors and fellow congregants. When Jacob’s teenage daughter battles her own silent demons, Shaindele finds herself in an abusive situation. Leah yearns to be closer to the young woman who is so obviously in pain and Jacob does everything in his power to protect his family. After being taunted and threatened they finally realize that faith cannot be derived from anyplace except your very own heart. As a sequel to the wonderful novel An Unorthodox Match, author Naomi Ragen does a good job completing the circle of life in this very strict, complicated religious community. For me, the first book was more enjoyable and moved a lot faster but both are good. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Marilla Before Anne

Meet Marilla Cuthbert at 17 years old. A lovely girl with the prettiest blue eyes and dreams of a wonderful life ahead. While her painfully shy brother Mathew works hard on the farm at Green Gable’s, Marilla’s world is spinning out of control. She is head over heels in love with William Baker, an apprentice shipbuilder visiting Prince Edward Island for a short while. The two have been secretly meeting, waiting for Marilla to turn 18 so they can marry and be together always. Marilla’s bitter mother Nora has other plans. She will not chance her only daughter’s future on an orphan apprentice when the well-to-do local merchant John Blythe is waiting for her hand and offering a life Nora deeply envies. Chaos is already brewing when Marilla’s strongest ally, her beloved father, unexpectedly and tragically passes away. Nora’s sabotaging schemes escalate, forcing Marilla to flee to her Aunt’s home in Halifax and make heartbreaking choices no young woman should face. For the next 35 years Marilla stumbles through one stroke of misfortune after another suffering cruel small town gossip, agonizing loss and despair. In true Avonlea storytelling fashion, faith finds its’ way back into their hearts. An ingenious look at the earlier days of Green Gables, this touching story takes devotees of Anne Shirley on an amazing and unexpected adventure. Adaptations, fan fiction, I am not sure what to call this type of reimagined story utilizing beloved characters from over 100 years ago, but I loved every minute of it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, August 13, 2021

Anne of Manhattan

Anne is bounced around through foster care for much of her childhood. Many difficult memories she works hard to forget. After finally landing with Marilla and Matthew at their vineyard on Long Island (“The Hamptons”) she has finally found a place to call home. Initially having requested a boy to help in the vineyard, Anne works her freckly magic until they can not resist her adorableness. Years later she is in graduate school in NYC. Fully grown and quite the raven haired beauty, Anne unexpectedly bumps into her old nemesis, Gilbert Blythe. More handsome than ever, this once archenemy from schoolyard tauntings has turned out to be an extremely handsome hunk. Gil recently returned from California to be closer to family and is now completing his degree at the same school as Anne. The two are placed together for their final senior year thesis and the sparks immediately begin to fly. Anne cannot deny their chemistry, which always existed despite their longstanding disagreements. She insists he must win her trust and proceed with caution very slowly if a serious relationship is even possible. Gil, on the other hand wastes no time, as he has loved Anne since childhood and will do whatever it takes to win her over. This very modern adaptation of the beloved Anne of Green Gables is a timely, clever, laugh-out-loud romance not to be missed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Vixen

Simon Putnam begins working at a respected publishing house in NYC. Feeling lost after his Harvard graduation, Uncle Maddie - a successful and feared critic - sets him up to work as a junior editor. His good looks and an upper crust education slowly making up for his lack of money and working class jewish background. While just a year ago his family sat shocked, outraged and saddened by the speedy execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Simon now sits with a ridiculous manuscript in his lap revealing a fictionalized steamy account of Ethel as a provocative sexy communist spy. With the McCarthy hearings underway and enemy lists popping up in the most unexpected places, Simon fears speaking up could lose him his job and future. As his situation declines, Simon sets out to meet the author of The Vixen. Anya Partridge appears as a beautiful, alluring and wealthy young woman living in an exclusive mental asylum an hour away. A scandalous, albeit ridiculous affair begins between the two. Turns out this master manipulator/actress reveals the truth behind The Vixen and now Simon finds himself determined to change the destiny of his position. Engrossed in the writing and with a fondness for Simon, my head spun as this bizarre story unfolded. Strange would be putting it mildly. It touched on many interesting subjects but the plot was literally unimaginable.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

He Gets That From Me

Life is busy for Maggie Fisher as she rushes to her job at Bed Bath & Beyond, leaving her toddler with Nick after his shift at the restaurant. This young couple  may struggle with time and money constraints but little Wyatt is the sparkling center of their lives. After Maggie dropped out of school and virtually out of site, she couch floated directionless for quite a few years. Falling in love with Nick and the life they have created in Arizona is finally putting her back on track. But Maggie will not be content with the check out line forever. She dreams of a college degree in education so she can earn a decent salary and a promising career. Refusing to beg her estranged parents for help she finds the cash earning opportunity to change her life. Tucked in the back of a home magazine is an ad to be a gestational surrogate. After much research and battling with Nick, Maggie is chosen by a NYC couple named Chip and Donovan who against the odds, dream of having a family of their own. A decade later the phone rings and the impossible becomes reality. Maggie is faced with decisions no mother should have to make. As her past comes barreling forward she wonders if her marriage can survive. Highly recommend this captivating story of family, trust and advanced technology all rolled into one. Didn’t love love the main characters but there is no doubt this one would be a fascinating book club discussion. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Girls With Bright Futures

Tech influencer CEO Alicia Stone has the entire school staff wrapped around her little check writing finger. As her daughter Brooke begrudgingly finalizes her Stanford Early Admission application, Alicia will do everything in her power to guarantee her admittance. Alicia’s long time assistant Maren also has a graduating senior named Winnie. Although only at EBA through the good graces and deep pockets of her mother’s boss - Winnie happens to be ranked top in the class.  At the same time, PTA commander-in-chief Kelly will tell anyone that will listen how her offspring Krissie is meant to attain the one coveted spot. Welcome to the elite private high school called Elliott Bay Academy, located in Seattle Washington. These women along with an array of bizarre characters take helicopter parenting to a new level. Cheating, score inflation, backstabbing and bribery are only a few of the tactics these crazy town moms are willing to stoop to. With deadlines fast approaching a black cloud darkens the entire community. The day one student is dangerously run off the road is the beginning of the end. What lengths will these mothers go to protect their daughters futures, their fragile reputations and get the recognition they (I mean their children) deserve. Twisty, dark humor and ringing just a little bit too true with the recent college scandals, this one will have you on the edge of your seat. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Count the Ways

After losing her parents at a young age, Eleanor dreams of creating a family of her own. As her children’s book is a huge success, she drops out of school and buys a farm in New Hampshire. Lonely and wandering through a farmers market Eleanor meets Cam and knows she will never be on her own again. The young couple quickly have three children and immerse themselves in the joyful experience of raising them. Endless holidays, crafts, baking and birthday celebrations - all the idyllic scenes Eleanor yearned for in her younger days. Through the years she begins to feel the financial burden as her books wither and there is little time to create new ones. Cam goes with the flow of an artist, never worrying about money and thriving on farm life alone. But it is not enough and as Eleanor’s obvious unhappiness escalates she discovers that Cam is having an affair. As their family is torn apart, the divorce replaces every good memory with struggle and hardship. Eleanor tries to protect the children and by doing so she destroys their faith in her mothering and choose the farm. Through drawn out decades of strife and forgiveness they slowly grasp the true meaning of family. Filled with heartwarming characters and layers upon layers of emotions, this book is beautiful but about 100 pages too long. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Embassy Wife

As an outsider, life in Namibia is not a straightforward existence. Intense heat, unimaginable traffic, unique customs and traditions make life for these American diplomats and their families appear like a well organized mess. When Amanda gives up her high level position at a Silicon Valley giant to move with her daughter and husband Mark her life is turned upside down in this remote part of Africa. Mark has a Fulbright project to research with hopes of completing his PhD. Amanda is immediately thrown into life as a “trailer” - nickname for the spouses who follow the embassy staff around the globe. She quickly meets the other women who rank themselves in order of importance and prestige based on their husbands positions. Persephone Wilder appears to be the leader of the pack and tries to guide Amanda in the ways of their small somewhat isolated community. Mark, who spent time volunteering in this part of the world many years ago is off on another journey, secretly tracking someone or something. As Amanda’s deals with her daughter struggles at the international school, she befriends the mysterious and beautiful Mila and is determined to save her slowly disintegrating marriage. If this sounds chaotic - that’s because it is. If you can keep up with this fast paced bizarre array of characters you will be smiling the whole way through. Unique and well written, this is an enjoyable summer read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Guilt Trip

Rachel and Jack have a good solid marriage. Their son is off at University and unlike most of their middle aged friends they maintain an active sex life. Jack's brother Will is about to marry Ali, a young woman who previously worked for Jack and is as beautiful as she is burdensome. Perhaps a bit regretful he ever introduced the two, Jack finds himself as best man at their destination wedding in Portugal. Another couple in attendance that may diminish some of the stress is Rachel’s best friends Paige and Noah. Paige is a fast talking dependable lawyer type and Noah, one of Rachel’s oldest and sweetest friends from her college days. The gorgeous cliffside villa is breathtaking upon arrival but as the weekend wears on Ali makes it perfectly clear that something untoward is going on. She insinuates the worst case scenarios and Rachel and Paige immediately worry that Will is getting himself involved with a deceptive manipulator who cannot be trusted. As Jack gets more and more tense they assume he is protecting his younger brother. Little do they know who the real culprits may be. Three couples all searching for the truth collide with this suspenseful and somewhat twisted narrative. Awesome setting and easy, albeit predictable summer thriller.  ๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•