Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Plot

Jacob Finch Bonner had a best selling book. A long time ago. His second didn’t go so well and his third - virtually unknown. Jake finds himself teaching and writing on the side. If he is truthful with himself, he hasn’t actually written in years. Starting another semester at a bottom of the barrel MFA program Jake is surrounded by all types. The students who have zero talent but a lot of enthusiasm, the students who can write but have no structure and then the ones like Evan Parker, a man/child that is so arrogant, so full of himself and his guaranteed stardom, Jake silently has to laugh. Never going to happen, kid. A few years later, literally just getting by, Jake finds out that Evan has died. An unexplained overdose. As far as Jake knows, his bestseller never got written or published. But Jake remembers the plot Evan detailed and it was truly one of a kind. Now that this can of words has opened Jake sits down at his laptop and the best story of his life pours out of him. Within months it is Jake that is the star. Back on top again, he cannot believe his good fortune. With the truth always looming in the background of his joy, Jake is never quite 100% happy. As if he wished it into happening, Jake receives the dreaded email. A simple one liner. You are a thief. And that is the end of his new beginning and the beginning of his end. This twisted thriller had me on the edge of my seat for the entire reading. A book within a book, it is the perfect figure out summer read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You Never Forget Your First

Carved in the history books as The Father of His Country, General George Washington played a critical role during the Revolutionary War, Constitutional Convention and for two terms as the first President of the United States. Most people don’t know that he was raised by a struggling single mother, his teeth weren’t wooden, and he lost more battles than he won. While sharing an array of shocking and remarkable facts about George Washington this author inserts humor and wit to help us visualize George, the man. A tall and handsome fellow, faithful to his mother Mary, started off as a surveyor and received his military training during the French and Indian War. He miraculously survived smallpox, malaria (6 times!), diphtheria, tuberculosis, dysentery and pneumonia living a full life until 67. A leader, survivor and our President, this brazen biography is not your every day cup of tea but an alternative view of his life. Controversial it may be but as George himself - never really said - “I cannot tell a lie …” and I liked it!⭐⭐⭐

America's Daughter

Addie Valencourt and her twin brother have never left each other’s side for their entire lives. Thick as thieves, they get into all sorts of mischief together. In 1773 as war is brewing in Boston they sneak out to witness the Boston Tea Party and quickly realize things will never be the same again. Adrian cannot resist joining the Rebels to fight the British while the women painfully step aside feeling helpless. Addie’s English born, Loyalist father has raised and educated his smart independent children to think for themselves. Although he loves them dearly, he could never separate himself from the Crown. When her brothers and (secret) childhood crush Silas meet up to aide General Washington, there is no turning back for these determined brave men. From the wide acre plantations of Virginia to the crowded streets of New York and Boston, America’s dramatic fight for independence is filled with epic battles and Revolutionary romance that light up the summer sky! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Lizzie & Dante

Lizzie Delford arrives on the quaint island of Elba with her novelist ex-fiance´ and his famous boyfriend (a little confusing at first). She is a Shakespearian professor and sadly her days are numbered. Lizzie is sick and hope has all but drained from her life. Lizzie was invited on this exotic adventure to assist with details on a new Romeo and Juliet production and could not resist the chance to escape the sticky streets of NY for the green hills and sunshine. Filled with celebrities and wealthy yachters, Lizzie searches for privacy to read and nap at her leisure. On the beach she is quickly befriended by an adorable dog Lily, who wants nothing more than a cuddle. Initially annoyed when the owner disrupts her solitude, this handsome Italian chef cannot be resisted. Quickly offering her and her friends a meal at his restaurant, Lizzie falls in love with his easy going manner, feisty daughter and zest for life that has her stomach doing backflips. Something she hasn’t felt since beginning the drugs, chemo and surgery. Wanting to treasure every moment of this delicious romance, Lizzie keeps her secrets hidden. But as Dante has most unexpectedly stolen her heart she cannot find the words that will most certainly break his own. Loved the Italian setting, quirky characters and easy writing. Most likely meant to give the reader grateful perspective - it was still quite difficult to get lost in finding love during terminal illness. Your call.  ⭐⭐⭐

Love For beginners

The morning Emma Harris crossed a busy street with a semi hidden stop sign was the last day of life as she knew it, commonly known as BC - Before Coma. Eventually waking and surviving a multitude of complicated painful surgeries, Emma reenters the real world. Still a little shaky she was a miracle walking on her own when the experts doubted she ever would stroll these streets again. Her evil, albeit sexy, physical therapist had a lot to do with that. Simon pushed and pushed and pushed some more. Combined with Emma’s determination she exceeded everyones expectations. But a year is a long time and while she has lost her job, best friend and fiancé (to the ex best friend) starting over as Emma 2.0 is a pretty scary endeavor. Once again, Simon to the rescue, finding Emma the perfect apartment and always supporting her decisions, no questions asked - that is until the day feelings surface that Emma hasn’t faced in a long time. When the two continue their standard therapy routine the sudden electricity between them is undeniable, the fire in her belly is real and the crush on Simon she has suppressed will no longer be still. My first Jill Shalvis, but not my last - this adorable summer romance (very much reminding me of How to Walk Away) was an easy, breezy day at the beach. ⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Special Place For Women

Jillian Beckley is a journalist out of work. After spending every waking moment of the last few years taking care of her mother and writing for a NY newspaper, she needs the next big story to get back in the game. Jillian attends her best friend’s restaurant opening. Raf has recently become the “it” chef of the city and the room is filled with the less than 1%. When she is introduced to a gorgeous girl boss - her plans spiral into place. Supposedly, there is all female club rumored to be exclusive and powerful with a scandalous mayoral election in their wake. Journalist Jillian cannot resist and decides to infiltrate this club and write a piece that will set her career on fire. Encouraged by her ex-editor and with Raf’s much needed fake boyfriend support Jillian is off on her mission. Surprised at first by the astrology these women swear by, Jillian is further shocked when she learns the inner circle is filled with magic potions and outrageous spells. The deeper she dives, the more confusing her already messy world becomes. It is hard to tell if her feelings for Raf and danger lurking at her door are real or imagined. Romance, witchery and a little bit of figure it out - I could not put down this surprisingly entertaining novel. Highly recommend this wholly original breath of fresh air. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, June 12, 2021

I Take You

Lily Wilder is a gorgeous bad ass lawyer at a top firm in New York City. People outside of her close knit family do not fully grasp what makes Lily tick. She is an impulsive flirt and unconventional opponent. Women point fingers, men would like to put her in her place but Lily pretty much does whatever Lily wants. When she meets Will, a handsome, sexy archeologist who works in the museum, it is lust at first sight. Never fully focused on marriage before, Lily cannot resist when her romantic heartthrob pops the big question. Off to Key West they fly, Lily’s hometown that she hasn’t visited for the last 14 years - a mystery in itself that slowly unravels. With one week until their nuptials, Lily and Will must arrange last minute details with their peculiar wedding planner and greet their guests for the big day. Her mother, feisty grandmother and two stepmothers have got their knickers in a twist begging Lily to call off this complicated tryst before the truth is revealed. Off the wall humor traipsing through the sandy beaches of Key West. I breezed through fast paced rom-com laughing all the way. Boozy scandalous scenarios had the majority of reviewers condemning Lily’s amoral attitude to fidelity. I say just kick back with a margarita and enjoy it for the outrageous fiction that it is. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, June 6, 2021

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island

There is a very small island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay called Frick Island. Very few people have heard of it, even less visit. But for those that live on Frick Island, it is their own private world, and they have no desire to change a thing. Anders Caldwell is a recent college grad and one of the few that knows exactly what he wants from life. He has dreamed of journalism, being a writer/reporter and maybe with a little bit of Clark Kent magic he could change the world. As a rookie at a small paper, Anders is sent to cover local news that often feels mundane but he never imagined that when he is sent to Frick Island to cover the annual Cake Walk his entire life is about to change forever. It is there he meets Piper Parrish. If you believe in love at first sight, then this is most definitely the case. The problem is Piper is married. The scary part is her husband doesn’t actually exist and Anders cannot understand why the entire island is playing along. As he is drawn to the island and its quirky cast of characters Anders feels a story taking root. It may be that the island is slowly disappearing due to climate change, but more pressing is the feeling that something sinister is going on. Resolved to bring life to his withering podcast What the Frick? - this ace reporter is intent on discovering the truth no matter what it takes. Delightful, enjoyable easy read filled with a great cast of characters. This one is perfect for a day at the beach!  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Malibu Rising

In the 1950’s Malibu was nothing but a sleepy beach town. June worked in her parents small fish restaurant. She dreamed of a bigger better life, one where she was not wiping down tables and serving up fried clams and French fries. The day Mick Riva entered her life that was all about to change. A few years older and dangerously handsome, Mick swept June off her feet with dreams of life as the wife of the famous singer he was destined to become. June ate it up and was married and pregnant quicker than she thought possible. Mick’s dreams did come true - the ones of fame and fortune - but their marriage was an awful rollercoaster leaving June struggling with four children and a drinking problem. Flash forward, it is 1983 and Nina, Jay, Hud and Kit are beautiful, world renowned and throwing the biggest party of the summer. Nina, the eldest hosts this annual bash fascinating the entire town and Hollywood scene. Anyone who is anyone wants a coveted invite. As the chapters flash between the present day of the party and a past these siblings often try to forget, the infamous aura of their father Mick shadows their every move. Great writing, cool characters and depth of treasured sibling bonds, this book had me glued to my chair for the first 50%. Unfortunately, it was downhill from there. Probably an editing issue, it got messy, brought in too many unnecessary characters late in the game and I was patiently waiting to get off this ride. So unexpectedly mediocre after the incredible Daisy Jones. ⭐⭐⭐