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“•

Layla

The night the girl who was a terrible dancer stole Leeds heart is the night his life changed forever. While attending her sister’s wedding Layla cannot take her eyes off the most sexy band member she has ever seen. The after party finds them in the pool, drunk and high on their instant chemistry. Their attraction is palpable. From that moment on, they are inseparable. Layla goes back to Nashville with Leeds as they figure out his musical future setting words to his amazing solo work. A simple knock at the door and horrific attack leaves the couple with months of healing both emotionally and physically. Layla, who was more severely injured has a difficult time finding her way back into the arms of the only man she has ever truly loved. The two find themselves back at the B&B where the wedding was held. Maybe returning to where they fell in love will help Layla heal and return her to the fun easy going girl she once was. But the house, now vacant and up for sale just doesn’t feel the same. Layla is not getting better, she is quickly deteriorating. Leeds cannot understand what it is going on. It is as if she is two different people at the same time. He is determined to find a way to help her, no matter the consequences. This thrilling, twisted, unexpected paranormal romance had me on the edge of my seat. It is absolutely unputdownable. A MUST read! ๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•๐Ÿ“•

Sunday, July 25, 2021

It Happened One Summer

Spending the night in jail was the straw that broke the camels back. Piper Bellinger’s fancy stepfather could take no more. He knew this Hollywood wild child needed to learn a lesson after her champagne infused wrecking of a trendy hotel roof top party. Piper and her younger sister Hannah are sent to a small fishing town in the Pacific Northwest, Washington. It is where the girls were born and spent their earliest years of which they have little or no memory of their father who died at sea. When their mother remarried they were raised in the lap of luxury in Los Angeles. While Hannah was studious, Piper became the “It” party girl of instagram, gaining a massive following but few real friends. Now, sent to run and live above the ramshackle bar their father owned, the girls are not sure they will survive their three month banishment. That is until Captain Brendan walks through the door. This tall, hunky, bearded man is as crabby as he is handsome. No time for games, Brendan is a hard working no nonsense guy who lives by his own strict rules. The instant he lays eyes on Piper - it is game over. Their immediate chemistry is undeniable and no matter how many excuses they make, the fates have other plans. Steamy summer romance, sisterly love and plenty of hot fisherman, this romcom will have you hooked at hello. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Paper Palace

Elle has spent every summer she can remember at the paper palace, her family’s ramshackle cabins deep in the backwoods of Cape Cod. Now facing midlife, all the choices she has made are colliding at once. Only Jonas knows. Only Jonas has kept the truth hidden from the other members of their families for all these years. Jonas fell in love with Elle when he was an eight year old freckled face little boy. He has never stopped and he never will. As the author flashes back to  their chaotic lives in the seventies, unrelenting parents, replete with adultery and abuse hide behind their bourgeois lifestyle. The author beautifully describes their idyllic surroundings and messy childhoods filled with family drama and decades of deceit. Everyone plays along but early bonds are unbreakable and although Elle is happily married to handsome Peter with three beautiful children, she is haunted by her past. She desperately misses her sister Anna and the life they shared, can never forgive her father and achingly yearns for Jonas. This detailed character driven writing and spectacular family dynamics bring this story to life. It is hard to imagine this is author Miranda Cowley Heller’s first novel.  Wow. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Blush

The Hollander Estates Winery is in trouble. After decades of offering tours and tastings through their gorgeous vineyards on Long Island the business can no longer sustain itself. Leah returns for a summer visit to find her parents and brother have given up all hope of trying to save their family legacy. While still angry she was discouraged from making her own career in the winery, Leah can never forget her childhood growing up on this magnificent land, grapes seemingly running through her veins. Her daughter Sadie suffers writers block as her college thesis is long overdue, and her husband seems to be going through the ups and downs of his own midlife crisis. When Sadie discovers her Grandmother Vivian’s hidden journal she also finds a trove of old trashy novels from decades past by Judith Kranz and Jackie Collins filled with sex, power and lady bosses. Three generations of women struggling to love and live while still being true to themselves. Vivian desperately holds on to her past secrets, Leah can no longer sit back and watch the winery fail and Sadie who doubted her own passion existed falls for the hot vineyard manager. As the grapes ripen throughout the summer so do their ideas. The men need to step back and let the women work their magic. Sweet easy summer novel. Loved the details of vineyard life and winemaking process. Grab a glass of rose and start reading, it must be 5 o’clock somewhere. ⭐⭐⭐

The Personal Librarian

Belle da Costa Greene is working as a librarian at Princeton University. A lovely young woman, she spends her days surrounded by books and rare manuscripts, history and art - passions since she was ten years old. In 1905, a student with whom she had become quite friendly refers Belle for a job as directress of his uncle’s private library. Working closely with the most powerful financier on Wall Street, J.P. Morgan himself, changes Belle’s future and that of her entire family forever. Beautiful, intelligent and trusted, she literally becomes the belle of the ball, securing world wide treasure’s helping create one of the preeminent collections in the world. Rubbing shoulders with famous art dealers and gallerists unsuspecting of Belle’s flirty manipulations, she becomes one of the most successful businesswomen of her time. But there is one thing Belle is hiding. Behind the silk curtains she is part of an African American family that has passed as white. As Belle’s father spent his life advocating for equal rights, her mother secretly and slowly changed the family’s name and history to reflect Portuguese descent and smudged their lineage just enough to quiet any rumors. As the sole support of the family, Belle became expert at hiding her own identity, for she knew deep in her heart that Mr. Morgan would not be able to overlook his racial prejudice. It became Belle’s lifelong mission to bury her secret while securing the future for The Morgan Library. Historical fiction at its very best, this magnificent novel brings the past roaring back to life. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Anchored Hearts

Alejandro Miranda left Key West with a dream of becoming a famous photographer. And he did. He has traveled all over the world winning awards and magazine covers. After an accident Alejandro has returned to his big Cuban family in the small island town where he grew up. Mother coddles his every need but his papi has never forgiven him for leaving the family restaurant business which is struggling. Anamaria Navarro was Alejandro’s highschool girlfriend and her heart was broken in the aftermath of his departure. For all of his success Alejandro feels deep regret to have hurt the people he loves most in the world. As a firefighter and fitness instructor Ana agrees to help stretch and strengthen his injured leg and their chemistry is undeniable. As their busybody mothers cannot resist pushing them together every chance they get this romance takes some unexpected turns. #2 is her Keys to Love series, once again Patricia Oliveras delivers some hot romance in the Keys! ⭐⭐⭐

The Paris Library

Beautiful and smart Odile Souchet is excited to begin her very first job as a librarian at the American Library in Paris. It is 1939 and as the world around her is crumbling, the beautiful sanctuary of books keeps her spirit and faith in mankind alive. Her father thinks she should be home and married, her twin brother Remy goes off to war and Odile begins a romance with a handsome French policeman. As Paris falls to the Nazi’s this group of dedicated librarians fight back the only way they know how - with books. They deliver books to those no longer able to enter the library. A deal is made with the inspector to protect the books as libraries throughout Europe are looted and destroyed. Books are delivered to soldiers in hospitals and even shipped to the front lines. It is often the only bright light as food becomes scarce and dangerous checkpoints restrain every move they make. In 1983 Odile is a widow living in a small town in Montana. For many years her reserved French manner has kept neighbors at a distance. Across the way young Lily is desperately trying to survive an awkward stage of adolescence and seeks an unexpected friendship with Odile. She wants to learn French and ultimately discovers the truth of Odile’s difficult past. Based on actual events and alternating chapters between the past and present, The Paris Library is a passionate portrait of family, friendship and the unmistakable connection that books bring into our lives. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Layover

Ava is about to board her last trip of a decade long flight attendant career. Although traveling the world has been an exciting dream job, Ava has long craved some kind of stability in her life and Alexander is offering it on a silver platter. Ava’s handsome uptight lawyer fiancรฉ wants to give her his world, albeit on his terms, she must stop flying. A gorgeous condo, brand new car and fancy dinner with his parents has become all Ava can see on her life’s horizon. The crew on this last overnight trip to Belize include the quirky sexpot Gen and unimaginably handsome Jack. An unexpected layover lengthens their overnight in this tropical paradise. Starting off as obnoxious banter Ava and Jack cannot deny the instant chemistry that draws them together. As conversations with Alexander leave their relationship dangling through the weekend, Jack’s innocent touch sends her heart spinning out of control.  Ava must decide if the safe choice is always the right choice. Romance and humor on these sandy beaches will have you laughing out loud while reaching for that frosty Pina Colada you’ve been craving. ⭐⭐⭐⭐