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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️