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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️