Friday, August 26, 2022

Our Last Days in Barcelona

In 1964 the eldest daughter, Isabel Perez, travels from Palm Beach to Barcelona. She is searching for Beatriz, her sister whom they have not recently heard from. Always the rebel, Beatriz was recently involved in mysterious work with the CIA. The sisters fear the worst. After arriving, Isabel finds her apartment empty and the door ajar. Minutes later a terrified Isabel has a visitor. A handsome stranger named Diego offers assistance to help. Isabel quickly finds herself searching for more than her beloved sister as she is drowning in her loveless marriage and a bleak future with a man that does not understand her. In 1936, Alicia Perez, Isabel’s mother also traveled to Barcelona, running from her own crumbling union. As Spain explodes with fascism and violence Alicia debates whether she should return to Cuba and realistically faces what kind of happiness a woman can expect. She spends months with her parents and reunites with a man from her past while contemplating her daughter’s future and her own.  As history and the present connect these strong, brave women must finally learn to follow their hearts. #5 in the Perez series, these novels are filled with captivating history, culture and family drama. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reasons to Stay Alive

Prefer to listen? I highly recommend the audible version of this memoir, expertly narrated by the author himself. Many lives are touched by mental illness. You may have a family member or friend silently suffering and do not know how to assist them. Or you may recognize symptoms within yourself and have not found a way to ask for help. Matt Haig openly and honestly describes his personal struggles with severe depression and anxiety. Matt reveals his most private thoughts and feelings that he experienced throughout his life. Plagued for many years Matt was often petrified he was going to die. It didn’t matter that this made no practical sense, it is what he feared every minute of almost every day. There seemed to be no reason to go on living this way. His girlfriend Andrea and his parents were there every step of the way trying to help Matt find the path to wellness. It wasn’t always easy. Reading this memoir may seem daunting and even scary but there is much to learn from other peoples experiences. In the end this beautiful human truly believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is worth discovering. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, August 18, 2022

An Affair of Spies

In 1938 Nathan Silverman’s parents sent him to the United States to live with his Aunt Gertrude. Life in Berlin had become unbearable, the family anticipated the worse was yet to come. Nathan’s father, a well known nuclear physicist made the dreadful decision to remain in Germany with his wife and daughter. As a young man Nathan began taking classes at Columbia in NYC. A few years later the war is full blown and Nathan is offered an opportunity with the U.S. Army to help fight the Nazi’s. With his sharp insight, language skills and geographical expertise, it is not long before he is transferred to work on the top secret Manhattan Project. The race is on for the U.S. to develop nuclear weapons before Germany. On his first assignment Nathan is disguised as a Wehrmacht officer and will travel with the beautiful and brainy Dr. Allison Fisher on his arm. Their mission is to enter Berlin, learn everything they can about the Nazi nuclear weapons program and extract a world renowned theoretical physicist who wishes to defect. This fast paced WWII novel takes us deep into the evils of Nazi Germany and a peek into the creation of the atomic bomb. A nail biting chase from until the very last page. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, August 15, 2022

Mr. Perfect on Paper

CEO of a successful Jewish dating app, Dara Rabinowitz is a wealthy, well known young woman living in Hoboken, NJ. While multi-tasking and list making is her specialty, this perfectionist young woman suffers from GAD, a severe anxiety disorder. This is beyond feeling stressed, Dara’s condition can be completely debilitating. As Dara juggles her hugely popular company called JMate and also keeps a watchful eye on her beloved Bubbe (grandmother) Miriam, she must contend with her disease. When a local daytime television show has Dara and her matchmaking Bubbe as guests they are an unexpected hit and the very charismatic (hot) host Chris Steadfast suggests Dara and her matchmaking business help their diminishing ratings, presently in the tank. Chris takes Dara’s perfect on paper husband list and runs with it. Going viral would put it mildly. The viewers love it and Chris’s show attempts to find the perfect husband for this modern matchmaker through a series of laugh-of-loud dating mishaps. There is one little problem - Dara is falling for Chris, head over heels and everything she has ever believed in. Although he checks none of her boxes, her heart has other plans. Adorable romance with a capital C for comedy. Wonderful and easy to understand references to the Jewish holidays and traditions. I simply had a smile on my face through every single page. Another winner by author Jean Meltzer (The Matzah Ball) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Woman of Intelligence

In 1954 post-war New York City Katharina Edgeworth is a socialite with every advantage a woman could desire. A handsome, wealthy husband who saves children’s lives on a daily basis as a pediatric surgeon; two beautiful sons and a fancy apartment on Fifth Avenue. But Rina lived another life. She has a graduate degree in languages from Colombia University, speaking four fluently and was deeply passionate about her career at the United Nations. Before motherhood took over every detail of her life, Rina had friends, she traveled and enjoyed an exhilarating social life. Most women would be grateful in her position but all she feels is lost, lonely and regretful. When Rina is mysteriously offered an opportunity from the FBI to assist as an informant, she cannot refuse. Completely out of her comfort zone yet mesmerized by this secrecy and newly found purpose Rina puts her skills and a friendship from her past to work. What initially begins as a way to escape her restlessness quickly turns into unimaginable escapades in the mysterious world of espionage. Rina must find a way to balance subterfuge and responsibility to survive. Fast paced cold war spy novel, A Woman of Intelligence is the perfect mix of history, politics, feminism and family drama. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Carrie Soto is Back

Six years after retirement Carrie Soto and her father, Javier are in the heart of the massive screaming crowd at the 1994 US Open finals in Flushing Meadows, NY. She is mesmerized by Nicki Chan, leading the way in women’s tennis as Carrie herself once did when she held the title of number one player in the world. At 37 Carrie has multiple world records, titles and quite a lot of wagging tongues as she was nicknamed The Battle-Axe back in her heyday. At this moment Nicki Chan is one win away from overtaking the most Grand Slam wins ever. By a stroke of fate or luck, Nicki doesn’t win that match and Carrie decides to come out of retirement with her father coaching to take one more victory. This incredible journey through the cut throat all-consuming world of tennis, beautiful relationship between father and daughter and most surprising friendship with top seeded men’s player Bowe Huntley who helps Carrie get back in the game and weasels his way into her hardened heart. I was completely swept away by this peek into women’s tennis which I know very little about. The pages turned themselves as I desperately needed to know what happens next. Great characters, a lot of passion and yes, surprise, Carrie Soto is the tennis player that had an affair with Nina Riva’s husband in Malibu Rising (clever clever!) Could not put down this fast paced story of a woman attempting to hang onto who she “was” while accepting life has changed. Absolute five star summer stunner!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️