Monday, January 30, 2023

The Social Climber

The day Eliza Bennett has been waiting for is actually happening. Their wedding weekend bags are packed and private flight to Vermont awaits their arrival. Graham Walker is a catch. Born into a wealthy and powerful family, he is charming, handsome and a Yale graduate - the full package. And he knows it. Graham loves Eliza. He loves the life they are creating and having this beautiful woman by his side is everything he ever wanted, or so he thinks. Eliza grew up in a severely religious home receiving little love or warmth - ever. She escaped by finding her way to an Evangelical college - offering only slightly more freedom than home - but with far more to experience than the gloomy abusive farm that raised her. After completely reinventing herself Eliza moves to NYC and weasels her way into an elite PR agency, quickly learning how the other half lives. Mimicking her wealthy co-worker Lena, Eliza imitates every detail necessary to fit into Graham’s world. Each step forward bringing her closer to the big day, her wedding day. Narrated in dual timelines, this absolute page turner was full speed ahead from the very start. Unexpected twists and turns keeps the reader guessing until the grand finale. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Reunion

For 6 years teen drama Girl on the Verge was the hottest series on tv and its stars were shining bright. Twenty years later the producers have organized a reunion episode dragging its cast back onto the stage. Many continued acting but few reached the stardom GOV provided. Liv Latimer grew up on television and her late father was a famous actor. When GOV finished she fled off the grid for years only to reappear in select indie films and projects. Her performance always impeccable, her professionalism never questioned. Now older and wiser she finds herself back on the set she grew up on, facing Ransom Joel her former best friend and love that broke her heart. Navigating this new/old role as an adult is beautiful and painful. Reuniting with friends and feelings she long ago buried is not easy. Liv cannot fathom why she and Ransom lost touch. She cannot understand how their chemistry did not transfer on and off the big screen. She realizes it is time to finally find out the long awaited answers. We have all watched long running series that seem so real. Are their performances that good? Or maybe The Reunion is not far fetched at all and these on screen romances began behind the camera. Loved this easily imagined fast paced read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, January 23, 2023

The House of Eve

Ruby Pearsall is a 15 year old girl in 1950’s Philadelphia. An excellent student, Ruby was chosen to be part of the WE RISE program - to assist underprivileged students with post high school plans. Ruby dreams of becoming an Ophthalmologist so she can help her beloved grandma get her sight back. Her mother has kicked her out again, and she is staying with Aunt Marie who is a tough gal with a loving heart. Laser focused on studying Ruby is rarely sidetracked but when she meets Shimmy, the landlords white, Jewish son she experiences butterflies she never felt before. History repeats itself when Ruby, like her own mother becomes a pregnant teenager. Mortified, Shimmy’s mother arranges for Ruby to go to a home for unwed mothers in DC, promising her the WE RISE scholarship when she returns. In DC we meet Eleanor and William, both students at Howard University. Lovely, smart and hardworking, they meet in the library and quickly fall head over heels. But Eleanor is not good enough for William Pride’s snooty parents. Professionals and leaders of the Washington elite Black families, William’s mother does everything in her power to break the couple apart while Eleanor tries her best to fit in. Two young women find themselves desperately trying to succeed in a world that often seems determined to destroy them. Filled with poverty, adoption, abuse, and discrimination - it is clear that 70 years later we still battle these very same challenges. This powerful, heartbreaking story of motherhood will be with you long after the last page. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Violin Conspiracy

Playing the violin is everything to Ray McMillian. Having grown up in small town North Carolina, Ray’s musical passion was not encouraged. Not by his contemptuous mother, apathetic music teacher at the local racist high school or his overdemanding aunts and uncles. The only person in Ray’s life to champion his dreams is his gentle and kind Grandma Nora. One holiday when the family is gathered at her ramshackle home in Georgia, Nora reminds Ray he got his musical talent from her Pop Pop, who played the fiddle as a boy on a plantation where their family was enslaved. She allows Ray to search for the fiddle in the attic and later gifts it to him. While no-one shows much interest, the old relic allows Ray to improve his skills at school and prepare for an upcoming regional competition. At the event Dr. Janice Stevens offers him a full college music scholarship to a small university. Four years later he outplays and outshines every other musician. With the mentorship and generosity of Janice - Ray has a brilliant career ahead. After repairing his beloved “fiddle” they discover that is is a priceless Stradivarius. The family immediately sees dollar signs and another family who owned his Pop Pop thinks the instrument is theirs. A month before the most important international competition in the world, the violin disappears. This novel is filled with magnificent characters, rampant discrimination and family ties that cannot be broken. Days after finishing Ray is still heavily on my mind. Turn on some classical music and let this mystery of history take you away. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, January 20, 2023

Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man

New York City, 1950. Viviana Valentine is well known as an efficient and faithful assistant. But she is not your typical girl friday. Her boss, dreamboat Tommy Fortuna, is a top private investigator and she is his diligent sidekick, uncovering evidence and piecing together puzzles he cannot figure out. Even though these handsome hound dogs, better known as the local coppers treat her with kid gloves, Viviana’s rough and tumble background prepared her for even the surliest scoundrels. When Tommy takes on the wealthy Tallmadge Blackstone as a client, Viviana immediately senses trouble. His daughter Tallulah is a tabloid darling - beautiful, fashionable and sought after by every photographer. When their office is broken into and Tommy disappears, Viviana befriends Tallulah in an effort to put a kibosh on the bad guys. If Tallulah refuses to marry the old man her pops betrothed her to - then how will she become the heir to his dynasty? With the help of her best girlfriends from the boarding house Viviana sets out to solve the mystery and maybe save Tommy at the same time. Clearly set in the vernacular of 1950’s NYC, this adorable whodunit was an absolute page turner. Like watching an old movie come to life; the clothes, romance, food and social behaviors of the time was simply coolsville! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Yours Truly

Briana’s divorce is days from being finalized. Her brother’s kidneys are failing and he anxiously awaits a donor match. Her promotion to be lead ER doctor at the hospital she has dedicated herself to for the last decade has been postponed. Anything else? Oh, right, Briana is living in the crumbling home she grew up in with ugly shag carpet and childhood posters staring her down. In walks Dr. Jacob Maddox. He just transferred from Memorial West, is ridiculously handsome and out for HER promotion. One mishap after another has Briana and her staff keeping as far away as possible from Dr. Death aka the new guy. Until one day Jacob writes Briana a letter. In pen! On Paper! Jacob has been misunderstood. His severe panic attacks keep him at arms length, prevent him from the typical social interactions one might expect. He is smart and warm and kind to the patients and in no way wants Briana’s job, although he is beginning to enjoy her attention. Jacob has recently suffered his own horrible uncoupling. He now needs a pretend girlfriend for an upcoming wedding to get his meddlesome family off his back. They begin a shockingly easy friendship. Briana calms him, understands him. Jacob makes her feel safe. While neither could have imagined a new relationship so soon after heartbreak they may be the solution to both their problems. Wonderful romcom filled with adorable characters and an abundance of life lessons. This follow up to Part of Your World is a spring must read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Exes and O's

Tara Chen has had no luck with men. Most recently her (ex)fiancĂ© called off their wedding. After months of sadness camped out at her sister’s house, she is swapping places with Crystal’s soon to be husband. From the moment Tara arrives at her new apartment she knows she is in trouble. Trevor Metcalfe is a beyond handsome hunk firefighter with a string of one night stands every day of the week. Trying to get out of her own funk Tara, aka the romance queen online, takes her book loving followers to the next level. She challenges herself with her favorite trope - second chance romance. Desperate for love and a date for the Valentine’s Gala at the hospital where she works, Tara compiles a list of her ten great loves that broke her heart. One by one she searches for each guy, some she hasn’t seen since her playground days but as her grandma always said, men get better with age. At the same time while keeping an arm’s length (or more) from Mr. Hot Roommate, Trevor becomes her sounding board helping Tara reel back her clingy tendency so as not to scare away every one of her potentials. Their growing connection “as friends” (wink wink) is perfect while Tara tears apart the list one victim at a time. BIG HUGE laugh out loud romcom, I adored every single page of this addictive page turner. *Note - I didn’t know this was #2 in The Influencer series and I didn’t read #1. Exes and O’s can definitely stand alone!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, January 9, 2023

Ms. Demeanor

This book is really funny. I had to lead with that because I was smiling and laughing the entire read! Jane Morgan is a 39 year old attorney at a prestigious firm in NYC. While having a few drinks with an associate on her apartment building’s rooftop, these two consenting adults have some moonlight sex. Next thing Jane knows the police are knocking at her door and she is arrested. A nearby building with a peeping tom was apparently traumatized - while recording - this public display of affection. The ridiculousness of the entire escapade lands Jane in court representing herself. Unfortunately the judge did not find any of it funny. Fired for relations with her employee, license suspended by the NY bar and most jarring - 6 months of house arrest. Her identical twin sister, a successful dermatologist tries everything in her power to keep Jane busy and productive during this home confinement. As she learns to manage her new life Jane befriends a fellow felon living in the building (ankle bracelet giving his identity away). An avid cook, Jane is hired to make meals for this handsome but reserved neighbor who orders food 7 days a week. As their chemistry starts to sizzle Jane wonders if there may be a bright side to being stuck home. The fun doesn’t stop there as Jane becomes obsessed with the bizarre circumstances following the snitch, post trial. Thoroughly enjoyed this amazing cast of quirky characters! Highly recommend! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


In the Soviet Union in 1973 Anya was just a little girl with a dream. At eight years old they finally knocked on her door. Would it be ballet or gymnastics? With the help of her father she prepares and is selected for the local sports school to become a gymnast. Anya is a determined little girl. Their family lives in a remote mining village called Norilsk in Siberia. She wants to be the best to represent her country and help her family. Their grim and grueling life has many hardships. Food is scarce, the weather is bitter and her mother, a once famous ballerina,  mysteriously disappeared three years ago. The only teeny tiny bit of light in Anya’s life is her neighbor Vera. An old wizened woman who spent many years in the Gulag offers Anya the warmth and love she is so desperate to win. Her competitive nature comes from within and throughout her gymnastics journey she never stops reaching for more. The reader can feel the biting wind and below Arctic temperatures along with the physical stamina and unimaginable training both mentally and physically that these young women must endure. This novel takes the reader vividly back to some of the most infamous years of gymnastics and life in the U.S.S.R. Mesmerizing detail and a wonderful array of characters. This superb story is a must read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Someone Else's Shoes

Samantha Kemp, an average London middle aged woman finally finds the time to use the gym pass her teenage daughter has given her. Out of shape and a little intimidated she manages a swim and as she is changing in the locker room her work team alerts that she is late for a critical meeting and they are waiting outside. Quickly grabbing the nearest gym duffle she hurries out to the van and it is too late when she realizes she grabbed the wrong bag. In need of shoes on her feet she has no choice but wear this strangers apparel which happen to be bright red 6 inch Christian Louboutin heels, you know the ones with the red bottom that cost a gazillion dollars. Initially intimidated and barely able to walk Sam does wonderfully in a succession of sales calls and deems the shoes good luck. At the same time Nisha (the bag’s rightful owner) is left with Sam’s old duffle and worn out pair of black flats. Furious, Nisha has a lot more to be angry about. When she returns to the penthouse hotel where she is staying with her husband of 18 years she is speedily kicked to the curb with literally nothing. She has witnessed her powerful rich husband Carl destroy others but never imagined (well, maybe just a little) that it could happen to her. Two very different women struggling with one disaster after another become entangled in their common struggle to survive. What started out as funny and light became increasingly repetitive. By the end I could not wait to get off this unimaginable and completely ridiculous roller coaster. Will never stop reading this author but sadly this one is barely like not love. ⭐️⭐️