Saturday, February 25, 2023

Ruby Spencer's Whiskey Year

At thirty-five Ruby Spencer packs up her NYC life as a food writer and moves to a teeny tiny town called Thistlecross in the Scottish Highlands. Her free spirit parents believe in her adventure and her best friend applauds her independence and bravery. But once she lands in the cozy little cottage she will call home for the next year, her confidence along with her luggage seems to be missing. Luckily her agreement to help out with cooking at the local pub is an excellent way to meet the eccentric characters that fill the town and most importantly the sexy bearded handyman who is charged with fixing up her accommodations. As their friendship grows Ruby’s once closed heart is open for the very first time in a long while. The walls she built after each and every ridiculous break up slowly come down and Brochan and Ruby can’t keep their hands off each other. But as her place in the community starts to become more than just a fantasy her initial cookbook proposal is rejected and the town is about to experience disaster. Feeling at home for the first time Ruby struggles to find a way to save her career, her love life and the town in one fell swoop. This absolutely delicious romance is a quick, completely entertaining read filled with food, friendship and the notion that there is a big world out there and Mr. Right may be waiting. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Stars in an Italian Sky

In 1946 WWII has finally come to an end. Giovanna, along with her rebellious sister and father return to Genoa to rebuild their family’s tailor shop. One day Vincenzo, the son of a powerful and wealthy family walks into the shop for a small repair. Vincenzo and Giovanna are immediately attracted to one another and slowly begin their secret romance. They are from two different classes and his family would never approve. Since Vincenzo’s brother died during the war, he is now the heir that will someday run the family vineyards and finances, destroying any dream of being an artist. Present day Cassandra and Luca are in love and planning their wedding. Living in NYC Cassandra manages a fashion company and Luca is an up and coming artist in the gallery scene. One day Luca’s grandfather is visiting from Italy and Luca persuades him to pose with Cassandra’s beloved 92 year old grandmother for a special series he is creating. When the past comes crashes down around them, the entire family is immersed in painful memories. If this synopsis sounds overly simplified that’s because it is. Even though it nicely captured the enjoyable elements of Italy, NY, art, and wine along with handsome characters, the build up is so elementary - he wore, she said - over and over again that the reader feels little desire or despair towards any outcome or resolution. It’s fine, quietly okay - but does not contain an ounce of the heightened emotions we experienced in the The Light We Lost. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, February 20, 2023


After attending Sunday Mass an unnamed young girl is driven by her father through the beautiful Irish countryside to the home of distant relatives she has never met. The girl’s mother is about to give birth to yet another baby and the girl is to be looked after by the Kinsellas. Upon arrival with barely a glance her father quickly departs and she bashfully faces these tall strangers. Helping Edna in the home while the man works outside becomes not a chore but a comforting routine where the girl receives gentle instructions and basks in this newfound attention. As the girl senses this affection her eyes open wide to the world around her. She slowly becomes comfortable and is surprised by emotions she has never experienced. The girl doesn’t know how long she will be staying with these lovely people but starts to think it would be okay if she never left.  As if someone is gently lulling you to sleep this novella is whispered in your ear. A small book with a big impact, words chosen so carefully it didn’t need one more page. This award winning Irish author is not to be missed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, February 19, 2023

All the Broken Places

Gretel Fernsby mostly keeps to herself. A widow, she is 91 and lives a quiet, simple life in the London apartment she has resided in for more than 60 years. Her neighbor Heidi is a lovely woman, slightly younger suffering from dementia and her son Caden’s visits are mostly to announce the status of his multitude of marriages with number four approaching. When a new family moves into the grand apartment building Gretel becomes surprisingly curious of the 9 year old boy who reminds her of the name she will not mention. Gretel has spent all her life in hiding. The many surnames she has taken and places she has lived while silently suffering from memories of the place she will not name. Haunted by her lost father, a high ranking Nazi officer that did unspeakable things during one of the most terrifying times the world has ever witnessed, Gretel has lived and tried in vain to find an ending she deserved. Consumed with shame and always fearing consequences of being discovered - at this late stage in life she is simply exhausted and outrun by her own ghosts. When the little boy downstairs named Henry threads his way into her heart she learns he is in danger and can no longer be a bystander. Narrated by Gretel’s past and present, this sequel to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas explores guilt, punishment and the possibility of living with extraordinary grief. This Dublin born, Irish author challenges the reader through the very last chapter to decide for themselves. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Woman with the Cure

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the world is battling the horrific poliovirus. A virus that spreads quickly paralyzing and often killing it victims. Doctors do not know how it spreads or how it enters the body. They do not know how to prevent, cure or eradicate this virus. As summers go by with children locked in their homes, terrified parents will do anything to protect them. Teams of scientists are in labs across the globe researching and testing a multitude of theories. Dr. Dorothy Horstmann was a child of immigrants. She clawed her way thru medical school and residency. At 6’1” Dorothy is a tall tale, as most who meet her are quick to state. She is also one of the precious few women working in medicine and specifically epidemiology. Unlike many of her famous colleagues, Dorothy’s gentle bedside manner extends to everyone. She is not searching for an award, fame or money, she only wants to save people. It took years for scientists to recognize her research of poliovirus in the human bloodstream which enabled the vaccine that was ultimately created. Her humble personality and brilliant mind led her to the team at Yale where Dorothy worked tirelessly, putting her personal life second to the disease. The race for a cure overrode war, politics, funding and notoriety. This unsung hero is not a household name but Dorothy’s contributions and dedication changed our world. This exquisite work of historical fiction is both educational and inspiring. Dr. Dorothy Horstmann will not be forgotten. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Second Season

Back in the day Ruth Devon was a superstar on the Georgetown Basketball team.The day she injured her knee she thought her days on the court were over. But her love of the game never faltered. She fell in love and married her coach, Lester and found a career as a first rate sideline sports reporter on radio and TV. With her athletic build, pretty blonde hair and encyclopedic knowledge of basketball, Ruth became a household name - someone men, women and players could relate to. Twenty years later she is divorced, her 18 year old daughter has begun a questionable modeling career and her handsome younger boyfriend wants to get married. Ruth is only sure of one thing. Lester has just announced his retirement from the announcer’s booth and she wants his seat. She can easily imagine two Ruths. One driving an SUV with a bunch of kids in the back and the other as the first woman announcer on a major network. Ruth finds herself painfully torn between the two loves of her life; family and basketball. With intense drive and a little resentment it is unfathomable to Ruth that a woman couldn’t possibly have it all. As fast paced as an NBA finals, this play-by-play second chance romance is a slam dunk. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, February 6, 2023

Gray Hair Don't Care

Lela Bennett never imagined she would see Donovan James again. After graduation her hunky college best friend/crush got married and their incredible connection seemingly disappeared. At 47 years old, a successful make up artist in NYC and recently divorced Lela has just begun to heal and plan her future. Of all the scenarios in the world, she never expected to bump into Donovan on a crowded city street, spend the evening together and go back to her place to finally having the big o she always deserved. After being a little too open and honest she wakes to find herself alone and is fiercely determined to start this next chapter of her life on her own terms. Lela starts her a beauty company and lets her hair return to it’s natural stunning silver, embracing her age and independence. Three years later her business is thriving and has been acquired by a huge conglomerate. Marketing guru Donovan James is unexpectedly back in her life again! Intent on keeping their relationship strictly business is not easy as sparks between these two begin to fly. Finding love later in life can be a challenge when you carry the past on your shoulders. Loved this easy to read romance with sexy mature characters. Like any bottle of hair color, age is just a number. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Making of Her

Growing up in Dublin in the 1960’s was not easy for someone like Joan. After losing her mother at a young age, she did everything in her power to hold the family together. Her Da barely worked and mostly drank and her younger siblings needed more care than she could provide. Slowly all but her sister Teresa were sent away for adoption. Working in the local candy factory left little for Joan to look forward to day in and day out. No hope on the horizon. Until the one day she meets Martin. Handsome, smart and sweet but completely out of her league, Joan cannot take her eyes off the young man. Martin’s meddling mother makes their lives unbearable and their secret dalliance leads to the biggest regret of Joan’s life. Many years later Joan is confronted with her past and the truth that has been haunting her dreams for decades must finally come out of the closet. Narrated between life in the 60’s and the 90’s, this heartbreaking novel is filled with the struggles of class, marriage and motherhood as Joan contemplates if it is too late to set things right. Well written debut novel. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️