Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Good Part

The chilly drip from Lucy’s bedroom ceiling wakes her each morning, a job with a London television production company where she receives no recognition and little pay. Lucy is exhausted from chasing adulthood only to find her bank account empty and the last croissant long gone. Late one evening after a rough day at work and an even worse hook up, Lucy stumbles into a small shop to get out of the rain. An older Scottish woman offers her a turn in the wishing booth, a machine tucked away in the back corner. With little to lose, she humors the woman by accepting. As Lucy closes her eyes there is nothing she wants more out of life than to get to the “good part.” The next day she wakes in a strange bed with a man she does not know. Realizing she drank quite a bit the previous night she hobbles to the bathroom to snap out of this dreamlike state. When Lucy glances in the mirror she is petrified. Lucy is an older version of herself, 42 to be exact. This is her gorgeous house, and very handsome husband. She is the mother to Felix aged 7 and little toddler Amy. She is even the boss at work! Go Lucy! But she cannot recall how she got here. This may be the “good” part, even the best part but Lucy has lost 16 years of her life and is terrified they are gone forever. This beautiful, entertaining romance includes so many life lessons. When things gets hectic it is hard to live in the moment and not rush or wish away everyday stress. It is hard to remember that the days are long but the years are short - and it all goes much too fast. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Road to Dalton

Life appears relatively quiet in this small rural community in Maine. Everyone has known each other forever and they think they know everything about each other too. But they don’t, the secrets are hiding in plain sight. Rose is married to a bully and arrives at her job in the police station unsuccessfully hiding her bruises. The attentive town doc, Richard Haskell, knows a lot about your blood pressure and indigestion but may be missing the emotional clues right in front of his face. His wife Trudy is the town librarian who is secretly in love with her best friend Bev. Bev’s son is a sweet, kind cop called Nate, married to Bridget, a darling girl secretly struggling with severe PPD. These are just a few of the endearing characters in the fictional town of Dalton, Maine. Each one is connected through invisible ties that weave a wonderful story of small town life. A little Olive Kitteridge simpleness with even more added to the imagination. As the characters realize there is more to the story, the reader does too. Quiet, well written and a most enjoyable read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Fiction Writer

Book number one was a relative success, book number two only sold a few thousand copies and her latest novel can’t even make it to print. Add in a severe case of writer’s block along with boyfriend breakup, Olivia Fitzgerald has seen better days. When her agent offers her a gig as a ghostwriter she is amazed. An all expense paid trip to Malibu to write for a rich billionaire who was voted People’s Sexiest Man Alive - (twice!) - its a no brainer. Arriving in Malibu Olivia is initially shy when she first meets Henry Asherwood and even more tongue tied when this handsome charming man demands she call him ”Ash”. He has hired her to write the story of his beloved grandmother Emilia, who died years ago in a tragic fire. Ash discovered a series of her journals written in French and sent them to be authenticated and translated. He believes Daphne du Maurier, the famous author of Rebecca stole his grandmother’s story. Being the last and only heir of this mega wealthy family, Ash wants to vindicate his grandmother by publishing the truth. Strangely, every time they attempt to work Ash is easily distracted and they are off on an outing that feels a lot like a date. They talk about everything except the book and mysteriously a week later the journals still haven’t arrived. Olivia thinks the housekeeper is suspicious and her coffee may have been drugged as Ash continues to irresistibly woo her. Olivia doesn’t know if she is losing her mind or just her nerve. This book within a book within a book is a deliciously twisted mystery that I could not put down. Wholly original and superbly written, this five star fiction writer is a MUST READ! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What You Do to Me

Rolling Stone journalist Cecelia James lives and breathes music. Every song since her childhood captures a small piece of her heart. When things were good growing up, her dad Don lovingly shared his passion and record collection - when things were not so good Cecelia mourned the loss of her mother through melodies. For years Don has struggled to bring resistant Cecelia into the fold of his new family. Just before taking a romantic cruise with her longtime photographer boyfriend, Pete, she gets an unexpected lead on a story, her first byline. Making the hard choice to follow her instincts Cecelia criss crosses the country from Miami to Los Angeles on the hunt to track down mega rock star Eddie Vee who disappeared years ago leaving the world wondering who he wrote his hit love song for. Turns out Sara and Eddie’s early teen romance was a heartbreaking affair, innocent and pure but ultimately destroyed by over protective adults. She becomes obsessed with reuniting these lost loves. As Cecelia digs deeper into the past, she also discovers the truth about herself. Music, romance, family drama and a little bit of mystery - this novel really is a mixtape of love. Highly recommend the fabulous fall release! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Saturday, August 26, 2023

What Wild Women Do

After leaving LA, nothing feels right. Seth hasn’t worked on his novel in ages and Rowan still has zero response from her last screenwriting submission. Their writing dreams feel stalled while exasperating vlog (video channel) retakes have become Seth’s obsession. Hoping to rejuvenate some creative juices they decide to spend a month at a cabin in the Adirondacks. It is quiet and beautiful with minimum distractions and as their cash flow is practically non existent - its’ cheap. Rowan stumbles upon an old deserted camp in the woods. It is a huge piece of gorgeous property with crumbling structures that appear deserted. Curious, Rowan dives deep into the history of the original owner, socialite and feminist Eddie Calloway who ran a women’s camp many years earlier. She mysteriously disappeared in 1975 without a trace. Slowly putting the pieces together, Rowans imagination runs wild. She discovers an old canister filled with clues and is compelled to follow each and every one of them. It seems Eddie Calloway summered at this camp as a child with her eccentric, loving and extremely wealthy family. With everyone long gone and a marriage that fell apart Eddie finds herself at a crossroads and reinvents her life’s purpose developing an infamous and often controversial camp for women. Narrated in dual timelines it is easy to fall in love with Rowan and Eddie, both strong women on a mission to follow their hearts. Filled with mystery, intrigue and the beauty of the natural world, this wholly original and heartfelt novel is a journey of the soul. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Rom Con

Writing for Siren, the coolest online women’s publication is an awesome job and one that Cassidy Sutton does very well. Supporting other women and calling out the negative nonsense printed on the Brawler web site keeps her focused and very busy. Cassidy ignores the fact that she dreams of writing a novel and settling down with Mr. Right. One bad boyfriend after another, Cassidy has all but given up on these dating apps and it’s a running joke that she is always the bridesmaid and never the bride. One day her dear 90 year old grandmother surprises her with an edition of a 1950’s dating guide and a Good Housekeeping article, 125 Tips to Hook a Husband. Cassidy has a good laugh and decides to turn this age-old advice into her new pet project. With a little help she will morph into 1950’s “Betty” and create a hilarious column for Siren. Insisting on a chaperone, no kiss until the third date and having dinner on the table for her man - who knows, maybe this can even be the book she has always imagined! After Cassidy literally bumps into a smoking hot guy at a media event, she realizes Jack Bradford the co-creator of their rival Brawler, is the perfect male specimen for this experiment. Donning full skirts, high heels and even a frilly apron from the local resale shop, Cassidy easily falls into full Betty character and surprisingly, it works. Jack is smitten. Problem is, somehow her heart didn’t get the memo. Fall in love with this laugh-out-loud delicious enemies to lovers rom con! Releases November 7. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Check & Mate

Mallory Greenleaf hasn’t touched a chessboard in four years. Obsessed throughout childhood, too many bad memories linger to face those 16 pieces again. The loss of her father, her mother’s health issues and her two younger sister’s demands are more than enough to fill her days. As her best friend Easton is preparing to leave for college she begs Mallory to help with a fundraiser situation she has gotten herself into. A chess match to raise money for a good cause, how can she say no? As luck would have it, Mallory is seated across from Nolan Sawyer, alarmingly handsome and currently ranked #1 in the world. And she proceeds to crush him. Shocking the audience, she quickly makes a comeback and receives offers she cannot refuse. Mallory is once again pulled into the electrifying world of chess. But the closer she gets to victory, the more guilt haunts her. Painful memories push any chance of joy aside. As Mallory focuses on taking care of her family, Sawyer becomes harder and harder to ignore. Maybe its a win-win. Absolutely mind-blowing how chess, which I know little about, could be a page turner - but author Ali Hazelwood pulls us in with delicious quirky characters and a birds eye view of one of the oldest games in the world. Intelligent, fun and just a little spicy, don’t be fooled by the YA genre or chess, if thats not your jam. I couldn’t put this one down! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday, August 18, 2023

A Shot in the Dark

Back in Brooklyn after a self exile of almost a decade, Ely Cohen is ready to start a new life. Renting a room with two artsy characters she met online, Ely will begin a prestigious summer photography program with none other than Wyatt Cole, an infamous yet reclusive artist. In honor of her first night back east her roomies take her dancing at a queer nightclub nearby. She proceeds to have a very hot one night stand with a gorgeous man, never even learning his name. When Ely arrives at class the next morning Mr. Hottie does too … as her teacher. Not a great start to Ely’s new life. Disowned years ago by her religious family, struggling to stay clean after years of drug addiction - Ely is good at one thing, photography. Wyatt quickly convinces Ely it would be unfair and unethical to remain her teacher but he can be her friend and mentor. Wyatt has his own complicated past after coming out as transgender and leaving behind everyone from his early life. As Ely flourishes with her art and faces the challenges of her religious background, she deeply questions her beliefs and ability to be loved. This author found a magical way to connect the reader deep into the lives of these multifaceted extremely likable characters. I found myself mesmerized by the powerful connection Ely and Wyatt experienced while facing challenges I knew little about. Highly recommend this well written and beautiful love story. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Strange Sally Diamond

“Put me out with the bins,” he said, regularly. Well, Sally didn’t know that he didn’t actually mean it. When her ill father doesn’t wake one morning Sally did just that. But then she remembered her beloved father incinerated organic trash instead of waiting for it to be picked up, so she quietly made a fire in the back field and proceeded to burn his body. It didn’t take long for her small Irish village to catch wind of her actions and the local police to knock at the door. Sally Diamond who is painfully honest and literal answered their questions with the help of Angela, a family friend and physician who worked very closely to her mother. After this stressful ordeal Angela is determined to get Sally out in the world. She struggles socially, with noise levels and crowds. Her father, a former psychiatrist believed she could choose isolation and rarely forced Sally out of her comfort box. As a lovely woman now at 43 with both parents deceased it is time for Sally to finally overcome her fears and put her smarts and talents to use. One day as she is just beginning to progress with therapy Sally receives a package and note from a stranger on the other side of the world. After all these years the truth of Sally’s childhood comes out of the dark shadows and she must decide who she loves, needs and most importantly - who she can trust. There is so much more to this compelling fast paced psycho thriller. It is hard to say more without giving away spoilers! A must read written by an incredible Irish writer. This is undoubtedly FIVE STARS!!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

An American Immigrant

Melanie Carvajal is a struggling journalist at the Miami Herald. At just twenty five years old Melanie has always yearned to be a writer. She studied journalism in college and is ready for her career to flourish. When a big story breaks in Colombia she volunteers to take the assignment. Although her mother is from Colombia, she herself has never been there and in all honesty spent her childhood wishing away her latin heritage. Growing up in Maryland in a tiny apartment, Melanie always wished she had better clothes, more money and parents that spoke English. She didn’t care for the smell of foreign food that filled her lunchbox and aunts who spoke too loudly. Since her Grandmother Alba’s birthday is approaching she decides to meet her mother for a celebration before heading to Bogota for work. Overly concerned about her safety, food and even water - Melanie is hesitant to allow herself to enjoy the visit. As she slowly loosens up and begins cooking with Alba, dancing with cousins she had never met and reading her mother’s old journals, Melanie has a change of heart. For the very first time she can see her familia in a new light; their generosity and kindness so unlike the violence in Colombia that she has been drilled into her brain via tv and newspapers. Devouring her mother’s journals she learns of the struggles and sacrifices she made so her children could have a better life and it is only then that Melanie finally finds her story. American immigrant novel filled with culture, community and the gift of family. Writing pretty simple and straight forward, would be perfect for a YA reader. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Recently retired English professor Antonia Vega is struggling after the death of her beloved husband Sam. Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, English is her second language but platitudes from her favorite authors swirl through her mind and like fortune cookies as she doles out wise words garnered from years of studying. Favorite students and books have nurtured her life while Sam, a compassionate physician, took care of the rest of the world. As she contemplates her suddenly solitary life in this quiet Vermont farming town Antonia begs Sam for a sign and channels his choices and feelings - always easier to say what Sam would do? One day a sad pregnant teenager, the girlfriend of a local migrant worker from the farm next door shows up at her house. She is pregnant, terrified and Mario has all but abandoned her. As one of the only Spanish speaking locals how can Antonia send her away? To further add to her distress Antonia’s eldest and often erratic sister, Izzy, never arrives at the birthday celebration sending the remaining three sisters on a wild goose chase. A teacher, wife, sister and immigrant, her once ordered world has been turned upside down. Deciding who comes first - Antonia must dig deep in her heart to figure out who she will be in this after life. A sensitive and fast paced story of family, diversity and self identity narrated in poetic prose by internationally bestselling Dominican- American author Julia Alvarez. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, August 7, 2023

The Many Lives of Mama Love

Lara Love is going to jail. It has always been in the back recesses of her mind as she furtively swiped credit cards from unsuspecting neighbors and fancy cars in the school parking lot. She is a blonde, attractive, mother of four and appears as a typical soccer mom carrying snacks for the game. The truth was that Lara and her husband, DJ, spent every waking moment getting money - to get the drugs - to shoot up H every chance they got. They are addicts barely functioning as parents. They have drained their business, savings and any resources or credit  they had in the white collar world. Growing up in a dysfunctional unloving home, Lara dreamed of becoming a writer and a mother, to be able to give her kids the things she hungered for in this world. Now it is too late. The jig is up. She is going to jail with 32 felony counts and so is DJ. Her youngest, who is only three, is stunned as the police drag Lara away from his flailing arms. Determined to get through this nightmare and keep her kids, Lara must quickly figure out this complicated and bizarre hierarchy called prison. Terrified at first, Lara learns a lot about herself through these women, most who have been abused and bullied their entire lives. They just want to be heard and she is a good listener, hence the new nickname - Mama Love. When she is finally released Lara must create a new life for herself and her children with little support and no money, but most importantly she must face life without the addiction that nearly destroyed her. This smart, sensitive, beautifully written memoir is an honest retelling of a life worth living. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️