Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Say You'll Be Mine

Meghan is a theater teacher at the local elementary school. Deep down she always dreamed of becoming a writer but as her practical parents pushed her towards engineering she veered as far the other way as was allowed. Her best friend from college Seth is a successful songwriter and has just announced his engagement which quietly broke Meghna’s heart. After being named “best man”, she realizes she couldn’t possibly attend all the events alone. Meghna’s mother has been begging her to arrange a suitable match and desperate for a plus one she finally relents and meets Karthik. He is an engineer, of course, and surprisingly handsome. But Karthik has also been pushed hard by his parents, professionally and romantically. The two young people find themselves in the same frustrating position. They come up with a plan to solve all of their problems, a fake engagement! As Meghna and Karthik go through the motions resistantly at first, they eventually find common ground and get along really well. Their feelings grow alongside the pressures of what an engagement means to their families and the scheme gets trickier to pull off. Learning more about each other and the truth about themselves forces them to make some life changing decisions. Highly recommend this quick, adorable romcom filled with Indian culture, family and laugh out loud fun. ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Sarah bumps into Warren at the opera. She has not seen him in decades but remembers their college love affair with a clarity that makes her heart skip a beat. Divorced and 60 years old, Sarah lives outside NYC and is living a quiet existence sharing her passion for the arts at the local museum, seeing her daughter and grandchildren sporadically and her son who has moved to Seattle, hardly at all. But its peaceful, and after the tumultuous marriage she endured, quiet is good. Sarah never expected to fall in love again at her age. She most certainly never dreamed she would reconnect with Warren. While he lives in Boston and is a successful architect, Warren is in an unhappy marriage. No fighting or screaming but he is not in love and as his daughter grows up she is farther from his reach than he ever imagined possible. As their emotional affair deepens Sarah is sure that Warren will leave his wife and start a new life with her. Convinced it’s not too late, the two begin to formulate a plan. But as they say … the best-laid plans can go awry and most likely will. I could not put down this thoughtful, beautifully written novel about family and motherhood and love. A woman facing the second part of her life wondering how she got to this place. How your childhood and parents and future family affect all your decisions along the way but in the end you must pick up the pieces and live your best life. No-one else is going to do it for you. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, February 26, 2024

Someplace Like Home

Jenny Caudill grew up in Kentucky, near the foothills of the magnificent Appalachian Mountains. Her father was a mechanic who fixed cars in a building beside their home while her mother cooked, cleaned and raised four children struggling to stretch every dollar. Her mother was as tough and strict as she had to be to keep the children in line and away from the dangers so easily found in a small town on the outskirts of society. Without a lot of options the teenagers tend to do a lot of smoking, drinking and fighting. Jenny’s mother demanded her children to be respectful, independent and home before dark. But without opportunities for advanced schooling after high school, jobs were scarce and they all wound up at the local factory, bored and mistreated while they stitched zippers into jeans. They didn’t know from much more than that but Jenny was itchy for independence and love. Jenny fell for the first guy who paid her any attention. Rob Lewis was an older boy who dropped out of school and was a handful of trouble. Everyone warned her but once he was set on courting Jenny she transitioned from her mother’s rules to a prison of Rob’s making. He drank, excessively took pain pills and fought with everybody. With no education and a dead end job Rob found his power by lording over Jenny and their children. Living deep in the holler Jenny was suffocating from Rob’s violent mood swings and constant abuse and needed to find a way out before someone got killed. Loosely based on her mother’s life, this author pulled on all my heartstrings. The writing flowed beautifully in this quiet story about family, motherhood and learning to protect yourself. There is much to discuss and this would be a great book club pick!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, February 19, 2024

Days of Wonder

Ella Fitchburg had all the yearnings of a young teenage girl, mostly she dreamed of falling in love. She was raised by her single mom who had grown up in a Chasidic community in Brooklyn, exiled when she brought the family shame. The two of them lived a simple life with no extended family and few friends. When Ella meets Jude at a party they share an instant connection. Although Ella is pretty and smart, Jude’s domineering and abusive father, a Judge, forbids the young couple from spending so much time together. When sneaking around becomes too much, the young lovers make one bad decision after another. Accused of trying to poison the Judge, Ella is sentenced to 25 years and Jude disappears. With an early release after only six years Ella tries to rebuild her life. Her mother does everything she can to make Ella comfortable but her attentions are suffocating and Ella is overtaken by an obsession to find the daughter she birthed and put up for adoption while she was in prison. When an address leads to the adoptive parents living in Ann Arbor, Michigan this is where Ella reestablishes her life. Living in constant fear of her actual identity being revealed, Ella lives in a world full of secrets and constant distress. As the story is narrated between the past and present the reader finally learns what really happened that momentous night, the night that changed everything. I really wanted to love this but didn’t. The writing is excellent but there is a lot of repetition and unlikable characters that are tough to root for. It could have been edited down and become a much smoother read. On the fence with this one. Publishes in April 2024. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Girl Abroad

A year studying in London is a dream come true for Abbey Bly. Living a sheltered existence in Nashville with her rock star dad, she cannot wait to experience life on her own for the first time. At nineteen, her father rarely lets her out of his sight. Since he stopped performing his whole purpose became focused on protecting Abbey from the craziness he experienced partying on the road. As she arrives at the gorgeous Nottingham flat she arranged online, she is greeted by Lee, a boy. Soon after she meets Jamie and Jackie, two more adorable mates. Her vigilant dad would freak, but for the first time Abbey makes her own decision - what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him. First rule of the house is no romance between roommates. Well, that should make things easier. Taking on big brother personas, the charming lads always include Abbey and quickly become overprotective. As she juggles her secret crush on Jack(ie) the rugby playing Aussie, Abbey also meets Nate, the motorcycle riding sexy bassist who is already taken. Complicated by rules of house and heart, Nate and Jack fill her mind with fantasies she never imagined possible - until they are. Her research project for school includes meeting an infamous playboy called Lord Tulley providing a bit of nobility and mystery to her adventure. Coming of age story in a teenage utopia, I thoroughly enjoyed this adorable escape from reality.  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Finding Margaret Fuller

In 1836 Margaret Fuller is invited to visit the well known philosopher and author, Ralph Waldo Emerson. She is welcomed at his family home in Concord Massachusetts next door to to the Alcott family (Louisa May is a child) and Henry David Thoreau is a young man who helps around the house. Waldo was excited to meet the famous female author and teacher (unmarried) who was making a name for herself as the best read person in New England. Beautiful, intelligent and outspoken, Margaret’s lifestyle was rarely approved and often misunderstood. The wives of these famous men she wished to learn beside frowned upon Margaret as their husbands displayed a dizzying attraction to this revered woman. Writing, thinking and fluent in a multitude of languages Margaret was a rare bird for a woman of these times. Expecting a boy, Margaret’s father had decided to raise her as one through education. He spent his entire adult life making sure Margaret was a well educated independent thinker. After his passing, her mother and siblings struggled financially and the pressure was on Margaret to venture out in the world and earn a living. That responsibility coupled with her own curiosity and love of learning led her to build a network of friendships with some of the most famous people of the time. When Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune sends Margaret overseas, she becomes the first female news correspondent. A magnificent cast of characters from a time known in the literary world as Romanticism and Transcendentalism. Reads like a fascinating novel and is filled with the rich history of authors we all grew up studying. Brave and brilliant, Margaret Fuller “should” have been a household name. Well written and researched. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, February 5, 2024

Twice as Hard

Medicine, racism and women. Against all odds black women throughout history have managed to become physicians. Women who faced adversity and bigotry found ways to achieve their dreams and contribute to their communities. Each of these women excelled academically while scraping the money together to get to medical school. As if this was not hard enough, once graduated (often at the top of their class) their residency applications were often rejected simply because they were black women. Through mentorship, hard work and faith a precious few exceeded beyond their wildest dreams. Health centers were established in communities that had none, testing and life changing research was founded for Sickle Cell Anemia and healthcare was provided to the poorest of our nation. These women became surgeons, delivered babies, held political and academic positions and most importantly shined as role models for future generations. Fascinating details beginning in the mid 1800’s of women that should be in every history book, brought to life by medical student/author, Jasmine Brown. Having faced similar roadblocks, Jasmine highlights the incredible accomplishments of these physicians who changed the world. An uplifting and inspirational book, reading can be the best medicine. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Ready or Not

The two lines couldn’t have been more clear, Eve is pregnant. The girl who has always followed all the rules has an unexpected one night stand with a very sexy bar tender - now finds herself at a doctor’s office confirming what her heart already knew, she is going to have a baby. In her early thirties and single, Eve wasn’t even sure she wanted children. The idea of doing this alone is simply terrifying but somehow she is completely sure she is going to keep this baby. To add to the turmoil of emotions her very best lifelong friend Willa, who has been ineffectively trying to get pregnant for quite some time, finds the news devastating. Of all people, Shep, Willa’s older brother steps in. Recently single and living in Brooklyn, this once shy nerdy computer geek has really grown up. He takes the reins both mentally and physically helping Eve in any way he can. This unexpected loyalty sparks a layer to their friendship she never imagined. While Ethan, the hot bar tender/father struggles with their new reality, Shep supports Eve, showering her with treats and amazing foot rubs. Eve cannot decide if Shep has always been this handsome or if its the pregnancy hormones going berzerk, but it takes all of her self control not to literally jump all over his kindness. This beautiful story flows through nine months of love, friendship and back aches continually surprising Eve towards the moment of truth. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️