Wednesday, November 9, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: THE LINDBERGH NANNY BY MARIAH FREDERICKS


 GOODREADS SUMMARY:

When the most famous toddler in America, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., is kidnapped from his family home in New Jersey in 1932, the case makes international headlines. Already celebrated for his flight across the Atlantic, his father, Charles, Sr., is the country’s golden boy, with his wealthy, lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, by his side. But there’s someone else in their household—Betty Gow, a formerly obscure young woman, now known around the world by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny.

A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Colonel Lindbergh eccentric and often odd, Mrs. Lindbergh kind yet nervous, and Charlie simply a darling. Far from home and bruised from a love affair gone horribly wrong, Betty finds comfort in caring for the child, and warms to the attentions of handsome sailor Henrik, sometimes known as Red. Then, Charlie disappears.

Suddenly a suspect in the eyes of both the media and the public, Betty must find the truth about what really happened that night, in order to clear her own name—and to find justice for the child she loves.

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

The Lindbergh Nanny is a well-researched fictional account of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Told from the point of Nanny Betty, it takes us through the days that lead up to the kidnapping, during the kidnapping, and after it throughout the trail.

There are plenty of secrets that add to the mystery of the kidnapping, not to mention the heartbreak of losing a child to a kidnapping. I feel most of the heartache belonged to the people who cared for the child and were around him, and that was the staff. Not only in this story, but in others I have read that took place during this time period, it seemed like a normal thing for wealthy parents to rarely see their children and leave the upbringing to the Nanny and the rest of the staff. I am not denying the parent's heartbreak at the loss of their child, I just imagined it had a more profound effect on those that saw him more closely.

It does read extraordinarily well, and there were many times I had to bring myself back to the fact that this was a work of fiction, with a bit of truth woven in, the lines blur many times. The Nanny, Betty,  is based on the real Nurse Nanny that took care of baby Charlie, so in a way, this is her story as much as a story of the kidnapping. The writer is fantastic at helping us feel her pain, heartache, and the extreme amount of guilt she had when the baby was taken on her watch. We also get her opinion on who the kidnapper was.

Well written, and an interesting take on a historical moment in time. It did not matter that I knew a bit about the real kidnapping, that I knew how it ended up, it was still a great read. The author also includes notes for us at the end of the story that helps with what is real in the story and what has been added. This book is wonderful for any historical fiction fan, or lover of history and I would even include True Crime lovers.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Book Review: Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

A pasture of dead trees. A hostile takeover of the Santa barn by a family of raccoons. And shipments that have mysteriously gone missing. Lovelight Farms is not the magical winter wonderland of Stella Bloom’s dreams.

In an effort to save the Christmas tree farm she’s loved since she was a kid, she enters a contest with instafamous influencer Evelyn St. James. With the added publicity and the $100,000 cash prize, she might just be able to save the farm from its financial woes. There’s just one problem. To make the farm seem like a romantic destination for the holidays, she lied on the application and said she owns Lovelight Farms with her boyfriend. Only … there is no boyfriend.

Enter best friend Luka Peters. He just came home for some hot chocolate, and somehow got a farm and a serious girlfriend in the process.

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

Bring on the holiday reads!

This book had several pluses telling me to read it...

* Christmas Story
I love Christmas stories, it doesn't matter the genre...Thriller/Murder...make it happen on Christmas....Romance... want snow, hot cocoa and a
 Hallmark movie feel

* Friends to Lovers
One of my favorite tropes and my own marriage is proof that it can happen

* Fake Dating
The only thing I like better than friends hooking up is people faking it...I love the bits of tension it can add to the story

B.K. Borison didn't fail me on any of the above with Lovelight Farms. 

Stella Bloom has a struggling Christmas tree farm that she is trying to save by entering a contest. She wants her farm to appear romantic so she enlists Luka Peters, her long-time best friend to pose as her long-time boyfriend and business partner.

I really enjoyed Stella and Luca, both were enjoyable to read about and so darn cute together. Stella's long-time ( I feel like I am using this word ALOT ) crush on Luca, makes some cute and funny reading.

The story is a bit of a slow-burn romance, mostly because neither Stella nor Luca seems to think the other isn't capable of actually liking the other, along with the fact that each of them might be a bit worried about how this will affect their friendship.

But OH BOY is there chemistry between these two. I guess each had years of it building that tension up. The author gives us some pretty steamy " fake " makeout sessions, that might make some of you blush.

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters of Layla and Beckett, especially Beckett with his grumpiness. Since Lovelight Farms is the first in a new series, I am hoping Borison will focus the next book on the two of them, they definitely have an interesting story.

Seriously y'all, Lovelight Farms is cute, funny, heartwarming, and sexy, so if you are a fan of Christmas Romances this one will have you smiling.



Thursday, October 20, 2022

Miami Book Fair 2022 Most Anticipated!

It's that time of the year again! The Miami Book Fair will be here in just a few weeks, and I couldn't be more excited. My friends and I are already planning out our schedules, because, yes, we are those people. Anyway, I thought as I'm putting together my list that I could share with you some of my most anticipated. 

First, here's the general info about the Fair: 

What- 39th Miami Book Fair 2022
When - Sunday- Sunday, Nov. 13-20, 2022 (Evenings With Nov. 13-18; Weekend Street Fair and Author Conversations Fri-Sun, Nov. 18-20)
Where - Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, downtown Miami
Parking -  Free parking at Building 7 Garage, located between NE 1 & 2 Avenues, and between 5 & 6th Street
Access to Metro Rail, and Metro Mover
Tickets   - $8 for general admission//adults; $5 for 13-18 & seniors 62+, FREE for those 12 and under 

And now onto the list! My good friend Aurora Dominguez is moderating this panel, which I think will be awesome:

“I Will Survive: Deadly Curses, Deadly Games”: Melissa Albert, Alex Aster, S. Isabelle


  

Melissa Albert‘s Our Crooked Hearts reveals a string of increasingly eerie events surrounding a girl and her enigmatic mother, forcing her to question if she’s going to escape the supernatural forces that have come back to haunt them both. In Lightlark by Alex Aster, an island appears every 100 years to host a deadly game that only the rulers of six realms are invited to play, offering one final chance to break centurieslong curses…even as love complicates everything. In The Witchery by S. Isabelle, humans and witches must work together to survive the yearly onslaught of Wolves, even as old dangers lie in wait. Moderated by writer and educator Aurora DominguezGrades 9-12


Then there's this one -- I just finished Be Dazzled by Ryan and I adored it! I'm also currently reading Here to Stay by Sara Farizan and really enjoying it.


“Disturbia”: Sara Farizan, Lamar Giles, Tiffany D. Jackson & Ryan La Sala


In 
Sara Farizan‘s Dead Flipit’s 1992, and two 17-year-old ex-best friends must solve the mystery of their third friend’s disappearance when he returns – and he’s still 12 years old. The Getaway by Lamar Giles follows Jay and his crew, employees trapped in a theme park that turns out to be an end-of-the-world oasis for the world’s richest and most powerful families – how far will they go to find out the truth and save themselves? Tiffany D. Jackson tackles America’s history and legacy of racism in The Weight of Bloodin which a Georgia high school hosts its first integrated prom, and not everyone survives the night. And in Ryan La Sala‘s The HoneysMars attends a prestigious summer retreat in place of his dead twin, only to discover something is hunting him, toying with his mind, and if he can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive. Moderating is Dr. Precious Symonette, M-DCPS educator and CEO of the Florida Freedom Writers Foundation. Grades 9 – 12


I read We Were Liars close to 10 years ago, and I still remember the feeling I had when I read the ending. That twist had me shook! I'm excited to hear E. Lockhart speak about it and her new one set in that world, Family of Liars.

E. Lockhart on Family of Liars: The Prequel to We Were Liars: Young Adult Fiction


Family of Liars: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is the story of another summer, another generation – and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come. A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts. A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow. A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy. A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes. Welcome back to the Sinclair family. They were always liars.  Grades 9-12

These are just a few of some of the great panels. I can't wait! Will I see you there?

Monday, September 12, 2022

Audio Review: The Lost Girls Of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

 



GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Sage Winters always knew her sister was a little different even though they were identical twins. They loved the same things and shared a deep understanding, but Rosemary—awake to every emotion, easily moved to joy or tears—seemed to need more protection from the world.

Six years after Rosemary’s death from pneumonia, Sage, now sixteen, still misses her deeply. Their mother perished in a car crash, and Sage’s stepfather, Alan, resents being burdened by a responsibility he never wanted. Yet despite living as near strangers in their Staten Island apartment, Sage is stunned to discover that Alan has kept a shocking secret: Rosemary didn’t die. She was committed to Willowbrook State School and has lingered there until just a few days ago, when she went missing.

Sage knows little about Willowbrook. It’s always been a place shrouded by rumor and mystery. A place local parents threaten to send misbehaving kids. With no idea what to expect, Sage secretly sets out for Willowbrook, determined to find Rosemary. What she learns, once she steps through its doors and is mistakenly believed to be her sister, will change her life in ways she never could imagined . 


TEE'S THOUGHTS:

Oh wow...let me start off by saying that this book is DISTURBING, and at times it may be hard to read, there are many many triggering points in it, but if you can handle it, I recommend reading it. Ellen Marie Wiseman has based to story around the notorious Staten Island state school for disabled children called Willowbrook ( look it up, it was a real school ). The school ran from 1947 to 1987 and was plagued with rumors of unsanitary living conditions and medical practices that were not on the up and up. Geraldo Rivera did one of his popular investigation reports into the school in 1972 and brought it to light.

Wiseman does not hold back in the story, and at times you might feel a bit overwhelmed in the story of Sage, whose twin Rosemary ( I want to sing Simon and Garfunkel every time I read their names together) a student at the school goes missing. Sage takes it upon herself to go to the school to try and find her, and instead, she is mistaken for the missing Rosemary and gets sucked into the school. From this point on n the book you read about the horrors that Sage has witnessed in the school, the sexual and physical abuse, the horrid living conditions, and the questionable experiments that are at times performed on the students.

The story revolves around Sage's survival, of her trying to find her missing sister while trying to convince the powers to be that she is not Rosemary. She also gets in the middle of a mystery, that includes her sister, and also the Urban Legend of Cropsey. Reading all of this will shock you, sadden you, and keep you reading late into the night.

I urge you to not let the label of " Historical Fiction " turn you away if you are not a fan. Yes, The Lost Girls Of Willowbrook is Historical Fiction, but if you took away that label you will have a stunning piece of suspenseful writing that will keep any Suspense/Thriller fan entertained.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Book Review: A Dreadful Splendor by BR Myers


 GOODREADS SUMMARY:
In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners--until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The Lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young Lord peace, she will win her freedom.

Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve's skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly--yet exceedingly handsome--gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren't required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset's ghost could be all too real...

A Dreadful Splendor is a wickedly whimsical brew of mystery, spooky thrills, and intoxicating romance that makes for an irresistibly fun and page-turning read.

TEE'S THOUGHTS
I will start by saying that I would not consider this so much a gothic book as I would a period mystery. Gothic romance, mystery, whatever, it is one of my favorite genres, so in the end, I was a bit disappointed that I didn't really get what I thought I was going into.

With that being said, the writing, especially toward the end of the book was wonderful. The Victorian setting did give the feel, ever so slightly of gothic, however, the book got much better when I pushed the word out of my mind. I actually loved the haunting atmosphere of the story and the writer certainly kept me guessing who the killer actually was.

There is a slow build romance that takes place in the book as well. I did not feel that the two love interests had much chemistry between them, but I do appreciate that Myers gave us a slow build instead of insta-love. There is nothing I dislike more in a book than insta-love. I want the drama, the tension...

There were times I felt that the story was a bit slow and during those times I caught my mind wandering off to trivial things. I think what really kept me reading and pushing through the thing that I did not like was Myers's very vivid descriptions throughout the book.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Book Review: Every Summer After by Carley Fortune


GOODREADS SUMMARY:

They say you can never go home again, and for Persephone Fraser, ever since she made the biggest mistake of her life a decade ago, that has felt too true. Instead of glittering summers on the lakeshore of her childhood, she spends them in a stylish apartment in the city, going out with friends, and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.

Until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek—the man she never thought she’d have to live without.

For six summers, through hazy afternoons on the water and warm summer nights working in his family’s restaurant and curling up together with books—medical textbooks for him and work-in-progress horror short stories for her—Percy and Sam had been inseparable. Eventually, that friendship turned into something breathtakingly more before it fell spectacularly apart.

When Percy returns to the lake for Sam’s mother’s funeral, their connection is as undeniable as it had always been. But until Percy can confront the decisions she made and the years she’s spent punishing herself for them, they’ll never know whether their love might be bigger than the biggest mistakes of their past. 

Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic look at love and the people and choices that mark us forever

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

GUYS...if ever there was a book to read this summer THIS IS IT...yes, I know it has gotten a lot of hype...but in this case, BELIEVE the hype!

It stuns me that Every Summer After is Carley Fortune's debut, she tells a story as well or better as many seasoned writers.

Set in a lake community in Canada, the story is told in dual timelines about 12 years apart, past and present. Beginning with Percy and her family occupying a cottage on the lake for 6 summers, living next door to the Florek family. Percy and youngest brother Sam, start out as friends but build up to a relationship before breaking up that last summer. Oh there are some major feels in this book when you go through their problems and their mistakes with them, but you will also cheer them along in the present day.

It is a quick read, mainly because you will not want to put it down, but the story holds your interest with plenty of family issues such as grief and parental loss, struggling relationships, both friendships and lovers, the struggles of growing up, and of course forgiveness.

The characters in the book are flawed and they make some stupid mistakes like we all do growing up, but they grow up and deal with them like adults do, and no matter what, they stay true to themselves and you seem to always root for them despite what is going on. They are young in much of the book, which kind of grows with them, so at times where you will feel like you are reading a YA, but the present will slip in and remind you that you are not.

Every Summer After is full of washed-out summer nostalgia that will have you remembering your first summer crush. I loved this book so much that I am sure I have told everyone I know to read it..so if you haven't, I am telling you also! And y'all can I get a hell yeah on how beautiful Carley Fortune wrote the character of Sam?... Book boyfriend crush material right there!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Audio Book Review: Stay Awake by Megan Goldin


 GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers―a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

30-year-old New Yorker Liv Reese has no memory when she wakes up in a cab, so she heads home only to find strangers living in her brownstone, to make matters worse she discovers a blood-stained knife in her pocket and the words " Stay Awake " written all over her.

In the beginning, I found Stay Awake a bit confusing and thought maybe I might have missed something as I was listening and working, but I soon found my bearings with it and found the story entertaining and thrilling. The story is told by Liv in two timelines, the present and also the past which takes place two years before.

There is a lot of action in this book to keep your attention, however, to me, the middle got a bit bogged down in the storytelling and dragged a bit. It was really interesting to see how Liv slowly began figuring the clues out and what was going on. 

I have seen several people say that they easily figured the ending out, but not me. I thought I had it figured out and then Goldin threw in a twist that surprised me.

Thriller readers will enjoy Stay Awake, especially if you enjoy Goldins previous book Night Swim. I personally thought Stay Awake was a bit better.

I listened to the audio and found it engaging. Imogene Church and January LaVoy, the narrators gave a great performance and brought it to life for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and MacMillian Audio for the advanced audio

Book Review : Meant to Be by Emily Giffin


 GOODREADS SUMMARY:
The Kingsley family is practically American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and unmatched elegance. When Joseph S. Kingsley III is born in 1960, he inherits the weight of that legacy. Growing up with all the Kingsley looks and charisma, Joe should have no problem taking up the mantle after his father’s untimely death. But he is also a little bit reckless, and can’t seem to figure out how to channel the expectations of an entire country.

No one ever expected anything of Cate, on the other hand. She, too, grew up in a single-parent household—just her and her mom scraping by in their small apartment. As a teenager, though, Cate is discovered for her looks. Modeling may be her only ticket out of the cycle of disappointment that her mother has always inhabited. Before too long, her face is everywhere, though she is always aware that she’d be a pariah in her social circles if anyone knew her true story.

When Joe and Cate’s paths cross, their connection is instant. What remains to be seen is whether their relationship will survive the glare of the spotlight that follows Joe everywhere. And just as they find themselves in the make-or-break moment, the tragedy that seems to run in Joe’s family right alongside all that privilege will repeat itself.

In a beautifully written novel that recaptures a gilded moment in American history, Emily Giffin tells a story of a love that may or may not have the power to transcend circumstances that seem arrayed against it... and the difficulty of finding your way to the place you belong

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

It has been a while since I have picked up an Emily Griffin book. I enjoyed her books Something Borrowed and Something Blue, but then seemed to lose track of her, that is until I was searching Amazon for a new audiobook and come across Meant To Be. I knew nothing about the book going into it, and that it was new and sounded decent, so I jumped in.


The first thing I noticed was that the story seemed to somewhat mirror the relationship of John F Kennedy Jr and Carolyn Bessette. I grew up in a huge Kennedy family, everyone in my family was a fan of all the Kennedy's so naturally, I knew a bit about them. I also was a huge fan of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, I thought she was elegant, the perfect wife for JFK Jr, who I was also a fan of, and loved reading George every month. Also, as a lover of fashion, I thought Carolyn Bessette had fantastic taste in clothes and loved that she loved Yohji Yamamoto, one of my favorites.


Griffin did a great job keeping me entertained with this story. While Joseph’s family background def mirrored the Kennedys, Cate’s family was nothing like Carolyn’s. She came from a lower-class family with one parent, and that played heavily into the story. I like both of the characters, which isn’t usually the case with me reading a romance. I won’t lie, I think the similarities in the story with the real-life romance, helped me quickly zoom through the book, it was something I really enjoyed and I loved seeing the ways she veered off from real life to make it her own story.


I think if you are a reader of Kennedy books you would really enjoy this, even if you basically know the story, and if you know absolutely nothing about JFKJr and Carolyn Bessette, you will enjoy just a great romance. 


Luckily for Joe and Cate, Emily Griffin gave them a much happier ending than what JFKJr and Carolyn got, and I have always felt, that would have been the way RL would have went for those two.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Book Review: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt


 GOODREADS SUMMARY

After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late.

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

Y'all my heart is bursting with love for this new book. So many feels on this one!

Remarkably Bright Creatures is about Tova Sullivan a 70-year-old woman who lost her son 30 years ago and recently lost her husband. She takes a job as a night shift cleaner at the Sowell Bay Aquarium so she will have something to do to keep her busy.

Tova forms a friendship with Marcellus, a giant pacific octopus who, when the book begins is on his 1299 day of captivity in the aquarium.

This is such a creative, heartfelt story with characters you will fall in love with. Tova is determined to carry on with her life despite her loss and enjoys her cleaning job at the aquarium, it helps pass a lot of would-be empty and lonely hours. Author Shelby Van Pelt did a wonderful job of installing sadness into Tova's character without making her depressing and miserable.

Marcellus the aging octopus steals the show in this story in my opinion. He gives Tova life and reason without speaking a word to her. I might have thought this interaction was a bit overdone, the book is fiction so..., but a few weeks ago I watched a Netflix documentary called My Octopus Teacher and it saw how highly intelligent these creatures are, and they are capable of forming attachments to humans. Marcus may not speak verbally to Tova but he gets his point across and in the book he does have a voice.

There is also Cameron, who is a bit lost in life and searching for a father that he never knew. He ends up at the aquarium working after a failed search led him to the area.

I don't want to go into any greater detail, but I will tell you that all the characters and the story will tug at your heart, but at the same time make you smile.


********
My Opinion...

I won't lie, I am a huge fan of aquariums. I love the ocean and any creatures that live there. An Aquarium has always been a place of joy for me, being able to see these magnificent creatures up close amazes me. When I finished Remarkably Bright Creatures it got me thinking, especially about Marcellus's POV in the story. It made me question keeping these creatures in captivity. For the first time, someone has given one of these creatures a voice and it has really made me think a bit differently about things.

Please read or listen to this book, it could be one of the best beach reads of your summer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

BOOK REVIEWS: BOOK LOVERS BY EMILY HENRY


GOOD READS SUMMARY:

Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.

Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small-town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.

If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.


TEE'S THOUGHTS:

I really enjoyed Beach Reads by Emily Henry and People We Met On Vacation was just a bit ehh for me, so admittedly I was a bit skeptical going into this one, but Emily Henry managed to win me over again with her new book Book Lovers. In fact, of the three I would have to say that Book Lovers is probably her best.
 

Henry lured me in with loads of banter and enjoyable characters. I really liked both Nora and Charlie, both were snarky and I love snarky! I also really enjoyed Nora's sister Libby, she was a wonderful secondary character. Charlie was a great guy and very likable. Many times in the enemies to lovers trope the men, are usually asses. I guess you need a reason for them to be enemies! Nora felt relatable, not perfect, but very driven in her career as a literary agent. I will give Emily Henry big props in her writing of characters, she makes them relatable, even if the book isn't to your liking.

Book Lovers was a refreshing and quick read. There are some slightly steamy scenes and Charlie and Nora had good chemistry, plus the ending was cute. Pick this one up if you need a cute sweet Rom-Com to get you out of a reading slump or if you just need a break from something a bit more serious.


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Book Review: The Seamstress of New Orleans by Diane C McPhail

 


GOODREADS SUMMARY:
The year 1900 ushers in a new century and the promise of social change, and women rise together toward equality. Yet rules and restrictions remain, especially for women like Alice Butterworth, whose husband has abruptly disappeared. Desperate to make a living for herself and the child she carries, Alice leaves the bitter cold of Chicago far behind, offering sewing lessons at a New Orleans orphanage.

Constance Halstead, a young widow reeling with shock under the threat of her late husband’s gambling debts, has thrown herself into charitable work. Meeting Alice at the orphanage, she offers lodging in exchange for Alice’s help creating a gown for the Leap Year ball of Les Mysterieuses, the first all-female Krewe of Mardi Gras. During Leap Years, women have the rare opportunity to take control of their interactions with men and upend social conventions. Piece by piece, the breathtaking gown takes shape, becoming a symbol of strength for both women, reflecting their progress toward greater independence.

But Constance carries a burden that makes it impossible to feel truly free. Her husband, Benton, whose death remains a dangerous mystery, was deep in debt to the Black Hand, the vicious gangsters who controlled New Orleans’ notorious Storyville district. Benton’s death has not satisfied them. And as the Mardi Gras festivities reach their fruition, a secret emerges that will cement the bond between Alice and Constance even as it threatens the lives they’re building . . .

TEE'S THOUGHTS

I love New Orleans, we are regular visitors to the city, so I was instantly intrigued by The Seamstress of New Orleans by Diane C McPhail. Not to mention that cover is so eye-catching and beautiful it makes you want to pick it up no matter what it was about.

I loved Diane C McPhail's writing, the story was well written and I enjoyed how she incorporated a mystery into the historical fiction, however being a fan of New Orleans, I was really hoping that the historical fiction part of the book was the major story and it really did not seem to be to me. The story spent most of its time on the mystery of the two men. Usually, I would have enjoyed that, I do love a good mystery, but in the case of this book, it did not work for me.

The two main characters were fantastically written as strong women who in the time of having a husband taking care of you, as a rule, showed strength in being able to do without one. 

The Seamstress of New Orleans was very well researched, the females are empowering and have a wonderful friendship. I only wish it had more on the lead-up of Mardi Gras, which the blurb spoke about, the glamour of the dresses that were being made, the female Krewes, and of course the magic that is New Orleans.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: SOMETHING FISHY THIS WAY COMES BY GABBY ALLAN

 



GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Gabby Allan’s second Santa Catalina Island-set mystery series with a rom-com twist, boat tour guide Whitney Dagner, her chunky cat Whiskers, and Whitney’s not-so-ex police diver boyfriend must lead a dangerous investigation into years of scandal and bad blood...

Take in the wild beauty of Santa Catalina Island with tour guide and eclectic gift shop owner Whitney Dagner. On the itinerary: dramatic Pacific coastlines, diverse marine life, and murder!

Since returning home from mainland California and finding her groove with the family tourism business, Whitney Dagner’s daily routine has become a wonderfully chaotic adventure. She and her nimble kitty, Whiskers, often find themselves at the center of the action on Catalina, from staged treasure hunts to gossipy birdwatchers. But before Whit can get too comfortable in the place where she grew up, a gift shop order leads to a stunning discovery—someone’s dead body . . .

One of Whit’s best boat tour clients, Leo Franklin was young and newly engaged when he unceremoniously took his own life. Only it doesn’t seem like that’s what really happened—not after the suspicious activity displayed by his family’s old rivals at the scene of his death. As a bitter, generations-long feud between Leo’s kin and the local Ahern clan comes to a head, Whit and her police diver not-so-ex-boyfriend must lead a dangerous investigation into years of scandal and bad blood to figure out who’s innocent . . .and who’s covering a killer’s tracks.
 


TEE'S THOUGHTS:


I adored Gabby Allan's Much Ado About Nauticaling so I was excited to get the chance to read her newest book Something Fishy This Way Comes.


The first thing I want to say is that I love her titles and their take on classics, but with that nautical twist. Also, her covers are so appealing with their bright colors that just scream summer, and I will admit, the cover cat Whiskers who I swear could be kin to my Marmalade they look so much alike!


Speaking of Whiskers, I think he or she ( I cannot for the life of me remember if the cat is male or female )  and Whitney make the cutest detective duo, they are both so fun.

Whitney again finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery, this time it involves a feud between two families.


I love the setting on Catalina, Gabby Allan makes it come to life for me and gives it such a cozy feel, and I was glad to be able to pay it another visit. She makes you want to call your travel agent and book you a room ASAP. I suggest you put it on your vacation bucket list because I have been there and loved it!


Allan writes colorful characters that really add to the store, doesn't matter if they are the main or the secondary characters, they are all vibrant and entertaining. In both books, my favorite is Goldie, Whitney's grandmother who adds excellent comedic parts to the story with her quirkiness.


A Little Note to first-time readers, this is the second book in the Whit and Whiskers Mystery Series, but you can totally pick it up today and read it without needing to read Much Ado About Nauticaling....but if you do, be sure to go back and read the first one because if you like Something Fishy This Way Comes you will love Much Ado!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner


 GOODREADS SUMMARY:
Bloomsbury Books is an old-fashioned new and rare book store that has persisted and resisted change for a hundred years, run by men and guided by the general manager's unbreakable fifty-one rules. But in 1950, the world is changing, especially the world of books and publishing, and at Bloomsbury Books, the girls in the shop have plans:

Vivien Lowry: Single since her aristocratic fiance was killed in action during World War II, the brilliant and stylish Vivien has a long list of grievances - most of them well justified and the biggest of which is Alec McDonough, the Head of Fiction.

Grace Perkins: Married with two sons, she's been working to support the family following her husband's breakdown in the aftermath of the war. Torn between duty to her family and dreams of her own.

Evie Stone: In the first class of female students from Cambridge permitted to earn a degree, Evie was denied an academic position in favor of her less accomplished male rival. Now she's working at Bloomsbury Books while she plans to remake her own future.

As they interact with various literary figures of the time - Daphne Du Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Sonia Blair (widow of George Orwell), Samuel Beckett, Peggy Guggenheim, and others - these three women with their complex web of relationships, goals, and dreams are all working to plot out a future that is richer and more rewarding than anything society will allow.

TEE'S THOUGHTS:

If you are a book lover, and who here isn't? You love anything and everything about books, so what better book to read, than a book that book takes place in a book store!

I enjoyed Natalie Jenner's previous novel The Jane Austin Society, so I was extremely happy to be able to get an advanced listen to her newest book Bloomsbury Girls.

As with Jane Austen Society Jenner has expertly written history in the new story, along with intelligent and charming characters that you cant help but like, one of the main charaters is even in the previous book, but do not let that stop you from reading Bloomsbury Girls if you havent read Jane Austen, because while they do share a character, this is not a sequel, it is a story in its own right and can be read as such.

The story is very character driven and although it takes place in the 50s and the women are facing all the sexism and other problems that may have befall upon women working and living in that time period, I would not neccesarriy  consider the book historica fiction, to me it would fall more in line with the genre of women's fiction,

There are a lot of characters in this story but Jenner was able to give them each purpose and place, helping you navigate them without getting confused on who they are or where they fit within the story. 

The Bloombury Girls is a charming read that will hit the mark for a lot of readers...Historical Fiction, General Fiction, Womens Fiction and Book Clubs, it really has something for everyone!