Sunset Beach by: Mary Kay Andrews

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

Pull up a lounge chair and have a cocktail at Sunset Beach – it comes with a twist.

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

Sunset Beach is a compelling ride, full of Mary Kay Andrews’ signature wit, heart, and charm.

My Review

When I saw that Mary Kay Andrews was releasing a new book, I jumped at the opportunity to read the advanced copy for review. I really enjoy her books, although I have yet to read them all. I am so ready for the nicer weather to hit and this cover alone gave my those relaxation vibes.

I had barely read the summary for this book so I was pleasantly surprised to find an air of mystery and suspense. This was a page turner that was very much enjoyable. The back stories of these characters created an atmosphere in which it felt as is the story was true.

I was hooked from the very beginning and appreciated the timeline jumps so that we got a well rounded narrative. If you are looking for a Spring/ Summer read that is not just your typical “beachy” read, I encourage you to pre-order this book and dive right in as soon as you get it!

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Park Avenue Summer by: Renee Rosen

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

“‘Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada,’ which might as well be saying ‘put me in your cart immediately.’” —PopSugar

It’s 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine’s brazen new editor-in-chief—Helen Gurley Brown—shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk to women about all things off-limits…

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for the first female editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.

Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, and confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands. When someone tries to pull Alice into a scheme to sabotage her boss, she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed. While pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown’s world, a woman can demand to have it all.

My Review

I know it was cheesy but I am huge fan of The Devil Wears Prada and when I saw that this book seemed similar, I wanted to give it chance. I adored Alice and her her new boss Helen. Helen wasn’t afraid to break down in front of Alice and was willing to give her a chance even though she didn’t have any experience in the magazine business.

This was a story of female empowerment and the ways in which a woman had to fight through a male dominated business to make her mark. This is based on actually events but created with the liberty of a fictional novel. It was not dull or dry, it was creative and well written.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and highly recommend it.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Magical Realism for Non-Believers: A Memior of Finding Family by: Anika Fajardo

Publication date: April 16, 2019

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

A young woman from Minnesota searches out the Colombian father she’s never known in this powerful exploration of what family really means

 He loved Colombia too much to leave it. The explanation from her Minnesotan mother was enough to satisfy a child’s curiosity about her missing father. But at twenty-one, Anika Fajardo wanted more. She wanted to know her father better and to know what kind of country could have such a hold on him. And so, in 1995, Fajardo boarded a plane and flew to Colombia to discover a birthplace that was foreign to her and a father who was a stranger. There she learns that sometimes, no matter how many pieces you find, fitting together a family history isn’t easy.

With her tentative entry into her father’s world, Fajardo steps on a path that will take her in surprising directions, toward unsuspected secrets about her family and herself. Set against the changing backdrops of Colombia and the American Midwest, her journey carries her back to the 1970s and the beginnings of her parents’ broken marriage, and forward to the present day, where the magic and reality of love and heartache—and her own experience as a parent—await her. The way is strewn with obstacles, physical and metaphysical—from the perils encountered on a mountain road in Colombia to the death of a loved one to the birth of her own child—but the toughest to negotiate are the shifting place of memory and truth while coming to understand her place in her family and in the world.

Vivid and heartfelt in the telling, Fajardo’s story is powerfully compelling in its bridging of time and place and in its moving depiction of self-transformation. Family, she comes to find, is where you find it and what you make of it.

My Review

As I sit down to write this, I am thinking about all of the memoirs that I have read before this one. I gravitate towards memoirs about people in the food industry or those that hold inspiring stories. I enjoy reading about people that I know of or have heard of to get a better insight into their persona.

Anika Fajardo is not someone that you have ever heard of; she doesn’t hold a position of “fame” or is someone that has become known for their inspirational story. Her story is one that many people can relate to as similar to their own stories. She grew up in American in a single parent household. Her mother left her father and he lives in Colombia and has not been a part of her life. As she decides to travel to Colombia to see him, she comes to realize what makes a family and what is required of family.

I found the writing style to be enjoyable and easy to read. It read as if I was reading a fictional story however, the time jumps were a bit too much. I don’t mind reminiscing in a story but I feel as if it were a bit all over the place. If it was done in chapters that alternated time periods, it may have flowed a bit better.

I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

American Princess by: Stephanie Marie Thorton

Publication Date: March 12, 2019

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

“As juicy and enlightening as a page in Meghan Markle’s diary.”—InStyle

“Presidential darling, America’s sweetheart, national rebel: Teddy Roosevelt’s swashbuckling daughter Alice springs to life in this raucous anthem to a remarkable woman.”—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton…

Alice may be the president’s daughter, but she’s nobody’s darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves–oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it’s no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument–and Alice intends to outlast them all.

My Review

I loved this book. I knew nothing about Alice Roosevelt and this was a joy to read. Of course this was a fictional account of her life, but the events and things that she went through were unbelievable. Stephanie wrote this as if she lived through Alice’s years in Washington with her.

I really enjoyed this novel and historical fiction, more especially, a political one, is not in my wheelhouse. I highly recommend picking this one up.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received an E-ARC from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Secret of Clouds by: Alyson Richman

Publication date: February 19, 2019

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

From the #1 international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours comes an emotionally charged story about a mother’s love, a teacher’s promise, and a child’s heart…

Katya, a rising ballerina, and Sasha, a graduate student, are young and in love when an unexpected tragedy befalls their native Kiev. Years later, after the couple has safely emigrated to America the consequences of this incident cause their son, Yuri, to be born with a rare health condition that isolates him from other children. Maggie, a passionate and dedicated teacher agrees to tutor Yuri at his home, even though she is haunted by her own painful childhood memories. As the two forge a deep and soulful connection, Yuri’s boundless curiosity and unique wisdom inspires Maggie to make difficult changes in her own life. And she’ll never realize just how strong Yuri has made her — until she needs that strength the most…

A novel that will make readers examine what it means to live life with a full heart.

My Review

This was such a beautiful story and it is one that has stayed with me even after I finished it. I loved that not only is there the main focus on Yuri and his teacher Maggie, but we get the back story to Yuri’s parents and Maggie’s life outside of being a teacher as well.

This book had an interesting mix of contemporary points of view and historical fiction as well. I was not bored nor was I confused with the varying points of views.

Each character’s story was full of life and moving. It was very easy to become attached to the characters. This book is so well written and I could not put it down. I will definitely be picking up her other books.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the Publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by: Yara Zgheib

Publication date: February 5, 2019

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

*A BookMovement Group Read*

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life. 

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

Recognition

 February 2019 Indie Next selection

 February 2019 LibraryReads selection

My Review

I read this book in less than 24 hours. I was so incredibly invested in Anna’s story and I was on the verge of tears for most of it. I adored this debut novel and recommend this read highly.

The subject matter is devastating and intense but one that is an eye opener to read about in this way. I look forward to the next book that this author writes.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the Publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

One Fatal Mistake by: Tom Hunt

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

The author of Killer Choice, a thriller “full of shocks and twists you won’t see coming” (Lee Child), delivers a nail-biting novel about a hit and run, and a lie that goes horribly wrong…

Her son accidentally kills a man.
They cover it up.
Then everything goes wrong.

When eighteen-year-old Joshua Mayo takes a man’s life in a horrible accident, he leaves the scene without reporting the crime to the police. He hopes to put the awful night behind him and move on with his life. But, of course, he ends up telling his mother, Karen, what happened.

Karen has raised Joshua on her own in Cedar Rapids, Iowa–and she’d thought they’d finally made it. He was doing well in school and was only months from starting college. After hearing his dark confession, she is forced to make a choice no parent should have to make, one that draws them both into a web of deceit that will change their lives forever–if they make it out alive….

My Review

With vibes similar to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Tom Hunt has elevated it to a different level. One Fatal Mistake has a suspenseful plot that keeps the reader at the edge of their seat in some parts. However, I did find some areas to read a bit slow for me. At 320 pages, it should not have taken me as long as it did to read it.

I am not saying that I did not like this book but it is not one of my top picks in this genre. Maybe the writing style is not what I prefer in a thriller/ suspense novel.

I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.