Thursday, January 14, 2021

Trading Secrets

 ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  Celeste Donovan, a high-powered finance executive, seems to have it all–the penthouse apartment, the supermodel physique with a mathematician mind, and a trail of beautiful men she has loved and left behind. 
But when her boyfriend Theodore is killed in a mysterious accident, she discovers Omar, her abusive ex she had hoped would never resurface, is behind his death. 

Now she’s caught in a game of cat and mouse, trying to anticipate Omar’s next move, as she realizes he will stop at nothing to get to her. She sets out alone on a whirlwind journey to entrap him, determined to put an end to Omar’s destruction. 

Soon Celeste is thrust in the middle of the largest financial scandal in decades. This time, however, powerful government officials are in bed with some of the world’s most dangerous men. 

When she discovers that those she thought she knew best are involved in a secret society warring with Omar and his coconspirators, she must decide how far she will go to avenge Theodore’s death and whether she is willing to risk her own life to save everyone she loves.

(*Warning: Ages 18+ / Explicit Sexual Content)

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Wow....I loved this book.  I mean really loved it!  If I could I would give it 6 stars.  I think Trading Secrets like Jackie Collins' Lucky Santangelo meets Wall Street (I love Jackie's Santangelo series).  Amazingly good and it's Rachael Eckles first novel....WOW!

Trading Secrets is full of suspense, sex, money, well to do friends, and connections.  But what happens when you connect with the wrong person? Plot twists, that is what happens, along with greed and lust. 

Superfast read that I couldn't put it down.  It is a must-read for 2021 (before spring when book 2 comes out).  Absolutely loved it.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I was so happy when I got to the end and saw three word....TO BE's a trilogy.  I can't wait to read the next book or anything else by Rachael Eckles.

Rachael Eckles grew up in the Midwest. After graduating from law school, she followed her heart and moved to the east coast. Trading Secrets is her first novel. She currently lives in Manhattan with her puppy, where she is working on book two in the Trading Secrets Trilogy.

She is a board member for The Village Cooperative ( and is donating 5% of her book sales proceeds to TVC for programs to empower women, girls, and communities in Kenya, Guatemala, and India.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Update: What's in Your Beach Bag

Update: As I am looking outside at my brown grass (no snow-which is just fine with me) snuggled in a cabin striped blanket I crochet a few weeks ago (click here for the blanket I made - by Mama In A Stitch - love her patterns), I started thinking about how I can't wait for summer to get here.  It has to be better than last year, right?  It dawned on me that I never posted an update on my Beach Bag reads. 

I am so happy to report that I have read all 11 books that I put in my beach bag this summer.  Links to each review are below!  I didn't get my last review done until October, darn it.  July - December is my really crazy months at work, so I think I need to start filling my beach bag with books in April to ensure I complete them all by Labor Day.

For the past two summers, I have posted What's In Your Beach Bag?  The first year (2011), I didn't do so well.  I still have 5 books out of 14 that I haven't read.  Still on my bookshelf though.  

Last year, it took me until fall to finish my list.  I read all 11 books on last year's list and posted 10 reviews.  One book is still with the publisher and I have been asked to hold on to the review until there is a release date. Here's to doing better in 2020!

Leave me a comment letting me know at least one of the books you plan on reading this summer.  I love book suggestions.

Here is what is in my beach bag this summer.  

1.  The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'neal

2. Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell

3. The Little Book Shop of the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

4. The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley

5.  Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins

6. Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

7. Beach Read by Emily Henry

8. Liberation by Imogen Kealy

9. A Little Bit of Grace by Phoebe Fox

10. The Search Party by Simon Lelic

11.  One Hundred Daffodils by Rebecca Winn


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Our Italian Summer

 ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis:  Workaholic and single mother Francesca Ferrari is one step away from a nervous breakdown when her studious, straight-laced, 17-year-old daughter Allegra is caught with illicit drugs. Allegra is sick of being ignored by her uptight mother whose one true love is her work. And Francesca’s mother, Sophia, knows that they’re all in trouble. Sophia is concerned that her family is falling apart in front of her eyes, and she also can’t seem to shake the feeling that her health is failing, fast. Sophia declares that a summer in Italy might just be the heart-mending cure they all need to keep their family from ripping apart at the seams.

What comes next is an adventure of a lifetime as the three women embark on a journey they’ll never forget. Filled with funny family bonding moments (that may or may not include a tumble down the Spanish Steps), a gorgeous Italian backdrop, and more than a few moments of sparkling romantic chemistry, OUR ITALIAN SUMMER is a dazzling escape to Italy with surprises around every turn.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I think every working mother and a teenager could relate to Our Italian Summer!  We can never do the right thing, say the proper thing, be where we are supposed to be all the time, on and on.  I felt Francesca's pain. When her mother steps in with a trip to Italy for the month it seems like the perfect solution.

As predicted the Fransesca and her daughter Allegra mend their relationship and learn so much about each other.  Sophia opens up about her childhood and her love for her husband.  Relationship mending while new ones are developing.  All three ladies end up finding love interests.  Not all of them are straight forward and easy given one lives in Italy and one is going to become a priest.  Even Sophia makes plans to meet up with a "friend" she met in Paris. 

Overall, a very enjoyable book.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: This is my first Jennifer Probst book, but I just downloaded 3 of her books on Kindle Unlimited.

Prolific New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst is widely adored by romance readers for her charming, sexy, and completely captivating novels. The writer of numerous chart-topping romance series, Probst’s stories are not only steamy but inspiring, featuring strong women who strive for respect and independence, making them must-reads for fans of the genre.


Thursday, January 7, 2021

When Life Gives You Luluemons

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): Welcome to Greenwich, Connecticut, where the lawns and the women are perfectly manicured, the Tito’s and sodas are extra strong, and everyone has something to say about the infamous new neighbor.

Let’s be clear: Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. After leaving Miranda Priestly, she’s been working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.

When Karolina Hartwell, a gorgeous former supermodel, is arrested, her fall from grace is merciless. Her senator-husband leaves her, her Beltway friends disappear, and the tabloids pounce.

In Karolina, Emily finds her comeback opportunity. But she quickly learns Greenwich is a world apart and that this comeback needs a team approach.

So it is that Emily, the scorned Karolina, and their mutual friend Miriam, a powerful attorney turned stay-at-home mom, band together to navigate the social land mines of suburban Greenwich and win back the hearts of the American public. Along the way, an unexpected ally emerges in one Miranda Priestly.

With her signature wit, Lauren Weisberger offers an alluring look into a sexy, over-the-top world—and proves it’s style and substance together that gets the job done. “A delicious sequel to The Devil Wears Prada…exploring what it’s like to be a woman buffeted by conflicting messages about career, relationships, and motherhood” (The Washington Post), When Life Gives You Lululemons is “amazing novel about…truth, lies and how everyone is a little bit insecure” (Associated Press). “Fast-paced, funny, and gossipy, this is the must-have accessory for your beach bag” (PopSugar).

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Lauren Weisberger keeps great books coming!  Another funny, enjoyable chic-lit book.  So happy to read about Emily again, okay, and Miriam!  When is the movie coming out?  Great read after the holidays and provided much needed "getaway."

Lauren Weisberger is the author of The Devil Wears Prada, which spent more than a year on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. The film version, starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, won a Golden Globe Award and grossed over $300 million worldwide. Her second novel, Everyone Worth Knowing, was also a New York Times bestseller. She lives in New York City with her husband.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

This Is How It Always Is

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes. 

Laurie Frankel's This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  No matter what I type, it will not do This Is How It Always Is justice.  A story that has needed to be told for some years now. A  heartbreaking story of supporting your child no matter what.  Beautifully told must-read story.  I think this is Reese's best pick so far. 

I really want to read Laurie's Goodbye For Now.  Sounds like a tear-jerker. 

Laurie Frankel is the author of three novels: THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS (Jan. 2017), GOODBYE FOR NOW, and THE ATLAS OF LOVE. She is also the parent of one child, the minder of one border collie, the partner of one husband, the denizen of one city (Seattle), and the reader of tens of thousands of books.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Family Next Door

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Small, perfect towns often hold the deepest secrets.
From the outside, Essie’s life looks idyllic: a loving husband, a beautiful house in a good neighborhood, and a nearby mother who dotes on her grandchildren. But few of Essie’s friends know her secret shame: that in a moment of maternal despair, she once walked away from her newborn, asleep in her carriage in a park. Disaster was avoided and Essie got better, but she still fears what lurks inside her, even as her daughter gets older and she has a second baby. 
When a new woman named Isabelle moves in next door to Essie, she is an immediate object of curiosity in the neighborhood. Why single, when everyone else is married with children? Why renting, when everyone else owns? What mysterious job does she have? And why is she so fascinated with Essie? As the two women grow closer and Essie’s friends voice their disapproval, it starts to become clear that Isabelle’s choice of neighborhood was no accident. And that her presence threatens to bring shocking secrets to light.

The Family Next Door is Sally Hepworth at her very best: at once a deeply moving portrait of family drama and a compelling suburban mystery that will keep you hooked until the very last page.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Sally Hepworth is another author to add to your must-read books list.  Who doesn't want to know what is really happening behind "the neighbor's" door?  Super suspenseful as we learn more about Isabelle and why she has moved into the neighborhood.  Another book I couldn't put down!  

Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives (2015), The Things We Keep (2016) The Mother's Promise (2017), The Family Next Door (2018) and The Mother In Law (April 2019). Sally's books have been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s novels as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”.

Sally's novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 10+ languages.

Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

Deep State

 ~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon):  

In this white-knuckled, timely, and whip-smart debut thriller, a deadly plot against the president’s life emerges from the shadows of the Deep State.

Recently elected President Richard Monroe—populist, controversial, and divisive—is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law—and democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I drove Saturday from SW Ohio to Decatur, Illinois for my son's hockey game and listen to Deep State for the whole 5 hours (I listen to audiobooks at the fastest speed).  I have made this drive two other times and this was by far the most entertaining! 

Amazing story and the end....WOW!  I never saw it coming.  Fast paced, great characters, plot against the government with twists and turns is my kind of book.  Deep State would make a great movie!  I can't wait for the second book, Savage Road to come out.  I can't even imagine what adventure Chris Hauty will take us on.  Amazing first book!

The narrator did a great job with all the different characters too!

Now I need to find a book to keep me entertained for the drive back home!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Ready to read Savage Road now!  Can't wait for it to come out.

Chris Hauty was born in San Antonio, Texas, and is a graduate of Reed College. He began his professional writing career with “Don Coyote”, a contemporary interpretation of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” with Jonathon Lynn attached to direct. Projects in the family film genre followed, including Disney’s “Homeward Bound: Lost In San Francisco”. To broaden and further define himself as a screenwriter, Hauty wrote the original screenplay, “Arena”, a dark, gladiator epic. Subsequent credits include “Moby Dick” at Dreamworks Animation, “Beautiful Killer” at Universal Pictures with Jessica Alba attached, “Land of Legend”, a Viking saga at Walden Media with Renny Harlin set to direct, “Vigilante” at Studio Canal with Ed Burns to star and direct, and “Colosseum” at Icon Pictures, with Mel Gibson to direct. He sold the pitch for “The Eternals”, a supernatural thriller set on a college campus, to CBS Films. Recent produced credits include “Never Back Down”, directed by Jeff Wadlow and starring Djimon Hounsou and “Sniper: Ghost Shooter” staring Billy Zane for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Hauty lives in Venice, California, with his feral cat and a Triumph motorcycle. Deep State is his first novel. Visit him at and follow along on Instagram, Twitter at @ChrisHauty and on Facebook at @hautywriter.