Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Sun is Also a Star

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? 

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  The story alternated back and forth between Natasha and Daniel. Natasha is getting deported and Daniel has a college interview. There two worlds collide creating a beautiful love story.  Extremely enjoyable!  Now I have to find the movie - hopefully it is on Netflix or Hulu!

NICOLA YOON is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Sun Is Also a Star and Everything, Everything, her debut novel, which was turned into a major motion picture. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn and lives in Los Angeles with her family. She’s also a hopeless romantic who firmly believes that you can fall in love in an instant and that it can last forever.

Follow @NicolaYoon on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  My new friends have begun to suspect I haven't told them the full story of my life.
"Why did you leave Sierra Leone?"
"Because there is a war."
"You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?"
"Yes, all the time."
I smile a little.
"You should tell us about it sometime."
"Yes, sometime."

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I am afraid whatever I type will not do this book justice. Unbelieve story that unfortunately is very common in West Africa, where Ishmael was born. Heartbreaking to think any child has to witness murders let alone decide if they should kill or be killed.  Absolutely an amazing story and told very well.  A Long Way Gone needs to be part of schools reading lists.  I will admit, my head is processing a lot of this book since it is very emotional and hard to grasp such a life here in the US.

Ishmael Beah was born in 1980 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vespertine Press, LIT, Parabola, and numerous academic journals. He is a UNICEF Ambassador and Advocate for Children Affected by War; a member of the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Advisory Committee; an advisory board member at the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; visiting scholar at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia University; visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights at Rutgers University; cofounder of the Network of Young People Affected by War (NYPAW); and president of the Ishmael Beah Foundation. He has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many panels on the effects of war on children. His book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier has been published in over thirty languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in 2007. Time magazine named the book as one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2007, ranking it at number three. Ishmael Beah is a graduate of Oberlin College with a B.A. in Political Science and resides in Brooklyn, New York. He is currently completing a novel set in his home country of Sierra Leone.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a new collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth. As Lisa says, "More and more, especially in the summertime when I'm sitting on the beach, I'm learning not to sweat it. To go back to the child that I used to be. To see myself through the loving eyes of my parents. To eat on the beach. And not to worry about whether every little thing makes me look fat. In fact, not to worry at all."

So put aside your worries and join Lisa and Francesca as they navigate their way through the crazy world we live in, laughing along the way.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Laugh out loud stories that all us ladies can relate too.  Lots of wisdom sprinkled throughout too. I  didn't realize that this actually books 6 out of 9.  It is a stand alone, but now I can't wait to go read the rest of the series. Mother and daughter writting duo is well worth reading.  Another great book to read on the beach, but not a must....it can be read anywhere and anytime of year! 

LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar award-winning author of 24 novels and co-author of six humor memoirs in this series. She also writes a Sunday column for "The Philadelphia Inquirer." She has 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in 30 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with an array of disobedient pets.

FRANCESCA SCOTTOLINE SERRITELLA is the co-author of six humor memoirs in this series and is currently working on a novel. She is also a Sunday columnist for "The Philadelphia Inquirer." Francesca is a cum laude and award-winning graduate of Harvard University and now lives in New York City with one dog and one cat, so far. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Killer of the Flower Moon

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
            Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. 

            As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Wow....I learned a lot from the novel and now want to watch the movie (great actors in it too). One sad, sad story, but one that must be told.  I am still in shock that this really happened.  With all that is going on the world, I shouldn't be surprised though.  Killer of the Flower Moon was an emotional read, but well worth it.  It should be part of the reading list in high school/college.  A history lesson we all should be aware of and one I was not taught while in school.

David Grann is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, which was chosen as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. He is also the author of The Devil and Sherlock Holmes. His work has garnered several honors for outstanding journalism, including a George Polk Award.


Monday, October 12, 2020

And They Called It Camelot

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  An intimate portrait of the life of Jackie O…
Few of us can claim to be the authors of our fate. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy knows no other choice. With the eyes of the world watching, Jackie uses her effortless charm and keen intelligence to carve a place for herself among the men of history and weave a fairy tale for the American people, embodying a senator’s wife, a devoted mother, a First Lady—a queen in her own right.
But all reigns must come to an end. Once JFK travels to Dallas and the clock ticks down those thousand days of magic in Camelot, Jackie is forced to pick up the ruined fragments of her life and forge herself into a new identity that is all her own, that of an American legend.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I very much enjoyed And They Called It Camelot.  I loved how we got to see everything from Jackie's point of view (fictionally). I realize this is fiction, but I would guess there are some underline truths to it.  I can't imagine the research that went into writing this book.

It starts out when Jack and Jackie met and progresses through their romance, marriage, his political career, cheating, miscarriages, JFK's back issues, Caroline, John, JFK's death, her awful marriage to Aristotle, and her final career as an editor. She is one tough and classy lady.  I can't believe everything she had been through and while in the public eye.

Very well written and worth the read! 

PS - I did read Thornton's America Princess and really enjoyed it too.  Another very well written and researched novel. 

Stephanie Marie Thornton is the USA Today bestselling author of American Princess and a high school history teacher. She lives in Alaska with her husband and daughter.


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Kindred Spirits

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): After one fateful PTA meeting, four young mothers—Lynne, Mary Kay, Beth, and Carol—discovered they had more in common than they ever thought possible. Meeting once a month, the women would share laughs and secrets, toasting to their blossoming friendship with the clink of their sacred martini glasses.
Two years later, when Lynne passes away suddenly, she leaves behind one simple request: that her old friends sort through her belongings. The women reunite to rummage through her closets, and buried deep within Lynne’s lingerie drawer, they find an envelope addressed to their little society…
Inside is a letter that reveals Lynn’s shocking secret and last wish, sending the women on a life-changing journey that will reveal to them that nothing is more powerful than the will of a true girlfriend—and a good, strong martini.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Four dear friends, one dies, the other three carry out her last wishes.  The support each other while on this journey and what they discover makes them stronger.  Make sure you have lots of tissue and can work from home (your eyes will be red and puffy).  Beautiful book.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, already read The Cinderella Pact.

After being placed on other "must read" YA lists, SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT has recently been chosen by Texas school librarians for the 2013 Lone Star Reading List, a great honor since Texas is a BIG state. Thank you, librarians!

It's also my fourteenth novel, but my first for young adults after writing mysteries and stand alones, one of which, THE CINDERELLA PACT, became the Lifetime Movie - LYING TO BE PERFECT. Of all these, SMART GIRLS has been my favorite to write because not only was I a "smart girl," but so were my daughter and her friends who, like me, grew tired of playing second fiddle. I figured the time had come for our kind to receive the kudos, the attention and the boys. The bad girls had hogged center stage long enough.

Before I wrote novels, I was a newspaper reporter of questionable talent for twenty years, never quite serious or responsible enough for the duty of recording all the news that's fit to print. (My definition of what was fit to print and my editors' often clashed. Apparently, it was not necessary to describe certain cops as "super cute.") 
Some novelists begin their careers by winning literary contests or writing their first manuscripts while pursuing a masters degree. I began mine by placing Barbie in forty contemporary and historical settings with photos taken by my friend (and awesome photographer) Geoff Hansen. BARBIE UNBOUND: A PARODY OF THE BARBIE OBSESSION became a cult hit, landed me on CBS This Morning and USA Today. It was, briefly, the most shoplifted book in America.

After that, I wrote the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series featuring a bubble-headed blonde ditzy - or is she? - hairdresser with a gift for gossip who becomes a newspaper reporter. Kind of like a memoir, sure. And then a bunch of novels about women.

Today, I live in Vermont with my husband, a lawyer, and son, Sam, an upcoming high school junior. My daughter, Anna, is a senior at Bryn Mawr College where there are A LOT of smart girls. Also, there's Fred, my five-year-old basset hound and between you and me, the love of my life.


Monday, October 5, 2020

The Wives

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Thursday’s husband, Seth, has two other wives. She’s never met them, and she doesn’t know anything about them. She agreed to this unusual arrangement because she’s so crazy about him.

But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married. 

What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read. 

You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why. 

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Fans of TLC's show "Sister's Wives," will love this book.  However, add suspenseful, psycho-thriller on top of it!  This book has been described as having so many twists you will get whiplash.  That is 100% accurate!  I couldn't put it down.  Another crazy good book (maybe I need a new rating system), which seems to be a trend lately.  Pick up (or download it on your Kindle) The Wives today and you won't be disappointed.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Can't wait to read her next book, The Wrong Family due out in December 2020.

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Tarryn Fisher is cooler than you, but not one to rub it in your face. She graduated first in her class at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She is a lover of human nature, and a real life villain (House of Slytherin). Her heart is dark, but she loves you with it anyway. Currently she lives in Washington with her family and just finished her tenth novel, Folsom, which is now available. 

You can visit her website at:

You can also find Tarryn on Facebook: 




Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Heir Affair

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Making it up the aisle was the easy part: Rebecca "Bex" Porter must survive her own scandals and adjust to royal British life in this "timely and positively delicious" follow-up to The Royal We that's "just as fun, charming, and delightful as the first" (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca "Bex" Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world's judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

 But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they'd placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick's brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten -- nor forgiven.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Loved the sequel to The Royal We.  The Heir Affair starts off right after Nick and Bex's disastrous wedding. While they are "hiding out" they get a call that they are needed back at the castle due to a family emergency.  Nick and Bex have many of the same or similar stories/events to William and Kate.  However, we get to see things through Bex's eyes and get to witness her reactions (much different than what we know of Kate).  Bex isn't afraid to speak up for sure!

When Nick and Bex move into Georgian's apartment that hasn't been touch in many, many years, they discover all sorts of stories regarding the Queen's sister.....including a HUGE family secret.  Never saw that twist coming and holy cow.....left us hoping there is a third book!

I do recommend you read The Royal We first. 

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan are the creators of the Internet's wittiest, longest-standing celebrity fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself, which made Entertainment Weekly's Must List and the Guardian's list of 50 Most Powerful Blogs. They are the authors of The Royal We as well as two young adult novels, Spoiled and Messy, and have written for publications ranging from New Yorkmagazine to Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Washington PostCosmopolitanW magazine, and Glamour.

Facebook: @gofugyourself
Instagram: @fuggirls
Twitter: @fuggirls


Friday, October 2, 2020

The Sun Sister

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  An epic and transporting novel, the latest installment of the “heart-wrenching, uplifting, and utterly enthralling” (Lucy Foley, author of The Guest List) Seven Sisters series, unravelling between the dazzling streets of modern-day New York City and the breathtaking plains of 1940s colonial Kenya. 

Electra d’Aplièse is a top model who seems to have it all: beauty, fame, and wealth. But beneath the glittery veneer, she’s cracking under all the pressure. When her father dies, she turns to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain. As friends and colleagues fear for her health, Electra receives a shocking letter from a stranger who claims to be her grandmother.

In 1939, New Yorker Cecily Huntley-Morgan arrives in Kenya’s Lake Naivasha region for the exciting chance to stay with her godmother, the famous socialite Kiki Preston. But after a sheltered upbringing, she’s astounded by the hedonistic antics of the other ex-pats in the infamous Happy Valley set. Cecily soon grows to love her stunning but complicated new home, and she even accepts a proposal of marriage from an enigmatic older cattle farmer. After a shocking discovery and with war looming, Cecily feels isolated and alone. Until she meets a young woman in the woods and makes her a promise that will change the course of her life forever.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I really enjoy this series and can't wait for the seventh book!  While I enjoyed The Sun Sister, it was not my favorite.  I found Electra to be very self-centered and spoiled in the beginning.  She does become a caring person and wants to make a difference in people's lives. I really enjoyed the story of her background and everything Cecily went through in Kenya. The story of where the sisters came from is always so interesting and keeps my wanting to get to the next chapter (and the next book!). The last paragraph leaves all hanging....who is the seventh sister

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I have read all other 5 books in the Seven Sisters series.  I still want to read a lot of Lucinda Riley's other books.

Lucinda Riley is the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty novels, including The Orchid HouseThe Girl on the Cliff, and the Seven Sisters series. Her books have sold twenty million copies in thirty-five languages globally. She was born in Ireland and divides her time between England and West Cork with her husband and four children. Visit her online at LucindaRiley.com.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

Once Upon A Wish-Was

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

Synopsis:  Ruby Campbell isn't daunted at the prospect of working as a Nanny for the notorious Barclay Rothchester. She’s warned he’s a strict control freak, but she’s sure she can soften him up. 


Barclay Rothchester lost his wife three years ago. Of course he’s never going to find someone to replace her role, the one she did so perfectly. He’s sure its not going to be hippy dippy Ruby with her sass and rebellious ways. 


Ruby is determined to give his daughters the Christmas they deserve. Now if only she can tolerate their father long enough to make that happen. 


Are they both willing to put their stubborn pride aside, or will they risk losing the one gift that can't be wrapped: each other.


Readers can't get enough of Once Upon a Wish-mas...


'All I can say is wow! This book is amazing!'' - Crazy Reader Book Blog 


'I devoured this. The kind of book that makes me fall in love with reading all over again' - Nic Reads in Heels


'I recommend this book for you to read without a second thought. There is nothing to fault about this story and I know you will enjoy it just as much as I have'- Literary Lust

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  LOVED IT!  This is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to in a long time.  I fell in love with Ruby immediately and of course the kids she nannies, Jessica and Charlotte.  Ruby is hilarious and made this story so much fun.  Barclay was pretty funny too.   A modern and wonderful story about a broken family made whole again.  Great characters with great chemistry.  

I have to give a shout out to Charlie Emmeline Albers for narrating Once Upon A Wish-mas.  The different voices she used, just made the audio!

If you need a book to get into the holiday spirit or just a really good book-this is one to grab!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I have really enjoyed all the books I have read/listen to by Laura Barnard and am always excited to read new ones!  Check out my reviews on Excess Baggage, and Tequila and Tea Bags. I need to write reviews for Bagging Alice (I loved it too)! 

Amazon Best Seller Laura Barnard lives in Herts, UK and writes romantic comedy. In her spare time she enjoys drinking her body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of her face and drooling over hunks on pinterest.

​She enjoys wearing yoga pants and reading fitness magazines while sitting on the sofa eating chocolate. She's a real fan of the power nap, loves setting her friends up together and of course READING!

​She writes not to get rich or famous, but because she LOVES writing. Even if one person tells her they enjoyed her book it makes the midnight typing worth it!

 Listen now – 

Audible UK - https://adbl.co/2BAr4CN 

Audible US - https://adbl.co/3f32Bnl 

Audible FR - https://bit.ly/3jM0bNC 

Audible DR - https://adbl.co/32YdzrP 

iTunes - https://apple.co/3j5WWzB


Read the ebook – 

UK - https://amzn.to/2BpW1px 

US - https://amzn.to/2qQ7fSk 

Worldwide - mybook.to/onceuponawishmas


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Never Ask Me

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  From New York Times bestselling author Jeff Abbott, a story of a family full of secrets. One conceals a long-hidden crime, one is trapped in a dangerous relationship. Another may be a murderer.

One seemingly perfect American family finds themselves targeted for destruction after the shocking murder of a family friend in the park behind their backyard.  Early one morning, Danielle Roberts, who lives next door to the Pollitts and has for a decade been like family to them, is found dead just beyond their property line, throwing the exclusive Winding Creek neighborhood of a wealthy Austin suburb into chaos.

The Pollitt family--dad Kyle, mom Iris, daughter Julia, and son Grant--are caught in a maelstrom of suspicion and intrigue. Ask your parents why they killed her, an anonymous email charges the son, Grant. No one can learn the truth now, thinks the father, Kyle. Never ask me what I'd do to protect my family, resolves the wife, Iris. I'll do whatever it takes to protect him, vows Julia of her best friend, Danielle's grieving teenage son, Ned, a boy in the midst of his own dangerous crisis, which may or may not have brought on his mother's murder.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  WOW! Crazy good.  This is my first Jeff Abbott book and I really enjoyed it.  I was pulled in page one. An amazing plot that includes international adoption, Russian spies, conspiracy, and murder.  I couldn't figure out who was behind it all and shocked when we find out at the end.  I can't wait to check out more of Abbott's books.   

Jeff Abbott is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels. He is the winner of an International Thriller Writers Award (for the Sam Capra thriller The Last Minute) and is a three-time nominee for the Edgar Award. He lives in Austin with his family. You can visit his website at www.JeffAbbott.com.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes.

French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she's dreamed of.

Until her career goes up in flames.

Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Very well written and the story ends well. It didn't really grab me.  In fact, I found Sophie and her story to be unbelievable.  If you like a book that takes place in France, hidden family secrets (really liked this part), and cooking, this book is for you.  I wish Sophie wasn't so weak.  I honestly can't imagine someone reacting like she did for so long or have any idea the business (an Inn/kitchen) your grandmother owned and ran.  That just seemed a little off. 

Amazon reviewers have rated this 4.5 stars, so I think it just isn't my cup of tea.

Samantha Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, at home French chef. She lives in southwestern France, where she's married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met in 1989 (but ignored for twenty years), a stepmom to two incredible kids, and the adoptive mother to a ridiculously adorable French cat. When she’s not trekking from Provence to the Pyrénées or embracing her inner Julia Child, Sam is making her best effort to relearn those dreaded conjugations.