Next Year in Havana

 

next year

 

As I continue to grow my reading selections I have found diverse reading clubs where I have been introduced to new budding authors. For the month of February Saltwater Reads reading group thru Instagram selected Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. Prior to last year I had not been typically drawn to historical fiction, but thru these reading groups and fellow reader suggestions I have been able to expand into a whole new genre. It has become such an amazing journey to be able to travel thru historical settings with these authors.

 

Synopsis:

Next Year in Havana follows Marisol as she sets out on a journey to lay her grandmother, Alyssa, to rest in a land she always considered home even after exile many years ago. Marisol travels to Cuba where her family had left back in the 50’s. This was a volatile situation as the regime transitioned from Batista to Castro and those who had been supporters of Batista were being taken from their homes, imprisoned, their wealth and homes taken from them and some were even executed.

Alyssa and her family made the decision to leave Cuba until Castro was either out of power or his life ended. They never expected that this would be something most of them would never see in their lifetimes. Alyssa also had a secret she held as she left Cuba with her family. She was pregnant with the child of her love and secret fiancé who she had been told had been killed in action during one of the raids.

Marisol who was practically raised by her grandmother was given the task of taking her ashes back to Cuba when it was safe to do so and lay her to rest where she felt would be appropriate. This was no small task as it was an incredibly hard task to sneak the ashes into the country without being detected. Once Marisol arrives she is taken into the care of her grandmothers childhood best friend who presents her with a box of items that she and Alyssa had buried prior to leaving. She had snuck into the Perez family’s back yard sometime after to make sure she could keep it safe.

As Marisol continues to travel around Cuba she is overcome by the way of living. She is uncovering secrets about her family and Cuba while trying to stay under the radar.

This story holds history, love, loss and the strength of family.

 

Happy Reading!

 

Next Year in Havana

By: Chanel Cleeton

Berkely Publishing 2018

Short and Sweet Romance

 

The Firefighter’s Perfect Plan by Sonya Weiss follows Josie a small town freelance photographer/videographer who is living in her hometown surrounded by friends. She has a strange and limited relationship with her family, her mother is unintentionally cruel to her without even realizing it. Then enter Lincoln her longtime “friend” and light romantic interest. He is a local firefighter and hometown hero. Josie has told a little white lie to her mother that she and Lincoln had been dating, broke up and are now trying to work out their issues.

She pitches the situation to Lincoln who is hesitant and laughing to play along. As their fake relationship continues to escalate and the lies are dug deeper with the pushing of Lincoln’s family who absolutely adore Josie they find that their feelings for each other have been growing for years.

A romantic story that ends with love, commitment and the joy of family.

 

 

The Firefighter’s Perfect Plan

By: Sonya Weiss

Entangled Publishing, LLC

March 12, 2018

ARC Courtesy of Net Gallery

The Women In the Window

women in the window

Are psychological thrillers your cup of tea? Do you love a book that throw so many curve balls at you, it keeps you guessing making you want to keep reading right to the end? Call in sick to work. Cancel those dinner plans you have had set for over a week. Push the food shopping to another day, one more day of pasta won’t hurt right?

Well this is one of those books. A. J. Finn has hit the mark with this highly anticipated thriller was worth the wait, although it sat on my TBR shelf for a week longer then I had anticipated. As it can life pushed its way into my reading plan for the month and set me on a different course.

Synopsis:

Women in the Window follows the day to day life of Anna Fox, a former child psychologist, who has agoraphobia, a fear of leaving the house. She works with her psychologist to try and overcome her fear of leaving the house, but the struggle is deep seeded and at times appears to vast to ever overcome.

To occupy her time, she has taken to hobbies such as basically visually stalking her neighborhood, peering thru open shades, using her camera to take images of the families during their daily lives and using her computer as a way to dig into each person’s past.

Things begin changing as her new neighbors begin to show up on her doorstep to get to know her. Or so she thinks. She grows closer to the teenager living across the way, Ethan. Ethan’s family is full of secrets and lies. Anna sees a woman whom she met prior who introduced herself as Ethan’s mother stabbed thru the chest thru the window. With her medical conditions and the cocktail of medications Anna is on no one believes what she saw.

Ending with an unexpected twist, you will see Anna push past her limits and overcome some of her deepest fears.

 

Happy Reading!

The Women in the Window

By: A.J. Finn

William Morrow

An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublications

The Portrait of Molly Dean

molly dean

There are stories that draw you in by the theme, location or the topics it covers, but its always heartwarming to me to find a book that makes you care and you feel so invested in the characters. The Portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovacic is one of those novels that keeps you invested.

Synopsis

You are destined to feel the loyalty Alex, a local art dealer, has for Molly Dean. She is determined to solve a 70-year-old mystery that had been covered up. Alex has her eyes set on a portrait of Molly Dean painted by her then lover before she was brutally murdered in the thirties. She was a woman who was breaking out of the norm for her time. A determined woman who wants to dedicate herself to become a journalist and writer. She finds herself in a troubled position as her social profile subject becomes more dangerous. The more she digs the more she finds she is putting herself in an unsafe place.

Alex continues to dig deeper finding road blocks at every turn. The police and coroner documents have mysteriously disappeared, the investigation in the 30’s had been very minimal, finding only one suspect who was promptly released, and all charges were dropped the day preceding the trial.

With twists and turns at every turn this book will keep you on your toes while also becoming protective of Molly as well.

 

*This novel was an ARC from Net Gallery for an honest review.

 

The Portrait of Molly Dean

By: Katherine Kovacic @Katherine.kovacic 

Echo A Division of Bonnier Publishing Austrailia

Publication Date March 1, 2018

Single State of Mind

single state of mind

 

I am unsure of how to even start writing this review for Single State of Mind by Andi Dorfman. As writing a review for a book that was not one that is a favorite and one I wouldn’t recommend to my fellow readers.

Synopsis:

I had been one of those Bachelor and Bachelorette fans up until recently. Guess I just outgrew the drama and the amount of noticeable people going on purely to travel and be “famous.” I had watched Andi as she ventured thru her two seasons with admiration for this strong independent woman who seemed to have such a put together perfect life. (I know no one is perfect) So needless to say I was excited when she announced her first novel, It’s Not Okay, which I enjoyed for the dirt of her time on the show and her journey thru love and heartbreak.

So when her second novel came out I was just as excited. Here is where my dilemma comes into play. I hate to say that this second book Single State of Mind was nothing like what I expected.

Within the first five chapters I knew it was not going to be what I though, but as a fan I pushed forward hoping there was some inspirational, words of wisdom coming at the end. Yet, none were found.

Moving to a new city is a huge change and bravo to Andi for doing it. It takes a lot of strength to do it and I applaud her for that. As the book starts she is venting on and on about how she can’t seem to afford the luxurious living accommodations she is accustomed to. I mean real estate in Atlanta VS. New York is a whole different ball game. In the midst of all this she decides to spend around $800 on a Burberry jacket? Seriously?

Thru the chapters she continues to the tell tales of dating in the city. Her expectation that she seems to hold men to as she is dating seems highly unrealistic when it comes to looks. Any man she dates she seems to form an instant opinion on them just based on looks alone. If they are hot then based on her book, they seem to have a pretty good chance at getting to know her very well. For someone who for two full seasons was trying to find love this is not what I expected from her dating life. Of course having your heart broken with a large audience of people interested in your love life would definitely affect future dating.

I am sure Andi is a strong, independent women, but this book just wasn’t my glass of wine (which she seems to drink constantly in excess.)

However, cheers to you Andi, as a reader the writing is a step up from you’re first novel. So cheers to that!

 

**Disclaimer: This is one hundred percent my own views and personal opinions.

 

Happy Reading!

Single State of Mind

By: Andi Dorfman

Gallery Books

A Certain Age

certain age.jpg

 

Now who doesn’t enjoy a fabulous historic New York society story? Well if you do as much as I do then A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams is for you. An story that depicts a time when women were beginning to break out of their shells and create change and a time when women were making the decision to not marry and to get jobs of their own.

Synopsis:

This story is told in duel perspective thru the voices of Theresa Marshall, old New York society money, who married Sylvo a wealthy businessman. They have been married for many years with an arrangement that has helped them to make it so many years. Theresa has a lover Octavian, who is a mid twenties veteran.

The second perspective comes from Sophie Fortescue, whose father “the patent King” who is new money. Her mother had passed when both her and Virgo her sister were very young. Sophie finds herself engaged to Ox, who just so happens to be Theresa’s brother, the eternal bachelor who is primarily interested in Sophie due to her father’s wealth.

Ox who believes in family traditions utilized Octavian as his cavalier in proposing and protecting his love Sophie, but no one could have expected how their story would unfold to be so intertwined.

The choices between obligations, family, and love have never been more difficult.

 

If you were a fan of fiction with a historical twist then this would be a book for you.

Happy Reading everyone!

 

A Certain Age 

By: Beatriz Williams 2017

Publisher: William Morrow

As Bright As Heaven

 

bright as heaven

 

Have you ever read a book that seems to stay with you for longer then you anticipate? A book that shakes you to the core creates a pool of emotions from happiness to tears.

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner is one of the novels that pushes forward all these emotions. It is a book that strikes every emotional chord in your body. It is so real and raw with characters that are filled with depth. They grow within the pages to have their own personalities, lives and pure beauty. The love of family knows no bounds.

 

Synopsis:

The story is told thru the dialogue and perspectives of Pauline Bright and her three daughters Evelyn, Maggie and Willa. The family relocates to the city so their father can work under the guidance of his Uncle who owns and operates a funeral home that he intends to leave to his nephew. This was at the start of the Great War and their father decides to volunteer as a medic shortly after their arrival.

As the war progresses the Spanish flu begins to spread thru the troops and then takes hold of the cities as well. As the flu continues claiming lives quicker then they can count, the Bright family finds themselves in the midst of loss.

As Maggie and her mother are visiting the sick and delivering food to the poor area of the city, Maggie discovers a home with a deceased mother and a young daughter who was on the brink of deaths door. She also discovers that what drew her to the home was an infant boy, untouched by the flu. She saves the infant boy from the house and her and her mother bring the child back with them.

As the years go by and the family suffers deep loss, love and discovery of there own selves the author creates a world that is not only emotional, but relatable as well.

In a twist of fate Evelyn discovers the link between one of her patients and the baby, who has not grown into a darling toddler. The lives of Bright family turn to turmoil as they battle their conscious against right and wrong.

 

I can’t express to you how this book hit each and every emotion within my being. It is a novel that stays with you in the midst of your mind for days following the ending. For me that is a rare occurrence, but also one that you want to recommend to everyone you pass in the streets.

 

I hope anyone who reads it experiences the same emotions and love for this book as I did.

Happy Reading!

As Bright As Heaven

By: Susan Meissner

Publication date: February 6th, 2018

Berkley

Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Valentine Kisses

 

valentine kisses

We all know that February is an interesting month. You have made it thru the first month of the New Year, you may or may not have lapsed on your resolutions and the holiday approaching is one people either love or dislikes. Yes we all know what it is…. Valentine’s Day! Where many celebrate love, while some take the day as any old day and make no fuss.

For me Valentine’s Day means some romantic love stories. Holiday reads have become some of my favorites. I am big on holidays that celebrate family, love and religions so having great reads to accompany them is icing on the cake!

This past week I was sent an ARC Kindle read from NetGallery called Valentine Kisses by Ann B. Harrison (pub date 2/5/18) and I was thrilled to have my first Valentines holiday read. It was one of those novels that you start reading and become so invested in the main characters that you can’t help but fly thru to the end.

 

Sysnopsis:

Bella, a celebrity chef who had won the on the show Master Chef is pushed into taking a six month vacation when her manager thinks she is heading towards a burn out or breakdown. This brings Bella to Cherry Lake where her sister owns an inn that is in the beginning stages of remodeling. Within her first twenty four hours in Cherry Lake she has taken over the kitchen of the inn to use to test the recipes for her next upcoming cookbook.

The following day as Bella starts out her cooking the ancient stove causes a grease fire that brings the handsome firefighter Jake to the rescue. Jake a single father who happens to be the son of the man who owns the cabin Bella is renting for her stay has no knowledge of Bella’s celebrity and befriends her quickly.

As their relationship grows and love takes over both are torn between the two worlds. Bella is due to go back to the city at the end of the six months while Jake struggles with the celebrity of it all and his obligations to his son.

Can love really conquer all?

Check out Valentine Kisses coming February 5th 2018 to find out.

 

Happy Reading!

Valentine Kisses

By Ann B. Harrison

Publication Date: February 5th 2018

The Wife Between Us

 

wife between us

After a crazy and hectic holiday season, January has come as such a relief to finally be able to get back on a writing schedule as well as a reading schedule! It did take a bit longer then I had anticipate as week one of January took me out at the knees with what we all dread during the winter in New England…… the Flu. It was awful and long and not only pushed me to bed to rest but had me sleeping for three straight days. Needless to say getting ahead on my TBR list that I am so excited to dive into didn’t happen right away. Well that’s life it lifts you up and sometimes it just knocks you down.

So while I was on my beautiful family vacation to Bermuda last week (still was not feeling well sadly) I was able to take time and dive into my reading list. One of the books that had been in my carry on, which I packed two weeks in advance thankfully, was The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This also happens to be the book selection for the @Saltwaterreads book club thru Instagram. If you have not checked them out yet please do. It’s an amazing group of readers and their monthly selections have been incredible.

 

Synopsis:

I really don’t want to give anything away because this plot has so many twists and turns right up until the final paragraph.

Nellie was married to Richard and had the picture perfect marriage, from the outside. Richard was successful, supported Nellie so she could stay home. They have a beautiful home in the suburbs and Nellie needs for not.

Looks are not what they appear as Nellie soon finds out. The story then bounces to post divorce when Nellie is now attempting to warn Emma, Richard’s new fiancé, of his behavior and violent tendencies if she is not the picture perfect wife.

In the end there are many shocking revelations that will throw you for a loop.

 

If you were a fan of novels such as The Girl on the Train, The Lying Game or Final Girls then you will love this as well.

Happy Reading everyone!

The Husband Hour

 

husband hour boo

 

This gripping novel by Jamie Brenner was sent to me as a result of winning an advance reader copy thru an Instagram @amylynnlifestyle contest late last month. So this had to be my first read of 2018. I couldn’t have been luckier then to have the opportunity to read this before many, and I will say for everyone who wants to read this in April…. It is worth the wait!

 

Synopsis:

Lauren Kincaid finds herself a young widow after her formerly professional hockey player, turned army ranger husband Rory Kincaid is killed in action over seas. Lauren falls into a deep depression and moves out to her family’s beach house year round to be alone without anyone to push her to “move on.” She also wants to avoid the press and the people who are interested in using her husband’s life for a movie or documentary.

Four years later she finds herself, and what she has come to think of as her home, now invaded by her mother, sister and young nephew. Her father also is there but is traveling pretty frequently. She is also approached by filmmaker Matt Brio about being interviewed for a documentary he is producing about the affects of concussions on athletes and soldiers. He finds her husband a perfect case study since he was both.

As the summer unfolds and Lauren starts to open up and finally talk with her sister, mother and even Matt she finally admits some of her demons as well as discovering that her sister, father and mother also hold secrets she never would have imagined.

 

This is a story of overcoming grief, guilt and the ability to move on after a horrible event, and having the strength to push forward. If you have ever had the pleasure to read a novel by Jamie Brenner then I know you will love this next novel.

 

Happy Reading!

 

The Husband Hour by: Jamie Brenner @JamieBrennerAuthor

Coming in April 2018

Little, Brown and Company @Littlebrown

 

*Disclosure: this is not a paid review, but my own views and opinions.