That’s What Frenemies Are For by Sophie Littlefield and Lauren Gershell

thJulia Summers is a super wealthy mom of two who, with her gorgeous husband who adores her live on the Upper East Side where Julia’s motto is the more it costs the better!

Her lifestyle and status make her the envy of the mom’s who are beneath her at the very private school her children attend.  She can choose to speak to you while other’s look on enviously, or she can blow you off…her choice.  She is A list and her friends at the school are all A list as well.  She is invited to only the premiere events and fundraisers.  She has a nanny/housekeeper for the family.  Julia lives in a perfect bubble of a world.

But when their Hampton home floods just prior to the summer season and they have to stay in “the city”, Julia decides to take on a project.  Tatum, who is a mousy, shy spin instructor at Flame, an unknown small gym, intrigues her.  She decides to remake her.  Sort of as her protégé.

But the naïve protégé may not be exactly who she seems.  Soon, Julia finds most of her “cool” friends fawning all over Tatum.  Then they begin to distance themselves from her and she sees her status begin to go from A to B to… what is happening?  Then Julia’s husband is arrested and jailed.  Julia is not only ostracized from her group, but she is being replaced by women who were much lower on her grade level.  And now her husband is in the news…and not in a good way!

But as in most cases when you hit rock bottom, you begin to realize just who your real friends are, some who you never thought would ever give YOU the time of day.  You also begin to see what is really important in your life and the lives of your family.  Your priorities begin to change…but you still must watch out for your frenemies.

This was a funny hard to read novel.  By that I mean as the reader, you see Julia’s mistakes coming and all you want to do is tell her to stop!  But you can’t, and all you can do is let her make the mistakes…and she does!  Then you hope she will learn…

Thank you #NetGalley  #BallentineBooks #That’sWhatFrenemiesAreFor #SophieLittlefield #LaurenGershell for the advanced copy.

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

16079967The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan is a beautifully written, tender love story that intertwines two women,  Anna, who has her whole life ahead of her, and Claire, whose life is ending.  It is the story of deep love, regret, and strength.  But it is also very funny and expertly written with scenes of Paris which makes the city come to life in the reader’s mind.

Anna Trent worked in a chocolate factory in England.  She thought this is where she would be for the rest of her life.  After a serious work accident which lands her in the hospital, she finds to her surprise her roommate is none other than her childhood French teacher Claire.

As they become friends, they begin to share their life stories.  Both are filled with much love and much sorrow.  Claire sees herself in Anna and wants to help her experience both true life and true love.  Anna on the other hand just feels as if her life is over.

Claire is able to get Anna a job at the premiere Paris chocolate shop.  Anna begins her journey both excited and terrified.  As she begins to acclimate to both the French, the cast of characters at the shop, as well as her hilarious roommate who forces her into the adventures of a lifetime, she begins to come out of her shell. She reluctantly at first begins to live.

What develops are two beautiful love stories which at times are mirror images of each of the women.  The story is told by both Anna and Claire, and with Claire giving us flashbacks throughout her long life, we are able to see the similarities in both of them and also the regrets which Claire has and is desperately trying to help her friend avoid.

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is a wonderful funny story with the richness and excitement of falling in love.  There are lessons to be learned for both the characters as well as the readers.  Especially in the City of Love and especially in a chocolate shop!

Thank you #NetGalley #Sourcebooks #TheLoveliestChocolateShopinParis #JennyColgan for the free book.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

 

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All Tom Hope wanted was to tend to his sheep farm in Australia and please his wife.  Unfortunately his wife could not be pleased.  She leaves, and Tom being the patient, caring and understanding man, waits for her return.  Which she does.  Only to leave him again for good which breaks his heart.
Then a mysterious woman named Hannah comes to town via Hungary.  She is the total opposite of Tom’s ex-wife.  She is spontaneous, affectionate, smart and motivated.  She decides she wants to open a bookstore in the rural town and asks Tom to build some shelving.
But Hannah has had her own heart broken.  A survivor of the Holocaust, she has witnessed loss and hate.  These two polar opposites begin to fall in love. Tom who is not book savvy at all begins to read books Hannah suggests to him.  And thus begins a relationship of survival.  And just like it seems highly unlikely a bookshop could ever succeed in this small town, is it possible they ever will?
Can these two wounded souls ever find the happiness they both deserve or will their pasts continue to haunt them?  Are they even capable of getting the happy ending they both deserve?
Please visit the Bookstore of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman.  You will not be disappointed!
Thank you #NetGalley #G.P.Putnam’sSon’s #TheBookshopoftheBrokenHearted #RobertHillman for the advanced copy.

A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell

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A Stranger on the Beach  by Michele Campbell  is a true psychological thriller with twists and turns which continually play with you mind! 
Caroline Stark seems to have it all.  Money, beautiful things, a loving husband and daughter, but after she meets a stranger on the beach near her house, it seems her life begins to implode.
She finds out during a party she is giving at her beach house that her husband may be having an affair.  Then suddenly she discovers he has moved all their money out of their accounts leaving her penniless.  In a drunken moment, Caroline decides to have a one night stand with a stranger she has met on the beach.  She has seen him staring up at her beach house. Aiden, a local with ties to the police has a history of being a bad boy.
But Aiden does not see their relationship as a one night stand, but as a fallen head over heels love story which will endure the test of time.  As Caroline begins to regret her decision and tries to discourage Aiden’s behavior, Aiden begins to stalk her as well as her husband and her daughter.  He begins showing up in places he should not even know about.  Caroline begins to fear Aiden will hurt someone in her family.
Then during a horrible storm someone IS killed and all the reader’s theories are thrown out the beach house window!  Not everything is as it seems.  How can that be?
Caroline and Aiden tell their stories through his and her chapters and the reader gains their perspective as to how they see or understand the situations occurring.  It is up to the reader as to who to believe more. 
A Stranger on the Beach is a terrific summer read…to take to the beach! Yes, I went there!
Thank you #NetGalley  #St.Martin’sPress  #AStrangerontheBeach  #MicheleCampbell

Continue reading “A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell”

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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Since a young age all Cassie Hanwell has wanted to do was help people.  That’s why she wanted to become a firefighter.  Her dream came true and for many years she excelled at her job.  She was the only female firefighter in her firehouse in Texas.  She had earned the respect of her male colleagues. Life was good, for the most part.
But when an unexpected incident occurs at an award’s ceremony and Cassie’s ailing estranged mother begs her to come and help her she uproots her life to move to Boston to work in a small firehouse in a suburb.
She once again must begin the process of earning the respect of her male counterparts which also means being tortured by there incessant pranks!  She also has been assigned to look after the new guy, known as “the rookie”.  But things aren’t always the way they seem and not everyone is happy to have her there.
Over the course of time in Boston, Cassie learns the true meaning of forgiveness, letting your guard down so you can truly open yourself up to life, and most especially, when you choose life you can then open your heart to love.
Things You Save in a Fire is a beautiful story of a woman’s struggle which then becomes her strength, her honor, and her determination to be her true self no matter what life throws at her which can then lead to love.
Thank you so much Katherine Center and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy.  Things You Save in a Fire will be on sale on August 13.

You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman

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In the latest book, Jen Dixon our snarky entertaining hero from Class Mom reluctantly becomes the room parent for her son Max’s third grade class.  Although many of the parents/children have returned, Gelman introduces us to even more new quirky parents.
With her best friend having moved away, Jen must also deal with a new PTA President she can’t quite figure out as well as reluctantly volunteering as the new safety guard coordinator. 
Meanwhile back at the home…Jen is dealing with a mouthy Max, a husband who is never home anymore, a mother who has just finished Chemo for breast cancer and a daughter who is…following a band around Europe…sound familiar?
Gelman knows just how to deal with serious issues with a light hearted spin never detracting from the importance of the subject. 
And spin she does…when a new couple they meet takes them on one heck of a ride!
You can’t help but love Jen Dixon!  My hope is there will be a sequel to the sequel and Max will never grow up!
Laurie Gelman has another winner with You’ve Been Volunteered.
Thank you #NetGalley #HenryHoltandCo #LaurieGelman #You’veBeenVolunteered for the advanced copy.  You’ve Been Volunteered is out today.

Life Will Be the Death of Me by Chelsea Handler

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I must confess a few things…

I have always liked Chelsea Handler.  I have enjoyed both her television shows and her books.  I have seen her stand-up comedy show live and I have even met her.

She has always had a dark edge to her and the ability to say what is on her mind, something which I have always envied just a little bit.  She has always appeared to me as sarcastically scary, if that is a real thing.

But in this new book, Life Will Be the Death of Me, a new woman has emerged.  One which I must say sounds (at the age of 42ish) all grown up!

After the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Handler basically fell apart.  But she had no idea why.  During her recent Netflix series, Chelsea, she interviewed a psychiatrist, Dan Siegel and decided to make him her therapist.  Thus began her year long self-analysis journey into why she is the Chelsea Handler she has been.

Although the book covers serious subject matter, Handler does add her flair for the one liners, sarcasm and hysterical observations.

One such story is how she became to have a crush on Robert Mueller!  She knows he’s married!

Through her analysis she primarily learns that she has never really gotten over her brother Chet’s sudden death when she was very young and because she never fully accepted the death, she has had many unattainable relationship goals as well as significant issues when dealing with death. Chet’s death impacted her whole immediate family and each sibling and parent dealt with it very differently, something a young girl at the time was hardly able to understand.

Life Will Be the Death of Me is a quick read filled with humor, sadness, love and a message to everyone who has had to go through what she has had to. I have to say after reading this memoir it only makes me admire her more, and she doesn’t seem quite as scary.