2022 Goodreads challenge: 70 / 60

The Heart Break Club


JUNE WRAP UP


Ghosts

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved the book. The writing was beautiful, the story intriguing…but the end just left me speechless. There was zero point to the whole story, the finish was rushed and it made the excitement of the rest of the book crumble. Shame.

Nina is in her early thirties, finally bought a small house she loves and is thriving as a food author. What she misses? Love. When her best friend Lola convinces her to sign up onto a dating app, the meets Max. He is perfect. They are inseparable. But the day after saying I love you for the first time, he disappears in thin air. While dealing with the heartbreak, she also has to deal with her father slowly losing his memory and her mother unable to cope with it. Everyone around her is moving on, her ex, her childhood friend, even her best friend with her new found love…while she is stuck in the same place as before. Until one night, coming back home, she finds Max waiting at her door steps. they rekindle their relationship…and than he ghosts her again. The end. ( see why the ending left me speechless? )


The Wish List

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Liked, but not loved as much as her other books. Though it was definitely a fun, easy going read.

Florence has only 2 loves: her cat Marmalade and her job at the bookshop. She has a counting habit, and no one she met so far, has eve neem able to stick around for long. When her sister announces her engagement to the most boring man on earth, her step-mom arranges an appointment for Florence to meet Gwendolyn, a love coach. On her first appointment, she is asked to make a wish list with all the characteristics her dream man should have. And when a man appears in the bookshop and asks her out for a coffee, it seems to good to be true: he ticks most boxes. While they start going out, at work the owner’s nephew show up out of the blue to try and help take the business in the current century, and though they do not get along at first, there is definitely something about him. He might not be perfect on paper, but he is caring, interested in her attempts to write a children’s book, attentive, and shares her love for the bookshop. On the other hand, her boyfriend is starting to show his true colors, which end with a proof of infidelity during the stag do of her sister’s soon-to-be husband. When that puts the end to her hopes to find love, there is one question to be answered….wasn’t what she really needed always right in front of her?


Daisy Jones & The Six

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am so happy I decided to pick up this book. I heard so much about it but initially wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea, and how wrong I was! It was difficult to put it down. Not only the story is amazing, but the best part is how it’s narrated…from so many different perspectives, interview style, which makes it so dynamic and quick to read. Loved it!

There is so much happening in the book that makes it hard to make a summary of it….but think of rock’n’roll, love, fame, music, addiction: basically everything that a band and its members go through, from the early beginnings, into fame, and unfortunately, into a break up at the end.


The Last Thing He Told Me

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Not my usual genre, but absolutely loved every minute of it!

Before Owen disappears, he manages to leave a note for his wife Hannah ( “Protect her” ) and a lot of money in her daughter Bailey’s locker. Hannah doesn’t know what to do, but she knows that Owen would never leave Bailey behind and that note means only one thing: she needs to do everything she can to protect her step-daughter, who doesn’t like her very much. Owen’s boss has been arrested, FBI and Marshals appear at her door, but nothing about Owen, and she doesn’t know how to find him or why he disappeared. Set on finding out herself, she starts to gather clues, and asks Bailey to help, to see if she remembers anything from their past. Because when Hannah called her ex in NYC for help, he confirmed one worrying detail: Owen and Bailey don’t exist and seems that everything Owen ever told her was a lie. But she knows Owen, and decides to venture on a mission of her own, that takes her to Austin, in Texas. There she discovers everything, one clue and one step a time, uncovering Owen’s true past and the reason why he left. Which will also be the reason why he will never be able to come back. And that means that Hannah and Bailey are now left alone, to build a future together, as mother and daughter.


Undercover Bromance

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Second book of the series so far that I am reading, and I liked it better than the first. There is thrill and emotions in this one, was a fun and really entertaining read.

Braden is the founder of a book club for man, where they read romance to become better lovers and partners. But when he meets Liv, he will soon discover that what he learned is not quiet enough. Liv was living her dream job as pastry chef in one of the top restaurants in Nashville, when one night she accidentally drops a 1000$ cupcake on Braden’s date and gets fired. That same night, she discovers that her boss is harassing a young hostess, and she decides to make it her mission to bring the guy down. It’s easier said that done, because in the meantime, he is shutting down every chance for her to get a job in the city, so she has no other choice that to turn to Braden for help, who gladly takes the opportunity to ruin the guy’s life. The mission, initially meant to be a secret, is now involving everyone around them, including the book club, and while all of them realize that there is something going on between Braden and Liv, they both try very hard to keep things professional. It takes a while for Liv to discover that even her best friend has been a victim and to convince her to help her out. And when she does, they discover that this has been going on for years, and that the victims are many. Once they decide on the best occasion to strike the fatal blow, during the press release of his upcoming recipes book, they all gather together to make it happen. And by than, they will not only celebrate their victory, but also falling in love with each other.


Twice Shy

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fantastic story about new beginnings and how love can be found in the mist unexpected places. Loved!

Maybell is stuck in a job she doesn’t like, surrounded by people she can’t stand. All she ever wanted was a chance to stop being a housekeeper, but even after her promotion to events coordinator, nothing really changed. When she gets a call that her aunt passed and left her a house in inheritance where Maybell used to spend time as a kid, she decides to walk out on her job and never look back. The story gets a bit complicated when she gets to the house: not only it’s falling apart, but she will not be alone in it. The house was left to her and to the groundkeeper: Wesley. To make it more fun, he looks exactly like the man she has been day dreaming about, thanks to a colleague of hers that used his face as a fake dating profile to trick Maybell. Once inside, the house is nothing like she remembered: it’s not pink and it’s full of junk to the brim. And Wesley is a grumpy man who has a very different image on how the house should look like in future. He wants an animal shelter, and she wants a hotel. But with nowhere else to go, she is forced to stay in Wesley’s cabin, where they find her aunt’s dying wishes. Set on making them come true, and by spending more time together, both their guards start crumbling down, and ultimately they decide to work on the project together and make both of their visions come true. When they find a treasure map that her aunt’s husband left for her, they set on the adventure, of discovery and of love, that will lead to make everyone’s wishes come true: her aunt’s, hers, and Wesley’s.


It Only Happens In The Movies

Rating: 3 out of 5.

When I picked up this book I had no idea it was a YA novel. I finished it, and though I didn’t love it, I liked it.

After a recent breakup, Audrey is over romance. She was dumped in the worst of ways, and for the worst of reasons. At home, she is dealing with her mother who cannot get over her divorce, and when her father threatens to sell their house, things just get worse. She has alienated herself from her friends, too shy to tell them about the reason of her breakup, and she even gave up on her only love: drama club, because her ex is also in it. With nowhere to hide, she buries herself in her new job at the local cinema, where she meets Harry, a flirtatious and charming wanna-be director, who immediately head-hunts her for his upcoming zombie movie as a zombie bride. While spending time together, she tries her best not to fall in love with him, to no avail. On the plus side, being back into acting is proving therapeutic, and exactly what she needs to gather her courage to talk to her dad, and come out to her friends about her break up experience. There is of course a happy ending, but it’s definitely not an easy or straight road. Because, let’s face it, it never is.


Sunrise By The Sea

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It took me some time to fall in love with this book, but I definitely did in the end. Who doesn’t like a story of retiring somewhere in the middle of nowhere, to find yourself, friends and a new passion, and love right next door? Duh…

Marisa is struggling to get over her grandfather passing, anxiety ripping through her while everyone else around her keeps going on with their lives…how do they do it? Thrown out of her shared apartment for being too gloomy, she ends up in the middle of nowhere, an island of Cornwall, in a beautiful little cottage by the sea, perfect for her solitude, and where she can keep doing her registrar job online. But when she realizes that she moved right next to a piano teacher who believes playing all day and night is ok, she doesn’t know what to do. She is too scared to leave the house or talk to anyone, so probably a note through the door will do? Things definitely don’t go as planned, but slowly slowly her barriers start coming down…somehow she reconnects with her grandmother through Skype, and when she sends her a take care package with food from Italy, she rediscovers the love for food and cooking again…so much so to share her meals with her noisy neighbor, a Russian piano teacher that looks like a bear and barely speaks English. When a huge storm approaches, threatening the little village, she takes the biggest leap of all, leaving the house and lending a helping hand to Polly, the town baker, who discovers Marisa’s talent with food and together have a crazy idea: open the bakery in the evening and make pizza. This is exactly what Polly needed, who was struggling to make ends meet, but Marisa needed it more than anyone. Just when she was finally settled, with a job, a community, and growing feelings for her odd neighbor, her grandma’s health turns for the worst, and Marisa embarks on a journey to Italy, to see her family again. This little town really changed everything for Marisa, so much so that when her grandma passes away, she is able to keep her anxiety at bay, truly reconnect with her family, and makes it back to Polly and her neighbor in one piece. Now there is only one thing left for Marisa to fix: does his neighbor feel the same way about her than she does about him? It will take an odd 8 year old birthday party to find out!


Why Mummy’s Sloshed

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third of her books ( well actually the 4th of the series ) and loved it just as much as the others. I believe this is a book that every mother should read, at least to give you piece of mind that no one is perfect and we are all trying to do the best we can. Written in the usual witty, funny, no-BS way that it’s her signature style, in this 4th book her kids are grown up, but still acting like they can’t function without her; she divorced and trying to get back in the game; and is still putting up the the usual issue of having people around her that think they can do parenting better than her. Between her job on the line, and trying not to kill her ex-husband’s new younger partner, she finds small victories in spending time with her friends, with their common best companion: the largest glass of wine possible. A true miracle also ensues when her ex-husband finally pulls his weight as a father, helping her in a time of need, and surprise surprise, there is an unexpected happy ending that no one saw coming.


The Summer Job

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was an awesome read! A total delight, funny from start to finish. Loved it!

When her best friend Heather gives up a sommelier gig in Scotland to follow her boyfriend in Italy, Birdy takes her place…how hard can it be? In the end, she badly needs a place to stay, so this will do. But once there, she realizes that the low key hotel and operation she was expecting, it’s anything but. The hotel, though undergoing some renovations, is actually as posh as it can get, and she is supposed to fill the shoes of a world class sommelier. Not only she has zero clue about wine, but she also didn’t tell Heather about it. Set on making it work no matter what, she gets studying, and somehow makes her way through it all creating minimal suspicion, really enjoying the job and making some real friends. Especially with hot chef James, with whom she tries very hard not to get attached. Just when she can actually wing it and successfully hosts the yearly wine Experts dinner, Heather shows up and Birdy is about to lose it all: the job, the friends, James, and above all, her best friend. But don’t fret, there is a happy ending in sight, after a totally unexpected final plot twist…and there is far more to the story, but you will just have to read the book to find out more!


The Art Of Mentoring

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A short and concise book about what it takes to be a mentor, and the benefits of being one. Very easy to read and understand, and full of advice. Great read before one is about to start his/her mentoring journey. All is theoretical though, so if you are looking for a book with more examples, and step-by-step methodology, than this is not it.


MAY WRAP UP


The Layover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This one was too cute for words. Witty, funny, romantic, but with an underlying topic that seems to be very frequent in the last novels I have been reading: women who struggle to stand up for themselves, who accept less than their worth, and who embark on a journey of courage and self discovery. Loved!

Ava is about to embark on her last flight. After 10 years, it’s enough, and she will get married to her lawyer fiancé who will provide for her everything she has ever wanted: stability, a home, love. Right? Her flight to Belize with 24hrs layover seems like the perfect send off until she realizes that impossibly-handsome-ex-pilot Jackson will be on the same trip. She cannot stand the guy: not only he cheated on his fiancé with every possible cabin crew, but he is also the one that years ago covered for her cheating ex boyfriend the day she discovered him in bed with someone else. When they are stranded in Belize for longer than planned due to a technical issue, she starts to spend more time with him, and also comes to a realization: she doesn’t want to quit her job, and she definitely doesn’t want to exchange it for standing around waiting for her busy fiancé to come home every night. And when she tells him, it’s over. In 24hrs, her life has changed. Fueled by anger, sadness and too much rum, she ends up spending time with Jackson, getting to know him, and discovering that everything she thought she knew about him was not the truth. Despite being so soon, they can’t help but being together, until her ex fiancé shows up, ruining everything. And even though Ava sends him away, clear on her feelings for Jackson, he cannot digest the lie and the secrets, and cuts all ties with her on the flight and disappears the moment they land back home. What he doesn’t know, is that Ava is not ready to give up that easily just yet…


Act Your Age, Eve Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Quiet unexpected, since I didn’t read the first 2. Steamy in parts, touching on autism, sprinkled with family drama and iced with the road to discovery of oneself. Actually really loved it in the end, and bought myself the first 2 I missed!

Eve is mess. She starts million projects and businesses and never carries any one long enough to make a career out of it. After her latest recent disaster, where she ruined her friend’s wedding, her parents decide to cut her out and ask her to find herself a place to live. Behind the wheel with destination unknown, she stumbles on a B&B with a sign on: they are looking for a chef. Will the fact that she bakes, count? The owner Jacob, a polar opposite of Eve, is not intentioned to give Eve a chance, but when she accidentally runs him over with her car, he has no choice to concede: he needs help. Turns out Eve is actually good at this, too good, and before long she is winning everyone over: his kitchen, his guests, his friends, and ultimately himself. They are both trying so hard not to give in, with the whole employee-boss relationship going on, but all efforts are futile and their barriers fall down. Scared to lose her, as he is not one easy to let his guard down, he is proven right when her whole family show up at the B&B, worried for her. And when the truth comes out, that she was never going to stay there after all, Jacob pushes her away. Back home, Eve finally finds the courage to stand up for herself in front of her family, and she makes a decision: that B&B, and Jacob, are her home…and she will do anything to get them both back.


What You Wish For

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Very interesting read, and unfortunately, very closed to today’s news. A great story covering everything from loss to love, from community to PTSD, from school shootings to hope. Really loved.

Sam loves her job as a librarian in the town’s school. Without parents of her own, she was taken in by a couple who built the most amazing school ever. When the beloved principal ( and Sam’s “dad” ) suddenly passes away during his 60th birthday party that Sam organized for him, she has a feeling that nothing will ever be the same. But there is some respite to her sadness when the new principal is announced: Duncan. Sam knows him from another school where they worked together, and aside from having a huge crush on him, she remembers him as the funniest and best teacher she has ever known. But the new Duncan turns out to be nothing like what she remembered, and when he threatens to enforce unheard of rules to her beloved school, she knows that she needs to stage an intervention. When she finds out the real reason why Duncan has changed so much, with the help of her “mom” and some other teachers, she puts together a plan…to help him and to help the school, going back to what they used to be….it so happens, that they fall in love during the process.


The Lucky Escape

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Absolutely loved this one, the perfect pool read. It’s got everything: the drama, the romance, and a women’s journey to self discovery.

When Annie is left at the altar, she has no idea what to do. After an understandable amount of time spent grieving, she decides to channel her anger by attending a boot camp, where she runs into Patrick, an old friend from school she hasn’t seen in 20 years. When her were-to-be parents in law push Annie to go on the planned honeymoon by herself, she finds herself joking with Patrick about it, who ultimately ends up going with her to Australia. During this trip, Annie thinks about her relationship with her ex Alexander, but the more time she spends with Patrick, the more she discovers herself and how much she missed that. Unable to hide their feelings, they form a relationship despite trying their best not to, but things get hard once reality hits once back home. Annie is offered a job overseas, and she goes to the interview without checking with Patrick, putting a strain on their new love. But Annie doesn’t want to make the same mistakes again, she doesn’t want to depend on a man to be the person she wants to be. Will Annie be able to find balance, and live her love with Patrick at the same time? I guess you will have to read to find out!


It Happened One Summer

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I actually really liked this one! Properly steamy in some parts, but also properly cute. I loved the story of redemption, the clash of two totally different realities, and the dreamy fiction of a real man character ( wish they were all like him). Nice!

Piper is leaving a care free socialite’ life in LA, but when her “boyfriend” of 3 weeks dumps her, calling her shallow, she decides to take revenge by breaking into a hotel pool and invite 200 people. After her arrest, her step dad decides to ship her to her childhood hometown in a small fishing village in Washington state, to learn a lesson. Luckily, her sister Hannah goes with her. They will stay in the studio above the town’s bar, that used to belong to their late father. The arrival is a shock to the system, and on the first night she meets Brendan, a grumpy ship captain who thinks she won’t last a minute. But Piper is determined to prove him, her stepdad, and everybody wrong, and decides to bring the bar back to life. During this time, she starts making connections in town, and bumps into Brendan continuously, until they develop an undeniable attraction. Unable to fight it, they become lovers and ultimately fall in love…but there are too many ghosts in their relationship: in Piper’s, her “real life” in LA; in Brendan’s, his late wife who passed away. Insecurities threaten to tear them apart, and when LA starts calling her back for a revival party, Brendan pushes her away, thinking that she will always chose her old life instead of him. Initially hesitant to go back, a series of events pushes Piper back to LA, but once there, she knows that this is no longer her home…and luckily, Brendan will be there to catch her. He is her home.


To Sir, With Love

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I didn’t think I would, but boy, I loved this book so much. Total romance, sprinkled with some family drama, online dating, and broken dreams never followed. Loved!

Gracie gave up her dream of becoming an artist when her father passed away and left his beloved champagne store for her to manage. Well, in theory he left it to all 3 siblings, but the others were smarter than her and went on living their lives, leaving everything for her to do. The store is not doing well, and there is one big corporation led by Sebastian Andrews, who wants to buy out her remaining lease and transform her life work into a parking. Not having anyone to talk to, she turns to Sir, someone she met online, whom she never met, and doesn’t know what he looks like. But their connection is her life line, and while she feels like she is slowly falling in love with Sir, Sebastian keeps taking space into her life, making her question everything. When it’s clear that the store is going nowhere, no matter the latest attempts by a newly joined force between all 3 siblings, Gracie decides it’s time to let go, and pursue her life. And just on the closing night, an art gallery owner shows up to check her paintings and offers to display them to the public. It seems like a dream come true, until she finds out that it was Sebastian who sent the man to her. Scared to be another one of his charity cases, she pushes him away, angry of her growing feelings for him. It will take some time for Gracie to overcome this and decide to take the leap, and while she accepts the art gallery offer and prepares for the exhibition, she reaches out to Sir to finally meet. He agrees: he will come at opening night, with a pink rose in his lapel. And when that man appears on that night, it’s everything that Gracie secretly wanted, but nothing she would have ever expected.


On A Night Like This

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love, love, love! What an amazing and cute story, that is yes romantic, but not only. It is also a quest into finding one self and letting go of things that don’t resonate with you anymore.

Fran has been jumping from one PA job to another for the past 10 years. And she misses it. She had to give up on travelling and dreams, when she said yes to her boyfriend of 12 years, who banned her from ever leaving the city. When an unprecedented and secret job comes up, she decides to take it, not knowing she would be a PA to a celebrity singer for one week…and the job entails travelling to Italy, in a yacht. When she meets her new boss, Juliette, they create a relationship similar to a friendship, and on the night before Juliette’s performance at the coveted Crystal ball, they exchange way too many secrets and bottles of champagne, and when they wake up the next day, Juliette has totally changed. She sends Fran to land to get something she doesn’t need, where she bumps into the most beautiful man she has ever seen. Running back to the boat, she realizes she was left stranded without a reason, cash or passport. Making her way to the hotel where the Crystal Ball will take place, Juliette’s manager arranges for her to stay there until the next morning. Juliette’s make up artist shows up as previously arranged, and forces Fran to make the experience of a lifetime: the dress is there, she will do the make up and hair, and Fran will go to the ball. And while she tries to make herself invisible, she bumps into that man, Evan, who offers to be her guide around the ball. They spend the most magical night, but in the morning, Fran needs to catch that plane back to reality. Once there, she will not only break her engagement, but also get the best new job, an apology from Juliette, and hopefully, find true love with the most beautiful man she have ever seen.


A Brush With Love

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Very cute, very romantic, but very witty and funny, with brushes of vulnerability, touching on the stigma around anxiety and how people suffering from this deal with the world around them in a way we will never truly understand.

Harper is awaiting placement into a top oral surgery residency program, and focuses only on her studies. That is her whole life ( and some crazy amazing friends she is surrounded by ), until one day she crushes into a Dan, a breathtaking student from year one, who is about to turn her life upside down. Harper suffers from deep anxiety, ever since she lost her mother in a car accident when she was 12. But from that day when she helps Dan in the laboratory, she can feel her walls crumbling down. Dan, on the other hand, has fallen for Harper almost immediately, but he is battling with other issues: he was forced into this line of study by his mom, after his famous oral surgeon dad’s passing. No matter how much they try to stay only friends upon Harper’s request, they can’t resist the passion and love pulling them together. And this does nothing else than increase Harper’s anxiety, who for once in her life is putting a person on top of her career, with her focus diminishing and affecting her studies. She will leave soon for her residency, and she doesn’t want to get too close. When she misses one exam, she decides to push Dan away, scared to loose everything she worked so hard for. And Dan, heartbroken, decides to visit his estranged mom, who finally gives him her blessing to pursue the career in finance he always dreamed of. And he moves to NYC. It will take a good dose of courage for Harper to understand she made a terrible mistake, and pushed by her best friends, she takes an impromptu trip to NYC to see is she can still salvage what she is afraid is lost forever.


Something Wilder

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have been waiting for this new book for a long time and was totally unexpected and totally different than what I read from them so far. That is why it took me some time to get hooked, but in the end it wasn’t that bad at all!

Lily grew up as the daughter of notorious treasure hunter Duke Wilder, who one day picked up and left to embark on new adventures, not telling her he sold the beloved ranch she considered her home, and where she met her one true love, Leo. Fast forward to today, she is broke, without the ranch, and organizes cowboy style tours in Utah with her friend Nicole. When one day unexpectedly, Leo shows up with his friends for one of said tours, she is angry, but all those past emotions start bubbling back to the surface: he left and never called her back, so why she still feels for him? Leo feels exactly the same. Once on the tour, things go very wrong, but caught up into Lily’s father journal that holds the promises of finding a long lost treasure, her and Leo decide to embark on the adventure. During this time, they clear all of their past misunderstandings and find each other again…but will they find the treasure? and a way to live the life they both want?


Your Time To Thrive

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Another exceptional read, on how to counteract burn out and increase the quality of life. Full of examples, mini steps on how to apply easy to introduce changes into our lives, to make the best of it, in and outside of work. A huge importance is put on how taking care of ourselves and our wellbeing, will increase our productivity, our relationships and our quality of life. From sleep, to exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, the book shows you the way and gives you the tools to implement right away into your routine, without disrupting it or advising changes that you wouldn’t able to sustain. What I liked the most, was the summaries at the end of each chapter, which you can go back to any time you need to remind yourself that the most important thing is you, and taking care of yourself. Loved it!


Ten Rules For Faking It

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Super cute, easy to read, full on romance. Loved it!

Everly hates birthdays. Since forever, this day is always marked with something embarrassing, and she should have listened to her 6th sense and stayed home. This birthday is no different, when she decides to show up to her boyfriend’s flat with a surprise breakfast, only to find him in bed with someone else. Once at work, she rants about it with her friend and co-worker Stacey, only to realize too late they were on-air the whole time. Once home, she decides that enough is enough and drafts a 10 points list on how to start living again. At work, her radio station boss Chris, is battling with his controlling father, who is threatening to shut the station down as it’s not financially viable, but when an outpour of support comes in towards Everly’s story, Chris has an idea on how to save the station: Everly would have to go on bachelorette style dates with guys selected by the audience, and at the end, choose “her one”. Initially scared due to her underlying anxiety issues, Everly gives in…she just vowed to herself 10 rules on how to be braver and get out there, and this is a good start as any. But during the process, Chris’s feelings continue to grow towards her, something he has kept hidden since the moment he met her. He couldn’t show it on the outside, being her boss and all, but also because his radio job was always meant to be temporary: he needs to go back to NYC at some point. While Everly embarks on her dates, she discovers a new side of Chris she didn’t know before, and as they start spending more time together, she starts developing feelings she shouldn’t have. When her contest is coming to an end, she is unable to choose, because the right one was in front of her all along.


The Power of Letting Go

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have never been one to read this type of books much, but I guess there is always the right time in your life for everything. And this book couldn’t have found me at a better time. It was not only easy to ready, but it “made sense” to me. It was well explained, it had back up and logic to it, to the point that I stopped and wondered: ” Why didn’t I do this earlier?”. I have started already to put some of the exercises into practice, and I am sure I will be going back to the pages more than once to remind to myself what’s important and what I can do to change my life for the better. What are the small intentional steps that I can take to get what I want in life. I found a way to try and get unstuck from my situation, and I will be forever grateful to the person who recommended this book to me.


The Road Trip

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cute. Didn’t love it as much as Flat Share, but there were some unexpected moments, unresolved feelings, and a lot of history that made the story interesting.

Addie is about to embark on a long drive with her sister towards Scotland, to attend a friend’s wedding. But, when a car slams into them, it’s more than shock. In the car, there is Addie’s ex, Dylan, and his best friend Marcus. Both of whom she didn’t see for more than a year, after a traumatic break up. Since the car is totaled, the sisters have no option but to give them a ride, and since Rodney is also in the car ( apparently a friend of the bride’s ), the 5 of them squeeze into the Mini and the fun begins. Both Addie and Dylan try to keep their emotions at bay, but it’s not easy with Marcus around: a true trouble maker that continues to make things worse. During the story, narrated from both Dylan’s and Addie’s perspective, we are taken back and forth between present and past, finding out how their story was born, how it evolved, and the real reason why it ended. But their own drama is not the only excitement during the trip, as all sorts of things happen that really makes it almost impossible for them to reach the wedding on time. And when they do, all what you will be wondering is: will Addie and Dylan get back together?


Choosing ME Before WE

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What an absolutely brilliant and helpful book. The perfect read at the perfect time.

Not so long ago, someone told me I don’t love myself enough, and that this apparent small problem, was the catalyst of all my bigger ones. I believed this person until a certain extent, until I didn’t start reading this book. It gave me so much insight, so much strength, a lot of advice, and also support: because while reading the pages, I felt like I was not the only one, and not alone in this. It also gave me hope, and empowerment. Hope, because it is clear that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Empowerment because there is only one truth: nothing changes unless you change and do something about it. I already learned to love myself a little more after finishing this book, and I truly believe this will be one of those rare books that I will re-read one day.


APRIL WRAP UP


Quando Si Avvera Un Desiderio

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Il Tempo Del Diavolo

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tutta Un’Altra Musica

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Piccoli Desideri

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Il Sentiero Perduto Delle Arance

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I Segreti Della Villa in Collina

Rating: 4 out of 5.

L’Ultimo Regalo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Il Mio Segreto

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Un Appuntamento in Riva al Mare

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mia Suocera e’ un Mostro

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Prima Regola: Non Innamorarsi

Rating: 5 out of 5.

MARCH WRAP UP


Forgive me

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book. There is so much pain but also hope, from beginning to end.

Claudia Winters finally took the decision to leave her abusive husband, and start a new life with her daughter and mother. Having enough money to do so, she decides to buy a house and using her skills, she fully redecorates it, making it a home and safe haven. She makes friends, and she even finds a job, but Claudia knows the past won’t stay hidden for long and always fears that something might happen and take away their new found freedom. One night, when they are about to go out all together, last minute her mother decides to stay back. And that is when life is about to change forever again. A fire is set to the house and her mother make it out barely alive, burnt in multiple places. Claudia is convinced that her ex-husband is behind this, but so far they only have one suspect: Archie, a young troubled boy who was just following orders…a kid that could be so much more, but is tied to a criminal way of life, always scared that something bad will happen to him or his mother, whom he is taking care of. While in prison, he spends his time writing letters addressed to Claudia’s mother, asking for a forgiveness he knows he is not entitled to. While Claudia’s mother is in hospital, some her new found friends want to propose a new law system called restorative justice, whereby the victim and offender meet to try and find forgiveness and peace. At first, for obvious reasons, Claudia is dead against it, until hey receive Archie’s letters. Her mom, willing to start living again and forgetting what happened, decides to give it a try. And though the ending is a bit abrupt and given, what happens during this sessions will melt your heart.


The Island of Missing Trees

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have read all of her books, and they are always magical, with unexpected characters that come into life with their point of view. This book was no different. Though it took me a bit to warm to it, I really liked it in the end. Best part? The alternating narrative between the fig tree and adolescent Ada. Be ready for an unexpected ending…

Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna that houses a beautiful fig tree. Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other, until war comes and takes everything away, disrupting also the love story that was born below its branches. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he’s searching for lost love. Back at the taverna, he decides to take a branch of the ficus with him back to the UK where he now lives, and give it a new life. Luckily, he founds Defne and in the end she agrees to travel with him back to the UK.

Years later, that Ficus grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. She is a teenager, who lost her mom, and is struggling to find her way in the world. Just when at school she receives an assignment that forces her to interview a family member, her aunty Meryem appears for a visit, bringing a taste of Cyprus and family connections in Ada’s life. Initially reluctant to open her heart to her, in the end Ada rediscovers her identity thanks to her.


The Personal Librarian

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A really interesting story based on true facts, that I am sure not a lot of people know of. I was loving some parts of the book, and some others not so much. The way Belle was working hard to make a name for herself, how she built her reputation in a man’s world, how she travelled, curated and built one of the best libraries of the world, was truly inspiring.

Belle is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate his collection for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. She has taste and incredible negotiating skills, and becomes one of the most respected people in the art and book world, only moving in the best society circles in NYC and in Europe as well. Her only secret: she is not Portuguese and white. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. While her professional career soars, she is continuously trying hard to conceal who she really is, always scared that someone will find out and take away from her what she has built. The story also touches on her relationship with JP Morgan, his kids, and her family.


The Cellist

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I usually adore his novels, and I was really excited about this one…but somehow, it fell short. It didn’t have the usual suspense for me this time, so unfortunately it is not between my favorites.

Viktor Orlov, one of Russia’s richest man, receives documents contaminated with a deadly nerve agent and dies in his Chelsea home. This episode triggers a whirlwind, especially because the envelope was delivered by a prominent investigative reporter from the anti-Kremlin Moskovskaya Gazeta, who managed to flee the country before being identified. Gabriel Allon feels that she has been set up, and set to find who killed his good friend Orlov, starts an investigation that takes him all around Europe. The help of the former employee of the world’s dirtiest bank, a cellist, will be key to find the real murderer and uncover a secret society, the Haydn group, who’s mission is to destroy the West from within, and put the world’s power into Russia’s hands.


The Maidens

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was for sure an interesting read. And with a final twist that I was certainly not expecting, that kept me glued to the pages, wondering what will the end be like. Much like his first book, I actually rather enjoyed it, despite this one being slightly more gruesome.

Mariana is a group therapist, troubled by the recent loss of her husband. When her niece Zoe calls her for help, after one of her friends is found murdered, Mariana is immediately on her way to support her. Arrived on campus, where she was herself a student, she can’t help herself to start a quest for the truth, especially when another girl is found dead, killed in the same fashion. What these girls have in common: they are called the Maidens and are a selected group of female favorite students of Greek tragedy Professor, Edward Fosca. Mariana is set on Fosca as the main suspect, as some clues coming up clearly direct to him, but his alibi is always confirmed, especially when a third victim surfaces. Left with no choice, she decides to apply her knowledge as a group therapist to The Maidens and Fosca, and that is when the unexpected truth comes to light. The murderer is closer to home than expected…


The End of Men

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Though it gave me the chills at first, reigniting Covid and lockdown related nightmares, I couldn’t help by being totally engrossed in this book. I loved it because it wasn’t a testament to feminism, or trying to prove that a world led by women would be a better one…Narrated from the point of view of different women affected by the virus in various capacities, it was moving, honest, touching, a story of loss and survival in equal measure.

2025…A virus breaks out in Scotland, but it only affects man…who die within a few days of contracting it. Few are immune, and women carry it without symptoms. As usual, things are not taken seriously, and the pandemic gets out of control, taking the lives of sons and husbands all around the world, leaving the male population to a mere 10%. What does life look like now? How can the world run without enough hands to carry on the work that needs to be done? How about governments? How about procreation and the future of humanity? While various doctors around the world fight relentlessly to find a vaccine, we experience the lives of various women, starting from the loss of their loved ones, through acceptance, resilience to survive, and rebirth of hope for the future.


Bloodless

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thinking that it was thanks for their books that I started to read again in my adult life, I was a bit let down by this tale…a little bit too sci-fi compared to what I remembered the stories to be. Hence with, though I didn’t hate it, it was probably too far away from my comfort zone for me to love it.

Agent Pendergast is called to action yet again, to solve a mystery happening in Savannah, where bloodless bodies begin to appear across town. Not new to tales of ghosts and vampires, the city has never seen anything like this. And when the deaths increase in numbers, with witnesses this time, it is clear that the methodology used is something not human. A reclusive wealthy woman, living in the attic of the hotel where they stay, is thought to be linked to theses deaths, but nothing is what it seems. When Pendergast and his partners start digging deeper, they find a connection between this lady and a famous heist that occurred in 1971, uncovering her secret. She found a way to travel through time, and dimensions. Initially used to predict stock market for a financial gain, it ended up opening a portal to a different reality, allowing an alien beast to enter into our dimension, causing the mysterious bloodless deaths. The only way to stop it? Enter the alien’s reality and kill it there.


Every Last Fear

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book! Even better than the other one I read from him. It kept me engaged and wondering! A true thriller and mystery novel that had an incredible end and wow moment. Absolutely recommend!

Returning home after a night out, Matt Pine receives agonizing news: his whole family was found dead while vacationing in Mexico. The Mexican authorities try to convince them it’s an accident, but the FBI is not so sure. This isn’t the first time the Pine family ends up in the news. Years prior, Matt’s brother Danny was arrested for killing his girlfriend, creating such a buzz that a Netflix documentary was made, and his family was affected forever. When Matt is sent to Mexico to release his family’s bodies for repatriation, it’s clear that something is not right, and the theory that his family was killed starts to take shape. Once back in his hometown, the hostility of the residents is still there despite what happened, and some other very weird details start coming out into the light, leading Matt to keep searching for the truth. In between, we are taken back in time multiple times to his families lives, how they never stopped looking for clues to free Danny, and how they actually lost their lives. With an incredible and unexpected twist, the truth comes out…and you will be 100% on the edge of your seat!


Malibu Rising

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I loved the other book of hers that I read last year, and couldn’t resist to read this one too, and didn’t disappoint. Not as catching as the “Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”, it was still a great story of family, broken childhood, dreams and sacrifice.

The four Riva siblings are now famous. But it wasn’t always like that. Abandoned at an early age by their cheating and very famous father Mike Riva, and left orphaned when their mother died, they survived only thanks to the sheer determination of the eldest, Nina, who took over parental duties at the young age of 17. Now all grown up and with their own careers, mostly related to the surf world, they throw an epic party every year, where whoever is someone is attending, invitation not needed. During the hours prior to this event, we are taken back in time through the siblings lives, we discover secrets, hopes and dreams of each and everyone of them. And when the party is in full swing and turning into a mess, their estranged father shows up trying to make amends, along with Nina’s ex husband trying to get back together, and another child that their father conceived out of wedlock. When the police is called to put an end to the party, the siblings gather together to finally liberate the shackles that have kept Nina tied to them for all these years, finally giving her the gift and freedom to start living her own life…knowing inside of her, that everyone will be ok.


Mexican Gothic

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book, and wow, I was surprised. Definitely out of my comfort zone, but wasn’t too bad, and actually kept me quiet glued to the pages. I thought it was a historical novel, and ended up with a sci-fi version of it. Not bad.

When Noemi’s father receives a weird letter from her recently wed cousin, he decides to send her to High Place in person to check what’s going on. Nestled in the middle of nowhere and far from the next town, Noemi is in for a surprise when she arrives and finds a mansion falling apart, where no one is allowed to speak, smoke, have fun or interact with one another, and most scary of all, her cousin is not who she used to be, but a frail and haunted person subject to sleep and rest. Noemi is fierce, liberal, used to a different lifestyle, and unable to comprehend what brought her cousin to marry the handsome man who doesn’t seem interested in making her wife better. Set on a mission to find out, she only has one ally: Francis, from whom she discovers the history of the family, once a wealthy silver magnates one. As time passes, Noemi starts having horrible nightmares that seem so real, to the point that she feels the house moving and breathing around her, and as Francis starts to develop feelings for her, he lets her in to the dark secrets of the family. That is when Noemi knows she must escape, taking her cousin and Francis with her…and though she succeeds, what happens in between will leave you with goosebumps and open mouthed.


One Night On The Island

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book, just like I did her first one. It has got everything: the romance, the feel-good vibes, the feeling of community, friendship, relationships, finding one-self. Really recommend!

Columnist Cleo is about to turn 30, and to mark this occasion and refresh her writing mojo, her boss sends her on a sabbatical on a remote island, to spend some time alone to re-energize, culminating with a wedding-to-herself ritual. Unfortunately, upon arrival, a mix up with a booking throws her plans upside down, as she is forced to share the small cabin with Mac, an American photographer with family ties to the island, who is trying to hide away from his broken marriage. Things are awkward at first, but neither of them is ready to give up the cabin, and through an initial set of rules, they mark each other’s territory and space, trying to go on with their individual plans. But in the evenings, confined in the small cabin, they start spending more time with each other, opening up more than they thought they would, sparking feelings they know they shouldn’t encourage. Once they cannot lie to themselves any longer, they decide to embark on a mini romance, that will end in 8 days, after Cleo’s self-wedding. Mac will finally return to his boys in America, with the promise of not talking to each other ever again. When Mac departs, they are both distraught. While Cleo intensifies her ties with the villagers, and resumes writing her novel, Mac is back in the US trying to understand what to do about his marriage. But it will soon be clear to see that their mini romance was not so mini after all.


Reckless Girls

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I am still not entirely sure I loved this book. I liked it, but maybe it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t read her first acclaimed novel, but maybe I will try and see if that one resonates better with me.

Lux left her life behind to follow promises of a life full of adventure with her boyfriend Nico, a sailor, and moves with him to Hawaii. Once there, it’s not the life she expected, stuck in sub-par jobs, making a living for both of them. When a young par of girls, Brittany and Amma, want to hire Nico to sail them to a remote island, Lux is invited along. The sum of money offered should be enough to repair their boat, and she would finally be able to embark on the adventure she was promised. Maroe Island, their destination, is heaven on earth, but has a dark history of murders, shipwreck and cannibalism. But all seems forgotten once they reach there and find another boat owned by Jake and Eliza, and they soon make friends, spending all of their days together, and for the first time, Lux feels like she belongs. Everything is disrupted with the arrival of a solo sailor who seems in the pursuit of darker adventures, uncovering many secrets. Brittany and Amma are not the best friends they claim to be, Jake and Eliza are not the perfect couple they try to portray, and Nico is not the dedicated boyfriend Lux thought he was, when she catches him in bed with Amma. And when one person goes missing, and another turns up dead, Lux beings to wonder if the myth about the island was not a made up story after all. Stay braced for an unexpected ending!


The Chanel Sisters

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book. I adore historical novels, and this was a very interesting one, as it gave me insight on how one of the most famous brands in the world came to life.

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel have been dreaming of a better life, ever since their mother died and their dad abandoned them. Brought up in a convent, they spent their youth admiring the lives of those with better means, imagining how it would feel to be like them. When they finally become of age, they embark on different adventures, only to be reunited in Paris. With Gabrielle’s eye for style and Antoinette experience in a hat shop, they slowly build their own name, becoming the most demanded brand in the city. And when that is not enough, they expand into full clothing lines, opening multiple shops across the country. Not even the 1st world war can stop them, as the rich of the population continue to carry on with their lives as normal. While business wise everything is flourishing, the same cannot be said about their love lives: Gabrielle loses her one true love when he is forced to marry someone of his status, and Antoinette loses his to the war. No matter how famous, or rich or respected they become, they will always feel abandoned, as never enough…


FEBRUARY WRAP UP


Maggie Finds Her Muse

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It was a good story, well written and that kept a bit of suspense on the ending, which I appreciated. The whole “travel-and-find-a-new-you” is a vibe that I like, every since I read Eat Pray Love…I love reading stories of fearless woman who have the courage to leave it all and travel somewhere far to experience life in a different way, on a quest to finding themselves again.

Best selling author Maggie is finally single again, after throwing out her useless boyfriend who was good only at spending her money and thinking he was the best. Victim of writer’s block, she receives an offer she can’t refuse from her agent: go to Paris. Hesitant at first, the fact that her daughter moved to France recently is the nudge she needed to embark on an adventure. Once in Paris, she delights in the sights, the food, the people, the style, but her time is ticking to deliver her best book yet. Distracted, between her charming ex-husband arriving in France for vacation and a handsome Frenchman appearing one morning in her bathtub, her much needed peace is disturbed…until one day, after spending time with Max the handsome French, she starts writing non stop. Convinced that Max is her lucky charm ( as every time he leaves for business travel, she is stuck again ), she invents all sorts of ways to spend more time together…initially only with the aim of finishing her book, until things take a more interesting turn. Only when Max finds out that Maggie was using him, does Maggie realize that Max as much more than her muse…Back home and heartbroken, she will have only one chance to make it right…


The Intimacy Experiment

Rating: 4 out of 5.

My first book from this author, and certainly didn’t know what to expect. Cute, easy read, but loved the underlying topic of going against the current and standing up for one self, fighting against cultural stigma.

Ex-pornstar turned start-up CEO Naomi, has been fighting her whole life against prejudice. Though her business is going extremely well, she wants to extend if to face to face lecturing…but no one would hire her. Until one day, she receives an offer from the most unexpected potential client: a young rabbi, Ethan. From the very beginning the attraction between them is undeniable, which makes it all the better to turn down the offer. But when Ethan explains his vision of trying to attract a younger generation to the faith, being Jewish herself, Naomi cannot say no. They build a course on Modern Intimacy, and while the reception is fantastic from the congregants, the board is against it and makes it clear that Ethan should chose between Naomi or his faith…just when things between them were becoming heated. Naomi would never have Ethan chose between herself or his faith, and steps back, without finishing her course. On the other hand, Ethan decides to quit. While they both try to start fresh without each other, they both deliver the last part of the training in front of a different crowd, both of them healing their past wounds while doing so…and when they let go of the shackles of the past, is when they will find the way back to each other.


Reminders Of Him

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love everything she writes and this was no different. Heartbreaking story, saved by hope, love and redemption. Motherhood, grief, family, and hardship are all part of this amazing novel by one of my favorite writers.

Kenna is just back in her hometown after spending 5 years in jail. Broke and with zero job or life prospects, she is driven by one single thought: try to reunite with her 4 year old girl. In the local bar on her first night, she meets non other that Ledger, her daughter’s father best friend, and owner of the bar, and the attraction is palpable. Kenna immediately realizes who he is even if they never met. Determined never to cross paths again, he has different plans: he can’t stay away from her. When she finally lands a part-time job in a market close to her apartment, she decides it’s finally time to try and approach her ex boyfriend’s family and try to make amends. Little does she know that Ledger lives across the street, and interjects her plans, finally realizing who she really is. The truth is that Kenna accidentally killed her boyfriend in a car crash five years ago, and no one ever knew the truth of what happened that night. He was Ledger best friend. Ledger is conflicted but the little girl has been part of his life ever since the day she was born and he wouldn’t do anything to disrupt her young life. So he is set on doing anything he can to make sure Kenna leaves town. It will be Ledger’s employee and friend that will convince him that he is better than that, and still with his objective in mind, decides to give Kenna a part time job in his bar, to help her earn money faster to leave town. But the more time they spend together, the more Ledger realizes what an amazing person she is. He starts sharing videos and pictures of her daughter with her, uncovering each layer of her defense. Utterly in love, and convinced to help Kenna get through to her ex’s family, he asks her what happened that night. Kenna shares one of the many letters she wrote to her ex in the last 5 years, and the truth comes out: she never meant for any of this to happen and it was just a tragic accident. When Ledger approaches the family, seems all is lost, even for him…but it will be that famous letter that will save them all…letting hope, love and forgiveness open a new life and new opportunities.


The Heart Principle

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I loved all of her books so far. They always have a spin on autism, but depicting stories of those who actually live with it without knowing it, and realizing at a later stage in a kind of epiphany, and making sense of so many things they couldn’t explain before.

Anna Sun is a talented violinist, currently burned out and unable to play as the result of a viral YouTube video that actually launched her success. When her boyfriend decides to open their relationship before getting married, she decides that she will do the same: one night stands it is! After having downloaded all dating apps known to human kind, she matches with tattooed Quan. After hours chatting away, their first attempt to meet fails due to Anna’s anxiety, but Quan doesn’t let go: there is something about Anna that attracts him. Himself dealing with his own insecurities following a cancer surgery, he sees something of himself in her. After multiple attempts, they consume their one night stand, only to be hit by tragic news the day after: Anna’s dad had a stroke that could cost him his life. Forced to return to her childhood home, dealing with a distant mother and judgmental sister, she faces the darkest of times while tending to her father’s needs non stop. The only thing keeping her alive is Quan, who is set on making her family like him and have a relationship with Anna. When Anna’s boyfriend reappears and announces their engagement to everyone in front of Quan, all seems lost. But the thought of loosing Quan gives her an energy that she was missing: love. Determined to make things right, she confronts her family about her autism and finally decides to stand up for herself. Loving Quan not only saved her, but also gave her back the magic of music.


The Fastest Way To Fall

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Super cute novel, just as good as the other book I read from her. Loved the angle of positive body image, on loving someone no matter what, and self-love.

Britta works at a lifestyle website, and when she is finally given a piece to write, she knows is a great opportunity to make it as an author. The only trick? She needs to sign up with a new body-positive app that offers coaching…and she is definitely neither the healthy type, neither the fitness type nor the model type. Wes, the CEO of this app, is tired of numbers and paperwork, so while scrolling through the new applicants, he is intrigued by Britta’s introduction and decides to get back to his true love – coaching, and take up Britta’s case personally, without knowing who she is. As weeks pass, Britta is surprised about how much she is loving her new lifestyle, while Wes is struck by her wittiness and by how much he is looking forward to her messages every day. Breaking all rules, he decides to offer in person coaching. Both scared to break professional boundaries for their own reasons, they cannot deny the attraction that is building between each other, and they give in. Both wanting to tell the truth to one another, they cannot seem to find the right moment. It will be a post from Wes’s ex to send everything spiraling, compromising Britta’s promotion and Wes’s company. But don’t worry…love will conquer all.


To Love and to Loathe

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It was a very interesting read, more than anything, because the tone used really brought me back in time. I surprisingly enjoyed it.

Widowed Diana ( Lady Templeton ) and Jeremy ( Marquess of Willingham ) have only one thing in common: they don’t want to get married. Having been at each other’s throats for years, in a ping pong game of witty and flirtatious conversations, they end up one night sealing a bet: Jeremy will marry in one year’s time or he will pay Diana 100 pounds. Just before heading to a party organized at Jeremy’s estate, he presents an interesting proposition to her, after receiving negative feedback from his latest mistress between the sheets. Trusting Diana to tell him the truth, he suggest that they embark in an affair. Firstly shocked, Diana accepts to further deepen her experience in the bedroom, and prepare herself for any future lovers she might decide to take. While at the estate, Diana does all she can to push any eligible single woman into Jeremy’s arms, determined to win her bet. But when nightfall comes, and they consume their affair day after day, both their defenses start to fall, uncovering deeper wounds from the past. Diana will win the bet after all, but the 100 pounds will never leave Jeremy’s wallet.


The Dating Plan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I read her first book and absolutely loved it, so couldn’t wait to get through her next novel. Also very good one, and somehow a sequel of the first, touching on the same subject of relationship between polar opposites and arranged marriages, was funny and with a good story line, but so far the Marriage Game remains my favorite.

Daisy is a software engineer working in a start up, a planner at heart and with no intention to get married. When she meets Liam again by accident, who broke her heart 10 years before by standing her up on prom night, all her memories come rushing back. And the worst part is, that she lets him kiss her to make her old boyfriend jealous. Liam is her total opposite, a venture capitalist, and free as a bird, also with no intention of getting married. When his grandfather will is opened and states that he would inherit his distillery only if he married by his birthday and kept the marriage for one year, Liam is forced to find a solution, in less than two months. Aware of how much Daisy hates him, he has no other options and decides to strike a deal: a fake marriage to save the company where Daisy works, which is about to go under. Furthermore, this will keep her aunties way from her, who are always trying to set her up with strangers for an arranged marriage. Let the dating plan begin. As they get closer, Liam finally confesses the real reason why he didn’t show up on prom night, making it abundantly clear that he never loved anyone else. But when Daisy is ready to let her guard down and admit to him and herself that she is in love with him too, Liam’s insecurities, a motorbike accident, issues with his brother and guilt from the past, force him to move away. It will take Liam to heal from his past and realize he has nothing to prove, to make him understand what’s important in life.


99% Mine

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cute novel, funny and witty in the conversation, covering many interesting life aspects. Not my favorite from Sally, but wasn’t bad at all!

Darcy should be a photographer, but instead works at a bar. And has been good at only one thing lately: leave when things get hard and travel as much as possible. But one night when she comes home from work, she is facing the only reason worth staying for: Tom Valeska, her childhood crush. Hired by her twin brother to renovate their grandma house to get it ready for sale, her fleeing plan seems suddenly cancelled and she decides to stick around to ensure the renovation goes well…and, to finally make Tom Valeska 100% hers. Things are proving to be difficult, as Tom’s loyalty lies with her twin brother, whom she had a huge fight with and never made up. Despite her weak heart, Darcy seems to find more than enough strength to fall in love all over again with Tom, but his past and insecurities seem to block him from returning her love. It will take a few steps from the three of them to unite in the middle, and recreate that family unit they had when they were kids, with a pinch of love.


Higher Love

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A quiet interesting book about dating with intentions and about setting our own vibrations and love ourselves straight before venturing into the world of love and relationships.
I found the first part more interesting, as more focused on self love, while the second is filed with tips on various types of dating, on stages of thereof, but always with a positive and very funny and witty tone.


The Party Crasher

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A cute read but nothing as funny as other novels I read from her.

Effie’s parents have divorced, totally out of the blue, destroying her memories of a happy childhood. Her father embarked in a new relationship with a hideous younger girlfriend Krista, who seems to have changed him forever and during one dispute, she looses touch with him completely. It gets worse when news of her father’s decision to sell their family home reaches her and her siblings, and she is the only one not invited. Set on not attending this farewell party, she suddenly remembers that she must go, to find her precious Russian dolls. Set on an incognito mission, she arrives at the house. But her cover doesn’t last long when her first and only love, Joe, discovers her and becomes her ally, bringing to the surface emotions and feelings that she thought lost. While trying to retrieve her treasures, she is testimony to many conversations and her family members’ private moments, discovering a lot of hidden stories and truths that she knew nothing of. When Bean, her strong and usually very diplomatic sister bursts into tears, she decides that she cannot hide anymore and comes into the light, and everyone’s secrets start to resurface once by one. With a newly found strength, she makes peace with her father ( who finally understands Krista’s toxicity and leaves her ), her siblings find solutions from their worries and she finds again her one true love. All the while, putting her family together and finally at peace to let go of her childhood and look into the future ahead.


JANUARY WRAP UP


Flappy Entertains

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I love Santa but this book left me baffled. I know that there is a sequel but I just couldn’t get in the mood with the story. It is very different than anything I have read so far from her, and just didn’t leave a mark as much as her other novels.

Flappy is the self proclaimed queen of her town: the best dressed, the smartest, the most popular. While her husband spends his day on the gulf course, she is busy taking care of the home, throwing parties and organizing book clubs. When she is just about to throw the last party of the season, someone moves in the biggest mansion of the city, and decides to throw a house warming party, stealing the light of the social scene from her. Being the controller smart woman that she is, she sets on a mission to befriend Hedda, but when she set eyes on her husband Charles, she looses all composure, becoming someone else entirely and ending up in an affair with him. When discovered during Hedda’s famous party, Floppy is ashamed and is forced to go and apologize to Hedda, who, to her surprise, makes nothing of it and is absolutely untouched by the event ( this having happened before many times ). The two comes closer than ever, but than someone else moves into town, in an even bigger mansion…and we will find out more in the sequel novel…


Life’s Too Short

My third book by Abby and it didn’t disappoint. Aside the expected, the main reason I loved the story is the attitude and the lessons learnt from the main character: life is too short, seize every moment, live to live, enjoy, be direct, say what you think and feel…loved it!

Vanessa left her job years ago to travel the world and unexpectedly becomes a YouTube sensation, famous and profitable, but most importantly true: she lost her mom to an accident just when ALS symptoms started, and she lost her sister to ALS as well. And she never hid this from her followers. Set on making the most of the life she has to live, convinced she will die before 30, she never dates and decided not to have kids. But when her younger sister drops her newborn baby on her doorstep, her life changes forever. One night, unable to put the baby to sleep, her handsome neighbor Adrian shows up to save the day. A total baby-whisperer, he couldn’t be more different than Vanessa: a criminal lawyer, scared to fly, with no friends and who always just works. The two of them hit it off, and start spending more and more time together, taking the shape of a small family. But they are both scared of something: Adrian wants to take the first step nut knows that Vanessa never dates…and Vanessa doesn’t want Adrian to get involved with someone set to die young, or for him to discover her broken family: a sister with addiction, a jobless brother, and a depressed-hoarder father. But nothing can stop Adrian aside when he finally realizes that Vanessa might die. Unable to come to terms with the reality and Vanessa’s wishes not to seek treatment, he breaks down, leaving no choice to Vanessa but to sort her affairs and start travelling again, leaving everyone behind. It won’t take long for them to realize that they cannot leave without each other, and the wonderful ending will leave you with a tear, or two…


You Deserve Each Other

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was fun, but also complex and inspiring. I loved the way the 2 main characters found a way back to each other, proving that communication and time spent together being their own authentic self, supporting each other, can be the solution to most relationship problems.

Naomi has the perfect fiancé Nicholas and still, they can’t stand each other. They are set to marry in 3 months, but neither of them seem to have anything nice to say to one another, and the wedding invitation send out is getting postponed on daily basis. The fact that Nicholas’s mother is ever present in their relationship, from 30 daily calls, to Sunday dinners and the complete overtake of their wedding organization, doesn’t help. She would love to get out of it, and seems that so does he, but she cannot, unless she wants to pay back every single penny paid so far by his family for the wedding. And seeing that she is about to lose her job in a failing rarities shop, she needs to get him to leave her. Set on just that, Nicholas surprises her by buying a house in the woods, set to finally take control of his life, and convinced that the house will save them. Surprisingly, day by day they get close again, and Naomi realizes just how generous and caring Nicholas his, noticing all the small little things that he has always done to show his love. And when she finally stands up for him at yet another Sunday dinner in front of his mother, it seems that they found the way back to each other, remembering why they fell in love in the first place. But when once day Naomi finds their wedding invitations in the trash, she is confused and about to give up…but don’t worry, love wins in the end.


Seat Filler

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I liked this one. I was a unique story ( within the romance realm ), different than the usual, enough to make it interesting and definitely fun. Would this happen in real life? Unlikely…but isn’t that why we read?

Dog groomer Juliet would do anything to help her best friend get in the graces of her mother in law, who owns a company that provides seat fillers for awards and events. One one particular occasion, she ends up near movie star Noah ( no other than the lead actor in her favorite movies ever! ), and to make him pay for his curtness, she pretends not to know him. Problem is, Noah is particularly impressed by Juliet. With the excuse of grooming his dog, the two start getting to know each other, more so when Juliet lands a job as a dog sitter for Noah’s neighbor. Noah even hires her best friend to redecorate his house…anything, to help Juliet out and keep her close. When their respective walls start to fall, Juliet discovers Noah’s true introvert nature, and Juliet fear of kissing comes out. She even confesses to him what exactly happened…she never told anyone else. Noah, not without a selfish motive, suggests a solution: that Juliet uses him to rehearse. In the end, Noah is an actor, respects her, and is the perfect person to practice with. As expected, the kissing is not just for training, and when Juliet decides to tell the truth and that she always knew who he was, everything seems to fall apart. Will the ultimate true kiss be enough to save their love?


Head Over Heels

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I was a bit disappointed with this book, because her first once was absolutely great so maybe it just didn’t leave up to my expectations and at one point I even thought to just leave it unread. It got better with time, but it just wasn’t great for me.

Avery is not doing well. Seven years ago her gymnastics career finished for good, ending her chances to attend the Olympics. When her famous footballer of 4 years breaks up with her, she has no choice but to return home. Feeling useless and with zero life prospects, she lands a job as an assistant coach by the side of a fellow athlete, Ryan (who she always had a crush on ) to prepare a young gymnast for the Olympics. Working together, sparks ignite between them, and even if at first they are scared to compromise their professional relationship, they cannot resist, and start dating without anyone knowing. When Dimitri, Avery’s own emotionally abusive coach from the past, tries to convince Ryan to go and work with him and take her protegee along, their relationship is on the brink. Just when Avery tries to convince Ryan of his mistake, she reconnects with Jasmine, her old team mate and now wife of Dimitri, who finally decides to leave him and gives Avery a new purpose: creating a foundation to help young athletes from an emotional point of view, in light of their own personal experience. Ryan finally realizes his mistake after spending some time with Dimitri, and has no other choice but asking for Avery’s forgiveness and showing her what she means to him. He supports her cause and when they manage to land their gymnasts into the Olympics, they can no longer deny their feelings. Happy ending 🙂


The Temporary Roomie

Rating: 5 out of 5.

She is definitely one of my favorites. Always makes me laugh with her witty writing style, full of romance and jokes.

Jessie found herself pregnant and alone and in the dire need of a favor. Her house is getting fixed and she needs a place to stay. When her best friend suggests that she stays with her brother Drew, Jessie is not really keen. The two hate each other. But Drew also needs a favor ( a fake fiancé for a work event ) and Jessie gives in. What could go wrong? Well, the house becomes a battlefield of pranks and jokes, one worse than the other, but as time pass by, Jessie starts to realize that Drew is not bad after all. In fact, he has been doing small little gestures that she didn’t even realize, taking care of her in subtle ways, and growing affectionate. Things get heated between them just before Drew’s work gala, but she has other plans: her last and biggest prank yet. Once at the table, in front of all her colleagues, she drops a box with the smallest engagement ring to the floor, and when Drew picks it up, she screams yes and fakes the most embarrassing engagement of all times. Totally hurt by Jessie’s behavior, Drew cannot believe that everything they shared lately at the house was fake and doesn’t late go, forcing Jessie to capitulate and realize the truth: Drew loves her and will never let her or her baby go.


The Love Hypothesis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I practically devoured this book! My favorite for the year yet, amongst very strong contestants. I laughed so hard, the dialogues so funny and entertaining. Can’t wait to read more of her!

Olive is a PHD candidate who doesn’t trust in love, because everyone around her she ever felt something for, abandoned her. But when she needs to convince her best friend Anh that she moved on from her short relationship with Jeremy ( who Anh likes ), she needs to submit proof. And how to do such a thing? Kiss the first man she sees, in front of Anh. Problem is, this someone is Dr. Adam Carlsen, not only a professor, but one of the best and most feared ones on campus. Thinking her life is officially over, she is more than surprised when he agrees to fake-date her to keep pretenses up. He also has his own stake in the game, as this will help him prove he is not planning to leave Stanford, which will hopefully convince the panel to unfreeze his grant funds. While keeping the show going, they are forced to get closer and intimate, and Olive realizes he is not so bad after all. When he offers to share a room at an upcoming conference where Olive is set to speak for the first time, things get heated up between them and Olive realizes she is falling in love. Everything would be great if it wasn’t for another professor, and Adam grant collaborator, who sexually assaults her and belittles her work. The worse part: she was supposed to go to his lab next year to finish her project. Stuck between her love for Adam, and not wanting to compromise his future, she decides to retreat and end the fake-dating, which was anyone planned to last only until Adam got his funds unfrozen. Broken hearted and in tears, her friends come to the rescue, pushing her to tell Adam the truth. A happy ending is around the corner, and not only for love, but also for her career.


Eight Perfect Hours

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After reading her first novel last year, I was really looking forward to this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Well done to Lia for another great novel! Loved it!

Noelle is just back from her 15-years school reunion when a massive snow storm hits the highway and she is stranded with hundreds of others on the road. Panicking about leaving her mother alone for more than expected, without battery on her phone, she is saved by Sam, and American in the car behind her. What initially was the gesture of a stranger to use his charger, becomes suddenly more, as they hit it off, spending 8 hours together in the car talking and getting to know each other. But all comes to an end when the roads open up, and she reluctantly leaves Sam behind, sure of not seeing him ever again. Forced to go back for her life, where all she does is taking care of her mother and putting her dreams of being a florist aside, she will be surprised when fate has other plans, and her and Sam keep pumping into each other, reconnecting once more. Both have so much in common, including long term relationships that have broken but seem to come back to the surface, clouding what is actually happening: love. It will take some time for both of them to realize that destiny has been trying to push them together since school days, and the more the story goes on, the more surprises you will discover about how their paths is connected and unbreakable. You are in for a lot of WOW moments and a fantastic happy ending!


Finlay Donovan is Killing It

Rating: 5 out of 5.

OMG what a gem of a book! I struggled to put it down, absolutely hilarious and witty and one of the best reads in a while. Can’t wait for her second book to come out, which I heard is just as good as this one!

Finlay is struggling after her divorce, trying to juggle her two kids, an empty bank account and a writer’s block. She is so late with her novel submission ( her only income ), and during yet another meeting with her agent, she is overheard while discussing the plot of her novel by a lady sitting nearby, who mistakes her for a contract killer and offers her an insane amount of money to get rid of her husband. With the help of her recently-fired-by-her-husband nanny, she finds herself tangled in a real murder and its investigation, with more money than she can count, and with an insanely good story plot that grants her a new 2 book deal contract, erasing forever her financial issues.


Apples Never Fall

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I would like to start by saying that I have read all of her books, every single one of them, and loved them all without questions, making her easily one of my favorite writers. But this one, was such a disappointment that it almost become one of my rare DNF’s. I really really struggled, and if it wasn’t that I have adamant to find out what happens in the end, I would have never endured. Out of 467 pages, I could really save only the last 100 where it actually got interesting a bit and was worth reading.
I am not going to write a summary.
For me it’s a pass and I recommend strongly that you read all her other books but don’t ruin it, and skip this one out.


Midnight in the Snow

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Karen Swan never disappoints. That is why she is one of my top 5 favorite writers. She just ensures you are glued to the pages, from the first to the last, intrigued and totally absorbed in the story. Loved this book just as much as I loved all the others. Highly recommend it – as usual.

Clover Philipps is winning one award after the other, after bringing to life the story of world champion surfer Cory, who suffered a life threatening incident during a competition to the hands of Kit Foley, leaving him depressed and unable to compete again. On a mission to outdo herself and deliver a new and better movie in record time for the Cannes Festival, she decides on pursuing the impossible: telling the story Kit’s story. Headed for the Alps where Kit is now pursuing a snowboarding career, the news of Cory’s suicide reach her and leaves her with more grit to find out exactly what happened. Problem is, Kit is absolutely uncooperative and the two develop a hatred relationship that risks to compromise everything. But Clover is set on giving Cory’s family justice or at least an explanation of what happened all those years ago and changed their lives forever. It will be a great surprise, after weeks of observations and research, to find out that nothing is as it seems. Unveiling one secret after the other, Kit and Clover somehow get close in a love-hate relationship that will help uncover the truth of what happened that day. And you will probably be unsurprised to find out, that Kit wasn’t the actual foe in this story all along.