Have You Seen Luis Velez Review & Giveaway


Have You Seen Luis Velez? (Paperback)


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Nobody writes stories of intergenerational friendship better than Catherine Ryan Hyde. She did an exceptional job with it in Allie and Bea and again with this new release.

Aside from the story, which includes a mystery, character growth, and fun supporting cast, you get some humdingers of life lessons, brought to you by 17-year-old Raymond Jaffe and 92-year-old Millie Gutermann. These characters balance each other so perfectly and just set the stage for a heartwarming plot, even amidst the few bouts of tragedy.

Raymond is a character I won’t soon forget. I hope my son grows to be as equally kind and good intentioned as he is. I love how even in his youth, he was able to teach Millie a thing or two about his generation.

With elements thrown in of Pay it Forward, readers who still need to be told there is good in this world need to pick this up. With so many current events shared constantly via social media that are hard to stomach, this book, when finished, should put a smile on your face and be one you want to pass along and share with others.

My thanks to Little Bird Publicity and Lake Union for the review copy.

I have one copy to share with a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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Mistress of the Ritz Review


Mistress of the Ritz: A Novel (Hardcover)


New From: $17.29 USD In Stock
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Having been a huge Melanie Benjamin fan, especially of The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb and The Girls in the Picture (loved the surprise tidbit thrown in about the Pickfords), I was very much looking forward to her latest. There were parts I liked and parts that didn’t work for me, but I mainly felt a lack of focus.

Benjamin takes two historical figures we know very little about, as shared in her Author Note, and populates their story amidst World War II.

Claude Auzello is the director of the Ritz in Paris, and he and his American wife, Blanche, are living large and spending time with many famous faces. The story alternates narration between them. This was a slow buildup of their relationship, often volatile. I did enjoy reading about their marriage struggles, but that took up a lot of space in the front half of this novel.

As the Germans begin their occupation of France, the Auzellos realize that their lives and lifestyles are in danger and begin working with the Resistance. This is where the plot picked up for me. I didn’t quite know where the story was headed in the beginning, which lost a lot of my attention. It seemed a bit scattered, so I had a hard time staying the path Benjamin intended.

I was also looking forward to more after the ultimate conclusion. I know history didn’t share what happened to this couple, but the story could have benefited from the aftermath of the war. In my perfect world, this book would have started at the middle and concluded much later. This might just be me, so if you do enjoy World War II reads, especially those which don’t take place in Germany or are set at the camps, you might want to give this a go.

It’s obvious Benjamin did her research. I trust her writing and can vividly picture whatever scene she sets.

My thanks to the publisher and Wunderkind PR for the review copy.

Only Ever Her Review


Only Ever Her (Paperback)


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With such a long winter here in the Midwest, it was the cover of this novel that first intrigued me. It drew out feelings of warmer weather and sunshine and having previously enjoyed The Things We Wish Were True, I was eager to dive in.

This one took a little longer to draw me in. Maybe it was my confusion over how all the characters related or some of the secondary storylines. The premise is perfection — a bride disappears days before her wedding. Is it cold feet or foul play?

Whalen writes the story as we get closer and closer to the big day. We follow different characters’ viewpoints as to what happened to Annie Taft. I love the idea of small secrets bubbling to the surface with Annie missing and how they play off each other. When finished, I felt like some seams were still left undone and some plot points didn’t get enough “air time” while others had too much.

I will say this was a quick read and the second half moves at a much faster pace. Once you get a feel for the characters, you’ll yearn for the conclusion. The small town feel works well within this novel and if you’re looking for a good mystery to grab for a plane ride or a day away, you’ve found it.

My thanks to the publisher and Little Bird Publicity for the review copy.

Sunset Beach Review


Sunset Beach: A Novel (Hardcover)


New From: $13.24 USD In Stock
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If you are looking for the ultimate beach read this summer, look no further. Mary Kay Andrews brings her sandy beaches and charm to her newest release, out now.

Listen, I read my fair share of heavy thrillers. I can also go to the other extreme of what some might refer to as “chick lit” or romance. This is the perfect blend of both. In fact, for those who enjoy cozy mysteries, this is one you’ll definitely want to pick up.

Drue Campbell is down on her luck with the loss of her mom and a string of bad jobs that are not helping with her income. When she receives an offer from her estranged father to come work for him, she heads to Florida’s west coast.

I loved the characters in this and what a kickass heroine Drue was. Her interactions with her family (blood and step) had me grinning and it was a read I looked forward to getting back to each night.

This one is on the longer side but the story moves quickly and hopefully you are as eager as I was to follow Drue as she tried to solve two mysteries, all while balancing her new job and relationships.

My thanks to Tandem Literary and the publisher for a review copy.

Thanks to their generosity, I have one copy to share with a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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Park Avenue Summer Review & Giveaway


Park Avenue Summer (Paperback)


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I’ve long been a fan of Renee Rosen and how she transports the reader to a small section of history and ignites her story from there. Park Avenue Summer is her newest standout and what I consider her best novel to date.

In this novel, Rosen brings longtime editor and author Helen Gurley Brown to live, as told through her fictional secretary, Alice Weiss. Alice heads to New York City to chase her mother’s dream and longs for a career in photography. Granted, this is 1965 and the men are still running the show, including Cosmopolitan, which they consider to be for housewives and stay-at-home mothers. Until Brown is handed the reins and wants to do things her way.

I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough, which generally happens for me only while reading thrillers and suspense. It’s compulsively readable and each night I couldn’t wait to dig in to see how everything would end up.

Kudos to both Alice and Helen for being strong-minded women who didn’t think twice about standing up for themselves and what they believed in, especially considering the time period. That’s so refreshing to see these days in literature.

If you enjoy history, magazines, pop culture, strong women, or are just looking for an incredible read, this one is highly recommended. A true 5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

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