SUCH BIG DREAMS by REEMA PATEL

A savvy former street child working at a law office in Mumbai fights for redemption and a chance to live life on her own terms in this fresh, propulsive debut novel about fortune and survival.

Rakhi is just twenty-three years old but is still deeply affected by the loss of her best friend eleven years ago. She may work in a law office, but she is still living in the slums of Mumbai. Justice For All is a human-rights law organization headed up by a well-thought-of lawyer who gives her a chance.

She smart. Very smart. And though she is looked down on by others, she is managing to get by.

And then she meets Alex. Alex wants the real India experience. And in return he makes promises. It sounds like a good deal. But if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Everything Rakhi knows will be turned upside down. She will have to make choices that are hard for her in order to survive. And she is looking at the reality of the costs of getting yourself back.

Very impressive debut novel!

NetGalley/May 10th, 2022 by Ballantine Books




Hello April!

Another April is here. Finally, we got a bit of rain this week. Not much. There are still wildfires burning and the grass at the farm feels like straw, but the time changed and so did the month.

Because I have a sister who is an April Fool’s baby, I tend to stay away from jokes. I think the fact that she was born on April 1st and our Momma named her Mary Jane is joke enough.

Spring is such a busy time. Calves are being born, chicks popping out of their shell. The whole rebirth thing going on. What I could do without is the flowering Bradford Pear trees that make me sneeze and wheeze.

I’ve read a bunch of really good thrillers lately and am looking forward to Don Winslow’s City on Fire coming out on the 26th of this month. I’ve read Lisa Scottoline’s What Happened to the Bennetts? Harlan Coben’s The Match. Lucy Foley’s The Paris Apartment, Dervla McTiernan’s The Murder Rule, Sally Helpworth’s The Younger Wife, and a whole lot more.

Mainly we have been being managed by our 1 pound chorkie who is training us. OU Boy began telling her, “Go potty and you can come to play.” Well, now every time she goes potty she ‘screams’ loudly and stands by it. Like, look what I did! It was funny the first day. At two in the morning, it was much less funny. She doesn’t really bark so it sounds like someone is strangling a cat which will wake you out of the deepest sleep!

She is rather like Waldo. We’re always looking for her and she blends into anything. On Facebook, we play where’s the dog. Here Miss Chicken has obviously done grievous harm to her which is why she is ripping out her throat. She’s a vicious little thing. But she has done wonders for our mental health. Two grown adults laying on the floor being her chew toys.

Last weekend was a four-day one for us so we grabbed the camping gear and the kayaks and headed to the lake. It was beautiful and it was great to be out on the water. The nights were cool but we brought a heater. We took Coco and her playpen with all of her stuff. On Day one we took her outside and put her on the grass. She looked up at us and ran back to the tent and went to bed. She was not impressed. She trembled at every owl, coyote, or just three boys on a bike. By Sunday morning it was just too much so we packed up, gave our tent to the kids next door, and agreed our camping days will now involve a cabin or hotel room. I personally love camping but we are pretty much spoiled by now and understand we can visit without spending the night.

Things have been so uncertain and scary around the world and we are trying to find ways to do self-care. Personally, I have put up more boundaries and stopped waiting for people to get vaxxed or even listening to them when they get sick. So my world may be smaller but the quality is so much better. And boy do I ever get a lot of reading done!

I hope we all have a peaceful and successful week and don’t slap anyone in public!

xx P

WISH YOU WERE HERE by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here

Diana is making a name for herself in the art world. She has her life planned and is on track to be married by thirty, have kids, move to the burbs and she isn’t even engaged! Her boyfriend, Finn, is busy being a surgical resident in New York City.

Days before her birthday they will leave for a vacation to the Galapagos. Everything is moving along fine.

But the night before they leave, Finn tells her he can’t go. There is some type of highly contagious virus sweeping through the country and he can’t leave. He wants her to go. She wants to stay but in the end she goes.

On arrival, the island is shut down. Quarantine. With no internet, phone service or mail service, she is completely alone. Her only link to Finn is an occasional email and she writes on postcards she found in her apartment on the island. 

She makes friends with a local teenage girl and ends up making friends with the entire family and she is awfully attracted to the girls father, Gabriel. Alone, she is looking at every choice she has made and wondering if when she returns she will still be the same.

There isn’t a lot I can say about the rest without spoiling all of your fun. I can say this is a beautiful, timely, and heartbreaking story of love, resilience, and adapting to overcome your circumstances.

I cried throughout the book and I think I needed that.

Well Done!

NetGalley/November 30th, 2021  Ballentine

CARE FREE BLACK GIRLS by ZEBA BLAY

Carefree Black Girls

This book is a look and a celebration of black women’s identity and impact on pop culture by HuffPost critic, Zeba Blay.

Blay was the first person to give us the #carefreeblackgirls, in 2013 on Twitter.

This is a series of essays that took me longer than normal to read. This isn’t my story and I wanted to really absorb what she was saying.

Blay takes us on a journey to meet black women who were significant throughout history. Each in a different way. Starting with Josephine Baker, Michelle Obama and Cardi B and Lizzo!

She shares her own story and experiences as well as those women she writes about.

I think what I was left with in the end was a celebration of women who defy stereotypes. Women who stand up and stand out. Black women get things done. They are strong because they have had no other choice.

What a beautiful look at the women who changed history really.

NetGalley/ October 19th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Golden Girl

Is it even summer if we don’t have a beach read from Hilderbrand?

Ah, but this one broke my heart. And the main character reminds me of the author!

Vivian Howe is the author of 13 books, she lives in Nantucket, has three children, all young adults and in a second she is killed in a hit and run. She is taken by a woman named Martha to the Beyond. She will be Vivi’s person. She lets Vivi have the summer to watch her kids and she allows her three nudges.

She watches her friends and children deal with her death. She watches the investigation. She longs to go back.

The nudges are for influencing the outcome of things in real time. She worries about her children hurting and her secrets coming out.

This had all the charm of Nantucket and all of the emotions you could imagine yourself feeling if you were in her shoes. I cried so hard during this book and I will do it all over again!

NetGalley/June 1st, 2021 by Little, Brown and Company



OLD LOVEGOOD GIRLS by GAIL GODWIN

 

Old Lovegood Girls is the story of two women and the complicated friendship they share over years and years. The type of friendship where you don’t have to talk every day, but when you do, you just pick up where you left.

Feron Hood and Merry Jellicoe are as different as night and day. But in 1958, the dean of Lovegood Junior College for Girls pairs them up as roommates. Feron, has a much darker past than Merry and yet they click. Bonding quickly as best friends. From the outside they are a perfect set.

But there are some bonds not based on sharing rooms. Secrets, professional rivalry, and with all of Merry’s money and influence, things are about to go south for her and she may lose everything.

Feron wants to write. She wants to be an author. Ten years later and she hasn’t spoken to Merry since school. They have lived different lives. And when Feron reads that Merry has been writing, that old rivalry returns, along with a need for each other and once they are back, things begin to happen and their lives will change.

This is not a typical boarding school read where there is a poor girl and a rich girl. This is a literary work that will have you thinking and asking questions about life and friendship. About the bonds women form and the complications of friendships.

This was a book I savored. Understanding the emotions and desires of both of them. Excellent Work!

May 5th, 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing

HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE by CHERIE JONES

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK

“Searing . . . In affluent Baxter’s Beach, the gentry of Barbados maneuver around their servants with velvet gloves and steel nerves, exposing fault lines of resentment, love as ephemeral as a tropical breeze.” (O Magazine)

We begin in Baxter’s Beach, Barbados. Wilma tells her headstrong granddaughter, Lala, a story. One of those cautionary tales or warnings about what happens to girls who don’t listen to their parents and go places they should not.

The next thing we see is a grown up Lala living on the beach with her husband, Adan, who is an absolute horror of a man. Lala is pregnant now and scared she is losing her baby. Looking for her errant spouse, she comes upon a house on the wealthy side where she hears a gunshot and a scream and sees her husband running out of the gate.

That gunshot sets into motion some incredibly horrible things. Things that made my heart ache. A woman loses her husband and a new mom loses her daughter. One is wealthy and one is not. But the grief they have is the same.

A story of race and class systems and the vast differences between them. And what some of them will do to be on top.

Beautifully written and emotionally charged, it’s hard to believe this is a debut!

Well Done

NetGalley/ February 02, 2021 Little, Brown, And Company

Happy Sunday! I hope you are all healthy and safe.

Oklahoma is having a second surge that is worse than the first one. Also troubling is that this week we added 2 more categories of positive age groups. Under 2 and 6 to 10. Our major positive spreaders are in the 18 to 35 group and next the 35 to 49 group. I’m not in any of those groups so I guess my natural tendency to stay at home is finally paying off. OU Boy and I are perfectly fine at the moment.

His heart is working just fine and for once no one is hurting anywhere. I swear when you hit 40 your entire body just says, ” That’s it. All systems shutting down.” I have found the way to encourage OU Boy is to keep telling him how cute he looks after losing ten pounds. He’s awfully vain and it seems to be working.

We may get Fall today! At least for a day or so. It’s 11 a.m. and still grey outside and nothing is moving. This is suspicious behavior for OKC. The wind is always blowing. For the past couple of days it has been so bad I was not allowed outside due to the eye thingy. So instead I caught up on reviews, and binge watched The Haunting of Bly House which I liked less than the Haunting of Hill Manor. Even with the Stephen King Easter Egg in one of the scenes. I saw that, Stephen!

The election smack talk is heating up on Twitter but now that he is out of Twitmo, he is being careful. As I explained to him, it is possible to read something you disagree with and just move on.

I bought this book for my granddaughter and then read it myself. She loves mysteries. Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, all the old ones. But now Sherlocks daughter and Watson’s son are hooking up solving crimes and it’s one of the best YA series!

The Covid thing is putting holidays in jeopardy. I don’t care for my relatives enough to travel 12 hours to eat turkey and get infected. North Dakota, I’m talking to you! Get your shit together and stop infecting people so we can go to Canada.

As I sit here in my flamingo pajamas looking out the window I am totally grateful that we are here and in good health. And I wish that for all of you. No holiday or gift giving event is a good enough reason to be foolish and infect grandma and grandpa with a deadly virus.

Now I am off to feed my squirrel that I have befriended during isolation. She had triplets 2 weeks ago and is chowing down now. What is the weirdest thing you have done during lockdown?

xx P

THE VACATION by T.M.LOGAN

The Vacation

Seven days. Three families. One killer.

Four women. Friends since college decide to join each other and their families for a week’s vacation in a lovely villa in France.

Things are tense from the start. It looks like everyone’s family is not quite as together as they would like one to think. Only one of them has not married and she’s acting sketchy. Heck, everyone was shady and keeping secrets!

To tell you the truth I did not care for even one of them. Maybe Daniel. But it doesn’t matter because the story was that good!

Someone is willing to kill to keep their truth secret. But is it who you think it is?

This is one vacation I’ll pass on. But I’ll take the book!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ July 21st, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

What You Wish For by KATHERINE CENTER

What You Wish For

Remember Things You Lose in a Fire last year? Well, Katherine Center is back and has once again knocked it out of the park.

There are many people who can tell a story well. There are not many people who can tell a story so well you feel as if you know the characters personally and are rooting for them all. One thing I love about her stories is they are everyday people living lives full of problems, insecurities, losses, and joy. You will cry, you will laugh and you will come away having learned more than one valuable lesson!

So let’s talk about who is who and what is what!

Sam Casey has had a hard road to travel. With help from the kind family who own the school where she is a Librarian, she is learning to embrace joy and kindness where she can.  She loves the school and the children and with Max as her boss and her landlord, she feels she has a sort of family.

But life has a funny way of reminding us we aren’t really in control of anything when Max drops dead at his 60th birthday party. Leaving his wife and friends devastated.

Obviously, they have to have a new principal, but never in any part of Sam’s mind did she think she would know him. Her crush from her former school. He was the fun teacher and she was not his type. Assumptions there!

The Duncan who shows up, however, is not her Duncan. This guy is in a three-piece suit instead of the flamingo pants Sam remembers. And he doesn’t seem to know who she is.

His main goal seems to be to turn her beloved school into a drab, gray prison for children. No fun, no joy, no field trips!! But Sam isn’t the mousey teacher she was before. Now she is actively seeking to take this guy out. But in doing so, she lets him in. And she finds out she has judged him too quickly and too harshly.

Will we find out who the bad guy really is? Will Duncan finally notice her? And more importantly, will he run when he finds out her secrets? Or will she run when she discovers his?

Very Well Done! Highly Recommend!

NetGalley/ July 14th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press