Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkins

Marlowe Banks is a mess. With a MFA that has landed her a few good jobs in New York and one not-so-good job that has her doubting herself. She wants to design costumes. She is really good at it too.

But after a bad review and facing the fact that she really doesn’t love her fiance’ and gives back that ring and runs to the west coast. Facing student loan debt, critical parents and a demanding boss, she is not in the mood for any movie set romance.

But when a costume mix-up lands her in front of the camera, shy Marlowe is suddenly front and center in la-la-land.

A light and fun story of following one’s own star and putting friendship above a roll in the hay. It was a good read.

NetGalley/ October 25, 2022, St. Martin’s Press


Marnie owns her business, Wish and Co. and she is a shopper. For all of the men who don’t have time or the talent to pick gifts for their own families. She is really good at it. Until this one time.

Two gifts. Two women. Only one is a wife. And when the gifts go to the wrong people, a family is torn apart and Marnie’s career may be over.

She makes a deal to keep her client but the deal may be the end of a love affair and a family.

This fits neatly into the trope of a poor girl meets a rich man and all her dreams come true.

It was light. Too light and too cookie cutter.

NetGalley/ August 16, 2022 RHPG


The Bodyguard

Hannah Brooks doesn’t look like a bodyguard. But looks are deceiving. She can take down a grown man any day of the week. Right now she’s hoping to land the coveted London job. Her kind of boyfriend, Robby, is also in the competition.

Imagine her surprise when her next assignment is guarding Jack Stapleton, a famous actor, who is as different from Hannah as can be. She does not want this job and on the first day, she discovers her kind of boyfriend kissing her kind of best friend.

Jack has a stalker even though after a tragic accident a few years ago, he moved to North Dakota and has been laying low.

Now he’s in Houston, where his mother has requested his presence while she undergoes cancer treatments. The only problem is he doesn’t want his family to know about a said stalker or the bodyguard.

Against all of Hannah’s wishes, the team comes up with the idea of having her pretend to be his girlfriend. This is not at all what she wants to do. Even her ex kind of boyfriend says it will never work. She’s too plain. Ouch!

The more time they spend together the more Hannah is wondering if she should be protecting her heart! Because this charade is beginning to feel very real.

No one can make me laugh and then sob like Katherine Center. Her characters are so believable and just uplifting. She is truly one of a kind!

NetGalley/July 19th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press

Bet on It by Jodie Slaughter

Bet on It

Aja Owens is a woman I can relate to. Having panic attacks in the frozen food section of the Piggly Wiggly. Trying to pretend everything is fine if she can just breathe through it and not see anyone she knows. Unfortunately, the attractive man behind her needs his ice cream.

Later when she goes to the Bingo place, her elderly lady sitting next to her has brought her grandson with her. And yes, it’s the ice cream guy. The man who saw her panicking in the store. And he wants to know more about her. She’s not so sure she wants anyone in her life.

Walker Abbott lives in Charleston. There is not one thing he likes about his grandmother’s home, Greenbelt. Well, except for the peach cobbler at the local diner. He’s helping his grandmother and counting the days until he can get out of this town. Until Aja.

He is going to shake up her world until she shakes up his.

This was funny and emotional and had a lot of anxiety that I could identify with. Cute story with some funny characters and Bingo.

NetGalley/July 12th, 2022 by St. Martin’s

Paradise Girls by Sandy Gingras

Mary Valley isn’t having the best week. Right before Christmas her boss and boyfriend, Ron, lets her know he has to spend Christmas with his daughter and ex-wife. Not a good thing. Tired of waiting for a commitment, she breaks up with the cad and quits her job. Her condo is already sold since they were supposed to move in together, so she is really at loose ends. Her relationship with her daughter is icy and she rarely sees her granddaughter. She is lonely.

A trip to Florida at the last minute can get you a good deal or an old rundown hotel. Mary gets the latter. But she also gets a surprise. Her granddaughter gets to come with her. Of course, she comes with a list of rules and inappropriate clothes, but Mary will take what she can get.

Daniel is at loose ends as well. His son was killed in the war and all he has left is his boy’s three-legged dog, Tripod. His life has been pared down to his small houseboat and a few possessions. He is a landscaper turned fisherman and he is going downhill fast.

Ollie owns the hotel. It’s going under and she needs an influx of capital or a buyer. She loves her home and doesn’t want to sell it, but she may not have a choice.

Hmm…an interior designer, a landscaper, and a hotel in need of both. This isn’t just a nice love story, it’s much more. The pain of loss, getting older with dreams unfulfilled, plans you make and they just don’t happen. Can a bunch of wounded people come together and help heal each other?

What a lovely story this is!

NetGalley/ July 5, 2022, St. Martin’s Press

Starry-Eyed Love by Helena Hunting

Spark House #2

It’s great to be back at Spark House again. London Spark has finally broken up with her boyfriend. And now fun London has come out to play with her sisters, Avery and Harley. Celebrating out on the town. When a handsome stranger walks up to the table with eyes only for London, she tells him she has a boyfriend.

London doesn’t even have time for love. She handles the business aspect of Spark House and isn’t so keen on it, but it’s been a family business for a long time. London really enjoys the creative side of things. And with her Etsy shop going strong she already barely gets any sleep.

Luck or fate? When London takes a meeting with a huge media company that wants to sponsor them and their green ineciatives. But London isn’t big on meetings. Her anxiety overwhelms her to the point that she is nervously making origami stars again. All the time. So going to meet with these people has her in a state. But once she gets going, it’s not so bad.

Until a gorgeous man in a gorgeous suit walks in looking stunned. London thinks he looks familiar but can’t place him. He, however, has no problem placing her.

When Jackson takes over the account so he can spend more time with London, his team is shocked. This is not the Jackson they know. He doesn’t have relationships or work directly with the client.

But oh the spark between these two. What’s the answer to not mix business with pleasure? Put someone else in charge. But these two have painful past experiences and aren’t exactly spilling them all at once.

There was so much stress going on for London. Her anxiety, her sisters whom she loves but isn’t happy with Avery not willing to hire help. Jackson comes with his own baggage and a woman who thinks he belongs to her. Sparks will fly in all directions.

I loved the first book and I loved this one too. It’s nice once in a while to read a love story.

NetGalley/ May 10th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Griffin

How to Love your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

How to Love Your Neighbor

Girl on her own struggling with an absent mother and an almost degree in interior design, inherits beach house from unknown grandparents.

Rich developer next door keeps asking her to sell. She is keeping the house and the back and forth between them is predictable and you knew it was going to end up with her in his bed and her designing his house and poof, problems solved.

Not a fan of romance if it’s the struggling girl meets rich bachelor type.

NetGalley/ January 18th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Griffin

When SPARKS Fly by Helena Hunting

We all know I am not a romance fan. But a Rom-Com? Yes, I’m in. And this author does a great job with balancing.

Avery Spark and her sisters run Spark House, an event hotel. It keeps them all super busy and Avery is the most passionate about the business and sports. She still lives with her best friend, Declan, who is a great friend and a player with the ladies.

Nobody has time for relationships and nobody is looking for one. For some reason Declan will never settle down. But their little group of three guy friends and Avery enjoy playing soccer and hanging out. Just one of the boys.

And things are going great until Declan lets her down and she ends up in a bad car accident. Since Declan can work from and needs to assuage his guilt over not being there for her, he decides to take care of her every need. Medical and emotional.

The more time they spend together the more the relationship evolves into something that may end their friendship or turn them into a couple. But it’s all so new and they are both so scared of loss, we just don’t know how it will end!

This was funny and sad and sexy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

NetGalley/ St.Martin’s Griffin September 21,2021

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Songs in Ursa Major

Songs in Ursa Major is a love story set in 1969 through today. It is about so much more than the music industry in the ’70’s. Although that is a story that never gets old.

Jane Quinn lives on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. She sings with her band along with her friends. She lives with her Grandma Elsie and her Aunt Grace. Where her mother is is quite a mystery.

When Jane meets folk singer Jesse Reid who is recovering from an accident at the facility her aunt works at she begins a relationship that will push and pull them for years. Jesse’s star is on the rise and the nasty record company has decided Jane will be his girlfriend and her band will open for him. Fine, looks good. Until it isn’t. Jane wants to sing her own songs in her own way and she will sacrifice love for that.

When she discovers Jesse’s dark secret she is out of there. Black balled by a nasty producer, she returns home and tries to make peace with all of the secrets in her own life. Starting with her mother.

Obviously the music industry is cutthroat. The record company owns you and your music. What Jane does is brave and I love her character. This was a book for music lovers. The lyrics, the emotions, the love, the sacrifice! Oh my I loved this book so much!

NetGalley Review/22 June 2021 Knopf Doubleday

the newcomer by mary kay andrews

The Newcomer

In trouble and on the run…

Letty Carnahan is looking over her shoulder in a panic as she and her niece, Maya, run from New York to Florida. Things have gone terribly wrong and the worst- case scenario is now happening.

Letty’s sister, Tanya, is not exactly a paragon of truth and virtue. Hooking up with the slimiest of men. This time she chose the wrong guy. Oh, he looks good on paper, but is as scummy as they come. Tanya tells Letty that if anything happens to her, look at the husband. And then take this shoe of money and Maya and run.

When Letty turns up for her standard Sunday with Maya, what she finds is a body and a screaming child. What does she do? She runs. With no idea why she is going to some old motel in an old Southern Living article her sister included with the go-bag, she pushes forward until she finally reaches Treasure Island and The Murmuring Surf Motel.

Why is she here? What does this place have to do with Tanya? And why, oh why, does the motel manager’s son have to be a cop?

Ms. Andrews is the queen of the beach reads. This is one that had a bit of everything in it. Much like real life. The characters are so real and the story so compelling you may want to hit the road to find Treasure Island yourself.

Always a pleasure!

NetGalley/ May 4th, 2021 St. Martin’s Press