Fake it Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley

A reality star and a cupcake-baking football player pretend to be a couple in order to save his bakery in this sweet and sexy romance from Jamie Wesley, Fake It Till You Bake It.

A little bit of everything in this one. Romance, Reality television, sports, pretend relationships, and more.

Jada is stinging after turning down a proposal on that show that you are supposed to say yes to. Let’s just say she is now the villain in the tale. Time to go home and hide. Instead, she finds herself working at a cupcake bakery for a pro football player, Donovan.

They are in no way romantically involved. Far from it. But when the press finds her and assumes they are an item, they just go with it. It will help her reputation and promote his bakery.

Faking something has a nasty little habit of becoming reality. Sparks will fly!

NetGalley/  June 21st, 2022 by St. Martin’s Griffin


Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering

Can't Look Away

Told in two voices, Molly and Sabrina.

We begin in 2013. Molly is 23 and finishing up her MFA and dreaming of being a writer while she waits tables and has fun with her friends. One night they talk her into coming to a bar with live music. An up-and-coming band starring lead singer Jake Danner.

Molly and Jake lock eyes and before you know it they are living together and she is in love. The man wrote a song for her. Their only real hit. But Jake has a girlfriend he hasn’t let go of yet. As in she doesn’t know they are broken up. But she is a vengeful one!

Now it’s 2022 and Molly and her husband, Hunter and their daughter Stella are living in Flynn Cove, Connecticut. Molly feels unfulfilled at her Yoga job and just doesn’t jive with the country club set. Until a woman comes into her studio and she thinks she finally has made a friend.

But Sabrina is playing the long game. She hasn’t let go of her belief that Molly ruined her chance with Jake. Imagine her surprise when she and Hunter show up to dinner and Sabrina’s hubby is Jake! Shock all around.

This isn’t what I would call a suspenseful read. Sabrina told us all along what she was doing. More like a domestic drama. HIgh School behavior at best. Everything gets wrapped up nicely but I still want to know why one of them isn’t in jail!

NetGalley/ June 14th ,2022 by St. Martin’s Press



crucial conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson and More

Crucial Conversations, Third Edition

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw

And so begins this book of tools for having the hard conversations. Communication is everything. It may seem as if all you need to do is talk. But it is never that simple. Everyone has opinions. Sometimes the stakes are high and emotions run high.

So, how do we have these important talks? Well, we don’t avoid them. We stop and take a moment or more to make sure we understand our own motivations and the other party’s opinions or views.

This book in the third edition addresses workplace conversations as well as personal relationship conversations. There will always be topics that are difficult to articulate without being seen as a bully. Whether it’s the ending of a relationship or giving a third warning to an employee. Have the facts and state your case clearly and then LISTEN.

In the hospitality industry, we deal with multiple personalities. Customers, staff, vendors, and they all need to be spoken to and handled differently. This book now sits on our shelf in the resource room. Unclear conversations lead to hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and loss of business.

We are referring to it on a daily basis.

Highly Recommend.

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

A dazzling novel about a young black woman who walks the streets of Oakland and stumbles headlong into the failure of its justice system–the debut of a blazingly original voice that “bursts at the seams of every page and swallows you whole” (Tommy Orange, best-selling author of There There)

When I saw that the author wrote this at 17 and lived on the streets of Oakland, I was floored.

The language is what I would expect from a teenager. All the feels are there.

Kiara and her brother, Marcus, live in East Oakland. A roach-infested hovel. That is all they can afford and they honestly can’t afford that. While Marcus is pretending to make a rap record, Kiara is hustling all over the dirty streets of Oakland looking for money. Their family fell apart long ago when her mom went to prison. Just teenagers themselves, Kiara also looks out for the little boy next door whose mother is an addict and never home.

After one drunk misunderstanding with a man turns into a career on the streets called night crawling. And since the johns are the cops, she is in it until they say she isn’t.

But then her name is connected to an internal investigation in the police department. A huge scandal involving officers and prostitutes.

The last thing Kiara wants is to be in any kind of limelight. She just wants to live.

This book was not pretty to read. It was raw, ugly, and made me cry and cringe quite a bit. But I am glad I read it and I hope we hear from this author again!

NetGalley/  June 7th, 2022 by Knopf Publishing Group



THE POPE AT WAR by DAVID I. KERTZER

Pulitzer Prize-winner David I. Kertzer brings us this magnificent work of the history of Pope Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler.

Based on newly opened Vatican archives, a groundbreaking, explosive, and riveting book about Pope Pius XII and his actions during World War II, including how he responded to the Holocaust, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Pope and Mussolini

Pope Pius XII, who died in 1958 and immediately had his archives sealed, probably didn’t think they would come to light in 2020. For a long period of time, we have wondered about his stance on the war and the people who surrounded the papacy. As a Roman Catholic myself, I can say he was very controversial.

Kertzer, who is one of the world’s leading scholars on the Vatican has been digging around in those archives for a while now. And he reveals how this pope traded moral leadership of the church to save its power.

It was difficult to read the atrocities and the deals that were made with fascists. But really haven’t we always known the church always acts in its own best interest? Not only is the research impeccable, but the facts are also explosive.

The amount of research that had to take place is monumental. I thought it read like historical fiction, but unfortunately, it was not fiction.

Outstanding work!

NetGalley/ June 7th, 2022 by Random House






COLD FEAR by BRANDON WEBB & JOHN DAVID MANN

Finn Thriller #2

Finn’s search for his memory of one fateful night leads him to Iceland–only to be followed by an unhinged assassin intent on stopping him–in the riveting follow-up to Steel Fear, from the New York Times bestselling writing team Webb & Mann, combat-decorated Navy SEAL Brandon Webb and award-winning author John David Mann.

Former Navy SEAL, Finn, is a wanted man. By multiple agencies. After jumping ship from the USS Abraham Lincoln, they say he is wanted for war crimes in Yemen. Only he has no memory of that. An entire village was wiped out and Finn can’t even remember if he was there or not. But his gut tells him he was not and he needs to find out who was and who killed his buddy.

He arrives in Iceland to track members of his team who he thinks have been sent to kill him. At the same time, the local detective has murders on her hands. Iceland never has any murders and now they are popping up every day. But the one that haunts her is the girl beneath the ice. Are the other murders connected to that somehow or are some collateral damage for the insane man that really is hunting Finn down.

All Finn wants to do is confront the three men who served with him and find out what really happened. But they are pointing the finger at him. Which has him questioning himself.

Can he find the answers without dying? You will have to read it to see.

I am a big fan of these two and have read all of their books. It’s full of tension and nail-biting and they really know what they are talking about.

Great Read!

NetGalley/June 7th, 2022 by Bantam





HELLO JUNE! Spillin’ Tea!

Here it is June already. It hasn’t been the greatest few weeks, has it? Children are being murdered in their classrooms, here in a hospital, and craziness is rampant.

I rarely turn on the news anymore. It’s soon primary time so all of the politicians in Oklahoma are bragging about being endorsed by the other guy who lost. It’s depressing. Guns before kids. Until one of theirs is killed nothing will get done. It’s easier for an 18-year-old to buy a long gun than it is for a rape victim to get an abortion. I guarantee if all the women in the country took up assault rifles over this issue the NRA would shut down assault rifles real quick!

Anyhoo, we have been fighting allergies and asthma, with both of us having to go to the hospital. OU Boy had another MI and had to have all of his 5 stints scrubbed out as they were 100% blocked. Then he had an ear infection and the doctor perforated his ear drum trying to get the wax out. The pup has allergies as well so we all look like we are crying all the time. I think we are all past the worst of it now.

Luckily I didn’t miss going on the river in the kayak because it has rained or been windy AF all week. Perfect weather for curling up with a book. And I have read a lot. Right now I’m reading Ann Cleeves Rising Tide, a Vera Stanhope mystery. I love the show, Vera. We are also watching The Sopranos from the beginning because OU Boy has NEVER seen the Sopranos! We finally got to see Stranger Things 4 and I quit halfway through. These aren’t kids anymore. It was a bit over the top. I enjoyed the Johnny Depp trial more. At least it was funny.

This morning the sun is shining and the birds are pooping all over the sidewalk. There is a red cardinal on my birdfeeder and I’m feeling hopeful I can get outside today. And in a stunning turn of events, I only have 10 books on my NetGalley list! I’ve managed to catch up on other reads and even edit a cookbook.

I was planning on going to the beach this month, but my sister went to Sanibel Island and came back with Covid, so maybe not. Coco is almost 2 pounds now and we call her The Flash. She could be a racing dog she’s so fast.

What is everyone planning for the summer? Going any place? Reading anything I should know about?

xx P

James Patterson by James Patterson, The Stories of My Life

How did a boy from small-town New York become one of the world’s most successful writers?

James Patterson is one of the most prolific writers I have had the pleasure of reading. But that wasn’t always the case. When I finished reading this memoir, I couldn’t help but think of all the people we perceive as being an instant success in the writing world. I wonder how many of them haven’t quit their day job yet?

James had a very interesting life before he wrote his first bestseller. And he didn’t quit his day job for a while. He didn’t particularly like reading growing up. He worked in a mental hospital for a while where he met a few famous people. He wasn’t wealthy and famous. He was trying to figure out what his place was in the world. He also had to make a living. So it was off to the world of advertising for him. Writing copy and jingles. Did you know he wrote the “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid?”.

There were a lot of things I didn’t know about him. He has led a very interesting life. Golfing with presidents, being serenaded by Dolly Parton, meeting famous people, and putting out bestsellers left and right. And yet he tells funny stories of people not believing him when he tells them who he is.

The back of the book tells us the bare facts of the author. This put all of his work in perspective for me. Writing is hard work. And you need a Plan B. But never sacrifice your work for a publisher.

Very interesting and quite funny.

NetGalley/ June 6th, 2022 by Little, Brown and Company



THE FAVOR by NORA MURPHY

A gripping debut domestic suspense novel, The Favor explores with compassion and depth what can happen when women pushed to the limit take matters into their own hands.

Leah and McKenna have never met, though they have parallel lives. They are both accomplished in their fields and have married men who are abusive. Leah, a lawyer, and McKennna, a pediatrician. The only thing they have in common is the liquor store.

If you have seen or read Strangers on a train, you are up to date. Only with women. Educated women with their own resources but relegated to the house by their abusers. They could just drive away, but they don’t.

The first portion was interesting and the rest was not. Predictable would be a good word. The wife letting herself go because her husband is tracking her every movement. Not going to the police because no one would believe them.

It felt like so many other books in the same genre.

NetGalley/May 31st, 2022 by Minotaur Books

THE WEDDING DRESS SEWING CIRCLE by JENNIFER RYAN

Three plucky women lift the spirits of home-front brides in wartime Britain, where clothes rationing leaves little opportunity for pomp or celebration–even at weddings–in this heartwarming novel based on true events, from the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.

Cressida Westcott fled her family manor many years ago. She is now a very successful designer in London and runs her design house. Until the Blitz. Bombs drop on the poor and wealthy the same way. Like so many people, she now has no place to go. Swallowing her pride she calls her niece and nephew who still live at the manor and is told she is more than welcome.

Returning with only what she had on when the bombs fell. Her niece, Violet, is thrilled her aunt has come to stay. Violet is young and about as shallow as a saucer on the surface. Her father taught her from birth that it is her job to marry well and have children.

Cressida isn’t the only thing going to the manor. So is Violet’s conscription letter. She is furious. How in the world can she find a titled husband wearing a uniform and scrubbing toilets?

Meanwhile, in the village, the vicar’s daughter, Grace, is hoping her sewing circle can help mend her mother’s wedding gown so that she can wear it at her own wedding to a much older and staid man of the cloth.

While trying to be useful Cressida and Violet both volunteer at the sewing circle and much to everyone’s surprise it’s a great fit. Cressida has connections and Grace is a worthy protege for her. As she helps them, they also help her. What woman doesn’t want a special white dress for her wedding? The ladies soon hatch a plan to get as many gowns as they can and re-make them so the war brides all feel special on their day.

Having Cressida down in the village encourages her nephew, Hugh, to come as well. And he finds he may still have feelings for the little girl who was his best friend for so long.

Oh, the power of women having to make do. That is when things get interesting. And this book was full of women getting the job done. And figuring out who they are in this new world.

Such a beautiful concept and telling of a story that made me laugh and cry!

NetGalley/: May 31st, 2022 by Ballantine Books