Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry @pcallhenry @BerkleyPub #bookreview #thefavoritedaughter

Happy hump day all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this lovely story that completely captured my heart! Forgiveness seems to be the theme of the week, because this book was all about forgiveness and family!💕

My Thoughts

𝒮𝓉𝓇𝓊𝑔𝑔𝓁𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝑜 𝓇𝑒𝓂𝑒𝓂𝒷𝑒𝓇. 𝒯𝓇𝓎𝒾𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝑜 𝒻𝑜𝓇𝑔𝑒𝓉.

Patti Callahan Henry has written a beautiful story full of memories, family, and forgiveness. A decade ago Lena was devastatingly betrayed right before she was about to walk down the aisle. Completely destroyed and mortified Lena packs her bags and heads to New York to lick her wounds and start over. Lena gets a job as a travel journalist, traveling the country and the world, but rarely returning home to Water’s End South Carolina. After receiving a phone call from her brother Shane Lena realizes she needs to return home and face her past. Lena’s beloved father Gavin has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and it is only a matter of time before he will lose all his memories. What transpires is a lovely story about the struggle to remember and the desire to forget.

This story completely captured my heart. These characters, this family, I was completely invested. Lena’s struggle to face her sister Hallie after 10 years of animosity was heartbreaking and uncomfortable. Some things are hard to forgive and even harder to forget and I am not certain if I would be capable myself. I really felt for Lena and understood her actions. HallieWas a bit of a hypocrite and really frustrated me. And poor Shane was so caught in the middle just trying to keep the peace between his sisters. Loved how the siblings were working together to create a book of memories for their dad, they really wanted to do just about anything to keep his memories alive. Gavin had a big personality and a big heart and it was heartbreaking to see his health and memories deteriorate.

So many pieces to the story that when put together were pure magic. The story was captivating, the setting was stunning, and the characters were authentic. The ending was so touching and it hit me right in the heart! Another remarkable story that you definitely need to add to your summer TVR!

*** Big thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

New York Times best-selling author Patti Callahan Henry returns to the beloved Lowcountry setting of The Bookshop at Water’s End with a novel of one woman’s homecoming. 
On her wedding day 10 years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home – until she learns of her dad’s failing health. 
Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs their family’s Irish pub – and who has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home….
Praise for The Favorite Daughter 
“A satisfying read about family and forgiveness.” (
PopSugar
“Henry’s latest packs an emotional wallop, delving into the bonds and tragedies that make a family…. Readers of thoughtful family dramas will be drawn to the travails of the Donohue clan.” (
Booklist
“Readers will be immersed in this moving tale, hungry to learn whether love and family will overcome betrayal, secrets, and heartache.” (
Publishers Weekly)

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green @JaneGreen @BerkleyPub #bookreview #thefriendswekeep #pubday

Happy Tuesday all!

Today I have a review for a book about friendship and forgiveness. This was a wonderful story that I strongly encourage you to add to your summer TBR!📚🏖

My Thoughts

F҉r҉i҉e҉n҉d҉s҉h҉i҉p҉. F҉o҉r҉g҉i҉v҉e҉n҉e҉s҉s҉. L҉i҉f҉e҉.

Jane Green has crafted an engaging story full of friendship, forgiveness, and finding out who you really are. Evie, Maggie, and Topher met at University where they forged a strong friendship that they swore would never end. A friendship built on love, respect, and trust. After university they all go their separate ways. Evvie does something to betray Maggie’s trust, rather than telling Maggie she pulls herself even further away from the friendship. Evvie moves to New York where she becomes a supermodel, Maggie works at a PR company, and Topher becomes a soapstar. Years later they all reunite at Maggie’s wedding to an old crush. The reunion is short as they all have their lives to live and then Evvie does something that might end this friendship forever. Fast forward and the three of them are in their 40s and they are all at a point in their lives where it makes the most sense for them to all live together. But as the three begin to get closer again, secrets begin to come out. Secret that may not be forgivable.

I love stories about friendships and that this was a friendship between two women and a man was a bit of a different twist that I found refreshing. I really liked all three of these characters even though they weren’t terribly relatable and they sure did frustrated me at times. The story spanned many decades and I Love that. It is so amazing how much we change and grow through the years. How we let go of dreams and develop new ones. That really was evident in the lives of these characters. I probably was most sympathetic towards Maggie, because I could relate to her more than the other characters. I know what it’s like to have a spouse who is an alcoholic, and if I’m being honest Maggie is a much more forgiving person than me. In oh so many ways!

This was a great read that will resonate with many. I think we all have those friends that we thought would always be part of our lives that we don’t see much of any more. Although I have to say some of the characters in this book really push those friendship boundaries, and I am not sure if I would be so ready to forgive. Jane green has a engaging writing style that kept me completely invested in the story throughout. This was another wonderful read that I encourage you to add to your summer TBR!

*** Big thanks to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book ***

About the Book

 is the heartwarming and unforgettable new novel from Jane Green, the New York Times best-selling author of The Sunshine Sistersand The Beach House. 
Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted – the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible. 
Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man. 
Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause. 
Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy. 
By their 30th reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness…until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything. 
The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Bestie Approved

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren @christinalauren @gallerybooks #bookreview #audiobook #theunhoneymooners

Happy Monday all!

Super excited to share my review with you today for this book that I absolutely unequivocally LOVED! Christina Lauren is an amazing writing team and I will read absolutely everything they write. If you have not read them yet, what are you waiting for???🍍

My Thoughts

𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓼𝓾𝓷. 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓼𝓪𝓷𝓭. 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓢𝓷𝓪𝓻𝓴. 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓼𝓮𝔁𝓾𝓪𝓵 𝓽𝓮𝓷𝓼𝓲𝓸𝓷.

Christina Lauren can do no wrong! This was another homerun from this amazing writing duel. Olive’s twin sister Amy is getting married. The wedding goes off without a hitch and it should because Amy has given Olive a to do list over 75 items long. BUT The perfect day is hijacked by the seafood buffet that makes every single guest sick, with the exception of Olive and Ethan the groom’s brother. Bride Amy is sick as can be, but does not want her honeymoon to go to waste, so she convinces her sister to take her place. The problem Olive’s plus one will be Ethan and the two of them have never got along. Well that might be putting it mildly the two pretty much can’t stand the sight of one another. BUT how can Olive resist 10 days in Maui?

Loved this book from cover to cover. The sun. The sand. The sexual tension. Olive was a fabulous character smart, snarky, and sassy. Enemies to lovers is one of my absolute favorite tropes and I loved how it played out in this story. The banter between Olive and Ethan was perfection. The story is told from Olive’s perspective. I generally like getting the mail POV as well in romances, but I thought this was really impactful in this book. We got to know Ethan as Olive did. Ethan was a great guy and I think I might have fallen in love with him right along with Olive. There are a few times during this book he said the absolute right thing at the perfect time. I said awww out loud a few times. I also found myself laughing out loud quite a bit. I love humor in my romances. BUT this book add a bit of a more serious side in parts. I thought this balance everything out well and I loved the resolution to the issues in this book. There was one part of this book that had me standing up cheering! You’ll know what I’m talking about if you have read this book!

If you are a Christina Lauren fan you will love this book! If you have not read them yet, what are you waiting for? This was a romcom done perfectly. The perfect blend of sass, Snark, swoon, and sizzle. A cast of engaging well developd characters and I really loved how important family was in this book. Well I’ve said a lot, I could go on anon, but I won’t, I will spare you all! Just read it! it’s fantastic!

🎧🎧🎧 Cynthia Farrell did an amazing job with her audiobook narration. She gave a perfect voice to both Olive and Ethan. I want to give her big props on her male voices. Deacon Lee came in and narrated the epilogue, he’s one of my favorites so of course I think he did a fab job!

*** Big thanks to Gallery and Simon & Schuster Audio for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime – even love – in this witty and swoon-worthy romance from the New York Times best-selling duo who “hilariously depict modern dating” (Us Weekly) and authors of Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating and Roomies. 
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister, Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag), and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now, there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of…lucky.
With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (
Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a fun and charming romance that is perfect for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Night Before by Wendy Walker @StMartinsPress #bookreview #thenightbefore

Happy Monday all!

Super excited to share with you today my review for this excellent book! This is a must read for all loyal thriller lovers! It’s mind blowing!🤯

My Thoughts

𝖂𝖊𝖓𝖉𝖞 𝖂𝖆𝖑𝖐𝖊𝖗 𝖉𝖎𝖉 𝖎𝖙 𝖆𝖌𝖆𝖎𝖓

An addictive and compelling read that will suck you in from the very first page and will not let you go until the mind blowing end! 🤯 Laura returns home to Connecticut after living in NYC for many years. Laura has a damaged heart. She is still getting over her last relationship and still scarred from things that happen when she was a teenager. Her sister Rosie is concerned, but happy when Laura finally goes out on a date for the first time in a long time. Happy that is until Laura doesn’t return…

The story bounces around between present and past, and Rosie and Laura’s perspectives. This is one of my favorite things, the changing of times and perspectives, and it was done brilliantly in this book. Each section was clearly labeled so there was never any confusion, additionally each character really had their own unique voice. The tension in this story was palpable, it really just seeped through the pages right into my bones. Do you ever find yourself reading a book and then realize that you have been holding your breath and your neck is all tensed up? That was this book. I was suspicious of every. Single. Character. I also had countless theories, all of them wrong. The pacing of this story was perfection. You were given clues and truths at the perfect pace. It kept me riveted and completely engaged throughout.

This is a can’t miss thriller for all lovers of the genre. It has everything that a thriller lover loves, all those twists and turns that you don’t see coming. And even the twists that I did see coming still somehow surprise me. This is probably my favorite book from Wendy Walker. She really is a wonderful storyteller and I love how she brings so much psychology and authenticity to her stories. There really is no suspending of belief, and that’s what makes it so creepy… because this could happen to you!

*** many thanks to St Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

The night before…and the nightmare after. 
Rosie and Laura are as different as two sisters can be. One is stable and has the perfect family. The other struggles to break free from her troubled past. When Laura disappears after going on a blind date, Rosie takes matters into her own hands.
But as Rosie begins to search for her sister, her greatest fears come to the surface. Could Laura be more of a danger than the stranger she meets, or is the night before her last night alive?
Told in dual timelines – the night before and the day after –
 The Night Before is a riveting thriller about family loyalty, obsession, and what happens when the desire for love spins out of control.
Praise for The Night Before:
“Wendy Walker proves her ingenuity with her latest hair-raising chiller. Teeming with taut writing, an abundance of jaw-dropping revelations, and Walker’s uncanny insight into the dark side of human nature,
 The Night Before is irresistible.” (Mary Kubica, best-selling author of The Good Girl
“Pulse-pounding action makes you race to the finish of this addictive thriller…. The writing sings, and the twists deliver.” (Liv Constantine, best-selling author of
 The Last Mrs. Parrish)
“A dazzling hall-of-mirrors thriller: ferociously smart, furiously paced, and – best of all – honest-to-goodness surprising. All hail Wendy Walker.” (AJ Finn, number one best-selling author of
 The Woman in the Window)

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang @HHoangWrites @BerkleyPub #bookreview #thebridetest

Happy Hump Day!!!

So excited to share with you today my review for this delightful book that published yesterday! If you like sweet romances with fantastic characters and lots of heat this one is perfect for you!💕

My Thoughts

Sweet. Steamy. Diverse.

So over this past weekend I read both The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test. Helen Hoang completely stole my heart with her delightful characters and enchanting storylines.The Bride Test was so charming it read like a fairytale, a more diverse much steamier fairytale. I like my romances with strong males and sassy females and this book checked both those boxes off. I also like my romances to be more than just a romance (if you know what I mean) and this one definitely was that! Miss Hoang has a new fan in me, I will absolutely read anything she writes.

Once upon a time… Khai, Who is on the autism spectrum was convinced he could not love. His mom was convinced he could, so she traveled to Vietnam to find her son a wife. Esme was a hard-working single mom. When Khai’s mother runs across Esme working as a maid in a hotel she knows that she is the ONE. So Esme boards a plane to America to seduce the prince, oh I mean Khai. BUT will Khai learn to love? And what will happen when Esme’s secrets come out? Will these two be able to conquer the cultural differences, the language barriers, Khai’s fears and live happily ever after? You’re going to need to read this to find out!

Both Khai and Esme were delightful characters that I completely adored.Esme was so spunky and sassy and I found her strength admirable. Khai, I really had a soft spot for him he was so vulnerable, it was tough to watch him struggle with certain things so much. The chemistry between these two was off the charts, they were definitely physically attracted to one another. This book has a lot of sizzle, steam,. and heat. If that’s not your thing I’d skim those parts, because this is a book not to be missed. I’d also suggest you read the authors note at the end it was so interesting how so much of this book related to her own life, a definite tribute to her mother. I like the trend toward more diverse books, but sometimes it seems a bit forced. This was a perfect example of a diverse book done extremely well. I cannot wait to see what Miss Hoang has in store for us next, might I suggest Quan’s story.😉

*** huge thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny‚ but not important emotions, like love. His family knows better – that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. 
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen @ReneeRosen1 @BerkleyPub #bookreview #parkavenuesummer

Happy Tuesday all!

Excited to share my review for this book that I absolutely loved! This was a book I did not want to end, another fabulous group read!🌷

My Thoughts

HOT DAMN this book was simply BRILLIANT!!!

Renée Rosen has written one heck of a book that is being immediately added to my favorites shelf! When I was a girl in my late teens and my 20s I never missed an issue of Cosmo it was hands-down my favorite magazine. This book not only tells the story of the reconstruction of Cosmopolitan magazine, but also of the start of the sexual revolution in the 60s. As a girl who grew up in the 80s it is hard to believe how far we came in 20 years, I don’t think anyone even batted an eyelash if I purchased a Cosmo in 1985? It is women like Helen Gurley Brown Who we have to thank for taking those first steps towards empowerment and liberation. And seriously what would we have done without those fabulous quizzes every month?

Alice has moved from Ohio to NYC with the dream of being a photographer. Soon enough she figures out it’s not going to be quite as easy as that, so with the help of a family friend she lands a job as a secretary. Not really what she wants to do, but she is excited that she will be working with and for, Helen Gurley Brown. Hgb who became infamous for writing the controversial book about sex and the single girl is now editor and chief of Cosmopolitan. Hgb has plans to turn the magazine world on its head, something she meets with much resistance. HGB will not be deterred though she is going to write a magazine for her girls; the single working girl who loves fashion, beauty, and *gasp* sex. The book is told from the perspective of Alice and through her eyes we get a front row look at the life of this dynamic woman and transitional time in history.

The story being told from Alice’s point of view I thought was extremely impactful. You really got to see how much Helen Gurley Brown cared for and wanted to mentor “her girls.“ Alice was a great character and I loved watching her navigate her way through her first real job and her first fling. Alice was smart and strong and I loved how she really knew what advice to take and what advice not to. Hgb’s message was so perfect. That as a woman it’s OK to have dreams and desires and to go after them, and probably even more important it’s OK to screw up. I also loved her theory about Don wands, because isn’t that the truth.

This book perfectly marries fact and fiction.Miss Rosen’s engaging writing style gave me such a well defined sense of place and time. I felt as though I was completely transported to 1960s NYC. I loved all the little attention to detail, the runs in the stockings, the jewelry, and the smoking, oh the smoking, so much smoking.

Simply put I was completely captivated by this enthralling story. I cannot recommend it enough!

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamorous New York City of 1965 and Cosmopolitan magazine, where a brazen new editor in chief – Helen Gurley Brown – shocks America and saves a dying publication by daring to talk to women about all things off-limits…
New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for the first female editor in chief of
 Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.
Nothing could have prepared Alice for the world she enters as editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller
 Sex and the Single Girl, and confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands. When someone tries to pull Alice into a scheme to sabotage her boss, she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed. While pressure mounts at the magazine and Alice struggles to make her way in New York, she quickly learns that in Helen Gurley Brown’s world, a woman can demand to have it all.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth @SallyHepworth @StMartinsPress #bookreview #pubday #themotherinlaw

Happy Pub Day to this stellar story!

Excited to share with you today my review for this book I read in December but still sticks with me today! This was a group read and we all absolutely loved it!💕

My Thoughts

Sally Hepworth completely sucked me in with this compulsive engaging addictive story! This book took a hold of me and did not let go until the last page was turned!

This was an intense twisty story full of complex characters and complicated relationships. I absolutely love books that dig deeply into the psychology of the characters, and oh boy did this book do that! Perhaps there is no relationship more tenuous than that of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. My own mother in law unfortunately passed away a year ago, and I will be forever grateful that she really stayed out of our business, LOL! Someday I will have my own daughter in law, a relationship I am looking forward to because I trust my son’s taste in a significant other. Although I am imagining it will be a tricky relationship I am up for the challenge! What is that saying;”adaughter is a daughter for all of her life, but a son is a son until he takes a wife.”

This story is told from duel points of view, mother-in-law Diana and daughter-in-law Lucy. I felt this was a extremely impactful way to tell the story, you could really see how much misunderstanding there was between these two women. They both truly sought the approval of the other, and neither really knew how to go about it. Most interesting indeed!

The book starts out with the apparent suicide of Diana. As the book progresses we get a look at events leading up to the tragedy. As well as the present day investigation. As things begin to unfold and secrets begin to be revealed we really find out how truly complicated it all was. As the past is revealed Diana becomes a more and more sympathetic character. You truly do need to understand where someone’s coming from to fully appreciate their current actions. I liked Lucy from the very beginning and I enjoyed delving deep into her immediate family dynamics. Her relationship with Oliver and the kids was so relatable. Tom, Diana‘s husband and the father in law was a jovial likable character, who sometimes should’ve perhaps had Diana‘s back a little more! Always much easier to be good cop then bad cop!

This book will feed your appetite for domestic Drama with a glimpse into this family‘s conflict. I just think there is something so alluring about a domestic thriller, it just is always so intriguing to read a story about family dynamics.. What is so brilliant about this story, is this family could be any of ours! It is so familiar and there is something comforting about that, making the story just that much more!

Strongly recommended to anybody who enjoys a story with complicated characters, complex relationships, twists, turns, and a well structured compelling plot!

*** many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

A twisty, compelling new book about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death….
From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy. 
That was five years ago.
Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she no longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.  
But the autopsy finds no cancer. It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation. 
Who could possibly want Diana dead? 
Why was her will changed at the 11th hour to disinherit both of her children and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?  
Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every chapter in this twisty, captivating new audiobook from Sally Hepworth.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian @LauraKalpakian @BerkleyPub #bookreview #thegreatpretenders

Happy Monday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this stunning story that truly exceeded my expectations! This was a group read and not everyone has finished yet but everyone is loving it so far!🎬

My Thoughts

an elegantly told exquisite tale of Old Hollywood and the girl who turned it on its head!

Laura Kalpakian stole my heart with this brilliant book! Have you ever finished a Book and thought, I need more and I need it now! That was me with this book. I was so invested in the story and these characters, I was seriously crushed when it was over. Kalpakian completely transported me to 1950s Old Hollywood with her riveting words.

Roxanne is Hollywood royalty, growing up on the back lots of her grandfather’s studio. Raised by her grandparents she is devastated when her grandmother passes away and is angry with her grandfather for leaving her beloved grandmother for a much younger woman. Not wanting to continue college and cut off (sort of) from her grandfather she finds herself living in a bungalow in Malibu. Realizing she knows Hollywood better than most she decides to pursue a career as an agent. After not being taken seriously and dealing with sexual harassment she decides to set out on her own. A huge risk, but Roxanne is all about risk. After a chance encounter (or two) Roxanne finds herself falling in love with Terrence an African-American reporter. BUT this is the 50s and multiracial relationships are a huge taboo even in liberal Hollywood. Will Roxanne‘s risks ultimately pay off? Will love conquer all or leave her heartbroken? You are definitely going to need to read this book and find out the answers to these questions and so much more!

Roxanne was so feisty, so fierce, and so ahead of her time. She was sassy with a vulnerable side and that made her even more endearing. This book took place during the “red scare, “the “blacklist,“ I found the politics of Hollywood fascinating. I also had absolutely no idea that Los Angeles was so segregated in the 50s. Growing up in southern California I guess I always like to think we are a little more enlightened than the rest of the country when it comes to racial relations, I guess not so much? Also fun fact… max one of the screen writers in the story who is blacklisted moves 60 miles south east of LA to the city where I live now(He was pretty much exiled to Riverside). I imagine it was quite rural here back in the day and seemed extremely far away from the hustle and bustle of LA. Now it is nonstop cities and freeways and traffic from LA to Riverside.

Such a magical story! I just loved everything the history, the characters, the setting, the tension, the romance. Roxanne was an amazing character who I won’t soon forget. Her relationship with Terrence was so raw, so intense, and so heart wrenching. I fell for these two so completely. This book had a Beautiful perfect ending, BUT I SO wanted more! A follow up would be great, I would really love to see what happens to these characters next. In case you can’t tell I strongly recommend this book!

*** A huge thank you to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Roxanne Granville is used to getting what she wants – even if she has to break the rules. But after a falling-out with her grandfather, a powerful movie mogul, she has to face life on her own for the first time….
Roxanne forges a career unique for women in the 1950s, becoming an agent for hungry young screenwriters. She struggles to be taken seriously by the men who rule Hollywood and who often assume that sexual favors are just a part of doing business. When she sells a script by a blacklisted writer under the name of a willing front man, more exiled writers seek her help. Roxanne wades into a world murky with duplicity and deception, and she can’t afford any more risks.
Then she meets Terrence Dexter, a compelling African American journalist unlike anyone she’s ever known. Roxanne again breaks the rules and is quickly swept up in a passionate relationship with very real dangers that could destroy everything she’s carefully built.
Roxanne Granville is a woman who bravely defies convention. She won’t let men make all the rules and won’t let skin color determine whom she can love. 
The Great Pretenders is a riveting, emotional novel that resonates in today’s world and reminds us that some things are worth fighting for.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton @chanelcleeton @BerkleyPub #bookreview #whenweleftcuba

Happy Thursday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this Fantabulous follow up to “Next Year in Havana” a book I reviewed on Tuesday. Both these books are about strong smart women and rich with history.🇨🇺

My Thoughts

An exceptional story about an extraordinary woman! A book rich with love and steeped in history!

Beatriz Perez my queen! There was something about Beatriz that completely captured my heart from the very first page of this book. She was a smart, strong, and sassy woman with an unbreakable spirit and an unstoppable independence. This is a follow-up of sorts to, “Next Year in Havana”, although I’d say you could read this book independently. We do meet Beatriz in the first book (it is the story of her sister Elisa) however Beatrix is on the periphery of that story. Both books are exquisite, however I have to admit I like this book a teeny bit more.

Beatrix might live in the US now, but her heart is still in Cuba. Her family was exiled to the US after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba. Beatriz was the privileged daughter of a sugar barren, she lived a glamorous life filled with parties and glitz. Then her life was turned upside down, she lost her twin brother during the uprise, her family loses all their wealth, and her family is sent away from the land that they loved. Beatrix now has to start over in a new country. Consumed with revenge and a desire to return “home“ she finds herself entangled with the CIA. She also meets a man. A man who is off-limits, A man who will completely capture and consume her. We experience the US Cuba relationship during the 1960s through the pages of this book. We see the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the JFK assassination through Beatrix’s eyes. This book is a true love story, A woman’s love for a country and a man.

Chanel Cleeton’s vivid writing will transport you to the 1960s. The feel and the fear at the beginning of the Cold War seeps through the pages. The historical aspects of this book are compelling, but I have to say the romance wormed its way into my heart. Beatrix Nick’s Love story was so raw, I really can’t think of any other word to describe it. A forbidden love that broke them both and then built them up again. it’s all about Fate and timing and all that.

This was a spellbinding story packed with romance and history rat in a cloak of intrigue! Unequivocally recommend!

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Publisher’s Summary

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life – and heart – to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana. 
Beautiful. Daring. Deadly. 
The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez – her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost. 
As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban-American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future – but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything – not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

Let’s Connect!

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Have a exceptional day!😍

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton @ChanelCleeton @BerkleyPub #bookreview #nextyearinhavana

Happy Tuesday bibliophiles!

Today is publication day for Chanel Cleeton’s When We Left Cuba(and I will have a review for that on Thursday). But I wanted to read this book before I started the second book and I’m sure glad I did! It was so beautifully told and so steeped in history… a brilliant read!🇨🇺

Happy

My Thoughts

An exquisitely told story steeped in history and Rich with love!

Chanel Cleeton has expertly woven together threads of the present and the past. This is the story of two strong women, grandmother and granddaughter, bonded by blood and a love for Cuba. A story of love for a boy, for a land, for a family, for a culture. Admittedly I know very little about Cuba and it’s history, and I found the history lesson I got from this book exceptional. Miss Cleeton skillfully brings Cuba to life with her words. The sights, the sounds, the vibe,in both 1958 and present day.

Cuba 1958, Elisa lives a privilege life as the daughter of a sugar Barron. She has been pretty sheltered from the political goings-on in Cuba, that is until she falls in love with a revolutionary. The problem is her family is in support of the president, on the other side of the issue. When the president falls and Fidel Castro takes over, Elisa and her family flee to the United States. Present day, Marisol is destroyed when her beloved grandmother who raised her passes away. Her grandmother’s last wish is to have her ashes spread in the country she loved, Cuba. This requires Marisol to travel to Cuba where she finds a land far different from that that her grandmother told her about. She was not expecting the poverty, the food shortages, the lines. Determined to find the perfect location to scatter her grandmothers ashes Marisol discovers her grandmother secrets. She also discovers the real Cuba and a love for a man.

This was a wonderful story that captured my attention and my heart. Both Elisa And Marisol were interesting and likable characters. I was slightly more drawn to Elisa’s story simply for the history. Although I like getting to know about present day Cuba as well. I think it just came down to the fact that I enjoyed one of the love stories over the other a little bit. It always comes down to the love!

Beautifully told… drenched in history, culture, family, and love! Absolutely recommend!

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

 A Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine on Audible Pick 
“A beautiful novel full of passion, secrets, courage and sacrifice.” (Reese Witherspoon)
After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity – and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution 
Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, 19-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest – until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…. 
Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. 
When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage. 

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

Let’s Connect!

Instagram|

Goodreads|

Twitter|

Have an exceptional day!😘

Berit☀️✨