The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

THE HOTEL NANTUCKET

I’ve read every one of Elin Hilderbrand’s novels. Wait, no, I missed last year. She has written dozens of them. She is the queen of the beach read. The reason I missed last year is because right off the bat the main character was killed off and became a ghost. I don’t do ghosts well. I passed. Low and behold there is a ghost in this new novel. But she’s not the main character and manages to move the story along wonderfully.

Lizbet Keaton snags a super position as General Manager of the recently renovated Gilded Age Hotel Nantucket. The larger than life hotel has a history and comes complete with its own ghost: a chamber maid who was murdered in 1922 and no one has solved the crime. The new owner of the hotel is Xavier Darling, a London billionaire with more money than good sense. He is rarely seen in the story. But his wealth hovers constantly. He has spared no expense and descriptions of the place shiver with reality. It’s a gorgeous venue.

Our family are total foodies so the scenes and descriptions in the eateries on the island really impress me.

There are many levels to this story. Every character has some sort of drama going on. Some right out front, others much more undercover. Multiple affairs are happening, some right in broad daylight. It’s summertime and things are heating right up. Nantucket is rocking and rolling mostly with very high rollers.

An eight-year-old girl staying at the hotel has become intrigued with the ghost story and is determined to solve the cold case. She is so smart and is a bright and enthusiastic addition to the story. She’s visiting the hotel with her mother and siblings and they have a huge dog. They were upgraded to a luxury suite upon check in because of a misunderstanding. Lizbet was responsible… what a family.

And we add Richie to the mix. Who is Richie? Good question. He’s living in his car. He’s broke. And he’s the new night front desk clerk. But he’s much more than that.

Toss in a $1000 bonus to one deserving employee every week, and you can only imagine the jostling for the money position every single day. Does bring more drama to the table?

A celebrity chef is brought on board to run the restaurant in the hotel. Of course romance is in the air.

It’s a quick and really light read. You find yourself on the beach, in Nantucket with amazing food and formidable shops and restaurants. The weather is balmy after the winter, and you find yourself leaving that cold winter behind and being quickly drawn into the island mentality that is simply divine.

My review copy was sent by the generous publishing people at Little Brown in exchange for an honest review. It did everything I wanted it to do. I was at the beach for two days, virtually and loved it.

Elin Hilderbrand

Search For Treasure by Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May

Search For Treasure

I couldn’t be more excited about this sequel to THE ISLANDERS. We’re back on Dewees Island, just off the coast of Isle of Palm near Charleston, South Carolina.

Jake Potter is staying with his grandmother Honey once again. But, this time he’s got his dad with him. And Macon and Lovie are chomping at the bit to get the threesome back on the beach and involved with something new: a real life treasure they are determined to unearth.

Being on Dewees Island means being prepared to unplug, get back to basics and enter the wonderful world of nature.

Monroe and May have managed to include all manner of flora and fauna. Plus, as you can see, there is this huge and very famous alligator.

When two visiting boys act up and act out, the threesome have to deal with drama. And it’s a learning kind.

Mary Alice and Angela

I loved this second in the series and hope for more next summer.

Would be a great book to listen to as a family, possibly on vacation, roadtrip. It’s content is very safe and yet the story holds up wonderfully for all ages. I devoured my copy. I’m sure you’ll devours yours as well.

My physical review copy arrived from Aladdin Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. It’s wonderful. Loved it!

Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta

Many of you will remember Perrotta’s ELECTION. That’s where Tracy Flick first appears. They even made a movie of the book starring Reese Witherspoon. It was a total hit. Well, Perrotta is back twenty some years later. Tracy is a middle-aged assistant principal in New Jersey. Her ambitions have changed. Her situation has changed. Instead of aspiring to becoming president of the United States, she’s hoping to step into the principal’s job when he announces his imminent retirement.

I kept thinking of one of my daughter-in-laws while reading this novel. She is an assistant principal at a local high school. Stressful job!

Tracy’s world has narrowed. She’s the mother of a ten-year old daughter. There’s a lot of drama. Issues of #MeToo are involved. Behind the scenes conspiracy are rampant.

Perrotta writes with an unusual wit. You can’t help but route for Tracy. She can be her own worst enemy.

Toward the ending of the novel things go haywire. A bit crazy. It was an interesting read and so well written. Those of you looking for closure for Tracy will surely get it.

My review copy was provided physically from Scribner Books in exchange for an honest review. It’s a good read.

A note: Elaine Newton has added this novel to her summer reading list. Just saying. link highlighted. Please keep in mind that the Philharmonic created this newer list just this week. The first list they gave has disappeared…..

It All Comes Down To This by Theresa Anne Fowler

It All Comes Down To This

Warning: This amazing novel takes place in Maine. Boom!

I love good novels set in Maine. Most of you who know me do realize I have never set foot in the state. But I sure hope to one day. Reading about Maine in various forms makes me happy.

Theresa Anne Fowler is one of my favorite novelists. She’s so darn good. This new book takes us into the world of the Geller sisters who are trying to catch their breath and move on after their mom is diagnosed with terminal cancer. After she passes they discover that her will is set up so that the three women will get together at the Maine cottage and spend time together one last time. Her intent is for them to sell the cottage and split the proceeds. However, stuff is going on in each one of their lives.

Beck is the oldest sister. She’s a free lance writer who is stagnating in a loveless marriage. She sees the cottage as her opportunity to move in and write her book.

Claire is the middle girl. She’s a cardiologist, recently divorced. She is in love with a man she has no business being in love with. So there is that.

Sophie is the youngest. She’s an Instagram influencer and the whole family believes she’s wildly famous and richer than Midas. Well, truth be told, she’s poor as a church mouse and drowning in debt. Oh my.

Beautifully flawed characters. Amazing scenes by the ocean in Maine. A very unlikely love interest. Three women who don’t yet know just how much they need one another.

My review copy of IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS arrived via UPS from the wonderful publishing people at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Well, honestly, I loved it and think everyone needs a copy in their summer reading bag!!

Out Of The Clear Blue Sky by Kristin Higgins

I have become a huge fan of Kristin Higgins over the past several years. She keeps getting better and better. And just look at this amazing cover! I’m all in.

Cape Cod, the beach, Provincetown, REVENGE. Got me. I so enjoy a great novel of revenge. When Lillie Silva is out to dinner with her husband of twenty years, she’s so happy. It’s the eve of their son’s graduation from high school. They are about to become empty nesters, and although this saddens her, she has decided to make the best of it and spring a European vacation on her husband. However, not so fast, Lillie, hubby has a surprise too: he wants a divorce. Ouch. Not expected. Shocked, really. She had no idea he was so unhappy. Out of the blue, this story becomes a witty tale of one woman’s life turned upside down.

We watch as man completely changes into a flying circus. Where is the man Lillie married all those years ago? Now she sees a man who needs to be called Bradley instead of just “Brad.” He’s become a health nut. And the woman who is bringing him so much”joy” is almost as young as his son. Melissa is this young widow. She’s wealthy beyond compare due to the circumstances of the will. The home she purchases on Cape Cod is palatial. Now she’s looking for just the right new husband. Be careful what you wish for…

As Lillie gets her grip she starts to act up. This is when I fell deeply for Lillie. The pranks she pulls on Bradley and his new girlfriend/then wife, are harmless, mostly. But they are laugh out loud hysterically funny. Higgins writes with such wit. Imagine Lillie drugging a skunk and leaving it inside Brad’s new home. Or doing something with his toothbrush…The pranks continue and I laugh until tears are drenching my cheeks.

Not all fun and games. Important yet tough topics are taken on, such as , infertility, sexual assault, and even grief. But all leaving you not devastated but fresh and aware.

This novel became a runaway for me. I did not want to leave these characters behind, though. I will tell you that the ending is great.

I read my review copy through NetGalley. It was provided by the publisher, Berkley, a division of Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review. I am sitting here grinning from ear to ear because I loved it that much. I think you will too.

Maurice’s June Musings

June snuck up on me. In fact, the first five months of this year have gone by in a blur. I am surrounded by stacks of books and lots of paperwork. This even as I read more and more on my digital reader and try not to hold on to so much paperwork. Still, it comes.

The Latecomer is my newest favorite book. Love the cover. Love the story. Love the writing. Don’t miss it.

Posted my summer reading list last week. I will be adding more books that are great to read this summer as the days go flying by.

We are looking forward to visiting my daughter and her family in Asheville. Grand dog Willow is growing so big. And the grandkids are really become adults. This will be mid July.

Willow’s new doo….

Today is first day of hurricane season. Not something I look forward to. There is already something barreling into the Gulf via Mexico. We will most likely experience plenty of rain and some wind. I’ve been praying for rain. Be careful what you ask for

We have planted two more avocado trees. Pretty soon the backyard will look like a farm. LOL. My husband has been enjoying the experience and so we are planning other parts of our yard.

I am excited about nine upcoming books for June.

OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY by Kristin Higgins

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS by Theresa Ann Fowler

HOTEL NANTUCKET by Elin HIlderbrand

JACKIE & ME by Louis Bayard

THE LIES I TELL by Julie Clark

THE ISLANDERS, SEARCH FOR TREASURE by Mary Alice Monroe and Angela May

VACATIONLAND by Meg Mitchell Moore

TRACY FLICK CAN’T WIN by Tom Perrotta

THE PRECIOUS JULES by Shawn Nocher

I’m trying hard to get caught up. I always think the summer will bring me time to do just that. I can at least get more organized. Crazy artist type.

Wisteria Tea Room

I had a delightful lunch at Wisteria Tearoom yesterday. Experienced the pineapple/coconut tea served in vintage pot with sweet tea cup. Was like stepping back in time. Right here in our own downtown Fort Myers. Met another book lover and we chatted books and book stuff like magpies. A good time was had.

Do you have big plans for summer? I know a lot of people are traveling this year, now that we can. I’d love to hear from you.

I am very thankful for big groups of readers who filled rooms for my book events this past season. It was truly wonderful to see everyone’s faces once again. And a few new clubs. Loved every moment of it!

You may be wondering what I’m reading now. HORSE by Geraldine Brooks

Horse (coming June 14)

Cheers to all of you who follow Maurice On Books. I wouldn’t be able to to do it without you!

The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

THE LATECOMER

I love the cover. Look closely. What do you make of it? As the story unravels you’ll want to come back to look at this cover again. It’s brilliant.

THE LATECOMER is quite simply literary fiction at its best! You may have read THE PLOT by Korelitz. If so, you already know the genius of this author. She’s witty and smart and her characters are amazing. Nothing superficial here. Just a heaping spoonful of brilliance.

The story revolves around a Jewish family of note. The Oppenheimer triplets are born into a world made rich by their parents and their grandparents. Their beginning is not traditional. They are born through the miracle of IVF. Right from the get-go we find they do not like one another. But everyone says not to worry, they will grow out of it. Well, it only gets worse. Through the years we see they will do almost anything to stay clear of each other. Meanwhile, their father becomes more and more enmeshed with his own little world of art. He collects art that his wife can’t stand. Finally, he buys a warehouse to show case them just for himself. Throughout their lives their mother continues to live her life as if everyone is just fine, and happy. And dad becomes even more standoffish and simply not around.

THE LATECOMER is a very literary read, but, it’s very readable. Does that make sense?

These three children, two boys and “The girl” grow up with every possible privilege. The best schools and the most opportunities. When the story opens up as they leave home as adults, the shit hits the fan. Mom discovers dad has a secret life and she comes up with a plan of her own.

I don’t want to say more because honestly, it would give too much away.

This book is bound for glory in the book world. It’s important and wonderful.

My review copy arrived from Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan, in exchange for an honest review. It’s a real keeper.

Flirting With Fifty by Jane Porter

Flirting With Fifty

From Goodreads:

A sexy and sparkling later-in-life contemporary romance about a woman who leaps out of her comfort zone and takes a chance on love by New York Times bestselling author Jane Porter.

My Take:

I’m so glad I decided to take a chance and accept a digital review copy of FLIRTING WITH FIFTY. This sophisticated and witty novel is filled with inspiration and hope. I love that the main character is a beautiful fifty-year-old divorced woman with three grown girls. She’s emerged from a bad marriage and managed to create a new life filled with confidence and a career she adores. She’s smart and witty and strong.

Paige Newsome is a professor of higher math at a University in Southern California. She loves her job and loves that her best friend works nearby. She’s in a great place in her life. She does not feel the need for change or a relationship. She’s all over that.

Enter Dr. Jack King, world traveler, Australian scientist with his own TV show. Jack is going to be co-teaching a class with Paige for the next semester. Of course he’s very handsome. And so charismatic. He is a widower with a grown son. Paige can not believe this Jack King is a man she knew thirty years ago. They have history; very short history. And it was in Paris…

Jack is so much the Indiana Jones type. Total opposite of Paige in the adventure world. Paige likes to take things easy, be sure of everything. No rush. But there is something palpable about the aura they send out when in the same space. You can feel the vibrations. Neither of them have ever felt like this before.

As a research trip approaches, this novel heats up. And then there is Tanzania. OMG! Porter puts the sizzle in the pan. The exotic locale of Tanzania is magical. The scenery, the animals, the flora. It all comes together to provide a very exciting climax to a story I came to love.

I have to say, romance novels have come a long way. And in a very good way. This novel is one to escape into. But it’s not silly. This is a romance novel for now. I loved it!!

My review copy was provided by Penguin Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Delightful!

City On Fire by Don Winslow

City On Fire

Who is Don Winslow? One of the top crime fiction writers alive today! I’m so excited about my new find. I downloaded a digital review copy of CITY ON FIRE a couple months ago. I thought my husband might enjoy it. He loved it. The other day I was browsing my digital reader and came across CITY ON FIRE. I started reading and hours later I had to force myself to put it down so I could go make dinner. OMG!

Winslow immediately pops you smack dab into this amazing crime novel. We’re at the beach in Rhode Island with a group of young people who are just out having a good time. Everything is great until a strange gorgeous young woman, a stranger, walks out of the water and into the lives of these people who are all part of the Irish mob. Winslow tells his readers that this woman is Trouble and is going to change everything. Pam is that woman and she’s much more than just trouble. She is the beginning of the end of their world as they’ve known it.

If you’re a fan of The Sopranos, you are going to flip over CITY ON FIRE. The gangsters, the time period (80’s and 90’s) and the language. This novel has it all.

I’ve just listened to a pod cast with Mitchell Kaplan interviewing Don Winslow. You may wish to listen so I’ve set up a link. https://lithub.com/don-winslow-is-hopeful-for-the-future/?mc_cid=cbb53a9d74&mc_eid=606adbe40e

CITY ON FIRE is the first of a trilogy. Now I have to wait until April for the next segment, then on to the following April for the end. But it will be worth it.

Winslow is well acquainted with both the Italian and the Irish mobsters in Rhode Island. He lived among them.

Murder, mayhem, moral dilemmas, New England crime wars, old grudges, and a cast of characters that propel this story along to it’s heart-stopping end. But it’s only the end of the first part. Ha.

Winslow tells his story through amazing dialogue. He idolized Elmore Leonard and Charles Wilford. I have read them each extensively over the years. He has learned his trade the old fashioned way. He was not always a writer but, he always wanted to be one. He persisted even though manuscript after manuscript was turned down. He worked as a PI in Hell’s Kitchen years ago. He has lived and worked in Africa. What a background.

It would be easy to give the story away. I will not do that and so I am not giving you much info. I promise you will find yourself totally lost in the pages immediately. And wanting more as you close the last page.

My review copy was provided through NetGalley by William Morrow, the publisher, all in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, this book is worthy of ten stars. It’s a keeper. It’s amazing. Just go buy it!

Our Last Days In Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Our Last Days in Barcelona

The Perez sisters of Cuba are back and in a very big way. Cleeton focuses on Isabel Perez in this new novel. Isabel flies off to Barcelona to find out what her wild-child sister is up to now. It seems no one has seen Beatriz, lately. Isabel fears the worst. She knows that Beatriz has been working closely with the FBI on Cuban affairs and fears for her safety.

While searching Beatriz’s flat in Barcelona, Isabel comes across a photo of herself as a toddler with her mother and a strange man. The photo is taken in Barcelona and Isabel knows she’s never been there until now. What a can of worms this opens. It adds yet another layer of tension to the novel.

The exotic locale will sway you with its authenticity. We visited this amazing city about ten years ago and reading this novel brings back so many great memories. The sights, the aromas, the flora and fauna. Wonderful and intoxicating.

OUR LAST DAYS IN BARCELONA teems with impressive women characters and gives the history buff plenty of great information about Spain’s connection with Cuba. I loved learning new stuff.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each one of Cleeton’s books in this series, however, I think this new one might just be my favorite. A perfect addition to your summer reading list.

My digital review copy was provided through NetGalley by Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review. It’s totally wonderful!