Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: A Dangerous Age

A Dangerous AgeAuthor: Kelly Killoren Bensimon
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books

Couture royalty meets downtown grit and heady artists mingle with freewheeling socialites in A Dangerous Age, a sophisticated, indulgent, and delicious novel of contemporary New York City that women of all ages will devour.

It’s the dog days of a sweltering Manhattan summer, and four sophisticated best friends who once took New York by storm are secretly falling apart at the seams. Lucy’s marriage to a renowned artist is slowly crumbling, with an explosive secret that threatens them both. Sarah, in the middle of auditioning for an auspicious new television show, realizes that her socialite standing is in jeopardy after countless disastrous events. Billy—a queen in the kitchen—has finally left her former life behind to become a highbrow cuisine artist. And Lotta, a knockout downtown art dealer, spends her free time guzzling cocktails in both the grittiest and most expensive clubs around town—but now, she’s taken it a little too far.
In this addicting and refreshing comedy of manners reminiscent of Edith Wharton, Lucy, Sarah, Billy, and Lotta go to all ends to hide their troubles in a city that worships only the young, twentysomething it-girl. But in the end, there’s no denying that these women have all entered a very dangerous age...and who knows how they’ll emerge on the other side.

I wanted my heart to race in fear at the thought of a life without Titus. What worried me more than anything was that it didn’t.

Fire lilies, my darling, for your birthday. Like you, they are bold and beautiful and as priceless and rare as precious stone. They are delicate, and fleeting.

She went east. I went west. Into the sunset.

If love is a sandwich, then I wonder what desire is. Maybe the Haute Chocolate sundae at Serendipity.

This book was just my cup of tea! An absolute perfect read for summer! It reminded me so much of Sex in the City: New York City, four girlfriends all very different, but all very similar, these girlfriends trying to climb the social ladder, and of course the men they date, wed, or bed! I expected this book to be full of fluff, but I must admit that the author chose to take on some pretty weighty issues and dilemmas. The women in this book were all facing very different situations, but mostly focused on Lucy. Lucy has a bit of a mystery to solve throughout the story, but I am not going to reveal any more on this because I don’t want to spoil anything. Lucy’s character did turn out to be one of my favorite ones because of her sheer determination to find answers and rediscover herself and her marriage again.

This story is not for the faint-hearted, as I mentioned previously. There is some mention of drug use and one character in particular gets pretty heavily invested in drug use. There were times while reading when I questioned if certain characters would make it out alive, and at this time I realized that I was invested in their stories and interested in their lives. They share laughter, love, heartache, and cold hard facts with one another. You will find yourself laughing while reading as well as sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for something or someone to explode. I was finished with this book in one day and was sad to reach the last page. I am looking forward to much more from this author!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for my honest review***

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Book Review: One True Loves

One True LovesAuthor: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Washington Square Press

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

When you lose someone you love, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever feel better. But it does happen. If you’re patient and you work at it.

You don’t tie yourself to something unless you’re scared you might float away.

“Just because something isn’t meant to last a lifetime doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant to be. We were meant to have been.”

Worse for wear and yet, somehow, never more beautiful to me than right now.

The summer sun is hot, the breezes are blowing, and my heart and soul are craving some contemporary romance. I decided to satisfy that craving with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new book and she surely does not disappoint. I knew after reading the synopsis for this book that I would face some hurt right alongside the heroine, Emma. I wasn’t quite sure how the author would handle the situation of our heroine being in love with two men, one of which she thought was dead, but I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with how everything turned out. It is hard to say whose team I was on, Jesse or Sam, but I will say that both gentlemen had different charming and endearing qualities and a love for Emma that made it very hard to choose.

Not only for the romance was this book successful, but also because Emma’s journey is something to marvel at as well. She married her high school sweetheart only for him to go missing in their young lives and have to rebuild and start all over again. She was a strong, vivacious character who had a lot of tough decisions to make. She was able to grow so much through all that happened to her, but I won’t pretend that it wasn’t hard to read all that she was struggling through. I know I wouldn’t ever want to change places with her. The book was sweet, soft, real, and completely unexpected. It was everything I needed to read right when I needed to read it.

***A free copy of this book was provide to me by the publishers at Washington Square Press in exchange for my honest review***

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Book Review: A Golden Cage

A Golden Cage (Newport Gilded Age #2)Author: Shelley Freydont
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Newport Gilded Age #2

The author of A Gilded Grave returns to Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, where headstrong heiress Deanna Randolph must solve another murder among the social elite.

With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her toward an advantageous marriage proposal—or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom, Deanna is more interested in buying one of the fashionable new bathing costumes, joining a ladies’ bicycling club, and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks, all of which would scandalize her mother.
Far more scandalous is the discovery of a young man bludgeoned to death on the conservatory floor at Bonheur, the Ballards’ sumptuous “cottage.” Deanna recognizes him as an actor who performed at the birthday fete for a prominent judge the night before. But why was he at Bonheur? And where is Amabelle?
Concerned her new friend may be in danger—or worse—Deanna enlists the help of her intrepid maid, Elspeth, and her former beau, Joe Ballard, to find Amabelle before the villain of this drama demands an encore.

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, my dear,” Lionel Ballard said. “At least not until after dessert.”

“It sounds hard, but exciting to have freedom. To be in charge of your own life.”

Her better judgment told Deanna it would be smart to leave now that she had the chance. Curiosity told her to stand her ground.

I started this series last summer and fell in love with the characters and the mystery. Deanna is a great leading lady with a somewhat young, naïve, but yet smart and mischievous outlook. The setting is absolutely to die for and the diction plays into the time period very nicely. I loved everything about this book and thought it was a nice addition to the series. I am usually skeptical about the second books in a series because they often lack luster compared to the first. I will say that I enjoyed the first book more than this one, but this one was not far behind. I think I am most frustrated with Deanna’s love life because it did not go the way I wanted it to in the first book. However, the mystery in this book was just as powerful as the first and I guess that’s what really matters!

Deanna’s character is, as always, my favorite and I was happy to see more of her rebellious nature. She completely defies her mother and all of society’s expectation of what a proper woman should be and how she should behave. Deanna is more interested in being involved in the latest mystery and has no time to worry about securing a husband and pleasing her mother. I absolutely love this about her. It doesn’t hurt that she is smart and cunning and really cares for her loved ones. Shelley is a great writer and really allows readers to imagine what it is like to be alongside Deanna. I am looking forward to so much more from this author!

***A free copy of this book was provided by the publishers at Berkley in exchange for my honest review***