Book Review: The Goddesses

IMG_0761Title: The Goddesses
Author: Swan Huntley
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Doubleday: When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy’s husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana’s hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana—skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she’s ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.

My Review: I always love a good family theatrics read and THE GODDESSES did not disappoint! I was sucked in from the get go because I can relate to Nancy’s need to find her purpose in a new place as a stay at home mom, which isn’t always easy.

THE GODDESSES is flanked by a cast of unlikable characters but I couldn’t put this book down because they are a captivating bunch and I needed to know what was coming around every bend – and there are many! Ana is an outwardly sick, twisted and disgusting person. She preys on Nancy’s marital discord and vulnerability and takes things waaaay too far with her son’s.

I was mesmerized by the backdrop of the Big Island, Hawaii – sitting in the jacuzzi and listening to the waves crashing, yoga under the sun and the references made about Costco – because I’m a frequent Costco shopper!

This is my first Huntley book and her writing is brilliant! The storyline is not unique but the characters are rich  – each has an underlying story of their own which makes them so real and relatable. And the twisty plot made me devour this book in just a couple of days.

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Book Review: Hello, Sunshine

IMG_0117Title: Hello, Sunshine
Author: Laura Dave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Digital ARC
Verdict: A good read
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Simon & Schuster: Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

My Review: If you are a foodie and like social media culture then HELLO, SUNSHINE should be on your summer reading list! This book is a page-turner and I could not wait to find out what deep dark secrets Sunshine Mackenzie was hiding and who was behind the Twitter hack that took her culinary career down.

I tried not to over analyze this book because it’s meant to be entertaining but I found several characters shallow and ridiculous. I didn’t care for Sunny because she was embedded in lying for her own betterment and her lying knows no boundary.

Dave’s writing style is engaging and has a flow that kept me turning the pages, although I’m not sure what the incomplete ending is about – nothing was resolved!

The food descriptions are divine and a relatable element that any foodie will appreciate. While this one isn’t one of my favourite books it’s definitely fast-paced, light and entertaining – perfect beach reading!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for providing me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The Shark Club

IMG_0102Title: The Shark Club
Author: Ann Kidd Taylor
Publisher: Viking Books
Format: Book
Verdict: Read it!
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From PRH: One summer day on the beach in Florida, two extraordinary things happen to Maeve Donnelly. First, she is kissed by Daniel, the boy of her dreams. Then, she is bitten by a blacktip shark.

Eighteen years later, Maeve has thrown herself into her work as a world-traveling marine biologist discovering more about the minds of misunderstood sharks. But when Maeve returns home to the legendarily charming and eccentric Hotel of the Muses where she was raised by her grandmother, she finds more than just the blood orange sunsets and key lime pies she’s missed waiting for her.

While Maeve has always been fearless in the water, on land she is indecisive. A chance meeting on the beach with a plucky, irresistible little girl who is just as fascinated by the ocean as Maeve was growing up leaves her at a crossroads: Should she re-kindle her romance with Daniel, the first love she left behind when she dove into her work? Or indulge in a new romance with her colleague, Nicholas, who turns up in her hometown to investigate an illegal shark-finning operation?

My Review: Maeve has two loves in her life: Daniel and sharks. Daniel came into her life after she and twin brother Robin lost their parents in an airplane crash when they were children. Her love for sharks came out of a ‘hit and run’ as Maeve called it. A black tip shark bit her leg and swam off when she was 12. Now she’s a marine biologist and something of a shark whisperer amongst peers.

Maeve and Nicholas are tracking a shiver of lemon sharks off Bimini, which she named Silvia (the special one), Jacques and Captain. They maintain a professional relationship but the electrical charge between them is alive. Their expedition is coming to an end and Nicholas is heading back to England to deal with his crumbling marriage while Maeve heads back to Palermo where she will reunite with Robin and her grandmother, Perri at the Hotel of Muses. She and Nicholas will rejoin each other for another study in Mozambique, and hopefully more, but Maeve needs to know that Nicholas’ marriage is over.

Back in Palermo Maeve is flooded with memories of a jilted ending with Daniel. She broke off their engagement after learning he betrayed her with a fellow culinary student and expecting a baby while she was away on a shark expedition. She’s quickly back in Daniel’s life when she learns he’s the father of the little girl, Hazel Maeve befriends on the beach and Perri hired him to run the kitchen at the hotel. The romance rekindles and everything feels familiar and right. Hazel loves that Maeve studies sharks and together they form The Shark Club, searching for shark teeth on the beach and checking out library books about sharks.

A background story looms surrounding an illegal shark finning operation and Maeve wants to get to the bottom of who’s running it and bring them to justice. But when she learns the shocking truth it’s more than she bargained for. Nicholas shows up in Palermo to investigate the incident, which forces Maeve to choose between Daniel and Nicholas but one thing remains certain she will never give up her love for sharks.

I loved everything about this book. It brought back childhood memories of my love for sharks and all the info gathering I did to learn the different species. Taylor’s writing is amazing and kept me engaged. The characters are fantastic and I was torn between who I wanted Maeve to end up with, Daniel or Nicholas… I thought the background story was a brilliant tie-in and added another element of engagement. This is a perfect summer book!