BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction

Book Review: ‘A Star is Bored’ by Byron Lane (pub 7/28)

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Thank you @henryholtbooks for my gifted copy of ‘A Star is Bored‘ by Byron Lane! (pub 7/28)

A hilariously heartfelt novel about living life at full force, & discovering family when you least expect it, influenced in part by the author’s time as Carrie Fisher’s beloved assistant.

Charlie Besson is about to have an insane job interview. His car is idling, like his life, outside the Hollywood mansion of Kathi Kannon. THE Kathi Kannon, star of stage & screen & People magazine’s worst dressed list. She needs an assistant. He needs a hero.

Kathi is an icon, bestselling author, & an award winning actress, most known for her role as Priestess Talara in the iconic blockbuster sci-fi film. She’s also known for another role: crazy Hollywood royalty. Admittedly so. Famously so. Fabulously so.

Charlie gets the job, & embarks on an odyssey filled with late night shopping sprees, last minute trips to see the aurora borealis, & an initiation to that most sacred of Hollywood tribes: the personal assistant. But Kathi becomes much more than a boss, & as their friendship grows, Charlie must make a choice. Will he always be on the sidelines of life, assisting the great forces that be, or can he step into his own leading role?

Laugh-out-loud funny, & searingly poignant, Byron Lane’s ‘A Star is Bored‘ is a novel that, like the star at its center, is enchanting & joyous, heartbreaking & hopeful.

I adored Carrie Fisher, not only as an actress, but as an author, way back to her early novels, ‘Postcards From the Edge’ (’87) & ‘Surrender the Pink’ (’90). So to read a (fiction) book authored by someone who was her personal assistant for 3 yrs was intriguing, to say the least. You can 100% picture Fisher as ‘Kathi’ even though Lane has stated that the story is a work of fiction.

At times this book was absolutely heartbreaking, but mostly it was laugh-out-loud hilarious! (And the books depiction of mental health struggles was very realistic & not exploitative. ‘A Star is Bored‘ is quirky, engaging, heartfelt, & amusing…anything but boring. I highly recommend this fun book which is available now!

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What others are saying about ‘A Star is Bored’:

“Wildly funny and irreverent… Lane’s writing lifts the novel far above its gossamer Hollywood setting, suffusing [the novel] with a complex sensitivity.”
― The New York Times Book Review

“The fun summer read so many of us are craving.”
― USA Today

“A sweet goodbye and an ode to friendship… it delights”
― NY Post

“Ingenious and very droll… Lane turns out to be such a good writer, so funny and rapier sharp…He’s made a fascinating character out of his perennially bored star, a pill-popping, foul-mouthed creature at once cynical and sentimental, self-loving and self-hating, with a lust for life and a self-destructive streak as wide as Santa Monica Boulevard… [Lane] gives us the best of both worlds, savage satire leavened with compassion…This reader was rarely bored.”
― L.A. Times

“With prose in turns incandescent and uproariously funny, as well as poignantly tender and sweet, Lane’s novel is a love letter, not only to Carrie Fisher, but also to the ridiculous, bizarre and oft-magical world of Hollywood.”
― Variety

“Carrie Fisher’s spirit animates this funny, dishy, and deeply affectionate roman à clef by her former personal assistant. The force is with him.”
People “Must-Reads for Summer”

“Lane debuts with a fizzy roman à clef about a celebrity assistant, playfully alluding to his experience working for the late actor Carrie Fisher. Lane begins with Charlie Besson’s job interview…an assistant to Kathi Kannon, famous for playing the beloved Priestess Talara in the science fiction epic Nova Quest. Lane brings wit and tenderness to Kathi’s mostly acerbic personality, and her attachment to Charlie is potent and palpable… Lane’s affecting tale would show how the real Charlie found his own superpower―as a novelist.”
― Publishers Weekly

“Aside from being laugh out loud funny, brazen, charming and exquisitely observed, ASIB is romantic, soulful and filled with tender sweetness. For those of us who knew Carrie and Byron it all brings back chokingly funny and necessarily sad memories of a uniquely beautiful and deranged ménage, but it will make every reader feel at home and a part of it too.”
― Stephen Fry

“I’m in love with this hearty story of a hilarious Hollywood friendship. It’s fierce and funny and will warm your heart in these often frigid times. This is some queer chicken noodle soup for my soul, honey.”
― Jonathan Van Ness, New York Times bestselling author of Over the Top

“I didn’t go into this expecting a love story, but the one here between a Hollywood assistant and his famous, hilarious and deeply lonely boss came very close to breaking my heart.”
― Julia Claiborne Johnson, bestselling author of Be Frank With Me

“Byron Lane has written a book that will touch you on so many levels. I was prepared for the laughs, but didn’t expect the poignant story of a relationship both difficult and wonderful at the same time. A terrific read.”
― Laurie Gelman, bestselling author of Class Mom and You’ve Been Volunteered

“A Star is Bored is an absolute knockout. Riotously funny and wickedly tender. The pitch-perfect absurdity and sharp heartbreak of this story come to life so vividly that the last page left me aching. Completely outrageous and positively lovely.”
― Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones and the Six

Byron Lane is an author, playwright, & screenwriter. His debut novel, A STAR IS BORED, is about a celebrity assistant struggling to manage his eccentric & hilarious movie star boss, inspired in part by Lane’s time as assistant to beloved actress Carrie Fisher. The novel has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, OK Magazine, & People Magazine which hails: “Funny, dishy, deeply affectionate… the force is with him.”

Lane also wrote and co-stars in the play TILDA SWINTON ANSWERS AN AD ON CRAIGSLIST, a comedy hit having sold out runs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Edinburgh Fringe. It’s been critically praised by The Guardian, British Theatre, & Broadway World which says, “Hysterical… Lane has written a brilliant tour de force.”

Lane wrote & co-stars in LAST WILL & TESTICLE, an award-winning web series about his testicular cancer diagnosis which screened at festivals around the world, was called “fearless” by Cosmopolitan Magazine, & named “New York Television Festival Pilots to Put on Your Radar” by NBC Out. He wrote & co-stars in a feature film called HERPES BOY, starring Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, which won Best Comedy at Comic Con & an Audience Award from Austin Film Festival. And he wrote & produced a trailer for a series called GAY DIVORCE which was a finalist in Project Greenlight’s See Yourself contest.
​​
Lane is a regional Emmy Award winner from his time as a TV News journalist. He’s originally from New Orleans & lives in Los Angeles with his boyfriend, best-selling author Steven Rowley, and their rescue dog, Tilda.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Romance · RomCom

Book Review: ‘RomeAntically Challenged’ by Marina Adair (pub 7/28

Thank you @kensingtonbooks for my gifted copy of ‘RomeAntically Challenged‘ by Marina Adair! (pub 7/28). Click HERE to go to my Instagram post & give it LIKE.

Growing up the lone Asian in a community of WASPs, Annie has always felt out of place. Her solution? Start a family of her own. Not easy when every man she’s dated, including her ex-fiancé, finds “his person” right after breaking up with Annie. Even worse than canceling the wedding eight weeks beforehand? Learning the “other woman” plans to walk down the aisle wearing her wedding gown.

New plan—find a fresh, man-free start. Too bad her exit strategy unexpectedly lands her working at a hospital in Rome, Rhode Island, rather than Rome, Italy, & sharing a cabin with a big, brooding, & annoyingly hot male roommate.

Home on medical leave after covering a literally explosive story in China, investigative photojournalist Emmitt embarks on his most important assignment—cementing his place in his daughter’s life. Three men & a baby might work in the movies, but with a stepdad & devoted uncle competing for Paisley’s attention, Emmitt has lost his place at the family table. Then there’s the adorably sexy squatter in his cabin, who poses another problem, one he’d very much like to solve up close & personal. But he can’t win—Annie has sworn off men, Paisley’s gone boy crazy, & Emmitt’s estranged father reappears with a secret that changes everything.

Annie & Emmitt are about to discover love comes in many forms, & sometimes the best families are the ones we make.

I really loved this book! It’s the perfect staycation, escape from CoVid chaos, sit by the pool with a iced bevie read! (That’s how I enjoyed reading it anyhow…) ‘RomeAntically Challenged‘ is a nicely layered story with humor, emotion, drama & romance, & even better, book 2 in this ‘When in Rome’ series, ‘Hopeless Romantic‘, comes out in Jan 2021! 6 short months! (unless CoVid has other plans for that release date like so many others…Let’s hope not! I’m anxious to read the next installment!)

RomeAntically Challenged‘ by Marina Adair is charming, uplifting, endearing & swoon-worthy with loveable characters you will enjoy getting to know. Look for this book this Tues, 7/28 at your local indie bookstore.

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‘Hopeless Romantic’ (When In Rome #2) (pub 1/26/21)
Set against the breezy backdrop of coastal Rhode Island, the latest novel from bestselling author Marina Adair asks whether two of a small town’s biggest hearts can learn to put themselves first–in the name of love…
As caregiver for her autistic brother, Beckett Hayes knows how meaningful a little extra help can be when life happens. Which is why she runs Consider It Done, a personal concierge service in her small town. Her job also gives her the flexibility to follow her passion, being Rome, Rhode Island’s unofficial special needs advocate, training emotional support companions in her spare time. There’s not much of that, though, and certainly not enough for serious dating. It’s always been family first for Beck. But one unquestionably gorgeous, good-natured man is suddenly a temptation that’s getting tougher to resist…

Sixteen years ago, Levi Rhodes was ready to sail off into the sunset–literally. But then his father’s death and his sister’s unexpected pregnancy postponed his sailing scholarship and the adventures he had planned. Running the family marina and bar was the least he could do for his grieving mother. Plus, his niece needed a father-figure. But now that she’s in high school and has her bio-dad in her life, Levi’s wondering if it’s time to get his sea legs under him again…until curvy, caring Beck showed up in his bar, and then in his dreams…

Marina Adair is a #1 nationally bestselling author whose fun, flirty contemporary romances have sold over a million copies. In addition to the When in Rome series, she is the author of the Destiny Bay series, the Heroes of St. Helena series, the Sugar, Georgia series, & the St. Helena Vineyard series, which was the inspiration behind the original Hallmark Channel Vineyard movies: Autumn in the Vineyard, Summer in the Vineyard, & Valentines in the Vineyard. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, she holds a MFA from San Jose University & currently lives in Northern California with her husband, daughter, & two neurotic cats. Please visit her online at MarinaAdair.com & sign up for her newsletter at http://www.MarinaAdair.com/newsletter.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Fiction · RomCom · YAbooks

Book Review: ‘The Mall’ by Megan McCafferty (7/28)

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Thank you @wednesdaybooks (partner) for my gifted copy of “The Mall” by Megan McCafferty! (pub 7/28)

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes & ‘90210’ are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she & her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education & happily ever after.
But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, & ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places.

Megan McCafferty, beloved author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

Ok, by show of hands, who here still has a mall in their city or one nearby that you may or may not frequent? I kinda remember when my local mall was built in 1977. Every store slot was filled & the anchor stores were JCPenney, Elder Beermans, May Co & Montgomery Ward (later that became a Sears. (The only one of those still there [barely hanging on] is JCP.)

My first job was at The Gap at our mall & I also worked at The Limited, Deb & Sam Goody (which is a major part in this book in a couple ways.) Even though this is geared towards the YA gen, I feel those of us that were teens (or maybe young 20’s) in the early 90’s will appreciate & relate to the name drops, fashion style & pop culture references even more.

From Bath & Body Works (hello, cucumber melon) to Spencer’s Gifts (STILL at my mall), to Cabbage Patch dolls (who have a co-starring role in this story), McCafferty’s ‘The Mall‘ was a true blast from my past & I really liked it. It’s a pretty quick read, laugh out-loud at times, atmospheric, & also touches on a couple heavier subjects.

The Mall‘ is a coming of age, nostalgia-filled, journey back in time, with a fun, mall based treasure hunt (like ‘The Goonies’ minus the gangsters & murder).

(Oh, & remember when Mark Wahlberg was dancing around with his Calvin Klein underwear showing & singing about ‘Good Vibrations’ w/ his Funky Bunch before becoming a huge actor??) Yes, that’s right, fellow Gen X’ers…Marky Mark is almost 50 now!

Click HERE to add ‘The Mall’ to your Goodreads TBR list.
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What others are saying about Megan McCafferty’s ‘The Mall‘:

“With wit and more than a little hairspray, McCafferty dives into the 1990s with this snappily written self-empowerment novel set beneath the fluorescent lights of a suburban New Jersey mall.” – Publishers Weekly

“Megan McCafferty departs from her best-selling Jessica Darling series to conjure this charming throwback.” – Columbia Magazine

“Complete with Orange Julius, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Sam Goody, this book is a blast to the past!” – Manhattan Book Review

“The Mall was to 1991 teenagers what the iPhone is to today’s generation: EVERYTHING. This delightful novel about that particular time and place is loaded with fun, warmth, intelligence, big hair and an even bigger heart. I loved it.” — New York Times bestselling author Rachel Cohn

“Both a laugh-out-loud pean to those bygone cathedrals of the 1990s, and a zippy coming-of-age tale, THE MALL is a delightful read for any generation. So tease your hair, grab your hotdog on a stick and prepare to have a freaking blast!” — Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay and I Have Lost My Way

“What a pleasure it is to spend time in a McCafferty universe. Her writing is sharp, smart, sexy and oh-so-real. I’ll read her forever.” — Rebecca Serle, New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years

“Totally rad! This former 1990s mall teen loved The Mall, an ode to tall bangs, boys with good taste in music, and female friendship, set in the only place that mattered. What a joy to have a new book from Megan McCafferty, who knows exactly how to make us laugh, cry, and fall in love with her characters.” — Amy Spalding, author of The Summer of Jordi Perez and The New Guy

“A delightful, funny, sweet and affecting real life adventure with such a big heart, it’ll make you cry the happiest tears. The Mall is something special.” — Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie

Megan McCafferty writes fiction for tweens, teens and teens-at-heart of all ages. The author of several novels, she’s best known for Sloppy Firsts and four more books in the New York Times bestselling Jessica Darling series.

Described in her first review as “Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker” (Wall Street Journal), she’s been trying to live up to that high standard ever since.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · BOTMs, · Fiction · Romance · RomCom

Book Review and Happy Pub Day to “The Boyfriend Project” by Farrah Rochon

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Happy Pub Day & Thank you @readforeverpub for my gifted copy of “The Boyfriend Project” by Farrah Rochon!

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London & Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, & no worrying about their relationship status.

For once Samiah is putting herself first, & that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?


What a fantastic book! A celebration of strong women, women of color, & female friendship. “The Boyfriend Project” is an authentic, smart, relevant, refreshing rom-com with wonderfully written characters that readers will love! It’s a feel good novel that is female driven with some romance & a sprinkle of mystery, too.

The Boyfriend Project” was also a Book of the Month choice for May, which I bought (then the publisher sent me a pb copy, which I will be sharing w/ one of you in a giveaway soon!) This is the first book in a series that will include books focused on London & Taylor as well. This book & the follow-ups would make a fantastic TV series (like “The Bold Type”). I highly recommend this happiness inducing book & look forward to reading more from Rochon in the future!

Book of the Month is an online book subscription club that announces 5 selections each month & you can choose (1) as your monthly pick for only $14.99 & then up to (2) more at the even lower cost of $9.99 each (plus tax, but shipping is always FREE!).

These are hardback editions, too, & for less than half of what you would pay elsewhere! Most of the monthly selections are early release editions, meaning you can get a copy before everyone else (generally a month in advance) & be one of the cool kids on the block! Not only that, after you have received (12) BOTM boxes, you become a BFF & even MORE exciting things happen!

As a BOTM BFF you get a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE add-on book during your birthday month, & every winter when they announce the (5) BOTM Book-of-the-Year finalists, you can choose one of them for FREE, too! Every year! Amazing, huh? I have been a BOTM member for about 3 years now & I love it! My BOTM’s are generally some of my favorite books, too, since they are well curated by varying monthly BOTM judges. You can skip any months you choose to, cancel at anytime, & the BOTM customer service folks are the BEST & they will help you with any issues you may have. If I haven’t convinced you yet how great Book of the Month is, how about getting your first book for a mere $9.99? Use my referral link by clicking HERE.

Click HERE to add “The Boyfriend Project” to your Goodreads TBR list.
Click HERE to get this book on audio from Libro.fm (Be sure to use my code MOMLOVESREADING & get 3-audiobooks-for-price-of-1)

What others are saying about “The Boyfriend Project“:

“A masterpiece of modern-day Jane Austen with effortless, razor-sharp social commentary, romance and humor. Farrah Rochon is one of the absolute best romance writers today. Period.”―-Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author

“A prime example of how complex and insightful romances can be. Farrah Rochon deftly explores what it means to go viral, the unique joys of strong female friendships, and the particular struggles of Black women in the workplace, all within a great love story.”―-Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date

“A smart, funny digital-age romance about real women living in the real world. Couldn’t put it down!”―Abby Jimenez, USA Today bestselling author of The Happy Ever After Playlist

“Farrah Rochon writes intensely real characters with flaws and gifts in equal measure. The Boyfriend Project is a multilayered story about friendship, love, and following your dreams — all of it told with heart and emotion.”―Nalini Singh, New York Times bestselling author

“Rochon’s books are always witty, hot, and engaging.”―BuzzFeed

“A smart, sexy and completely modern romance. The Boyfriend Project is the free-spirited, tell-it-like-it-is page-turner you’ve been looking for!”―Kwana Jackson, USA Today bestselling author of Real Men Knit

“I loved this book! The Boyfriend Project is a modern, cute, clever rom-com, and I can’t wait for the next book. This is a girl gang I want to join.”―Alisha Rai, author of The Right Swipe

“Funny, fresh, sexy, and heartfelt. This is my new favorite romance series!”―-Suzanne Brockmann, New York Times bestselling author

“Farrah Rochon writes delectable love stories with characters so warm that I want to hang out with them in real life. Samiah’s hopes and dreams and fears are relatable and real, and I don’t blame her at all for bending the rules of her no-dating pact with the extremely tasty Daniel. I smiled the whole time I was reading The Boyfriend Project.”―Andie J. Christopher, author of Not the Girl You Marry

The Boyfriend Project has it all-swoon-worthy romance, the power of true friendship, and a grand gesture that makes your heart sigh with pure satisfaction. Absolutely a must-read summer romance!”―Priscilla Oliveras, USA Today bestselling author

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her Holmes Brothers, New York Sabers, Bayou Dreams and Moments in Maplesville series. When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows. An admitted sports fanatic, Farrah feeds her addiction to football by watching New Orleans Saints games on Sunday afternoons.

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Romance · RomCom

Book Review: “The Marriage Game” by Sara Desai

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Thank you @berkleypub for my gifted copy of “The Marriage Game” by Sara Desai! (pub date 6/9)

A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy..After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business & creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, & a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm & sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam & Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.


A Marriage Game” is a perfectly paced & pretty hilarious rom-com, with fun, witty banter, particularly between Sam & Layla. This is an ideal beachy/poolside read & is a refreshingly feel-good, hopeful, sexy, & culturally atmospheric novel. And I LOVE the cover & all the pastel colors! I really enjoyed this book & definitely look forward to reading more from Desai!

This book releases this coming Tuesday, June 9th. Be sure to look for it at a local or online indie bookseller first! They need our sales now more than ever! Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book & any others at an independent bookstore.

Click HERE to add “The Marriage Game” to your Goodreads TBR.

Here’s what others are saying about “The Marriage Game“:

“[An] enticing debut.”—SheReads

The Marriage Game is the most delicious read! From the humor, to the heartwarming family bonds, to the off the charts chemistry, it’s impossible for me to love this book anymore. I can’t wait for more from Sara Desai!”—Alexa Martin, author of Intercepted

“I fell hard for The Marriage Game from the moment I read Layla and Sam’s dynamite meet-cute. It’s a hilarious, heartfelt, and steamy enemies-to-lovers romance.”—Sarah Smith, author of Faker

“Desai’s delightful debut is a playful take on enemies-to-lovers and arranged marriage tropes starring two headstrong Desi-American protagonists. Rom-com fans should take note of this fresh, fun offering.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This witty and delightful story about family, forgiveness, and letting go is utterly satisfying. Desai’s first book will be a hit with fans of Sonya Lalli’s The Matchmaker’s List.”Library Journal


Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos. Visit Sara at www.saradesai.com.