Monday, January 20, 2020

Donna Has Left The Building

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~




Synopsis (from Amazon):  From the beloved, New York Times-bestselling author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress comes a hilarious, timely, and big-hearted new novel about rebuilding life in the face of disaster.

Forty-five-year-old Donna Koczynski is an ex-punk rocker, a recovering alcoholic, and the mother of two teenagers whose suburban existence detonates when she comes home early from a sales conference in Las Vegas to the surprise of a lifetime. As her world implodes, she sets off on an epic road trip to reclaim everything she believes she's sacrificed since her wild youth: Great friendship, passionate love, and her art. But as she careens across the U.S. from Detroit to New York to Memphis to Nashville, nothing turns out as she imagines. Ultimately, she finds herself resurrected on the other side of the globe, on a remote island embroiled in a crisis far bigger than her own.

Irresistibly funny, whip-smart, and surprisingly moving, DONNA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING spins an unforgettable tale about what it means to be brave -- and to truly love -- in a tumultuous world.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Donna Has Left The Building is a great book about self-discovery during what I would call a mid-life crisis.  I was a little stunned by what Donna does to her husband, only because I don't recall reading a book with such a strong character.  However, he did have it coming! I really enjoyed going on the journey with Donna  and had some laughs along the way.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love to read other books Susan Jane Gilman.  I love the titles of her books.  Her next book I would like to read is Kiss My Tiara.



Susan Jane Gilman, a native New York writer known for combining sharp wit with lyrical pathos, is the bestselling author of three nonfiction books: "Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven," "Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress" and "Kiss My Tiara," plus the novel, "The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street." Her second novel, "Donna Has Left the Building," arrives June 4, 2019, from Grand Central Publishing, and can be pre-ordered now. 

Gilman has written for the New York Times, the L.A. Times, Real Simple, and Ms. magazine among others, been a contributor to NPR's "All Things Considered," and won literary awards for her journalism and short fiction. She was also the recipient of a "Golden Earphones" Award for her Audiobook recording of "The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street."

She once told an interviewer: "I never set out to write books that made people laugh. My main love has always been literary fiction. However, even with my darkest work, people always tell me that parts of it are funny. This used to annoy me because I aspired to be an American Dostoevsky with Breasts.

Yet when I was living in Washington DC, I took a writers’ workshop at the Bethesda Writers’ Center. The first story I submitted was a heartbreaking tale of a man’s addiction, which impressed the class. The second was an absurd story about mistaken identity full of Jews, Rastafarians, lesbians, and dental hygienists. To my great irritation, the class liked this one infinitely more. After class, a man pulled me aside. 'I have to tell you,' he said. 'My wife has been battling breast cancer. I read her your story last night, and it was the first time in two years she really laughed. You’ve got a gift. Please don’t ignore it. Not everyone can make a sick woman laugh in her hospital bed.' That’s when I finally saw the merit in my own, lurking smart-ass and stopped fighting it."

Although she currently resides primarily in Switzerland, her heart and her feet are never far from her homeland.


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Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Bend in the Stars

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~





Synopsis (from Amazon):  A bestselling, riveting literary delight for fans of All the Light We Cannot See andThe Nightingale: an historical novel that is at once an epic love story and a heart-pounding journey across WWI-era Russia, following an ambitious young doctor and her scientist brother in a race against Einstein to solve one of the greatest mysteries of the universe.

In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar's army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia's only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein's elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?

Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri's fiancĂ©. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri's own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance. 

Grounded in real history -- and inspired by the solar eclipse of 1914 -- A Bend in the Stars offers a heartstopping account of modern science's greatest race amidst the chaos of World War I, and a love story as epic as the railways crossing Russia.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Both my husband and I read this book (he usually doesn't read anything I read!).  We both enjoyed it.  Science is not my not cup of tea and I found the physics woven into the story very interesting.  Enjoyed the characters (the good ones, not the evil ones) and the love triangle. Great read! Amazing first book by Rachel and I can't wait to read from her in the future.



Rachel Barenbaum is a graduate of Grub Street's Novel Incubator program. In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor, before moving to the New Hampshire woods to write. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an AB in Literature and Philosophy from Harvard College. A Bend in the Stars is her first novel. 

www.rachelbarenbaum.com


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Saturday, January 18, 2020

One More Lie

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~


Synopsis (from Amazon):  Charlotte wants to start fresh. She wants to forget her past, forget prison and, most of all, forget Sean. But old habits die hard. Despite the ankle monitor she must wear as part of her parole agreement and frequent visits to her therapist, she soon finds herself sliding back toward the type of behavior that sent her to prison in the first place. The further down that path she goes, however, the closer she gets to the crime that put her in prison all those years ago. And that’s the one memory she can’t face. Until, one day, Sean tracks her down. 

Amy Lloyd, the internationally bestselling and award-winning author of The Innocent Wife, returns with a chilling portrait of a woman trying to be good, even when she isn’t sure she wants to be.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: WOW-crazy good!  Filled with twists you will never see coming.  I couldn't put it down.



Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, I would love to read other books by Amy Lloyd.  I must check out The Innocent Wife.  I can only hope it is as crazy good as One More Lie.




Amy Lloyd studied English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She won the Daily Mail First Novel competition for The Innocent Wife in 2016. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, with her partner and two cats.


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The After Wife on Sale NOW (by my favorite author)




I am so excited to let you all know that until Sunday, January 19, 2020, The After Wife by Melanie Summer (and my favorite author) is on sale for $0.99 ($0.00 on KindleUnlimited)!  

Buy it now at Amazon!






Synopsis (from Amazon):  From bestselling author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go...

After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude. 

Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.

As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she starts to think she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Insightful, heartwarming, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.



WO TIME BRONZE MEDAL WINNER OF THE READERS' FAVORITE CHICK LIT AWARD FOR THE ROYAL TREATMENT (2017) AND WHISKED AWAY (2019).

Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published eleven novels and three novellas. She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three sporty nerd children, their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog, Lucy, and a small furry dictator named Nelson. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something—more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International. Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.

Website: www.mjsummersbooks.com


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Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~





Synopsis (from Amazon):  Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own...shell.
 
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. 
 
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?
 
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.) 
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee). 
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
 
It's time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn't convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It's going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.


One (or more) Sentence Summary: This is such a wonderful book.  I loved Nina and would love to be her friend! I just adored her and loved going on her journey.  I want more.  How would I describe The Bookish Life of Nina Hill?

Quirky person and family
Funny and unusual events throughout the book
Heart warming
Romantic
Smart women who have each other's back
Quick read
Left me wanting a sequel
A MUST READ
Waiting on book 2 - give me more!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I really enjoyed Abbi's other two books I have read, Other People's Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings.  




Abbi Waxman, the author of Other People's Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings, is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.


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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Love and Ohana Drama

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~





Synopsis (from Amazon):  Love and Ohana Drama is a romantic comedy that explores the challenges of family dynamics and reminds readers that there is always hope for a second chance. Sometimes the most challenging situations bring the most happiness . . .

Twenty-something Cora Fletcher is a book-loving public relations executive who lives with her overly Zen best friend and attention-loving cat. Newly single and focusing on her exciting career, she feels like she’s in a good place. She's even been invited on an all-expenses-paid Hawaiian vacation! The only catch—it’s a family reunion . . . and her family can be a lot to handle.


Cora vows to not let that get in the way, but even before the family has boarded the plane, the ohana drama begins. As usual, there's the sister-in-law who is bent on causing friction, the self-centered cousins, and the aunt who loves to party a bit too much. Her mother has filled the itinerary with endless activities, and she's even invited Cora’s ex-boyfriend in an attempt to get them back together.

Although she feels overwhelmed, Cora gets a blast from her past that could impact her life forever. This is one welcome reunion she did not expect . . .

Will Cora make it through a week of family togetherness? And will she be able to say aloha to someone she thought was out of her life forever?





One (or more) Sentence Summary:  If you want to read a good book with a crazy family, look no further! I am not sure how Cora can be the only sane person (besides her loving grandpa), but she clearly is the "normal" one.  I loved all the crazy people in her family, especially her mother (coconut bras!).  What I really liked about Love and Ohana Drama is Cora becames more vocal as the book progressed and stands up for herself at all the right times. 

I found Love and Ohana Drama to be full of hilarious scenes with a great cast of crazy characters.  Oh course you can't "love" in the title and not have a little steam tossed in too.  If you are looking for a nice, warm, sunny place to retreat to while reading - go on this adventure to Hawaii.  You won't regret it and will have a great laugh while visiting (reading). Don't forget your grass skirt!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I am a fan of Melissa Baldwin's work.  I have read her Love in the City series.  I really want to read Broadway series and Seasons of Summer series.






Melissa Baldwin is a planner-obsessed Disney fan who still watches Beverly Hills 90210 reruns and General Hospital. 
 
She's a wife, mother, and journal keeper, who finally decided to write the book she talked about for years. She took her dream to the next level, and is now an award-winning, bestselling author of seventeen Romantic Comedy and Cozy Mystery novels and novellas. Melissa writes about charming, ambitious, and real women, and she considers these leading ladies to be part of her tribe.
 
When she isn't deep in the writing zone, this multitasking master organizer keeps busy by spending time with her family, chauffeuring her daughter, traveling, attempting yoga poses, and going on rides at Disney World.


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Friday, November 8, 2019

The Suite Life (by one of my favorite authors)

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~






Synopsis (from Amazon):  From best-selling author Melanie Summers comes a seriously romantic, laugh-out-loud tale of a single mum and the man who restores her faith in love…

Handsome, rich, and charming, Leopold Davenport has always been the life of the party. But when he takes things too far, his father banishes the twenty-seven-year-old from his homeland of Avonia for six months. Threatened with disinheritance, Leo must find a job, rent a home, and grow up. With nowhere to turn, Leo moves to Santa Valentina Island, where his sister-in-law helps him find work as a bellboy at the Paradise Bay Resort. Little does he know that dealing with people’s baggage will make him examine his own. Will he check out or find that a long-term reservation is on his itinerary? 

Twenty-six-year-old single mum Brianna Lewis (a.k.a. Bree) doesn’t believe in fairy tales—not after being abandoned by the father of daughter, Isabelle. A law student by day and concierge by night, Bree’s determined to give Isabelle the life she never had. Suddenly finding herself in dire straits, she converts her garden shed into a rental suite in hopes of climbing out of the financial hole she’s in. But when the only person interested in renting the suite turns out to be to Leopold Davenport, the ridiculously good-looking co-worker she loves to hate, she knows she must choose between being happy and being broke. But as she gets to know him, she discovers there may be more to him than flirty smiles and empty charm.

Can Leopold make the leap from ultimate playboy to become the man Bree needs in her life? 
Will Bree allow herself to believe in happily-ever-afters or will she play it safe and hang a do-not-disturb sign on her heart?



One (or more) Sentence Summary:  My favorite is author is back with book #3 in her Paradise Bay Romantic Comedy series, The Suite Life.  I LOVED IT!  I honestly can't get enough of Melanie Summers' writing.  The Suite Life is such an amazingly funny book (beyond Pluto funny), with a touch of steamy romance.  I have no idea how Melanie comes up with her stories.  I wish I had a pinch of her talent.

I have to apologize for not posting a review for a while.  Work is always busy with year end and audit from July - mid October.  However, this year I had to toss in implementing a new expense system and a second audit.  Needless to say I haven't had two minutes to even open book and barely found time to brush my teeth.  I received The Suite Life and it was killing me that I couldn't find time to read it for weeks.  I loved it so much I read it in two days (unheard of for a slow reader like me).  I couldn't get enough of Leo and Bree (Dolores and Isabella, too)!  

Bree is another very strong female character and Leo is the fun loving play boy male character.  Bree is the sensible one and Leo is the one who hasn't grown up yet. Bree struggles to make ends meet and Leo has never had to worry about money.  Leo's father has made him sign an agreement that prohibits him from women, requires him to get a job and live on his own for six months.  If he fails, he will lose his inheritance.  Bree and Leo end up meeting a work.  Bree is in need of some quick cash and Leo is in need of a place to stay, so Bree rents him her shed.  Bree has sworn off men since her last boyfriend left her pregnant and she  became a single mom.  She finished law school and is working on passing the bar exam leaving her no time for a man.  

My friends from The Honeymooner (book #1) and Whisked Away (book #2) also make appearances throughout The Suite Life.  All three books are stand alone books, but the characters continue to pop up for a visit as the series progresses.  I think all three are MUST read books, so why not read them in order? 

No spoiler alert here....but will Leo able to hold up his end of the agreement with his father? Can a playboy really change his life? Will Bree find love? Will she continue to say no to men or let her hair down? 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Duh....I can't wait for Melanie's next book, The After Wife.  There is a sneak peak of it at the end of The Suite Life.  Darn it, just leaves me wanting more!




TWO TIME BRONZE MEDAL WINNER OF THE READERS' FAVORITE CHICK LIT AWARD FOR THE ROYAL TREATMENT (2017) AND WHISKED AWAY (2019).

Melanie made a name for herself with her debut novel, Break in Two, a contemporary romance that cracked the Top 10 Paid on Amazon in both the UK and Canada, and the top 50 Paid in the USA. Her highly acclaimed Full Hearts Series was picked up by both Piatkus Entice (a division of Hachette UK) and HarperCollins Canada. Her first three books have been translated into Czech and Slovak by EuroMedia. Since 2013, she has written and published eleven novels and three novellas. She has sold over a quarter of a million books around the globe.

In her previous life (i.e. before having children), Melanie got her Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta, then went on to work in the soul-sucking customer service industry for a large cellular network provider that shall remain nameless (unless you write her personally - then she'll dish). On her days off, she took courses and studied to become a Chartered Mediator. That designation landed her a job at the R.C.M.P. as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator for ‘K’ Division. Having had enough of mediating arguments between gun-toting police officers, she decided it was much safer to have children so she could continue her study of conflict in a weapon-free environment (and one which doesn’t require makeup and/or nylons).

Melanie resides in Edmonton with her husband, three sporty nerd children, their adorable but neurotic one-eyed dog, Lucy, and a small furry dictator named Nelson. When she's not writing novels, Melanie loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. She also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something—more like just staying until they turn the lights off.

She is represented by Suzanne Brandreth of The Cooke Agency International. Melanie Summers also writes steamy romance as MJ Summers.

Website: www.mjsummersbooks.com

Email: mjsummersbooks@gmail.com



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