Monday, July 30, 2018

The President is Missing

Synopsis (from Amazon): The President Is Missing confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view . . . 

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I enjoyed The President Is Missing and I went in expecting very little.  I had read a lot of negative reviews and have to disagree with them.  I am wondering if people got too hung up on who the co-author is and not the content and story.  Looks like Amazon reviews disagree too, 4.5 stars.

The President Is Missing is a typical fast pace, very interesting, wanting to read the next chapter James Patterson type of book.  The topic, cybersecurity/cyberterror is a very popular one today.  This did remind me a bit of Vince Flynn's, Mitch Rapp series (earlier ones in the series).  I never saw the ending coming and thought I had it figured out early on in the book.  Boy was I wrong.  

Great plot, fast pace, quick read (won't want to put it down), realistic and intense read!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I love James Patterson books.  My favorite to date is still Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas

Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, and he served until 2001. After leaving the White House, he established the Clinton Foundation, which helps improve global health, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity and preventable diseases, create economic opportunity and growth, and address the effects of climate change. He is the author of a number of nonfiction works, including My Life, which was a #1 international bestseller. This is his first novel.

James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community from the National Book Foundation. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, and his books have sold more than 375 million copies worldwide. A tireless champion of the power of books and reading, Patterson created a new children's book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: "We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say, 'PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.'" He has donated more than one million books to students and soldiers and funds over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at twenty-four colleges and universities. He has also donated millions of dollars to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson invests proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Alex and Eliza (post by Allie)

Synopsis (from Amazon): 1777. Albany, New York. 
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. 

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I really love to listen to Hamilton, the musical.  Someday, I hope to see it on stage.  I was walking through Barnes & Noble and saw this book, Alex & Eliza, and knew I had to get it!  Thank goodness my mom never says no to buying a book.

I really liked how the story is the beginning of Alex and Eliza.  We learn who they are, how they met and how they fell in love.  I also liked all the history woven in based on known facts during that time period.  

I am now starting to read Love & War, the second book in the series.  I was so lucky my mom ran to the bookstore to pick it up for me!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I have just cracked open Love & War!   I would also like to read other books by Melissa, as I didn't realize all the books she has written.  

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publishers Weekly and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost as well as many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Her books have also topped the USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and have been published in more than twenty countries. 

A former fashion and beauty editor, Melissa has written for the New York Times, Marie Claire,Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, the San Francisco Chronicle,McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and Fox News. 

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from the Convent of the Sacred Heart. At Columbia University, she majored in art history and English. Today she lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her husband and daughter.


Monday, July 23, 2018

The Mother's Promise

Synopsis (from Amazon): All their lives, Alice Stanhope and her daughter, Zoe, have been a family of two, living quietly in Northern California. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and needs to fight for her life. 

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers but who are her only hope: Kate, a nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the most dismal moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the unbreakable bonds between mothers and daughters and the new ways in which families are forged.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I just finished The Mother's Promise last night (very late) in tears (my eyes and head still hurt!).  The last 75 pages or so had me in gut wrenching sobs.  So beautifully written and took me back 12 years ago when my own mother passed away.  

The Mother's Promise is mainly about the journey of Zoe and how she overcomes her disorder, social anxiety.  The author really puts it all out there in such a raw and emotional rollercoaster of what social anxiety is to Zoe.  We also see how Alice has struggled with her daughter's disorder and all the sacrifices she has made in her life....which is the pure definition of a mother.  

There are two other stories mingled in the book.  While the story of Kate was predictable, I never saw the connect to Sonja until the very end, which blew me away.  All three stories come together so beautifully and really displays the power women have, especially together.

If you like books by Lisa Genova, you will love The Mother's Promise.  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Absolutely will read more books by Sally Hepworth....just download The Family Next Door!

SALLY HEPWORTH is a former human resource professional and a graduate of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Sally has lived around the world, spending extended periods in Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Canada, and she now writes full-time from her home in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband and two young children.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Husband Hour

Synopsis (from Amazon): When a young widow's reclusive life in a charming beach town is interrupted by a surprise visitor, she is forced to reckon with dark secrets about her family, her late husband, and the past she tried to leave behind.

Lauren Adelman and her high school sweetheart, Rory Kincaid, are a golden couple. They marry just out of college as Rory, a star hockey player, earns a spot in the NHL. Their future could not look brighter when Rory shocks everyone - Lauren most of all - by enlisting in the US Army. When Rory dies in combat, Lauren is left devastated, alone, and under unbearable public scrutiny.
Seeking peace and solitude, Lauren retreats to her family's old beach house on the Jersey Shore. But this summer she's forced to share the house with her overbearing mother and competitive sister. Worse, a stranger making a documentary about Rory tracks her down and persuades her to give him just an hour of her time.
One hour with filmmaker Matt Brio turns into a summer of revelations, surprises, and upheaval. As the days grow shorter and her grief changes shape, Lauren begins to understand the past - and to welcome the future.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I really enjoyed The Husband Hour.  I liked the fact that Rory was a hockey player (my son plays) and that angle of the story.  I was shocked by the relationship between Lauren and her sister Stephanie and the outcome (no spoiler alert).  

I liked how Matt, the filmmaker, was able to create his documentary and through his interviews and research the story unfolds.  I was happy that Lauren was able to get over her grief and move on.  I would like to see a sequel, given how the book ended.  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would like to read The Forever Summer and Wedding Sisters.

Jamie Brenner grew up in suburban Philadelphia on a steady diet of Norma Klein, Judy Blume, and Judith Krantz novels.  After studying literature at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Jamie moved to New York City where she started her career at HarperCollins Publishers, then later Barnes& and before returning to books and becoming an author.  Her novel The Forever Summer is a national bestseller. Her new book, The Husband Hour published this spring with Little, Brown.  Jamie  lives in New York City with her husband and teenage daughters. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Trial On Mount Koya - Author Guest Post

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.
Author Guest Post:   Solving The “Female Problem” On Koyasan

When I set out to write a mystery set on one of Japan’s most sacred peaks in 1565, I faced an unusual problem: how to incorporate female characters into a novel set in a place no woman was allowed to tread.

Like many of Japan’s most sacred mountains, Koyasan did not allow women onto the peak until relatively recently—specifically, at end of the 19thcentury. Before that, women could come to the edge of the koya—the summit valley from which the mountain takes its name—but could not actually enter the sacred precincts or the temples atop the mountain. Instead, women had to stay in one of the seven nyonindo, or women’s halls, that surrounded the peak.

As a writer, I want my novels to include as diverse a cast of characters as possible. As a writer of historical fiction, I also need to ensure my characters could have existed in 16thcentury Japan. (I do write fiction, but I’m committed to accuracy in the historical details.)

Which placed me squarely on the horns of a dilemma: how to get women into a novel, and a place, where women were taboo?

The outline for the novel included no female characters at all. Since women were not allowed on Koya’s summit, I didn’t plot them into the book. But then, about halfway through writing the first draft of the novel, I realized the story didn’t work without female characters. The book—like the world—required both men and women to balance properly.

I needed to get women into the story, and the temple. But how?

The answer—literally—struck like a bolt of lightning.

The Buddhist commitment to the sanctity of life would have prevented even ardent priests from refusing shelter to women who would otherwise perish in a storm. If something destroyed the nyonindo, in weather that made it impossible for the stranded women to leave the mountain, the priests at the closest temple mightagree to offer the women shelter until the storm subsided. The women would be cloistered, and kept away from the priests, of course, but they would still be on the temple grounds and accessible to my detectives (and my plot).

I rewrote the outline, and the book, with lightning striking the nyonindo and burning the women’s hall to the ground. The fugitive women fled to the nearest temple—where Hiro and Father Mateo persuade the priests to let the women stay. With a killer loose in the temple, it isn’t much safer than the blizzard raging across the mountaintop (in fact, for several unfortunate souls, it might have been better to risk the storm) but it did accomplish my central mission: finding a plausible, realistic way to include female characters at a time and place most women were not allowed.

As I expected, the plot and the novel as a whole were much better with both men and women represented—in art, as in life, more viewpoints always make a story stronger.

Check out the other reviews of Trial on Mount Koya on the TLC Book Tours

Susan Spann is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year and the author of five previous novels in the Hiro Hattori / Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, Flask of the Drunken Master, The Ninja’s Daughter, and Betrayal at Iga. She has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. When not writing, she enjoys hiking, photography, and traveling in Japan.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Best Beach Ever

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): Hoping for smooth sailing the ladies of Ten Beach Road confront choppy seas....

Forced to rent out or lose their beloved Bella Flora after the loss of their renovation-turned-reality-TV show Do Over, Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy move into cottages at the Sunshine Hotel and Beach Club believing the worst is over. Only to discover just how uncertain their futures really are. 
Maddie struggles with the challenges of dating a rock star whose career has come roaring back to life while Nikki faces the daunting realities of mothering twins at 47. Avery buries herself in a tiny home build in an attempt to dodge commitment issues, and Kyra battles to protect her son from the Hollywood world she once dreamed of joining. And Bitsy is about to find out whether the rewards of seeking revenge will outweigh the risks. 
Luckily, when the going gets tough, the ladies of Ten Beach Road know that their friendship - tried and tested - can chase away the darkest clouds and let the sun shine in.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Best Beach Ever is the 6th book in the Ten Beach Road Series.  I love how the story for each person, Maddie, Nikki, Kyra, Avery and Bitsy, continue on.  However, you don't have to have read the others in the series to have an understanding of the book.  

Some of my favorite parts: Bitsy gets her revenge and closure.  While she isn't my favorite character, I am so happy with her happy ending.  Kyra finally standing up to Daniel.  I have been wishing for her to become strong and stand up for herself! Thank goodness, because I just wanted to shake some sense into her!  Nikki is struggling to be a "good mother to her twins and a good wife," while feeling like something is missing from her life.  I know several people (including myself) that can related to Nikki.  In the end, she figures it all out with the help of her friends and husband.  Avery was pushing Chase away, and that too is finally resolved.  Maddie was struggling to fit with her rocker's world and she too manages to work through it by finally being honest with Will.

I think Best Beach Ever, wrapped up everyones story....but maybe there will be a 7th book.  Best Beach Ever was another great read by Wendy Wax and perfect for summer.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Yes.  I need to go back to the beginning and read the first three books in the series, since I started with Book 4, Sunshine Beach and read One Good Thing last summer.

Wendy Wax, a former broadcaster, is the author of numerous novels, including Sunshine BeachA Week at the LakeWhile We Were Watching Downton AbbeyThe House on Mermaid PointOcean Beach, and Ten Beach Road. The mother of two grown sons, she lives in the Atlanta suburbs with her husband and is doing her best to adjust to the quiet of her recently emptied nest.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

You Lucky Dog

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

Synopsis (from Amazon): What do you do when you’re attending your own funeral but can’t tell the love of your life that you’re there, perfectly alive? Your wife doesn’t recognize you because you look slightly different. Well, more than slightly. You’re now a dog.  You Lucky Dog is the unlikely love story of Jake and Emma, a young couple thrown into a very unusual situation.

Jake and Emma appear to have everything going for them. A young married couple, they live with their dog in the leafy suburbs of Los Angeles. But after a horrible accident changes the course of their lives forever, Jake finds himself alive but living outside his body, and in the body of his dog.
What follows is a hilarious and heartwarming tale of misplaced identity. You Lucky Dogexplores the mysteries of life and death, and the enduring power of love, in a heartwarming story for animal lovers and all lovers.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: You don't have to be a dog lover to enjoy You Lucky Dog.  What a refreshing story with an unusual take on a husband's death!  You Lucky Dog was a very easy, quick and loaded with lots of laughs kind of read.  

Right from the beginning I was drawn in to the story.  I really liked the scenes where Emma and Jake would eat or she was on a date.  Perfect book to read any time of the year!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would read other book by Debra.  It was an easy and good read!

Debra Finerman is an American writer living part-time in Paris. The author of two published historical novels set in France, her latest book You Lucky Dog is a humorous contemporary romance. Shadow War, her second book, is a WWII novel inspired by plaques seen on walls throughout Paris dedicated to the brave Resistance Fighters shot by Nazi patrols. Her first novel, Mademoiselle Victorine, published by Random House Three Rivers Press, has been translated into six languages worldwide. Debra is a former journalist for Capital Style, The Hollywood Reporter monthly magazine, Beverly Hills Today and Beverly Hills Magazine.