Saturday, August 8, 2020

Number the Stars

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



Synopsis (from Amazon): As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
Winner of the 1990 Newbery Medal.



One (or more) Sentence Summary: Outstanding book for younger kids.  I believe my kids read this somewhere between 4th and 6th grade.  I was going through their books and decided to give it a quick read.  I am so glad I did.  I am always amazed at novels written about  WWII, but one told through the eyes of a child always gets me in the gut.  Worth the Newberry Medal, for sure. 



Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After studying at Brown University, she married, started a family, and turned her attention to writing. She is the author of more than forty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader's Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award. Several books have been adapted to film and stage, and THE GIVER has become an opera. Her newest book, ON THE HORIZON, is a collection of memories and images from Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and post-war Japan. A mother and grandmother, Ms. Lowry divides her time between Maine and Florida. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at www.loislowry.com

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Behind the Red Door

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



Synopsis:  How well do you trust your memories? When Fern Douglas sees the news about Astrid Sullivan, a thirty-four-year-old missing woman from Maine, she is positive that she knows her. Fern’s husband is sure it’s because of Astrid’s famous kidnapping—and equally famous return—twenty years ago, but Fern has no memory of that, even though it happened an hour outside her New Hampshire hometown. And when Astrid appears in Fern’s recurring nightmare, one in which a girl reaches out to her, pleading, Fern fears that it’s not a dream at all, but a memory.

Back at her childhood home to help her father pack for a move, Fern purchases a copy of Astrid’s recently published memoir, which the media speculates has provoked her original kidnapper to abduct her again. With the help of her psychologist father, Fern digs deeper, hoping to find evidence that her connection to Astrid can help the police locate her. But when Fern discovers more about her own past than she ever bargained for, the disturbing truth will change both of the women's lives forever.

Exploring the murkiest realms of the human psyche and featuring Megan Collins’s signature “dark, tense, and completely absorbing” (Booklist) prose, Behind the Red Door is an arresting, heart-stopping psychological thriller that will haunt you long after you turn the last page.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Holy cow.  What a good twisted story.  I had a feeling who the "monster" was and kept saying there is no way......but oh yeah, I was right.  However, there was more than one "monsters."  I had no idea how it would end.  Never could have figured it out.  Crazy good (I mean crazy) and full of twists.  Behind the Red Door is a book that will keep you wanting to turn to the next page.  I do have to admit, it caused my heart to race a little bit as she was going through anxiety/panic attacks. 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Sign me up to read The Winter Sister!


Megan Collins is the author of The Winter Sister and Behind the Red Door. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. She has taught creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Central Connecticut State University, and she is the managing editor of 3Elements Review. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in many print and online journals, including Off the CoastSpillway, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Rattle. She lives in Connecticut.


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Friday, August 7, 2020

Shadow Garden

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




Synopsis (from Amazon):  A wealthy woman suspects something is off about the luxurious complex she lives in . . . and she is right, in this riveting domestic-suspense novel from international bestselling author Alexandra Burt.

Donna Pryor lives in the lap of luxury. She spends her days in a beautifully appointed condo. Her every whim is catered to by a dedicated staff, and she does not want for anything.

Except for news of her adult daughter.

Or an ex-husband who takes her calls.

Donna knows something is wrong, but she can't quite put her finger on it. As her life of privilege starts to feel more and more like a prison, the facade she has depended on begins to crumble. Somewhere in the ruins is the truth, and the closer Donna Pryor gets to it, the more likely it is to destroy her.


Read an excerpt here.


Alexandra Burt is a freelance translator and the international bestselling author of Remember Mia and The Good Daughter. After years of writing classes and gluttonous reading, her short fiction appeared in fiction journals and literary reviews.



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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Louisiana Lucky

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




Synopsis:  From the critically acclaimed author of The Young Wives Club, a “heartwarming story about friendship, heartache, and self-discovery” (Karen White, New York Times bestselling author), comes a charming novel reminiscent of the works of Mary Alice Monroe and Kristy Woodson Harvey, about three sisters who win a huge lottery prize and learn what it truly means to be lucky.

Lexi, Callie, and Hanna Breaux grew up in small-town Louisiana, and have always struggled to make ends meet. For years, they’ve been playing the lottery, fantasizing about how much better life would be if they had the money.

For Lexi, it means the perfect wedding; for Callie, it means having the courage to go after her career dreams; and for Hanna, it means buying a house that isn’t falling apart and sending her bullied son to private school. When the incredible happens and the Breaux sisters hit it big—$204 million dollars big—all their dreams come true. Or so they think. Because it’s actually not a cliché—money isn’t the answer to everything, and it often comes with problems of its own.

Heartfelt, engaging, and featuring characters you’ll root for from the first moment you meet them, Louisiana Lucky is a satisfying page-turner from a rising star in women’s fiction.



One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Louisiana Lucky was a really cute story.  Who doesn't dream of winning the lotto someday?  If only I ever remembered to buy a ticket.  Adored the three sisters and their journey from struggling to make ends meet to winning the lotto.  Each had a different journey they went on only to realize that money can't buy happiness. 

Very likable and relatable characters.  A very quick read, even I read it in 3 days.  So enjoyable I didn't want to put it down.  Somewhat predictable, but it didn't take away from the story. 

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Absolutely and I would love to read The Youngs Wives Club.




Photo credit: Amy Seder 

Julie Pennell was born and raised in Louisiana. After graduating from college, she headed to New York to work at Seventeen magazine. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and young son, and is a regular contributor to TODAY.com. Her writing has also appeared in The KnotIn Style, and Refinery29. She is the author of The Young Wives Club and Louisiana Lucky.

Website: http://juliepennell.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @juliepens

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jmillerpennell

Instagram: @juliepens


Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

IndieBound

 



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Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Royal We

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



Synopsis (from Amazon):  An American girl finds her prince in this "fun and dishy" (People) royal romance inspired by Prince William and Kate Middleton.

American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it's adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall - and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne. 


Nick is wonderful, but he comes with unimaginable baggage: a complicated family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a Brit. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex looks back on how much she's had to give up for true love... and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.


One (or more) Sentence Summary: LOVED IT!  If you are any type of royal fan, you will love The Royal We.  The book mirrors Prince William and Kate.  Similarities with all the England royals is sprinkled all through the book with little twists. I love anything that takes place in England too!  The ending was completely unexpected.  Quick read and super enjoyable.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I can't wait to crack open The Heir Affair, the next book! 




Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan are the creators of the Internet's wittiest, longest-standing celebrity fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself, which made Entertainment Weekly's Must List and the Guardian's list of 50 Most Powerful Blogs. They are the authors of The Royal We as well as two young adult novels, Spoiled and Messy, and have written for publications ranging from New York magazine to Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Washington PostCosmopolitanW magazine, and Glamour.

Facebook: @gofugyourself
Instagram: @fuggirls
Twitter: @fuggirls




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Say Yes To What's Next

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



Synopsis:  From the star of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, now filming its eleventh season for TLC, comes a book and a life-makeover movement for women approaching fifty and beyond.


Move over, girlfriend, Lori Allen is here to help you say yes to what’s next! Star of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, Lori Allen uses her confidence, wisdom, and signature humor not only to help young brides on their most important day ever but also to model to them and their mothers how to live out the coming years as the best of their lives.
Lori Allen is owner/operator of one of the biggest and busiest bridal mega-salons in the country, Atlanta’s Bridals by Lori. But she’s also a wife, mother, grandmother, and breast cancer survivor.
Whether you’re feeling invisible, disappearing into the fabric of your couch a little more every year, or simply being indecisive about what’s next, Lori offers herself as the poster child of what to do, not do, and how to see your way through the unexpected.
In Say Yes to What’s Next she addresses essential issues, such as
  • don’t let yourself go,
  • marriage is awesome, but it’s no fairytale,
  • keep your mouth shut and your heart open to your kids (and they’ll bring you grandkids),
  • make time to parent your parents,
  • maintain a close circle of girlfriends,
  • get off the couch and live your passion,
  • take charge of your money, and
  • what to do when life gives you a faceplant.
Say Yes to What’s Next is a life makeover and therapy session from a relatable you-can-and-you-should-do-this straight-shooter as Lori helps women shape their own futures with confidence, style, and sass.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: The first disclaimer I want to make is I do not watch Say Yes to the Dress.  I know the show. The second disclaimer I want to make is you do not have know who Lori Allen is to love this book.

I was at the beach last weekend in Grand Haven, Michigan and read Say Yes to What's Next.  The beach wasn't crowd like it normally is and I had two different ladies ask me what I was reading.  Both were fans of the show. I told them how much I was enjoying the book and couldn't read it fast enough.

Lori had me hooked from chapter one. She has a very unique way of telling a story that includes a lesson and you don't even know it.  She is humorous with a touch of sass.  Say Yes to What's Next really hit home with me.  I am starting to enter the next phase of life and I am fighting with everything I got.  I realized I need to embrace it and make it the best of phase of my life.  

Absolutely love the Girlfriend's Guide at the end of each chapter.  They are quick summaries of what to keep in mind. Last night while visiting with my (older) sister, I pulled out the book and was discussing some chapters.  I am letting her borrow it as this is a book I think I will open often and re-read the Girlfriend's Guide, if not the whole chapter depending on what I am struggling with at the time.

Very fast read, tons of humor and sass, extremely valuable information us women don't talk about.  LOVED it.
TLC Book Tour:  Check out all the other TLC Book reviews:

Review tour:

Monday, July 13th: Bibliotica – excerpt
Tuesday, July 14th: Lesa’s Book Critiques – author guest post
Wednesday, July 15th: Leighellen Landskov and @mommaleighellensbooknook
Friday, July 17th: Novel Gossip – author guest post
Saturday, July 18th: Nurse Bookie and @nurse_bookie
Monday, July 20th: Well Read Traveler
Tuesday, July 21st: Living My Best Book Life
Wednesday, July 22nd: Running Through the Storms
Thursday, July 23rd: @bookscoffeephotography
Thursday, July 23rd: From the TBR Pile – author guest post
Monday, July 27th: Tabi Thoughts
Tuesday, July 28th: Blooming with Books
Wednesday, July 29th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, July 30th: Seaside Book Nook
Friday, July 31st: Bewitched Bookworms – excerpt
Monday, August 3rd: Book Reviews and More by Kathy – excerpt
Friday, August 7th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Friday, August 14th: What is That Book About






Lori Allen opened Bridals by Lori just two weeks after graduating from the all-female Columbia College in South Carolina. Four decades later she is one of the world’s foremost experts on bridal couture and the central figure of TLC’s reality show Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, filmed on-site at Lori’s bridal salon and shown in more than 120 countries.
Lori’s role as a bridal expert, successful female business entrepreneur, TV personality, and breast cancer survivor has led her to interviews by top-tier media outlets, including CNN, ABC’sGood Morning America, NBC’sToday, and theWall Street Journal. She currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, Eddie, and, thankfully, not far from their daughter and her husband, son and his wife, and three grandchildren.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Lori

Facebook | Instagram


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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Musical Chairs

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





Synopsis (from Amazon):  The “quick-witted and razor-sharp” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six) author of Limelight and Small Admissions returns with a hilarious and heartfelt new novel about a perfectly imperfect summer of love, secrets, and second chances.

Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity.


One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Let me just say Musical Chairs was much more than I anticipated. The opening chapter is a great hook! In fact, I had to read the first page twice to make sure I read it correctly (no spoiler here).  The characters were wonderful and altogether made the book.  Each one of them is on their own journey of self-discovery and their next chapter in life.  Very entertaining.

P.S.  You don't need to have an understanding of music to enjoy the book. I imagine it would only enhance the story and make it even better.  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love to read her other books, Small Admissions and Limelight.



Amy Poeppel is the author of the novels Small Admissions and Limelight. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe RumpusLiterary HubWorking Mother, and The Belladonna. She and her husband have three sons and split their time between New York City, Germany, and the wilds of Connecticut.



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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Lies, Lies, Lies

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



Synopsis:  LIES LIES LIES (MIRA Trade Paperback; August 4, 2020; $17.99) centers on the story of Simon and Daisy Barnes. To the outside world, Simon and Daisy look like they have a perfect life. They have jobs they love, an angelic, talented daughter, a tight group of friends... and they have secrets too. Secrets that will find their way to the light, one way or the other.
Daisy and Simon spent almost a decade hoping for the child that fate cruelly seemed to keep from them. It wasn’t until, with their marriage nearly in shambles and Daisy driven to desperation, little Millie was born. Perfect in every way, healing the Barnes family into a happy unit of three. Ever indulgent Simon hopes for one more miracle, one more baby. But his doctor’s visit shatters the illusion of the family he holds so dear.
Now, Simon has turned to the bottle to deal with his revelation and Daisy is trying to keep both of their secrets from spilling outside of their home. But Daisy’s silence and Simon’s habit begin to build until they set off a catastrophic chain of events that will destroy life as they know it. 

Buy Links: 


Excerpt: 
Prologue
May 1976

Simon was six years old when he first tasted beer.
He was bathed and ready for bed wearing soft pyjamas, even though it was light outside; still early. Other kids were in the street, playing on their bikes, kicking a football. He could hear them through the open window, although he couldn’t see them because the blinds were closed. His daddy didn’t like the evening light glaring on the TV screen, his mummy didn’t like the neighbours looking in; keeping the room dark was something they agreed on.
His mummy didn’t like a lot of things: wasted food, messy bedrooms, Daddy driving too fast, his sister throwing a tantrum in public. Mummy liked ‘having standards’. He didn’t know what that meant, exactly. There was a standard-bearer at Cubs; he was a big boy and got to wave the flag at the front of the parade, but his mummy didn’t have a flag, so it was unclear. What was clear was that she didn’t like him to be in the street after six o’clock. She thought it was common. He wasn’t sure what common was either, something to do with having fun. She bathed him straight after tea and made him put on pyjamas, so that he couldn’t sneak outside.
He didn’t know what his daddy didn’t like, just what he did like. His daddy was always thirsty and liked a drink. When he was thirsty he was grumpy and when he had a drink, he laughed a lot. His daddy was an accountant and like to count in lots of different ways: “a swift one’, “a cold one’, and ‘one more for the road’. Sometimes Simon though his daddy was lying when he said he was an accountant; most likely, he was a pirate or a wizard. He said to people, “Pick your poison’, which sounded like something pirates might say, and he liked to drink, “the hair of a dog’ in the morning at the weekends, which was definitely a spell. Simon asked his mummy about it once and she told him to stop being silly and never to say those silly things outside the house.
He had been playing with his Etch A Sketch, which was only two months old and was a birthday present. Having seen it advertised on TV, Simon had begged for it, but it was disappointing. Just two silly knobs making lines that went up and down, side to side. Limited. Boring. He was bored. The furniture in the room was organised so all of it was pointing at the TV which was blaring but not interesting. The news. His parents liked watching the news, but he didn’t. His father was nursing a can of the grown ups’ pop that Simon was never allowed. The pop that smelt like nothing else, fruity and dark and tempting.
“Can I have a sip?” he asked.
“Don’t be silly, Simon,” his mother interjected. “You’re far too young. Beer is for daddies.” He thought she said ‘daddies’, but she might have said ‘baddies’.
His father put the can to his lips, glared at his mother, cold. A look that said, “Shut up woman, this is man’s business.” His mother had blushed, looked away as though she couldn’t stand to watch, but she held her tongue. Perhaps she thought the bitterness wouldn’t be to his taste, that one sip would put him off. He didn’t like the taste. But he enjoyed the collusion. He didn’t know that word then, but he instinctively understood the thrill. He and his daddy drinking grown ups’ pop! His father had looked satisfied when he swallowed back the first mouthful, then pushed for a second. He looked almost proud. Simon tasted the aluminium can, the snappy biting bitter bubbles and it lit a fuse.
After that, in the mornings, Simon would sometimes get up early, before Mummy or Daddy or his little sister, and he’d dash around the house before school, tidying up. He’d open the curtains, empty the ashtrays, clear away the discarded cans. Invariably his mother went to bed before his father. Perhaps she didn’t want to have to watch him drink himself into a stupor every night, perhaps she hoped denying him an audience might take away some of the fun for him, some of the need. She never saw just how bad the place looked by the time his father staggered upstairs to bed. Simon knew it was important that she didn’t see that particular brand of chaos.
Occasionally there would be a small amount of beer left in one of the cans. Simon would slurp it back. He found he liked the flat, forbidden, taste just as much as the fizzy hit of fresh beer. He’d throw open a window, so the cigarette smoke and the secrets could drift away. When his mother came downstairs, she would smile at him and thank him for tidying up.
“You’re a good boy, Simon,” she’d say with some relief. And no idea.
When there weren’t dregs to be slugged, he sometimes opened a new can. Threw half of it down his throat before eating his breakfast. His father never kept count.
Some people say their favourite smell is freshly baked bread, others say coffee or a campfire. From a very young age, few scents could pop Simon’s nerve endings like the scent of beer.
The promise of it.
Excerpted from Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks, Copyright © 2020 by Adele Parks. 
Published by MIRA Books

LIES LIES LIES
Author: Adele Parks
ISBN: 9780778360889
Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Publisher: MIRA Books





Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she's had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She's been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She's lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.

Social Links:
Twitter: @AdeleParks
Instagram: @adele_parks


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