Category Archives: General Fiction & Literature

Recent Release Review- The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

The Best of Adam Sharp

Title: The Best of Adam Sharp

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author: Graeme Simsion

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, May 2, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 320

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Two decades ago, Adam Sharp’s piano playing led him into a passionate relationship with Angelina Brown, an intelligent and strong-willed actress. They had a chance at something more—but Adam didn’t take it.

Now, on the cusp of turning fifty, Adam likes his life. He’s happy with his partner Claire, he excels in music trivia at quiz night at the local pub, he looks after his mother, and he does the occasional consulting job in IT. But he can never quite shake off his nostalgia for what might have been.

And then, out of nowhere, from the other side of the world, Angelina gets in touch. What does she want? Does Adam dare to live dangerously?

Set to the soundtrack of our lives, The Best of Adam Sharp follows along with emotion and humor as one man looks back on his past and decides if having a second chance is worth the risk.

***

It would be very easy to give spoilers for this terrific book so I’m going to be very careful with what I say.  It is a book about love, regret, long term relationships and also if we can let go of the past or get a second chance.  There is a theme of classic pop songs that runs through the story and makes us wonder at the emotional manipulation of music. We are at times rooting for Adam and at other times wondering what he was thinking.  Angelina is selfish, self-centered and we wonder if she is truly a match for our hero.  Claire is not as well developed a character and Charlie and Richard are no match for Adam’s intelligence, although they think themselves superior.

I read this book straight through. Getting out of my reading chair only for snacks, coffee and potty breaks. I loved the author’s THE ROSIE PROJECT and although this one doesn’t have the same humorous intent, it is still a 5-star read.  It is provocative and so intensely sensual you will either admire, dislike or relate to the characters, or perhaps all three.

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Review-Faithful by Alice Hoffman

faithful

Title: Faithful

Genre: Literary Fiction

Author: Alice Hoffnman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Nov. 1, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 272

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5 (not explicit)

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

**

The book blurb pretty much says it all. This a story of the journey from the depths of despair to the realization of dreams and happiness. Shelby is nearly totally destroyed by the accident that left her best friend in a vegetative coma.  She struggles through that despair with drugs, time in the mental ward and self-hatred by shaving her head. She makes mistakes that cost her emotionally but at the same time encourage her growth as a mature person.  The prose in this book is superb, the characterization of every character true to each personality.  You will laugh and cry for Shelby and with her but you won’t forget this book.

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Happy 4th of July

july 4 c

Happy 4th Home

Happy 4th poster

To all of my USA friends and followers,

God Bless America!

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Review- Along The Infinite Sea by Beatrix Williams

Title: Along The Infinite Sea (The Schuyler Sisters, book#3)

Along the infinite sea

Genre: Literary fiction/Historical Romance

Author: Beatrix Williams

Publisher: G.P. Putnam, Nov. 2015

Source: free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Pages: 461

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler’s problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she’s finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician. But the car’s new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle’s life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts. Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William’s final book about the Schuyler sisters.

**

I have not read the first two books about the Schuyler sisters but after reading this wonderful book I will definitely put them on my wish list.  This is a standalone novel so no worries that you will be lost.  The chapters alternate between Annabelle’s story in the 1930’s, prewar Europe and Pepper’s 1966 adventures.  What ties these two together is the car, a 1936 Mercedes Roadster that Annabelle used to flee the Nazi Gestapo and the car that Pepper finds abandoned in a Cape Cod garage.  The two women meet when Pepper offers the car for sale and Annabelle buys it.  Both stories of the women’s pasts are interesting but Annabelle’s past is riveting. There is a love triangle and we are kept guessing right up until the very end of the book. Lots of twists intertwine with many adventures and heart pounding action.  Williams does a very good job of giving us the pulse and apathy of a prewar Europe Where many were naïve about the coming horrors but there were also those who were aware and willing to risk everything to save lives. Pepper’s story makes us speculate on the identity of the father of her child since there is certainly much innuendo.  She also has some heart pounding encounters as she tries to run and hide to protect her baby.

I strongly recommend this book.  The romance is sensual, with beautifully written encounters. The pages are brimming with sexual tension and breath taking action scenes. All enveloped in exquisitely written prose. The mystery of Annabelle’s loves kept me turning pages until the wee hours.

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London Library Bars- Yeah!

Bar library london

Found on BuzzFeed  16 Library Bars in London

Now this is my idea of a fun way to drink my wine.  Usually I favor Pinot Grigio but in these settings I may have to go with a Pinot Noir or Merlot or even two fingers of a single malt. completely ensconced in my book I may not even notice the famous author sitting by the fire.

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Recent Release Review- The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Title: The Versions of Us

The Versions of Us

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Laura Barnett

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 3, 2016)

Pages: 416

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 2.5

Sexy Rating: not explicit

Description from Amazon.com:

In one moment, two lives will be changed forever . . . and forever . . . and forever. The one thing that’s certain is they met on a Cambridge street by chance and felt a connection that would last a lifetime. But as for what happened next . . . They fell wildly in love, or went their separate ways. They kissed, or they thought better of it. They married soon after, or were together for a few weeks before splitting up. They grew distracted and disappointed with their daily lives together, or found solace together only after hard years spent apart.

 

With The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett has created a world as magical and affecting as those that captivated readers in One Day and Life After Life. It is a tale of possibilities and consequences that rings across the shifting decades, from the fifties, sixties, seventies, and on to the present, showing how even the smallest choices can define the course of our lives.

**

I have enough frustration in life without having a book adding to it.  I could not keep track of which “version” I was reading and had to repeatedly go to the chapter heading to see where I was. And even after doing that, I was trying to remember what the characters did in the other chapters’ versions.

I thought the premise was intriquing, the what-ifs that we all wonder about in that road not taken, but I had no idea it would be so difficult for me to follow.

You just may need to take notes if you read this one and then you may not be able to keep your Jims, Evas and Davids straight.

 

 

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Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Title:  The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

The Readers of broken Wheel

Genre: Literary Fiction/Romantic elements

Author: Katarina Bivald

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Jan 19, 2016

Pages: 386

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor — not much else to do in a small town that’s almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she’d start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.

There’s a book for every person … and a person for every book.

**

This is a book about Sara, yes.  It also has another protagonist, the town of Broken Wheel, Iowa.  It is the personification of small towns everywhere, especially small dying towns.  Many of the residents have left for better opportunities but there are those who hang on, and they are devoted to helping one another. They somewhat adopt Sara and when she wants to set up a bookstore with Amy’s room full of books they are skeptical but lend her a hand. No one thinks this endeavor will work since there are no other readers in Broken Wheel.

A story of friendship, personalities, secrets, and love.  The romance is realistic and slow developing on many levels.  Almost totally character driven with a gentle story arc. I felt like I too was a resident of Broken Wheel, that is how well Ms. Bivald brought this town to life.

Truly a wonderful, feel good, book and perfect for book clubs.

 

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Review: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Title:  Eight Hundred Grapes

Eight hundred Grapes

Genre:  Fiction/Romantic Elements

Author: Laura Dave

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, June 2015

Pages: 272

Source: Free for review from the Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from Amazon.com:         

There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…. Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands. But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever. Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets….

**

Once you start this book there will be no snack and potty breaks.  You will be compelled to continue reading so shut off the phone.  Laura Dave sucks us in immediately when we want to find out why Georgia Ford is driving furiously north from L.A. to Sonoma County. After that it is one surprise after another for both the reader and Georgia.  Just when you start to get comfortable with how you figured things out there is another twist.  Then there is all the truly fascinating information about winemaking.  Delightful, that’s what this book is.  True book readers’ joy. So why did I knock off half a point in my rating?  As much as I enjoyed every twist and bump the drama got to be a bit excessive by the end.  I also couldn’t follow a line of thinking between Georgia and Ben at times.  It was as if the author expected me to intuit what each was thinking or feeling and I was just a bit lost.  That may have been me, just being slow on the uptake. However you slice it this is a good read. I’m sure you’ll agree.

P.S.- Let’s hope that in Ms. Dave’s next book they give her a better cover.

 

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Do you need a new book?

sign new book

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June 4, 2015 · 2:04 pm

Recent Release Review- Trident Code by Thomas Waite

Title: Trident Code (Lana Elkin series, book #2)

Trident Code

Genre: Techno-Thriller

Author: Thomas Waite

Publisher: 47 North, May 2015

Pages: 336

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: some sexual assault, not explicit but may be disturbing to some.

Description from Amazon.com:

Ruthless cyberhackers seize a US nuclear submarine, training its most powerful weapon on a target so unusual, yet so vulnerable, that a successful strike could change the face of the earth for millions of years. With the world held hostage, former NSA operative Lana Elkins must join forces with a mysterious computer mastermind—who might be working with the enemy—to avert this unprecedented Armageddon. Intrigue, power, and blackmail force Lana to fight on all fronts—land, sea, air, and in cyberspace—to prevent the worst catastrophe in human history.

**

Yes, I do read a thriller now and then.  In days gone by I read them exclusively but then the Berlin Wall came down and I rather lost interest in Jason Bourne.  This book pricked my interest since it speaks to a new kind of evil in the world, that of cyber hackers who could cause mass devastation with their evil intentions.

Thomas Waite’s latest Lana Elkin novel can certainly get the adrenaline pumping. What could be more terrorizing than the destruction of the world as we know it by terrorists using nuclear warheads directed at the glacial masses in Antarctica, The result would be massive global flooding. From the description of this book we know Lana will be using her genius to fight the terrorists. The villain is all wrapped up in one sociopathic package, Oleg, a Russian cyber hacking genius. His evil is not confined to global treachery, even his private life is filled with his villainy. His girlfriend Galina does not share in his villainous desires and attempts to make her escape with her cancer ridden daughter.

If you like lots of action and breathtaking suspense, you will get it in this novel. You will also get some really ugly scenes of human terror and torture and scenes of Lana’s personal life that will take you out of the story totally. If it weren’t for the boring side story of Lana’s impossible fifteen-year old daughter, Emma, I might have given this book 5 stars.

This is not a bad book but I feel this author could have made it so much better.

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