Friday, January 20, 2017

Will the Second Time Be Better?

Thank you to Ballantine Books  for a copy of this novel Nightingale Way by Emily March.  This novel was given to me in exchange for an honest review.  I received no financial compensation for this review.

It is time to return to Eternity Springs.  In this novel we meet Jack and Cat.  Their story is not like some of the other couples you have met in Eternity springs.  The main difference is that they are divorced.   I enjoyed the last Eternity springs novel and could not wait to share this one.

Synopsis:

Cat lives in Washington D.C.  She also volunteers with some local charities.   Cat published a story recently about a dog fighting ring through a blog she publishes. One day a bomb goes off in her dining room.  She is then spirited away to Eternity Springs by her ex-husband Jack.  He was following orders of Cat’s mother Melinda.  She and Jack both work for the government.  Cat does not want to stay at first but adapts as the story progresses.   Jack has always been the hero and helping others; since his family died in a fire.  Yet Cat his ex-wife has never felt close to him.  There is a lot of history between the two of them.  Jack leaves her to go to help a friend.  He returns unable to help, and this friend’s death destroys Jack.  Jack makes some decisions that has others including his ex-wife concerned.  Will they be able to help?  Will Jack and Cat get back together?

My Thoughts:

This novel just did not do it for me.  I found the story interesting but not to stick with. I had trouble with the pacing of it.  The characters of Eternity Springs are wonderful!  It has a different kind of romance plot bringing a divorced couple back together.  I just did not enjoy it as much as other novels by the author.  Emily March is a wonderful writer.  The Eternity Springs series is worth a reader’s time.  I would definitely read more!

Emily March’s current novel is Christmas in Eternity Springs.  You find Emily on Facebook or her website.

Rating:


3.5/5

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How It All Began!

We all know Dr. Temperance (Tempe) Brennan from the Fox television show Bones.  Did you know that the television was conceived from @KathyReichbook’s novels?  The debut was Deja Dead. We meet Tempe a little later in life.   I have watched the Bones television show. So naturally I wanted to try one of Kathy Reich’s novels.  What better way than from the beginning?

Synopsis:

Tempe is ready to continue her mission to explore Quebec.  She loves walking the streets of Montreal.  There is just one problem.  A sack of bones is found at a monastery.  Tempe must check it out to clear so she can go on vacation.  She must decide if these bones are for archeology to study or criminal case.  These bones are a criminal case.  Tempe starts to study the bones of the first victim.  She notices that these bones have something in common with other cases.  Which then creates more questions such as could it be a serial killer?  How could this impact both Tempe's family and friends?  

My Thoughts:

I liked Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.  I still don’t know if I would read more of this series now.  I listened to this novel as an audiobook.  The narrator did a great job.  Have you ever watched a television show that you know has been developed from a novel?  Then try to match the characters in the novel with what you see on television? The only theory I have on that is I think her ex-husband in the novel is Booth.   I did not really see anything else that seemed familiar.  The setting for this story is Montreal.  It was interesting learning about the geography of Quebec.  Ms. Reich’s has a strong character in Dr. Temperance Brennan. Dr. Brennan has interesting interactions with other characters she runs into in the story. 

Readers will line up for more in the Bones series.

KathyReich’s next release is Two Nights a departure from her current Dr. Brennan series.   

Rating:  

Monday, January 16, 2017

An Excerpt From"My Father's War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers by Charley Valera

Today I met with Ferns son Alan, he explained how a simple thing like waking his father from a nap would trigger almost a panic from Fern, who would jump up ready for a fight. But not until Fern was 80 years old did he start to open up about his war years. Fortunately, Fern Frechette did live beyond eighty and his family and us as readers, know the real difficulties and sacrifices made by veterans like Frechette.

Excerpt from "My Father's War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers."
Feature Veteran story from Fernand Frechette

Frechette, of course being the only French speaking soldier, had been told a secret by the little girl. “The barn behind them had German soldiers in it!” There were only the three of them at this time together—the Captain, Sergeant and Corporal Frechette—and they were pretty concerned about this situation unfolding. The Captain had a couple grenades and a sidearm pistol, the First Sergeant had a carbine rifle and Frechette had a sub machine gun.

         The barn was located next to a hilly bank and Frechette was ordered to climb it to overlook the doorway. The nervous Captain threw one of his grenades at the barn, but it landed just short of the door. The captain and sergeant went to the door and nervously watched as the door swung open and a German soldier came out waving a white flag of surrender. Behind him, there were a line of armed German soldiers walking out with their hands up; there were over thirty soldiers in total in that barn, all marching out to surrender. This was the first time they had seen the enemy face-to-face; they were scared and quite outnumbered. “If I’d had to pull the trigger, I don't think I would have been able to,” he recalled about his first encounter. “I was shaking so hard…I've never been so afraid in my life. The first German soldier I went up to, with my gun pointing at him…he had a machine gun too. I grabbed his gun and he put his hands up. That’s when about 30 more Germans followed him out. This was our first contact with German soldiers and I was never so scared in my whole life.”

        With shaking hands and more courage than he ever thought he possessed, Frechette reached over and took the firearm from the enemy. Seventy-years later, he still owns that exact weapon, given to his son Gary many years after the event. The Nazi’s were tired of fighting. Who knows how long they had been in that barn, what they might have had to eat, drink and endure. The Captain had Frechette get in the jeep to go get some troop support. Frechette smiled when talking how his “legs were shaking and he could barely drive the jeep.”

About The Author:
Charley Valera has always had a fascination with WWII and its effects on the soldiers and their families. Charley knew his father was a WWII veteran and, like most of us, he never asked what life was like during the war. Years after Valera's father passed away, taking his stories with him, he was determined to document the lives of other veterans. Within these pages are over two years of interviewing dozens of veterans.

Charley writes articles and blogs for various media on topics from real estate to aviation. A licensed commercial pilot, Realtor, author, public speaker, father of two boys and husband to Cheryl, Charley also owns and runs the FCA Flight Center, a flight training school in central Massachusetts.

Social Media Links:  


To purchase and have a book personalized please visit Charley's Website.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to Fight Strong!

When I was diagnosed with cancer my hashtag was #ToFightStrong.  So how do you fight strong?  Last summer I was invited to take part in the Lifeway Women’s Ministry summer bible study on their website. This study was Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God.   It focuses on the Ephesians 6:10-20 describe the armor of God.

“10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[d] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[g]

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.[h] 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”(biblegateway.com, New Living Translation)

Before starting this study I also viewed the movie War Room.   There was one scene in particular stuck out to me.  Priscilla’s character in the movie has problems especially with her husband.  Ms. Clara asks her have you prayed about it?  When I was fighting cancer I learned a lot about prayer.  Had I ever viewed it as a weapon to use in spiritual war fare?  No, but I felt that God was saying this is something you need to focus on. 
Each week of the study focuses on one piece of the armor.  Priscilla through the video sessions gives the participants direction in their homework.  The focus is to teach what each piece of the Armor means and how we as Christians can use. 

My Thoughts:

I felt that this study was a perfect focus for me, and where I am currently in life.  I learned a lot but did not want it to be just another bible study either.  The focus of the study is to make the participant a stronger Christian.  

One of the actions I plan to take from this study is to do the following items.  For me I want to continue studying God’s word but also do it together in community.  I feel that we as a nation and a faith have stepped away from it, and it is important to bring people together.

This study is worth your time!  Priscilla Shirer can be reached on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Website.  You can purchase study items through Lifeway.

Rating:


5/5

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Join the Society and May Your Art Thrive!

Today we will visit The Fifth Avenue Artist Society by Joy Callaway.  It is her debut novel.  I had the honor of meeting Joy back in October.  Her novel reminded me of such novels like The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and Z by Therese Anne Fowler.  So I loved the premise for this novel. 
Synopsis: 
Virginia Loftin is anticipating a proposal from her friend Charlie.  e.  So what happens when he doesn’t propose to her?  She shuts herself in her room and starts to write.  Her family has concern for her well being. Her brother Franklin tells her to stop mopping and come to this meeting of artists at a friend’s house.  These artists also include writers, musicians, and others.  Virginia soon finds two other writers to work with.  Will her writing flourish under their tutelage?  Will this other John Hopper persue a relationship?  One night at the society a death occurs. What happens when it implicates her brother?  Will their family survive?
My Thoughts: 
I liked this debut novel.  I thought the concept was interesting and I wanted to see Virginia succeed with her writing.  Her character in this novel is unique because it does not fit the typical story arc of a main character.  I am referring to Virgina's choices and how they affect the rest of the story.  I loved that she was a strong character.  I just felt that a little of the romance was missing for me.  I had a hard time staying interested at times in the middle of the novel.  The climax helps bring readers back into the story.   The author also used a little of her background for the story. 
I feel that this debut is worth reading!  I am looking forward to what stories Joy Callaway will share next.  Purchase The Fifth Avenue Artist Society, and learn more visit her website . 
Rating: 
3.9/5


Monday, January 9, 2017

Let's Catch Up with Phoebe Fox and her Breakup Doctor series

This time of year, most of us are thinking about family—whether we’re excited to be together for the holidays, dreading it…or maybe a little of both.

I spend a lot of time thinking—and writing—about family. It’s such a rich emotional mix of the deepest, most primal kind of love and attachment and the sort of five-star frustration and nerve-plucking that only those who’ve known us all our lives can really excel at.

Despite the title of my Breakup Doctor series, the stories are, at the heart, very much about family. Breakup Doctor Brook Ogden helps her brokenhearted clients through the end of their rocky, difficult relationships—but her own are far from perfect, as she’s struggled across four books in love, with friendships, and of course, with her mom.

Brook and her mother have always had a complicated, often prickly relationship, the way we often do with those who are most like us. In Out of Practice, the fourth and final title of the series that released this fall, her control-freak mom struggles with the recent loss of her husband, serious health issues of her own, and the loss of her much-cherished autonomy.

Brook, too, feels best with the reins held firmly in her hands—yet when a former frenemy in her small Florida hometown launches a media “exposé” targeting the Breakup Doctor, the rug is pulled out from under Brook’s wildly successful practice and she starts to lose control.

What was especially fun for me about writing this series was exploring the tensions and conflicts inherent in certain family relationships—I often say family is the universe’s way of teaching us tolerance, patience, and unconditional love, since we’re stuck with people we sometimes feel we might otherwise walk away from.
Both Brook and her mom wind up handling their challenges and moving onto a different path than what they may have expected—but in both cases, it’s a positive move filled with opportunity for them to grow. Sometimes it takes that kind of friction and difficulty for us to reach our most glorious potential, like the sand in an oyster that irritates a beautiful pearl into being.

And surprisingly often, it’s the people and situations we may think are the most difficult that can get us there. As a daughter or sister or wife or mom that may be maddening—but as a writer, it’s juicy material to work with.

So this season, if you’re among those who head home for the holidays with a mixture of joy and trepidation, remember that the people who may drive you crazy are the same ones who may be pushing you to grow to be everything you are capable of being. And if that isn’t enough to soothe the discomfort of getting there, remember the wise words of Nora Ephron: Everything is copy. Think of it as research for your next bestselling book.

Phoebe Fox is the author of the Breakup Doctor series and the upcoming Merry Widows series (both from Henery Press). You can find her website . You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Who Do You Love?

Who Do YouLove is the most recent novel by @JenniferWeiner. She has more recently published her memoir and a children’s book.  Have you ever had friends that just stick with you through thick and thin?  Rachel and Andy’s story is just that.  A great read for over the holidays!

Synopsis:

Rachel was born with a congenital heart problem which keeps her in and out of the hospital.  One night in the hospital she makes her way to the emergency room and meets Andy.  He is there for a broken arm that occurred while on vacation.   They enjoy one another’s  company.   They both grow up in different places but are reunited on a mission’s trip to Atlanta.  Once there a passion grows but will it be enough to unit their differences?  Rachel becomes a social worker and Andy becomes a famous track star.  Will fate end up bringing them together again?

My Thoughts:

I liked the story.  It was not a favorite like some of the other Jennifer Weiner novels.  I thought she did well to write characters with such depth as Andy and Rachel.  The story alternates their points of views.  I thought that the Olympics angle of Andy’s story was very interesting to read.

The story is set in southern Florida where Rachel grew up.  Then it proceeds to Philadelphia and Andy’s story.   It is written with the same sense of humor and grace that Jennifer writers all her novels.

You can find Jennifer’s current work out at your favorite retailers.   Please you can purchase a copy of HungryHeart and The Littlest Bigfoot here. 

Rating:


4/5