The Summer I met Jack -Book Review

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The Summer I Met Jack: A Novel by [Gable, Michelle]

“[The Summer I Met Jack] offers an alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all.” —Kirkus Reviews

New York Times bestselling author imagines the affair between John F. Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark – and the child they may have had.

Based on a real story – in 1950, a young, beautiful Polish refugee arrives in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to work as a maid for one of the wealthiest families in America. Alicia is at once dazzled by the large and charismatic family, in particular the oldest son, a rising politician named Jack.

Alicia and Jack are soon engaged, but his domineering father forbids the marriage. And so, Alicia trades Hyannisport for Hollywood, and eventually Rome. She dates famous actors and athletes and royalty, including Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, and Katharine Hepburn, all the while staying close with Jack. A decade after they meet, on the eve of Jack’s inauguration as the thirty-fifth President of the United States, the two must confront what they mean to each other.

The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable is based on the fascinating real life of Alicia Corning Clark, a woman who J. Edgar Hoover insisted was paid by the Kennedys to keep quiet, not only about her romance with Jack Kennedy, but also a baby they may have had together.

My Thoughts:

Aren’t the Kennedys one of the most interesting American families? I think so. This book takes an imaginary look into the real lives of Jack Kennedy and Alicia Corning Clark. I loved it!

Praise for The Book of Summer “A sure bet for women’s-fiction fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Nantucket novels.” –Booklist “Gable cleverly illuminates the past, revealing how it mirrors the present. This is a splendid multigenerational novel about the strength of the women of Cliff House.” –Publishers Weekly “Gable develops fully rounded characters that readers feel as if they could reach out and touch. We want to know more about them and Gable gives us plenty.” –Richmond Times-Dispatch “These laid-back books epitomize the term ‘beach read.'” –Coastal Living “A must for any summer reading list.” –The Boston Herald “This time of year is meant for books to devour. Vacations, the beach, lazy afternoons all call for a good book that allows you to escape. Michelle Gable knows how to deliver.” –Newport News Daily Press “It’s Gable’s ability to weave a family’s tale through the musings of summer visitors, war, relationship drama and a smattering of sexual tension that makes it a must for any summer reading list.” –Fort Worth Star- Telegram “A deep look at the strength of women, this will tantalize readers as they, along with Bess, learn of her family.” –Parkersburg News + Sentinel

 

The Summer I Met Jack: A Novel by [Gable, Michelle]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

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The Fairfax Incident -Book Review

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The Fairfax Incident by [McCauley, Terrence]

1933 NYC. When is a suicide not a suicide? When it’s murder. Hired by a wealthy widow to investigate her husband’s mysterious death, private detective Charlie Doherty finds himself face to face with not only some of the most powerful people in New York City, but the most evil men in the world.

A riveting new novel of historical thrills from an author who: “Merges the brilliant old school spycraft of Charles Cumming and John le Carré with the technology and contemporary feel of Alex Berenson.” (Library Journal)

My Thoughts:

I love thrillers set in the 30’s! Especially ones that are ALSO set in New York City or Chicago. Is anyone else as intrigued with the 1930’s Mob as I am??

I really liked this book. It kept me hooked. McCauley’s writing is excellent.

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the novels of Terrence McCauley

“In our new reality, Terrence McCauley’s A Conspiracy of Ravens is not far from the realm of possibility. He hits all the right notes while creating an simultaneously entertaining and frightening scenario. Read it.” ―Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break

“Two parts noir and three parts adrenaline-packed intrigue, A Conspiracy Of Ravens is gritty and fast and taut―all the right stuff when it comes to a good, no, a great thriller.” ―Marc Cameron, New York Times bestselling author

“Boasts tech savvy, international settings, nail-biting action, and an arsenal of twists.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Stunning set pieces…Solid fare for no-nonsense spy fans.” ―Booklist

“This exuberant thriller is, as they say, torn from today’s headlines…McCauley is also a wonderful dialogue writer…this one really sparks.” ―Booklist (starred review)

“Terrence McCauley has written an exciting, fast-paced thriller. Readers of conventional spy novels will discover that today’s intelligence community and work bear little resemblance to what in retrospect are the tamer Cold War politics.”
―Bookreporter

“A fast-moving spy-vs-spy thriller.”
―Kirkus Reviews

“A fascinating, fast-paced spy thriller for the modern age, equal parts techno-wizardry and old-school tradecraft, and featuring a terrorist plot that reads like its been ripped from the headlines, SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL is an exciting first entry in what’s already a gripping intelligence saga.”
―Owen Laukkanen, New York Times bestselling author of THE PROFESSIONALS

“Hard to put down…the story line succeeds in large part because of the gritty and stylish narrative, the virtually nonstop action…those looking for some top-shelf adrenaline-fueled escapism will be rewarded.”
―Publishers Weekly

“Merges the brilliant old school spycraft of Charles Cumming and John le Carré with the technology and contemporary feel of Alex Berenson. The action is fast and furious in this hard-as-nails thriller but what sets it apart is McCauley’s grasp of how modern spy technology finds and tracks its targets. ”
―Library Journal

“(A) fast-paced spy thriller…tautly written, tightly plotted…delivers action and suspense aplenty.”
―Booklist

“A fast-moving noir spy thriller…a fun read for fans of classic espionage.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Fans of Jack Bauer rejoice, your new hero just rode into town. Sympathy for the Devil by Terrence McCauley has enough gadgets to satisfy tech junkies and enough character to bring humanity to a story that is all too terrifying in its plausibility.” ―Criminal Element

“Intense to the very end, Sympathy for the Devil is a ‘must-read’ for connoisseur of the genre.”
―Midwest Book Review

The Fairfax Incident by [McCauley, Terrence]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Who Are You, Trudy Herman? -Book Review

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Who Are You, Trudy Herman?: A Novel by [Beck, B.E.]

As a little girl, Trudy Herman is taught to stand up for truth by her much-loved grandfather. Then in 1943, Trudy’s childhood drastically changes when her family is sent to a German-American Internment Camp in Texas. On the journey to the camp, Trudy meets Ruth, who tells her and her friend Eddie the legend of the Paladins—knights of Emperor Charlemagne who used magic gifted to them by the heavens to stand up for virtue and truth. Ruth insists both Trudy and Eddie will become modern-day Paladins—defenders of truth and justice—but Trudy’s experiences inside the camp soon convince her that she doesn’t have what it takes to be a knight.

 

After two years, her family is released from the camp and they move to Mississippi. Here, Trudy struggles to deal with injustice when she comes face to face with the ingrained bigotries of the local white residents and the abject poverty of the black citizens of Willow Bay. Then their black housekeeper—a woman Trudy has come to care for—finds herself in crisis, and Trudy faces a choice: look the other way, or become the person her grandfather and Ruth believed she could be?

My Thoughts:

This is a great coming of age story, where Trudy has to find out who she is and what she stands for. I loved the setting of the book. This is a great YA read.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This novel offers a window into a lesser-known aspect of internment in WWII…When a regular girl confronts extraordinary challenges, this novel forcefully asks what it takes to stand up for what is right.”
Booklist

“Trudy Herman’s struggle to survive adolescence and deal with the difficulties of injustice, cruelty, and self-doubt is a remarkable record of self-evolution. Her story is both engaging and revealing and the writer’s ability to capture Trudy’s conflicts and growth is remarkable. We all learn from her experiences.”

―Gloria Campbell, author of Just for Thought

Who Are You, Trudy Herman? is a strong commentary on social injustice viewed through the eyes of a young, innocent girl. Shocked and terrorized by its existence and the shame not to find courage to confront it, Trudy must reach deep within herself to do what is right. B. E. Beck’s writing style and her ability to develop her characters makes this a must read.”

–Bruce Hansen author of ALPHA BLUE

“Confronting questions of inequality, injustice, and poverty, readers will ask themselves, ‘Who would I be?’ B.E. Beck explores America surrounding World War II, illuminating the story of a girl setting her moral compass. Trudy’s struggles leap off the page, relevant now more than ever.”
–Jennifer Rainman, Librarian

“Told with deep empathy, this tale illuminates a little-known but relevant aspect of U.S. history and deftly explores privilege and injustice in their many forms.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Through Trudy Herman, B.E. Beck illustrates the toils and triumphs of looking absurdity, indifference to suffering, and condescension straight in eye, and in doing such, builds solidarity across racial, national, and cultural differences. It’s an insight into empathy, the relevance of which in many ways continues to define the United States today.”
–Kristin Gissberg, Ph.D German Philosophy, Berlin, Germany

About the Author:
B. E. Beck is an educator and writer. She taught at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, before moving to the Seattle College District. She is a member of Pacific Northwest Writers Association and is active in two writers’ groups. She and her husband live in the Seattle area.

Who Are You, Trudy Herman?: A Novel by [Beck, B.E.]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

April in Paris, 1921 -Book Review

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April in Paris, 1921: A Kiki Button Mystery by [Lunney, Tessa]

Kiki Button—war veteran, party girl, detective, and spy—finds that she can’t outrun her past exploits, even in the glittering world of Jazz Age Paris.
Paris in 1921 is the city of freedom, where hatless and footloose Kiki Button can drink champagne and dance until dawn. She works as a gossip columnist, partying with the rich and famous, the bohemian and strange, using every moment to create a new woman from the ashes of her war-worn self.

While on the modelling dais, Picasso gives her a job: to find his wife’s portrait, which has gone mysteriously missing. That same night, her spymaster from the war contacts her—she has to find a double agent or face jail. Through parties, whisky, and seductive informants, Kiki uses her knowledge of Paris from the Great War to connect the clues.

Set over the course of one springtime week, April in Paris, 1921 is a mystery that combines artistic gossip with interwar political history through witty banter, steamy scenes, and fast action.

My Thoughts:

The Roaring Twenties? In Paris? With mystery? and PICASSO?! I’m so there. This was an incredible read and so unique! I mean, seriously, who would have thought of a story like this?! Get this book.

About the Author:

Tessa Lunney is an emerging talent on the Australian literary scene who has recently won a number of our major short fiction awards. She has had her fiction, poetry, and reviews published in Southerly, Mascara, and Contrapasso, among others, as well as Best Australian Poems 2014. She lives in Sydney, Australia.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fascinating characters, beautifully written.”
Kate Williams, New York Times bestselling author of ‘Becoming Queen Victoria’

“Tessa Lunney brilliantly evokes the Années folles of the Roaring Twenties as her heroine―an Australian debutant-turned-nurse-turned-spy―Kiki Button traipses through Paris’s sensual bohemian culture hunting for a World War I mole and stolen Pablo Picasso painting.”
Julie McElwain, author of ‘A Murder in Time’ and ‘A Twist in Time’

“An irresistible debut! Adventurous and whip-smart, Kiki Button is Jazz Age Paris’s most dazzling ex-pat.”
David Krugler, author of ‘The Dead Don’t Bleed’

“Liberated from her wartime duties as a nurse, Kiki Button, Tessa Lunney’s main character of her debut April in Paris, 1921, is a gossip columnist-cum-detective who finds herself mixed up in a mystery set against the backdrop of post-WWI Paris. Lunney takes the reader on a breathless, page-turning journey through cafes, streets, and dark alleys of this Bohemian time period, searching for a stolen piece of art. Kiki, who is charming, self-possessed, and sexually free, is readable and fun, a modern woman blazing though the Années folles no holds barred.”
John Copenhaver, author of ‘Dodging and Burning’

 

April in Paris, 1921: A Kiki Button Mystery by [Lunney, Tessa]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Megge of Bury Down -Book Review

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Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles Book 1) by [Kightlinger, Rebecca]

Murderer!

When six-year-old Megge first touches the ancient Book of Seasons, a mysterious voice accuses her of an ugly crime. Although the book is her legacy, she refuses to touch it again. If she does, she is certain she will be the death of those she loves.

But seven years later, events conspire to force her to once again to accept her responsibility. If she refuses to take up the task, who will ensure the Book’s ancient wisdom survives, safe from the hands of those who would use it for evil?

My Thoughts:

This was a very engaging read. I enjoyed Megge’s perspective throughout the whole book. If you like historical coming of age stories, then you will like this. Pleasantly, there are more to come in this series.

About the Author:

Rebecca Kightlinger earned her MFA at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she reviews novels for the Historical Novels Review, reads fiction submissions for New England Review and Stonecoast Review, and copy edits pieces accepted for publication in Stonecoast Review.

In her twenty years of medical practice as an Obstetrician Gynecologist, Rebecca had the privilege of caring for the women of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Guyana.

She and her husband live in northwestern Pennsylvania with their pets: three comical dogs, three elegant cats, and a delightful little rooster named Ollie.

Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles Book 1) by [Kightlinger, Rebecca]

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

The Silent Woman -Book Review

 

The Silent Woman by [Thomas, Terry Lynn]

Would you sell your secrets?

Catherine Carlisle is trapped in a loveless marriage and the threat of World War Two is looming. She sees no way out… that is until a trusted friend asks her to switch her husband’s papers in a desperate bid to confuse the Germans.

Soon Catherine finds herself caught up in a deadly mixture of espionage and murder. Someone is selling secrets to the other side, and the evidence seems to point right at her.

Can she clear her name before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:

Not the best read ever. That’s probably why its at a $2.99 Pre-order price. I’d skip it.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Five Hundred Poor -Book Review

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From acclaimed author, Noah Milligan, comes a short story collection, Five Hundred Poor. The title comes from Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, “Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. For one very rich man there must be at least five hundred poor, and the affluence of the few supposes the indigence of the many. The affluence of the rich excites the indignation of the poor, who are often both driven by want, and prompted by envy, to invade his possessions.” These are ten stories of those five hundred poor, the jaded, the disillusioned, and the disenfranchised

 

My Thoughts:

I actually fell in love with short stories by reading Ron Rash, so this book was very addictive to me. I love the way the short stories give you just enough to feel satisfied. A great and very quick read.

About the Author:

Noah Milligan began his community banking career in 2008 in the midst of the subprime mortgage crisis. The resulting Great Recession reshaped his professional and personal life and inspired this collection. Noah Milligan’s debut novel, An Elegant Theory, was shortlisted for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize and a finalist for Foreword Review’s 2016 Book of the year.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.

Robin -Book Review

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From New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff, the definitive biography of Robin Williams – a compelling portrait of one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood entertainers.

From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed.

But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.

Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.

My Thoughts:

I remember where I was, when I found out that Robin Williams had died. I even cried a little, the only celebrities death I’ve ever cried over, aside from Johnny Cash. So of course, in order to understand Mr. Williams a little further, I asked to review this book. I’m so glad I did! It’s a great look into his life, both the good and the bad.

About the Author:

Dave Itzkoff is the author of Mad as Hell, Cocaine’s Son, and Lads. He is a culture reporter at The New York Times, where he writes regularly about film, television, theater, music, and popular culture. He previously worked at Spin, Maxim, and Details, and his work has appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired, and other publications. He lives in New York City.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated above are my own.

A Most Noble Heir -Book Review

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Synopsis:

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.

Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope–believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father’s demanding expectations.

At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

About the Author:

 

Susan Anne Mason

Susan lives in a suburb near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she works part-time as a church secretary. She is a wife and the mother of two amazing kids, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In addition to writing, she likes to scrapbook and to research her family history on-line. You can connect with her on Facebook or on her website http://www.susanannemason.net.

My Thoughts:

Well, pretty much anything that reminds me of Downton Abbey, I’m like, yaaaaas! This has a very familiar ring to it (Matthew Crawley, anyone?) and I gobbled this book up in no time!

I was expecting this book to be cheesy (I don’t know why, I guess that’s just me), so I was pleasantly surprised when it was not! I loved Nolan’s journey from stable hand to Earl, and his relationship (or strained relationship) with Hannah.

This is such a fun and easy book to read, I highly reccomend it if you are/were a Downton fan!

You can get your copy on Amazon here.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Bethany House. All opinions stated above are my own.

Surviving ‘Uncle Hitler’ -Book Review

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Synopsis:

“…the author is a legend for all that she survived and held on to her faith thru it all. Remarkable and inspiring story.” — Kevin and Shana Scott

[UPDATED AND REVISED FOR 2017]  Dorothea Wollin was just a young girl when American bombs demolished her German town. Uprooted overnight, she and her family found themselves on a journey of survival across Europe.

“Many people bury their memories so they don’t have to deal with the pain. For whatever reason, my mother buried hers. I was hard-pressed to get any stories from her. She was not one who shared easily. However, one night was different. It was many years after the war, in 1987, and I was visiting my family in Germany. I felt there were things Mother and I needed to talk about, and I pressed for discussion. I was pleasantly surprised when she stayed up until the wee hours sharing memories.”

A true story of a little girl’s quest for meaning in a dark world that led to faith in Christ, and to a freedom greater than that of country or politics.

“What I want most for my story to convey is that the Lord led me through the trials and tribulations of my life in order that I could find meaning, joy, and peace. Because I am approaching the end of my life, I want to inspire my readers to question their own choices, priorities and values in order to find peace with the Lord and joy in their hearts.” — Dorothea Wollin Null

This is my story.

My Thoughts:

How powerful a person’s testimony can be. Really, there is no human force on earth quite as persuasive. Dorothea’s story is no exception. Stories like hers need to be told, before they are forgotten. And that is how I can summarize this book: unforgettable.

“In our living room, there was a picture of Adolf Hitler on the wall. We called him ‘Uncle Hitler’.”

I especially love when books like this include family photos. If you are interested in WWII from a unique Christian German perspective, then this is a great read for you.

You can get your copy on Amazon here.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from BookCrash. All opinions stated above are my own.