Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't You Forget About Me (#2) by Suzanne Jenkins REVIEW

(Pam of Babylon #2)
When charming, seemingly devoted Jack Smith dies, his wife and his two girlfriends are astonished to learn that they were not the only love of his life, and that, in fact, Jack was a rogue who was carrying on secret existences with other women. Shattered by grief and stunned by Jack’s betrayals, these three women, Pam Smith, Marie Fabian, and Sandra Benson, find themselves suddenly thrown together. They could have despised one another, jealously guarding their private memories of their time with Jack and hating those they perceived to be their rivals, but instead, the women begin to realize there might be strength in numbers and in shared pain. Slowly, they begin to open their hearts to one another. They bind together to try to make sense of their lives and to try to heal the terrible shock.

But the more they learn about Jack and his nefarious past, the more they begin to question everything they thought they ever knew about him. Not only did Jack carelessly cheat on each of them, without thought to the harm he was causing, but the women are stunned to discover a secret of Jack that he never revealed.

As the women try to piece together the real life story of Jack, they begin to deal with their own lives differently, as well. They must deal with Jack’s heartbroken mother, who knew nothing about her son’s clandestine dealings in life. The tragedy also takes a toll on their working lives, and most of all it takes a toll on them, robbing them of sleep, hope, and even dreams. But with a sense of shared sisterhood, a little laughter, and a whole lot of determination, these brave women forge brave new lives that are full of promise.

The novel probes the difficulties in thinking that we can ever really know a person, even a loved one. All the women in Don’t You Forget About Me wonder if they had been really and truly loved by Jack, or if he had simply played them for fools. They question their own blindness to his faults and how they allowed themselves to believe that they might have had it all, when what they had was really more of a dream. The book investigates modern social problems with grace and warmth. Infidelity, it uncovers, can do more than break hearts. In showing some of the worst things that can happen in relationships,it also teases us to imagine the best, a world in which loyalty, devotion and fidelity are prized. As the characters grow and change, they have the possibility for those things.
Okay, so I don't normally do this but because it is for review and I don't want to be rude to the author and publishers and whatnot, I am putting my review up on the second book of a three book series "Pam of Babylon" before I put up my review of the first book. My review of the first book will hopefully be up very soon:) That said...
Even though I haven't read the first book yet but I did read the synopsis, in this book the story seems to go deeper, the plot seems to thicken and things and circumstances seem to get worse.  The other women in Jack's life (Jack is married, out of town for business often- wife gets a call and the story takes off from there but doesn't stop, she finds out she was not the only woman in his life) are finding more and more about this man they loved and thought they knew.
It really bugged me that this Bernice person kept stepping all over Pam and that Pam let her. I kept wanting to yell at Pam "stand up for yourself, lady! What will it take?!"
At the end of the this book I had a lot of questions that I hope will be answered after I get to read the first book (to fill in the gaps) and the third to clear up the second. 
Even though I haven't read the first book yet (but will hopefully son) the second one alone is so intriguing. Suzanne Jenkins knows the art of writing and how to pull you in. I look forward to reading the other two books and enjoying them as much as I did this one.

I received this book for review from Pump Up Your Book  

To get your copy of DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Suzanne Jenkins at Amazon

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To learn more about Suzanne Jenkins


Monday, August 13, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James REVIEW

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

*                    *                    *

The second book leaps right into where the first book ended. Ana feels she has done what she must, which is leave Christian because she can't be the 'sub' he wants. This ends up being the greatest eye opener for both, Christian realizing that she was never his 'sub' and Ana realizing she can have Christian - on her terms...Or can she? Both being completely depressed. 
But all seems saved when Ana inviting Christian to her friend Jose's art gallery opening back before they ended, Christian offers to pick her up even though they aren't together anymore. And since Ana did invite him to the showing and it is a long way there and she does want to Christian again, she agrees to let Christian take her. And after that night, their romance and friendship blossoms even more. 
Ana learns to speak her mind more while still probing Christian for more information about who he is and his past to try to understand her Fifty Shades better. Christian in turn, learns to be more open about his past and who he is and begins to let walls down, another first. 
There are a couple parts in this book where you see a completely different side to Christian, one of complete sadness and fear that breaks your heart and another that makes your heart sing for Ana. 
There was also a part in this second book when Ana meets one of his old 'subs' and sees a completely different side of Christian; and she isn't sure if they should be together, she doesn't feel she will ever be able to fulfill his needs. 
Then at a party at Christian's parents house, Ana finds herself alone in a room with Mrs. Robinson; also known as Elena. And Elena shows her real colors to Ana. I was so thrilled how Ana handled herself with Elena! Then Christian enters the scene and you think it gets bad but then there is another twist: Christian's mother also enters the scene...and oh boy does the plot thicken! 
I so badly want to say more but that would be spoiling it for others so I will end it with this:
The second book in this three book trilogy ends on such a sweet note. And dangerous as well.

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

Welcome to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!
I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. 

Well I feel I got a bit accomplished this past week. I didn't get all my reviews done but that is mainly because when I got into my writing mode I had gotten half of my reviews written when my niece showed up with her newborn son (he is a little older than five weeks-Maddox:)
Photo: Maddox at 5wks and 1 day old 
Anyway (proud great aunt  moment here;)
Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1) 
Dancing in the Storm, Ed: First I did a Greg Messel Spotlight for his new book Last of the Seals
I also finished Dancing in the Storm by Shellie McGuire & Beth Huffman
I finally wrote my review for Fifty Shades of Grey (#1) by E. L. James of which I finished the week before last.
I finished reading Fifty Shades Darker (#2) yesterday.
And last but not least, I finally wrote my reviews for 
Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer and The Betrayal by Jerry B. Jenkins.

I also finished reading The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher, another review I was going to write and didn't get to.

I also (FINALLY) wrote one of the reviews from my book clubs reads: Dear Jane Austen: A Heroin's Guide to Life and Love by Patrice Hannon 

I still have about four reviews to write from my book club:
*Pride & Prejudice
*Eat Pray Love
*The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
*The White Queen by P. G.
*The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner

How did I fall so behind on my reviews?!

 Anyway...I am now currently reading:
 Fifty Shades Freed (#3) by E. L. James
Ashes to Ashes the Twins Fall Down by Pauline L. Hawkins ( 9/11 book)
A Matter of Time by Michael J. Bowler (Titanic book)

Next, I hope to be reading the first book in the Pam of Babylon series ( I have book 2 but am waiting on 1 and 3 first.)

I am still waiting on those two plus one more book to come in the mail so I am again keeping my reading somewhat light this week..Yea three books is light:)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Betrayal by Jerry B. Jenkins REVIEW

The Betrayal

Detective Boone Drake has just masterminded the most massive sting in Chicago history, bringing down the heads of not only the biggest street gangs in the city but also the old crime syndicate. The story is the biggest in decades, and the Chicago Police Department must protect the key witness at all costs. Despite top secret plans to transfer the witness ahead of his testimony before the grand jury, an attempt is made on his life. And the person suspected of leaking this information may be one of the CPD's own.

*                    *                    *

I first fell in love with Jenkins' writing when I read the Left Behind series by Tim Lahay and Jerry Jenkins. This book (or series I should say) - is no different. He keeps you captivated from the first page till the very end.  
How do you react...how do you feel when someone you look up to, someone you think of in high regards, betrays you so deeply it shatters every feeling, all respect you had for that person, and you don't think there is any fixing it..? This is what Boone Drake deals with in this novel.
In the very beginning of this heart pumping story, Drake wakes up in the hospital after being shot, recollection of what happened seems to be pretty clear; but figuring out what is happening and realizing your dealing with conspiracy, deceit and backstabbing becomes clear. While the story unfolds you are hoping for the best but are thinking the worst. Drake soon finds out his girlfriend, Haley may be leaking confidential information about the key witnesses...whom he was protecting when he got shot. 
After getting shot, it becomes Drake's mission to find out who arranged for Drake and the star witness to be killed and why they are trying to frame his girlfriend for something she didn't do...or so we hope.

A couple of people told me this was a good read but I may find it slow, and it was for short periods of time, but not long enough for me to lose interest. 
I do recommend this read.

I borrowed this book from my local library

The Last Plea Bargain by Randy Singer REVIEW

The Last Plea Bargain
Plea bargains may grease the rails of justice, but for Jamie Brock, prosecuting criminals is not about cutting deals. In her three years as assistant DA, she's never plea-bargained a case and vows she never will. But when a powerful defense attorney is indicted for murder and devises a way to bring the entire justice system to a screeching halt, Jamie finds herself at a crossroads. One by one, prisoners begin rejecting deals. Prosecutors are overwhelmed, and felons start walking free on technicalities. To break the logjam and convict her nemesis, Jamie must violate every principle that has guided her young career. But she has little choice. To convict the devil, sometimes you have to cut a deal with one of his demons.

Boy was this the page turner! From the very first page you are pulled into a story of suspense and mystery.
This is my first Randy Singer book and so far, it is my favorite. He writes such well developed and realistic characters. I really liked learning who Jamie Brock was; which you actually first meet in False Witness-another book I will need to read to understand this series and all of it's history and characters better.
This story had a lot of twists and turns - which I love in my books, especially mystery/thrillers...you think you know what is going to happen then you turn out to be completely wrong...and the plot thickens;)
But I do gotta say, I didn't realize how educational this book would be, because I didn't know until after reading this book that plea bargains are important in the court systems. If they weren't used, who knows how many criminals would be walking free...
All in all, I do completely recommend this book to everyone:)

I borrowed this book from my local library:)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James REVIEW

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

**This book is intended for mature audiences**
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

**This book is intended for mature audiences**

I really need to start writing my reviews after I put the book down because (obviously then) the feelings and emotions are fresh and the story is fresh in my mind. 
After I finished this book I was reeling. But then I started to reel myself back in knowing that this and that would and wouldn't happen because there are two more books (now that I have gotten into them, I wish there were more books in the series) and soon to be a movie based on the book (Yay for me:)
First off, let me start out by saying, This is not a genre I ever pick up. I have done that before (sci fi / fantasy) hasn't turned out well...but you never know. Which is why after a while I am willing to pick one up just to keep an open mind.
That's what I had to do with this book series. Seeing that it was romance was...okay. I will still apprehensive about it but I was very hesitant about the erotica part. That is not me. And it still isn't. Not my cup of tea...or coffee:) But my sister was just getting into the first one and said she could not put it down. But then again she tends to be...or seems to be more open to that genre. But then, my sister in law told me she couldn't put it down and that I had to read them. So I thought, okay I will give them a shot but if I end up having to flip through page after page of smut, I am going to give it up. 
I am so glad I gave it a try. Yes there is erotica in the books but not the smut I was begrudgingly expecting.There is depth to the story. An actual relationship I was not expecting. I understand the reason why this book is under the erotica genre but there is a story behind that as well. This first book is full of surprise, sadness, mystery and humor. 
My favorite parts in the book were the emails back and forth between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele for sure. I loved the flirtation and humor they had in their emails. 
I was stunned at the end but I had to remind myself that there is a second AND third book and after reading the synopsis of the second book I knew the story and the relationship between Christian and Ana would turn a corner. I couldn't wait to read the second book.
I don't want to give any spoilers so I will stop here with my thoughts. What I will say is this: I understand the Hesitation about the series because I had those hesitations but I am so glad I decided to read the books for myself. I have surprised myself with falling for this series.
But I have been thinking, because there have been a few books I want to discuss further; I have been considering creating a spoiler page for just that reason.  

I borrowed this book from my sister in law

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Last of the Seals by Greg Messel REVIEW

Last of the Seals
Mystery, romance and baseball in 1957 San Francisco. Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to become a major league city. Sam has come to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective agency of his best friend. When Sam's partner inadvertently sees something he shouldn't have, he is brutally murdered. Sam must go it alone and try to find out why. Along the way he is swept off of his feet by a beautiful, Elvis-obsessed TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan. Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery together. On dark and foggy San Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner. 

I was looking forward to reading this book since I first had the opportunity to read The Illusion of Certainty. I could not put that down. But I was a bit weary about reading this book since it is about the Seals and baseball and sports. But it was such a fun read with a couple of mysteries and some suspense and even a bit of romance thrown in. 
The story takes place in the 1950's so hearing a character talk about saving money on gas since it went up to thirty cents a gallon almost made me choke on my coffee, lol. I loved the passion and chivalry in this story. Messel wrote two well written mysterious stories wrapped in one book with a backdrop of baseball and he did a terrific job. 
I think Sam and Jimmy were my favorite characters in the book. Sam was adjusting to the idea of no longer playing pitcher for the Seals and becoming a Private Investigator for one of his friends...that is when his trouble start. But this is also when he accidentally meets the lovely Amelia, a Stewardess for an Airline Company, TWA.
I devoured this book, especially the romance between Sam and Amelia and watching Amelia help Sam uncover the mystery of it all.

This is the first in a series, the next book in this series is supposed to come out in 2013. I truly look forward to reading the next in this

I recommend this book to everyone, even if you aren't big on sports:)

I received this book for review from Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dancing in the Storm by Shelly Maguire and Beth Huffman REVIEW

Dancing in the Storm, Ed: First What turns an angry adolescent and then a defiant teenager into an indomitable businesswoman who faced so many obstacles in life that she defied all odds for success? Told at the age of nine that she had a lethal disease that could take her life by the age of 18, for Shelly Maguire this was all she had to hear to push herself to the limits and stop at nothing to reach her goals. Written with heart-pounding honesty and delicious humor, Dancing in the Storm takes the reader along on an emotional roller coaster ride through Shelly Maguire s multi-faceted career from the classroom to the boardroom. An entrepreneur, founder of multiple start-up companies and a skin care developer for several large companies, Shelly takes you inside the world of business, live TV (HSN) and infomercials. This TV and radio personality spells out her formula for success. Think like a child - - they never take no for an answer. You ll be startled and amazed at her confessions and grit, and then wish she were your best friend. Read how one serendipitous moment at a stop light, was the start of a love story many only dream about.

When I was first asked to review this book, I had mixed feelings. I wanted to read it because it is a true story about a womans success in health and life; even with the devastating news she was given at such as young age. On the other hand it seemed too sad a story for me to want to read, and I didn't understand the cover. I still don't quite understand the cover but I am glad I read this story. It is inspiring for sure, funny, candid and honest.
What made this book different then the other memoirs I have read is partly the fact that there weren't any chapters. It was broken up into sub-chapters. Mainly emails from her family to Beth sharing stories about Shelly from before she was born until the present and what she is like, emails and calls between Beth and Shelly, Shelly telling stories and antics of her growing up with CF and how that impacted her life as a child, teen, and adult.
The entire book was intriguing and hard to put down but also hard to read at times, mainly because you feel for her and her family. I enjoyed reading her story and am glad she did share her story-even the parts where you want to cover your eyes and think, 'what are you doing?' I appreciate that she didn't take any of her health issues as a warning to slow down but to push harder because if she had taken the doctors advise when she was twelve, who knows if she would be alive to tell her story today. She is definitely an inspiration.
I would recommend this book, to anyone:)

I received this book for review from Media Guests


Greg Messel Spotlight

Greg Messel has written four novels and three unpublished memoirs. He published his premiere novel “Sunbreaks” in 2009, followed by “Expiation” in 2010 and “The Illusion of Certainty” in 2011. “Last of the Seals” is the first in a series of mysteries which are set in 1957 San Francisco. The second book in the series “Deadly Plunge’ will be published around Christmas of 2012. Greg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has had a newspaper career as a columnist, sportswriter and news editor. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist while working for a daily newspaper in Wyoming. Greg also spent many years in the corporate world as a Financial Manager. He now devotes his energies to writing at his home in Edmonds, Washington on the Puget Sound just north of Seattle, where he lives with his wife, Carol.

About the book:
Last of the Seals
The year is 1957 in San Francisco. Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to become a major league city. The Giants are coming to town in 1958 and the Seals will be displaced. Sam has come to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective agency of his best friend. When his friend is brutally murdered, Sam must go it alone and try to find out why. Along the way he is swept off of his feet by a beautiful Elvis-obsessed TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan. Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery together. Sam’s best friend, Jimmy inadvertently saw something he shouldn’t have. Sam and Amelia have pictures in their possession that have crime families in San Francisco and Chicago very worried. Then a young woman Sam has been searching for is found dead on the beach. Suddenly, Sam and Amelia find themselves in danger. On dark and foggy San Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner.

ExpiationOther books by Greg Messel:
> Expiation:  
In 1968, Dan and Katie are one of the hottest couples at Ballard High School in Seattle. He is the hero football player, and she is the beautiful cheerleader. These high school sweethearts believe theirs is a love that will never die. Life changes when Dan leaves Washington to start college at the University of California Berkeley and pursue his dream of working for a big time newspaper in the glamorous city of San Francisco. The quest for his dream occurs against the turbulent background of Berkeley and San Francisco in the 1970s as Dan and Katie go their separate ways. Now, thirty years later, Dan is back in his hometown of Seattle attending his mother's funeral. He's never stopped thinking about Katie, his long-lost love. But the two former high school sweethearts reconnect in a most unexpected way as the rest of the world grows more fearful of Y2K and the dawn of the twenty-first century. They are hoping that their love, once lost, can now be reclaimed
The Illusion of Certainty> The Illusion of Certainty (My Review)  
 "The Illusion of Certainty" follows two parallel story lines. Marc is a successful businessman who seems to have everything-a great job, a beautiful wife, a house in an upscale neighborhood of Portland, Oregon and two great kids who are preparing for college. But something is not right. Marc is unsettled by the sudden change in his wife, Aimee, who seems distant and unhappy. What is going on with her?The second storyline involves a successful young attorney Alexandra Mattson. Alex, as she is called by her friends, meets a handsome young cop, Sean, during an unexpected crisis in her neighborhood. Sean and Alex seem made for each other and begin to merge their futures in a world of uncertainty.The only certainty in life is that we will face uncertainty. Despite all of the technology and controls available in the modern world, sometimes the only comfort comes from the human touch.
Tom is a middle-aged man who works in downtown Portland, Oregon. His wife is killed suddenly when her car is hit by a drunk driver. Tom goes into a period of isolation for almost two years; his life sinks into a time of grayness and gloom. Then, a bright light named Erika comes into his life. She is a dazzling young woman who he meets, quite by accident, at the coffee shop which he frequents each morning. Tom and Erika have an instant connection. They formulate a plan to become companions and to begin enjoying all of their interests again but as platonic friends. They are both tired of being alone but do not want to play all of the dating games. As the year progresses, Tom and Erika become more and more comfortable with each other thanks to a series of unexpected crisis that ensue. Tom is falling more deeply in love with Erika each day. Erika continues to take it slow and wants to be just friends. Tom keeps his love for her a secret as he patiently waits for Erika to want more from their relationship. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Welcome to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!
I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. 

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)This past week I finished reading the first of three book of Fifty Shades of Grey. My first ever romance/erotica read. I was really apprehensive about reading it, then when I picked it up...could not put it down. It was much better than I thought It'd be. But that doesn't mean I am completely open minded to reading any and all romance/erotica. It just means this series alone has been very good (intimacy scenes aside) and I may choose to read another one in the future, but I am still apprehensive about the erotica genre.
Dancing in the Storm, Ed: First I also finished reading Dancing in the Storm by Shelly Maguire and Beth Huffman. My review will be up in a few days.

I am now Reading Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James
 and Last of the Seals by Greg Messel

Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3)Next I know I am planning on reading Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James; but besides that I am waiting on a few review books in the mail so I am not planning on much for my next reads to leave time for those.
 Last of the Seals