Thursday, November 26, 2015

Who is Another Woman's Daughter?

Set against the tumultuous background of apartheid South Africa, a powerful and moving debut about family, sacrifice, and discovering what it means to belong… Celia Mphephu knows her place in the world. A black servant working in the white suburbs of 1960s Johannesburg, she’s all too aware of her limitations. Nonetheless, she has found herself a comfortable corner: She has a job, can support her faraway family, and is raising her youngest child, Miriam.

But as racial tensions explode, Celia’s world shifts. Her employers decide to flee the political turmoil and move to England—and they ask to adopt Miriam and take her with them. Devastated at the prospect of losing her only daughter, yet unable to deny her child a safer and more promising future, Celia agrees, forever defining both their futures.

As Celia fights against the shattering violence of her time, Miriam battles the quiet racism of England, struggling to find her place in a land to which she doesn’t belong—until the call of her heritage inexorably draws her back to Africa to discover the truth behind her mother’s choices and uncover a heartbreaking secret from long ago…

My Review

If you had asked me if this was a debut book or not, I would never have guessed it was a debut novel by new author Fiona Sussman. This book reads like Ms. Sussman is a seasoned professional.

I instantly was captivated by the world locations of South Africa and England. Although I was more drawn to South Africa. Yet, I was drawn to both Celia and Miriam. Both women overcame adversity and became stronger for it. Although I must admit that I was not surprised by the missing part in Miriam's past. However I was not disappointed by the news when it was revealed. I can not wait to see what Ms. Sussman comes out with next. If you are looking for a new author to read than you have to pick up a copy of this book, you won't regret it. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christmas Love

A Christmas present for the man who has everything…

With one band of gold Prince Andres of Petras can erase his past—albeit pleasurable—sins. But his prospective bride is untamable Princess Zara, so the playboy prince must seduce her into compliance and crown her by Christmas!

The wayward princess of Tirimia has spent years hiding her untouched heart, and her convenient husband-to-be seems determined to keep it that way. Yet his caresses promise a sensual awakening that's impossible to resist. But once Zara's given him her hand and her body, it won't be long before he has her heart…

My Review

I actually was very surprised by how much I liked this book. I was really into Prince Andres and Princess Zara. They are the Yin and Yang to each other. Andres calmed his playboy ways and Zara emerged out of her cocoon into a beautiful butterfly. While their first experience together did make Andres come off as a jerk, I could feel the real emotions between them. As the story moved along, I grew closer to both Andres and Zara. The ending was a good one. A quick read.

The Wrong Bed—But the Right Guy! 

Ignited by Kimberly Van Meter 
What do you do when a sexy, naked fireman gets into your bed? If you're Alexis Matheson, you freak out. But now she's snowed in with Layton Davis, and suddenly Alexis's best intentions to behave seem to have disappeared up the chimney. Because a hot 'n' naughty firefighter in her bed might be the best Christmas surprise ever…

Where There's Smoke by Liz Talley 
Emma Rose Brent is sure she's dreaming when Erik Matheson, her bestie's überhot older brother—who she's been crushing on for years—mistakenly slips into her bed, all gloriously naked. But Emma must have been a very good girl this year, because she's been given the best gift of all: the chance to be really, really bad…

My Review

Both stories in this book are H-O-T. They will make the snow melt. However both women are different. Alexis is not shy about what she wants. So the chemistry between her and Layton was firing off on all cylinders. It is a good thing that Layton is a firefighter as he would have been called to put the fire out before it combusted.

Than there is Emma. She is not as talented in the "Sex Kitten" department. In fact, there is nothing more sexy and says come and seduce me like "mint green pajamas with puppy dogs." This is Emma's style. Yet, it works for her. Because in the end she does get the guy.

Summoned by the sheikh!

Sheikh Saladin Al Mektala isn't used to being disobeyed. Incomprehensibly, the woman he summoned to help his favorite mare, the best horse whisperer in the world, turned his generous offer down! So he takes matters into his own hands.

The snow is falling, the fire is roaring and the mince pies are in the oven when innocent Olivia Miller finds a darkly handsome and physically compelling man on her doorstep. The sheikh she dared to refuse is here to whisk her off to his kingdom, and this time he won't take no for an answer!

A passionate read for Christmas nights!

My Review

I have not read the first book in this series but that is ok as this book is a stand alone novel. This is another book that I have read recently where I found myself really into the storyline and the characters. Olivia takes the lead as a strong female but don't count Saladin out too quickly as he can dish it right back to Olivia as much as she can hash it out. Their chemistry was undeniable. Plus they kept the story entertaining with their comments. I would not mind being stuck in a cabin in the winter with someone like Saladin. Even though Saladin is rich, he never flatted it and was down to Earth. The Sheikh's Christmas Conquest is a fun, quick, steamy read.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author of Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic.
Anyone can be positive . . .
The tattooed plus sign on Finnegan's hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he'll be cleared.
Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time.

My Review

As far as post-apocalyptic books go this is a good book. I found the world really believable. It takes place twenty years after most of the population has been decimated. So I could understand the rest of the human race's need to loot and fight each other. If you are living day by day just trying to survive and it is a dog eat world than you may have to kill just to survive as only the strongest and smartest survive.

In this book it really is the humans that are the strongest presence and not the zombies. So if you are a zombie fan than you may be disappointed with the lack of zombies. Also, I found that this book could have been shortened at about 150 pages to even 200 pages and it would have been fine. It takes a while to build up the pacing of the story. However the ending does make up for some of the lack of action.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Every Girl Gets Confused

Katie Fisher and Brady James may be a match made in heaven, but that doesn't seem to guarantee them a happily ever after accompanied by angelic choirs. In fact, the sounds being heard at the bridal shop where she works are on the contentious side lately, as a bride- and groom-to-be try to mediate the growing rivalry between their basketball-obsessed families in the middle of play-off season. On top of that, Katie's parents are nagging her to get out of Dallas and come home to tiny Fairfield where her former boyfriend Carson is waiting for her, ready to rekindle their relationship. Oy vey! What's a girl to do? And will she ever be able to wear that gorgeous wedding dress she won?

The breezy fun continues as Janice Thompson throws everyone's favorite small-town girl into big-city bridal chaos--and makes her choose between the love she thought she lost and the love she stumbled upon in the aftermath.

Review by Blanche Mancuso

This book is a delightfully funny story about a cosmopolitan bride to be. Katie Fisher, a small town girl has dreamed since she was 12 years old of her own beautiful wedding. She enters a contest to win a designer wedding dress for her "dream" wedding. She wins the contest and is overly joyed about it but there is just one small problem...she doesn't have a fiancé or a wedding to wear it to. This is a problem!

Join Katie on her quest to find Mr. Right and find out if she ever gets to wear her "dream dress" and live happily ever after. I would recommend this book to everyone. This is a great, charming story. Don't worry if you have not read book one as this book can be read as a stand alone novel.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared

In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before. 

It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.” 

And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid.  The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.

In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?

With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.

My Review

I found this book very informative and enlightening. I took my time reading this boo only because I wanted to digest the information that was in this book longer. Mr. Koppel brings the news to you and does not stray from it. Anyone interested and intrigued by world events or the cyber world will find this book a great read. I was drawn in by Mr. Koppel's writing. Also, I found his interviews with people fascinating. It did not seem like the things the people said were edited to the point that you could read this information on the internet and I did not feel like I was shorted by facts.

In fact, the more that I read the more I realized that sometimes not knowing is living in happy bliss. What I mean by this is that when you don't know everything that is going on behind the scenes like a movie than you still enjoy that movie but how many times have you read about the way a movie was made and maybe your perspective about that movie was changed. All I have to say is that "Zombies" are not the thing that we need to fear but a cyberattack. Which the government already is aware of could happen and they have prepared while the rest of the world is living in "happy bliss".

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ditching the Drive-Thru

Ditching the Drive-Thru exposes the insidious hold the commercial food industry has taken over the fast-paced lives of the average American and the danger these processed foods and diet plans pose to our health, environment, and emotional well-being. Learn how to break free from the grind and return to a simpler relationship with food from farmers, not factories, and home-cooked meals that are created in your kitchen, not on a conveyor belt.  

My Review

While I do appreciate all of the research and depth of knowledge that Mrs. Winch portrayed and shared in this book, I did find reading this book to be some what dull. I read the first five chapters and than found myself skimming through the rest of the book. This is because to be this book read more like a text book. A lot of facts but not lot of information that I found new and interesting.

Plus, if you are looking for many recipes like other nutrition books feature then you might be disappointed. There are a couple in the back of the book but they seem time consuming in regards to prep work. Also, I noticed that Mrs. Winch used words that not everyone uses in their daily lives with no explanations.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Reason to Stay

As the host of her own television news show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she's anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she'd like to forget. Her pro bass fisherman husband Geary's life is an open book, and unfortunately his busybody family doesn't know the meaning of boundaries. Deception and crippling differences soon derail their tender relationship, leading Faith to believe her only option is to end the marriage. But while divorce papers sit on her desk waiting to be signed, tragedy strikes and her heartrending decision is interrupted. With her life in the balance, Faith finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.

Kellie Coates Gilbert takes readers on an emotional roller coaster as she weaves themes of unexpected trial, self-discovery, and forgiveness in this profoundly honest portrait of the tensions that can break a marriage--and the ultimate healing power of love.

Review by Blanche Mancuso

This book leads you on a memorable trip through the life of a young newly-wed woman with a hidden past who is trying to carve out a career in the television industry while holding her marriage together.

You will laugh and cry with her as she tries to reach the top of her career regardless of what happens to her friends and family.

The author truly takes you on an emotionally packed ride which I have to admit, was a bit much for me. This is because I was really into the story and the character, so I was not prepared for one of the events that took place in the story. In fact, I really like cozy mystery stories because when an event like what happened in this book takes place, there is really no mention of blood or gore. So for me the danger and suspense levels of the story line in this book was one that I did not care for. Again, this is just me. Other readers may not have any issues with the danger and suspense and will find this book an enjoyable read. Which some parts of the book I did like. I am glad that I read something outside of my comfort zone.