Remembrance by Meg Cabot

Remembrance: A Mediator Novel

It’s the return of Meg Cabot’s Mediator Series with the lovely Suze Simon.

Suze is a ghost whisperer, a mediator between the living and the dead who haven’t passed on yet.

She is out of college and working at her old high school as a guidance counselor, working on her wedding to her hot and formerly dead fiance’, Dr. Jesse de Silva while trying to handle a particularly nasty little ghost who would just as soon see her dead.

And it’s not just the new ghosts getting under her skin, her ex Paul has popped up causing her trouble.
Then there are the secrets. Everyone here has a secret whether they know it or not.

Will she get to walk down the aisle with her love? Or will Paul put an end to Jesse once and for all?
It’s enough to give a girl a headache!

Meg Cabot just has that gift. The gift of storytelling. And I am very glad that she does!

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In the Arena by Pete Hegseth

 

In the Arena: How American Values and Power Can Save the Free World

Mr. Hegseth is certainly qualified to be writing a book about the Arena. A decorated war veteran who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, he holds two Bronze Stars is the former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America and Vets For Freedom. He is also a Fox News contributor, a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He has served his country and dealt with enemies both foreign and domestic.

In the Arena takes a look at Teddy Roosevelt’s Citizenship in a Republic address and breaks it down in a very straightforward manner. We are to be good citizens of our country and ask ourselves if we are doing our fair share to ensure the well being of our values as a nation.
He reminds us of our responsibility to be productive, informed and ready to fight for the country we claim to love. Are there some hard truths in here? Yes, and he is very clear about how we must act if we are to not just exist, but to be leaders in the world. Are you ready to get into the arena? Are you ready to be a part of change?
Very well spoken and informative, his is a voice I am sure we will here more from.

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Books Behind the Oscars

The Books Behind 2016’s Big Oscar Films

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge

Michael Punke. Picador, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-250-07268-9
The film based on Punke’s 2002 book, directed by Alejandro Iñárritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, received a whopping 12 Oscar nominations, in categories including best actor, best adapted screenplay, best director, and best picture. Punke’s novel, set in 1823, is based on the story of the real-life trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass. Viciously mauled by a bear and abandoned by his men, Glass struggles to survive for one purpose: to exact revenge.

 

The Martian

The Martian

Andy Weir. Broadway, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-0-553-41802-6
Next up on the red carpet is The Martian, based on Andy Weir’s 2011 SF adventure. The film, which was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Matt Damon, earned seven Oscar nominations, in categories including best actor, best adapted screenplay, and best picture. Here is another story of a man left for dead, but this time he’s on a different frontier: Mars. An American astronaut finds himself stranded and literally alone on a planet

 

Carol

Patricia Highsmith. Norton, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-393-35268-9
The late Patricia Highsmith, author of Strangers on the Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, was no stranger to Oscar attention. Now one of her very-much-under-the-radar novels is behind the film Carol, the recipient of six nominations, in categories including best actress, best adapted screenplay, and best cinematography. This tale of romantic obsession, based on Highsmith’s own life, was originally published in 1952 as The Price of Salt. In it, a stage designer trapped in a dull job as saleswoman and a bored suburban housewife fall in love and set out across the United States.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Michael Lewis. Norton, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-393-35315-0
Moving from a fictional tiny bad place to the very real big bad world of Wall Street is The Big Short, a bestseller first published by Norton in 2010 and written by Lewis—another author familiar with Oscar attention (The Blind Side, Moneyball). The film has earned four nominations, for best supporting actor, best adapted screenplay, best film editing, and best picture. In The Big Short, Lewis recounts the story of Wall Street players who foresaw the financial collapse of 2008, which was fueled by the spread of subprime mortgages.


The Danish Girl
David Ebershoff. Penguin, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-14-310839-9
Another unusual love story is at the core of The Danish Girl, whose film adaptation garnered four Oscar nominations in the categories of best actor, best supporting actress, best costume design, and best production design. Ebershoff’s novel, originally published in 2000, was a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, and winner of the Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In this portrait of a marriage, a question arises: What do you do when the person you love has to change? The Danish Girl is loosely based on the life of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history.


Room
Emma Donoghue. LB/Back Bay, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-316-39134-4
When it was published in 2010, Donoghue’s Room was a New York Times Top Ten book and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. This year she’s been nominated for an Oscar for writing the screenplay based on the novel. Room received three other nominations as well: best actress, best director, and best picture. Room tells the story of a boy and his mother who are held in captivity. To five-year-old Jack, who narrates the book, the room where they’re held is his home and the only world he knows. To his mother, it is a prison.

 

Brooklyn

Colm Tóibín. Scribner, trade paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-5011-0647-7
Tóibín’s acclaimed 2009 novel tells the story of a young Irish immigrant forging a life in 1950’s Brooklyn. The film adaptation earned two Oscar nominations, for best adapted screenplay and best picture. In the novel, Eilis Lacey leaves her mother, sister, and everything she knows in the small town of Enniscorthy to travel to Brooklyn, where a priest has offered to sponsor her. She establishes a life and finds love, but devastating news from home shatters the promise of her future.

 

Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson. Simon & Schuster, trade paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-5011-2762-5
Isaacson has a long list of accomplishments: he is the former CEO of the Aspen Institute, former chairman of CNN, former managing editor of Time, and the author of several books, including this biography of Steve Jobs, originally published just weeks after the master innovator died in 2011. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet have both been nominated for Oscars for their roles in the film. Isaacson’s bestselling book is based on more than 40 interviews that he conducted with Jobs, as well as hundreds of interviews with friends, family, adversaries, and colleagues. What emerges is a portrait of the turbulent life of a driven, creative genius and revolutionary entrepreneur.

 

In Another Country: Selected Stories

David Constantine. Biblioasis, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-77196-017-5
British author Constantine has been widely published abroad for 30 years, but In Another Country is his North American debut. The story “45 Years” from the collection is the basis for the movie of the same name, for which Charlotte Rampling received a best actress nomination. The story focuses on a couple preparing to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. As the day draws near, the husband receives news that the body of his ex-girlfriend has been found, 50 years after she fell into an Alpine crevasse. The news profoundly affects his wife’s perspective on their long life and marriage together.

 

Trumbo

Bruce Cook. Grand Central, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-4555-6497-2
Cook’s 1977 biography of Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter who broke the Hollywood blacklist, is the basis for the film that has earned a best actor nomination for Bryan Cranston. Trumbo was the screenwriter behind the blockbuster films Exodus, Roman Holiday, Spartacus, Thirty Seconds over Tokyo, and others. He was also the author of the 1939 antiwar novel Johnny Got His Gun. In the years between 1947 and 1960, Trumbo didn’t work at all—he was one of the “Hollywood 10” who refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was subsequently blacklisted

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The PassengerThe Passenger by Lisa Lutz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Talk about a thrill ride. I did not put this book down until I finished it!

From the first page I was pulled into the life of Tanya, who comes downstairs to find her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs. She knows she didn’t have anything to do with his death, however she is still running from her past and this would only lead to more questions she can’t or won’t answer.

After speaking to some shady sounding character on the phone, she now has a new identity and is once again on the run.

Thia is an amazing psychological thriller! With twists and turns at a breakneck speed. Who is Tonya? Why is she on the run? Is she a killer?

I felt like I was the passenger on a wild off the grid trip with someone who will do anything to survive. The Passenger is one of those books that you get so entangled in that it takes hours to come out of it once you reach the ending you never saw coming.

If this is Ms. Lutz’s first psychological thriller, I can’t imagine what she will do next!

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: March 1, 2016

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The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins

The Princess Wore Plaid (The Oxenburg Princes, #2.5)The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Princess Wore Plaid by Karen Hawkins is the next in the Princes of Oxenburg series. A spin off of the Duchess Diaries series.

The daughter of the King of Oxenburg, Tatiana is beautiful, pampered, and wealthy.. Off to her cousin’s wedding in the Scottish Highlands, her coach ends up flipping over, sending her flying. When she comes to she has no idea where or even who she is. After walking for days, she finally knows who she is but who will believe her?
In a strange country with no funds, no skills and no proof of who she is. Now the Princess must become the servant.

Lord Buchan has been through his own accident and is just as lost as Tatiana is even though he has everything a man could want, he is terrified of involving himself with someone who could leave at any moment, he has already lost so much. Could a Princess choose to remain in his country and his heart or will she return to her home and leave him alone and shut off from the world once more?

Will love win out?

This was not my first Karen Hawkins book. I enjoy her descriptions of the people and locations in her books. Very well researched and the characters are all smart, strong women.

I received this book from Netgalley and Simon and Schuster in return for an honest review. Release Date is set for March 21, 2016

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Death and Respect. What happened?

Yesterday started out great for me personally. One of my favorite authors was within driving distance and it was great to see the support for his work. I had a great night planned for my fiance’s birthday and it was 81 degrees in February!

The trouble started when I got home. I was standing outside wondering what in the world the police were doing pulling up next door. My neighbor on that side is 22 but is not the partying type at all and I know he doesn’t have time for messy relationship stuff so for no other reason than I’m nosy, I asked the police officer what was going on.  He then proceeded to tell me that they were doing a welfare check on behalf of the boy’s employer. No one had seen him for over a week. Not good.

So there I was answering questions about when I’d seen him last and had I seen anyone over there.  Well I don’t really know because I always have my nose in a book!

Then the officer opened the door, which was not locked, and the smell hit us all in the face. I have found my fair share and more of dead bodies and we all knew what that smell was.

Now, I’m not familiar with the procedure for finding dead bodies in this city, but in mine it’s always the same. The cops come, they call EMS, they leave and the Crime Scene Unit comes in and then the Coroner’s SUV shows up. They make sure that the death doesn’t seem to be of a criminal nature and the body is released to the Coroner.

Here is where I have an issue.  Now, I know that the gurney they had held up to 850 pounds because it said so on the side. This guy wasn’t anywhere near that. But they left the gurney by the van and the next thing I saw was what looked like a big blue tarp held together with those stretchy cord things being tossed onto the front porch. Then they proceeded to drag it down a flight of stairs hitting every step on the way down. I was so stunned I couldn’t speak!

I understand death. It’s knocked on my door more than once. But for some reason this bothered me deeply.  What happened to respect and dignity for the dead? The Fire Department is honestly less than 2 minutes away and I’m sure those big, strong guys could have picked that man up and not have dragged him in a tarp like the trash to the dumpster.

No one should have to die alone and have their body lay there for days on end. Several people I spoke with said, well, it’s not my business. Then whose business is it? Are we not all human beings? Is there no such thing as human decency anymore?

Have we become so disconnected from real life that we no longer have respect for death?  Is this how you would want your loved one treated? I personally have never seen someone treated with such disrespect by law enforcement after death. I don’t come from a place that is so cavalier about a fellow human being passing from this life.

I have no intention of letting this rest. Oh,no. That’s not how this goes. I was taught by a good Southern Momma to respect every life and to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves and that’s exactly what I am going to do. Writing this was just a start. Because if they are that disrespectful with me and my other neighbors watching, what goes on when no one is around?

As for my neighbor, we discovered he had no family. None. So we as a neighborhood will do what we can. Because every life deserves to be honored, on the day we come in as well as the day we depart. Every life.

With No Regrets by Julie N. Ford

With No RegretsWith No Regrets by Julie N. Ford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finley has finally lost her mind. That’s what we say in the South, when you deviate from the strict social rules that all of our mothers have drilled into us since birth. Don’t make a scene, Divorce is scandalous, and always act like a lady and basically suck it up buttercup!

However when you come home to find your husband on the sofa with your garden club friend, it’s very hard to stick to the rules.
After tossing out her philandering husband, Finley is a bit lost and after airing everyone’s dirty laundry at the Garden Club meeting, she’s not exactly welcome there. Thank goodness for her best friend Cathyanne and her meddling ways!

This was a really good book. It’s about not being afraid to be you, it’s about love and hope and friendship and divorce and death. About living life with no regrets.
I really wanted more and can’t wait to see what Ms. Ford has next.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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