Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Product Details

The Knockoff: A Novel
by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

May 19, 2015 | Kindle eBook

Book Description

 May 19, 2015
An outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age, The Knockoff is the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief of Glossy magazine, who finds her twentysomething former assistant Eve Morton plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine, famous for its lavish 768-page September issue, into an app.
When Imogen returns to work at Glossy after six months away, she can barely recognize her own magazine. Eve, fresh out of Harvard Business School, has fired “the gray hairs,” put the managing editor in a supply closet, stopped using the landlines, and hired a bevy of manicured and questionably attired underlings who text and tweet their way through meetings. Imogen, darling of the fashion world, may have Alexander Wang and Diane von Furstenberg on speed dial, but she can’t tell Facebook from Foursquare and once got her iPhone stuck in Japanese for two days. Under Eve’s reign, Glossy is rapidly becoming a digital sweatshop—hackathons rage all night, girls who sleep get fired, and “fun” means mandatory, company-wide coordinated dances to Beyonc√©. Wildly out of her depth, Imogen faces a choice—pack up her Smythson notebooks and quit, or channel her inner geek and take on Eve to save both the magazine and her career. A glittering, uproarious, sharply drawn story filled with thinly veiled fashion personalities, The Knockoff is an insider’s look at the ever-changing world of fashion and a fabulous romp for our Internet-addicted age.

From the Hardcover edition.

This may be touted as a  different take on the book, “The Devil Wears Prada”, but   any of the ‘gray hairs’ that this book pokes fun at will know in an instant that this is an up dated, tech filled remake of “All About Eve”.  You might even say that it has just a touch of the original 1939 “The Women” added to the mix too.  Granted it really does have a generous helping of The Devil Wears Prada also!

This was really a depressing book for me at the start.  I too, am a tech dinosaur/gray hair just hanging around until I become extinct.  But the more I read, the more I really got into this book and could see that the authors went to great pains not to make those of us no comfy with tech too uncomfortable (plus I really did learn a lot!) with this book.

This is a great, gossipy, bitchy, well written, back biting and hair tearing out frustrating book.  You may want to smack Imogen around a few times for not doing what can at times seem so obvious to the reader…you will definitely  want to thrust a shiv into Eves back a time or twelve. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Simple Prayer (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)

A Simple Prayer (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel)

Paperback – May 5, 2015

by Amy Clipston (Author)

            Product Details

Book Description
 May 5, 2015Linda is no stranger to hardship. Now she dares to hope for a chance at love and a new beginning.
As the sole survivor of a buggy accident that left her orphaned at age four, Linda Zook was reluctantly raised by her Uncle Reuben. She longs to be worthy of someone, but the lasting trauma of her injuries and embittered upbringing have destroyed her self-worth. When Hannah Peterson asks her to work at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast, she’s finally able to realize some confidence.
Aaron Ebersol left the Amish community seventeen years ago when he could no longer bear the restrictions or the constant tension with his father. Despite years of unanswered letters to his parents and the roots he’s put down in Missouri, Aaron rushes back to the Amish community of Paradise, Pennsylvania, after receiving word of his mother’s stroke. Hesitant to get too close to the family he was once a part of, he decides to stay at the Heart of Paradise Bed & Breakfast. Talking with Linda allows him to explore his feelings about his family and his position in the Amish community.
As Linda and Aaron open up to each other, their feelings for one another turn into more than friendship, and Aaron must make a decision about his future as an Amish man.
Can Linda and Aaron forgive the family members who have deceived and forsaken them? And will Aaron be able to convince Linda that she is worthy of his love?

I'm a bit reluctant about writing this review, but since I promise the publisher I would, here goes.

I have not read anything else in this series, or by this author, so I was unaware that threads from other books would get tied up in this one. For a first-time reader this may bake for a somewhat confusing or frustrating read.

In my eyes, much of the book was very repetitive - the issues that Linda and Aaron had with their respective families had been repeated often with various other secondary and tertiary characters as well as between the both of them.

I am not a follower of this faith but I do occasionally like to read these types of books so I can get a glimpse into other worlds -this books message did give me a goodly amount to ponder and the Amish parts of it was quit interesting but some of it seemed a bit flawed...unless I don't understand the Amish way of living that I thought I did. I understand that there are different levels of living 'Plain' and this may just had been a level that I had not seen before.

If I were to nit-pick, I would say I was a bit troubled by the author's way or rather a lack I should say, of describing things, places and even the weather. These things are important to me a d allows me to feel a better understanding of what the characters are living through.

We do get a great HEA and Aaron does get to see, if not quite justice done, (that would be sending the wrong message) at least an apology from the one who wronged him.

A good, solid Faith based read that just didn't ring all the important bells for me.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Jack of Spades: A Tale of Suspense (Not Really!)

 Product Details
Book Description
 May 5, 2015
By - Joyce Carol Oates 
From one of the most inimitable writers of our generation, Jack of Spades is an exquisite, psychologically complex thriller about the opposing forces within the mind of one ambitious writer, and the line between genius and madness.
Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.

If you have read Stephen Kings “The Dark Half”, then you will get the joke behind this rather mediocre short novel.  At 200 and a few more pages, it reads more like a novella or an unfinished novel.

If this was supposed to be a humorous or even satirical book, I just didn’t get it. The characters are thinly written, the plotting was weak, the story-line was silly and so unbelievable that even for horror it had me scratching my head in bemusement and the humor was for me- non-existent.  I couldn’t find myself emotionally bonding with any of the characters.  

On the other hand this book does seem to find so many of today’s issues that are plaguing the writing world, especially the self-published and yanks these issues out into the open and lays them bare.
I wish I had read this book in its finished format to see just how the author explains her using Stephen Kings name (among other very famous authors) and his reactions when Ms Oates made him a plagiarist as part of her story.

I have heard of Ms. Oates before and had always meant to read something by her, but if this is what I can expect then I think I will take a pass at anything else.   

*ARC supplied by publisher

Monday, April 20, 2015

Memory Man -David Baldacci

Product Details


Memory Man (Amos Decker series) [Kindle Edition]

David Baldacci       

Book DescriptionPublication Date: April 21, 2015 With over 110 million copies of his novels in print, David Baldacci is one of the most widely read storytellers in the world. Now he introduces a startling, original new character: a man with perfect memory who must solve his own family's murder. MEMORY MAN Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice. The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything. The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can. But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice. MEMORY MAN will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.

I can’t say that this is a new series by David Baldacci because the book lists it as a standalone, but the author would be a fool NOT to make this a series.  It would be fresh and exciting with a ton of fascinating, quirky, hyper-smart characters.  And with a mind like Mr. Baldacci’s and using this book as an example, the plotting and mysteries would be mind-boggling.

As trite as this is going to sound, this book had me riveted from the very first chapter and glued to my chair for the rest of the book.  I haven’t read anything by this author in a very long time and I am very sorry that I haven’t kept up with him if this book is anything to go by.

The story-line was a unique one for me, as is said in the book description - Amos Decker could never forget anything.  Not since dying twice the very first time he stepped onto a professional football field and into an extremely violent collision with another player.  He ended up with hyperthymesia and syynesthesia (and I did have to look these up just to satisfy myself that they are real conditions of the brain!).  Now he is a cop or more precisely a Detective for the town of Burlington and one night he enters his home and things will never be the same for him again…even more so than when he died twice.

16 months later -√†When something terrible happens at the town’s high school, Amos is called in by the police department to aid in this new case and from here Amos can try to put some of his life back together.   

I have to admit for a little while I was worried about whom exactly the murder was.  I was hoping that the author didn't pull a Stephen King (The Dark Half). But I was wrong thank goodness, and when I found out the who and the why of it all, I was flabbergasted.  The last couple of chapters are real eye openers, and will show you just how this book just screams to become a series.  Actually, since the last chapter does set this up to be a series, so I hope the author does get the chance to do so.

This book actually gives you something to ponder; more than just the mystery…you may walk away wondering what YOUR life would be like if you could never forget the minutest detail of your life and all that passes by you.

You may finish this book, but as odd as this may sound, this book isn't finished with you.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hold Me by Susan Mallery

Product Details

Book DescriptionPublication Date: May 1, 2015/Kindle April 28th

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery's classic blend of lighthearted humor and intense emotional conflict works its magic on two newcomers to the California town of Fool's Gold, which Library Journal calls "a setting so real and appealing readers will want to start scoping out real estate." Destiny Mills believes passion has its place—like in the lyrics of the country songs that made her parents famous. After a childhood full of drama and heartache, she wants a life that's calm. Safe. Everything that Kipling Gilmore isn't. Her temporary assignment with the Fool's Gold search and rescue team puts her in delicious proximity to the former world-class skier every day. Part of her aches to let go for once…the rest is terrified what'll happen if she does. Though an accident ended his career, Kipling still lives for thrills—and a hot fling with a gorgeous redhead like Destiny would be a welcome diversion. Yet beneath his new coworker's cool facade is a woman who needs more than he's ever given. With her, he's ready to take the risk. But love, like skiing, is all about trust—and before you soar, you have to be willing to fall.

Fool’s Gold doesn't disappoint.  It follows the basic formula of Ms Mallery’s and that is a very good thing.  We have the typical two people who are damaged in some way –either emotionally or physically –and in this book we have one of each.  Kipling was an Olympic skier who was critically hurt in a skiing accident and Destiny is the product of a seriously dysfunctional family best known for their chart topping country western music and affairs.

Kipling is called a fixer who likes to fix things for other people and doesn't want to really settle down, and Destiny shies away from love and vows to only have an unemotional, calm marriage made-up of partners who are pretty much just friends.  She also believes that making love should just be for procreation purposes.  Naturally Kipling takes it upon himself to prove her wrong with the sex part!

Toss into this merry mix Destiny’s fifteen year old step-sister, Kipling’s abused sister Shelby, (a tertiary character)Miles (a tertiary character also) who loves ‘em and leaves ‘em, and you have quite the recipe for disaster –Fool’s Gold style.

The characters are seemingly well developed but I still found something to be a little lacking.  So much of this book dealt with other things and not just one the budding romance.  Normally this works for this series, but I found it to not work as well in this particular book.

The plot seemed a little ho-hum also.

All in all not a horrid book, but I felt it wasn’t the best of the Fool’s Gold series.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Cold Burn of Magic – J. Estep


The Cold Burn of Magic – J. Estep
Book DescriptionPublication Date: April 28, 2015
There Be Monsters Here. . .
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power. 
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick. 
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .

I think that this is an excellent start to a new Young Adult series.  However, there are some gruesomely described and bloody scenes which some younger kids may be sensitive to. Also if you are familiar with Jennifer’s “Elemental Assassin” series, you may notice some slight parallels (the Mafia type family’s for one) between the two. For the older reader, this might be a fairly predictable story.  For the younger reader it will be a story filled with betrayals, fights and twisty turns – even a tiny bit of romance which is great for those readers who crave such.  I think the romance will be developed slowly and delicately.

The magical element to this book is for me, an interesting twist on what we usually see in these types of books. The characters are well developed, the story is just complicated enough to keep you engaged and the surprise ending to the mystery of just who was trying to take out Devon was just surprising enough without being over the top or too unbelievable. 

I enjoyed this book even though I am not the targeted audience and am looking forward to the next one in this series.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #2)–by Erika Johansen

Product Details

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling)

Jun 9, 2015

by Erika Johansen

Book Description

Publication Date: June 9, 2015
In this riveting sequel to the national bestseller The Queen of the Tearling, the evil kingdom of Mortmesne invades the Tearling, with dire consequences for Kelsea and her realm.With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.In this dazzling sequel, Erika Johansen brings back favorite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery, and a fierce young heroine. 

This will be a difficult review for me to write.  Not because it was a difficult book to read –no, not that-it is just that I do not want to give you spoilers, and to let you know how wonderful this book was, I may end up doing just that.  I will try to let you know if anything I am writing will be a major spoiler.

I have a favorite author, Anne Bishop who wrote the Black Jewels Trilogy, and if anyone can take an unusual world and make it come to life it is her…until now.  Ms. Johansen nearly surpasses Ms. Bishop’s ability to take me from my world and transport me to another unusual, unique world and make me believe that I was actually living there. She makes me believe IN this world, the people in it and to understand the differences of it.

What we do learn in this, the second novel in the Queen of the Tearling trilogy, that this is not merely a dystopian world…it is so much more.  We see Kelsea’s world but we also get to watch a different world though the eyes and life of a new character named Lily.   A world where Tearling all started.

We are also kept on the edge of our seats by the coming war with the Red Queen, and it is closer than you think.
A relationship blossoms for Kelsea but not with whom you may hope it to be.  And you will find Kelsea going through some very unexpected and in my opinion, not very well explained, physical changes.   Then again, I have just devoured this book quickly and will have to re-read this slowly to find all the bits and pieces that I missed.  This was quite a long book at over 500 pages and it most likely that some of what confuses me or seems unexplained may just be something that I can’t at this moment recall.  

Unfortunately the book ends on a sort of cliff hanger, with so many threads to tie up.  You may even wonder, as you finish this book, just how the author is going to be able to tie all this up with just one more book in which to do it in.

Read book one before trying to read this and if you have read book one already, give it a re-read to refresh your memory.  I am very grateful that I did, because there was a lot I needed to remember before I dove into this book.

WARNING ---Some scenes may be too intense for some -scenes of spousal abuse and spousal rape.

*ARC  supplied by publisher