Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Origin by Dan Brown


Summary:

     Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.
     As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.
     Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.





















My Thoughts:

    I have been a big fan of Dan Brown for years.  I loved The DaVinci Code (one of my all time faves) and have read it multiple times. I think it is because I've always been very interested in learning about religions and the history stuff they didn't teach us in school.  Art intrigues me but I don't know much about it but Mr. Brown always brings in the history behind pieces which make it more meaningful to me.
     I recently got to see Dan speak during his tour for Origin and he spoke a lot about the research for the book and it was very interesting. He is very intelligent and articulate and very passionate about his subject matter.  You can look on his website for a video and more info on some of the sights mentioned in the book.  He said the basis for this book came down to "Can God survive science?" and that is a very timely question.
     Origin is very intriguing and you will learn a lot but while it is interesting, and kept me turning the page for more, it was not as thrilling as his past works.  There was a lot to take in and occasionally the story is bogged down by very heavy science.  The science is deep and definitely a learning experience but at times it was over my head and I admit that I skimmed.  I do still love the character of Robert Langdon and hope for more stories with him.
     I think this was a good story but not great. And while I never would have guessed what the big scientific part of the mystery was I did figure out the rest fairly easily so that was a bit disappointing.  Again, learned a lot about modern art and the history and beautiful architecture of Spain but I felt overwhelmed at times by the deep science.  3.5/5 stars


Favorite quotes:


"Well science and religion are not competitors, they're two different languages trying to tell the same story.  There's room in this world for both."


"Love is from another realm. We cannot manufacture it on demand. Nor can we subdue it when it appears.  Love is not our choice to make."

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."


Author's site: 

http://danbrown.com/



P.S. Happy Thanksgiving!  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover


Summary:


Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.
 





My Thoughts:


     Colleen Hoover has no problem tackling tough issues but she weaves her story so well that you sympathize instantly even if you have no experience with the topic.  Just like her last book, It Ends With Us, you are reading and loving it but you also can't help but to think about the story long after you put the book down.  She makes you think and feel as if this were happening to you.  
     I also think CoHo is the only author I know who can take totally bizarre families and/or situations and make them enthralling and completely believable.   The Voss family is a hot mess and full of issues yet you don't really ever doubt their crazy situations.  The most unbelievable thing was this entire group of people with the most bizarre names you'll ever hear.   I don't know who she does it but she pulls you in from the start every time.  I  am not much of a YA reader but I always enjoy Colleen Hoover! 4/5 stars


Author's site: http://www.colleenhoover.com/



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

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Rock Solid, an all-new sexy and romantic standalone by Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde is LIVE!!

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Rock Solid by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde Publication Date: November 14th, 2017 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Connor Prescott doesn't do one night stands (yes, ladies, he's an anomaly) so when he meets a beautiful woman during a snowed in night at the airport who wants to forget her heartache, he makes an exception. Their night together is incendiary, and by morning Connor wants more . . . except his sexy stranger is gone. He's pretty sure he'll never see her again, until three and a half years later she finds him, and changes his entire world with three little words . . . You're a daddy.
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Read Today!

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RockSolid_Teaser3-AN.jpg Meet Carly Phillips:

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

Connect with Carly Phillips:

Sign up for Carly’s Newsletter at: http://www.carlyphillips.com/newsletter-sign-up/ Sign up for Blog and Website updates at: http://www.carlyphillips.com/blog Sign up for Text Updates of New Releases: http://tinyurl.com/p3upm5s Friend Carly on Facebook: www.facebook.com/carlyphillipsfanpage Hang out at Carly’s Corner! (Hot guys & giveaways!) http://smarturl.it/CarlysCornerFB Instagram: https://instagram.com/carlyphillips Twitter: www.twitter.com/carlyphillips Website: www.carlyphillips.com
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Meet Erika Wilde:

Erika Wilde (aka Janelle Denison) is the USA Today bestselling author of over 50 contemporary romances for multiple print publishers.

Connect with Erika Wilde:

Sign up for Erika's Newsletter at: http://smarturl.it/ErikaWildeNewsletter Join Erika's Private Fan Page - Books & Exclusive Giveaways! http://smarturl.it/ErikaWildeFanPage Friend Erika on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ErikaWildeAuthorFanPage/ Twitter: www.twitter.com@erikawilde1 Erika's Website: www.erikawilde.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshal



Summary: 

     Most people know Penny Marshall as the director of Big and A League of Their Own. What they don’t know is her trailblazing career was a happy accident. In this funny and intimate memoir, Penny takes us from the stage of The Jackie Gleason Show in 1955 to Hollywood’s star-studded sets, offering up some hilarious detours along the way.

     My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.

      Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.



My Thoughts:

     I don't read much nonfiction and only read memoirs/biographies if it is someone I really admire. That being said, here is why I read this book; as a child I loved Laverne & Shirley! I wanted a big "S" to put on my shirts like Laverne's L. I might have been slightly nerdy...
     I did not know much about Penny Marshall's life outside of what television shows made her famous and that she became a director later in her career.  Her story is fascinating and full of funny and touching moments.
     She is unapologetically honest about her past and how a bit of nepotism got her a start.  Penny also holds little back in admitting her drug use, her rocky relationship with her parents, her lackluster abilities as a mother or her grumpiness when she was a cancer patient.  She knows her faults and doesn't try to sugarcoat them or brush them off. She is also hilarious, loving and an amazing director.  After reading My Mother Was Nuts I have a deeper respect for Penny.  4/5 stars



Favorite Quotes:

"Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"

"I was learning that I didn't have to have everything figured out. Often the point was to live and see what happened."

"If you can't always provide a new life, why not do little things that simply help improve someone's life? I know it's cliché, but after getting so much, it felt good to give back."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017








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Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical. 

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

October 2017 Reads


     October is over!?!? Can you believe this?  I feel like I say this every month but it just seems like time is flying and I am REALLY not prepared!  I actually read 7.5 books this month which is pretty good for me.  I have a feeling that November and December are not going to be as productive book-wise but a book nerd can always hope!  I know that gift cards for bookstores will be high up on my Christmas wish lists, how about you?

October Reads:

Bourbon Sins by Meghan Quinn: A new cover and a re-edit of her old series prompted a new round of reviews and I was lucky enough to be included.  Not my fave of hers but still good-see all the info here.





House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick: An interesting read with three strong female characters-all the details here.




Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak:  Lesson learned-just because it has a great cover doesn't mean family dramas are for me.  Full review is here.





Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben:  If you love a good page-turning mystery with sarcasm and laughs look no further than one of my all time faves, Harlan Coben! All my thoughts are here.




Nadya's War by C.S. Taylor:  Great side of war that we don't often hear about but too much technical and not enough personal.  See the full review here.





Y is for Yesterday by Sue Grafton:  Kinsey Millhone will go down as one of my all time favorite detectives.  I have been pals with her for decades and will cry a little the day I finish this series. 4.5/5 stars



Think Smart Not Hard by Roy Huff:  Realistic advice for anyone's life no matter their goals.  See my full review here.  







                           November preview:








I may have both of these books in my TBR pile and I may have met both of them earlier in the fall...

Monday, October 30, 2017

Think Smart Not Hard: 52 Key Principles to Success and Happiness by Roy Huff


Summary: 

Struggling to cope with personal tragedy? Worried you’ll never live up to your full potential? Bestselling author Roy Huff overcame abuse and abject poverty to become an accomplished teacher and research scientist. His secrets for success have changed countless lives, and now they can help you too!
Think Smart Not Hard connects science and human psychology to help you retrain your brain for a brighter tomorrow. Through a combination of step-by-step strategies and inspirational anecdotes, this transformational guidebook will help you conquer common obstacles to discover your life’s true path.
In Think Smart Not Hard, you’ll discover: 

-How to develop the right mindset to overcome any personal tragedy

-How writing down and reflecting upon action plans will ignite your success

-How incorporating weekly principles can accelerate your road to recovery

-A series of exclusive quotations from industry leaders and motivational gurus

-Simple hacks to help you take charge of your personal finances, and much, much more!

Think Smart Not Hard is your no-nonsense guide for finally grasping the life you were born to live. If you like real-world applications, optimizing your existing strengths, and honest accounts from a self-made man, then you’ll love Roy Huff’s energizing resource.

My Thoughts:

     Think Smart Not Hard is a straight forward, no nonsense approach to helping you sort through all of life's garbage so that you can be successful at whatever you dream to be.  Mr. Huff gives you 52 key principals (one for each week of the year) to help you clear your head of negative things so that you can work hard towards your dreams and be a success.  
     I will start off by saying that I haven't fully finished this book as I am taking the advice of Mr. Huff and reading this book slowly so that I can work on each principle before moving onto the next.  For me, this is the best approach to change my habits of negativity.  
     He gives solid advice in the first two principles  that are especially important in today's instant gratification society. First being to forgive those that have hurt you but most importantly yourself so that you can move forward.  Second bit of advice?  Accept responsibility for your mistakes and your own actions.  I think these two principals should be a huge priority for everyone not just for business success but for life success!
     I don't normally read self-help books because they tend to all say the same thing and/or be very preachy but so far that is not the case with TSNH.  I feel that Mr. Huff's advice is realistic, down to earth, and can be applied to anyone's life regardless of his or her goals, religion, or economic standing.  4/5 stars

Great quotes:

"The key thing about forgiveness is that you aren't doing it for the people who've caused you harm, but for your own peace of mind."
"Success, like happiness, is a choice."

Author's site: https://royhuff.net/home