Books I’ve Read – Reviews


The Brothers' Keepers by Mathew PetersI just finished reading The Brothers’ Keepers this afternoon—I usually read when I go to bed. I only read a book that is very compelling otherwise—and this book was definitely compelling. I had to know where it would go—but I didn’t want it to end!  I only wish there was a second Nicholas Branson novel to follow up with immediately. I went to Amazon.com and looked, but alas there wasn’t, so I bought Conversations Among Ruins by the same author.  It is an entirely different kind of book, but I am very interested in reading it.

I’ll admit, I bought The Brothers’ Keepers, not because I’d read the reviews, but because someone I’m acquainted with, made an ungenerous remark about it to my husband and I was curious. After I got into the story, I could understand where his thoughts had originated from, because this book is boldly thought provoking when it comes to the accepted concept of Jesus, the origins of Christianity and our western society as we know it.  For some it could be very unsettling. However it wasn’t for me.

I read a wide variety of books, and murder/mystery/ thrillers are among my favorites. I was intrigued on many levels when I started reading it. I’m always pulled to a story line that leads to the discovery of something that will cause upheaval in real, accepted social concepts.  Political corruption in the US government is not hard to imagine, but I wondered how he would credibly handle the corruption within the Vatican. And of course, I was eager to learn what the hidden treasure was, and how finding it would be handled.

Peters did a masterful job of weaving the plot, and he made the deceitfulness in the highest ranks of the US government, and the corruption and jockeying for power within the Vatican and the Catholic Church seem so plausible that there were times when I had to remind myself that it was fiction.

Peters’ writing is crisp, authentic and realistically descriptive. His knowledge of the scripture and the history of the church and the concept of Christianity is very apparent, but he weaves it into a heart pounding, action filled mystery/thriller, in a way that only adds to the authenticity of the story.

I liked this book because it was an action packed read.  But I also liked it because I found it to be thought provoking.

I read the other reviews on Amazon, before I wrote this.  Someone said “Dan Brown wishes he wrote this,”in their review.  I have enjoyed two of Dan Browns books, but I can honestly say, that if I were given a choice between them, and The Brothers’ Keepers—Matthew Peters has my vote.

you can purchase The Brothers’ Keepers on Amazon

noraFLIRTING!!  As I see it, love and romance is actually a mental process that triggers responses in people who connect and develop a relationship.

In her “The Magic of Flirting” series of short stories, Gisela Hausman shines the spotlight on the sensual , mental aspect of a blossoming romantic relationship;  the thoughts that linger in a person’s mind after they cross paths, the daydreaming, the uncertainties, the desires, the flutter of the heart each time they meet, lingering looks that speak more than words, lingering touches that send a shiver of excitement through them, triggering sexual  desires.

NORA’s story takes place in Oslo, Norway in 2009.  Nora, is an oil engineer, who has worked at Nortas-Oil for five years.  Edvard Hansen, an old friend ( who wanted to be more than a friend) had warned her about working for the company, telling her that they would not promote a beautiful woman, but Nora had ignored his advice, believing that if she applied herself diligently and work as many hours as required, working for such a big company would fast track her career.

Five years later she realizes he was right. Long hours and hard work on the job have taken over her whole life, and the only person she connects with is her friend, Elsa.  She discusses her dilemma with Elsa and they consider how she can find someone who will help her find a better position with a company who will appreciate her.  Approaching Edvard is unthinkable because of their last embarrassing encounter, so who else?  Then they both remember Christian Jones, a man that Nora had known well years before.

Nora looks him up on Facebook and sends him a casual message. She knows that he is married and his facebook page reveals that he has two children, but she is hopeful that he may be able to point her in a new direction for a job.  He gets back quickly and it is clear that he is happy to connect.  Nora is surprised by the fact that he spends so little time in Norway, where his wife, Anke, and children live.

After one post she remembers that Elsa had told her to stay away from flirting, but she thinks …What the heck…he was flirting…and she should have flirted with him years ago. Maybe he would have never connected with Anke.

You’ll have to read the story to find out where it goes from there!

This is a very short, tantalizing read; perfect for an escape with your morning coffee or a break from you daily activities.

You can purchase this short story by clicking on the following link to Amazon

 

FlAVAirting is a natural aspect of human sexuality, but today we take little notice of this instinctive, age old element of romance and relationships because we are blatantly bombarded by SEX in all forms of entertainment.

Is it time for the pendulum to swing?  Gisela Hausmann has made the first move toward starting a new genre in romances—FLIRTING!  Her short stories are based on the spark of attraction that people feel when they meet and they instantly know that they want to discover more about each other.  Her characters explore the thoughts that stay with them all through the ensuring moments, hours, days, weeks even months; the excitement, the daydreaming, the uncertainties, the desires, the flutter of the heart each time they meet, lingering looks that speak more than words, lingering touches that send a shiver of excitement through them, triggering sexual feeling.  But there are no shockingly sexual conversations, or physical involvements, just the promise of much more to come.  The story may end as they look toward the bedroom door, but it never takes you through it.

The short stories that makeup her series “The Magic of Flirting” simmer with sensuality, but the personalities of the characters drive the story and the way she portrays their emotions keeps you reading.

“The Magic of Flirting, AVA” is the second book in this series that I have read. This story takes place in 2012 and is set in Zurich, Switzerland.  Twenty four year old Ava, is attending the University of Zurich and is a dedicated chemistry student. She is in awe of Professor Frank Lombard, an older professor on the staff, who is a Nobel Laureate in chemistry.  Ava works hard to get ahead and she is delighted when she is given the unpaid internship organizing references and setting up bibliographies.

Chemistry professor, Maximilian Delarue, joins the team and there is something about the man that attracts her. There seems to be a sadness in him, which makes her want to reach out to him in compassion, but also a magnetism that ignites a spark in her heart.  As time passes, she catches him looking at her several times, in a way that she doesn’t quite understand and the tension builds. Is it possible that he cares for her too?

She confides her feelings to her best friend Emilee, who tells her she is acting like a love sick teenager and that she needs to get a grip on things.  Ava tries to avoid contact with him, but at times it is inevitable.  She can’t stifle her feelings; she is as besotted as a teenager.  He asks her out to dinner, and calls her when is car breaks down, but is he just a co-worker calling on another co-worker. Anxiety grows as she trys to read the signals, waiting for him to make a move. Is she just imagining his interest or is it real?

While I prefer novels, this read satisfied my romantic heart.  Hausmann wove a clever story line into very few pages.  I think it may be harder to craft a good short story, than it is to write a novel.  Everything has to fit together precisely; there is no wiggle room for error.

This is a great little story to enjoy while you have a lunch break, or when you want to relax for an afternoon.  Be sure to make it part of your reading collection.

You can purchase this short story by clicking the link for Amazon

EMMAIf you are tired of reading graphic sex scenes and erotica, you’ll enjoy this series of short stories.  Gisela Hausmann takes you back to the basics of romance–FLIRTING!, 

 Have you grown tired of reading romances that are filled with explicit sexual content and erotica? I wonder how many times I’ve heard readers say they just flip through the sex scenes, skipping the graphic depictions, looking for the meat of the story to reappear.  While I like a bit of steam, I have found myself doing the same thing, when I’m reading an enjoyable story line that seems to have long, vivid sex scenes on every other page!

Gisela Hausmann has made the first move toward starting a new genre—FLIRTING– based on the spark of attraction that people feel when they meet and they instantly know that they want to discover more about each other. Hausmanns short stories explore the thoughts that stay with her characters all through the ensuring moments, hours and days; the excitement, the daydreaming, the uncertainties, the desires, the flutter of the heart each time they meet, lingering looks that speak more than words, lingering touches that send a shiver of excitement through them, triggering sexual feeling. But there are no shockingly sexual conversations, or physical involvements, just the promise of much more to come. The story may end as they look toward the bedroom door, but it never takes you through it.

The short stories that makeup her series “The Magic of Flirting” simmer with sensuality, but the personalities of the characters drive the story and the way she portrays their thoughts and emotions keep you reading.

“Emma” takes place in Vienna, Austria in 1985. Emma is has recently broke up with her fiancé and is feeling at loose ends. She is aware that, Joseph, her fellow co-worker and friend, has feelings for her but he’s not really her type and she’s never encouraged him to express those feelings. However, when he asks her to attend the grand premiere of a movie that is the biggest news in the business; she discusses it with her girlfriend and decides to accept his invitation.

Joseph is CEO of a movie production company that Emma also works for periodically. Being able to attend the premiere is an enviable opportunity for the average person. For Emma, it will be a boost to her moral and could lead to important business connections. Joseph is good company and he will be proud to escort her, so she dresses to the hilt, and they go.

At the event they meet Bertrand Salinger, who greets Joseph and shows a polite interest in Emma. He is a handsome, sexy, flamboyant Frenchman. For her the connection is instant, and the vibes she picks up make her think he feels the same, although he is too suave to let it show.

Joseph is protective—also a bit possessive. He trys to keep her at his side. She acknowledges to herself that he is stable and a good man, while the Frenchman who is a well-known entertainment attorney, has a reputation of being a womanizer. But he makes her senses tingle. Which one will win?

Gisela Hausmann is a very talented writer and although her European background shows up in her sentence structure occasionally, it is more charming, than distracting.

I have read three of the books in her Magic of Flirting Series. They are wonderful, quick reads —great to enjoy on your e-reader or your laptop, when you want to take a break from your routine and relax, or when you go for lunch break at work (be careful not to lose track of time; it could easily happen!) I read them at night before I went to sleep—sweet, enjoyable and relaxing.

Don’t miss a great quick read.

You can purchase this story by clicking on the following link to Amazon

PS…I prefer to read a full length novel, so I gave this short story 4 stars, because it left me wanting MORE!

 

Italian summerIn this third book in the Mina’s Adventure  series, Mina Calvi returns to Veneto, Italy, the hometown she left when she went to America ten years previously.  She has lost everyone in her family, and the love of her life has disappeared and is presumed to be dead.  She has returned to her roots to ponder her past and gather courage to face a future that seems impossibly bleak.

One of the first things she does when she gets there is visit the cemetery where the family crypt is.  She takes flowers for her grandmother, a person who was very dear to her.  When she arrives she meets the gravedigger and caretaker of the cemetery, Piero.  Before she gets to place the flowers for her grandmother, she runs in to Loredana Lanza (who now calls herself Lola.)

Loredana’s twin brother, Vittorio, had been a kind and caring person, someone who had befriended Mina as a child. Mina is shocked and saddened when she learns that he is dead; Lola told her he fell from a ladder while helping the nuns.

Loredana had been aggressive and bullying as a child and Mina would rather not have met her on her return visit.  She does not want to develop a relationship with her, but Loredana is quick to latch onto her, and drags Mini into her unsavory activities.

Mina’s friend in the travel industry has made arrangements for her to rent Professor Cervi’s flat while he was spending his summer in California. When Mina gets to know the lady who owns the building where she is staying, they form a valued friendship. Emilia Lauri is a retired lawyer, who has known Mina’s family for at least three generations, and was a friend of her mother.  Mina learns much about  her family, as well as some of the unanswered mysteries surrounding  things that have happened in the town.  In fact, Emilia is working to find the answers to some unanswered questions of her own and she has no use for Loredana Lanza.

Once again, where ever Mina is, it seems that she gets involved in danger, intrigue, and life threating situations, and Italian Summer will not disappoint you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot that Swan so skillfully wove, and while I am not going to give away any spoilers, I will say that I will certainly be reading the next book in the series to discover where Mina’s life and adventures take her.

You could read this book on its own, but I suggest you do yourself a favor and read  “Love Thy Sister” (Book One) and  “Bosom Bodies” (Book Two) first.  They are both great reads and will give you a true feel for who Mina is and the background for Italian Summer.

You can purchase “Italian Summer” by clicking here on Amazon.

 

bossom buddies

 

Maria Grazia Swan has created another page turning read.  I thoroughly enjoyed  “Love Thy Sister,” the first book in the series, so I was interested in the sequel, “Bosom Bodies”.

I love a series of books that can be read on their own, but I always find that reading them in succession is more fulfilling. I’d encourage you to read “Love Thy Sister” first, because it will give you a clearer picture of Mina Calvi and where she has come from.

Mina Calvi is still dealing with the loss of her mother, and her boyfriend, Brian, is out of town; she is feeling at loose ends.  She offers to help out a friend, filling in for her where she is going to work at a restaurant, while she is out of town.  Maria puts on a wig, a voluptuous padded bra and a uniform with a glitzy top that Ginger had given her to wear.  She poses as Ginger and goes to work.

One Saturday night, she discovers she has a flat tire on her car when she leaves the restaurant. She doesn’t have a spare and the hour is late.  Diego, a kitchen helper, who makes her feel uncomfortable, offers her a ride home on his motorcycle.  She has no other option except to walk in her high heels, so she accepts and waits while he locks up the compound.

The next morning the body of the restaurant manager is discovered on the beach.  She is the victim of a hit and run.  To her shock and dismay, Mina’s VW Bug is impounded as the vehicle used in the crime, even though it was still sitting in the locked compound with a flat tire when she went back to the restaurant that morning.

Mina finds herself thrown into a frighteningly dangerous world of betrayal, violence, murder, and diamond smuggling.  The police are watching her. The mob is stalking her. They believe she has something that they want, and she has no clue what it could be.

And then, there is Diego.  Who is he?  He works his way into her life, into her heart, but can she trust him or is he using her in some nefarious plot?  Is he a protector or a villain?

This book has danger, intrigue, romance, humor—it was a great read.  I really loved it, and I’d recommend it.

You can purchase Bosom Bodies by clicking this link on Amazon

 

 

simon final kindle update

I read a broad spectrum of books, but I confess that Paranormal is not my usual choice.  I answered a request  for a review for a book tour, and the summary of the book sounded interesting, so I decided to read Simon.

  1. A. Dold captured my interest!—I will read Cades story in Book 1, and probably, Stephans in Book 3 when it is released.

I really like a series of books that will stand on their own, but still add depth and texture by building upon each other, bringing in families, friends— and enemies?(Wow—psycho Travis!).  I liked the richness of the French Quarter, the Bayous.

I liked that Rose wasn’t a hot young Twiggy, but an average person with curves and insecurities, and a painful past—a woman who found strength within to survive and overcome when faced with a terrifying situation.

And what mortal woman wouldn’t be drawn to Simon, a strong, valiant, Marine–a man who gave everything he had and more—a man who came home, seemingly broken beyond repair, lost to his human side and stuck in his wolf-shifter being. He finally meets the one person who can heal him–Rose. I liked the “love” in this book—yes there was steamy sex, but  the love that Rose and Simon shared was what tugged at my heart.

The PTSD factor was another point of interest to me. It is so prevelant amongst those who have served their countries around the world.  My heart is always touched when I consider what these people have endured, and while many come home physically disabled, I have to believe that almost all of them come back emotionally damaged to one degree or another.  I liked what Simon and Rose planned to do, to help others who came home broken and tormented.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the charactors; their extended families.

This book is full of paranormal elements-but also human heroism, pain, strength, excitement, danger, and love.  As I said, I don’t normally read Paranormal, but Dold opened a whole new world to me—and I enjoyed the journey.

Don’t miss a great read—this book can be purchased on Amazon

Although you don’t have to, I’d suggest you start with Cade’s storyand read them all! You can also purchase Cades story on Amazon

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