Sunday, September 20, 2020

A California Christmas: Book Review

 A California Christmas (Silver Springs Book 7) by [Brenda Novak]

A California Christmas

About the Book:

Up-and-coming TV anchor Emery Bliss can’t imagine anything more humiliating than the sex tape her ex revenge-posted online. That is, until it causes her to lose her job on top of her self-esteem. Seeking solace—and anonymity—in Silver Springs, Emery isn’t looking to get involved with another man any time soon. But when she’s thrown back into contact with Dallas Turner, she sees something that his many detractors have missed.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Review: My Husband's Daughter

About the Book:

Cara took a deep breath and let it out slowly. ‘She’s not just my daughter,’ she said as she turned in her seat to face Jack. This man she had once loved, but who she hadn’t seen for nearly five years. ‘Sophie is your daughter too.’

It is past ten o’clock on a cold Friday night when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter.

Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice.

But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives.

A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?

My Comments:

Even if you love dessert, a diet of nothing but dessert (besides being unhealthy) gets overwhelming and even the sweet addict wants something else.  Even when you prefer books to come with happily ever after guaranteed, sometimes one that makes you cry can be a nice contrast.  My reading lately has tended toward mindless romance novels but just like after eating too many of my own desserts at Christmas I wanted some flavor other than sweet. On my last trip through NetGalley's offerings, I went looking for a book that went in another direction and came upon this gem.

One by-product of the sexual revolution has been a large increase in children born out of wedlock.  While some of these children know and have relationships with both parents, plenty do not.  Sophia has never met her father until the day that she and her mother Cara descend upon Jack's doorstep.  

It is clear that Cara and Jack have lived different lives.  She's a single mom who is devoted to her daughter.  She lives in low-income apartment and has a low-income job.  Jack and his wife have decided to never have children.  They want to be free to do the adult things in life when they want to do them.  They have a nice home and plenty of disposable income.  

What would you do if someone showed up on your doorstep with a child they claimed was your spouse's, especially if the child was well past infancy?  There is never any suggestion that Jack has been unfaithful to Rebecca--this was clearly something that happened before they were together.  However, as Rebecca notes, if she had known Jack had a child, she would have never gotten involved with him.  

The relationships between the affected adults, along with the relationship with the child would make an interesting story in almost any case, but Cara's secret (which is revealed pretty early in the story) adds another dimension, and of course there is a monkey wrench thrown into the works as well.  By the end of the book I was both smiling and crying and I'm sure that was Emma Robinson's goal.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade B+

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Giveaway and Author Interview: Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle!


Since this book is set on a college campus, to win a copy of the book, leave a comment with the name of your favorite college or university.  Winner will be selected by random draw on October  30, 2020. 

 Q&A with Krishna Sudhir, MD, PhD

Author of Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle
Question: Congratulations on your latest novel, Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle! Tell us what the book is about.
Krishna Sudhir: This is the second in the Prince of Typgar series, a sequel to Nujran and the Monks of Meirar. The series is set in an alternate universe, an earth-like planet Syzegis in a distant galaxy. At the end of the first book, we leave Nujran as a teenager who has traveled with his teacher, Amsibh, experiencing romance, conflict, friendship, betrayal, and loss. We begin the second book on the campus of the University of Western Foalinaarc, where a body has just been discovered. Who is this girl, and why is she dead? Could it be linked to the mysterious illness sweeping across campus, affecting most of the teaching community? Why does Amsibh come to the school, and what does he need to protect Nujran from? Through what twist of fate is Nujran reunited with his old friends, the Monks of Meirar? And why does Nujran end up being a captive again?

Q: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle picks up where your last book, Nujran and the Monks of Meirar, left off, but it can also work as a stand-alone. Why did you decide to return to Nujran’s story and what will fans of your first novel be most excited by?
 I felt there was more of Nujran’s story that needed to be told, and I wanted to have readers go along with him on all of his new adventures as he begins college. In this book, there’s drama in plenty with fugitives on the run, turbulence on the university campus, fresh intrigue, a new romance, a strange kidnapping, an escape from prison, and a rescue mission where things don’t quite go as planned. In short, this sequel is another fast-paced adventure that will hold readers spellbound!
Q: What makes your books stand out from other young adult fantasy novels?
Sudhir: The most unique aspect is that this book is written from an Indian-American voice, that pulls from stories of kings, queens and princes in Indian mythology to create modern fantasy fiction. There are not many YA novels that originate from Indian thinking and tradition, so I was happy to bring that to readers. Plus, it’s set on another planet in a distant galaxy, with elements of not just sci-fi and fantasy but also magical realism, making it a captivating blend of multiple young adult genres. An alternate universe, with multi-ethnic characters, many with unusual abilities, will likely attract fans of the Marvel and DC entertainment films and comic books. Plus, I hope young readers from Indian and other immigrant backgrounds who don’t see their culture widely represented in YA novels will enjoy that aspect as well.
Q: Why did you decide to feature multi-ethnic culture and Indian mythology in your novels?
 We are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic country, but we don’t have enough minority voices in literature. As an Indian-American writer, I bring a unique perspective to storytelling, drawing from my love of Indian mythology, the Arabian Nights and other epic literature in the diversity space. I am honored to be able to bring these to young readers of all cultures, and I hope they can not only enjoy the stories, but learn something about other cultures – or even their own – along the way.
Q: You are a cardiologist and a professor – what made you want to write YA novels?
Sudhir: The ideas for the books came from multiple directions. Raising two boys (who are now almost 26 and 24), I read a lot of young adult fiction. We perused the Harry Potter novels together, a delightful shared experience. When they were younger, I learned to spin a lot of yarns, mainly as bedtime stories. And going further back in time, there was my own childhood and early adult fascination with the Indian epics—magnificent tales of princes and warriors woven into stories.
Q: With your medical and teaching career, in addition to being a parent, when do you find the time to write?
Sudhir: I love this question because it has a fun answer! Before COVID, I traveled often for my job. The entire first novel in the Prince of Typgar series was written on United Airlines airplanes. Most of Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle was as well, before quarantine kept me home for the tail end of the process. The cabin of an airplane is an unusual, but perfect place to lose yourself in a new universe through writing!
Q: What’s next for you? Will you be writing another book in the Prince of Typgar series, or something fresh?
Sudhir: The series is planned as a trilogy, so there’s one more novel after this one. That final one will be the culmination of the story. Nujran’s adventures will continue, you can be sure there will be more intrigue and conflict, and hopefully my readers will stay with me through the end of the series.
Krishna (Krishnankutty) Sudhir is a physician, cardiologist and educator. Born in Chennai, India, he has lived and worked in three countries, including India, Australia, and the United States. He is currently based in California’s Bay Area, where he is a senior executive in the medical device industry.
In his academic career, he has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at major Australian and American universities. He is passionate about educating the general public on health and medicine, and has authored several TED-Ed videos in the health care field. Sudhir has traveled extensively across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, and is deeply interested in cultures, languages, and cuisines across the globe. He enjoys watching movies, listening to music, reading detective novels, and cooking Indian food. While well-published in the medical field as the author of over 180 publications, the Prince of Typgar series is his first foray into the world of fiction.
Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle will be available wherever books are sold on August 25, 2020.
For reviews, excerpts, and media interviews, contact:
Katie Schnack and/or Kourtney Sokmen

Monday, September 07, 2020

Book Review: Happily This Christmas


Happily This Christmas

About the Book:

Wynn Beauchene has a thriving business, a great kid and a mildly embarrassing crush on the guy next door—local cop Garrick McCabe. She’s a strong, independent woman who can’t help dreaming what-if about a man she barely knows. Until he needs her help…

Garrick’s pregnant daughter will be home for Christmas, and his house needs a woman’s touch. Garrick and his little girl were tight once and he’s hoping a small-town Christmas will bring her back to him. But thawing his daughter’s frosty attitude will take more than a few twinkle lights. Maybe sharing the holiday with Wynn and her son will remind her of the joy of family.

As the season works its magic on these wounded souls, Wynn realizes it’s time to stop punishing herself for a painful secret, while Garrick remains haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes. Will he allow Wynn to open the only gift she truly wants—his heart?

My Comments:

When I went to Amazon to grab the "About the Book" copy, I noted that this was book six in the series.  I haven't read any of the others, but honestly, I wondered if Happily This Christmas was part of a series, because like much series fiction it had a lot of characters who seemed to get too much attention in the book for very little reason.  Susan Mallery took time to catch readers up with what happened in the lives of characters from other books, one of whom happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Wynn, the heroine of Happily This Christmas.  

As noted in the blurb above, Wynn, Garrick and Garrick's daughter all need to let go of past pain to open themselves to the joy of the season, and, of course, love.

I likes Garrick and Wynn and enjoyed seeing them get to know each other.  I loved Garrick's relationship with his daughter and how he was able to get his little girl back.  

Yes, its a Christmas romance.  Yes, everyone lives happily ever after.  You didn't expect anything different, did you? 

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B. 

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