Saturday, April 19, 2014

Everything To Lose by Andrew Gross

Everything to Lose: A Novel

My thoughts
Hillary Blum is a caring mother whose son has Asperger’s. She is also struggling since her ex-husband is no help at all. She witnesses a car accident and when she tries to help (the driver is dead), she discovers a bag full of money. Instead of leaving it, she tosses it into the woods and days later, desperation overtakes her and she retrieves the half million dollars. All this could better her life and the life of her son but someone else is looking for that money and eventually her and will do anything to get it back.

It’s a story that’s been done before in different variations, but Andrew Gross has written a strong female character in Hillary who also narrates her story. As the story unfolds, it is filled with action, great chases and a lot of tension. I found it be a thrilling read and recommend it.

Book Description
A determined, (down on her luck,) mother caring for her handicapped son becomes entangled in a murderous conspiracy to keep a twenty year old secret buried in this blistering thriller, set during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, from Andrew Gross, the New York Times bestselling author of 15 Seconds and No Way Back.

While driving along a suburban back road, Hilary Blum, who's just lost her job and whose deadbeat husband has left her alone to care for her son with Asperger's, witnesses a freakish accident. A car ahead of her careens down a hill and slams into a tree. Stopping to help, she discovers the driver dead—and a satchel stuffed with a half a million dollars.

That money could prevent her family's ruin and keep her special needs son in school. In an instant, this honest, achieving woman who has always done the responsible thing makes a decision that puts her in the center of maelstrom of dark consequences and life-threatening recriminations—a terrifying scheme involving a twenty-year-old murder, an old woman whose life has been washed out to sea, and a powerful figure bent to keep the secret that can destroy him hidden.

With everything to lose, everything she loves, Hilary connects to a determined cop from Staten Island, reeling from the disaster of Sandy, to bring down an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep what that money was meant to silence, still buried.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Buzz by Anders de la Motte

Buzz: A Thriller

My thoughts
The second in the Game trilogy, Buzz deals more with HP and his sister Rebecca, more than it does the game. HP, after hiding out when a woman he meets is murdered and he is blamed, he goes back to Sweden to uncover the truth and to see if this is still all about the game. Meanwhile, Rebecca is being harassed online by a mysterious blogger. Although, unknown to Rebecca that her brother is back home, their paths cross in the most sister ways.

It starts out slow and is more in depth with character building than the faced-paced action filled game of the first novel; this one really deals with how the Internet and people behind it can manipulate the masses. Not as exciting as the first, but it is thought-provoking.

Book Description
It’s been four months since he was dragged into the Alternative Reality Game that nearly cost him his life, and HP is still on the run. He has everything he ever wished for—freedom, money, and no responsibilities, but he still isn’t happy. Plagued by insomnia and paranoia, HP misses the rush and attention of The Game. Sometimes he almost wishes the Game Master would find him.

In Dubai, HP meets Anna Argos, a sophisticated and beautiful Swedish IT millionaire. When she disappears, HP is questioned by the police. Fearing he has been found by The Game, HP returns to Sweden after being released from custody. Determined to uncover the truth about Anna’s disappearance, HP uses a fake identity to apply for a job at ArgosEye, the company Anna worked for. In the business of online information management, ArgosEye is involved in some questionable practices, under the control of Anna’s husband, the CEO Philip Argos.

Meanwhile, HP’s sister Rebecca has started dating Philip Argos. When she unknowingly reveals her brother’s real identity to Philip, the police try to bring HP in for questioning again. On the run again, HP refuses to give up and tries to uncover what is really happening at ArgosEye. Before he can find the truth, HP is stopped in his tracks. Thinking he’s about to be thrown in prison, HP is taken to the outskirts of the city and left in the woods, where an elderly man hands him a piece of paper. HP believes the game is over, but is it really just beginning?

Disclosure: I received this book for review through netgalley.com. I received no compensation for my thoughts.


Monday, March 31, 2014

The Hurlyburly's Husband by Jean Teule

The Hurlyburly's Husband

This book will be released on April 15, 2014

My thoughts
Based on the true story of the husband of Athénaïs, who was also the mistress to King Louis XIV, it follows the Marquide Montespan fight to get back his wife. It is written as a bawdy humorous tale but I am not sure if it is the translation or what, but I didn’t enjoy it.

Book Description
The Marquis de Montespan and his new wife, Athénaïs, are a true love match—a rarity amongst the nobility of seventeenth-century France.

But love is not enough to maintain their hedonistic lifestyle, and the couple soon face huge debts. When Athénaïs is offered the chance to become lady-in-waiting to the Queen at Versailles, she seizes this opportunity to turn their fortunes round.

Too late, Montespan discovers that his ravishing wife has caught the eye of King Louis XIV . . .

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich

Another one of those moments where I see the commercial and had to try what they were advertising. This time it was Dunkin’ Donuts Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich. Well, it is nothing but a ham and egg on an English muffin with a hollandaise type spread. Yes, that is correct; it is not actual hollandaise sauce but has the same taste. Now if you’ve had a Dunkin' Donuts breakfast sandwich before; you know it’s a hit or miss. And this one was certainly a miss. The egg is an egg as was the ham
. The English muffin could have been toasted, but felt like it went into the microwave instead (rubbery). Lastly, they put so much sauce on it, that once you take a bite it squirts out all over your lap (hopefully, you put your wrapper across it). Don’t attempt to eat while in the car; that’s for sure! Out of a scale of 10; I give this one a three. I’ll stick to the coffee.

Nutrition Facts per Sandwich – 300 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 90 grams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Nostalgia: Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink

Took a nostalgic trip back to my childhood. Had myself a Yoo-Hoo today.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ways of Leaving by Grant Jarrett

Ways of Leaving

My thoughts
Chase Stoller’s life is a wreck’ his wife left him, he lost his job, his estranged father just passed away and his brother who doesn’t care for wants him to come back home. And his beloved sister is in a mental institution. Going back home means he has to deal with what life throws at him head on.

You would think with a guy like Chase with so much going against him, how could you like him, but Grant Jarret writes with a way that you do like Chase and hope for the best. At times, it is funny, sarcastic, sensitive and graphic. As the novel progresses, we get to understand how Chase has become who he is and I understand his situation. Some of the characters seem familiar and I believe many of us could relate to dysfunctional lives.

I wasn’t sure as I started to read if I would enjoy the book, but as I continued, I found it entertaining.

Book Description
Chase Stoller’s life is crumbling. He just lost his job, his wife Jennifer has filed for divorce, and now his brother Aaron wants him to return to Pennsylvania and help care for their ailing father.

When he arrives at his brother’s house, years of repressed rage float to the surface—along with two married women, one virtual church, several bottles of scotch, one schizophrenic sister, five helpings of Brussels sprouts, three boxes of purloined panties, and a gun-wielding husband with a grudge. But Chase’s greatest challenge comes when his sister attempts to end her life.

Infused with empathy and compassion, bristling with humor, Ways of Leaving explores the impulses and actions of a troubled man whose struggles with isolation, despair and desire illuminate the fierce yearning for a sense of purpose that characterizes the human condition.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Subway New Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt

I was excited to try Subway’s new Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt, but what you see is not what you get. I was hungry the night I got it, so there is no photograph. But who they make it look in the commercial and on the poster; is not what it looks like when you take the wrapper off. But I can understand that. It’s advertising after all.

I had a foot long on garlic bread and they put on the ingredients and put in the toaster oven. First, lettuce should not be toasted. I’’ let them have the tomatoes, but I wouldn’t have done that either, as they were a soggy mess. Speaking of soggy, what happened to the crunch of the Fritos> I have used Fritos corn chips in recipes at home, but once it went on this sandwich and into the oven, it also become soggy. The enchilada sauce was mediocre at best.

Would I try it again? Not from Subway. I may make one at home. Stay away. I rate it a 3 of 10.

Nutritional information from their site: 6 inch sandwich – 580 calories, 240 calories from fat, 26 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 1170 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, 25 grams of protein.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor

The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic

My thoughts
Maggie Murphy is 87 years old and a survivor of the Titanic, but has never spoken about it until now. She decides to share her story with you great-grand daughter Grace. What unfolds is a truly an inspirational story of love and second chances.

Hazel Gaynor has taken facts about the Titanic tragedy and a group of women who left Ireland to find a better life in America and interwoven into this wonderful story of these women then and now. I really enjoyed how she added actual copies of telegraphs that were sent before the beginning of each chapter. As the story changes back from 1912 to 1982, I ached to find out what would happen. We all know what happened with the Titanic but I was curious to know about the characters involved. Very enjoyable story.

Book Description
Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home is the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic—a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the lucky few passengers in steerage who survives. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that terrible night ever again.

Chicago, 1982. Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

After I'm Gone: A Novel

My thoughts
Felix Brewer has a great life; he is married to Bambi and has a mistress on the side. But when he is faced with prison he chooses to flee leaving everyone behind. When Julie, his mistress disappears ten years later, it is assumed she went to be with Flexi. But twenty some on years later when her remains are discovered, PI Sandy Sanchez takes on the case.

Spanning over thirty years; each chapter in the book a different point of view and time period, the reader learns about Felix’ relationships and we get to understand these women and the secrets that they hold. It is a well-crafted mystery, yet it still didn’t hold me enough to care about the characters and the ending was no surprise. An okay read for a rainy weekend.

Book Description
When Felix Brewer meets Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes.

Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day that Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover—until her remains are eventually found.

Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer.

Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Moving Target by J.A. Jance

Moving Target: A Novel (Alison Reynolds)

My thoughts
Dealing with the stress of her upcoming wedding, Ali Reynolds travels to England with her longtime assistant Leland and investigate the very old murder of Lelands’ father (who Leland was once accused of committing). Meanwhile back in Texas, Ali’s finance, B. Simpson, investigates the burning of a teenager who is incarcerated for hacking into his school’s computer system. He has created a program that someone wants and is willing to kill for it.

With the two plots aside, this was your average mystery with little suspense. Although, it is the ninth book in the series, I still felt that it was long winded and uneventful. I enjoyed the English storyline more than the cybercrime in Texas but still felt that unattached to the characters. I guess diehard fans of this series will appreciate it, but to me it was satisfactory.

Book Description
Lance Tucker, an incarcerated juvenile offender doing time for expertly hacking into the San Leandro School District’s computer system, is set on fire and severely burned one night while hanging Christmas decorations in a lockup rec room. The police say that he did it to himself, but B. Simpson, Ali Reynolds’s fiancé and the man who helped put Lance in jail, feels obligated to get to the bottom of what really happened.

Lance is famous in the hacker world for developing GHOST, computer software that allows users to surf any part of the web completely undetected. And that kind of digital camouflage is seductive to criminal minds who will stop at nothing to get their hands on this revolutionary—and dangerous—technology.

Meanwhile, in England, Ali investigates the decades-old murder of Leland Brooks’s father, which Leland himself was once suspected of committing. With Ali otherwise occupied and Lance receiving cryptic threats in the hospital, B. turns to Sister Anselm—a Taser-carrying nun and Ali’s close friend—for help protecting the boy. With unsolved crimes on both sides of the Atlantic, Ali, B., and Sister Anselm are united by their search for answers—though being thousands of miles away may not be far enough to keep Ali from being drawn into the deadly line of fire.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no compensation for my thoughts.


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