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October 24th, 2016

Sometimes life just leaves you all alone. Feels just awful but what is a gal to do? If you are Nina Popkin you just start searching out new goals and pick up your spirits and charge forward.  The reader is pulled into this story of rejection and the glorious optimism and worry of Nina until one is immersed in the possibility of a happy ending.

THE SURVIVOR’S QUIDE TO FAMILY HAPPINESS is actually a story about 3 women and the choices they are making that will guide their future.  Nina’s plight is the grounding to the whole adventure, as in her 30s her mother dies of cancer, her 6 months marriage is now a divorce, and her best friend and boss is newly married and very happy.  Since Nina was adopted she begins her future by deciding to track down her birth mother, and help a recently divorced father of 2 teens find a condo and move out of the family home.  These two events bring out Nina’s sharp wit and also her sadness, which she is working through with a sense of maturity and “klutz”.

Soon in the process, Nina discovers she has a sister; arranges to meet her and she starts dating the fellow with the two teens.  New sister resists tracking down her birth mother or forming a relationship with Nina.  The two girls do look alike and Lindy has beautiful red hair and not the curly, frizzy hair that Nina supports; they discover they lived close to each other growing up and even attended the same schools.  This encounter stirs up feelings for Lindy and makes her responses to her mom tense and confusing.  Lindy is trying to live the “perfect” life, as has no room for these new feelings.

Indigo the teen daughter adds a new voice to the situation as she develops a “Must do” list of rather dangerous adventures and uses magic markers to color her hair.  Lots of hair referrals in this story!   And yet, her “gutsy” demanding demeanor gets the two sisters relating to each other and figuring out some solutions to who they are and what actions they need to accomplish to find resolution.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story telling and wandering within the feelings exposed.  I liked the outcome and results and how the girls handled themselves within their discoveries.  Everyone found a good solution and was left better off as the story unfolded.  THE SURVIVOR’S QUIDE TO FAMILY HAPPINESS was a good read.  Thank you to TLC Book Tours  and Lake Union Press for sharing this book with me.

“Maddie Dawson grew up in the South, born into a family of outrageous storytellers. Her various careers as a substitute English teacher, department-store clerk, medical-records typist, waitress, cat sitter, wedding-invitation-company receptionist, nanny, day-care worker, electrocardiogram technician, and Taco Bell taco maker were made bearable by thinking up stories as she worked. Today she lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband. She’s the bestselling author of four previous novels: The Opposite of Maybe, The Stuff That Never Happened, Kissing Games of the World, and A Piece of Normal.” (TLC Tours)

Maddie Dawson Website
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PhDEATH: The Puzzler Murders ~James P. Carse

October 17th, 2016

This Book will not be published until NOVEMBER 1,2016

Every once in awhile a book comes along that just takes the reader on a wonderful ride; turning around so many things at one time thought to be true but are now varied.  James Carse has indeed accomplished this mind changing with a hauntingly interesting tale, which plays with the imagination and the expectation with delight.

The setting is a major university in a major city on a square.  We are allowed to join a select group of the faculty to be part of an intellectual combat team attempting to outwit the Puzzler and a deadly agenda.  The NY Times puzzle master is trying to help, along with the city’s top detective, and U.S. Military Intelligence.  The 10 puzzles are difficult and the committee had to call in a fifth grader to assist them in the solving of at least one of the ten.

As the whole faculty is sometimes made fun of for the academic snobbery, many are revealed to be working too many angles and not actually involved in what they were hired to do.  Nothing is dull in this story from the shared philosophy discussions to the humorous personality traits exposed.  We are treated to the complete academic year and even a bit of summer session.  The reader must take a good look at essential issues, because they are urgent and fun and one must turn on the thinking skills and get right into gear.

Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. www.mzpr.com sent me an uncorrected Galley for review and in the promotion material with the book was this paragraph:

“The mystery is complex and the book has a great deal of wit and humor.  Will Shortz, NEW YORK TIMES Puzzle Master makes a decisive appearance in the book along with Bernie Sanders, Lady Gaga and other celebrities.  Members of the faculty and all of the victims, except one, are entirely fictional.  Carse says they bear no direct relation to persons living or dead.  They are composites so carefully drawn that some readers may feel they are real and perhaps even recognizable.  The one exception concerns a highly dramatic crime that led to prosecution and imprisonment.  That person, once a colleague of Carse’s, is long dead.  The author leaves it up to curious readers or NYU alumni to figure this one out.”

That paragraph just sent me right to open the book and start reading.  I had to keep putting the book down, when I wanted to just keep reading and reading.  Good twists and hooks found here.

From the cover:

“Carse, Emeritus Professor himself at a premier university – in a major city on a square- shows no mercy in his creation of the seemingly omniscient Puzzler, who through a sequence of atrocities beginning and ending with the academic year, turns up one hidden pocket of moral rot after another.”

“The engaging and insightful stories explain why Carse has gained an almost cult-like following at NYU and beyond.”  (-Publishers Weekly)

James P. Carse Website
James P. Carse Wikipedia

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DRESSING A TIGER: A memoir ~Maggie San Miguel

October 10th, 2016

dressing-a-tigerDRESSING A TIGER is not a plain Ol’ memoir with a bit of spicing up, this is about a very interesting and sometimes disturbing life story mixed with a heavy dose of humor and a very spunky child who remembers so much.  Maggie is the youngest child in her family – much younger; her brother is 18 and her sister 16 when she arrives onto the scene.  Mom is fairly unstable and inconsistent and has almost no time for her youngest and Dad is a very busy man as the top negotiator for the Teamsters Union.  Maggie is not allowed to play in the front yard of their Connecticut home but the huge backyard with lake and below ground tree fort commands her attention.  Maggie loves to row her boat out to her private island and seize the day.

“Maggie San Miguel is a Past Life Regression Therapist, a Mediation Instructor and a Psychic Medium, appearing on the paranormal television show, STRANGE TOWN.  She has assisted law enforcement with a murder investigation in Texas.  She also makes pottery, paints and can cook a mean meatball.” (Cover)

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Maggie San Miguel Web

The book is quite interesting and includes geishas’ in Maggie’s rowboat, and mob hit men taking a 4 year old to the dentist.  Because of their reclusive lifestyle, Maggie dotes on the “friends” of her father who come to the house to plot, drink and eat.  Jack Dahlstrom, her father, though of a Scandinavian heritage, learns to speak Italian and interact with the Italian families involved in controlling the East Coast.  His friends are folks he connected with during his time serving in World War II.  His wife a great redheaded beauty grew up in poverty and led a very tough life. When the stress levels were too high, she disappeared into alcohol and bed, including strange behaviors especially trying to kill squirrels.

“A father serving the Mob, hit men moonlighting as babysitters, an uncle in the Secret Service, famous politicians amongst family friends, a mother in need of shock therapy, and a kid who eavesdrops and remember it all. “  What a unique childhood!

“Her father’s prior knowledge of the Kennedy assassination and his unique friendships with Jack Ruby, John Connally, Henry Wade and infamous Mafia bosses Carlo Bambino, Sam Giancana and Paul Castellano is a story untold until now.” “…Dahlstrom collected an impressive array of friends and Mafia secrets that were never meant to see the light of day.  Maggie San Miguel has just opened the blinds.” (Cover)

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and think it will make a wonderful book to share.  I highly recommend it and am grateful that Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.  sent me an advanced copy for review.

This book will be published October 26, 2016

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FINDING LIBBIE: A Novel ~Deanna Lynn Sletten

October 6th, 2016

‘Happily Ever After’ is the start point of this review and my sharing about this author.  It is a good love story nicely written and was a grand rainy weekend read – very much on the sweet side!

Emily Prentice is busy helping her grandmother pack up the farmhouse and move into the city and a new townhouse.  Emily has taken a job as a clerk in a clothing store and put her plans on hold to help her boyfriend Jordan get his schooling completed right through his doctorate and as she helps her grandmother she is pondering where the relationship is heading and if she wants to make “those” changes to her life.  The two women find an old hat box in one of the closets that is full of old photographs of Emily’s father and his first wife!  What a discovery and it leads to a full story of figuring out what happened and how life sometimes does not turn out the way that one expects it.

FINDING LIBBIE is about high school sweethearts from two different sides of the social divides.  Jack and Libbie fall in love during their senior year of High School.  Jack is working a number of jobs because he wishes to go to school to be a certified mechanic.  Libbie is the high school sweetheart; Homecoming Queen and well cared for younger daughter.  Jack’s family lives on a farm, everyone works hard and they are friendly and well liked.  Libbie’s mother has lots of “episodes” and her older sister Gwen takes care of her Mother and her own husband and child.  Libbie is sensitive and no one is expecting her to go to college, have a career or work.  That is okay with Libbie because she just wants to marry Jack.  They celebrate a lovely wedding day with family and friends.

The story turns darker with discoveries about alcoholism, pill addiction, financial concerns and just plain hard work and exhaustion.  Libbie begins to have her own episodes and begins her own regime of self-medication.  Car accidents, hitting and hospitalizations now the secrets begin to fly out of control.  The couple is parted.

Emily just must find out what happened to Libbie after she hears the story and she is persistent, which creates an clever story on it’s own and as Emily pursues her own future begins to take shape and she takes hold of her own life.

Happily Ever After is good in this story and just left this reader pleased to have spent the weekend reading.  I think others will like it very much and particularly those who are ready for Happily Ever After endings.


“Deanna Lynn Sletten grew up on the sunny coast of Southern California before moving to northern Minnesota as a teenager. Her interest in writing novels was sparked in a college English class, and she has been writing in some form or another ever since. In 2011, Deanna self-published her first novel and has since published several more, both on her own and with Lake Union Publishing.

Deanna enjoys writing heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime. She believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, magic, and happily ever after—all of which are reflected in her novels.
Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian shepherd or relaxing on her boat in the summer.” (TLC)

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