Monday, November 23, 2015


Rebecca Kanner

From the award-winning author of Sinners and the Sea comes a breathtaking new look into the timeless tale of Queen Esther.

A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has. Any woman he wants, he possesses. Thousands of them. Young virgins from all across his many lands.

A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capitol city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.

But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.

This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.

This is the story of Queen Esther. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Young Esther is only 14years old when she is kidnapped to become part of a Perian king’s harem. Hiding that she is Jewish is one of the many hardships that she must bear. There are numerous political maneuvers she must make if she is to survive living in the harem and make it to the one night she will spend with the king to convince him she should be his queen. On top of this, she learns early on that the fate of the Jewish people rests on her shoulders. Does young Esther have the strength to carry such burdens?

I have never read a story based on a character from the bible. Lucky me that this was my first. The author made reading about Esther very interesting. Not knowing the outcome, it was almost like a suspense novel. With every turn, someone wants to bring this young girl down. Even after she becomes queen, she is still not safe.

I really wanted to pull out a Bible to do a quick read about Esther. But the author’s writing was so well done that I decided to finish the book before doing any other reading. What a wonderful way to be introduced to a Bible story. Oh that the rest of the Bible could be written in such a way as to make it readable. Ms. Kanner shows us the power of Esther’s faith in believing that she was chosen for a special task, even if it was not one she would have chosen for herself. A powerful story. Ms.Kanner definitely goes on my list of author’s to follow.

My thanks to Howard Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased. review.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Place We Knew Well

Susan Carol McCarthy

Late October, 1962. Wes Avery, a one-time Air Force tail-gunner, is living his version of the American Dream as loving husband to Sarah, doting father to seventeen-year-old Charlotte, and owner of a successful Texaco station along central Florida's busiest highway. But after President Kennedy announces that the Soviets have nuclear missiles in Cuba, Army convoys clog the highways and the sky fills with fighter planes. Within days, Wes's carefully constructed life begins to unravel.

Sarah, nervous and watchful, spends more and more time in the family's bomb shelter, slipping away into childhood memories and the dreams she once held for the future. Charlotte is wary but caught up in the excitement of high school—her nomination to homecoming court, the upcoming dance, and the thrill of first love. Wes, remembering his wartime experience, tries to keep his family's days as normal as possible, hoping to restore a sense of calm. But as the panic over the Missile Crisis rises, a long-buried secret threatens to push the Averys over the edge.

With heartbreaking clarity and compassion, Susan Carol McCarthy captures the shock and innocence, anxiety and fear, in those thirteen historic days, and brings vividly to life one ordinary family trying to hold center while the world around them falls apart (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Wes Avery lives near a military base in Florida with his wife Sarah and daughter Charlotte. He knows something is up when he starts to see alot of activity at the base, both in the air and on the ground. The whole town soon finds out, along with the rest of the nation, about the Cuban Missile Crisis. A Place We Knew Well tells the story of how the crisis impacted one family, one town and an entire nation.

I liked the main character Ms. McCarthy created in Wes Avery. He is a simple man who just wants to take care of his family and run his business. He doesn’t really understand why his wife is slowly falling apart and tries to keep things together for their daughter. Even when the crisis is over, the after effects still take a toll on his family.

This was well written and evenly paced. I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know how their story would end. I like how the author chose to close the book. It was a unique way to provide some statistics regarding the impact the stress from the missile crisis had on people. Overall, I like the author’s style and would be interested in reading her other books.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing - Bantam, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante

A Maggie Hope Mystery

Susan Elia MacNeal

In this latest riveting mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal, England's most daring spy, Maggie Hope, travels across the pond to America, where a looming scandal poses a grave threat to the White House and the Allied cause.

December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States' entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady's aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt's inner circle—as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

In this, book #5 in the Maggie Hope series, we find Maggie coming home to America. She comes as Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s secretary. The PM comes to America to discuss WWII with President Roosevelt. When Mrs. Roosevelt finds herself in a bit of a stickey wicket, Churchill lends Maggie to her for help. Typical Maggie jumps in feet first to find out just who wants to do harm to the first lady’s character.

Sigh..... I adore Maggie Hope. She is such a likeable character. She is smart, bold and loyal. She doesn’t hesitate to take the lead and pity the poor soul who tries to corner into the role of a secretary. She’s a fighter!

Maggie has been on an emotional roller coaster in the previous few books. I am happy to report that this installment finds Maggie in a much better mental state. She hasn’t forgotten her past, but she won’t let it drag her down anymore. Yay Maggie!

I always get excited when I hear a new Maggie Hope book is on it’s way. I know I’m in for a good read and this one did not disappoint. I’m looking forward to seeing where her life goes next.

My thanks to Random House - Bantam, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Man With the Golden Typewriter

Ian Fleming's James Bond Letters

by Fergus Fleming, editor

The witty and engaging letters of the man who created the world’s most famous spy—James Bond.
On August 16, 1952, Ian Fleming wrote to his wife, Ann, “My love, This is only a tiny letter to try out my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold.” He had bought the golden typewriter as a present to himself for finishing his first novel, Casino Royale. It marked in glamorous style the arrival of James Bond, agent 007, and the start of a career that saw Fleming become one the world’s most celebrated thriller writers. And he did write golden words. Before his death in 1964 he produced fourteen bestselling Bond books, two works of nonfiction and the famous children’s story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Fleming’s output was matched by an equally energetic flow of letters. He wrote to his wife, publisher, editors, fans, friends, and critics—and to the wife of the man whose name Fleming appropriated for his hero—charting 007’s progress with correspondence that ranged from badgering Jonathan Cape about his quota of free copies­ (a coin was tossed and Fleming lost) to apologizing for having mistaken a certain brand of perfume and for equipping Bond with the wrong kind of gun. His letters also reflect his friendship with such contemporaries as Raymond Chandler, Noel Coward, and W. Somerset Maugham.
This entertaining and engaging compilation traces the arc of Fleming’s literary career and details the back story of James Bond. Set against the backdrop of his Jamaican retreat Goldeneye and a troubled marriage, Fleming’s letters are filled with wit, humor, and occasional self-doubt. They reveal an intimate portrait of a man, an era, and a literary phenomenon (from Netgalley)
My Thoughts
This book appealed to me because for as long as I can remember I have been a huge fan of the James Bond movies. Some might think that as a female, I like the them because of the always attractive leading man, Actually, it’s the intricate gadgets and all the action that drew me to the movies.
I enjoyed reading the letters that Ian Fleming wrote. He comes across as very intelligent with a good sense of humor. What I really like about the books, was all the background information about each movie and where Mr. Fleming was in his life at the time each book was written.
I thought the books was both informative and entertaining. Any aficionado of 007 should also find this enjoyable.
My thanks to Bloomsbury USA, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.