"What is truly impressive about Callan's writing is his gift for characterization." From a review by John Brantingham of Over My Dead Body.
A 178 year-old folktale causes murder, kidnapping, and arson in 2012 Texas. In this contemporary suspense novel, Crystal Moore, a young computer scientist, is dragged into danger when thugs set out to kill her 76 year-old grandmother, her only living relative and the woman who raised her. Crystal has no idea who would want to harm her grandmother, or why. In the midst of murder, arson, and kidnapping, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time, he can ruin her career. She will need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, a street-wise housemate, and a feisty grandmother to stop the criminals and confront her nemesis.
Description An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them—from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg
For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. Sometimes in the evening he’ll take a walk and stop to chat with his nosy neighbor, Lucille. It’s a quiet routine not entirely without its joys. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life.
Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who often comes to the cemetery to escape the other kids at school and a life of loss. She’s seen Arthur sitting there alone, and one afternoon she joins him—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio bands together, helping one another, through heartache and hardships, to rediscover their own potential to start anew.
Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.
My Review of The Story of Arthur Truluv
In Elizabeth Berg’s, The Story of Arthur Truluv, Ms. Berg has created three memorable characters that will stay with the reader long after they turn the last page. Tender, poignant and bittersweet, The Storyof Arthur Truluv is hope in the face of hopelessness and love in the wake of loneliness. Arthur Moses is a widower who visits his wife Nola’s grave every day. He finds solace in her company as well as the company of the departed that surround her. He fashions himself a kind of grave whisperer, where he can envision those lives that have now passed. Although frail himself, he finds peace and comfort in this daily ritual. But Arthur is not the only one who finds freedom and tranquility in this graveyard. Enter Maddy, a lonely, ostracized and pregnant 18 year old girl looking for love in all the wrong places. Little by little a trust is formed between the two unlikely pair and a friendship blooms that is dear and tender to the both of them. Overtime an elderly flamboyant neighbor named Lucille is added to the mix and Maddy finds herself with a new makeshift family she never dreamed she would have. As time passes and the birth of the baby arrives, the trio will discover that families come in all shapes and sizes and that love can abound in the most unlikely of places. When given the opportunity to read, The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg, I jumped at the chance. The characters she creates in her novels are always heartfelt and genuine. They step off the pages and into your heart as Arthur, Maddy and Lucille have proven in her latest endeavor. Their individual loneliness is a thing that exists and their yearning for love and companionship is palpable. When she intertwines their lives the story comes together beautifully leaving the reader smiling through their tears. The ending is realistic although bittersweet leaving the reader wistful but satisfied. In conclusion, if you are new to the works of Elizabeth Berg or a veteran of her novels, this book and its characters will remain in your heart long after you finish the last page. It may even change the way you view cemeteries, elderly neighbors or even a wayward teenager for as The Story of Arthur Truluv shows everyone has a story. I want to thank Random House via NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg for a fair and honest review. Book Matron
Description In this improbably joyous novel about two recovering concentration camp survivors, love is the best medicine.
July 1945. Miklos is a twenty-five-year-old Hungarian who has survived the camps and has been brought to Sweden to convalesce. His doctor has just given him a death sentence — his lungs are filled with fluid and in six months he will be gone. But Miklos has other plans. He didn't survive the war only to drown from within, and so he wages war on his own fate. He acquires the names of the 117 Hungarian women also recovering in Sweden, and he writes a letter to each of them in his beautiful cursive hand. One of these women, he is sure, will become his wife. In another part of the country, Lili reads his letter and decides to write back. For the next few months, the two engage in a funny, absurd, hopeful epistolary dance. Eventually, they find a way to meet. Based on the true story of Péter Gárdos's parents, and drawn from their letters, Fever at Dawn is a vibrant, ribald, and unforgettable tale, showing the death-defying power of the human will to live and to love.
My Review of Fever at Dawn
Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos is the tender sweet story of 2 young Hungarian Jewish survivors who meet and fall in love through a series of letters. Miklos and Lili are in Sweden after the war convalescing at separate rehab hospitals. Lili is fighting problems with her kidneys and Miklos is given only months to live due to an acute case of TB. Determined to beat the odds and begin a new life Miklos finds names and addresses of convalescing Hungarian women from his home town of Debrecen and sets about writing letters to 117 of them in hopes of finding true love and a happily ever after. Nine women respond, but Miklos singles out Lili and through months of letter writing and phone calls their love story begins. However, a future together looks bleak with grim predictions of Miklos’s health and opposition of doctors and friends, but ever determined Miklos finds a way for him and Lili to be together and have the future they both desire and deserve. Fever at Dawn was a sweet delight. I liked the story being told through the eyes of the son having read his parents letters many decades later. As a reader I cheered for every victory that Miklos and Lili achieved in order to be together. It would have been so easy for them to have given up and given in to Miklos’s dire diagnoses. But determination was the letter of the day and Miklos and Lili were determined to have their future. Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos is a kind and gentle story where love is determined to win the day. Sweet and tender told through the eyes of the son, Fever at Dawn is a must read story for everyone who likes stories where courage and resolve win despite the odds. I want to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an advanced copy of Fever at Dawn by Peter Gardos via NetGalley for a fair and honest review. Book Matron
DESCRIPTION Beatrice Desmond, 55, lives on a remote farm nestled in a deep hollow in southern West Virginia. A native of Boston and a graduate of an Ivy League college, Beatrice is a fish out of water in Seneca County; although she maintains contact with certain friends and family, too often, Beatrice retreats into her work as a translator and editor, or into the bottle of Jack Daniel’s she maintains nearby. Fate finally intervenes, requiring Beatrice to befriend and shelter Clara, an abused teenager, and accept the job of ghostwriting the memoir of her dashing but enigmatic neighbor, Tanner Fordyce. Gradually, Beatrice finds her resolute independence and crusty reserve soften, her carefully constructed barriers fall, and her guarded and self-protective nature moderates, as she explores the renewed pleasures of emotional involvement. At times sad, at times hilarious, and always quirky, Hillwilla celebrates the glories of nature, the resilience of the human spirit, the healing power derived from genuine connections with others, and the potential for reinventing ourselves—at any age.
My Review of Hillwilla
Hillwilla by Melanie Forde is the story of Beatrice Desmond, an eccentric 55 year old woman who despite humble beginnings became an Ivy League graduate and now works as an editor and translator on a farm in rural West Virginia. Despite her accomplishments Beatrice relishes her contented quiet life in Seneca County with just the company of her faithful dog Ralph and a variety of contrary llamas she attends to daily. But Beatrice’s’ private life is about to change as Tanner, her handsome neighbor, not only asks her assistance in writing his autobiography, but also to assist a wayward, maltreated teen by the name of Clara. Independent and private, Beatrice feels aggrieved by the situation and at first is stubborn and disgruntled. But with the passage of time Beatrice sees something of herself in Clara and the once self-reliant and headstrong Beatrice finds herself softening towards the girl. Sometimes touching, sometimes jocular, Hillwilla has something for everyone who enjoys a heartwarming and uniquely different story. This is not the usual type of story I read, but I felt intrigued by the novel’s description. Hillwilla was agreeable as it had quaint old fashioned characters. It took a little while for me to get into the rhythm of the book, but its characters were creative and I enjoyed watching them grow and develop. As a reader if you like stories that have unconventional and engrossing characters Hillwilla may just be the novel for you. I want to thank Mountain Lake Press via NetGalley for a free advanced copy of Hillwilla by Melanie Forde for a fair and honest review. Book Matron
Description For Linnet, owner of a Bed and Breakfast in Mountain Springs, Pennsylvania, life has been a bit complicated lately. Hundreds of snow geese have died overnight in the dam near the B&B, sparking a media frenzy, threatening the tourist season, and bringing her estranged sister, Myna, to town. If that isn't enough, the women's father has been charged with investigating the incident. But when a younger expert is brought in to replace him on the case and then turns up dead on Linnet's B&B’s property, their father becomes the primary suspect. As the investigation unfolds, the sisters will have to confront each other, their hidden past, and a side of Mountain Springs not seen before. Karen Katchur has written a thrilling novel of sisters and the secrets that bind them that is sure to appeal to readers of her acclaimed first novel, The Secrets of Lake Road.
My Review of The Sisters of Blue Mountain
The town of Mountain Springs is an idyllic little hamlet best known for the yearly migration of its beloved Snow Geese. Many guests arrive in the spring to stay at the Snow Goose, a local B&B, to watch for the birds’ seasonal movement north. But this year a strange phenomenon has happened leaving a large number of the geese dead, practically falling from the sky. Add a dam full of dead fish, reporters scrambling for a story, and Linnet the co-owner and operator of the Snow Goose finds herself with empty rooms as tourists leave town and locals begin to panic. Myna, Linnet’s estranged sister, decides to come home to help her sister and father, a former professor and ornithologist, deal with the current crisis. But tensions rise between the sisters as secrets buried long ago come back to haunt them. When a reporter shows up asking questions about his past and a local college professor is found murdered on the B&B property the emotional strain becomes too much for the sisters and secrets hidden long ago eventually come to light. Linnet and Myna are finally forced to confront their past and let the truth fall where it may. The Sisters of Blue Mountain is a great read for anyone who likes a good mystery, but also matters of the heart. The characters that Karen Katchur created in this novel are real and honest. The strain between the sisters, Linnet and Myna is palpable. Myna, although a grown woman, is still the lost little girl afraid to commit and desperate to have her sister’s love and approval. Linnet is fierce in protecting her son and father, but gives little compassion and leeway to her sister. The secret they share has left a large crack in their relationship and only the truth coming to light can repair the damage. The father is loving towards both his daughters, but his daily struggle with the ups and downs of dementia is painful to watch. I kept turning the pages wanting to know why the strange phenomena of the geese and fish occurred as well as the secret the girls had buried long ago. The author skillfully ties it all together at the end and leaves the reader with no secrets but hope for the sisters’ broken relationship. The Sisters of Blue Mountain by Karen Katchur is a well spun mystery with suspense and tension to keep the pages turning to the very end. A quick read with some surprises that will not leave you disappointed. I want to thank St Martin’s Press, Thomas Dunne Books for an advanced copy of TheSisters of Blue Mountain for a fair and honest review. Book Matron
Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.
When she's offered a full scholarship to Knight's Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.
As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.
About Emerald: Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes. Connect with Emerald: Website: www.emeraldbarnes.us Blog: ebarnes23.wordpress.com Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes Street Team: www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesstreetteam Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes
Description The Prayers of a Grandparent Are Precious to God Being a grandparent is one of God's greatest gifts. And loving your grandchildren is a privilege. The best way to love your grandchildren is to pray for them.
In The Power of a Praying® Grandparent, bestselling author and speaker Stormie Omartian offers powerful suggestions to help you do just that as you pray for your grandchildren to be healthy, protected, smart, kind, wise, godly, and obedient so that they do not stray into enemy territory pray for yourself to be a powerful praying Grandma or Grandpa who understands what your grandchildren are facing in this world today and how you can best cover them spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically pray for your grandchildren's parents to be led and enabled by God so they can be the wisest, most patient, and loving parents for their childrenBeing a praying grandparent is one of the best gifts you can give your grandchildren.
Review of The Power of a Praying Grandparent
Stormie Omartian has a little gem of a book in The Power of a Praying Grandparent. As anyone who is blessed with grandchildren knows these little children are one of the greatest gifts God can bestow on us. The privilege of getting to know and love these little creatures is one of life’s greatest joys. Bestowing our love and experience can be of great value to each individual child. But as Stormie Omartian so beautifully points out, one of the greatest gifts we can give our grandchildren beside our love and time is our heartfelt prayers. This is especially true if we do not have the pleasure of their company on a regular basis. Our prayers can be sent up no matter where they are and the Lord will hear them and our grandchildren will feel them. The Power of a Praying Grandparent imparts practical wisdom and knowledge of how prayers from a grandparent can impact their lives, the parents’ lives and our lives as well. This book is also filled with sound advice on how to be a loving support to their parents. As we all know the parents bare most of the burden for rearing and financially supporting our grandchildren. Except in a few rare cases, we get to have most of the fun and less of the stress. That is why our prayers are so important. That is the one fundamental gift we can give that will keep on giving. I really loved this book. It was so beautifully written with heartfelt and spiritual advice. It left you with no doubt of the importance of our prayers for our grandchildren and not just for their safety in a crazy world, but for spiritual growth and intellectual development as well. Stormie Omartian covers a wide range of reasons to pray that the reader might never think of such as, honoring their parents, teaching them to show their love to God and each other, resisting rebellion and temptation and finding like-minded friends just to name a few. What I really appreciated about the book was her beautiful prayer and scripture reflections at the end of each particular topic. It gave to me a way to put what I read and felt in my heart into words. It was a delightful way to end each chapter. As a grandparent I can honestly say The Power of a Praying Grandparent is a must read for every grandparent out there. It is filled with love and knowledge on the importance of our prayers for the little ones or grown ones we care so much for. If you are a prayer warrior or a novice at getting down on your knees this book is for you. This book can give you a multitude of reasons to pray and assist you with prayers for each and every gift you would like to impart on you grandchildren. You will not be disappointed. Keep it by your bedside table or your favorite chair and after you have read it open it once a day to send up a prayer. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it. I want to thank Harvest House Publishers via NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Power of a PrayingGrandparent by Stormie Omartian for a fair and honest review. Book Matron
Description “Reading Georgia Hunter's We Were the Lucky Ones is like being swung heart first into history. . . . A brave and mesmerizing debut, and a truly tremendous accomplishment.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive—and to reunite
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.
As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.
In a novel of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to Kraków's most brutal prison to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century's darkest moment, the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.
Review of We Were the Lucky Ones
Beautifully penned and aptly named We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter is the true story of the Kurc family living in Poland during WWII that miraculously survived the horror of the Holocaust. An unbelievable story told with love and tenderness Georgia Hunter gives us the details of the Kurc family’s ability to defy the odds to stay alive while most family, neighbors and friends were killed or sent to labor camps to die of starvation or extermination. On the brink of WWII the Kurc family, with the exception of their middle son Addy, is living in Poland. Anti-Jewish sentiment is rising and the Kurc’s are not immune to the hostility and cruel treatment inflicted on the Jewish citizens as well as their friends and neighbors. As Germany invades from the west and the Soviet Union from the east, Poland and its Jewish citizens are now in danger of being systematically eliminated. As businesses’ are closed and citizens evicted from their homes and properties, Jewish families are forced to live in fenced ghettos and work assigned jobs for long hours in harsh conditions. With little money, food or prospects most of what they own has been sold to survive. As the eldest son Genek and his wife are shipped off to Siberia to meet their fate in the work camps and Addy is forced to leave Europe the remaining members of the Kurc family scramble to exist. With grit and determination the family moves about Poland always and unbelievably managing to stay one step ahead of the Nazi’s. Through trials of hunger, prison, sickness and separation the family never gives up always determined to survive and be united again. I really liked this book. The characters were beautiful and haunting. Every time I put the book down I couldn’t wait to pick it up again hoping someone would come to their rescue. The characters tore at your heart. The love, trials, fear and pain was so well relayed for the reader. An additional bonus in this book was the author’s notes. Don’t skip the notes on this book. To discover that the story of the Kurc family is also the author’s story was astonishing. Addy was Georgia Hunter’s grandfather. How proud the author must be to relay this courageous and poignant story of her family’s survival. In addition to the beautiful storyline, Georgia Hunter also includes a historic timeline of events in each chapter as the war in Europe unfolds. It is a bit of history and a beautiful addition to the story for the reader. We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter is a story of courage and determination. It is a story of surviving despite impossible odds. It is an example of what the human spirit is capable of in the most desperate of situations. It is never giving up, always believing and always loving. It is the Kurcs' family story. A must read for everyone. I want to thank Penguin Group Viking via NetGalley for an advanced copy of Georgia Hunter’s We Werethe Lucky Ones for a fair and honest review. Book Matron
If the idea of failing to reach your potential and spending your best years working with nothing to show for it makes you sick, this book is for you. Inside you will find for the first time, the secrets from a quiet subculture of Financial Advisers spending time with people away from the balance sheet, and helping them achieve more out of life.
Written by Clayton Daniel, a former ‘amateur rockstar’ whose chance encounter with an entrepreneur led him down the path of learning about money, travelling the world on the gains, and finally building a business showing others how to do the same. He has helped over a thousand people improve their understanding of money as both a Tax Accountant and Financial Adviser.
THIS THREE STEP GUIDE WILL SHOW YOU: Why Your Purpose + Your Skills = Your Professional Superpower, and how to leverage it to buy time How to catapult yourself into motivation by focusing on your fears rather than your goals How the Five Bucket Method allows you to enjoy guilt-free spending sprees without ruining your future What silent monster in the background is eating your money, and what to do about it How to go from buying assets with the hope of making money to designing a wealth creation strategy with purpose How to use the legal ‘Offshore Bank Account’ to grow your assets faster by saving you tax today, saving you tax every year, and saving you tax in retirement
Description An astonishing first novel, epic in scope—that takes us from Brooklyn in the 1930s to Soviet Moscow and Siberia, and back to New York in the 1980s and beyond—about the price of loyalty, the lure of betrayal, and the bonds between a mother and a son
Review of The Patriots
Florence Fein is restless and looking for something more. Something she is convinced she will find in the Soviet Union. Thus begins the novel The Patriots by Sana Krasikov that spans three generations beginning in Brooklyn, NY, to the Soviet Union and back again. As a young woman striking out on her own, Florence began her career and education in Soviet politics and economics while working at the Office of American Trade better known as Amtorg. Her specialty was trade contracts between American businessmen and the Soviet Union. While there she met and fell for a young Soviet engineer on business in the States. Deciding to follow him back to the Soviet Union, Florence leaves behind all that she knows and loves for a new life that will involve new ideologies and a way of life much different and harsher than she bargained for. Years later, Florence’s son will immigrate to NY to build a new life for himself. However, haunted by his past and wanting to understand his mother and the decisions she made he begins a search for answers. Finding the KGB has recently opened files on past cases, his mother’s files are now available for Julian to view. When a business trip takes him back to Russia, Julian decides to seek the answers he has longed for all his life. At the same time he uncovers his mother’s past, he must try to convince his stubborn son living in the new Russia to come back to the United States. The most interesting aspect of The Patriots is the span of time and the changes in the characters and the Soviet Union between the 1930’s and 2008. Each chapter takes the reader to the past or back to the present and gives the details of what’s happening from the perspective of Florence, Julian or his son Lenny. The characters are beautifully written, but complex and sad as there are many issues left unsettled between Julian and his mother. Julian grieves for the lost opportunities to know and love his mother that are no longer available, but were stolen from his youth. The Patriots is a sweeping saga that spans time, countries and generations. It’s a story of secrets and lost opportunities for love, understanding and forgiveness. This novel is lengthy and will take time to read, but well worth the effort. I want to thank Random House Publishing via NetGalley for an advanced copy of The Patriots by Sana Krasikov for a fair and honest review. Book Matron