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review 2017-10-28 13:37
Camino Island
Camino Island: A Novel - John Grisham

By:  John Grisham

ISBN: 978-0385543026

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 
Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars


John Grisham returns following The Whistler landing on my Top Books of 2016 to (my Sunshine state, Florida) a small island beach town. Steering away from his typical legal thrillers and courtroom scenes, with CAMINO ISLAND — thieves, priceless manuscripts, a heist, rare books, bookstores, and writers.

A little trouble in paradise. . . 

A sophisticated gang of thieves pulls off a daring heist with a campus shooting that causes widespread panic. A secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library containing. (F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscripts). Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.

As the FBI and a secret underground agency hunt them down, a young writer embarks on her own investigation into a prominent bookseller who is believed to have the precious documents.

Mercer Mann grew up spending summers on Florida’s Camino Island, where the mysterious insurance company representative, believes the stolen manuscripts are located. 

Bruce has a popular and successful bookstore in the resort laid back town on Camino Island and deals in rare books. However, there is much more behind the storefront. He occasionally deals in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts. 

Mercer Mann is a writer and in debt with plenty of student loans. She jumps at the chance when approached mysteriously about going undercover. She will be able to pay off her debt. She must learn secrets. Of course, she loves digging deep in the literary world, with a little sleuthing. 

She is to get the goods on Bruce. Did Bruce who pulled off the literary crime of the century? Mann may not be the only one trying to get the goods. Will she take one for the team?

If you love “books about books”, rare bookshops, and enjoy revisiting the past with literary icons, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway, mixed in with some booze (Key West style), a heist, and humor —this one is for you. 

A multilayered game of cat-and-mouse with mystery, suspense, and ample entertainment. 


I enjoy how Grisham is mixing things up a bit with his last few books. I listened to the audiobook and January LaVoyadded the right spice with flair. Listen to Clip. 

A huge Grisham fan — always a treat to read anything he pens. I read this book back in the summer; however, failed to post my review at that time. 

Grisham conceived of the subject with his wife on a lengthy road trip to Florida when they discussed a work incorporating "stolen books, stolen manuscripts, bookstores, and booksellers.

No need to worry, legal thriller fans. (my favorite genre) . . . I just finished The Rooster Bar Grisham's 25th legal thriller, where he explores the world of for-profit law schools through a group of students who learn their school is owned by a shady hedge fund operator — inspired by a true story.These law students are also in deep debt, with no way out and no job opportunities — so they devise a scheme to "con a con." 

Highly Recommend both books. 







Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/07/Camino-Island
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review 2017-10-26 07:36
The Ghostwriter
The Ghostwriter - Alessandra Torre

By:  Alessandra Torre

ISBN: 1940941946

Publisher:  DCA

Publication Date:10/2/2017 

Format: Paperback

My Rating:  5 Stars ++


WOW! THE GHOSTWRITER is the author's best yet! 

Alessandra Torre has found her groove! Please, more of this genre-contemporary fiction. (Listen to your character's advice). A ripping riveting drama, domestic suspense, thriller, literary fiction, plus much more. 

A perfect husband. A perfect daughter. A perfect lie. Simon is gone. Bethany is gone. She is alone. 

Bestselling romance author, Helena Ross (age 32) is dying.Cancer. She has three months to live. She has no friends and no family to speak of. An empty house. 

“I have only this countdown, a dark ominous chant of days, sunrises and sunsets before my body gives up and my mind shuts down.”

She has a story which needs to be told. The truth. One which she has avoided for the last four years.

Helena does not have decades. She does not have years. Three months. The deadline is the tightest she has ever faced. Three months to write a story that deserves years.

. . . "I've always been a liar. Maybe that's why writing came so naturally. A thousand lies, disguised in a character's voice, bits of my life sprinkled through the pages, the perfect camouflage for whatever it is I feel the urge to say."

She notifies Kate, her agent of thirteen years she is retiring. No more outstanding deadlines. She wants to walk away from all her commitments. She wants to write a new book with a different editor. The hottest editor in publishing. 

"There is something soothing about the act of writing, a drug that lures you into another world, but then forgets to stop, and sometimes carries you all of the way into sleepdom."

This editor does not do romance. Helena has no outline. Everyone will need to trust her. 

She needs a ghostwriter. 

Not just any ghostwriter. She wants her arch-enemy, Marka Vantly (pen name). International bestselling author. She hates her. She would almost rather die than ask her. Helena needs her. She is terrified of her. 

This will be no normal manuscript. Once the story is written it will be real. She will be exposed. Two thousand words a day. One million dollars. 

An impossible task. However, Helena is determined. She knows the writer who writes smut; deep down, a highly talented author and one which will be able to help write her story. 

However, she never thought that possibly contemporary fiction with heart, may not sell as well as the smut. She cannot imagine an author hating the novels they spend months writing. Ones they do not respect. 

Kate, nor anyone would understand why this book was so important. The most critical book of her career. She cannot die with this book unwritten. Word count is her everything.The truths buried among her bones. It needs to come out. The real truth. 

She is fearful of how her final novel will come across. She is terrified, yet almost giddy with liberation. Soon her final story will come out, and everyone will know the truth. Life and death. 

However, her ghostwriter may prove to be the one person to get her through her dying days. In the process, they may learn something from one another. Her agent may see a side of her she has never seen. 

Instead of "entertaining" like her usual books. This final book would be both her punishment and her absolution. 

Loved the Epilogue! 

The relationship with THE GHOSTWRITER is as equally powerful as Helena's story. Raw, emotional, heart wrenching, and touching - we hear from Kate, Helena, and Mark’s POV. 

Intense, riveting, and suspenseful. Readers will not know how or why the deaths occurred until later in the book, as her story unravels — writing each chapter and hands off to THE GHOSTWRITER. You know Helena carries guilt. She has pushed everyone away, until now. 

Get out the Kleenex. "How quickly a life can change."

Torre is dynamite! The writing is superb. I would not change "one" word. A must-read for every writer, author, publicist, and reader out there today. 

THE GHOSTWRITER is on my Top Books of 2017!. Readers, you will have a new respect for authors. I cannot imagine how difficult this was to write. 

Buy this book now! You will not be able to put it down. Award-winning. A big turning point for this author. If this is a beta test, then scratch the test and go for it, Torre. Top of the chart's quality. This is my kind of book and hits all the spots. This is the "real deal" and she is a master! Ultimately no sleep, but it was worth every single word. 

Poignant, beautifully written, lyrical, raw, soul-searching, suspenseful, emotional, and heartbreaking. 

I was hanging on every word. Tried to go to bed about 4 am and could not sleep thinking about Helena. Had to know what happened. The suspense and intensity . . . so back up, espresso in hand and dove back in until the final heart-pounding conclusion. This is a true test of how absorbing a great novel should be. 

At 90% this scene was intense. Readers will be dying to know the circumstances surrounding Simon and Bethany. I bookmarked so many pages; it is one of the most highlighted books I have ever read. THE GHOSTWRITER would be perfect for a TV mini-series. 

Younger TV Series would love this one (could you imagine??) . . . Ideal for book clubs and further discussions. I am not an erotica or romance fan; however, I am a lover of this genre. Hits on all cylinders. The author has a God-given talent for intimate words and gut-wrenching feelings of the heart. 

I loved the Deanna Madden (suspense-psychological thriller) series; however, THE GHOSTWRITER to me is so far beyond her other books, and really allows the author to really showcase her writing. She shines without the sex, erotica, romance, and violence. THE GHOSTWRITER opens up an entirely new reader base for her (more my style). 

For fans of Jo Jo Moyes, Colleen Hoover, Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Amy Hatvany, and Renee Carlino . . . with Torre's unique unstoppable witty style. 

For some reason, I am strongly reminded of Blake Crouch's Good Behavior. Even though different, two unlikely souls find strength, clarity, and redemption in one another. A huge Mark fan! 

OMG . . . I have Helena's list on my door too— for the last two years. Laminated and regular. (too funny). 


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/13/The-Ghost-Writer
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text 2017-04-07 10:30
Book Haul!
Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies - Harold Holzer
The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books - J. Peder Zane
The Animal Review: The Genius, Mediocrity, and Breathtaking Stupidity That Is Nature - Jacob Lentz,Steve Nash
If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't) - Betty White
Living With Books - Alan Powers

So after all that cleaning and tidying of the library last weekend I felt the need to undo all my good work, and went on a small binge.  Ok, medium sized binge.  The first batch arrived today, which was pretty good timing because a trip to the city centre of Melbourne had me pretty cranky with humanity.


Normally, I'd include a pic of the books, but, while my library might be tidy, my coffee table is absolutely not and I'm not letting y'all see my mess.  


A bit of everything in this box, including Living With Books, which is probably what I'm looking forward to most, and the title that will surprise everyone the least. 


Here's hoping everyone has a lovely weekend!

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review 2017-02-13 00:00
More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers
More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and... More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers - Jonathan Lethem https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/157198453953/more-alive-and-less-lonely-on-books-and

Jonathan Lethem generally provides enough essays in any given collection that are certainly eye-opening and have the tendency to teach us something we did not know. Throughout his writing career he has proven to be adept at this exercise. And in More Alive and Less Lonely this is again the case. However, and for the most part, what actually interests Lethem in this book bores me to death. But when I eventually trudged my way to his essays and reviews on Thomas Berger I was immediately struck with how fortunate I was to have continued reading. And then I happened on the Bob Dylan piece which again made me grateful for not quitting on him. Lethem does that to me. He can win me over in no small measure. With still another 15% of the book to read I found myself sampling kindle editions of Berger’s work and then ordering whole copies to add to my queue to read. And for those moments I was excited again by literature, which is a feeling I get that most agrees with me. Life, in general, is not that way. Often there is much too much reality to deal with. Truth is, I love a good escape. And on this very day I cannot thank Lethem enough for providing me with additional exits from which to choose from.
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review 2015-10-22 20:18
Hemingway in Love: His Own Story
Hemingway in Love: His Own Story - A. E. Hotchner

By:  A. E. Hotchner
ISBN:  9781250077486
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  10/20/2015 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating:  4 Stars 

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A.E. Hotchner (Aaron Edward) American editor, novelist, playwright, biographer, and friend (Hotch), delivers an intimate inside look, “behind the scenes” of his close friend’s relationship, life, and photos-- HEMINGWAY IN LOVE: His Own Story,a love triangle between the famous much loved author, Ernest Hemingway—(Hadley and Pauline); his loves, his near death experiences, his regrets, and dreams.

Having met Ernest Hemingway some fifty years ago, in 1948, Hotchner became close friends until Hemingway’s death in 1961. In addition, Hotchner is also known for Papa Hemingway, his 1966 biography of Hemingway, whose work he had also adapted for plays and television.

From Paris, Venice, African Safaris, Key West, The Ritz, St Mary’s Hospital, the famous Hundred Day sentence, to his death in Idaho.

Hemingway had experienced a near-death experience in the second of the plane crashes, which upended him-- he was determined to tell Hotcher of a painful period in his life he had never discussed -- he wanted to unburden himself.

While Hemingway relived the harrowing experience –the agony of the period in Paris when he was writing The Sun Also Rises, while in love with two women simultaneously, an experience that would haunt him to his grave.

“Hadley was simple, old-fashioned, receptive, plain, virtuous; Pauline up to the second chic, stylish, aggressive, cunning, nontraditional.” Total opposites. He was in charge of Hadley; whereas, Pauline in charge of him.

Scott Fitzgerald had warned him he would eventually lose both women. However, because two women loved him-- Pauline had money, servants, fancy apartments, boats, houses, and the fact he was tired of poverty at times, he was flattered by the attention of two women. However, was unaware of the dangers of his actions, until it was too late. He lost the one woman he would always love and cherish.

Hotchner reflects back to his private conversations with his friend “Papa”, while withholding some of these conversations years earlier, out of respect for Mary. He reiterates the account is not a buried memory dredged up; however, the story he recounted over the course of their travels, entrusted to him with a purpose. He has finally released it to the world. He shares their stories and adventures from France, Italy, Cuba, Florida Keys, and Spain. Ernest’s zest for life was infectious.

The book opens in 1961, it is the second time Hemingway was a patient in the psychiatric section under the care of doctors from the nearby Mayo Clinic at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. For six weeks he had not been able to receive visitors or make phone calls.

Back then electric shock was brutally administered, the electric current projected into the patient’s brain without benefit of an anesthetic, a piece of wood clenched between his teeth as he writhed in torturous pain. The Mayo doctors had diagnosed Ernest as suffering from a depressive persecutory condition and had prescribed the ECTs, in an attempt to diminish it.

Mary was Ernest's fourth wife at the time. They had celebrated Ernest’s 60th birthday, which was his last good year. The next upcoming year his paranoia deepened convinced his car and house were being bugged by the FBI and that the IRS were auditing his bank accounts. Mary was distraught. (Some of this information later came to light after his death, which was indeed true). Hotchner witnessed over the next upcoming year, abrupt and puzzling changes in Ernest’s demeanor.

Hemmingway questioned what everyone was giving him at age sixty-one. The only thing someone of his age cares about is being healthy, working at his calling, eating and drinking with people he cares about, good sex, traveling to places he loves. He is being denied all of this. Why should he stick around? They were all after him, from the hall phone to the Nurse Susan…all reporting to the FBI.

Out of Hemingway’s four wives, Hadley Richardson, his first wife, is the one he fondly recalls in the book. While they were married, he began an affair with femme fatale, model, Pauline. A total opposite from his wife, Pauline befriended Hadley and interjected herself into their lives. Hadley gave him the famous 100 days to make his decision between the two women.

However, Hadley threw in the towel with a divorce before the hundred days. Aggressive and persistent, Pauline continued to pursue Hemingway, until Hadley asked for a divorce. By this time, Ernest gave in, as Pauline used her wealthy financial status and cunning ways, to seal the deal. With the birth of their children, he was driven further away. There is not much mention of third wife, Martha, except a way to escape Pauline.

The book also accounts and shows photography of Hemingway’s safari to Africa, where he was almost killed in two successive plane crashes that left him in pain or ill health for much of his remaining life. Hemingway maintained permanent residences in Key West, Florida, (1930s) and Cuba (1940s and 1950s), and in 1959, he bought a house in Ketchum, Idaho, where he committed suicide in the summer of 1961.

Ernest, a complex man was pulled between the two women at the time; however, his regrets were leaving the one real love of his life, as readers hear of intimate details of the two women, as well as adventures, travel, and conversations between the two friends over drinks recalling earlier days. From his literature, traumas, his declining health, to his other famous friends such as Scott Fitzgerald and Gary Cooper.

For those Key West fans, you will enjoy pulling up a bar stool, the stories over drinks at the famous Sloppy Joes, where Hemingway was a former co-owner (silent partner) with Joe Russell, with a reserved table. From hunts, friends, art, literature, fishing, skiing, horseback riding, gaming, boating, culture, travel, the Fitzgerald’s, the Murphy’s, booze, good food, sex, loves and women.

“All things truly wicked start from an innocence.”—Ernest Hemingway

Hotchner, a natural storyteller, delivers an admirable account of his friend's thoughts. Hemingway and literature fans will appreciate the inside look at this gifted novelist; the highs and lows, of a complex man, and the raging storms; his loves, both personally and professionally.



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Hemingway-in-Love-His-Own-Story/cmoa/55df6b060cf24e84f75a650c
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