Posted in New York, Spotlight, women on December 9, 2013

art of being rebekkah

The Art of Being Rebekkah is an Intricate Tale of a Woman’s Struggle with a Troubled Marriage, the Love of Her Life, Faith and Her Unborn Child

When 20-something Rebekkah Gelles suspects her husband, Avram, not only of lying and stealing, but also of contriving to bar her from having the children she so desperately wants, she realizes her marriage is imperiled.

The Art of Being Rebekkah by Karoline Barrett (e-Lit Books; December 2013; 6.99) tells an emotional and heartbreaking story of loss, love and faith as Rebekkah tries to rebuild her trust in men and establish independence for the first time in her life.

Devoted to her Jewish faith, Rebekkah’s values come into question when Nick Rossi – a tall, dark and Catholic, New York City detective enters her life. Convinced they can never be together, Rebekkah shuts him out, even after they share an unforgettable night of passion.

In the midst of her divorce – a difficult process for a Conservative Jew – Rebekkah must deal with a number of challenges, including the mystery surrounding her new career as an artist and reconnecting with old friends, now distant, casualties of a controlling husband.  Even more disquieting, Rebekkah learns she’s pregnant, though not via the Jewish man she’d always imagined as the father of her children.  The father is Nick, the man she believes is off limits.

Rebekkah must decide what’s most important – true, unadulterated love or raising her baby in the Jewish faith and culture she’s always cherished. As the young woman embarks on some serious soul-searching, a shocking confession further complicates matters as Rebekkah learns her biological mother may not have been Jewish after all.  Rebekkah, strong but vulnerable, leans on her adoptive parents and Nick, all of whom offer unconditional support.

In a final twist, Nick’s dangerous profession intervenes just when all the pieces are falling into place.  Rebekkah fears Avram may have been behind an attack on the detective’s life.

Together, Rebekkah and Nick must find a way to merge their lives and fight the negative forces that could keep them apart. Barrett tells a deep, rich story that creates a very real Rebekkah and provides a look into the thoughts of a compelling, young Jewish woman.  She also paints a clear picture of the New York City neighborhoods in which the story is set.

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About the Author

Karoline Barrett loves writing and reading women’s fiction and romance.  Her short stories have been published in various outlets, most recently in Every Day Fiction.  She is also a poet.  Karoline was born in upstate New York and has lived in South America, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  At the moment, she lives in a small Connecticut town with her husband.  When not writing, Karoline reads, spends time by the water, watches the New York Yankees, indulges her Coca-Cola addiction and does anything that has nothing to do with math. www.karolinebarrett.com

 

About e-Lit Books

E-Lit Books is a ground-breaking publishing company of YA, NA, adult fiction and non-fiction books from emerging and established writers. It offers topnotch titles by fascinating authors supported by a leading national marketing and PR team. E-Lit Books presents the perfect combination for readers seeking engaging books and writers making their mark on the literary world.

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Posted in 4 paws, Monday, mystery, New York, suspense on April 22, 2013

Today’s feature of Mystery Monday takes us to New York with the book The Eskimo Hunts in New York by author Stefan Kanfer.

eskimo

Synopsis:

Jordan Gulok is an Inuit, an Eskimo in common parlance, and a former Navy SEAL. In his freelance capacity he can do things—like tracking and on occasion killing malefactors—that are beyond the authority of the uniformed services. Jordan has an expense account and liberty to travel throughout the U.S. In turn, the U.S. government has plausible deniability should he ever get caught stretching or violating the law.

In The Eskimo Hunts in New York, Jordan’s assignment involves stopping a lethal international group who’s manufacturing illegal and sometimes toxic pharmaceuticals and selling them to victims in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. In one of the worst blizzards in the City’s history, subways, buses and taxis become useless. Even fire trucks and police cars are rendered immobile. But for Jordan cold weather is only a minor obstacle; after all, he grew up hunting polar bear and reindeer on ice and snow.

His targets are managing a multi-billion dollar business that has killed thousands, and they soon become aware of him as their Enemy Number One. The idea of a lone man bringing down their organization is unthinkable. In previous cases, Jordan always acted alone, but as the cartel closes in on him, he turns to Rose Ho, a possible love interest and operative in a regional office of the Department of the Navy.

Rose has great connections—for example, her wealthy father is the unofficial mayor of Chinatown—but are all her connections among the good guys? Can she provide the help he needs, or is she trouble in a green silk skirt?

Review:

I love a good mystery/suspense/thriller novel and this one definitely filled the bill.  It was intense, involved the government and the Russian mafia and one man who thought he could do it all…and pretty much did!  I wondered at different times about several of the characters and their true role in this novel.  Were they who they said they were?  Could they be trusted?  Sometimes the answer was yes and sometimes it was a resounding NO!  Sometimes I wonder if what we read could really happen….sure it is fiction, but could some of it really happen?  I think it probably happens more than we think.

I liked the flashbacks to his life growing up and how Eskimos lived and what he was taught as a child.  I think that contributed to the character’s strengths and maybe some weaknesses.  The interaction with Rose was interesting and I wondered how that relationship would work out.  Lots of great twists and turns in the plot, it will keep you guessing!

We give it 4 paws.

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About the Author:

Stefan Kanfer is the author of fifteen books, including the bestselling biographies of show business icons: GROUCHO; BALL OF FIRE (Lucille Ball); SOMEBODY (Marlon Brando); and TOUGH WITHOUT A GUN (Humphrey Bogart). He has also written many social histories, among them THE LAST EMPIRE, about the De Beers diamond company, and STARDUST LOST, an account of the rise and fall of the Yiddish Theater in New York.

Kanfer also wrote two novels about World War II and served as the only journalist on the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. He was the first by-lined cinema critic for Time magazine, where he worked as writer and editor for more than two decades. He has been given many writing awards and was named a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library. He lives in New York where he serves as a columnist for the City Journal of the Manhattan Institute.

 

A copy of this book was given to me for an honest review.

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Posted in chick lit, New York, romance, women on December 8, 2012

In November I attended an event called Readers & ‘Ritas where I got to meet several authors.  Another author I met was Wendy Markham, or perhaps also known to you as Wendy Corsi Staub.  I remember about a year or so ago when I realized these were the same people, no wonder I liked all of the books!

Anyway, Wendy graciously sent me this book to read and review….and it did not disappoint!

Synopsis:

WHY YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN:

  • The old diner serves sushi.
  • The stay-at-home moms drive Hummers.
  • The only house you can afford is haunted.
  • Your new neighbor is your unrequited high-school crush. And he’s still hot.

Fed up with her moody teenage daughter, Meg Addams decides what they both need is a good dose of suburban wholesomeness. But when they leave Manhattan behind for Meg’s humble blue-collar hometown, they find it crowded with wealthy strangers and upscale boutiques. Settling into a creaky fixer-upper, Meg finally spots a familiar face right next door–and it belongs to none other than Sam Rooney. The would-be love of Meg’s high school life is now a single dad, her daughter’s new soccer coach-and a neighborly ghost-buster whenever things go bump in the night. With three kids and an undeniable attraction between them, Meg and Sam are in for some heart-racing, wee-hour encounters that have nothing to do with spirits…but everything to do with hearts.

 

Review:

As I mentioned above, I have never been disappointed by anything I had ready by Wendy, so I am happy to report that I enjoyed this book just as much!  I liked the ghostly interactions, or maybe I should say interference?  It added a nice twist once you found out the details…don’t want to say too much as to spoil it!  The characters were solid but with enough baggage to make it interesting!  There has to be some baggage when you are talking about divorced or widowed characters with children!

All in all I give it 4 1/2 paws up, definitely pick it up if you are in the mood for a light-hearted romance novel.

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Posted in e-books, fiction, Kindle, New York, Review on September 23, 2012

Earlier this year I reviewed an excellent historical fiction novel by Ed Brodow called Fixer.  If you haven’t picked that one up, definitely add it to your TBR (to be read) list.

Ed contacted me again and asked if I would like to review his new book, Women from Venus.  This book contains four short stories that have interesting twists at the end…

In the first novella, Women From Venus, psychologist Robert Elgar’s successful career as a debunker of alien kidnappings is sabotaged when a beautiful abductee charges him with rape.

The Man Who Could Not Make Up His Mind depicts the ordeal of Clifford Day Vanderwall as his career is destroyed by a predatory fortune hunter in this hilarious satire about love among New York’s upper crust.

Intent on revenge, ex-Marine Tommy Courten tracks his sister’s psychopathic killer to a remote South American
jungle only to be shocked by what he discovers about his own true nature in The Stamp.

In I’ll Take Manhattan, the Lenape Indians offer proof that their tribe is the rightful owner of Manhattan Island and they want it back.

Review:

Ed had a lot to live up to after I read Fixer and loved it!  He did not disappoint with with these four short stories.  In fact, I didn’t want the stories to end, I wanted them to continue!  The stories twist and turn in the end and what you think is going to happen or should happen, doesn’t.

I think my favorite was I’ll Take Manhattan because the thought of a group of people lying claim to Manhattan which is nothing but an island…well that is crazy and can you imagine how much people would lose if all of a sudden ownership of the land reverted to a group of people?!  Crazy!

Gracie and April enjoyed the stories too and give them four paws

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Posted in contest, Giveaway, Kate White, mystery, New York on April 18, 2012

After a few stand alone books (Hush and The Sixes), Kate White brings to us another installment in the Bailey Weggins series.

Synopsis:

Bailey Weggins, the thirty-something, true crime journalist for Buzz, a leading celebrity magazine, needs a break. Plenty busy with her day job, her freelance work, and trying to get her first book noticed, she barely has time for her recently exclusive boyfriend, Beau Regan, much less herself. When Beau goes out of town, Bailey accepts an invitation with her friend Jesse to a music mogul’s weekend house in upstate New York.

But, the relaxing weekend getaway turns out to be more like an Agatha Christie whodunit. A weird tension has infected all the guests—a glamorous crowd of journalists and models, including the famous, and famously thin, supermodel Devon Barr. An impending snowstorm only adds to the tension. When Devon’s cold, lifeless body is found in her bed, Bailey immediately suspects foul play: she can’t shake the memory of a fearful and angry Devon shivering in the woods outside the house, whispering , “I have to get out here . . . It’s not safe for me.”

When evidence goes missing from the crime scene, Bailey once again finds herself a moving target—running closer to the truth and farther from safety.

 

Review:

While I have read several of the other books by Kate White, this is the first of the Bailey Weggins series that I have read.  I normally like to read books in order so jumping in at #6 is a little out of my comfort zone since I didn’t have any history with this character.  Not to worry, there is enough background in the book that you don’t feel like you have just jumped into the middle of the series.  Granted I would have liked more history, but that is a personal preference.  The characters are interesting and complex and round out the storyline very well.  I never suspected who was involved and I like that because it means there are enough red herrings to throw you off into another direction for awhile.

All in all I enjoyed the book and will probably be going back and starting with book 1 to really catch up on Bailey and see how she came to be in this series.

 

The Giveaway:

Fill out the form below for a chance to win the book that they sent me to read and review.  Must be a resident of the US and the contest will end on May 6th.  So sign up for a chance at this book!

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Posted in fiction, Historical, New York, Review on February 14, 2012

I love getting random emails from authors asking me to review a book, especially when the book is something I probably wouldn’t have normally picked up or even known about.  Stretching the mind is a good thing!

Ed Brodow contacted me about reading and reviewing Fixer which is fiction but loosely based on his Grandfather’s life in New York in the early 1900’s and especially dealt with the Jewish population in New York.  He graciously sent me an e-book copy to read.

 

From the slums of the Lower East Side to New Orleans, the Vatican, and the bloody battle of Belleau Wood, Fixer is the spellbinding tale of a fearless politician with a limp and a thirty-eight who is faced with an impossible choice between his career and his integrity.

Harry Leonnoff, uneducated son of Russian Jewish immigrants, overcomes the poverty of the Lower East Side, a crippling bout with polio, and rampant anti-Semitism to become the admired Robin Hood of Depression-Era New York. He helps four mayors get elected, saves nine innocent black men from the electric chair, and comes to the aid of immigrants and the poor. But the enmity of Fiorello La Guardia may be too much even for Harry Leonnoff to fix.

 

 Ed was also kind enough to let me interview him for this review.

SBR:  What made you decide to write a book loosely based on your Grandfather’s life?

EB: My grandfather was the most extraordinary human being I’ve ever met. His story is remarkable and yet no one alive today knows who he was. That has always disturbed me. For about 40 years, I’ve thought about telling the story. Why it came avalanching out when it did — about five years ago — I am not really sure, but better late than never. Incidentally, I would have written a memoir if I’d been in possession of enough facts, but I wasn’t so I made most of it up.

SBR: How long did it take you to research the facts you needed for your novel and then write the novel itself?

EB: I did all the research and wrote the first draft in seven weeks. It just came flying out. Whoosh! Then I spent two years polishing it.

SBR: What is your biggest obstacle when writing and how do you overcome it?

EB:  I am a wonderful story teller but my style is economical (which I’m proud of, by the way). Sometimes I gloss over the details. My solution is to (1) carefully organize my ideas and outline the chapters; (2) do lots of research; and (3) answer the question, “What does the reader want to know?”

SBR:  What actors would you choose to play your main characters in a movie version of your book?

EB: Everyone tells me that Fixer would be a great movie. For Harry Leonnoff, I could cast Daniel Day-Lewis (I have a feeling he would ace it), Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, or Nicholas Cage (he seems to understand that New York ethnic thing). For Fiorello, Jack Nicholson (he’d be great because he is short and has a great sense of humor), Paul Giamatti, John Malkovich, or Christoff Waltz.

SBR: Who are two of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?

EB: Jim Harrison and Hemingway, both fabulous story tellers. I’m reading Off to the Side by Jim Harrison.

My Review:

My normal preferred genres of books usually doesn’t include historical novels.  I don’t know why, but maybe the writers didn’t really impress me with their descriptions…or maybe I just got older and my tastes changed (kind of like they do with food).  Needless to say, I truly enjoyed reading Fixer and getting a taste of what it was like in the early 1900’s in New York and what it was like to be an immigrant and Jewish on top of that.  Politics were a whole different game back then and it was fascinating to learn about positions that don’t exist any more, but perhaps they should.

The author takes you through a very historic period in New York and the dark and seedy underbelly of politics.  While the book is fiction, there is some truth to the story.  He weaves a tale that makes you feel like you are there and living in that moment and can imagine what it was like to be an immigrant at the turn of the century.

This story really grabbed me and kept me entranced with the characters and how they overcame adversity for their time.

I definitely recommend this book and give it 2 thumbs up!  If you have a Kindle or other E-book reader it is a steal at $2.99 on Smashwords.

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Posted in cooking, Cozy, mystery, New York on August 31, 2011

Once I finish Lost and Fondue I will be starting on Murder by Mocha by Cleo CoyleMurder by Mocha is the 10th in the Coffee House series.

From the dust jacket:

Clare Cosi, manager and head barista of the landmark Village Blend coffeehouse, can brew a beverage to die for.  But can she stir up some evidence against a bitter killer who has gone loco for mocha?

Clare’s Village Blend beans are being used to creatte a new java love potion: a “Mocha Magic Coffee” billed as an aphrodisiac.  Clare may even try some on her boyfriend, NYPD detective Mike Quinn – when he’s off duty, of course….

The product, expected to rake in millions, will be sold exclusively on Aphrodite’s Village, one of the Web’s most popular online communities for women.  But the launch party ends on a sour note when one of the Web site’s editors if found dead.

When more of the Web site’s Sisters of Aphrodite start to die, Clare is convinced someone wants the coffee’s secret formula – and is willing to kill to get it.  Clare isn’t about to spill the benas, but will she be next on the hit list?

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Posted in Cozy, New York on August 4, 2010

Before Elise Warner started her writing career you could find her on Broadway, working with National Companies and in clubs as an actress, singer and stage manager.  She has even written a play which won Theatre Guinevere’s “Guinny Award”.  After that she started writing for various magazines but this is her first novel.

Scene Stealer features Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired school teacher who is caught up on the case of a kidnapped child, an actor in fact, and feels that she must help the police solve this crime.  She does this putting her self in harms way a time or two, and as expected of a school teacher, a rap or two on the knuckles of some not some helpful characters.

When I first started reading this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, in fact, I wasn’t even aware that this was the author’s first novel.  The story started off with Augusta noticing a child on the bus and as a former schoolteacher knew that something wasn’t quite right.  The child looked scared and the man he was with was a bit scary himself.  She departs the bus to try and follow the pair to see if she can help the child.  In the back of her mind she recognizes the child but does not realize he is an actor for a local fast food chain until his disappearance is publicized in the media.  Then she realizes what she saw could help find Kevin and bring him back to his mother.  She doesn’t realize the danger that she ends up putting herself in to until it is too late. 

I was beginning to wonder why someone would want to read this book if the kidnapper was going to be revealed so early in the book.  But imagine mysurprise when the obvious wasn’t as obvious as you might think.  It was a nice twist that I wasn’t expecting and pulled me back in to the story wondering how it was going to end.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars and if the author decides to make this a series, I will definitely check out the second installment.

Posted in fiction, New York, real estate on November 9, 2008


Publisher – Oceanview Publishing
ISBN – 9781933515137
Price – $23.95
Publication Date – 5/1/08
Was it The Deal of a lifetime?
Number of stars for amazon.com (4/5)

The author, Adam Gittlin, is a commercial real estate executive in New York City. This is his second book; his first was The Men Downstairs.

Jonah Gray was on the fast track to success from growing up with a family that owned and managed real estate in the Northeast to working for a commercial real estate company owned by a family friend and brokering some of the best deals of his young life. So when the opportunity of a lifetime came along from a family friend that wished to purchase real estate in the Big Apple, who was he to question the request? Sure he only had three weeks to make the deal of a lifetime, but that is what makes the request a challenge. Everything seemed perfectly normal until a series of incidents that lead him to dig deeper than he ever imagined. Was the family friend on the up and up or was there more involved than meets the eye? And would his life ever be the same when it was all said and done?

I am familiar with commercial real estate and that world so was interested to see how the author brought this in as a part of the storyline especially since this is something the author is very familiar with in real life. While there are references to buildings in NYC, it was not heavy on the details which could be good or bad depending on what you were expecting.

There were times when the chapters lagged and I felt like there was too much detail for a scene at a club or restaurant. There was also more foul language than I normally prefer, however I was able to read past that part. Once the main character found a Fabergé Egg in his possession, everything changed and the pace of the story picked up and it kept me engrossed until the very end.

There are many twists and turns that I did not see coming. Who was his father and what had he not told him over the years? And what about his old family friend, Andreu? Was his story about needing to purchase the real estate legitimate? And why the rush? These questions are all answered as Jonah digs deeper and deeper into his family history.

Take a chance on this book, it is a good read and it just might surprise you.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (5/08)

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