San Diego ~ 5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100, San Diego, CA 92111 ~ 858-268-4747
Redondo Beach Satellite ~ 2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278 - 310-542-6000
San Diego ~ 5943 Balboa Avenue, Suite #100, San Diego, CA 92111 ~ 858-268-4747
Redondo Beach Satellite ~ 2810 Artesia Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278 - 310-542-6000
|A selection of the books Terry (tlg) loves. Terry is another cross genre omnivore, with a particular passion for entertaining characters, exotic locales, and more than a dab of romance.|
Maestra is the first in a trilogy featuring 24-year-old Judith Rashleigh, a character so bold and fearless you won’t know whether to slap or admire her. She was educated at Oxford as an art historian after being brought up in a lower class home with an abusive mother. Her ambitions and resourcefulness have taken her to some pretty risky places, while she simultaneously tries to make it in London’s Art World and make enough money to live on. When her plans unravel, she finds herself inside the world of the über-wealthy as the companion to a young businessman and begins to use her unique skills to maintain her lifestyle there. Maestra takes many unexpected turns and twists, and took me by surprise time and again. It is like nothing I have read before … and I look with anticipation to the sequel.
I am not the only Maestra fan. Prior to publication, it was optioned for a movie and sold in 43 countries.
Family angst. Financial woes. Interconnected lives. The New York Literary scene. Coming of Age. Surprises, turns, and twists. This is The Nest, an engaging debut about one family told from multiple points of view, centered on the four siblings in the Plumb family. The oldest is Leo, who is the catalyst for the current financial woes of his family. Leo’s appetite for excess, driven by an unhappy marriage, results in tragedy for an unsuspecting woman. When the inheritance their father left (nicknamed “The Nest”) is used to bail Leo out of the resultant mess, his siblings struggle with the prospect of losing the funds they have planned on inheriting -- and in some cases, already spent -- for years.
The question of whether Leo will reimburse his siblings leads the narrative, but it is the journey and ultimate growth of each family member that makes this an endearing story to treasure. The buzz is already in the air and this is a book and author to watch.
The Madwoman Upstairs is both a reference to the insane first wife of Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, and to Samantha Whipple, who is the last remaining descendant of the Brontë sisters. It is not a coincidence that Samantha finds herself living in the Tower of Extinction (originally built to house quarantine victims of the plague in 1361) at Oxford University. She is studying English literature with a (also not coincidentally) good-looking, older English professor who is strictly off limits to her officially, intellectually, and due to their age discrepancy. Like her foresisters before her, she is young, inexperienced, and totally out of her league here. She was home schooled by her father and is attending Old College at his request, though he died seven years prior (not coincidentally) in a fire which claimed all of his literary pursuits. This exciting literary debut is in part a study of literature, specifically the Brontë sisters’ works, and in part the mystery of their legacy. Samantha cannot escape her past history with their work, the world’s interest in her inheritance of previously undiscovered family treasures, and the current puzzle of artifacts mysteriously appearing in her room … which may or may not answer some of her questions. For mystery and Brontë fans alike, this is a delightful romp and an (very clever) author to watch.
A March Fantastic Firsts Pick!
I didn’t know what to expect when I started Lutz’s first standalone thriller. Everyone who knows my reading tastes knows that I am a big fan of Lisa’s, but this is new territory. Or is it? The Passenger combines Lutz’s signature humor and talent for pacing and dialog with a page turning adventure of a young woman we first get to know as Tanya Dubois. Very soon, we find out that she has at least one other identity, as she travels from her current life in Waterloo, Wisconsin, the recent widow of a bar owner (she says she didn’t do it!) to Austin, Texas, where she befriends a woman named Blue. They recognize in each other kindred spirits of women on the run … with many secrets to keep. The real mystery is what Nora Glass (Tanya Dubois’ real name) is running from, and why she has stayed away from her home town of Bilman, Washington, for the past 10 years. And that is just the beginning of this fast-paced adventure that I dare you to put down. Lutz has done it again.
While the story line is about a missing hunter in the Colorado mountains and the search effort to find her, it is more poignantly about two women whose pasts are complicated and parallel in many ways. Amy Raye Latour has come to the mountains with two friends to hunt elk. She sets off early one morning, with a bow and arrow and a few other supplies, while her fellow hunters are sleeping, and makes her way to a specific place with a specific plan for making her last kill of the season. We know that she is running both to and from her past and it is this backstory that joins the narrative about her experience hunting and ultimately getting lost in the mountains.
Pru Hathaway is a single mom whose 17-year-old son lives with her in Rio Mesa, Colorado. Her job working for the Bureau of Land Management as an archaeological law enforcement ranger also qualifies her to do search and rescue missions. And, like Amy Raye, she has been brought up in the outdoors and is comfortable and competent in nature and survival. Her backstory of love, loss, and hope is also intertwined with the current mission to find Amy.
The wilds of Colorado are as much a character as a backdrop to this adrenaline-rich race against time, not just to find Amy Raye, but for both women to find themselves.
Isabelle (Belle) McElroy is one smart lady. She is smart enough to be one of the few managing directors at her Wall Street firm. She seems to have it all, including three beautiful children and a handsome husband who is spending more time managing the home front than working, because she is the major bread winner in her household. But in her world, women are at an extreme disadvantage. Their talents and brains are often overlooked as their appearance receives overt attention in this testosterone-fueled business. Belle tends to overlook the oversights and sexual innuendoes encountered in her rise to the top of her profession and earning capacity, but some of the firm’s women are not as passive and are insisting that she join their ranks of resistance in their Glass Ceiling Club. Their activities are starting to be noticed just as Belle’s talents bring her to the forefront of some very big deals and very big money. Enter Belle’s ex-fiancé, a man who trounced on her heart many years ago. He is now working for one of her biggest clients. And then the financial crisis of 2008 hits. I simply could not put this down.
This adrenaline-rush of a novel takes place on an island where a single cycle of sun occurs every 28 years. This means that there are 14 years of daylight and 14 years of Night. When the sun sets, everyone on the island packs up their house in a very specific way, following years of traditions, and sets sail for the Desert Lands where other customs rule. Marin, Kana, and Line have only known life on the island and find many of their questions about leaving and their new home unanswered by the adults around them. When the three teens find themselves left on the island as Night falls, the tide retreats, and unknown terrors abound. Their only salvation is to find a way off the island. Their perils are real -- and terrifying -- as they try to escape before it is too late. In the meantime, they find answers to questions they didn’t know to ask.
Debut author Hester Young has taken Southern gothic to a whole new level with her complex heroine, whose heartache is genuine and palpable. Charlotte (Charlie) Cates is a broken-hearted divorcee who has suffered unimaginable loss in her life; her mother left when she was a baby, her father died in a car accident, and her 4-year-old son died of a brain aneurysm. Her saving grace has been her friendship with fellow mother, Rae, and her love for her grandmother, with whom she has lived since she was 14 years old. It turns out that Charlie and her grandmother have more in common that she knew. They both have visions which enable them to see the future. When one such vision coincides with a job offer to research a cold case of a missing child, Charlie travels to Chicory, Louisiana to reside in an old southern mansion called Evangeline. Once there, she meets the Deveau family, complete with evil sisters, a brother with secrets, thier dying mother, and a fellow visitor who is working to restore the grounds of their estate to their former beauty. As Charlie learns more about the inhabitants of this house, she finds herself immersed in the history and mystery of this family. In the end, she will find the answers she seeks, both about the Deveau family … and about herself.
Who doesn’t enjoy a sneak peek into the lives of others? A goldfish named Ian certainly falls into the category of interested onlooker, even as he plunges 27 stories from his fishbowl on the balcony of “Villain Connor Radley’s” apartment. Ian’s astute observations of his own situation as well as those he passes on his way will leave a smile on your face. As he will tell you, this story actually starts 30 minutes before his plunge and involves multiple glimpses into the lives of the inhabitants of Seville on Roxy, an apartment building in a nameless city that feels a lot like New York City. Ian’s trip is breathtaking, as are the big reveals in the lives of Connor, his girlfriend Katie, building superintendent Jemenez, the very pregnant Petunia Delilah, and a handful of others. Filled with insight and humor, (and a creative page layout!) this is a debut novel from an author to watch.
From its atmospheric setting in the Georgia Appalachian Highlands, to a multi-generational dynasty of dysfunctional men who have made their living off Bull Mountain (in mostly illegal ways), to a current-day national investigation into the family business … this debut will engross you. Clayton Burroughs is the McFalls County Sheriff and brother to Hal, the head of the “family business.” Hal is a violent and unpredictable man who rules Bull Mountain with a tight rein. When Agent Simon Holly visits Clayton with a proposal to solve some of the problems he faces with the criminal elements of his community, a series of events is triggered with devastating consequences. As the vast network of co-mingled activities involving guns, drugs, and violence is revealed, so are multiple generations of Burroughs which form the core of this mountain community. This is the story of family and the far reaching consequences of generations of dysfunctional relationships. Prepare to be skillfully drawn into the dark side of Bull Mountain as we welcome debut author Panowich, who will surely become a household name in no time
With Lutz’s trademark humor, quippy dialogue, and quirky characters, she introduces readers to three college friends who met in Santa Cruz where they all began attending college in 1993. Anna is a take-charge, wild, adventurous soul raised in an affluent family in Boston. Her desire to escape her background, her family, and her emotions at every opportunity, even as a child, continues to define her as an adult. Kate was raised by her grandfather after both of her parents died when she was eight years old. She was raised in Santa Cruz and never wanted to leave, her only ambition to manage her grandfather’s restaurant. Life has other plans for her. George is a tall, beautiful basketball player who hails from the midwest and had a less catastrophic upbringing than the other two, but who has a penchant for men who are bad for her.
Told from multiple viewpoints, points in time, and locations, the story leads readers to learn about all three girls from college to graduate school … through failed marriages, career decisions, and life cycles … and about the men that revolve around their worlds. Fans of Lutz will fall in love all over again. Readers who are new to her will race to their bookstores to begin reading about the Spellmans.
It’s simple. It’s groundbreaking. It’s an entertaining peek into Hollywood and the makings of a successful talent. It is also a very serious way to begin thinking about how you can change your life; your work life, your social life, and maybe even your personal outlook. Brian Grazer has subtitled his first book The Secret to a Bigger Life … and this just may be it.
Brian is a very successful film and TV producer who teamed up with Ron Howard at the beginning of his career to make a “splash” in movie theaters and in our homes, but that is not what makes this book compelling (though it does add to the entertainment value). What makes this book life-changing is that it teaches us to use curiosity in a way that can actually improve our lives, inspire innovation and creativity, and give us a reason dig deeper to find the bigger truths in work and in life. The trait that has led Grazer to success, understanding, and happiness has been his curiosity and his persistence to find answers to his questions.
Grazer also talks about how important it is to understand what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes and how we must understand our competitors’ perspective in order to anticipate their next move and improve on it. He calls this “disrupting your own point of view” by anticipating what customers will want by who they are and how they behave. He gives us plenty of examples of ways he has used these techniques, and how others in industry and life have used them too.
Grazer wrote A Curious Mind to share his life perspective and to lead us in a direction that may add value to our lives. This may, in fact, be one of the most important business/life books of our time.
A First Date with Death is an entertaining look behind the scenes of a reality dating show, featuring ex-cop Georgia Thornton as a woman looking for love. Talked into doing the show by her BFF, show assistant producer Becca, Georgia immediately regrets her decision, and not just because the first date is a disaster with dire consequences. Additionally, her ex-fiancé enters the show, she spots a crew member that may just be someone she sent to prison, and one of her dates commits suicide. She is convinced that there is a homicide (or two) that needs investigating as she struggles her way through the show, where the guys are keeping her guessing. She also has to figure out who is on the show to find love, since half the guys are only there playing for money. It's a fast-paced romp with an enduring female lead we look forward to seeing again in the next installment. A March Fantastic First Pick.
This luscious debut is a breath-taking, beautiful piece of fiction set in war-torn Europe during WWI and its aftermath. I was quickly drawn into the life of Lev Pearlmutter, an assimilated German Jew, at odds with himself and his world at this momentous time in our history. After joining the military in 1916, Lev is posted to the Eastern Front. It is while serving there that he meets and falls for Leah, a beautiful young Jewish woman who lives with her extended family. Lev’s exposure to her way of life becomes a life-changing experience for him.
Upon his return to Berlin, Lev must deal with his distant wife, his treasured daughter, and his difficult son while he tries to reconcile his feelings for Leah and his Jewish identity to the life he currently lives. This period piece is so well-drawn that you feel yourself walking the streets with Lev and his family, experiencing their emotions, fear, and fates. Despite all that has been written of this era, your understanding of this time and this place and what it meant to be Jewish in Berlin between the two World Wars will stay with you long after your turn the last page
This is literally the story of life and death. Life following death. Death following life. It centers on seven-year-old Mille Bird who contemplates death … a lot. The death of her dog, Rambo, is only the first entry in her “List of Dead Things.” Unfortunately, her father is also on her list, which results in a journey that begins with abandonment, turns into an adventure (of sorts), and introduces her to Karl the Touch Typist and Agatha Pantha, two elderly citizens in her town who have suffered losses of their own.
As Millie tries to uncover the truth about death, she ultimately helps Karl and Agatha find more life in their lives. This promising debut has some life (and death) lessons for all of us. A Fantastic Firsts Pick in February
There are a bunch of very bad guys in and around New York City and the surrounding boroughs. “Our” bad guys met in prison serving time for a range of illegal activities which have prepared them to arm and protect themselves to ensure that they don’t return to a life behind bars. James Beck, Demarco Jones, Manny Guzman, and Ciro Baldassare live off the grid and on guard, as a close knit family in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook. Their relatively peaceful existence comes to a grinding halt when Manny’s niece calls in for protection after she is threatened and fired from her job in a securities firm. At first it seems like a simple matter getting justice for her, but quickly turns into something quite different when a Russian arms dealer enters the picture. And then things get complicated and messy… and worse. Among Thieves is for fans of Lee Child, Ocean’s 11, and books with lots of action, and not a little bloodshed. This is a great kickoff for what we hope will become a series, with smart plotting and characters we would like to know better.
The Magician’s Lie is a compelling old-fashioned story with a magical twist from debut author Greer Macallister. Told in two timelines set 13 years apart, the story draws readers into the lives of the most famous female illusionist of her day, The Amazing Arden, and Virgil Holt, a young policeman who is fighting for his livelihood after suffering the aftermath of being shot in the back. The story begins with Virgil attending the performance of the illusionist; shortly thereafter, Arden’s husband is found dead and Virgil encounters the performer just as he is leaving a neighborhood tavern. They proceed to his police station where through the course of one evening she tells him the story of her life, and he has to make a determination of her guilt or innocence. The Magician’s Lie is an intriguing, and engrossing journey beginning in 1892 New York that travels around turn of the century America at a hypnotic pace.
Y - Factor ... Young Adult Novels
Laurie’s first entry into the world of young adults brings her trademark psychic sensibilities to a contemporary high school setting featuring a young teen who tries to stay under the radar, but instead finds herself a target for more than just the local school bullies. Madelyn (Maddie) Fynn is the sixteen year-old daughter of an alcoholic mother, whose father was killed on the job, but those are _ not her biggest problems. It is her ability to perceive “death dates” printed on people’s foreheads that cause her no end of distress. When she reads the death date of a child in a picture a visiting client shows her, and the child in the picture turns up murdered, her problems begin in earnest. When the body count rises and Maddie herself is a possible suspect, her life becomes even more unbearable.
Laurie’s breathless pacing will keep you glued to the pages as Maddie fights for her life and for who she is … in the midst of a sea of relentless odds stacked against her. This is a protagonist that you will root for … and feel for … and fear for … up until the very last page. And then you will miss reading her … and hope that she will return. A Fantastic First pick for January 2015.