Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard... a book review


Stars Over Sunset Boulevard

by Susan Meissner
Penguin Random House LLC
January 5, 2016
ISBN 9780451475992
Women’s Fiction / Historical Fiction

Publisher’s Description:
“In this new novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, two women working in Hollywood during its Golden Age discover the joy and heartbreak of true friendship.
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister's vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie...
Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey's zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood's glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman's deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
I love reading Susan Meissner’s novels!  Her style of writing draws the reader into the lives of the characters as they share their story.  I find myself cheering them on in good times and walking alongside them in bad times.  I found myself relating to both the main female characters: Audrey and her desire to fulfill her dream, and Violet wanting a good man and family.  Each woman overcomes many obstacles on their way to happiness.
I enjoyed the storyline setting during the filming of Gone With the Wind.  I am not up on the history of the making of the film, but Susan Meissner seamlessly weaved the girls’ story in and around the set, filming, and the “behind the scenes” work.  I easily pictured the secretary pool and the trolley rides to and from work.
So, grab a copy of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard and get lost in glamorous times past!
I received a complimentary digital copy of Stars Over Sunset Boulevard for my honest review from Penguin Random House LLC and NetGalley.
Happy reading,

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Jerusalem Prophecies by Terry Brennan

The Aleppo Code

The Aleppo Code

The Jerusalem Prophecies, book 3
Kregel Publications, 2015

“A thousand-year-old manuscript reveals the existence of an ancient sanctuary. 
Within that sanctuary lies the most powerful weapon in the history of the world.”

The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan is the final chapter in the mysteries deciphered from the thousand-year-old scroll and mezuzah found in the Bowery Mission.  The scroll’s message, written in demotic text, leads a misfit group around the world and into Jerusalem seeking the “treasure” at the end of a long and treacherous road.  Before I go any further, I must digress…

The Sacred CipherBook 1, The Sacred Cipher - “A secret room has been discovered in the Chapel of the Bowery Mission.  And what’s hidden inside reveals a mystery of biblical proportions.

“When New Yorker Tom Bohannon uncovers an ancient scroll containing a dead language that has been lost in the sands of time, he doesn’t fully comprehend the danger that’s about to unfold.  Though Tom and his team of ragtag scientists and historians want to decode the ancient text, others don’t want the cipher revealed.  And they are prepared to kill to keep it hidden.  From a market in nineteenth-century Alexandrea to a library in present-day New York to the tunnels beneath Jerusalem, the secret of the cipher is gradually revealing itself across the globe.  And for those in its path, life is about to change – forever.”

The Brotherhood ConspiracyBook 2, The Brotherhood Conspiracy – “A secret as old as the prophets lies hidden in an ancient code.  That code may uncover an artifact as mysterious, and dangerous, as the Lost Ark.”

The Brotherhood Conspiracy continues with Bohannon’s group realizing there is another mystery on the mezuzah which was not understood in The Sacred Cipher.  The groups chasing them will not stop until they have the mezuzah and scroll in their possession.  Once again, the group heads out to parts unknown to seek what is hidden.  “One step ahead of an ancient gang of assassins, and one step behind the deadline for impending disaster, the team encounters the death of friends and colleagues and maneuvers through a maze of political treachery, religious fanaticism, and traitorous machinations – to the very brink of judgement orchestrated by a force greater than they could have imagined.”

The Aleppo CodeBook 3, The Aleppo Code - “A thousand-year-old manuscript reveals the existence of an ancient sanctuary.  Within that sanctuary lies the most powerful weapon in the history of the world.”

“Having chased the secret of the Cipher through a maze of treachery, death, and destruction, Tom Bohannon’s band of explorers seems to be at a dead end.  But the discovery of a tenth-century scriptural text holding the final key to the ancient code hurls them right back into the fray.”

As much as I would love to tell you the storyline and its outcome, I cannot – no spoilers in this review.  All three books are amazing!  Terry Brennan has woven a suspense-filled, theological mystery so real that you can “almost” imagine it happening today.  His use of biblical history, archeology and present-day news and political unrest intertwined with the fictional storyline will keep you enthralled to the end!

From the opening paragraph in The Sacred Cipher to the final page in The Aleppo Code, I was pulled into the mystery of the ancient scroll.  The characters were everyday people being asked to believe by faith, not by sight.  People I can relate to; people who believed the unbelievable.  I cheered them on, grieved with them, and peered around the tunnels along with them.

I look forward to many more reads from Terry Brennan!

A huge thank you goes to Kregel Publishing for allowing me to read and review these amazing books!

I received complimentary print copies of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Aleppo Code from Kregel Publishing for my honest review.

Happy Reading,

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