Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pretty Baby - Book Review

Several days in a row Heidi sees the homeless teenage girl with the baby near the L train. It's cold and rainy and miserable and that baby shouldn't be out in that weather. Heidi can't help watching and eventually she offers her coat and dinner and the next thing she knows, she's inviting them into her home.

Chris is used to his wife's bleeding heart generosity. After all, she works with refugees but he's not thrilled when Heidi brings home the dirty girl and her smelly baby. Installed in his office, he's not sure when the guests will be leaving he will get his home back. He doesn't trust this girl at all.

Willow is young, lost, cold and in way over her head with a baby on the streets.

Mary Kubica writes in a way that draws the reader immediately into the story and the characters. I could absolutely feel Heidi's torment as she tries to decide how much she can help this poor, homeless girl and her beautiful baby. Pretty Baby is an emotional, psychological thriller that kept me enraptured.

I am a fan of Kubica's debut novel The Good Girl but I think I enjoyed Pretty Baby even more. There are no wrong notes as Kubica takes the reader on the roller coaster ride of emotions--love, deceit and overwhelming desire. It's thrilling without being crass and gory. The characters are so brilliantly flawed and perfectly human. I devoured this novel in a matter of days.

Pretty Baby is Mary Kubica's second novel and is published by MIRA. It releases on July 28, 2015.

**I received a complimentary copy of Pretty Baby. No additional compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kiehl's 6th Annyal Liferide for amfAR

Influential Motorcycle Riders Join Forces with Kiehl’s
liferide6_logoto Raise Awareness & Funds to Help Find a Cure for AIDS

NEW YORK, August 2015 - Maintaining its long-standing tradition of supporting HIV/AIDS charities, Kiehl’s Since 1851, the venerable New York-based purveyor of fine quality skin and hair care, is pleased to announce its continued partnership with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, and the sixth annual Kiehl’s LifeRide for amfAR.

Inspired by a Kiehl’s icon – the motorcycle – a spirit of adventure and philanthropic heritage, the sixth annual LifeRide continues the brand’s mission to heighten awareness and raise funds for amfAR. Beginning in Denver, and ending in San Diego (where the first LifeRide began in 2010) this 12-day, multi-stop charity ride will take place August 3-15, 2015.

Rallying at 10 retail stores along the route, the company will donate a total of $150,000 over the course of the ride. At each stop, the public will be invited to meet the riders, learn more about amfAR and contribute to the non-profit. At the conclusion of this year’s ride, Kiehl’s will have raised $1,270,000 for amfAR, funding seven cure-related research projects.
To celebrate and commemorate Kiehl’s commitment to amfAR, this year’s LifeRide coincides with the release of LIFERIDE: Riding for a Cure, a coffee-table photo book chronicling the first five years of LifeRide. Featuring photos by Grammy award-winning photographer Travis Shinn, the book will is available in all Kiehl’s retail stores beginning August 1. Shinn has been a part of LifeRide for every mile journeyed to capture not only LifeRide’s most significant achievements and but also candid moments on the road. The book retails for $60, with 100% of Kiehl’s net profits, up to $10,000, benefiting amfAR.

https://www.crowdrise.com/media/crlogos/Crowdrise_logo_326x80.gifKiehl’s is proud to share another addition for the sixth annual LifeRide: Social fundraising. Even customers who aren’t along the LifeRide route can join the ride by visiting CrowdRise.com/LifeRide2015 and sharing their own story by creating their own fundraising page for amfAR. Each celebrity rider will also have a fundraising page and be competing against each other to see whose fans can raise the most funds to help find a cure for AIDS.

Chris SalgardoPresident, Kiehl’s USA and Kevin Robert FrostCEO, amfAR will lead this year’s influential riders. They include:

Jay Ellis, actor
Vanessa Marcil, actor
Gilles Marini, actor
Chris Kael, musician
Conrad Leach, artist
Grant Reynolds, actor
Teddy Sears, actor

Key partners for the ride include Harley-Davidson, global airline Delta and FIJI Water, the number-one premium bottled water in the United States.

Additional is provided by Dreamworks StudiosMarilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg and Kenneth Cole.


Kiehl’s and amfAR invite all to be a part of this year’s ride. Press and public welcome at the following store stops:

o   LIFERIDE KICK-OFF! Kiehl’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center, 3000 E 1st Ave., Denver, CO, 12-1PM
o   Kiehl’s Fashion Place, 1664 Fashion Place, Murray, UT, 12-1PM
o   MONDAY, AUG. 10
o   Kiehl’s at Neiman Marcus, 3200 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV, 3-4PM
o   Kiehl’s at Forum Shops at Caesars, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV, 5-6PM
o   TUESDAY, AUG. 11:
o   Dillard’s at Downtown Summerlin, 11011 Sage Park Dr., Las Vegas, NV, 11AM-12PM
o   Las Vegas Harley-Davidson Event5191 S Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 1-2PM
o   Kiehl’s Santa Monica, 1516 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA, 3-4PM
o   Kiehl’s at Los Cerritos Center, 274 Los Cerritos Center, Cerritos, CA, 12-1PM
o   Kiehl’s at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA), 2-3PM
o   FRIDAY, AUG. 14:
o   San Diego Harley-Davidson Event, 4645 Morena Blvd., San Diego, CA. 1-2PM
o   Kiehl’s at University Town Center, 4545 La Jolla Village Dr., San Diego, CA3-4PM
o   SATURDAY, AUG. 15:
o   LIFERIDE FINALE!  Kiehl’s at Fashion Valley, 7007 Friars Rd., San Diego, CA, 12-1PM

In celebration of LifeRide, every customer who visits one of these stores on the event day will receive a 15% discount on all purchases, with the exception of charitable products and value sets. Kiehl’s will donate that 15% to amfAR, up to $115,000.  (Each stop store will also offer the fundraising discount on two additional days, either the two before or after the stop; contact each stop store for details.)

Kiehl’s will also offer a nationwide fundraising discount of 15% off all purchases with the exception of charitable products and value sets  at remaining Kiehl’s retail stores nationwide and Kiehls.com, Aug. 15 through Aug. 17. Kiehl’s will donate that 15% difference to amfAR, up to the $115,000 total donation. 

UltimateHandSalve_Charity_FinalTHE CURE IS IN YOUR HANDS

Kiehl’s customers nationwide can join the fight against HIV/AIDS through the purchase of Kiehl’s Limited Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, a jumbo-size of the brand’s classic formula. 100% of net profits from the sale of this product, up to $25,000, will benefit amfAR. The Limited Edition Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is adorned with a red cap and will be available at all Kiehl’s retail stores, Kiehls.com and specialty store partners nationwide.

I just recently started using Kiehl's skin care products but I'm already convinced that I love them. My skin is problematic but it's already starting to clear up and it feels so soft. Since I live in Utah, I'm always searching for a good moisturizer. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream is just right. My skin is moisturized but not greasy and a little goes a long way. I'm already a fan.

Join Kiehl's on their Liferide as they come through Utah and stop at Fashion Place Mall on August 6th from 12:00-1:00 pm. 

**Kiehl's provided a product sample for review purposes.**

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Necessary End - Book Review

About A Necessary End

 Hardcover: 400 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (July 7, 2015)
How far would you go to get what you wanted? The author of Don’t Try to Find Me returns with a taut, riveting novel of psychological suspense—a domestic drama full of secrets and twists—about a woman determined to have a child, her ambivalent husband, and a pregnant teenager with a secret agenda of her own.
“I know now that there was no other way things could have turned out. Tragedies are inevitable, just like the great love stories, like us.”
Thirty-nine-year-old Adrienne is desperate to be a mother. And this time, nothing is going to get in her way.
Sure, her husband, Gabe, is ambivalent about fatherhood. But she knows that once he holds their baby, he’ll come around. He’s just feeling a little threatened, that’s all. Because once upon a time, it was Gabe that Adrienne wanted more than anything; she was willing to do anything. . . . But that was half a lifetime ago. She’s a different person now, and so is Gabe. There are lines she wouldn’t cross, not without extreme provocation.
And sure, she was bitten once before by another birth mother—clear to the bone—and for most people, it’s once bitten, twice shy. But Adrienne isn’t exactly the retiring type.
At nineteen, Leah bears a remarkable resemblance to the young woman Adrienne once was. Which is why Adrienne knows the baby Leah is carrying is meant to be hers. But Leah’s got ideas of her own: Her baby’s going to get a life in California; why shouldn’t she? All she wants is to live in Adrienne’s house for a year after the baby’s born, and get a fresh start.

It seems like a small price for Adrienne to pay to get their baby. And with Gabe suddenly on board, what could possibly go wrong?

My thoughts:

A Necessary End by Holly Brown kept me riveted and thoroughly intrigued by the mind games the characters play on each other dangling a valuable prize--the darling baby Adrienne has longed for. As their secrets are revealed, the reader is left constantly wondering who is really the one to fear. Brown is excellent at getting into the minds of her characters and unveiling their inner most doubts, desires and dreams. The entire situation is foolish but desperate people often go to desperate measures to get what they really want.

There are a few plot twists that seem completely implausible and even more so when I explained them out loud to Rand (Whatcha reading?). At times I had trouble reconciling Adrienne and her husband Gabe actual age--though in their forties, they often acted like teenagers still. And the ending! I'm still trying to resolve how I feel about the ending. With that said, it is definitely an exciting conclusion. 

The writing is taut and flows at a good pace and kept me constantly guessing. I didn't dare glance at the clock, to see just how late I had stayed up reading to the final page. A Necessary End is a fun psychological thriller. 

**There is occasional profanity and talk of sex.

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About Holly Brown41148

Holly Brown lives with her husband and toddler daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she's a practicing marriage and family therapist. Her blog, Bonding Time, is featured on PsychCentral.com.
Connect with Holly on Facebook.

A Necessary End by Holly Brown is published by William Morrow and released on July 7, 2015.

Thanks to TLC for the complimentary copy. Don't miss the tour schedule

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bull Mountain - Book Review

As a fan of books like Serena by Ron Rash and A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash and television shows like Justified, I knew as soon as I read the blurb about Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich that I would be a fan.

The Burroughs have run Bull Mountain in Georgia for generations. Adapting from running moon shine to marijuana, to meth, the Burroughs are fiercely protective of their mountain and their way of life. Clayton Burroughs, the youngest brother, tried to escape the law-breaking clan by becoming the sheriff in the valley. As long as Clayton minds his own business and leaves the "family business" to his older brother, the family maintains a sort of truce.

A federal agent has come to town and approached Clayton about making a deal with his brother. The deal is tempting but is the risk to the fragile peace and the potentially violent fallout worth it?

It actually took me a little while to get into Bull Mountain. The initial excess of violence and the absence of characters that were more than just plain bad threw me off. I put the book down, read something else and then came back to it. On returning, I was much more intrigued by the people. They began to develop from their initial type cast characters and became complex, though still mostly vicious. As their motives and intentions become obvious, the novel transforms from a screen play for an episode of Justified to a thrilling Shakespearean family drama.

If Rand had any disposition to read lately, Bull Mountain would be the book I'd recommend. Instead, I frantically told him the exciting conclusion and ruined it all--because I couldn't resist talking about it as soon as I could breathe again. I will refrain from doing that here. Read it. Enjoy it. In the meantime, I'll shelve my copy of the book right next to the novels of Elmore Leonard where it belongs.

Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich is published by Putman and released on July 7, 2015.

**I received a complimentary copy of Bull Mountain. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Maybe in Another Life - Review

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.
Hannah hesitates.
What happens if she leaves with Gabby?
What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

My thoughts :

I've had much less time to read lately and life ends up distracting me from some of the heavier books. This summer has been fun and I'm not complaining but, I haven't finished several books I might have enjoyed if it was January and I could sit my butt on my couch and read. Rand had an MRI scheduled and wanted me to come with him for moral support so I knew I had several hours to read in the hospital. I decided to start Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid because I had a copy on my phone. It turned out to be the perfect book for what could have been a long day. 

Maybe in Another Life is an enchanting read with endearing characters and exciting twists in the love plot. It also has very little profanity and sex scenes (but so much sweet romance) so I can confidently recommend it to most of my friends. The writing style is comfortable and it's easy to settle in and completely lose track of time while reading the different versions of Hannah's life. 

When you get a chance, whether on the beach, at the cabin or heaven forbid the hospital waiting room, Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a great book to read this summer. Frankly, it will be a great read for the chilly January afternoon too. 

MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00

eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99

Grab the high-res cover here



**I received a complimentary copy of Maybe In Another Life. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Flying Circus -- Book Review

I still haven't had a chance to read Susan Crandall's novel Whistling Past the Graveyard. It got rave reviews and all my friends who read it loved it and I put it at the top of my to read list. So I was super excited for the opportunity to read and review her newest novel The Flying Circus.

From the cover :

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price—and one of them won’t be able to survive it.

As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure—worldly or private—they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.

My thoughts : 

Susan Crandall has a light writing style that I can only describe as fun. With a fast pace, I almost felt like I was flying across the country in a Jenny biplane. She fully captures the nostalgia of the 1920's and the country's fascination with early aviation. The characters are interesting and though they held back their own secrets and didn't reveal too much initially, they were intriguing and just so much fun. Cora is the most flamboyant and most daring of the characters in the novel and I just couldn't get enough of her. She would play fabulously on the screen. This book is meant for the screen.

In the midst of all the flying and action, the character's pasts and secrets threaten to destroy the makeshift family and their dreams. There are plenty of twists and some surprises and of course some romance to keep the reader guessing and constantly wondering what daring feat will happen next. 

Mixing some historical fiction, some mystery, some action and some romance, The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall is one fun summer read. 

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall is published by Gallery Books and releases in July 2015.

**I received a complimentary copy of The Flying Circus. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**