Sunday, November 23, 2014

Every Valley - Advent Reflections

Every Valley

Advent with the Scriptures of

Handel’s Messiah

Compiled by

Jessica Miller Kelley


Unlike most other books and devotionals that we read, this wonderful book of devotionals for the Advent Season is a compilation of devotionals put together by Ms. Kelley.  The “majority of the reflections in this volume are excerpted and adapted from essays in the Feasting on the Word commentary series.”  There was a long list of contributing scholars and pastors whose wonderful prose was utilized and adapted for the creation of each of the forty, yes forty wonderful reflections.  One reflection devoted for each of the glorious masterpiece musical works within Handel’s Messiah.
The libretto of each song is provided at the start of each reflection to be read and enjoyed. Having participated in the performances of The Messiah and listening to many and various renditions over the years, just reading the words exploded the majestic sounds of voices and strings in my head.  Yes, and sent me digging for my copy to put in my player to listen to as I read the expounding of the text. 
I found each of the reflections to be far more than just casual light fare.  The message of the verses and the surrounding scripture were explored, filling out the story and bringing even more light and glory to the genius of the libretto of this great work.
This collection of reflection could easily be utilized as a daily devotional or as reflections in liturgical services.  Each reflection stands alone or can be used in a series.  As a musician and biblical student, I would consider this collection one of the best reminders of how deep and true the Love of God is.  What a gift He has given us to hear of this love through the glorious music and song of The Messiah by Handel

A must for the Christmas library!


Matty - A Matt Turner Series Short

Matty - A Matt Turner Series Short
by
Michael Siemsen

All kids want to be like everyone else.  They want to be accepted to play and have fun.  But what if you are a little kid and discover you are different.  What if you can't afford to play with the other kids.  The pain of doing so is just to great.
The act of touching for Matty, unlike the rest of us, is not a tactile experience.  It is a psychological paranormal out of body experience, for his experience brings empathy to a new height.  Unfortunately for Matt, this is not limited to touching just people, but touching any object that they have touched.  A bit much for a young kid.
Matty was the older of two children of a young couple.  Mom, a stay at home mom, and dad a police officer with the local department.
Mom and Dad have been very protective of Matty every since they finally figured out his extraordinary gift.  It has been a closely guarded family secret and used in family games and to find lost keys or wallets... until one day while on a family outing dad got an emergency call.
There was a little girl about Matty's age that had been kidnapped.  All officers had been called in on an all points bulletin.  The car seen taking the girl had already been located.
Dad knew Matt might be the only answer.
A shorty, but an excellent prequel to set the stage for the upcoming release of the third book in the Matt Turner Series due for release in December... in time for the Christmas Stocking.
Haven't read the first two?  Oo  (Hint, I have read The Dig three times)  You have time before Christmas to read them all.
ShadeTree Book Reviews and Blog

Saturday, November 22, 2014

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS

Random
Acts of Kindness
By
Lisa Verge Higgins



Lisa Verge Higgins has a wonderful way of taking the mundane of life, the everyday crisis that we live through and turning it into a delightful read that leaves us giggling, laughing, and dabbing at our eyes as our mascara slides down our cheeks either in sheer mirth or in gut wrenching sobs as we connect at an intimate level with what is happening to the characters in one of her novels.
I have had the unique pleasure of participating in lively and spirited book club reads with Lisa over the last few years as her books have been released, as hosted by Debbie Haupt through the General Fiction board at the now defunct Barnes and Nobles Book Clubs.  Each book was a month long road through one of her works and punctuated with spirited dialogue and camaraderie with Lisa’s willing participation.  The days were filled with laughter and tears, arguments and debates, but most of all lots of fun. 
The last book that came out in 2013 was Random Acts of Kindness.  As we all discovered very quickly, this was a story of a different flavor.  Even though there was some light hearted banter between the characters of Random Acts of Kindness, the subject matter of this book seemed to hit most of us a little closer to home and on issues a little more difficult to talk about. 
What do you say to your sister who is dying of cancer?  Or to your sister if you have cancer but have a different viewpoint on how you want to deal with facing the possibility of imminent death?  How do you keep your head above the water and blues?
What do you say to your friends when you can’t even admit to yourself that you can’t handle the failure going on in your own life?  You have always been the rock, the one who could be counted on to come through, but you know you can’t be perfect anymore. 
What do you do? How do you share your worst nightmare of your married life with your friends?  How can you let them share with you something that you can’t even face or share with yourself?
The characters within the pages deal with such real turmoil on levels that the reader can identify with and feel, as if the emotions roiling within are their own.  You know that the writer has truly hit home when you have to set the book aside and pick up the box of tissue and hold it as the sobs wrack your soul, for you have lived that experience, that trial. 
In the guise of a farewell road trip for one of the characters, each of the characters faces their own demons and discovers the strength and friendship of the other friends along the way, that help them through their own crisis. 
Though a much darker novel than her others, Random Acts of Kindness does not lack for Lisa’s magical touch of well-placed hilarity where it is needed, in a timely manner.  Even though this was probably the most difficult of all the novels for me to read because I identified so closely with the subject matter, I would consider this probably the best of her literary works to date. 

Random Acts of Kindness is worthy of five stars (and 3 boxes of tissue).  A job well done.


The sequel to Random Acts of Kindness  will be coming out in the Spring of 2015.  You will not want to miss the continuing story of the friends we first met on the road trip across America in Random Acts of Kindness.  There is nothing like life time friends that you can depend on when life just "happens", for that is when you find out who your friends truly are.  



Keep up with Lisa Verge Higgins and her current books at:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hostile Beauty Series - BEAUTY MARK

Beauty Mark
By
Jan Moran


The second book in Jan Moran’s Hostile Beauty Series, Beauty Mark, is the continued story of the beauty industry from the inside out, but this time from the viewpoint of Scarlett Sandoval, a high-end corporate lawyer.  Unlike the heroine in Flawless, Scarlett was not born to privilege and did not live in one of those fabulous homes in Beverly Hills, with locking gates. 
Scarlett, our heroine, was raised in the Barrio of Los Angeles. After the death of both her father and brother, she became focused on success. It was only with brains, scholarships, and student loans that she was able to move up and out to the Ivy League schools and law firms.  After years of hard work she could finally see the coveted “partnership”.  Then the veneer of the glossy life and success started to crack in front of her eyes. 
With a stage set, once again for a fabulous novel, Jan Moran did not disappoint her readers.  It wasn’t until I read Beauty Mark that I realized how much of the character’s personality ran over into even the writing style of the book, itself.  Where Flawless had this polished elegant presence throughout the book and in the way Ms. Moran wrote.  You could feel the old world elegance and prestige. 
Not so in Beauty Mark.  Even though our heroine was brilliant, educated and, confident with the powerful people she worked with; there was still a raw rough edge to her.  You could almost feel her Latino blood running hot, with the angst and turmoil running just beneath the surface of the page.  This was felt both in the character’s persona and in the writing.  I could almost sense that the writer’s pen held a secret just waiting to scribble out across the page, but couldn’t quite get there yet.  Before it could, something else would happen, forcing the heroine and the story to go another direction. 
The overlying love story that spilled into the middle of a major life crisis for the heroine with no one less than the coveted brother’s best friend, added even more edginess and angst to a bad situation. He had also moved up in the world and became the head maĆ®tre d’ at the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Club.  How can a person keep priorities straight and think clearly when hormones are out of control?
The depth of industry and workplaces issues that were addressed within context, were handled wonderfully and with vivid detail to what many women deal with on a daily basis.  A job well done.  A story well written, left this reviewer eager for the upcoming offerings of this series.
Beauty Mark is a definite recommendation to read, alone or as a part of the series. 


A DRAWING FOR A FREE COPIES OF BOOKS
In celebration of the release of Beauty Mark, Jan Moran is having a drawing for a free signed copy of her first two books, Flawless and Beauty Mark. CLICK HERE to link to the site to register for the drawing and to sign up for Ms. Moran’s newsletter.  There is also a free book giveaway for Beauty on Goodreads.




books by Author Jan Moran
Scent of Triumph to be released March 2015  (look for an upcoming review on this site in the coming weeks).

Monday, November 17, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH LISA VERGE HIGGINS

Interview with
Lisa Verge Higgins






Before I start the interview with Lisa Verge Higgins, a noted award winning author, I want to introduce her a little.  I have had the opportunity of participating in book club reads, through Barnes & Nobles, of Lisa’s first three Women’s Fiction books, then under another venue hosted by The Reading Frenzy and Debbie Haupt, participated in her fourth book read. 

When you are reading a book over a month and discussing it at length with multiple women and the author things can get lively.  They did.  Lisa’s intellect and sense of humor quickly came out as at times keyboards burned with interactions between the participants and Lisa as we discussed the foibles of the characters in the book.  Shared laughter and tears made the circles on many occasions because we could identify with Lisa’s characters.  They could have been us or our husbands or boyfriends.  We all came to love Lisa dearly and the reading group grew with the reads, but few left.

It is with great joy, and much pride that I am privileged to introduce Lisa Verge Higgins you.  I hope that you get to know her in this interview and come to love her as much as I have, as you read her books.  And now for an interview about Lisa’s favorite book (and one of mine) and other tidbitsl

Lisa, welcome to Blogging Under the Shade Tree and Shade Tree Book Reviews.  We are so glad to have you with us today.  Could you tell us a little about your favorite novel, The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship?

I’d love to!  Proper Care is about adventurer Rachel Braun, one of those crazy live-in-the-moment women who arranges, in the event of her death, to have pre-written letters forwarded to her best friends—letters that challenge them to face their biggest fears.  Sarah, an international relief worker, is compelled to track down the only man she ever loved. Stay-at-home mom Kate must confront her fear of heights by skydiving and soon finds that her new hobby is affecting her once-tranquil marriage. And Jo, a media mogul voted “least likely to breed,” is given the most terrifying assignment of all: caring for Rachel’s orphaned and grieving little girl.
 Why did you choose The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship as your favorite of all your novels?

Honestly, I feel a little uneasy confessing that I have a favorite among seventeen novels, but I admit I suffer from “Precious Firstborn Syndrome.”  Proper Care was my very first novel of women’s fiction, and it’s particularly special to me because it was almost never born. 

Some of your readers may know that after my wicked past writing romances, I took a ten-year hiatus to raise my three daughters.  When I finally picked up my pen again, what came out of that rush of inspiration was the story that would become Proper Care.  A decade had passed since I’d been involved in the publishing world and many of my contacts had moved on, so like many mothers coming back into the workplace, I had to start anew.  I tried to sell the story for two years, getting lots of nibbles but no real bites.  Demoralized, I’d decided to dust off my chemistry degree and look for real work.

As sometimes happens in these instances, the Universe intervened.  I happened to see an opportunity to attend a speed-pitching session with a local writer’s group. To make the meeting would require an immense amount juggling and shuffling—a mother of three active girls always works on Saturdays.  I almost didn’t go, resigned that it Wasn’t Meant To Be.  But I took a deep breath, gathered the last of my heart, and with the generous help of friends willing to take over my schedule . . . I just did it.  It was there that I met my future editor, who loved my pitch and bought Proper Care within a week.

It’s no coincidence that in One Good Friend Deserves Another, Friendship Makes The Heart Grow Fonder, and even Random Acts of Kindness, my characters tend to leap off of cliffs (or bridges, or rocks). It’s one of the major themes: Great change often involves leaps of faith, and a willingness to break through fear in order to grow.

A chemist? Seriously?

Yeah, I know! When I first started writing novels, I was still studying for a Ph.D in organic chemistry. I loved teaching and research, but at the time I wanted to do something creative, too.  So I started writing a novel on the side.  Within a year I shocked my lab-mates by selling that book, and then over the next few years I sold more.  Eventually, I had to make the difficult decision of choosing between being a chemist or a writer.  It was one of those leaps of faith.  I’ve never regretted the decision.

As an interesting aside, my eldest daughter has a degree in physics, and she just sold three science fiction novels to Random House!  The first, Equation of State, is coming out in August 2015.  So the nut doesn’t fall very far from the tree....


Do you have any interesting anecdotes about writing the book?

Because Proper Care is quite different from my earlier books—which were all sexy, adventurous romances—this was the first of my novels that I allowed my (older) teenage daughters to read. 

After my middle daughter finished the book, she told me, quite bluntly, that it “made her curious about my sex life.” 

I said, “Honey, I’m your mother.  I don’t have a sex life.”
 
Where do you get your ideas?

I suspect there’s an “idea miasma” around us at all times, and those who are attuned to it—writers, painters, musicians—pull inspiration from the webbing all the time.  We take it this source for granted, which is why the question always pulls us up short.

One thing is for sure:  Women’s lives and women’s friendships are themes that thrum through all my stories, mostly because at this stage of life those issues have become close to my heart.  The books that I’ve been writing about lately involve a group of twelve women who went to high school together in the little Adirondack town of Pine Lake.  I’m having a wonderful time focusing on a small community of women who have been scattered about, and are only now starting to realize the importance of old friends.  Random Acts of Kindness is the first in the series—about a woman-in-distress who commits an act of generosity that comes back to her in ways she could never have expected. 

I dedicated that book to my mother, who took in foster children while I was growing up.  At various times in my childhood, there’d be six or seven kids sleeping in our little cape house. I just took this for granted. I didn’t really understand the magnitude of her generosity and kindness until I was older and had kids of my own.  Now I stand in awe of what she did for so many souls.

What are you working on now?

I’m thrilled to announce that my next book, Senseless Acts of Beauty, is now available for pre-order in anticipation of its March 10, 2015 publication date. Senseless Acts of Beauty takes up the story of two more Pine Lake women, one of whom is the notorious Tess Hendrick whose fate was left a mystery in Random Acts of Kindness. 

Tess has a secret: For fifteen years she has been furtively following the life of the daughter she gave up as an infant for adoption. But when Sadie runs away from home determined to find her birth mother, Tess has no choice but to hunt down the desperate girl in the one place she dreads—Pine Lake, where a terrible, buried secret threatens to destroy them both.

My editor and critique group have said that this is the most emotionally intense novel of the group.  I just finished proofreading the pages before it goes to press, and I still well up with happy tears when I read the ending.

As always, Lisa, you have been generous in sharing with our readers some of true meat of your work.  I personally look forward to once again reading your next offering to women’s fiction.  Each of your books, to date, have spoke to this reader and blogger.  You are a true joy to visit with.  Thank you for being here.

Awwwww.... thanks so much!  The pleasure has been all mine! 
Connect with me!

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 In the coming weeks look for book reviews at Blogging Under the Shade Tree
and Shade Tree Book Reviews for books reviews on all of Lisa’s Women’s fiction collection.





Saturday, November 15, 2014

THE MERKABAH DECEPTION - Book Two


The Merkabah Deception

By

L.Z. Marie

I know I am in trouble and have found a compelling story series when, as soon as I have completed the current book that I am reading, I am online purchasing the next book in the series.  This is the quandary I have found myself in with the discovery of the Merkabah Series by L.Z.Marie.  The first book in the series, The Merkabah Recruit was a well written novel in my personal favorite genre (historical-thriller-romantic -woman’s-fiction—kinda, well a little of all the above).  As with any great first novel in a series, it left me panting and begging for more.

The second novel in the series, The Merkabah Deception utilized The Recruit as a diving platform to send me deep into the muck and mire of the ancient gods and demons ongoing battle of the spiritual world.  Much to my consternation and surprise, the battles are not so ancient and they continue to throw the clueless populace of planet earth into the middle of the fight, with us mere humans never knowing we are fodder for the battle.  With every turn of the page Ms. Marie sweeps you into new waves of angst and terror as she takes you through the streets and back country of the mountains and Amazonian Country in South America.  Just as you think you are sitting down to a quiet dinner to crash and recover from the day, you are ripped from your seat and into another whirlwind of the unknown.

The academia of the heroine professor (as well as that of L.Z. Marie) is evident all through the book. This is demonstrated in their minute detail and knowledge of the history of the area.  Ms Marie’s extensive study of the ancient histories and religions keeps both Daphne’s and the readers’ heads spinning as they try to stay out of the path of the dangerous Cryptivitas’, Brujos, and Witches that show up to bring down destruction and mayhem on mankind.  
  
The Nephilim mentor and protector assigned to Daphne, the heroine, has been declared taboo and off-limits by the powers that be. In spite this, an undeniable smoldering attraction continues to brew between the two of them.  A warfare of a different kind and on a different level leaves the Daphne and her Nephilim hero both breathless, exhausted, and distracted.  How will they ever survive it all and get the work-at-hand taken care of?  Will their smoldering passions ever be allowed to flame and light their world? 

A book to read and read again. 




Saturday, November 8, 2014

Box of Books Series - Debbie Haupt


Box of Books
 The Guest Post Series


Debbie Haupt
The Reading Frenzy


I'm a reading fanatic of all fiction genres and sub-genres and enjoy some non-fiction as well. I love interviewing authors and sponsoring giveaways on my blog The Reading Frenzy-http://thereadingfrenzy.blogspot.com/ you will find many ways to contact me on my blog  and often post daily there.
I'm an editorial reviewer for both LibraryJournal and RT Magazine.
I formed the General Fiction Expats forum here on Goodreads to give my friends from the now defunct B&N forum a place to land-https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/133771
I  am a staunch library advocate who volunteers at my local branch.



My Box of Books

My dear friend Karen Laird put this question before us way back when the Barnes & Noble General Fiction forum was alive and well and we all had a lot of fun with it and I have to admit that maybe one or two of my choices have changed.
RELIGION:
Ill start with the most important text, the one of my ancestors- The Tanach- The Hebrew Bible. 

Scholars are still arguing about when these texts were finalized. Some say during the Hasmonean dynasty 140 BC, some say it was much later. But it is something that is to be treasured.

CLASSICS:
Now on to the classics-
Ill start with the oldest – The Iliad which began its history as a Greek epic poem by Homer set during the Trojan War. The characters are human and Gods and all fantastical.   I first read this as a required project during high school and I hated it. But once more a few years ago and I was blown away by the content and the realization that it was written so long ago.
The next is my all time favorite classic - Wuthering Heights Emily Brontes only published novel from 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, she died the next year at age 30. After her death her sister Charlotte edited and republished it attributing it to Emily in 1850. It came out to mixed reviews because of its mental and physical cruelty. A tragic love story that really spoke to my heart the first time I read it and all the other times too.
My third and last classic is by my all time favorite classic author, Ernest Hemingway - For Whom The Bell Tolls published in 1940 about an American Robert Jordan during the Spanish Civil War. Its regarded as one of Papa Hemingways best.
CONTEMPORARY FICTION:
Now we go on to my main course of contemporary fiction.

First is probably the best book Ive ever read – Overseas by Beatriz Williams. It was her debut novel about a British WWI Captain and a modern Wall Street Analyst. Yes there is time travel involved but this is NOT a fantasy. Its a beautiful love story about the endlessness and timelessness of love. I loved it so much I chose it for both my on-line and in-person book clubs. Click HERE for the review

My favorite by one of my favorite romance author Kristan Higgins – My One And Only.

I laughed and I cried and I couldnt put it down. Its my favorite kind of love story, a second chance love story. It stars an ex married couple Harper and Nick. Click HERE for my review.

Next is a novel about friendship by another favorite author and friend, Lisa Verge Higgins- The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship. This novel was also chosen for both in-person and on-line clubs. This was Lisas first mainstream novel and Ive enjoyed each one since. Its poignant, its tragic, its unforgettable. Its the story of four very different women who were the best of friends. Click HERE for my review
The next is also by a favorite womens fiction author Marilyn Brant- A Summer in Europe which was also chosen for our book club read. This story still brings a smile to my face. Its a coming of age a little late story about 30 year old Gwen Reese and her trip to Europe with her aunt and her aunts cronies. Its also a love story. I loved this and all of Marilyns novels. HERE is my review

CONTEMPORARY SCI-FI / FANTASY
The next section is my sci-fi/fantasy faves.
Number one is By British hard fantasy author extraordinaire Mark Lawrence – The Prince of Thorns is his first novel in his Broken Empire saga- it stars an very un-hero like hero Jorg Ancrath who at a very young age witnessed a horror that would change and shape his life, the murder of his mother and his brother. Click HERE for my review in RT magazine.

The next is the final novel in Alma Katsus Taker Trilogy- The Descent its a very adult fairytale starring some very narcissistic characters who it takes centuries to learn the right from wrong and they unfortunately leave a string of tragedies along the way. Alma is a former employee of the CIA and yep shed have to kill you if she told you what she did there. Click HERE to enjoy my interview with her and my review of The Descent.

Next is the First of Justin Cronins trilogy The Passage- Wow, just wow. Im excitedly waiting for the third and final installment to see how or if he saves the world. For those of you who live under a rock and have never read The Passage its an pre-present-post apocalyptic saga of a Government experiment using prison inmates gone very, very wrong. Click HERE for my review of The Passage- and HERE for my RT review of the second novel in the trilogy The Twelve.
Next is an amazing first in another adult fantasy/fairytale trilogy staring another debut author Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches is the first of her All Souls trilogy, 

its an epic tale that spans centuries also but by the way of time travel. Its the unlikely love story between historian and witch Diana Bishop and Professor of genetics Matthew Clairmont whos a vampire. Yeah dont go all poo-poo this is not your average Vampire tale its literary fiction at its finest. Click HERE for my review of A Discovery of Witches and HERE for my review of Shadow of Night and HERE for the third in the trilogy The Book of Life


Next – is a novel that I waited impatiently for Karen Marie Monings 5th and we thought last in her Fever Series but its lived on. This is Ms. Monings greatest accomplishment and Ive been a fan for years. Shadowfever is the culmination of MacKayla (Mac) Lane and Jericho Barrons epic to retrieve the elusive, destructive, deadly Sinsar Dubh a tomb of the greatest importance. Click HERE to see my review
Next is The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston. This is another fantasy set in the wilds of Wales in the 1830s and yet another book club choice. I found Paula quite by accident when the B&N General fiction club was active and I loved her prose, her settings and her characters. The Winter Witch is a story about a strange girl named Morgana Pritchard who is taken from her home and married off to Cai Jenkins by her mother. I think this is a read enjoyed by many genre lovers, literary, fantasy, romance. Click HERE for my review

Last by never least is The First in a YA Sci-Fi Trilogy that I had the great pleasure to review for RT magazine. Midnight City is set after an alien invasion of earth where all the adults have disappeared and the planet is now run by the children. Its inventive, its exciting, its terrifying and its wonderful. Click HERE for my review courtesy RT magazine.

Well there you have it. I cant wait to see what others have chosen and Im sure if Im asked again this list will once again change.My Box of Books

______________________________________________________
I want to thank Debbie Haupt for taking the time and effort to share her list of books that would go into her Box of Books with us today.  With the many, many novels that go across her desk and that she has read as a book reviewer, blogger, and host of many many book club reads at Barns & Nobles and now Goodreads, I know the selection had to be hard.  As always, after reading a blog by Debbie, I am walking away with new books to add to my list of books to read.



If you would like to participate in the Box of Book Series, contact Karen Laird @ ShadeTreeBlogging@gmail.com .

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

FLAWLESS - A Book Review




Flawless is the first novel of Jan Moran's Hostile Beauty Series.  It is set in the land of the fabulously rich and famous, where beauty is an industry unto itself.  In fact, Flawless is centered on one aspect of the beauty industry.  It is a peek behind those closely guarded and shuttered windows into the home of one of Beverly Hills most prominent families, the Valents.  They are the owners of the great Swiss based spas and skincare products that cater to the elite of America and Europe.   
Surprisingly, this grand family owned corporation has a very young Varena Valent at the helm, who has been there since she was eighteen years old when her parents were killed in a car wreck the summer after she graduated from high school.   Our young corporate executive is also responsible for the care of her young twin sisters and frail elderly grandmother. But even with that, Verena feels she has the perfect world.  All is well and her business is set to take off, as they plan a major expansion into new territories.
The story line for the book is all set and what could happen?  All is well coordinated and everything goes as plan. – until, everything starts falling apart.  But isn’t that how real life happens?  Nothing happens in “ones” in the world.  It always comes in “threes” and “sixes”.  Who can keep a level head and stay focused on everything they need to tend to when the world is fracturing and disintegrating around them?  Is it all sun and roses for the rich and famous?  Or are they like every other Joe out there and when they fall, they hit bottom?  Sometimes, we are surprised.  Jan surprised me with her storyline and the ending totally took me by surprise on several levels. 
Flawless is not a light summer at the beach read.  It smacks of authenticity, and of what the back boardrooms of industrial maneuvering is like.  With living breathing characters residing within the covers of this book, you feel the tension and the heat of what working at the high levels of a competitive industry can be like. 
I love the way Ms. Moran developed each of her characters.  She allowed them to grow with the story and to be a natural part of the scenery and then as their part became important, their character’s persona came forward like they belonged there and you already knew who they were and understood why they were there.  Wonderful job!
The villains were believable.  I have met people with personalities like this in industry.  Jan portrayed them wonderfully.  She gave you the power to not dislike them, but to despise them as they moved through the story line.  The wolves in sheep’s clothing never seem to be able to keep the lamb skin on straight. True to form, the villains in Flawless could not manage to hide behind their good guy exteriors, and the sliminess finally exerted itself for the world to see.  . 
My favorite scene came towards the front of the book when Verena met the Executive Chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  He realized she had not had dinner after making a speech at a banquet and lured her into the big hotel kitchen where he prepared her a personal dinner for one. I loved him from that first dinner in the kitchen at the hotel. My heart was lost.  
I would give the book a 5.0 rating.  Jan Moran did a first rate job of introducing a wonderful new series about life in the beauty industry.  

Get to know Jan Moran a little better when she joins us here on November 28th for an interview about her newest novel that will be debuted in March 2014, Scent of Triumph.


CURRENT AND SOON TO BE RELEASED NOVELS
BY JAN MORAN