Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Winemakers - Jan Moran

The Winemakers
Jan Moran

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret — a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for. Many years before, her mother’s hard-won dreams of staking her family’s claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past. The Winemakersis a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.
“Absolutely adored THE WINEMAKERS.  Beautifully layered and utterly compelling.  Intriguing from start to finish.  A story not to be missed.” – Jane Porter, USA Today and NYT Bestselling author of It’s Youand The Good Woman


I have read all of Jan Moran’s novels, to date. Each one of them are centered on strong women of their time. Each set in various time periods dating back to the early 1900s. What is interesting is that even the two major works she has written “Scent of Triumph” and “The Winemakers” have an essence of being tied into “The California Series” which about four young independent young women is making their way in the L.A. area and making their mark on the beauty industry.
In the Winemakers all of the strengths and fallibilities that we as women have, come into play and you find yourself in a world of secrets within secrets, as each of the central characters keeps her world wrapped up within pride to protect those she love around her. But as the leaves of truth start to peel back, the world they have always known starts to crumble around them into a thousand pieces like a dried out bouquet of flowers when crushed under foot. It is only the strong love of family and pride of who they really are that allows them to struggle through, to find the answers at the heart of the lies and secrets that the years have held close.
Jan has a way of drawing the reader into her stories. She takes a paint brush to her words and brushes a panorama across the pages. You find yourself falling into the scenes of the lands and places that she builds for her stories to take place. The smells, sights and sounds accost your senses as you find yourself peering through the eyes of the characters and seeing a world unfold before you.
This is not limited to just her scenery, but also to the very fiber of her story lines. They live and breathe as you find yourself flipping the pages to keep up with the characters, wiping tears of sadness or laughter. Suddenly a page turn will bring a catch of breath that forces you to set down the book till you can breathe again…forcing you to think back, re-access and draw on your own strength to go forward with the young heroine.
Once again Jan has given us a glimpse behind the shutters of the wealthy and high born to show us that all who live have lives that can be fragile. All who breathe can suffer great loss and hold great secrets that seem unbearable. Wealth and breeding do not make people immune to the bad things that can and do happen to families. Evil is evil, no matter the last name. Kindness, generosity, and love come from within and cannot have a price tag attached.
Jan has also shown the struggles that independent strong minded women have endured during the early part of the 1900s. She included the prejudices against women in business within her storyline. I deeply appreciated this. We forget how much our mothers and grandmothers fought to make our lives better for us. How we must continue to strive to make the way better for our daughters and grand-daughters who follow behind.
Jan Moran has written stirring and remarkable works from her first novel, Flawless, but with each offering, she has shown continued growth in her craft. The Winemakers is a novel worthy of note and one that is sure to make many lists and take awards for 2016. I give The Winemakers a FIVE STAR rating for craftsmanship and entertainment. This is a must read for 2016.
Jan Moran is an author of historical novels for St. Martin’s Press (Scent of Triumph,; The Winemakers). She also writes the Love, California contemporary series, which includes FlawlessBeauty Mark,Runway, and other upcoming titles. She wrote Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list, and Vintage Perfumes. She is represented by Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency. Books are also translated into German, Portuguese, Turkish, Italian, and other languages.
As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Women’s Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications such as CosmopolitanCostco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.


Friday, April 1, 2016

SILENT SENTRY - Theresa Rizzo - A Book Review

Threresa Rizzo

The Scarfilis and Donnatellis love deeply and protect fiercely. "Family takes care of family" is the code they live by.

So when a hacker threatens Gianna Donnatelli's life, Dr. Joe Scarfili is determined to keep her safe, only he has no police or tech experience, and Gianna's penchant for aiding Detroit's underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed. Gianna protects Joe with the same unyielding resolve.

Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons. Joe tries her patience like no other. But together they'll fight to save each other and their love... Or die trying.
I have read and studied medieval literature and Shakespeare , but why or why did I keep thinking about a twisted Romeo and Juliette when I read this delicious novel?  Except in this novel, Romeo and Juliet were not suicidal, star-crossed teenagers, like the original lovers were.  In fact, they weren’t suicidal at all.  They were well educated, adults who had known each other as children, or should I say as teenage and child?
That aside, once again, Theresa takes up another social issue to address in her newest novel.  But this time, she lands her heroine in the inner city of Chicago where the poorest of the poor cannot fend for themselves against the riff-raff of the gangs and warfare that wage around them.  Enter a young entrepreneur and a young doctor and you have two warring stories flying across the pages.  No make that three, for there are truly three distinct storylines that are tightly interwoven through this book.  Each one is breathtaking unto itself as you try to figure out who will win in the fight between good and evil, the will to overcome.  With a heavy dose of romance thrown in to lighten the overtones and undertones of the social justice that is being addressed between the lines. 
Oh, no, I didn’t forget about those pesky Italians from Shakespeare.  They are there in their 21st century garb and just as nasty and just as willful.  But the world has got much larger than it was in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds.  It seems to have permeated globally.  For some reason, it seems that it is the young, and the innocent who always get caught in the cross-fire of the warfare for money and power.  Nothing ever changes. 
No, don’t get me wrong.  This story is enjoyable.  It is fast-paced. There is laughter, and love, but there is a much deeper message to be had, if you peel back the words and the pages and let it sink in a little.  Great job, again, Theresa.  Your story craft continues to grow.  You brought many a smile to my face as I rifled through the pages of this novel.  There was no leisurely reading allowed.  I give this one a great FVIE STAR review!!!!  Well worth the read!
This book was provided to this reviewer at no cost to read and assess for other readers in exchange for a fair and honest written review of the novel.  Shade Tree Book Reviews aka Blogging Under the Shade Tree is not associated with the Author or publisher of this novel.
I was born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Growing up in an Irish-Italian family was never dull or quiet. I have four siblings, two sisters and two brothers. My mother was a nurse and my father a general surgeon, so my interest in medical issues is hardly surprising.
As a youngster, I struggled with mild dyslexia. I couldn't read until third grade, but after years of remedial work, the wondrous world of books opened up to me and I've been a voracious reader ever since. Though possessing a fertile imagination, my practical side never even considered pursuing a writing career, because I'm too fond of eating. So I became a registered nurse.
After college, I married my high school sweetheart and had four children. Though I adore my kids and am very proud of them, parenting requires a lot of patience-- not exactly my strength, so I began writing. Writing gave me a creative, intelligent outlet that I needed, and it was far less expensive than therapy and a defense attorney. Writing allows me to create wonderful characters who, if they disappoint me, I can make their lives miserable--literally-- or simply kill them off, without going to jail! How great is that?
We lived in the Chicago, then San Diego, before settling in beautiful Colorado. We absolutely love the mountains! When not skiing, hiking, or writing in the mountains, I love to play tennis, take long walks, work in my gardens, decorate our house, read, work with my tile mosaics, and crochet.
It's true that writing is a lonely endeavor. Learning the craft and the publishing industry is a lengthy, complex process made much more fun when I joined the Romance Writers of America, and later, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writersand the Crested Butte Writers.
I've been fortunate to make friends with many interesting people. Writers are a remarkable, entertaining breed who possess quick wits and huge hearts. They've enriched my life immensely and I'm very grateful to each and every one as you can see is you watch my writing journey video.