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The Garden on Sunset: A Novel of Golden-Era Hollywood

Book Bub hit gold again with this recommendation: The Garden on Sunset: A Novel of Golden-Era Hollywood by Martin Turnbull. And, as Book Bub loves to do, they introduced me to yet another series I must finish.

I still haven't finished the Infinite Series, but I'm trying to prolong that series, because the final book Infinite Salvation, will not be out for a few more months at least.

Have you ever wanted to climb into a time machine and visit Hollywood during its heyday?
Right before talking pictures slug Tinsel Town in the jaw, a luminous silent screen star converts her private estate into the Garden of Allah Hotel. The lush grounds soon become a haven for Hollywood hopefuls to meet, drink, and revel through the night. George Cukor is in the pool, Tallulah Bankhead is at the bar, and Scott Fitzgerald is sneaking off to a bungalow with Sheilah Graham while Madame Alla Nazimova keeps watch behind her lace curtains.
But the real story of the Garden of Allah begins with its first few residents, three kids on the brink of something big.
Marcus Adler has a lot to prove after his father catches him and the police chief's son with their pants down. He flees Pennsylvania for Hollywood with his mouth shut and his eyes open, and begins to write the lines all those starlets will say out loud. Can a smart, sensitive guy find his own voice in a town that's just learning to talk?
Kathryn Massey's childhood was a grinding routine of auditions, but she couldn't care less about being a movie star. When she takes off with her typewriter, determined to become a newspaper reporter, she finds that breaking into the boys' club is tougher than breaking free of her bossy mother. To make it in this town, she'll need some serious moxie.
Gwendolyn Brick is a sweet Southern beauty who's come a long way to try her luck on the big screen. She's hoping the same succulent lips the guys want to kiss will land her more than a bit part on a casting couch. She's going to need some help keeping everyone in line.
Nobody gets a free pass in Hollywood, but a room at the Garden on Sunset can get your foot in the door.
"The Garden on Sunset" is the first in installment in the Hollywood's Garden of Allah saga, a series of historical novels set in Hollywood's heyday. If you like authentic and richly-detailed history, compelling and memorable characters, and seeing fiction and history seamlessly woven together, then you'll love Martin Turnbull's authentic portrayal of the City of Angels.
Flip through the pages to see Hollywood's history come to life before your eyes.
Martin Turnbull's Garden of Allah novels have been optioned for the screen by film & television producer, Tabrez Noorani.

This novel, is a short, mostly lighthearted summer read. It is less than 300 pages, and honestly, I read it all in the span of less than 24 hours.

Although this book is set in the 20's, it's quite reminiscent of today's society. In it, they talk about the taboo of being gay (or queer as they say in the novel), and the taboo of abortions. With women's rights and LGBT rights so often in the news these days, it's fascinating to see how the world took these point of views in the 20's and 30's.

These topics, however, are a very small part of the entire novel.

I loved reading the journey of Marcus, Kathryn, and Gweyndolyn. A writer, journalist, and actress, struggling to get their big break in Hollywood. Marcus is a Pennsylvania Dutch young man who ran away from home. Kathryn is a Hollywood native running from her mother's dream of her being an actress. And Gwendolyn is a southerner chasing her dream to become an actress.

Each chapter is told from one of their point's of view. Having three different point's of view may seem tiresome or confusing, but Turnbill did an amazing job intertwining their stories.

As many of you know, I love historical fiction. This is an era I have not read many novels from, but it is truly fascinating. In this novel, you will hear about the first talking motion picture, the Great Depression, and the 1933 Long Beach Earth Quake.

This novel is suitable for most audiences. There are a few, quick sex scenes, so be aware before passing this novel along to any less mature audiences.

This was a free read through my Nook, and it's not a  book you should miss out on! Go get your copy of The Garden on Sunset, book one of  Hollywood's Garden of Allah series today!


Exciting news!! I'm moving into my new apartment this weekend!! I am very excited to be living on my own again (love you Mom & Dad). But with this excitement, I've come across a few #bookwormproblems.

Packing Books Suck!

First off, I thought I could donate a few books, but of course, while I'm trying to choose, I mentally created a new list of books I want to reread. I did manage to donate a few though... mostly books I own multiple copies of.

Books overall are easy to pack into boxes. They're nicely shaped, and can be stacked easily. Almost like a fun game of Tetris. But, if you pack the box all the way.... it's a heavy box. 

And this brings me to...
I have to carry these heavy boxes UPSTAIRS!

I currently live in a one story house. But when I move this weekend, I'll be living on the second floor of my apartment building. Which means stairs.

And HEAVY boxes full of BOOKS to carry up those stairs? Ugh!

Of course, my least favorite problem...

I am in book jail.

Not because I packed all my books (I have a nook I haven't packed yet), but because if I start a book, I'll be useless when packing, moving, and unpacking. 

I finished an amazing book last week. It's part of a three part series, and I can't read the other two books yet.

  • If I get the next books, I won't want to put them down.
  • If I don't put the book down, I won't finish packing.
  • If I don't put the book down, I'll have trouble driving to my new apartment (jokes! never read and drive!).
  • If I don't put the book down, I'll have trouble carrying boxes (of books!) upstairs.
  • If I don't put the book down, it will be impossible to unpack.
So basically, if I get the next books, I'll never move into my new apartment.

Hence: book jail.

One I get out of book jail, I'll begin my next book, and my next review. So until then, enjoy my #bookwormproblems.

Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters

Sometimes you finish a book, and immediately want to download the rest of the series because. WOW! Oh my goodness! What an AMAZING read!

But then you realize, you're moving next weekend, and that this weekend is the only time you have to finish packing. And you know, if you download the series now, you will be a worthless excuse for a packer because you'll either be reading or thinking about reading.

Does this happen to anyone else, or just me?

Let me tell you, I just finished Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters. This book is the most creative story I've read in a VERY VERY long time. I loved every minute of it. It's historical, thought provoking, mysterious. It has love, passion, action, adventure. It's just simply amazing.

This was one of my free eBook finds through Barnes and Noble. It is book one of a four part series, and believe me, as soon as I finish packing, I'm downloading the next three. The next three are fairly inexpensive($4.99 to $5.99), and if they're half as good as the first book, I may have found my new favorite series.

Maya’s shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined;in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment you die.
Zachariah, her faithful spirit guide, explains the rules of the dead: in order to regain complete awareness and reunite with loved ones all souls must review their previous lives.
Maya plunges warily into her turbulent pasts as a sociopathic High Priest in ancient Egypt; an independent mother protecting a dangerous secret in glorious Sparta; an Irish boy kidnapped and enslaved by Vikings; and a doctor’s wife forced to make an ethical stand in plague-ridden England.
All the while, Maya yearns to be with those she cares about most and worries that she hasn’t learned all of heaven’s most vital lessons. Will she be forced to leave the tranquility of heaven to survive yet another painful and tumultuous
life? Or worse, accept the bitter reality of having to go back alone?Source
Stories of reincarnation has always fascinated me. The idea that you have to live multiple lives, hopefully becoming a better person in each life, in order to go to Heaven is such an interesting plot.

Don't let the crown of throne like reference on the cover sway you to believe this is a Christian novel. This novel is good for all people, religious or not.

This book is suitable for most audiences. Anything sexual or overly violent is skimmed over quickly, using sparse details. The last life in this book, in plague-ridden England is a little gross if you get squeamish over illness, but it's manageable.

I imagine this book to be the perfect book to read in a high school English class. It is full of strong repeating characterism, themes, and symbolism. Each section is easily digestible in a short period (me, in one day, but for less avid readers, I'm sure each life could be read in a week easily).

Seriously, go download your free eBook on your Nook of Infinite Sacrifice by L.E. Waters. You won't be disappointed! Click here to go to the Barnes and Noble site for your download!

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank

Last week I stumbled across my new favorite way to find FREE Nook Books! It's on the Barnes and Noble site directly. At the top, they have some of their most popular FREE eBooks, and below that, you can search by genre. See what I'm talking about here.

When I finished looking through these titles, I had 4 books in my cart.

I finished my first one Monday night.

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank is one of a 3 part series (how do I keep coming across series? I don't know) called The Wedding Pact.

Honestly, I haven't read a romance novel since my high school days. It was easy to get back into the swing of things though. These novels, although at times predictable, are always a nice, feel good read (even if tears are involved).

Megan Vandemeer meant to tell her parents about her broken engagement, but a month and a half later she finds herself boarding a plane home to her wedding. Having stretched avoidance to its limits, it's to come clean--a terrifying prospect since her mother is sure to blame her rather than her cheating, emotionally frigid ex. A couple of drinks and two Dramamine later, Megan finds herself spilling her sob story to the tall, dark, and handsome stranger in the seat next to her.

With only one week left to save his business, Josh McMillan boards a plane to Kansas City in a last-ditch effort, leaving the details to chance. An unexpected answer is delivered in the form of the beautiful brunette beside him. Though she's completely loopy, her honesty, openness, and humor charm him. So when she passes out before landing, he helps her off the plane--a good deed that leads to a colossal misunderstanding. Her parents assume he's her fiancé. In a twist of fate, the mix-up might help Josh save his business, so he plays along, figuring he can help Megan too. All he has to do is stage a public break up convincing enough to appease her mother.

Josh is only supposed to be a substitute groom, but the more time he and Megan spend together, the more their pretend engagement starts to feel real...and the less they want to break it off. Can a relationship that began as a farce turn into happily ever after?Source
This novel I would not recommend for children. There are two or three sex scenes that are not super raunchy, they are raunchy enough to have kids asking questions.

Some of the characters lacked development. Megan's best friends, Libby and Blair especially. They were written to be polar opposites with very little back story. I felt the same about Josh's brother, Noah. I wish there were more depths to their characters.

On the other hand, I love Megan's grandma! She is hilarious, and a great comedic relief in the story. Just imagine, a semi-nudist grandma strutting her stuff around right before a wedding. Yes! She's a perfect addition to the book.

The lack of character development, by no means takes away from the overall story. I would recommend this to anyone for a fun, vacation on the beach read. This is the perfect summer read, and since Texas can't decide what season it wants to be, I can read summer reads in January!

I don't plan on continuing the series just yet, but maybe one day.

If you have a Nook or the Nook app, click here to get your free copy of The Substitute.

The Gatekeeper's Saga by Eva Pohler

I just finished my first series of the New Year. If you haven't read my review on the first book, here it is.

These books are addicting, full of action, love, suspense, and drama. I found myself up for hours after heading to bed because I couldn't stop reading. When I did stop reading, I dreamt about the characters. Maybe because one of the characters is the god of sleep? Not sure.

This is a wonderful YA series. Adults, like me, who enjoy YA fiction will also enjoy it.

This fantasy novel series focuses on the Greek Gods. They still rule up in Atlantis and in the Underworld. They've continued on with their duties despite the fact that the world no longer believes in them.

The god of death has a run in with Therese when her parents die and she is in a coma. He falls in love and goes undercover to try to win her heart. This is their story. A wonderful, loving (although sometimes cheesy), story of their love.

Do yourself a favor, and pick it up. I believe the first book is still available for free on Amazon Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle all you need is a smartphone or tablet to download the app.

Of course now I have to find a new book, or series, to read. Until then, I'll live in the void that their world is no longer part of my every day life.

The Gatekeeper's Sons by Eva Pohler

After a longer than expected hiatus, I'm back with a brand new book review. I spent the Christmas break up in New York City, experiencing winter, subways, train rides, and all the touristy sights and sounds the city has to offer.

I ate the BEST Chinese Food of my life. I dined at the world famous Katz's. I took a stroll through Central Park.

AND... I read two books on the daily train rides I took from Connecticut (where I was staying) into Grand Central.

I downloaded a copy of The Gatekeeper's Sons by Eva Pohler for free on my Nook. I believe it is still available for free too. After reading it, I ended up buying the complete saga: The Gatekeeper's Saga Boxed Set: Books One through Six of The Gatekeeper's Saga

"Ancient gods. Modern times. Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos (the god of sleep) and Thanatos (the god of death). She thinks she's manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world. Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese's heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give her gifts. Others try to kill her.  The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive." Source

The story is fast paced, interesting, and has a unique story line. It's a love story involving humans AND Greek Gods. It stars Hades' sons! How can this book not be intriguing?

I found Pohler's writing style somewhat immature. Honestly, it felt like I was reading a fan fiction written by a teenager at times. Although I loved the story, the writing style left something to be desired. It didn't stop me from buying the complete saga though.

This is a great, easy read. It's easily read by all age groups, and although it is a love story, it is written in a young, first love, kind of way.

Stories from Greek Mythology are scattered throughout the novel as an added bonus. Imagine reading a story about Hades as told by one of his sons!

Pick up your copy of this novel, or enjoy the whole saga! It's only $9.99 for 6 books! Buy yours today!

Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke

Do you know what makes a good mystery? Not figuring out the mystery too soon. When the mystery was solved, all the pieces were there, in plain sight, but I had another character pegged as my main suspect.

I found Maids of Misfortune as a recommendation from Bookbub. If you haven't read my review of the Bookbub site, do so now!

"It's the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie's husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt.

"Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco's most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl's clients, Matthew Voss, has died. The police believe it is suicide brought upon by bankruptcy, but Annie believes Voss has been murdered and that his assets have been stolen.

"Nate Dawson has a problem. As the Voss family lawyer, he would love to believe that Matthew Voss didn't leave his grieving family destitute. But that would mean working with Annie Fuller, a woman who alternatively attracts and infuriates him as she shatters every notion he ever had of proper ladylike behavior.

"Sparks fly as Anne and Nate pursue the truth about the murder of Matthew Voss in this light-hearted, cozy historical mystery set in the foggy gas-lit world of Victorian San Francisco. Maids of Misfortune, is the first book in M. Louisa Locke's historical mystery series, followed byUneasy Spirits, and Bloody Lessons."Source

As you may or may not already know, historical fiction is my all time favorite genre. I'm not picky on specific time periods, but I love reading of times I did not witness.

Annie Fuller is a woman not normally associated with this 1870's. She is opinionated, loud, and a feminist, of sorts! She calls out the annoyingly restricting clothes deemed appropriate and fashionable of a lady, and when she goes undercover in her investigations, she loves the freedom of exposing a little ankle!

I do not read a lot of mystery, so maybe I didn't see the clues until they were laid out in front of me, but I had a suspect in mind that not even Annie had! Of course, I was wrong, but a good mystery gives many suspects for the reader to.... well.... suspect.

This book is great for any aged reader. There is only one scene that could trigger sensitivity (sexual assault), but the novel isn't heavily descriptive in that scene.

Pick up your copy today! Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery