Monday, May 23, 2016

The Lobby by Randi M. Sherman

Good book full of interesting characters and stories. Liked the story flow and enjoyed this book. Highly recommend! Five stars! Given copy for honest review!

Welcome to The Shipley Hotel, where the perky and attentive staff provides the gold standard in artificial concern and comfort to all the colorful characters who pass through its polished brass revolving door and find themselves in The Lobby. Practically engineered for eavesdropping, San Francisco’s juiciest hotel lobby offers the perfect place to witness the comings and goings—and the most comedic intersections—of staff, long-term residents, and eclectic guests. Featuring over fifty stories all transpiring in a single twenty-four hour period and intersecting in the Shipley’s elegant lobby, readers will meet an eccentric and vast array of characters, most of whom will look awfully familiar and all of whom will speak to the heart. Employing acute skills in human observation and a keen understanding of the essential human needs—frequently unplanned and unexpected rendezvous, ready laughter at others’ expense, and maybe even a little love and acceptance—Randi M. Sherman’s unique wit and candor will surely make the reader sit up, stand up, roll over, or assume an interested leaning position and take notice. Get comfortable (on the exquisitely upholstered lobby couch) and spy on those checking in and out of the Shipley. Careful: you might just encounter a version of yourself among the ornate balconies and intricate woodwork.

May 16 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
May 17- Curling Up With a Good Book  - Q&A, Guest Post & Excerpt
May 18 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A & Excerpt
May 19 – Poof Books - Review & Excerpt
May 20 – The Little Reading Cabin – Review
May 23 – Granny Loves to Read – Review & Excerpt 

Author Bio

A native Californian, raised in "the valley," Randi moved to San Francisco decades ago and more recently makes her home in California's wine country. Trying her hand at country living Randi describes herself the Eva Gabor of the Sonoma/Napa area.

Until Randi's huge success as an author, or until potato chips are considered a vegetable and wine is accepted as a fruit, Randi continues to split her time between writing, laughing and actually enjoying her life  with more undesirable tasks such as being a stuffy corporate-type using her Bachelors of Science Degree from Chapman University.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Excerpt from The Lobby by Randi M Sherman

Excerpt 2

At the far end of the lobby a crowd was gathering for a thirtieth high school reunion. A huge maroon and silver colored banner that read “Welcome Class of 1985 Titans!” was hung over a long table covered with a correspondingly colored tablecloth. On it were neatly organized rows of “Hello My Name Is” name tags.

Women in bedazzled gowns with unflattering deep diving cleavage cuts and men in slacks and sports jackets milled around the sign-in and name badge table. Polite nods and “how ya been doin’” passed for greetings. The lies were flying, “You look fabulous, younger than ever.” “You are more beautiful (or handsome) than I remember.” “I meant to keep in touch.” “Let’s exchange numbers before we leave.”

iPhone cameras were flashing furiously as dozens of people simultaneously sucked in their guts, and extended their necks to give the illusion that they had only one chin and, as far as anyone in the room would admit, none of them had changed “a bit” in thirty years.
The sign-in table volunteers were managed by the caffeine-charged Becky Thorton who headed the reunion committee. Becky’s excitement was at a fever pitch. This event was the highlight of her life. Through a constant barrage of annoying emails and Facebook and LinkedIn invitations, she managed to stalk or keep track of most of her senior classmates. She spent years compiling, sorting, and resorting the list until . . . Ooh! It was time to send out the invitations for the reunion. For the six months leading up to the reunion date, she would recite her activities to anyone who stood still long enough to listen. “I designed and printed the invitations, planned the reunion, managed the responses, booked the venue, booked the band, booked a bank of rooms, arranged for valet parking, determined the menu, created the seating chart,” and worked herself up into such a whirling tizzy that her husband was planning on booking her into rehab.

Stepping up to the table, a stout woman announced, “I’m Suzie Uker, uh . . .” she corrected herself, “My maiden name was Cox. Look for Suzanne Cox.” She craned her neck trying to find her name tag. “There it is, Suzanne Cox-Uker.”

Former Prom Queen, pep club captain, expert blow-jobber, and occasional church-goer Suzie Uker was now 260 pounds of Avon pusher. Her perfectly made-up face with Cleopatra eyeliner was topped with a pile of yellow cake colored curls. The former Miss Cox was now living “in the valley” with her husband Mark, the former class quarterback who was now a 350-pound man who looked like a pile of kielbasa. Mark often wore tank tops, thinking he was passing off his gelatinous rolls as muscle when he said “Yup, I played ball in high school” while he patted his rotund physique.

Early on, both too popular to be concerned about grades or their futures, Suzie never applied for college and Mark lost his sports-scholarship. He worked for his father’s insurance company franchise and they had three children who had rotten teeth and diabetes. Suzie pressed Mark’s name tag onto his ill-fitting sports coat and told him to find the bar while she looked for old friends. She spotted and waved at a group of gals in coordinated outfits. She desperately hoped they’d recognize her.

The four former cheerleaders who had remained friends for the three decades since graduation clearly coordinated their outfits for the occasion, and they were all wearing similar sleeveless shift dresses, upper-arm flab be damned.

“Ready, and!” The forty-somethings with midriff bulk enthusiastically executed their old cheerleader moves as they greeted each other. “Aaaaaaaaand go Titans!” Their cheer was accompanied by happy, tiny bent elbow handclaps. Thrilled that they attracted the attention in the room, they popped up and down on their toes and executed above-the-head air punches accompanied with “woo-hoos” to stir up the crowd.

“Oh, I miss those days,” said Claire, a frequent recipient of plastic surgery services. “You have to admit we still look good.”

Head cheerleader Patricia Conrad-Blake spotted a stunning woman who walked toward the sign-in table. “Who’s that?” she said with a catty tone.

Claudia Schulman, formerly a regularly overlooked bookworm in corrective shoes was now a stunner in a smart looking, perfectly fitted red dress. With a roller-bag behind her and while wrapping up a business call on her cellphone, she walked up to the sign-in and name tag table. “Claudia Schulman,” she said to the volunteer high school senior who was manning the name tag desk.

“Did I hear you say Claudia Schulman?” A handsome man wearing a dark suit inquired.

Claudia turned around and said her goodbyes to the person on the other end of her phone call. “Yes, I’m Claudia Schulman.” It took her a minute but she did recognize the man standing in front of her. “Matthew Gold.” She smiled widely. “It’s so nice to see you.”

“You look wonderful, Claudia.” He glanced at her travel bag on wheels. “I take it you don’t live here anymore.”

“No, I live in New York now and I had to be in town for a business meeting next week and figured, why not come to the reunion.” She flagged down a bellman and asked him to store her bag until she checked in. “Matthew, what are you up to? The last thing I remember is that you were headed to Stanford and you were going to be a great inventor of futuristic devices.”

“I can’t believe you remembered.” He was flattered. Being a “nerd” in high school, he never thought anyone paid attention to him. “Right. Yes, I went to Stanford and eventually entered a master’s program to begin working on the development of alternative and electric transportation.”

“Like the hybrid and electric cars?”

“Yes, but more recently, high speed rail transportation.” Though happy to see Claudia, he had dreaded the idea of attending the reunion but his wife, Sharon, insisted that he come, saying that he deserved a night of I-told-you-so. “Tell me, Claudia, what are you doing now, in New York no less?”

“Oh,” she was humble, “I’m in international law.”

“How wonderful. It’s a far cry from when they used to call us ‘Nerdella’ and ‘Geekman.’”

Claudia laughed. “But I was a nerd and a geek. And, that was a million years ago.”

Rachel Mallinger walked up to Claudia, “Claud. I’m glad you could make it. Otherwise, I’d have a quick drink and get out of here.”

“Matthew, do you remember Rachel Mallinger, another member of the high school geek society?” She turned to her longtime friend Rachel, “Rach, do you remember Matthew Gold?”

“Oh yes,” Matthew reached out to shake Rachel’s hand.

“And, one of my companies contracted with Rachel to do a reorganization of the workforce. What was it? Six years ago?” …

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Low Country Summer Series by Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe Banner  


The Summer Girls


The-Summer-Girls-193x300.jpgTHREE GRANDDAUGHTERS. THREE MONTHS. ONE SEASIDE SUMMER HOUSE. In this enchanting trilogy set on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe captures the complex relationships between Dora, Carson, and Harper, three half-sisters scattered across the country—and a grandmother determined to help them rediscover their family bonds. For years, Carson Muir has drifted, never really settling, certain only that a life without the ocean is a life half lived. Adrift and penniless in California, Carson is the first to return to Sea Breeze, wondering where things went wrong…until the sea she loves brings her a minor miracle. Her astonishing bond with a dolphin helps Carson renew her relationships with her sisters and face the haunting memories of her ill-fated father. As the rhythms of the island open her heart, Carson begins to imagine the next steps toward her future. In this heartwarming novel, three sisters discover the true treasures Sea Breeze offers as surprising truths are revealed, mistakes forgiven, and precious connections made that will endure long beyond one summer. Selected as a CBS "TOP10 SUMMER READ!"  




The Summer Wind


The-Summer-Wind-193x300.jpgThe Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe's Lowcountry Summer series, following the New York Times bestselling The Summer Girls. This series is a poignant and heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds. It’s midsummer and Eudora, nicknamed Dora, is staying at Sea Breeze, the family’s ancestral home on Sullivan’s Island. For years, Dora has played the role of the perfect wife and mother in a loveless marriage. Now her husband filed for divorce, her child is diagnosed with autism, and her house is on the market. Dora’s facade collapses under the weight of her grief and she suffers “broken heart syndrome.” Mamaw and the girls rally around Dora—but it’s up to Dora to heal herself as she spends the summer prowling the beach, discovering the secrets of the island and her heart. This is a summer of discovery for all the women of Sea Breeze. Carson returns from Florida to face life-changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and an unexpected visitor has Harper reconsidering her life’s direction. When tropical storm winds batter the island, the women must band together and weather the tempest—both the one outside their windows and the raging sea of emotions within each of them. They must learn again what it means to be a sister. It is up to Mamaw to keep the light burning at Sea Breeze to guide the girls through the lies, the threats, and the rocky waters of indecision to home.





The Summer's End


Summers-End-193x300.jpgIn the powerful and heartwarming conclusion to her bestselling Lowcountry Summer trilogy, New York Times author Mary Alice Monroe brings her readers back to the charm and sultry beauty of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, to reveal how the pull of family bonds and true love is as strong and steady as the tides. It is summer’s end and Sea Breeze, the family’s beloved estate on Sullivan’s Island, must be sold. It is an emotional time of transition as Mamaw and the three sisters each must face loss and find a new place in the world. Harper, the youngest sister, arrived at Sea Breeze intending to stay only a weekend, but a rift with her wealthy, influential mother left her without direction or a home. During this remarkable summer, free from her mother’s tyranny and with the help of her half sisters, Harper discovered her talents and independent spirit. But summer is ending, and the fate of Sea Breeze hinges on Harper’s courage to decide the course of her own life. To do so, she must release her insecurities, recognize her newfound strengths, and must accept love fully into her life.




A Lowcountry Wedding


LowcountryWedding-cvr-195x300.jpgWedding season has arrived in New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe’s next novel in the “distinct, complex, and endearing” (Charleston Magazine) Lowcountry Summer series, set against the romantic, charming Charleston Lowcountry. Nothing could be more enchanting than a summer wedding—or two!—in Charleston’s fabled lowcountry. A centuries-old plantation, an avenue of ancient oaks dripping moss, a storied ballroom, a sand dune at sunset… Yet when a stranger arrives, a long held family secret could silence the bells ringing for the Muir sisters. Scandals surface, family bonds are questioned, and promises are broken and renewed. In A Lowcountry Wedding, Monroe delves into the heart of marriage, commitment, and family ties. Huffington Post calls the Lowcountry Summer series “the perfect beach read and a whole lot more.”


Mary Alice Monroe

monroe-home-portrait.jpgKnown for her intimate portrayals of women's lives, Mary Alice Monroe's writing gained added purpose and depth with her books set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. An active environmentalist, Monroe draws themes for her novels from nature and the parallels with human nature, thus drawing attention to various endangered species and the human connection to the natural world.
Mary Alice is involved with several environmental groups and is on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Leatherback Trust, and Charleston Volunteers for Literacy. Her volunteer work with these and other groups provided the inspiration for her novels, The Beach House Trilogy:THE BEACH HOUSE, BEACH HOUSE MEMORIES, SWIMMING LESSONS, and SKYWARD, SWEETGRASS, TIME IS A RIVER, LAST LIGHT OVER CAROLINA, andTHE BUTTERFLY'S DAUGHTER. With the same heart of conservation, Monroe has written two children's picture books, TURTLE SUMMER and A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE.
The Lowcountry Summer trilogy is her newest endeavor and is set against the backdrop of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. THE SUMMER GIRLS, the first book in the series, was released summer 2013 and introduces the complex relationships between three sisters of the Muir family at Sea Breeze, their historic home on Sullivan's Island, S.C. The second installment, THE SUMMER WIND was released in 2014. Book three, THE SUMMER'S END out for summer 2015.
Mary Alice Monroe is the author of nearly two dozen novels, several non-fiction titles, and children's books. Her body of work reflects her commitment to the natural world through literature. Monroe has served on the faculty of numerous writer's conferences and retreats. She is a featured speaker at events, both literary and conservation.
Her books have achieved several best seller lists, including the New York Times, SIBA, USA Today and are sold worldwide. Her childrens books received several awards, including the ASPCA Henry Bergh award. Monroe was awarded the SC Center for the Book Award for Fiction and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. In May 2014, she was awarded the Career Achievement Award for mainstream fiction by RT Book Reviews, SW Florida's Distinguished Author Award, and the South Carolina Book Festival Literary Excellence Award.
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