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Secrets from the Past By Barbara Taylor Bradford


Secrets from the Past15793111

Title:  Secrets from the Past

Author:  Barbara Taylor Bradford

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 368

Date of Publication:  October 2013

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

Book Description:  From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful and emotional novel about one woman’s quest to uncover long-buried secrets about her family–secrets she will stop at nothing to uncover, no matter the consequences. At thirty, American photojournalist Serena Stone has already made a name for herself with her unique and dramatic coverage of wars in the Middle East, following in her famous father’s footsteps.  But after his unexpected death in France, she ends her job at the renowned photo news agency, weary of years of danger.  Leaving the front lines behind, Serena returns to New York where she starts work on a biography of her celebrated father.  When Serena discovers that her former lover Zachary North is in trouble overseas, she’s forced to leave the safety of her new life, and head back to a place she was trying to escape…and her life will never be the same again. As she brings Zac back to health in Venice, she discovers a shocking secret in the archives of her late father’s work.  It is a secret that will propel her back to war-torn Libya, risking her life looking for clues that she hopes will piece together the mystery surrounding her parents’ marriage and the part of their life together that she never knew.

Well-kept secrets, passionate love, obsession, betrayal, redemption, and the power of the past to control the future propel Secrets from the Past, the explosive new novel from The New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford

Wanda’s Review:  As with the author’s other novels, Secrets from the Past has a strong and determined woman as the central character, with some family drama, but this one just didn’t measure up. The characters were flat, relationships felt forced, and the shallow storyline being rather predictable, had little to draw me in – very few unexpected twists.

A few positive notes – the descriptive writing is beautiful and is still what you’d expect from this writer. Also, a part of the story takes us to war torn Libya that adds credibility and some interest to the storyline.

Unfortunately there were too few redeeming qualities and I found this book to be just lukewarm. My rating is 3 stars.

About the Author:Barbara Taylor Bradford5353
Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 25 bestselling novels, including Playing the Game, Breaking the Rules, and The Ravenscar Dynasty. She was born in Leeds, England, and from an early age, she was a voracious reader: at age 12, she had already read all of Dickens and the Brontë sisters. By the age of twenty, she was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979, and it has become an enduring bestseller.

Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books are published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 82 million. Ten of her novels have been adapted into television mini-series starring actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr and Elizabeth Hurley. She has been inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and in June of 2007, Barbara was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to Literature.

She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford, to whom all her novels are dedicated, and their Bichon Frise dogs, who sit under her desk while she writes.



Lost Princess by Dani-Lyn Alexander Cover Reveal!

Lost Princess Cover Reveal

LostPrincessTitle: Lost Princess
Author: Dani-Lyn Alexander
Publisher: Lyrical Press

Ryleigh Donnovan’s life changed forever the day she met Jackson Maynard, a Death Dealer, and followed him home to the kingdom of Cymmera. Now she is trying to care for her sister while saving a realm she knows nothing about…

Jackson has reluctantly accepted the throne of Cymmera, in place of his father. But his world is in turmoil, the kingdom under constant threat of attack. Worse still, Jackson suspects there is a traitor among his court. A powerful prophet has suggested a way to protect the realm, but that solution may drive Jackson and Ryleigh apart forever…

When a magic relic goes missing, Ryleigh has no choice but to journey in search of it. When Jackson discovers Ryleigh is missing, he must make a choice that will either claim their destiny, or bring an end to the only home he’s ever known.


Lost Princess  is available for pre-order at Apple,  Amazon, B&N,  Kobo and Google Play






Dani-Lyn lives on Long Island with her husband, three kids and three dogs. She loves spending time with her family, at the beach, the playground, or just about anywhere. In her spare time, which is rare, she enjoys reading and shopping—especially in book stores. Some of her favorite things include; Bernese Mountain Dogs, musicals, bubble baths and soft blankets. She’s an incurable insomniac, and she has an addiction to chocolate.

For More Information

Visit Dani-Lyn’s website.

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Interview with Judy Fishel, author of Straight A’s Are Not Enough

Title: Straight A’s Are Not Enough

Author: Judy Fishel

Publisher: Flying Heron Books

Pages: 320

Genre: Educational

Format: Paperback

Why do 5000 girls a year not get credit for AP Calculus? How do our mindsets affect our learning? Can we change our own brains, get smarter, or improve our willpower? What happens in your brain when you concentrate on learning? What is the major factor that divides freshmen who do well and those who struggle? These and other intriguing questions are answered in this book. Memorable stories, vivid metaphors, simple images and even a few comic strips reveal ways you can learn most effectively. Many straight A students memorize facts for exams but soon forget nearly everything. What a waste of your time and money! Wouldn’t you rather take charge of your own learning and get a great education? Straight A’s Are Not Enough is definitely not another book on how to make straight A’s. Students who use these powerful strategies will enjoy learning, get a great education, and learn skills employers want most. They can also make straight A’s.

To Purchase Straight A’s Are Not Enough

amazon BN

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Straight A’s Are NOT Enough is the book I wish I’d had when I was in college. I could have learned so much more!

It includes flexible time management, research-based learning strategies, test preparation without cramming, ten ways of thinking, ten pathways of memory, a new definition of study as mental processing, ways to strengthen willpower and concentration and the skills employers want most.

It focuses on deep and lasting learning rather than just making good grades. It also encourages students to take charge of getting the education they want and need.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

Even as a child, I worried about the fact that I worked hard in my classes, made excellent grades, but still never seemed to learn anything. In college, I seemed to be learning a little more; at least they weren’t teaching things I already knew. But still I knew that, soon after exams were over, I would quickly forget most of what I’d “learned”. Certainly this wasn’t what they meant by “getting a great education.”

As a teacher, I saw a similar problem with my students. The difference was that I really wanted to learn; most of my students didn’t. Even using the most effective teaching strategies, I had little success.  Many of my students seemed to retain little or nothing.

Finally, when I retired and had time available for intensive research, I began to discover some of the answers to my questions. I only wish someone had written this book when I was in college. This would not have been possible, however, because so much of the most important research has taken place in the past ten years.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

While I am passionate about many causes, I am most passionate about helping the students who need these study skills most: the poor, the minority students, the students who are first in their families to go to college, and the older students who have been away from school for some time, perhaps to raise a family or to serve in the military. While I believe all students will get a far better education if they read this book, these are the students that I really want most to reach. They have the most to learn and the most to lose if they don’t succeed in college.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?
Write about something that really matters – something you are passionate about, and always look at what you are writing from the perspective of the readers.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?
No, but there was a student who inspired me to write. In a summer program for gifted students, I was in a group with 4th – 8th graders. I asked them to go around the group, introducing themselves and sharing what they wanted to be when they grew up. As they finished, one sweet fourth grade girl asked me, “What about you, Mrs. Fishel? What are you going to be when you grow up?”

I thought I was already grown up but didn’t say so. I told her, “When I grow up, I’m going to write a book.” Her response was “You don’t need to wait until you grow up, Mrs. Fishel. You can start now.”

I did start then. I first wrote children’s books then a few mysteries, none published. Finally, I won first place in a short story contest and got another published in a collection. The problem was that I didn’t really like reading or writing short stories.

I finally realized that what I really needed to write was something important – something that would make a difference in the world. I would try to find the answers to the questions I had asked for so many years. I would write about how to get a great education.

What are some of your long term goals?

I would like to have the book published in many countries and many languages – particularly where students have the greatest need for learning strategies. I already have a literary agent in India and she has a publisher who is interested. Wow! That’s a great start toward this goal but we have a long way to go.

Next will be a book for high school students.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

My biggest strength might be using stories to help readers understand. I also hope readers will enjoy the stories enough to share them with their friends. There are many stories including the monkeys with puzzles, why 5000 girls a year don’t get the credit they deserve for AP Calculus, and why my son, Tony, is the best example I know of a student with incredible willpower.

Biggest weakness?

I tend to write far too much… things I want to say rather than what the students need to read. I learned to cut and revise my writing focusing on what my readers need most

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

When studying the most popular books on study skills, I realized that most of them promised readers the secrets to making straight A’s with less work. The problem is that they encourage students to focus on what the professors think and what information they expect to be tested on. They memorize the material, make their high grades and quickly forget nearly all of what they had “learned.” This is NOT how you get an education.

Straight A’s Are Not Enough focuses instead on learning what is most exciting and most important based on each student’s personal goals. Students should think for themselves about this information. Their goal should be more than just getting top grades but on getting a great and meaningful education.

Another difference is that these more popular books on study skills usually rephrase the same strategies that have been popular for years. They do little or no research and sometimes ridicule strategies that research has now proved most effective. Straight A’s Are Not Enough is based on years of research and shares strategies that are now known to be most effective.

According the Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek in their wonderful book, The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony With Your Brain, (2013)

“New insights into how the human brain learns makes it clear that many of the learning practices … that students continue to use, are highly inefficient, ineffective, or just plain wrong.”

The problem with their book is that, while sharing the research, they didn’t translate that information into the kind of strategies students can use.

Are you a different person now than you were 5 years ago? In what ways?

Then, I wanted to be a writer but hadn’t found my niche. Now that I know I should be writing about learning, I have written my first book and I’m amazed at how many people refer to it as both exciting and important.

Another change is that five years ago, I only thought about the writing. Now I understand that it isn’t enough to write a great book; I must also do a great job promoting the book.

What is your favorite past-time? 

I enjoy bird-watching, especially in far-away countries with fantastic birds you’d never see in the United States. My husband and I recently visited Bhutan and India, seeing some amazing birds including the Himalayan Monal. This bird looks like a turkey painted in glowing neon colors. But even this large, brightly colored bird is very hard to find.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

  1. The book is already available on Amazon. Interested readers can use “Look Inside” to see the table of contents and much of the first several chapters – a good way to know if you’d enjoy the book. It might take a couple months to show up in bookstores.
  2. You can make a difference in someone’s life. Straight A’s Are Not Enough is an ideal graduation gift for students on their way to college. They should read it during the summer and re-read as needed once they start college. This gift can do more to change their lives than writing them a check.
  3. If you don’t have a child or grandchild heading to college, now or next year, or already in college, some of your friends do know people heading to college. Let them know about this book.


Judy Fishel was a seventh grader when she first asked the question why she worked so hard, made good grades, but learned so little. She struggled with this question through high school, college and grad schools, and for years as an award-winner teacher. Here she shares her discoveries and insights with you.

For More Information

Visit Judy at her website