Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. With families’ schedules changing and vacation season starting, you may find that you have opportunities to read that book that has been sitting on the shelf for a few months now. “There’s no book on the shelf waiting for you,” you say? Members of the First Choice Family invite you to consider these reading recommendations for Summer 2019.
Recommended by Ernesto Borunda | Senior Loan Originator, NMLS# 999984 | Scottsdale, AZ
Whatever Arises, Love That by Matt Kahn
There are four simple words that point the way toward liberation and fulfillment: whatever arises, love that. This is the life-changing teaching that Matt Kahn has been sharing with millions of YouTube viewers around the world. Whatever Arises, Love That offers a collection of powerful teachings by this highly regarded teacher, providing you with a series of deeply healing insights and practices to ignite the spark of your highest potential.
The Final Summit by Andy Andrews
This is humanity’s last chance. Centuries of greed, pride, and hate have sent mankind hurtling toward disaster, and far from its original purpose. There is only one solution that can reset the compass and right the ship―and that answer is only two words.
With time running out, it is up to David Ponder and a cast of history’s best and brightest minds to uncover this solution before it is too late. The catch? They are allowed only five tries to solve the ominous challenge.
Readers first encountered David Ponder in the New York Times bestseller The Traveler’s Gift. Now, in The Final Summit, Andrews combines a riveting narrative with astounding history in order to show us the one thing we must do when we don’t know what to do.
Recommended by Greg Sullivan | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 13001 | Burlington, MA
The Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille
Welcome to the fabled Gold Coast, that stretch on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America. Here two men are destined for an explosive collision: John Sutter, Wall Street lawyer, holding fast to a fading aristocratic legacy; and Frank Bellarosa, the Mafia don who seizes his piece of the staid and unprepared Gold Coast like a latter-day barbarian chief and draws Sutter and his regally beautiful wife, Susan, into his violent world. Told from Sutter’s sardonic and often hilarious point of view, and laced with sexual passion and suspense, The Gold Coast is Nelson DeMille’s captivating story of friendship and seduction, love and betrayal.
The Gate House by Nelson DeMille
John left America and set out in his sailboat on a three-year journey around the world, eventually settling in London. Now, ten years later, he has come home to the Gold Coast, that stretch of land on the North Shore of Long Island that once held the greatest concentration of wealth and power in America, to attend the imminent funeral of an old family servant. Taking up temporary residence in the gatehouse of Stanhope Hall, John finds hi mself living only a quarter of a mile from Susan, his aristocratic ex-wife, who has also returned to Long Island. But Susan isn’t the only person from John’s past who has reemerged: Though Frank Bellarosa, infamous Mafia don and Susan’s ex-lover, is long dead, his son, Anthony, is alive and well, and intent on two missions: Drawing John back into the violent world of the Bellarosa family, and exacting revenge on his father’s murderer–Susan Sutter. At the same time, John and Susan’s mutual attraction resurfaces and old passions begin to reignite, and John finds himself pulled deeper into a familiar web of seduction and betrayal. In The Gate House, acclaimed author Nelson DeMille brings us back to that fabled spot on the North Shore — a place where past, present, and future collides with often unexpected results.
Recommended by Jane Burns | Content Manager, Marketing/Communications | East Brunswick, NJ
All my recommendations are mystery series, all are very well written, and you will enjoy them more if you start with the first book.
Donna Leon’s Commissario Guido Brunetti series is set in Venice. Originally from New Jersey, Leon lived in Venice for many years and clearly understands the city and its unique character. You will feel like you are there, solving the mysteries alongside Brunetti and his team.
For a different take on police work, travel to the Shetland Isles with Ann Cleeves and her protagonist DI Jimmy Perez. There are 8 books in the series, which she completed last year. The books are moody, and Shetland is as much a character as the people. (If you’d rather watch than read, there is a Shetland TV series available to stream on BritBox. It is based on the books but doesn’t follow them exactly.)
There is a new (paperback) entry in the outstanding John Rebus series from Iain Rankin, set in Glasgow. Rebus is a seriously flawed character. He carries years of baggage, but he is an intelligent, compelling figure who works his way through the dark mysteries he solves.
Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch books are great reads for summer or any other time. Harry is another deeply flawed character, a brilliant but unconventional detective who is not popular with the LAPD hierarchy (understatement). Amazon has made a series based on, but not identical to, the books.
Recommended by Joseph Rowen | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 1794878 | Southampton, PA
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
Recommended by Jill Strate | Production Specialist | Amarillo, TX
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence–creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
Recommended by Kimberley Crosby | AVP, Marketing | East Brunswick, NJ
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
East of Eden is a novel that is explicitly biblical in its scope, centering on the patriarchal figure of Adam Trask, and his uneasy relationship with his twin sons and their scandalous mother. This epic family saga, chronicling the turbulent ambitions and desires of the Trasks and their neighbors in California’s fertile Salinas Valley, is characterized by one fundamental theme: the need for a personal choice between good and evil. Much of the historical background and some of the colorful events in the narrative are based on John Steinbeck’s own memories and the recollections of his forebears in the region. But the vital protagonists – the dominating Adam, the favored Aron, the tormented Cal – and the fascinating cast of supporting characters, including maidens and whores, Chinese servants and scions of pioneer stock, are the fruit of Steinbeck’s own imaginative genius and his love for the land of his birth.
Recommended by Kimberley Kerns | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS3 1748728 | Port Orange, FL
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
With his bestselling spiritual guide The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle inspired millions of readers to discover the freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.” In A New Earth, Tolle expands on these powerful ideas to show how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence. Illuminating, enlightening, and uplifting, A New Earth is a profoundly spiritual manifesto for a better way of life—and for building a better world.
Recommended by Lori Oberman | Sales Assistant | Reno, NV
The Century series by Ken Follett
Ken Follett has taken the past 100 years and provided different points of views from key players from across the globe. He manages to tie their lives together in a way that makes me care about them. His writing is clear and concise, and it’s easy to follow the characters throughout WWI and WWII. It is more or less a really fun history lesson with intersecting people and places of interest.
Recommended by Michaela Urban | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 844605 | Dallas, TX
World Changer: A Mother’s Story by Karen Vaughn
It is a great reminder of the sacrifices our military makes every day for us and their incredible skill, drive and motivation, particularly the US Navy SEALs. It also demonstrates the important role a parent can play in raising a hero, a leader, and someone who serves others.
Recommended by Phuong Lee | VP, Regional Underwriting | East Brunswick, NJ
Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt
The book gives great ideas on how to be more productive. Multitasking is what we do but focus on what you need to do. Quality sleep is so important so we can be productive. Pushing hard when we are tired is not the answer. Coming back refresh will get us going faster, be more attentive, and as a result less errors.
Recommended by Raymond Cala | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 1713669 | Morganville, NJ
The Like Switch by Jack Schafer, Ph.D.
The Like Switch is packed with all the tools you need for turning strangers into friends, whether you are on a sales call, a first date, or a job interview. As a Special Agent for the FBI’s National Security Division’s Behavioral Analysis Program, Dr. Jack Schafer developed dynamic and breakthrough strategies for profiling terrorists and detecting deception. Now, Dr. Schafer has evolved his proven-on-the-battlefield tactics for the day-to-day, but no less critical battle of getting people to like you.
Recommended by Ray Lozano | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 1754502 | Dallas, TX
Educated by Tara Westover
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Recommended by Sherrie Fico | Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 264326 | Concord, CA
Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.
Imagine—what if you had access to a simple yes-or-no answer to any question you wished to ask? A demonstrably true answer. Any question . . . think about it. We think we live by forces we control, but in fact we are governed by power from unrevealed sources, power over which we have no control. The universe holds its breath as we choose, instant by instant, which pathway to follow; for the universe, the very essence of life itself, is highly conscious. Every act, thought, and choice adds to a permanent mosaic; our decisions ripple through the universe of consciousness to affect the lives of all.
Recommended by Tim Overdorf | Senior Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 144478 | Southampton, PA
The Power of TED by David Emerald
This book is a fable on self-leadership, because how you lead your own life has everything to do with how you lead in other areas. It is a tool for both individuals and organizations who want to create more effective communication and relationships. Learning how to transform everyday drama and opt for more growth-oriented solutions, is the priceless gift it teaches. As you walk with David, the main character, he shares how he is feeling victimized by life. Through serendipity he meets some wise guides, Ted and Sophia, who show David how he can move from feeling like a Victim to being a Creator of his own life. The Power of TED* offers a powerful alternative to the Karpman Drama Triangle with its roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) provides the antidote roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach and a more positive approach to life’s challenges. The teaching story provides a guide for learning and growing through the challenges we all face in our lives. Its message resonates with everyone who, at some time in their lives, feel victimized by their situation. Having helped thousands of people and scores of organizations over the past decade, This book is being published in this 10th Anniversary Edition to convey a very timely message of hope that all of life, whether at home or work, can be transformed to create satisfying and fulfilling relationships.
Recommended by Wayne Ostrander | Senior Mortgage Loan Originator, NMLS# 1459194 | Costa Mesa, CA
Good to Great by James C. Collins
The book “describes how companies transition from being good companies to great companies, and how most companies fail to make the transition… “Greatness” is defined as financial performance several multiples better than the market average over a sustained period. Collins finds the main reason certain companies become great is they narrowly focus the company’s resources on their field of key competence.”
Recommended by Wella Boyer | AVP, Final Documents | East Brunswick, NJ
Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
Reena Hale’s destiny was shaped in the destructive—yet fascinatingly beautiful—fire that leveled her family’s pizzeria when she was young. Now an arson investigator, she finds her strength and wits constantly tested, although sometimes the job seems like a snap compared to her love life. But she can’t always blame the men. After all, a soot-caked woman barking orders and smelling of smoke isn’t the biggest turn-on in the world. Then she meets Bo Goodnight, who seems different. He’s been trying to find Reena for years, and now that she’s close enough to touch, he has no intention of letting go. Nor does the man who has begun to haunt Reena’s life—with taunting phone calls and a string of horrifying crimes. And as Reena tries desperately to trace the origins—of the calls, the fires, the hatred aimed in her direction—she will step into the worst inferno she has ever faced.
The Guest Cottage Nancy Thayer
Sensible thirty-six-year-old Sophie Anderson has always known what to do. She knows her role in life: supportive wife of a successful architect and calm, capable mother of two. But on a warm summer night, as the house grows quiet around her and her children fall asleep, she wonders what’s missing from her life. When her husband echoes that lonely question, announcing that he’s leaving her for another woman, Sophie realizes she has no idea what’s next. Impulsively renting a guest cottage on Nantucket from her friend Susie Swenson, Sophie rounds up her kids, Jonah and Lacey, and leaves Boston for a quiet family vacation, minus one. Also minus one is Trevor Black, a software entrepreneur who has recently lost his wife. Trevor is the last person to imagine himself, age thirty and on his own, raising a little boy like Leo—smart and sweet, but grappling constantly with his mother’s death, growing more and more closed off. Hoping a quiet summer on the Nantucket coast will help him reconnect with Leo, Trevor rents a guest house on the beautiful island from his friend Ivan Swenson. Best-laid plans run awry when Sophie and Trevor realize they’ve mistakenly rented the same house. Still, determined to make this a summer their kids will always remember, the two agree to share the Swensons’ Nantucket house. But as the summer unfolds and the families grow close, Sophie and Trevor must ask themselves if the guest cottage is all they want to share.
The Kiss on Castle Road by Lauren Christopher
Natalie has always been the fun Grant sister: the one with the constantly packed suitcase and the zest for life. But this carefree existence is wearing on her. When her oldest sister, Olivia, invites her to Lavender Island for three months, Natalie jumps at the chance to look after her niece, prove she’s not irresponsible, and take a much-needed vacation from men. Her “mancation” takes an unexpected turn when she spots a group of sick sea lions and calls on microbiologist Elliott Sherman for help. Elliott is everything Natalie is not—quiet, studious, and geeky. Yet there’s a simmering sexiness under those glasses that she’s quick to notice. And Elliott finds himself taken with her gorgeous free spirit. Despite their chemistry, outside forces threaten to keep them apart—including a secret Natalie has never shared. Can the allure of Lavender Island and its quirky residents open her heart and lead her to lasting love?
The Beantown Girls by Jane Healy
1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered. Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines. Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.
Frozen Stiff by Patrick Logan
With no evidence, no leads, and no clues, the local PD has no choice but to call in the FBI. Enter FBI recruit Chase Adams. While she may be new to the Bureau, Chase is no rookie when it comes to murder. First a Narcotics Officer in Seattle, then a NYPD Detective, Chase has insight into the workings of some of the most demented minds of our society. But this case will push even Chase to the limits–it’s like nothing she has investigated before. The local PD thinks they have things wrapped up nicely, but Chase isn’t at all convinced. When a third and fourth body surfaces across the country, Chase realizes that she is on the hunt for a killer whose murder spree knows no boundaries.
The Saturday Even Girls Club by Jane Healy
For four young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End in the early 1900s, escaping tradition doesn’t come easy. But at least they have one another and the Saturday Evening Girls Club, a social pottery-making group offering respite from their hectic home lives—and hope for a better future. Ambitious Caprice dreams of opening her own hat shop, which clashes with the expectations of her Sicilian-born parents. Brilliant Ada secretly takes college classes despite the disapproval of her Russian Jewish father. Stunning Maria could marry anyone yet guards her heart to avoid the fate of her Italian Catholic mother, broken down by an alcoholic husband. And shy Thea is torn between asserting herself and embracing an antiquated Jewish tradition. The friends face family clashes and romantic entanglements, career struggles and cultural prejudice. But through their unfailing bond, forged through their weekly gathering, they’ll draw strength—and the courage to transform their immigrant stories into the American lives of their dreams.