27 January 2019

Review: Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been kind of obsessed about DEH for about a year now. I think the play and soundtrack are brilliant. Once I heard there was a book I just had to read it. I think I liked it even more. You don't have the music (being a musical nut, I thoroughly enjoy that part), but you have a GREAT story.

Without giving much away...Evan is kind of a mystery to his mom, friends, and the kids at school He has an absent father, a mom that has a job but goes to school and a therapist that makes him write letters to himself.
The death of a classmate changes Evan's whole world. He gets caught up in something he can't handle because he doesn't know how, and he has to face the facts of things that have happened in his own life.

It is a very quick read because the play itself is only about 2 hours.

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21 January 2019

Review: The Parisians

The Parisians The Parisians by Marius Gabriel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and I was thrilled because I had wanted to read this one!!

There is a lot going on in The Ritz hotel during WWII. For most of the book, the Nazis have taken over the hotel, leaving the regular residents either out of a home or in different quarters. It was odd to see a side of a famous designer, Coco Chanel that I had never seen. We also see a middle-aged actress, Arletty and her lovers. We see a chambermaid, Olivia, find love and risk everything for something she truly believes in. I hate to give away the plot because I am a person that hates spoilers, but I will tell you that some of the things are shocking!! The way the Germans could treat people will forever shock me no matter how many WWII books I read.

I enjoyed this book. My only issue with it is that it kept me up too late because I did not want to put it down.

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Review: The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel

The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hedy has always fascinated me. Toted by the film studios as "the most beautiful woman in the world". Just look at her in Ziegfield Girl and you have to believe that statement is true. Then when I started studying old movies I discovered she was very smart too. NO FAIR! Brains and Beauty.

This story will show you both of the brains and beauty. We see Hedy trying to first please her family and then we see her try to save their lives and then she works on the lives of all Americans.

I knew she had been married many times, but never knew of the first one. I knew the first one came before she was a big star. This whole thing was very interesting and really may have gone down in the way depicted here.

This was a short read and you will get a nice story on The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.

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20 January 2019

I am looking forward to the release of these books (in 2019)

This is a list of books on my TBR reading list. All of these will be released in 2019.  I am not sure if I will finish all of them, but I am going to give it my best shot.  I will add the synopsis after I read the book because I don't usually read them until after I have read the book. I am one of those that doesn't like movie trailers too.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson (released).  I have read this one it is magical.  Set in the embroidery shop that did Princess Elizabeth's (now Queen Elizabeth II) wedding gown.  A beautiful story.

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly (this one has been released)

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly (April)

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict (released-I just finished this one)  A tale of Hedy Lamar before she was a famous movie star, how she got started, her first terrible husband and how she changed our world by creating technology you and I use every day.

The Age of Light by Whitney Sharer (February)

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner (March)

When We Left Cuba by Chantel Cleeton (April)

American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton (March)

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams (July) The Wicked Redhead is slated to come out in May but I have seen no cover. I read every single book Beatriz releases.

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (July)

Mistress of  the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin (May)

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis (July)

The Beautiful Strangers by Camilla Di Maio (March)

Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love (February)

The Wartime Sister by Lynda Cohen Loigman (January)

Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen (April)

In Another Time by Jullian Cantor (March)

American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo  Vanderbilt by Karen Harper(February)

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (released)

The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (July)

16 January 2019

Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had to jump on the bandwagon and see what this lady was all about. I will tell you that there are some things that I agree with and some I absolutely do not. The books thing really bothered me. I do indeed read my books more than once. I have many, many and that will never change. They make me very happy. The other thing I hated was the pocket change. I will not put it in my wallet. I like to save my change/dollars in a jar and then pay for tolls on Florida/Canada trips and once I paid for a trip with that pocket change.

I have done for many years folded my clothes vertically in a drawer and a shelf. In ROY G BIV order. It is easy to see, easy to get what I want and won't mess up. I have never taken this to the level of towels, and now I intend to do that.

I am inspired to get rid of some things. I like the idea of making my space much more peaceful.

what I need: I need her to teach me to organize a kitchen when you haven't a cupboard and a few storage spots.

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Review: The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century

The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder, and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century by Simon Baatz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was WILD!! It reads like fiction because some of the facts are so unbelievable. I had a slow spot in the middle but then the book got crazy again and crossed country lines. I did find myself asking, "is this really true?". Bizarre incidents that were all over the place....and remember while you are reading this book...it happened in like 1905ish!!!!!

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14 January 2019

Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought the movie brilliant. I found the screenplay let me envision the actors reading the lines while I read the book.

JK does a wonderful job showing us the power of persuasion that Grindlewald has. He doesn't even have to do the deeds himself, he just gives a head movement and bam a curse is cast on an unsuspecting soul by another wizard. He was a great evil character. I found him a bit like a cult leader with no conscience.

Dumbeldore was extraordinary. It was nice that his character was like the original series, he had secrets, there is some agenda and made me question for a bit whether that agenda for good or evil?

Queenie is adorable!! If I could be any character in any of the books, I would choose her.

Newt is my favorite JK character after Snape. He is perfectly written, he has no ambition except to save the creatures and has a mad crush on Tina.

I am excited for #3.

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Review: The Library Book

The Library Book The Library Book by Susan Orlean
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This review is written by someone who worked at her local public library. Loved every second of it and says it was one of the greatest jobs she ever had.

The book is all about solving a massive fire that took place in the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986. It is mingled with stories of what a day in the life of a librarian is like. These stories took place in Los Angles but could have easily happened right here in Paducah, Ky (or any other American town).

I love the library. I love all libraries and this book just deepened that love.

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12 January 2019

Things to accomplish in 2019

I started out this post with talk about resolutions, but I am not a resolutions person so I deleted all of that and decided that I am more a goal person.  I do keep goals in my planner.  My planner is not one of those beautiful things. It is simply a planner with an elastic band. I write in my appointments, cool things, house cleaning checklists, glue in ticket stubs and write down the greatest thing of each day.  That is all.

Goals for 2019:
Mail more cards (letters) ---will this be hampered by the .05 increase in the cost of stamps
Learn to make a hardcover book
Go to Halifax
Stop eating candy (haven't had any yet in 2019)
Finish organizing my photos on my external hard drive
Read 100 books and review them

I am trying to stay on target to finish them, but looking for ways to hold myself accountable.  Habit trackers are NOT for me.

I am curious if you do goals/resolutions and how you stay on target to finish them.

10 January 2019

Review: Sugar and Scandals

Sugar and Scandals Sugar and Scandals by Harper Lin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is no secret that I am a HUGE Harper Lin fan. I have read all of her books and love each and every one for different reasons.

This one is full of old classmates, cougars (the women kind), strange acting ex-husbands, sweet boyfriends, 2 teenage kids and of course cupcake recipes (have you tried the recipes? Well, you should).

This book could easily have been read in 1 or 2 nights but I was reading another book while reading this one so and with the New Year holiday, I got a tad distracted with life.

Things I love:
Lila and Amelia's friendship
Amelia and Dan together

Things I love to hate:
The ex-John
The new Mrs. -Jennifer

I think you could read this as a standalone and still have a good time, but why would you not want to read all the others in this series?

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09 January 2019

Review: The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not even sure how to start this review. I am still a little bit of in the "oh I can't believe that is over phase."

From the first chapter, I was sucked into the story that takes you through a period in time of the lives of three woman. Ann and Miriam are in a post-war England. Struggling to make peace with who they are and how to survive in this new world. Heather is in modern-day and she too struggles with her job and a secret in the past.

They all meet men who will change the course of their lives in some unexpected ways.

This is a beautiful novel. England is not very pretty during much of the time we are visiting. It suffers from The Blitz and England is still suffering the effects of the war, but we don't dwell on hardships, we see a beautiful friendship and a country very excited about a royal wedding. I loved that Jennifer spun a story where we could imagine what the workroom looked like, I could even envision the embroidery as she was describing it in every detail. I could see war-torn London and I could feel the pain the girls experienced as they try to rebuild for the future.

Warning: I could not put this book down once I started...so you may need to plan accordingly.

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