27 August 2019

Review: The Winemaker's Wife

The Winemaker's Wife The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I will be honest, I picked it up because of the cover and the fact that I have read another Kristin book and enjoyed it. I will tell you that from the first page I loved it. Every time I thought I had the ending figured out, Kristin would throw me a curveball and I had to start all over again with my assumptions. The characters were not those perfect little storybook folks, they were full of holes and imperfections but had a desire to defeat the Germans during occupied France. In the modern-day story, we are sitting on the sidelines waiting to find out how the modern-day ties to the past, because we know it does...it always does.

The last little section blew me away. I did not expect it and I loved it because of that.

thank you Ms. Harmel for a very interesting book.

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17 August 2019

Review: All the Flowers in Paris: A Novel

All the Flowers in Paris: A Novel All the Flowers in Paris: A Novel by Sarah Jio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every page of this book, from the first word of the first sentence to the very last, I love this!

I am not going to spoil a thing, but the characters of Papa, Cecille and Cosi were just wonderful. We meet them during occupied Paris. Where life for many Parisians would be one of uncertainty and terror throughout the occupation. Some residents would choose to "bed" with the Germans in order to save their lives or those of their family, often with dire consequences. Some would hide in fear of the Germans and some would blatantly turn up their noses at the invaders. You are going to meet or learn about all these behaviors while reading this book. There is no sugar coating what the Germans did so be prepared for disgust too.

We also get to fast forward to 2009 to a character that gets her own drama because she has amnesia. This storyline would weave into the characters of the past and would prove equally as thrilling.

I read this book on a Friday night after a long week at work. I kept telling myself, "just one more chapter"....that lead into finishing the book and dreaming about it all night long.

I am not sure if this is my pick book of the year 2019 or the runner-up but I can tell you that it is well worth your time.

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Review: The Chelsea Girls

The Chelsea Girls The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started off as the usual WWII book that I read. Girls and boys overseas fighting a war in a few theaters while the rest of our country is at home doing what they can to help the war effort. This time some girls join up with the USO to give the troops a little entertainment. The girls forge a friendship that lasts after the war. Then we see the girls join back into their old lives and forge new ones. Hazel, who wrote the USO shows longs to be a writer right here in NYC. She moves into the Chelsea Hotel, a place where artists can live with no prejudice and lots of support. She moves right into an entertainment industry that is in turmoil because of Joseph McCarthy and the HUAC (House of Un-American Committee). Maxine, her former USO pal, moves back to NYC too and joins Hazel's play. Now I can't tell you any more about this one because I don't want to ruin it for you. Hazel, Maxine, their men, their fellow cast members will all get tangled in with the HUAC in some way. You will get a glimpse into the future so you will find out what happens with the characters from the time we meet them in the '40s to the end of their life. I did very much enjoy this book but only gave it 4 stars because I felt it wasn't as vivid as Fiona's other books. It is a good read though.

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Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This one was a tad of a departure from my "normal" read, but maybe it is the new normal. Who knows? Anyway, I loved this book from the turn of the very first page. Evvie was packing to start a new life, but one was started for her in a completely different way than she imagined. Then she realizes it wasn't the life she envisioned but the life she thought the world wanted her to have. It was time to break the mold and do what she needed to do. The way she achieved her goals made for some interesting reading.

I don't' like giving you too much, but this one has a little romance and a lot of taking leaps. I realized that once you realize you need to take a leap, take it.

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06 August 2019

Review: Meet Me in Monaco

Meet Me in Monaco Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First of all, while reading this book I felt a tad transported back in time. From the descriptions of the clothing and the locations (especially the flower fields), I felt like I was right there in the middle of it all. I only wish the book had smell technology so I could have smelled the lavender.

I loved the subject matter. I am fascinated with classic movie stars and their lives. I have always had an interest in Princess Grace because she was one of the first celebrity deaths that I was aware of (I was 10 when she died). I liked how Grace weaved in and out of the story that Sophie was "writing". Sophie was a great character with a very interesting story. I hate how people spoil things in books so I will just tell you that her story involves a perfume business, friendship, and a little romance.

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04 August 2019

Review: The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved every second that I spent with this book. First of all, anything that even mentions Wallis Simpson grabs my attention. Secondly, any book that is based in a tropical location will pull me into its pages. Thirdly, add to that, characters that I met in another book and I am hooked!!!

I won't spoil anything for you because this book has some intrigue and moments where my jaw dropped for a second and you need to experience that for yourself. I just want to tell you that the book travels a little through time, but you should not have trouble keeping up. You need this "time travel" to grab the importance of the story and how it weaves over almost 50 years.

If you have read other Beatriz books, be on the lookout for a character you have seen before (I love it when she does this).

The only thing I didn't like about this book was when it was over.

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Review: Blackberry and Wild Rose

Blackberry and Wild Rose Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are four players, Esther, Sara, Bisby, and Elias. Only two of them are married to each other, but the other two will change the course of their marriage and the lives of all four of them. I hate to give away anything because I hate when folks do that. I will just tell you that I was captivated from the first chapter wanting to know what was going to happen next. Elias is a master silk weaver and Esther longs to have her watercolor paintings made into silks. What lengths would she go to in order to see her art turned into silk? What would Elias do to remain a master? How could Sara try to ruin the lives of all four of the players? Do you see what I am saying? You really need to read this one.

Some scenes are a little violent, but it was the times and situations that the players lived in so there is no way around that.

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Review: Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy

Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy by Andrew Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have always enjoyed an Andrew Morton book. You can count on him to be detailed and tell things you may never have heard before. I was looking forward to reading this one the second I heard it was a book because of that fact and I must say I was NOT disappointed.

This one seems brutally honest, I mean no polishing over any fact. Let's face it, even though Wallis fascinates me, she was not someone who I would have wanted to be friends with in any way.

This is a good book for anyone trying to figure out what attracted David to her and made him give up a whole throne to have her in his life.

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