Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Skim


In the vain of trying something new here on the blog, I thought I might start with some Sunday posts summarizing what I've read, what I plan to start and upcoming books I'm looking forward to.

Week of 1/21/2019:


Finished:




I've long been a fan of Robin Williams so when he died I was crushed. So I waited for a while to listen to the audio of it and wasn't disappointed. There were many things I didn't know about him and his career that I found fascinating.

Currently Reading: 


Looking Forward To:



And my  pace this week slowed down a bit. My husband was out of town and as mom Uber it didn't leave me a lot of free time to read. I'm hoping to finish my current read early in the week and move on to the next one. They are predicting a ton of snow tonight/tomorrow and then Arctic temperatures Wednesday, so I'm sure my kids will be home at some point this week. How was your week?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Julie's Review: One Day in December



Author: Josie Silver
Series: None
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Broadway Books
Pages: 416
Obtained: library
Genre:  Romance
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Just what I needed: a wonderful love story
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Summary: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away. Certain they're fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn't find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they "reunite" at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It's Jack, the man from the bus. It would be. What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered. One Day in December is a joyous, heartwarming and immensely moving love story to escape into and a reminder that fate takes inexplicable turns along the route to happiness. ~amazon.com

Review: One Day In December is one of those books that you will want made into a movie immediately after you read it. It's also the type of book that if you have one day to read it in, you can do that too. Oh and it's British (swoon).

It fits the bill as a romance novel and I do not mean that as an insult. It has angst, it has moments that will make you laugh and ones that will make you cry. It is about finding love, sacrificing your own happiness for someone close to you. It is about growing up and growing into yourself.

We meet Laurie as she's riding the bus home from work when at a bus stop she locked eyes with a young man who takes her breath away. She can't be sure but she feels like he felt something too. But she didn't take immediate action so she spend the next year looking for him only for him to enter her life for real as her roommate/best friend's new boyfriend.  So Laurie let's it go. She doesn't speak up and tell Sarah that her new love is Bus Stop boy.

What ensues is a lot of pining but eventually moving on for all of them. I loved Laurie. She was a wonderful young woman to root for. You never rooted against Sarah and part of me wondered how Ms. Silver would chose to end this novel.

If you are looking for a lovely novel to lose yourself in, go and get this one!


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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday Skim


In the vain of trying something new here on the blog, I thought I might start with some Sunday posts summarizing what I've read, what I plan to start and upcoming books I'm looking forward to.

Week of 1/14/2019:


Finished:







Holy crap has it been a wonderful and varied reading week. One Day in December hit the romantic spot for me. It was a delight for me to lose myself in a book about love. The Silent Sister was another great novel from Diane Chamberlain that dealt with family, family secrets, love and finding forgiveness. Waisted won't be out until the end of May and I was luck to get an early copy of it but this is a book that every woman should read. I found myself tearing up in several places because it resonated so well.

Currently Reading: 



Looking Forward To:




I'm hoping that the books that are next on my list hit high notes as well. So far I can't complain about any books I've read in 2019. I have a feeling it's going to be a wonderful reading year.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Julie's Review: The Lost Girls of Paris



Author: Pam Jenoff
Series: None
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Publisher: Park Row Books
Pages: 384
Obtained: Great Thoughts, Great Readers Book Salon
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Heroic women of World War II that I knew nothing about
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Summary: 1946, Manhattan
One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station. Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal. Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.


Review: I love how historical fiction authors find a nugget in their research and then write a novel about it. I also love that there is never a shortage of nuggets when it comes to history. Ms. Jenoff has a gem of a novel in The Lost Girls of Paris. I didn’t know but I’m not surprised that women were used in the field as radio transmitters in WWII. Ms. Jenoff uses this fact and writes a fantastic book about one of the groups in France.

The story unfolds when Grace finds an abandoned suitcase at Grand Central Station and keeps the photos that were in it. Something about those photos draw Grace in even though she's not sure what to do with them. She even tries to give them to the British Consulate but they act utterly uninterested. So she decides to figure out who they are.

We meet several of the girls as they are recruited, trained and then deployed. Most of their story is told through the eyes of Marie a single mom who was recruited and then sent to the field. I don't know about you but the type of training they went through I probably would have been sent home within a week. These women were tough as nails to decide to leave their families/lives behind to serve their country.

I loved how the story goes back and forth between Grace, Eleanor and Marie. They intersect beautifully so that you are excited to see how Grace figures it out. You are anxious to know what happens to Marie.

It is an utterly fascinating story that did make me use google. I highly recommend. This is only my 2nd Pam Jenoff book but it certainly won't be my last. 

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Skim


In the vain of trying something new here on the blog, I thought I might start with some Sunday posts summarizing what I've read, what I plan to start and upcoming books I'm looking forward to.

Week of 1/7/2019:


Finished:




I chose really well by picking An Anonymous Girl for my first read of 2019. It is a cat and mouse game with a psychiatrist and one of her subjects from a study. It keeps you turning the pages that is for sure. Emily Giffin's All We Ever Wanted renewed my faith in her as a writer. It is a timely and thought-provoking novel that all parents should read. My first historical fiction novel of the year was the fantastic The Lost Girls of Paris about the women radio transmitters during WWII. I swear there are so many stories that are still waiting to be told from that generation.


Currently Reading: 



Looking Forward To:




Not a bad way to start out 2019 with some great reads. I have ambitious goals for 2019 with 104 books. I'm hoping my new found appreciation for audio-books will contribute heavily to that goal. What are your goals for reading? Trying anything new?

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Julie's Review: An Anonymous Girl




Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Series: None
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Trust and Betrayal at its best

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Summary: Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed. When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt? But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking…and what she’s hiding. Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about? As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly. Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime? From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone. ~amazon.com 

Review: Everyone has secrets but would you be able to reveal your deepest secrets or thoughts to a stranger that is a psychologist? Is anonymity enough for you to feel comfortable?  Which then ask, are you ever really anonymous? Jess enters the study on a whim to get some free money for a couple hours of questions. She had no reference on what it was on but figured it couldn't do much harm. That is until the questions start digging a little deeper making her reveal things she hadn't even revealed to anyone else.

Things quickly escalate so that Jess is doing things that go beyond her comfort level but she also feels that she doesn't want to let Dr. Shields down. So she keeps doing her tests even if she was also questioning the point. As the pieces of the puzzles start to come together Jess has to figure out how to get herself out of the situation without collateral damage.

Dr. Shields is unstable and using her position for her own reasons with no regard to ethics and morals which is ironic given what kind of study she was supposedly running. She might be unstable but she is still brilliant and manipulative.

How will Jess compete with a professional cat and mouse game? Will she ever get one step ahead and free herself? What cost will it come with?

This will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering if Jess will step up to the challenge and get the best of Dr. Shields.

The writing duo of Pekkanen and Hendricks have done it again with another psychological thriller.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday Skim


In the vain of trying something new here on the blog, I thought I might start with some Sunday posts summarizing what I've read, what I plan to start and upcoming books I'm looking forward to.

Week of  12/17, 12/24 and 12/31/2018:


Finished:










Liars' Paradox was a great novel about twins that have been trained to survive attacks by unknown sources. I loved the pace of this one even if at times the plot was hard to follow. Where the Crawdads Sing was my last audiobook of 2018 and while I really enjoyed it/liked it I didn't love it like most people did. It's a wonderful story but I didn't feel that it lit me on fire. Half of What You Hear is a story about starting over and finding yourself again. I enjoyed it but didn't fully connect with the characters. The Gown was the perfect book to end 2018 with because it was simply amazing. It's the story of female resilience, female friendship and it is not to be missed. The Perfect Stranger is a great mix of mystery/psychological thriller that definitely has cat and mouse game elements to it. You do question if she's a reliable narrator as well. 

Currently Reading: 



Looking Forward To:






HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 

Here's to a great start to 2019 reads!

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Julie's Review: The Gown


Author: Jennifer Robson
Series: None
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Brilliant
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown. Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?  With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love. ~amazon.com  

Review: With the obsession with the new Royals (Wills/Kate; Harry/Meg) and then The Crown, it is no wonder the marketing of this book will be more geared towards the "gown" but this book is about friendship, sacrifice and love. The wedding gown is the glue that brings the 2 women together. This is about women learning to be independent and fighting for the lives they want, not necessarily what society thinks women want.


Ann has worked at Norman Hartnell for 11 years and is one of their best at intricate embroidery. She lives with her sister-in-law in Barking and commutes daily. She loves her job and life even if London is on hard times with rationing and coal shortage. She's just gotten done making a ton of clothes for the royal family as they tour Africa and is looking forward to fulfilling other orders.

Miriam has just emigrated from France and is looking for work in a fashion house given her history working in a top one plus a letter of recommendation from a top designer. It is obvious that Miriam has a sad personal history but we won't learn of the details until later.

It is the pairing of Miriam and Ann together at the fashion house, when the story really starts to take off. I loved how their friendship came together and how they slowly opened themselves up to each other and then to others. Heather's story fills in the spaces of what we don't get from Ann and Miriam's points of view. I love how the stories end up intersecting.

The story of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown is fascinating and you can tell that Ms. Robson went to great lengths to get this story right.

I just loved this book. It was the best way to end my reading year in 2018. I highly recommend it.

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