Sunday, September 29, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 9/22/2019:


Finished:


The Kitchen House has been on my shelf for years so it made sense to listen to it as audio book. I was not disappointed in the novel nor in the narrators. I enjoyed it so much my current audio book is the sequel. Waiting for Tom Hanks was exactly what I needed after reading Alice Hoffman's newest novel. Now I really want a weekend of Rom-Com movies. 😀 

Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:




I'm a little behind on my September reads and it's going into October. That's because all my library holds came in at the same time! So those tends to get pushed higher in the pile. How do you prioritize you library books with your other books?

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Julie's Review: Waiting For Tom Hanks

Author: Kerry Winfrey
Series: Waiting for Tom Hanks #1
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 288
Obtained: Library
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Smart, Cute and funny 
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Summary: Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight. When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days...can he? ~amazon.com 

Review: Ah Rom-Coms. They really don't get the credit they should in either book or movie form. Although in book form they have been on the rise and Waiting for Tom Hanks is a great reason why. This novel is light and fun but it also touches on some serious issues as well. Annie is a hopeless romantic thanks to her mom and her love of those great 90s rom-coms starting a lot of Tom Hanks. Annie herself is working on her own movie script when she gets the opportunity to work for a famous director as his assistant. Right then you knew what you were in for because she gets her "meet cute" before her first day, even if she doesn't see it. I mean you don't always see what is right in front of you.

Annie is a great character, she's funny, she's smart and talented. She's also pretty lonely even though she's surrounded herself with good friends and family. Her best friend Chloe is the comic relief but also the inspiration for Annie's screenplay, except she doesn't know it.

It's not that you don't know the outcome of how the book will turnout because honestly why read a book like this if you don't want the happy ending but it's the journey along the way that is what I read it for. There are no huge plot twists but one subplot that I didn't think was totally necessary to move the book or Annie along.

What I really want to do is to curl up on the couch and watch a bunch of Rom-Coms and the weather this weekend looks like that's exactly what it wants me to do. 👍 This is a fun read that is a good palate cleaner if you are reading some heavy subject novels.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Julie's Review: The World We Knew

Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: None
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Folklore
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Heartbreaking and hopeful
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Summary: In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked. Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be. What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending. ~amazon.com

Review: You know how when you finish a book it kind of leaves you a bit gutted and like you don't know if you can really close it? Yes, well than The World We Knew is for you because that is exactly how I felt. I have ready many a WWII novel but I don't believe I've read one that incorporated the Jewish Resistance in France and that factors in heavily to Ms. Hoffman's new novel.

In face of the horror that the Nazi's bring upon Berlin, Lea's mom Hanni needs to divise a plan to keep her young daughter, Lea safe. Hanni knows she doesn't have much time, so she seeks out a Rabbi to great a mystical creature, a golem, to protect her daughter as she sends her away to France for safety. There's a hitch though like anything you are creating in the likeness of something, it can only be destroyed by it's creator and this puts the creator at great risk of being destroyed themselves. Ettie is the Rabbi's daughter who agrees to create the golem for Hanni but at the expense of getting her and her sister papers for travel as well. This simple act bonds Lea, Ettie and Ava (the golem) together until they should all perish.

As Ava, Ettie and Lea begin their journey out of Germany and into France, they are separated and go their own ways to try to survive. Ettie is on a journey of revenge and solitary existence until she finds herself part of a bigger group that is trying to make a difference. Lea and Ava lead a relatively normal life until the Nazi's come to their part of France and they have to escape to a variety of locations just to stay alive. Along their way to survive they meet people who will change their perspective on how they look at the world and how they learn to search for the light even in the darkness.

Ms. Hoffman's writing is some of the best words on paper I have had the privledge of reading and in this one, she's at the top of her game. She doesn't hold back punches with the horror and brutality of the time period but yet with Ava and others she shines a light into that brutality. Ettie is the one who sacrifices for what she believes in and also for vengence of a loved one. Ava is the one who is the epitome of hope and light as she fiercely protects Lea but also figures out who she is and what it is she really wants to become.

This is one that you will want to put on the top of your book pile(s) immediately. It's is not to be missed.


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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 9/15/2019:


Finished:



Honestly, no one writes like Ms. Hoffman. This story will haunt you and yet give you hope that there is light within darkness.

Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:


It has been a pretty hectic and stressful work week so I'm in the mood for ecapism reads so it'll probably be a few lighter reads in the week again. What do you look forward to reading if real life is stressful.

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Julie's Review: Pretty Guilty Women

Author: Gina LaManna
Series: None
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A story of how friendship binds you to your past, present and future
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Summary: Something has gone terribly wrong at the Banks wedding. A man is dead. Four different women rush to offer confessions, each insisting that they committed the crime ― alone. Ginger is holding her family together by a thread, and this wedding weekend is not the fabulous getaway she anticipated. Kate has enough money to buy her way out of anything. Well, almost anything. Emily can't shake her reputation or her memories, and she's planning to drown this whole vacation in a bottle. Lulu's got ex-husbands to spare, and another on the way ― as soon as she figures out what the devil the current husband is up to behind her back. Why would they confess to the same murder? Only they know ― and they're not telling. This page-turning novel explores the depths of friendship and the truths we love to ignore. ~amazon.com 

Review: I love a good mystery, a good classic who-dunit, which is what Pretty Guilty Women is at it's core. It is also about female friendships, forgiveness and understanding. Let's face it, female friendships/relationships are complex and when there's a misunderstanding it can be even worse. For 4 college friends reuniting isn't necessarily a happy event. Emily is dealing with a pain so deep she drinks to try to keep it supressed; Ginger is struggling with being a mom to a brood of 3 with a teenager who thinks she's an idiot and Kate struggles with being unable to obtain what she wants the most. The 4th friend is the one getting married and is mentioned throughout the book but isn't integral other than getting them all in the same place.

It's at the hotel bar that they meet Sydney with her baby Lydia and Lulu who each is harboring a secret one with more consequences for the group than the other. As the women drink more and longer into the day/night, each opens up about their own insecurities. Ginger still harbors ill feelings towards Emily even though she has no clu what she's been through in the last 10 years and well Kate is still bossy and in charge.

What ensues over the next 24 hours is murder and mayhem with various points of view but one thing is clear they are all covering up for someone, the question is whom? We are given snippets of the night as the police investigate the murder and the events leading up the murder. We are given the events leading up to the murder from each of the women's POV, which is always interesting. They each have their own version of the truth because it is what they saw and how their experiences shaped their view.

I like complex female friendships and none is more complex at times than mother/teenage daughter. Ms. LaManna does a great job of exhibiting this with Ginger and Elsie's relationship. They speak at each other and not to each other which is typical plus neither one really listens to the other one. Also, how do you repair a friendship when you have been harboring ill-will to someone for so long? This is Ginger and Emily's quandry. And who really is Sydney Banks? Is she on the run?

Now I will confess (haha) that I figured out who the murdered man was pretty early on BUT I didn't see a couple of outcomes of the murder coming, so I'm all about a twist that gives me pause.

I really enjoyed the mystery and getting to know these women and their struggles. It was a great reminder about how not to judge because you really have no clue what people have been through. For fans of Liane Moriarty, you will want to check out this one.


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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 9/8/2019:


Finished:





Kevin Kwan's series is serious escapism but I have to say the first one is my favorite because of the relationship of Rachel and Nick brought some levity. Fans of Liane Moriarty will really enjoy Pretty Guilty Women with complex female relationships and a murder. Girl, Wash Your Face was interesting listening to Ms. Hollis' experience but in the end it was the same platitudes you've heard before.


Currently Reading:


I LOVE Alice Hoffman and have been anxiously awaiting this one. Already into it and I can tell it's going to be a top read this year.

Looking Forward To:



It is coming upon my favorite time of year..Fall! It isn't because of Pumpkin Spice anything (yuk). I love the weather and watching the leaves change. My husband also loves making fires so I'm sure that will start up in October as well! It also means a bit more downtime as baseball wraps up and basketball doesn't start yet. What do you love about fall?

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 9/1/2019:


Finished:





Currently Reading:





Looking Forward To:


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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Julie's Review: Evvie Drake Starts Over



Author: Linda Holmes
Series: None
Publication Date: February 20, 2018
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Pages: 304
Obtained: library
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A sweet story about loss, guilt and starting over
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: In a sleepy seaside town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth “Evvie” Drake rarely leaves her large, painfully empty house nearly a year after her husband’s death in a car crash. Everyone in town, even her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and Evvie doesn’t correct them. Meanwhile, in New York City, Dean Tenney, former Major League pitcher and Andy’s childhood best friend, is wrestling with what miserable athletes living out their worst nightmares call the “yips”: he can’t throw straight anymore, and, even worse, he can’t figure out why. As the media storm heats up, an invitation from Andy to stay in Maine seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button on Dean’s future. When he moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie’s house, the two make a deal: Dean won’t ask about Evvie’s late husband, and Evvie won’t ask about Dean’s baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken—and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. To move forward, Evvie and Dean will have to reckon with their pasts—the friendships they’ve damaged, the secrets they’ve kept—but in life, as in baseball, there’s always a chance—up until the last out. ~amazon.com 

Review: Evvie has spent the last year hiding out in her house after her husband Tom died in an accident. Everyone thinks it's because she's grief ridden but that's not it, she's guilt ridden. She keeps that to herself though because it's easier to have people thinking something other than the truth. She also keeps to herself that she's struggling financially because that would mean she's have to admit that to herself as well. For Evvie, burying her head is what she thinks is best right now. So when her best friend Andy tell her that he offered up her guest house to his old buddy Dean, she jumps at the chance to have a steady income for some months.

Evvie and Dean hit it off but not before establishing some rules (which you know will be broken) for each other: he can't ask about her husband and she can't ask about his baseball career. They get to know each other through other subject and develop a strong friendship. The move to romance isn't a hard leap for them to make and you definitely see it coming. In fact, I would have thought it was weird if they hadn't actually gone that way.

While the romance might be inevitable between Evvie and Dean, it is because they can be themselves with each other and have always been honest. It's this honesty and realness that allows both of them to start to be honest with themselves.

I thought this was a great read with a bit more depth that I would have initially thought. There is the fact that Evvie is a people pleaser and that means she has always put herself last. Throughout her childhood, as a wife and as a friend. How she comes to understand it and how she starts to put herself first.

If you are looking for a great read, then look no further than Evvie Drake Starts Over.



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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Skim



Week of 8/25/2019:


Finished:





Currently Reading:




Looking Forward To:





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