This has been on my want-to-read list for a long time but I finally unburied it from my bookshelf and was so happy that I did. I was swept away by this thrilling female spy ring story alternating between World War I and II. The character development is exquisitely written, portraying them with endearing personal weaknesses amidst their unceasing bravery and courage in the face of war. It is a complex plot that comes together to provide an immensely satisfying ending.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Hollywood fictionalized story centered around Loretta Young and Clark Gable and interwoven with other famous actors and actresses in the film industry. I have always been more of a fan of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn so I especially enjoyed the moments when he stepped into the story. This was the first book I had read by Adriana Trigiani and was so impressed with her beautiful writing that I immediately looked for more books by her. It was an absolute joy to read!
At first glance, Hawaiian cowboys may seem like an unusual subject matter that mainstream readers may not be interested in. However, as I read this, I discovered connections through my genealogy giving the story an even deeper meaning. I have no background in rodeo skills but this book was written in a way that an average person can understand what it takes to be a Hawaiian cowboy or "paniolo." I found it so interesting to read how cattle came to Hawaii, multiplying out of control and running wild, creating a need for vaqueros to come and train them how to round the cattle up. This book briefly covers the Buffalo Bill show story which is really interesting and has been written about extensively in other books, if you develop an interest after reading about it here. Finally, the end of the book covers the championship rodeo at the Cheyenne Frontier Days where the Hawaiian cowboys showed their outstanding roping skills to mainland America. I highly recommend this amazing book!
This book is a delightfully easy read. Consuelo had an amazing life on both continents and was able to make huge differences in people's lives with her charitable efforts. Her relationship with her mother, Alva Vanderbilt, and Consuelo's British husband, the Duke of Marlborough, were terribly difficult and painful but as she matured, she found the inner personal strength to make decisions to take control of her own life. Winston Churchill remains her friend throughout her life and is woven into this fascinating story. Highly recommend!
This historical novel about Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Patsy, shines like a diamond! This is by far one of the best books that I have read recently. It has drama, romance, history and many touching moments. Patsy is a strong and independent woman who endures many tragic losses and comes out stronger from it. Very well researched.
I found this to be an interesting and meticulously researched story of Anne Boleyn's life, portraying her as a religious and moral woman with strong love for her husband, King Henry VIII. That is not to say that she was not appreciated and admired by other men. In this story, Anne does not commit adultery, although she is put on trial for it. During their marriage, she played an active part in the political decisions that Henry VIII made. I really enjoyed learning more about the family members and people at court who were well fleshed out. The touching final days of her life were especially well written by the author. Highly recommend this historical novel.
This is an absolutely gorgeous book! The love poems are illustrated using color prints from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I bought this on impulse while browsing at a bookstore and really treasure it. Sorry, I won't be passing this along! However, I think that this would make a lovely gift and suggest marking a poem that you feel especially communicates your feelings about the person.
This is a charming and entertaining book filled with short stories about the many different types of birds that the author rescued, kept at her home and then released. I really enjoyed reading this and learned a lot about birds and rescuing them in the process. Her wonderful pen and ink drawings of the birds accompany the stories and keep you looking forward to the next one.
This is the first book by John Shors that I have been thrilled to read and am eager to read his book "Beneath a Marble Sky." The characters in "Beside a Burning Sea" are brilliantly developed as they escape the sinking of their World War II hospital ship "Benevolence" and fight to survive on a deserted island for eighteen days. I was absolutely captivated by the love story between Akira, an injured Japanese soldier, and Annie, an American nurse, which I felt was the most beautiful part of the book. Each chapter had a haiku poem at the beginning that seemed to be written by Akira. I won't give away the ending but it was very dramatic. There were points when positive outcomes in the story were unrealistically created by having items miraculously washing up on the beach at the right moment. I also wondered why the characters weren't worried that they might not get off the island. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found it to be an engaging and enlightening book about the dangers and heartbreak of serving on a hospital ship during World War II. Highly recommend this!
Although the book was just under 900 pages long, I really hated for it to come to an end. Luckily there is a second book which I hope to read soon. The story takes place in the Soviet Union during World War II and presents the reader with the terrible realities of civilian life during the war. The characters are well written and a love story develops between the two main characters, Alexander and Tatiana. About halfway through, the book changes from being a historical novel to more of a romance novel with explicit sexual content. It then reverts back to the original style. I didn't enjoy having to switch gears midstream but thought it was the only detriment to the book. This is an addictive, late night page turner.
Pearl Harbor has held a special place in my heart and I have read many books about it. Many of those have focused on the military officers or the events. I have often thought that there was a real need for a book that focused on the actual soldiers that were in the midst of it all, as difficult as that might be for a reader. This engaging book really fills that need. The story is heartbreaking as family after family loses more than one son. He has taken the letters exchanged between soldiers and their families and written it into the story providing an authentic sentiment of the time. There are wonderful photos of the soldiers and their ships, as well as extremely helpful maps pinpointing the locations of the ships in the harbor. I highly recommend this book.
I really enjoyed this book focused on the impact of McCarthyism on New York City theater's actors, playwrights and directors. Although I had heard about the problems in Hollywood, this was the first time I think I had read anything written about New York's problems. I believe that the characters were fictitious although they may have been based on someone real. However, there were actually very few real names used during the book. It seemed to lack the intensity that I believe existed during that time period but the betrayal of friendship seemed quite real. I felt that Hazel should have gone through more angst and introspection when times got tough but I found myself rooting for her nonetheless. A fascinating read!
I enjoyed this sequel book of "The Tattooist of Auschwitz" which provides a deeply touching story of Cilka's life in a Siberian prison camp. Cilka had survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp but upon her release was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for collaborating with the enemy. This book really makes the reader think about what they would do to survive a terrible life situation and enlightens the reader that the atrocities of WWII didn't end when the war ended. The fictional story is based on Cilka's life culled by the author from research and interviews with those who knew her. Some of the themes running through the story are the strength of women, the meaning of love and hope, and finding a life purpose. The end of the book contains a very interesting chapter about the history of the Vorkuta prison camp. Highly recommend this moving novel!
This is a charming story about a cat that helps a family through all the ups and downs of life over a span of 23 years. This is the family's first cat after having had a dog. Admittedly not "cat people" to begin with, they quickly join the cat lovers of the world. This is as much a book about adjusting to a loss of a child, growing old, marriage and divorce, and starting over again, as it is about a cat.
I also had a cat that lived to 23 years and so I could really identify with the way a cat becomes an integral part of your life story. I can't say that I thoroughly connected with the author. Some topics she covered felt a bit distanced and I sensed that she was purposely avoiding discussing things as though she didn't trust the reader with her emotions. Though it has a cute kitten on the cover, don't be fooled. This book should not be offered to a child due to the adult themes and content.
Although this is not my usual genre of reading, I thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful novel centered around the space race during the Cold War. This fast-paced story of Luke, a man who has lost his memory, kept me on the edge of my seat as he discovers who he really is. Along the way, he realizes that he is caught up in a complicated and dangerous plot and has to determine who he should trust. Easy, breezy reading.
Such a wonderfully thrilling story filled with intrigue, love triangles, con artists and art with Matisse as a character! This was a plot with twists and turns that kept you guessing and sitting on the edge of your seat throughout. My life has been super busy lately and I really wanted to just sit and read this but had to set it aside and read in pieces. It flips back and forth in time and locations and is told in alternating character chapters as well so you really need to pay attention as you read. Well worth reading and highly recommend this one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The book is packed with delightful and entertaining tidbits of information about the making of the movie, the stars, awards, GWTW collectibles, and screenings of the movie, trivia quizzes and more. Very easy read. Warning: This will make you want to watch the movie again!
I usually buy several different tour guide books when I plan to take a trip and then mark the best places in each. This guide's best section is Chapter 11. It has twelve sample itineraries based on your interest: theater lovers, art lovers, movie lovers, senior travelers, nostalgia buffs, a romantic getaway, and then several based on the amount of time you have. I found this really helpful when planning a day. Only a handful of color photos, no pullout map, and just a real basic amount of info on each location. This 300 page book is kind of a waste to lug with you on a trip. Would recommend photocopying the itineraries that you are interested in and taking them with you and carrying a guide with a good map and more specific info.
This is a delightful book, capturing both the ballet and the art world in Paris beginning in 1859. The story focuses on Alexandrie, a ballerina from a poor family in a farm town, and the Impressionist artist, Edgar Degas. I was drawn into the story immediately and was rooting for the ambitious ballerina as her dancing progressed. Edgar Degas has always been one of my favorite artists and I enjoyed stepping into his world in this story. Their creative relationship grows as she models for him and begins to fall in love with him. I won't give away the ending but after the plot progressed at a slower pace through the book, the ending came rather quickly. Also after reading the Reader's Guide, I was disappointed to learn that the author significantly altered some of the historical facts for the sake of the story.
I was so impressed with the diligence and tons of research required by the author to be able to write about the history of Pearl Harbor. Although this book was written twenty years ago, there were still so many missing, secured or redacted documents that could not be read and many of the key people involved had already died. However, the author was able to piece together many of the key events and provided an absolutely fascinating look at the sequence of events from the point of view of the U.S. code breakers. It made me want to sit down and have a chat with the author about his journey in writing the book but I discovered that he has since passed away. This book will give you pause to reflect on the story yet untold and will stay with you well past the last page. Highly recommend!