Laurie M. (reading-galore) - , - Reviews

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All the Stars in the Heavens
All the Stars in the Heavens
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 9/29/2018


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!


America's First Daughter
America's First Daughter
Author: Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 28
Review Date: 11/16/2016
Helpful Score: 2


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.


Anne Boleyn, A King's Obsession: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens)
Anne Boleyn, A King's Obsession: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens)
Author: Alison Weir
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/18/2019


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.


Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love Poetry
Art & Love: An Illustrated Anthology of Love Poetry
Author: Kate Farrell
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 9/15/2010


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.


The Avian Ark: Tales from a Wild-Bird Hospital
The Avian Ark: Tales from a Wild-Bird Hospital
Author: Kit Chubb
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 5/2/2011


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.


Beside a Burning Sea
Beside a Burning Sea
Author: John Shors
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 8/30/2019


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!


The Bronze Horseman (Tatiana, Bk 1)
The Bronze Horseman (Tatiana, Bk 1)
Author: Paullina Simons
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 41
Review Date: 12/6/2018


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.


Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family
Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family
Author: Helen Brown
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 45
Review Date: 10/1/2010
Helpful Score: 3


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.


Code to Zero
Code to Zero
Author: Ken Follett
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 2/10/2019


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.


The Complete Gone with the Wind Trivia Book : The Movie and More
The Complete Gone with the Wind Trivia Book : The Movie and More
Author: Pauline Bartel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 10
Review Date: 7/7/2010


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!


The Complete Idiot's Guide to New York City
The Complete Idiot's Guide to New York City
Author: Anita Gates
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 7/30/2011


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.


Dancing for Degas
Dancing for Degas
Author: Kathryn Wagner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 1/4/2013


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.


Day of Deceit : The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
Day of Deceit : The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
Author: Robert Stinnett
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/13/2019


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!


Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 542
Review Date: 6/24/2010


I really loved this book! Dewey is so loving that he really touches your heart with his actions. However, I felt that there was a bit too much personal and medical history on the part of the author. This was an easy read with each chapter containing a separate story about Dewey, making it easy to pick up and read a chapter, set it down and come back to continue reading. As a cat lover, I think it's a wonderful idea to have a cat in a library!


Dining With the Daughters: Second Helping
Dining With the Daughters: Second Helping
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/14/2014


This cookbook was put together by the Daughters of Hawai'i, a historical preservation organization that has restored both the Queen Emma Summer Palace in Honolulu and Hulihe'e Palace in Kailua-Kona. The cookbook contains recipes for appetizers, beverages, soups, salads, vegetables, main dishes, pasta, eggs, breads, preserves and sauces, and desserts. Contains 194 pages of recipes. No photos of the dishes.


Don't Stop Believin'
Don't Stop Believin'
Author: Olivia Newton-John
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/12/2019


Just as I imagined, Olivia is a charming and sweet person, filled with light and love for the world. Her autobiographical book seems to be honestly written from her heart. She takes you on the journey from being a child to a teen and on through to her 70th birthday. (Hard to believe that number!) I was disappointed in the lack of depth that could have been brought to the memories but enjoyed her positive and determined attitude as she confronted the hurdles of her life. Although I have been a fan of hers for many years, after reading this book, my admiration has increased for her varied career and considerable charitable efforts.


Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
Review Date: 11/8/2018
Helpful Score: 1


A fascinating look into the life of Huguette Clark, a reclusive wealthy woman, who chose to spend many of her last healthy years in a hospital. This paints a sad picture of her dysfunctional family, her child-like personality, unusual hobbies, generosity and lack of financial responsibility. For those who cared for her, she was overly generous in giving them cars, homes, and large repeated checks, changing the quality of their lives dramatically. Unfortunately, those same people took advantage of her kind and generous nature, pressing her for more and more money. It was especially sad to read that family members who hadn't seen her in years fought over her $300 million estate. The book is written in a way that reports the facts but lets the reader come to their own conclusions, making it feel a little bit impersonal. However, the book is filled with photos of her friends, family and assets giving you that extra insight into her life. Highly recommend this book.


Falling Angels
Falling Angels
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 377
Review Date: 8/11/2010
Helpful Score: 1


This is an interesting book about two neighboring families with young daughters living in London during the early 1900's. Its storyline revolves around women's rights and issues, and the rules regarding proper mourning. Though I thoroughly enjoyed "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Virgin Blue", this Tracy Chevalier book seemed less gripping, and it wasn't as sensual as her other books. I thought it was a good book just not a great one.


Finding Dorothy: A Novel
Finding Dorothy: A Novel
Author: Elizabeth Letts
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/25/2019


What a pure joy it was to read this historical novel about the lives of L. Frank Baum, the author of "Wizard of Oz" and his wife, Maud! As the story unfolds, the reader discovers the inspiration for the characters and features of Oz. The chapters alternate between the filming of "The Wizard of Oz" and the earlier lives of the Baums as they struggled financially. Along the way, Maud befriends Judy Garland and her story is woven in. Lovingly told by the author, this story is a magical trip down the yellow brick road, bringing a huge smile to your face.


The Forest Lover
The Forest Lover
Author: Susan Vreeland
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 57
Review Date: 1/25/2011


I had a tough time getting interested in this storyline and plodded along reading it but eventually decided I'd had enough. Thought I'd be interested in this adventurous artistic woman but the writing just didn't grab me.


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