The Social Graces [Book Review]

April 20, 2021

Would you enjoy reading about an outrageous and real-life feud?

The Social Graces by Renée Rosen

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen (cover) Image: 4 young women in 1880s dress walk arm in arm away from the camera toward an arch in the background

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Rivalries, Women’s Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen for a complimentary eARC of #TheSocialGraces upon my request. All opinions are my own.

extravagance…society…women’s power…rivalry…feuds…women behaving badly

Set in the late 1800s, The Social Graces shares the story of the historic and notorious feud/rivalry between Mrs. Caroline Astor and Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt as witnessed by New York Society during The Gilded Age. In this time, when women often found their power in society, simple wealth wasn’t enough. Your status in society depended upon old money or new money. Caroline is from old money and is the reigning Queen of society while Alva is from Mobile, Alabama and married into the wealthy Vanderbilt family. Alva soon discovers that mere wealth isn’t enough to get accepted into the top 400 of New York Society, so she sets out in cunning and devious ways to get accepted and perhaps even dethrone Caroline.

Caroline Astor

Caroline Astor

Alva Vanderbilt (in costume)

Alva Vanderbilt (in costume)

My Thoughts:

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Hana Khan Carries On [Book Review]

April 13, 2021

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Hana Khan Carries On (cover) Image: a woman in a head covering holds a mic

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Canada, Muslim, Complicated Family Drama, Love Story, Prejudice, #OwnVoices

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e ARC of #HanaKhanCarriesOn upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Hana Khan is an energetic, hard-working, and loyal young adult living with her family in a suburb of Toronto,  Canada. She has a big dream to make it in broadcasting. Hana takes on a lot of responsibility by working part-time in her family’s struggling halal restaurant, holds down an internship in a local radio station where she has conflicting views about cultural content with her boss, and produces her own podcast (anonymously). She strikes up a virtual friendship with one of her listeners and they both use fake names. This virtual friendship becomes one of her main sources of support. Meanwhile, her family’s small restaurant is struggling to survive financially. It doesn’t help when a new corporate halal restaurant is planning to open just down the street. Will her family’s restaurant be able to withstand the competition? Will Hana be able to come up with strategies to face the competition and help her family with everything else she has going on? Will Hana ever be on friendly terms with the restaurant’s new (and attractive) owner? How will Hana use her voice?

My Thoughts:

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The Last Bookshop in London [Book Review] #BlogTour

April 7, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (cover) Image: a young woman stands beside a wall of bbookshelves near a window through which Big Ben and three WW11 planes are visible

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, London, Books About Books, “might also be a love story”

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you for my invitation to participate in the 2021 Historical Fiction Blog Tour for The Last Bookshop in London. Thanks, #NetGalley @HarlequinBooks for my complimentary e ARC of #TheLastBookshopInLondon by @MadelineMMartin upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Historical Fiction Blog Tour (4 covers)

The Last Bookshop in London is a book about bookstores and a book about books set during the London Blitz during WW11. Grace Bennett has always wanted to move to the city, but the life she finds is not nearly what she expected as she hunts for a job, endures air raid shelters, and puts up black-out curtains. The only job she can find is at Primrose Hill, a dusty, old bookstore with a curmudgeonly owner. Grace, not sure she even loves reading that much, organizes and cleans the bookshop, gradually develops a love for books, enjoys a friendly relationship with a handsome and well-read customer named George, finds ways she can contribute to the war effort and the book community, and discovers the power of storytelling during the most difficult times.

The magic of reading in George’s words:

“Reading is going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see something colored by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face consequences of failures, and how best to succeed.”

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (cover)

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

My Thoughts:

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The Women of Chateau Lafayette [Book Review]

 March 30, 2021

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray (cover) Image: a woman kneels down in an archway to speak to a young girl

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction (French Revolution, WW1, WW11), France, Women, Biographical

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary e ARC of #TheWomenOfChateauLafayette for review. All opinions are my own.

A real castle in France, Chateau Lafayette, connects three women: noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette (wife of Gilbert Lafayette); New York socialite and actress Beatrice Astor Chanler; and French school teacher, aspiring artist, and orphan Marthe Simone. After having been the home of the Lafayette’s, the castle became a refuge for orphan children during two world wars.

Chateau Lafayette in France

Chateau Lafayette (Source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:

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The Sunflower Sisters [Book Review]

March 26, 2021

The Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (cover) Image: a woman in an 1890s dress and bonnet and carrying a bunch of sumflowers walks down a dirt path away from the camera

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Civil War, Slavery, Nursing

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks, #NetGalley @RandomHouse for my complimentary e ARC of #SunflowerSisters upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Third in the “Flowers Trilogy” (as I affectionately think of them), Sunflower Sisters precedes Lilac Girls and Lost Roses in a historical timeline and altogether the three books involve three wars. First, Lilac Girls is set during WW11 and features heroine Caroline Ferriday; next, Lost Roses, a prequel to Lilac Girls, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza Ferriday, and is set in the pre-WW1 era; finally, Sunflower Sisters is the prequel to Lost Roses and is set during the Civil War. All the stories in the trilogy can be read as stand alones.

In Sunflower Sisters, Georgeanna Woolsey, a great aunt of Caroline Ferriday, is a Union nurse at a time when the medical field was dominated by men. She crosses paths with Jemma, a young girl who was enslaved, sold off, ran away, and was conscripted into the army. Jemma has a sister, Patience, who remains enslaved on the plantation next door. Sunflower Sisters describes Civil War experiences and plantation life, and it includes family drama.

sunflowers

In this story, sunflowers are a symbol that slaves used to warn each other of danger.

My Thoughts:

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Lost, Found, and Forever [Book Review]

 March 19, 2021

Lost, Found, and Forever by Victoria Schade

Lost, Found, & Forever by Victoria Schade (cover) Image: a cute white dog with gray markings peeks around a corner

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads @BeritTalksBooks @ThePHDivaBooks for a commplimentary e arc of #LostFoundAndForever upon my request. All opinions are my own. Pub Date: 3.30.2021.

Finders, Keepers?

In addition to romance, we have a custody battle over a beloved rescue dog, Spencer. Justine is Spencer’s current owner, and she loves to train him and he’s also her loyal companion at her dog supply store in upstate New York. Spencer loves performing tricks and has landed a role as a dog actor. On day, Justine comes across a social media post that pleads for the return of a dog that sounds suspiciously like her beloved Spencer. Justine contacts the guy, Griffin, and agrees to meet up with him at a park in Brooklyn. Griffin has the paperwork to prove he’s the original owner but Justine refuses to let Spencer go without a fight. What would you do?

My Thoughts:

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The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys [Book Review]

March 17, 2021

 The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

The Fountains of Silence Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Post Spanish Civil War Spain, YA, Family, Love Story

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Family…love…silence…secrets…

Thank you, #NetGalley @PenguinUKBooks @The_WriteReads for my complimentary e arc of #FountainsOfSilence upon my request. All opinions are my own. I’ve previously published a review for the U.S. release, and this review is for the U.K. paperback edition which has a different cover.

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: a large old black key lies over a large red X...small black images of a male and female and a building rest on the horizontal key

In 1957, Madrid, Spain is under the control of the fascist dictator General Francisco Franco. While citizens endure harsh conditions of the dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War, tourists experience another version of life in Spain as they enjoy parties and wine at the Hilton Hotel. Eighteen-year-old Daniel is a hotel guest, a photographer, and the son of a Texas oil tycoon; his mother was born in Spain and Daniel is eager to visit her homeland. Ana works at the hotel as a maid. Daniel and Ana meet and fall in love. While Ana is simultaneously intrigued by American life and concerned for her family, Daniel sets his mind to capture the real Spain in photos and finds himself investigating the plight of stolen children. The circumstances surrounding their love story are difficult for them to navigate.

My Thoughts:

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Brood [Book Review]

March 9, 2021

Brood by Jackie Polzin

Brood by Jackie Polzin (cover) Image: colorful feathers spread across a brilliant blue sky

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you #NetGalley @DoubleDayBooks for a complimentary e arc of #Brood to review upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In Brood, an unidentified female narrator cares for a small brood of chickens. She describes the challenges of bad weather, predators, and inexperience. The story is comprised of observations of ordinary, daily life with a few reflections.

My Thoughts:

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Surviving Savannah [Book Review]

March 5, 2021

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan (cover) Image: a young woman from the 1800s stands at a railing with her back to the camera overlooking a harbor

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Shipwreck

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary e arc of #SurvivingSavannah upon my request. Pub Date: 3/9/2021 All opinions are my own.

In 1838, a luxury steamship called the Pulaski (Titanic of the South) on route from Savannah to Baltimore sank off the coast of North Carolina as a result of a boiler explosion. One hundred eighty years later the remains are found and Everly Winthrop, a history professor, is given the task of curating the museum collection of artifacts. This compelling story of “surviving the surviving” is told in dual timelines from multiple perspectives. In 1838, the story follows Lily and Augusta (and their large family) as they board the ship and struggle to survive the blast. In the present day, Everly is especially fascinated by this family of eleven that was on board. As she pieces together the story of the survivors, Everly is also suffering from PTSD from her own heartbreaking story of loss and figuring out how she will “survive the surviving.”

a black and white drawing of the doomed Pulaski

Image Source: Wikipedia

My Thoughts:

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Ladies of the House [Book Review]

February 10, 2021

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson

Ladies of the House by Lauren Edmondson (cover) Image: a close up view of a 2 or 3 story house, a white blossomed tree in the foreground

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Sisters, Mothers/Daughters

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thank you, #NetGalley #Harlequin for the complimentary e ARC of #LadiesOfTheHouse upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A modern Sense and Sensibility……

In a loose, contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, thirty-four-year-old Daisy finds herself embarrassed by a family scandal. Her Senator father died suddenly in the company of his young mistress and he has also left the family in financial ruin. Daisy, her mother, Cricket, and her sister, Wallis, work frantically to save the family reputation and put their upscale house up for sale while at the same time negotiate the land mines of their personality differences and conflicts and the unrelenting media attention.

My Thoughts:

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