The Gown: A Review

April 26. 2019

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Royal Wedding, 1940s England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

The Gown is, in part, a behind-the-scenes story of the making of Princess (Queen) Elizabeth’s wedding gown. As the people of England endure a harsh winter and post war shortages and rationing, news of a Royal wedding brightens the country’s spirit. Told from two perspectives, we hear the imagined story of two young women who work for the famous fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Although the girls are accustomed to working on exclusive gowns for high profile clients and the Royal family, the newest assignment of a wedding gown for Princess (Queen) Elizabeth brings extraordinary pressure and excitement. A third perspective and modern timeline follows one of their granddaughters who travels to London a half century later to unravel her grandmother’s mysterious and secret past. There’s more to the story than the dress as the author gives us an idea of what life was like in 1940s London, and explores themes of friendship, family, and love.

Amazon Rating:  4.6 Stars

(more…)

Advertisements

A Fall of Marigolds: A Review

April 19, 2019

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

A Fall of Marigolds Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Family Drama, Tragic Events

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

A beautiful scarf with a marigold design connects two women who experience traumatic and personally devastating events almost one hundred years apart. Clara witnesses the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 in Manhattan while Taryn witnesses the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Both young women suffer loss and experience the effects of PTSD. This is a story of their healing journey and their decision to risk love again.

Amazon Rating:  4.5 Stars

(more…)

We Love Authors

April 15, 2019

We Love Authors!

We Love Authors

authors spotlightIf you love historical fiction like me, then you will understand my excitement in taking a break from reviewing today to share a special event with you! Last Saturday I attended a Historical Fiction Author Brunch with four fabulous histfic authors! Not only was the author panel spectacular, but four instagramers (bookstagramers) who had never met in real life, engineered a meet up!

Heartfelt thanks to Friends of the Corona Public Library for sponsoring, planning, and hosting this event. Readers in attendance enjoyed a delicious brunch and inspiring talks by three historical fiction authors. We loved hearing some behind the scenes stories about their research and writing process. Meeting an author always endears you to their work!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

These are the four historical fiction authors we met (book titles are Amazon links and an * for the ones I’ve read):

Kate Quinn

The Alice Network (my review)
The Huntress
The Empress of Rome Series
The Borgias Chronicles Series

Susan Meissner

The Last Year of the War (my review)
As Bright As Heaven (my review)
A Fall of Marigolds *
Secrets of a Charmed Life *
The Shape of Mercy
and many many more!

Kristina McMorris

Sold on a Monday(my review)
The Edge of Lost
Letters From Home
and many more!

Marie Benedict

The Only Woman in the Room
The Other Einstein
Carnegie’s Maid

Add a book to your TBR!

 

author brunch 5

The Panel (l to r): Kristina McMorris, Marie Benedict, Kate Quinn, Susan Meissner

author brunch 4

Book Signing (Tina @ readingbetweenthepagesblog and Jaymi @ orangecountyreadersblog)

author brunch 3

Book Signing (Amanda @ Instagram and Tina @ readingbetweenthepagesblog)

author brunch 2

Group Photo:
Instagramers in the Back Row (l to r): Jaymi (OrangeCountyReadersBlog, Instagram); Tina (ReadingBetweenthePagesBlog, Instagram); Myself; Amanda (Instagram)
Authors Seated (l to r): Marie Benedict (Instagram); Kate Quinn (Instagram); Kristina McMorris (Instagram); and Susan Meissner (Instagram)



Event Rating: 5 Stars!

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

This is a link to last year’s event at the same location with different authors. Susan Meissner was the moderator of this year’s panel, and she was a guest author at last year’s event.



Let’s Discuss!

Have you read a book by any of these authors? What author events have you attended? Which author event was your favorite? If you could attend any author event, which one would you most like to attend?

I’d like to attend a Fredrik Backman or Louise Penney author event.



Happy Reading Book Worms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

The Library of Lost and Found: A Review

April 5, 2019

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

The Library of Lost and Found Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Books About Books, Family Life, Sisters

Thanks to #NetGalley #HarlequinBooks for a free e copy of #TheLibraryofLostandFound by #phaedrapatrick in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Martha Storm volunteers at the library, and she spends much of her free time selflessly helping others. In fact, she keeps meticulous lists of her projects in a Wonder Woman themed notebook (which we might call a bullet journal). Even though many people depend on her to help them out with small projects, Martha doesn’t have many friends and feels “invisible.” Her routine at the library and hours of service to others take a dramatic turn when a mysterious book arrives for her and Martha is determined to solve a family mystery that surrounds the book.

(more…)

Beantown Girls: A Review

March 29, 2019

coffee…doughnuts…dancing…friendship…courage…determination…romance…

Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

Beantown Girls Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, WW11, Red Cross Clubmobiles, Romance

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

In Beantown Girls, three best friends conspire to serve their country during WW11 by joining the Red Cross as Clubmobile girls: Fiona is admired for her organizational and leadership skills; Viviana is adventuresome and outspoken; and Dottie is a shy music teacher. Healey uses a linear timeline to tell the story from Fiona’s point of view, and we soon discover that Fiona’s primary objective in this venture is to find more information about her fiance who is missing in action. To qualify as Clubmobile girls, the young women were chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, but none of them were prepared for the realities of war or the front lines. In addition to the Clubmobile story line focus, there is a bit of romance for the girls, too.

(more…)

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls: A Review

March 25, 2019

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls Review

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, African-American Literature, Mothers/Daughters, Sisters, Family Life

Summary:

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls shares the compelling and multilayered story of the three Butler sisters: Althea, Viola, and Lillian. Althea was a teenager when her mother died and the children were faced with living with their unstable and often absent father. As the oldest, Althea shouldered the burden of caring for her younger siblings. As adults, they each deal with their traumatic childhood in different ways. To the shock of the community, Althea and her husband face some serious criminal charges and years in prison. Viola and Lillian rally to care for Althea’s children. The story is told from three perspectives as we learn more about the family secrets and childhood trauma.

(more…)

Woman 99: A Review

March 22, 2019

Woman 99 by Greer Mcallister

Woman 99 Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Thriller

Thanks to #NetGalley #Sourcebooks for a free copy of #woman99 by @theladygreer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

What would you do for your sister?

Summary:

In the historical fiction thriller, Woman 99, two sisters living a life of privilege suddenly find themselves in a dire situation. Their parents have committed Charlotte’s older sister to an insane asylum because of her pattern of mood swings and a recent emotional outburst. Charlotte is on a quest to rescue her sister from the insane asylum. Inspired by real life Nellie Bly, Charlotte manages to get herself committed to the asylum by staging a fake suicide attempt. Once inside she experiences troubling events, conducts a desperate search for her sister, decides to enlist help from a risky source, attempts a harrowing rescue, and risks her life.

(more…)

Glory Road: A Review

March 19, 2019

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Glory Road Review

Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Romance, Small Town Life, Mothers/Daughters

Thanks to #NetGalley #ThomasNelsonPublishers for my free copy of #GloryRoad by @LaurenKDentonBooks @laurenkdenton in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Glory Road shares the story of three generations of women from the same family during one summer of their lives on Glory Road as they work toward building trusting and loving relationships with each other and also forging the path of their individual lives and future. While some characters are stereotypical, the main characters are well drawn and seem like friends. We are able to empathize with the grandmother’s fear and feelings of distress as she experiences episodes of dementia; we understand the pressure Jessie feels as a single, working, entrepreneurial mom; and we remember how it felt to be a teenager through the experiences of fourteen-year-old Evan.

(more…)

Sold On a Monday: A Review

March 15, 2019

Sold On a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Sold On a Monday Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, the Depression, Family Life

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

‘2 Children For Sale’ is the sign that captures a rookie newspaper reporter’s interest in 1931. The picture that he snaps of the sign and the children on a dilapidated farmhouse porch leads to his big break and a promotion. The publication of the picture has unintended consequences, and the reporter and a colleague set out to right the wrong and reunite the family. This is an imagined story of a real photograph that appeared in a newspaper during The Depression.

(more…)

We Hope For Better Things: A Review

March 8, 2019

We Hope For Better Things by Erin Bartels

We Hope for Better Things Review

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Civil War, Detroit Race Riots, Interracial Relationships, Prejudice, Racism, Domestic Life

Thanks to #NetGalley #Revell for my free copy of #WeHopeForBetterThings by @erinbartelswrites @ErinLBartels in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Readers of We Hope For Better Things are treated to three distinct stories about three white women who live at different times on the same farm in Michigan. The three women are from three different generations and experience war, civil unrest, and prejudice in their respective stories (Civil War/Underground Railroad, 1960s Detroit Riots, and present day). This engaging and multi layered story includes family drama, secrets, old pictures, a 150 year old farm house, locked rooms, a mysterious trunk, and interracial relationships.

My Thoughts:

Engaging. I like stories that capture my interest from page one, and I enjoyed the easy to follow and fast pace of this multi layered story told from three perspectives. I think the story lines from the past (Underground Railroad especially) were the most intriguing and offer the most opportunity for discussion.

Themes. In addition, I like how the themes were interwoven and connected the stories. Important themes include family conflict, tragic choices, racism, family history, resilience, and faith. We can certainly see that overt prejudice has shown improvement over time….and “we hope for better things” in our present day and future.

Plot. Even though the plot is fast paced and engaging and I liked how the stories intersected, I felt occasionally that the events might be a bit contrived to promote certain themes or move the story line along. This is a minor concern and falls under personal preference.

Diversity. I would like to read reviews of We Hope For Better Things from people of color and gain from your impressions and insights regarding the portrayals in this story (please leave your review link or thoughts in comments). I think I would have appreciated that one of the perspectives had been from a woman of color, but that’s probably difficult for a white author to write. As a reader, does it concern you that a white author writes about racism and prejudice from a white perspective? It might have been interesting for the author to have coauthored this with an author of color. The author candidly addresses the issue of writing this as a white author in her Author’s Note.

Recommended. I recommend We Hope For Better Things for readers who love historical fiction, for fans of family stories with likeable and strong main characters, and for those who desire to read more diversely to explore themes of prejudice and racism. This will make an excellent book club selection because of many discussion possibilities.

*possible trigger warning: still birth

My Rating: 4 Stars

twinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-startwinkle-twinkle-little-star

We Hope for Better Things

We Hope For Better Things

Meet the Author, Erin Bartels

Erin BartelsERIN BARTELS is a copywriter and freelance editor by day, a novelist by night, and a painter, seamstress, poet, and photographer in between. Her debut novel, WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS, released in January 2019 and will be followed in September 2019 with THE WORDS BETWEEN US, the manuscript of which was a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. Her poems have been published by The Lyric and The East Lansing Poetry Attack. A member of the Capital City Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, she is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine.

Erin lives in the beautiful, water-defined state of Michigan where she is never more than a ninety minute drive from one of the Great Lakes or six miles from an inland lake, river, or stream. She grew up in the Bay City area waiting for freighters and sailboats at drawbridges and watching the best 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation. She spent her college and young married years in Grand Rapids feeling decidedly not-Dutch. She currently lives with her husband and son in Lansing, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

Find Erin Bartels on Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor, on Twitter @ErinLBartels, or on Instagram @erinbartelswrites. She blogs semi-regularly at http://www.erinbartels.com and her podcast, Your Face Is Crooked, drops Monday mornings. Find it on iTunes or at http://www.erinbartels.podbean.com.



Let’s Discuss

Do you enjoy multiple perspective and/or multiple timeline stories?

If you are a person of color and have read or reviewed this, I would love to hear your thoughts or read your reviews (leave thoughts or links in comments)!



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

Look for a post about 10 Books That Need a Sequel for next week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a post for Women’s History Month soon, and a review of Sold on a Monday next Friday.

Sold On a Monday



Winter TBR Update

I’ll be updating my Winter TBR as I read and review selections. I have three more quick reads to check off the list before spring! So check back often!



Sharing is Caring

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow. Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.