Adult Fiction · Book Review · Book Spotlight · FIction · Historical Fiction · Romance · Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight and Partial Review: A Woman of Substance

I was alerted to this book, A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, after Suzy, from Suzy Approved Book Tours sent out an email about the 40th anniversary of this book. I honestly had never heard of this author or the book. I am so glad that Suzy told me about this book!!!

Synopsis

Meet Emma Harte – the iron-willed force behind a thriving international enterprise. Growing up, Emma lived in poverty until she honed her skills, learned to survive, became a woman, and vowed to make her mark on the world.

As one of the richest women in the world, Emma has everything that she could ever want…except, the one man she could never have. Emma’s life has taken her through 2 marriages, 2 wars, and generations of secrets as well as numerous successes. As Emma gets older, greed and envy consume those who are the closest to her. Now Emma finds herself in the position of needing to outwit her enemies and face her past in the same way she built her empire. Will Emma be able to do it or will everything Emma has built come crashing down around her?

Review

While I did not have a chance to finish the entire book before this post was due, what I did read was wonderful. Barbara Taylor Bradford does a fantastic job of introducing the characters of the book in a wonderfully descriptive way – in a way that lets you picture them in your mind’s eye perfectly. In addition, while this story jumps time periods, Barbara does a good job letting you know exactly what time period you are in. Finally, I really enjoyed the style of writing Barbara Taylor Bradford has. Her writing style pulls you into the story and allows you to see the the story from each of the characters point of views.

While I did not have time to finish this book, I will for sure continue to read it as I can’t wait to see what happens!!

Adult Fiction · Book Review · FIction · Historical Fiction

Don’t Put the Boats Away

This month I was chosen to be part of a Suzy Approved Book Tour for Don’t Put the Boats Away by Ames Sheldon.

Synopsis

World War II has just ended and the world is beginning to put itself back together. In the Sutton Family, they are reeling at the sudden loss of their son/brother Eddie. This book follows the family for the next 25 years as they deal with the sudden loss of Eddie. Daughter Harriet goes to school to become a chemist. Son Nat wants nothing more to be a jazz musician. Father George is stuck in his ways and struggles to accept the choices that his son and daughter are making. Mother Eleanor blames herself for her son’s death because she never told him the horrors that she saw while serving during the Great War. She thinks if she had told him maybe he would not have enlisted and now he would not be dead. Watch as each member of the family struggles, succeeds, and begins to put their lives together one year at a time.

Review

I have said it before on this blog, but I tend to stay away from historical fiction. I often struggle to completely understand what the book is talking about as history was never my strong suit in school. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed learning about the history of the United States, its just that all the details didn’t stick and I often confuse one war with another. Thank being said, this book was wonderful! Ames Sheldon has a way of writing that brings you into the story and makes you feel like you are really there. The writing wraps you in the warmth of the story and makes you fall “in like” with each of the characters and the story of their life.

In addition, imagine my surprise upon starting the story and finding out Harriett was attending school at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I live in Wisconsin and have also lived in Madison. All the details that Ames Sheldon provided of the city I could imagine and have been to many of them. This detail really made the story connect to my heart.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed all the details of post-war times that were provided and woven into the story. Theses details made you feel like you were part of the story and that you were going through what each of the characters were going through. Ames Sheldon has a way of pulling you in on page one and keeps you turning each page until the very end. I will definitely be picking up Ames Sheldon’s other book, Eleanor’s War!!!

I think I have to stop saying that I don’t read historical fiction!!! 🙂

Rating

Adult Fiction · Book Review · FIction · Historical Fiction · Mystery

The Six-Week Solution

For this book, I had the pleasure of partnering with the Cozy Mystery Review Crew to review the book “The Six-Week Solution” by Paula Darnell. This was my first time working with this group and I have to say, they were fantastic and will for sure be working with them again!!!

Synopsis

Reno, Nevada – a place where people can come get a quickie divorce in 1955 by moving there for just six-weeks. By moving to a ranch in Reno and establishing residency by living there for six-weeks, well-to-do women are granted a quickie divorce for a variety of reasons.

Enter the Circle E Ranch run by Carol and Chuck Ellis. One nigh a guest of the ranch dies unexpectedly when her Cadillac suddenly runs off the Mount Rose Highway, a road that travels between Reno and Lake Tahoe. Deputy Sheriff Ben Cameron is assigned to investigate the accident. As Ben is investigating the accident, which leads to more questions than answers, he meets Mary who has just moved into the Circle E ranch from New York. While spending time questioning the ranch’s guests, Ben finds out that Mary has been involved in an accident, while shopping in Reno with another one of the guests at the Circe E Ranch. Mary brushes the accident off as just that – an accident. However, when Mary has a second accident, so close to the first, Ben quickly determines someone is out to get her.

What happened to cause the guest at the Circle E Ranch to drive off the cliff?

Who is targeting Mary and will she be alive long enough to get her divorce?

Ben must figure out the answers to these questions as well as many others in order to solve these cases before someone else dies. Will he be able to do it in time? Read The Six-Week Solution by Paula Darnell to find out!! 

Review

While I don’t usually read historical fiction, the synopsis intrigued me enough to bring me out of my comfort zone to read this book, and I was glad that I did. I had never heard of the six-week solution before reading this book, and was surprised to learn that hundreds of thousands of people came to Nevada to get a divorce in the 1900’s. While I learned this fact after reading the book, the book did a really great job in cluing me into what the six-week solution actually was, without having to do any research outside of reading the book. I felt that the author included facts in a way that were part of the story-line and you did not feel like you were reading a history book, but you still knew what was going on in history at this time. This was a great aspect of Paula Darnell‘s writing.

Throughout the book, I sometimes felt a slight struggle to continue reading, as I felt the story became slower paced, however Paula Darnell then through me a curveball that kept me reading to find out what was going to happen to Mary and why the black Cadillac drove off the Mount Rose Highway. While there were two separate mysteries going on, Paula Darnell did a great job separating them, while at the same time weaving them together. In addition, when I thought I had figured out each of the mysteries, Paula Darnell through a curveball that put me back at square one in figuring out what had happened and “who done it.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and read historical fiction. This book introduced me to author Paula Darnell and I will for sure be adding her to my list of authors to read!! In fact, I can’t wait to jump into her DIY Diva Mystery Series!

Rating

Adult Fiction · Book Review · FIction · Historical Fiction · Historical Romance

The Beekeeper’s Bullet

I again had the pleasure of of partnering with Goddess Fish Promotions for another book book review tour! While I am not usually one to read historical fiction, the synopsis of this book intrigued me and I decided to give it a try! In addition, I had never heard of the author Lance Hawvermale, so I thought I would give his writing a try as well.

Synopsis

It is 1917 in Germany, where the Great War is raging.

Ellenor Jantz is an American who works as a teacher and a beekeeper for a wealthy loyalist. When tending to her bees one day, Ellenor sees a British aircraft call from the sky and crash behind enemy lines. Upon closer inspection, Ellenor sees that the pilot is injured, but not dead.

Alec Corbin-Dawes is the British airman whom crashes behind enemy lines. He is on a mission to save his sister within the next 4 days, before the factory that she works at gets bombed.

Both Ellenor and Alec are at a crossroads…will Ellenor choose to aid Alec or hand him over to the German authorities who now live in the manor where she is staying? Will Alec be able to make his way into Germany to rescue his sister now that his plane has gone down? Read The Beekeeper’s Bullet to find out!

Review

As I said, I was not too sure with it being historical fiction (and romance). While I enjoy history, I sometimes find it hard to follow the story line of what is happening due to all the historical details. This book was different however. While this book was set in 1917, the historical information was not too overwhelming, but enough so that you could follow along the story line and understand what it was like for both Ellenor and Alec during this time. While to me the book started a little slow and I could not see where the story line was going to go, the book picked up speed quickly and the story line was better than I imagined it would be. I enjoyed this book and the surprises that unfolded as I turned the pages. Author Lance Hawvermale did a great job telling this story with descriptive phrases to make you feel like you were right there will Ellenor and Alec. I really enjoyed this book and from what I understand, this book is the 1st in a series, and I am excited to read the next installment in this series!

Rating

Excerpt

Something fell from the sky.

A shadow blasted across the truck, briefly barricading the sun. An instant later, a machine of wood and twanging wires flew across the truck’s hood, missing it by the breadth of a hand. Smoke coiled out behind it. The howling contraption flipped in the air, bits of it snapping free even as it dropped, and then it struck a patch of wild forget-me-nots on the side of the road, crushed them, and vanished in the tall grass beyond.

Ellenor torqued the steering wheel to the right and applied brake and clutch, her breath trapped behind her teeth. The truck came to a jarring halt, the two white brood boxes sliding in the back and dislodging a hundred dead bees. Exhaling, Ellenor looked from the window in the direction of whatever the hell it was. The war rarely reached this far from the Front; Ellenor never fell asleep with the sound of German artillery pounding French hillsides, as so many others did. Other than the occasional supply convoy from the factories in Berlin, Father’s estate and the villages nearby saw no evidence of the blood being hemorrhaged by millions a few dozen miles away. But Ellenor knew, staring from the truck’s dusty window, a part of the war had almost crushed her. Its smoke rose like a serpent from where it waited in the grass.

She opened the door. . . .

GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Lance Hawvermale will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Nobel gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click HERE to enter!!!!

Adult Fiction · Book Review · FIction · Historical Fiction

Summer of ’69

I don’t know about you, but I love a good Elin Hilderbrand book!!! When I hear she had a new book coming out AND it was getting great reviews, I naturally had to have it!!! In addition, I am part of book club, The Bee Hive Book Club, where each member is part of a 12 member team. Each member picks a book for their team and then journals their thoughts in a notebook while reading the book. At the end of the month, the member mails the book and the journal they have to the next member of the group. When 12 months is up, I will get my book back and the journal back with thoughts from 12 different people!!!! Naturally I chose Summer of ’69 for this exchange!!! There is so much packed into this book, and I can wait to see the journal responses from others around the United States! I am so excited!!!

Synopsis

This book, based in 1969, is about the Levin family and what the Summer of 1969 has in store for them. Each summer, the Levin family travels to Nantucket to spend the summer at their grandmother’s, Exalta aka Nonny to the grandchildren, home “All’s Fair.” This summer, however, is nothing like the previous summers that the Levin family has experienced.

Blair, the oldest of the children, is stuck in Boston. Blair is pregnant with twins and her husband, Angus, who is an astrophysicist and is helping NASA with the moon launch, is not home much of the time due to the upcoming mission. Plus, Blair is sure that her husband is having an affair with a woman named Trixie.

Kirby, a student at Simmons College, wants nothing more than her independence. She is all about the civil rights movement and has participated in several protests, some of which have gotten her arrested. This summer however, she wants her freedom and talks her mother and father into letting her take a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard.

Tiger has recently been called up to serve has a soldier had as been deployed to war in Vietnam. Tiger is the light of his mother, Kate’s, eyes and she is devitated when her only son is deployed.

Jessie, the youngest of the family at age 13, is suddenly an “only child” and is forced to go to Nantucket with her mother, Kate, and grandmother, Exalta. She want desperatly to stay home with her father, David, who will come to Nantucket on weekends, but Kate and Nonny will not hear of it.

This story takes a look at each of the siblings lives as well as Kate’s and Nonny’s. Each life is filled with secrets that are spilling over at the brim. Each person wants to keep their secrets to themselves, but at the same time so desperately wants to not be alone in the vast world. Are they willing to spill their secrets to become more cohesive as a family or will they ride out the summer, separate and alone?

This is this first historical novel written by Elin Hilderbrand.

Review

I am generally not one to read historical fiction…it usually is just not my cup of tea. However, as I said I absolutely love Elin Hilderbrand as an author and once again she did not disappoint. This book captivated me from page one. I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about 1969, other than the basics that we are taught in school. However, this book captured me and took me to a place where I could see the events unfolding – it was like I was there, experiencing it with the characters. I felt myself longing with the family that Tiger would come home from the war. I felt myself remembering what is was like to be a 13 year old girl. I reflected on how all we want when we are little is to grow up and be independent in the world. I thought of the secrets that we all have and how we go through an internal struggle as to whether to let those secrets out or to keep them hidden deep down. This book was fantastic in so many ways, from the description of the times and of the characters to the raw emotions that were written about in the book and felt by the reader. I can’t say enough good things about this book. Everyone should have it on their TBR (To Be Read) List!!! I have never been disappointed by an Elin Hilderbrand book, and this one showed me again what an amazing author and storyteller Elin is!!!

Rating

Picture taking bloopers… Doggy Photo bombing the picture!! 🙂