Saturday, March 28, 2015

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock

Year long projects are quickly becoming one of my favorite...  "Julia and Julia", "The Happiness Project", "Eat, Pray, Love", "My Year of Living Biblically"...loved them all.  Are they a tad self indulgent? perhaps.  But the idea that we, as humans, are able to look at our lives and examine what works and what doesn't is, well, amazing.  Isn't that what being human is all about???

Book Description via Amazon

In the tradition of My Year of Living Biblically and Eat Pray Love comes My Year with Eleanor, Noelle Hancock’s hilarious tale of her decision to heed the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and do one thing a day that scares her in the year before her 30th birthday. Fans of Sloane Crosley and Chelsea Handler will absolutely adore Hancock’s charming and outrageous chronicle of her courageous endeavor and delight in her poignant and inspiring personal growth.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I don't think I can adequately convey how much I loved this book.  I resisted reading this for a couple of weeks because I have been reading a lot of "war" books lately and I thought it would be much of the same, wow, was I wrong.  This is the first book in a *long* time that actually made me shed tears, ya know, the "ugly cry" kinda tears.  This story will stay with me for a long time, simply amazing.

The Amazon Spotlight Pick for February 2015: Kristin Hannah is a popular thriller writer with legions of fans, but her latest novel, The Nightingale, soars to new heights (sorry) and will earn her even more ecstatic readers. Both a weeper and a thinker, the book tells the story of two French sisters – one in Paris, one in the countryside – during WWII; each is crippled by the death of their beloved mother and cavalier abandonment of their father; each plays a part in the French underground; each finds a way to love and forgive. If this sounds sudsy. . . well, it is, a little. . . but a melodrama that combines historical accuracy (Hannah has said her inspiration for Isabelle was the real life story of a woman who led downed Allied soldiers on foot over the Pyrenees) and social/political activism is a hard one to resist. Even better to keep you turning pages: the central conceit works – the book is narrated by one of the sisters in the present, though you really don’t know until the very end which sister it is. Fast-paced, detailed, and full of romance (both the sexual/interpersonal kind and the larger, trickier romance of history and war), this novel is destined to land (sorry, again) on the top of best sellers lists and night tables everywhere. -- Sara Nelson

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

This was a terrific book - mystery, love, war, science, a dual narrative - a few of my favorite things.  The story switches between Vivian - a vivacious, sassy writer living in NYC 1964 and Violet - a rare female scientist living in Berlin in 1914.  Vivian receives a mysterious suitcase belonging to her long, lost aunt, who allegedly murdered her husband and was never heard from again.  Vivian can't keep herself from a good story and delves deeper into what exactly happened to Violet Grant.  I absolutely LOVED this!!!

From Booklist

Williams, author of the best-selling A Hundred Summers (2013), conjures up another substantive beach read steeped in history and familial intrigue. Separated by 50 years but joined together in spirit and ambition, Vivian Schuyler and Violet Schuyler Grant share equal parts of the narrative flow as the story leapfrogs back and forth between 1964 New York and 1914 Berlin. When Vivian accepts delivery of a musty parcel from the past, she is compelled to unlock the secrets that have shrouded the memory of her Great Aunt Violet. Though the blue-blooded Schuyler family has done its best to bury and ignore Violet’s disgraceful past—she was, after all, determined to pursue a career as a scientist!—the deeper Vivian digs, the more invested she becomes in Violet’s story. Rumor has it that Violet murdered her husband and mentor, Dr. Walter Grant, before mysteriously disappearing with her lover on the eve of WWI. As Vivian closes in on the past, she has a heart-wrenching problem of her own to resolve in the present. Readers will love wallowing in the twists and turns of this irresistibly luxurious tale. --Margaret Flanagan