Thursday, July 9, 2020

In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

my thoughts:

What an engaging and thoughtful story! I just loved getting to know Ruth and her family.

Its 1958 and Ruth's father has passed away. Her mother decides a move is necessary and takes her family from NYC to Atlanta.  Talk about a different world.  Ruth quickly susses out that in order to fit in at her new school she must not be Jewish. Yep, she must hide her religion in order to be popular. So, she keeps her faith a secret from her new friends. However, at home, she is still Jewish.  Ruth still goes to service at the local synagogue. She even meets someone named Max at temple. He's all for social justice and embraces his Judaism.  He has Ruth questioning her decision to hide her true self from her new friends. And then something unthinkable happens, which has Ruth truly wondering about her faith, her friends, her family, and the world at large.

Talk about a riveting read! I found myself gripped from the start. I loved spending time in Atlanta with Ruth, her family, friends and Max. Such a great story!!

I would happily recommend In the Neighborhood of True to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book to bits!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Finding Hemingway by Ken Dortzbach

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Hyper-focused, overachieving New York lawyer Callie McGraw has six months between jobs and a hefty severance check when she is called to Spain by Ernest Hemingway. She begins packing her bags for the sun-kissed streets that night. Starting in Barcelona, Callie embarks on a six-month escapade of a lifetime, a whirlwind of Spanish food, wine, art and dancing, with a revolving cast of friends and lovers keeping her company in each new locale. Callie’s next cocktail is never far away, but Hemingway knows her secrets, the demons that plague her deep down. With each mysterious call and each enigmatic clue, Hemingway challenges her to open herself to laughter, passion and love. Ultimately, he defies Callie to face her greatest fears and embrace life on her own terms.

my thoughts:

Callie LOVES Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises is her jam. She is smitten with the author. So, she decides to head to Spain in search of Hemingway. Yep, Hemingway. Lots of wind and travel abound. And the more time Callie spends in Spain, the more she opens herself up.

What a fun and entertaining story! I really enjoyed reading about Callie's sojourn to Spain - it was an adventure and it was magical. I didn't care for Callie - she was selfish and immature and completely unbearable at times. And yet, I wanted to find out if her trip would change her - make her see that there life is not all about Callie. 

Finding Hemingway is a great book that will sweep you away for an interesting and unusual adventure. You will fall in love with Spain and Hemingway.

I would happily recommend Finding Hemingway to anyone and everyone looking for their next read - you will definitely enjoy this book!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Paris In July - Tenth Year Anniversary!!

2020 marks the ten year anniversary of one of my FAVORITE challenges - Paris In July. How exciting! A month of all things French - food, movies, music, and books! I'm planning on posting at least once a week for this challenge - possibly more. I am going to listen to Tiersen, re-watch some favorite movies, and read a few great books. I have two novels on my list that sound sooo good:



What do you think? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know. And, if you're interested in joining in on the fun, check out this link to get all the details over at Tamara's blog, Thyme for Tea - she's the hostest with the mostest.

Oh, and I've also made some pretty cool junk journals to journal in this month - French themed ones, of course. I can't wait to start penning some ideas, thoughts, and bookish notes in them.

Hope you all are well. Take care and stay safe!! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Black Swan Of Paris by Karen Robards

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can't be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford's younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can't allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother.

It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

my thoughts:

What a fantastic story!! Karen Robards has created a world filled with espionage, love, family, war, and singing that is just amazing. I absolutely LOVED The Black Swan Of Paris - it was such a thrilling and entertaining read. I was gripped from the start and could/would not put the book down for anything. It was just soooo good!!

Its WWII.  Genevieve is a singer beloved by the Nazis.  This means she can pretty much go about as she pleases and can perform anywhere.  She loathes the Nazis, but needs must during war times prevents her from expressing her true feelings. Instead she hides her real identity from everyone and keeps on singing. Her manager is named Max and he's also keeping secrets.  The two are a formidable pair who keep things strictly business in order to keep on performing and surviving.  Estranged from her family, Genevieve has no idea how they are faring during WWII.  Turns out, her parents are involved with the Resistance and her mother has been taken. She's being tortured for information and once they get what they want from her she will be executed. Genevieve gets in touch with her sister and formulates a plan to help their mother escape from the Nazis. Its dangerous, smart, and must be put into action immediately.  The only catch is, who can Genevieve really trust in these times?

Talk about a thrilling and captivating read! I found myself in deep and unable to stop reading late into the night. I just had to find out what would happen next. Would they succeed with their plan? Would Genevieve's mom survive? Would Genevieve survive? What about Max? So many questions and thoughts throughout this engrossing and exciting story!

I would absolutely recommend The Black Swan Of Paris to fans of Karen Robards and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book to bits!!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Lightest Object In The Universe: A Novel by Kimi Eisele

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book: (from Goodreads)

If the grid went down, how would you find someone on the other side of the country? How would you find hope?

After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a chance visit to his school. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be delivered from hardship if they can find their way to the evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue, who is broadcasting on all the airwaves countrywide. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to one another for food, water, and solace, and begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could, in fact, be a promising beginning.

But between Beatrix and Carson lie 3,000 miles. With no internet or phone or postal service, can they find their way back to each other, and what will be left of their world when they do? The answers may lie with fifteen-year-old Rosie Santos, who travels reluctantly with her grandmother to Jonathan Blue, finding her voice and making choices that could ultimately decide the fate of the cross-country lovers.

The Lightest Object in the Universe is a story about reliance and adaptation, a testament to the power of community and a chronicle of moving on after catastrophic loss, illustrating that even in the worst of times, our best traits, borne of necessity, can begin to emerge.

my thoughts:

A love story beats at the heart of this dystopian tale of rebuilding and moving forward. 

The world has collapsed thanks in large part to the flu and a government that decided to just quit.  And now, the electrical grid has stopped working. What to do? Well, in Carson's case, he decides to head West.  His heart lies with Beatrix, a woman he met by chance and who lives on the opposite side of the country.  So he sets out to make his trek on foot.  On the way, he encounters plenty of folks who either want to con him, hurt him, join him, convince him to join them, etc..  Yep, people are making moves.  And some are heading to a voice they hear on the air waves - a preacher named Jonathan Blue. As for Beatrix, she's banded together with her neighbors to create a new community, a cooperative.  They help one another with food, water, and by being there for each other. Miles between them, Carson and Beatrix are doing the best they can with what they have.  Will they reunite? Will the world right itself? What will happen to the folks heading to Jonathan Blue? So many questions and so many adventures in this tale of hope, rebuilding, and love.

Eisele has written an engaging and entertaining story that will keep you turning pages late into the night. I absolutely LOVED this story to bits!

I would happily recommend The Lightest Object In The Universe to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!