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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Inifinite Summer: A Novel by Edoardo Nesi

OUT THIS WEEK (JULY 11th):
(Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Set in Tuscany in the Seventies, three men share a dream of building a textile factory from scratch, in a time and place when everything still seemed possible

Ivo Barrocciai, the son of a textile artisan and full of enthusiasm, embarks on a slightly over-ambitious undertaking: to build a large factory that will be “the envy of the Milanese.” He involves Cesare Vezzosi, a small building contractor, and Pasquale Citarella, a site foreman from Southern Italy, in the project. Their relationships with their wives, their secret passions, their ambitions and the compromises they have to make form a comical, moving fresco, a family saga, a love story—not only about people, but also about a flourishing nation rich with opportunity and promise.

my thoughts:

Italy during the 70s - what more could I want from a book, right? How about a story that is chock full of unforgettable characters from all walks of life who are filled with hopes and dreams, but flawed in every way imaginable.  Oh, and writing that is rich with creativity - the beauty of the prose drips from the pages and it sweeps you away to Tuscany with its glorious vividness.  Well, I got all of that and more from Edoardo Nesi's latest work, Infinite Summer

Talk about a must-read book for the summer!! I absolutely LOVED Infinite Summer.  I soaked up the descriptions of Italian life and culture with pleasure.  The smells, the sights, and the sounds came to life.  I could imagine myself walking around a piazza, eating gelato, and people-watching.  The sky is blue and cloudless, the air filled with life, and the flea market bustling with shoppers eyeing leather-bound journals and dazzling necklaces.  Its like I'm right there and I can't help but smile.  To be in Italy is to be in bliss. 

The story focuses on capitalism and the textile trade industry via three men: Ivo, Cesare, and Pasquale.  Ivo wants to build the largest textile manufacturing company in all of Tuscany.  He hires Cesare as the contractor and Pasquale as the foreman.  The two men are thrown into new terrain upon learning about Ivo's outlandish expectations for the building and his company.  And yet, through their hard work and determination the trio somehow manage to make things happen.  Its fascinating and eye-opening to learn about the "behind the scenes" machinations of creating and running a textile manufacturing company.  Of course, what makes it all so interesting are the people and their personal lives. Somehow, the personal always manages to intersect with the professional at some point.  I enjoyed getting to know Ivo, Cesare, and Pasquale through their relationships with each other, but mainly through their relationships with their loved ones.  It all made for quite a funny, captivating, and unputdownable read.  I absolutely LOVED Infinite Summer!!

I would happily recommend Infinite Summer by Edoardo Nesi to fans of his work and anyone looking for their next great summer read - you are going to LOVE this book!!




Thank you to Other Press for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dunkirk:The History Behind The Major Motion Picture by Joshua Levine

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

THE EPIC TRUE STORY OF DUNKIRK—NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, AND STARRING KENNETH BRANAGH, TOM HARDY, AND MARK RYLANCE

The Battle of Dunkirk, in May/June 1940, is remembered as a stunning defeat, yet a major victory as well. The Nazis had beaten back the Allies and pushed them across France to the northern port of Dunkirk. In the ultimate race against time, more than 300,000 Allied soldiers were daringly evacuated across the Channel. This moment of German aggression was used by Winston Churchill as a call to Franklin Roosevelt to enter the war. Now, historian Joshua Levine explores the real lives of those soldiers, bombed and strafed on the beaches for days on end, without food or ammunition; the civilians whose boats were overloaded; the airmen who risked their lives to buy their companions on the ground precious time; and those who did not escape.

my thoughts:

Nonfiction is where its at! Then again, I'm on a bit of a nonfiction kick lately, so I am loving learning about everything (celebrities, history, authors, Paris).  Especially, when the topic I am learning about has been made into a film I am dying to see - starring Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles (I have to admit I'm curious to see if he can act).  Dunkirk is a must-see film for WWII buffs and anyone interested in learning about history, specifically the Dunkirk Evacuation.  I will admit to having no knowledge regarding Dunkirk until I saw the film's trailers.  Of course, when I did, I just knew that I had to read about it.  Luckily, I was provided with the opportunity to do just that - thank you, TLC Book Tours!!

Yep, I received a copy of Joshua Levine's awesome book, Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture and dove right in.  I settled down with a huge cuppa, my copy of the book, and the weekend ahead of me.  And let me just say, I didn't stop reading for anything.  I was mesmerized - absolutely hooked on learning all about Dunkirk: the soldiers, the civilians, the airmen, the small boats, and the battle.  I learned about a part of WWII history that is viewed as a successful failure.  I learned about the Dunkirk Spirit.  And I learned about the courage and bravery exhibited during WWII - a true story of survival.  Definitely eye-opening, engaging, and informative - Dunkirk is a must-read!!  Oh, and did I mention the film aspect of the book.  Levine includes an interview with Christopher Nolan (the director of Dunkirk) and some behind the scenes information of the filming of this historical event.  Definitely an interesting way to connect the history and the film - I really enjoyed it.  In fact,  now I can't wait to watch the film even more so than before:


Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Dunkirk
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, July 10, 2017

GIVEAWAY & Mini-Review of All We Shall Know: A Novel by Donal Ryan

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

A breathtaking and redemptive novel from the award-winning and Man Booker nominated author Donal Ryan 

Melody Shee is alone and in trouble. At 33 years-old, she finds herself pregnant with the child of a 17 year-old Traveller boy, Martin Toppy, and not by her husband Pat. Melody was teaching Martin to read, but now he’s gone, and Pat leaves too, full of rage. She’s trying to stay in the moment, but the future is looming, while the past won’t let her go. It’s a good thing that she meets Mary Crothery when she does. Mary is a bold young Traveller woman, and she knows more about Melody than she lets on. She might just save Melody’s life.

Following the nine months of her pregnancy, All We Shall Know unfolds with emotional immediacy in Melody’s fierce, funny, and unforgettable voice, as she contends with her choices, past and present.

my thoughts:

Beautiful, lyrical writing that engages and captivates. This story is Irish literature at its very best! 

All We Shall Know is the story of Melody Shee, a young woman who finds herself pregnant.  The only problem (or maybe not) is that her husband is not the father.  Yep, turns out that the baby daddy is a seventeen-year-old Traveller student she had been teaching.  Say what?! Yep, Melody was unfaithful and now she has to deal with the aftermath of her indiscretion.  And lets just say, her husband is not a happy camper.  In fact, the whole town gets angry at Melody when they find out.  Considering its a small town, its not too long before judgement is doled out.  Struggling to figure out her new normal, Melody befriends a Traveller named Mary.  The two women become close and find that their lives are very similar, despite the fact that they come from two very different communities.  Through their friendship we learn about the Traveller community, Irish culture, and two very flawed  women whose pasts are affecting them in very vivid and powerful ways.  Reading about Melody and Mary was fascinating and eye-opening.  I absolutely hated and loved them simultaneously.  Their depths of loneliness was heart-wrenching.  

All We Shall Know is captivating, intense, and unputdownable.  I LOVED it! I can't wait to read more of Ryan's works.  And, I happily recommend this book to anyone looking for their next great read - you are going to LOVE All We Shall Know

GIVEAWAY:  Thanks to the publisher I am able to give away two (2) copies of this book! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment. Don't forget to include your email address - that way I can contact you, if you win the book.  Last date to enter is July 15th.  US residents only. Good luck!!



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

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: A Memoir by Amy Silverstein

Happy 4th!! Hope you are enjoying celebrating today.  I am with a yummy steak and this lovely book:

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

In this moving memoir about the power of friendship and the resilience of the human spirit, Amy Silverstein tells the story of the extraordinary group of women who supported her as she waited on the precipice for a life-saving heart transplant.

Nearly twenty-six years after receiving her first heart transplant, Amy Silverstein’s donor heart plummeted into failure. If she wanted to live, she had to take on the grueling quest for a new heart—immediately.

A shot at survival meant uprooting her life and moving across the country to California. When her friends heard of her plans, there was only one reaction: “I’m there.” Nine remarkable women—Joy, Jill, Leja, Jody, Lauren, Robin, Valerie, Ann, and Jane—put demanding jobs and pressing family obligations on hold to fly across the country and be by Amy’s side. Creating a calendar spreadsheet, the women—some of them strangers to one another—passed the baton of friendship, one to the next, and headed straight and strong into the battle to help save Amy’s life.

Empowered by the kind of empathy that can only grow with age, these women, each knowing Amy from different stages of her life, banded together to provide her with something that medicine alone could not.  Sleeping on a cot beside her bed, they rubbed her back and feet when the pain was unbearable, adorned her room with death-distracting decorations, and engaged in their “best talks ever.”  They saw the true measure of their friend’s strength, and they each responded in kind.

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a tribute to these women and the intense hours they spent together—hours of heightened emotion and self-awareness, where everything was laid bare. Candid and heartrending, this once-in-a-lifetime story of connection and empathy is a powerful reminder of the ultimate importance of “showing up” for those we love.

my thoughts:

Whoa! What a book! Talk about making me laugh and tear up at the same time.  My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a truly emotional, heartfelt read.  A memoir about the friendships that really matter in life - the ones that are the epitome of "ride or die".  You know, the friends that you can count on through thick and thin.  The friends that show up when you need them.  These are the friendships that Amy Silverstein explores in her latest memoir, My Glory Was I Had Such Friends

At twenty-five, Amy's heart failed her and she had a heart transplant.  Her life changed drastically, but she had a life.  Fast forward twenty-six years later, and Amy (now in her fifties) finds out that her transplanted heart is failing.  She needs another heart transplant.  And so she begins to think about her options and what she wants to do.  Along her journey of coming to a decision regarding her heart and then the waiting for a new heart, we find out about her friendships.  We learn about the women who put their lives and families on hold so that they could be there for their dear friend, Amy.  The women who contacted one another so they could figure out a schedule of who would show up first, second, third, etc., in order to make sure that Amy always had someone with her.  The friends who supported her, disagreed with her, argued with her, listened to her, and didn't listen to her - the friends that bonded with her and grew with her through this beyond intense experience.  Amy shares it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And let me just say it is truly a terrific and engaging read.  Not only do you learn about the depths of friendship through Amy's story, but you also learn about your own friendships.  This is a book that makes you stop and think about the friends you have and the lengths you would go to for them and each other.  I absolutely LOVED My Glory Was I Had Such Friends.

I would happily recommend this book to fans of Amy's first book, Sick Girl - you will devour her latest memoir and love every minute you spend with it!  And I would recommend this book to anyone looking for their next great read. 

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: My Glory Was I Had Such Friends
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!