Friday, May 24, 2019

Puttin' on the... Resistance!

Book Review for “Mistress of the Ritz” by Melanie Benjamin.

Benjamin’s latest novel is about Blanche Auzello, the American woman who in 1924 married Claude, the manager of the Ritz in Paris. In the years of recovery after the Great War, Paris was host to some of the richest and most famous people from across the globe, and the number one place to be and be seen in Paris was the Ritz. When Blanche arrived in Paris, she was hoping to kick-start her film career, but instead, she entered into a whirlwind romance, that culminated in their marrying, without a thought to how very different they were. When the winds of another war begin to blow, neither Blanche nor Claude are willing to leave either Paris or the Ritz, and Blanche being secretly Jewish when Nazis start showing up at the hotel, is going to complicate things, even if she is the “Mistress of the Ritz”. (Thanks for the free book, @PRHGlobal/@prhinternational.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

TCL's Countdown Questions #1: Author Melanie Benjamin

An Alternative Author Interview:

TCL's Countdown Questions.

My fellow blogger Jill Doyle has a lovely thing on her blog called “Five on Friday” where she asks authors five questions that each require five answers. I thought this was really great, mostly because I’ve never done an author interview myself – at least not a good one. I mean, I’ve asked authors for guest posts, but so far, I've only given them one question to answer. That’s not really an interview. So, I thought that if I could come up with a set of fun questions to ask authors, maybe I’d do it myself. After quite a bit of thinking, I came up with the following:

  • If you could visit five (5) places you’ve never been, where would you go and why?
  • Name four (4) foods or dishes that you enjoy so much that they’ve practically become part of your personality.
  • There is the past, the present, and the future – if you could choose, which of these three (3) would you prefer to live in, and why?
  • Best and worst – you choose which – name two (2) of either your best moments of your life, worst moments of your life, or one of each.
  • Name one (1) book you’ve read in the past year (or so) that you wish you had written, and why.

Friday, May 17, 2019

First Impression Friday for May 17, 2019

First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W. Martin. Apparently, it has a brand new theme, but this is the first one I'm joining in on, so...

First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.

Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Bookish Kinship Building.

Book Review for “The Printed Letter Bookshop” by Katherine Reay.

This is the story of three women and the memory of another. The memory is of Maddie Cullen, the owner of the Printed Letter Bookshop in the small town of Eagle Valley IL, not far from Chicago. Two of these three women work with Maddie – Janet and Claire. The other one is Maddie’s namesake and niece, Madeline Cullen. According to Goodreads: “One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.”

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Poetically Explosive Story

Book Review for “My Counterfeit Self” by Jane Davis

Lucy Forrester is a poet. That means by definition that she uses her words to express all the emotions she’s feeling, be they personal or be they political. In fact, she’s something of a rebel, but one with a cause she’s not willing to give up; the threat of the nuclear armament policies, in her own country of England as well as across the globe. The problem with Lucy is that if she’s going to use her poems to get her message across, she needs an audience, and one that is as wide as possible. However, Lucy isn’t one for fame, in fact, she’d rather be shamed than honored for her works. This dilemma is one she’s struggled with her whole life, and now that she’s getting older, she wonders if what she’s been showing the public is who she really is, or instead is a persona that she’s carved out to promote her cause.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Fatherhood and its Flaws.

Book Review for “Things My Son Needs to Know About the World” by Fredrik Backman.

As a change of pace for Backman, this is not a book of fiction, but rather a type of memoir, which is also something that could be considered an advice book. The publisher calls this a collection of “personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.” But whatever you call it, my regular readers will know by now that I’ve been a fan of Backman’s work since I read his first translated novel, “A Man Called Ove” and he’s been on my “Top Five” lists every year since then, often grabbing the #1 spot. Since then, Backman’s publicist has come to know me, and I’m on her list of bloggers that gets first crack at his work, and I totally adore her for it! I actually wrote to her asking about his next novel, but apparently that’s not quite ready yet, so she offered me this book. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

#6Degrees - Six Degrees of Separation for May 4 2019

From “The Dry” to “What Girls are Good For.”

This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at  Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are here in this graphic:

This month (May 4, 2019), the chain begins with Jane Harper’s best-selling debut novel, The Dry.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Conundrum of the Phenomenon.

Book Review for “The Girl Puzzle: A Story of Nellie Bly” by Kate Braithwaite.

This new historical, biographical fiction novel is about Elizabeth Cochrane, the investigative journalist of the late 19th century and early 20th century, who was better known as Nellie Bly. Apparently, Bly is a hot topic at the moment, since this is now the third novel that I’ve read that touches on Bly’s famous experience. The first was David Blixt’s novel of Bly’s earliest parts of her career, and the other one was Greer Macallister’s “Woman 99” where the main character is inspired by Bly’s story, and enters an asylum in order to save her sister who was committed to the institution. Thankfully, through intense, and compelling prose Braithwaite has given us a slightly different take on Bly and her life, as she portrays this woman not only as the true phenomenon that she was, but also as something of a conundrum.