Thursday, August 25, 2016

The French War Bride by Robin Wells

The French War Bride by Robin Wells

432 pages, paperback
Published August 2016, Berkeley 

Source: From Publisher in exchange for review, NetGalley

My Review

Jack O'Conner left his small town of Wedding Tree, Louisiana to join the allies in France during WWII as a medic.  He also left a fiance, Kat, anxiously waiting for his return. Unfortunately, for her, when he does return he is not alone. With him is a French bride and a baby.

Many years later, Kat finds Jack's widow Amelie, in her retirement home and asks to hear her account of how she and Jack met and became married. Amelie's story is gut wrenching and tragic and also full of "adventures", as Kat describes them, that no one would actually want to experience. 
The history of the Nazi Occupation, the workings of The French Resistance and the incredible horrors and losses during this time is seamlessly intertwined with the story of Amelie. It was a book that I had a hard time putting down and got completely invested in also learning her story.

The French War Bride is the second book in Wells' The Wedding Tree series. I have not read the first book, but had absolutely no problem in reading this one as it reads as a stand alone book, but I will be locating a copy for myself very soon. 

About the Author

When Robin Wells sold her first romance novel in 1995, her family celebrated at a Chinese restaurant. Robin’s fortune cookie read, “Romance moves you in a new direction.”

And it certainly has! Robin has since written sixteen critically acclaimed novels that have been translated into eighteen languages. Her books have won the National Golden Heart Award, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Award of Excellence, the Golden Quill, and the Holt Medallion. Robin’s latest book, Still the One, was nominated for a Rita Award, the highest award the National Romance Writers of America gives an author, at the RWA national conference last July.

Robin was born in Waco, Texas and holds a B.A. in liberal arts from the University of Oklahoma. Before becoming a full-time writer, Robin worked as an advertising and public relations executive for a major hotel chain. She loves working with new writers and teaches a course called “How to Write a Novel” at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Mandeville campus. 

Robin lives with her husband, two daughters and a very spoiled dog named Winnie the Poohdle in Mandeville.

For more information about the book and the author visit her WEBSITE.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

So, has it been long enough since it came out to discuss Book 8? 

I was talking to my sister last week, who has read the book three times already, about it. As you can guess, she absolutely loved it. I was a little more lukewarm in my response to it.  I liked it, I read it in about 4 hours straight. There was just something about it that made it not quite stand up to the other books. Not sure if it was the script format, or the fact that it was co-written.  I don't know.

The characters were all there, older - but their personalities and quirks were still there. The new characters were believable and fit in to the HP Universe just fine. The storyline was plausible, but there were some things that happen that just didn't seem to align with the other books. I did like that we got to revisit some long lost characters and see how the world may have turned out had Voldemort not been defeated.

Okay, so I tried to review without giving anything away. Hope I succeeded. If you love HP, this is a must read, no matter what. I love the "where are they now" aspect to it. It was nice to get a Rowling approved look at what Harry, Ron, and Hermione went on to do.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Quick Review: Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

Ramona the Pest  

The  5 year old has given this book only one star. 

She only "likes it a little bit". She thought Ramona wasn't being a good girl. She liked Beatrice because she's older. She had to plug her ears many times when Ramona was up to no good and was about to get in trouble. It actully took her a couple weeks after starting it to want to finish listening to it.She said it was too scary.

As for me, I loved it. Just as much as I loved it as a kid. This book had me laughing as much as the little girl was cringing. Ha. I liked that as she is getting older, Stockard Channing has made Ramona's voice a little less whiny.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Influenster Vox Box

I decided to try out Influenster. Have any of you tried it?

You review products to get free products to review which in turn gets you qualified to review more products. Thought it would be fun.

So far it has. 

My one concern was bombarding my friends and family with reviews. I have really been trying to spread out my posts on social media so no one gets annoyed with them. Hopefully I have been successful in doing that. 

The latest box, is the Bonita Vox box. 

It came with five different free samples to review. Some lipstick, a nail polish, a FiberOne bar, witch hazel and some hair products. It is always interesting to see what comes in the box. Check them out below. 

Fiber One Brownies
Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick
Madame CJ Walker Beauty Culture
Dickinson's Witch Hazel Toner.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lettering by Mari

I have recently become obsessed with getting better at lettering. Check out my progress on Instagram. @letteringbymari

Friday, July 22, 2016

Quick Audiobook Reviews

Alice in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #1)

This was a great listen for the entire family. We listened to it twice on our road trip this summer and were completely entertained. My 5 year old loved it. Scarlett Johansson did a fabulous job reading. She used different voices for all the characters and just brought the whole story to life. 

Seriously, this was perfect for entertaining a young kid on a very long drive. 

Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1)Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

I purchased the audio collection of this series of books to take along with us on a road trip with our five year old. She loves books and I thought she would love these as I once did. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its reading by Stockard Channing. One critique, though, I wish she hadn't given Ramona such a whiny voice.

The little girl enjoyed it but definitely got sad and upset when Ramona did some of her worst things.

We have yet to finish Ramona the Pest, due to some uncomfortable situations for the little girl. She doesn't like when Ramona is going to get in trouble. 

Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer In pictures...

Strawberry picking
Davenport, CA

The Exploratorium
San Francisco, CA

Red Rocks
Sedona, AZ

Rio Grande Gorge
Taos, NM

The Grand Canyon
Williams, AZ

Giants-Diamondbacks game
Chase Field
Phoenix, AZ

The Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, CA

Happy Summer!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Since She Went Away by David Bell

Since She Went Away by David Bell
432 pages, Paperback
Published June 2016

Source: From publisher in exchange for review, NetGalley

The Diamond Mom. 

Celia disappears after heading out to a park in the middle of the night to meet up with an old friend. Has she been murdered, kidnapped or has she run off and left her husband and daughter for another man? 

The mystery of what could have happened to this woman haunts Jenna Barton for she was the one that invited Celia out to meet her. She waits nervously every day waiting to hear if she has been found. She visits online chatrooms hoping to find clues to what happened. I believe she has the detective-in-charge's number on speed dial.

Questions, family secrets, murders and suspicious newcomers months after her disappearance quick start the investigation and send Jenna, her son and Celia's family reeling when the truth to what happened is revealed. 

About the Author

David is the writer of Cemetery Girl, published by NAL, a division of Penguin Random House. Cemetery Girl (2011) went on to win the prestigious Prix Polar de Cognac in 2013. Since then, David has published five more novels with NAL: The Hiding Place (2012), Never Come Back (2013), The Forgotten Girl (2014), Somebody I Used to Know (2015), and Since She Went Away (2016) as well as a novella, Rides a Stranger (2013), with Mysterious Press. When he is not teaching or writing, David watches lots and lots of movies and reads lots and lots of books. He also enjoys walking in the cemetery near his house with his wife, writer and blogger Molly McCaffrey.

For more information about the author and book visit his WEBSITE.

Happy Reading.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
384 pages, Paperback
Publishes June 2016, NAL Trade Paperback
Source: From the publisher for review, Netgalley
About the Book

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio- still new, strange and electrifying- is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie's insecurities.

Soon, she is seduced by the work- gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda's tutelage, Maisiediscovers her talent, passion, and ambition.  But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to have their voices heard both on and off the air... then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

My Review

Maisie was a great character to follow along through the halls of the BBC at this pivotal time in history. Young, ambitious and a hard worker, she was ready for the changes that came with the  women's right to vote and their increased presence and acceptance in the workplace.

This book mixed history with the drama of workplace romance and espionage. It was a lot of fun and a pleasure to read. Very interesting time in history and what a better place to see it all happening than from the BBC.

About the Author

Sarah-Jane Stratfor grew up in Los Angeles with a deep love of theatre and literature. After earning a bachelor's degree in history from UC Santa Cruz, she then obtained her master's degree in medieval history at the University of York in Britain, where she wrote a thesis about women in the manorial court system which gave her a new appreciation for the modern era.

Sarah-Jane has written articles and essays for a range of publications, including The Guardian, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Marie Claire, Bitch, Slate, Salon, Guernica, and BOMB.

In addition to theatre and activism, Sarah-Jane enjoys knitting ( when the project is submitting to her will) and wandering around interesting places. She currently lives in New York.

For more information about the author and the book visit her WEBSITE.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One True Love by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
352 pages, paperback and ebook
Publishes June 2016, Atria/Washington Square Press

Source: From publisher for review, NetGalley

About the Book

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever. Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly? Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

My Review

This story had me teary eyed a few times. Had me smiling and talking to the characters a few times...Ha. I don't know what I would do if this ever happened to me, and how I would go about choosing. Pretty crazy to think about. It was an interesting situation which I am sure has happened but still really hard to imagine. 

Now, the way Jesse disappears and the explanation of where he has been for three years was a little hard to believe, but that really isn't the main plot of the book so I didn't let it bother me too much. It really is all about Emma and how she handles his "death", finding herself and love again, and dealing with Jesse's return.

I was very happy with how the book ended.

I enjoyed it and read through it very quickly. It's another great summer read from Reid.

About the Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted, After I Do and Maybe In Another Life. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. 

Instagram: @tjenkinsreid


Happy Reading!