Thursday, May 29, 2014

Review: Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Knopf Publishing
Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Audio

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About the Book

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman's Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure, a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

A story of brilliantly drawn characters, a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart, Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman's finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.

My Review

I loved this story. Such great characters. Ilona, is a strong woman, despite having lost her friends and family to the horrors inflicted upon them by the Nazis.  Jack is a Jewish American GI whose job it is to inventory the possessions of Hungarian Jews found on a train in Austria by American troops. Ilona hopes that Jack can help her locate her locket that must be amongst the treasures on the train. He does find a locket but it turns out not to be hers. 

Many years later, Jack tasks his granddaughter with finding the true owner of that locket. Natalie dives right in to researching it in an attempt to fulfill her grandfather's wish. Learning the history of that peacock locket is what made this book come alive for me. I love stories that span generations. This was truly well done, well researched and very entertaining. 

Buy the Book

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Watch the Book Trailer

Praise for Love and Treasure

"Love and Treasure is something of a treasure trove of a novel. Its beautifully integrated parts fit inside one another like the talismanic pendant/ locket at the heart of several love stories. Where the opening chapters evoke the nightmare of Europe in the aftermath of World War II with the hallucinatory vividness of Anselm Kieferís disturbing canvases, the concluding chapters, set decades before, in a more seemingly innocent time in the early 20th century, are a bittersweet evocation, in miniature, of thwarted personal destinies that yet yield to something like cultural triumph. Ayelet Waldman is not afraid to create characters for whom we feel an urgency of emotion, and she does not resolve what is unresolvable in this ambitious, absorbing and poignantly moving work of fiction."
Joyce Carol Oates

"One is quickly caught up in Love and Treasure with its shifting tones and voices, at times a document, a thriller, a love story, a search, telescoping time backwards and forwards to vividly depict a story found in the preludes and then the after-effects of the Holocaust. Waldman gives us remarkable characters in a time of complex and surprising politics."
Michael Ondaatje

"Love and Treasure is like the treasure train it chases: fast-paced, bound by a fierce mission, full of bright secrets and racingly, relentlessly moving."
Daniel Handler

"Complex and thoughtful, moving and carefully researched, this is a novel to love and treasure."
Philippa Gregory

"This lush, multigenerational tale traces the path of a single pendant. Inventively told from multiple perspectives, Waldman's latest is a seductive reflection on just how complicated the idea of what home is and why it is worth more than treasure."
Publishers Weekly

"A sensitive and heartbreaking portrayal of love, politics, and family secrets . . . Waldman's appealing novel recalls the film The Red Violin in its following of this all-important object through various periods in history and through many owners. Fans of historical fiction will love the compelling characters and the leaps backward and forward in time."
Mariel Pachucki, Library Journal

About the Author

Ayelet Waldman Photo Credit Reenie RaschkeAyelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on "All Things Considered" and "The California Report."

For more information please visit Ayelet's website. Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 27
Review at Kinx's Book Nook
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Wednesday, May 28
Guest Post at Passion for Novels

Thursday, May 29
Review at Mari Reads

Friday, May 30
Review at She Reads Novels
Review at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, June 4
Review at Seaside Book Corner

Thursday, June 5
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Friday, June 6
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Monday, June 9
Review at Closed the Cover

Tuesday, June 10
Interview at Closed the Cover

Wednesday, June 11
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, June 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, June 16
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, June 18
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, June 19
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, June 20
Review at Curling Up with a Good Book

Monday, June 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 24
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, June 25
Review at Lit Nerd

Thursday, June 26
Review at The Little Reader Library

Friday, June 27
Review at Man of la Book

Monday, June 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, July 2
Review at From L.A. to LA
Review at Mina's Bookshelf

Thursday, July 3
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

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Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Love at Pemberley Series Book Blast and GIVEAWAY

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About Most Truly

01_Most Truly
Publication Date: December 15, 2013
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 88 pages

Heat level: Sweet

Colonel James Fitzwilliam is home. The war has left him weary, battle-scarredóand a free man of fortune ready to find a wife. He travels to Pemberley, his second home. There he meets Kitty Bennet. Her unexpected charms soon have him questioning his familial duty and his expectations. A fight looms on the horizon when his auntóLady Catherine de Bourghóand his parents arrive with their own plans for his future.

Kitty Bennet has found happiness. At Pemberley, she has improved herself and formed true friendships with her sister Lizzy and Georgiana Darcy. Kitty is captivated by the gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. But she will not be silly over a redcoat again, and she will not risk her happinessóor his familyís displeasureófor his attentions. Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, Lizzy, and Georgiana have their say, and Kitty learns a new lessonólove will find you at Pemberley.

About Miss Darcy Decides

Miss Darcy Decides
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 77 pages

Heat level: Sweet

Miss Darcy Decides is a light, sweet Pride and Prejudice novella, book two in the Love at Pemberley series.

While visiting a young womanówho was not so fortunate as Miss Georgiana Darcy in escaping the persuasions of a rogueóGeorgiana meets Sir Camden Sutton, whose reputation causes Georgiana to wonder as to his motives. Her wondering soon turns to a different feeling when Sir Camden comes to stay at Pemberley, showing himself to be a very different man than was rumored.

While Sir Camden struggles with his past and his commitment to his future, as well as the ill intentions of haughty Caroline Bingley, Miss Darcy must decide whether to listen to others, or the words written on her heart.

About Miss Bennet Blooms

03_Miss Bennet Blooms
Publication Date: 4/25/14
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
eBook; 70 pages

Heat level: Sweet

Miss Mary Bennet is the last unmarried Bennet sister. She believes she will live out her days as a maiden aunt, seeking quiet in the libraries and parlors of her father's and brother-in-laws' homes. On a visit to Pemberley, the estate of Fitzwilliam Darcy, her sister Lizzy's husband, Mary begins to feel more is possible than her planned life of solitude. Among new friends and with new confidence, Mary opens to new feelings when she meets Mr. Nathaniel Bingley.

Nathaniel Bingley, at the insistence of his cousin Charles Bingley, finds himself at Pemberley. After Nathaniel's years in the West Indies studying its intense flora, he is ready to seclude himself to compile his work into a book. But Nathaniel could not say no to Charles, who was one of Nathaniel's few kind relatives after the deaths of his beloved parents. Soon, Nathaniel also finds it difficult to say no to his own feelings about the lovely Miss Mary Bennet.

Can Mary and Nathaniel look beyond their plans and accept the grace of love at Pemberley?

Buy the Novellas

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About the Author

Reina M. Williams

Reina M. Williams loves period dramas, sweet reads, fairy tales, cooking and baking. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two boys, who hope to someday take a research trip to England with their mom.

For more information please visit Reina M. Williams's website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Book Blast Schedule

May 12: Kincavel Korner
May 13: Hardcover Feedback
May 15: Peeking Between the Pages
May 16: A Bookish Girl & The Lit Bitch
May 20: CelticLady's Reviews
May 21: Historical Tapestry & To Read, Or Not to Read
May 22: Book Nerd, & Historical Fiction Obsession
May 24: Passages to the Past
May 26: Mari Reads
May 27: Long Ago Love
May 28: Kinx's Book Nook
May 30: Flashlight Commentary
June 1: Literary Chanteuse
June 2: History From a Woman's Perspective
June 4: She is Too Fond of Books
June 5: So Many Books, So Little Time
June 7: A Bookish Affair & Griperang's Bookmarks
June 8: The True Book Addict
June 9: West Metro Mommy
June 11: Book Lovers Paradise, Historical Fiction Connection, and The Tower of Babel
June 13: Carole's Ramblings & The Mad Reviewer


To win one of the following prizes please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open internationally.

  • 2 eBook Sets of Love at Pemberley Trilogy
  • 2 Audio Books of Most Truly

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
    Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 14th and notified via email.
    Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Happy Reading!

     FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Review: Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery

    Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery
    368 pages, Paperback
    Sourcebooks Fire, March 2014

    Source: from publisher for review

    Reading this book is very nostalgic for me. I remember reading all of L.M. Montgomery's book in grade school after falling in love with her Anne of Green Gables books. I had to read everything by her and this one I remembered enjoying. 

    It is set on Prince Edward Island, just like the Anne of Green Gables books, but it also has a little hint of magic. A possible witch, the talk of fairies and leprechauns. Hmm, perhaps this is what got me interested in fantasy books?

    Sourcbooks Fire's reprint of this classic is lovely. The cover is very sweet and inviting. It will be saved along side my Anne of Green Gables books and Emily of New Moon books for the little girl to enjoy when she gets older. Perhaps I should get the other reprints. Make a nice set for the little girl.

    Happy Reading!

     FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    The Medici Boy ~ Cinematic Trailer

    Astor and Blue has released a book trailer for The Medici Boy, which was published in April.
    You can read my review here. What do you all think?

    Barnes & Noble:

    Donatello: Art, Pain, Passion, Murder

    “John L’Heureux has built a gripping story of love, genius and betrayal.”
    --JM Coetzee, Nobel Prize for Literature, Booker Prize Winner

    “Deeply enjoyable, The Medici Boy soars like an operatic aria, before breaking our hearts.”
    --David Henry Hwang, playwright, M. Butterfly, Chinglish

    “L’Heureux’s is certainly one of America’s greatest living writers. I’d put him in the top ten...And now he’s come out with his first new novel in ten years, The Medici Boy, and it’s a masterpiece, the most ambitious, beautiful, and complex novel I’ve read this year…”
    --David Vann, Financial Times of London

    Astor + Blue Editions is proud to release perhaps the most passionate work of master storyteller, John L’Heureux, in The Medici Boy [ISBN:  978-1-938231-50-6 (Hard Cover); ISBN: 978-1-938231-48-3 (E-book); US $25.95; Historical / Literary Fiction; 346 Pages, April, 2014].  Described as “one of America’s greatest living writers” by the Financial Times of London, L’Heureux returns with a long-awaited new historical fiction novel; the result of years of research—backed by a Guggenheim Grant—on location in Europe.

    In this well-conceived, historically accurate rendering, the Renaissance worlds of art, politics and passion collide. With his distinct style and rich, sinewy narrative, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega, (workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant.

    While creating his famous bronze of David and Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save Donatello, even his master’s friend—the great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici.

    John L’Heureux’s long-awaited hardcover delivers both a monumental and intimate narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With incisive detail, L’Heureux artfully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the leading—and competing—powerbrokers of Renaissance Florence: the Medici and Albizzi families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed narrative that entertains while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence.

    Award-winning poet, novelist, and short story writer, John L’Heureux has taught at Georgetown University, Tufts, Harvard, and (for more than 35 years) in the English Department of Stanford University where he was Lane Professor of Humanities.  There he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and earned it again in 1998.

    A prolific writer, L’Heureux has written more than twenty books of fiction, short fiction and poetry.  His works have appeared in the Atlantic MonthlyEsquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and have been included in dozens of anthologies including Best American Stories and Prize Stories: the O. Henry Awards.

    John L’Heureux has twice received writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for The Medici Boy, his new novel.

    He is retired and lives in Palo Alto with his wife Joan.

      Happy Reading!
     FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Review: The One and Only by Emily Giffin

    The One and Only by Emily Giffin
    432 pages, Hardcover
    Ballantine Books, May 20, 2014
    Source: provided by publisher for review and BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge

    Texas and football. 

    If you have never lived there, you can't possibly understand it. You would probably read about Shea and think she can't possibly be real. No girl is this obsessed with her college football team years after having graduated. 

    Oh, she is real. I know this girl. I have many friends back in Austin that are so similar to Shea. Of course, they are all Longhorn fans and maybe one or two Aggie fans. As you can imagine, I loved this book. 

    I have really missed the craziness of college football season since leaving Texas. It just isn't the same in California. 

    Anyway, about the book. 

    Shea loves her Walker football team and the man at the helm, Coach Carr, has a special place in her heart. He's Coach, father of her best friend, and a mentor/father figure of sorts. So it comes as quite a surprise when feelings begin to arise after the death of his wife. How will they and their families deal with this?

    I enjoyed the football and the progression of the love story. It is not always an obvious attraction, what with the other relationships Shea has, her connections to the team and family and the reactions sure to arise if anything happens. Shea and Coach Carr are not typical romantic leads, but it was really quite refreshing and it was fun to cheer them on. 

    About the Author

    Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of six New York Times best-selling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You're With, Heart of The Matter and Where We Belong, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.

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

    Happy Reading!

     FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Bout of Books: Updates

    Bout of Books
    Bout of Books has begun and this is where you will find my updates for the week. 
    My goal: finish all the books I have partially read and a couple full books for review. 

    Monday 5/12
    Currently reading: The One and Only by Emily Giffin(216), Pat of Silver Bush by LM Montgomery(15) and Peter Pan by JM Barrie(34)
    Number of pages I've read today: 265
    Total number of books I've finished: 1
    Books: The One and Only by Emily Giffin

    Notes: Read the last 50% of The One and Only between midnight and 3am. Couldn't put it down. Started Pat of Silver Bush today. Continued read aloud of Peter Pan with the little girl. 

    Tuesday 5/13
    Currently reading: Pat of Silver Bush by LM Montgomery, Peter Pan by JM Barrie
    Number of pages I've read today: 0
    Total pages read: 265
    Total number of books I've finished: 1
    Books: The One and Only by Emily Giffin

    Notes: Little girl had school, it was hot and we went to the Giant's game tonight. No time for reading today. :(

    Wednesday 5/14
    Currently reading: Broken Harbor by Tana French(18)
    Peter Pan by JM Barrie, Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman(6%)
    Number of pages I've read today: 18 
    Total Pages read: 283
    Total number of books I've finished: 1
    Books: The One and Only by Emily Giffin

    Notes: Another hot day meant a day out at the pool with friends and kids. Only reading was done from 1-2am last night and a bit tonight. :( 

    Thursday 5/15
    Currently reading: Outlander by Diane Gabaldon(1.2%), Broken Harbor by Tana French(10), Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman(3%)
    Number of pages I've read today: 
    Total pages read: 340
    Total number of books I've finished: 1
    Books: The One and Only by Emily Giffin
    Notes: 1 hr of Outlander listened to on audio. Love and Treasure in Kindle App

    Friday 5/16
    Currently reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1 hr), Broken Harbor by Tana French(31), Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
    Number of pages I've read today: 31
    Total pages read: 371
    Total number of books I've finished: 1
    Books:The One and Only by Emily Giffin
    Notes: listened to 1hr of Outlander on audio. 

    Saturday 5/17
    Currently reading: 
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1 hr), Broken Harbor by Tana French(14), Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman (2%)
    Number of pages I've read today: 14
    Total pages: 385
    Total number of books I've finished: 1
    Books:The One and Only by Emily Giffin

    Sunday 5/18
    Currently reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (3 hr), Broken Harbor by Tana French(28), Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman 
    Number of pages I've read today: 28
    Total pages: 413
    Total number of books I've finished:
    Books:The One and Only by Emily Giffin

    Notes: lots of listening time!

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    Review: The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

    The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert
    304 pages, Paperback
    Sourcebooks Landmark, May 2014

    Source: received from publisher/NetGalley in exchange for review

    As a baby, Bay was left in a basket on the porch of Nan, the local "witch". Bay knows this but is unaware of the fact that she was born with a caul, a sure sign that she may also be a witch. Growing up with Nan as her mother has been both wonderful and hard. She has been teased all her life and has had to hear all kinds of interesting tales about her mom. Is is it possible that she is really a witch?

    The arrival of some old friends, and some new to the house for a long birthday weekend, brings with them some buried secrets, revelations and a little magic. By then end of the visit, Bay will have her answer, but is it the one she wanted?

    I loved the mix of realism with the magical. I never knew if what I was reading was real or not, a ghost or a person, magic or imagination. It was such a lovely well written story. I enjoyed every word of it. 

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

    Happy Reading!

     FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Bout of Books: My Goals for the Week

    Bout of Books

    5 days until the start so thought I should share my goals. Once again, just like last time, my goal is to finish all the books I have been reading/listening to. There are quite a few.

    Broken Harbor by Tana French (paperback)
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (audio)
    Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman (ebook)

    Still waiting for these books to arrive, but need to be read as soon as they do:
    Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery
    The One & Only by Emily Giffin

    Happy Reading!

     FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.