Summer Reading Recap

This summer I read a total of 12 books. This isn’t as many as I had hoped to read but life took an unexpected turn this summer when my mother died in July. I battled to focus on well, everything. I’ve slowly found my way back to regular programming so to speak and am happy to report that just four days into September, I have already read two books.

Besides the books pictured, I read 3 books I borrowed from the library and one book through my Kindle app. I would prefer to own all of the books I read but alas, financially speaking that would be unrealistic. 😂 As it stands I have a hard time ever leaving the bookstore spending less than $100. Everyone needs a hobby they spend too much money on, right? Mine is reading. There are worse vices.

I’m going to review the books based on my star reviews. I would like to point out that typically I would be considered generous with my stars in the book community. I have rarely given a book less than a three star ranking. My reasoning is simple. If it starts to become a book that I would rate lower than three stars, I DNF the book. Life is too short and there are too many books to read to continue reading a book a dislike. Let’s get to the reviews!

Five Star Reads ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This is the second book I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I have loved them both. Nina Riva is a surfer and model who grew up and lives in, you guessed it, Malibu. The book tells the story of her family through flashbacks during the in famous Riva’s summer party. Nina and her siblings all have their own ghosts to face and must each make a decision about their future. Taylor Jenkins Reid is great at character writing. I want to know the people in her novels. I feel connected to them and that always make for a great and memorable book.

The Queen’s Fortune by Allison Pataki – Allison Pataki writes some of the most visually interesting historical fiction on the market, in my opinion. All of her books are extensively researched and richly written. The Queen’s Fortune tells the story of Desiree Clary who was first the unofficial fiancé of Napoleon Bonaparte and later the Queen of Sweden and Norway. Desiree Clary’s story was unknown to me before I read this book. Like all great historical fiction books, this one led me to several hours of my own research. I loved this book! If you enjoy historical fiction this is a must read.

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry – Poppy and Alex begin their friendship in college when they share a ride home for the holidays. This begins a lifelong friendship that sustain through life’s changes with one vacation a year. This books tells the stories of these vacations as well as the current one where they are trying desperately to heal a broken friendship after a fateful vacation two years earlier. This is the perfect read while you are on vacation or simply lounging by your pool, which is how I enjoyed this book. I wish I could be friends with Poppy.

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams – The beginning of the cold war spy novel. It’s perfection! I read it in a day.

Golden Girl & The Sixth Wedding by Elin Hilderbrand – The Sixth Wedding is a follow-up short story to 28 Summers. Golden Girl is Elin Hilderbrand’s latest novel. I have loved every Elin Hilderbrand novel I have ever read and I’ve read almost all of them at this point. They are the quintessential beach read and I love them for that. Honestly, my favorite part of ll of her books is the setting. All of her books are set in Nantucket with the exception of her Paradise winter series. Every time I finish one of her books, I’m ready to go to Nantucket. Maybe next summer???

Four Star Reads ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Haven Point by Virginia Hume – This story is told from the viewpoint of three generations of women with a small community in Maine as the central point. I love stories that are told from multiple time periods and this one does not disappoint. This story is also a statement to how a community can change the trajectory of a person’s life. When you feel loved and accepted, you will champion that community to the end. When you feel like you don’t fit and are not included…you run.

Glam Italia! How to Travel Italy by Corinna Cooke – I loved how the information was presented in this book. Even the things that I already knew were presented from a perspective I hadn’t seen in the past. I’ll be traveling to Italy next summer and as a travel agent I always want tot learn information that will help my clients.

Bring Your Luggage and Don’t Pack Light by Helen Ellis – I found this book at lovely independent bookstore in Knoxville, TN called Union Ave Books. I try my best to visit an independent bookstore in every city I visit. My favorite part is looking at all the staff picks and I always come home with at least one new book. This book of essays was hilarious! A must read if you are a women in your early 50’s. You will relate to the essays and the humor.

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand – I enjoyed this book but definitely not my favorite Elin Hilderbrand novel. This novel follows Meredith as she grapples with the reality of her husband’s ponzi scheme. I didn’t enjoy the character of Meredith. I don’t enjoy reading about weak women and in my opinion Meredith was weak and kind of stupid.

Three Star Reads ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda – I came across this book while wondering through the library. ,This book is currently on the Lone Star Book list in Texas. A young Japanese American boy in a small farming community outside Seattle and a young Jewish Paris girl in the years before World War II are assigned as pen pals. Their friendship grows through letters over the years. This book dragged for me in the middle and the ending was flat.

House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild – This is another book I found at an independent book store. This one at Books & Books in Key West. This was a unique story and had a couple twists. Those twists could have been great but unfortunately fro me they were simply ok. This book had so much more potential but overall was on ok story.

That’s a wrap! Hope you found a book or two to add to your to be read list! What were your favorite books you read this summer?

Happy Reading!

Well. I completely missed posting my April book recap so now you get two months in one. The last two months have been slower reading months for me. I just haven’t been able to find that next great read as quickly as I was in the beginning of the year. That’s ok! Summer is here which means more time floating in the pool with a good book. I’ve decided to make these reviews quick snapshots for a quick read.

April Books

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

One dress painstakingly made to emulate Grace Kelly’s infamous wedding gown is worn by three generations of women on their special day. All the wedding drama makes for a fun and enchanting book.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Aspiring historian, Caroline, discovers an old apothecary vile in the River Thames. Has she found a simple bottle or could this be a link to London’s long unsolved apothecary murders? I chose this book simply for the gorgeous cover and luckily loved the loved the story just as much.

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

From the glittering castle of Versailles and the French and American Revolutions to a chateau during World War II e follow one woman’s story and the legacy she inspired other women to uphold. Based on the true events of Adrienne Lafayette, wife of American Revolution hero, Gilbert Lafayette, and the chateau they called home. This was without a doubt my favorite book of April. I didn’t want it to end!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Glamorous 1950’s Hollywood actress, Evelyn Hugo, shares the intimate stories of her seven husbands with young magazine writer, Monique. Which one was the love her life? This book had a wonderful twist at the end. This would make a great beach read for your summer reading list.

May Books

The Last Night in London by Karen White

An American journalist interviews Precious Dubois about her time as a fashion model during World War II. As the story unfolds we meet Eva Harlow her ambitious friend who is trying desperately to reinvent herself but finds herself caught in a web of spies and intrigue. Who will betray who? I have loved all Karen White’s books and this one was no different. A must read!

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

This book tells the story of Sadie Gault, a young Jewish girl in Krakow, Poland in 1942. Her family escapes the ghetto and the Nazis through the sewers where they live until they are able to escape with the help of a friend Sadie makes at the sewer grate. Although this story is not based on a real person, the author notes at the end of the book that several Jewish families did escape through the sewers and live there for some time. I can’t imagine! This book was difficult to read at times and took me longer than normal to read because of that. I have also read several books by Pam Jenoff and this one has been my least favorite.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This is the story of Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, and their marriage. The author notes that although the characters are based on people who actually lived, the book is fiction. But…she did write their lives as accurately possible based on the very well documented history of Ernest Hemingway and his life. My husband and I were recently in Key West and got to tour Ernest Hemingway’s home there. I bought the book in Key West at Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West. I love to visit a local independent bookshop when I travel and this one was spectacular just like the book. I loved this book and found myself researching throughout the read to learn more details.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

Three young women meet at the beginning of World War II when they each take a post at Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park was responsible for breaking the Egnima codes used by the Germans during the war to communicate. These women become the closest of friends but are ultimately torn apart. Then in 1947 two of the women receive an encrypted note. Will they be able to save someone from their past and regain a lost friendship? Loved, loved this book!

Well, that’s a wrap for April and May. I hope you find your next great read!

The Disney Wish

Last week Disney announced details about the newest ship to join their cruise ship fleet. The Disney Wish will begin sailing June 2022 with three and four night cruises to Nassau, Bahamas with a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Bookings open to the general public on May 27, 2021. Let’s sail away on this amazing ship!

The design concept for The Disney Wish was inspired by timeless stories where a wish can come true. Beginning in the Grand Hall, the three story main atrium, is where you will find a wishing star. There is also a stage where surprise theatrical performances will take place throughout the day.

There are so many exciting features on this ship including the first ever Disney attraction/ride at sea! The AquaMouse is a water slide adventure with lighting and special effects! This is a can’t be missed experience for both kids and adults.

The Walt Disney Theater themed around a magical forest will feature 3 new shows including a re-imagined Aladdin show. Wish for something outrageous and you just may get your wish granted on this magical ship. 🧞‍♂️

Family Dining

Arendelle will be a Frozen themed restaurant and live performance theater with Nordic influenced cuisine.

1923 will have a classic Hollywood theme with California fusion cuisine.

Worlds of Marvel will turn you into your own superhero in this cinematic dining experience with global cuisine. Avengers assemble!

For The Kids

There will be countless activities and experiences for kids of all ages on The Disney Wish. Interact with your favorite princess in Fairytale Hall, attend Marvel Superheroes Academy, cool off at the Toy Story inspired splash pad, or slide into the Oceanears Club. Your kids will be having so much fun, you’ll be left to enjoy the ship.

For Adults Only

Enter Hyperspace Lounge, a Star Wars themed bar and lounge or glide into The Rose, a Beauty and the Beast cocktail bar. Enjoy dinner at Palo Steakhouse or eat at the French restaurant, Enchante, where three star Michelin chef, Arnaud Lallement will delight your senses. Or simply relax at the Quiet Cove pool bar and infinity pool or the Senses Spa.

I know we are all ready to sail away and make our cruise wishes come true! The Disney Wish can be your wish come true! If you’d like to receive a free quote for a sailing on The Disney Wish fill out the Vacation Questionnaire.

What type of traveler are you?

Everyone travels differently! It’s one of the things that makes traveling so exciting. Since I became a travel agent and started planning vacations for others, I’ve noticed that there seems to be five distinct kind of travelers. Do any of these sound like you?

The Planner

Do you study your destination months in advance? Google research, travel guides bought or borrowed from the library, extensive itineraries made, calendars synced…the list goes on and on. If you put hours of time into creating the perfect trip, you are definitely a planner. 😁 That’s me! The planner! I love this part of a trip whether it’s for me and my family or yours. I love to plan!

The Beach Bum

Do you enjoy relaxing on the beach or by the pool? A cool cocktail in hand, a fun beach read, and basking in the sun. Add some friends and this could be the perfect day! If you like nothing more than a relaxing day in the sun…you are the Beach Bum. I mean that in the very best way! 😉

The Adventure Seeker

The thrill of the adventure! Do you like high speed rides, rafting on the white waters, speeding through the snow, horseback riding across the mountains, diving with sharks….? There are so many adventures out there! Don’t let fear stand in your way! Your best vacation life is just one thrill seeking adventure away!

The Picture Taker

Wait! Wait! We need a picture! Okay, everyone, just stand over there…now…SMILE!!! Do you like to capture every moment of your vacation? Do your kids groan every time you pull out your camera or phone while on vacation? 😂😂 I have thousands and thousands of vacation pictures! I can’t stop! I won’t stop! I love taking pictures on vacation! I love the memories those pictures bring to mind when I look at them later. Don’t forget to get your favorite pictures printed! Create a gallery wall in your house of vacation photos. You won’t regret this! I love reminiscing about vacations past every time I pass our vacation gallery wall.

The Foodie

I can’t be the only one that looks forward to the food on vacation! We never eat at a chain restaurant when we travel. I want to eat where the locals eat. I want to try the specialty food of the area. Key West – I have to have a piece of Key Lime Pie. Savannah – I’m eating Shrimp & Grits. New Orleans – Cajun food, of course. Going out of the country? France – croissants, well anything from a French bakery with Champagne, every time! Germany – brats and beer. Prost! Italy – Pasta! So much pasta! Mangia! Well…I think you get the point. Food!! It’s the universal language and can connect you to a place. Every time you eat pasta, you’ll fondly remember your time in Italy. Or maybe you’ll go back home and try to recreate a meal you had while on vacation. Bring a little of the vacation back home through food. Yum! I’m hungry now.

Every traveler has a little bit of each characteristic. I know I do. But…which one BEST describes you?

March Books

March started out with less than stellar reads for me. My first two books of the month were one star reads. 😒 Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t DNF at least one of them.

Again, Again by E. Lockhart

I picked this book up on a whim at Barnes and Noble. I have read two other books by this author and loved them both. We Were Liars is probably in my top 50 books of all time. Hmmmm…that would be an interesting list to curate. Anyway, I digress. Because of this, I picked up this book. It’s a story centered around a young girl and her teenage angst. I’m all in for a teenage angst book every once in awhile. They are usually fast reads with a lighthearted tale. Two things that made this book a one star read for me…1. I didn’t like the main character. 2. Throughout the book, there are conversations or situations that are printed in a different font. It took me a few of these to figure out that these were other options of how a conversation or situation would take place that the lead character was thinking in her head. It was just bizarre and made the story confusing. After I figured out this premise, I actually skipped reading these.

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

Another book I picked up because I read a previous book be the author that I loved. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane was spectacular. This book was BORING! I literally can’t tell you any more than that. It was so boring that I actually skipped some of the chapters and still no problem following the story. I should have DNF’d this book but reasons I don’t even know, I kept reading.

Thankfully the rest of the month was full of great stories. Next up was Ground Zero by Alan Gratz. I read this book in a day. It was amazing! This story follows Brandon on September 11, 2001, who is trapped in the World Trade Center and Reshmina on September 11, 2019 who is a young Afghanistan girl trying to help an injured United States soldier. This is a middle grade book but if you, like me, can remember where you were and what you were doing when 9/11 happened…read this book. The perspectives are so well stated.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle was the love story I wasn’t expecting. This book was so beautifully written! Dannie is a by the numbers gal living her life by doing all the right things to get to the next milestone she has scheduled for her life. Bella is her whimsical, art loving best friend going through life one adventure seeking, go with the flow moment to moment girl. No matter their differences in personalities they have been life long friends and this friendship is the true love story of this book. Again, I read this book in a day. I simply couldn’t put it down. It had two traits that especially make me love a book. It made me cry and once I read the last page, I still wanted the story to continue.

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven

I think everyone has heard or watched the commencement speech by Admiral McRaven at the University of Texas at Austin by now. If you haven’t, look it up on YouTube. You will not be disappointed. This book elaborates on the stories he briefly told in that speech. First, I’d like to take this chance to thank all service members for their service. Thank you!! You are appreciated! Secondly, it takes a special person to become a Navy SEAL. The training these men go through in just one day is almost too hard to believe. These men are certainly the bravest of the brave. These stories told and lived by Admiral McRaven are inspiring! If you need a get up, make your bed, and never, ever quit kick in the arse, read this book! You will be motivated to become the best version of you. I promise!

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner is the story of Sophie, an Irish immigrant, who becomes a mail order bride to Martin Hocking in San Francisco. This story has a sinister background to it that kept me turning the pages. There’s an interesting twist at the end that was shocking! I love a good twist at the end of a book.

Lastly, I read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I really liked this book. The story follows Nora Seed as she has the chance to experience the many different ways her life could have been lived had she made different choices at different times throughout her life. Each book in The Midnight Library is a different life. Have you ever wondered what would have been if? I know I have, and this book makes you consider those options as well as recognize everything good in your life. That’s a win for me! There are some trigger warnings (suicide, depression, alcoholism) in this book you should be aware of. With that said, this book is stellar!

What are you currently reading?

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Stay in the Middle of the magic!

Perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort

With more than 25 resorts on property at Walt Disney World there are countless lodging options for every family and every budget. Disney is legendary for it’s unique storytelling, attention to detail and service. As a guest at a Disney Resort you will leave the everyday world behind and be immersed in the world of Disney magic. 

Here are some of the benefits os staying on property at Walt Disney World:

Proximity – All resorts are close to the four major theme parks as well as the water parks, and Disney Springs. 

Activities & Amenities – Each resort offers special activities and amenities for guests. These include themed pools, poolside activities, Character dining experiences, outdoor movies, and so many more surprises. 

Endless Possibilities – Do you want a Hawaiian beach experience? How about a luxury mountain retreat? A flashback to the decades before? An African safari? There are so many choices! The perfect Walt Disney World resort is waiting for you! 

Disney Themed Rooms & Campsites – Not only are there endless resort options, there are specially themed resort rooms for the little pirate or mermaid in your life. Art of Animation also has fantastical themed family suites which are perfect for larger families. If a more rustic, relaxing resort is more your speed The Cabins and Campsites at Ft. Wilderness is perfect for you. Bring you own RV, stay in a fully furnished cabin, or for the adventurous tent camping is available. 

Options for 5 guests or more – Besides Art of Animation family suites there are Deluxe Villas and Studios. These offer spacious 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes, separate bedrooms, large living areas and washer and dryers. 

More Magic – MagicBands can be purchased at a special pre-arrival price up to 10 days before your trip. MagicBands can be used to unlock your resort room, enter the theme parks with your valid ticket, charge food and merchandise, connect to your Disney Photo pass photos. Advanced Dining Reservations can also be made 60 days prior to your trip for up to 10 total travel days. 

Transportation – Transportation throughout Walt Disney World is free to all resort guests. You can travel by bus, monorail, boat, or Skyliner. Airport transportation can also be arranged through Disney’s Magical Express. They will pick you up at the airport and whisk you away to your magical adventure. When the fun is over, Disney’s Magical Express will return you to your bird for the flight home. 

More Time in the Parks – Beginning later this year, resort guests will be enjoy 30 minute early entry into any Walt Disney World theme park every day of their stay. Guest will need a valid admission ticket as well as a park reservation. More magic anyone? YES, please!

With all these perks, staying at a Walt Disney World resort has never been an easier decision to make. Let’s go!

To begin creating your magical vacation, request a free quote here. 

February Book Recap

Let’s recap my February reads! I didn’t read as may books this month as I had anticipated. Texas had a massive cold front come through that actually brought snow. In the 25 plus years that I have lived in Texas I think we have only had snow two other times. So, yeah, snow and freezing temperatures. And with that snow and freezing temperatures came the loss of power and water. Our great state simply isn’t prepared for this kind of weather. Personally, we were without power for 36 hours and had no water for about the same amount of time. After the restoration of power and water we were required to boil our water for about a week. Honestly, you don’t realize how much water you use until you have to boil every ounce you use. It was exhausting and I simply can’t concentrate on reading when I’m in crisis mode. So…in the end I managed to read only 5 books in February.

I started the month reading The Gown by Jennifer Robson. This book was released in 2019. Honestly, I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this historical fiction book. The war has finally come to an end and Princess Elizabeth is marrying her prince. The Gown follows two embroiderers from the house of Norman Hartnell who are making Princess Elizabeth’s dress – Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin. A half century later we meet Heather whose recently passed Nan has left her with a box of embroidered flowers. These mysterious flowers lead Heather on a search to learn all she can about her Nan. The story is so beautiful and of course will lead you to all sorts of wonderful research. My favorite part of this book was the descriptions of Miriam’s embroidered artwork.

Next up was Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald. This story was not at all what I was expecting. It was delightful! Joe is a leverman at Grand Central Station in New York City right before World War II. Although this book spans the time just before, during, and afterWorld War II, this is not a war story. This is a story of enduring love no matter the distance or time. In December 1937 Joe meets Nora Lansing. Nora seems to just appear in the middle of Grand Central Station and although it is a cold December day, Nora is without a coat and dressed like a 1920’s flapper girl. During that December day Joe and Nora strike up a friendship, a friendship that turns to love. But…can love be enough to keep Nora from disappearing again? You’ll have to read the book to find out. 😉

You Have a Match by Emma Lord is a young adult novel. This is the second book I’ve read by Emma Lord and once again she did not disappoint. Her books show genuine teenage relationships in unique situations. Most of all her books are joyful! I always find myself smiling while I’m reading her books. One of my favorite elements in her books is the food. I think Emma is secretly an aspiring chef. In You Have a Match you meet Abby who signs up for a DNA service to help her friend Leo. Instead of a simple, you are 38% Irish, 20% German, etc. report, Abby finds out she has a secret sister. The book follows the sisters as they meet at summer camp and try to figure out the secret their families have been hiding all these years. This is a fun-loving, endearing book with a heart warming ending. ❤️

Send for Me by Lauren Fox was one of the Read with Jenna book club picks for February. I don’t typically read the book club picks for all the celebrity book clubs that seem to have blossomed over the past few years. But…this book was a World War II historical fiction book and I simply couldn’t find a book that piqued my interest so…stick with what works. Annelise is the daughter of a Jewish baker in small German town. The story follows Annelise as she works in the bakery, meets and marries her husband, and eventually emigrates to the United States but without her parents. Will she be able to get her parents out of Germany before the Nazis send them to a camp?

Last book of the month was The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly. This book was a woven story told by four different women in three different time periods. Venetia Smith is the designer of the garden in 1907 at Highbury House. Diana is the mistress of Highbury House during World War II. Beth is land girl during the war at a nearby farm. Emma is a garden restoration expert in the present day hired by the now owners of Highbury House to restore the garden to its glory. The garden is designed as a set of rooms with each room having a different theme and plantings. There is a walled garden that has been locked and the key is nowhere to be found. What secrets are hiding in that garden?

So, there you have it, my February reads. I truly enjoyed each of these books this month. I hope you’ll find a book here to inspire your reading adventure. What’s on your to be read list?

Happy Reading!

Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin is a World War II historical fiction novel based on the real life American who secretly worked for the Resistance while entertaining high ranking Nazis at the Ritz Paris.

Blanche Ross travelled to Paris as an actress where she met Claude Auzello, a hotel director. They married shortly after they met and soon began their life at the Ritz. While Claude managed the hotel, Blanche become known as the mistress of the hotel. She spent her days entertaining guests like Hemmingway, Fitzgerald and Picaso. She also had a long standing feud with Coco Chanel who lived permanently at the Ritz.

Blanche and Claude had a passionate and complex relationship. She left him many times and during one of these departures she meets a woman named Lily. Lily is a communist and during the war works with the Resistance. Over time Blanche becomes involved with the Resistance. The novels tells Blanche and Calude’s story through the war years. There are a few twists throughout the story that kept me turning the page. I read this book in two days so, there’s’ that. LOL!! I will say this, the last chapter is written from Lily’s perspective and it is so shocking. After turning the last page I did a little research and it turns out that the shocking ending is true! If you enjoy historical fiction, this book is well worth the read.

I’d like to say one thing about the tertiary character, Coco Chanel. This is probably the third book I’ve read that either takes place at or involves the Ritz Paris and involves Coco Chanel. I’ve done some research on Ms. Chanel’s life during the war. While living at the Ritz she was having an affair with a high ranking Nazi officer and was at one point a registered spy for the Nazis. After the war Coco Chanel managed to wiggle her way out of trouble and fled to Switzerland. She later returned to Paris and the fashion world. She lived out her days as a celebrity and passed away in 1971 at the Ritz. Most interesting of all is that a wealthy Jewish family, the Wertheimers, funded the creation of her iconic perfume, Chanel No. 5 in 1924. At that time they along with one other gentleman owned 90% of the perfume company. Although she tried to use her Nazi connections to gain full control of the perfume company it never came to be. The Wertheimers were also involved in her return to the fashion world after the war. The grandsons of the original Werthehimer brothers own the company today.

This is why I love historical fiction. I like researching history. I like learning new things. I hope your next read opens your mind, makes you reach for more, and brings you a broader perspective of the world. All the best books lead you forward in some small way.

Happy Reading!

WW II Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is without a doubt my favorite genre. I especially enjoy World War II historical fiction based on true life events or people. My last two reads are not based on real people or real events specifically but they were both good reads none the less.

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse is a YA book that I found by chance while exploring Barnes and Nobel. Hanneke is a young Danish girl in Amsterdam in 1943. She spends her time finding goods on the black market for paying customers. Then on a regular day of deliveries Hanneke is asked by a customer to find a Jewish girl that she was hiding…the girl in the blue coat. The story expands from there as Hanneke is pulled reluctantly into the resistance as she searches for the girl. This book had a twist at the end that I was not expecting. That twist made the book for me. YA books are often overlooked. I’ve found them, in most cases, to be thought provoking and quick reads. Do you have a favorite YA book? I’d love to hear your YA book suggestions!

I read The Postmistress by Sarah Blake next. I don’t typically read two books back to back from the same genre but the introductory drew me into this book. The premise is a postmistress in a small town on the tip of Cape Cod who ultimately does not deliver a letter during WW II. There is also a side story of Frances Bard, a radio reporter in London, during the same time. About two thirds through the book these stories intersect and in the end they come crashing together. Honestly, this was a three star read for me. The story was relatively flat. The ending seemed rushed and incomplete. It never quite wrapped up the ends with the introduction in mind. Another fact that was just simply annoying…the town referenced is actually in the middle of Massachusetts, not even close to Cape Cod. I know it’s a small fact but if you are going to use a real town name, please use one that is actually in the area you are writing about. Just my two cents.

What have you been reading lately?

Happy Reading!

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis is set in the New York Public Library. From the very first description of the library I was hooked. I, of course, had to immediately do some research about the library. I love a book that is written about real places and/or people. Although the people in this book are complete fiction the library itself does actually exist to this day. I hope I get the chance to visit it someday.

The story begins with Laura Lyons in 1913. Her husband is the superintendent of the New York Public Library and they, with their two children, actually live in an apartment inside the grand library. Laura wants a bigger life than that of a housewife and to this end she attends the new Columbia Journalism School. Through her studies she is introduced to the Heterodoxy Club whose mission is to bring to light their opinions on suffrage, birth control, and women’s rights.

This story is told in two parts. The second is told by Sadie. Eighty years later she is the curator of the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library and Laura’s granddaughter. While Sadie is putting together an exhibit for the library, manuscripts, notes, and books begin to disappear. While she searches to find these items and return them to the library she finds that items were also stolen while her grandparents lived at the library. And so the mystery begins.

I enjoyed this book so much, I actually finished it in two days. I simply couldn’t put it down. There were several twists in the story that I never would have guessed. Every time a new element was added I HAD to find out what happened next. Make sure you have plenty of free reading time before picking up this book.

This is the first book I’ve read by Fiona Davis and I’m looking forward to reading more of her works. Is there a book you’ve read that led you to read other works by the same author?