Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: Footsteps

The New York Times: Footsteps: From Ferrante's Naples to Hammett's San Francisco, Literary Pilgrimages Around the World

The New York Times

Footsteps provides a fascinating look at the lives of a number of celebrated authors. I can't think of better way to a “behind the scenes” look at what made so many literary figures tick. Whether it was a place or an experience these essays will provide book lovers with hours of entertainment. In fact, I think this would make a great gift idea for the book lovers in your life.

And while we may not be able to travel the path of our favorite authors in a literal sense we definitely get a feel of their surrounding and inspirations in this unique book. My personal favorite was the piece “In search of Flannery O'Connor” by Lawrence Downes in which I was a little sad to learn of the shabby condition of her childhood home. I felt Downes captured the essence of her life and gave me a new perspective with which to view her work. There were many other interesting pieces as well and I thoroughly enjoyed those on Hemingway and Fitzgerald to name a few. The best part about this book though, is the fact that you can pick it up anytime and find some interesting snippet about a variety of authors. This was an enchanting read.

 Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: The Tea Planter's Wife

The Tea Planter's Wife

The Tea Planter's Wife
Dinah Jefferies

After marrying Laurence a widower and tea planter, Gwen moves with him to Ceylon to start their new life together. But, things aren't going as smoothly as she had hoped. Verity, Gwen's sister-in-law, is constantly trying to undermine her position and role in the household. Christina, a wealthy American woman, has designs on Laurence, making Gwen jealous and uncomfortable. Tensions increase when Gwen befriends a local Sinhalese painter Savi Ravasinghe and with political tensions in the country on tender hooks and laborers ready to instigate trouble, running a tea plantation may not be as easy as she imagines.

Gwen is hoping the birth of a child will bring both peace and tranquility to the household but the birth causes more pain and suffering and Gwen's life becomes beset with secrecy and fear. On top of her own, secrets Laurence's' first marriage which ended in the death of his wife Caroline is still shrouded in mystery. One that Gwen hasn't been able to untangle. But when she does many things will fall into place and she might find that she is really at home in exotic Ceylon.

This is a beautifully written novel, full of lush and vivid details of 1920's Ceylon. Not only is the story captivating but, the hints of mystery and secrets kept me turning page after page. This book was not only full of memorable characters and loads of details; it was an emotional and spellbinding read that simply swept me off to another place and time. One that I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: 800 Words

800 Words: Season 1

800 Words

George Turner's world is turned upside down when his wife suddenly dies. He can no longer cope with life in Sydney Australia, where he is a well known newspaper columnist. He decides to move with his two teenage children to Weld, New Zealand. Weld has always held a special place in his heart, growing up he spent many summer holidays in the town and he thinks the beauty of the area and the tranquility of the isolation may be just what he and his children need. But his children are not thrilled with the prospect of leaving everything behind to move to the back of beyond.

How will it all turn out in Weld? If you're looking for an interesting drama about how life doesn't always go as planned, then 800 Words is definitely one you will want to watch. Each episode is full of drama, conflict, interesting characters and beautiful scenery. Both season one and season two have turned into my favorite choices for summer television. I so hope they are working on a season three.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!

The Little Old Lady Strikes Again

The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!
Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Martha Andersson and her geriatric pals have taken it upon themselves to help the less fortunate. To do this, they rob and steal from the rich and give to the poor or those in need. When the story opens they group of just robbed a Las Vegas casino and to escape the long arm of the law, they decide to return to their native Sweden.

Unfortunately, on their way back, their ill-gotten gains disappear. To make matters worse, previous loot in Sweden has also disappeared, and they have to figure out how to get it back or come up with a plan to make more money. Further trouble comes when they decide to settle down in a new house. Their new neighbors turn out to be one of Sweden's most dangerous biker gang, with their own plans for taking advantage of the elderly members of the group. But Martha and her pensioners are always up for what life throws their way.

This was a delightful story, both funny and warmhearted, with characters I came to love. And while it wasn't quite as comical as I had anticipated, I thought the author had a real eye for detail, which made this all the more enjoyable.

Thanks to Library Thing for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: The End of Men

The End of Men

The End of Men
Karen Rinaldi

The End of Men, follows four women, Anna, Isabel, Beth and Maggie as they try to make sense of their lives. But being wives, mothers and career minded women sometimes takes it toll and they are faced with questions large and small as they try to find and understand what it is they want out of life.

Unfortunately, this book didn't do anything for me. From the description, I was expecting a funny book but I found it to be, if I'm honest a bit boring. I never felt drawn into the story and for some reason, which I can't quite put my finger on, I just didn't feel for the characters, which meant the book didn't really hold my attention. At times the writing was interesting but at others the story seemed forced and perhaps a little corny. To me it all seemed to mundane and I didn't find the tension or electricity to pull me through this one.

Thanks to Library Thing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Leading Lady

Leading Lady; Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker

Leading Lady
Stephen Galloway

This biography charts the life of Sherry Lansing, the first female to head a Hollywood film studio. Mrs Lansing first tried her hand at acting but, soon found it wasn't what she wanted to do. She then turned her attention to reading scripts and eventually became a producer before rising in the ranks to head a major studio and finally becoming the chairman of Paramount Pictures. She was behind some of the best known films of her time including Indecent Proposal, Fatal Attraction, Braveheart and many others. But after a long career in Hollywood and the film business in particular she decided to reinvent herself in the world of philanthropy, where she was successful raising money and awareness for numerous causes.

This was an interesting book, which told me not only about Mrs Lansing's life and work but also quite a lot about how Hollywood works behind the scenes. It isn't often that I read about the role of a female producer and film executive. I felt this book provided me with another view of the film business, particularly regarding the extensive work and financing that goes on to produce a film. It was interesting to see what goes into the making of a film and the changes that have taken place in the industry over time.

I think film buffs and anyone interested in a “behind-the-scenes” look at a dynamic and often hard charging industry will appreciate this book.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: The Child

The Child
The Child
Fiona Barton

When the body of a baby is discovered in an area of London slated for redevelopment, three women become linked in a psychological drama to determine the identity and the mystery behind the body. Kate is a reporter trying to get a good story for her newspaper and she's got a hunch that the body could be linked to an old case concerning Angela, whose baby was stolen from the hospital at birth. In order to find out how the body came to lie in an area of town, unfamiliar to Angela, Kate will have to find former residents of the area. This leads her to Emma who grew up in the neighborhood. But Kate will have to unravel a lot of old secrets before the truth about the baby is revealed. The truth may be more than anyone could have imagined.

When I first sat down to read this story I was intrigued. But, a few chapters in I thought it was going to be a rather sad tale and I almost put the book down. Luckily, I didn't, because it was at that point that the story took a turn, which ramped up the tension and I found that I could hardly put it down. I really wanted to know how things would turn out for all of the women. Clearly, the author knew just when to draw me in, and like a moth to a flame I was hooked. This suspenseful tale was one which got right into the heart of the characters and under my skin. It was skillfully written and thoroughly entertaining.

Thanks to Shelf-Awareness and Berkley Publishing for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.