Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: Women in Sunlight

Women in Sunlight

Women in Sunlight
Frances Mayes

Frances Mayes does it again in this exquisitely written book about a group of women who become fast friends, encouraging and supporting one another in new situations. Kit Raines is already living in Tuscany, Italy when three women rent the villa next to hers; she is unaware that they will come to play a significant role in her life.

The three women in the villa, Susan, Camille and Julia get to know each other when they all turn up at a retirement village in North Carolina known as Country Meadows. Each woman has different reasons for feeling the need to downsize, slowdown and possibly move to an age defined community. But none of the women are sure that is what they want. As they get to know each other, they decide they are not willing to throw in the towel and move to a retirement home. They haven't seen the world yet. As a result of their newfound friendship, they rent a villa in Tuscany where life begins to blossom for all three and where they meet Kit whose life will also change in ways she had not expected.

Mayes takes us on a journey of discovery of friendship, food, culture and travel, along the way I felt like I gained a few new friends. If this book doesn't make you want to pick up sticks and move to Tuscany, I don't know what would. Hopefully, if you do, you will find new friends and adventure just like the Women in Sunlight.

Thanks to Goodreads and Crown Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Review: The Road to Little Dribbling

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain

The Road to Little Dribbling
Bill Bryson

While I have read several of Mr. Bryson's books: A Walk in the Woods, The Lost Continent and In a Sunburned Country, I have to admit I haven't read Notes from a Small Island. I am happy to say that fact did not stop me from enjoying The Road to Little Dribbling. Going back to were it all started in 1995, he takes another look at a place he has come to know and love. With a new journey in mind he sets out to discover how the small Island has moved on since his last journey. The result is classic Bryson where he points out the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly aspects of the United Kingdom, always in an engaging and entertaining manner that only he seems to be able to convey.

Of course, just when you think Bryson has lost faith in his adopted Island, he turns a corner and rediscovers the beauty of the countryside and the joy of rambling. It is then that you get the feeling there's no other place in the world he would rather be. I for one am happy he decided to take me along on the trip. I only wish he would discover the art of photography because a few visuals would make this already interesting book even more enjoyable.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Review: The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy
Nova Jacobs

Hazel Severy's grandfather Isaac Severy has just died, the cause is an apparent suicide, but Hazel isn't so sure, mainly because Isaac has left her with a mysterious letter. He has asked that she find his last mathematical equation and hand it over to a trusted friend before it falls into the wrong hands.

Hazel isn't particularly mathematically inclined, so she isn't sure why her grandfather hasn't left the equation her his son Philip a professor of theoretical physics or her brother Gregory, a police officer, or the long lost grandson, who shows up out of the blue at the funeral. Nevertheless, Hazel decides to proceed with her grandfather's wish, particularly as he has suggested in his letter that his death will not be the only one. But it isn't going to be easy for Hazel to find her way through the maze of obstacles or the other people who want to find the last great work of Isaac Severy. Nor is she particularly sure what all the fuss is about. Nevertheless, she feels she owes it to her grandfather to grant his last wish.

This book has everything going for it, a little mystery, a smidgen of romance, a dysfunctional family full of drama and layers of intrigue. It was a little unlike anything I've read lately. I loved it so much I couldn't put it down. Frankly, this surprised me as mathematics isn't a topic I assumed would be so thrilling, and yet this one was. The story was very well developed and a lot of fun to read. I can't wait to see what the author will come up with next.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: It Begins In Betrayal

It Begins In Betrayal (Lane Winslow #4)

It Begins In Betrayal
A Lane Winslow Mystery
Iona Whishaw

The story begins in wartime Europe when a British plane goes down in France. Two crew members are lost, but the other crew members manage to return home. Four years later Flight Lieutenant Darling, who is now, Inspector Darling in British Columbia, Canada, is called to investigate the possible murder of a British woman just outside the small town of King's Cove. Before the investigation can get underway, Inspector Darling is called back to England where he is charged with the murder of one of his airmen in the 1943 crash.

Inspector Darling's good friend Lane Winslow decides to follow him to London to find out why Darling has been charged with murder. She suspects that there is more to the story and witnesses are lying or covering for someone else. She is determined to help clear Darling's name. While they are away in London, Darling's subordinate, Constable Ames must take over the case of the murdered British woman, but it isn't long before Ames has to look towards England as well for answers to his case.

It Begins in Betrayal is a complex, multilayered and rather addictive wartime story. I'm so glad I had a chance to read this one. I can't wait to discover more in the Lane Winslow Mystery series.

Thanks to Touchwood Editions for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Review: Color Me Floral

Color Me Floral
Kiana Underwood

Color Me Floral is a beautiful book where one floral design is more impressive than the next. If you are interested in creating unique and stunning floral arrangements, this is definitely a book you will want to own. Arranged by seasons, the author presents an array of interesting combinations using common flowers and some more uncommon elements. I love that she provides a step by step guide that allows readers to recreate all the arrangements she presents in the book.

The book focuses on monochromatic designs but, none of the arrangements were boring or dull. The variety of flowers and plants used by the author made the designs unique and beautiful. The amazing photography is another reason this book will dazzle readers. It is both gorgeous and practical at the same time.

After examining the techniques and suggestions of the author, I felt inspired to create my own floral bouquet. I let myself be inspired by what I found in my garden. Combining flowers such as roses with shrubs such as azaleas and colorful foliage and blooming trees I was able to create an interesting arrangement, unlike anything I had ever put together before. In fact, I think the most important thing I will take away from this book is the idea of putting together different types of plants to create something beautiful, whimsical and a little unexpected. So, if you are looking for inspiration, this is an excellent place to start.

Thanks to LibraryThing and Chronicle Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: Ordeal by Innocence

Ordeal by Innocence

Ordeal By Innocence
Agatha Christie


Arthur Calgary has been away on an expedition outside of the country and as a result, missed the murder trial of Mrs. Argyle, a middle age woman at her home known as Sunny Point. Her adopted son, Jack was accused of the murder and sentenced to prison, where he died from pneumonia. Jack always claimed he had an alibi for the time of death, but he couldn't prove it.

Arthur Calgary realizes upon his return that he was the alibi and now he feels duty bound to clear Jack's name. Although he expects the family to feel joy and relief on his news, he is instead met with annoyance and fear. If Jack wasn't the murderer, then someone else in the family likely is. Not only does Calgary open a can of worms with his revelation but the killer may strike again.

What's not to like about Agatha Christie, right? Her books always manage to provide a satisfying mystery no matter what the setting or crime. Ordeal By Innocence doesn't disappoint.

Thanks to Goodreads and HarperCollins for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Review: My Dear Hamilton

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

My Dear Hamilton
Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

This work of historical fiction follows the life of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, wife of Alexander Hamilton from her childhood years on her families frontier farm in New York through her marriage to Alexander Hamilton and during her years as a widow. This fascinating book relies on thousands of documents left behind by Mr. Hamilton giving readers a glimpse into numerous aspects of their lives and the difficulties of building a new nation.

The first thing that struck me about this work is the pace. It seems to convey such urgency and movement that made it hard to put down. The early life on the frontier during the revolutionary war is portrayed as a time of great upheaval and sacrifice, but Eliza comes across as a woman ready to play a role supporting the revolutionary cause anyway she can. And one is struck by the warm, caring atmosphere of her family compared to unfortunate circumstances of Alexander Hamilton's. No doubt this shaped her ability to cope with the difficulties she faced in life. I particularly liked that the authors tried to imagine how she felt about and dealt with the betrayal by her husband, death of her children and political developments that didn't always benefit her family or their views.

This book reminded me that I should be reading more historical fiction. Hopefully, I will find time to read the other bestseller by these authors, America's First Daughter.

Thanks to William Morrow for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.