Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Review: I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

My review:  

This book is not going to be released until March 27th 2018, but I was lucky enough to receive a copy from Netgalley for my honest review.  First off, this book would make an excellent book club choice!  I have been interested in the legend of Anastasia Romanov for a long time and as soon as I saw the description of this book I knew I wanted to read it.  I found myself drawn into Anna's story and did not want to put the book down until I finished. I would definitely rate this book 5 stars!!  Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest review.

Amazons description of the book:

In an enthralling new feat of historical suspense, Ariel Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess, a beloved daughter and revered icon, or is she an imposter, the thief of another woman's legacy?
             Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.
Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed. 

Germany, February 17, 1920
: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. 
Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson. 
     As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself.
     The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: Secrets of Married Women by Carol Mason

Amazon's description of the book:

When Jill’s husband discovers he can never have children, it tears a hole in their marriage that Jill doesn’t know how to repair. Frustrated, she seeks comfort in her friends: fierce Leigh, with her high-powered career and doting family, and sweet, uncomplicated Wendy, who has a rock-solid marriage any woman would envy.
Leigh and Wendy’s lives seem perfect. But beneath the surface are secrets that could tear their friendship apart.
Leigh has grown tired of her stay-at-home husband and is looking for excitement—outside of the marriage bed. And after seventeen years of marriage, Wendy can’t shake the sense that there is something missing in her life.
As Jill is drawn deeper into her friends’ relationships, she is confronted by a temptation of her own: an intriguing stranger whose good looks and charm spark an instant connection.
Full of the realities of modern-day marriage, The Secrets of Married Women asks the question: how well can we ever know our husbands, our friends, or even ourselves?
My review:

The Secrets of Married Women book was everything I hoped it would be and more! It is a story of friendship, loss and love.  Throughout the book I was cheering for different characters for different reasons. The book really shows how one decision can impact so many different lives.

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for my honest review.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Book Review- Get Yourself Organized for Christmas by Kathi Lipp

Discription of book from
Have you lost your Christmas joy? Does the thought of jam-packed malls, maxed-out credit cards, overcrowded supermarkets, and endless to-do lists give you the feeling that maybe Scrooge was on to something?
In Get Yourself Organized for Christmas, Kathi Lipp provides easy-to-follow steps to reduce the stress of the holiday season, including tactics for how to
  • put together a holiday binder you'll use year after year
  • determine a budget that won't break the bank
  • gather your elf supplies
  • get your gift list together (including ideas for various ages and relationships)
  • collect your recipes and prep your kitchen
By putting into practice Kathi's tricks and tips, you'll finally be able to fully enjoy this most wonderful time of the year.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  There is some great tips to help with planning for Christmas and the whole holiday season.   The binder idea with the recipes is definitely a knew idea for me and one I will include in my planning and preparing for the holiday. This is definitely a book I will keep and refer to many times.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers of this book for a copy of the book for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Book Review- Valerie's Home Cooking

Amazon's description of the book:
As the current star of her Food Network show, Valerie's Home Cooking, and co-host of the network's Kids Baking Championship, as well as having spent years acting on television, Valerie Bertinelli has made a name for herself in households across America. But to really know Valerie, is to spend time in her kitchen.

Inspired by her family's cooking legacy, Valerie specializes in showing fans how to make dishes their own families will love that are for the heart and soul. As she often says, there's a story behind every recipe and Valerie shares them in this gorgeous cookbook, where home cooks will find more than 100 recipes that are easy to make and innovative--they're just as fresh, vibrant and down to earth as Valerie herself. Many of these classic comforting recipes have an original twist like Bloody Mary Tea Sandwiches, Lobster BLTs, Quick Rotisserie Chicken Gumbo, and S'mores Popcorn. These mouthwatering dishes will become your go-tos, whether you're having breakfast or lunch on your own, friends are joining for last-minute cocktails and small bites, or the whole family is coming together for a hearty dinner and dessert.

My Review:

I was so happy to receive this book to read and review.  I have been a fan of Valerie Bertinelli's since she was on the show "One Day at a Time".  I have watched Valerie's cooking show on the Food Network and new her cookbook would be very good.  
   This cookbook does not disappoint!! So far I have tried 3 recipes-- Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons, Holiday Applesauce Cake and Slow-Cooker Red Beans and Rice. The recipes were delicious and easy to make.  I will definitely be making them again and adding them to my recipe file. 
   Even if you try a couple of the recipes you will very happy with this cookbook.  Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers of this cookbook for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest review.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review: The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Here is Amazon's description of the book:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the tradition of The Girl on the Train, The Silent Wife, and Gone Girl comes an enthralling psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception.


Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

My review:

I am so glad to see that this book is going to be made into a movie!!  I cannot wait to watch it.  This book had me intrigued from the beginning. The thought of an architect building a home then renting it out with so many strict rules to follow and how both of the girls handled it differently  was a story in itself.  Add in the suspense and the captivating yet totally spooky architect and it's a book I did not want to put down. The ending was a total surprise, LOVED it!! It will be interesting to see how the book is portrayed in the movie.
  I received this book from Netgalley for my honest review. I look forward to reading future books from JP Delaney.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Description from the Amazon website:
From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

My review:

 I am already a big fan of Alice Hoffman because of the book and movie Practical Magic so I could not wait to read The Rules of Magic.  Let me start by saying, I hope this book is made into a movie. I really enjoyed the story and getting to know the Owens family better.  This book is a follow-up to Practical Magic, but can easily stand on its own.  I liked how the Owens children found ways to overcome and deal with a terrible curse that was put on their family.

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for review of my honest opinion. I look forward to reading more books by Alice Hoffman.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book review: Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

Here is description of the book:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Christmas is the season of the heart, and #1 New York Timesbestselling author Debbie Macomber is here to warm yours with a delightful holiday novel of first impressions and second chances.

Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

My review:

As I started reading Debbie Macomber's book Merry and Bright, I knew I was not going to put the book down until I finished it. I really liked all of the characters in the book and the story.  I just loved the book and hopefully it will be made into a Hallmark movie.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers of this book for allowing me to read this for my honest review!!