The Violets of March is a typical healing from life, starting over story with the eventual love of your life. It’s a tale for all of us who have had to suck it up and move on, to face ourselves and the past and seize that inevitable second chance at life. The main lead character, in her 30’s, Emily, once leading the charmed, dream life with the perfect guy, the perfect career, a best selling novel, no worries, suddenly finds herself without these factors, starting with her perfect guy leaving her. She finds herself visiting her Great Aunt Bee at Bainbridge Island, to escape her disappointment and to find herself again. While trying to figure her own love life out, she stumbles onto an old diary dated from 1943. As Emily begins reading she finds her own life to have parallels to the author, Ester's, life. Emily begins to realize what she wants in love and life. Feeling so close to Ester, she realizes she must solve the mystery, but the more Emily learns the more questions she has. She finds that the Island is loaded with intriguing secrets and manages to also stumble onto two love interests, one, Greg, an old high school flame and the other a very handsome local artist, Jack. This lovely story will give spark to your life and inspire you to do a little searching of your own. I recommend!
This beautifully written and completely charming memoir captures Julia’s unique and genuine personality. This is one of the most delightful, happy books I’ve ever read! Julia admits complete ignorance at the beginning of her story, which attests to her most unusual gift for blending self-deprecation with charming self-confidence, and it is her natural curiosity that led her to collaborate with master chefs, true to her non-condescending and bubbly personality. There is a heavenly breathless spirit about this book that captures her earthiness and integrity and complete emotional fulfillment that is absolutely contagious. This is the most beautiful love story between kindred spirits. Her husband, Paul, who clearly shines throughout, worked for the US State Department, and it was he who encouraged Julia’s exploration and interest in fine cuisine and his transfer to Paris began her legacy. What a wonderful marriage they must have had! They shared an extraordinary life of love and passion, not only for each other but for travel and the tastes to explore other cultures. Her colorful and bright and cheery account of her 1940's life-changing stay in France is one of the most cherished, enjoyable and interesting books I've had the pleasure of reading. I wanted to sing.
This book is a great biography, as well as a historical account of a nation, as instruction of the refined culinary arts, and it works well as the travelogue that evokes the locations being described. My senses were titillated; I could smell the baking bread, lavender fields, leg of lamb cooking in sumptuous herbs; I could taste the magnificent, succulent dishes; I could see the lush countryside, the cobblestone roads and streets. The laughter, the wit, the union, their lives together had to be Heaven on earth. This is beautifully told, brimming with life, just as Julie Child lived during her years in France, and as compelling as a great novel that you know has a happy ending.
Because the family kept all of Paul and Julia's letters home, primarily Paul's twin brother, Charlie and his wife, the detail is as fresh and fun as when it first happened.
Julia oozed "joie de vivre", loved a new adventure and took life on with an incredibly open mind. She seized opportunity with great zest and had the confidence that she could achieve her goal. She was real and fun and didn't take things too seriously. One of Julia Child's most compelling attributes was her ability to share her knowledge without being intimidating. She gave you the sense that she was as accessible and as friendly as if she’d known you all her life, although infinitely more interesting. She truly cared about people, all people. With class, charm, enormous magnetism, and great determination this remarkable woman had turned French cooking into an American fascination.
This is not a book about food; this is a book about life, full of passion and love and wisdom, beauty, art and creation. You can learn a lot from a life like that. This should be on everyone’s reading list.
Four women from a Boston-based Irish Catholic family, each harboring her own secret and resentment, converge on their family summer cottage in Maine. The matriarch of family is Alice, a widow in her eighties, who is still dealing with guilt issues involving the death of her sister, Mary, during the World War II years. With her loving husband gone, she's decided to give the house away to her church once the summer was over. She believes the church has been there for her the most. There’s Maggie, the granddaughter, who is thirty-two, pregnant and unmarried. Kathleen, Maggie's mother, continues to be disturbed by unresolved issues with her mother and daughter. Ann Marie, the daughter-in-law, wants to be perfect, but her life seems to be unraveling.
With layers of understanding and great underlying love these wonderful characters mend their ways and the road to healing is a memorable lesson for all of us. Well done.
TIGER’S QUEST is compelling and interesting and surpassed my expectations. It is a perfect follow-up to Tiger's Curse. I appreciated and learned from the myths and theology of the Asian background and the excellent writing worked magic into the flowing and well-crafted storyline. Kelsey goes back to Oregon to give Ren a chance to experience life without holding him back. She tries to date other guys, Li being the main guy, but after a few months of dating Ren comes back into Kelsey’s life and the rivalry begins. I recommend reading Tiger’s Curse first. This is an exciting read and I guarantee will keep you entertained for hours!
MESSENGER is a powerful and inspirational message to all who read it. It’s a beautiful testimonial of strength and love beyond measure. This is Mattie’s legacy. This is a tender read, a detailed account of the life and feelings of Jeni Stepanek’s son Mattie who suffers the pan of muscular dystrophy. Mattie was an angel from heaven who looked beyond himself to do good for others, in spite of his own struggles to survive. He brought peace, love and harmony to all who knew him. This young man’s indomitable spirit lives on even though he lived a short of 14 years but has left a legacy of inspiration and hope for all who come into contact with his writings. His dream was to be known as a "Peacemaker" and he achieved his goal lovingly. I can’t recommend this one high enough!
From all of the beautifully written reviews, my expectations were pretty high, but this book actually exceeded my expectations. Where do I start?
A mark of a good book is its ability to take the reader to new places, to be placed in someone else’s shoes to be enabled to see the world from an entirely different vantage point. A superb command of language is revealed in this exciting escapade fraught with unpredictable turns and interesting elements and details. The strength of this thriller is not in the whodunit but in the clever plot line. This book was a revelation and continues to affect me months later. Explosion in Paris, while a stunning source of exciting entertainment, also serves a purpose that far outweighs tickling your fancy.
I enjoy writing reviews on books I truly find distinctive and special. Suffice it to say that the impact of Angela’s life enriched mine. The venomous villain didn’t disappoint with his dark and twisted expectations. This brings the question to mind, how far would any of us go to save our loved ones? Desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. The sprinkling of French phrases throughout added much realism and authenticity to Angela’s new haven. The soul-searching words and the healthy dose of humor drew me in and made me hungry to fill my life with joy. I found myself enthused by the life-changing message and felt that it reached into my chest and gave my heart a squeeze. I think it will change the readers’ perspective about the hard times in their lives and find joy in spite of them. With each poignant chapter I learned the lesson that there is no fear in love. If there is pain and fear, it can not be love. Some parts I read through a blur of tears. But, on the whole, I found this to be a heart-wrenching, but also heart-warming journey from heartache to pure joy that will renew the readers’ spirit.
This book oozes "joie de vivre". It is sheer reading pleasure as the author takes us through Paris, and Provence, with rapturous descriptions that tease the senses with the aroma of fresh baked bread, the fragrance of the lavender and herb fields; the sights of ancient buildings and cobblestone streets; the succulent tastes of the French cuisine. French cuisine is an art form to be appreciated and enjoyed and not rushed. To capture and share a remarkable life, the joy, the humor, the honesty and the passion, is a wonderful recipe for life. The French know how to enjoy the pleasures of life. It is clear Angela’s spiritual home is Les Plus beaux villages de France. She found true passion for life, and embraced it completely. Angela’s energy, sense of humor, intelligence and zest for life shine through each page.
I felt such an affinity and admiration for the characters. The story reinforced my belief that there is so much we can learn from each other. I have great respect for authors or anyone, for that matter, who are responsible for changing people’s mindsets for the better. People who seem to have a self-appointed moral compass need to look within to research the why of their urgent need to be right and to be better than everyone else and to be the center of all attention. I recently read ASK AND IT IS GIVEN. This is another book I give high marks for and that I recommend highly. We get what we give, in a nutshell. Explosion in Paris is a wonderful representation of this.
This book is the fabric of human conditioning. It opens our eyes to the blessings that most of us take for granted, namely freedom; freedom to be ourselves, to be who we are at heart. This book is guaranteed to truly deepen your empathy towards others’ plight in the world and the all-important human decency. I fell in love with the engrossing, engaging characters, filled with strength and courage that I wanted to hug or slap or love. It unleashed surprisingly unrestrained moments of gut-wrenching laughter; then, before I knew it, I was reaching for a tissue to wipe the tears away. I was touched by all of the emotions I felt while completely absorbed in the characters’ lives. This is a happy book. Every line of this book is filled with energy, enthusiasm and delight.
Explosion in Paris is a breathtakingly powerful soul-mending and motivating read that inspires hope and reflects clearly in the rebirth of the heart. I devoured this book and hated to see it end. This was one I’ve read that as time passed I found myself missing it.
BOSSY PANTS is one to read when you want to laugh from deep within. Tina Fey has a way with words that she can work in her witty humor, her world views, prejudice against women, and feminism in her self-deprecating way that ultimately inspires. She’s a powerhouse of fun and inspiration and makes our every day lives feel exciting! There is no room for boredom! I highly recommend!