Cupcakes and Books:
I am, as usual, late to the party. However, I always make it; albeit fashionably late. Being an avid reader of historical fiction, and loving the great works of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, I had read about Zelda and the tumultuous relationship between her and Scott. However, it wasn’t until I read, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain that my interest truly peaked. While Paula McLain’s book is primarily about Hadley and her love: Ernest Hemingway, there was just enough of a snipped of Zelda and her husband, that I was instantly intrigued to learn more.
It seems that in recent years authors are looking beyond the writer, and wanting to look at their most intimate relationship: the women who stood by these amazing authors. So, I was quite excited to see that 2 books, which peaked my interest came out around the same time. While I was looking through my blog, I noticed that I had not written my book reviews for these two amazing books! While both books are about Zelda Fitzgerald, make no mistake about it….they are vastly different, and exception in their own right. So, don’t choose between the two. Buy them both!
One word: Co-dependent. Yes, as much as Zelda and Scott are crazy in love, they are even more crazy with out one another. They need each other, thrive off one another, and seem to feed off one another the more “crazy” one is. The story starts with Zelda as a teenager, a vibrant 17 year old, who has many suitors at her feet. However, she zones in one handsome solider: F. Scott Fitzgerald, who also only has eyes for her. It’s rather sweet to read about their courtship, leading up to marriage, and readers can’t help but root for them.
While we all know the ending, it’s what happens in between that makes the story worthwhile. Theresa Ann Fowler, is a great storyteller, who gives readers a glimpse into the world of the Fitzgerald’s. Zelda is given a voice, that goes beyond just being “crazy, neurotic, unstable”. She is clear headed, strong willed, and sets trends despite her desire to do so. She is simply herself, and that is what makes us all fall in love with her.
Zelda, never meant to be in Scott’s shadow, follows her own dreams of writing, dancing, and making being who she wants to be, all while being with an erratic husband, dealing with the media and what they chose to portray her as, and trying to be the kind of mother she desires, all while also having a mental illness (that wasn’t diagnosed until later in her life).
This is an excellent book that follows Zelda from her courtship through the Jazz age. It ends with you wanting more Zelda! It’s an excellent book, that is a must-read for anyone who loves historical fiction, wants to know who the woman is behind F. Scott Fitzgerald, and just loves a great love story (with a little bit of crazy).
While both books are independent and can be read in any order, it just made sense for me to read them in the order I have written the reviews. I loved reading Erika Robuck’s book. She leaves no stone unturned, and explores her mental illness and the way Zelda navigates through it, while being a wife and mother. Told through the viewpoint of Zelda’s nurse, Ann, readers get an intimate glimpse into the struggles Zelda faces and how she tries to make sense of it all.
While in the hospital, Zelda writes a memoir that she lets Ann be privy to. In those journals, Zelda shares the highlights and downfalls of her relationship with Scott, her life before and during her marriage, and how explosive it all was. Ann also gives readers a glimpse into the relationship between Zelda and her daughter, Scotty, and how Zelda’s erratic behavior impacted her relationship as mom and wife. Scott needs his muse, Zelda, and to the demise of Zelda, often brings her home. However, Ann is never far away and is the calming, strong force that helps them both through that tough period.
As a family therapist, I was absolutely intrigued to read about the way mental health was addressed, the therapies given in the psychiatric hospital, and they way Zelda flourished/caved in, different points of her treatment. This is a book that will stay with readers for a long time, and is as heartbreaking and courageous as Zelda, herself. I loved the balance between Ann’s story and Zelda’s and the look inside a psychiatric hospital, while also giving readers much to appreciate and adore in the person Zelda was.
After I finished this book, I downloaded most of the books about Zelda, which I hope to read at one point. Truthfully, before these books came out: Z is for Zelda and Call Me Zelda, I had no idea how dynamic Zelda was. She is an intriguing woman, who was more than just F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, she was a trendsetter, a fashionista, an artist, a mother, daughter, and simply a brilliant woman! This is an excellent read and anyone who loves anything to do with “The Jazz Age”, F. Scott Fitzgerald, curious about mental illness and the impact it has on families, and Zelda Fitzgerald, will easily want to add this book to their bookshelf.
The book reminds me of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg, all mixed together. Except, the main dish is Amen pie, which sounds pretty scrumptious. The story centers around Sis, caretaker to her grandma, nephew, and sister. Her sister has her own demons to contend with, all while raising her son, preparing for a wedding, and dealing with flashbacks to being a pregnant teen mom. Jim, her brother, is back from Vietnam with his own PTSD and wooden leg to contend with. Lastly, there is Beulah, caretaker and confident to Sweet Mama (Sis’s grandma). With a wedding to prepare for, overseeing a restaurant that is the beacon of hope for a small town community, and preparing for Camille, a grade 5 hurricane, this book has all the great ingredients to a great book! Add in a dead body in the backyard, and you also have a little mystery to deal with.
The book kept my attention, had a lot of events going on, and the characters were quite interesting. The book kept at smooth pace, and even though there was a lot happening in the story, the author does a great job of introducing different characters and connecting them in a way that keeps the storyline moving along without becoming stagnant. I did feel the story was a bit rushed at the end, but it still ended in a great way! While the story ends, there is much to be left to the imagination! Nothing is truly solved, but the story ends with a great measure of hope! Hope for new beginnings, for love, and for a family to stay together despite circumstances that can easily tear them apart.
As a mom of a freshman in college, I can still remember all the preparation it took and time spent to fill out college applications, scholarships, and visiting campuses. During that time, a friend mentioned hiring a person to fill out the applications for their son. It was a lot of money, and I thought it was a bit crazy.
Well, apparently, that is the norm!! This book moved at a great pace and highlights different families and the challenges they face, along with the “college whisperer” to make sure the student has the best opportunity to go to the best university. This book isn’t a “how-to”, rather it shows the extents families will go for their child to remain a legacy in the family, the pressures the students face, and the way it can potentially bring a family closer, or break them further apart. I found it most interesting the relationships and family dynamics that Anne sees, as she spends more time with her students and family secrets are exposed and the pressures each one faces.
It’s not a depressing book by any means, but it’s a somber look at what families expect from their children, even when their child may have a different idea of what they want for their future. I love how Anne is able to bring out the best in each of the students she works with and the trust she works hard at establishing.
Anne has her own share of struggles and a relationship that is long distance, which puts pressure on her work and her own goals. Anne is a young woman, who didn’t set out to be a college coach. She taught at school and helped her students with their college essays, which slowly morphed into her coaching other kids because of the huge success she had with her former students.
About a year ago, I read the book, Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska. Reading Lacy Crawford’s book made me think of the students from Accelerated, and I pictured them and their parents as the ones seeking help from Anne. I know…these books have nothing to do with the other, but I could see a natural extension of it all.
Overall, I loved this book! Again, there aren’t any huge secrets that are revealed in the book. However, I loved the essays because it showed what each student was thinking, their writing ability, and how Anne was able to pull more from her students when she read the essays. I loved this book and any parent who has dealt with college admissions, has a child in school, or is simply a reader who loves books about family secrets, family relationships, and the pressure of today’s society, will all enjoy this fantastic read!
*This book was provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review. No forms of compensation were given.
About Lacy Crawford
For fifteen years Lacy Crawford served as a highly discreet independent college admissions counselor to the children of powerful clients in cities such as New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London. Her “day jobs” included serving as senior editor of Narrative magazine and director of the Burberry Foundation. Educated at Princeton and the University of Chicago, Crawford lives in California with her husband and two children.
Lacy’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, August 26th: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, August 27th: Back Porchervations
Thursday, August 28th: Man of La Book
Monday, September 1st: Alison’s Book Marks
Tuesday, September 2nd: The Ludic Reader
Wednesday, September 3rd: cakes, tea and dreams
Thursday, September 4th: Staircase Wit
Monday, September 8th: Carpe Libros
Wednesday, September 10th: The Scarlet Letter
Thursday, September 11th: missris
Monday, September 15th: Mrs. Mommy Booknerd
Tuesday, September 16th: Shall Write
Wednesday, September 17th: Book Journey
Thursday, September 18th: Bibliotica
Thursday, September 25th: Books in the Burbs
Friday, September 26th: The Things You Can Read
This is by far the best Historical fiction novel I have read this year! Anne Girard is a masterful storyteller, weaving in a beautiful storyline where there are blanks in history about the relationship between Eva Gouel and Pablo Picasso. We all know who Pablo Picasso is, his many relationships with women (who often became his muse), and the incredible artwork he created. However, not much is known about the one woman who helped shaped his career, taught him love and forgiveness, and who he never painted a complete portrait of. Even that portrait was never shown to the public, until after his death, which was found amongst many of his own personal belongings.
In the early 1900’s, Picasso was working his way up the ladder to become one of the world’s best artists. However, during that time, he was really just starting out and with a few a paintings and a huge dream, he sets off to Paris. Eva is a young girl, pushed by her parents to marry the fellow neighbor. Determined to have a better life and make something of herself, she also sets off to Paris. Eva starts out as a seamstress at the famous Moulin Rouge, where anyone that is important, will show up to see the performances. It is there that Eva meets Picasso.
Through a test of their relationship and devotion, both Eva and Picasso set out to create their “Eden”. Anne Girard introduces us to other fantastic artists and poets, who all seem to conjugate at Gertrude Steins home for exquisite parties. It the place to be for artists to talk, debate, and reignite fires for their works. While Eva wasn’t the first Madame Picasso, nor the last, she certainly is the one who left the biggest imprint on his life and art.
For the first half of the book, readers will catch a glimpse of their own personal challenges, the start of their relationship, and how they soon become partners, in every way. The second half of the book goes very fast. I kept sensing this impending doom, almost like a Romeo and Juliet sequence of sorts, and I kept finding myself holding my breath! I stayed up well past 3 am, because I had to know the fate of their relationship, and wept at the end of the book. Then, like any other historical fiction fan, I googled Eva Gouel and was shocked to see that so little is known about her, which makes Anne Girard even that much more of a genius and incredible writer!
This is a phenomenal book, one that history buffs will devour in a day or two. It’s a book that will stay with you for days afterward, and deserves the attention and merit that books like, Call Me Zelda, Z is for Zelda, and The Paris Wife received. My only request is that someone now write a book about Gertrude Stein and her beloved partner, Alice!
If you have time, I highly recommend you visit Anne’s page. She has an excerpt of the book, some background information on an interview she did with a friend of Pablo’s, and other interesting information! This is such an incredible book, that I even bought my own copy!
*This book was provided by the author and HFVBT for review, in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. “Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw,” he said, “only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers.” Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone’s encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.
Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 26
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books
Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time
Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner
First, I absolutely love the title and book cover. I understand there is another book cover, but the one I have is the cover I have posted up top. The title sends chills down my spine, now as I reflect back on the love between Rosetta and her husband, Jeremiah. The cover is a depiction of Rosetta (and any other female solider disguised as a man). I have to admit, I don’t really enjoy reading about war. I already know that there will be blood, gore, death, and family separation…and it all just makes me sad. However, when I read the synopsis, I knew this book was an exception. I’m so glad that I did read this book!
Based on a compilation of true stories, Erin brings to life the characters of Rosetta (Ross), Jeremiah, and the troops they fight with. During the Civil War, I was shocked that there were many soliders (disguised as men), who fought in the war. I realize I may be in the minority, but again-I’m not a war book reader, however it wasn’t until this book that I learned about the brave women-who fought alongside brave, young men, too. Back then, physicals weren’t given and it was just your word and a signature that allowed you to join up for war. Before the era of social media and internet, soldiers didn’t have ways of delivering and receiving mail often from their loved ones. So, there were months before a letter was received. Erin is so detailed in sharing more about the life of a solider, during a time when communication was limited, resources were scarce, and the unknown was their greatest challenge.
Despite all the war details in the book, Erin weaves a beautiful love story, in the midst of a very brutal, bloody, and horrific war. These were soldiers on the battle front, who had to walk into the line of fire and see their comrades blown to bits, injured, and even had to bury those who were killed. I can’t imagine the PTSD all these soldiers experienced!!!
I love the character: Will!! He is also a solider, who has a “secret”, and shares it with Ross. I love their relationship as friends, and the way they treated each other as equals. Ross is one tough woman and I love the way her character is portrayed. She is tough on the battlefield, is a loyal friend to her comrades, and is a devoted wife to her husband.
There are so many layers to this book: the role of women, the issues of battle, family issues, death, and friendships. It’s an excellent book to read! While there is some subject matter that readers may be concerned about (the details of a horrific war, homosexuality (only lightly discussed), some sexual implied scenes), it is relevant to the storyline, and is not graphic (besides the war). None of those issues should dissuade a reader from buying and reading this book. I absolutely loved this book! If you do read it, grab some tissue…there are some tearjerker moments!
*This book was provided by Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.
The cover and book title are genius!! Wow, I was thrown for one huge loop, when I reached the end of the book! Mia is a socialite, who doesn’t follow the norms within her family. Her father, a prominent attorney, turned judge, is very much into appearances and will stop at nothing to make sure the family name stays untainted. Mia’s mom is the perfect wife, albeit on the outside, as she does her best to keep up appearances, too. Mia has a sister, who follows the family rules and becomes an attorney herself. Mia, on the other hand, struggles as a teenager and soon cuts herself off from the family, as she pursues art and becomes a teacher for the inner-city kids.
The story is told through flashbacks and present time, with the book addressing many issues: family secrets, why Mia is kidnapped, the relationship between Mia and her captor, Mia’s relationships with her family, the relationship between Mia’s parents, the justice system, and so much more. It’s a book that held my attention the whole time. Mia tries to escape her captor, but overtime, experiences the Stockholm Syndrome. What happens to Mia? What happens to the family and their public image? Who wanted Mia kidnapped? Those are just a few of the questions that will addressed in the book. It’s a book that will certainly engage the reader and offer some huge surprises along the way!
*This book was provided through the publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
First, of all-I absolutely loved the title and cover of this book! I’m a huge fan of artwork, and when it represents the storyline so perfectly-it immediately grabs my interest!
In the beginning, Betsy is just a “typewriter girl”. Typing away, with all the other women in a factory. It reminded me of the stories my MIL has told me, when she lived in Mexico and trained as a receptionist. Every day, she had to wear heels, a little hat, black skirt with a white blouse, and gloves…just like Betsy (minus the hat). It was all about appearance, as much as it was work ethic, so I was instantly able to picture the factory that Betsy worked in- long hours, little pay, and no recognition. To this day, she still remembers how to write short hand!
I loved the book from the start. The setting is during a time when women were working, but really just “staying busy”, until they are married and have children. Betsy Dobson is the girl that breaks all the rules, finds her way amongst a male dominated world, and rises to the top because of hard work and sheer determination. Betsy had a canary, that she takes with her everywhere. I cringed every time she called his name, “Thief”, but in some way it seemed quite fitting. While Betsy isn’t a thief, she definitely changes her life, her story, to get a job that will hopefully change her future because her past is a place she doesn’t want to revisit again. In her past, she had to give so much of herself, that in her future- she is not willing to give any of herself that she doesn’t want to. It’s on her terms, this time.
What was most interesting, is that Alison Atlee writes this story from the Victorian era, but aside from the dresses and formal wear- Alison peels away the curtain and shows the gritty side to that time period with the language, the complex characters who are trying to make a better life, and fit in during a time when appearances were everything.
An interesting note, is that Alison creates a new place: Idensea (although I kept reading it as Indonesia), reminded me of the Grand Hotel (from the movie, Somewhere in Time). The magical feel of the place, the different activities, and big events…just made me want to go there!
An excellent book with complex characters, who are misfits, trying to find their place and move up in their world!
*Thank you to HFVBT for providing me the opportunity to read this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Alison Atlee spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky.
The Typewriter Girl Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule
Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books
Friday, August 8
Book Blast at Book Blast Central
Saturday, August 9
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Sunday, August 10
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads
Saturday, August 16
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Sunday, August 17
Interview at Closed the Cover
Monday, August 18
Review at The Maiden’s Court (Audio Book)
Wednesday, August 20
Book Blast at Literary, Etc.
Thursday, August 21
Book Blast at Bibliotica
Friday, August 22
Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book)
Sunday, August 24
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing
The Typewriter Girl Swag Giveaway
One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print)
Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch
A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels)
A vintage style postcard “from” Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl
A “dream wildly” ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms
To enter, please click on this link.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and notified via email.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
This book is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary! For a book to be 10 years old and to still be ever so funny and relevant, says a lot about Plum Sykes quality of writing.
the perfect book to read between some serious reads! I loved this book, as it reminded me so much of one of my all time favorite books: Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. It’s a book about the kind of people that “people like us” are sickened by because of how fake they are, but yet we still watch those reality shows about them and read the tabloids. Told with wonderful 1990’s detail, readers will love the way Plum Sykes brings a modern twist to living in New York. I couldn’t help but think of the NY heiresses, Paris and Nicky Hilton, Aly Hilfiger, the Clarin sisters, etc.
The storyline is funny-trading a handbag for a PH (potential husband), and trading crystal facials for a fiancé to get that “glow”. I love how quickly the storyline moves, the characters are really interesting, which makes for a fun read, and it’s a book that many will love who enjoy the Chick-lit genre and love books told in a comedic way about the tales of the “oh-so glamorous”, who are really just girls with lots of money trying to have it all.
The only issue is the overuse of acronyms. It’s was hard to understand initially, but after awhile, it was easy to figure out. Just stay with it, it is worth the light read!
*This book was provided through TLC Book Tours and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
About Plum Sykes
Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. The author of the novels Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante Divorcée and the Kindle Single memoir Oxford Girl, she is a contributing editor at American Vogue, where she writes about fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair. She lives in the English countryside with her husband and two daughters.
Plum’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, August 19th: A Bookish Way of Life – Bergdorf Blondes
Thursday, August 21st: booknerd – Bergdorf Blondes
Friday, August 22nd: Drey’s Library – The Debutante Divorcee
Monday, August 25th: Carpe Libros – The Debutante Divorcee
Tuesday, August 26th: Books in the Burbs – Bergdorf Blondes
Wednesday, August 27th: Book by Book – Bergdorf Blondes
Thursday, August 28th: Reading in Black & White – Bergdorf Blondes
Thursday, August 28th: From the TBR Pile – Bergdorf Blondes
Monday, September 1st: A Bookish Way of Life – The Debutante Divorcee
Tuesday, September 2nd: Drey’s Library – Bergdorf Blondes
Wednesday, September 3rd: Reading in Black & White – The Debutante Divorcee
Thursday, September 4th: booknerd – The Debutante Divorcee
Monday, September 8th: Mom in Love With Fiction – Bergdorf Blondes
Tuesday, September 9th: Staircase Wit – Bergdorf Blondes
Wednesday, September 10th: Reads for Pleasure – Bergdorf Blondes
Thursday, September 11th: BookNAround – Bergdorf Blondes
Tuesday, September 16th: Cruising Susan Reviews – Bergdorf Blondes
Wednesday, September 17th: A Book Geek – Bergdorf Blondes
Thursday, September 18th: Books à la Mode – Bergdorf Blondes
Thursday, September 18th: Book by Book – The Debutante Divorcee
TBD: Books in the Burbs – The Debutante Divorcee
TBD: Cruising Susan Reviews – The Debutante Divorcee
It has been awhile since I’ve read a Middle Grade/Children’s book. I was drawn to this book because of the synopsis, which you can read by clicking on the book cover. The book is told through the point of view of Naomi (who is called by her nickname “Chirp). Chirp is obsessed with birds and loves reading about them, studying them, and locating them by her house.
Chirp is the typical 11 year old girl, who develops a friendship with one of the boys down her street, which she handles delicately because he is known as the school bully. Her mom, a beautiful dancer, that she strives to please is diagnosed with a disease that in the 70’s wasn’t as treatable as it is today. Chirp, her sister (the rebellious teenager), and her father (the psychiatrist).
At first, I didn’t feel the book had enough detail about the mom’s emotional and physical issues and how it truly impacted the marriage and parent/child relationship. Why? Well, because I am so used to reading YA and Women’s fiction. Then, I remembered this is for young children, middle school readers, and even high schoolers. Although, I have a feeling anyone will love this book because Esther truly captures the youthful spirit and hopes/desires of a young little girl, who shows us how she makes sense of what is happening to her family. Chirp is so innocent, so precious, that you just want to hold her and never let her go.
Young readers will relate to Chirp, love the relationship between her and her sister, understand how she feels about her mom’s diagnosis, and enjoy the friendship she develops with Joey.
Older readers will love the innocence Chirp brings, love the nods to the 70’s and vinyl records, and have a better appreciation for the way Chirp understands and experiences the family challenges and shifts in the family dynamics. Most importantly, it will open a window into the eyes of a child and hopefully have families talk more, share more, and learn more from one another.
This is a book of hope, in the midst of tragedy, and is a beautifully written story!