Paris

Review & Book Giveaway: True Love Way by Nancy Scrofano

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Synopsis:

Marlo Spencer relishes all things retro. Old TV shows, classic movies, and even the collectible lunch boxes to go with them. In fact, she’s quite cozy in her Malibu apartment, surrounded by her treasured knick-knacks and vintage memorabilia. It’s her best friend, Nik, who doesn’t get her fascination with all that “old junk,” as he calls it. He especially doesn’t understand why she’s so keen to get back to their hometown of Napa when her high school sweetheart, Josh, suddenly returns after twelve years in Paris and nary a single phone call, eager to reunite with her. So, when Marlo heads up north to wine country to rekindle her relationship with Josh, Nik tags along, claiming he was already planning to visit his sister, Savannah, Marlo’s gal pal. Once they reach Napa, however, dreams of a blissful reunion are shattered as old secrets and past betrayals are revealed, leaving an unsuspecting Marlo to pick up the pieces. Can she forgive and forget, or will true love find a different path to her heart?

 

My Review:

If you ever want to read a chick-lit book, pick this one! It has everything that makes me love chick-lit, which is a new genre for me.  I loved the charm and quirkiness of the characters, the back in time moments with I Love Lucy reruns, and even an old flame from high school.  With just a touch of romance, a whole serving of laughs, and some twists and turns, I was engrossed in the book and couldn’t put it down!!  I loved the way the story flowed, the storyline was interesting and had some real life challenges readers can relate to, and shows how love never truly dies.  This is not a heavy book, there are some unrealistic parts in the storyline, but isn’t that why we love chick-lit? It takes you away for just a moment in time and in the end, you can’t help but smile and feel good about it.  I highly recommend this book!

*This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.  No forms of compensation were given.

About the Author:

Nancy Scrofano grew up watching classic television shows, classic movies, and listening to oldies, all of which she still adores today. Nancy has a penchant for the fifties, mostly because of her favorite show, I Love Lucy. She has seen every episode countless times and will happily share the trivia she knows with anyone who will listen. Nancy worked as an editor and a journalist for her college newspaper, then went on to develop sociology textbooks for an academic publisher. She has a master’s degree in media psychology, as well as undergraduate degrees in communication, radio and television, and liberal arts. Nancy currently writes book reviews for a prestigious book review magazine. Additionally, she is the founder and managing editor of The Chick Lit Bee, a book blog that promotes and celebrates women’s fiction, and Good Humor Girl, a women’s entertainment blog. Nancy lives in southern California where she is at work on her next novel.

Connect With the Author:

http://www.nancyscrofano.com

http://www.twitter.com/writernancy

http://www.facebook.com/nancyscrofano

http://www.pinterest.com/nancyscrofano

WIN THE E-BOOK!

Book giveaway ends October 31, 2012.

Review: The Second Empress by Michelle Moran

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Product Details

  • File Size: 1970 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B0074VPJFE
  • Publisher: Crown (August 14, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House Digital, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IM12T6
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

National bestselling author Michelle Moran returns to Paris, this time under the rule of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte as he casts aside his beautiful wife to marry a Hapsburg princess he hopes will bear him a royal heir.

After the bloody French Revolution, Emperor Napoleon’s power is absolute. When Marie-Louise, the eighteen year old daughter of the King of Austria, is told that the Emperor has demanded her hand in marriage, her father presents her with a terrible choice: marry the cruel, capricious Napoleon, leaving the man she loves and her home forever, or say no, and plunge her country into war.
Marie-Louise knows what she must do, and she travels to France, determined to be a good wife despite Napoleon’s reputation. But lavish parties greet her in Paris, and at the extravagant French court, she finds many rivals for her husband’s affection, including Napoleon’s first wife, Joséphine, and his sister Pauline, the only woman as ambitious as the emperor himself. Beloved by some and infamous to many, Pauline is fiercely loyal to her brother. She is also convinced that Napoleon is destined to become the modern Pharaoh of Egypt. Indeed, her greatest hope is to rule alongside him as his queen—a brother-sister marriage just as the ancient Egyptian royals practiced. Determined to see this dream come to pass, Pauline embarks on a campaign to undermine the new empress and convince Napoleon to divorce Marie-Louise.
As Pauline’s insightful Haitian servant, Paul, watches these two women clash, he is torn between his love for Pauline and his sympathy for Marie-Louise. But there are greater concerns than Pauline’s jealousy plaguing the court of France. While Napoleon becomes increasingly desperate for an heir, the empire’s peace looks increasingly unstable. When war once again sweeps the continent and bloodshed threatens Marie-Louise’s family in Austria, the second Empress is forced to make choices that will determine her place in history—and change the course of her life.
Based on primary resources from the time, The Second Empress takes readers back to Napoleon’s empire, where royals and servants alike live at the whim of one man, and two women vie to change their destinies.

Read an Excerpt here.

My Review:

Having already read, “Madame Tussand” by Melanie Moran, I was excited to read more from this brilliant author.  Michelle Moran does not disappoint in “The Second Empress” and provides a glimpse into the lives of Napoleon and Maria Lucia.  Told in 3 different perspectives, the reader is able to get a well rounded picture of what was happening during Napoleon’s reign and self-destruction.  I found it rather interesting, however that Napoleon’s perspective is onlty given through the form of letters, as well as Maria-Lucia’s father’s letters to her.  While we sympathize with sacrifice of a Hapsburg Princess, it was quite sad to hear of the heartache Josephine felt being removed as Queen.

Michelle Moran has a wonderful gift to paint this beautiful picture of France and Austria, the castles,  and extravagant attire, Michelle gives a glimpse into the relationships forged by Maria-Lucia, Pauline and her sexual lifestyle, and Paul-the Haitian Chamberlain of Pauline.  Michelle writes about the inappropriate love relationship between Pauline and Napoleon and Pauline’s own mental demise.  I loved every moment of this book, even the grandiose attitude of Napoleon, and I quietly cheered for Maria-Lucia’s escape back to Austria with her little son.

This is a book that will provide rich detail into French history, the tyranny of Napoleon, his love for Josephine and absolute power and world domination, as well as the relationship between Maria Lucia and Hortense.  When Maria Lucia enters into the castle for the first time and thinks back to her great-aunt, Marie Antoinette, I was glad to have read “Madame Tussand” first.  The infamous mirror hallway, the extravagant clothes, and how she often thought back to what her aunt must have felt and experienced.

This is a gem of a book and I highly encourage anyone that loves history, love stories, and just a great book, should pick this one up!

*This book was provided by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.  No forms of compensation was given.

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About the Author:

Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer’s Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.

Michelle has traveled around the world, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra’s Daughter and Madame Tussaud. Her fifth novel, The Second Empress, will be released on August 14, 2012.

Interesting Additional Information on The Second Empress

To Connect with Author:

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Review & Perfume Sample Giveaway: The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose

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Synopsis:

A Secret Worth Dying For …

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by visions of the past, her earliest memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up with as the heir to a storied French perfume company. These worsened after her mother’s suicide until she finally found a doctor who helped her, teaching her to explore the mythological symbolism in her visions and thus lessen their painful impact. This ability led Jac to a wildly successful career as a mythologist, television personality and author.

When her brother, Robbie—who’s taken over the House of L’Etoile from their father—contacts Jac about a remarkable discovery in the family archives, she’s skeptical. But when Robbie goes missing before he can share the secret—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Traveling back to Paris to investigate Robbie’s disappearance, Jac discovers that the secret is a mysterious scent developed in Cleopatra’s time. Could the rumors swirling be true? Can this ancient perfume hold the power to unlock the ability to remember past lives and conclusively prove reincarnation? If this possession has the power to change the world, then it’s not only worth living for . . . it’s worth killing for, too.

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves  from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. This marvelous, spellbinding novel mixes the sensory allure of Perfume with the heartbreaking beauty of The Time Traveler’s Wife, coming to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.

My Review:

While I read quite a few different genres, thriller is not one of them.  As a Christian, I don’t typically read books that deal with other religions (as this deals with Buddhism).  So, I’m probably not the best blogger to review a book with those factors.  However, I LOVED this book!!!  MJ Rose had me pulled in right at the beginning.  While this book is part of a series, I didn’t feel that I had missed out from not having read the first book in her series.  Instead, this book is a great stand alone!!

While I don’t believe in reincarnation, M.J. Rose shares an interesting perspective and gives interesting facts about China and their relationship with the Dalai Lama.  There is a lot of mystery, details about the past and present regarding different people in search for a particular scent, and somehow it all comes together in the end beautifully.  I was up all night reading this book and read this book rather quickly.  It is an excellent story and the characters all have their different challenges, who are brought together on a mission to save Jac’s brother.  While this is a work of fiction, M.J. Rose weaves it with factual details as well, which results in a story that will transcend generations and have you wondering if it could actually happen.

Having read and seen movies about Coco Channel, I was absolutely fascinated that M.J.’s book inspired a fragrance to be developed based on the scents she describes in the book.  How cool is that???  I am sure that was an absolute honor for her and I have been so fortunate to receive 2 samples.

This is a book I highly recommend to those who love a great mystery, are fascinated with how fragrances are conceived, and don’t mind a little reincarnation sprinkled throughout.

*A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway: Perfume Sample

Win an actual sample of the perfume, Ames Soeurs,  that is described in this book!

Thank you to Kate @ Meryl L Moss Media Relations for sponsoring this giveaway!

2 winners will be selected using Random.org

Giveaway ends April 30, 2012.

Review: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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Synopsis: A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time—Paris in the twenties—and an extraordinary love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

In Chicago in 1920, Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and finds herself captivated by his good looks, intensity, and passionate desire to write. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group of expatriates that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

But the hard-drinking and fast-living café life does not celebrate traditional notions of family and monogamy. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt and Ernest wrestles with his burgeoning writing career, they must confront a deception that could prove the undoing of one of the great romances in literary history.

For more information on The Paris Wife, to learn some interesting tidbits, and view pictures, please visit Random House.

My Review:

Paula McLain not only describes the amazing relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson, but she propels the reader back to the 1920′s in Paris.  The love story between Ernest and Hadley is so special and unique, that Paula McLain does not have to create much fiction in this book.  While we learn about their relationship, marriage, and parenting, we also witness the struggles Ernest has as a beginning writer and his relationship with other artists in Paris.  Through the friendships Hadley and Ernest establish with their friends in Paris, the reader gets a glimpse into the lives of  F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and even Pauline Pfeiffer (who later becomes Ernest’s second wife).

It was interesting to learn about Hadley’s childhood, her parents, and their low expectations of her.  Ernest’s own family history is quite intriguing and the similarities that both Ernest and Hadley have in their family of origin.  Their family background and commonalities gave them a much greater appreciation and understanding of one another, which Paula McLain beautifully illustrates in this book.  In the book, Paula shares the thoughts and writing Ernest creates, which become literary masterpieces, such as The Old Man and The Sea, The Sun Also Rises, and The Torrents of Spring.

Paula McLain’s writing truly captures the essence of this time period and gives the reader a more intimate glimpse into the early years of Ernest Hemingway as a writer and partner as well as a greater appreciation and love for Hadley.

After reading this book, I wanted to know more about who Ernest Hemingway was and read his books.  I just finished reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.  It was interesting to read his point of view during the Paris years!

His life is fascinating and tragic, and Paula is able to capture this specific time period, where the reader sees Ernest in his purest and truest form as a writer, friend, and husband.  Most importantly, Paula gives Hadley a voice and shows that she was indeed Ernest’s greatest love and supporter.

I highly recommend this book!!

Below are some interesting sites for you to look at regarding Hemingway, his wives, and children.

The Hemingway Project

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway Books

Hemingway Photos

An Interview with Valerie Hemingway

This Recording

Friends of the Fitzgeralds

A Tribute to Gregory Hemingway

John Hemingway (son of Gregory Hemingway)

John Hemingway, writes Strange Tribe: A Family Memoir

Hemingway: His Years

Hemingway Timeline

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Timeline

Some great pics:

Ernest and Hadley

Ernest and Hadley get married

Skiing with their son, Bumby