Book Review | The Address by Fiona Davis

address book cover.jpgWith the opening of The Dakota building next to Central Park in the 1880’s, Sara Smythe is brought over from England to work as the manageress by architect and resident Theo Camden. Their relationship blossoms and despite his family, she finds herself pregnant. In the alternating chapters, Camden’s heirs of the 1980’s are still involved in The Dakota and preparing for trust money to arrive. Bailey is an interior designer fresh out of rehab for alcoholism, seeking to establish her clouded family tree background. Sara and Bailey’s tales intertwine and unwind with unexpected consequences.

For fans of historical fiction looking for an involved piece with twists and turns, The Address will be a winner. Chapters vary in length and combined with clear writing make the book easy to pick up and put down. References to the time period are frequent enough to educate readers who are unfamiliar with the 1880’s. This book may hold particular appeal for those interested in reading about affairs or lifestyles of different classes in New York City during the 1880’s. Check it out from a library near you!

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The Address, you may be interested in The Good Guy by Susan Beale (2017).

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Book Review | The Good Guy by Susan Beale

good guy cover.jpgTwo women in 1960’s Boston are sleeping with the same man. Ted is married to Abigail and thinks of himself as a good guy. They’ve just moved into a new home in the suburbs with their infant daughter. Penny lives with roommates in the city and works for an insurance company. She’s able to go on dates with Ted as he feeds his wife lies about extra training at work. While Ted has no plans to leave his wife and daughter, he gives Penny a complicated train of excuses as to what’s really going on in his life. Obviously, Ted can’t keep control of everything and the pot begins to boil over.

For fans of historical fiction looking for a quick and entertaining read, The Good Guy is a winner. Short chapters and clear writing make the book easy to pick up and put down and the straight forward story keeps the reader engaged. References to the time period are frequent enough to educate readers who are unfamiliar with the 1960’s. While none of the characters are particularly likable, Beale provides enough context for them to be emotionally understood. This book may hold particular appeal for those interested in reading about affairs or pregnancy and motherhood in the 1960’s. Check it out from a library near you!

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The Good Guy, you may be interested in Twig by Madelon Phillips (2016).

Book Review | Funeral Platter by Greg Ames

funeral platter book cover.jpgThis well-written collection of twenty short stories will make you laugh at least once. An eclectic collection that contains black humor and the absurd, Funeral Platter is a quick read. Stories are of varying lengths and Ames maintains a clear and inviting voice, which makes them very readable. Themes vary across the board, including matters from art, addiction and aging to dating, destruction and death.

The breath of topics makes it likely for a reader to enjoy several of the stories. The book is good way to pass the time more than a thought provoking, memorable read. It would be great for readers wanting a quick laugh or distraction in short story form. Check it out at a library near you!

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading Funeral Platter, you may be interested in Come West and See by Maxim Lokustoff (2018).

Book Review | So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam by Karin Esterhammer

so happiness to meet you cover.jpgAfter the recession hits their Los Angeles family hard, Karin, Robin and their adopted son Kai move to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Though they’ve touristed there before, the story of becoming residents in a district where they are the only non-natives is eye-opening. While Robin is able to secure a job teaching English, Karin is left to home school Kai, do freelance work and take care of their home while befriending the neighbors.

Esterhammer’s background in writing makes this book a delightful read. Feelings, humor and challenging situations are shared with great insight and tact. The memoir is a very entertaining and quick read, with frequent chapter breaks, making it easy to pick up and put down. It would be especially appealing to those who love to travel and/or experience other cultures. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway. *Fans of So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam may be interested in Songs of the Baka and Other Discoveries by Dennis James (2017). 

Book Review | Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

freedom's ring cover.jpgTwo women in Boston, centuries apart, are connected by a piece of jewelry. Anaya was running the Boston marathon at the time of the bombing and in addition to being injured physically, has suffered a familial rift after being torn apart by guilt from her sister and niece. Liberty was sexually assaulted while working in the house of British officers just preceding the Boston Massacre of 1770. Freedom’s Ring tells the stories of these two women and traces their connection through the ring and their faith.

This book started out strong. Both women were in the midst of life-changing events that drew the reader’s attention. About a third or halfway into the book, the stories slowed down and the focus on God and faith became prevalent. Some sections were repetitive and I once wondered if the book weren’t actually meant for young adults. It is possible my unedited edition may not have undergone all editing and corrections that the final copy received. All ends tied up conveniently, perhaps unrealistically. This book is recommended to fans of Christian, historical fiction with an emphasis on women’s issues. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance unedited edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating.

Book Review | You & a Bike & a Road by Eleanor Davis

You  a Bike  a Road by Eleanor Davis.jpgIn this non-fiction graphic novel, Davis reveals her cycling experience cross country from Tucson, AZ to Georgia. Decked out on a bike her father built, she leaves her parents house heading East. As she covers about 20-60 miles a day, she documents her journey in illustrations and short textual blurbs. This shared narrative includes encounters with friendly locals, the border patrol, native flora and fauna and times of personal struggle.

For readers interested in bicycle touring, this book would serve as a good introduction. The graphic novel style makes it a quick read that is accessible to all audiences, though some language may warrant an adult rating. The illustrations and text work well together and Davis has done a fine job recounting both her positive and negative experiences in a straight-forward and entertaining manner. This graphic novel was selected by the Art Libraries Society of North America as one of ten “Notable Graphic Novels Published in 2017”. Check it out from a library near you.

 

Book Review | Out of Granada by Ben Fine

out of granada coverFocusing on protagonist Miguel, Out of Granada relays the story of a Jewish family, who despite their conversion to Catholicism, must flee Spain for their safety. The book details Miguel’s education in Italy and subsequent training and work in the Italian Wars. It follows as Miguel leads a party of converted families from Granada to Malaga and then over sea to the New World. Battles, pirates and a hint of romance keep the story interesting.

Readers interested in an immersive experience fleeing the Spanish Inquisition in the 1500’s will enjoy this accessible novel. There are frequent chapter breaks, making the text fairly quick reading. The author is repetitive at times and sometimes overly descriptive. It seems several edits were made and a final proofreading could have helped to eliminate some of the superfluous text. That said, the book is still a good read. Unfortunately, there are currently no library holdings for this book.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.