Saturday, August 18, 2018

FF41 Book Review of the War bride's scrapbook by Caroline Preston

Name of Book: the War bride's scrapbook

Author: Caroline Preston

ISBN:   9780061966927

Publisher: Ecco

Year it was published: 2017


A World War II love story, narrated through a new bride’s dazzling array of vintage postcards, newspaper clippings, photographs, and more

Lila Jerome has never been very lucky in love, and has always been more interested in studying architecture and, more recently, supporting the war bond effort on the home front. But in the fall of 1943, a chance spark with a boarder in her apartment sets Lila on a course that shakes up all of her ideas about romance.

Lila is intoxicated by Perry Weld, the charismatic army engineer who’s about to ship out to the European front, and it isn’t long before she discovers that the feeling is mutual. After just a few weeks together, caught up in the dramatic spirit of the times and with Perry’s departure date fast approaching, the two decide to elope. In a stunning kaleidoscope of vibrant ephemera, Lila boldly attempts to redefine her life in America as she navigates the heartache and longing of a marriage separated by ocean and war.

In her second scrapbook novel after the lauded Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, Caroline Preston has once again pulled from her own extraordinary collection of vintage memorabilia, transporting us back to the lively, tumultuous 1940s and introducing us to an unforgettable, ambitious heroine who must learn to reconcile a wartime marriage with a newfound self-confidence.

Link for Review

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G1021 How Hitler was made; Germany and the Rise of the Perfect Nazi

Title of the book: How Hitler was made; Germany and the Rise of the Perfect Nazi

Author: Cory Taylor

Publisher: Prometheus Books

Publishing Date: 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63388-435-9


Focusing on German society immediately following the First World War, this vivid historical narrative explains how fake news and political uproar influenced Hitler and put him on the path toward dictatorial power.

How did an obscure agitator on the political fringes of early-20th-century Germany rise to become the supreme leader of the "Third Reich"? Unlike many other books that track Adolf Hitler's career after 1933, this book focuses on his formative period--immediately following World War I (1918-1924). The author, a veteran producer of historical documentaries, brings to life this era of political unrest and violent conflict, when forces on both the left and right were engaged in a desperate power struggle. Among the competing groups was a highly sophisticated network of ethnic chauvinists that discovered Hitler and groomed him into the leader he became.

The book also underscores the importance of a post-war socialist revolution in Bavaria, led by earnest reformers, some of whom were Jewish. Right wing extremists skewed this brief experiment in democracy followed by Soviet-style communism as evidence of a Jewish-Bolshevik plot. Along with the pernicious "stab-in-the-back" myth, which misdirected blame for Germany's defeat onto civilian politicians, public opinion was primed for Hitler to use his political cunning and oratorical powers to effectively blame Jews and Communists for all of Germany's problems.

Based on archival research in Germany, England, and the US, and interviews with experts, this striking narrative reveals how the manipulation of facts and the use of propaganda helped an obscure, embittered malcontent to gain political legitimacy, which led to dictatorial power over a nation.

Author Info:
(From the book)

Cory Taylor is a primetime Emmy Award-winning filmaker with twenty-five years of experience in documentaries, who began his career with National Geographic Televsion. His most recent film, JFK: A President Betrayed (2013) was narrated by Morgan Freeman and uncovered startling information about President Kennedy's back-channel efforts for peace. Praised for its "cinematic scholarship," the film was lauded as "the best screen depiction of Kennedy's foreign policy" Taylor also wrote and directed the award-winning feature-length documentary The Power of the Powerless (2009) whcih tells th storty of the Velvet Revolution. Narrated by Jeremy Irons and featuring Baclac Havel, Powerless details the dissident movement in Czechoslovakia that overturned the the country's forty-yearold Communist regime in 1989. Powerless was distributed by human rights organizations to encourage dissidents seeking nonviolent democratic change in numerous countries. Taylor's award-winning documentary A Quiet Revoltuion, narrated by Meryl Streep, introduced viewers to Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai and was aired in 50 countries. He is currently a partner and executive producer at Storylight Media and president of Agora Productions.

Personal Opinion:

I am a great believer in origins, in figuring out from the start of how we ended up where we ended up. When it comes to someone like Hitler, that idea becomes far more vital because it may answer the ultimate question: how did he end up the way he did? this book attempts to answer that question, and as one senses, there are no easy answers. Taking place from 1918 to 1924, Cory Taylor introduces the American audience to a Germany that wasn't much studied in school nor analyzed, thereby missing out on vital details that could do more to help than hinder as is traditionally taught about Germany (My school lesson went something like this: Germany was poor, therefore Hitler took control and it became a fascist state.) A lot of fine details were neglected or not mentioned that this book tackles such as the numerous nationalist parties, or why Hitler blamed the Jews and hated them so much, and so forth. For a sobering and eye opening read, I would recommend this book.

This was given for an honest review

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

G1025 Book Review of boy on the beach by R.D. Maddux

Name of Book: Boy on the Beach

Author:R.D. Maddux

ISBN: 9781978448162

Publisher: Self-published

Type of book: Revenge, karma, free-love, relationships, past and present, California, architecture, mysterious companies

Year it was published: 2017


Andrew Foster, a real estate developer in San Diego, is a man suddenly haunted by his past. Memories, like specters from his former life of sex, drugs and rock and roll have come crashing into his current world of business in this sunny coastal city. The ominous, repeated appearance of a black SUV at the beach where he meets his sister each week, has triggered fears that it’s payback time for a bad choice he made years ago.

To add to his frustrations, his hopes of a big breakthrough in the San Diego real estate market haven’t come to pass. He’s starting to wonder if his visions of success will ever come true when an investor offers to finance his dream project. Soon things start to fall into place for Andrew in business, life, and even love. He starts dating the beautiful and business-savvy Nicole but even with her at his side he can’t seem to shake the ghosts of his past. As the relationship with Nicole deepens, Andrew opens up to her about the many loves and adventures that have taken him from the crazy days of living in Big Sur and Joshua Tree to business success in San Diego. Her wise insights help him face the character flaws that have caused him to fail in his past relationships.

Rounding out his social life is his once-a-week task of assisting his sister with her nanny job watching a young boy named Chandler. They build sand castles on the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature together. But the now ominous weekly appearance of a strange car at the beach has awakened Andrew’s fears. Is the boy in danger? Or worse, has an enemy from Andrew’s past come seeking revenge and now Chandler’s caught in the middle? A strange twist of events threatens to destroy Andrew’s dreams, but as he searches for answers, a sudden revelation offers hope of a future he never imagined.


Main character includes Andrew who is best described as a former hippy and "free-lover" and who believes in hexes and curses and feels that due to his past, he is being cursed. He is also best described as self-centered, selfish and someone who mistreats people and continues to mistreat people. Other characters include Landon and the company where he works at, but besides the job there is honestly not much to tell without spoiling the story.


Karma will come back to pay you back


The story is told in first person narrative, first from Andrew's point of view, and once in a while Landon's as well. Landon and the people he knows are far more intriguing than Andrew, to be honest, and I often wished that the author would have explored their angle instead of Andrew's. Perhaps 99 percent of the story is from Andrew's point of view, and I had to be honest in saying that this is a book where its difficult to care or like a character because of his actions. I tend to go for characters that would best be described as misunderstood, and I often understand them even when I disagree with them, but for me, Andrew is a special case where I couldn't understand him and don't even like him.

Author Information:
(From the website)

Amazon ~ Autographed copy
Add to Goodreads

R.D. Maddux has story telling in his blood. Since he was young he’s always loved a good tale. He’s been writing seriously since he was in high school and college. His novels range from Mystery and Intrigue to Sci-fi/fantasy. With Boy On The Beach he’s set the story in modern America, to be exact, on the West Coast of California. He’s a native of the golden state and has been a resident of San Diego since 1987. Before that he grew up in northern California and lived in the Sacramento Valley and Bay Area with sojourns in some of the beautiful parts of our state.

Living in California for over 60 years he couldn't help but watch the way things have changed in our culture and the impact this coast makes on the rest of America and the world. So even though Boy On The Beach is fiction, like most serious novels, it is not without a context and comment on issues we all face in our changing world. It takes place in real locations that are very familiar to him and its characters, which are fictional, no doubt have their counterparts in the real world. Boy On The Beach is a story of intrigue, suspense, revenge, love and redemption with flashbacks to the era when sex, drugs and rock and roll set our culture on it's inevitable journey to our present day. This idea has been rattling around in his heart and mind for a decade and it's finally coming to the page.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

I'm sorry but no. I'm sad to say that I didn't like anything about the story; not the characters, nor the plot, or the writing style. There are a number of things that I had issue with when it came to the story: first of all the characters that I either should have liked or felt sorry for, which I didn't because the main character has done a lot of reprehensible actions that will make the reader very upset, and the justifications for his actions are not well written or explained. The writing style is a lot of told not show, and it makes it difficult for me to believe in characters, especially a certain psychic character that the main character always worries about, and a lot of it is also repetitious over and over, which annoyed me. While the plot was intriguing, because a character I didn't like told the story, it made it less intriguing. (I think I would have preferred more of the secondary characters instead of the main character to be honest.)

This is for iRead Book Tours


July 9 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway
July 9 - Writers N Authors - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 10 - The World As I See It - review / giveaway
July 12 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
July 13 - Hall Ways Blog - review / giveaway
July 16 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
July 17 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
July 17 - Olio By Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
July 18 - The Autistic Gamer - book spotlight / giveaway
July 20 - Books for Books - review
July 23 - Rocksprings Crafts - review / author interview / giveaway
July 24 - Laurie's Thoughts and Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 25 - Life as Leels - book spotlight
July 26 - A Page Before Bedtime - review / giveaway
July 27 - Readers Muse - review / guest post
July 30 - Literary Flits - book spotlight / giveaway
July 31 - Bri's Book Nook - review / author interview / giveaway
July 31 - 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News - bk spotlight / guest post / gw
Aug 1 - Two Points of Interest - review
Aug 6 - StoreyBook Reviews - review / giveaway
Aug 7 - Bookworm for Kids - review / giveaway
Aug 8 - Sefina Hawke's Books - review
Aug 9 - Maiden of the Pages - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 10 - FLY HIGH! - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Aug 10 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Aug 13 - Rainy Day Reviews - review / guest post / giveaway
Aug 13 - Celticlady's Reviews - book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 14 - Locks, Hooks and Books - review / giveaway
Aug 15 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review / guest post
Aug 16 - Writers and Authors - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 16 - fundinmental - review / giveaway
Aug 17 - One Frugal Girl - review / giveaway
Aug 17 - The Book Girl - review / author interview / giveaway
Aug 17 - Jessica Cassidy - review / giveaway
Aug 17 - TFaulc Book Reviews - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
TBD - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review

0 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

G1030 Book Review of Dune drive by Mariah Stewart

Name of Book: Dune Drive

Author: Mariah Stewart

ISBN: 9781501154416

Publisher: Pocket Books

Part of a Series: Chesapeake Diaries

Type of book: St. Dennis Maryland, contemporary, sweet slow romance, domestic violence, protection, healing, family, community, secrets, wedding, friendship

Year it was published: 2018


Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.

Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a sous chef at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point just over the bridge in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.

But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.


Main characters would be Chrissie Jenkins, a young woman who ran away from an abusive relationship to St. Dennis to heal her wounds so to speak. Chrissie is sweet, talented but at the same time a bit reticent and is only starting to get her life back, so to speak. She is also an extremely talented chef and is loyal to her family, although she does tend to be lonely. Jared Chandler is a friend of Owen, who happens to be Chrissie's cousin. Jared is a playboy and is devoted to deep diving, but at the same time he begins to open up and tries to be Chrissie's friend. I really liked him in this story and often wished that more men like him would exist in real life. Other characters would be Ruby, a feisty 101 year old great-grandmother to Chrissie, Owen and his sister Liz. Ruby has a touch of supernatural but isn't afraid and often protects her own. Cass, Owen's love interest as well as Liz also play a big role in the story in helping Chrissie feel good about herself and I loved learning new facts about them, such as the fact that Cass is a makeup junkie.


Its possible to heal


The story is written in third person narrative, mainly from Chrissie's point of view, although Jared also told things from his point of view once in a while. While I wouldn't call most of the stories as lighthearted, they didn't deal with serious topics as this one does: that of domestic violence and its impact. As in previous novels, I imagine that DUNE DRIVE might be a healing novel, a novel of hope for those who have lost hope. The story begins when Chrissie finally starts healing from her wounds and as far as I recall, DUNE DRIVE also heavily focuses a lot on female friendships and how important they are to a woman. The romantic aspect of the story is not the main attraction,but instead the main attraction would be Chrissie's journey to healing thanks to her family and the community of St. Dennis and Cannonball Island.

Author Information:
(From a letter)

Mariah Stewart is the award winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid teh rolling hills fo Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on hefr next novel. Visit her website at, like her on Facebook at, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.


I don't have words to express on how special DUNE DRIVE became to me; my very first Mariah Stewart book was titled AT THE RIVER'S EDGE, which is about Sophie and her determination to go against her family's wishes in becoming a chef and starting a restaurant titled Blossoms, which is named after the three women with flower names. Revisiting Sophie and Blossoms as well as hearing the familiar tales of gardenia scent and of ghosts haunting a house is such a joy to experience within this wonderful story. Besides the reminiscing aspect, the current story of Chrissie and Jared is indescribable as well; like in previous novels, I loved the slowness of relationship that the two had, loved how Jared took things slowly with Chrissie and never forced her to do what she didn't want to do. Just so the readers know, this book has no shrinking violets that depend on a man to save them. I did feel a bit disappointed that certain plot elements weren't resolved, namely one of the characters' pregnancies, and I felt disappointed that I didn't visit the exclusive illegal restaurant in Cannonball Island. Once I got a little past the first chapter (I felt that there were some mistakes and some repetition,) I fell in love with the quaint and memorable St. Dennis all over again. Just like in previous novels, DUNE DRIVE has amazing women in terms of Chrissie and her great-grandmother Ruby as well as men you'd love to meet. Now some bad news: I have to wait for 2019 to hopefully read her third novel in The Hudson Sisters and even longer to hopefully read the 13th Chesapeake Diary entry.

This is for a book tour arranged by the publicist

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Coming Attractions for August 2018

It seems that I have accomplished quite a lot in previous month: I got a lot of awesome reading; now comes the difficult part: writing reviews. While a lot of my reading the previous month included contemporary fiction, (with some historical fiction thrown in,) this month will be what I will call ancient history; yes history prior to 1800s, and a lot of the reads will be indie books as well as a number of contemporary reads. I also will start creating videos, mostly about what I am reading and perhaps in a month or two will begin my USA MANA project. (USA Make America New Again aka MANA) Enjoy the month of August!

Spotlight and Book Tour

Dune Drive by Mariah Stewart (August 4th, 2018)

Boy on the Beach by R.D. Maddux (August 9th, 2018)

Book spotlight The Love Fool: A Rome-antic Comedy by Lorenzo Petruzziello (August 20th, 2018)

Hopeful Reads:

Things we Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Living Treasures by Yang Huang

Rough Passage to London: A sea captain's tale by Robin Lloyd

The Unity Game by Leonora Meriel

A Different Mirror; A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki

The Hope Fault by Tracy Farr

On the edge of sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller

Cometh the hour by Annie Whitehead

Alvar the Kingmaker by Annie Whitehead

For Fresh Fiction:

Vox by Christina Dalcher

The Abbot's Tale by Conn Iggulden

After Nightfall by A.J Banner

The Sea Queen by Linnea Hartsuyker

The Kabbalah Master by Perle Besserman

Queen for a day by Maxine Rosaler

Black Sugar by Miguel Bonnefoy 

August 2018

The Kabbalah Master-Perle Besserman
SR: August 8th, 2018
Black Sugar-Miguel Bonefoy
SR: August 4th, 2018
FR: August 8th, 2018
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
The hope fault- Tracy Farr
SR: August 6th, 2018
Rainbirds by Claire Goenawan
SR: July 6th, 2018
FR: August 4th, 2018
The daisy children- Sofia Grant
SR: August 3rd, 2018
If you leave me- CRYSTAL HANA KIM
SR: July 29th, 2018
Miracle Man- William R. Leibowitz
SR: August 8th, 2018
Eagle and crane- Suzanne Rindell
SR: July 4th, 2018
FR: August 6th, 2018

Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
How HITLER WAS made- Cory Taylor
SR: July 23rd, 2018
FR: August 8th, 2018
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