“Lift and Separate”–Review

41+3RiLE6kLAfter 33 years of marriage, Marcy Hammer is shocked and heartbroken when her husband, Harvey, the head of a global lingerie empire, says that he’s leaving her.  Although his clothes have been removed from the closet, Marcy still has high hopes that he’ll reconsider.  It’s just a midlife crisis, he claims.  After all, they’ve been married for a long time and they could work out whatever the issues are.  However, Marcy learns that Harvey has been having an affair with his much younger, 32DD fitting model.

While they’re technically separated, Marcy now has to figure out how to go on living without Harvey.  But how will she do it, she wonders?  She’s in her late fifties and feels it’s almost impossible to start over.  With love and support from her friends and adult children, however, she starts learning how to be on her own—even on occasions when she’s close to falling apart.

Along the way, though, Marcy is struck with more surprises and family troubles, including one involving her new, once-in-a-lifetime best friend.  Will she be able to handle it all, along with the fact that her marriage is ending?

This was a great story, with excellent narration, as well.  I enjoyed the humor in each chapter.  With one surprise after another, I thought, “This poor woman.  Isn’t she already going through enough?” While she’s trying to cope, Harvey constantly returns with a new excuse.  What’s Marcy to do?

I’m happy that the author, Marilyn Simon Rothstein, sent me this copy for an honest review, so now I can share it with you all.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author:  For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, and married a man she met in an elevator.

Marilyn received a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies from the University of Connecticut.

“The Wayfarer Trilogy”–Review

511m9sm0mgl-_sx323_bo1204203200_-2Hello bloggers!  Although I’d read the last two books in the Wayfarer Trilogy awhile back, I’m happy for having the opportunity to finally read the first book, The Secret Language of Women, by Nina Romano.

Set in a war during the Boxer Rebellion in China, star-crossed lovers, Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, meet.  Because of superstition, history, and customs, Lian and Giacomo are separated yet try to find a way back to each other.  Then Lian is forced into marrying a man to whom she was promised long ago.  When she is forbidden from her profession as a healer, frowned upon by her unbound feet, and enduring her husband’s and in-laws’ demanding ways, Lian turns to Nushu, the women’s secret writing which expresses her hopes for the future.

When Lian realizes enough is enough, she embarks on her own quest for freedom—even if it will come with a costly price.  Not only does she risk everything in hopes of reuniting with Giacomo, she learns a lot more about herself along the way and what she’s willing to endure to be happy again.

I liked Giacomo and now that I’ve read his story, the next two books made a bit more sense to me.

51gnxdwxitl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Lemon Blossoms, the second book in the trilogy, takes place in Italy, where Angelica Domenico resides in a blossoming lemon grove on an island governed by volcanoes and earthquakes.  During an accident from her childhood, Angelica faces the importance of maintaining her purity.  She begins to question it all even more after she endures the trauma of her aunt’s death during a difficult childbirth.  Because of that, including her fear of intimacy, she decides she’s going to commit her life to the convent, even though her parents forbid it.

Things start to change, however, when Giacomo Scimenti stops by the family shop, leaving Angelica confused and afraid of her feelings toward him, including her future in the convent.

I liked this book, even more, especially when certain chapters mentioned some Italian recipes.  I hope to, one day, visit Italy.  Aside from that, it was a good story with likable characters.

51yi1la3zhl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The final book, In America, takes place in 1920s New York.  Marcella Scimenti—the daughter of the characters in the previous book—is young, beautiful, and ambitious.  The handsome neighborhood boy is in love with her, she has a large family, and she has dreams of moving to Hollywood to sing.  Although her parents forbid her to pursue a singing career, Marcella is willing to stick by her own stubborn ways and do what it takes.  During the economic depression, she learns the importance of friendships, promising suitors, and life as a modern working woman with certain expectations of her tradition-bound family.  Later on, Marcella’s fate is tested when she learns of a devastating family secret, leaving her to choose what is really important in life.

I’m happy for having the opportunity to read this trilogy and I loved some of the helpful advice Marcella was given in the third book.  It just left me thinking, “Wow.  I wouldn’t have thought of it that way.”  No spoilers, of course, so I’ll just encourage you to check out this wonderful trilogy.

Feel free to post your comments, of course.  Happy reading!

For more info on the author, click here.  Also, you can follow her on Twitter.

“The Taste of Air”–Review

416syijurlIt all changes with a phone call.

Nell Williams, a wife and full time mother, receives a phone call regarding her mother, Mary Ellen Reilly.  While Mary is supposed to be residing in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, apparently she’s been in a hospital in Vermont.  Confused by this new information, Nell contacts her sister, Bridget, and hops on a plane to Vermont.  By the time the sisters arrive, they learn that Mary has been seriously ill and is barely capable of speaking, so getting any information is going to be a lot more difficult.

While they’re there, the sisters eventually learn that Mary has been living another life, with a cottage of her own and a connection to two men—including the local residents—who claim to have known Mary for years.  But who are they to Mary?  And is it possible that they’re connected with Nell and Bridget?

During their stay in their mother’s hideaway, Nell and Bridget start to uncover more secrets from Mary’s past, leading them to question their own lives and decisions for the future.

I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to read this book.  Each chapter contained many surprises and it left me wanting more.  I especially liked the descriptions of the settings in Vermont. (I hope to, one day, visit the place.)  I also enjoyed reading the chapters from Mary’s past.  No worries, I won’t spoil a thing, but I will recommend you check out this book.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author: Gail Cleare has written for magazines, newspapers, Fortune 500 companies, and AOL.  Her award-winning advertising agency represented the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  She was the turtle Leonardo’s date for the world premier of the second movie, and got to wear a black evening gown and sparkly shoes.  Gail lives on an 18th century farm in New England with her family and dogs, cats, chickens, black bears, blue herons, rushing streams, and wide, windy skies.  She loves organic gardening and nature photography and can often be found stalking creatures with a 300 mm lens.  Check her out on Twitter.

“Marrow: A Love Story”–Review

51bgxbf6cl-_sx323_bo1204203200_A mesmerizing and courageous memoir: the story of two sisters uncovering the depth of their love through the life-and-death experience of a bone marrow transplant.

Elizabeth Lesser always took an interest in finding out what it means to be true to oneself and to be truly connected with our loved ones.  Then she receives a phone call from her sister, Maggie.  Maggie is dying and is in need of a bone marrow transplant.  When Lesser finds out she’s a perfect match to be Maggie’s donor, she starts to question what it really means to love.

While Maggie goes through the transplant, the sisters eventually become more open regarding their relationship—as well as with their other sisters—to clear a path to unconditional acceptance.  They examine their family history, difficult conversations, old assumptions, etc.  Within time, they offer forgiveness and love.

Even with the transplant and additional treatments, however, Maggie’s body becomes too weak to fight the illness.  Lesser takes on more than she can handle, all to give Maggie a longer life.  Despite the struggles, the sisters become closer, their blood cells a symbol of the bond they share.

I’d just finished reading this book today and I enjoyed it.  Not only does the author talk about family and sisterhood, she talks about getting more in touch with ourselves, accepting ourselves, loving ourselves, including the importance of letting go.

Marrow: A Love Story is available now.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Shelf Awareness’ giveaway, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Elizabeth Lesser is the New York Times bestselling author of Broken Open and the cofounder of the Omega Institute, an organization recognized internationally for its workshops and conferences focusing on health and healing, psychology and spirituality, and creativity and social change.  Prior to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and childbirth educator.  She attended Barnard College and San Francisco State University, and lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family.  For more info on the author, click here.

“Fates and Traitors”–Review

615KoCva7YL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_A riveting novel of four women forever linked to the notorious assassin, John Wilkes Booth.  The mother who cherished him. The sister who was his friend and confidante.  The devoted sweetheart whose love he betrayed.  The Confederate widow who conspired with him to bring down a president.

Fates and Traitors is a story based on John Wilkes Booth, who was the son of an acclaimed British stage actor, Junius Brutus Booth, and a Covent Garden flower girl.  Like his father, John Wilkes Booth went on to become a stage actor.  He was one of the best, adored by many.  In the end, however, he’d put his career and reputation at risk only to commit one of the most infamous acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Each chapter tells the stories of the four women Booth loved and who also loved him: Mary Ann, his loving and patient mother; Asia, his sister and confidante; Lucy Lambert Hale, the senator’s daughter who loved him, yet refused to see him for who he was; and Mary Surratt, the Confederate widow who was sworn to secrecy of Booth’s plot.

I was ecstatic when I’d first picked up this book.  During the middle of it, however, I found myself at a slump and wasn’t sure whether or not to continue reading.  At the same time, though, something was telling me to continue; perhaps I’ll like it.  It started to get a little better when I got to the chapters on Mary Surratt.  Now I’m glad I read the whole thing.  I didn’t really know about John Wilkes Booth until I started reading this book, so now I’m curious to read up on some of his history.  It was a bit of a sad story of a man risking his career and family’s name, all because he claimed to love his country.

For the history enthusiasts, including fans of historical fiction, this book is highly recommended.  Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth, will be available on September 13, 2016.  Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from Dutton Books, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival, and Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, as well as the Elm Creek Quilt series and Christmas Bells.

“In America”–Review

51Yi1la3zHL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, all!  I just finished reading In America, the final installment of the Wayfarer Trilogy, by Nina Romano, so here’s my review.

This coming-of-age story introduces the beautiful Marcella Scimenti.  She’s headstrong, outspoken, and knows what she wants.  Oftentimes, she can be stubborn and drive her parents crazy.  She has the affection of a neighborhood boy and friend, Gianni Simoni, including the love of her large Italian family in 1920s Brooklyn.  Marcella also is a singer who aspires to one day have a singing career in Hollywood; however, a career in the performing arts is frowned upon by her parents.  Regardless of what anyone says, Marcella is determined to pursue her goals.

Throughout her journey, Marcella  learns to balance new friendships, new suitors, and her life in the working world with certain expectations of her tradition-bound family, all the while having to accept changes during the economic depression.  Just when she thinks things are starting to look up for her, Marcella learns of a devastating family secret, putting her to a test of loyalty, faith, and love. But can Marcella swallow her pride and see what’s been in front of her the whole time?

I’m happy to have had the opportunity to read this book.  I’d recently read Lemon Blossoms, which is the second book in the trilogy.  The first book is The Secret Language of Women.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to read that one (I couldn’t find it at my library).  Although the first two books should give you an idea of the stories and characters, I don’t think you’d have to read them in order.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy the stories.  It makes me want to see Italy, someday, as well as New York.  There also were particular Italian foods mentioned in the books, which sounded so tempting.  Aside from that, the characters were likable and the stories were beautiful, providing some advice to think about, in my opinion.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

In America will be on sale July 19, 2016.

*I received this copy from Turner Publishing, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Nina Romano earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from FIU.  She’sa world traveler and lover of history.  She lived in Rome, Italy, for 20 years, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish.  She authored a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, and has published five poetry collections and two poetry chapbooks.  Her most recent collection is Westward: Guided by Starfalls and Moonbows.  Romano has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.  For more info, click here.

“Most Wanted”–Review

41y7VzBGw9L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Donor 3319.  Tall.  Blonde.  Blue eyes.  Medical Student.  Wanted for Murder.

For quite some time, Christine Nilsson and her husband, Marcus, have tried to get pregnant.  After going from one appointment to the other with specialists, research, and therapy, Christine and Marcus finally decide to seek a donor.

After two months, Christine is finally pregnant.  She’s happy and ready to start a family.  But during her farewell party at her school—where she teaches literacy to children—she sees on the news a young, blond man being arrested for a series of murders.  What shocks Christine is that the man has an uncanny resemblance to her donor.  Christine soon becomes obsessed with the man accused of murder, leading her to play detective to uncover the truth for the sake of her unborn child.

I wasn’t that big a fan during the first half of the story; however, once I got toward the middle, it started to get better.  More tension was created and I liked the big risk that Christine was taking, not just for the sake of the murder victims and that her marriage was in trouble, but for the sake of her baby’s future.  Although I wasn’t crazy about the story, I did like the conflict.  It’s definitely worth the read.

Most Wanted, by Lisa Scottoline, is available now.  Feel free to post your comments.

Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in a giveaway, for an honest review.