Life At The Marmont

April 30, 2013

Many of us can't afford to take the luxuriously extravagant vacations like the rich & famous. However, through Life At The Marmont, you can't be a fly on the wall inside one of their favorite hangouts. You'll read how the hotel started out and became one of the most sought after places for those with the means.

This book was a fascinating read. The authors not only give you the history of the hotel itself, but they also introduce you to some of the workers who made a lasting impression on the guests. You'll see how the building went from the original luxury apartments for lease to the popular hotel stay- and what the Olympics had to do with it.

Of course, no book on a hotel that services the rich and famous would be complete without some dishy details. And of those, there are many. Who stayed there? Who had secret rendezvous there? You are going to love reading all the stories that chart Hollywood from the 1930s to now. 

This book would be a great read for the beach or poolside. Soak in the sun while you soak up the details of a LA legend.

Starting Now

April 11, 2013

Starting Now
By: Debbie Macomber
352 Pages

For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so
Debbie Macomber's newest book, Starting Now, takes you back to Blossom Street. We meet Libby Morgan a successful young lawyer who has been working hard to make partner in the prestigious law firm of Burkhart, Smith and Crandalll.  She is shocked when instead of being rewarded with the partnership she is laid off.  Her perfect world is turned upside down and she begins the long process of building a new life.  

After months of being out of work Libby decides to follow the suggestion of her stepmother to  join a gym. To her surprise she finds it invigorating and very satisfying.  Looking to rekindle an old friendship Libby calls Robin Hamlin. Robin is a workaholic city prosecutor very much like Libby had been.   Libby convinces Robin to join the gym and a deep friendship develops. 

It is Robin who introduces Libby to the yarn shop on Blossom Street. Taking that one step into the shop starts Libby down a path she never dreamed existed.  Libby meets Lydia, one of the owners, her young daughter, Casey, and Casey's friend, Ava.  Casey and Ava are making caps for preemies.  Libby was taught to knit by her mother and decides to join the girls in making caps. 

When it comes time to deliver the caps Libby is happy to join the girls. Visiting the preemies stirs up feelings Libby never knew she had. She volunteers to rock the preemies on Wednesday afternoons and loves every minute of it. While making her first delivery of caps Libby and the girls meet Dr. Philip Stone. His concern for Ava draws all of their lives to twist and turn until each person's  world is  forever changed.

Debbie Macomber has a wonderful way of taking you into a persons life and letting you walk with them as they traverse the ups and downs .  Once again she has written a moving story that captivates the reader- from the first page to the last. I have loved all of the Blossom Street stories and this one is a wonderful addition. So I encourage you to curl up in a cozy place and dive into another heart stirring story by Debbie Macomber.

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere

April 10, 2013

First off, I LOVE Christmas time, its my favorite season of the year! I could read Christmas books or watch Christmas movies any time :)

I first watched the movie "The Christmas Shoes" in 2002 when it came out and LOVED it! It was one of the most heartwarming movies I've seen and even to this day, I cry each and every time I watch it! Its a little tradition I set for myself during the holiday season, is to watch this movie.

Even though the movie deviates from the book (which is always the case) it still has the same message: treasure your family and always know how much they mean to you!

This book is told by Robert, the husband to Kate and the father to Hannah and Lily. He is a lawyer obsessed with working who doesn't come home till late at night (partly becuase he feels like he is a stranger to his family). On the other hand, Nathan also has a problem of his own. He is an 8 year old and he is going to lose his mother, Maggie. She was diagnosed with cancer and probably won't make it past Christmas day. Nathan is desperate to make his mother happy before she goes to God, goes to the store and finds a pair of red shoes which he think will be great for his mother. While at the store Robert is also there doing some last minute Christmas shopping. At the register waiting to check out its Nathan's turn to pay; unfortunately, he does not have enough money. Suddenly losing hope, he turns to Robert (who is right behind him) and asks for help telling him his story of  his mother and the shoes. At that moment Robert learns a valuable lesson. Somethimes the smallest things in our lives make all the difference

There are several quotes throughout the book which I loved reading, but by far my most favorite was "The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." Vincent Van Gogh

I honestly love the book, movie, and the song! I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a heartwarming story!

The Ashford Affair

April 9, 2013

The Ashford Affair
By: Lauren Willig
355 Pages

Clemmie has nothing but fond, heartwarming memories of her beloved Granny Addie. However, upon her death, Clemmie learns that all wasn't what it seemed. As she works to make partner in the law firm she works, Clemmie's world takes a turn she never thought it would. Throw in the unresolved past with her once cousin through marriage, and Clemmie's world has gone from calm and certain to anything but. Clemmie discovers the truth as the reader travels back in time to read Addie's story.

Lauren Willig has a gift for merging a historical story line with a present one. I became an instant fan of hers when I read The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. Her talent for weaving the past and present into an intriguing story line is nothing short of talented. But, does she carry this talent into a book that isn't part of her successful Pink Carnation series? Absolutely. Once again, Lauren Willig has penned a story you can't put down.

Addie is a young girl who is sent to live with an estranged Aunt and Uncle when her parents are killed in an accident. Knowing her Aunt doesn't want her there, the only source of comfort and happiness is found in her cousin, Bea. The two form an immediate, unshakable bond. They share many fond memories, including the time Bea accidentally let Addie's pet mouse lose at her older sister's coming out ball. However, it's at this very ball that Addie meets the man she's destined to fall in love with-Frederick.

Years later, Bea is married to a man who now turns to another for what he once looked for in her. In an attempt to make her husband jealous, Bea takes on a lover of her own- a depressed Frederick, who is trying to forget his wartime memories. She gets pregnant and is overheard by her husband. An embarrassing and public divorce follows. Bea ends up marrying Frederick and the two run a coffee farm in Kenya. Reality hits quickly and the couple are bitterly unhappy by the time Addie has the courage to visit several years later. 

The old attraction between Frederick and Addie is hard to deny. Bea plans a safari before Addie returns to her life (and boyfriend) in England. However, everything changes when Bea goes missing. Leaving behind 2 young girls, Addie stays to help Frederick. Once Bea is legally declared dead, Frederick and Addie get married. However, Addie has always wondered if Bea really was dead or just disappeared. 

Addie's story is told in between Clemmie's story. She's on the brink of making partner when her Granny Addie's health takes a rapid decline. While in London on business, Clemmie gets a call from her former cousin, Jon, to come home. Nothing can prepare Clemmie for Addie's passing. But Addie's body isn't even cold before Clemmie is hit with the revelation that Addie wasn't her blood relation. Now Clemmie wants to know the story of what happened.

There to help her figure everything out is her former cousin by marriage, Jon. The two shared a night together in Rome, but that was it. Everything had been left unresolved- until now. The time has come for Addie's story to be told.

Fans of Lauren will enjoy this book. The Ashford Affair may be a break from The Pink Carnation, but it's a worth while break. The plot is good- though it does have some holes I wish got filled. The characters are one you want to read more of and see what lies ahead for them. Addie's story is especially interesting and one you look forward to reading. 

The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow

April 5, 2013

I came across this book as I was browsing the categories for books to review. Reading the story line I was completely intrigued! Even though it took me a while to get approved, I was happy I did! I  was in the middle of reading another book when I was approved, so that gave me more motivation to finish it so I can start on this adventure!

This book takes place during the Second World War around a silk mill. This was a very captivating read and along with the romance and intrigue of the story, one also gains a fascinating insight into the history and production of silk.

The book starts with Lily Verner as an elderly lady. Sorting through her stuff, she recounts her story which takes us back to the 1940s when she starts work as an apprentice in her fathers Silk Weaving factory.  Life at the factory turns out to be far more inspiring than Lily had expected, also somewhat distressing thanks to the war. On the bright side, there is a great deep love amongst the sadness. This story was filled with love, betrayal, prejudice and lasting friendships. At times I felt like the story line was moving somewhat slow so I took more frequent breaks reading this book. All in all a powerful book. If you are looking for a romantic read that has plenty of passion and emotion then I think this is one you will enjoy.

The House At The End Of Hope Street

April 4, 2013

The House At The End Of Hope Street
By: Menna Van Praag
280 Pages

There is a special house for women to go when they hit their rock bottom. A house that has helped them put the pieces back together. A house that has guided them onto the right track. A house like no other. With pictures of past visitors lining the walls to talk to, notes floating down with messages, the house at the end of Hope Street is there to help change a life- if you let it.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I wish this house was real because I want to walk through it! I'd love this book to be the first of a series. Very reminiscent of Sarah Addison Allen, this book is full of the wonderful magical touches that gently nudge a character into the direction they are meant to go.

Alba Ashby is a 19 year old intellectual prodigy. But that's not the only setting her apart from the world. Alba has the ability to see what most other people can't. The ghost of her dead Grandmother has been known to join her at the table; she can see the paw prints of cats who are no longer alive. Alba can see scents before she can smell them, and she feel the vibration of sounds prior to hearing them. But all of that has stopped. 

Alba is from a prominent family. The youngest of successful siblings, Alba's life has taken a downward spiral. When her mentor Professor betrays her, Alba is left lost and confused. Wandering the streets in the middle of the night, Alba has no idea how she ended up in front of house. Nor does she remember ringing the door bell. She may not remember how she got to the doorstep, but she will never forget what happened when she passed through the door.

Peggy is the magical home's caretaker. She lives in the attic and is there to great Alba. Knowing all about Alba's special gift, Peggy welcomes her in. Alba sees hundreds of pictures hanging on the wall and is surprised to learn they are of past guests of the house. Florence Nightingale among them. Peggy informs Alba of the house's gift: it can help you put the pieces back together and guide you in the direction you need to go- if you let it. However, this wonderful ability isn't without drawbacks. Guests can only stay 99 nights and can never come back. Alba agrees.

Alba isn't the only current guest letting the house work it's magic. Carmen is running away from the past she shared with her ex-husband. Greer is an actress who is trying to mend her broken heart after the death of her newborn daughter and finding her fiance in bed with another woman. 

With the help of the talking pictures and notes the house gives to the women, they each set out on their journeys. The house is the only source of comfort for Alba when she discovers her bipolar Mother has finally made good on the threats to kill herself. The death sets Alba on a journey she never expected and she learns that her family held secrets from her.

The house was my favorite character in the book. I loved reading about the pictures coming to life and talking. I loved reading about the other famous women who stayed at the house. I wish the house was real so I could visit. Menna van Praag creates an amazing world for you to crawl into. The magical element isn't dark, but comforting and gentle. I didn't want the book to end. I'd love to read more books involving the house at the end of Hope Street. This is a book I will be buying. 

Rating: Buy It!

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