I have recently published my latest book, "How To Create A Chic & Cozy Winter," along with a few others these last few months and so I understand the dedication and patience that is required to put your book(s) out in the world. Despite my full schedule, I try to bring attention to some wonderful books I've recently read that left a lasting impression upon me. Each review is critical for authors and so I consider the reviews I write a small contribution in affirming all the hard work they do. I cannot review every book out there, but my heart is content that I can do something meaningful for these inspiring writers.
Take a moment to read these reviews... maybe find your next exciting read and fall in adoration with a new author! These reviews were uploaded on Goodreads, Amazon (and NetGalley, if applicable).
Happy upcoming holidays, readers and writers!
French Chic Wherever You Are: Petite lessons in French diet, staying slim, beauty, Parisian style, charm, elegance & mystique to embrace your inner Frenchness anywhere in the world by Caroline Dion
What a lovely, cozy book written by author, Caroline Dion.
This book brought me a wonderful sense of calm while reading it. Her down-to-earth writing style made me feel as though I was conversing with a long-time friend. I especially liked her simplistic advice on living life the "Parisian" way. Her "petite lessons" set goals that are attainable in everyday life. For example, her advice to utilize "portion control" as opposed to starving oneself is sensible and much more easier to implement than to try and eat in drastic moderation for the sake of attaining one's inner health and aesthetic goals.
Her advice is... balanced. She stresses you are not required to have a huge wallet to live a chic, "Parisian" lifestyle. The chapters are short yet full of information. I deem this book a "feel good" book as it kindly encourages the reader to attain their goals without making the reader feel like success is unattainable.
Truly inspiring! I do recommend picking up a copy in whatever format you desire.
5 / 5
Elevate Your Money Mindset: Approach Your Finances With Positivity, Confidence and Enthusiasm (Elevated Living Book 5) by Jennifer Melville
I like pretty things... and they cost money.
I said it.
This book is a little gem for helping you set priorities with your finances and maintaining long-standing, personal, money management. I like the way the author wrote about her own personal experiences/scenarios as examples that brought a pleasant, down-to-earth quality to her book which connected with me as a reader. The author's ideas are straight-forward and easy to implement as she heavily emphasized calls-to-action and lists to ensure her readers are on track with their money management goals in a targeted manner. I would advise making your own personal notes after reading each chapter. I particularly liked the chapters on creating a viable budget and avoiding temptation. As an accountant, the author is chalk full of ingenious ideas to help you reach your financial goals.
In summation, this book is very helpful when it comes to managing your funds in an attainable way that brings success to your finances. I purchased a paperback copy which will make it easy for me to jump back to review certain chapters if the need arises.
Great book. An earnest effort on the author's part.
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Oh. My. Goodness.
This book had all my senses screaming at me at the same time. I was shaken, stirred, fascinated, horrified...
Every line I read built into something intangible that left me anticipating each scene, unable to tear my eyes away from the page. Le Fanu had a distinct way of describing a scene in such great detail, I was completing lost when reading the book. The sweet, yet dark, poignant energy that is Carmilla had me entranced, horrified, confused... The last time I was besotted like this with the written word was with Elizabeth Von Arnim's "The Enchanted April." Le Fanu writes with the same depth of detail that fleshes out his characters so thoroughly, I forget I am reading a book, so lost I am in the realistic depiction of the story.
Take for instance this quote:
“Over the sward and low grounds a thin film of mist was stealing like smoke, marking the distances with a transparent veil; and here and there we could see the river faintly flashing in the moonlight.”
It made me shiver... anticipate that something fearful was on the horizon.
The energy conveyed here is robust... palpable:
"In these mysterious moods I did not like her. I experienced a strange tumultuous excitement that was pleasurable, ever and anon, mingled with a vague sense of fear and disgust. I had no distinct thoughts about her while such scenes lasted, but I was conscious of a love growing into adoration, and also of abhorrence. This I know is paradox, but I can make no other attempt to explain the feeling."
Le Fanu's writing is superb, in my humble opinion. I felt the anguish, the fear, the urgency... all of it wrapped up in scenes so thoroughly described, I feel like I walked in the horrific world of Carmilla... the vampire before Dracula...
The only qualm I have is that I wish this book was not a short read. I won't go into too much detail so as not to spoil it for another potential reader.
This deserves no less than 5/5. I have NO REGRETS reading this book.
The Women of Rothschild: The Untold Story of the World's Most Famous Dynasty by Natalie Livingstone
This book carries a detailed plethora of information regarding the Rothschild women and as such, it came across as an encyclopedia. I appreciate the knowledge I consumed reading this book as I had a vague familiarity with the women of Rothschild or the Rothchilds as a whole as all I knew was that they were a wealthy dynasty. This book uncovers the essential, influential roles of the females within the Rothchild clan. They were an instrumental powerhouse, albeit delegated to the background, living in their husbands' shadows when in fact, they were much more than that. Sadly, their contributions have been overlooked throughout history yet this book sheds a truthful light on the reality of the life that unfolded for these Rothschild women.
In addition, I do appreciate the meticulous research that was required to create a detailed book to this extent, spanning a few hundred years. It is not a light read as the information consumed is abundant. I do recommend reading it for a history buff or anyone wanting to learn about the Rothschild women in detail.
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
Victorian Murderesses by Debbie Blake
This book is absolutely intriguing! My mouth fell open quite a few times while reading it. I could not believe these women were, in my opinion, hell unleashed on earth. Yes, all their stories were shocking but what made it utterly horrific was the fact that you were very aware that THESE STORIES WERE ALL TRUE! Not fictional! I think I got a few white hairs because of it. They sliced and diced and poisoned as if it was a normal, everyday occurrence and what left me most horrified was that some of them murdered little babies and children without so much as blink of the eye. They were determined to get what they wanted and did not care about who stood in their way. I was very disturbed by this but somehow, I could not stop reading the book. I entered a realm that I never do in my reading world. I am glad I read this book as it opened my eyes to horror of what people can do without any remorse.
This was a fantastic read right before Hallowe'en. It's up there with "Carmilla" which I recently read and reviewed. The writing and tone and true stories all worked together in unison.
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC! I HIGHLY recommend "Victorian Murderesses." This book has an anticipated release date of October 30, 2022.
Words of Weight by Mary Grace van der Kroef
The beautiful energy conveyed in Mary Grace van der Kroef's first book, "The Branch That I Am," is played out once again in her fabulous, new poetry book, "Words of Weight." It is a short, yet highly satisfying read which leaves your thoughts floating, as if on a cloud.
Mary's command of words is astonishingly beautiful. Such woven lines as "lingering as perfume on skin despite distance," and "repeating a truth that was taught in love even when sitting alone" are prime examples of the author's supreme writing skills.
Each poem is skillfully articulated in a way to subtly draw the reader into the world she is creating. You are there- a participant in her poems... feeling and imagining and reacting. The reading process is so divinely human... it leaves you breathless. Up to the very last page I floated in thoughts, elevated beyond reading mere words.
This is a wonderful book, written by a skilled poet. With great anticipation, I await Mary's new release. If you appreciate beautiful writing, do not hesitate to obtain a copy of this little gem.
The Vampyre: With 12 Illustrations and a Free Audio Link by John William Polidori
I appreciate this short, gothic story written in 1819 by John William Polidori. I find; however, that it did not thrill me like Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla." (I could barely contain my excitement writing that review). The latter is still juicy and vivid in my mind, much like other great reads such as "The Picture of Dorian Gray."
My mind wandered a bit while reading "The Vampyre." It just did not hook me in. I am even hesitant to write that as I did so expect it to entrance me like "Carmilla" did. The writing is strong, but a sizzling air of suspense did not come through for me. It does not mean it would not be fully appreciated by another reader. I knocked off one star for the above-noted. It is still a classic worth reading.
Not Without My Mother's Boots: A Ukrainian Farmer's Memoir (Paperback)
by Nicholas Chrustie & edited by Brenda Christie.
Oh my goodness! I have so much to say but my emotions are unable to stop clinging to each other long enough for me to put into words a sensible review. Here it goes...
"Not Without My Mother's Boots: A Ukrainian Farmer's Memoir" is a powerful, true story that worked its way into my heart. The hardship Nicholas Christie endured. I actually started crying reading this paragraph in the book:
"In the mornings there was heavy dew on the ground, so, I had to keep busy to keep warm for I didn’t have shoes. After a few days, my feet got chapped and sore, and started bleeding. They were worse around the ankles. When the foreman saw my feet, he promised we wouldn’t have pasture the cows on the stubble anymore. The boy with me, told me to wet my feet in urine, which I did, and nearly died with pain. I was jumping around like crazy; it was burning like fire."
This book reminded me that anything I believe is a "hardship" in this present age is nothing compared to what Nicholas endured on a daily basis. Everyday life was transformed into constant striving, day in - day out, without the creature comforts we take for granted.
It is beautifully written in a factual manner that somehow brings the reader closer to the message in the book. Poverty, depression, hunger, physical and mental endurance... these experiences were all too vividly real for Nicholas Chrustie... and this made this book even more poignant and difficult to process. Nicholas Chrustie was the salt of the earth- hardworking in a harsh world, striving to do his very best in all things, despite his unpleasant circumstances.
This book is a must read. A golden little gem of a book that you may possibly never forget.
Flowers with Southern Lady by Cindy Cooper
The photos in this book are quite lovely. The floral arrangements seem to burst from the pages, filing the eyes with color, delicate shapes and overall glamour. The book is also very well put together on all fronts. The cover, interior layout and fonts are all on point. I was looking for a picturesque book I could take in amidst a quiet, cozy setting and it did not disappoint.
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