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Laurie M. (reading-galore) - , - Reviews

21 to 40 of 116 - Page:
Day of Deceit : The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
Day of Deceit : The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor
Author: Robert Stinnett
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/13/2019


I was so impressed with the diligence and tons of research required by the author to be able to write about the history of Pearl Harbor. Although this book was written twenty years ago, there were still so many missing, secured or redacted documents that could not be read and many of the key people involved had already died. However, the author was able to piece together many of the key events and provided an absolutely fascinating look at the sequence of events from the point of view of the U.S. code breakers. It made me want to sit down and have a chat with the author about his journey in writing the book but I discovered that he has since passed away. This book will give you pause to reflect on the story yet untold and will stay with you well past the last page. Highly recommend!


Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Author: Vicki Myron
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 549
Review Date: 6/24/2010


I really loved this book! Dewey is so loving that he really touches your heart with his actions. However, I felt that there was a bit too much personal and medical history on the part of the author. This was an easy read with each chapter containing a separate story about Dewey, making it easy to pick up and read a chapter, set it down and come back to continue reading. As a cat lover, I think it's a wonderful idea to have a cat in a library!


Dining With the Daughters: Second Helping
Dining With the Daughters: Second Helping
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 8/14/2014


This cookbook was put together by the Daughters of Hawai'i, a historical preservation organization that has restored both the Queen Emma Summer Palace in Honolulu and Hulihe'e Palace in Kailua-Kona. The cookbook contains recipes for appetizers, beverages, soups, salads, vegetables, main dishes, pasta, eggs, breads, preserves and sauces, and desserts. Contains 194 pages of recipes. No photos of the dishes.


Distant Shores
Distant Shores
Author: Kristin Hannah
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 69
Review Date: 3/6/2021


This touching story is about a couple going through the difficulties of empty nest syndrome after being married for many years. Elizabeth has put her dreams on hold for her husband, Jackson, a football player who has struggled in his career and caused them to relocate many times. Elizabeth loves her girls and has always been the "glue" that kept the family together. Circumstances cause Elizabeth to reevaluate her life choices and she begins her journey of personal growth. I was emotionally involved with the family's struggles and really enjoyed reading this earlier Kristin Hannah novel.


Don't Stop Believin'
Don't Stop Believin'
Author: Olivia Newton-John
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/12/2019


Just as I imagined, Olivia is a charming and sweet person, filled with light and love for the world. Her autobiographical book seems to be honestly written from her heart. She takes you on the journey from being a child to a teen and on through to her 70th birthday. (Hard to believe that number!) I was disappointed in the lack of depth that could have been brought to the memories but enjoyed her positive and determined attitude as she confronted the hurdles of her life. Although I have been a fan of hers for many years, after reading this book, my admiration has increased for her varied career and considerable charitable efforts.


East of the Sun
East of the Sun
Author: Julia Gregson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 77
Review Date: 4/8/2020


This novel features three British young women whose deep friendship is forever entwined as their lives unfold in India. Viva Sowerby decides to chaperone 2 girls and a boy on a ship from Tilbury to Bombay in order to pay for her own passage. Her parents have died there and left her a trunk that she needs to retrieve. Her two female charges are Rose, who is engaged to be married to Jack in India and Tor, her maid of honor who desperately needs to find someone to marry. The boy needing to be chaperoned is Guy, a teenager who has been kicked out of his private school for stealing. It is beautifully written and a definite page turner. Loved this! I was simply swept away by all of it.


Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
Review Date: 11/8/2018
Helpful Score: 3


A fascinating look into the life of Huguette Clark, a reclusive wealthy woman, who chose to spend many of her last healthy years in a hospital. This paints a sad picture of her dysfunctional family, her child-like personality, unusual hobbies, generosity and lack of financial responsibility. For those who cared for her, she was overly generous in giving them cars, homes, and large repeated checks, changing the quality of their lives dramatically. Unfortunately, those same people took advantage of her kind and generous nature, pressing her for more and more money. It was especially sad to read that family members who hadn't seen her in years fought over her $300 million estate. The book is written in a way that reports the facts but lets the reader come to their own conclusions, making it feel a little bit impersonal. However, the book is filled with photos of her friends, family and assets giving you that extra insight into her life. Highly recommend this book.


The Exiles
The Exiles
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 11/20/2020
Helpful Score: 1


I was captivated by this beautifully detailed story of young British women caught between circumstances and poverty, convicted of crimes and shipped to Australia to serve out their time. Heartbreaking and compelling, this story tells of the difficult sea journey with terrible living conditions. Once arrived in Australia, the convicts fulfill their sentences through daily work. Depending on the severity of the crime, they are assigned to laundry duty, to pick apart rope or work as a maid in someone's home. The girls learn to help each other to survive the penal system and find new inner strengths that they didn't know they had. Inspiring and touching. Really loved this book.


Falling Angels
Falling Angels
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 376
Review Date: 8/11/2010
Helpful Score: 1


This is an interesting book about two neighboring families with young daughters living in London during the early 1900's. Its storyline revolves around women's rights and issues, and the rules regarding proper mourning. Though I thoroughly enjoyed "The Lady and the Unicorn" and "The Virgin Blue", this Tracy Chevalier book seemed less gripping, and it wasn't as sensual as her other books. I thought it was a good book just not a great one.


Fever
Fever
Author: Mary B. Keane
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 4/14/2020


I thought that reading about Typhoid Mary would be especially interesting during our shelter-in-place for the corona virus. I found myself immediately caught up with Mary's sad and difficult life. She works as a cook in different upper class homes and unknowingly passes typhoid on to the family members through the meals that she prepares for them. Mary falls for Alfred and they live together unmarried, a shocking thing at the time. Alfred has a tough time keeping a job and has an alcoholic addiction. After many of Mary's employers' family members die, doctors force her to live isolated in a cottage on North Brother Island. When she finally gains her release from isolation, she has to promise not to cook for anyone again. This proves to be a difficult thing for her. I really enjoyed reading this and could strongly identify with the isolation sections of the novel.


Finding Dorothy: A Novel
Finding Dorothy: A Novel
Author: Elizabeth Letts
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 3/25/2019
Helpful Score: 3


What a pure joy it was to read this historical novel about the lives of L. Frank Baum, the author of "Wizard of Oz" and his wife, Maud! As the story unfolds, the reader discovers the inspiration for the characters and features of Oz. The chapters alternate between the filming of "The Wizard of Oz" and the earlier lives of the Baums as they struggled financially. Along the way, Maud befriends Judy Garland and her story is woven in. Lovingly told by the author, this story is a magical trip down the yellow brick road, bringing a huge smile to your face.


The Flight Girls: A Novel
The Flight Girls: A Novel
Author: Noelle Salazar
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 5/7/2020
Helpful Score: 2


This is a wonderfully entertaining story about a group of female pilots who flew military planes during World War II. It begins in Hawaii with the bombing of Pearl Harbor as the women are training the male pilots to fly the military planes. Later in the story, the women ferry the military planes to locations where they are needed. It is filled with the warmth of love and friendship, as well as the losses and difficulties of the war. However, I felt that the story lightly passed over the historic details of the war and kept the story focused on the personal lives and loves of the women. Enjoyable lightweight read.


Flyboys : A True Story of Courage
Flyboys : A True Story of Courage
Author: James Bradley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 86
Review Date: 8/21/2020


I found this book to be a difficult read for me due to the very heavy and disturbing content. This is not a fun lightweight read about boys who fly airplanes in WWII. It is a brutal history about the men who flew planes and bombed Japan and their less than positive experiences and outcomes. "War is hell" and this book clearly shows why people say that. I am glad I finished it and am the better for having read about what really happened there. I now have an even deeper appreciation for the bomber pilots who flew during the war.


The Forest Lover
The Forest Lover
Author: Susan Vreeland
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 56
Review Date: 1/25/2011


I had a tough time getting interested in this storyline and plodded along reading it but eventually decided I'd had enough. Thought I'd be interested in this adventurous artistic woman but the writing just didn't grab me.


Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall
Review Date: 11/11/2020


This is an enlightening account of the building and destruction of the Berlin Wall with memories of the times as told by the granddaughter of an East German family. The author's mother makes it out of East Germany, marries an American and comes to the United States. The rest of her family is stuck behind the Iron Curtain with minimal contact between them over the forty years. The East German family's courage and faith in family ties helped them survive this difficult time. I enjoyed reading this story although much of the history about the wall was already familiar to me. The family's situation, although not unique for the time, was still very interesting and heartbreaking.


The Four Winds
The Four Winds
Author: Kristin Hannah
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 2/8/2021
Helpful Score: 2


I was simply swept away by Kristin Hannah's powerful story of the Dust Bowl and the Martinelli's migration from Texas to California. The characters are beautifully written. As they work through their difficulties, there is no doubt in your mind that the characters stay true to themselves. During this heartbreaking time in America's history, it was extremely challenging just to survive. After the dust storms nearly destroy the family farm, Elsa's husband leaves her and when their youngest child develops poor health, Elsa decides that she must be brave, pack up the car and drive to California. She doesn't know what she will find there but believes that it must be a better situation than her current one. When she arrives in California, Elsa joins the masses of migrants called Okies who pick cotton to try to feed their families on an incredibly low wage. She is a strong, independent woman who works hard to take care of her two children and another migrant family with six children that she befriends. This is a classic story that will stay with you long past the closing of the book.


The Fur Person
The Fur Person
Author: May Sarton
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 6/25/2010
Helpful Score: 1


This book has to be one of my all-time favorite books! It is a sweet cat story written from the cat's perspective and a very easy read. Though it was written in 1957, the story holds true today because cats really never change. The Fur Person starts off as a stray tomcat and becomes domesticated. He creates his rules and songs along the way which are hilarious. If you are looking for an uplift to your day and have time to read a short book, this is the one to read again and again.


Ghost Stories of Calfornia's Gold Rush Country and Yosemite National Park
Review Date: 5/3/2011


These fascinating ghost stories are actual interviews of real people about their ghost experiences and include photographs of the person, items or areas that pertain to the story. The stories are divided into chapters by locations in the California Gold Rush country and include: Amador City, Angels Camp, Sonora, Chinese Camp, Murphys, Oroville, Grass Valley, Mariposa, Coulterville, Columbia, Redding, Sutter Creek, Jamestown, Groveland, Sacramento, Old Sacramento, Placerville, Tuolumne, and Yosemite National Park. Very interesting and thought provoking book. Would be fun to read and then travel through the area. If you enjoy this book, the author has also written "Ghost Stories of Arizona" and "Ghost Stories of New Mexico".


The Giant: A Novel of Michelangelo's David
The Giant: A Novel of Michelangelo's David
Author: Laura Morelli
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/26/2021


Although the title "The Giant" refers to Michelangelo's huge marble sculpture of David, the true story is about the friendship of Michelangelo and Jacopo. While Michelangelo is gifted with artistic commissions, his friend, Jacopo, is having lower level artistic success and falls into gambling debt. Additionally, Jacopo feels anxiety and pressure to save money because his parents have left his sister, Lucia, without a dowry to marry. I found myself caught up in the story as Jacopo struggles with his gambling addiction, jealousy of his successful friend and low self esteem. Much of the story is about the lack of communication and the untold secrets that exist within friendships and families. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story that I believe has deeper levels than may be immediately apparent. Highly recommend this one!


The Girl in the Red Coat
Review Date: 5/13/2011


This memoir about growing up Jewish in Poland during the war years and beyond is quite depressing. I kept wishing that things would pick up and improve especially after the war ended which was halfway through the book. But the author, a cousin of film director, Roman Polanski, was depressed through most of her life, marrying multiple times, and resorting to an addiction to pills. She had several successful careers as a painter, writer, and costume and stage set designer and married interesting men. It also seemed too bad that more historical research had not been provided about the political situations that her family found themselves in. It was a bit of a car wreck. I kept reading it because I was drawn to it but I wanted to look away.


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