Book Review -Princesses Behaving Badly

Thanks to fairy tales and Disney many little American girls grow up wanting to be a princess. We are shown this idealized, fantasy version of a woman who has everything she wants, is pursued by the man of her dreams and has nothing better to do than wear pretty dresses and sit around looking beautiful.

When I heard about the book Princesses Behaving Badly I knew I had to read it. I stumbled upon the PBS series Million Dollar Princesses, hosted by none other that Lady Cora Crawley of Downton Abbey herself. I enjoyed the look into the lives of American heiresses who wed into European nobility and when the book was referenced  I immediately put it on my Amazon wish list.

Princesses Behaving Badly is a collection of stories written about women throughout history (including those of legend) and how their positions of wealth, title and power impacted their lives. The book covers the lives of thirty women dedicating an average of about five pages per person. It is further organized by categories such as Warriors, Schemers, Floozies. It does not give a comprehensive study on each woman, but merely a general “wikipedia style” summary of each life.

I found this to be an easy read, a book I could pick up at random times when I had a couple of minutes to spare. Continue reading “Book Review -Princesses Behaving Badly”

Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)

Many, many years ago I saw Love with the Proper Stranger on television. I’ve been wanting to see it again ever since. Sadly, it is rarely aired.

I remember loving Love with the Proper Stranger although I couldn’t tell you much about it. I recalled the basic story line and of course am slightly in love with both Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen who play the main characters. Who wouldn’t like a movie with Natalie and Steve in it? They are both beautiful and talented and even if there was no story in the film I could stare at them all day. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)”

Morgan Library & Museum -New York

Confession time: Don’t let this blonde hair fool you, I am a geek at heart. I love to learn, am fascinated by history and can usually be found with my nose in a book. All of this may contribute to my thorough captivation with museums. When I was younger and travelling with my family, my dad and I would always prefer visiting museums over my sisters’ choice of the closest shopping malls. And if we got our way, we would then have to be dragged out of said museums after hours of poring over each exhibit and their placards.  I have visited museums all over the States and Europe, from the big and famous like the Getty, Smithsonian, Uffizi and Rijksmuseum, to the lesser known and smaller ones like The Titanic museum in Branson (a personal favorite by the way).

Although, I appreciate the plethora and diversity available at the larger museums, I have found I almost prefer the smaller, more focused ones because often times the experience feels more personal than viewing art and artifacts in the more massive spaces of the larger collections.

It’s been over a year since I visited the Morgan Library & Museum with my sister and yet the memory has stayed with me. It is housed in what was once J.P. Morgan’s private library and study, which was separate from his home. Continue reading “Morgan Library & Museum -New York”

Book Review -In the Light of the Garden

When Charity Baxter’s grandfather dies, she inherits his estate on a small island in Florida, but she loses the one person who loved her unconditionally. Charity moves in to the massive mansion on the coast which holds her best memories but also one which traumatized her and has haunted her for years. Soon, this self-described socially awkward potter finds herself developing a friendship with her equally troubled and grieving neighbor and sharing her home with a runaway teen and her great-uncle whose secrets just may answer some questions about the memories which continue to torment her. Add-in the friendly island residents whose requests for unique pottery pieces with her grandfather’s special ingredient draw Charity out of her shell and into a mystery, a couple of visits from her narcissistic mother and Charity’s own love-hate relationship with the magical weeping willow tree in her backyard and you have one compelling and unique story. Continue reading “Book Review -In the Light of the Garden”

Classic Film Review -Never Say Goodbye (1946)

Being the only classic film lover in my household I am on a quest to prove that the classics are equal to and even better than our modern movie offerings. So I am always delighted when I introduce one that the whole family ends up enjoying (thereby proving me right!)

SUMMARY

Never Say Goodbye is just such a film. A romantic comedy which reminded me a bit of The Parent Trap, it tells the story of exes Phil and Ellen Gayley and their young daughter Flip’s (short for Phillipa, named after her father of course) efforts to see them reunited. Phil is a famous artist constantly in the company of beautiful women, but still in love with his wife. Ellen is still in love with him too, but understandably has some trust issues and encouraged by her wealthy uptight mother keeps Phil at arms length.

Flip is not happy with the arrangement in which she spends half the year with one parent and half with the other and is in collusion with her father to bring her mother around to their way of thinking. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Never Say Goodbye (1946)”

Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Authors

Today I’m linking up for the first time with The Broke and the Bookish to share my Ten Underrated/ Hidden Gem Authors. The prompt was actually for underrated books, but I tweaked it slightly just because.

  1. Sibella Giorello -I’m addicted to her Raleigh Harmon mystery series about a slightly prickly female forensic geologist with trust and family issues. The first book of the series The Stones Cry Out, is free for Kindle readers.
  2. Brandy Vallance -fell in love with her debut historical romance release in 2014 and had to wait (impatiently, I might add) two years until her next. She tells unique stories.
  3. Joyce DiPastena Medieval stories are my favorite and she certainly knows how to transport a reader to the Middle Ages.
  4. Amanda DeWees -writes what I would call gothic-lite historical suspense with a slight hint of the paranormal and great heroes.
  5. Amy Leigh Simpson -a fairly new voice in the romantic suspense genre, but one that keeps me on the edge of my seat and swooning at the same time.
  6. Nichole Van -love, love, love her light and airy time-travel romances with endearing, quirky characters.
  7. Becky Doughty discovered her this past year and have devoured almost all of her contemporary YA and women’s fiction novels about flawed, imperfect, yet brave women. Her first YA story All the Way to Heaven which has the feel of Under the Tuscan Sun, is free for Kindle readers.
  8. Heather Burch -another contemporary fiction author whose stories I have consumed. She writes broken characters so well and then redeems them in a believable way. One Lavender Ribbon is available for free Kindle download for Amazon Prime members.
  9. Chana Keefer -adore her Night with a Rock Star books. She takes a potentially cliche story and gives it surprising depth.
  10. Catherine West – another amazing women’s fiction author whose stories center around family and redemption.
  11. Mary Jane Hathaway -I have enjoyed both the Cane River Valley series (with the same setting as Steel Magnolias) and her Jane Austen Takes the South series as well as her stand-alone novels. She also writes historical fiction under the name Virginia Carmichael. Pepper in the Gumbo, her first book in the Cane River Series is currently free for Kindle.
  12. Julianne Donaldson -author of Blackmoore and Edenbrooke. The first is very Bronte-esque and the second is lighter, yet equally engaging, but more in the style of Jane Austen. I’ve been anxiously waiting for a new release for a couple of years now and continually revisiting these two excellent stories.

Okay, I know the prompt was only for ten, but math has never been my forte. Plus, I’ve never been very good at limiting myself. Who would you say is an underrated author?

 

 

TV Review -Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life

Have I mentioned how much I adore Gilmore Girls? It ranks second only to I Love Lucy as my favorite television series. And I’m not the only one, as even after its’ final episode aired almost a decade ago, it continues to not only maintain, but to grow its’ devoted fan base.

So, when the news was released that there would be a reunion show I, like other fans, was thrilled and eagerly and impatiently awaited the new episodes which would reunite us with my much loved “friends”.

The original series charmed millions with its small town and neighborly feel, it’s fast paced and reference laden dialogue but at its’ heart were the characters and the relationships between them which attracted millions of fans and cemented the show as a modern classic.

Much as I hate to say this, after enthusiastically anticipating the continuation of the Gilmore Girls story, I found myself fairly disappointed. Continue reading “TV Review -Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life”

Book Review -Newton and Polly

I have been a fan of Jody Hedlund’s historical romances since her debut release back in 2010. But she particularly excels in this genre when she writes about or is inspired by actual historical figures. From her very first novel which was inspired by John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, to her faithful historical renderings based on American missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, founding father John Adams and wife Abigail, to her more recent depiction of Martin Luther and his bride Katharina, she never fails to paint a vivid and well researched picture of their lives. And now, with her recent release Newton and Polly she continues her streak of excellence.

SUMMARY

Newton and Polly introduces us to a young John Newton, just as he himself is introduced to Polly Catlett, the woman who becomes the love of his life and who is also instrumental in his eventual salvation and transformation. For those who are unfamiliar with John Newton, he is the author of many hymns, including the famous Amazing Grace, as well as being an important figure in the fight to abolish slavery in Britain. Newton lived his younger years in rebellion to his father and in defiance of most authority and found himself involved in some despicable things, including the slave trade. Continue reading “Book Review -Newton and Polly”

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

As an avid reader I have an exorbitantly large TBR pile of books which have already been released that I plan to read. I think this list is now in the hundreds, but I don’t let that stop me from also having a list of as yet unreleased books which I desperately want to add to that pile.

Here is my partial list for 2017:

The Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden -This debut book by a new author has a contemporary story that sounds interesting. Plus, I love the cover. Continue reading “Most Anticipated Books of 2017”

TV Series Review -Leah Remini, Scientology and the Aftermath

You guys. If you are not watching this show you really should be. It is an absolutely fascinating look into the shadowy religion of Scientology. Not only that, but it also reveals the unspoken psychology behind why people are drawn to organizations like this and how these same organizations manage and control their members while also building themselves into a giant business.

Leah Remini is absolutely inspiring in this A&E documentary series. With her strong New York accent and her assertive personality she could be in danger of coming across simply as an angry person with an ax to grind. Instead, she is channeling that anger and frustration with the Church of Scientology into finding the truth. Through her own story and interviews with various ex-church members, some of who were very high ranking, she is exposing the reality and the details behind this mysterious religion. She comes across as compassionate and empathetic in those interviews and while one can sense her indignation towards her former church she never sounds as if she has a personal vendetta against the people involved. Continue reading “TV Series Review -Leah Remini, Scientology and the Aftermath”