Friday, April 30, 2021
Fiction/Nonfiction Mini-Reviews: The Foodie Edition
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Can't-Wait Wednesday: Isn't It Bromantic?
With his passion for romance novels, it was only a matter of time before Vlad took up the pen to write a novel the Bromance Book Club would swoon over.
Elena Konnikova has lived her entire adult life in the shadows. As the daughter of a Russian journalist who mysteriously disappeared after speaking out against government corruption, she escaped danger the only way she knew how. She agreed to marry her childhood friend, Vladimir, and move to the United States, where he is a professional hockey player in Nashville.
Vlad, aka The Russian, thought he could be content with his marriage of convenience. But after four years, it’s become too difficult to continue in a one-sided relationship. He joined the Bromance Book Club to learn how to make his wife love him, but all he’s learned is that he deserves more. He’s ready to create his own sweeping romance–both on and off the page.
The Bros are unwilling to let Vlad forgo true love–and this time they’re not operating solo. They join forces with Vlad’s senior citizen neighbors, a group of meddling widows who call themselves The Loners. Just when things finally look promising, the danger from Elena’s past life intrudes, and the book club will face their first-ever life-or-death grand gesture as they race to a happy ever after. - from Goodreads
The Russian is getting his own story. I repeat, THE RUSSIAN is getting his own story! Finally!
Friday, April 23, 2021
My 5th Blogoversary + Giveaway!
As a thank you to everyone who has supported this little space, I'm holding a giveaway for a $40.00 shopping spree from The Book Depository, as long as it ships free to your country. The giveaway will be open until April 30, 2021, and the winner will be notified by email, with three days to respond.
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Blog Tour + Review: Le Deal
Le Deal is an adventure story involving raw entrepreneurship, high-level politics, and a young American family in foreign lands. It is the true story of Byrne Murphy, a businessman who abruptly moves to Paris with his wife and baby daughter in a quest to reignite his career and his fortunes. He quickly finds himself up against strange and powerful forces for which he is ill prepared.
Just days after landing in France, Byrne reads that the newly installed prime minister has declared a moratorium on all new retail development, apparently snuffing out Byrne’s proposed new venture---discount fashion malls---before it’s even started. He and his company will engage in a mano a mano struggle with the prime minister (which reaches all the way to France’s Supreme Court); encounter a ruthless political ambush in Germany by the soon-to-be chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder; and face a threatening (“Is this the Mafia?”) would-be partner in Italy. Counterbalanced against these are a series of mostly charming encounters with nearly all members of the British Royal Family, capped off by a tour with Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, which nearly ended in a royal embarrassment of epic proportions.
Byrne and his wife, Pamela, experience the joys and risks of living and growing their family in foreign lands. From proposals for dalliances to a harrowing experience with a local and dangerous disease during pregnancy, they are reminded time and again that surprises can be ever present in foreign cultures.
Over eight years the company (McArthurGlen Europe) grew from nothing to generating approximately a billion dollars in sales from 11 centers across Europe. Those efforts created nearly 8,000 jobs, opened 1,500 stores featuring 500 brands, attracted nearly 40 million shopping visits per year, and spawned an array of competitors. In short, an industry.
Along the way, the author learns what he, and Americans in general, do and do not know about life beyond our borders. The book ends with a message about the need for twenty-first-century Americans who work in international affairs to truly take “context” into account; to realize, in our quest to accomplish more in less time, that investing the time to understand the nuances of foreign cultures with which one may be working is a key to prospering in this multicultural, polyglot, interconnected, globalized world. - from Goodreads
- Very little! I may not have been the target audience for this book, as it may be more geared towards business-oriented readers, so in some areas the concepts went a little over my head.
- A lot of the narrative focused on Murphy's work in France, trying to open an outlet in a small town, somewhat to the detriment of the rest of the book, as it felt like he glossed over or sped through his experiences in countries such as Germany and Italy. I would also like to know how the company fared in other places that were only mentioned in passing.
- There are a lot of people to keep track of; obviously, they're all important to Murphy and his experiences, but for someone on the outside, it was difficult at times to keep them all straight.
- Murphy has a great writing style. It's very approachable and this memoir often reads like a novel.
- While he shares his great successes, he isn't afraid to admit when he made mistakes. He willingly points out his naivete about doing business in a foreign country and the things he wished he had known or taken the time to learn before diving in.
- This book is a great inside look at what it's like to try to start a business in another country. Murphy and his team learn that what works here in the United States doesn't necessarily work elsewhere. He talks about the nuances of local politics, knowing the right people, and staying the course. It was really amazing to see how some of the discount designer outlets took literally years to get up and running, and most ended up being wildly successful, even though there were a lot of local pressures and doubts.
If you have an interest in business, and particularly what it's like to start one in a foreign country, I'd highly recommend this book! 4 stars
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Can't-Wait Wednesday: Our Woman in Moscow
The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion.
In the autumn of 1948, Iris Digby vanishes from her London home with her American diplomat husband and their two children. The world is shocked by the family’s sensational disappearance. Were they eliminated by the Soviet intelligence service? Or have the Digbys defected to Moscow with a trove of the West’s most vital secrets?
Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a postcard from the twin sister she hasn’t seen since their catastrophic parting in Rome in the summer of 1940, as war engulfed the continent and Iris fell desperately in love with an enigmatic United States Embassy official named Sasha Digby. Within days, Ruth is on her way to Moscow, posing as the wife of counterintelligence agent Sumner Fox in a precarious plot to extract the Digbys from behind the Iron Curtain.
But the complex truth behind Iris’s marriage defies Ruth’s understanding, and as the sisters race toward safety, a dogged Soviet KGB officer forces them to make a heartbreaking choice between two irreconcilable loyalties. - from Goodreads
Beatriz Williams is one of my favorite authors, so it's no surprise that I'm totally looking forward to this one - I preordered it back in February!
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Top Ten Tuesday: Colorful Book Covers
Friday, April 16, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Maidens
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession, that further cements “Michaelides as a major player in the field” (Publishers Weekly).
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.
Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?
When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life. - from Goodreads
This sounds like it's going to be an incredible thriller, and I love the Greek mythology elements!
Monday, April 12, 2021
Podcasts I'm Listening To Lately
Books and the City is hosted by four friends who met at a book club and then started a podcast. They live and read in New York City. You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton is the only semi-political podcast I listen to, but it's really so much more than that. Each week she sits down with a guest (or two or three) and chats about things ranging from religion to cooking to politics (of course).
Friday, April 9, 2021
March Quick Reviews
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Can't-Wait Wednesday: Luck of the Titanic
From the critically acclaimed author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British - Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill fated maiden voyage.
Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie--her only family now that both their parents are dead--and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val's ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it's unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens--the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow--and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.
Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent. - from Goodreads
I'll never get tired of stories about the Titanic, and this sounds like a really interesting angle!
Monday, April 5, 2021
Battle of the Book Covers #4
2016 US // 2017 Bulgarian // 2017 Dutch