Review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

Hello 2017! Even though I read this book in 2016, it’s my first official book review of 2017 and I couldn’t be happier with this new year kick off!

Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. Even though she’s graduated at the top of her class from college and things seem positive in her life, everything takes a turn for the worst.

She was unceremoniously dumped by her “almost fiancé” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it.

Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Basically Kate is lost and has no idea what to do with her life. Then suddenly a job at the prestigious Hudson Day School lands in her lap and a whole new world opens for her.

Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.

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Book Blast: Marlene: A Novel of Marlene Dietrich by C.W. Gortner

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Marlene: A Novel of Marlene Dietrich by C.W. Gortner

Paperback Release Date: December 13, 2016
William Morrow, Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062406071; 432 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Women/Biographical
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Marlene Dietrich’s femme fatale persona defined her, but behind the glitz of 1930s Hollywood was a remarkably modern woman, determined to live by her own terms.

A rebellious girl, Marlene’s genteel family expectations curtail her until Germany’s defeat in the Great War gives rise to the decadence of Weimar Berlin. Here, Marlene finds her niche as a cabaret actress. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, and androgynous tuxedo, she performs to packed houses and has a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention until she finds overnight success in the scandalous movie The Blue Angel. As Hitler seizes power, Marlene sets sail for America to become one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, starring opposite Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. When Hitler tries to entice her back to Germany, Marlene defiantly declares her stance, risking her life to perform for Allied troops. And upon the war’s savage end, she finally returns to Germany to discover a heartbreaking secret amidst the war’s devastation.

MARLENE is out in paperback on December 13 and features exclusive extra content. A perfect gift for lovers of old Hollywood and strong dames! To find out more, please visit: www.cwgortner.com/Marlene.html.

Synopsis

From the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the tyrannical movie studios of Los Angeles, this sweeping story of passion, glamour, art, and war is a lush, dramatic novel of one of the most alluring legends of Hollywood’s golden age: Marlene Dietrich.

Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When her budding career as a violinist is cut short, she vows to become an actress, trading her family’s proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and conducts a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention until she finds overnight success in the scandalous movie The Blue Angel.

For Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler rises to power, she sets sail for America to become a rival to MGM’s queen, Greta Garbo. As one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, she stars with such legends as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Defiant in her stance against the Nazis, Marlene chooses instead to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for Allied troops in Europe and Africa. But one day, she must return to Germany, where she will discover a heartbreaking secret amidst the war’s devastation that transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling account of this extraordinary legend, MARLENE reveals the inner life of a woman of grit and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path.

“Skillfully evokes the cross-dressing, sexually fluid atmosphere of the seedy nightclubs that helped Marlene define her unique appeal.
Well-detailed and truly moving; an ambitious account of the German-American star. ” —Kirkus Reviews
“Full of the sizzle and decadence of Weimar Berlin, and the scandal and soirees of Hollywood’s golden era, this is a gloriously entertaining read.
CW Gortner’s Marlene is utterly beguiling, the kind of woman who only comes along once in a century. Reader, you can’t take your eyes off her!” —Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author
“From the ribald cabarets of Weimer-era Berlin to the glamour of golden-era Hollywood, beguilingly androgynous and fiercely passionate Marlene Dietrich . . . fairly leaps off every page.” —Booklist, starred review

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Book Blast: You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

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You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

Publication Date: September 15, 2016
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
eBook & Paperback; 292 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian
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In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing. Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee’s the strongest drink that will pass her lips. But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart–presumed killed in the Great War–alive and well in a train station. Suddenly everything is up for grabs.

Although the stranger insists he’s not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. To the dismay of her fianc� and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him. Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing–especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world. Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt? To visit a speakeasy? Just for a cup of coffee, of course.

But what about her scruples? What about the successful young doctor to whom she’s engaged, who keeps begging her to come back home where she belongs? And what, exactly, is going on at the store’s loading dock so late at night?

Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice. Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee–the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for? Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?

The cat�s pajamas! Rich in jazzy details of 1920s Chicago, You�re the Cream in My Coffee is a sparkling debut novel. With an adventurous heroine, intriguing side characters, and a thought-provoking message, this story will keep you riveted. Jennifer Lamont Leo is a name to watch in historical fiction!” -Sarah Sundin, award-winning author of Anchor in the Storm
Every single inch of this novel is delightful. From the start Marjorie Corrigan felt like a friend, one I was glad to see each time I returned to her story. With charming characters and a plot that keeps moving, this is a novel you don�t want to miss. Jennifer Lamont Leo is a fresh voice in Christian fiction. I can�t wait to read more of her work.” -Susie Finkbeiner, author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl

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Review: Paris for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes

When it comes to romance, there are few better than Jojo Moyes. Her stories are always so full of emotion and heart.

Over the years I have read quite a few of her novels and each novel is unique and I always have a hard time putting them down. The main characters are always interesting, well drawn women and the romance elements are tenderhearted and emotionally charged.

I don’t read a lot of short stories or collections of stories as I prefer a fully developed novel where I can focus on one character but because Moyes novels are always so enjoyable, I thought I would give this one a go.

Initially I didn’t know that this was a collection of stories because the first story, Paris for One, was actually more of a novella in length while the others were more like short stories.  Each of the women in the stories were memorable, interesting, and unique. I especially liked that one of the stories had a Christmas theme to it…..this time of year I love Christmas romances so I really enjoyed that one.

The title story, Paris for One, is about Nell, a twenty-six year old who has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away to anywhere before. Everyone knows travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone including herself wrong.

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Book Blast: The Semper Sonnet by Seth Margolis

02_the-semper-sonnetThe Semper Sonnet
by Seth Margolis

Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Diverson Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 374 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

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In this stunning thrill ride, perfect for fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry, a long-lost manuscript, written for Elizabeth I, holds the key to unlocking the past—and to eliminating the future.

Lee Nicholson is ready to take the academic world by storm, having discovered a sonnet she believes was written by William Shakespeare. When she reads the poem on the air, the words put her life in peril and trigger a violent chase, with stakes that reach far beyond the cloistered walls of academia.

Buried in the language of the sonnet, in its allusions and wordplay, are secrets that have been hidden since Elizabethan times, secrets known only to the queen and her trusted doctor, but guessed at by men who seek the crown and others who seek the world. If the riddles are solved, it could explode what the world knows of the great Elizabeth I. And it could release a pandemic more deadly than the world has ever imagined.

Lee’s quest for the answers buried in the sonnet keeps her one step ahead of an international hunt—from the police who want her for murder, to a group of men who will stop at nothing to end her quest, to a madman who pursues the answers for destructive reasons of his own.

As this intelligent thriller moves back and forth between Tudor England and the present day, Lee begins to piece together the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, carrying the story to its gasp-out-loud conclusion.

“Imaginative plotting and depth of character distinguish this centuries-spanning thriller…”—Publishers Weekly

“The Semper Sonnet is a wildly imaginative thriller that fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry will love.”—Phillip Margolin, New York Times bestselling author

“This provocative and knuckle-biting thriller will have you on the edge of your seat as it careens through the hallowed halls of academia into the turbulent past. Hold tight to your farthingales: this is a roller-coaster ride of a book!”—C.W. Gortner, international bestselling author of The Last Queen

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