THE GLORIOUS GUINNESS GIRLS by EMILY HOURICAN

Everyone has hear of the Guinness family but I’ve never known much about the girls. This clears all of that up and very well.

This was a book of truths and an imagined tale. The author has done her research and this was a joy to read.

These girls seemed to have it all. The money, the name, and all the tight restrictions of the time. Fliss isn’t one of them and yet she is. It is her story most of all and it was an emotional one.

With their mother indisposed with some vague ailment, Fliss is charged with chaperoning the girls. She sleeps with them and eats with them but she knows she is not one of them.

The girls led very interesting and tragic lives and it is all here in this captivating book.

The author writes beautifully and the energy jumps off the page. Very Well Done!

May 4. 2021 Grand Central Publishing

BLOOD AND TREASURE DANIEL BOONE AND THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA’S FIRST FRONTIER by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier

The middle of the 1700’s were full of uncertainty for the thirteen colonies that Great Britain has founded so far. There are so many different battles going on it’s no wonder everyone was a little anxious.

Everyone wants to find a new frontier. And they are all willing to die for it. The Natives, the French, the Spanish and of course our mother country. The conflicts were gruesome and cruel. Everyone was lying. Someone’s word meant nothing. The Natives were rightly upset and everyone wanted a piece of the country.

And here is where we meet Daniel Boone. Well, actually my husband is a direct descendant of his sister, Elizabeth, so we thought we knew pretty much everything. We did not.

The name Daniel Boone brings me immediately to the song. First off, he wasn’t a big man. He wasn’t at all like the movie and cartoon versions. He was a man with a passion for finding out what lay beyond the Appalachians. He wasn’t a fighting man, but he did his part for the revolution. It’s always dangerous to turn people from the past into larger than life characters and that has been done with Boone.

It was a fast read and based on a lot of research. How did Boone become such a legend? He was seldom home, working as a trapper with a friend or his brother. They would be gone for long periods of time. He saw his fair share of suffering in his own household and they always seemed to be on the edge of financial ruin and yet Daniel did what he had to do to care for his family.

Here you can read his story as told from many different people. The history of America is in this book and I am better for having read it.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press



VALCOUR-The 1776 Campaign That Saved The Cause of Liberty by JACK KELLY

Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty

The wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War when America’s scrappy navy took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.

Valcour is about the people involved in the 1776 three-day battle of the fledgling American Colonies against the pesky Brits. In the summer of that year, word came that the British were coming from Canada.

The Americans had wanted to maintain their hold on the upper rivers and knew that to do so they would have to make a stand. And what a brave stand these soldiers who were really just volunteers, made. A stand that would change the course of history.

You will recognize the names. Washington, Schuyler, a General who would become Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law by marrying Eliza. We also see a different side of Benedict Arnold. A bit rougher than some, but a brilliant strategist.

While Washington routed them in Trenton, Arnold sent the British Gates packing in a three-day battle on Lake Champlain and forced a retreat.

This is a well-researched book. I think we all are familiar with Benedict Arnold as a traitor, but he really is so much more. These men were young and untried but passionate about not being under the thumb of Britain. This was more than a history lesson. These were real people who overcame incredible odds to hold up our fledgling country against more powerful enemies and prevailed.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

NetGalley/ April 6th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

THIS IS THE FIRE (What I Say to My Friends About Racism) by DON LEMON

This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism

Don Lemon brings his vast audience and experience as a reporter and a Black man to today’s most urgent question: How can we end racism in America in our lifetimes?
 

Don Lemon, the anchor of CNN Tonight, is a very popular reporter who has the most conversational writing style I have ever seen. To watch him and to read his words are very much like having a conversation with a friend.

Known for his monologues on racism, broken systems, and administrations that do more harm than good, this book seems even more personal. Showing us what is wrong, how wrong it is, and how we maybe can begin to repair what is broken.

I enjoyed the beginning, which is a letter to his black nephew. He talks about their slave ancestors, activists, politicians, and people he has met and interviewed. We hear about the slave port where his ancestor was shipped to America as a slave. He talks about his growing up and his experiences. Even the 2020 New York protests. The most important thing we can do is to resist racism every single day. EVERY DAY. With Love. Which is hard to do.

I was so comfortable with this book. It honestly felt as if Lemon were talking to me about some really important issues in his famously calm and steady voice. I am from the deep south and understood everything he said. This has to stop or we will never be truly free people.

Very impressed with his words.

NetGalley/ March 16th, 2021 Little, Brown, and Company


The Unwilling by John Hart

The Unwilling

Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times bestselling author John Hart’s singular style.

This book had a little bit of everything in it. The Vietnam War, family secrets, misunderstandings,coming of age,gun running and even murder.

Gibson is the youngest of three brothers. His brothers Robert and Jason are twins. Robert and Jason both were drafted in the war and only one comes home. It’s not the one their mother wanted to come home and now Gibson is on lockdown. His mother controls his entire life. And isn’t about to let him get mixed up with Jason.

Jason wants a relationship with Gibson, but has no idea how to go about it. So they go behind their parents backs. Gibson is drawn to Jason and is determined to find out all he can about him. Spending an entire day with him and two young ladies seems like a good way however, one of whom is certifiable crazy. The day goes from bad to worse when the pass a prison bus and Tyra literally shows her bum. One person on the bus however, recognizes Jason and knows who will pay for that information.

Soon after Tyra is savagely murdered. And I do mean Savagely. There is nothing spared here. Jason is immediately a suspect and Gibson is under suspicion as well.

His brother does have a dark side and when he is caught with a lot of cash and weapons, he goes back to jail.

While he is there things become much clearer. There is a puppet master behind all of this and Jason will get out of jail when X says he can.

This was so twisty and insane I do hope there will be a follow up!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ February 2nd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

FIND ME in HAVANA by SERENA BURDICK

Find Me in Havana

A novel based on the dazzling story of one of Hollywood’s most celebrated Hispanic actresses and her daughter’s search for closure.

Estelita Rodriguez is just nine years old when she begins singing in Havana, Cuba clubs. It is 1936 and her life will never be the same.

During the Cuban Revolution in 1933, her father lost everything and left them to join Batista. The family is now living in poverty, but Estelita’s mother sees how talented her daughter is and moves her to America.

Here she will sing at the Copacabana, meeting famous men and getting offers to go to Hollywood. With her mother by her side and her daughter, Nina, they get caught up in the craziness that is the entertainment business.

But things aren’t as rosy as they would seem. She has the worst taste in men and has her heart broken many times.

Told to the author by Nina. When Nina’s mother dies, she has a lot of questions. The story is told in letters written from Mother to Daughter and Daughter to Mother.

What she finds will tell a story of the sacrifices, the humiliation, the ugly side of not only Hollywood, but the ugliness of Cuba and the rebels who kept them hostage and did unspeakable things to them.

There is no bond stronger than the one between mothers and daughters. This was a beautifully told account and I cried and laughed and was just in awe of the strength of these women.

This is a story that hurts. There is no attempt to make it into a fairy tale. And that raw emotion is what made my heart ache for these women. There was no attempt to ‘pretty’ this up. It was honest and I loved it.

Very Well Done

NetGalley/January 12th, 2021 by Park Row Books







TAKEN TOO SOON by EDITH MAXWELL

Taken Too Soon

Quaker Midwife Mystery #6

Rose Carroll and her brand new husband, David, haven’t even finished their wedding reception when word is received from her elderly aunts that their ward has died and she must come immediately.

The young girl’s murder has rattled her aunts and the entire New England town. And as Rose works with the detectives to find the killer, David must deal with his rakish brother and his manipulative mother.

Family secrets, long-held grudges, and misunderstandings abound and Rose is ready to find a killer and get back to her beloved.

This is one of my favorite series! Rose is such an interesting character and I can’t wait to see what Ms. Maxwell will have in store for Rose and David!

NetGalley/ September 8th, 2020 by Beyond the Page

 

 

 

The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy #2) by Signe Pike

The Forgotten Kingdom (The Lost Queen Trilogy, #2)

Second, in the series it is now AD 573 and Languoreth is in lockdown while her husband and his brother go off to raid and murder her brother, lover and even her child.

But what of the child she let her brother take with him to teach her the ways of a Wisdom Keeper. Angharad is just a child when she loses everything but her own life. Lost and unsure what to do, she follows the whispers in her head.

Not knowing whether her brother Lailoken is dead or alive and if her daughter is also dead, Languoreth waits and plans.

There was so much going on in this book. I had not read the first one but picked up what had gone on quickly. I was in love with this little girl with the huge heart and deadly powers.

The research and the history of this place and these people were very impressive and I enjoyed this book a lot!

NetGalley/ September 15th 2020 by Atria Books

The BORGIA CONFESSIONS by ALYSSA PALOMBO

The Borgia Confessions

‘Under Palombo’s skillful hand, the entangled world of the Borgias comes vividly to life, exposing the dark facets of class structure and the all-consuming greed that comes with ambition–and love.” – Heather Webb, internationally bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris and Meet Me in Monaco

 

This is my favorite type of historical fiction. The players are real and the facts are real. Palombo has taken the players and the facts and woven them together with what could have happened and created a book I couldn’t put down.
Rome, in 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has been named Pope Alexander. Never mind how he got the job when he had multiple illegitimate children and a mistress living next door. The Borgia family was known for being greedy, ambitious to a fault, and eliminating the competition as this mockery of a pope is intent on one thing. Making sure his children, as well as himself, are all-powerful and wealthy is the goal.
There have been many attempts to explain the Borgias. And while Lucretia is in reality not such an awful person, she has been painted with an ugly brush as a lover of both her brother and her father. Although I nor the author saw any evidence of that.
There was not one redeeming character in this story. They were all equally easy to hate.
Even so, the writing was superb and the story, while not pretty, was fair and informative.
I loved it and would have no problem recommending it.
NetGalley/February 11th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763–1856 (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700–1900 Ser.) by Marcus P. Nevius

City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763–1856 (Race in the Atlantic World, 1700–1900 Ser.) by [Nevius, Marcus P.]

A well-researched look at Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and North Carolina.

I am not sure that people really understand the different slave classes. This work gives us as much information as can be found about this city of refuge for runaway slaves. People today would call it living off the grid. HIding in a swamp, creating their own forms of currency and working closely with slaves and white people.

The amount of information is really quite extraordinary, as these men/women tended to leave no tracks. I can’t imagine how long this work took, but I am better for having read it.

As a descendant of the man who wrote the runaway slave act, I was deeply moved by this book.

NetGalley/ University of Georgia Press; February 8th, 2020