Book Review: Vintage by Susan Gloss

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Great quote:  
"Inventory Item: wedding gown
Approximate date: 1952
Condition: good, minor discoloration on lining
Item description: Ivory, tea-length gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves. Silk taffeta with crinoline understructure.
Source: Dress acquired from the couple's daughter" (Page 1)




Book summary:  Women of all ages and from various backgrounds form unlikely bonds when they meet at a vintage dress shop.

My thoughts:  Different women, each with their own trials and struggles, come together at Hourglass Vintage, a shop owned by Violet. Dealing with struggles of her own, including the fear of losing her shop completely, Violet befriends her customers in this lovely work of chick-lit. 

April is a pregnant teen who has been jilted by her boyfriend. Amithi is selling the lovely dresses from her Indian homeland. And shopkeeper Violet is trying to make a living from a shop in danger of closing. Like each and every vintage item for sale in the store, each of the women has a colorful history that brings them all together when they stop by Hourglass Vintage to buy or sell. 

Vintage by Susan Gloss is a fun and charming read. It's not a groundbreaking work of fantastic literature, but it's worth taking the time to get to know the characters. The nostalgic look at vintage/retro items is really engaging.

After reading this book, you may never look at a used clothing store the same way again! 

Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:    320
  • Year originally published:    2014



  • Book Tour:  More reviews of Vintage can be found at TLC Book Tours.


 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Before Amen by Max Lucado

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Great quote:  "Prayer is really that simple. Resist the urge to complicate it. Don't take pride in well-crafted prayers. Don't apologize for incoherent prayers. No games. No cover-ups. Just be honest - honest to God." (Page 26)





Book summary:  "In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin."  (LitFuse)

My thoughts:  Max Lucado is the author of nearly 100 books. His blog is immensely popular. As far as Christian authors go, Max Lucado is at the top of the heap. Quite simply, when Max Lucado releases a book, people listen.

Before Amen is the latest book to come down the Max Lucado assembly line. This book releases at the end of this month (Sept 2014). 

Based on keeping prayers simple and honest, Before Amen lays out a plan for prayers. Lucado speaks of types of prayers and different sorts of approaches to prayer. He explains how God uses prayers. In a nutshell, Lucado explains the power and importance of praying everyday for everything. God loves to hear from people.

I absolutely adore the premise of this book! Too many people don't pray at all because they fear they are doing it all wrong. I hope this book finds its way into the hands of many.

My only true fault with this book is how short it is. I know that's a bit ironic considering the point of the book is about being simple and to the point. Even so, this book has WIDE margins and still only reaches 125 pages. The brevity of the book from such an accomplished author was a disappointment.


Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   125
  • Year originally published:   2014






  • Book Tour: Want to read more about this book? Check out the book tour information at LitFuse.


 




Don't forget to enter today:

Max Lucado Before Amen

FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

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Book summary: "In Becoming Josephine, debut novelist Heather Webb follows Rose Tascher as she sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris, eager to enjoy an elegant life at the royal court. Once there, however, Rose's aristocratic soldier-husband dashes her dreams by abandoning her amid the tumult of the French Revolution. After narrowly escaping death, Rose reinvents herself as Josephine, a beautiful socialite wooed by an awkward suitor--Napoleon Bonaparte." (Amazon)






Great quote:  "As we approached the general, my hand flew to my mouth. This man? It was the same bedraggled soldier whom Theresia had spurned and mocked. He could not be the hero of the Republic." (Josephine meeting Napoleon Bonaparte, Page 173)

My thoughts:  Shelves full of books have been written about Napoleon Bonaparte and his infamous short-man complex. But what about the story behind the headlines? What about Bonaparte's family and the private life he lived?

Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb focuses on the Josephine Bonaparte, the woman behind the man who became Emperor of France.  This book is a work of historical fiction, filled with impeccable research and beautiful prose.

This book wisely and diligently focuses heavily on Josephine. As the woman who spent her time at the side of one of Europe's most notorious rulers, her upbringing and values truly are historically important. Most interestingly, Napoleon Bonaparte didn't really appear in Josephine's life until Page 172 of this book. At this point, the reader is already intimately familiar with Josephine's childhood, her first marriage, her widowhood and even her name change from Rose to Josephine. She is a fully fleshed-out character before the charismatic and eccentric Napoleon arrives in her life.

I found this book endlessly fascinating because of the way it was written, too. Webb chose to write this book in the first-person past voice. At first, I wasn't a fan of the narrator's use of "I did this, I saw that." The voice grew on me, however. Soon I imagined the narrator Josephine to be a wise grande dame who is reminiscing on her veranda about the fascinating life she lived. Having a narrator speaking about the past seemed to be a perfect choice.

Author Heather Webb has created an interesting book that rises above the vast majority of the boring  history books that cover the French Revolution. With it's fictional imaginings of dialog and motivations, it is historical fiction that highlights a truly fascinating woman.


Rating: 5 of 5 stars


Book Facts:
  • Pages:   306
  • Year originally published:   2013









 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Review: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

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Great quote:  "I am a different kind of woman now, a wife who knows what this war really is. At least I am part of this war, part of the things Jeremiah's done here, things that will always be hiding somewhere in his heart." (Page 209)

Book summary:  "An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War." 

My thoughts:  I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe is a fascinating work of fiction that delves into the little known world of women who actually served and fought in America's Civil War. 

It was a time in history when women were meant to be wearing long dresses while cooking dinner over an open flame. Fighting was left to the men. Historically, however, women during the Civil War did actually dress as men and enlist for the fighting, just as the main character Rosetta/Ross did. In real life, just as in this novel, the secrets of the women were never meant to be known. 

As a character device in a work of historical fiction, the tomboy-martyr persona of Rosetta/Ross is impressively intriguing. Rosetta/Ross fits today's standard for women. She is a tough cookie, while at the same time she is vulnerable and loving. Rosetta is a newlywed who would rather die in a war than be apart from her husband, Jeremiah.

The research in this book is solid. What sets the book apart as a work of historical fiction is how McCabe has filled in those spaces in between the facts with emotions, hopes and dreams using the first-person point of view, with Rosetta/Ross as the voice. This fantastic approach allows the readers to feel Rosetta/Ross' conflicts as a woman in a very male-dominated world who is forced to rely on her country common-sense. 

I Shall Be Near to You is truly as unique as the real-life historical women upon which this novel is based. This novel is a tender love story contrasted with a history lesson that covers a terrible moment in America's past.



Rating: 5 of 5 stars


Book Facts:

  • Book Tour:  My review is part of a larger collection of reviews hosted by TLC Book Tours. Please visit TLC Book Tours for more information.



 
FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.
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