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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel is an easy read for early Summer.

THE LIFE INTENDED by Kristin Harmel is a book of intense love, loss, grief, and letting go. There are so many books that carry these themes, but luckily this book has a few twists and turns that make it out of the ordinary.

The main character, Kate, loses her husband in the first chapter. We don't really know him enough to grieve as we often do for well-established characters, but Ms. Harmel seems to know that and she wants us to feel the pain of his loose as deeply as Kate does. Thus, through Kate's memories and  a series of dreams, many years later as Kate is trying to move on with her life, we get to know Patrick and their never-born daughter. These dreams guide Kate and give us great insight into Patrick, the daughter, and Kate.

The dreams save Kate from making a mistake and settling for a so-so life. They guide Kate to letting go and accepting a fulfilling life that was intended for her.

All the characters are very real, easy to relate to, and important to Kate and the reader. The book is an easy read, takes a few predictable roads, but then throws in a great least it was for me. I think young women, mothers, and those who like easy reading books will enjoy this book.

Available at major markets and online.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

STYLE ME VINTAGE leaves me shouting "Style Me Impressed!"

Style Me Vintage by Liz Tregenza...Oh my, what a wonderful book. A fun read, a great research resource for those studying fashion, the 1940's, culture, etc. I am so glad I requested this book from Net Galley and so pleased that they fulfilled my request.

It is hard to describe, but the blurb on the front of the book describes it as "A practical and inspirational guide to the hair, make-up and fashions of the 40's." It is all that and so entertaining. As an added bonus, there are practical tips for today's women who want to borrow any of the styles discussed. Step-by-step instructions and great 'how to's" complete with photos.

The book covers everything from the utility dresses of WWII to high fashion,  swimwear, lingerie, wedding fashions and makeup. Hair styles, shoulder pads, and ration coupons for clothing are all there. Where to find  vintage clothing and how to care for it can be found.

This book is indeed a treasure. While it is not an in-depth study,  I can see colleges using this book in their fashion/textiles programs, make-up artists for small theaters, and authors researching this era, all using this book. And having fun while doing it.

The author is a vintage fashion specialist and historian. She has worked for a number of museums including the V&A and Hampshire museums service. She co-curated her first museum show at the age of 20 and has since contributed to numerous books and research papers. She is an avid collector of all things novelty and blogs about vintage clothing as Advantage in Vintage.

Thanks Liz Tregenza for a wonderful addition to many libraries. If you are looking for the book, be sure you get the one by Liz. The title is used on many others also.

The book is not yet available, but publication is set for early November 2015. It should be available at all major outlets. It can be pre-ordered at

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Remembering the 10th Mountain Division US Army as V-E Day approaches

As the world prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, I would like to share a few photos of the 10th Mountain Division from WWII. They arrived in Italy in December 1944 and soon were fighting the Germans for Riva Ridge, Mt. Belvedere and terrain north from there to Lake Garda, Italy.
I hope those surviving today  are healthy and happy on this 70th anniversary.


In TWILIGHT OF MEMORY my hero, a soldier in the 10th Division, 86th Regiment, was gravely wounded in the Riva Ridge/Mt. Belvedere fighting. He spent almost three months in a coma. Thus, he was unaware when the fighting ceased. Here is an excerpt from several weeks later when, after regaining consciousness, he learned of the end of the war and other world events he had 'slept' through. Henry is being cared for in an Italian Villa by English and Italian medical personnel. He has asked his English nurse Daisy to tell him about the end of the war and his Division.

Henry is speaking: "Tell me about the end of the war.  I feel like I must be the only person on earth who doesn’t know that. It makes me feel foolish and somewhat useless.”

“You are not foolish, nor useless. Henry, you have been unconscious, which Dottore Antonio says is a good thing because it let your brain and your body heal. He did not rush to wake you.”

“I know, but I’m not sure I like that,” he said somewhat sullenly.
“Be quiet, dear. You won the war.”
“Not me."
"Yes, you and every other Allied warrior..." 
“Now back to your concern for your unit. As Dottore said, your mates, and others too, can’t let you guys have all the credit, chased the Germans North to Lake Gardo. There the Germans that your Division had been pursuing surrendered. Dottore learned they would only surrender to your General or someone from your Division, because they said the 10th Division was full of mighty warriors.”

“That’s true,” said Henry, “except for me, ” Henry remarked again.

“Henry, you said you could accept things that you cannot change. So accept this. You were severely wounded, almost mortally. You suffered from battle wounds and from a direct gunshot to the head. That you lived is a miracle from God. Think of those who did not live but who were on that mountain with you. Yes, there were many. Does their death make them less heroic? No, I thought not. Neither do your wounds. Now, stop belittling yourself and listen quietly. There is more.”

She looked him directly in the eyes and said, “Your president is dead.”

A startled Henry looked at her. “What? President Roosevelt is dead? How? When? Was he murdered by some sniveling coward?”

“No, sweetheart. He was sitting quietly, posing for a portrait I believe, and he died of natural causes. I believe it was a cerebral hemorrhage. They are nasty things. Nothing could be done for him.”

“Oh, my,” said Henry softly. He was quiet for a moment as was Daisy. Finally he said, “So that makes, who, ah…, Harry Truman our president.”

“Yes, I think that is who Dottore said.”

“This is all too much to understand. I feel like Rip Van Winkle.”


Shaking his head Henry replied. “Never mind. He wasn’t real. I take it this is all real.”

“Very real, but there is one more thing.”

“I don’t know if I want to hear it,” Henry replied.

“Yes, I think you might. Hitler is dead. He killed himself.”

Henry let out a breath but said nothing for a moment. Then he looked at Daisy and, thinking of the Yamamotos, asked, “What about the Emperor of Japan?”

“Ah, Japan,” Daisy sighed. “Japan still fights. The war is over in Europe, but not in Japan. It should end soon. Everyone is expecting them to surrender, but they have not done so yet.”
Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), and Amazon (IT). US edition:
Also, check out my Pinterest board on the 10th Mountain Division and Twilight of Memory.
Don't forget to watch the musical tribute to the 10th Mountain Division


Sunday, May 3, 2015

UNDERTOW, a Middle Grades/Young Adult by Michael Buckley, hooked me from the beginning. Great Summer reading choice.

"First, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope."

This book is so outside the normal read for me, that I wasn't expecting to like it. I not only liked it, I loved it. Thinking I would force myself to read it for I had said I would write a review, I found, instead, that I was reading for hours, devouring it. Then when it was finished, I felt bereft.

The wonderful heroine, Lyric Walker's life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of thousands of creatures from the sea...the Alpha. These are ocean dwelling beings bringing surprise and interest which soon turn to suspicion, distrust and wild  paranoia.

The setting is Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. The arrival of 'the things' turns Coney Island into a police state. The descriptions of the island paints a terrifyingly deteriorated community, not the happy vacation spot so many have enjoyed for years.

Things must change. The Alpha must be controlled and/or eradicated. Lyric is enlisted in a plot to try to humanize the creatures. It is a plot many, including the governor, work to destroy. Lyric and her friends are caught in the middle. Her family, too, is not only caught in the middle but enmeshed in the mystery the Alpha bring.

Lyric is a realistic, likable character. A new and gritty female heroine. Get to know her, her family and friends and especially the Alpha in this beautifully written book.

UNDERTOW pulled me in and under from the first chapter. There are strange innovative creatures, good friends in jeopardy, a teenage world turned upside down, a family mystery, and oh, so much more too pull you in and under. It is action packed, emotional, and thoroughly satisfying. It should be a hit with YA/MG reader this hot summer.

Publication date: May 5, 2015.

Available in hardback, Kindle, and audio editions.