2014: August wrap-up

As everyone around, I’m wondering where August went, but it did manage to give me good reads.

Here is what I read in August:

10 books.
= 8 books
with 2,471 pages, that is:  79.7 pages/day.
+ 2 audiobooks = 14:55 hours, that is an average of  28 mn/day

 5 historical novels:

  1. Midnight in Europe, by Alan Furst – audiobook. (it’s also a spy novel, but the historical background was better used than the spy elements, so I classify it here as histfic)
  2. The Wharf of Chartrons, by Jean-Paul Malaval
  3. Madame Picasso, by Anne Girard
  4. The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar, by Kim Rendfeld – ebook. Review on 9/1
  5. Edwin, High King of Britain, by Edoardo Albert – Review on 9/15

3 in nonfiction:

  1. Arabian Love Poems, by Nizar Kabbani
  2. France on the Brink, by Jonathan Fenby
  3. Toi qui as soif de bonheur, by Jean-Pierre Longeat – in French.

1 in  literary fiction:

  1.  Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami

1 mystery:

  1. Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled, by Dorothy Gilman

 

My favorites this month:

   Madame Picasso   Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

This is terribly hard to choose:
I enjoyed very much three of the five historical novels,
loved the Poems and Fenby’s book on France
and of course this dear Mrs. Pollifax!

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Reading Challenges recap

Audiobook: 9/12
Books on France: 40/24
Ebook challenge: 15/25
Historical fiction: 24/25
Japanese literature: 2/6
New authors challenge: 50/50
My Kind of Mysteries: 15/20
TBR challenge: 2/12
What’s in a Name: 3/5
Where Are You Reading?: 16/50 – to be finished in 2014

Total of books read in 2014 = 66/105

Number of books added to my TBR in August = 57

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Blog recap

  1. 7 of the 10 books read this month were received for review.

  2. Already 72 reviews for my Books on France Challenge, don’t forget to link yours.

  3. I organized 4 giveaways this month. There’s always one going on at France Book Tours.. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the September Giveaway! a great fiction starting n Paris!

  4. I decided finally to expand my Mailbox Monday, and to combine it with It’s Monday! What Are You reading, WWW Wednesdays in a Sunday Post. Have done it  four times so far.
  5. I finally got rid of Words Ads, and am inviting anyone selling French products or services related to France to advertize both on Words And Peace and France Book Tours. Spread the news!
  6. And I launched a Newsletter subscription! The subscribers will receive exclusive content, not posted on the blog, and will have access to a special giveaway every month, not available on the blog either. If you have not subscribed yet, it’s time to do so if you want to be entered in the awesome September giveaway! I can only tell you it’s a book mentioned on this page!

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Most popular book review in August

France on the Brinkclick on the cover to access my review

Most popular post last month – non book review

Sunday Post #4

Book blog that brought me
most traffic this past month

Caffeinated Book Reviewer

please go visit

Blog milestones

932 posts
over 1,885 subscribers
over 66,700 hits

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Blog plans for September

Apart from reviews scheduled, I plan to keep working at reviewing books read earlier on this year.
And be prepare my blogiversary is coming in 28 days! There will be of course a mega giveaway!

And on 9/27, I will be part of the 30 Authors in 30 Days event on The Book Wheel Blog! Be sure to viit starting on Monday, there will be awesome giveaways!
You can follow on Facebook, or with #30Authors on Twitter!

 

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How was YOUR month of  August?

Book Club: 10 titles for our August 2014 meeting

Recap of our Block Book Club August 2014 meeting

 

Recap of the titles we shared [synopsis from Goodreads.com].

1) The Skin Collector (Lincoln Rhyme #11) by Jeffery Deaver (May 2014)
presented by A.

A new type of serial killer is stalking the streets of New York – one more devious and disturbing than ever before.

They call this butcher The Skin Collector: a tattooist with a chamber of torture hidden deep underground. But instead of using ink to create each masterpiece, the artist uses a lethal poison which will render targets dead before they can even entertain the prospect of escape . . .

Drafted in to investigate, NYPD detective Lincoln Rhyme and his associate Amelia Sachs have little to go on but a series of cryptic messages left etched into the skin of the deceased. As the pair struggle to discover the meaning behind the designs, they are led down a treacherous and twisting path where nothing is as it seems. And with the clock rapidly ticking before the killer strikes again, they must untangle the twisted web of clues before more victims – or they themselves – are next.

2) John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman (April 2014)
presented by J.

John Wayne was one of Hollywood’s most famous and most successful actors, but he was more than that. He became a symbol of America itself. He epitomized the Western film, which for many people epitomized America. He identified with conservative political causes from the early 1930s to his death in 1979, making him a hero to one generation of Americans and a villain to another. But unlike fellow actor Ronald Reagan, Wayne had no interest in politics as a career. Like many stars, he altered his life story, claiming to have become an actor almost by accident when in fact he had studied drama and aspired to act for most of his youth. He married three times, all to Latina women, and conducted a lengthy affair with Marlene Dietrich, as unlikely a romantic partner as one could imagine for the Duke. Wayne projected dignity, integrity, and strength in all his films, even when his characters were flawed, and whatever character he played was always prepared to confront injustice in his own way. More than thirty years after his death, he remains the standard by which male stars are judged and an actor whose morally unambiguous films continue to attract sizeable audiences.

Scott Eyman interviewed Wayne, as well as many family members, and he has drawn on previously unpublished reminiscences from friends and associates of the Duke in this biography, as well as documents from his production company that shed light on Wayne’s business affairs. He traces Wayne from his childhood to his stardom in Stagecoach and dozens of films after that. Eyman perceptively analyzes Wayne’s relationship with John Ford, the director with whom he is most associated and who made some of Wayne’s greatest films, among them She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Quiet Man, and The Searchers. His evaluation of Wayne himself is shrewd: a skilled actor who was reluctant to step outside his comfort zone. Wayne was self-aware; he once said, I’ve played the kind of man I’d like to have been. It’s that man and the real John Wayne who are brilliantly profiled in Scott Eyman’s insightful biography of a true American legend.

3) Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant (1885)
presented by R.

The memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant’s are lucid, compelling, and brutally honest, a chronicle of triumph and failure, from his boyhood, to his heroics in battle, to the grinding poverty from which the Civil War ironically rescued him. 

Madame Picasso

4) Madame Picasso by Anne Girard (published on Aug 26)
presented by me

The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time.When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can’t help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso’s life.

With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

I invite you to read my ecstatic review of this book. You can see there a book trailer of the book as well. 

5) Moonlight Mile (Kenzie & Gennaro #6) by Dennis Lehane (2010)

presented by S.

 

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child’s aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda’s aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie’s door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn’t been seen in weeks.

Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It’s a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.

In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it’s possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don’t always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.


6)
Sherlock Holmes in America by Martin H. Greenberg (2009)
also presented by S.


Sherlock Holmes makes his American debut in this fascinating and extraordinary collection of never-before-published crime and mystery stories by bestselling American writers. The world’s greatest detective and his famous sidekick Watson are on their first trip across the Atlantic as they fight crime all over nineteenth-century North America. From the bustling neighborhoods of New York City and Washington, D.C., to sunny yet sinister cities like San Francisco on the West Coast, the world’s best-loved British sleuth will face some of the most cunning criminals America has to offer, and meet some of America’s most famous figures along the way. Each original story is written in the extraordinary tradition of Doyle’s best work, yet each comes with a unique American twist that is sure to satisfy and exhilarate both Sherlock Holmes purists and those who always wished that Holmes could nab the nefarious closer to home. This is a must-read for any mystery fan and for those who have followed Holmes’ illustrious career over the waterfall and back again
.

7) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
presented by P.


The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

8) Sleeping Beauty by Judith Michael (1991)

presented by J.

 

Anne Garnett was a brilliant Los Angeles divorce lawyer — tough, smart and untouchable. The vulnerable girl who had run away from her wealthy, influential family was hidden now behind the glossy facade of her high-powered career. Only the death of Anne’s beloved grandfather could bring her back to the town he had built — Tamarack, the Colorado playground of the rich and famous. Once there she would be drawn again into the tangled passions and fortunes of those who had betrayed her so long ago…

Embraced by a sister’s love, challenged by a man who offers her everything she could want, Anne is confronted once more by Senator Vincent Chatham, the charismatic man who still waits to destroy her. But Anne is no longer a frightened girl. She is a proud, beautiful woman who must release the paralyzing pain of the past and discover her power to win…in a battle for family empire, honor, and the richest treasure of all…a deep, abiding love.

9) The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch (2012)

presented by P.

 

At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains David’s ever-growing list of quirks and compulsions, his lifelong propensity to quack and otherwise melt down in social exchanges, and his clinical-strength inflexibility. But it doesn’t make him any easier to live with.

Determined to change, David sets out to understand Asperger syndrome and learn to be a better husband—no easy task for a guy whose inability to express himself rivals his two-year-old daughter’s, who thinks his responsibility for laundry extends no further than throwing things in (or at) the hamper, and whose autism-spectrum condition makes seeing his wife’s point of view a near impossibility.

Nevertheless, David devotes himself to improving his marriage with an endearing yet hilarious zeal that involves excessive note-taking, performance reviews, and most of all, the Journal of Best Practices: a collection of hundreds of maxims and hard-won epiphanies that result from self-reflection both comic and painful. They include “Don’t change the radio station when she’s singing along,” “Apologies do not count when you shout them,” and “Be her friend, first and always.” Guided by the Journal of Best Practices, David transforms himself over the course of two years from the world’s most trying husband to the husband who tries the hardest, the husband he’d always meant to be.

Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, The Journal of Best Practices is a candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism-spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

 

10) Genealogy: Everything You Need to Climb Your Family Tree Without Falling Out (Beginner to Intermediate) by Katheryn Maddox Haddad (July 2014)
also presented by P.

This step-by-step comprehensive book on genealogy covers every possible way of discovering who your ancestors were and how they lived. Birth and marriage records are some of the easiest documents to find For death records, death certificates, obituaries, funeral homes, cemeteries and tombstones are uncovered. Don’t forget interviewing relatives. Some won’t want to talk “about those old people”, and some will try to get you sidetracked with stories; methods of drawing out the facts are discussed. Organization is not overlooked because it is vital once you begin collecting reams of documents. Locating where ancestors lived can be tricky because the county you found them in may not exist any more.Census records are a favorite of every genealogist. Explanations are given where to find censuses in 1790 – 1930 are given, along with how to read them and get all the information on your ancestor they provide. But old hand writing can be tricky, because 150 years ago, people formed common letters different than we do today. Examples are given along with explanations on how to read old records are given.

Was your ancestor in World War II, World War I, the Spanish American War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War? All are explained and websites listed where to find their records.

Fraternal organizations provide surprise information on many ancestors: Grange, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, Elks, Knights of Labor, American Federation of Labor, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Moose, Freemasons, Shriners, Kiwanis, Lions Club and other such organization are discussed along with websites where you can find their records. Also, information on how to find the archives of old newspapers is given.

This book has something for everyone, whether beginner or intermediate.

 

   ***

 HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THOSE?
WHICH ONE IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Book review and giveaway: Madame Picasso – I love France #109

I LOVE FRANCE!

You can share here about any book

or anything cultural you just discovered related to France, Paris, etc.

Please spread the news on Twitter, Facebook, etc !

Feel free to grab my button,

and link your own post through Mister Linky,

at the bottom of this post.

*******

Madame Picasso

Madame Picasso

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book for free
in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated
for this post as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
Madame Picasso
by
Anne Girard

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: August 26, 2014

ISBN:  978-0778316350
Pages: 432

Genre:
Historical Fiction 

Source: Received
from the publisher for a
virtual book tour on HFVBT

Goodreads

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
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iTunes
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This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

      books-on-france-14 New author challenge   2014 historical fiction

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

new eiffel 5

 Picasso (1881-1973) has the reputation of having had quite a few women in his life. Two of them are in this historical novel, Fernande Olivier (artist model), a complex and wounded woman, married to an abusive husband, and Eva Gouel (1885-1915), or Marcelle Humbert, as she renamed herself when arriving in Paris, fleeing her family and trying to make a living as a seamstress at Le Moulin Rouge. Eva and Pablo ended up loving each other deeply. Working hard at getting her way around a new world for her, learning all about art and business, she became a real support and muse to him. But fate was not tender, and… well, you will have to read it for yourself, but here is why I really enjoyed it a lot.
Click to continue reading

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