Book Review: The Lost Vintage, written by Ann Mah

Looking for a good book for your next beach vacation?

Ann Mah, food and travel writer has written a fiction novel, The Lost Vintage, © 2018 published by William Morrow, An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.

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As a food and travel writer living in both Washington, D.C. and Paris, France, Mah’s knowledge of France and French wines lend credibility to her writing.

“Told with elegance and deep compassion, The Lost Vintage is an unforgettable tale about balancing the ideals of courage with the harsh realities of survival, sustaining love for family in the face of shattering disappointment, and reconciling the deeds of the past with the values of the present.” – from the book jacket, The Lost Vintage.

While this is a work of fiction, the story reflects on the harsh reality of survival in WWII in France during the Nazi occupation and one family’s discovery of their ancestor’s involvement in the resistance and collaboration with the Nazi’s.

The Lost Vintage – les gouttes d’or “Drops of Gold”

Kate, who has built a career as a sommelier in San Francisco is studying for the Master of Wine examination for the third and final attempt. If she wants to advance her career, she must pass the examination, but has carefully avoided Burgundy vintages – some of the best wines her family has been making for generations. She returns to France to help her cousin, Nico and his wife, Heather with the annual harvest and to brush up her knowledge of Burgundy wines. There, she and Heather stumbles upon a hidden cave underneath the estate while cleaning the basement. In the cave is a remarkable inventory of vintage wines dating back prior to the start of WWII. The wine is worth a fortune. But why has it been kept hidden? Who knows of its’ existence?

The Journals of Helene Marie Charpin

The author takes the reader back in time to Kate’s ancestors, particularly, Helene Marie Charpin who they do not want to believe was a collaborator with the Nazi’s. After all, no living relative will speak of Helene. What happened to Helene? Was she part of the resistance or a collaborator? Did she survive the war? Kate becomes consumed with finding out the truth about her ancestors. Yet the deadline for her to return to San Francisco to continue her studies for her final attempt to pass the Masters of Wine exam is fast approaching.

Not only does the author, Ann Mah take the reader on a fascinating journey in history, but weaves together hard truths about family, self and country. Readers who love history, mystery, love stories, and wine will want to read The Lost Vintage. It is a book the reader will not want to put down! Ann Mah is masterful in her telling the tale of Helene.

Five Hoot Rating!

The Lost Vintage, by author, Ann Mah receives a 5-Hoot Rating on a scale of 1 to 5.5 Hoot Rating

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

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(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

Review: The Hideaway by Laura K. Denton

The Hideaway

Lauren K. Denton’s first novel, The Hideaway published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc. is a USA Today bestseller and recommended by The Blogging Owl.

After her grandmother, Margaret “Mags” Van Buren dies, Sara Jenkins returns home to Sweet Bay, Alabama from her life as an interior designer and shop keeper in New Orleans. Sara is the only living family member and heir to her grandmother’s shabby bed and breakfast home, The Hideaway.

Sara’s journey will resonate with many readers as it did with me.

How well do we know or understand family?

Do we really want or need to know our family legacy?

Are we always sure of where we belong?

How can we be sure of our decisions?

Lauren Denton’s simple storytelling of a young woman finding her place in life and in love is a wonderful first novel. It is only after reading the novel that the reader can appreciate the beauty of the author’s writing. There are many lessons sweetly planted and nurtured in the author’s first novel, The Hideaway about family, love, legacy and home.

I am looking forward to reading her second novel just released this past spring, Hurricane Season.

Hoot Rating

Genre:  Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Historical
Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Small Town & Rural
Romance > Clean & Wholesome

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Hideaway by Laura K. Denton earns a 4 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 4-half stars

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

Any Book Recommendations?

Hoot at me by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Review: Uncommon Type, Some Stories by Tom Hanks

My oldest son’s girlfriend gave me for Christmas, Tom Hanks’ book, Uncommon Type, Some Stories, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, © 2017. It is his first collection of fiction. Firstly, it was a very thoughtful gift. Secondly, how did she know I love short stories and how did she know I love Tom Hanks? And lastly, why did I not know about this book?? For the love of scotch, it’s a New York Times Best Seller!

Proverbial nice guy, now author

I love Tom Hanks, the actor and from what I can gather from his appearances off-screen, he is an all-around good guy. I can go on and on how much I love Tom Hanks, the actor. I have watched all his movies not once, but several times. There are too many Tom Hanks to have just one favorite. I loved them all.

I knew Tom Hanks has a collection of typewriters. At the beginning of each chapter in his book is a black and white photo of a typewriter. Each chapter a different typewriter. I love typewriters too, and I found the photos just as intriguing as the short stories themselves.

Tom Hanks book.jpg

Uncommon Type, Some Stories

As I started reading the first short story in the book, Three Exhausting Weeks, I heard Tom Hank’s voice narrating the story in my head. Then I began to see Tom Hanks as the narrator in the story. Now there isn’t anything wrong with Tom Hank’s voice. He has a nice, comforting voice. And as I have said, I love Tom Hanks, the actor but I couldn’t concentrate on the story because, I kept envisioning, well, Tom Hanks.

Fortunately, after a few stories in the book, Tom Hank’s voice began dissipating and I was able to really read the stories myself. I loved the stories, some more than others, even the first story, Three Exhausting Weeks because that story has been well just so like Tom Hanks. The stories are much like stories you would see Tom Hanks, the actor. If you like Tom Hanks movies, you will enjoy his first collection of short stories.

The book’s aesthetics

I am curious as to why the publisher printed this book in its’ size and format. The book is 8-1/4” by 5” with teeny tiny type. The cover is attractive enough, but the font type is so damn small! There are 17 short stories in this collection and certainly enough to make the book look legitimate in length even in a bigger font.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, Uncommon Type, Some Stories, written by Tom Hanks earned a 4-1/2 Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale 4 and half star

SIDEBAR:

On my personal Facebook page on Christmas Day, I polled my friends and family:

Facebook Poll
I guess I don’t have very many friends and family because I only received 9 votes…. though I did receive some interesting comments.

My point of the poll was to see if others felt the same as I do about audiobooks. Obviously, not since the poll and the comments were in favor of listening to audiobooks are the same as reading them. While I have nothing against audiobooks because they provide storytelling enjoyment while driving in the car or for “readers” who suffer from dyslexia, for example; but I do NOT believe it is the same as reading the book myself. If listening to an audiobook were the same as reading the book, there would be less imaginative books being written.

Here’s my logic.

If I am listening to the story being told by someone else, I am not imagining the story in my own voice in my head. When I read I am imagining the story without the celebrity of a narrator, who may read the same exact words at a different tempo, with a different inflection or tone of voice which in my opinion could alter the story’s scenery in mood or environment. I don’t find audiobooks to be enjoyable. I want to come away from the story with my own interpretation of the story and I would hope it would be much more interesting than someone reading it to me.

Is it cheating? Only if you told me you read the book when in fact you listened to being read to you. Otherwise, it is just going to see the play, musical or movie. And as we all know, the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

Happy Reading!

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Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved