The Russia Trap

The Russia Trap

The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral Into Nuclear CatastropheThe Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral Into Nuclear Catastrophe by George Beebe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The Russia Trap” is a great book that combines a political and economic history of Russia. This book is direct, short and up to the point guide for anyone who is not familiar with the history of Russia after the Cold War. Not only the author introduces the reader to the history of one of the largest countries in the world, but he also explains the relationship between US and Russia, or in other words – “the war behind the scene”.

This book would be a perfect present for any political or eastern European enthusiast. Thank you, NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda FitzgeraldDear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald” book combine survived Fitzgeralds’ letters that Scott and Zelda have exchanged from the time they have met and thru Scott’s death.

For me, as a newbie to Scott and Zelda’s love story, this book was a phenomenal information source that explained very thoroughly Fitzgeralds’ relationship and reasons that drove Scott to alcoholism and Zelda to insanity.

One thing that fascinated me the most was their dedication to each other. Even in the period of Zelda’s first breakdown, Fitzgeralds were able to sustain their alliance despite the fact they have blamed each other for their failures. It was an interesting fact to see that while apart – Fitzgeralds’ lead calmer lives, but once together – their worlds would collapse with rapid speed.

While reading Fitzgeralds’ letters – I often caught myself thinking: how different their lives would become if they would never be married, or separated once their marriage problems have begun. Would Zelda lose her sanity? Would Scott’s alcoholism be prevented?

In the end, I find Fitzgeralds’ story love story passionate and romantic. Two highly intelligent people hopelessly in love, whose remarkable personalities clash once together, but remained devoted to each other thru their best times and worst. Their story is inspirational but tragique at the same time.

Thank you, NetGalley for an advanced free copy of the book.

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Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the Ritz

Mistress of the RitzMistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While I really liked the entire book a lot, the beginning and the ending were outstanding.

The novel introduces us to Blanche and Claude Auzello, the Monsieur and Mistress of the Ritz. After returning from the line of war, the couple rushes to their beloved Ritz, just to find it occupied by Nazi. And like any other Parisian, the Auzellos do their best to follow the rules to avoid the opposite side of a German raffle. As the story unfolds, it seems that the Auzellos follow an old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemy closer”. But how long can they play this game? Joining the French resistance is not the only secret they must protect in order to survive, and stay alive.

I love books that pluck a piece of history and built an elaborate story around it. “Mistress of the Ritz” is a wonderful example of this. It is a fast-moving story filled with heroism, secrets, and a strong wish for survival. The author did a great job in the development of the characters. If you enjoy historical fiction, you do not want to miss this!

Thank you, Net Galley and Delacorte Press Publisher for a free ARC of this book.

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Art Lover’s Guide to Paris

Art Lover’s Guide to Paris

Art Lover's Guide to ParisArt Lover’s Guide to Paris by Ruby Boukabou

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Paris. Every time I step my foot in this magnificent city, I’m fascinated by its history and culture. Paris is not just a city, it’s a world. Coming upon “Art Lover’s Guide to Paris” book on NetGalley was a pleasant surprise. This is a very simple, short guide to all must-see museums, galleries, artist’s houses, and studios, restaurants, hotels, brasseries. It even includes chateaus that are locating a short distance away from Paris. The guide includes a short description of every place, including a little history and its addresses, which is incredibly helpful. Having been to Paris multiple times, I’ve visited probably 1/3 of the sites from the guide, and now I have a new list of places I will visit the next time I’m in the city of lights.

Thank you NetGalley and White Owl Publishers for an advanced copy of the book and Ruby Boukabou for creating a phenomenal guide of Paris’ most magnificent places.

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Lost Roses

Lost Roses

Lost Roses (Lilac Girls, #2 Prequel)Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Lost Roses” is a prequel to a previously published “Lilac Girls” novel that I have not got a chance to read yet. New novel tells us a story of three characters: Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka. Three women that came from three different classes trying to survive the war and revolution.

An American socialite, Eliza Ferriday has a perfect life: two beautiful children, a husband that she adores. But after a tragic event, Eliza completely throws herself into a philanthropic work to help White Russian refugees to survive after fleeing their country, following Russia’s Imperial dynasty fall. Eliza has a connection to the Romanov family, her dear friend Sofya Streshnayva, whom she met in Paris many years prior. Feeling the guilt of being able to escape Russia right after Austria declared war on Serbia, Eliza looks for a way to rescue Sofya’s family. However, when the revolution begins to expand, Streshnayva family flees to their country estate from St. Petersburg in hope to find peace and protection. While in Malinov, Sofya meets and hires a village girl, Varinka, to look after her young son, Max. Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival, Sofya and her family are captured and imprisoned by Bolsheviks. As Streshnayva family kept imprisoned, their youngest member and heir Max is kept protected by family’s maid Varinka. Although once a loyal servant, Varinka grows to love Max as her own son and when the time comes to give him up, Varinka turns against the family. Driven by a desire to reunite with her son and husband and save her immediate family, Sofya escapes but only to learn of the collapse of the Romanov dynasty.

“Lost Rose” is a great book that describes the fall of Romanov’s Empire, it’s sad aftermath for the royal family, and takes the reader on a thrilling ride from St. Petersburgh to Paris to New York.

Thank you NetGalley and Ballantine Books Publisher for an advanced copy of the book and to Martha Hall kelly for an astonishing story.

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The Things We Cannot Say

The Things We Cannot Say

The Things We Cannot SayThe Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Things We Cannot Say” is not a rare story that comes to us from the dark times of WWII. And no matter how many similar stories I read, I still find them disturbing, shocking and heart wrenching. People that lived thru that dark time never truly forget their stories and nor should we. These stories should be told, to remind us of the horrors of the past, for what we should never repeat.

In this particular novel, we come across one of the many victims of WWII. However, no matter how much time has passed, Alina was never able to admit her past to her loved ones alone with her road to survival. Alina’s story shows us courage and willingness to keep going forward, no matter how much one has lost in the past. I was glued to the pages of the book, it has many twists and turns and it is absolutely captivating.

This novel was one of love, loss, survival, and redemption. It’s well-written, absorbing, and an unforgettable story. Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House publisher for an advanced copy of the book, and Kelly Rimmer for a fascinating story.

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The Lost Girls Of Paris

The Lost Girls Of Paris

The Lost Girls of ParisThe Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, therefore I was very interested in what this novel had to offer.

One summer morning, Grace stumbles upon a suitcase at Grand Central Station. Inside it, she finds twelve photographs of young women. Hours after the encounter with the suitcase, Grace learns that its owner, Eleanor Trigg, has been hit by the car hours earlier and died on the scene, right in front of Grand Central. But when Grace discovers another piece of information about the victim, she does unthinkable – she goes to Washington DC to investigate further into Eleanor’s case and photographs she has found in her suitcase.

Two years prior, Eleanor formed a group of female secret agents that were sent to France to help with the resistance. A few weeks into the new operation, Eleanor noticed discrepancies in communication with her girls, and shortly after – the agents started to disappear without the trace. Eleanor was released of her duties as soon as she brought her suspicions to the Director of an agency. Two years later, her questions about the lost girls were not answered and Eleonor finally received a chance to follow their steps to discover the truth.

This is a great story about friendship and survival. I enjoyed each character, their determination to keep moving forward has inspired me. Thank you, NetGalley and Park Row publisher for a free and advanced copy of this book, and huge thank you to Pam Jenoff for an incredible story.

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