Book Review: The French Chef in America

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Author: Alex Prud'Homme
Summary from Goodreads:
The enchanting story of Julia Child's years as a TV personality and beloved cookbook author, a sequel-in-spirit to My Life in France--by her great-nephew. Julia Child is synonymous with French cooking, but her legacy runs much deeper. Now, Alex Prud'homme, Child's great-nephew and My Life in France co-author, vividly recounts the myriad ways in which she profoundly shaped how we eat today. He shows us Child in the aftermath of the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, suddenly finding herself America's First Lady of French Food and under considerable pressure to embrace her new mantle. We see her dealing with difficult colleagues and the challenges of fame, ultimately using her newfound celebrity to create what would become a totally new type of food television. Every bit as entertaining, inspiring, and delectable as My Life in France, the book uncovers the Julia Child beyond her "French Chef" persona and reveals her second act to have been as groundbreaking and adventurous as her first."

Personal Review:
You guys know that I loved My Life in France and the story of Julia Child, so when I saw that there was an opportunity to pick up more information about the famous chef, I immediately went for it.

I didn't pay close enough attention to realize, I was being sent an audio book. That said, it was an awesome format to enjoy and learn more about this famous person. I learned more about what is was like as a result of the cooking show, about her personal politics, and so much more. I felt like it was another piece of the story that I never knew.

As for the audio book itself, I enjoyed the narration. I enjoyed the excitement in the readers voice in particular sections and I really enjoyed the message behind it all. I appreciated the opportunity to listen to this book and I would highly recommend it. 

For additional information about the book, please visit:

Disclaimer: I was awarded this book as part of the Blogging for Books program. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!

Reading Recap

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hi Everyone!

It has been awhile since I have done a reading recap. I  also wanted to be sure that I got these books listed as complete before the end of the year, so here are some mini-reviews!

Paris for One
The acclaimed author of Me Before You is back again with another book. This one is very different than Me Before You, but I still enjoyed it. In this book, we meet Nell and get to adventure with her to Paris. I found this book to be a quick, witty book with a lot of heart. I enjoyed it.

Tiger Eyes
I picked up this book for the Diverse December challenge and because it is a Judy Blume book I have never read before. I can tell that from this book that there was ome deep reflection and themes that run throughout this book. This book talks about what is like to keep on living after losing a loved one and I appreciated the story.

Jr. Iditarod
Another book that I picked up for Diverse December. This one is a short children’s book, but is jammed packed with information about the race. I love that they have a smaller race for those who still want to experience the excitement. I learned about the extreme care of the dogs and how they leave the course open until every single person makes it back. I loved this story.

I picked up this manga on a whim at the library. It was an interesting read. I had not anticipated some of the language or topics, but that didn’t stop me from reading it. The drama of ‘Peaches’ was one that kept me entertained throughout the book and I am looking forward to picking up the next one to find out what happens.

Lumberjanes Vol. 5
If there is one thing I love, it is LumberJanes. This volume was amazing again and I had so much with the ladies on their new adventures and with meeting creatures from the sea! I love the illustrations and adore the writing in these books.

Scrappy Little Nobody
Anna Kendrick’s book about her life and the stories that helped to make her who she is was full of interest. I enjoyed the back stories about how she was involved in plays early in life and the pictures included were a nice touch. I also enjoyed hearing about how she is much more comfortable in sweats then in a formal dress. The book was what I expected it to be and I really enjoyed the interesting factoids along the way.

What Light
The newest book from Jay Asher is a cute romance and I enjoyed it. I liked how the character fell for someone despite knowing that she shouldn’t. I liked that it had theme of getting to know the full story before making a judgement on another person. A cute read and perfect for the holiday season.

This book completely lives up to its title. It has parts that are both unbelievable and parts that are even at times hard to read. That said, I appreciated the story so very much. The author shares parts of her life that are immensely personal and I am impressed on how she is willing to put herself out there like that. I think that my take away from this book is about learning to love yourself. Not an easy topic, but a book that is worth the read.

Diplomatic Immunity
When I found this book was about DC, I knew I needed to pick it up. In this one the character is working on to get a journalism scholarship at an elite DC school. When she gets the idea to cover a story that can expose some of those around her, it sets up an interesting plot. I don’t want to spoil this one for anyone, but the book was an interesting read and I loved that it was about a place that is so close to home.

This book has been on my TBR for forever. Not to mention it also helps me wrap up my popsugar and read harder challenges for 2016. This book is a dystopian book, which I don’t always love but I do appreciate the mainly world themes throughout. An interesting book. Definitely makes you think!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
I liked this book, but there was a lot of this book that I feel like I didn’t really ‘get.’ Some of the passages are not written in a style that is familiar to me, so I found them a little confusing. I did like the story between Huck and Tom and I liked that it exposed me to something different. If I could go back in time and read this in school, I feel like it would have meant more and I would have had a better understanding. I read this book towards completion of the popsugar and read harder challenges for 2016.

Handle with Care
I picked up this book for the Diverse Readathon and a little bit early for the #JPathon. I adore Jodi’s books because they always make you think. This book was a good read, but not one that one resonating as much with me (I do not have children). That said, I still found the book to be an interesting read and I am glad that to have read it.

I have picked up and put this book down several times. It was the last book I needed to read for my popsugar and read harder challenges. That said, now time for the unpopular opinion, I liked it but I did not love it. I know that many people adore this series and while I found it an interesting retelling, I just felt like something was missing. I can’t put my finger on what it is, but there it is. I am glad for the idea of this book though and appreciated the different perspective.

Whew! That got a little longer than expected. I hope that your year wraps up with lots of books that you love! Happy Almost New Year!

Happy Reading!

Bout of Books 18

Hi Everyone!

It is that time again-time for Bout of Books!!  I am super excited and you can sign up on the Bout of Books blog! :)

For those that don't know what Bout of Books is... here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Will you be joining? What are you planning to read?

Happy Reading! 

For Tracking:

Challenges Completed:

Challenges: In Six Words Complete
Challenges: 2017 in a Picture Complete
Challenges: Book to Movie Complete
Challenges: Book Spine Poetry

Books Read:
The Impossible Fortress
The Fall of Lisa Bellow
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
The Walls Around Us

Books Finished: 5
Challenges Participated In:  4/5

I am quite happy with my progress and this has set the year off on a good note :) Happy 2017 everyone!

Guest Post with Geralyn Corcillo

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited to be here today with a Guest post today from Geralyn Corcillo! Please help me by giving her a warm welcome...


Hi Valerie! Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog today! Now …

Let's Bedazzle Away Any Post-Holiday Blues!

When I was growing up, my mom would get very depressed after Christmas. So much so that she could not bring herself to take down the Christmas tree … and it would stay up until Valentine's Day. I kid you not. But I LOVED it, so no complaints from me. And we kept turning on its lights every night. Don't ask me HOW our house did not burn to the ground - since we often had a real tree. But when I got older and got my own house with my own tree, I must confess the pine needles everywhere would eventually drive me batty so we usually cut up the tree for firewood by the first week of January.

But I understand the feeling of post-holiday blues at this time of year. And I find that Romantic Comedy is a fantastic way to dispel such mopey feelings. And you know what? Three of my all time favorite holiday movies are romantic comedies that take place in the often bluesy week between Christmas and New Year's Day. So … if you are feeling a bit down or let down after all the holiday fuss and celebration, try checking out some of these “The Best Things Happen at the End of December” movies.

Number One on my list is While You Were Sleeping (1995) with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman, and an incredibly charming supporting cast including Peter Gallagher, Peter Boyle, and Jack Warden. The story begins on Christmas Day – a Christmas everyone essentially “misses” because of what happens. Then the sweetly delicious plot unfolds over the next week and wraps up shortly after the New Year.  One misunderstood remark makes an entire family think that city transit worker Lucy is engaged to their son Peter – who is in a coma after Lucy saves him from almost getting killed on the train tacks. The family takes Lucy into their fold as they all wait for Peter to wake up. And Lucy meets Peter's brother Jack …

I adore this movie because the love story that develops between Lucy and Jack is all about two people who just really like each other. And the movie is HILARIOUS, thanks to brilliant writing by Daniel G. Sullivan and Fredric LeBow and spot-on performances by the amazing cast! This movie is all about post-Christmas magic. Here is one of my favorite scenes from the movie:

Another of my all time favorite movies, and it also happens to take place between Christmas and New Year's Day, is the 1938 classic Holiday starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. After a Christmas holiday in Lake Placid, beautiful blonde heiress Julia Seton returns to her family's Park Avenue mansion with her whirlwind fiance, handsome and charming man of the people, Johnny Case (Grant.) Julia's independent and spirited sister Linda (Hepburn) sees right away that Johnny Case is the best thing to ever happen to her snobbish, calcified family and she sets to work to make sure her family accepts Johnny and her beloved sister Julia marries him just as soon as possible. But can Linda convince her stubborn, supercilious father to embrace the working class Johnny? Can she keep Johnny from becoming tainted by the marble pillars and the quest for wealth above all else? And can she do it all without falling for Johnny herself? Lew Ayres as Linda and Julia's brother and Edward Everett Horton & Jean Dixon as Johnny's surrogate family add such charming sparkle to the movie! Here is a sweet, gleeful tribute to Holiday, set to much more modern music: 

And let's not forget my absolute favorite of the Hallmark Christmas movies – A Boyfriend for Christmas (2004). Santa (Charles Durning) convinces Ryan (Patrick Muldoon) to be a Christmas gift for Holly (Kelli Williams.) And what does Holly want? A boyfriend. A boyfriend to get her family off her back and to stave off unwanted advances from her ex. Ryan shows up at Holly's place on Christmas, and a delightfully sweet and wacky Christmas day ensues. But it is over the next week, as Holly and Ryan get to know one another, that a wonderfully funny and subtly romantic love story unfolds and comes to a head on New Year's Eve. Here is a fun teaser trailer for the flick:

And along with watching these feel-good movies, don't forget to fill your Kindles, Nooks, and phones with wonderful Romantic Comedy novels and stories! My short story “All Summer on a Date” takes place on New Year's Eve as Summer Hodiak goes to the party of the year with the gorgeous Kyle Hunter, who is everything she thinks she's supposed to want in a man. But when an unexpected dilemma slams into their exquisite evening, will Summer decide to follow her date... or follow her heart? You can get the story in my FREE anthology 4 in the Afternoon here:
When you claim the book you will be signed up for my newsletter – alerts I send out when I want to tell my fans about RomCom freebies and deals. And since I'm often participating in much bigger giveaways, you'll get info about lots of RomCom freebies.  

And please enjoy my RomCom novels any time. They are funny, fast-paced and romantic as my heroines often stumble (but never give up) on their way to living life to the fullest. Lola Scott from Queen of the Universe is one such woman. Queen is in KindleUnlimted for only a few days more, so if you read books via KU, download Queen today. And if you don't read via KU, Queen is FREE on Amazon thru January 1and becomes available at other ebook retailers in mid-January. 

Queen of the Universe Book Tour
By author Geralyn Corcillo
Tour Dates: December 28th – January 4th, 2017

Can a charismatic TV writer convince a reclusive handyman to become her show’s leading man in time to save her career?
Savvy Hollywood writer Lola Scott is about to get fired from the TV show she created because she still hasn’t cast the role of the dark, brooding bounty hunter. But then HE walks in … Arlen Black. And he’s perfect for the part. But he’s not an actor there to audition. Nope. He’s the handyman Lola hired to renovate her historic Hollywood house. No problem—Lola gleefully offers him the dream job of a lifetime. But the stoic recluse-in-a-tool-belt wants nothing to do with Lola and her show. What?! Really?
So Lola goes after him with everything she’s got. But as she draws Arlen into her chaotic world of TV production, Hollywood gossip sinks its claws into him. And when one paparazzi photo threatens to destroy everything he holds dear, Lola’s got to move heaven and Earth not to save the show … but to save Arlen.
This novel reads as a stand-alone story within the In Love in the Limelight universe: Los Angeles, where the stars and paths of different characters might cross, and where the paparazzi is always ready to sink in its glittery talons.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:
Geralyn Corcillo

When she was a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to rescue animals and constantly pick up litter. At home, she loves to kick back by watching black & white movies, British mysteries, and the New York Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband TV writer Ron, a guy who’s even cooler than Kip Dynamite.
Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Contact  |  Amazon

Tour Schedule:
December 28th

ItaPixie's Book Corner - Book Excerpt
Steamy book momma - Book Excerpt 

December 29th

Rachel Brimble Romance - Author Q&A
He Said Books Or Me - Author Guest Post

December 30th

Book Lover in Florida - Book Excerpt

December 31st

January 1st

Hello...Chick Lit - Book Review

January 2nd

Jena Books - Book Review

January 3rd

Kristin's Novel Cafe - Book Promo Post

January 4th

Valerie, thank you so much for hosting me today! I've loved sharing with your fans some details about my favorite RomCom post-holiday movies and letting them know about some RomCom book deals. I hope you and all your wonderful fans have a sparkly, healthy, safe New Year! Peace out and rock on.


Thanks for coming by today!

Happy Reading!