Review: Flight of Dreams ~ BRC

A new month, a new review for Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club. My reading lately has been a little choppy. Lots going on and reading opportunities are coming in little snatches. So, in some ways, my April pick was perfect. May I present (ahem, review…) Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon.

25614670From Amazon:
On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.

Flight of Dreams is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for the moment they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.

I will admit that it took me a little while to really get into this book. As I mentioned above, I really wasn’t dedicating my full concentration to the story, and I think you need to, particularly at the beginning. Right out of the gate, Ms. Lawhon is immersing you in the Hindenburg experience. All manner of people are scurrying around, interacting, while at the same time, absorbed in their own thoughts and problems and secrets. Because everyone (more or less) has a secret. And each mini chapter is designated by the label of its focus: The Stewardess, The Cabin Boy, the Journalist, etc. The beautiful thing about this book is that, much like a well-crafted mystery, all of those characters, and all of those secrets slowly–over the course of three days on a flying airship–become entwined, to create a desperate, suspenseful climax.

But beyond the mystery lies the backdrop of history–the true events of the “flight of dreams.” I can’t claim to have known the real historical details of this flight–but I was truly fascinated (and even more impressed) when I read the Author’s Note, in which Ms. Lawhon held her story up against reality. Flight of Dreams is built on a solid foundation of nervous tension. Hitler has already begun his persecution of Jews, and Europe is tumbling inexorably toward war. And even if the reader is unaware of the outcome of this luxury trip from Germany to New Jersey, Lawhon drops sinister hints early on: Something explosive is going to happen.  This book is a powder keg, ready to blow.

It didn’t take long before I was hooked.  I wanted to see how the romance would play out between the two crew members, I wanted to know the story behind the American’s diabolical determination, I wanted to know what sort of trouble the twitchy, feisty journalist was going to get into it–and with whom!  And while this wasn’t  (almost certainly) the real story of this Hindenburg flight–but it COULD have been.  And I’m quite sure that in future, when a reference to the Hindenburg crosses my path, I will remember these characters and the interactions Ms. Lawhon imagined for them as real.

Recommended for fans of historical mysteries, fiction set between the World Wars, suspense novels, character-driven novels, or a solid good read.

Make sure to click through to read all the other reviews!

Click icon for more
book review blogs
@Barrie Summy
Posted in Uncategorized on 04/06/2016 03:46 am | 8 Comments

JUST SAY YES is only 99¢!

For a limited time (till April 3rd), my latest contemporary romance JUST SAY YES is only 99¢ at all the major retailers!

Here are the links if you want to grab it…Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks.

I’ve been having a bit of fun making some food-themed teasers.

JSY-with-Hot-Tamales_Sale-TJSY-Marshmallow-Sale-Teaser

Posted in Just Say Yes on 03/25/2016 10:35 pm | Comments Off on JUST SAY YES is only 99¢!

Review: Love in Lowercase ~ BRC

March has swept into the Houston/Galveston area with rain and eighty-degree weather. Our winter was almost non-existent. Summer will most likely be mosquito-littered and sticky as all get-out. Blech. We will soldier on, reading books by the pool, with iced chai and watermelon… But I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s still March, and this month’s book is Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles, evidently an International Bestseller.

0313 Love 110From Amazon:
A romantic comedy for language lovers and fans of The Rosie Project, about a brainy bachelor and the cat that opens his eyes to life’s little pleasures

When Samuel, a lonely linguistics lecturer, wakes up on New Year’s Day, he is convinced that the year ahead will bring nothing more than passive verbs and un-italicized moments—until an unexpected visitor slips into his Barcelona apartment and refuses to leave. The appearance of Mishima, a stray, brindle-furred cat, becomes the catalyst that leads Samuel from the comforts of his favorite books, foreign films, and classical music to places he’s never been (next door) and to people he might never have met (a neighbor with whom he’s never exchanged a word). Even better, the Catalan cat leads him back to the mysterious Gabriela, whom he thought he’d lost long before, and shows him, in this international bestseller for fans of The Rosie Project, The Solitude of Prime Numbers, and The Guest Cat, that sometimes love is hiding in the smallest characters.

Let me start by saying that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED The Rosie Project. I gushed about it. When I saw this book recommended for fans of TRP, I snatched at the chance to read it. Let me tell you, this book is nothing like The Rosie Project. There are a few similarities: it was written by a male author, and told from the POV of a male professional who is extremely passionate about his work and looking for companionship. That’s pretty much where the similarities end.

I have read a lot of romance novels, and a lot of novels that have included romantic side plots and elements. I would not, however, classify this book as romantic at all–for two simple reasons. The romance plot is almost entirely one-sided. Samuel remembers knowing this woman as a child, and when he happens to see her again, in passing, after thirty years, he suddenly realizes he’s in love with her. He is obsessed with not only finding her again, but professing his love. It’s borderline creepy. Secondly, while a tiny thread of obsession is woven through the storyline, it really takes a backseat to the rest of the novel–there are very few interactions between Samuel and Gabriela. Plus, Samuel gives up on Gabriela multiple times in the book, and is actually tentatively pursuing a different woman. That’s pretty much the definition of not romantic.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can proceed with the rest of the review. Beyond my above complaints, I’m not entirely sure what to make of this book. It almost seems like a collection of the author’s favorite books (with the occasional movie or piece of music thrown in), quoted, paraphrased, and referenced, to make a story.  It’s philosophy with a HEAVY dose of absurd.

I couldn’t relate to almost any of Samuel’s decisions.  Example: He dislikes cats, but at the beginning of the novel, one runs through his door, and when he can’t lure him back out, he decides that he’ll keep him a couple of weeks. [insert eyeroll].  Then there’s the instalove with Gabriela (based on games of hide-and-seek as a six-year-old), and his agreement, when his upstairs neighbor (whom he’s just met) goes into the hospital, to WRITE AN ENTIRE BOOK for him, in order to meet a nonnegotiable deadline.  [There aren’t enough eyerolls in the world.]

To sum up, this book was…interesting, but also tedious.  I’ll admit, it did have somewhat of a happily-ever-after.  By the end, Samuel’s life is much fuller, and there is the promise of a real romance in his future. If you don’t dive into it with any preconceived notions, you might just be okay.

 

Side note: I wasn’t able to finish last month’s book, The Wild Girl. When things started moving into the truly disturbing, I was unwilling to read any further. I’m disappointed I couldn’t get to the happily-ever-after.

 

Click icon for more
book review blogs
@Barrie Summy

FCC: I checked this book out from the library, and the Amazon URL above is linked to my Associates account.

Posted in book review club, Uncategorized on 03/02/2016 12:10 am | 12 Comments