Project Wonderful

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shannon's Review - The Swans Of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin


Title: The Swans Of Fifth Avenue
Series: N/A
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Received: from Net Galley
Release Date: January 2016
Pages: 369


Melanie Benjamin‘s Official Websites:

Official Site




Shannon’s Thoughts:

Based on a real friendship of socialites and an author taking place at a different time in the USA.  Author Truman Capote made a name for himself after writing  Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood.  His fame gave him a ticket to parties in New York that would introduce him to a group of woman famous in their own right, for being fashionistas and marrying men with wealth and stature.  Truman’s favorite lady socialite was Babe Paley and he was her favorite as well.  This historical fiction author Melanie Benjamin imagined conversations that probably happened within the “Swans”. Eventually leading towards the downfall of Truman Capote and the change of what is fame and who has it. .

Melanie Benjamin really has a knack for finding the voice of the people she is writing about. Everything feels so truthful as if she was actually in the room with the characters she wrote about.  Since what she is writing about is historical fiction, the characters are real people but the social interactions are imagined by author.

This book did take me a little longer to fall into and really believe the voices.  This could also be because it was the first by Melanie Benjamin that I read in ebook format. I find that I do not connect to the story as well as I do with a physical book.  I also like to draw out reading the end of her books because they are just so good.

Historical fiction books are good after a reading slump because if it is written well enough you want to read other books about people the book is based on. This is the 4th book by Melanie Benjamin all historical fictions and all have been so enjoyable. I now have to wait for her next one.  I hope the wait is not too long.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mumbling Mondays - Where To Start In A Series

Mumbling Mondays - Where To Start In A Series


So starting a book series can be like deciding which came first the chicken or the egg.  Especially if you are choosing to read the Xanth series by Piers Anthony or the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.  Both are series that have over 20 books and do not have to be read in order. The Discworld and Xanth series have so many characters and span over so many years it like starting a new book not in a series.   There are some hints here and there that connect each book to its series but most of the books are just as good stand alone.

There are other series that it depends on the readers choice. For example I think of an author whose books I use to devour.  That author was V.C. Andrews.  For a long while V.C. Andrews books had a format of 5 books to a series.  The 1st book released would be about a young girl who would go through ups and downs throughout her life and get told through the first 4 books.   Then the 5th book would be a prequel to the 1st book about the young girl’s mother.  I read the books as they were published and I can not imagine having read them any differently because so much would be revealed in that last book.

Then there are books that reading out of order would just make the stories confusing,  I find this happens with really rich fantasy series.  There are books I have started and did not realize the book was part of a series until halfway through.  Once I realized it so many things made sense as to why I did not understand references that I had not known because I read out of order.

For the most part maybe because of my OCD or whatever I try to read in order of the way the books were published.

What book series are you reading?  Do you read them in order of published or random order?
Next Time : Ebook versus Real book

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shannon's Review - The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom


Title: The Magic Strings Of Frankie Presto
Series: N/A
Author: Mitch Albom
Genre: Fantasy, Inspiration Ficiton,
Publisher:  Harper
Received:  bought
Release Date:  November 2015
Pages: 512


Author’s Official Websites:





Shannon’s Thoughts:

Born with a musical talent no one can deny. Frankie Presto life is told by “Music” itself. We learn about the life of Frankie, as those who loved him come together to celebrate a man who can not be replaced.

There is something I love about Mitch Albom books. The inspirational way the stories are told and each one get more creative than the next. The fictional story of Frankie Presto and his talented life, show that you can’t run away from what god given talent you have because it is part of that person’s being. I may not have musical talent but I have artist talent. I have known how to draw from the time I was little. Like Frankie Presto there were times I stopped doing anything artist but it found it’s always back to me.  The same happens for Frankie, many times.

Even though the book goes back and forth through Frankie’s life and death.  I was still not prepared to say goodbye.  I wanted to know more about Frankie, his wife and daughter.  Even though I wanted the story to go on. I disliked that fact that the author felt he had to reveal Frankie’s true history, who his mother and father was.  I think I would have been okay for Frankie to have never known this info because in real life you do not get all the answers.

Mitch Albom has written another inspirational book.  It sparks questions about life, death and what talent we grabbed for ourselves while being born.  We reach for the stars and some of us, like Frankie, become one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shannon's Review - Lament For The Molly Maguires by Arthur H. Lewis


Title: Lament For The Molly Maguires
Series: N/A
Author: Arthur H. Lewis
Genre: History, Non-Fiction
Publisher: Pocket Books
Received: Borrowed
Release Date: 1969
Pages: 278


Author’s Official Websites:

Official Website




Shannon’s Thoughts:

A somewhat historical account of the rise and fall of the Irish group called The Molly Maguires.  The Molly Maguires took law into their own hands, trying to find justice for miners and their family who were poorly treated. This book tells of the Molly Maguires group and The Pinkerton Spy that brought them down.

I knew the basics about the Molly Maguires.  I also knew of rumors that my family helped The Pinkerton Spy hide.  My great grandparents and grandparents on my father’s side grew up in the Pottstown area called St. Clair.  I think while reading it I was a little hopeful that I would see a familiar last name connected to me but… I did not.  The book did mention many names, so many that I got confused at who was who.

Most of book was... pretty boring. I kept comparing it to the beginning of the bible. Just listing this person did this and this other person did that.  I feel like the most emotional moment was at the end of the book where some Molly Maguires were hung.

I had hoped for more from this book but I think most of it went over my head or my eyes gazed over no matter how many times I read the same spot. I think that the reason I did not like a lot of the book is because of the author’s “voice”.  For a book with so much death and violence, it seemed very slow and boring.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lazy Sunday - Mother's Day and Reading Slumps


Happy Mother’s Day to mothers in the USA!

I found this vlog from 2013 from Claudia Norris.  Claudia and her mom show some interesting books to possibly get for your mom.

This has been me the last two years.  I hear ya TeasersBooks. I really do.

Getting out of a book slump is hard.  I just had not been reading much of anything let alone writing reviews. Some of the things BenjaminOfTomes mentioned did help me.  

Well I am going to get back into reading.  Have a great Sunday!

ProfessionalPenThief has some other ideas to help you out of a reading slump.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sketchy Saturday - Babe And Truman

Sketchy Saturday

On Sketchy saturdays I plan on drawing something inspired from a current book I may be reading.  Feel free to join in and share a link of your own work as well. :-)

(Truman Capote and Babe Paley by S.M. McGee)

Right now I am in the middle of The Swans Of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin.   It is historical fiction featuring people that truly existed and events that for the most part may have happen.  This piece of fan art I have drawn socialite Babe Paley with close friend and author Truman Capote.   This is actually a scene from the book as Truman lays his head in Babe’s lap just comforting and being their true selves with each other. This image  just stood out to me because there was so many feelings happening at once. It just rang true.  

If you would like see more about The Swans Of Fifth Avenue check out Melanie Benjamin’s Official Site.


Friday, May 6, 2016

Five Fun Facts - Rudyard Kipling

Five Fun Facts

Rudyard Kipling
(photo borrowed from

  1. Best known for his children's book The Jungle Book.
  2. His first name, Rudyard, comes from a lake in England that his parents first met at.
  3. Started writing The Jungle Book after birth of his first born child.
  4. There is a group called The Kipling Society it is a group of people who are interested in all the works of Kipling and meet in the U.K.
  5. He is buried next to authors Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy

Info collected from