Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wine Girl

After reading this beautifully rendered memoir, you’ll never sip a glass of wine and think of it in the same way!
The captivating story of a resourceful young female sommelier who overcame countless obstacles to become an award-winning wine expert and restaurateur.
Victoria James (Drink Pink: A Celebration of Rosé) retraces the rocky road she traveled to become an award-winning wine expert who, at the age of 21, was the youngest sommelier to lead a Michelin-starred restaurant.
She divides her story into seven sections, mapping her life from age seven to 28. The prologue perfectly embodies the theme and tone of the memoir: James, a newbie sommelier at an upscale restaurant, must deliver a $650 bottle of chardonnay from Burgundy, France, to an elite, grossly chauvinistic customer. James quells her nervousness and uncorks the bottle, following protocol with "calculated precision." She tastes and approves the wine, which she describes as "like slipping into a bed made up with silk sheets." After the patron takes his own sip, he verbally demeans James--her youth and inexperience--and orders her to take the bottle back and uncork another. What ensues is an apt metaphor for James's life as she takes on the patron and her own fears, managing to appease the customer and her bosses, while also endearing herself to readers who will eagerly empathize with and root for her. 
How she deals with challenges and conflicts--and proves to be a tenacious problem-solver, undaunted overcomer and go-getter--are what make James and her underdog story so appealing. Her flowing narrative defines and explains many terms used to describe wine and its aficionados. One word, however, sums up James's utterly engrossing coming-of-age and success story--Wonderful!  

Ecco, $26.99 Hardcover, 9780062961679, 336 pages

Publication Date: March 24, 2020

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (March 27, 2020), link HERE 
To read the longer form of this review as published on Shelf Awareness for the Book Trade (March 5, 2020), link HERE

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


Popular Irish author Cecelia Ahern returns with the long-awaited sequel to her best-selling novel (and blockbuster movie), PS I Love You.  
A tender, moving story about a widow who helps a group of terminally ill patients leave behind heartfelt messages for loved ones.
Cecelia Ahern continues the story she started in her bestselling debut, PS, I Love You. After Holly Kennedy--an Irish, 30-year-old--lost her beloved husband and soul mate, Gerry, to a brain tumor, he left behind 10 notes, one for each month, capped with his tender signature of ‘PS, I Love You.’ Each letter offered Holly guidance and wisdom as she struggled to carve out a new life. 
In Postscript, it’s seven years later for Holly—now 37-years-old and romantically involved with Gabriel, a divorcée who co-parents a contentious teenager. When Holly is asked to be a guest on a podcast to discuss Gerry’s letters--what they meant and how they changed her--her participation drives a wedge in her relationship with Gabriel. And when a group of terminally ill patients--fans of the ‘PS, I Love You’ letters--approaches Holly, enlisting her help to write letters of their own, Holly’s perspective on life--and love--shifts. Holly assists a 17-year-old, unmarried mother facing cervical cancer to craft a heartfelt message for her newborn; a father with a brain tumor longing to remain part of his family’s life; a husband with advanced emphysema with a penchant for writing playful Limericks; and a woman battling MS. In offering assistance, Holly examines how time changes those forced to reinvent themselves—both the dying and the living.  
Ahern (Flawed) is a passionate, sensitive storyteller. She employs great empathy as she probes dark themes and gives readers the pleasure of another entertaining, enriching story buoyed by hope and positivity.

Grand Central Publishing, $27.00 Hardcover, 9781538746592, 304 pp

Publication Date: February 11, 2020

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (March 6, 2020), link HERE