Posted in Reading, World War II

What I’ve been Reading…

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a wonderful Christmas season with my family. For some reason, I looked forward to Christmas this year more than I have in the past. I’m not sure why, maybe because I started shopping early and this season was less stressful. Or it could be because we were all healthy this Christmas and I was thankful for that.

 

Photo by mclcbooks on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Anyway, whatever the reason, I had a great Christmas and I hope you did, too.

This is my last blog post of 2017. It’s kind of anti-climactic because I don’t have the “I’ve figured out the meaning of life” post I thought I’d have at this juncture in the game, and I haven’t figured out my New Year’s resolutions yet or my One Little Word for 2018. So as I struggle for something to write, I fall back on one of my favorite hobbies and that is reading. I’ve finished a couple of excellent stories I haven’t shared with you yet so I thought this might be a good time to discuss them. One was recommended to me and the other one is one of my favorite authors. Both books were excellent. So without further ado, here they are.

 

THE CITY OF THIEVES:

 

City of Thieves: A Novel by [Benioff, David]

 

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I love a good World War II story, especially the ones where good triumphs over evil. In this story, two unlikely men become friends in occupied Russia during the Nazi invasion when they are captured by the Nazis. Instead, of death, they are tasked with finding eggs for the Commander’s daughter’s wedding cake in a time when eggs are nowhere to be found. The two characters take us on their journey where we run into some dangerous characters and some heroic ones.  I absolutely loved the ending. It’s one of hope and shows that even in the most horrible of circumstances love triumphs over all.

 

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE

 

 

Little Fires Everywhere by [Ng, Celeste]

 

The runaway New York Times bestseller

Named a Best Book of the Year:
People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Kirkus ReviewsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch, Book of the Month, Paste, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, and many more!

“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.”—John Green

“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” –Jodi Picoult

“Witty, wise, and tender. It’s a marvel.” – Paula Hawkins

“To say I love this book is an understatement. It’s a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears.” – Reese Witherspoon

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

 

My Thoughts:

 

Celeste Ng has become one of my favorite authors. I fell in love with her first book “Everything I Never Told You” and her second book is right up there with her first one.

“Little Fires Everywhere” is the story of the Richardson family and the quiet life of Shaker Heights and how one addition to this little town can turn everything upside down. The addition I’m talking about is Mia and Pearl. Mia is a photographer who’s been moving from town to town for quite some time, but she wants to stop and put down some roots for her daughter Pearl.

They rent a home from the Richardson’s and the Richardson children befriend Pearl and soon Mia begins working for the family to help pay the rent. Their lives become intertwined and fires start. It’s a great story of family dynamics and explores issues of adoption, abortion, and parenting. If you like human drama stories you’ll love this one.

 

So there you have it, my last post of 2017.  If you’re snowed in, these two books are a must read…even if you’re not snowed it. They’re great stories. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I’m putting together a reading list for 2018 do you have any recommendations for me? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, reviews

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a productive week. I’ve reached the 30,000 word mark on my latest WIP and I’m excited about it, especially since I started this one over twice. Oy!

I’ve got it back on track and I’m hoping to finish this WIP by the end of the month. I don’t know if I’ll make it or not, but I’m giving it my best shot.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading because we all know the best writers are also avid readers. I’ve read two books recently that I thought I’d share with you because they were so good in different ways.

The first one is “The Poisonwood Bible.” The cover and blurb are below.

 

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

 

My Thoughts:

This book was an amazing story. It was so sad. I believe it’s an accurate depiction of what the people in Africa were going through at that time.

I did not like Nathan Price in this story at all. His zealotry put his family in danger, and it’s unfortunate that his wife, Orleanna was so beaten down by his fanaticism that she couldn’t see clearly before tragedy struck. I felt sorry for her and her girls. They were always hungry and dirty.

This was a tragic tale and there were times I had to put it down because I would get upset with Nathan’s zealotry or Orleanna’s passiveness. I’m a strong advocate for children so the parents’ inability to be good parents really hit home for me.

This was a long read as well. It took me a while to get through it, but I feel it’s an excellent depiction of what was going on in Africa at that time. Excellent historical fiction, but some of the characters were hard to take.

 

I also read Nicola Yoon’s, “The Sun is also a Star.” The cover and blurb are below.

 

The Sun Is Also a Star (Yoon, Nicola) by [Yoon, Nicola]

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

 

My Thoughts:

This was an amazing love story. I devoured this book and I’m looking forward to reading her other novel, “Everything, Every thing.” I loved both the main characters in this story. Natasha and Daniel. I loved how they fell in love. I loved how they dealt with their families and I loved how Daniel stood up to his father and followed his dreams. I also loved the ending and that’s all I’m going to say about that. If you’re looking for a great feel good story this one is for you.

 

So there you have it. What I’ve been reading lately. How about you, do you have any good book recommendations? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Reading

Reading: It’s Cheaper than Therapy

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the future of reading in our society. According to this article, reading is on the decline. Washington Post Article

Like the article states, we readers have many distractions pulling us away from our beloved books. There’s the internet, movies, and video games. Now, I’m not big on video games. In fact, the only time my boys want to challenge me to a game is when they need an ego boost because I suck at video games. However, I can attest to the fact there are more things demanding my attention so I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

Photo via VisualHunt

I’m sure you’ve heard many educators claim that reading teaches empathy, and with reading on the decline so is our ability to empathize with our peers. This is evident in the arguments I see on social media. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it just seems like we have less tolerance for people who are different than us.

 

Photo credit: Bikes And Books via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Not only is reading linked with empathy but there are other benefits we need to pay attention to as well.

For example, reading is an incredible stress reliever. Did you know by picking up a book and reading for just six minutes you can reduce your stress level by sixty eight percent?  I don’t know about you, but I’m teaching this to my kids. Exercise and reading are better ways of handling stress than drinking alcohol or taking drugs, wouldn’t you agree?

As a parent, we need to teach our littles how to cope with everyday stress and one of the cheapest ways is to pick up a book and read. It sure beats the alternatives and is less expensive than therapy.

There are still more benefits to reading for pleasure. Like running is exercise for the body, reading is exercise for the mind. It improves focus, improves memory, and analytical skills. To read more about this check out this post: The Benefits of Reading

I don’t know about you, but I feel we can’t let this decline continue. If we do we’ll be seeing our young people resorting to other stress relievers that aren’t as beneficial.  We don’t want that to happen. You realize there’s an opioid epidemic happening don’t you?  I don’t want one of my kids to end up as part of that statistic, do you?

So teach them healthy coping mechanisms like reading for pleasure and exercising. They’ll be happier and healthier because of it.

Photo via Visualhunt

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Reading, reviews, Women, World War II

Winter Garden: A Review

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a short blogcation last week. I’m halfway done with my second WIP of the summer and I’m excited about this one just as much as I was excited about the first one I finished. I’m also back to work. Sob. Summer is over.

I didn’t get all three books done like I planned. Sigh. However, that can be summed up in one word. Kids. 🙂

So to ease myself back into the blogosphere. I thought I’d share my thoughts on one of the books I read over the summer. The title is “Winter Garden” by Kristen Hannah. The cover and blurb are below.

 

Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

Can a woman ever really know herself if she doesn’t know her mother? 

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past 

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

My Thoughts:

 

I loved this story. It was emotional and well written like all of Kristen Hannah’s books are. The first one of her books I read was “The Nightingale” and it was good, too. In “Winter Garden” the main characters are two sisters who are polar opposites. One who takes on all the responsibilities of her family orchard and one who runs away.  She does a great job of showing their two distinct personalities and the conflicts they incur because of them.

This is a tale of a complicated relationship between a mother and her two daughters. The mother is cold and unloving and her daughters resent this, but as the story unfolds, they learn the heartbreaking story of why their mother is so reserved. They come to understand her and understand the love their father had for her.  They also grow to love her.

I don’t want to give too much away so I won’t give away any more details, but I will say there is a surprise twist at the end so have your tissues handy!

If you’re looking to add something to your TBR pile for the long winter months. This would be a great addition. How about you? Have you read any good books this summer that you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Reading, Uncategorized

My Summer TBR Pile

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. My first week of my summer break has flown by. I finished my WIP and I’ve been through one phase of editing. I’m going to give it one more read through before I send it to my Beta reader.

 

I am so excited about this story!

 

But enough of that. 🙂 I’ve put together my TBR Pile for the summer. Squeee!

The downside of that is I won’t have time for housework. Sigh.

I’ll have to find a way to live with that. Somehow. (Places hand over heart and wears a sad expression…for about three seconds!)  😉

So here it is! Dun…dun…dun….

 

Lisa’s Summer TBR Pile

 

The Heretic’s Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel by [Kent, Kathleen]

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha’s courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family’s deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

 

Winter Garden

 Winter Garden by [Hannah, Kristin]

 Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

The Tiger’s Wife

 The Tiger's Wife: A Novel by [Obreht, Téa]

In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Bookand the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.

 

Rush Home Road

Rush Home Road: A Novel by [Lansens, Lori]

 

When 5-year old Sharla Cody is dumped on the doorstep of Addy Shadd, a 70-year old woman living in a trailer park, Addy does not know how completely her life is about to change. She’s hardly used to company and the troubled Sharla is not the sweet, beautiful angel she had envisioned. Over time, Addy and Sharla form a bond that neither of them expected-and Sharla begins to undergo a transformation under Addy’s patient and loving care. But much to Addy’s surprise and dismay, Sharla’s presence brings back memories of her own tumultuous childhood. As she reminisces about her days growing up in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid 1800s, she remembers her family and her first love and confronts the painful experience that drove her away from home, never to return.Brillia ntly structured and achingly lyrical, this beautiful first novel by the award-winning author of The Girls tells the story of two unlikely people thrown together who transform each other’s lives forever.

 

The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by [Kingsolver, Barbara]

 

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against this backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband’s part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters—the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharply observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father’s intractable mission, and by Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

Dancing between the dark comedy of human failings and the breathtaking possibilities of human hope, The Poisonwood Bible possesses all that has distinguished Barbara Kingsolver’s previous work, and extends this beloved writer’s vision to an entirely new level. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring of modern writers.

 

 

The Kitchen House

 The Kitchen House: A Novel by [Grissom, Kathleen]

In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.

In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.

The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic: A Novel by [Hoffman, Alice]

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

 

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

 

 

In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

 

When Breath Becomes Air

 

When Breath Becomes Air by [Kalanithi, Paul]

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, this inspiring, exquisitely observed memoir finds hope and beauty in the face of insurmountable odds as an idealistic young neurosurgeon attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living?

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
THE WASHINGTON POST • THE NEW YORK TIMES • NPR

BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE AWARD FINALIST

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

 

Girl in Pieces

Girl in Pieces by [Glasgow, Kathleen]

Fans of Girl, Interrupted, Thirteen Reasons Why, and All the Bright Places will love the New York Times bestselling novel Girl in Pieces.

A haunting, beautiful, and necessary book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
A deeply moving portrait of a girl in a world that owes her nothing, and has taken so much, and the journey she undergoes to put herself back together. Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.

 

Touching the Wire

 

TOUCHING THE WIRE: Auschwitz:1944 A Jewish nurse steps from a cattle wagon into the heart of a young doctor, but can he save her? 70yrs later, his granddaughter tries to keep the promise he made. by [Bryn, Rebecca]

 

“He had no way to tell her he had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope.”
A fictional story of every man and woman interred in Nazi death camps throughout the Second World War, this novel is based on real events.
Part One – In the Shadow of the Wolf
In a death camp in 1940’s Poland, a young doctor and one of his nurses struggle to save lives and relieve the suffering of hundreds of women. As their relationship blossoms, amid the death and deprivation, they join the camp resistance and, despite the danger of betrayal, he steals damning evidence of war-crimes. Afraid of repercussions, and for the sake of his post-war family, he hides the evidence but hard truths and terrible choices haunt him, as does an unkept promise to his lost love.

Part Two – Though the Heavens should Fall
In present-day England, his granddaughter seeks to answer the questions posed by her grandfather’s enigmatic carving. Her own relationship in tatters, she meets a modern historian who, intrigued by the carving, agrees to help her discover its purpose. As her grandfather’s past seeps into the present, she betrays the man she loves and is forced to confront her own guilt in order to be able to forgive the unforgivable and keep her grandfather’s promise.

 

So there you have it! My TBR Pile for this summer. I’m hoping between my writing and my family, I’ll be able to get them all read. I just finished one that’s not on this list because I’ve read it already. 😉  It was very good. 🙂 It’s titled “The Sugar Men.” If you like WWII stories, then this one’s for you! 🙂

 

How about you? Do you have any books you just can’t wait to read? Share them with me! I’m always looking for a good story! Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Reading, reviews

Book Review: “The Devil’s Dance”

 

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today reveling in the fact that I have the whole summer off. I plan on doing a lot of writing this summer. I’m hoping to get three books finished. I know. Huge goal. Let’s see if I can do it. 🙂 One of them is almost done and I must say this story has evolved so much from the one I originally started with. I’m ecstatic to finish it and start the editing process.

I’m also planning on doing a lot of reading. I just finished an awesome debut novel and I thought I’d share it with you. If you like crime thrillers then you’ll love Kristen Lamb’s novel “The Devil’s Dance.” The cover and blurb are below.

 

The Devil's Dance by [Lamb, Kristen]

 

When Romi Lachlan’s fiancé disappears with half-a-billion dollars stolen from his company, she finds herself broke, blackballed, and the FBI’s prime suspect.

Forced to take refuge with her crazy-as-a-bag-of-cats family at the Cactus Flower trailer park in Bisby, Texas, Romi’s sure her life can’t get any worse until Special Agent Benjamin Sawyer shows up, determined to recover the money and put her away.

It turns out that persuading the hard-nosed G-man she’s innocent is the least of her worries. The body count in Bisby is rising, and Romi must uncover the secret to the town’s newfound prosperity before the secret buries her.

Grab your copy of this intense mystery-thriller today!

Praise for The Devil’s Dance:
“Kristen Lamb is a word demon. Sardonic, humorous and afoul of propriety, her fiction takes no prisoners. This is fun stuff, written by a born novelist with a maverick sensibility.” Joel Eisenberg, Hollywood producer & award-winning novelist

My Thoughts:

This story opens with Romi Lachlan in the unemployment office frustrated because she can’t seem to find a job. She’s an independent woman with a soft heart and I immediately liked her. In the beginning she’s unaware of the person pulling the strings behind the scenes. She believes the reason she can’t find a job is related to the fact her fiancé embezzled millions from his company and ran off with the cash, leaving her and everyone else holding the bag.

She decides to return home to her family and finds things have changed in the small town where she grew up. That’s when FBI agent Ben Sawyer reappears, following her from Dallas. He believes she’s just laying low until things cool down and then she’s going to meet up with her fiancé. They’ll disappear together with all the money and live happily ever after.  This is the furthest thing from the truth as far as Romi’s concerned, but she can’t seem to get that through Ben’s thick skull.

However, his inability to see the truth is the last thing on Romi’s mind when people start dying in Bisby.  Ben and Romi become an unlikely team as the body count starts to rise. There are plot twists that keep you guessing and you won’t want to put this book down. I won’t give any more of the story away, but check it out. It’s the perfect summer read!

How about you? Have you read any good books lately? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you and I’m putting my TBR pile together for this summer so I’m looking to make additions to it!  🙂

 

Posted in promotion, Reading

Reading Rocks in Rockford!

 

 

Photo credit: demandaj via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! This Saturday from 10:00 to 1:00 I’ll be in downtown Rockford with other amazing authors! Come on down and meet authors and get some incredible books!

b569f-the2bsuper2bspies2band2bthe2bcat2blady2bkiller2b500x750

In a small town in Michigan, fifteen-year-old Sarah Cole is stuck spending the summer at her Aunt and Uncle’s with her sister, Lacey. She’s not happy with the situation until she befriends a girl named Jackie. The three girls stumble upon the ruthless murder of a reclusive neighborhood woman and what’s worse? One of the officers investigating the crime believes the girls are responsible for her death.

Fearing that this officer will frame them for the murder, the girls organize their own detective squad. They become the Super Spies and start their own investigation. The Super Spies can’t understand why anyone would want to murder the “Cat Lady” until they start digging into her past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. They uncover a connection between the two crimes and attempt to bring this information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the investigation. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they also struggle with the fact that their exuberant investigating could provide a legal loophole allowing the killer to go free. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady killer.

Or die trying…

Image

This book opens in a small town in Michigan where Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are now living with their Aunt and Uncle. Still reeling from the fact her parents have disappeared, Sarah starts the school year with her new friend Jackie Jenkins. When Sarah learns the school has been bombed, she’s filled with dread. Uncle Walt is a teacher, and he was in the school when the bomb exploded. Taking matters into her own hands, Sarah decides to search for him. The rest of the Super Spies are right behind her. When a fireman chases them away from the school, Sarah becomes suspicious. She decides to investigate. The FBI arrives on the scene. Sarah realizes this bombing could have even bigger implications. Searching for the bombers, Sarah is introduced to the world of terrorism. She fears that the bombing and her parents’ disappearance are connected and terrorists are involved. To make matters worse, the bombers are determined to finish the job. Can the Super Spies find the bombers before it’s too late?

TheSuperSpiesandthePiedPiper 500x750

Sarah Cole and her sister Lacey are at it once again when they learn their missing parents’ cell phone has been traced to Alden, Michigan. When the FBI declines to continue the in-vestigation, Sarah takes matters into her own hands. She calls upon the Super Spies and they delve into the situation. Suddenly, the teens find themselves immersed in small town intrigue and mystery involving a menacing stranger, who Sarah dubs “The Stalker.” But when Sarah learns he’s connected to her parents’ disappearance, she’s determined to find out what that connection is. The Super Spies embark on a journey that leads them into a web of corporate corruption at its highest level that leaves innocent victims in its wake. Can they find the proof they need to stop the greedy corporation before it’s too late?

Lark Singer is seventeen years old and already on the way to a brilliant music career. But as she and her band, Starlight, gear up for a competition, life seems to be throwing her a few curve balls. The mysteries of her past seem to be unraveling, and she’s no longer certain she wants to know those answers or how knowing about her past will affect her difficult relationship with her mother. And when her best friend, Bean, changes things between them, all her plans for a musical future are placed in jeopardy. How can she balance her complicated personal life to keep her musical goals on track?

Posted in Reading, reviews

Book Review: “The Luckiest Girl Alive”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. Summer’s coming and I’m looking forward to doing a lot of reading so I’m putting together a Summer Reading List. I’ll post that one at a later date. Today, I’ve got a book review for you. The cover and blurb are below.

 

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Novel by [Knoll, Jessica]

**AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER***

Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will thrill at “the perfect page-turner to start your summer” (People, Book of the Week): Luckiest Girl Alive—described by Reese Witherspoon as “one of those reads you just can’t put down!”

Loved Gone Girl? We promise [Luckiest Girl Alive is] just as addictive.”
Good Housekeeping

“Jessica Knoll introduces you to your new best frenemy, and you’re going to love it. . . .Destined to become one of the summer’s most gripping reads.”
—Bustle.com

“With the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn but an intensity all its own, Luckiest Girl Alive is a debut you won’t want to miss.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me and The Fever

Luckiest Girl Alive is Gone Girl meets Cosmo meets Sex and the City. . . . Knoll hits it out of the park.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

HER PERFECT LIFE IS A PERFECT LIE.

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s

hing else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

My Thoughts:

This is the well-written story of Tifani before she became Ani, a girl who has achieved success and is about to marry the guy of her dreams, but something isn’t quite right, and as we progress through the story, we find out how damaged and broken Tifani is on the inside.

We go back to her high school days and learn about the group she desperately wanted to fit in with, and the boy she had a crush on. The story takes us back to the pivotal point where Tifani breaks. It’s a party and she gets so drunk she passes out. The boys at the party take advantage of the situation and have sex with her without her consent. She doesn’t remember everything that happened and she learns the hard way that belonging to this popular group may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

One boy in the group belongs to a powerful family in the city. His name is Dean Barton, and he has always gotten away with things because of his family money because of this he has entitlement issues and there’s a history of his abusive behavior. There’s another character, Ben, who Dean victimized so badly he ended up in a mental hospital and has never returned to the school. He seems like a minor character, but he becomes a major one as one of the instigators of the tragic event that blows the cover off the abuse in this school.

I won’t tell you anymore of the story, but it’s a sad tale that’s beautifully weaved together so all the threads and pieces fit. You don’t realize the important elements until the end, and that’s how a master story-teller works.

I loved how the story fit together and how I didn’t see the tragic event coming toward the end. The story shows the transformation of Tifani from an insecure girl who has everything to the strong survivor who pushes away things that aren’t good for her.

If you liked “Gone Girl,” you’ll like this story. It’s a great summer read.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my post. Do you have any books you’d like to recommend? I’m planning on doing a ton of reading this summer so I’m looking for some good recommendations! Leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Reading, Teen

It Takes a Village…

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the book and the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.” This week our school sent us a letter regarding the content of this show. They were concerned about how teens might be reacting to the strong issues the show addresses.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by [Asher, Jay]

Now, I haven’t read the book or watched the series. I’ve got to find a time when my boys aren’t around to watch it, and right now they’re around a lot. I like that. 🙂 So I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I agree with the concerns of the school district. The book and the show deal with a lot of teen issues like rape, slut-shaming, and suicide. The letter I received voiced the concern that the issues the show addressed might be possible triggers for some teens who are struggling with these problems themselves.

The school did a great service to bring these concerns to the attention of the parents. I was impressed the district was so in tune with what is happening among the student body. I work in the library and I know that book has been very popular.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

So the question arises, who is responsible for the message our kids receive, is it the author of the book? The producers of the show? The school district? Or the Parents? How about when the kids take this behavior to social media, who’s responsible then? My take on the whole situation is that we all are. Remember that old saying it takes a village to raise a child? This particular example is what the quote is talking about.

Our responsibility as authors is to make sure our stories are authentic and our message is a positive one. I feel, even though I haven’t read the book yet, that when Jay Asher wrote the story, he was attempting to show what could happen to a teen who was experiencing these problems. So teens who were slut-shaming or bullying would know the consequences of their actions before it was too late. It was a cautionary tale. Kudos to the author for sending such a powerful message.

There are differences between the show and the book, mainly for dramatic effect. The show is much longer than the book and the reason is because the producers wanted to make thirteen episodes to make the mini-series a two week event. Because of this, they had to make changes to the story itself. The administrators at the school were concerned the show presented suicide as a viable option to solving the issues in the story, and again, the possibility of this show as a trigger for teens experiencing some of the issues.

Suicide is never an option. We need to communicate with our kids and tell them help is available. There are professionals who can help them deal with their strong emotions and there are authority figures who can step in if they’re being shamed in any way. This is where the school took responsibility and warned the parents. Now the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved and either watch or read the book with their child and have an open dialogue with them. Could the producers of the series have done a better job of showing how Hannah could’ve gotten help? Probably. And I feel they should have. I’ve heard the show presented suicide as a viable option and like I said before, suicide is never an option.

But what happens when the teens take this behavior to social media? Who’s the authority there? Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure students behave? In my opinion, social media is out of the school’s control. The school can’t police all their students’ social media accounts.

Photo credit: Mark Kens via Visual Hunt / CC BY

How about the parents. Yeah. I agree in a perfect world, the parents are responsible for their child’s behavior, but we all know our world is far from perfect, and most kids don’t tell their parents when they’re going through something like slut-shaming. So how do we nip this behavior in the bud before it reaches that critical point?

We need the creators of these social media sites to be vigilant and look for this type of behavior among their users. They’re the only ones who can do this. And they need to take a strong stance against this behavior. Accounts should be suspended or deleted as soon as bullying appears. I know they can’t catch everyone, but they may be able to save a life.

I know some students will be up in arms about privacy issues and freedom of speech. But social media has never been private and freedom of speech doesn’t apply to bullying. We as parents need to teach our kids this behavior is never okay. We have to make sure we don’t inadvertently model this behavior in our own lives as well. So ultimately, every single one of us is responsible and it really does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

 

Posted in Reading, Uncategorized, World War II

If you had an extra $243,000 would you buy Hitler’s phone?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after an edit of my manuscript. I’m sending it off to a beta reader/editor so cross your fingers for me. I hope she likes it. This is a good story. I’m excited about it. Squeee! But, enough about that.

I’m back today to express my horror over this article. Someone paid $243,000 for Hitler’s phone. Don’t believe me? Check out the Huffington Post’s article on it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hitler-phone-auction_us_58ab36c2e4b0f077b3ecd032

I find this perplexing. I know it’s historical memorabilia but I wouldn’t want it sitting in my house. I’d worry Hitler’s spirit would be lurking in that phone, and what if it rings. Do you answer it? Who’d be on the other end? Himmler? Mengele?

That would definitely freak me out. I don’t want to talk to either one of them.

Look at it. It’s a Rotary Phone for Christ’s Sakes. It can’t even take selfies. Jeez!

I sure wouldn’t spend $243,000 for a phone either. Even if it was Hitler’s. I just think that’s weird. I can think of so many other things I’d have to have other than Hitler’s phone. Heck, I bet $243,000 would buy food, clothes, and even shelter for some homeless people.

I mean, seriously, get your priorities straight.

Just some random thoughts going through my head as I write this blog post. I’m interested in World War II. I cannot fathom how Hitler was able to command men to murder so many Jews. I’ve done a little research and I found some interesting facts about him. Did you know his father was half Jewish and Hitler hated him because he was cruel and abusive?

I can certainly understand his hatred of his father, but to believe it was the fact that he was half-Jewish was the cause of the abuse is irrational. I would think at some point he must’ve realized what he was doing was wrong. But he didn’t. He actually believed he was doing the right thing and so many people followed him. That’s what I find scary.

I’ve been reading quite a few WWII stories. Right now I’m reading “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” It’s well written and very factual about the portrayal of life in Poland during the war.

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by [Ackerman, Diane]

My all-time favorite WWII stories are “All the Light We Cannot See” and “The Book Thief.” I bet you’re wondering how I started out this post about Hitler’s phone and ended up talking about books. That’s just how I roll. 😉 It’s one of the amazing talents I have. 🙂

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by [Doerr, Anthony]

 

So tell me, if you had $243,000 burning a hole in your pocket, would you buy Hitler’s phone or would you spend it on something else? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!