Posted in Entertainment, Literacy, Reading, Teen, World War II

What I’ve been Reading

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I thought I’d share with you two books I’ve recently read. After a couple of serious posts, I thought I’d lighten things up with a fun one. Well, fun to us bookworms!

The first book is “The Girl in the Blue Coat.”  It’s the story about friendship and betrayal during WWII when everyone was living in fear.  One woman hides a Jewish girl in her back room and one day the girl disappears.  She seeks out the assistance of Hanneke to find this girl and so the story begins.  Hanneke is pulled into the situation and reluctantly does what she can to find the girl.

 

Girl in the Blue Coat by [Hesse, Monica]

The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.
On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.
Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.
My Thoughts:

This story was well written and an accurate portrayal of what happened during WWII. I loved Hanneke, she was such a strong girl, even though she didn’t see herself that way. There’s a twist at the end that took me by surprise. A well written historical YA novel. I’d recommend this to both adults and young adults. It was a great read.

The next book I read is also a WWII novel and it’s based on a true story. The title is “Beneath a Scarlet Sky.” It’s the story of Pino and his family during WWII and how Pino helps the resistance by joining the Nazi army. It’s a depiction of the bravery of the Italian people who joined the resistance and helped Jewish families escape into Switzerland.

Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by [Sullivan, Mark]

Soon to be a major television event from Pascal Pictures, starring Tom Holland.

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeThe Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

 

My Thoughts:

While this is the story about the bravery of the Italians who joined the resistance, it’s also the story of love and loss. The story of Pino and Anna. Pino falls for her hard after he joins the Nazi party and begins spying for the resistance. The war ends and Pino believes he and Anna can now marry and start a family. However, Pino suffers the devastating loss of his love at the very end of the war. It’s incredibly sad and frustrating because he feels incredible guilt that he did not save her.  This is an incredible story and the bravery of the Italians involved in the resistance illustrates that good does triumph over evil. I’d recommend this book to both adults and young adults alike.

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

 

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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, 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, 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!