Posted in reviews, Uncategorized

A Review of “The Orphan’s Tale”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been working on my latest WIP and I’m excited about this new one, too. I’ve sent my first one off to my Beta reader and she gave me some quick feedback. She told me the opening was AWESOME! So, you can guess I’m beyond excited. I’ll keep you posted as she continues reading the rest. 🙂

I’m back today to share with you my thoughts on “The Orphan’s Tale.” The cover and blurb are below:

The Orphan's Tale: A Novel by [Jenoff, Pam]

“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel. ” —Library Journal

“Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion…. I read this novel in a headlong rush.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

As you know, I love reading WWII stories. Especially ones where the main character, usually a Jew, overcomes the adversity of Nazi Germany and that is exactly what this story is about.

I absolutely loved it.

It’s the story of Noa and Astrid. How they meet and their relationship. I loved Noa who is young, strong, and naïve. She’s kicked out of her home when she becomes pregnant by a German soldier. She goes to a home for unwed mothers and because her baby has German blood, he is taken away from her. Mourning her loss, she finds work at the train station and happens upon a car full of babies. I won’t tell you what happens next, but it’s an incredible story.

Then there’s Astrid, a Jew married to a German who’s also a member of the Nazi party. He comes home one day and tells her the marriage is over. The Reich is demanding that all members married to Jews get a divorce. She has to pack up and leave that very day. She travels back to her home town searching for her family, but they’re all gone. She used to be a circus performer so she travels to a competitor’s home inquiring about her family. She learns the awful truth and the owner asks her to join his circus.

The circus is how Noa and Astrid meet and the rest of the story takes off from there. They both have their secrets and the girls band together and protect each other. It’s an amazing story of friendship and survival. If you’re a WWII buff like me, you’ll want to read this story. I can see it becoming a movie very soon.

Like I said, I loved this story and I’m going to be looking for more books from this author. How about you, do you have any books you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

 

 

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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!

 

Posted in Reading, reviews

Book Review: Salt to the Sea

 

Hello everyone I hope all is well with you! I’m back today with another Book Review. I love stories about World War II. I love them because I love to see how the human spirit overcomes evil. There are many stories like that on the market today and I’ve read quite a few of them.

The last one I read was “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys and it was an incredible story about sacrifice and survival.

 

 

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloffthe greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story immensely. I loved how I got to experience the different viewpoints of the characters. All of them had something to hide even the weasel German soldier. The story made me root for the underdog and hoped they survived and made me hate the Nazis that much more.

It was interesting to see the sick reasoning behind the Nazi regime. I don’t think I’ve encountered another character like Alfred Frick. As I read, I became more and more disgusted by him. He showed how emotionally weak the Nazis were.

I loved Joanna and Florian. I loved how strong and committed Joanna was. She was truly heroic and so was Florian, but I had a feeling he would be. The love affair between these two characters is something so precious in such a horrific time in our history, and the author does a great job illustrating this.

The last character, Emilia, is our tragic heroine. She’s raped by Nazis and becomes pregnant. She gives birth but struggles to be a mother to this baby, even though she knows it’s not the baby’s fault. Joanna and Florian help her with this struggle and she grows to love the baby.

I also loved the historical element as well, even though it was a tragedy. I believe so many things get swept under the rug, and this incident is one of them. It’s a tragic tale of survival during one of the worst times in our world’s history. I would strongly recommend reading this book.

Posted in Entertainment, Reading

My Top Ten Books I’ve Read this Year

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about one of my favorite subjects. Books! While I was recovering from chemo, I rediscovered my love of reading. I had been working so hard on the “Starlight Chronicles”  (Check out the first book here http://www.lisaorchard.com/gideon-lee.html ) before I was diagnosed that I hadn’t done much reading.

Reading took my mind off my illness and it eased my anxiety. So,  I wanted to share with you the top ten books that I read over the last few months. This is in no particular order by the way. 🙂

Everything I Never Told You

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Gone Girl

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Sharp Objects

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

The Husband’s Secret

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . .

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses—and, ultimately, ourselves.

Big Little Lies

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .
A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?
What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

But who did what?
Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.
Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

The Nightingale

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

All the Light We Cannot See

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

What Alice Forgot

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…

Nineteen Minutes

Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper and The Tenth Circle, pens her most riveting book yet, with a startling and poignant story about the devastating aftermath of a small-town tragedy.

Sterling is an ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens–until the day its complacency is shattered by a school shooting. Josie Cormier, the daughter of the judge sitting on the case, should be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened before her very own eyes–or can she? As the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show–destroying the closest of friendships and families. Nineteen Minutes asks what it means to be different in our society, who has the right to judge someone else, and whether anyone is ever really who they seem to be.

Handle with Care

Things break all the time.
Day breaks, waves break, voices break.
Promises break.
Hearts break.

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don’t want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they’d been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of “luckier” parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it’s all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She’s smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.

Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow’s illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Handle with Care brings us into the heart of a family bound by an incredible burden, a desperate will to keep their ties from breaking, and, ultimately, a powerful capacity for love. Written with the grace and wisdom she’s become famous for, beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult offers us an unforgettable novel about the fragility of life and the lengths we will go to protect it.

I would recommend any of these books if you’re looking for a story to get lost in. All of them were wonderful!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my list. If you have a favorite book you’ve read, leave the title in a comment. I’m always looking for a good book to read!

Posted in reviews

A Review of “The Book Thief”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you!  I’m back today with another book review. 🙂 I told you that I plan to read more this year! The book I just finished was “The Book Thief.”

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

My Review:

I must say that at first the author’s writing style was hard to get used to, but then the story sucked me in. I loved Liesel’s (the main character and the book thief) strength.  This was truly a heartbreaking story. It amazes me what people endured during World War II.

This story illustrates how tragic the war was not only for the Jewish community, but for the German people as well. Many Germans didn’t agree with Hitler’s philosophies, but were powerless to do anything about it.

The power of the human spirit overshadows the tragedy of this war and it’s the only thing that does. Many Germans secretly disobeyed Hitler’s rules at great peril. I fell in love with Hans Hubermann the accordion player and his kind, generous spirit. He was a strong, quiet man who hid a Jew in his basement for a good portion of the war. I also loved Rosa who’s rough exterior hid a huge heart.

This is a tragic story of loss. Liesel lost many people she loved throughout the book. This is the emotional part of the story. I really felt the depth of her despair and I felt the losses right along with her. There were moments of joy throughout the story, but they were fleeting. It’s hard to experience joy when you’re living in constant fear. I could feel the Hubermann’s fear all throughout the book.

The end of the story was an example of the endurance of the human spirit. Liesel must continue to live after everyone she loves dies. After all that she has suffered, she does just that and she’s reunited with her friend Max. It’s a bittersweet moment for them both.

“The Book Thief” is not an uplifting story, but a dramatic account of what World War II was like for the Germans as well as the Jews. I feel it’s an accurate depiction of what Hitler did to everyone and it’s an example of what can happen when a mentally ill person gains power.

I highly recommend this book. It’s not uplifting, but what it does do is put things in perspective for you. It makes you realize that whatever your troubles are they’re nothing like what the Germans and Jews suffered during World War II.

Thanks for reading my post today. Please share your thoughts! I’d love to read what you thought of this book or if you have a book recommendation for me.