The Wartime Sisters – Lynda Loigman

the wartime sistersYou would never think that Ruth and Millie were sisters. Ruth, three years older, was the responsible one, rather plain looking, very smart, and you could count on her to always do the right thing. But expectations were high for Ruth, and any tiny misstep met with her mother’s disapproval. Millie, on the other hand, could get away with anything. She was beautiful, outgoing. Everyone loved her. That is, everyone but Ruth. And Millie craved her sister’s love. In 1942, Ruth is living at the Springfield Armory, an officer’s wife, when Millie appears with her two-year-old son. There had been no contact for a few years and Ruth was not happy. But Millie was a war widow and needed help. So Ruth took her in, helped her get a job at the Armory assembling rifles. The book focuses on the relationships between the women in the Armory, not just Ruth and Millie, with four women telling the story. And it is a story of women from various backgrounds whose lives had been shaped by their childhoods, coming together in the war effort, trying to survive problems and uncertainties. The book is beautifully written, with strong, believable characters. The depiction of life in the Armory showed a part of the war effort that I had not known existed. I really liked it and will be watching for Lynda Loigman’s next book.

eGalley review                                                    Publication date 1.22.19

Posted in adult, historical fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The Wicked King – Holly Black

wicked kingThe sequel to The Cruel Prince opens with all of Jude’s plans coming to fruition.  Oak is safely growing up in the human world until he comes of age to rule, replacing Cardan.  Cardan now rules, temporarily, but is well controlled by Jude.  Madoc warns Jude that it is keeping power, once gained, that is most challenging.  She is bound to slip up.  After all, she is mortal in the land of fae where trickery and cruelty are ever present.  Jude faces betrayals worse than the physical injuries and tortures she endures.  King Cardan is delightfully complex.  Does he truly care for Jude or is he playing her?  Can any fae truly love a mortal?  Jude betrayed Madoc.  Can she trust him now?  And what of the bargains she made to put Carden on the throne?  So much to juggle and this takes a toll.

Wow!  I waited in line for an hour to get this galley and meet the amazing Holly Black.  The story is woven so cleverly with each character so clearly drawn. I like Cardan, even with the twists in his character it is hard not to empathize with him. I don’t find him nearly as cruel or wicked as having to wait over a year for the third book in the series.  Highly recommend!

Galley review                                                         Publication date 1.8.19

Posted in fantasy, fiction, folklore, highly recommend, suspense, Uncategorized | Tagged

The Legend of Sally Jones – Jakob Wegelius

legend of sally jonesLast year, Delecorte Press published The Murderer’s Ape and I thought it was terrific. So very unique.  I recently ordered a hardback of The Legend of Sally Jones published by Pushkin Press and not readily available in the US.  The title needs to be published and promoted in the U.S.  The Legend of Sally Jones is a short book, a picture book of sorts. Each page is beautifully, brilliantly illustrated to accompany each short paragraph describing the events in Sally’s life preceding her adventures in The Murderer’s Ape.  When she was quite young, Sally was captured in Africa.  She had many owners including one master thief who trained her to scale buildings, pick locks and steal for her.  She spent years in a zoo, then a circus before she made her way to a harbor.  There she began her life on the sea and met “The Chief” (Ship’s Engineer).  Sally is amazing. Tender of heart, acts with emotion, loyal, and can learn anything – ANYTHING!.  The illustrations are so detailed.  I wish I had a huge poster of any of the illustrations or book cover.

If more readers were introduced to this short picture book first, they should clamor for the longer novel, The Murderer’s Ape. Highly recommend!

Hardback                                                         Publication date 2008 (outside U.S.)

Posted in adventure, fiction, highly recommend, Uncategorized

Code Name: Lise – The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy – Larry Loftis

code name liseOdette was born and raised in France. Her father died a hero in the First World War, and every Sunday afternoon she and her brother placed flowers on his grave. Her Grandfather told the children that in twenty or twenty-five years there was going to be another war and it will be your duty to do as well as your father. Fast forward to 1942. Odette is now living in England, married to an Englishman, mother of three daughters.  She feels she must do something to help the war effort, to help France, and to honor her father’s memory. She reluctantly joined the SOE (Special Operations Executive), organized to conduct espionage in France and help the Resistance.  Odette left her daughters in a convent school and began the process of learning to be a spy. Her new identity, Lise, served under the command of Peter Churchill. This book is not for the faint hearted, for Lise and Peter were captured, and the tortures they endured are described graphically. That they both lived to tell their story is amazing. It is written like a thriller, with most chapters ending in cliff hangers. It is hard to believe that it isn’t fiction, but it has been well researched, using interviews, diaries, memoirs and archived records.  Highly Recommend!

eGalley review                                                             Publication date 1.15.19

Posted in adult, biography, highly recommend, history | Tagged , ,

Once Upon a River – Diane Setterfield

once upon a riverThere was a tradition at the Swan, an ancient inn on the banks of the Thames. It was a tradition of storytelling. Joe Bliss was very good at storytelling. His wife ran the inn. Joe told the stories. And it was a hundred years ago on solstice night, when dreams and stories merge with true tales, that this story began. The door burst open and admitted a tall man, face dripping blood, mouth torn open, clothes soaking wet. And in his arms was a tiny little girl, dead, drowned. They sent for Rita, a nurse, to sew up the man.  When she was done she went to where they had put the child. No breathing, no pulse, full dilation of the pupils. The child was surely dead, but she looked too perfect. Rita held her hand, said it should not be so. And the child opened her eyes. Mysteries abound. Who is this child, why does she not speak, did she really die and come back? I really don’t know how to classify this book. Is it mystery, folk tale, supernatural story, romance, all of the above? I do know that it is full of atmosphere, taking the reader into another time when anything could be true. It is a rather quiet book, full of interesting people with interesting stories, slowly unfolding. I enjoyed it very much.

eGalley review                                                              Publication date 1.8.19

Posted in adult, fiction, folklore, gentle reader, mystery, Uncategorized

The Au Pair – Emma Rous

the aupairSeraphine is in her father’s study at the estate on the Norfolk coast. Still shocked by her father’s accidental death, she’s struggling to clear the mass of papers and photographs, unhappy with the fact that there are no early pictures of her or her twin, Danny. But of course there would be none. Her father would have been overwhelmed with grief. You see, her mother threw herself from the cliffs a few hours after the birth of the twins. But then she finds a photograph of her mother sitting on the patio with a tiny baby. Her father is there. Her older brother is there. They all look quite happy, and on the back is a date, the day the twins were born. Too many questions flood Seraphine’s mind . . . which twin is it and why only one, why commit suicide when she looks so happy. Just what happened on that day. But there was an au pair, Laura. She should have been there that day. She must know what really happened. If only Seraphine can find her. This is another “can’t put it down book”. The chapters alternate between Serahine’s voice and Laura’s voice. There are unexpected twists and turns, and just as I thought I had it all figured out, nope, wrong again. It has everything:  a Gothic setting, a heroine in danger, secrets, lies. I loved it.

eGalley review                                                       Publication date 1.8.19

Posted in adult, mystery

Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape – Gregory Benford

rewriteCharlie’s life hasn’t been the greatest. He is a rather ordinary history professor, going through a divorce. But when he gets hit by a truck, he wakes up in his bed instead of a hospital. Things get weird when he realizes that this is his bed in the room that was his as a teenager, and this is his body when he was sixteen years old, but this is his mind, still in his 40s. And things get interesting when Charlie decides this second life is going to be really good. The premise is great. Who wouldn’t want to take the accumulated knowledge of a lifetime and do some stuff over. And the first part of the book does just that. But then Charlie dies again and comes back again, and begins to notice other people like him who loop through time. I really like Gregory Benford’s books, but this one didn’t grab me.  There were too many well-known people entering the picture that made the book seem a bit campy. If you want a really good time travel book, read the original Timescape.

eGalley review                                                                  Publication date 1.15.19

Posted in adult, mystery, science fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged