Review: The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport by Jana Zinser

51Xzv+KHYsL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_If you asked me what my preferred genre is, I’d be hard pressed to narrow it down to just one. However, historical fiction ranks at the top of that list. I love a book that tells a great story while also teaching me a bit of something new. That’s why some of my favorite books of all time include The Book Thief and The Orphan Train. It’s for that very reason that this book by Jana Kinser caught my eye.

Nazi Germany was a terrifying place for all, but especially for young children. Their safe, secure world was turned upside down as they were targeted for nothing more than being Jewish. Homes and livelihoods were destroyed, families were separated, loved ones lost their lives. All because of something they had no control over. But there was hope for many of the children in the form of selfless volunteers who risked their lives to help these children escape and have a chance at a somewhat normal life.

For the most part, this story centers on young Peter. He and his family have a happy, secure life in their comfy little apartment above their butcher shop. That all comes crashing down when the Nazis invade their small town taking over everything. Suddenly, being Jewish is a crime, punishable by death even. Peter and his family find themselves without a home along with many others. When the chance to escape presents itself, Peter and his younger sister take it. On the Kindertransport they go, off to a better life. Their journey is not without risks, though, as the war rages on.

There are other characters, of course. And their stories are just as important. There’s young Eva, the apple of Peter’s eye. She has a ticket on the train to freedom but her older brother has a different idea. Stephen and Hans are sent on the train to safety by their respective families. And then there are the tragic stories of those left behind, children who didn’t get a seat on the train as well as adults not able to escape.

This was an incredibly engaging story for me because I had no idea such a thing existed. The Kindertransport was something new that I’m now highly motivated to learn more about. For that reason alone, it was a book I just couldn’t put down. The characters and storylines were good as well, although I did feel that many of the deaths were described too matter-of-factly. Still, a great story about an interesting subject!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport

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Review – Disturbing the Peace, by Richard Yates. 

Whether it is 1000 pages, or 275 pages, don’t you just love it when an author strings together a brilliant, honest, and raw story?  Well look no further than this book!

I know I’ve done a couple of past reviews on other books by Yates, so it is not really surprising that I love this one so much. However, and this is what is so brilliant about Yates, he continues to surprise me. Just when I think I may know what direction he will take, I am proven wrong. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t Yates being sensationalist (we can leave that to James Frey) – no, this is Yates showing us that he can throw a punch in the most subtle of ways.

One of the many elements of this novel that I love is the guessing game: what is real, what is exacerbated and ultimately what is fueled by a sense of denial, hopelessness and frustration.

A common theme with Yates is a realization that no matter your socioeconomic status, your relationship/family life or the comfort blanket of a standard middle class existence, your life can be upended in an instant. The scenarios , the demons, who or what is to “blame”, isn’t always apparent; we are human beings and how we cope with various situations, is never a standard, never the same each time. Life is fragile and yet it can survive a lot of beatings.

Do yourself a favor and experience this 275 pages of pure heart wrenching magic.

 

Pegasus.

Disturbing the Peace

Review: One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot

  
I know it’s still October, but the cold New England weather has me thinking of snowflakes and hot cocoa. And Christmas stories! 

One Wish started out slow, which annoyed me. However, the author redeemed herself with lovable characters, a gala to die for, and a romance that ended the happily-est ever after, EVER!   

My favorite part of the book was watching Hayley plan the gala. She was in her element, she encouraged her daughter to help, and she showed such graciousness working with Cynthia. 

Mandy Baggot successfully wrote in characters that aren’t in most romances – and she gave them substantial roles: a brother, a daughter, a CEO who ISN’T a jerk, and the CEO’s mom who is just lovely. 

The story includes a heartwarming message about love and loss, and ways to move forward without leaving the memories behind. 

Uplifting for sure, and just Christmassy enough. 🙂

-calliope

Buy ONE WISH IN MANHATTAN – just 99¢!!!

Review: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

18405Reading this novel 20 years after reading it the first time was a bit of a shocker. I won’t lie. Reading it as an adult…well, again, I was shocked in places. I sometimes feel it’s pointless to review a book that has millions of reviews already….however, I would be remiss if I just skipped over this novel and acted like there was no inspiration drawn from it. Even though there is no possible way for me give a review worthy of the book.

Parts of this book made me uncomfortable in my own skin. It’s hard to put into words the hypocrisy and the love that members of the South had for their slaves. Or even the same that the slaves had for the South. Harder still to see so many fight for a way of life that was in many ways just a matter of pride. I think Scarlett was a horrible person in many ways. She lacked intelligence when it came to understanding people and any type of “book sense”, but I think her feelings about the war and the South were often spot on, no matter how many would disagree. There are just so many things in this novel that one could review about…so I give up…a million thoughts are running rampant through my mind right now…it’s impossible to pin one down before another one goes running off in another direction…so I shall stop and leave you with an unfinished review…go read this book. It’s worth the weight of the book in your hands to read. One almost needs to feel the weight to appreciate the weight inside the pages as well….

I only wish to say that when I read this book as a teenager, I wasn’t so completely in love with Melanie as others were, in fact I had little to no patience for her. I had no time for Ashley from the very start, I wasn’t drawn to him in any way, shape of form. I thought Rhett Butler was one of the most honest, handsome, and daring men every. I didn’t know if I loved or hated Scarlett. And finally, I think the ending was one of the most brilliant endings of all time.

20 years later, those feelings haven’t changed a bit….they are probably the only constants I have with this epic novel…..I’m so very glad I made the commitment to revisit this novel…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Review: Love Unspoken by Lisa De Jong

01 loveI swear, Lisa De Jong has mastered the art of tying me up in knots and then very slowly loosening the ropes.

Love Unspoken takes place immediately after Lies Unspoken. So if you haven’t read the first book, stop reading this right now. Go and read it and then come back here. I’ll wait…..

still waiting…..

more waiting….

Done? Good. Whew! That would’ve been bad.

Love Unspoken is about finding happiness and love. It’s about making the right choice, even if it hurts. And boy, does it hurt. It hurts so good.

SYNOPSIS
I lent my heart to the bad boy, and he did exactly what I expected he would. He broke it.

And the guy I should have been with—he’s still here. He tries to take my mind off everything I’ve lost while showing me what I could have. I’m ready for a new start, to fall in love again … to do what I should have done in the first place.

Everything seems perfect.

Then the past comes walking back in. I thought I was over him, but one look and I know that’s not true. We went through too much together for those feelings to completely fade away.

When my past and present collide, how am I supposed to choose? They both love me, and I love them.

A heart will be broken … and it could be mine.

Where to begin??? When we last saw Lila, she was left heartbroken and now she has to put the pieces of her heart back together. When so much time has passed and she begins to wonder if she’ll ever be whole again.

My word, does this book bring out the feels!! I mean, seriously. Lila is trying to move on but her heart won’t let her. It wants what it wants. And it wants a second chance with the one who broke it. But man, oh man, does it take the long way around. Lots of speed bumps disguised as secrets and surprises made for an interesting ride.

I spent much of the book angry at Blake. I understand he has things from his past, which we find out, but he didn’t handle things as I think he should’ve. He should’ve told Lila everything. Why leave her in the dark? On the flip side, I get why he did. Sometimes heartaches of that magnitude, aren’t so easy to talk about.

I loved Pierce. LOVED. He was so supportive and I am so glad Lila had him to lean on. He was the perfect man. Strong, alpha and so very sexy. Majorly swoon worthy. All through the book I just wanted him happy.

While the first book KILLED me, this book was a slow burn. I was good with that. I don’t think my heart could take any more drama.

“Our hearts weren’t made to hold one person. They were made to love many with a special place for the one we love most.”

And that ending!!! I have a feeling I know who the next book is about. I couldn’t be happier. Bring it, Lisa. I’m ready to have my heart ripped out again.

~Melpomene

Buy Lies Unspoken (Flawed Love Book 1)

Love Unspoken (A Flawed Love Book 2)

EXCERPT
My eyes scan the room, full of well-dressed men, many with beautiful women on their arms. A few of them look lost like me, but most own the room like professional socialites. This could never be my whole life, I think to myself.
And, as I continue scanning, I see him.
He’s here. The man who stole my soul is standing across the room with his back against the wall. My eyes are locked on him, but his eyes dance around the room like I’m not here. Maybe to him, I never was. Maybe he’s looking for the next one—the girl he’ll show the world to then disappear.
I look beside me—at Pierce—and I feel sick that any part of me even wants to go across the room. I feel sick because there’s a man here who I know could make me happy—who does make me happy—and yet I’m willing to throw it all away. He looks away from Royce, eyes instantly finding mine. He smiles, and I return it the best I can because for just a few more minutes, I need him to think that nothing has changed. And, maybe nothing has.
“I’m going to find the restroom,” I whisper to Pierce.
“I’ll come with you.”
Shaking my head, I say, “No, you stay. I’ll be right back.”
He nods, hesitantly, and I wait for him to turn his attention back to Royce before blazing a path through the crowd, anxious to prove to myself that this isn’t a dream.
The shield cracks.
My heart races.
His eyes still roam, taking in everything … everything but me.
I’m not going to let him out of my sight … I’m not going to let him hide from the anguish he’s buried me in the last several months. He has nowhere to run. Even if he did, I wouldn’t let him, not this time.
A few long strides and I’m standing in front of him, staring into those familiar pained eyes. When you love someone, it’s impossible to look at them and feel hate. You may want to feel it. You may think you feel it, but love and hate can’t co-exist. I hate that I love him, but I can’t hate him.
And, I want to hate him. It would make it easier to love someone like Pierce who deserves my heart. This man stole it months ago, and I don’t think he has any intention of returning it. Sometimes I don’t know if I want it back.
But then, I think of the last few days—few months actually—and I realize another man may be winning it back for me. Maybe it’s not gone forever but simply misplaced.
His hair is a little longer, but he’s the same. The way he stands … the way his fingers curl around a beer bottle. He’s exactly the same.
“Blake,” I whisper, afraid of what he’ll say, what he’ll do. Still afraid he’ll find a way to run away, and I won’t be able to catch him.
He stares at me like he’s never even met me, or maybe he’s spent the last several months trying to forget me. I can’t say I haven’t tried to do the same. There’s not enough alcohol in the world do erase him.
“Does he make you happy?” he finally asks, practically staring through me. He sounds so broken, so sad.
“Who?” I ask, caught off guard by his question.
“Pierce. Does he make you happy?”
My eyes well with tears I’ve left unshed … tears I left for him to see. “Yes,” I whisper, doing my best to hold them in. He deserves to watch every single one of them run down my cheek but not here … not now.
He nods, reaching his fingers up toward my cheek before quickly pulling them back away. And just as quickly as he came back into my life, he’s gone.
It’s really over.
If any part of him wanted me, he would have fought for me.

Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

25917801New Orleans is a city of excess. Music, food, drink…it’s all there to be had in abundance. Stories of the supernatural and paranormal are no exception. Ghosts, witches, voodoo queens, vampires…you name it and they’ve got it. One of the best known and most frequently retold legends centers around the Casquette girls of the Ursuline Convent. Walk by on a dark & foggy night and you can almost see the shutters rattling.

This take on the infamous tale picks up after the Storm of the Century. Katrina isn’t specifically mentioned but the implication is there. Adele is eager to return to the city she loves. She and her father are among the first to come home, the magical pull of the city being too strong for them to resist. It’s a city in ruins. Electricity is scarce, groceries are hard to come by, and there’s a city-wide curfew in effect. Still, it’s good to be back. Adele finds comfort in the little things such as walking the streets of the French Quarter in the mornings and evenings. It’s on one such walk that she happens to walk past the Ursuline Convent. She’s lived in New Orleans her entire life, and she knows the stories. When the infamous blood suckers are accidentally released, Adele and her friends must find a way to stop them from taking over what’s left of the city.

Did I love this story so much more because of my love for New Orleans? No doubt. The author writes with such depth and accuracy that I felt as if I was walking the streets of the French Quarter, waiting for one of the vampires to jump out and grab me. But I also know that I would have loved this story almost as much without that sense of familiarity. The vampires are dark and scary with just enough charm thrown in to almost make them likeable. Intertwined with their tale are stories of voodoo and witchcraft. To top it off, the human characters are fun and likeable. And Adele makes one heck of a leading character.

Grab this one, turn the lights down low, and get ready to be scared!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Casquette Girls

Preview and Giveaway: The Collectors’ Society Encyclopedia by Heather Lyons

I have mentioned before that I love Heather Lyons’ Collectors’ Society. It’s basically an adult themed fairy tales. Think Once Upon A Time, but much better, AND in book form. Action, adventure, romance, and all the things fairy tale. If you like adventures and romance, you must try this series. Another cool thing about this series, well at least to me, is that one of the characters is named after me. I have a bit of crazy in me. And for those who know me personally, being portrayed like that, in a book, isn’t that far off from my reality. 😉

For those previously introduced to the mysterious Collectors’ Society and its mission, eager to discover more, The Collectors’ Society Encyclopedia is the perfect full-color companion piece to the series. Within are detailed entries elaborating upon various agents and employees as well as key villains suspected of targeting and destroying Timelines. Backstories, relationships, secrets, and clues are revealed alongside a thorough bibliography of important Timelines and their designations. Profiles are also included of the Institute in New York City as well as Wonderland. Society fans and lovers of classic literature will undoubtedly delight in unraveling the secrets that lay within these pages.

Librarian Encyclopedia Introduction

CLASSIFIED MATERIAL

If you are reading this dossier, you have been granted Level Three clearance within the Collectors’ Society. Included in these pages are snippets from multiple key agent files as well as those on persons of interest. Please keep in mind that this compendium is considered highly sensitive and is illegal to share with anyone outside of your clearance. It is not to be removed from the Institute.

Happy reading!

—The Librarian

This is but a glimpse of what’s in store for you. I can’t stinkin’ wait to get my hands on a copy!!
Alice Encyclopedia Page

Be sure to go HERE and enter the rafflecopter.

The Collectors’ Society Encyclopedia
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Read the entire series!
The Collectors’ Society
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The Hidden Library
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The Forgotten Mountain
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About Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

Links:

Website: http://www.heatherlyons.net
Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/heatherlyons
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hymheather
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heatherlyonsbooks?fref=ts
THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22735431-the-collectors-society
THE HIDDEN LIBRARY Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24017512-the-hidden-library
THE FORGOTTEN MOUNTAIN Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25392947-the-forgotten-mountain
THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY ENCYCLOPEDIA Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27177530-the-collectors-society-encyclopedia

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