Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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What can I say about Ruta Sepetys other than she’s amazing?  She has this amazing ability to take a piece of history and weave a complex, compelling piece of fiction around it.  Her latest masterpiece is no exception.

The year is 1945, the place is Prussia.  The war is winding down, but the horrors of it are not.  As thousands of refugees attempt to make their way to safety, we are introduced to several of them.  They each have a story to tell, and secrets to keep.  Their paths converge as one in an attempt to survive.

There’s Joana, a selfless nurse whose only goal is to save people.  There’s young Emilia, harboring a secret far beyond what we are led to believe. And Florian, the knight in shining armor who saves her.  And Alfred Frick…what can I say about him?  He’s shady and secretive and more than a bit unstable.  Is he really going to help save the others from sure death?

Time and again, tragedy strikes in one form or another.  Until finally, towards the very end, the biggest tragedy of all befalls Joana and Emilia and Florian and the others.  And yes, even Alfred Frick.  Some will survive, some will not.

Yet again, historical fiction written by a gifted author has given me new knowledge while telling an outstandingly brilliant story.  The tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff  was a real thing, while the tragedy of our characters was not.  But the author makes us feel as if the entire story truly happened.  And that’s exactly what exceptional books do…

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Salt to the Sea

 

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Review: From Bags to Riches by Sandra D. Bricker

  
I like these Jessie Stanton novels. Jessie is a young woman who was burned by her no-good cheating ex husband, but made a new life for herself based on her love and talent for fashion merchandising. 

This third installment is probably my favorite– mostly because it’s the most romantic! The love stories don’t necessarily take a front seat, because there’s a lot going on in Jessie’s life; but the romance doesn’t take a back seat either. Besides the ex husband, Bricker writes men who adore the women in their lives, who blow off steam by getting back to nature (surf’s up), and who serve others as a way of serving God. 

Not a preachy novel by any means, Bricker uses upheaval in Jessie’s life to show how a faithful circle of support can make all the difference. Jessie’s girlfriends love her unconditionally and help her focus on her business. The God-fearing men who surround Jessie help her focus on her heart. 

In the end, the good guys win in ways we don’t usually think about, and the heroine learns to lean on a new person for the really important things in life. 

-calliope 

Buy FROM BAGS TO RICHES

Review – The Lost Codex (OPSIG Team Black Series), by Alan Jacobson

I don’t often read books that are part of a series, especially a book right in the middle of a series. However, the premise of this one caught my attention and so I thought I’d give it a go. Sometimes it pays to listen to your gut feelings!

Meet Karen Vail, a member of the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit (BAU – think Criminal Minds). Enjoying a coffee with her partner, Karen is suddenly caught up in a massive explosion and is thrust into a top secret investigation that concerns terrorism, diplomatic issues at the highest level, and a religious time-bomb that is just waiting to explode.

What initially attracted me to the plot was the religious aspect of the “lost codex”. Now, I’m not a religious person, however, it fascinates me that religion has the power to topple governments, and change the discourse for the future. Also, it helps that this missing codex, is actually a real document that is currently still M.I.A.

This book is a great, intelligent thriller, and a quick read. The characters are complex, believable and fun! This is only a short review, but if you want kill a couple of days reading a fascinating adventure, then pick this book up and immerse yourself!

Pegasus.

The Lost Codex (OPSIG Team Black)

Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

  
A Girl’s Guide to Moving On is a REFRESHING look at getting over someone, developing a support system, and meeting new people. 

I so appreciated that Nichole and her mother in law Leanne leaned on each other and really loved each other. Making them live so close to each other was a little forced, perhaps, but it made the rest of the story flow: Nichole running into Leanne during a tough time, Leanne babysitting Nichole’s young son, etc. 

The ex-husbands are slimeballs, but I guess even slimeballs have redeeming qualities. Macomber does a good job allowing for situations where the reader might sympathize with them, yet not quite take their side. 

As a romance fan who adores a good happily ever after, I’ll tell ya that Nichole’s friend Rocco was a terrific hero. He may not have outwardly shown sophistication or refinement on a regular basis, but he certainly demonstrated it at the end when it truly mattered. Likewise for  Leanne’s friend Nikolai. Nikolai knew when to step back and when to step up, and I could’ve just cried over all the bread baking going on. Read it, you’ll see. You might want to start baking bread for – and breaking bread with – someone special, too. 

-calliope

Buy A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON

Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K.Johnston

01 thou A fantastical retelling, with a twist.

SYNOPSIS
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

A Thousand Nights was a total shock to me. And by shock, I mean that I wasn’t even going to read it. Not that I didn’t want to, but that I was grabbing it for my daughter first. But since she was reading something already, I decided to read it before her. And let me tell you, this book was amazing. I was totally engrossed in this story. The scenery was so well developed, I felt like I could actually see everything. The stars, the colors, the clothes…It was so beautiful, even if it’s only in my imagination. E.K.Johnston has a way of telling this story and making you believe that you’re in the story.

Since I only have vague knowledge of the Thousand and One Nights tale, I was going into this sorta blind. But I think that made this story even more special to me. A clean slate, if you will. No preconceived ideas. And I think that actually helped me enjoy it more, honestly.

I think the best part of this story, for me, was that is wasn’t about love, in the sense of romantic love, but about familial love. My teens and their friends like stories about girls who can kick butt, but they’re not always fans of the romance aspect. They want adventure and intrigue. This book will make them SUPER happy. This girl loved her sister and wanted to save her from a certain death. And in volunteering, that way she did, she ended up changing the world around her and bringing an end to this horrible tradition, if you will.

I was lucky enough to take my daughter to meet the author last week. My girlie sat next to me and listened to her talk and make jokes the whole time. When we got into the car, she turned and told me that she needs to read this book ASAP. I call that success. Now, do I let her use my copy with all the post its, or buy her another one….

~Melpomene

Buy A Thousand Nights

At the signing we were told that, in December, she has another releasing another retelling called Spindle. Sleeping Beauty!! I can’t wait!!

One Day Only!

Hi guys and girls!   Has anyone read The Paris Architect, by Charles Belfoure? Well, if you did, and loved it as much as I did, you’ll be pleased to know that his newest book, House of Thieves, is on sale – today only – for $1.99 (Kindle version)!     If you haven’t read The Paris Architect, here is my review.    

Watch this space for my review of House of Thieves!

Until then,

Pegasus.

House of Thieves: A Novel

Review: Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood

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All authors tell a story, using their written words to weave a tale. And many are really very good at it. But it’s the rare author who creates a narrative so compelling, so lyrical, that the reader simply cannot pull away. T. Greenwood is one of those authors for me.

Something tragic happened to Tess many years ago.  We know it involved a child, and we know that it’s forever changed her.  But other than that, we are left to find out as the story progresses.

So when she claims to see a lost child out on the road one evening, the reader isn’t sure what to think.  Is it her imagination playing tricks on her yet again?  Or did she really see a disheveled, bleeding four-year-old on a dark country road?  She had been drinking, after all.  But everyone believes her.  At first.  A search commences, but when nothing is found, not even a body, doubts start to creep in.  Still, Tess knows what she saw and is steadfast in her commitment to find the child.  At all costs, even.  Her marriage and reputation are at stake, but she won’t be swayed in her determination.

I’ve loved absolutely everything from this author, and her newest book is no exception. Her stories are always captivating from the beginning until the very end. Full of life experiences that could happen to anyone, they make you think “What if…” So grab this one. Enjoy. And then go read her others!

~Thalia

Buy it Now:  Where I Lost Her