Tuesday, February 6, 2024

"Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern"

 "Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern"

In the south-west of Ireland, rugged mountains meet bright blue lakes and thick forests. Deep in the woods, a young woman lives alone, forever secluded from the world, her life a well-kept secret. She possesses an extraordinary talent, the likes of which no-one has seen before: a gift that will earn her the nickname Lyrebird.

When Solomon stumbles into Laura’s solitary existence, her life is turned on its head. Pulled from her peaceful landscape to the cacophony of Dublin, she is confronted by a world desperate to understand her.

But while Solomon knows the world will embrace Laura, will it free her to spread her wings – or will it trap her in a gilded cage? Like all wild birds, she needs to fly free…

Lyrebird is a thoughtful, deeply moving love story; a story of the wild heart in us all and the quiet that lies underneath the world’s noise.

This book was chosen by the book club my mother attends in the UK.  Honestly it wouldn't be one I would have chosen for myself, but I am glad I read it.

This is a story of Laura who for all her life has lived in a solitary world, with very little contact with the outside world.  Through no fault of her own she is pushed into the spotlight and the world of showbusiness.  What happens next is in parts inevitable and is a lesson which everyone in her world learns the hard way.

I felt sad for most of this book knowing what was happening to Laura, I just wanted to pluck her out of the city and plop her back into her country cottage where she is the happiest.  She has people on her side, but first she has to get away from the others, who are trying "to help her."  Though in reality they are helping themselves more.

Meanwhile there is a complicated love story and an even more complicated back story to explore.

Stars out of 5 : 4 It's a different story, that's for sure.  It always amazes me the depth of authors imaginations when it comes to developing book ideas.  I am glad I read this book.  As I said at the beginning of this review, this would not be a book I would have personally chosen.

This book was borrowed from the library and the review are my own thoughts.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

My Name is Eva, by Suzanne Goldring

 My Name is Eva, by Suzanne Goldring

Evelyn Taylor-Clarke sits in her chair at Forest Lawns Care Home in the heart of the English countryside, surrounded by residents with minds not as sharp as hers. It would be easy to dismiss Evelyn as a muddled old woman, but her lipstick is applied perfectly, and her buttons done up correctly. Because Evelyn is a woman with secrets and Evelyn remembers everything. She can never forget the promise she made to the love of her life, to discover the truth about the mission that led to his death, no matter what it cost her…

When Evelyn’s niece Pat opens an old biscuit tin to find a photo of a small girl with a red ball entitled ‘Liese, 1951’ and a passport in another name, she has some questions for her aunt. And Evelyn is transported back to a place in Germany known as ‘The Forbidden Village,’ where a woman who called herself Eva went where no one else dared, amongst shivering prisoners, to find the man who gambled with her husband’s life…

I wasn't too keen on the start of this book.  It went back and forth between Evelyn's niece Pat visiting Evelyn in the care home and Evelyn writing letters to her husband during the war.  I was at a point of getting quite confused at what is going on.

Then it switched to more about what Evelyn did during the war.  The way this book was written, it was like a slow burn.  You kept getting more information but still had so many unanswered questions.  The more I got into the book the more I enjoyed it.

I felt sad for Evelyn.  I found the part when she said goodbye to her home really sad.  Knowing we are all going to get old one day and will this happen to us?  It did make me wonder if there are people out there who have actually "played," at being muddled? 

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  Once you have read past the first part of the book, it truly is a page turner.  Evelyn is a woman of immense patience.  Make sure you read the author's notes at the end.  Places in this book were actual places in World War II.

I purchased this book from Indigo for my own pleasure and will donate it. 

The Riviera House, by Natasha Lester

 The Riviera House, by Natasha Lester

A lush and engrossing novel of one woman’s quest to keep Nazis from stealing priceless art during WWII, perfect for fans of The Rose Code.
Paris, 1939: The Nazis think Éliane can't understand German. They’re wrong. They think she’s merely cataloging art in the Louvre  and unaware they’re stealing national treasures for their private collections. They have no idea she’s carefully decoding their notes and smuggling information to the Resistance. But Éliane is playing a dangerous game. Does she dare trust the man she once loved with her secrets, or will he only betray her once again? She has no way to know for certain . . . until a trip to a stunning home on the French Riviera brings a whole new level of peril.
Present Day: Wanting to forget the tragedy that has left her life in shambles, Remy Lang heads to a home she’s mysteriously inherited on the Riviera. While working on her vintage fashion business, she discovers a catalog of the artworks stolen during World War II and is shocked to see a painting that hung on her childhood bedroom wall. Who is her family, really? And does the Riviera house hold more secrets than Remy is ready to face?

This was such a good book, I couldn't put it down.  This book is based partly on a true story.  If you love history and romance this is for you.  I think Eliane's story was so well told.  You just want to be right there with her to help her along.  She was a true heroine.  You just can't imagine what the people went through in Paris during World War II.

Then there is Remy's story, a total different story but still as heartbreaking as Eliane's.  Both ladies though are mother's who would do anything for their child.  How are they connected, well you have to read the book to see how and believe me, once you start the book, you will need to know what happens next.

Stars out of 5 : 5 It's a page turner for sure and don't forget to read the authors notes at the end, they are interesting.  

I bought this book from Indigo for my own pleasure and will donate it.

"Garden Variety," by Christy Wilhelmi

 "Garden Variety," by Christy Wilhelmi

Each time Lizzie steps through the gates of the Vista Mar Community Gardens, she knows she’s left the chaos of the outside world behind. Here, the rows are even, tools are properly stored, and each season brings new life. But even the shiniest apple can hide a worm, and behind the leafy green façade there is hidden heartbreak, tomato hornworms, and inter-garden political powerplays.

And to make things worse—a long forgotten loophole enacted by a nasty neighbor brings the outside world crashing in. The members are feuding, Lizzie’s budding romance is wilting on the vine, and the very existence of Vista Mar is threatened. Can Lizzie and her fellow gardeners fight to save their urban oasis while they struggle to stay grounded in this chaotic city? 

Garden Variety is as much about growing food and flowers as it is about life’s growing pains, and how a community rallies and comes together to save their own.

I bought this book from Dollar Tree, and it was such a good read.  It has quite the variety of characters in this book.  For each character the garden means something different for them.  For all of them it fills a need/void in their lives.

Add in a "villain," and things get interesting.  This book isn't a "deep," book, but it is a feel good book.  Also it's very interesting if you have an interest in gardening.

Although this was set in California, what happened in this book could happen in any part of the country.  An added bonus there is gardening tips/lessons at the end of the book.

Stars out of 5 : 5 I was instantly hooked and needed to see what happened next.  It reminded me of when my dad had an allotment when I was a child.

I purchased this book and will donate the book.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

"Switchboard Soldiers, " by Jennifer Chiaverini

 "Switchboard Soldiers, " by Jennifer Chiaverini

In June 1917, General John Pershing arrived in France to establish American forces in Europe. He immediately found himself unable to communicate with troops in the field. Pershing needed telephone operators who could swiftly and accurately connect multiple calls, speak fluent French and English, remain steady under fire, and be utterly discreet, since the calls often conveyed classified information.

At the time, nearly all well-trained American telephone operators were women—but women were not permitted to enlist, or even to vote in most states. Nevertheless, the U.S. Army Signal Corps promptly began recruiting them.

More than 7,600 women responded, including Grace Banker of New Jersey, a switchboard instructor with AT&T and an alumna of Barnard College; Marie Miossec, a Frenchwoman and aspiring opera singer; and Valerie DeSmedt, a twenty-year-old Pacific Telephone operator from Los Angeles, determined to strike a blow for her native Belgium.

They were among the first women sworn into the U.S. Army under the Articles of War. The male soldiers they had replaced had needed one minute to connect each call. The switchboard soldiers could do it in ten seconds.

Deployed throughout France, including near the front lines, the operators endured hardships and risked death or injury from gunfire, bombardments, and the Spanish Flu. Not all of them would survive.

The women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps served with honor and played an essential role in achieving the Allied victory. Their story has never been the focus of a novel…until now. 

I must admit I didn't know anything about the U.S. Army Signal Corps role in World War 1 and how the women took over the switchboards in France for the Americans.  The book was so interesting and very detailed.

What they went through and how hard they worked was so very inspiring.  They were the pioneers in their field, as they were the first women in the army, other than the nurses of the Red Cross.  However, they did not earn the same benefits as the regular army men as they were classed as civilian contractors despite the fact they took the same risks as the men.

Like any women trying to break into a man's field of work, they had to work twice as hard to prove themselves capable of doing it as good if not better than the men.

I will say I had a difficult time getting immersed into the book at the beginning, as it delves into each women's background story to begin with.  I found that a bit tedious and drawn out at times.  BUT, once you got past those first few chapters it got very interesting.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  If you like historical novels, women orientated novels and enjoy Jennifer Chiaverini's work then this is the book for you.  Well worth the read; and you may learn something new, I know I did.

These reviews are my own and I purchased the book for my own enjoyment.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

"The Warsaw Sisters, " by Amanda Barratt

 "The Warsaw Sisters, " by Amanda Barratt

A richly rendered portrait of courage, sacrifice, and resilience

On a golden August morning in 1939, sisters Antonina and Helena Dąbrowska send their father off to defend Poland against the looming threat of German invasion. The next day, the first bombs fall on Warsaw, decimating their beloved city and shattering the world of their youth.

When Antonina's beloved Marek is forced behind ghetto walls, along with the rest of Warsaw's Jewish population, Antonina knows she cannot stand by and soon becomes a key figure in a daring network of women risking their lives to shelter Jewish children. Meanwhile, Helena finds herself drawn into the ranks of Poland's secret army, joining the fight to free her homeland from occupation.

But the secrets both are forced to keep threaten to tear them apart--and the cost of resistance may prove greater than either ever imagined.

This book is a must read, it's a book of fiction based on true events that actually happened.  The cruelty and destruction that happened in Warsaw in World War 2 must never be forgotten.  How brave and courageous the people of Warsaw were.  It's all highlighted in this book.

One thing that stood out for me were how resilient they were.  How patriotic they were.  Also how sad a life they had that they couldn't even trust members of their own family with secrets of what they were doing to try and defeat the enemy; as the less others knew the better.

The detail in this book is brilliant.  You must read the authors/historical notes at the back of the book, they are very interesting.  It is a well researched book, that's for sure.

Stars out of 5 : 4.5  I did find the book a bit slow to start with, I wasn't sucked into it right away.  Though after the first few chapters the book drew you in and I couldn't put it down as I had to know what happened next.  Well worth reading.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Friday, November 24, 2023

"When The Smoke Clears," by Lynette Eason

 "When The Smoke Clears," by Lynette Eason

After a brush with death due to equipment failure, smokejumper Alexia Allen is ordered to take time off while the incident is under investigation. She makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she is confronted with murder, arson--and a handsome detective.

But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she struggles to accept and forgive her family's past, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

This book is the first book in the "Deadly Reunion," series.  Now it looks like the author has republished this series, as they first came out between 2012 -2015.  I didn't read them back then, but I am going to have to read the rest of the series now; because you will not get the answers to all your questions in this first book.  The story must continue on right through the series.

I will say I was a bit bummed out, when I got to the end of the book and still had no idea who was "pulling the strings," with all the problems.  I will say I figured out who one of the "bad people" were early on.  The way the story develops it really sucks you in and you have to keep on turning the page to see what happens next.

I kept thinking to myself though I am so glad I wasn't Alexia, as she had a busy few days when she arrived back home from Washington!!  I would have gone into hiding, if I had, had that many attempts on my life...LOL

Stars out of 5 : 5 This story kept me glued to the book, as I did have to know what's going to happen next.  Lynette writes with such detail and passion, you know you're in for a great read.  Now I will have to go and borrow the next two books from the library to see who/what is behind all this mayhem!!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell , a division of Baker Publishing Group".

"Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern"

 "Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern" In the south-west of Ireland, rugged mountains meet bright blue lakes and thick forests. Deep in the ...