Monday, January 18, 2021

"The Secret of the Grand Hotel du Lac"
by Kathryn Gaucci

This was a WWII story set primarily in France (with Some scenes in England.)  Much of it takes place during the latter part of the war and focuses mainly on the story of a few women who were part of the resistance movement. This book is a work of historical fiction, and while the characters are fictional, their tale is based on places that existed and events that happened during the war.

The women depicted in this book were brave and often took great risks to help free the people of France from German control and oppression. I was fascinated by their stories. Some sought to help by working as double agents, often appearing to be collaborators who were involved with high ranking German officials, but were in reality only doing so to gain useful information and offer aid to the French resistance.

Such actions were incredibly dangerous as discovery of the truth by the german officials would likely mean torture and death, yet as they were often acting in secret, their own countrymen often saw them as traitors to France, potentially also ending with their deaths.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories that have a basis in actual events as well as to anyone who enjoys tales of WWII resistance fighters. I greatly enjoyed reading this book. While there may be many stories of the resistance fighters in WWII, I have not read too many of them, and very few from perspectives such as were shown to us in this book.

Monday, January 11, 2021

"Mail Order Bride's Baby
and her Idealistic Lumberjack"
by Florence Linnington

After the death of Anna's husband, his brother decides that he is going to be her next husband, regardless of what she wants. Knowing that he was even more cruel than her husband had been, Anna places an ad as a mail order bride in the hopes of having some other path to follow.  

Only one man answers her ad, from the nearby town of Evergreen. Samuel is a lumberjack who is ready to start his own company, but knows that he and his sister will need additional help at home if he is to succeed. His sister, however, doesn't trust the new woman in their lives, making things more than a little difficult as they all try to adjust to the changing circumstances.

Like her other books, this one follows the usual mail order bride pattern, but is still a very enjoyable story. Despite their separate problems and issues, the three main characters must find a way to live together and to learn to trust and help one another. It is something that seems simple, but in reality rarely is.

As always, I enjoy a good mail order bride story, and Ms. Linnington’s are some of the best that I’ve come across. I can always trust that her books will have a happy ending that I will enjoy. Yes, they must face some difficulties along the way, but that is something that is true for everyone. But the endings of her stories always leave me with a smile.

Monday, January 4, 2021

"The Hole in the World"
by Brendann R. Hill-Mann

Kahrin & her best friend Innes are your average high school students. They have been best friends for almost their whole lives & spend most of their time together. But one wintry day on their way home from school, Innes narrowly avoids hitting an unknown girl who was standing in the middle of the road seeking help. Unfortunately, the accident winds up sending all 3 of them to the hospital with varying severity of injuries.

But there is something more than slightly unusual about the girl, Yelena, as well as the main claiming she is his sister. Innes takes an instant dislike to him, though Kharin isn't entirely sure what to make of him.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very well written & quite entertaining. Kharin and Innes are definitely your typical small town, high school teenagers. Their interactions with each other, as well as with their family & friends, is exactly what one would expect from a teenager.

The storyline was an original idea, though some aspects of it had me thinking of Peter S Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" and like that story did, this one managed to bring tears to my eyes towards the end of the book, though for completely different reasons. And it also left me feeling the way I did after finishing Peter S Beagle’s book as well as the movie that was based on his book. 

All in all, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys tales involving unicorns and magic, especially to anyone who, like me, remembers and enjoyed "The Last Unicorn" (either the book or the animated movie.)  I really think you will enjoy it. I know that I did and am looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Monday, December 28, 2020

"Terrier Transgressions" by Molly Fitz

After working together to solve the question of who had murdered Octo-Cat's human, (Ethel), Angie became his caretaker. 

Now, a new associate has come to join the firm where Angie works as a paralegal. After accidentally discovering that she can talk to and understand what her cat is saying, Charles convinces them to help him prove the innocence of the man accused of murdering two people. He hopes that she and Octo-Cat can talk to the dead couple's yorkie to learn what really happened.

This is the second book in the Pet Whisperer P.I. series, and I am enjoying it so far. Ms. Fitz has given us a well-written tale that very easily holds a reader's interest. Anyone who has ever been owned by a cat will easily recognize and understand that we belong as much, if not more, to them than they do to us. 

I enjoyed watching the interactions between all the characters, but especially those between Angie and Octo-Cat as well as their interactions with Yum-Yum the Yorkie. The author has an excellent understanding of cat and dog behaviors as well as their good and bad tendencies/impulses. 

It is that understanding and the author's ability to effectively portray it that makes this book so interesting and enjoyable. I believe that anyone who has ever been owned by a cat or who has had a small dog in their family will find this book as interesting and entertaining as I did. I would definitely recommend giving this series a try.

Monday, December 21, 2020

"Configured" by Jenetta Penner

 Avlyn was preparing for her configuration day. She had spent most of her life just trying to appear average, trying not to stand out. She has never truly fit in with most other people, not even with the couple who had raised her since the time she was determined to be of a level 2 intelligence, rather than the level 1 family she had been born into.

I found this to be an interesting story to read given that our world appears to be in the middle of a pandemic that has the potential to cause as much devastation as the one referred to as having happened in this story's history.

I can easily see many of the things that happened in this book becoming possible if our path were to follow a similar direction and found it quite reasonable for the characters to make the choices they did throughout the story and enjoyed seeing where those choices led them. And I am very much looking forward to seeing where the author will take us in book 2 in this series. This is definitely a good choice for anyone who enjoys reading dystopian fiction.

Monday, December 14, 2020

"Pregnant Mail Order Bride and her Troubled Rancher" by Florence Linnington

Annabelle's abusive husband had died, leaving her penniless and prey for other predatory men like he had been. There was only one real option open to her… she became a mail order bride.

Brett was a rancher with a troubled past, who desperately needed help with cooking, cleaning, and all the other household chores that he just didn't have time for and wasn't very good at doing anyway. He needed help, and a mail order bride seemed the most practical solution.

I have always enjoyed Ms. Linnington's mail order bride stories. While much of the basic story lines are similar between the different books, her tales are full of many variations in the subplots and are always enjoyable, fun to read, and entertaining.

Her stories are heartwarming tales of how good things can come about no matter the adversity that the characters must face and overcome before they are able to find their happy ending together. Knowing that there will likely be a happy ending is one of the things that I, personally, enjoy the most about this series.

I believe that anyone who also enjoys a good mail order bride tale with an expected happy ending, as I do, will also enjoy this one.

Monday, December 7, 2020

"Phage: Deluge Book Two,"
by Kevin Partner and Mike Kraus

Those who have survived the flooding and the hardships that come with surviving in a world that seems to have become mostly lawless, need to decide what they will do next. Some are merely struggling to survive their new reality, while others are searching desperately for missing family members and hoping that they are still alive somewhere.

But there is a new difficulty that must also be faced, a mysterious illness is hitting almost everyone, some more strongly than others, and if they can't figure out what is causing it as well as finding a cure, very few may wind up surviving this plague.

Like the first book in this series, I enjoyed reading this one. The authors have done a fantastic job of creating and drawing us into a world where almost everything that can go wrong, has, and yet there are still hopes for survival and hope for the future. 

The book was well written & kept me wanting to find out what would happen next. Be warned though, like the last book, this one ends with a good number of questions still needing answers. And for that, the reader will need to continue on to book 3…. as I intend to do. (Yes, I am hooked and feel a need to see what happens next.)

If you enjoyed Book 1, I think you will also enjoy this book as well. I'd recommend giving it a try.

"The Secret of the Grand Hotel du Lac" <br>by Kathryn Gaucci

This was a WWII story set primarily in France (with Some scenes in England.)  Much of it takes place during the latter part of the war ...