Monday, November 30, 2020

"War Girl Ursula" by Marion Kummerow

 Living in Berlin during WWII was definitely not easy. Ursula Klausen had been planning to marry her fiance Andreas Hermann, but had hoped that he would be at the wedding with her. Unfortunately, with him not able to be granted leave from the Front, the two of them were married in absentia, so that if the worst were to happen, Ursula would still be entitled to a widow's benefits.


I found this to be a fascinating story. I have read other WWII novels before, but not many that take place in Germany with Hitler in power and from the German’s perspective. It provided quite a different point of view than I was used to seeing in regards to a war that is being experienced by the women and families who are left at home during the bombing raids and the other problems that must be faced every day.


This book was very well written. I truly enjoyed seeing the way the characters grew and progressed during their lives in a war-torn country where everyone is always suspicious of everyone around them. 


I would definitely recommend giving this book a chance if you are at all curious about what life was like for the women living in Germany during WWII. It gave a very unique perspective without falling into a stereotypical feeling that simply one side or the other was bad, but rather let us see how those living through it at the time may have seen things. It left me curious enough to want to continue on with reading the other books in this series.


Monday, November 23, 2020

"Good Sam" by Dete Meserve

Kate Bradley is a news reporter who is usually assigned to the disaster stories and other tales of misfortune. It is not the type of assignment that brings a reporter much in the way of notice or fame, but it is something she seems to be good at reporting.

But everything changes when she is assigned to follow the story of an anonymous Good Samaritan who has been leaving large amounts of cash for people who desperately need the help, but without any sort of reason given or seeking any word of thanks or acknowledgement for his good deeds.  And soon other random people seem to be following Good Sam's example and quietly helping others around them in whatever small ways that they can.


I enjoyed reading this book a great deal. Though the main character often questions whether or not "Good Sam"  has ulterior motives for his actions, she seeks out the truth as to who Good Sam is and why he is giving away such large amounts of money to complete strangers without wanting anyone to know about it. In today's world, we often hear the sad & depressing stories, but much less rarely do we get to hear about the happy and heartwarming ones. And in my opinion, we could all use more happy and heartwarming stories like this one these days.


It should also be noted that this book has been made into a Hallmark Channel film. I have not yet been fortunate enough to see it myself, but after reading this book, I will be keeping my eyes open for the chance to watch it the next time it airs.


If you enjoy heartwarming tales with a bit of a mystery behind them, then you definitely want to give this book a try. I don't think you will be disappointed, and it just might give you something to smile about in these often dark and depressing times.

I hope everyone will have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday and will try to remember to be kind to both friends and strangers over the upcoming holiday weekend as well as during the rest of the year.


Monday, November 16, 2020

"Peace Talks" by Jim Butcher

After a few years away from this popular series, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden is finally back!  It's no secret that this has been a favorite series of mine for quite a while, and the first thing I can say is that this book doesn't disappoint.

As the title suggests, the main plot of this book involves peace talks involving all the supernatural nations who had previously signed the Accords and will also include the Formor at this gathering. This alone is a big event, but add in the fact that there are members of the White Council who want to hold a vote about possibly rescinding Harry's status as a full wizard and that's only the beginning of the trouble that he will have to face this time around.


In this book, we get to see almost every character from the supernatural world that we have gotten to know in the previous Dresden novels, plus a few new ones. There is so much going on in this tale that it kept me spinning with each new problem encountered. (And trust me, as usual Dresden has to deal with more than just a few of them at once, all without ruining the upcoming peace talks.)


If you like a story with a complicated enough plot to keep you guessing at things, Harry Dresden stories, or paranormal interactions among a variety of beings, this book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat and reading later into the night than you'd intended. I highly  recommend giving this whole series a try.  Be warned though, that the ending of this book leads you immediately into the next one in the series. So if you're like me, expect to need to run right out & buy that one too.


Monday, November 9, 2020

"Displaced" by Bridget E. Baker

There is a society hidden among the human populations of the world who are so much more than most people could ever believe. For one thing, they live thousands of years longer than a human's life normally lasts. They are the descendants of Eve, who was once expelled from the Garden of Eden.


Chancery is the twin sister of Judica. And many among this society think that as the elder twin, she should have been killed at birth as had been the tradition for thousands of years, but surprisingly her mother had refused to do so. And when something happened that caused their mother to declare Chancery as her heir instead of Judica, their world was suddenly turned upside down.


This was a very interesting young adult novel that deals with all the emotional turmoil that every teen seems to go through, as well as quite a few other issues and problems that no one should ever have to face. 


I enjoyed reading this book a great deal. It was well written & easily held my interest all the way through to the end.  It managed to show that not only are things not as simple as merely being black and white, but that the many shades of gray in the world often make life not only more difficult, but more interesting. 


I'm looking forward to reading the next story in this series to see what happens next. This is very definitely a series that I will be continuing to read.


Monday, November 2, 2020

"Irish Mail Order Bride
and her Guarded Suitor"
by Florence Linnington

 Lorna and her younger sister Caitlin had moved to America hoping to find a better life, but instead found one that was even more difficult than what they had left behind. Those who were Irish, it seemed, were hated and treated quite poorly and often wouldn't be hired simply because they were Irish. 


Nearly at the end of their ropes, Lorna is thrown a lifeline when someone turning her away from an already filled job explains to her about the possibility of becoming a mail order bride, and before long Lorna and her sister are soon on a train to the town of Evergreen where Lorna will marry a shop owner named Peter.


As with her other books, Ms Linnington has woven an interesting tale of two people from different walks of life who are brought together to see if they can find a way to make a life together, perhaps even finding love if they are lucky.


In this case, not only do Lorna and Peter have much to overcome if they are to make a life together, but they have the added difficulties involving a man from Peter's past and some townsfolk who are prejudiced against the Irish and who will do almost anything they can to drive Lorna & her sister away.


This book had a number of interesting twists that added a great deal to the story. And of course, one of my favorite things about Ms Linnington's books involves my being able to trust that they will end happily, no matter how unlikely that may seem at times.

"Irish Mail Order Bride and her Guarded Suitor" by Florence Linnington

Monday, October 26, 2020

"The Drowned" by Kevin Partner
and Mike Kraus

 On what started out to be a beautiful summer day, many people began their day enjoying the nice weather at the beach. Unfortunately for most of them, something had already been set into motion that while meant to help save the world, could very well wind up almost destroying it.


The ocean water levels around the world suddenly all began rising quite drastically, sending anyone who was able, running for higher ground and struggling to stay ahead of the rapidly rising water. Some were successful, but most were not.


This first book tells us the tale of what caused the waters to rise and how those who escaped the initial danger managed to survive in a vastly different landscape than most had ever lived in before. I found it to be a fascinating book, and one that was often hard to put down.


It was well written and easily held my interest throughout the story, leaving me wanting to know what would happen next. There are still many unanswered questions and characters struggling to reach lost loved ones they hope to find alive somewhere. Many other folks were left simply hoping to find a safe haven somewhere that also could provide enough food and drinkable water to allow them to survive, while still others resorted to piracy and other atrocities to get by.


I am definitely interested in seeing where this story goes next. I think it would also be of interest to anyone who enjoys apocalypse or disaster stories, or possibly  those with an interest in potential end of the world scenarios. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read this book and will be looking forward to the next one in the series as well.


Monday, October 19, 2020

"The Mother's Helper" by Brenda Maxfield

This was a sweet short story about Nancy,  a young Amish woman who was staying with a relative’s family, helping them out after they'd had a new baby. It was a situation designed to try and give her some space and time away from the sister that she felt had betrayed her.


This was a very quick read, but one that I wish had been longer. I feel like I was just getting to know the characters when the story ended. I wanted to know more, but then isn't that the problem with most short stories? I guess I'll just have to track down the next book in this series if I really want to know what comes after the ending of this story.


Unfortunately, that means I can't say too much in this review without giving away the whole story and the ending. So for now, about all I can say is that I enjoyed it and am curious to see what happens next. I believe that it is something that others might enjoy reading as well.


"War Girl Ursula" by Marion Kummerow

  Living in Berlin during WWII was definitely not easy. Ursula Klausen had been planning to marry her fiance Andreas Hermann, but had h...