Monday, January 25, 2021

"Battle Ground" by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden and pretty much everyone he has ever encountered in any of the other Dresden Files novels makes an appearance in this book.  This book finishes off what was started in the last one, “Peace Talks” and it's definitely one that if you've enjoyed the rest of the series, you don't want to miss.

I, for one, loved this book. It left me at times highly amused, and at others it made me want to (and yes, actually did make me) cry. I can't tell you any more about what it was that affected me so strongly without including some major spoilers, so you'll just have to read it for yourself if you want to know what I'm talking about. (Giving away spoilers for this book would be a huge disservice to anyone who reads or wants to read it in the future.) But I promise you, this story is well worth reading and does not disappoint. I cannot wait to see where Mr. Butcher takes Harry and the others next.

But my absolute favorite part of this book was the bonus Christmas story that was included after the end of the novel itself. It was a very sweet little tale of Harry on Christmas Eve, getting ready for the following morning that he’ll be spending with his daughter. Be sure not to skip reading this one either as it really is worth reading just as much as the rest of the book. Highly recommended.

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.

Firefax by A. M. Vergara

During the Revolutionary War, there are rumors of a city of gold that is hidden on an island whose location is known only to the Firefax fam...