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The Nightingale

The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah was such a wonderful book. I felt like I had been reading a lot of books during WWII and the holocaust, so I was weary to read another, but this was beautifully written and such a fabulous read.

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In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

This was such a touching novel. I liked that this was from the perspectives of women and how their lives were during the war. Hannah did an amazing job capturing a new viewpoint and turned it into a gripping and stunning story that was hard to read and impossible to put down.

I highly recommend you read this book. It will be one that truly stays with you and will make you think and then recommend it to others.

Happy reading.

Term Limits

Term Limits

I read Term Limits a while back for book club. I knew a number of people that had read it and loved it, so I really wanted to read it. I didn’t feel compelled to read the rest of Vince Flynn’s books, but I did enjoy this one.

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Taking America back…one politician at a time TERM LIMITS In one bloody night, three of Washington’s most powerful politicians are executed with surgical precision. Their assassins then deliver a shocking ultimatum to the American government: set aside partisan politics and restore power to the people. No one, they warn, is out of their reach — not even the president. A joint FBI-CIA task force reveals the killers are elite military commandos, but no one knows exactly who they are or when they will strike next. Only Michael O’Rourke, a former U.S. Marine and freshman congressman, holds a clue to the violence: a haunting incident in his own past with explosive implications for his country’s future….

This was a good book. I found it a little challenging to get into at first, but I was glad I finished it. It was a good story and I wanted to read this book since it was written by a local author who had passed away not too long before I had read it. My hubby, Chuck, has read all or most of his books and enjoyed them and encouraged me to finish this one.

I wasn’t overly drawn to this genre like some people are. It was good, but I just don’t enjoy reading all the government rich story lines. It was hard for me to stay engaged.

If you like political thrillers or suspense novels, you may love this book and I say you give it a try. You may want to consider looking into some of his other books as well if this genre interests you.

Happy reading.

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge

I haven’t done a post about each of the books I read in 2016 for the Goodreads yet, but I thought it would be fun to just post a picture of them all with links to purchase them. The books are not necessarily in the order that I read them. My goal was to read 15 books and I read 22 books. My 2017 goal is set to read 20 books. Now that I have discovered audio books, I don’t think this will be a problem.

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  1. A Man Called Ove / What I had to say
  2. Perfectly Messy
  3. Interactive Project Management
  4. It’s Okay to Laugh
  5. Present Over Perfect
  6. Love Warrior
  7. Shadow on the Mountain / What I had to say
  8. Truly Madly Guilty
  9. Effortless With You
  10. Defending Jacob
  11. The Lake House
  12. The Nest
  13. Me Before You
  14. Term Limits / What I had to say
  15. Speak / What I had to say
  16. Orbiting Jupiter / What I had to say
  17. The Girl on the Train
  18. Paper Towns / What I had to say
  19. The Nightingale
  20. The Hypnotist’s Love Story / What I had to say
  21. Dept. of Speculation / What I had to say
  22. Animal Vegetable Miracle

Young Adult Reads

Young Adult Reads

Since I’m working on catching up on posting about some books I have read, I figured I should maybe post more than one at a time. There are a lot to write about. Here are a few young adult books I have read in the past, um, well, while.41uZrunxtKL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

Orbiting Jupiter was a short and quick read, but also really sad. I think I came across this one from a friend’s reading list on Goodreads. I liked the book, but it was also too short in my mind. I would have liked more about the characters. I didn’t know that it was going to be so short when I started it, so I was surprised and a bit disappointed. Had I known its length going into it, I might have enjoyed it more. But it was still a good story and a good read if you like underdog stories.

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Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew.

I have only read one other book by John Green (The Fault in Our Stars), but I had mixed feelings about Paper Towns. I was really excited to read this book, but I found the story to be a bit slow at the beginning. I liked the story and the idea, but the book didn’t end the way I expected (which isn’t bad). I don’t really know what it was exactly that kept me from really connecting to this book, but when I finished it I just felt kind of meh about it. If you like other John Green books, you will probably enjoy this one. I still want to read a couple of his other books, but this was just ok. I even started the movie and wasn’t very drawn to it so I didn’t finish watching it. Possibly because I am too old to connect with that age of character very deeply. Who knows. You may love it. But it wasn’t high on my recommendation list.

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Shadow on the Mountain recounts the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains—and loses—friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.

Shadow on the Mountain was a book my city did for a community-wide reading event called OneBook OneRosemount. They have the author come speak and have an abundance of the books available for reading. I didn’t make it to the author discussion, but I liked the book. I have read a number of books set in WWII. But this was a little different story. More from the kids’ point of view. It was a fast read with some twists. If you don’t enjoy reading books about WWII you may not enjoy this one. But it was a good read if it’s a genre you do enjoy.

Happy reading!

andi

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

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I recently discovered the joy of audio books. I know this sounds strange considering it’s 2017, but I am a little slow sometimes when it comes to new trends.  I started listening to them while I was painting and quickly discovered that I love listening to them in the car, too. The kids are plugged into their movie so I can have some time to “read” when I don’t really have the time to read otherwise. It’s wonderful.

This was the most recent book I listened to. It’s a book my book club is reading for March, but it became available and I finished it a lot faster than I thought I would. Here’s a summary of the book.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A Man Called Ove (pronounced (Oo-Va) by Fredrik Backman was such a sweet book. I was instantly drawn to this character. He reminded me so much of my grandpa and his grumpy demeanor. Ove had so many terrible things happen to him during his years and I love that some neighbors gave some new excitement to his life albeit unintentionally. I loved all the characters and the story. I loved how it was written and the story was told so beautifully jumping back and forth through time.

I highly recommend you read (or listen to) this book. It will make you laugh, scowl and possible cry while arming your heart. Happy reading friends.

andi

Speak

Speak

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We read Speak for book club a couple months ago. First, here’s what it’s about:

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.

“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

This was hard to read at times, but a powerful, and slightly oddly written book. Since it was from the perspective of a high school student, it was choppy and hard to read at times. I was able to get past the character’s prose because the book was interesting. The summary above gives a good idea about the book. It takes a long time in the book to find out what happened to her. And albeit graphic, I thought it was kind of anti-climactic for being such an integral part of her story.

You can really see how such a tragic event can dramatically change a person. That was hard to read. But she has a teacher who can tell there’s something she needs to get out.

It was a good book in hindsight, but I imagine there are better books out there that touch on this topic were you looking to read something about a similar incident. The other ladies weren’t terribly fond of the book because of the topic and graphic details at times. It was a fast read if this is something you might be interested in reading.

Happy reading, friends.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story

The Hypnotist’s Love Story

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I finally finished reading all of the books by Liane Moriarty. This one was the last one I needed to read. Here’s a bit about this one:

Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.

Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her.

This book took me a really long time to read. I started it months ago! And I just finished it the other day. I had been reading a little bit here and there and in between reading other books. Now that’s I’ve finished it, I don’t know what took me so long. It was a good story, albeit a little slower than her others. I think the drama in this one dragged on a bit. This one was probably my least favorite of her books, but I didn’t dislike it.

Moriarty does a great job of making very creative, yet believable stories. Maybe that’s why I find it so intriguing. I liked the premise of a hypnotist. Whether the information about her profession was all fact or not, I still found it interesting. There was something about the way the main character dealt with all the things that came up in the book that I found amusing. She thinks of herself as such a calm and collected person, and for the most part she conducts herself as such. But her internal dialog with herself about stuff that comes up is quite hilarious at times.

I think everyone should read all of Moriarty’s books. But that’s just because I liked them. Smile Here’s a link to her other books that I read and wrote about.

Happy reading!

andi

The Last Anniversary

The Last Anniversary

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This is an older Liane Moriarty book that I finished a few months ago.  I had read most of her other books and this one came available at the library. Here’s a bit about the book:

Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one who got away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was going to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie’s house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.

Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family, where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it’s about time she started making her own decisions.

As Sophie’s life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around—and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

I love all of her books and the way Moriarty writes. I was sucked into this fun book quite quickly. I liked the characters from the beginning and wanted to find out all the hidden secrets. I liked that some of the characters were in on it and the others weren’t. It was a fun book that really could have had a very different outcome.

I don’t know where this ranks in my love of her books. I just think you should read them all. I finally finished the last one!

Have you come across any authors you needed to read everything they wrote?

Happy reading!

andi

Dept. of Speculation

Dept. of Speculation

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This book was my book club’s December/January book. Another author had recommended it. It was different than anything we had read. And for good reason. It was weird. Here’s a little about the book:

In the beginning, it was easy to imagine their future. They were young and giddy, sure of themselves and of their love for each other. “Dept. of Speculation” was their code name for all the thrilling uncertainties that lay ahead. Then they got married, had a child and navigated the familiar calamities of family life—a colicky baby, a faltering relationship, stalled ambitions.

When their marriage reaches a sudden breaking point, the wife tries to retrace the steps that have led them to this place, invoking everything from Kafka to the Stoics to doomed Russian cosmonauts as she analyzes what is lost and what remains. In language that shimmers with rage and longing and wit, Offill has created a brilliantly suspenseful love story—a novel to read in one sitting, even as its piercing meditations linger long after the last page.

This was a very fast read. I read it in just over an hour. (I had put it off and read it the day of our book club meeting.) The writing style was very different from a typical novel. The sentences were choppy, the paragraphs were brief and characters were referred to by descriptions instead of names. The story itself was a bit depressing about their lives and marriage.

I’m not sure I’d really recommend it because it was hard to find and probably not worth paying lots for. I did find my copy through the library, so it was worth it for me to give it a read.

Happy reading.

andi

This Life She’s Chosen

This Life She’s Chosen

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A friend of mine recommended this book to me (which was written by her best friend) when I told her I was moving to Seattle. The author also lives in the Seattle area.  I wasn’t able to finish it when she gave it to me because I had too much going on at the time. But we ended up reading it for book club last month and I am so glad I finally got to finish reading it.

This book is a collection of short stories. I haven’t read many short stories, so it was a little harder for me to get into it at first. Once I was able to get a hang of how short stories were written, I really enjoyed them. And thinking about the stories from the beginning after reading the whole book made those even better.

Her stories are so beautifully written and you get a feel for each of the characters. I was able to feel connected to each of the characters in a very short time with her stories. Each of the women in the book were so different and yet had an inkling of a common thread through her words. I was intrigued by how visual her words were and how in depth the stories were at only a handful of pages long.

The really exciting part for me is that we were able to get the author, Kirsten, to join us for book club so we could ask her questions and talk to her about the book. It was so fun to hear her thought process and her feelings on the characters. I love talking to authors about their books (or hearing authors talk about their books).

Kirsten wrote this book a number of years ago and wrote a second one (Swimming with Strangers) as well. She talked about a third book in the works as well! I am planning to read her second book and would love to read her third book one day, too. Kirsten, if you need more people to read advance copies…I’d love to be considered. Smile

If you love short stories, I recommend you read this. If you haven’t read many (or any) short stories, I recommend you read this. I think reading a variety of writing helps me be a better reader and also not become so stuck in one genre. This book is a little hard to get copies of (you won’t find it at your local library) because it was written a number of years ago. But if you want to read it, I would be happy to loan you my copy.

Happy reading, friends.

andi