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Search tags: 2017-pop-sugar-reading-challenge
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text 2017-04-23 14:17
Read 157 out of 453 pages
Nora Roberts: The Obsession (Hardcover); 2016 Edition - Nora Roberts

Read chapters 6-10....five chapters of painting, decorating, furniture shopping, and house renovations that remind me of Roberts' Inn at Boonboro series. Then the MC had to get bitchy over adopting the stray dog. The hero came into the story WAY too strongly; there was no subtle introduction, he just started in on the sexual innuendos. The MC went from someone I could root for to a bitchy "independent" woman. I am breaking up reading this book with reading from my booklikes-opoly pick. 75 pages at a time is more than enough.

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review 2017-04-22 18:53
Review: With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale #1) by Sarah Sundin
With Every Letter - Sarah Sundin

This book.

 

*SIGH*

 

*great book noise*

 

Where has this author been all my adult reading life?

 

I ended up creating a draft copy of my end of the year best of list for fiction. It has one book on that list. This book.

 

So I picked this book up from Amazon's bargain/close out section and then it gathered dust on my book shelves for years. I am now kicking myself for not reading this (and the other two books in the trilogy, but I don't have a copy of those yet) sooner.

 

Lt Philomela Blake (Mellie) is an Army nurse working on the experimental Air Evacuation section of the Army-Air Corps. She wants adventure, she wants travel, and she wants to move up in her career. Mellie is a damn fine nurse, and a fine person - but she is lonely because she never could make friends, especially female friends due to her childhood. Mellie is half-Filipino and half-white; she was too Asian for American school kids to like and too American for Asian kids to like. She has been instructed to learn to make friends and get along with the other women in her squadron or she will be removed from the Air Evacuation team and sent back to hospital work. She decides that part of this new "make friends and influence people" plan is to write anonymous letters to a male pen pal in her supervisor's husband's platoon.

 

Lt Tom MacGilliver is the son of an executed killer who just wants to be accepted for himself and be the best engineer the Army needs. He is working with the Airfield Battalion, hopping from location to location to lay down airfields for the Allies in North Africa. He too is lonely, so he answers Mellie's letter, staying anonymous. She goes by "Annie" and he goes by "Ernest".

 

Tom and Mellie form a deep bond through letters, even when Mellie's unit deploys to North Africa. They do meet, neither of them knowing that the other is the pen pal. At the end of the first meeting, Tom gives away a little of his identity and Mellie figures out Tom is her pen pal. She keeps this knowledge to herself, hoping to keep letter writing going. Both are falling in love with each other via letters, but Tom is also starting to fall for Mellie when she comes to his airfields to pick up wounded soldiers. He is very conflicted about his feelings for the "two" women throughout the second half of the book, but in the end he decides on "Annie" over Mellie, because "Annie" knows him deep down while Mellie he is physically attracted to. When he finally (FINALLY!!) figures out that they are actually the same woman, he mows down anyone in his way of him getting his woman.

 

This romance tackles racism, ethnic tensions, sexism, and how to deal with long hair when in the combat theater and you are rationed water supplies. Honestly, the deft hand when dealing with these issues plus the emotional baggage Mellie and Tom bring to their relationship is amazing. The story is rounded out with a variety of characters, some good - some bad - some ugly. But all the characters felt real. And the setting was aptly described; the reader is taken on a tour of North Africa including Casablanca, Oran, Tunis, Algiers, Youks-les-Bains, Constantine, Tabarka, and a few places in Sicily. This is an inspie romance, non-denominational Christianity. However, the religious aspects are really well-woven into the story, with no lecturing or long monologues or selfish praying. 

 

Tom adopts a stray dog early in the book. The dog is still alive at the end of the book and still working and living with Tom's unit.

 

I am definitely making it a point to read the other two books in the series and read the author's backlist (she tends to write in trilogies, all WWII). HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!

 

 

 

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text 2017-04-18 20:43
ARGH! Read 50 out of 352 pages
We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese - Elizabeth M. Norman

The story of these nurses is one I have been eagerly wanting to read. The women profiled (20 of the 99 original POW nurses) are starting to blend into one another - all farm fresh-faced, glossy hair, cute, perky, boy/man-crazy. These women have such an important story to share and the author is focusing on the most trivial crap in these women's lives - all while under enemy fire/invasion! I just feel like their story should have better writing than what is here...I am going to finish this book because the story needs to be told, but the book itself is going to probably get a low rating due to the awful writing.

 

On top of author's choices in what to write about and how she wrote the story, it is very academic - dry, textbook, with no sense of creative non-fiction storytelling. And the graphic descriptions of injuries/surgeries/piles of amputated limbs and jungle animals crawling on nurses/patients in the night are starting to get repetitive and certainly not needed in the amount that is present.

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review 2017-04-18 11:29
Review: Enchanted, Inc (Enchanted, Inc #1) by Shanna Swendson
Enchanted, Inc. - Shanna Swendson

A cute and quick read. I liked the MC and her adventures as a single woman living and working in NYC. There was a hint of a possible love triangle, but it was definitely resolved at the end and I think Katie and Ethan make a better couple. I think my favorite scene is the one that has kissing frogs on the girl's night out. It helped Katie bond with her new co-workers and was a lesson in unintended consequences. I also liked the battle scene at the end.

 

I'm having a hard time placing this in genre terms - it is more paranormal than magical realism, but still firmly in contemporary realistic fiction. The romance is a side plotline, not the main event so it is not a paranormal romance. Too light and fluffy for the urban fiction tag. It was a good read, but the world building is hard to define.  

 

Looking forward to the next book in the series.

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review 2017-04-18 11:13
Review: Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky
Polio: An American Story - David Oshinsky

*Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for History

 

For such an in-depth look at how we got to now in regards to poliomyelitis (polio for short), it was an enjoyable and easily readable book. There is drama in the real life story of trying to contain a virus that strikes children. And Holy Scientific Egos, Batman!

 

The story begins with outbreaks from the late 1880s and how the disease became epidemic when hygiene standards were elevating and other diseases were decreasing. Then FDR, then a rising star in the political arena, was stricken. His recovery paved the way for a new kind of charity (National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis), and the race for a vaccine.

 

There is seventy years worth of history, both with the foundation's fund raising and the science behind the vaccine. There are a lot of people to keep track of; some were doctors, some were researchers, and foundation employees. The work was built very slowly; while Dr. Jonas Salk is the celebrated scientist, his work was basically the culmination of breakthroughs of other scientists, such as John Enders and Albert Sabin. Sabin's vaccine was used around the world to eradicate polio; Salk's was used predominately here in the US and Netherlands. Ultimately, due to some complications with Sabin's vaccine, the shots given to kids today are Salk's version.

 

Oshinsky does give a page or two to the AIDS-polio vaccine link that was circulated in the 1990s, but only to discredit that link (and the faulty science that went into that thinking). He did the same with the SV-40-polio vaccine link. He also mentions that polio is still not eradicated from the world due to hostilities and uncooperativeness of certain countries (India, Pakistan, and Nigeria). He also takes in the time periods he is writing about - the Jim Crow South and how that played into incidence rates and problems with the vaccine trials, poverty levels, WWII, and Great Depression. The science and the social were mixed well into the story.

 

Overall, an enjoyable and engrossing read but very in-depth, so it will take time to read and absorb the story.

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