logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Historical-fiction
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-22 04:51
Sisters sent to Sweden to escape WWII...
A Faraway Island - Annika Thor,Linda Schenck

 

 

During World War II, many Jewish children were sent to other countries and placed with families to keep them safe. Stephie and Nellie were two of those children. They end up on a small island and with two different families. At first glance, Nellie is in the warm, loving family and Stephie ends up with a woman who doesn't seem to even like her. Stephie is holding on to the idea that their parents will join them and they will all go to America. 

 

This is a great story about two girls adjusting to their new life and dealing with bullying and prejudice. I felt so bad for Stephie. She is trying so hard, but she misses her old life and her parents so much. Her parents sent her and her sister away to save them from the Germans and their hatred. But, even in Sweden, they can't avoid it completely.

 

When Stephie finally reveals her pain to her foster mother (Aunt Marta), she finds that Aunt Marta is dealing with her own pain. They both realize they aren't alone and don't have to deal with everything on their own.

 

Recommended to:

Middle school ages, especially girls. Even though it's historical fiction, the problems the girls deal with are easily relatable. The book doesn't deal with the horrors of the concentration camps, but the way the war affects Stephie, Nellie, and their family.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-22 00:09
The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco
The Dog Who Was There - Ron Marasco

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before. Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea. On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

In 1st century Jerusalem, a pregnant stray dog gives birth to a litter of pups in a wooded area near the river. The runt of the litter is spotted by Micah, the young son of a wealthy landowner. Micah sneaks away from chores each day to play with the pup, until the day he is found out by his father. The father tries to have the whole litter killed but thanks to the efforts of Duv, a woodcarver, and his wife, Adah, the young pup is saved and named Barley. 

 

It is in the home of the woodcarver that Barley first starts to hear stories of an already near-mythic man from the land of Galilee. That's right, none other than than big man himself, Jesus! For seven years, Barley has a cozy home life full of love and treats. But one regular work day in town leads to tragedy for the woodcarver and his wife, a turn of events that once again puts Barley out on the streets. The scared canine is soon spotted by Samid, a homeless man / petty criminal, and his lady friend Prisca. Though the accomodations are significantly more humble than his previous pad, Barley takes what he can get and soon settles into a moderately comfortable routine with new pal Samid. Barley's life with Samid puts him in close proximity to Jesus, now in Jerusalem, so Barley is there to witness the final days leading up to the Passion of Christ

 

For dogs, no less than for people, firsts matter. They echo long past their point in time, especially in dreams. It's true of the good firsts, and very true of the bad ones. That's why when a dog cries in a dream -- even a full-grown dog, even an old dog -- the cry it cries is the cry of a pup, because that's what it is doing when it sleeps -- reliving a first. 

 

Well, right off, I will say that this is a unique way to breathe fresh new perspective into a tale that's been told a million times over! The writing sometimes struck me as somewhat simplistic but that could just be a natural by-product of the author choosing to tell the story from the inner thoughts of a dog. Perhaps the simplicity is intentional? Regardless, the benefit of a simple voice is that it makes this story perfect for sharing with readers within a wide age range.

 

Note that I was careful not to say "of all ages", because there is material within this novel that may be a little traumatic for the littlest ones in your life, whether they read independently or have you read to them. Barley witnesses (and describes) seeing the bodies of people executed by hanging, there are moments of extreme violence within Barley's own life, moments where he is injured, not to mention Barley relaying the sights of the Crucifixion itself near the end of the novel. The fate of Duv & Adah (the woodcarver and his wife) show just how rough and sometimes lawless this time period could be. So when it comes to the smallest of your story lovers, I'd recommend maybe first doing a read-through to see what you need to gloss over for them. 

 

Much of the story, as far as plot, while solidly enjoyable, lacked that little something extra for me. For the majority of the book, I kept waiting for that extra oomph to kick in. That said, I did enjoy the "voice" of our dog narrator and one of my favorite bits of the whole story was Samid and his friendship / something more? with Prisca. There was a good dose of humor and lively banter between them. I agree with Prisca, Samid outwardly appears rough around the edges, but you get the sense there's a good guy there deep down.

 

"Despair."

 

Samid said the word before she could. Which made them smile at each other, sweetly but sadly. 

 

"Why is our despair such a difficult thing for us to give up?" asked Samid.

 

Prisca replied, "I think despair is so difficult to let go of because it helps us to justify teh worst things inside of us. We think: I lack, so I can steal. I hurt, so I can injure. I failed at one thing, so now watch me destroy my whole life ... But when the despair is gone, we cannot help but change. We simply must."

 

The two were silent for a few moments. 

 

 

What ended up bumping this up to a four star read for me was simply Barley's observations during the Crucifixion. The way author Ron Marasco painted these scenes gave me a whole new visual of this event I've heard told in stories SO many times over. Yet something in the way Marasco illustrates it (in words) made it more real for me than nearly any other piece on the Crucifixion I've ever read. Ever. I physically flinched at what Barley describes himself seeing as the walk up to the cross is taking place. The attention to detail Marasco provides when describing the whippings Jesus is taking from soldiers, the way Barley winces and whimpers and thinks of him (Jesus) as Kind Man. It all just knocks you right in the heart! Beyond the Crucifixion scene, there is a further twist to the ending that I did not entirely see coming! 

 

 

FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book & requested that I check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.

 

 

--------------------------

 

EXTRAS

 

Author Ron Marasco has a PhD in theater history and is a professor at Loyola University. He also has some acting credits to his name on shows you've likely watched! 

 

 

 

 

A note on promo blurbs & cover design:

 

First off, thumbs up for getting a blurb from Kristin Chenoweth on there. Love her!

 

But regarding the cover, I was one of a select group of bloggers who were asked to give their opinion on the few different design options designed for this title. Still bummed that my pick was not chosen, as I voted strongly AGAINST having to have a cover featuring a dog anus front and center. Particularly when there was one design (the one I voted for) that featured an ADORABLE dog's profile giving a little glance to the reader. I'll let it go though, because this cover dog does look similar to my mother in law's sweet pup. :-)

 

But props to Thomas Nelson Pub. for at least darkening that area to a little less off-putting level lol Also funny to read in the book the dog's coat being described as "off-white fur". I know it's a little hard to tell with the lighting but that cover dog looks as if it'd be pretty distinctly brown with maybe some black highlight areas. A little reading peeve of mine, when it seems like the cover designer didn't read the book they were designing for! 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-21 02:38
Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach: A Novel - Beatriz Williams

I would recommend reading A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams before reading this book. You will understand more about Virginia's past if you read that book. This isn't necessarily a sequel to that book it just follows Virginia after the events of A Certain Age.

Virginia in A Certain Age held somewhat of a mystery about her so getting this expanded view into her life was great. You finally get to see how she met her husband and what led her to move back in with her father and sister.

 

In not sure that I enjoyed the back and forth between when Virginia first met Simon and the present day. I think I would have liked it more in chronological order. I did enjoy when a chapter ended with a letter from Simon to Virginia.

 

Towards the middle of the book the plot seemed to drag a bit and I became a little bit bored. I enjoyed when the book picked up towards the end and everything was revealed. I have to say that this was not my favorite one of Beatriz Williams' novels but it was still good.

 

I received this book from a  Librarything Early Reviewers giveaway. My review is not affected by that.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-04-20 22:45
Review: The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown
The Witchfinder's Sister - Beth Underdown

 


I would like to thank Penguin Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

The Witch Finder's Sister is a fictional tale based on the life of Matthew Hopkins - a witch hunter believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 300 women between the years 1644 and 1646. The story is told through the eyes of his sister Alice who experiences his obsession first hand and recounts the tale to the reader.

 

Initially, when I first started reading the book I thought I was going to love it. The writing style appealed to me, it felt like Alice was talking directly to me and I was excited to read more. But, unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. It concentrated too much on Alice's emotions, inner thoughts, and memories. She was a bystander lost within her own past and present, looking in rather than looking out at the horror of what was actually taking place. There were so many missed opportunities to escalate the storyline and to ramp up the tension, but they were missed because of the way the storyline advanced in regards to Alice's character.

 

As a reader, I only got little peeks into the true horrors of what Matthew was doing. Right before the witch hunts approached their worst, just when things were starting to get interesting and were really about to kick off, the author decided to lock Alice in the attic, which of course resulted in the reader being locked in that attic alongside Alice.

 

What happened in that dark attic? Not much at all - meanwhile, Matthew and his witch trials are causing chaos. The trials are approaching their worst, hundreds of women are being killed, months of mayhem and murder are taking place, and the reader is sat in the dark with Alice. There was so much going on outside that attic that the reader was excluded from, all the chaos and horrors that would have made this a book to remember, and instead we're given a just few pages of Alice in the dark. What a let down that was.

 

The book is categorised by the publisher as being adult general fiction, mystery, and thriller, but to be honest there wasn't much mystery or thrills to be found. The pacing was very slow, there wasn't enough action, and characters were hard to connect with. The ending, in particular, had me rolling my eyes.

 

Not one I would recommend. The blurb and the cover quotes promised much and delivered little.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
Facebook | Twitter | G+ | BookLikes | LibraryThing

You can also follow me on Bloglovin

 

Like Reblog Comment
text 2017-04-20 09:41
Ama Alchemy of Love by Nataša Pantović Nuit Historical Spiritual Fiction Giveaway
A-Ma Alchemy of Love - Nataša Pantović Nuit
<!-- Show static html as a placeholder in case js is not enabled -->

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A-Ma Alchemy of Love by Natasa Pantovic Nuit

A-Ma Alchemy of Love

by Natasa Pantovic Nuit

Giveaway ends May 11, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

 
Enter Giveaway
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?