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text 2017-12-05 17:30
Books I Read In October and November
The Diamond Empire (A Diamonds Novel) - K'wan
Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel - Jesmyn Ward
Brazen - Katherine Longshore
The Longest Memory - Fred D'Aguiar
The Tragedy of Brady Sims (Vintage Contemporaries) - Ernest J. Gaines
The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
A Hope Divided (The Loyal League) - Alyssa Cole
Perennials - Julie Cantrell
Driver's Seat (Penguin Modern Classics) - Muriel Spark

I read six books in October and five books in November. I'm pretty pleased about my progress. There were a few books that I thought I'd love and a few that I was unsure of that after reading became favorites. Here are the reading results:



5 Star Reads


The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah


*I listened to most of it on audio and then switched to the ebook. This book is worth all the hype. It is an unforgettable read. I will definitely re-read this book and I highly recommend if you enjoy WWII books and stories about family.



The Longest Memory by Fred D'Aguiar


*This was definitely a hard read. There's family betrayal, heartbreak and the harsh realities of plantation life. The characters in this book will stay with me for some time.



4 Star Reads


The Diamond Empire by K'wan


*Crazy characters, violence and deception all play into great entertainment. I love this series and can't wait for the next book. K'wan knows how to keep you captivated, on edge and panting for that next read.


An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League) by Alyssa Cole


*Absolutely more than I anticipated. I loved the premise, characters and the writing. This book has interracial love, familial love and characters that stand for what they believe in. Another that I highly recommend to lovers of romance and historical fiction. Alyssa Cole is an author I will continue to pick up.


A Hope Divided (The Loyal League #2) by Alyssa Cole


*Loved it! Just as great as the first, but I fell in love with Socrates (Ewan). Marlie and Ewan had their own personal struggle, but manage to fight for what's most important, love.


Perennials by Julie Cantrell


*I listened to the entire book by read-to-me function on my Kindle Fire during the seven hour ride to Las Vegas. Perennials is what I call a slow burn. There's much going on throughout the book, but it all comes together like an intricately weaved  fabric at the end. I love family books. This book was heartbreaking and sweet.


Brazen by Katherine Longshore


*I'm trying to clear out the last of my YA books. I read the first two books in The Royal Circle trilogy and enjoyed them so, I decided to read Brazen before I donated it. I'm finding that the YA books I purchased are truly written for a very young audience and I can't read them. The writing is too juvenile in language and tone. However, I was able to read this and enjoyed it. It was a fun engaging read.



3 Star Reads


The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark


*Okay, but completely forgettable read. I would've preferred someone to have just told me the story and saved my money and time.


Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata


*Another okay read that I had too high expectations. I get the parts about the importance of traditions with the tea ceremony, but even that wasn't enough of a grab to save this little book. Someone could've just told me the plot and I could've skipped it.



None Rated Books


The Tragedy of Brady Sims by Ernest J. Gaines


*This definitely didn't turn out the way I thought it would. It's strange it's a book in my opinion. I don't read short stories, but I would call this one. I'm baffled and don't have much to say. Another book I could've skipped.


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward


*This is the third book that I've tried to love by Ms. Ward. I just don't think we get along. The first book I read of hers was Salvage the Bones. After I tried The Men We Reap. I found it to be slow and melancholy to the point of distraction. My mind would wonder while reading the words. I get the point of the books or what's trying to be conveyed. I just don't enjoy the process of getting there. I find her books have the same formula. Therefore not agreeing with my tastes. Many readers love Ms. Ward and she's won numerous awards. I'm sure she'll continue with much success and I do wish her well.

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review 2017-12-01 01:51
good book and characters
Nightingale - Jocelyn Adams Nightingale - Jocelyn Adams

Darcy is a reporter but she is tired of writing meaningless articles for the society page. Darcy wants to make a difference in the world. Darcy has  been promised more if she could get an interview with Micah Laine. Micah was a millionaire playboy who had been kidnapped and held captive in Columbia. Micah managed to escape one year ago  and freed several  other people at the same time   when he escaped. When Micah returned home he was a different not  man and he would not open up in public. No interviews in any form.Micah also now has a long scar on the side of his face.  But Micah did form a foundation for those who have been kidnapped or held captive and help them to be rehabilitated. Micah believes Darcy is just another person who wants to plaster his past all over the place. Micah challenges Darcy with a deal  to stay with him for one week in his secluded cottage on a remote island. During this time Darcy can get to know Micah she can also ask as many questions as she wants to. As long as Micah is allowed to ask for something also. Darcy is warm and carefree but she also has secrets.

I enjoyed reading this book. I liked the plot but this did drag for me at times. I liked a lot how Darcy tried to make sure Micah is comfortable with all she asks of him. I loved the back story and felt this was well written. This choked me up at times and made me smile at others. Micah and Darcy are definitely good for each other and help each other heal. I really liked that Darcy and Micah didn’t rush right into a insta love/ lust relationship. I loved how Micah came back and started a foundation to help others who had been kidnapped or held captive. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend.

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review 2017-11-10 15:59
Rocco And The Nightingale - Adrian Magson

Inspector Lucas Rocco has finally got used to the quiet way of life in Picardie, away from his work in Paris and the organised crime he used to combat. When a petty criminal is found murdered near his village, Rocco is surprised but believes the culprit will soon be caught. He’s soon taken off the case, much to his chagrin, in order to babysit a Gabonese minister. On top of all that he finds out someone has taken out a contract on his head. Now Rocco must protect the minister and track down the assassin, before the assassin finds Rocco…


This is the first book by Adrian Magson I have read and whilst Rocco and the Nightingale is the latest in a series it can easily be read without having read any of the other novels.


I loved the setting of the novel, both the location and the time period. It played like a black and white 60’s French movie in my head. I could image the countryside, the Citroens and mopeds driving through villages, the older village women, the cafes filled with men smoking and drink coffee and the young women with their sixties clothes and gamine hair cuts. Whilst there was violence in the story this seemed tempered by the time period. There was a more laid back atmosphere to the book, concentrated  more on old fashioned detective work and less on forensics, though these were touched upon.


All the characters were well drawn. Rocco was a likeable character, interesting to read. It was clear he had some history, history that now shaped his present, but he came across as a fair minded and fair handed man, someone who may not be afraid to bend the rules but would do so only for the right reasons. The relationship between Rocco and his colleagues was a pleasure to read and I could see how they could possibly develop in the future.


The crime itself is slightly different in that we know who has committed the murder and we hear from the assassin throughout the story. It is very much a cat and mouse tale but at some point the cat, unknowingly becomes the mouse.


I thoroughly enjoyed reading Rocco and the Nightingale.  Whilst I would like to read about a past Rocco, seen in Adrian Magson’s previous novels, I do hope that there will be the opportunity read more about present Rocco in the future.

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review 2017-11-04 16:34
The Nightingale
The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah

Author: Kristin Hannah

Rating: 5 stars


Book Blurb: With courage, grace, and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II 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.


I read this book earlier this year and said I would post a review when I had gotten my emotions under control...


...and then never did.


Seeing it at the top of this historical fiction book list reminded me to post my review, as I do want to read more books on that list.  My goal is to work through the list to discover reads I may not have considered otherwise.


Anyways the review! 


This book was hyped quite a bit and in my opinion, the hype is well deserved. It's emotional and it's gripping. I struggled with the weightiness of both sisters' decisions- Hannah does an amazing job of letting you inside their heads as they make very different and difficult choices.  I told myself I would not cry but the last three pages left me a blubbering mess at work. I had to go to the bathroom to collect myself. 


This book was amazing. It was what good historical fiction should be. I highly recommend it. 



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review 2017-11-03 17:24
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I get the feeling that The Bear and the Nightingale is one of those books which will either really work for you as a story or it will be just okay, depending on how familiar you are with Russian folklore and/or history. 


In classic fairytale style, the story starts with a small girl and her new step-mother, but Vasya is not just any girl and neither is her step-mother - both of them can see the supernatural creatures surrounding them (the domovoi who lives in the oven, for example) but while Vasya builds relationships with them, her step-mother Anna believes they are demons.


Vasya's father is the boyar, a local landowner living far from Moscow, who subsequently is sent a priest and icon-maker who is just a little too popular in the capital. The arrival of Konstantin, just as Vasya is getting to marriageable age and her father hopes she will settle down a little, leads to all sorts of problems with the balance between mundane and supernatural. Vasya herself is eminently likeable, strong-willed despite opposition and willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the people who are important to her safe, even in the face of supernatural forces. 


The series continues in The Girl in the Tower, which is due out next month - I'll definitely be picking that one up at some point in the near future, as Vasya is such a great main character. 

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