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review 2017-06-24 04:24
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
The Alice Network - Kate Quinn

Best book I have read all year and quite possibly my favorite Quinn novel yet. This book proves Quinn can bring any era to life with characters who you will find yourself crying over when it is all said and done. Seriously, I need to go find a corner to curl up in now. I just don't know what to do with myself now that there is no more. Maybe if I go to bed early enough I will dream of Finn *sigh*

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review 2017-06-06 19:01
High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

As the First World War rages, British Red Cross nurse Eve Marche keeps herself busy at a hospital in Brussels, Belgium during the day while helping out at her aunt and uncle’s café during the evenings, trying to put the heartbreak and guilt of the past behind her. The German occupation has thrust the country into chaos, and Eve helps to fight back by clandestinely serving in the underground resistance effort. The danger increases, however, when a downed British pilot ends up on her ward, toppling what little stability she’s built and forever changing her life.

Kate’s historical fiction never disappoints, and “High as the Heavens” is no exception. Meticulously researched, it plunges readers headfirst into the brutality and heartbreak of WWI while still offering hope and resilience. With an overarching theme of forgiveness, “High as the Heavens” probes the guilt and dilemmas facing German resisters, and the romance is poignant and unique. The characters rise from the pages and entwine themselves into the reader’s heart so that each alliance and each betrayal truly resonates. Prepare for an electrifying ride through this gritty but graceful novel, as the plot never relents but rather pushes ever forward toward a stunning climax.

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review 2017-04-02 18:16
A REFLECTION ON THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. ENTRY INTO WORLD WAR I
The Fledgling (WWI Centenary Series) - Charles Bernhard Nordhoff

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into the First World War (April 6th, 1917), it is good to read a book like "THE FLEDGLING" whose author (Charles Nordhoff, who would later acquire fame with James Norman Hall, as one of the authors of the novel, "Mutiny on the Bounty", which in turn, was adapted to the screen and became a successful movie in 1935, starring Charles Loughton and Clark Gable) had served as a fighter pilot (pilote de chasse) on the Western Front.

 

Nordhoff begins his story with a series of letters describing the experiences he had as an ambulance driver at the Front with a French unit from January to June 1917. Then he goes on to provide the reader with some revealing and insightful perspectives on his experiences both as a trainee pilot and later in 1918 as a frontline fighter pilot in the French Aéronautique Militaire.

 

Originally published in 1919, "THE FLEDGLING" provides the reader with a fresh and sober appraisal of a war that had only been recently concluded. This freshness makes the book worth reading for anyone wanting to better understand an era only recently receded into history.

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review 2017-02-10 14:33
Wherein I discuss my totally rational fears + reminisce on blog beginnings
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson

Today I'm going to tell you about Deep Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania aka reason #5022 why I will never go on a cruise. I have an odd fascination with shipwrecks but also a deep, crushing fear of them. I cannot deal with images of sunken ships, statues, or really anything submerged under the water and nestled at the bottom of the ocean floor (you can also substitute ocean with sea, lake, or deep pool). Here is also where I confess that I am woefully ignorant about World War I. I always struggle to remember who was fighting in the war and what it was really about (I think this is still being puzzled over in some places). As far as the Lusitania, the only thing I knew was that it was a large passenger ship that had sunk (filling me with terror like the sinking of the Titanic and the film Poseidon with Kurt Russell). So I went into this book pretty much as a blank slate and by 30 pages in I was already spouting facts about it to my coworkers (who may never go on a cruise either). Like with all of Larson's works, he focuses on a major topic while interweaving storylines that occur parallel to the main event. For example, this book is about the Lusitania and its final voyage but in order to put that into context Larson had to discuss WWI and President Woodrow Wilson's state of mind in regards to the neutrality of the United States in that war (Wilson was one passionate dude, ya'll.). So not only did I learn about the machinations of the leading world powers of the early 20th century (Germany, Great Britain, and the U.S.A.) but I also got a glimpse into President Wilson's personal life, learned how submarines operate, and discovered that people really liked to smoke in 1915.

 

PS As mentioned in other posts, I love reading the end notes of nonfiction books because there are always fantastic little tidbits there that just didn't fit in the overall narrative of the book. Dead Wake was no exception. It led me to The Lusitania Resource which is a website dedicated to uncovering all of the facts of the sinking of the ship including primary documents, articles concerning the controversy of its significance to WWI, and much more. I highly recommend you check it out if nothing else than to whet your appetite for Larson's book. (Yes, I know that it's insane for me to be obsessed with this site after referencing my very real fears of traveling on a cruise ship but I like to have all of my facts ready for those trying to change my mind. It's perfectly normal.)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-01-27 13:54
The story of Winnie
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear - Lindsay Mattick,Sophie Blackall

Isn't it sad when a book comes out and people just seem to be completely unaware of 1. its existence and 2. its level of amazingness? Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick is one of those hidden gems. I've mentioned before that if a book doesn't circulate it's offered to another branch in the hope that it might do better in a different location. That's how this book landed in my hands (it was also on my TRL).  As the title suggests, this is the story of the bear named Winnie that spawned the Winnie-the-Pooh series by A.A. Milne. It's the heartwarming tale of a man who befriended a baby bear and their journeys together during the tumultuous times of WWI. It's also the story about how this same bear met a little boy who would eventually spur entire generations to hug their teddy bears just a little bit tighter. Additionally, the back of the book contains a really lovely surprise that I don't want to spoil for ya'll. :-) I think this would make a wonderful bedtime read-aloud. You could also encourage your child to read this book aloud to their teddy bear. (Then take lots of photos of it.) Believe it or not, this exercise will help to strengthen your child's confidence in reading aloud to others (or to themselves). As for me, I can't wait for the opportunity to read this one in a storytime. XD 9/10

 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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