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review 2017-02-09 17:11
Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad - Rosemary Sutcliff,Alan Lee

Do I have say more than this is read by Robert Glenister? Oh, okay. Sutcliff's young adult/child version of Troy is actually a pretty good combination of the various Troy cycles, though she does not go into the evens after the Fall of Troy. It's actually quite good.

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review 2016-11-15 20:00
Ships And Stings And Wedding Rings
Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings (The Chronicles of St. Mary's) - Jodi Taylor

Another Christmas short from St Mary's. Another delightful tale. What should have been an easy, although off the book, jump, will turn, as usual, into a more complicated situation really quick. And, of course, there will be danger involved.

I like these short stories on their own, but they are really good at portraying the St Mary's atmosphere. Also, it is just hilarious. This one in particular.

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review 2016-10-13 03:30
"Voyage of the Damned"...
The German Girl: A Novel - Armando Lucas Correa

The German Girl is about a 12 year old Jewish girl named, Hannah Rosenthal and her well-to-do family that are living in Berlin during the war in 1939. The German authorities are in the process of rounding up the Jewish men first and deporting them to death camps. They are allowing some of the wealthier well known families to leave the country if they agree to hand over all of their possessions. The Rosenthal family along with 900+ Jewish refugees buy visas and gain passage on a transatlantic liner, the MS St. Louis, headed to Cuba. Originally Cuba agreed to accept all of the passengers but midway through their journey the Cuban President revoked the agreement, invalidated the visas and denied entry to all but 29 passengers, including Hannah and her mother. Her father was denied entry along with the others and the ship was sent back to Europe. The Captain, Gus Schröder, continued negotiations with other countries and the passengers were accepted in France, Belgium & the Netherlands. Many families were split up for years to come and some were never reunited. 

 

Hannah's story was told in parallel with a present day story of a girl named Anna, who lives in New York City. She receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah who happens to be her great-aunt and related to her deceased father. Anna and her mother travel to Cuba to visit Hannah and unravel the connections between their families.

 

Both girl's stories are very moving but heart wrenching. The author does a fantastic job portraying the cruelty and suffering that the Jewish families endured in Nazi occupied Germany. They suffered incredible losses that no one should ever have to go through. It's not an easy read but if you have any interest in learning more about this last chance voyage that was suppose to be the saving grace for many Jewish families then I highly recommend reading this book. 

 

*I received this ARC from NetGalley & Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

 

 

 Professional Reader Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge

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review 2016-09-28 00:19
Artic Promise...
Stranded - Bracken MacLeod

"Badly battered by an apocalyptic storm, the crew of the Arctic Promise find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as they sail blindly into unfamiliar waters and an ominously thickening fog. Without functioning navigation or communication equipment, they are lost and completely alone. One by one, the men fall prey to a mysterious illness. Deckhand Noah Cabot is the only person unaffected by the strange force plaguing the ship and her crew, which does little to ease their growing distrust of him."

 

"Dismissing Noah's warnings of worsening conditions, the captain of the ship presses on until the sea freezes into ice and they can go no farther. When the men are ordered overboard in an attempt to break the ship free by hand, the fog clears, revealing a faint shape in the distance that may or may not be their destination. Noah leads the last of the able-bodied crew on a journey across the ice and into an uncertain future where they must fight for their lives against the elements, the ghosts of the past and, ultimately, themselves."

 

I have a huge thing for books with cold weather settings like the Artic or Antarctica so I've been really excited about reading this book. Unfortunately though it wasn't as enjoyable as I was hoping for. The first half was very slow and lacking in suspense, and it took me all week to trudge through it. The second half had a lot more action but I didn't care for the

'alternate reality'

 

(spoiler show)

plot turn the story took. The ending also wasn't very satisfying. It felt rushed and it didn't tie up a lot of the loose ends and questions I had.

 

As for all of the characters that we were introduced to, including the main character, Noah, I really only liked Connor. Sometimes I could relate to Noah's character but then other times he came across as meek and spineless and I just wanted to yell - 'Stand up for yourself please!'

It took the entire book and almost 30 deaths for him to finally stand up to his father-in-law, Brewster?! And after all the times Brewster tried to kill him, he was surprised that the he purposely left the lashings loose?? Even I figured that out right at the beginning, so those reactions and some others didn't ring true to me.

 

(spoiler show)

 

What I did enjoy about the story though was the shipboard atmosphere and the cold climate setting. No I never felt the foreboding feeling and

 

even with the numerous deaths

 

(spoiler show)

I never felt the terror I was hoping for but I was able to feel the crews' plight of being stranded in the middle of ice as far as you can see.

 

The story had all of the ingredients for a good horror novel but, in my opinion it just didn't quite pull it off. 

 

*I received this ARC from NetGalley & Tor Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! 

 

 

Professional Reader Reviews Published 2016 NetGalley Challenge

 

 

**I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~It was a Dark & Stormy Night~ square

 

 

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review 2016-09-17 06:05
5 Maps for The Girl From Everywhere!...
The Girl from Everywhere - Heidi Heilig

This is a very ingenious and magical story about a girl named Nixie, her father- Captain Slate, their crew- Kashmir, Rotgut & Bee, their ship the Temptation, and their very special maps. With the right maps and a really good "navigator" they can sail to any time or any place, real or imagined! 

 

Wouldn't that be lovely? I know I would hop on that ship any day! Since we haven't reached that level of capability yet unfortunately, I'm very happy to have come across this wonderful series to somewhat satiate my wanderlust. But sailing across time isn't the only high point of this story, it's also rich in myths, legends & world history and features a diverse crew of characters that will leave their mark on you. I can't wait to sail the high seas with the Temptation & its crew in their next adventure, The Ship Beyond Time!

 

*I read this for my 2016 Halloween Bingo: ~Magical Realism~ square

 

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