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review 2018-07-29 20:39
The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair
The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair - Amy Makechnie's
What a fantastic read. This story was more entertaining than I had anticipated as it has interesting characters with captivating storylines. I enjoyed the character of Gwyn as she was a spunky, sassy ten-year old who I found, was unpredictable. As her family moves to Iowa to try to help her mother, Gwyn discovers just because Iowa has small town living, doesn’t mean it is short on adventure.
Gwyn’s father is hoping that moving to Iowa will help his wife who has a brain injury. As the family moves in with Nana, into their mother’s old childhood home, mother moves into a care center in town. With familiar faces and sights surrounding them, the town offers the family comfort and history. As Gwyn and her sister Bitty make new friends, they find that the connections that they are now making were once friends with her parents or they were somehow connected to her parents. This is definitely not like New York where they had come from.
When Wilbur goes missing, Gwyn puts on her mystery hat and she becomes Nancy Drew. She starts her own investigation because she feels that there’s not enough being done to resolve Wilbur’s whereabouts. As Gwyn investigates, she discovers other information about individuals in her life, information that gets Gwyn thinking. Gwyn never thought living in Iowa would be this interesting.
I loved all the characters and the energy they added to the novel. Gaysie was a handful, the more I read about her, the more I started to understand her yet I wondered who else in the town really understood her. The Christmas gift that Gwyn got from Gaysie was priceless and that gift surprised me. Chapter #13 had to be one of my favorite chapters. I was having a good time as I laughed, was alarmed, was surprised and just kept on reading as this chapter thrilled me. I was touched by Bitty and Gwyn’s unspoken code. They warranted the code, as it was one of the benefits of Vienna being their mother, “benefits.” I liked that.
I think this would be a great read aloud and definitely a book to share in the classroom. I really enjoyed it.
“Sometimes quiet Iowa was way scarier than cray, loud New York ever was.”


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review 2018-04-02 15:50
An excellent study of Ireland during the Emergency
That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During the Second World War - Clair Wills

As an event, the Second World War was impossible to escape.  Though many countries sought to distance themselves from the fighting, nearly all were affected to one degree or another by the global conflagration.  One of those was Eire, the nation that had only recently wrested itself from the British empire but now found itself facing the conflict by its proximity to Great Britain.  Though the politics and the policies of Ireland during the war have been the subject of numerous books, Clair Wills has written something different, a “cultural history” which examines the impact of the “Emergency” (the name the Irish government gave to the situation) upon Irish life.


Wills begins by setting the scene with a portrait of Ireland in the 1930s.  With it, she underscores just how rural and primitive much of Ireland was, and the growing contrast between the “traditional” Ireland of poor farms and the “modern” Ireland of towns and cities.  It was in this context that Ireland was grappling with modernity on its own terms, with much of the resistance dictated by the influence of the Catholic church and attitudes of its adherents.  Ireland was also only just beginning to emerge from the shadow of British rule, developing its own identity as a nation and dealing with such legacies as the remnants of the Irish Republican Army.


All of this underscores just how unprepared Ireland was to deal with the emerging war on the European continent.  Wills reminds readers that Ireland’s stance was no different from that of other small European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, none of whom had the resources (let alone the desire) to be drawn into a large-scale conflict.  Yet unlike these other countries, Ireland enjoyed the luxury of geography afforded them as an island nation and the indirect protection of British arms.  Such protection could not shield them completely from the war, however.  Bodies of sailors from sunken ships washed up along the southern coast, the result of fighting in the Atlantic which curtailed Ireland’s trade with the outside world and forced the rationing of numerous commodities.  Propaganda filled the airwaves, as both sides sought to nudge Ireland to their side, counteracting the government’s strenuous effort for “balance” that belied any moral judgment of the conflict.


Throughout this account, Wills uses the lives and stories of writers to shine a light on how individuals reacted to the conflict.  What emerges is a country in the conflict but not of it, a haven for many people (including soldiers who would head south from wartime Northern Ireland for relaxation without the fear of the nightly blitz) and a land encased in a cocoon of denial to others.  She also looks at the motivations of the thousands of Irishmen and Irishwomen who crossed over to join the conflict, and the concerns of the thousands who were caught up in it against their will.  While somewhat repetitive in the later chapters, Wills describes all of this with great insight into the effects of the Emergency upon both the Irish people and their efforts to define themselves as a new nation in the world, making it a book well worth reading.

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review 2017-11-20 16:26
One Sentence Review – Eclipse Lake by Mae Clair @maeclair1
Eclipse Lake - Mae Clair

.Eclipse Lake

Goodreads  /  Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA




Eclipse Lake is a fully developed story with complex characters and detailed descriptions of a small town called Onyx, that is character driven, with romance the spotlight and suspense being the dot on the I, making me believe in second chances.


Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 5 Stars




Small towns hold the darkest secrets.


Fifteen years after leaving his criminal past and estranged brother behind, widower Dane Carlisle returns to his hometown on the banks of sleepy Eclipse Lake. Now, a successful businessman, he has kept his troubled past a secret from most everyone, including his seventeen-year-old son.


But memories in small towns are bitter and long.


Ellie Sullivan, a nature photographer for a national magazine, has a habit of ping-ponging across the map. Her latest assignment leads her to Eclipse Lake where she becomes caught up in the enmity between Dane, his brother Jonah, and a vengeful town sheriff. When freshly-discovered skeletal remains are linked to an unsolved murder and Dane’s past, Ellie is left questioning her growing attraction for a man who harbors long-buried secrets.


Read more here.


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Source: www.fundinmental.com/one-sentence-review-eclipse-lake-by-mae-clair-maeclair1
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photo 2017-11-09 03:17
Imaginary Friends...
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review 2017-09-20 00:00
Clair - Grace Greene Clair - Grace Greene A group of friends go on vacation together to a island paradise. As a group they decide to write a letter to their true love, seal it in a bottle, and throw the bottle into the ocean. They all feel pretty silly and none of them are expecting that anything will come it. But of course, fate intervenes. A fun, well written contemporary series.
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