Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Widow's House by Carol Goodman

Clare and Jess Martin are struggling writers even though Jess has already had one book published.  They both want to continue writing, and Jess wants to make his second book a best seller, but their finances are holding them back.

They have exhausted their savings and are now looking for a new home that they can afford.  Unfortunately, everything is out of their price range.

But....when they have the offer to be a caretaker at Riven House in the town where they both went to college, where Clare grew up, and where their writing professor lived, they jump at the chance. Free lodging wasn't a bad deal either.

Who wouldn't want to re-connect with a famous writer who had been your college professor ?

The only "catch" is that the house is in utter disrepair and has many odd, creepy folks that live on the estate with the professor.

The treasures Clare finds in the house as she is cleaning as well as the ghosts and the sounds that haunt the house​ caught my interest.
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THE WIDOW'S HOUSE has a gorgeous cover that pulls you in, and the story line along with the characters and what has happened and what currently happens at Riven House is intriguing.

A paranormal aspect is there, but it isn't over powering ​and ​​definitely ​adds to the book's​ interest.

It took me about 100 pages to get connected, but it was worth the wait​ as the family saga and secrets unfolded.​


​Along with the mystery and eeriness of the house, there is a mystery about who Clare's birth mother really was. 

Those readers who enjoy a mystery, a unique family, ghosts, family secrets, and a Gothic theme will enjoy THE WIDOW’S HOUSE.

Ms. Goodman has a marvelous writing style that will draw you in and have you easily connecting with the characters.  

The ending is quite good.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher  in return for an honest review.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Women In The Castle - Jessica Shattuck


Before,​ during​,​ and after the war Marianne was there to support everyone even though she had lost everything except her ​castle and her children.

Marianne previously lived in a castle with her husband, Albrecht and her children before the Germans took it over.  Her ​husband was a member of the resistance but was killed by the Germans along with other members.  His request was for Marianne to take care of the families of other members if he and his fellow members were killed.

Marianne complied with her husband's wishes and found two women including Benita who had married a man Marianne actually had loved at one time and who was a family friend.

These women and their children lived together and endured the hardships after the war as well as sharing their lives before and during the war.  


Marianne was an organizer, Benita was a follower, and Ania was a great help to Marianne.  All three women had endured a lot and were there for each other in their own way as they recovered after the war.

THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE gives us insight into how families lived in Europe before,  during, and after Hitler's regime.  ​The book ends with the year 1991.​

THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE is well written, well researched, and with authentic characters and descriptions that draw you in...descriptions that allow you to share the experiences every character is dealing with whether good or bad.​  Some of the experiences are quite grizzly.​

It took me a few chapters to get connected and to warm up to the characters, but once I did, I became fully involved with their lives as well as becoming familiar with yet another piece of WWII's history.

Historical fiction fans and women's fiction fans will love THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE.  Be prepared for a heart wrenching, but very thought-provoking read.


The historical aspect and the friendships between the three women draw the reader in and keep the pages turning while you also don't want the book to end.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.​


Video courtesy of Harper Collins:
 
 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

https://silversolara.blogspot.com/2017/03/interview-with-pam-jenoff-orphans-tale.html

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Click on Ms. Jenoff's photo for an interview with her.
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Noa was thrown out of her parents' home because she had become pregnant to a German soldier but needed to leave after the Germans took her baby.  As Noa made her way out of town, she came upon a train of Jewish infants left to die (talk about heartbreaking.)  

Noa took one of the babies, couldn't continue because they both were almost frozen, and then collapsed near the circus.  The circus members rescued Noa and the baby, but Noa had to perform on the flying trapeze with Astrid to earn her keep.

Even though Noa and Astrid worked together as a team on the flying trapeze, there was tension between them because Noa was terrified of flying especially since she almost fell to her death during practice one day.  The tension subsided as Noa tried harder to please Astrid and when Noa found out the reason Astrid hid from the Nazi soldiers.

The first time Astrid immediately and very quickly disappeared when the Nazi soldiers burst into the circus building, Noa knew something was going on.

How did they know she was Jewish?  Did someone tell on her?  The circus owner kept up a good front and steered the Nazi soldiers from the Jewish performers he was hiding, but it was stressful for all.

THE ORPHAN'S TALE is another beautifully written book by Ms. Jenoff revealing another not well-known fact about WWII.  The circus theme was quite interesting.  I wasn't aware of traveling circuses during that time, but it seems like the perfect way to help keep​ ​some of the Jewish community safe and hidden during the Holocaust.

​THE ORPHAN'S TALE smoothly flows from Noa's story to Astrid's as we learn about their lives and their secrets that they both are afraid to tell.​ Despite secrets, their friendship strengthens even though there is a thin line that may destroy it.

I truly enjoyed THE ORPHAN'S TALE as I have enjoyed all of Ms. Jenoff's books.  Ms. Jenoff has a marvelous way of writing a story based on the unpleasant facts of WWII. 


THE ORPHAN'S TALE had a different theme, and I always learn new things about the Holocaust when I read Ms. Jenoff's books.   

Ms. Jenoff always does exquisite research. You would think all has been known and written about WWII, but the circus assisting the Jewish people was interesting, enlightening, and wonderful to know how another group helped the Jewish people. 

Don't miss reading another heartbreaking but heartwarming book by Ms. Jenoff.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review for TLC.

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Click here for a link to other blogs that have been on the tour.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

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Three women, three stories, three connected lives.

Annaliese, Brett​e​, and Simone were connected by WWII and ghosts.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN takes us from WWII to present day with three intriguing stories.

Annaliese was a German girl, Brett was a present-day American who had inherited an unusual gift, and Simone was a French girl who fell in love with an American during WWII.

Even though ghosts appear in this novel, the ghosts are what connects the present to the past for the three main characters.  It isn't a major theme, but a good one.​  The paranormal aspect didn't detract from the wonderful, detailed story line.​


​The characters were all ones that you couldn't help but sympathize with and love.​

​Annaliese's story was my favorite simply because of the mystery surrounding her.​  


Brette's story was interesting even though I am not interested in paranormal, but her ability to see spirits added another layer to the book and made connections between characters.  

Simone's story was sweet, sad, and very plausible.

​What I enjoyed was learning about the RMS Queen Mary that was first used as a war ship then a ship that brought WWII European brides back to America to be united with their husbands.​


A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is another truly enjoyable, emotional book by Ms. Meissner.   

The final pages and revelations are marvelous...loved the book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Secrets You Keep by Kate White

 
An automobile accident, a book that can't seem to ​get written, a new home, a murder, and unsettling questions Bryn had about her new husband.

Bryn was recovering from an accident with the total support from her husband starting to wane after three months.   Was he tired of her fragility?  Was he doing things behind her back?​  What else didn't she know about her new husband's current and past life?​

All of this uncertainty also caused Bryn to not be able to focus on the new book she was to be writing.   Her writing kept her busy, but the inspiration just didn't materialize.

What​ ​did materialize was the brutal murder of the chef who catered the dinner party Bryn hosted at her home and things getting worse for her in every aspect. The visits and questions about the murder from the police were very disconcerting, and Bryn wasn't even sure she could trust her husband.
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When another murder occurs, my mind immediately went to one of the characters as being the same person who murdered the chef.  ​

THE SECRETS YOU KEEP was q​uite a good mystery with most characters not being trustworthy and others who were caught in the middle of the deceit.
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THE SECRETS YOU KEEP kept me awake longer than usual and kept me in suspense as have all of Ms. White's books.​

Ms. White did it again with another splendid mystery that was well written ​and had plenty of intrigue.

I enjoyed the storyline and trying to guess who the real murderer was.

ENJOY if you read THE SECRETS YOU KEEP.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.​




Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring Bloggiesta 2017


Ready to clean things up?  I am.
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Taken Directly From The Bloggiesta Sign Up Page:

"It’s Bloggiesta time again!!!! The spring Bloggiesta is coming! Mark your calendars for March 20-26!

It’s time to start writing your to do list, post it to your blog, and link it here so we can all support and help each other!

Your list can be as long or as short as you want. The goal of Bloggiesta is to get things accomplished for our blogs, so make your list reflect whatever you need to do. For some suggestions of what to include on your list, check out this master list.

Our mini challenges will be announced on Sunday March 19, so you can start planning! You can also check out our list of past mini challenges for ideas!

We will be having three Twitter chats during this week-long Bloggiesta. They will be on Sunday March 19, Thursday March 23, and Saturday March 25. The topics and chat times will be posted within the next few days."

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My Goals:
  1. Clean up duplicate photos in google and Dropbox - deleted a few, but need to delete tons more.
  2. Delete unused folders in Gmail - done.
  3. Visit other blogs and comment - visited all the blogs in the list - total of 22 blogs - couldn't get on one of the blogs.  What great lists everyone has. 
  4. Participate in the Twitter Chats - missed the Sunday one - hopefully will be around for the Thursday one.
  5. Change my side bar headers. - done
  6. Delete some side bar headers. -done
  7. Add side bar headers. - done
I am sure more will be added as the week goes on.  :)

Looking forward to the Spring Bloggiesta....I always have a lot of fun during the Bloggiestas.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Interview with Pam Jenoff - The Orphan's Tale



ENJOY this interview with Pam Jenoff, courtesy of Harper Audio.

 Pam Jenoff Author Photo credit: Mindy Schwartz-Sorasky
Pam Jenoff Author Photo credit: 
Mindy Schwartz-Sorasky

Listen here.


 The Orphan's Tale

A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell


Mothers,  Friends, Secrets....Stephanie and Emily were mothers, ​they were ​friends, and they both had secrets even though they thought they knew each other better than they knew themselves.

A SIMPLE FAVOR begins when Stephanie keeps Emily's son, Nicky, after school because Emily is going to be late.  But...after school turns into overnight, then after school turns ​into another day and ​another ​night, and then ​yet ​another day and another ​night with no Emily.

Stephanie didn't know where to turn except to her "mommy blog."  Stephanie waits and waits and writes and writes.  Stephanie finally calls Emily's husband, Sean, who was in London to tell him his wife has disappeared and that she has been keeping Nicky. Sean didn’t even know who Stephanie was.

Sean doesn't seem concerned since Emily said she was going on a business trip, but the problem is that Emily never returns from the business trip.

Sean, Stephanie, and the two boys spend a lot of time with each other until they find out the truth that Emily is dead.

As we read, Stephanie places her thoughts and emotions on her blog ​and also with Sean.

A SIMPLE FAVOR keeps having secrets pop up about all of the characters both current and past.

A SIMPLE FAVOR had a unique style with Stephanie's blog taking up most of the chapters ​and all the other chapters also being about Stephanie as she lives her daily life with her son and now Sean and Nicky.​  Chapters only about Stephanie change as the book continues, and the scare factor definitely moves up a few notches.
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My interest in the book was very high simply because of the wonderful writing and story line.  The characters were authentic, but it was difficult to believe someone could act that way and think of ways to hurt others.

I had my doubts about Stephanie's sanity and motives and about the life she lead.  Stephanie was quite gullible and insecure.

Emily was a difficult one to figure out, a character I didn't like, and a character I grew to hate.  She was conniving and evil.

Sean seemed like a nice enough guy that was caught in the middle of everything.
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​A SIMPLE FAVOR is an excellent psychological thriller that kept me guessing and wondering what really was going on in the lives of the characters.  ​

​Were they honest with each other, honest with themselves,  or were they all just fakes?​   Can we really trust or truly believe anyone?

The story line became quite intense and very good as the book continued.

The wrap up is amazing.  A brilliant debut.   5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.








Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens


You can't wear that, I saw you smiling at that man, you don't need to leave the  house.

Those things happened to Lindsey as her marriage progressed.   Andrew was so sweet and caring especially during her pregnancy, but it got worse every day.​  She was afraid of her husband, Andrew, and she knew that wasn't how it should be. ​

Lindsey finally left Andrew, and in his rage Andrew was in a car accident, killed a woman, and went to jail for ten years.

Andrew is now out of jail​​, and Lindsey’s fears are back.  She knows he will find her and follow her because he always told her he will never let her go.

NEVER LET YOU GO has tension oozing through the pages and keeps you turning the pages as you want to know what is going to happen next.  The ending is one marvelous surprise.

If you enjoy suspense and edge-of-your seat tension, NEVER LET YOU GO is a book you don't want to miss. Living through the nightmare with Lindsey is gripping and a tribute to the skillful writing style of Ms. Stevens.

There are no gory murder scenes but you become emotionally drained along with the characters as we follow them through their stress as well as their love.

Ms. Stevens addresses a social problem that I am sure plagues more women than we know of.  Domestic abuse is most likely overlooked because the victims do not want to report the abuser. 

 
If you are in the mood for a tense, well-written book with an unforgettable ending in more ways than one, you will want to read NEVER LET YOU GO.  5/5  


This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.



Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Great Organizing Calendar - Brown Bear




I wanted to share this calendar that my sister found with everyone.  

I have been using it to keep track of my reviews and the dates they will be posted on my blog.

I will use it along with my other printed tools of organizing.

The link to the FREE calendar is HERE.

I hope you find it useful.  

A wonderful feature about this calendar is that others can also add things to it, and all users can see what has been added. 

Let me know if you decide to use it, and if you have any other organizing tools to share with everyone.

THANKS. 



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spotlight of WILDCAT by Sara Paretsky

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It is my pleasure to host this spotlight of WILDCAT.

WILDCAT sounds like an excellent read.

ENJOY if you read it!!
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ALL INFORMATION BELOW IS COURTESY OF JULIE PAULAUSKI OF HARPER COLLINS
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About the Book

Sara Paretsky, one of the most legendary crime writers of all time, presents an exclusive and thrilling short story featuring beloved investigator V.I. Warshawski as a ten-year-old girl on her first investigation.

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V.I. Warshawski developed her strength and sense of justice at a very early age.  

It’s 1966 and on the south side of Chicago racial tensions are at an all-time high. Dr. Martin Luther King is leading marches at Marquette Park and many in the neighborhood are very angry. 

With nothing but a bicycle, eighty-two cents in her pocket, and her Brownie camera hanging from her wrist, Victoria sneaks off to Marquette Park alone to protect her father Tony, a police officer who is patrolling the crowds. 

What begins as a small adventure and a quest to find her father and make sure he is safe turns into something far more dangerous.  

As the day goes on and the conflict at the park reaches a fever pitch Victoria realizes she must use her courage and ingenuity if she wants to keep herself and her family members out of harm’s way.
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About Sara Paretsky


Hailed by P.D. James as "the most remarkable" of modern crime writers, Sara Paretsky is the New York Times-bestselling author of nineteen previous novels, including the renowned V.I. Warshawski series. 

She is one of only four living writers – alongside John Le CarrĂ©, Sue Grafton, and Lawrence Block – to have received both the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain. 

She lives in Chicago with her husband.

Publishing Info:

ISBN-13: 9780062689504
Price: $0.99
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Format: e-only, novella


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen


Leeba lived in the Jewish section of Chicago, had an ear for music, and worked in a music store.

Outside the music store Leeba heard Red Dupree playing his guitar and became fascinated with him.  Many musicians played on the streets of Chicago trying to be discovered, but Red was different, and Leeba couldn't stop thinking about him.

WINDY CITY BLUES is set in Chicago during the coming of the Blues Era.

I really have no knowledge of music, but Ms. Rosen's marvelous research definitely got me acquainted with the Blues Era and brought up some names I have heard of.  I enjoyed learning how records were made and how the "sellers" of the records had to hand sell them at the beginning of this era.

​Following the characters through their days and music careers was very entertaining and interesting.  WINDY CITY BLUES was a pleasurable read.​​  


The characters were fun.
    
Leeba's mother was my favorite character because she ​was ​always trying to find a Jewish boy for Leeba.  Leeba was sweet and talented.  Leonard the owner of Chess Records was high energy.

WINDY CITY BLUES is a marvelous read and a treasure for music fans and historical fiction fans.  The multiple love stories also add to the book's interest.​  


WINDY CITY BLUES is a memorable read with characters that will be missed when you turn the last page. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest re​view.



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Land of Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen


A motherless child who disliked her father, a downed airplane during WWII, an escape, and a German officer searching for the downed pilot.

Kari did not get along with her father and simply just made it through each day. Her father was not like her.  Kari was always curious about things.  Her father just wanted to go on with his farming and take no interest in what was going on around him.

The day Kari saw a plane crash was the day she realized she had to do something for the pilot and the day she saw her chance to leave. She decided she would take Lance, the American soldier, to Sweden.

LAND OF HIDDEN FIRES allows the reader to experience the dangerous trip Kari and Lance took in the freezing weather while they feared being caught by the Germans and as Kari felt remorse about leaving her father and taking his horse and carriage. 

We continue as three characters pursue three different journeys but for connected reasons.

We follow Kari and Lance as they head to freedom for Lance in Sweden.

We follow Kari's father, Erling, as he searches for his young daughter.

We follow the German officer as he searches for Lance.

Mr. Kjeldsen has wonderful descriptions of the landscape, the characters, and the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

I liked the thought at the end of the book that said:  “People seemed to be full of hidden fires, invisible to one another and often even invisible to oneself.”  If you have the pleasure of reading this book, you will understand the quote.

I enjoyed LAND OF HIDDEN FIRES.  The book was sensitive, thoughtful, but definitely tense. 

I think readers will enjoy the hidden, emotional messages as well as Mr. Kjeldsen’s marvelous writing style and story line that kept me turning the pages and wanting to get back to the characters' journeys.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an  honest review.