Tuesday, April 30, 2019

What Would Cleopatra Do? By E. Foley and B. Coates

Title: What Would Cleopatra Do? 
Author: E. Foley and B. Coates
Read by:  Madeleine Maby
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 5 hours and 25 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster.  Thank-you!

As a fan of the History Chicks podcast, I adored this book.  It is a collection of brief biographies of a variety of women throughout history, from well-known to obscure.  I especially liked the question for each woman - why are they badass?  And also – what lessons could we learn from them as modern women? Madeleine Maby was a fantastic narrator and I enjoyed learning about so many “badass” women from history.  I’m waiting for a book 2 now with even more women.

There are fifty biographies overall.  This is not an in-depth look into any of the women’s history, but I thought it did a good job of giving a brief description of each woman, what makes her a “badass,” and what we can learn from her in today’s world.  The book is filled with humor and modern pop-culture references, which I enjoyed.  I tried to pick out which biography I liked best, and I really can’t as I enjoyed them all.  I especially like that some of the more obscure women’s history was written about.  I feel like the importance of many women in history has been forgotten over time.

Overall, What Would Cleopatra Do? Is a fantastic audiobook about strong women.  Prepare to learn a lot and be inspired.

Still Me by JoJo Moyes

I don’t have the words to describe how much I enjoyed reading Still Me by JoJo Moyes.  Still Me is the third in the trilogy after Me Before You and After You and is a novel of the further adventures of Louisa Clark.   The overall trilogy has dealt with real grief and the aftermath of grief.  How do you move on after a personal loss and tragedy? 

Louisa Clark has gotten the opportunity of a lifetime to go to work in New York City as the assistant for a wealthy couple.  She is embracing the wisdom of her late beloved Will Trainer who told her that she should not only embrace who she is and learn to live away from her family to explore new parts of the world and learn what makes herself happy.  Louisa had suffered a trauma early in her life which had made her wary of leaving the familiarity of her home town.  The one problem with leaving is not only leaving her family, but her boyfriend, Ambulance Sam.  Will Louisa be able to find herself and will their romance work out?

I loved that Louisa learned about herself that she would mold herself to make a partner happy, but that she needed to find herself first and find a partner that appreciated her for her unique self.  “Who was Louisa Clark, anyway?  I was a daughter, a sister, a kind of surrogate mother for a time.  I was a woman who cared for others but who seemed to have little idea, even now, how to care for herself.”

One of my favorite parts of the novel was when Louisa’s sister Treena found her one true love, Eddie.   Eddie is a woman and it took a bit for Louisa’s Dad to get used to the idea.  The entire meet the family made me laugh out loud as I could imagine it happening like that with my family.

Still Me is a comedy, a drama, a novel of working through grief, and a novel about learning about the importance of family and community.  The characters were wonderful in this novel.  I especially loved Lily playing the romantic foil for not only her grandparents, but for Louisa.  Moyes writes wonderful characters and I’ve enjoyed going through the journey with them for three novels.

Favorite Quotes: 
“Reader, I did the stupid thing.  I looked her up on Facebook.”

“Here is the thing about jealousy.  It’s not a good look.  And the rational part of you knows that.”

“You gotta have places where people can meet and talk and exchange ideas and it not just be about money, you know?  Books are what teach you about life.  Books teach you empathy.”

“I thought about my new home where, in a silent building of perhaps thirty people, nobody spoke to anyone, except to complain about some small infringement of their own peace, where nobody apparently either liked anyone or could be bothered to get to know them enough to find out.”

“He was shot through with the American dream – you worked hard, you succeeded, and then you gave back.”

“Women always have to make the difficult choices.  But there is a great consolation in simply doing something you love.”

“And then I thought about his later years when I’d treated him almost as a part of the furniture.  I hadn’t written to him.  I hadn’t called him.  I had just assumed he would be there as long as I wanted him to be.  Had he minded?  Had he wanted to speak to me?”

Overall, Still Me was a fitting conclusion to Louisa Clark’s journey through love and grief.  I love how she really discovered who she is and what she wants out of life.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

Winner of The Huntress by Kate Quinn

The lucky winner of The Huntress by Kate Quinn is Leigh Anne who left a comment on April 13th.  Leigh Anne was chosen using random.org and has been notified via email.  She has one week to respond with her mailing address before a new winner is chosen.

Thank-you to all who entered the giveaway and to William Morrow for sending me two copies of the Advance Reader Copy of the book so I could use one for a giveaway.  Want to learn more about The Huntress?  Please see my review at this link.

Winner of The Lieutenant's Nurse by Sara Ackerman

My 1.5 year old computer has been acting like a 10 year old computer . . . very, very, very slow and I am behind on blogging accordingly.  My husband has cleaned it up a bit so it's functional now.  Hopefully I can get get caught up soon!

The lucky winner of The Lieutenant's Nurse by Sara Ackerman is traveler who left a comment on April 10th.  Traveler has been notified via email and has one week to respond with her mailing address before a new winner is drawn.

Thank-you to all who entered and for TLC Book Tours for allowing me to host a giveaway.  Want to find out more about this gripping WWII drama?  See my review at this link.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Huntress by Kate Quinn (Review and GIVEAWAY)

Looking for a new WWII historical fiction adventure to sweep you off of your feet? The Huntress is a story in three parts about the hunt for a Nazi war criminal.  The Huntress lived on a remote lake in Poland with her Nazi lover and used Jews, refuges, and captured Allies as prey to hunt.  After the war she escaped from Germany, but where did she go?  How can she pay amends for her war crimes?

Ian Graham is a British war correspondent who has a personal vendetta against the Huntress, his brother was one of her victims, and his wife, Nina, only narrowly escaped her.  Together with Nina, and American veteran and linguist Tony, the trio works on tracking down the Huntress.  Will they be able to find her?

Nina Markova grew up half wild in frozen Siberia. After seeing a plane for the first time, she is bitten by the flying bug and travels away from her native home to learn how to fly.  When World War II breaks out, Nina becomes a part of the all-female night bomber regiment and is honored by Stalin himself.  How does Nina the fearless flyer become Nina the victim after the war who marries Ian? 

Jordan McBride is a teenage girl growing up right after WWII in Boston.  After her widowed father meets the mysterious Anna and they become engaged, Jordan can’t shake the feeling that there is something wrong and dangerous about Anna.  Even as Anna and her daughter Ruth become a part of her life, she never feels settled.  What is the truth behind Anna?  Will Jordan be able to chase her dreams of becoming a photographer or will she marry her high school sweetheart?

The Huntress was a truly wonderful historical fiction novel.  I loved the viewpoints switching between Ian, Jordan, and back to the past with Nina.  It made for a riveting story, especially as all three stories masterfully converged together.  Kate Quinn does a great job with this character driven story.  I cared about all of the characters, but the history behind them was particularly fascinating.  Although I am a fan of WWII history and of aviators, I had never heard of the all-female “Night Witches” bomber regiment.  I was fascinated.  I can’t imagine how heroic these women were flying bi-planes over Germany.  Even better was the author’s note at the end. Kate Quinn details how she used real facts to craft Nina’s story as well as the overall story of the hunt for Nazi war criminals.  It was fascinating.  I loved the action-packed conclusion.  This would make a GREAT movie.

I also loved how Quinn wrote Anna as an evil, but also a caring person.  Jordan was confused on her feelings for her stepmother as she thought, how can this woman be evil when she has really been a great person to me, helping me to achieve my dreams?  I loved that about the character, although I would have liked to learn even more about Anna and why she did what she did.

Favorite Quotes: 
“Soldiers get made.  Hunters get born.”

“No one likes to talk about their war, after it’s fought.  They want to forget.  And what happens when they die, and they’ve taken all their memories with them?  We’ve lost it all.  And we can’t.”

“How pleasant to enjoy a man who was not official, not in the slightest.”

Overall, if you love riveting, character driven historical fiction, this is the novel for you!  If you love World War II fiction, The Huntress has a unique story that I have not read before in other WWII novels. I highly recommend this book!

Book Source: Review Copy from William Morrow.  Thank-you!

I was accidentally mailed two Advance Reader Edition's of The Huntress so I am going to give one of them away! If you would like to win this book, please leave a comment on what interests you about this book.  Have you read any books or watched any movies about WWII aviators or war criminals?  If so, what was your favorite?
As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

  For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using random.org (or a Monte Carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to addresses in the United States.

The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday April 26th!

Please make sure to check the week of April 29th to see if you are a winner. I send emails to the winner, but lately I've been put in their "junk mail" folder instead of their inbox.

Good luck!