GI Brides

September 18, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 21 ★★★★

GI BridesTitle: GI Brides
Author: Duncan Barrett, Nuala Calvi
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: I loved learning about this fascinating bit of history and the incredible journeys of the GI brides, although I found the third person narration a bit stiff.

During the “friendly invasion” of Britain by American GIs during WWII, many women were bewitched by the handsome soldiers with their foreign accents. Thousands of these liaisons ended in marriage and the US army paid to transport the newly married GI brides to the US. For many, this was an exciting, but terrifying prospect. Many of the couples were just getting to know one another and the women rarely knew what they were getting themselves into. From cultural differences to overbearing families, from drinking husbands to gambling husbands, these women faced incredible, impossible to anticipate challenges when they reached their new homes. The four women in this story didn’t all find fairy tale endings, but through sheer force of will, they each shaped lives that would make them happy. Read more »


The Sea Garden

June 26, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 17

18635091Title: The Sea Garden
Author: Deborah Lawrenson
Source: from publisher for TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The first of three interconnected stories didn’t work for me, but I enjoyed the second two and loved the way the three stories worked together to provide a richer experience.

Since this story is not just a dual narrative but a triple narrative, for the full explanation you’ll want to visit goodreads. The first storyline follows a British garden designer hoping a commission on a beautiful  island will be her chance to break into the international scene. However, once she realizes that her clients are eccentric and possibly malicious, she’s not sure the job is worth the risk. The second story is that of a young blind woman living in Nazi-occupied France with a difficult decision to make. And the third story is that of a British intelligence agent during WWII who falls for a French agent who disappears, suggesting he might have had hidden allegiances. The way these three stories connect is a surprise. Read more »


The Monuments Men – A Bookish Movie Review

February 27, 2014 Book To Movie Challenge, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 12

Monuments Men I liked the book of The Monuments Men enough to go see this in theaters, which is not something I often do. I ended up enjoying it pretty well, but was a bit disappointed in the changes made from the book. I liked seeing the story brought to life. Even the helpful cast list the author had is no match for seeing living, breathing people when it came to engaging my sympathy for a large number of characters. In both the book and the movie, the humorous and the serious mixed  in sometimes jarring ways. Saving art is important! And oh by the way, here’s a sad story about people dying to make you question the value of art. I found the juxtaposition stranger in the movie than in the book though, perhaps because the trailers I watched made me expect a light-hearted story. Read more »


The Monuments Men

February 27, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 10

The Monuments MenTitle: The Monuments Men
Author: Robert M. Edsel
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Summary: Great narrative non-fiction. Well written, well researched, filled with fun facts, and pretty good at bringing the main players to life.

I’m constantly intrigued by the many amazing true stories from the WWII period and this is another good one. The Monuments Men were a group of mostly older men from artistic careers who volunteered to go to Europe to protect monuments during the Allied offensive. They also became involved in retrieving and returning the many valuable art works stolen by German forces. As the war turned against them, German commanders were ordered to destroy art rather than let it be recaptured. Meanwhile, Russian troops claimed any art work they found as the spoils of war. Limited support left the Monuments Men trying to accomplish miracles, rescuing art as quickly as possible. Read more »


The Bombers and the Bombed – Mini-Review

February 23, 2014 History, non-fiction 6

18012682Title: The Bombers and the Bombed
Author: Richard Overy
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: DNF (★★★☆☆ at 36%)

I think objectively this book is very well done. The author includes a lot of very detailed statistics but mixes them in with fun facts, first-hand anecdotes, and fascinating stories. However, for me, this was just more detail than I needed on the topic. I felt the story got bogged down by details of exact numbers and dates. There were a number of people mentioned, but I couldn’t keep them straight because we were never given any personal information about any them and they all blurred together. The timeline was hard to follow because (at least in my ARC) dates usually didn’t include the year and in chapters that spanned multiple years, this could be confusing. I think had I finished this, I’d have given it three stars because I didn’t enjoy it, but I think someone very interested in the topic would. I made it through about a third of the book before deciding that it just wasn’t for me.



The Secret of Raven Point

February 2, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 11

16130674Title: The Secret of Raven Point
Author: Jennifer Vanderbes
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This book was darker and more depressing that my typical fare, so I think it’s a testament to the author’s superb writing skills that I was blown away anyway.

Juliet Dufresne has always looked up to her brother so once he enlists, becoming a nurse is an easy choice. When her brother is reported missing in action, Juliet is determined to find out what happened to him, even if that means lying about her age. However, once she reaches the front, her only connection to her brother is  a man so shell-shocked, he may never speak again. Juliet will have to work hard to balance her desire to learn more about her brother with her duty to her patient. Read more »


Monuments Men Part IV Questions

February 1, 2014 Blogger Events, History, non-fiction 4

Covers on the Silver Screen

This week is the last week of The Monuments Men read-along I’m co-hosting with Jennifer at Bookalicious Mama. If you’ve been reading along or have already finished the book and would like to join in, you can leave your answers to the discussion questions or a link to a post with your answers in the comments below. Read more »


Monuments Men Part III Questions

January 28, 2014 Blogger Events, History, non-fiction 2

Covers on the Silver ScreenI’m a bit late posting my question answers this week since I was out of town all weekend (at ALA! but more on that later). I am still very excited about The Monuments Men though. In fact, I’m recommending it to people already, even though I’m not done reading it! I can just tell that it’s going to be good and expect the movie to be very funny. If you’re reading along,  be sure to link up your answers at Bookalicious Mama. Read more »


The Gods of Heavenly Punishment – Author Interview and Giveaway

January 20, 2014 Blogger Events, Fiction, Historical Fiction 2

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment PB CoverAs I mentioned in my review last week, I was blown away by the realistic characters and vivid descriptions in Jennifer Epstein’s The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. I’m therefore particularly thrilled to have Jennifer join us at Doing Dewey today for an interview and a giveaway. Read on to learn more about the inspiration and research that led  up to this fantastic novel. Read more »