Everyday Tidbits...

I am having vision issues which is terrifying to someone whose work and interests lie in reading and writing. Because of this, I am falling behind in some of my reviewing commitments and ask for your support and patience.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Maggie's Turn...Review

About the book:
Maggie has always put her family’s needs in front of her own, until one day—without forethought—she drives away, leaving behind her indifferent husband and two sulking teenagers.

As she begins a quest of self-exploration, she meets new people, enjoys new adventures, and rediscovers long-neglected passions. For the first time in years, Maggie contemplates what she wants from life and soon realizes that her deteriorating marriage can no longer continue as it is. Can she and Andrew repair their broken relationship, or is their marriage over?

Left to his own devices, Andrew is forced to take over the household responsibilities and bridge the growing divide between himself and his children. Slowly, he begins to understand what drove Maggie away—and how he can’t bear to live without her. But is it too late? Will Andrew lose Maggie forever?

One day, after dropping her daughter off at school, instead of driving home, Maggie turns in the opposite direction and just drives away. She loves her family, but her marriage has been crumbling, despite her efforts to maintain it.

Left at home, her husband and children struggle to function without the woman who keeps everything going and on track.

Maggie realizes she needs to rethink her life, time to rediscover who she is and what she wants. Along her path, she meets new people and has some new adventures and she comes to a realization of what she wants from her life and here marriage.

I adored Maggie and I think there are many women, regardless of the state of their marriages, who have entertained the thought of just going away for awhile and escaping life.

While the characters were somewhat stereotyped and the outcome a bit predictable, this story resonated with me. I appreciated that Maggie's family and especially her husband, came to appreciate her role. I admit I hoped for a different outcome, but the ending was fitting and expected.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Deanna Lynn Sletten here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 7/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Monday, August 17, 2015

Nightingales at War...Review

About the book:
As the war takes its toll, the Nightingale nurses must do their bit for king and country…

Dora is the devoted mother of twin babies but, determined to help the war effort, she goes back to work at the Nightingale Hospital.

More used to nights out in the West End, Jennifer and Cissy volunteer in the hope of tending to handsome soldiers. They soon find out that nursing isn’t quite what they were expecting.

For shy and troubled Eve, the hospital provides an escape from the pressures of home, but the life of a nurse is never easy, especially at wartime.

Can the nurses rally together while war rages all around them? And will the Nightingale Hospital survive the Blitz?

The nurses have graduated and moved on, but war brings them back together. Dora, now married to Nick and mother to twins, goes back to work at Nightingale Hospital to support her family and help the war effort while Nick is fighting. Matron and Miss Hanley are still running the hospital and Dora's good friend Helen Dawson is the head Casualty nurse.

The VAD had such a strong role in the war effort and here we also meet young volunteer nurses in this story, rather than the student nurses of the past.

The Nightingale nurses are not spared the horrors of war as its effects are felt far and near. But, together the realities of life in a war zone bring the nurses together and friendships are forged and previously unknown strengths are discovered.

I love the Nightingale stories. This series is my indulgence. It's like a British soap opera and I can't get enough of it. I don't want it to end. Ever!

I purchased this copy myself. You can find your own copy here.

Read 7/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rhyme of the Magpie...Review

About the book:
For readers of Laura Childs, Ellery Adams, and Jenn McKinlay, the high-flying new Birds of a Feather mystery series from Marty Wingate begins as a British woman gets caught up in a dangerous plot when her celebrity father disappears.

With her personal life in disarray, Julia Lanchester feels she has no option but to quit her job on her father’s hit BBC Two nature show, A Bird in the Hand. Accepting a tourist management position in Smeaton-under-Lyme, a quaint village in the English countryside, Julia throws herself into her new life, delighting sightseers (and a local member of the gentry) with tales of ancient Romans and pillaging Vikings.

But the past is front and center when her father, Rupert, tracks her down in a moment of desperation. Julia refuses to hear him out; his quick remarriage after her mother’s death was one of the reasons Julia flew the coop. But later she gets a distressed call from her new stepmum: Rupert has gone missing. Julia decides to investigate—she owes him that much, at least—and her father’s new assistant, the infuriatingly dapper Michael Sedgwick, offers to help. Little does the unlikely pair realize that awaiting them is a tightly woven nest of lies and murder.

When Julia's estranged father suddenly goes missing, she finds herself unwillingly drawn into the mystery of his disappearance. Along the way, she meets his new assistant and must reconcile with her step-mother. With birds, wind-farmers vs environmentalists and an Earl who wants his estate to earn money, Julia just wants to go back to her relatively normal life.

This took me some time to get into, but I love the British setting and the fact that the heroine is a mature late 30s, rather than a young, perky ingenue. And while I didn't love Julia, I found myself drawn into the story. I didn't find it completely predictable and there were some laugh out loud funny moments.

I have enjoyed Marty Wingate's Potting Shed series. This new series has promise and I look forward to more.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Marty Wingate here. You can see other tour stops and reviews here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/15

* * *
3/5 Stars

Monday, August 10, 2015

When the Moon is Low...Review

About the book:
By turns astonishing, frightening, and triumphant, When the Moon Is Low chronicles one brave Afghan woman’s odyssey to save her family.

In Kabul, we meet Fereiba, a schoolteacher who puts her troubled childhood behind her when she finds love in an arranged marriage. But Fereiba’s comfortable life implodes when the Taliban rises to power and her family becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime. Forced to flee with her three children, Fereiba has one hope for survival: to seek refuge with her sister’s family in London.

Traveling with forged papers and depending on the kindness of strangers, Fereiba and the children make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness, the start of a harrowing journey that reduces her from a respected wife and mother to a desperate refugee.

Eventually they fall into the shadowy underground network of the undocumented who haunt the streets of Europe’s cities. And then, in a busy market square in Athens, their fate takes a frightening turn when Fereiba’s teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family. Without his mother, Saleem is forced, abruptly and unforgivingly, to come of age in a world of human trafficking and squalid refugee camps.

Heartbroken, Fereiba has no choice but to continue on with only her daughter and baby. Mother and son cross border after perilous border, risking their lives in the hope of finding a place where they can be reunited.

A beautifully compelling novel about one family's struggle for survival as the Taliban rises to power in Afghanistan.  The story is told from the alternating view points of Fereiba and her son Saleem. Fereiba's story starts when she is a young girl married off to a near stranger; a man who becomes her soulmate and love of her life. As a married woman with children and an educated teacher, Fereiba's life is shattered as the Taliban and its fundamentalist regime, rises to power. Her husband is targeted and Fereiba and her children are forced to flee their home and country.

As they attempt to reach England, they find themselves in dangerous territory going from Afghanistan to Turkey to Greece and so forth. When Fereiba is separated from Saleem and forced to travel on with her two youngest children, she wonders if she will see her son again.

The story is compelling and heart wrenching. The struggle of these refugees is real and the utter despair they feel at their circumstances is palpable. I was fascinated up until the end when I was left with a very unsatisfactory conclusion that left the ending open to the reader's imagination, rather than giving us real closure. The ending was so abrupt and disappointing to me that I actually compared my electronic copy with the print copy, thinking that perhaps I was missing some pages. Nope. I wish I could just go with my initial impressions for this review, but the lack of a substantial ending left a bitter aftertaste.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Nadia Hashimi here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/15

* * *
3/5 Stars

Thursday, May 28, 2015

To Ride a White Horse...Review

About the book:
Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.

Set against the backdrop of 1840s Ireland and America, To Ride a White Horse is an epic historical saga of hope, loyalty, the strength of the human spirit, and the power of love.

With Ireland ravaged by famine, and England unsympathetic to its plight, Kathleen Deacey, a spirited and strong-willed young Irish woman faces a devastating choice—leave her country to find work or risk dying there. Despising the English for refusing to help Ireland, she sets sail for Canada, determined to save her family and find her missing fiancĂ©.

But her voyage doesn't go as planned and she ends up in America, forced to accept the help of an English whaling captain, Jack Montgomery, to survive. As Jack helps her search for her fiancĂ© and fight to save her family and country, she must make an impossible choice—remain loyal to Ireland or follow her heart.

With insight and compassion, award-winning author Pamela Ford captures the anguish of a devastating period in Irish history, illuminates the resilience of the human spirit and celebrates the strength of love. To Ride a White Horse is a deeply-moving novel that wraps itself around the heart and doesn't let go.

In the midst of the potato famine, Kathleen Deacey's fiance doesn't return from Canada. At her brother's insistence, she boards a vessel bound for Canada, hoping to discover Danny's whereabouts, but also to find work and send money to her desperate family.

On deck during a storm, Kathleen is washed overboard and rescued by a whaling vessel captained by Jack Montgomery. She ends up in Boston, working as a maid to the Captain's grandfather. As Kathleen searches for her fiance and worries about her family, she is drawn to Jack and soon her heart must choose.

I appreciated the view of Ireland and the devastation brought on by multiple years of famine. The author captured the essence of desperation and deprivation of those suffering. Kathleen was a determined, spunky heroine. Loved her interactions with Jack.  The story ends somewhat as expected, but the journey there is worth the read.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Pamela Ford here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 5/15

* * * *
4/5 Stars