Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin

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The Sea Before Us
(Sunrise at Normandy, #1)
By: Sarah Sundin

Published: February 2018
Published By: Revell
Format Read: eBook, Kobo App
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis


In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, who pieces together reconnaissance photographs with holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love . . .

Goodreads

My Thoughts

You know when you see a book and automatically know that you will love it? Sarah Sundin’s The Sea Before Us, was exactly that type of book for me.

This story tells of the planning of the Normandy invasion from the perspective of a British Wren and an American Naval Officer. I found the preparation of the mission to be equally as fascinating as the invasion itself.

Both of the main characters; Dorothy and Wyatt felt true to their nationalities and they both showed good growth throughout.

I would highly recommend The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin and I look forward to reading the second book in the series.

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Memes · Recommendations

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads


Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
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The Woman Who Wouldn’t by Gene Wilder

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Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption-from South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T

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Summer at Sea (Summer, #1) by Beth Labonte

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Secrets of the Old Ladies Club by Nan Tubre

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The Girls they Left Behind by Bernice Thurman Hunter

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Becoming Phoebe by J. Michael Neal

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The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

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Breaking the Story by Ashley Farley

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An Amish Kitchen by Beth Wiseman, Kelly Long and Amy Clipston

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Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith

Book Reviews · Personal Post

Reflecting on re-reading Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

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Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
(Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1)
By: Louise Rennison

Published: May 2000
Published by: HarperTeen
Format Read: Trade Paperback
Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis


There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.


In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones’s Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it’s “Fabbity fab fab!”

My Thoughts

With such a large and ever expanding TBR, it isn’t very often that I take the time to re-read an older book from my collection. However for one of my last books in 2018 I decided to pick up the first book in Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series.

I first read Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging back in high school, about 15 years ago. I had never read a book quite like this before and found it very entertaining. It was hilarious and I thought the addition of the glossary in the back was brilliant. The following 3 books books in the series were equally entertaining.

Unfortunately my current reading experience was quite different than the first time, all those years ago. I found myself feeling slightly less amused by the story. Perhaps the correct word I should use is cynical. Parts that I once thought to be quirky, now seemed annoying.

I began to think that perhaps I was too old to enjoy Georgia and her musing, after all this time. Then I started to think of this story moreso as a parody of an overly dramatic pre-teen. And once I began to see my reading experience from a different perspective, I began to enjoy it a bit more.

I don’t have any immediate plans to re-read and continue on with this series. Although I will at some time in the future.

Book Reviews · Uncategorized

The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens

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The Tea House on Mulberry Street
By: Sharon Owens
Narrated by: Caroline Winterson

Published: February 2005
Published by: Listen & Live Audio
Format Read: Audio book, Library book, Libby App
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis

Muldoon’s Tea Rooms, beloved for the cozy atmosphere and luscious desserts, has started looking a bit outdated — and the same could be said about the proprietors, Penny and Daniel Stanley. After seventeen years, their marriage has started to fade and wear a little thin, even as their old shop bustles with the energy of the customers who seek refuge from their particular dilemmas: Housewife Sadie Smith comes to escape her diet and her husband’s stick-thin mistress. Struggling artist Brenda Brown sits and pens love letters to the actor Nicolas Cage. And Clare Fitzgerald returns after twenty years abroad to search for a long-lost someone. Behind the cherry cheesecakes, vanilla ice creams, and chocolate cappuccinos are the stirrings of a revolution that will define lives, heal troubled hearts, and rock the very foundation of the humble teahouse. And through it all, Penny and Daniel manage to discover what truly matters in life and love.

-Goodreads

My Thoughts

Set in 1999, Belfast; The Tea House on Mullberry Street follows the owners and customers of a small cafe. I was instantly reminded of a Maeve Binchy novel, what with a group of unrelated people with one common connection. This connection was the theme of the story and followed how each character dealt with their individual situations. 


It took some time for me to get into the story, but once the plot began to move along, I enjoyed it well enough. 


Caroline Winterson was a great narrator who did justice to the different dialects.


I would recommend it to those who enjoy women’s fiction, like Maeve Binchy. 

Challenges · Currently Reading · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: January 2019

Total Books Read in January: 5

Total Books Read in 2019: 5

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The World’s Best Jokes for Kids Volume II: Every Single One Illustrated
By: Swerling & Lazar

Genre: Childrens, Humor
Rating: 3/5

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Murder at the Flamingo (A Van Buren and Deluca Mystery, #1)
By: Rachel McMillan

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series
Rating: 3/5
Note: I was sent a copy of Murder at the Flamingo from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Years Before “Anne”
By: Francis W.P. Bolger

Genre: Non-fiction, Biography
Rating: 3.5/5
Quick Thoughts: I enjoyed this book about the early career of Lucy Maud Montgomery, more than I anticipated.

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Everything, Everything
By: Nicola Yoon

Genre: YA Lit
Rating: 4/5

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Murder in the City of Liberty
(Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery, #2)

By: Rachel McMillan

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series
Rating: 3/5
Note: I was sent a copy of Murder in the City of Liberty from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Number of Fiction: 3
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 2
Total Books Sent for Review: 2
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 2
Total Library Books Read: 1

Challenge Update

2019 New Release Challenge: 2
2019 TBR Jar Challenge: 1

Formats Read

Physical Books: 2
eBooks: 2
Audio Books: 1

February TBR

From my TBR Jar:

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Sent for Review:

Currently Reading

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Book Reviews · Character Spotlight · Recommendations

Character Spotlight: Hamish DeLuca

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Murder at the Flamingo
A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery, #1)
By Rachel McMillan

Published: July 2018
Published by: Thomas Nelson on Brilliance Audio
Format Read: Audio Book, Audible
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis

If Hamish DeLuca spent less time with his nose in a history book or studying for the bar exam, he might finally have the courage to ask a girl to dance at the Palais Royale. But despite his romantic nature, Hamish has always been shy and lacking the confidence of his friend and cousin, Luca Valari, who has invited Hamish to join him in Boston for the summer. Luca has just purchased a new dance club, The Flamingo, and could use Hamish’s math and accounting skills to keep the books alongside Luca’s “right hand man” Reggie Van Buren.

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, daughter of a wealthy pastor and heir to a New Haven fortune, is determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she sees in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures. After a humiliating tea party, Reggie bids goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expect her to marry and escapes to Boston. Finding an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari and a room at Miss Clara’s Boarding house in the North End, Reggie soon adapts to a world beyond servants and ironed linens. Her romantic prospects alight, too, when she sets eyes on Luca’s cousin Hamish.

When a corpse is discovered at The Flamingo, Hamish and Reggie trade ledgers and book-keeping for sleuthing skills. But the truth comes at a high price for Hamish who discovers a dark side to his beloved cousin and is forced to choose between loyalty and his conscience.

-Goodreads

Character Spotlight

It is quite rare that I come across a character in a book who shines far above the rest. This is especially true in one with two main characters, like Murder at the Flamingo. However in this first installment of Rachel Mcmillan’s series, Hamish Deluca did just that. 

I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to a male character who isn’t portrayed as the typical alpha male. Instead Hamish had a vulnerability that was endearing. His anxiety problems was something I could empathize with and the way the author described his symptoms was very realistic. 
Despite his ailments that kept him sheltered, Hamish was quite an intelligent man. I really enjoyed the sections from his perspective and exploring 1930s Boston through his eyes. The way he turned to the Hunchback of Notre Dame as if it were a compass or the Bible, made me want to read that book. Hamish also showed immense growth throughout the story. Above all it was his fierce loyalty that captivated him to me the most. 

Although Murder at the Flamingo on a whole, garnered a 3 star rating from me, Hamish DeLuca himself would earn 5 stars. I look forward to reading more about this character in the second installment of the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries. 

Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Recommendations

Charlie’s Corner: Book Review: The World’s Best Jokes for Kids Volume I & II


Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.
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The World’s Best Jokes for Kids
Volume I: Every Single One Illustrated
By: Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar

Expected Publication Date: February 2019
Published By: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Genre: Children’s Books, Non-fiction, Humor

Rating: 3/5

I received a copy of The World’s Best Jokes for Kids, Volume I, from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

“Do you want to hear a bad cat joke? Just kitten.”  Illustrations bring the silliness to a whole new level in this book of jokes kids will adore.  Every joke is illustrated!


This illustrated book by the New York Times–bestselling creators of the Happiness Is . . . project will leave your family in stitches. The World’s Best Jokes for Kids Volume 1 is filled with hundreds of corny, brilliant, and silly jokes—each paired with a small drawing that’s a sweet comic gem in itself. It’s the perfect book for road trips, rainy days, or those special moments when kids and parents can laugh together. 

-Goodreads
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The World’s Best Jokes for Kids
Volume II: Every single one illustrated
By: Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar

Published: March 2018
Published by: Last Lemon
Format Read: PDF File, ARC, eBook
Genre: Children’s, Non-fiction, Humor

Rating: 3/5

I received a copy of The World’s Best Jokes for Kids Volume II by Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts

Sterling and Lazar’s compilation for kids is chalk full of fun jokes. These two volumes, really brought me back to my childhood and reminded me of a book I had growing up. 


Some of the jokes included in the first book, I had heard before. However I was pleasantly surprised to read so many that were new to me. The modern references that mentioned such examples as: current technology and pop culture, will appeal to the children of today. 


The World’s Best Jokes for Kids Volumes I & II would be ideal to share with the whole family. Teachers could share them with their students and these books would also make for great gifts. 


I would highly recommend these volumes for ages 8 and up. 


Book Reviews · Recommendations

Shattered (Alaskan Courage, #2) by Dani Pettrey

Shattered
(Alaskan Courage, #2)
By Dani Pettrey

Published: February 2013
Published by: Bethany House
Format Read: eBook, Library Book, Libby App
Genre: Suspense, Christian Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Mystery

Rating: 4/5
♥♥♥♥

Synopsis

Piper McKenna couldn’t be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed–but despite the evidence, Reef swears he’s innocent. And Piper believes him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he’s also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon’s career.

With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada’s rugged backcountry–and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

My Thoughts

In 2015 I read and loved the first book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series; Submerged. So naturally I was highly anticipating book 2; Shattered. As with book 1, I was hooked on this story from the start.

Shattered was a fast paced Christian suspense that focused on the death of a professional snowboarder and a family trying to prove their brother’s innocence. I enjoyed the adventure Piper and Landon went on to solve the mystery.

Unfortunately I didn’t love Piper as a main character, like I did with the couple from Submerged. Her need for adventure and her curiosity overshadowed the real reason why they were investigating. In fact her brother Reef (the main suspect) played a very small role in the story.

Although Shattered wasn’t as action packed as the first installment, I would still recommend it. I would suggest that readers begin with Submerged as it better explores the family’s history. I look forward to reading the next book in the Alaskan Courage series.

Book Reviews · Recommendations

The Enigma by T.C. Badcock

The Enigma

By T.C. Badcock

Published: May 2009

Published by: DRC Publishing

Format Read: Trade Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

♥♥♥.5

Synopsis

In September 1942 a German submarine left its home base of St. Nazaire bound for the tiny Newfoundland outport of Three Rock Harbour. The Enigma is Tom Badcock’s compelling story of what happens when the Germans meet up with the Newfoundlanders and the events that changed all of their lives forever. Tom is a five-time decorated retired air force officer who began his career as a cryptographer at the former Fort Pepperrell American base in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He says equipment he used throughout his career functioned nearly exactly like the German Enigma Machine which, at the outbreak of WW2, was considered to be the best and safest mechanical cipher machine available to any country.

My Thoughts

I picked up TC Badcock’s The Enigma by accident, mistaking it for another book about a German U-boat in Labrador. Thankfully I gave this book a try as it turned out to be equally as fascinating.

Badcock begins stating that this was based on a true story that was told to him by a woman on her deathbed. However upon some research I learned that the events that take place aren’t exactly fact. Still there were aspects of the book that may well have been true. Could an isolated Newfoundland community have unknowingly played host to a German U-boat crew? It may well be true, but I chose to read The Enigma as a work of fiction.

The authors knowledgeable of the operations on U-boats and the fishery was quite interesting to me. The deception on behalf of the merchants and the inflation that was the result really gave a good idea of how fishermen and their families lived.

I would recommend TC Badcocks The Enigma to be read with a grain of salt. And maybe a good feed of jigs dinner.