Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Letters to the Lost - Iona Grey

Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Iona Grey
Pages: 384
Published: 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Late on a frozen February evening, a young woman is running through the streets of London. Having fled from her abusive boyfriend and with nowhere to go, Jess stumbles onto a forgotten lane where a small, clearly unlived in old house offers her best chance of shelter for the night. The next morning, a mysterious letter arrives and when she can’t help but open it, she finds herself drawn inexorably into the story of two lovers from another time. 

In London 1942, Stella meets Dan, a US airman, quite by accident, but there is no denying the impossible, unstoppable love that draws them together. Dan is a B-17 pilot flying his bomber into Europe from a British airbase; his odds of survival at one in five. The odds are stacked against the pair; the one thing they hold onto is the letters they write to each other. Fate is unkind and they are separated by decades and continents. In the present, Jess becomes determined to find out what happened to them. Her hope—inspired by a love so powerful it spans a lifetime—will lead her to find a startling redemption in her own life. (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Even though I had seen the book reviewed on one of the blogs that I subscribe to, I wasn't sure what to make of the book, but once I started reading the book, I quite enjoyed the book.  I like the back and forth between the present and the 1940's and felt that the 1940's portion felt like the fairly new British TV series, Home Fires (think I was reading the book once while I was watching the show).

I liked the Dan/Stella storyline, as it seemed to be the most intriguing for me in contrast to the Will/Jess storyline, which seemed to be the least intriguing to me, as it seemed to only aid the Dan/Stella storyline.

Bottom line:  Overall, it was a pretty decent historical romance book that had intriguing dual-storylines.  This probably would appeal to readers that enjoy historical romances, especially those that enjoy books set during wartime.

Rating: 3.25/5

Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee

Title: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Pages: 278
Published: 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Personal

Description: Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch--"Scout"--returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt.  (from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I will admit that I bought the book due to the hype that the book generated this past spring, not due to its literary value.  I found the book to be okay; you can see Lee's talent starting to come through and that there needs to be some fine tuning.  Like some of my fellow reviewers have said in their own posts on the book, the best part of the book was the two or three paragraphs that Jean Louise describe of the summer when her father defended Tom.  But that is where it probably needed the most editing, as there are details in that section that didn't match up with the events of Lee's beloved book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

It also seemed that the book was a bit forced at times, but did feel that the argument between Atticus and Jean Louise to be fairly realistic.  I suppose hearing that section read out loud (I listened to the audiobook while I was reading the book) made that argument seem more real than if I had just read it on the page.

Bottom line: I found the book to be adequate and could see flickers of genius at various points throughout the book and that it could have easily used an editor to make the book a bit better.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.25/5

Monday, January 11, 2016

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016

I have attempted this one a couple of times, but I am going to see where this one goes this coming year.

Here are the categories:

1.  A 19th Century Classic - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2.  A 20th Century Classic - The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
3.  A classic by a woman author. - 
4.  A classic in translation.  - Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
5.  A classic by a non-white author. - Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
6.  An adventure classic - Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
7.  A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
8.  A classic detective novel.  - The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
9.  A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. - Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
10. A classic which has been banned or censored. - The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
11. Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college).  - Petersburg by Andrei Bely
12. A volume of classic short stories. - Lady with the Little Dog and other stories by Anton Chekov

Monday, January 4, 2016

Good news!

I got my computer back and its working properly.  Yay!  So this means that I will be posting a little more in the coming days, signing up for various reading challenges and catching up on book reviews that I had hoped to work on over my Christmas break.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's Monday! What are You Reading? (Jan. 4)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

What I am currently reading:
• The Science behind TV's The Big Bang Theory 
• A Duty to the Dead 
• Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

What I completed last week:
Not much. Between travelling most of the afternoon on Monday and working on Thursday evening and recovering from travelling and working, I didn't read much. 

Reviews posted:
None. I haven't had my computer available to me for most of the week and blogging on my iPhone isn't ideal. I hope to have the remaining reviews from 2015 up this coming week, as I will have my computer available to sometime this coming week. 

Bout of Books 15

I love these types of readathons that take a week and allow me to take my time reading over the course of the week. And you can read as much or as little as you like.

• complete at least 3 books
• get a couple of audiobooks started

I hope to post updates on a daily basis here on my blog.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Mailbox Monday (Jan. 4)

Image from the Mailbox Monday site

Mailbox Monday is a place for readers to share the books that came into their homes during the past week.  After being hosted at a number of blogs over the past few years, it has gone back to its home base, the aptly named, Mailbox Monday.

From top to bottom:

• The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
• Children of God by Mary Doria Russell
• The Immortal Life of Henerietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloop
• Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill *
• A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Christmas gift from my sister)
• Downton Abbey: A Celebration by Jessica Fellowes *

*purchased these prior to Christmas 
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