Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Review: Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

The Spellmans are fun. And it is a pure delight to be back with them in this second of Lutz's six books series about Izzy Spellman, private eye, and her loving, eccentric family. I read the first one when it came out and had no reason to put off reading this next installment except, perhaps, for the fear it wouldn't live up to the first. But it absolutely did and with luck I'll get to the third book far sooner than I did to the second.

As the book opens, Izzy Spellman, a 30 year old private investigator with her family's firm, has been arrested four times in three months (but a couple of those don't count!). This fact might slow down anyone else, but Izzy has always been like a dog with a bone and she is determined to get to the bottom of her unsanctioned investigations, restraining orders and such notwithstanding. She is certain that there is something not quite right about her parents' new neighbor, bland and nice though John Brown appears to be, and she is determined to get to the bottom of it. She also notes suspicious behaviour from her brother, her best friend, her mother, and her father. The only one in the family seemingly still on the level is little sister Rae, until she admits that she has friends besides the age inappropriate Detective Henry Stone. Add to that the fact that Izzy's one actual paying job is to find out who is recreating the creative vandalism of her and her best friend's youth, and there are a number of fairly madcap story lines going on.

The Spellman parents are less involved in Izzy's life in this kooky follow-up to The Spellman Files as each of them has concerns of their own that make them much more self-focused but the story is no less chaotic and scattered. The plot careens forward and backwards and every which way in between, often told through Izzy's meetings with her hard of hearing, octogenarian lawyer. There are teases with promises to expand on situations later in the book and there are footnoted asides and call-backs to the first novel. The experience of reading about Izzy and her family is quite possibly the most enjoyable case of whiplash you'll ever have. It is full of diversions and pandemonium and controlled bedlam. The solutions to each of the things Izzy is investigating aren't earth shattering and in some cases might be expected but it was just a blast being with these characters again, learning more about them, seeing where they are perceptive and where they (Izzy in particular) can be blind. Probably best read after the first book so you have some frame of reference, this is a worthwhile second book and I look forward to the next one.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Review: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

I read this on the recommendation of a friend long before any of the controversy erupted. Although I was a little conflicted about reading it (because of my interest in the topic rather than because of the soon to be conflagration of controversy about authorial heritage, suggested stereotypes, lack of diversity in publishing, and advance money to summarize most of the complaints), I had previously read and enjoyed Cummins' novel The Outside Boy so I decided to take the advice of my friend and another author who both read it and praised it highly. I have since read and listened to much of the criticism as well. There are layers upon layers to excavate here but I'm not going to do that. I don't have the background to address certain of the accusations so I'm only going to address this as a work of fiction. And let me say, it was eye-opening, it was personal, and it was a book that made this reader want to keep turning pages to see if this fierce, protective, and desperate mother and her young son escaped with their lives. If Jeanine Cummins intended to write a completely propulsive novel that opened a dialogue, she did that.

Lydia lives in Acapulco with her investigative journalist husband and their son Luca. She owns a bookstore and the family is pretty firmly middle class but her story doesn't open with these mundane facts of her life. It opens with her huddling in a bathroom with Luca as a drug cartel guns down the rest of her family during a backyard cookout celebration of her niece's quinceanara. Lydia knows that once the head of the cartel knows she and her son have survived, they will not be safe. She knows this because she knows this man. Javier was her customer at the bookstore and he was her friend, at least until her husband published an article about him, an article Javier cannot forgive. So although Lydia's numb from losing her entire family in one horrific afternoon, she knows that she and Luca have to flee. The drug cartel's tentacles are long though and although she ostensibly has far more resources than many people making their way to the US, she cannot draw attention to herself and her son, fumbling and haltingly making their way through the country along the migrant path, encountering the breadth of humanity, both good and understanding people as well as exploitative and awful people. She is driven to protect her son at all costs, to get him to safety, and to help him process everything he's witnessed, both the loss of family and the terrible and terrifying things he sees along the way as they join the steady stream of migrants making their way north.

Lydia and Luca have lost everything, including their heretofore unexamined sense of safety and this revelation makes the unexpected (or even pre-warned about) hardships that much harder emotionally as they move forward toward a life that they never wanted but have no option to seek. Lydia is perhaps a little naive as a character but then, who isn't when living a life of unconcern and relative ease? This naivete comes up hard against the need to keep Luca safe as they travel and as she is forced to see clearly both the humanity and the inhumanity in those around her on the journey. The trip is arduous and dangerous and the reasons people from all over Central and South America attempt the journey are myriad with Cummins offering small snippets of only a few reasons in the characters of Lydia and Luca, the Honduran sisters, the former student whose visa expired, the mother trying to get back to her American children, the brothers and their sons from Veracruz. Until almost the end of the novel, most of the characters stay fairly anonymous as Lydia guards her story and her identity, fearful to trust.  This makes the novel that much more insular and paranoid feeling, as akin to Lydia's own feelings as possible.  She and Luca are the main focus and the novel is narrated around their perceptions and worries. It is fast paced and action oriented and although there are two very dramatic happenings close to the end that push the story a bit over the top, it never minimizes the actual danger involved in crossing into the US or on the long journey to get there. The obstacles to making it all the way, in some cases thousands of miles, are numerous and in presenting this, the novel felt revelatory, especially to an audience privileged enough, like Lydia once was, never to have had to consider it. The news may talk about the danger of the border crossing but it doesn't do a particularly good job at acknowledging that this crossing is only one in a series of dangers, not the first, nor even the last. I found this a very worthwhile read. It made me think and consider in ways that I hadn't before and I think that aspect might be getting lost in all the outrage and discussions and I think that's a shame.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Not a very good week at all! Here's hoping this coming week is better. This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week are:

Adults and Other Children by Miriam Cohen
Grief's Country by Gail Griffin

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Reviews posted this week:

nothing at all :-(

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams
Beginning with Cannonballs by Jill McCroskey Coupe
The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
Difficult Light by Tomas Gonzalez
The Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Adults and Other Children by Miriam Cohen
Grief's Country by Gail Griffin

Monday Mailbox

This past week's mailbox arrivals:

Little Wonders by Kate Rorick came from William Morrow Paperbacks and TLC Book Tours for a blog tour.

Sometimes my kids made me want to have a tantrum so I'm really looking forward to this novel about a woman who does just that having her hissy fit go viral and the duck out of water mom who posted the video.

Slice Harvester by Colin Atrophy Hagendorf came from me for myself.

A memoir in pizza? Yum! I'd like a margherita slice please. ;-)

Let It Snow by Sue Moorcroft came from me for myself.

A cozy, romantic British novel about a woman on a quest to find her father's side of the family, this looks lovely.

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal came from Tor.

If you haven't read the first Lady Astronaut novel, The Calculating Stars, I would like to ask why not? It's awesome and I'm very excited to have this third book in the series.

Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton came from me for myself.

A 1953 novel about four remaining daughters (the oldest has left home and married) in a family whose neurotic mother keeps them from going to school or making friends, this is supposed to be either surprisingly lighthearted or a dark look at motherhood and insanity. I'll be curious to see where I land on the opinion spectrum.

Grown Ups by Emma Jane Unsworth came from Scout Press.

Schadenfreude is a thing and is perhaps why I like to read about people whose lives are falling apart. So this novel about a woman in her thirties having a breakdown as she tries to finally grow up should be fun.

Other People's Pets by R.L. Maizes came from Celadon Books.

A woman who turns to robbing homes so she can pay for vet school, caring for the pets in the house she breaks into, leaving them medicine or water or food when she breaks in, this sounds like a completely original premise and I am on board for it.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.

The book is being released by Atria Books on March 10, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

Brimming with joy and heartbreak, In Five Years is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.

Monday, February 17, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Still sick but hopefully on the road to recovery and able to read at least a little now, thankfully! This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week are:

Mercy House by Alena Dillon
Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
Difficult Light by Tomas Gonzalez
The Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

Adults and Other Children by Miriam Cohen
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Reviews posted this week:

Mercy House by Alena Dillon

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams
Beginning with Cannonballs by Jill McCroskey Coupe
The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
Difficult Light by Tomas Gonzalez
The Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Monday Mailbox

This past week's mailbox arrivals:

The Moonglow Sisters by Lori Wilde came from William Morrow Paperbacks and TLC Book Tours for a blog tour.

I'm a sucker for sister books so this one about estranged sisters who come back together for a wedding, where secrets will be exposed, is like catnip for me.

We Have Everything Before Us by Esther Yin-Ling Spodek came from Gibson House Press and LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

What could possibly go wrong at a neighborhood bbq? Apparently quite a lot if the blurb on this book gives any indication, and I can't wait to dig in an experience it!

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning came from me for myself.

I have long wanted this historical book about the books that helped soldiers in WWII with moments of boredom or nervous anticipation either before the fighting commenced or as they recovered in hospital because it promises to be fascinating.

A Simple Country Murder by Blythe Baker came from me for myself.

A woman widowed in the London Blitz moves to the countryside only to discover that it's not as peaceful and simple as she imagined when she ends up helping investigate the suspicious death of a relative. Sounds like quite the fun cozy mystery, I think.

What You Wish For by Katherine Center came from St. Martin's Press.

A teacher has to stand up to her former crush, now much transformed in personality, in order to keep the integrity of the school where she teaches in this book that promises to be a wonderful read.

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor came from me for myself.

Time travel, history, characters described as disaster magnets, and madcap adventures--what else could you possibly want? I can't wait!!!

A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer came from me for myself.

It's always the season for Georgette Heyer, right? A closed door mystery during a holiday house party with suspects who all loathe the now dead host, this should be good fun.

I Can't Complain by Elinor Lipman came from HMH.

I do love Elinor Lipman so I am looking forward to this collection of personal essays.

Saving Miss Oliver's by Stephen Davenport came from me for myself.

I enjoy books set in schools so I am pleased to have this one about a boarding school in danger of closing and the new headmaster hired to keep that from happening, if only he can get everyone else on board with him.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Review: Mercy House by Alena Dillon

If you say "Catholic" these days, there are any number of associations that come to mind: the Pope, church on Sundays, the sex abuse scandal. If you include nuns in your imagery, you probably envision either Maria at the convent in The Sound of Music, Whoopie Goldberg in Sister Habit, or more generically, nuns wielding rulers in Catholic schools across the nation. How often do you envision religious women who have given their lives over to God who do their own ministry and outreach among the poor, the reviled, and the forgotten? These crusading nuns do vitally important works in their community, living their Christian ideals every day. In her debut novel, Mercy House, Alena Dillon has brought to life one of these sisters, the safe shelter she and her fellow sisters founded, and their fight to keep it open in the face of malicious, institutionalized evil.

Sister Evelyn was promised to the church as a young child, her father vowing to give her into the religious life if God would answer his prayers and return her oldest brother safely home from WWII.  He did come home and she was forever after marked for the religious life, entering the convent as a novitiate at the age of 19. Fifty years later, she and two other sisters, Sister Maria and Sister Josephine, run Mercy House, a safe house for abused women in Bedford-Stuyvesant. They do not judge the women they serve but offer them the space and grace to heal the physical and the emotional wounds they carry when they arrive at Mercy House's door. In their ministry, the sisters sometimes stray from received Catholic doctrine on divorce, abortion, and more, choosing, as Sister Evelyn says, to make decisions from their hearts rather than their heads when confronted with the reality of the women's situations. Only now their mission is threatened by the arrival of Bishop Hawkins, who is looking into all of the orders for the Vatican. His past history with Sister Evelyn will make him even more likely to dig too deeply into Mercy House and set him on a campaign to shut it down. Sister Evelyn is equally determined to save this vital mission and is willing to sacrifice greatly in order to achieve her ends.

Opening with Sister Evelyn welcoming a new resident in the middle of the night, the novel quickly introduces the damaged and vulnerable young women who are current residents at the house as well as Evelyn's fellow nuns. Evelyn herself is a wonderful character, both strong and weak, complex and intelligent, willful and determined. She has made compromises over her lifetime, compromises that she still grapples with, but she is fierce about her calling with these young women and her story is the one that takes the most focus of the novel. Her early life, both before and after her vows, alternates with the modern day situation at the house. Also interspersed in the narrative are first person descriptions of what landed them at Mercy House by each of the current residents. These tellings are horrific and graphic with abuse and neglect and they can be incredibly hard to read. But they are the true reality for many abused women and the horror of the characters' backgrounds helps to show the reader what is at stake should Mercy House be closed down. There is certainly much social commentary here, both on the systems that have failed these young women who have found themselves needing safe haven but also on the systemic abuses that the Catholic Church turned a blind eye to for so many years. The wealth of the Vatican and its representatives, in the person of Bishop Hawkins, is contrasted with the relative poverty of the women and the mission doing so much good in their local community. Dillon highlights the gross imbalance of power between the nuns and the priests within the church hierarchy and the irony of the "nunquisition," an actual examination starting in 2006 into the orders of nuns to ascertain whether they were in fact following Church doctrine or not, given the Church's blatant and blanket ignoring of the myriad illegal and immoral abuses by so many priests. But the book is not an all-encompassing condemnation of Catholicism, showing all but one wholly (holy?) evil character as complex, compassionate, and realistic human beings. The plot is fast paced, moving from one incident to another in Sister Evelyn's race to best Bishop Hawkins and keep Mercy House open, even as she is forced to consider just how far she can and should go in her quest. The ending petered out more than I'd have liked but it does also sort of fit to leave Evelyn just where she is, as life would. This is a gripping and dramatic story for those who can stomach the terrible abuse chronicled here and it certainly kept me reading well past my bedtime.

For more information about Alena Dillon and the book, check our her author site, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher William Morrow for sending me a copy of this book to review.

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman.

The book is being released by Ecco on March 3, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: From bestselling author Laura Zigman, a hilarious novel about a wife and mother whose life is unraveling and the well-intentioned but increasingly disastrous steps she takes to course-correct her relationships, her career, and her belief in herself

Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.

Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.

Wickedly funny and surprisingly tender, Separation Anxiety offers a frank portrait of middle-aged limbo, examining the ebb and flow of life’s most important relationships. Tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.

Monday, February 10, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I've been sick as a dog and not reading at all. Three and a half days of sleeping in bed, standing hot showers, drinking hot water with lemon and manuka honey, and no books. It's been miserable. So this is an abbreviated list. This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week are:

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

The Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Holding on to Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne

Reviews posted this week:

A Sister's Courage by Molly Green

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams
Beginning with Cannonballs by Jill McCroskey Coupe
The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Monday Mailbox

This past week's mailbox arrivals:

Once Upon a Time I lived on Mars by Kate Greene came from St. Martin's Press.

A collection of essays by a woman who was a part of NASA's HI-SEAS project that simulated life on Mars on the side of a Hawaiian volcano in order to test many different things from food systems to sleep patterns and more, this looks incredibly fascinating.

The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins came from St. Martin's Griffin.

Flappers, a speakeasy, 1920's mystery? Don't mind if I do!

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber came from Forge.

A woman with a knack for finding lost things finds an abandoned baby at the foot of a buttonwood tree in this story of two women trying to live the lives they want. Sounds intriguing, right?!

Montauk by Nicola Harrison came from St. Martin's Press.

About a woman who is uncomfortable among the society women her increasingly distant husband's business dictates she must mingle with, this looks like it will be a gripping tale of knowing yourself and facing difficult choices. Plus there's water and a lighthouse on the cover. So basically, perfect for me.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

This meme was hosted by Breaking the Spine and is meant to highlight some great pre-publication books we all can't wait to get our grubby little mitts on. I'm choosing to continue the tradition even though she has stopped.

Grown Up Pose by Sonya Lalli.

The book is being released by Berkley on March 24, 2020.

The book's jacket copy says: A delightfully modern look at what happens for a young woman when tradition, dating, and independence collide, from acclaimed author Sonya Lalli.

Adulting shouldn't be this hard. Especially in your thirties. Having been pressured by her tight-knit community to get married at a young age to her first serious boyfriend, Anu Desai is now on her own again and feels like she is starting from the beginning.

But Anu doesn't have time to start over. Telling her parents that she was separating from her husband was the hardest thing she's ever done—and she's still dealing with the fallout. She has her young daughter to support and when she invests all of her savings into running her own yoga studio, the feelings of irresponsibility send Anu reeling. She'll be forced to look inside herself to learn what she truly wants.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Review: A Sister's Courage by Molly Green

Like the old Virginia Slims ads used to say, "You've come a long way, baby" so it can be hard to imagine all of the obstacles that women once faced in following their passions. In some ways, past wars advanced women's opportunities as they were allowed to step into roles that were once the sole purview of men. As men went off to war, women had to do the jobs that were vital to the functioning of their country, jobs that pre-war would never have been available to them. And this opened up fields where they not only excelled but that spoke to their souls. The main character in Molly Field's new novel, A Sister's Courage, always dreamed of flying and WWII made her dream some true.

Lorraine Linfoot, called Raine by everyone but her mother, fell in love with flying when she was 14 after her father allowed her to take a ride in a plane at a flying circus. It was then that she found her passion and there would no longer be any chance that she would join her father's accounting firm although when her family faces a financial reversal, it seems there will be no money for Raine to take flying lessons either. But Raine is determined to learn and she gets a job as a secretary at the local air field, where she can take occasional lessons from a pilot she's met. She and Doug quickly become good friends and she reveres him as an older brother as he introduces her to the joys of flight. When war breaks out and Doug is called up, it looks like Raine's piloting days will be over until she is accepted into the Air Transport Auxiliary, shuttling planes to various bases, freeing up the male pilots to fight in the war. Despite her French mother's strong opposition to her unseemly job, Raine thrives in her new position, the only cloud in her life the knowledge that Doug has been shot down, is missing in action, and presumed dead.

Green does a good job capturing the spirit of the time, drawing on actual ATA experiences for her heroine and even incorporating real historical figure Pauline Gower into Raine's story. It is fascinating to consider the service these pioneering female pilots rendered to the war effort, their amazing skills, and the "normal" lives they lived as they did their jobs. Green does not shy away from the rampant prejudice the women faced or the appalling sexual harassment they were subjected to but she also shows the close relationships these special women developed to each other and with some of the men. Raine is very young during the story but her character is often rude and prickly without reason, which makes the reader not terribly keen on her. She has a terribly contentious relationship with her mother and the reason is only hinted at as stemming from Simone's own experiences in France during the previous war, perhaps being kept secret for a reveal in a later book in this planned trilogy. Raine's feelings about fellow characters undergo some pretty abrupt about faces without much development, from disliking and judging the fellow pilot she's billeted with to inviting her home for Christmas, from her rancorous relationship with fighter pilot Alec Marshall to being deep in love with him. And as fascinating as the historical details are, this is more a love story (a love triangle really) set during WWII rather than a WWII story with a romantic plot line as the focus is more on Raine's building relationship.  This makes the book quite light aside from one devastating scene. Future books will presumably center on Raine's two younger sisters and their passions. The plot of this one is straightforward and simple and this is an easy, quick read and will likely appeal to those who enjoy fiction centered on the personal while still grounded in a specific historical moment.

For more information about Molly Green and the book, check our her author site at the publisher, look at the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and publisher Avon for sending me a copy of this book to review.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Reading Date.

Books I completed over the past week are:

The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

Bookmarks are still living in the middle of:

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

Reviews posted this week:

St. Francis Society for Wayward Pets by Annie England Noblin
Case Histories by Kaye Atkinson

Books still needing to have reviews written (as opposed to the ones that are simply awaiting posting):

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams
Beginning with Cannonballs by Jill McCroskey Coupe
A Sister's Courage by Molly Green
The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair
Faces: Profiles of Dogs by Vita Sackville-West
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

Monday Mailbox

This past week's mailbox arrivals:

A Royal Affair by Allison Montclair came from Minotaur Books.

The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is hired to investigate a blackmail note insinuating something dark about the Greek Prince that Princess Elizabeth has fallen for. How much fun does that sound?!

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy came from Flatiron Books.

A novel about a woman who will do anything to follow the last migration of the arctic tern in a world on the verge of catastrophe, this looks absolutely amazing.

Migrations by Jill McCroskey Coupe came from Caitlin Hamilton Marketing and Publicity and She Writes Press.

A story of friendship and race that spans from 1951-1996, this ebb and flow of love and conflict, understanding and mistakes looks so good.

If you want to see the marvelous goodies in other people's mailboxes, make sure to visit Mailbox Monday and have fun seeing how we are all doing our part to keep the USPS and delivery services viable.

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