His Majesty’s Hope by Susan Elia MacNeal

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After going through training Maggie is ready to start her first assignment as a spy where she will be dropped into Germany and gather information from top Nazis. But is she really as prepared as she thought she was? 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #3 in the Maggie Hope Mystery series
  • World War ll
  • Historical mystery
  • Woman spy
  • Nazis euthanasia of those they saw as defective, including children
  • Ongoing storylines from past books in the series

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

I had about an even amount of things that I loved about this book and things I didn’t.

I had trouble connecting with the characters even though this is the third book in the series. Many of the characters, old and new, seemed to do things out of the blue that didn’t really fit with the rest of their actions and there wasn’t any explanation for it. There was also a storyline with a very side character that didn’t really fit with the rest of the book and I’m not sure what the point of it was. The plot moved a bit slowly for me and when it would pick up something would very conveniently happen that then slowed it back down. 

I did really love the historical aspects of the book. I had no idea the Nazis were killing children that were ill. There were many other mentions of things the Nazis were doing that had me doing research to see if it was true. I love learning about things I didn’t know before especially with the many World War ll books there are. I enjoyed the unique looks into some of the things happening. 

The things Maggie experiences in Germany leave her broken. I do look forward to the next book to see how, and if, Maggie recovers. 

Penny For Your Secrets by Anna Lee Huber

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Verity and her husband, Sidney, continue to adjust to the end of the war. While their relationship is sturdier now, Sidney continues to struggle with demons. They soon find themselves involved in investigating two deaths. First, is the death of Verity’s friend Ada’s husband, Lord Rockham. Then the death of a former Secret Sister colleague’s sister. Though the two deaths seem to have no connection, Verity begins to wonder if they are in fact connected. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #3 in Verity Kent series
  • Look into upper class England in 1919
  • Historical fiction/ mystery

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I found Penny For Your Secrets engaging and fun to read. I loved the look into what life is like after a war.  Not just for individuals but also society as all have changed and people must decide if things will go back to the way they were before or if the changes are good changes that should continue. 

I continue to enjoy Verity and Sidney and their relationship. Because of the war they have both changed and were not together as those changes happened. I enjoy watching them as they navigate who they each have become while also adjusting to who their spouse has become. 

The mysteries were engaging and had me guessing and I really loved the historical looks into 1919 and learning about a British cargo ship whose crew vanished during the war. 

I received a copy of Penny For Your Secrets from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Where The Dead Lie by C.S. Harris

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While uncovering the murder of a young street urchin Sebastian discovers that homeless, orphaned children have been disappearing from the streets of London. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #12 in the Sebastian St. Cyr series
  • 1813 London
  • Mystery
  • Street children
  • Child abuse

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Sebastian always keeps me hooked and the time passes quickly. I enjoyed the look into what drives some men to cruelty and some to kindness. The author once again does a great job describing Victorian England, though the look into street children at that time was depressing, it was done without much graphic detail. I enjoyed all the characters, especially those that have carried on from past books. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have more of those characters. I wanted more Sir Henry Lovejoy and more Hero, the feisty Hero. 

Triptych by Karin Slaughter

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A crime thriller told in three parts involving police detective Michael, ex convict John, Georgia Bureau of Investigation specialist Will, and Angie a vice cop. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #1 in the Will Trent series
  • Lots of cussing 
  • Graphic abuse
  • Rape
  • Child abuse
  • Prostitution 
  • Life in jail
  • Tough read
  • Mother’s love and dedication
  • Heartbreaking
  • Characters that are complicated and very layered 

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I came so close to only reading 50 pages of Triptych. The story starts off being told by police detective Michael and I did not like him. I wasn’t in the mood to read about another male, conceited, cussing, degrading, police detective. I did a quick search on Goodreads to find out if the series was going to continue with this character and his attitude. I learned that there are multiple narrators in the story and Michael was not the main character in the series and so I decided to stick with it a bit longer. I’m so glad I did! 

The subject of murdering and torturing women was a difficult one and I did not love all the cussing and graphic details. However, I did not feel as though it was done just to be crass. I felt like it was done in a manner that added to the story and helped me to see a part of many people’s lives that is far from my experiences. It’s so easy to judge people who are loud and rough but the author does a great job in helping me understand why some people are loud and tough and unlikeable. I loved the story of John and I felt like his experiences of being an ex-con  were the most realistic I have ever read. John’s story, past and present, was heartbreaking and what made the book for me. The suspense and thriller aspect of the novel was gripping and I was shocked as details were revealed. All of the characters were very well developed and though I did not like all of them I understood where they were coming from. They were characters with so many layers to them that I was just as intrigued and hooked by the characters as I was by the mystery

Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt

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Set in the 1920-1930’s and told through letters, newspaper articles, and diary entries about the death of a famous Russian immigrant writer, his wife and a young Russian refugee. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • Mystery
  • Look into life in Russia in the 1920’s
  • Human need for love
  • Slow reading
  • Psychological thriller

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️

I really loved the premise of Invitation to a Bonfire and I really enjoyed the look at what life was like for the two classes during the Russia Civil War and how neither the monarchs or the poor benefited. I found the writing to have a sophisticated feel to it which I enjoyed. It was the kind of reading where I had to slow down to really get the beauty of the words. However, the plot and details in the story did not match the sophisticated writing. I did not understand the characters at all. So many of their decisions came out of no where and so many of the events seemed so unrealistic. Not only did I not understand the characters but I did not like them. They were selfish and I quickly grew tired of them. When the characters are in America so many of the details and descriptions given did not match the time period. I felt much more like I was in the 1950’s than early 1930. There also were just to many inconsistencies with the characters and their actions that just didn’t work for me. I think this was suppose to be a psychological thriller and maybe that was the reason for the inconsistencies but it just didn’t work for me

My copy of Invitation to a Bonfire was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

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A look at a Muslim community in Canada as characters Ayesha and Khalid navigate their Muslim community, family, being a part of a larger community, love and discovering who they are. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • Racism
  • Religious freedom
  • Love
  • Marriage

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I really loved learning more about the Muslim religion and culture and the challenges that a Muslim faces living those beliefs in a community where they are the minority and not understood. 

I struggled with the characters. I didn’t really like any of them. They seemed selfish and I didn’t really feel like they learned from their experiences. I never liked Ayesha. I felt she wanted other people to change but never seemed to look at her life to see how she could be a nicer, more empathetic person. I was sad that Khalid gave up who he was for Ayesha. 

I was also a bit confused about what the author was saying. I felt like the story was showing the prejudices, especially religious prejudices, that people face when their beliefs are different.  But then I felt the story was doing exactly what it was trying to speak up against. If we shouldn’t look down on the religious beliefs of others than why did the book discount the religious belief of arranged marriages? I loved how Khalid stood up for his beliefs and I was disappointed that by the end he did feel a need to change. 

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves -Glory Edim

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A collection of essays by black women who have found themselves in literature. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • Strength of black women
  • Identity

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Though I am a white woman, I really enjoyed Well Read Black Girl. I try to read diversely so I can better understand those who are not like me and don’t have the same experiences I do. This book gave me a peek into the way black women feel and helped me understand them a little more and the struggles they experience. At the same time though, I felt that so many of the themes discussed could be applied to so many other people, not just black women. I even saw myself in many essays. This book has a ton of fiction, essays and poetry suggestions written by black women.

My copy of Well- Read Black Girl was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

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Elise is an 80 year old woman who has Alzheimer’s. When she was 14 years old, living in Iowa, World War ll was in full swing. Her family was sent to an internment camp because her father, who was born in Germany, was feared to be a Nazi sympathizer. While there she became best friends with a Japanese American, Mariko. Their friendship helps Elise survive not only the internment camp but also the tragedies she experiences through the rest of the war and then as she tries to go on with the rest of her life. Now Elise wants to find this dear friend before the memories of her are gone. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • Alzheimer’s 
  • The things that happen to us lay the ground for the person we will be
  • World War ll
  • Heartbreaking
  • Internment camps during World War ll
  • Friendship 
  • Love
  • Self discovery

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

There were so many things I really loved about The Last Year of the War. I loved the idea of a woman with Alzheimer’s searching for her friend before she can no longer remember her. I loved how Elise named her Alzheimer’s and talked to her. I loved the story of her life in the internment camp and learning more about that time in our county’s history. I knew that Japanese Americans were kept in these camps but I did not know that German Americans also were. I also loved learning about what life was like in these camps. Elise and her family are sent to Germany during the last year of the war and I really liked reading the perspective of a family  living in Germany during the end of the war. I could easily picture what these different experiences were all like and how difficult it was for a young girl. I loved the characters during these times and felt drawn to them and felt their heartbreaks. 

The end of the book was not as good for me as the beginning. I wasn’t really sure about some of the decisions that Elise made and they seemed to come out of no where. The characters in the first part of the book seemed in depth and characters in the last part seemed rushed and I didn’t really feel like I knew them. The ending felt a bit rushed, which after all the details of the beginning was a disappointment. 

My copy of The Last Year of the War was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton

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Lori Shepard is shocked to learn Aunt Dimity has died. She thought Aunt Dimity was a fictional character her mother made up to use in bed time stories. Lori has had many misfortunes the last few months and so agrees to go to England and complete a task Aunt Dimity has left for her. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • #1 in the Aunt Dimity mystery series
  • Kindness
  • Guilt
  • Love
  • Pain, loss, disappointment
  • Courage, hope, healing
  • Friendship
  • Mystery not involving murder
  • Ghosts

LOVE IT OR LOATHE IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I read Aunt Dimity’s Death in one day while home sick. It was the perfect home sick book to read. It had characters that I loved and that I wanted to spend my day with. There were stories about people who had tragedy but overcame that tragedy to find happiness. The plot was engaging and the time reading this story went quickly. I am excited to continue with the series. 

A Cold Day In Paradise by Steve Hamilton

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Alex McNight was a cop in Detroit until his partner was killed and he was shot three times. He retires to a small town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. A couple of murders hit this small town and the killer sends notes to Alex with details that sound like only one person. But this person should be in prison for the murder of Alex’s partner and for the three bullets put in him. 

QUICK GLANCE

  • 1st in the Alex McNight series
  • Quick read
  • Great setting
  • Plot driven

LOVE IT OR LOATH IT

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

My favorite part of A Cold Day in Paradise was the setting. I lived in the upper part of the lower peninsula for three years and took a few trips to the upper peninsula so I really enjoyed the descriptions and the look into life in that quiet part of the world. The plot kept me going and the ending was a surprise. I’m not really sure yet how I feel about the main character so I will continue with the series. I hope the character of Alex gets more developed and I also hope some of the characters I didn’t like don’t return.