I always learn so much from Erik Larson and even with knowing a fair amount of WWII London history and the Churchill family, there is so much insight here. Instead of spewing facts and death totals, Larson gives us a real sense of the human spirit and incredible bravery the Londoners displayed every day during the Blitz as well as insight into some of the key players in Germany and the states. He also gives us insight into how the Brits felt about Winston Churchill and how the Churchill family weathered his unusual approach to leadership and his almost tireless energy when it came to saving his country against the odds. Eric Larson presents the man and the myth as well as highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of Churchill's family and confidants. When you see what this small country went through before the Americans could finally be persuaded to enter the war it is truly amazing that they not only survived but came together helping each other and stoically supporting the man they knew could lead them out of the darkness. With every book, I read on the subject I have more respect and admiration for this group of ordinary people who came together and stared death in the face.
When Tracy joined the CIA she went from sorority rush to being part of a poison expert team in the middle east and Africa. She had to deal with sexism from her peers and terrorists as well as undergo more scrutiny than some presidential candidates. After many years of being on the front lines and preventing as many terrorist cells from growing and attacking the west, she finally had enough and came back stateside to join the FBI where the good old boy club and proving herself began all over again. The book has a feel of authenticity because she is very open about her experiences - good and bad plus whole sections of the book are blacked out for security reasons. She is a survivor, she is fierce and I am really glad she was out there watching our back. Now she is teaching young women to make a difference and she is the perfect role model. This book is appealing even if you have no interest in the FBI, CIA or the war against terror because it is very much about standing up for yourself and doing what you think will make a difference. That will teach them to label her "Malibu Barbie".
Welcome to the inner world of Grace Kelly. She is not the Grace Kelly you see on the screen or hear about in the society pages and Hollywood gossip columns nor is she the princess we believed lived in a faraway castle beloved by all. This is more about the real woman, not the myth. A woman who needed to be loved for who she was, respected for her craft and taken seriously not just paraded around as a national icon. The story is told flipping back and forth between her youth and time in Hollywood and in the later years of her life in Monaco. The book does become a blur as there are so many famous names and it covers so much of her life that at times I felt like I needed a cast of characters to keep it straight. She was larger than life and what we are left with is that she, like so many other celebrities, did not always lead a fairytale life. If you enjoy the numerous historical fiction biographies featuring those idolized women as real women then you will enjoy learning more about the real Grace Kelly.
Oona has a condition that can be a blessing or a curse - every year at midnight on her birthday Oona jumps forward or backward in time. You can imagine how unsettling this would be but with the help of her mother, her assistant and helpful little notes to herself, she manages. What she is left with is a chance to not screw things up with the guy she is next to but doesn't recognize or keep those friends she really likes or live her life being happy. The problem is this - just because you get a second chance doesn't always mean you use it differently. This unusual take on time travel did get me thinking - would I want to know my life out of order? BACK TO THE FUTURE meets THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE, this is a fun romp through the trials and tribulations of adulthood.
The continuing story of SMOKE now that it has left England and has been unleashed out into the world.
Our three heroes from the first book are apart and there have been many more characters and many more locations added to this tale. I admit that I still love Dan Vyleta's atmospheric writing style but the story in the first book that captured my attention from the first page, was more difficult to pick up the thread in this second book. Like the smoke the story is centered around - it now drifts to lands far away and is dispersed too easy to follow. If you have not read SMOKE I would read it before you continue with this book.
Needing a break from Hollywood and an awkward situation with her best friend and work partner, Marissa accepts a job as a film editor for a very secretive film on a remote island. The warning bells are going off everywhere and the situation is intense but she signed a huge non-disclosure agreement and the money is good. Making a movie and solving a murder shouldn't be this hard. Elizabeth Little sets the scene well as a feast for old movie buffs and the characters are off-kilter but fun. A little bit like an Agatha Christie mystery movie where they all seem to be guilty at some point and Evanovich's Stephanie Plum is leading the investigation. Marissa is very lovable as a socially challenged editor and she along with the ragtag amateur detective team will find their way into your heart.
This series combines a steampunk view of England and the world with authentic and mysterious characters. Their connections to one another are unusual and mysterious and we believe this world to exist without question. We now find Mori headed back to Japan where Thaniel and Six are sent to find out the source of the multiple ghost sittings terrorizing the embassy as well as Mori's strange behavior. My favorite interactions are between Six, Thaniel and Mori. Six is the perfect blend of precociousness and innocence. Using Japan as a setting makes the book feel even more mysterious, filled with ancient knowledge, superstition, and quiet grace. Perfect for fans of C.J. Polk, Matt Haig, and Neil Gaiman.
The British Isles in the 1840s was an exciting age of exploration of the natural sciences and a trendy pastime for the privileged to explore. But, it was still very much an age of oppression and rigid conformation to religion and strict moral conduct. The story ties a wet nurse to the Chambers family and their brood of inquisitive children, an interesting find of a fossil and the publication of a secretive book that outlines the beginnings of natural sciences apart from church teachings. The banter and setting are totally Jane Austen's style as is the characters but then it goes off track with the questions of Constantia's (the wet nurse) background and the hereditary traits of some of the male Chambers children. The author shows an interesting juxtaposition between this age of exploration and maintaining the old moral standards.
As she is almost home after a very long shift at her vet clinic Cassie witnesses a brutal attack on a woman and confronts the attacker. The man escapes with her car and purse giving him all the information he needs to be a threat to her family. To add to that her husband disappears and Cassie's life starts spinning out of control. Very intense, very violent and a very well constructed complex plot - Cassie is someone I would want on my side in a crisis. Like a nightmare you can't wake yourself up from until you know how it ends, you will find yourself reading deep into the night to finish this debut. All fans of thrillers need to read this.
Maya served on a jury where she was the deciding vote against convicting a teacher of murdering his student. All the jurors were affected in some way by this case and now ten years later, a documentary is being made and the jury has been invited to participate. Maya, now an attorney, is reluctant but most of the others will be there so she decides to attend. Something really bad happens and she is put in the spotlight and on the other side of the courtroom. How well do we know the story of what really happened and what has happened to all of them in the ten years since the trial? The pacing is perfect and with every page, you finish you have more questions and doubt. This is a terrific legal thriller with a shocker ending that will satisfy every fan of courtroom legal battles (ala Grisholm) and today's savviest thrillers.
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Fantasy / Sci-Fi
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