AnnAlysis: The Nightingale

the nightingaleFrom Goodreads:
In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

My Thoughts:
I may have geeked out quite a bit when I was contacted and asked to review this book. I absolutely love Hannah’s books. They are such amazing stories. I haven’t read one that I haven’t cried through.

This book reminded me a lot of Winter Garden, one of my favorites by Hannah. Set in a different time, in a different country. Each with a woman who did incredible things, well beyond what was expected or accepted in her era.

Not only did the fact that Hanna wrote this book attract me to it, but also that it is set in France. We all know my love affair for France. And we are now less than two years away for my trip with dad to France. Squeeee! But I didn’t know much about what happened in France during this time. I was never much one for history, but I’m getting better. Books like this make me want to do more research.

I recently wrote a post about listening vs. reading. As Hannah started this book, setting the scene for the war, I wasn’t so sure I would love it like the others. It took me quite a while to get so into it I couldn’t put it down. And then I wondered if I would have enjoyed this one better if I would have listened. I just imagine it being read in a beautiful French accent. But then I got to the point where it didn’t matter how I read this book, I was going to love it anyway.

Hannah has a magical way of telling stories, no matter how tragic or heartbreaking. You become one with the characters and care so much about them, you can’t stop reading because you have to know what is coming next.

Although this story is filled with war and tragedy, hate and death, it’s a beautiful story about love and family and how you can find strength at the most desperate times in your life. You will leave a piece of your heart on each page.

I give The Nightingale 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: February 2, 2015
Author Website
Review copy provided by publisher for review consideration

 

 

Audio vs. Print Books

I’ve written a few times about my adventures with audio books. With having a 40 minute drive one way each day, it’s nice to be able to change it up. I will listen to the radio for a couple of days, then go to Spotify, Pandora or iTunes radio, I’ll mix in a podcast. But even with all those options, I still enjoy grabbing an audio book.

Until I recently read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (review coming February 3), I never really thought about choosing an audio book over a print or digital copy. But with this one, I wanted to listen rather than read.

I’ve listened to a few of Kristin Hannah’s books. The one that sticks out to me most is Winter GardenParts of the book are set in Russia. The narrator has a beautiful accent. It really makes the story and brings it to life. A narrator can really make or break and audio book and I think Kristin Hannah’s are done so well.

I feel the same would be true with The Nightingale. This one, however, is set in France. I can only imagine how beautifully the story is told with a French accent. And even though I’ve already breezed my way through it, I may keep my eye out at the library and pick it up when I see it, just so I can hear if it’s as magical as I expect it is.

Have you ever run into this? Are there certain authors you look for on audio book? I tend to find myself going with the same authors over and over, like James Patterson and Mary Higgins Clark – now it looks like Kristin may be on that list.

kevin hart

AnnAlysis: The Competition

the competitionFrom Goodreads:
In Marcia Clark’s most electrifying thriller yet, Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight investigates a diabolical high school massacre.

A Columbine-style massacre at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide. But in the aftermath of the shooting, as LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller dig deeper, they realize that the pieces don’t add up. Could it be that the two “killers” were themselves victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose? When someone starts dropping clues that another horrific crime is in the works, Rachel and Bailey scramble desperately to profile their suspect and prevent another killing–before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:
First off, let me start with this is the first time that I ran out of time on a book on NetGalley and had to buy a book so I could finish it. And it was totally worth it.

This is the 4th Rachel Knight book. I have not read any of the others. But this one stands alone well.

I’m always intrigued by school shooting books. I think the reason is because they are always real life news stories that I have to follow for work. When one of these happens, no matter where it is in the country, most newsrooms are always on top of it. No matter how far away, it’s always something that pulls at the heart strings. Who targets innocent children? And after the shooting has happened, it doesn’t stop there. There’s always what comes next, when you start to learn about the shooter, what made them tick, and what in their past may have led to this.

Clark did a very good job with this book. From the scene of the shooting, where you felt like you were in the gym, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds. To the chase and hunt of the suspects. It really felt like following a real life school shooting and that I was part of the investigation.

I have a love hate relationship with these types of books. I like to think of myself a a sleuth. I think I could get out of the journalism business and do a little detective action. Granted this is fiction and is written to trip you up, it’s stories like this that make me think maybe it’s good to keep my day job. I was caught up in every twist and turn and possible suspect. I had no idea who the killer was.

Does the name Marcia Clark ring a bell? Well I’ve learned the reason she did such an awesome job with this crime novel is that she has spent her life fighting against them. Clark is the prosecutor who fought against OJ Simpson in his murder trial. She definitely knows her stuff.

This book really knocked my socks off and I need to grab the rest of the books in it ASAP. I give The Competition 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: July 2014
Author Website

B&B and R&R

So by the title of this post, you may think that I’ve spent a nice little weekend at a bed and breakfast. Not the case. When you see B&B in my posts from now on, it means Bath. And Books.

I have a new found love for baths.

bath

 

Earlier this week, the temperature was starting to drop. Even though I had worked out, I still had a little chill in my core. Instead of getting a shower and getting my hair wet again, I decided to get a bath.

I have never liked baths, but for some reason it sounded appealing. Next thing I know, I have the lights off, candles lit, backlight on the Nook and I’m settled in. Not to mention I have no bubble bath or bath salts or whatever else you use in the bath, remember I hate baths, so I use shampoo.

In the past, a bath has done nothing but stress me out. I always think about the things I should be doing instead of sitting in a bathtub. I always get all sweaty and uncomfortable. It has always been a pain rather than a relaxing time for me.

So what changed this week? Nothing specifically this week, but a lot has changed in my life the past few months and 2015 is proving to be very optimistic. I am trying new things and learning to sit back and relax.

So you got the gist on one B, but let’s get back to the other B… this is a book blog, so you can guess what that B stands for. I’m currently reading an ARC print version of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It’s okay for you to be jealous. I geeked out a bit when I was emailed and asked if I wanted to read it. But, I can’t take a paperback book to the bath in a dark room. So, I’ve been juggling two books. I read The Nightingale the majority of the time, but have been spending my bath time with my Nook. Turn the backlight on that little guy, and it’s perfect.

I also have found some nice relaxing playlists on Spotify. I’ve gotten into the routine of reading for a bit, then turning off the Nook and turning on my music and laying back and closing my eyes. No worries, I’m not going to fall asleep and drown!! My favorite playlist I’ve found is Acoustic Covers.  I’ll listen to a couple of songs to get my final relaxing time in before drying off and getting back to reality.

I did three baths this week, and found myself looking forward to them, especially a couple of days when I was battling my second sinus infection of the season. I also splurged on some Philosophy bubble bath. I also have my eye on some candles from Anthropologie! This is getting serious!

So here’s to trying new things in 2015, starting with a good bath and a good book.

AnnAlysis: West

WestFrom Goodreads:
If you could change history, would you?

College graduate Josephine “Josie” Jackson answers ‘yes’ to the question on a survey while visiting an Old West tourist trap. The next morning, she wakes up in Indian Territory in the 1840s, where she’s given a mission to complete before she can return to her time: to reset history by finding and stopping the man responsible for a horrific massacre.

It seems easy enough, until she discovers that three other women have been sent back to the same time period. When Josie uncovers what happened to them, she realizes the chances of her getting out of the past alive are not good.

To survive, she’ll have to trust the very man she’s there to stop, someone who has every reason to distrust her and only one reason to help her – to prove he’s not the monster she claims he’ll become.

My Thoughts:
It’s funny how you read a book from a genre you aren’t used to, then all of the sudden there are dozens of other books in that genre in your lap. I love the doors that open through reading and blogging.

One thing I love about these time travel books is how they actually get back in time. One book I read it was through a hot air balloon. This time, it starts with an innocent street fair and filling out a survey. Their reason for going back is always intriguing too. Let’s be honest. Most of these time travel stories are very similar. You have a young girl, she travels back in time, there’s a mission for her, she finds a good man and has to decide if she’s going to stay in the past or go back to the present.

I really liked Josie’s character in this book. She’s a bit naive in the beginning, but who would really believe they would go back in time? Wouldn’t we all brush it off as a joke? But once she makes the trip, she takes it in stride. She takes the task and runs with it. She pretends she is someone she’s not. What would you do in that situation? Could you pull it off?

I also liked Taylor, the leading man in the book. These books always have strong male characters. This is something I’ve come to expect in a time travel book. You have to have a strong male character to persuade a woman to give up her entire life in the present to life permanently in the past.

I give West 4 out of 5 bookmarks. As I was getting ready to post this review, I was scrolling through Goodreads and saw that people are loving this book. If you are a fan of Dr. Who (he is mentioned a few times in the book) or any time travel, you may want to pick this one up. There’s also a sequel coming out later this year.

Amazon B&N Goodreads
Released: December 2014
Author Website

Other books by Lizzy Ford:
Black Moon Draw