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November 11, 2016

2 Books for #VeteransDay

by Susan Roberts



Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces.

My mom in her Army Cadet uniform 1944
Happy Veterans Day to the men and women who have served in the armed forces to protect our freedoms and thank you for your service.

I read a lot of WWII books but today I would like to review two books that are about veterans that we don't usually hear much about -- the Army nurses in WWII.  I have heard about the Army nurses since I was a child because my mom was a nurse cadet while she was in nurses training.  The war ended right before she graduated from nursing school.  If the war hadn't ended when it did  she would have been sent to Europe (and I probably wouldn't be here to talk about it!)



The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

cover The Fire by Night
I read a lot of books about World War II and am especially interested in the nurses who were often in harm's way. This book is one of the best that I have read on nurse's roles, the danger that they were often faced with and the grit and determination they had to have to survive.

Jo and Kay met in nursing school and became friends. They both wanted adventure in their lives and they signed up for the Army, hoping to go the same location. Jo was sent to Europe, she wasn't exactly sure where because the enemy lines kept changing and the hospital had to move when the enemy got too close. As the book begins, she has been left behind with six patients while waiting for transport to another area. Kay is sent to the Philippines which is a real paradise for the nurses until Pearl Harbor is attacked and the Japanese troops take over the Philippines. The nurses are sent to an internment camp and are kept in cruel captivity for the remainder of the war.

The novel is told by Jo and Kay in alternating chapters. Many times in a book with two characters telling their story, I like one more than the other and skip ahead to read her story. In this book, I loved both Jo and Kay and was extremely interested in both of their struggles to survive the war. They were both faced with different but equally difficult circumstances and their survival was often in doubt. Teresa Messineo did a tremendous amount of research and it's very apparent in the details of the story.

This is a story about the bravery and determination needed t be a nurse on the battlefield during a war that changed the world as they knew it and their struggle to come to learn to live and accept their lives after the war was over.

'The Fire By Night shines a light on the American women who were as brave as any band of brothers, but whose heroic roles in World War II have mostly been left unsung' - Publishers Lunch Buzz Book review.'

Buy The Fire by Night at Amazon


Frontline Angel by Genevieve Jordayne

cover Frontline Angel
Eliza, a small town girl from the Midwest decides that she needs to find some adventure after completing her nurse's training in the early 1940s. She upsets her family and turns down a marriage proposal and joins the Army. She is sent to the Philippines which is a real paradise for nurses and officers at this time. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the advancement of the Japanese, her paradise turns into hell. The nurses are moved to Corregidor to set up a hospital but after the US surrenders to the Japanese Army, the nurses are put into an internment camp where they are treated horrifically. It is a day to day battle for the nurses to get enough food and try not to succumb to the diseases that are rampant in the camp while at the same time taking care of people with minimal medical supplies.

This is a fantastic book about heroes from WWII that are often ignored. It's a must read for anyone who enjoys books about this period but more than that, it's a must read for anyone who wants to read about the brave women who helped America win the war and then had to learn to survive their normal lives once the war was over.

Buy Frontline Angel at Amazon


Susan Roberts lives in NC when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and helping to take care of their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) and her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.


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November 10, 2016

Skim: A 90s Coming of Age Story

by Emily Morley

April 2014; Groundwood Books; 9780888997531;
ebook & print (143 pages); young adult
I picked up Skim without knowing what it was about. It called to me from the shelf because it was short and the drawing style was beautiful in a way I hadn’t quite seen before. Discovering it was written by a pair of cousins, the writer Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Jillian Tamaki , I was even more intrigued. Opening the book, I found a story we are all profoundly familiar with—the story of a teenage girl struggling to find who she is and what she cares about during the last years of high school.

The story begins with Kim: a normal 90s student who is invisible to everyone but her best friend, Lisa. For her, life is predictable, even deplorable, until the day she sneaks behind the school for a smoke and comes face to face with her hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. As they begin to meet every day, Kim finds herself getting closer and closer to Ms. Archer and further and further from Lisa. The world begins to shift under Kim’s feet, and all she can do is hold on to this new feeling she thinks is love. Things become even more complicated as an unexpected death rocks the school, and everyone has someone else to blame.

It wasn’t hard to like this graphic novel. One of the best things about it is that the co-authors know how to pace the story. The events are everyday—mundane—but they gain a new weight when viewed through Kim’s eyes. I think the novel’s biggest strength is the collection of silent panels scattered throughout the pages. They feel like moments to breathe, to let the image transcend words. The most striking example in the entire novel is at the end of Part 1—a two-page spread of Kim’s forbidden first kiss. One image and everything came together. There’s nothing more addicting than that.

If you’re dipping your toe into graphic novels and want to skip all the superheroes and magic, this one’s for you. It’s award-winning and character driven and there are a number of subtleties to sink your teeth into. It’s been a week since finishing this graphic novel, and I’m already planning on picking up the Tamaki cousins’ second graphic novel, This One Summer.

Buy Skim at Amazon

Born and raised in Michigan, Emily Morley is an artist and aspiring author who’s been writing and illustrating books since she was six years old. She gravitates towards fantasy (hello, fellow Harry Potter fans) and books about complicated characters overcoming the impossible. She’s also an avid traveler who’s managed to read on six continents and hopes to add the seventh soon. When she is home, she likes to curl up with a huge cup of steaming tea and a good, thick book. 


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November 9, 2016

Films for the Cold Season

by Alison DeLuca

I like my movies the way I like my books: any way I can get them. Yes, I'll go to the theater and load up on popcorn and sit through all the previews. As well, I also love streaming films at home, feet up on the coffee table and CLEAN bathroom close by.


This fall I have several choices for my fall movie lineup. Here's what I plan to watch:


movie poster of The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train - Seems like this just came out yesterday, but it's probably already gone from theaters. Whatever happened to the days of Star Wars running for 18 months at the same theater? Since I belong to the CMWAL (Clueless Moms Without A Life) club, I'll be streaming this one as soon as it hits the cable / Apple TV lineups.

Loved the book, love Emily Blunt, so - yeah. This one is a given.

movie poster of Doctor Strange

Dr. Strange - I'm in love with both Benedict and Tilda.

Plus those previews were the bomb.

movie poster for Loving


Loving looks amazing. I'll try my damnedest to make the theater release, but if Clueless Mom stuff gets in the way I'll stream this one the minute it hits my box. I'm a huge Ruth Negga fan, and this is one compelling story.

movie poster for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Eddie Redmayne aka most gorgeous ginger ever born! Who, by the way, is also my kid's bae. Yup, we'll have tickets the first week for this one, even though I have no clue what the actual story is. No matter. We're there.

Movie poster for Rogue One
Add caption


Rogue One - Can I interest my kid in Star Wars in time to get her to this film with her dorky mom? I've succeeded in getting her to watch Stranger Things, so it's a possibility. Fingers crossed.

movie still from Passengers



Passengers - JLaw and Christopher Pratt + sci-fi make this a must-see. Even if I have to sit by my lonesome, I'm going.

movie still from Bad Moms


Bad Moms - This summer I missed the film I wanted to watch with my girlfriends. Why did we miss it? Because we are lame, and we suck, and because our kids needed rides to sports events. Best believe I'm shaking up a pitcher of cosmos and inviting the other CMWAL members over for this one.

It's always good to have plans in life, and these are mine. What are you watching?

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

November 8, 2016

Book Spotlight: The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller

An early masterpiece from the winner of the Nobel Prize hailed as the laureate of life under totalitarianism

Romania—the last months of the Ceausescu regime. Adina is a young schoolteacher. Paul is a musician. Clara works in a wire factory. Pavel is Clara’s lover. But one of them works for the secret police and is reporting on all of the group.

One day Adina returns home to discover that her fox fur rug has had its tail cut off. On another occasion, it’s the hind leg. Then a foreleg. The mutilated fur is a sign that she is being tracked by the secret police—the fox was ever the hunter.

Images of photographic precision combine into a kaleidoscope of terror as Adina and her friends struggle to keep mind and body intact in a world pervaded by complicity and permeated with fear, where it’s hard to tell victim from perpetrator.

In The Fox Was Always a Hunter, Herta Müller once again uses language that displays the "concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose"—as the Swedish Academy noted upon awarding her the Nobel Prize—to create a hauntingly cinematic portrayal of the corruption of the soul under totalitarianism.

Start Reading:


Buy The Fox Was Ever the Hunter at Amazon


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November 7, 2016

4 #Books Celebrating Family Love #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts


I love reading books about family relationships especially if there is a happy ending.

cover Daughters of the Bride
July 2016; HQN Books; 9780373789719;
ebook & print (416 pages); women's fiction
a free book was provided by the author
Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery  

Daughters of the Bride is a great summer read by Susan Mallery. It holds your interest and it's a light fun book to read.

Maggie has been a widow and raised her three daughters by herself while she tried (at one time failed) to keep a roof over their heads. The girls are now grown, Maggie has a successful business and she is getting married again. Her daughters will be bridesmaids and help to plan the wedding, even though Maggie has some over the top requests for the wedding. Sp the book is about Maggie's wedding but it's also about so much more -- her daughters have all had extra pressure put on them over the years and the way they view life plus their relationships with each other show the results of their younger lives. Sienna is the oldest daughter. She works at a nonprofit to help women who are abused. She is in a relationship with David but isn't sure that he's the 'one'. Rachel is divorced from her fireman husband but are there still feelings between them or are they just working together to raise their son? Courtney (who was my favorite of the sisters) is working as a maid at a hotel. Her family is all a little embarrassed because of her job but she is hiding a secret from them that she is almost finished with her college degree. Will she find love within her family and learn to love herself?

Buy Daughters of the Bride at Amazon



cover Two Across
July 2019; Grand Central Publishing;
9781455554614; ebook & print (304 pages);
coming of age
a free book was provided by Goodreads
Two Across by Jeff Bartsch

Stanley and Vera meet at the National Spelling Bee where they tie as the winners. They become sort of friends for a few years and see each other at the Spelling Bee each year. Both of them are very smart but also have very unconventional home situations. Stanley lives with his mother in a hotel. His mom won't leave the hotel and they have lived there every since his dad died in WWII. Vera travels around with her mom and they live in a cheap motel while her mom tries to get promoted to traveling salesperson. When they are 18, they hatch a plan to get married to get out of their current situations and be able to live their lives the way they want to - out from under their mothers' rules.

The most interesting part of the book to me was the way that Stanley and Vera communicated with each other on important issues when they were apart - through crossword puzzles. I learned a lot about how these puzzles are created but must admit that all of the puzzles they created, couldn't be done by the average crossword puzzle lover because of the level of intelligence that they both had -- they were TOUGH. The information on the puzzles was an interesting addition to the storyline.

Buy Two Across at Amazon
 .

cover Falling
July 2016; Berkley; 9780399583285
ebook & print (384 pages); women's fiction
Falling by Jane Green

This is my first book by Jane Green and it certainly won't be my last. I enjoyed the story and I definitely enjoyed the two main characters, Emma and Dominic. It's a novel about searching for love and family and finding it where you least expect to.

Emma is British and when she got tired of trying to live her life to her parent's expectation, she moved to NYC. After a few years, she got tired of the life in NYC - the shallowness of the single people and life in general. So she quit her job and moved to Connecticut in the hope that she could find a life that would make her happy. The first people she met were her landlord Dominic and his 6-year-old son Jesse. As their friendship deepens, she wonders if this is the life that she's been looking for all along.

This is a great book but I warn you that you will need to have your Kleenex close at hand. Now I'm going to go order some of Jane Green's older books.

Buy Falling at Amazon


cover The Promise Kitchen
September 2016; Lake Union Publishing;
9781503938847; ebook & print (382 pages);
women's fiction.
a free book was provided by Goodreads
The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman

This is a Southern book about friendship and family and food and even provides recipes at the end for some real Southern down home food. It's the story of Shelby and Mallory, two friends in Georgia who over the course of a year need to be strong women to try to make their dreams come true. It's a fun book to read and my advice is not to read it on an empty stomach because the food descriptions will make you even hungrier.

Buy The Promise Kitchen at Amazon










Susan Roberts lives in NC when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and helping to take care of their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.


Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

November 6, 2016

Review: A Raven's Heart by K. C. Bateman

by MK French

A Raven's Heart
October 2016; Loveswept; 9780804181518;
ebook (266 pages); regency romance
a free ebook was provided by the publisher

Heloise Hampden is highly educated and works as a codebreaker for the Crown, translating French missives that had been encoded. There are spies between England and France, and unbeknownst to her, her childhood crush Viscount Ravenwood is also working for her employer. The French aren't as in the dark as they had hoped, and sent an assassin to kill England's codebreakers. After one is killed and Heloise is obviously next, Raven takes her with him to Spain in an attempt to keep her safe and save another spy that could be held hostage by the French. Of course this isn't the most brilliant of plans, when they're both attracted to each other and have been fighting it for years.

At first, I didn't even realize that this book was part of a series. While there are some references to other characters that were likely in the other books, I wasn't missing anything in the current story. Mentions flowed naturally as part of the conversations and bits of back story woven into the plot. I have a weak spot for Regency romances, and this is a great example of the kind I like. Heloise has a strong will and thoroughly enjoys linguistics and codes, yet still works within the confines of England's rigid class system. Because of a facial scar she has after saving a friend's life, she believes she won't marry, yet is content with that. Raven is emotionally aloof at first, broken by a kidnapping and imprisonment that he endured six years before the novel opens, yet over time learns that emotions and trust are not necessarily weapons to wound him with. As the two fall in love and deal with danger, a lot of emotional rifts heal. This is definitely a fun and uplifting read, just the thing to curl up with on a chilly day.

Buy A Raven's Heart at Amazon

MK French, reviewer. Born and raised in New York City, M.K. started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

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