The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Polly Stone

The Nightingale is a story that I will remember. Not just remember, embrace. More than a story, this book clings to me. Its heart and soul speak out as though it was made for preserving. A keepsake.

… grief, like regret, settles into our DNA and remains forever part of us.

I am drawn to WWII books, in particular, those set in occupied France. I don’t know why – they are almost always sad and I tend to question what I would have done in the same situation… I know courage would have failed me and that doesn’t lead to happy thoughts. But it is why I found myself drawn to Vianne whose courage didn’t come easy.

If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.

Although the Goodreads abstract below suggests the sisters were always close this isn’t how I interpreted their relationship which had been negatively influenced by the loss of their mother, subsequent absent father, and very different personalities. Their tenuous bond fluctuated over the course of the war and brought additional tension and emotion to the story.

“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”

While the novel is written in the third person, the intermittent glimpse to the future (1995) is narrated by one of the sisters (it is not clear for the majority of the book which sister this is) in the first person. This glimpse forward with its unmistakable hindsight adds an element of mystery to the story which I loved.

He held her gaze and suddenly she couldn’t breathe. “I am a soldier now it seems”.

The book ended with me in tears – as almost all great books do. My last notes are monosyllables: brilliant, sad, love, forgiveness, courage, courage, courage…5 Star

 

 

Title: The NightingaleThe Nightingale

Author: Kristin Hannah 

Narrator: Polly Stone

Publication Date: 3 February 2015

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Source: Review copy

 

 

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Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

 

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

Life in a FishbowlLife in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

Their house was being transformed into a cruel kind of fishbowl, and all they could do was pucker and swim.

Life in a Fishbowl… Where to start? I didn’t like this book. The plot concept had potential but ultimately lacked execution and the matter-of-fact, detached writing style was off-putting.

That’s when it would be game over. But the tumor didn’t know that. It only knew it had to keep eating, that Jared’s memories tasted wonderful, that they were things to be savored.

 

Why didn’t I like it you ask?…

Too many third-party PVO’s (point-of-views) to keep track of and – wait for it – one of those voices is the brain tumour, a glioblastoma to be precise, killing Jackie’s father.

Deirdre was crying. More than anything, the glioblastoma wanted to stop her from crying.

But even this aspect could have worked better if the tumour voice was a more realistic, perhaps more scientific. Instead, it’s personified – with feelings. And decision-making skills. Maybe a bit of sarcastic wit could have made a difference…? But all the tumour character did was give the story a dry, warped, fantasy twist. Which was awful and meaningless, taking up space in the book which would have been better suited to developing the flimsy human characters.

In that moment, the tumor knew, the bond formed between father and daughter was unbreakable. It paused to savor that feeling, letting the unbridled happiness envelop it.

Theses human characters were the typical paper-doll kind, you know the ones, so superficial they can hardly stand up. Many of them play such a small, arbitrary role in the story it’s hard to know why they are there.

 

Title: Life in a Fishbowl

Author: Len Vlahos 

Publication Date: 3 January 2017Life in a Fishbowl

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Source: Review copy

 

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Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

 

The fact that I received this copy of this book from the publisher does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Series – Why I Delay Reading Them

Series

 

Confession… I often forget what a book was about – even if it’s one I really liked. #bookwormproblems I’m sure you’ll agree that my excuses explanations are valid:

  • I read a lot.
  • Half my attention is on what to read next.
  • I sometimes read more than one book at a time.
  • I alternate during the day between reading one book and listening to another on Audible.
  • Authors and Publishers deliberately confuse readers by changing the covers.

And one of the biggest #bookwormproblem of all is that authors don’t write fast enough. (Yes, I know the other big #bookwormproblem is they write too fast and how am I going to ever get through my TBR) but when it comes to series I have often forgotten the essence of the story by the time the sequel comes out…

My solution: avoid series until all books have been published so I can binge read. This brings its own problems… Avoiding spoilers, missing out on the hype excitement and struggling to find anyone interested enough to talk about book 1 after they’ve read the whole series.

The following series are ones I intend to read. One day. Maybe. Once all books are published.

My most anticipated series

Which ones can you recommend? Do you read the first book in a series as soon as it’s published or do you delay like I do?


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Book 1: Wintersong

SeriesAll her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. – abstract from Goodreads

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Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Book 1: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

SeriesWhen the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched. The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself.

But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.- abstract from Goodreads

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Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

Book 1: Poison’s Kiss

SeriesMarinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose. – abstract from Goodreads

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Monsters of Verity by Victoria Schwab

Book 1: This Savage Song

SeriesKate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music.

When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. – abstract from Goodreads

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The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Book 1: The Crown’s Game

SeriesVika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.- abstract from Goodreads

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The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Book 1: The Girl from Everywhere  

SeriesNix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. – abstract from Goodreads

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Book 1: Passenger

SeriesIn one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not. – abstract from Goodreads

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Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Book 1: Obsidian

SeriesStarting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens. – abstract from Goodreads

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Book 1: The Wrath and the Dawn

SeriesIn a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. – abstract from Goodreads

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The Chronicles of Alice by Christina Henry

Book 1: Alice

&nbspSeriesIn a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo the screams of the poor souls inside. In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blond, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place. Just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood…

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago. Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful. – abstract from Goodreads

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Top Ten Tuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is a thoughtful story with likable characters and a hopeful message. The suspense added a thread of bittersweet brilliance throughout the story.

Once there was a girl who made a wish in anger. She didn’t mean it, but that didn’t matter because at that very moment a star was falling and heard her and listened.

There were many elements that reminded me of one of my favourite books I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Ropes are snapping. My cool dangles by a thread.

Juniper and her sister Cammie’s story is revealed slowly, like a secret. This, combined with brilliant, unpredictable twists keeps the reader in suspense and adds tension to the story which I loved.

It’s hard to keep close a person everyone is telling you is gone.

YA authors are writing more and more about dealing with the loss of a parent, sibling or friend. These books are very necessary particularly because not only do we all handle grief in a different way, we are all going to be dealing with grief in our lives at some point.

A sister.
A lined card.
A lover in a letter.
A blank night, a blackout: the hours I can’t remember.

4 Star

 

 

 

Title: Juniper Lemon’s Happiness IndexJuniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Author: Julie Israel

Publication Date: 1 June 2017

Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

Source: Review copy

 

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It’s been sixty-five days since the accident that killed Juniper’s sister, and ripped Juniper’s world apart.

Then she finds the love letter: written by Camilla on the day of the accident, addressed mysteriously to “You,” but never sent. Desperate to learn You’s identity and deliver the message, Juniper starts to investigate.

Until she loses something. A card from her Happiness Index: a ritual started by sunny Camie for logging positives each day. It’s what’s been holding Juniper together since her death – but a lost card only widens the hole she left behind. And this particular card contains Juniper’s own dark secret: a memory she can’t let anyone else find out.

The search for You and her card take Juniper to even less expected places, and as she connects with those whose secrets she upturns in the effort, she may just find the means to make peace with her own.  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 Midnight at the Electric

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

“I think all my life my heart has been broken… and I didn’t even notice. And I don’t even know by what.”

Midnight at the Electric was added to my TBR (to-be-read list) simply for its haunting title, gorgeous cover and the possibility of magic these allude to. But the magic escaped me and I am now left with a burning question…

We are a house full of secrets. The main secret is we are afraid.

Actually, I had a lot of questions at first as story threads are not very clear (at least to me) and I spent a few hours scrolling back and forth to try and work out what I had missed and how the characters across time intertwine. I worked much it out in the end – who belongs to who and who ended up where. These answers lead to further questions… what happened to everyone? One of the family lines is rather flimsy having neither a history nor a present and I wonder why are they in the story?

…I am strange to myself and getting stranger all the time.

But, back to the question I’m still trying to answer.

Spoiler Alert!

Midnight at the Electric - The Title

The title has little to do with the story… Why give the book the title ‘Midnight at the Electric’ when the Electric hardly features in the story? Actually, it is in barely more than a chapter and that is mostly the build up to the midnight event. A couple of paragraphs about it in the beginning of the book and bam! it is never mentioned again. Not the Electric nor its consequences… What am I missing?

[collapse]

“Apparently, people need closure,” she said. “It’s some kind of thing.

The characters are unique and interesting but it’s a strange story – so many loose ends… I think I also need closure.

I don’t think you can leave a person you love without leaving your skeleton behind.
crushingcinders.com

 

 

Title: Midnight at the Electric  

Author: Jodi Lynn AndersonMidnight at the Electric

Publication Date: 13 June 2017 

Publisher: HarperTeen

Source: Review copy

 

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Kansas, 2065 Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934 Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire — and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life — Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919 In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?
— Abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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