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VictoriaPL's 2019 Four Seasons CC

2019 Category Challenge

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1VictoriaPL
Edited: Jan 5, 9:56pm Top

Well Hello There!!

I know I was MIA for much of 2017 and almost all of 2018 but so much has changed and 2019 looks promising!
I am sorely lacking a theme this year. I have wracked every cell in the grey matter and nothing has popped.
RidgewayGirl was practical and urged me just to stick to basics. So here I am. Apologies for the simplicity.
I am looking forward to a year full of chatting with all of you, friends. Welcome!!

4VictoriaPL
Edited: Today, 8:07pm Top

5VictoriaPL
Edited: Jan 5, 9:58pm Top

AUTUMN READING

6VictoriaPL
Jan 5, 9:49pm Top

Abandoned

7VictoriaPL
Edited: Today, 8:09pm Top

Master List

1. A Woman In Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary 1.5.2019
2. The Paris Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal 1.13.2019
3. Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew by Michael Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward 1.19.2019
4. Our Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison 1.24.2019
5. The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth 2.8.2019
6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas 2.23.2019 *audiobook*
7. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas 3.5.2019 *audiobook*
8. Into the Black: the extraordinary untold story of the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the astronauts who flew her by Rowland White 3.7.2019
9. Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson 3.20.2019 *audiobook*
10. Put Your Heart on the Page by Anne Perry 3.21.2019 *audiobook*
11. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff 3.21.2019
12. Courtneys War by Wilbur Smith 4.1.2019
13. From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon 4.10.2019 *audiobook*
14 Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen 4.24.2019
15. Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Spy Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Woman by Larry Loftis 4.26.2019
16. You, Me and the Sea by Meg Donohue 4.29.2018
17. Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks 5.3.2019 *audiobook*
18. Critical Insights: Diary of a Young Girl Edited by Ruth Amir and Pnina Rosenberg 5.13.2019
19. The Cost of Courage by Charles Kaiser 5.15.2019
20. Echos by Danielle Steele 5.17.2019 *audiobook*
21. The Black-Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black 5.29.2019
22. The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean 5.31.2019 *audiobook*
23. The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith 6.10.2019
24. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant 6.15.2019
25. Soul Catcher by Michael C. White 7.8.2019
26. The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C Rosenberg 7.9.2019 *audiobook*
27. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clark 7.29.2019
28. The Walled City by Ryan Graudin 8.2.2019 *audiobook*
29. Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule by Gordon Thomas and Greg Lewis 8.9.2019
30. Prague Counterpoint by Bodie Thoene 8.16.2019
31. Resistance by Anita Shreve 8.18.2019

8VictoriaPL
Jan 5, 9:51pm Top


9VictoriaPL
Jan 5, 10:25pm Top

1. A Woman In Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary 1.5.2019



The copy of the book that I borrowed says "by Anonymous" and the Forward stated that the author was known but they intentionally chose not to print her name. It was surprising to me when I came to log my reading to see an author's name listed. The veil of time changes things, I gather. This book is about rape. Rape of the women and rape of the city of Berlin in the weeks after WWII. As hard a topic as that is, the book is very compelling. It doesn't go into fine detail and yet it conveys the terror, the acceptance, the despair and the reality of life during the occupation by Russian troops. After the infantry brutalizes our protagonist (and all the other women they can find), she realizes she needs to go out and find herself "a big fish". While she still would be sleeping with a man against her will, he would offer her protection from the others - and food. It's a certain kind of pragmatism I've seen in many WWII books and stories. It's amazing to consider the indomitable human spirit and the will to survive. I usually stick to the occupation of Paris and it was interesting to read about the occupation of Berlin.

10rabbitprincess
Jan 5, 10:29pm Top

Welcome back! No need for a fancy theme -- just enjoy your reading :)

11avatiakh
Jan 5, 10:37pm Top

Oh good to see you back. I struggle with themes too, tried one this year, but it was time consuming to put together.

12dudes22
Jan 6, 4:52am Top

Hi - Nice to see you here. I've been themeless a few years, myself. No harm in that.

13jonesli
Jan 6, 8:47am Top

Good to see you back Victoria! I don't have much creativity when it comes to a theme for my thread. This is my second year of months of the year as categories.

14hailelib
Jan 6, 9:15am Top

I generally don't even try for a theme. The reading is the thing.

15MissWatson
Jan 6, 10:25am Top

Welcome back and happy reading!

16LisaMorr
Jan 6, 11:50am Top

Great to see you back - and I'll take a BB from your first read; I can't say I enjoy such books, but I get a lot out of difficult WWII books.

17VictoriaPL
Jan 6, 12:00pm Top

>16 LisaMorr: I know what you mean.

Thank you all for the kind welcome.
I have missed you!

18DeltaQueen50
Jan 6, 4:04pm Top

We've missed you too, Victoria. Great to see you all set up and ready for 2019!

19pammab
Jan 6, 4:33pm Top

Welcome back! I hope this year treats you well. Your first read also sounds very interesting -- the human spirit is indomitable!

20tess_schoolmarm
Jan 6, 4:42pm Top

Welcome back and good luck with your reading!

21lkernagh
Jan 6, 8:15pm Top

Welcome back and looking forward to your seasons of reading!

22christina_reads
Jan 7, 2:43pm Top

Nice to see you, and I hope you enjoy your "seasonal" reading!

23VivienneR
Jan 7, 3:01pm Top

Good to see you again! Your seasonal reading plan is beautiful. The first book of the year was a tough topic but as you say, the indomitable human spirit and the will to survive is amazing.

24LittleTaiko
Jan 8, 10:29am Top

Welcome back! Simple is sometimes best.

25thornton37814
Jan 8, 8:00pm Top

Dropping my star so I can follow along!

26VictoriaPL
Jan 9, 7:22am Top

About halfway through The Paris Spy.

WELCOME everybody!

27jonesli
Jan 9, 7:31am Top

>26 VictoriaPL:, Hi Victoria, I like that series, but haven't returned to it in a while. I think I'm ready for book #3. I don't know if I mentioned it to you or not, but I think that there will finally be a Will Trent book released this summer. I'm ready for it now!

28dudes22
Jan 9, 3:59pm Top

>27 jonesli: - I've got the first Will Trent in my TBR and keep hoping I'll get to it. Maybe I'll pull it out for the TBR thread this month - I've had it about 6 years.

29VictoriaPL
Jan 9, 6:57pm Top

>27 jonesli: I cannot wait!
When Kay and I saw Karin last year she forbad any questions about it! Do you want to read it together?

30jonesli
Jan 9, 7:26pm Top

>28 dudes22: Betty, I think you're going to enjoy it!
>29 VictoriaPL: Yes let's! I think it's due late August?

31VictoriaPL
Jan 14, 8:23pm Top

2. The Paris Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal 1.13.2019



Amazon Description:
Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.
But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite.


Leave it to me to start with the #7 book in a series. Again. LOL.
I picked this up on impulse at one of those book sales you go to, to benefit the Library or Literacy or whatnot. Where the books are so cheap that you can afford to be a little cavalier. But it all turned out because I really enjoyed it! It's not quite a 5 star read for me. I think that's because at this point I have read so many WWII novels about Paris that I feel that books are clicking off the checkboxes. Yep, The Ritz, check. Coco Chanel, check. Avenue Foch, check. It's more a reflection on me than the book. I'll likely dig into the series a bit more...

32RidgewayGirl
Jan 14, 9:14pm Top

There you are! I'm glad you made your thread!

33VictoriaPL
Jan 14, 10:29pm Top

>32 RidgewayGirl: there YOU are! I'm glad you made it over here!

34VictoriaPL
Jan 19, 9:21pm Top

3. Bringing Columbia Home: The Untold Story of a Lost Space Shuttle and Her Crew by Michael Leinbach and Jonathan H. Ward1.19.2019



Barnes & Noble description "On February 1, 2003, Columbia disintegrated on reentry before the nation’s eyes, and all seven astronauts aboard were lost. Author Mike Leinbach, Launch Director of the space shuttle program at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center was a key leader in the search and recovery effort as NASA, FEMA, the FBI, the US Forest Service, and dozens more federal, state, and local agencies combed an area of rural east Texas the size of Rhode Island for every piece of the shuttle and her crew they could find. Assisted by hundreds of volunteers, it would become the largest ground search operation in US history. This comprehensive account is told in four parts: Parallel Confusion; Courage, Compassion, and Commitment; Picking Up the Pieces; A Bittersweet Victory. For the first time, here is the definitive inside story of the Columbia disaster and recovery and the inspiring message it ultimately holds. In the aftermath of tragedy, people and communities came together to help bring home the remains of the crew and nearly 40 percent of shuttle, an effort that was instrumental in piecing together what happened so the shuttle program could return to flight and complete the International Space Station. Bringing Columbia Home shares the deeply personal stories that emerged as NASA employees looked for lost colleagues and searchers overcame immense physical, logistical, and emotional challenges and worked together to accomplish the impossible.

Those of you who have visited my past threads know that I'm a space junkie. Having grown up during the Shuttle program years, on Florida's Space Coast, with a family member working at the Cape, it was probably inevitable. But the reason I came to this book was because RidgewayGirl found out that the authors will be giving a talk in our community next month and I wanted to be ready. This book is exactly what the title says. I never knew the enormity of the recovery process for Columbia. This book really opened my eyes to that dark chapter of NASA history and the massive undertaking that involved thousands of individuals. Although the crew and their families were a big focus point, it was interesting how much Columbia was also like a person too. The way people looked for her, grieved her, wanted to do right by her and remember her. I knew that she was different from the other orbiters, but I never knew how much until this book. It taught me so much. If you like reading about the US space program, this one should be on your radar.

35LisaMorr
Jan 21, 4:17am Top

>34 VictoriaPL: I'll have to pick that one up; I used to work with a space shuttle commander and he was involved in this recovery effort. He didn't talk about it a lot, and I didn't press him on it, as it obviously was very emotional for him.

36VictoriaPL
Jan 21, 9:20am Top

>35 LisaMorr: the whole book is emotional.

37RidgewayGirl
Jan 21, 3:00pm Top

I'm glad it was good and even more glad that I'll be sitting next to someone who knows stuff when we go to the event.

39rabbitprincess
Jan 21, 7:53pm Top

>34 VictoriaPL: Added to the to-read list.

40hailelib
Jan 22, 9:56am Top

>34 VictoriaPL:

Another book to look out for!

41VictoriaPL
Jan 23, 6:57pm Top

>39 rabbitprincess:, >40 hailelib: I hope you enjoy it!!

42VictoriaPL
Jan 26, 8:07pm Top

4. Our Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison 1.24.2019



Amazon Description: A stunning debut historical noir novel about a worker in the civil rights movement who became an informant for the FBI during the months leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), steals ten thousand dollars from the organization. Originally planning to use the money to seed a new civil rights initiative in Chicago, he squanders the stolen funds. To the bookkeeper's dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists - including Estem - for years.
FBI agents tell Estem that it is his duty, as an American and as a civil rights supporter, to protect the SCLC from communist infiltration. The FBI offers Estem a stipend, but in case he has any thoughts about refusing the assignment, they also warn him that they know about the stolen money. Playing informant empowers Estem, but he soon learns that his job is not simply to relay information on the organization. Once the FBI discovers evidence of King's sexual infidelities, they set out to confirm the facts to undermine King's credibility as a moral leader and bring down the movement.


I stumbled upon this book at a book sale that I attended with RidgewayGirl and since there were two copies, we decided to both read it for a Martin Luther King Day. I love the hardboiled / Noir genre and so does Kay, so it was a pretty easy decision. I had never read a Noir told from an African American protagonist, so it was different and yet the same. I liked that about it. It really is a classic Noir, with the expected characters and hijinks. I'm glad I took a chance on it.

44thornton37814
Jan 26, 8:14pm Top

Hope you are enjoying your current reading/listening line-up!

45RidgewayGirl
Jan 27, 12:21pm Top

>42 VictoriaPL: I'm still only halfway, but hope to finish before Wednesday. I was distracted by a library book I couldn't renew. This poor guy is just digging himself in deeper with every thing he does.

46VictoriaPL
Edited: Feb 8, 9:51pm Top

The Children's War by Monique Charlesworth 2.8.2019



"Wolfgang had very neat features, cut out of a paper pattern and tacked invisibly together by an expert hand so the seams didn't show. Other people were not so precisely assembled. He was himself jagged."

"The war had shaken people up like a kaleidoscope, re-forming them into different colours and shapes. When another shake came, they would sort themselves anew."

Amazon Description:
This is the story of two children caught in the midst of war.It is 1939 and thirteen-year-old Ilse, half-Jewish, has been sent out of Germany by her Aryan mother to a place of supposed safety. Her journey takes her from the labyrinthine bazaars of Morocco to Paris, a city made hectic at the threat of Nazi invasion. At the same time in Germany, Nicolai, a boy miserably destined for the Nazi Youth movement, finds comfort in the friendship of Ilse’s mother, the nursemaid hired to take care of his young sister. Gripping and poignant, The Children’s War is a stunning novel of wartime lives, of parents and children, of adventure and self-discovery.


Absolutely loved this book. Ate it up from cover to cover and thought often of it during the day while I was at work. If you enjoy WWII stories, you'll like this one.

47tess_schoolmarm
Feb 8, 11:49pm Top

>46 VictoriaPL: on my TBR pile, I will move it up!

49DeltaQueen50
Feb 9, 11:36am Top

>46 VictoriaPL: Victoria, I read The Children's War a number of years ago but I do remember that I really liked it. Shortly after I joined LT someone asked for a list of my favorite WW II books and this one made the list.

50VictoriaPL
Feb 9, 1:32pm Top

>49 DeltaQueen50: I wish I had read it earlier, Judy!

51thornton37814
Feb 11, 8:22am Top

>46 VictoriaPL: I think I read that one before LibraryThing. It seems really familiar.

52VictoriaPL
Feb 13, 1:55pm Top

Currently Listening to:
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Averaging about a disc per work day. On disc 14/22.

Picked up from the Library:
Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White
About a fourth of the way through.

I'm #10 in the hold queue for the library's copy of The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff.
Not sure what my next audiobook will be. On the hunt.... LOL.

Hope you all are doing well!!

53LisaMorr
Feb 13, 4:32pm Top

>46 VictoriaPL: The Children's War sounds like a good one - onto the list it goes!

54VictoriaPL
Feb 13, 7:30pm Top

>53 LisaMorr: I hope you enjoy it Lisa!

55VictoriaPL
Edited: Mar 5, 7:50pm Top

6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas 2.23.2019 *audiobook* (series book 3)



Amazon description:
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


I really enjoyed returning to the world of Prythian, it made for a lively commute. So much good meat to the series in this one. The reader is so talented. At 22 disks though, it took me three weeks to get through. Something to consider with my audiobook choices...

56VictoriaPL
Edited: Mar 5, 7:53pm Top

7. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas 3.5.2019 *audiobook* (series book 4)



Amazon description:
Feyre, Rhysand, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated -- scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Loved that we got inside of the head of Cassian, Morgan and Rhysand in this one - a departure from seeing everything through Feyre's eyes. Though the two- and three-chapter love scenes did try my patience. Looking forward to book 5, whenever that will be.

58VictoriaPL
Edited: Mar 8, 3:03pm Top

8. Into the Black: the extraordinary untold story of the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the astronauts who flew her by Rowland White 3.7.2019



Amazon Description The real-life techno-thriller from a bestselling author and aviation expert that recaptures the historic moments leading up to the launch of the space shuttle Columbia and the exciting story of her daring maiden flight. Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, Into the Black pieces together the dramatic untold story of the Columbia mission and the brave people who dedicated themselves to help the United States succeed in the age of space exploration. On April 12, 1981, NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral. It was the most advanced, state-of-the-art flying machine ever built, challenging the minds and imagination of America’s top engineers and pilots. Columbia was the world’s first real spaceship: a winged rocket plane, the size of an airliner, and capable of flying to space and back before preparing to fly again.
On board were moonwalker John Young and test pilot Bob Crippen. Less than an hour after Young and Crippen’s spectacular departure from the Cape, all was not well. Tiles designed to protect the ship from the blowtorch burn of re-entry were missing from the heat shield. If the damage to Columbia was too great, the astronauts wouldn’t be able to return safely to earth. NASA turned to the National Reconnaissance Office, a spy agency hidden deep inside the Pentagon whose very existence was classified. To help the ship, the NRO would attempt something never done before. Success would require skill, perfect timing, and luck.
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, Into the Black is a thrilling race against time and the incredible true story of the first space shuttle mission that celebrates our passion for spaceflight.


I learned so much from this book. I remember the Shuttle flew black flights for the military, where no details were given, but I never knew how hand-in-glove NASA worked with the military from the very first. The shuttle was designed with feedback from the DOD- NASA knew how big the cargo bay had to be based on military satellites, etc. Or, the parallel USAF space program, which NASA inherited from and benefited from once the USAF funding was cut. And a nice bookend to the book I read earlier this year about Columbia's last flight. I read them backwards, but that's me! LOL. Recommended if you enjoy books about the space program.

59VictoriaPL
Mar 22, 10:09am Top

9. Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson 3.20.2019 *audiobook*



Amazon Description
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan―even their very lives―in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.
Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.


I guessed all the "twists". All of them. But it was still enjoyable and made my commute seem too short, which is saying something!

60VictoriaPL
Mar 22, 10:15am Top

10. Put Your Heart on the Page by Anne Perry 3.21.2019 *audiobook*



Amazon Description:
Anne Perry started out as a good writer, but has won greatness inch by inch by reading other authors, listening to editors and agents, and adapting techniques from other creators. Now you, too, can have a lesson from an author who The New York Times has called "First Rate", and who's included in the 100 Masters of the crime genre; who's sold 25 million copies worldwide to continuing critical acclaim. In this instructional video, Anne references her quintet of novels about World War One to demonstrate the various themes that need to be considered when you first pick up that pen. Although writing a book can be like climbing Everest, the advice you find here will save some troublesome extra drafts, and give you a head start towards an enjoyable writing experience and a successful novel.


It was a bit of a disappointment when I opened the audiobook case to find only one disk. But she's fantastic. She sounds like your British grandmother giving you her very best advice over proper afternoon tea. I enjoyed our time together, however brief.

61VictoriaPL
Edited: Mar 22, 10:21am Top

11. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff 3.21.2019



Amazon Description:
1946, Manhattan. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.
Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.
Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.


Meh.
I didn't care for all the time hopping. The romances felt stiff and forced. Read another book about SOE, there are plenty out there.

62VictoriaPL
Mar 22, 10:31am Top

HAPPY SPRING EVERYBODY!!

NEXT UP:
Courtney's War by Wilbur Smith
The Occupation Triology by Patrick Modiano
Overload how to unplug, unwind and unleash yourself from the pressure of stress by Joyce Meyer
Cuts Through Bone by Alaric Hunt

63thornton37814
Edited: Mar 23, 8:26pm Top

>59 VictoriaPL: That one's been on my radar since I spotted it in a GoodReads giveaway. Sounds like it's pretty predictable but still somewhat enjoyable.

64VictoriaPL
Mar 26, 6:24am Top

Yes, exactly!

65Chrischi_HH
Mar 26, 4:17pm Top

>59 VictoriaPL: That's another BB for me. :)

66VictoriaPL
Mar 26, 6:10pm Top

>65 Chrischi_HH: I hope you enjoy!

67VictoriaPL
Apr 2, 8:14pm Top

12. Courtneys War by Wilbur Smith 4.1.2019



Amazon Description:
Paris, 1939 -Torn apart by war, Saffron Courtney and Gerhard von Meerbach are thousands of miles apart, both struggling for their lives.
Gerhard - despite his objections to the Nazi regime - is fighting for the Fatherland, hoping to one day have the opportunity to rid Germany of Hitler and his cronies. But as his unit is thrown into the hellish attrition of the Battle of Stalingrad, he knows his chances of survival are dwindling by the day.
Meanwhile Saffron - recruited by the Special Operations Executive and sent to occupied Belgium to discover how the Nazis have infiltrated SOE's network - soon finds herself being hunted by Germany's most ruthless spymaster.
Confronted by evil beyond their worst imaginings, the lovers must each make the hardest choice of all: sacrifice themselves, or do whatever they can to survive, hoping that one day they will be reunited.


Smith's writing reminds me of the authors of the 60s and 70s. It feels like that era of big, fast-paced global adventure. Not my favorite WWII novel but definitely not at the bottom of the list. A solid romp.

68VictoriaPL
Apr 16, 7:31pm Top

13. From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon 4.10.2019 *audiobook*



Amazon Description:
Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.
Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.
But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.


I've been a little stingy with my stars lately but this one totally earned it's 5 stars. I loved it. I loved it. It will be my best book of the year, I can tell you now - and I know it's only April.

69DeltaQueen50
Apr 16, 7:41pm Top

Hi Victoria, with such a high recommendation I absolutely must add this to my wish list!

70christina_reads
Apr 17, 10:05am Top

>68 VictoriaPL: Yes, definitely a BB for me as well!

71VictoriaPL
Apr 17, 12:31pm Top

>69 DeltaQueen50:, >70 christina_reads: Hope you ladies enjoy it! Let me know what you think!

72dudes22
Apr 18, 8:01am Top

>68 VictoriaPL: - Although I'm currently reading We Were the Lucky Ones for my book club which is another story of WW II survival, I will be adding this as a BB.

73VictoriaPL
Apr 18, 3:42pm Top

>72 dudes22: I Hope you enjoy it, Betty. And We Were the Lucky Ones looks interesting!

74dudes22
Apr 19, 5:40am Top

>73 VictoriaPL: - It's told in chapters about various members of the family and very readable. I think it will be one of my top reads this year.

75VictoriaPL
Edited: Apr 22, 7:18am Top

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter!!

My goodness - ALL of my library holds came in at once.

Code name : Lise : the true story of the woman who became WWII's most highly decorated spy by Larry Loftis
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen.

Audiobooks for the commute
Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks
Echoes by Danielle Steel

76RidgewayGirl
Apr 22, 9:48am Top

Ha! Our library system clearly has a rule about making sure all holds come in at once. And the last time I was in, because all my holds came in at once, the librarian attempted to book shame me - telling me that six was a lot of books to check out at once.

77VictoriaPL
Apr 22, 10:18am Top

>76 RidgewayGirl: Really?!? You clearly need to start using my branch, LOL. The one this weekend said "You always have the most interesting holds! I love looking at what you request."

78thornton37814
Apr 22, 11:32am Top

>76 RidgewayGirl: >77 VictoriaPL: It does sound like she needs to try a different branch. Librarians should never comment about the number of books one checks out as long as it is within the system's limits. When someone brings one back that I've had my eye on, I will sometimes inquire if it was a good read, but that's about it. I'm rarely the person checking books in or out though.

79RidgewayGirl
Apr 22, 12:40pm Top

>77 VictoriaPL: & >78 thornton37814:, I love all the other librarians at my branch, one of whom commented when I returned after three years in Germany, "I haven't seen you in a while." And is six books even a lot?

80dudes22
Apr 22, 4:46pm Top

>79 RidgewayGirl: - Not really - as long as you can read them and get them back. I have so many books on my TBR that I don't tend now to get a lot from the library. But once I've gotten my TBR pile under control (ha- ha - ha -ha -ha), I plan to use the library a lot more than I do now.

81VictoriaPL
Apr 23, 6:55am Top

>78 thornton37814: I really just want her to use my branch so that I can see her more often. Oh Hi! Imagine seeing YOU here?!? LOL.
I also like to gaze at the Hold shelves and see if I can de-code any of my friend's names since we use an odd half-combination of first-last.

82dudes22
Apr 23, 7:17am Top

>79 RidgewayGirl: - I want to add to my comment in #80. Since many libraries depend on statistics like circulation to back-up their requests for budget from the town/city/state, you would think she'd be thrilled that you use the library so much. The town next door where my sister is a librarian is going through a big turmoil about a new building. The voters approved money a couple of years ago to purchase a new building because the one they are in is too small and not ADA compliant. When the new town council was voted in last election, there ended up being 3 out of 5 people who don't like the library and have basically decide to sell the building that was bought. Legal suits have been filed...etc. Despite the fact that it's the 8th busiest library in the state. Sorry - long rant.

83VictoriaPL
Apr 24, 7:38pm Top

14 Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen 4.24.2019



Amazon Description:
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she's the Nazis' worst nightmare.


It's Nazi-Era Mean Girls. The part I enjoyed the most was before Sarah arrived at the school. After that, it was all downhill. Decidedly Meh.

84VictoriaPL
Edited: Apr 26, 10:54pm Top

15. Code Name: Lise: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy by Larry Loftis 4.26.2019



Amazon Description:
The year is 1942, and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. Five failed attempts and one plane crash later, she finally lands in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer Captain Peter Churchill.
As they successfully complete mission after mission, Peter and Odette fall in love. All the while, they are being hunted by the cunning German secret police sergeant, Hugo Bleicher, who finally succeeds in capturing them. They are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and from there to concentration camps in Germany where they are starved, beaten, and tortured. But in the face of despair, they never give up hope, their love for each other, or the whereabouts of their colleagues.


Last week we were under a few tornado watches and so I turned on the local channel to get the weather updates. On the national show they aired a segment about Odette and this book. I was like - really? I need another WWII book to read like I need a hole in the head, LOL. But our library had it, so I requested it. It's hard to say you enjoy a book like this, talking about capture and torture and prison, etc but the love story was nice. Towards the end it became hard to keep all the people, their real names and code names and circuit names and the geographical locations straight.

You can see the featurette here:
https://youtu.be/_S12_a9xPgU

85lindapanzo
Apr 29, 1:01pm Top

Any interest in reading the new Douglas Brinkley book, American Moonshot?

86VictoriaPL
Apr 30, 4:37pm Top

>85 lindapanzo: I think I'll pass on this one Linda. Let's find another to read later in the year! Thanks for reaching out!

87VictoriaPL
Apr 30, 6:14pm Top

16. You, Me and the Sea by Meg Donohue 4.29.2018



Amazon Description:
As a child, Merrow Shawe believes she is born of the sea: strong, joyous, and wild. Her beloved home is Horseshoe Cliff, a small farm on the coast of Northern California where she spends her days exploring fog-cloaked bluffs, swimming in the cove, and basking in the light of golden sunsets as her father entertains her with fantastical stories. It is an enchanting childhood, but it is not without hardship—the mystery of Merrow’s mother’s death haunts her, as does the increasingly senseless cruelty of her older brother, Bear.
Then, like sea glass carried from a distant land, Amir arrives in Merrow’s life. He’s been tossed about from India to New York City and now to Horseshoe Cliff, to stay with her family. Merrow is immediately drawn to his spirit, his passion, and his resilience in the face of Bear’s viciousness. Together they embrace their love of the sea, and their growing love for each other.
But the ocean holds secrets in its darkest depths. When tragedy strikes, Merrow is forced to question whether Amir is really the person she believed him to be. In order to escape the danger she finds herself in and find her own path forward, she must let go of the only home she’s ever known, and the only boy she’s ever loved....


I received this from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I haven't requested a book for awhile but a little birdie chirped that it was in the same vein as Wuthering Heights. I'm a big fan of Miss Emily Bronte. BIG. I should say that, upfront. I used to own multiple copies of Wuthering Heights and read it annually. I have whittled my collection down but I still own some retellings, such as Wuthering Bites, which my dear beloved gave me as a stocking stuffer.
I drank this book down like a tall, cool beverage on a hot, 90-degree-in-the-shade kind of day. If you know it going in, you can see the Bronte threads woven through the fabric of the tale. There are lovely tributes throughout and the sea makes a nice substitute for the moors. Some of the characters seem combined for brevity. It doesn't exactly follow the same plot as Heights and it's modern, which is refreshing. It's more of what Cathy and Heathcliff might have done had they come to their senses and talked it out before unleashing havoc. I really enjoyed the beautiful imagery and language - this would make a great beach read.

88lindapanzo
Apr 30, 9:33pm Top

>86 VictoriaPL: It sounded terrific. I borrowed it from the library and it's huge. Not feeling up to reading such a long book at this point.

89thornton37814
May 1, 1:10pm Top

>87 VictoriaPL: That one should arrive this week at CN Library.

90lkernagh
May 1, 6:52pm Top

>87 VictoriaPL: - Ooooohhhhh, taking a BB for You, Me and the Sea!

91RidgewayGirl
May 2, 7:42am Top

I'm glad You, Me and the Sea was not a dud!

92VictoriaPL
May 3, 11:32am Top

>89 thornton37814: nice!
>90 lkernagh: hope you enjoy it!
>91 RidgewayGirl: and it’s not WWII related!

93RidgewayGirl
May 3, 4:55pm Top

>92 VictoriaPL: Yes, but I'd bet cash money that the book you're reading now is!

94thornton37814
May 3, 8:58pm Top

>92 VictoriaPL: >93 RidgewayGirl: I was surprised she read something not WWII-related too, but I suspect Kay is correct that the current book is. There are lots of good-sounding WWII/Holocaust books coming out soon.

95VictoriaPL
Edited: May 3, 9:54pm Top

>93 RidgewayGirl: Guilty.
Paris Echo and The Cost of Courage

>94 thornton37814: Lori, drop me some suggestions!

96dudes22
May 4, 5:50am Top

Our book club just finished We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter with was excellent and amazing.

97VictoriaPL
May 4, 8:00am Top

>96 dudes22: that's on my list! Glad to hear it's good!

98thornton37814
May 4, 9:18am Top

>95 VictoriaPL: The lists are at work, and I won't be there for 3 weeks, but remind me later, and I'll look at some of the ones I wrote down for consideration. I won't be able to get them all, but I can get some for the library.

99VictoriaPL
May 4, 1:38pm Top

17. Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks 5.3.2019 *audiobook*



Amazon Description:
"American historian Hannah intends to immerse herself in World War II research in Paris, wary of paying much attention to the city where a youthful misadventure once left her dejected. But a chance encounter with Tariq, a Moroccan teenager whose visions of the City of Lights as a world of opportunity and rebirth starkly contrast with her own, disrupts her plan.
Hannah agrees to take Tariq in as a lodger, forming an unexpected connection with the young man. Yet as Tariq begins to assimilate into the country he risked his life to enter, he realizes that its dark past and current ills are far more complicated than he’d anticipated. And Hannah, diving deeper into her work on women’s lives in Nazi-occupied Paris, uncovers a shocking piece of history that threatens to dismantle her core beliefs. Soon they each must question which sacrifices are worth their happiness and what, if anything, the tumultuous past century can teach them about the future.
From the sweltering streets of Tangier to deep beneath Paris via the Metro, from the affecting recorded accounts of women in German-occupied France and into the future through our hopes for these characters, Paris Echo offers a tough and poignant story of injustices and dreams."


Meh. Mostly modern but the WWII-diary entries were interesting. I enjoyed listening to them the most. It held my interest and made my commute go by quickly but it's not a book I would come back to again.

100RidgewayGirl
May 4, 8:00pm Top

>99 VictoriaPL: Once again, we react differently to the same book. It's like a rule at this point.

101VictoriaPL
May 4, 11:34pm Top

>100 RidgewayGirl: I actually enjoyed it better than I expected to. I keep getting Faulks and Furst mixed up.

102tess_schoolmarm
May 7, 12:29am Top

>99 VictoriaPL: Not a Faulks fan at all (Birdsong).

103VictoriaPL
Edited: Aug 14, 10:11am Top

Hello old friends,
Sorry that I have been so AWOL. Life has been kind of crazy.
I started a new job in December and since then have moved to another position in the same company. So, lots of training.
My mother in law died five weeks after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Holding up my father in law has taken a lot of time and energy.
I have been doing some reading and logging my books just not posting reviews.
I'm trying to find my way back to normal, trying to find balance.

Saturday I went with RidgewayGirl to our local annual booksale that benefits literacy in our area.
Here are the books I picked up. I wasn't quite as good at curating my bag as Kay was.
Quite a few WWII novels. My husband accused me of picking up every book with a swastika on it. So? LOL

Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles
Canone Inverso by Paolo Maurensig
The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett
Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
The Good German by Joseph Kanon
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada
Midnight in Berlin by James MacManus
Berlin Calling by Kelly Durham
Fatherland by Robert Harris
A Gathering of Spies by John Altman

104DeltaQueen50
Aug 14, 12:09pm Top

Hi Victoria, you have been missed. So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law and here's hoping that life smooths out for you in the near future.

105jonesli
Aug 14, 12:18pm Top

Hi Victoria, I'm sorry about your mother-in-law, and I hope that things balance out for you soon. I was thinking about you one day last week when I was checking to see when the new Will Trent book is supposed to be released.

I know you do enjoy your WWII novels, I have had The Good German for years and only picked it up once. Maybe I will get inspired to actually read it one of these days.

106VictoriaPL
Aug 14, 1:32pm Top

Thank you both.

>105 jonesli: Lisa- I pre-ordered the new Will Trent months ago. Just waiting for it to arrive. We can read it together if you'd like!

107jonesli
Edited: Aug 15, 4:51am Top

Hi Victoria,
I pre-ordered it as well. I'd love to read it with you and it just so happens I am giving myself a long weekend which will give me some time to move a few books along in anticipation! I'll check in with you next week.

108dudes22
Aug 14, 8:24pm Top

Glad to see you stopping in Victoria. I was wondering where you'd been. Sorry your life has been so hectic and sorry about your mother-in-law. There seem to be a lot of WW II books around lately. I've picked up or borrowed a few myself, although none of the ones you got.

109MissWatson
Aug 15, 7:15am Top

Sorry to hear about the troubles in your life. I hope the books help to get you through.

110tess_schoolmarm
Aug 15, 9:20am Top

>103 VictoriaPL: Sorry to hear about your mil. Alone in Berlin my end up being my favorite book of 2019.

111VictoriaPL
Aug 15, 7:04pm Top

>108 dudes22:, >109 MissWatson: thank you.
>110 tess_schoolmarm: thanks. Really? Maybe I'll read that one first!

112rabbitprincess
Aug 15, 7:54pm Top

I'm sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Hope your reading helps with finding your way back to normal.

I read The Great Train Robbery a long time ago and seem to recall liking it well enough. Hope it works out well for you!

113LittleTaiko
Aug 16, 12:41pm Top

Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Happy that you were able to find some good books that will help you get back to a more normal routine.

114thornton37814
Aug 16, 6:38pm Top

Glad to see you posting! I've seen several WWII novels on lists of forthcoming books so I've thought of you a lot. I enjoy reading them too although I want a few mysteries and other changes of scenes with mine. Hoping you and David make it to Homecoming this year. Missed your "annual visit" last year.

115RidgewayGirl
Aug 16, 7:24pm Top

Hi, Victoria! I made up for my restraint last Saturday by bringing six more books home from Athens on Thursday.

116VivienneR
Aug 16, 9:13pm Top

So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law, Victoria. I hope things settle down soon so that you can enjoy the new job and your reading.

117VictoriaPL
Aug 17, 8:36am Top

>112 rabbitprincess:, thank you. Yes, I was curious about it, being one of his earlier works.
>113 LittleTaiko:, >116 VivienneR: thank you.
>114 thornton37814: thanks Lori. I'm hoping we can make it. We had planned to bring my in laws. It's my father in law's 45th reunion but he doesn't know if he wants to go now without her. They met on campus, so I’m sure it's hard. I'll let you know.
>115 RidgewayGirl: ha! I fit all my new acquisitions on my TBR shelf which means we need to go book shopping again!

118RidgewayGirl
Aug 17, 9:51am Top

Always a good idea! And there's always the FOL sale in October.

119VictoriaPL
Today, 8:11pm Top

Finished two books over the weekend, both WWII reads.
Prague Counterpoint by Bodie Thoene this off my TBR Shelf - yay for me!
Resistance by Anita Shreve had to read this one after watching the film adaptation with Bill Paxton. Still can't believe he's not with us anymore.

Waiting in the wings is The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter. I'm so excited for a new Will Trent!

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