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Showing posts from February, 2017

(Review) Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

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Publication Date: 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Genre: Nonfiction
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 324
Source: Library
Rating: Excellent

Billy O'Reilly's The Killing of Historical Figures a Goodreads list

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The book begins on Saturday, March 4, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln has taken the oath of office as president for a second term. His vice president is Andrew Johnson. While Lincoln is being sworn in to office, the Civil War is still raging, and John Wilks Booth is furious and anxious for revenge. Booth is sympathetic to the Confederate cause to the point of frenzy. While Booth wants to take a murderous action against Lincoln. Lincoln's face is set to reunify the nation of America.
We are reminded that Lincoln has six weeks to live.
Killing Lincoln is a solid study of the last six weeks of Abraham Lincoln's life. O'Reilly and Dugard have captured this period with a close-up view of Lincoln, but also his family. Other characters are also studied: John Wi…

(Review) The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

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Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company. A trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 291
Source: Library
Rating: Very Good

Mid 1800s. Ireland.

Lib Wright, age 29, is an English nurse. Lib travels to the center area of the country of Ireland. She has taken a nursing duty to observe an Irish female child who is fasting. After the child turned 11, she stopped eating. It has been four months. Lib is Protestant. She is surrounded by Catholics. The child's family, village, and church believe the fasting is a miracle. Lib decides she will discover the reason the child is fasting and if she really is indeed fasting.
What I did not like is Lib's snarky attitude and words against the Irish people. Lib comes across as prejudice, judgmental, and haughty. However, the author uses this as a form of opposition. The main opposition is of course the child not eating.
The young girl is Anna O'Donnell. …

(Review) Galveston: A History of The Island by Gary Cartwright

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Publication Date: 1991
Publisher: Atheneum, Macmillan Publishing Company
Genre: Nonfiction, History of Galveston, Texas
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 344
Source: Library
Rating: Very good

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I was born and raised in Houston. I've only been to Galveston Island a few times. On one of those visits I remember touring the historic Moody Mansion. My dad was not interested in any beach, worry over his freckled skin kept him away. At one time my mother loved it, and during her youth she spent many days sunbathing on the beach. However, on September 1, 1957, my mother's first husband went wade fishing at San Luis Pass early in the morning. While fishing he stepped off into a sink hole and drowned. After this horrible event, my mother was not as interested in Galveston.
My husband's family has roots in Galveston. My father-in-law was born in Galveston. My husband's paternal grandmother grew up there. Her father was an engineer. He helped build the seawall. He also helped buil…

(Review) A Man Without Breath, A Bernie Gunther Novel, Book #9 by Philip Kerr

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Publication Date: 2013
Publisher: A Marian Wood Book, G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genre: Fiction, Investigator
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 480
Source: Library
Rating: Very good

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Spring 1943, Berlin, Germany

Bernie Gunther is an investigator for the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau. He had been a Berlin police investigator.
He has a sarcastic, stubborn, bull-headed personality. He is a character that is difficult to not like, because he has this raw charm, not to mention the ability to solve crimes with a strong gut instinct.
In A Man Without Breath, Gunther investigates an incident of dead bodies found buried in a forest. The remains are those of Polish officers.
This is the first story I've read in the Bernie Gunther books. I've heard about the books but until now had not read any of them.
What I loved most about the book is the character of Bernie Gunther. At times, he reminded me a bit of Humphrey Bogart's character, Sam Spade, in the film The Maltese Falcon. Gunther sho…

(Review) The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

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Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Berkley, Penguin Random House
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 384
Source: Self-purchase
Rating: Excellent

I remember reading about and seeing the photographs of an apartment in Paris that had been entombed since 1940. I wondered then if an author would pick up this true story and write their own story piece. At the time of the news story, I imagined who must have lived in the apartment? I wondered why they left and never returned?
Link to read information on the real Marthe de Florian and the abandoned apartment.

Solange Beaugiron, lives with her father in Paris, France. Her father is Henri Beaugiron, a pharmacist. Solange met her grandmother, Marthe de Florian, in 1938. Her father had not mentioned this grandmother until Hitler was advancing through Europe. He had little to do with Marthe. He had been raised by another women, whom he'd known as his mother. His world, and the world of Marthe, were opposite in every way, an…

(Review) The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories #7) by Bernard Cornwell

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Publication Date: 2014 Publisher: HarperCollins Genre: Historical fiction Edition: Hardcover Pages: 303 Source: Self-purchase Rating: 5 stars for excellent
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Bernard Cornwell
It is Anglo-Saxon England, the early 900s. Alfred the Great died in 899. His son, Edward the Elder reigns as king of Wessex. The main character of the story is Lord Uhtred. He is not in favor with the new king. Uhtred wants to reclaim his family home in Bebbanburg, Northumbria. The Danes are controlling all of the northern areas of England. Uhtred will have to win battles just to get to his home in Bebbanburg and reclaim. In the opening pages, Uhtred is accompanied by his youngest son Osbert, and Aethelstan, the illegitimate son of King Edward of Wessex. He has other men riding with him and they are placed a mile back, while Lord Uhtred takes care of business of a personal nature. His eldest son is going to become a priest. Lord Uhtred wanted to stop his son, also called Uhtred, from becoming a wizard Ch…

(Review) Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

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Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Historical fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 404
Source: Library
Rating: Very good

This season on Masterpiece Classic, Victoria is premiering.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin, is a historical fiction work of the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. In the opening pages, Victoria is a young girl of 18, and her uncle, King William IV, has died.
Victoria still shared a bed with her overprotective and overbearing mother at Kensington Palace.
After she became queen, she made her home at Buckingham Palace.
The Prime Minister is Lord Melbourne. They become close friends. She relies on him, trusting in him, unlike her mother's friend Sir John Conroy who has ambitions of his own.
Her youth causes a problem in confident decision making, speaking in public, and older adults believing she is too young to be queen.
From the beginning of the story, I felt underneath her youthful exterior lay an iron will. She desp…

(Review) Villette by Charlotte Bronte

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Publication Date: 1986, originally published 1853
Publisher: Bantam Books
Genre: Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Source: Self-purchase
Rating: Very good





Lucy Snowe is a young English woman living in a French boarding school and working as a teacher. The boarding school is in the town of Villette.
The novel is strong in the conversations and thoughts from Lucy. She is the narrator of the story, and several times she breaks to have a conversation with the reader.
Lucy is intelligent, observant, trustworthy, serious, shrewd, and absolutely no pretentions of any kind; and she is a character I can imagine having as a friend.
A conflict in the story is Lucy is in love with a man who is not in love with her. I felt sorrow for her situation.
At the beginning of the story, I had a difficult time becoming apart of the story. About mid-point, I finally felt wrapped up in the story. I think Lucy is a character who is stoic. I stopped feeling as if I was waiting on her to have a meltdown, and i…