The Paris Library

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Without toi, there’s no moi.”
― Janet Skeslien Charles, The Paris Library

By 1939 Odile couldn’t ask anything better from her life. A new job at American Library in Paris brought her not only joy but many great new friends. Her relationship with the family couldn’t be better, loving parents and supportive twin brother. And of course, nouvel amour, that took her breath away. Odile’s happiness was short-lived as her beloved country and city were occupied by Nazi’s and her idyllic life came to an end. As the War progressed and brought sorrow into her life, Odile began to make decisions that affected the lives of the ones she dearly loved.

By 1983 Odile found herself in a new country, living a new lonely life when a knock on the door gave her an opportunity to make an impact on a young girl’s life. Meeting Lily and getting to know her family, and later supporting the young girl thru grief and grand change in her young life made Odile take a look back at her life, and for the first time open up and tell her story, and share her shame.

Odile and Lily’s friendship warmed my heart. Despite the significant age difference, they learned a lot from each other’s character. I wanted to love this novel, the build-up to Odile’s final twist in the novel was grander than the actual ending to her Parisian affair. It was a good but slow read. I read the book in my free time but I didn’t free my time to read the book. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4)

The Secret Diary of a New Mum by Cari Rosen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed parts of the book. Although I am not in my forties, however, I found many similarities between my and the author’s experiences. Overall the book was very entertaining and offers some good guidance. I have expected the book to be more educating, however, the author’s writing was focused on her personal experience and outcome. I found good info in the book. It was like discussing my own experience with a friend.

I did feel bad for the author, she went thru a rough experience not just pregnancy-wise, but more mental discouragement and judgment. It is sad to see there are people who would judge the new mother because of her age. And instead of accepting the judgment, an author took this experience and made it into a book. I applaud her for her sense of humor, for standing up to the “bullies” and proving that motherhood may be challenging in the forties, but not less exciting and enjoyable.

Good and quick read. Thank you NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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Роксолана: Полная версия легендарной книги by Павло Загребельный

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“An intelligent, kind, understanding, openhearted, candid, talented, generous, emotional and grateful woman who cares about the soul rather than the body; who is not carried away with ordinary glimmers such as money, prone to science and art; in short, a perfect woman.” Pavlo Zahrebelny

Tatars’ attack on Ukrainian villages was a typical incident back in the 1500s. During one of the attacks on Rohatyn, Nasty among other young men and women was taken into slavery. On the day of the attack, Nastya was on her way to the church, to wed. Young Nastya’s beauty was immediately noted by Tatars, which resulted in better treatment. Once in Istambul, instead of giving up hope for the future, Nasty decides to learn the language and new tradition in order to be sold into a better home as a maid. As the luck shined on the Ukrainian slave, she was purchased by the highest house in the whole Ottoman Empire and joined Sultans Harem.

It took a very short time for Nastya to meet Suleiman. And even less time for the Ottoman Emperor to fall for a beautiful and smart Ukrainian girl. Nastya used Suleiman’s affection to become the Haseki Sultan, and eventually filled the space in his heart. After converting to Islam, she became the chief consort and legal (and ONLY) wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. She has become one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history.

Her road to power was not easy. But determination, strong will, intelligence rewarded her with the power she never hoped to achieve. She was cruel and stony-hearted and would execute anyone who stood in her way. But she opened her heart and arms to the poor and less fortunate. Her legacy keeps thriving.

Phenomenal story of a simple Slovak girl who made a huge impact on the Ottoman Empire. Great and fast read full of many interesting facts of Slovak and Ottoman history.

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Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The novel takes place in the early 1900 and follows the lifelines social lights of Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Thaw, Stanford White, and many others. Although the three are not the main leads of the novel, they do take a large part in confectioning our main characters together.

While it took a while for the novel to make sense, I did enjoy the plot. The storyline moved fast, and each character’s life stories were different, fascinating, and took drastic changes throughout the novel.

I did admire Mother’s Younger Brother for taking the stand for justice and joining Coalhouse Walker in his revenge. And poor Jewish immigrant Tateh, who made a big name in the cinema industry in order to take his little family from poverty and give his little girl the life she deserved. And finally the Mother’s strength, protection, and love for a little orphan.

Good overall read. There were a few entertaining chapters. Not my favorite historical fiction, as it was hard to follow the plot at time. It did come together by the end of the book.

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The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great book to start a new year with! Dear reader, prepare yourself for a phenomenal roller coaster of events.

Jane’s life turns upside down when she meets a handsome, rich, and newly widowed bachelor on a street in the most upscale and gated neighborhood of Thornfield Estates. Mother Fortune has given Jane this lucky chance, and she is not stupid to pass it by. Shortly after Jane’s address changes, as well as her wardrobe, daily routine, manners, tastes, and new shiny bling on THE finger. Besides the wealth, Jane inherits Eddie’s dead wife’s shadow that begins to follow her since the first time she stepped foot into Eddie’s residence. Blinded by such a turn of events, Jane doesn’t right away notice her future husband’s strange behavior. And what follows next will open her eyes to the truth behind the unfortunate accident that took place before Jane’s fabulous entrance into the Thornfield Estates and it’s residents’ lives.

Ah, what a marvelous, intriguing, and captivating read this was. Way better than I expected. Fabulous characters followed by a twisted plot at the end of which the hunter becomes hunted, victims become victimizers.

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The Hypnotist’s Love Story

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book so much!

The novel introduces us to a sort of a love triangle. Ellen, her new lover Patrick and his ex-girlfriend. Each character comes in with their own emotional baggage. Ellen, who never met her birth father, has a tendency to fall for “bad boys”. Patrick, widower and a single father. And finally Saskia, the ex, aka the stalker who still holds an emotional attachment to a relationship that has ended years prior. The first half of the book was great. A new love interest, stalker, personal insecurities… this book had it all… and then it hit the weird turn. As with a help of a magic wand, all the problems that characters were dealing with were mysteriously resolved and everyone lived happily ever after.

I read Liane Moriarty’s other books, and I have very much enjoyed the twists in her stories. This one seems to be one of her earlier works, hence I can say – she is improving with each novel.

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The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Boston Girl” is an amazing story that includes a woman’s role in society in the early twentieth century, immigrant life and their adjustment to American life, child labor, it also mentions many historical events such as WWI, the Great Depression, and the flu epidemic.

Addie Baum was born in Boston in 1900 into a Jewish family. Since the beginning, she was treated as an outcast by her mother, and very early in life, she gave up on the hope to make her parents proud of her achievements and decided to become her own woman. Her love for books has led her to The Saturday Club where she met her lifelong mentors, made friendships that lasted a lifetime, and finally – the way to her independence.

Addie’s life is filled with woman empowerment, determination, heartbreaks, and of course love. It’s a great read, with fast pacing plot, and amazing characters.

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Stay Home

Stay Home by Ava Pierce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Stay Home – Stay Safe”, is a phrase that applies to Caitlin in many different ways. As a consequence of the broken rule, Caitlin pays an unusual price. Well… technically not Caitlin herself, but her year-long lover. After finding Daniel in a pool of his own blood, Caitlin is drawn even more to the scene of the crime

While in the world’s biggest and longest lockdown, Daniel’s neighbor Ali finds herself in a bit of a pickle herself when she accidentally stumbles into his cold body. Shocked by such a horrifying find, for the first time in months Ali no longer finds comfort on the bottom of a wine bottle. Instead, driven by curiosity, she decides to play a detective and digs a bit farther than needed into Daniels cyber life.

And that’s how Caitlins and Ali’s roads cross. But Caitlin’s nightmare is far from over. Secrets, like skeletons in a closet, start to come to open one by one. She keeps wondering if she would have stayed home on that one fatal day – would she have been safe now?

Such a fun and entertaining read. I absolutely loved the short list of the characters and their involvements in the story. And the storyline itself kept on moving tremendously fast which made me flip the pages of the book with rapid speed. Thank you, NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton publisher for an advanced copy of this wonderful novel.

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Sisters of War

Sisters of War by Lana Kortchik

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Phenomenal read, that shades lite of WWII in the western part of Europe. Sisters Of War illustrates the bonds of family, their sacrifices, resiliency, loyalty, and bravery.

From the very first days of Kyiv occupation by Germans, Natasha and her family, just like the majority of citizens of Kyiv lived in fear. Their men were collected, followed by food, warm clothes, valuables, germans went as far as to occupy not only kyivlyan’s city, but their homes, and their lives.

Natasha’s family lived with the hope that any day the Red Army will come to their rescue. Days went by, weeks, months… Their lives became more and more unbearable. One by one, their friends and family were arrested or simply collected by german officers and send to german prisons, Germany’s factories, and even worse… concentration camps. But no matter how aggressive german behavior became, Natasha’s big heart could not stop doing good, saving lives and giving her last to help people in need. During those first horrendous days, Natasha found herself in arms of danger. But God was looking upon her and sent a goodhearted fellow to save Natasha and her grandmother’s lives. Unfortunately, her hero was her nation’s enemy.

As months have passed, the war has not only destroyed Natasha’s beloved city, it tore her family apart, and broke her loving heart.

I truly enjoyed this story. It is one of the best WWII stories I’ve come across this year, and I just couldn’t put this book down. I adore it and I can’t recommend it enough!

My thanks to HQ Digital Publisher for an advance copy of this book.

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The Girl in the Mirror

The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It has been a while since I sat in bed till 1AM with an addictive mystery that I could not put down. If you like fast-paced and unpredictable mysteries you may enjoy this one too!

Iris gets a perfect opportunity presented by her sister Summer. She is asked to sail a family boat thru the Indian ocean from Thailand to Seychelles. This request couldn’t come at the most perfect time. Just days before, Iris left her cheating husband behind, in preparation for a divorce. However, a last-minute change of plans has caught Iris by a surprise. Instead of spending a few weeks on a boat alone with Summer’s rich and handsome husband, Iris is stuck with her picture-perfect twin sister instead. And so the adventure begins…

During their sailing trip, a tragic accident occurs resulting in Summer’s death. While Iris mourns the death of her twin sister and her unborn child, an idea strikes her head. Upon reaching the destination, Iris assumes the identity of her dead sister. Not only Iris gets to finally have a life she always dreamed of, she is now one step closer to her late father’s hundred-million-dollar inheritance. However, the dream life Iris imagined is not as dreamy and glamorous as she expected, but the inheritance became a light at the end of the tunnel.

The author comes up with an extremely intriguing plot that keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat. This is a very well written and exciting book. Highly recommended!

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The Paris Secret

The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

WWII taught us an unforgettable lesson and divided the world’s timeline into Before and After. Nothing and no one felt the same after 1945… As the cities and countries were being repaired, the horror of the past was left behind, and people began rewriting their lives starting anew.

Nicholas, O’Farrell, Margaux, Skye, Liberty, and Catherine create a special friendship while united in a fight against the world’s greatest Nazi leader. This novel introduces the reader to bravery, resistance, and survival, but also love, friendship, and betrayal.

Pleasantly surprised by the beautiful cottage that Kat’s grandmother Margaux asked her to visit during Kat’s trip to England, she stumbled in on an unexpected discovery – a priceless collection of Dior gowns. Upon her return to Australia, Kat receives a phone call inquiring about Margaux Jourdan’s work in the French Resistance. Surprised once again, Kat questions her grandmother, but her attempts are unsuccessful, as an old woman refuses to revisit her past. With the help of an English writer, Kat digs down into history and discovers the tragic truth about her family…

Natasha Lester’s new novel shades a spotlight on women’s work during WWII. She introduces the very first female pilots in WWII history. I really loved that part of the story and the twist that came at the end. However the novel felt way too long, the middle part was very slow although it did contain interesting and useful facts here and there. Thank you NetGalley and Forever publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Girl From Berlin

The Girl from Berlin by Ronald H. Balson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My September read didn’t disappoint. Although it took me a while to read it – I have absolutely enjoyed the story and the twists it came with.

Ada Baumgarten who was basically born, raised and made her name in the prestigious Berlin Philharmonic found herself in a difficult position. As WWII approached, her religious background put her whole family in a dangerous position. Luckily, her phenomenal talent opened the door and gave her an opportunity to escape. No matter how far she ran, and how hard she worked on her future, Jewish shadow followed Ada everywhere. During a tragic time, Ada never gave up hope.

Ada’s story of determination, strong will, and selflessness was meant to be shared and inspired. And that’s when Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart come to the main stage. Ada’s story helps them to uncover Nazi crimes and at last, bring them to justice.

I know, there are a million and one Jewish stories out there. And every story is special and worth being heard, inspired, and most importantly learned from.

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