The Bronze Horseman – Review

I finally read The Bronze Horseman, people! That’s enough for a celebration in itself since it has been sitting on my Kindle app for almost a year now! Everyone raves about this book and I just knew I was going to love it intensely. You guys know how much I love a good World War II story. There’s a little part of me that is always anxious to read what I know will be an amazing book because I know I will only get to experience it for the first time, well, the first time. It’s incredible to fully live inside the pages of a book that one loves, but the pain of it being over is sometimes so devastating. It’s like having a friend move to the other side of the world to my empathetic brain. I don’t want to say goodbye. Luckily I have two more books to get me through my sorrows…at least until they are over. Continue reading “The Bronze Horseman – Review”

Between Shades of Gray – Review

I have been drawn to books detailing the struggles of people during World War II since I have been a child.  For that reason, I wanted a chance to read this book for years. Finally I was able to check it out through Overdrive from my library and was anxious to be transported back in time.

The story begins in Lithuania with Lina, her mother, and younger brother being deported by Soviet officers in a filthy train car to a place they had never experienced before – Siberia. Lina and her family, along with others that become family to her, are forced to work in cruel conditions at labor camps for Stalin’s regime. Lina uses her love for art as a tool to tell the story of the horrors she faced, despite the danger of her drawings being discovered. She hopes her art will help her father make his way back to her family after she finds him in a separate train car going to a different location.

In the first few pages of this story, I was confused about what was taking place because I had not seen the mention of the characters being Jewish. I even stopped reading to ask my husband, who happens to be a History major, if he could clear up my confusion. We were both stumped. Eventually I came to realize through my reading that only one of the characters was in fact, Jewish. The deportations were actually a result of “Sovietization” and the result of Communism in Russia. Citizens from the Baltic states were removed, murdered, or forced into labor camps to further the agenda of Stalin. This was an unfamiliar aspect of history to both my husband and me. Continue reading “Between Shades of Gray – Review”

Drums of Autumn – Review

drums_of_autumn

I have been reading the Outlander series since May of last year, spacing the books out as I have had time to devote to the tale. Drums of Autumn is without a doubt my favorite of the Outlander series, thus far.  I know a lot of people complain about how long these books are and how scenes could easily be cut out, but I love the depth and length of these books.  I’ll admit, when I first started reading this particular book, 1070 pages seemed quite daunting.  Especially while the story took a bit to get going in my opinion, or maybe it’s simply that I didn’t care for the political schmoozing within the storyline.  However, once we were able to dive into Brianna’s perspective, I was hooked.  This series is so ridiculously epic.  I love being with the characters for as long as we are with this series.  I am so attached to them at this point, they feel like real people to mefriends.  In the days since I’ve finished reading, I’ve been missing the characters and wondering what is going to happen to them next.  I love being able to read about their daily lives- even the things that may seem slightly mundane, because it makes them more realistic.  Diana Gabaldon reminded me why I love long books, and books in a series.  Being able to read from the perspective of Claire, Brianna, Roger, and Jamie made this book fly by for me.  I constantly was wondering where the story was going to go.  My favorite part of this book was the connection between past and present. This aspect greatly appeals to me, as someone who enjoys history and the humanity behind it.
Let’s just say, when a book is over 1000 pages and the reader is still left wanting more, it is miraculous.  Diana Gabaldon is a genius.  I can’t imagine the time it took her to research and write these books.  She has devoted nearly 30 years to this series, and from what I hear she is still plugging away. What an amazing fruit of her labor. I can’t wait to see where the series continues to take readers.

If you haven’t jumped back in time with Claire and Jamie, it is a must.  I would rather read these books than watch the show any day. To keep from giving too much away to prospective readers, I’ll stop here.  I needed to quickly rave about this excellent novel.

If you have read the series, which book is your favorite?  No spoilers, please!

Happy Reading,
♥ Ashley

AMAZON US
AMAZON UK
AMAZON DE

My Name is Memory – Review

my-name-is-memoryDo you know what may be the best thing in modern society?  Logging off Facebook and using every moment you would pick up your phone, to pick up a book instead.  Not an e-reader, a real book.  The solitude and quiet resetting of myself has been much-needed and so welcomed.  Let’s be honest, I already know what is going on in the world.  I don’t need Facebook to tell me, with a dash of hostility and a pinch of bickering.

With my newfound free-time, I decided to check out a copy of My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares from the library in town, based on the recommendation of author Faith Andrews.  Ann Brashares is the author of The Traveling Pants series, as many of you may already know.  I grew through my early teenage years with the “Pants” books, so I already trusted Brashares to bring me a story I would love. Continue reading “My Name is Memory – Review”

From Sand and Ash – Review

from-sandAmy Harmon is unstoppable! Yet again, I am blown away by her talents for storytelling.  I love WWII-era Historical Fiction to begin with, so I already knew Amy Harmon + the 1940s would = complete magic.

From Sand and Ash begins in the 1930s with young Eva and Angelo.  Angelo is forced by his father to move from New Jersey to Italy with his family.  There his grandparents work for a Jewish family who takes Angelo in like a son. Angelo’s path is aligned to become a Catholic priest and to ease his burden on society. However, when he connects with Eva, the daughter of his grandparents’ Jewish boss, though their mutual grief of losing their mothers, he finds himself at a crossroads. When war comes to Italy, Angelo is faced with the question of how to best protect Eva, while simultaneously being torn with his love and commitment to God. After all, can a human serve two masters?
Read more to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of this book!

Continue reading “From Sand and Ash – Review”