Read: The One Man by Andrew Gross

9781466892187_p0_v2_s1200x630Book Review: The One Man by Andrew Gross

Rating: 4/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Historical fiction, Suspense/Thriller

“It was for this reason that man was first created as one person, to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and any who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.”

Summary: In the throes of the German-occupation of Europe, Polish physicist Alfred Mendl, along with his family, are given forged passports by the U.S. government in an effort to ship him to the states immediately, given his very valuable knowledge of a certain weapon that is believed to have the power to end the war. Right when they thought they would be escaping Germany, their faulty passports were torn to shreds, and the Nazis delivered the Mendl family to Auschwitz. At the gates, the Nazis destroyed all tangible evidence of a lifetime’s worth of research.

In the camp, Mendl meets a teenage prodigy, Leo, who embodies the phrase “mind like a steel trap.” The professor takes this gifted boy under his wing and teaches him everything he knows about his research, without giving any details as to what it is for. Mendl insists that this information will be sought after, and he is afraid that he himself may not live to share it.
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Read: Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow

74725Book Review: Jubilee Trail by Gwen Bristow

Rating: 5/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Historical fiction, romance

“We always hate the schoolroom where we learn hard lessons. But then we love it, because that’s the school that taught us all we know, and gave us all the strength we have.”

Summary: Garnet Cameron just graduated from an all-girls high school in the mid-1800’s. She’s from a swanky NYC neighborhood, living a privileged life in a comfortable home under loving parents. She lives up to the expectations of a man’s society, by being the “perfect” woman with impeccable manners and respectable morals. The only thing that separates her from the other girls she’s surrounded by is her unrelenting curiosity about what else is out there in this world, and her severe lack of interest in living her life as a homemaker. The proposals from the city men she’s used to don’t light a fire inside of her, and she denies the hand of a man from one of the richest and well-respected families in New York because he’s utterly boring.

Amidst the wonderment of where she really belongs, Garnet meets Oliver Hale, a frontier trader from California, who traveled to New York to purchase goods from an estate that her banker father controls. Following their initial meeting, Oliver finds reasons to visit Garnet at her home, and she becomes absolutely captivated by Oliver’s tales of adventure, and his inclination to treat her like an equal instead of a sheltered woman. Oliver asks Garnet to join him on the trail out west and she happily accepts. Very shortly after, they are married and have plans to travel to California so Oliver can close out his business commitments, and they will return to New York together the following year to begin their life.

While Oliver makes several more stops before getting on the trail, Garnet is absolutely enamored by her new freedom and Oliver’s delight in exposing her to all types of new experiences. One defining experience is visiting a dance hall in New Orleans where she watches a talented dancer steal the stage with her risqué performance.

The story initially follows Garnet’s experience enduring the difficulties of the trail, but as she gets to know her husband more intimately, she realizes he’s much different from who she thought he was.

Review: This story will absolutely go down as one of my all-time favorites. I give this book a hundred stars. Jubilee Trail is so much more than I could ever summarize. Garnet is strong-willed, quick as a whip, and loyal to a fault, but also comes with that sweet naivete that all of us have until we learn from certain experiences. She’s a thinker, but there are certain dreamer qualities about her that make me love her.

I so enjoy reading stories that take place in a timeframe before the mid-20th century. Especially love stories. There is something so endearing about the development of relationships prior to technology and social progression. The rawness, integrity, and simply put, the effort that men gave to impressing or pursuing a woman. All of the rules and ethics are touching. Though, Garnet didn’t exactly marry the suitor her parents had hoped, she felt truly in love with him, and they supported her relationship.

This story is about love, loss, family, friendships, and meeting unlikely people who touch your life forever. This story is about learning the hard way, and a very accurate depiction of how messy life can get, whether you’re a western pioneer, or a corporate CEO of a large company, you can relate to the difficulties of making choices and either living with them, or moving forward.

The development of each and every character is notable, and everyone has a vital place in the story, and I can’t help but to be cheesy, but – they will rest in your heart for years to come.

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Read: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

27070127Book Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Rating: 3/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Fiction, Romance

“The unsatisfying thing about practicing restraint was that nobody knew you were practicing it.”

Summary: 20-something Kate Battista is somewhat of a loner. She lives with and mostly takes care of her scientist father and younger sister, Bunny. Dr. Battista is rather peculiar and his daughters have come to live around his quirks. From the way the house is cleaned, to the way dinner is served, there is a systematic method developed by their father to complete all tasks.

Kate works as a daycare teacher’s aid at a well-to-do school. She does the same thing most days and doesn’t have many friends. She is quite unpleasant and forward in her manners, and seemingly unaware of her directedness, as she’s surprised when the headmistress pulls her aside and lectures her about her demeanor toward the kid’s parents. She becomes afraid that her job is in jeopardy, so she does her best to pep up at school. Bunny is more social than her sister. She attracts people with her looks and is wrapped up in vanity, thriving off of the attention she gets from boys. Her father gushes about her, and seemingly favors her with his pet-names and inclination to see past her flaws and suspicious behaviors.

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Read: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner


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Book Review: As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Rating: 5/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Historical fiction

Death is not our foe. There is no foe. There is only the stunningly fragile human body, a holy creation capable of loving with such astonishing strength but which is weak to the curses of a fallen world. It is the frailty of flesh and blood that causes us to succumb to forces greater than ourselves.

Summary: In 1918 the Bright family makes the move from their quaint tobacco farm in Quakertown, Pennsylvania to the growing city of Philadelphia, where Thomas Bright thinks he can give his wife, Pauline, and their three young daughters, Evie, Maggie, and Willa, a fresh start and a better life by working as his undertaker uncle’s apprentice. With no son’s of his own, his uncle wants to pass the business to his closest nephew.

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Read: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman


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Book Review: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

Rating: 3.5/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Magical Realism

“To fear change is the most hopeless fear one can harbor”

The story begins from the perspective of a young, heartbroken ballerina named Ari. She makes the quick decision to visit a hekamist, or rather, a witch, to purchase a spell that will erase any memory of her late boyfriend only a day after his death. The spell doesn’t come free, setting her back five thousand dollars, as well as her ability to dance forever.

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Read: Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

4681859Book Review: Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott

Rating: 4/5

Origin: Browsing goodreads

Genre: Fiction

Clara “Clary” Purdy is a middle-aged woman living alone in a suburban neighborhood in Canada. She leads a seemingly normal, honest life working as an insurance claims adjuster. One day, during her break hour from work, her life is changed when she causes a car accident, sending a woman to the hospital. It isn’t long before she realizes that the woman, Lorraine, and the rest of the Gage family were living out of the Dodge Dart that she crashed into.

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