The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan

Book Blurb:

Auschwitz, 1941: It was her father’s job to save the lives of the SS. But she chose to risk everything and save the lives of prisoners.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanIn Nazi-occupied Poland, Sofia cannot look her father in the eye. Sofia’s mother, her papa’s cherished wife, is Jewish—how dare he work as a doctor for the SS? She cannot forgive him, even if the bargain was made to spare their lives.

In the middle of the night, Isaac emerges from a packed train with hundreds of others. Beneath Auschwitz’s barbed wire, soldiers surround them, and gunshots pierce the dark sky. The SS decide prisoners’ fates on the spot—and Isaac is chosen to work, rather than to die.

Every day, Isaac and his fellow inmates are sent to a nearby farm. From sunup to sundown, they toil the land with barely a scrap to eat. Every breath feels like it could be Isaac’s last, so when he sees a beautiful auburn-haired girl peering out of the farmhouse window, it feels like a dream…

Sofia refuses to accept what she is seeing. Disobeying her father and evading the guards, she risks her life to sneak a letter to the green-eyed boy outside. She explains that she has hidden them food, and that she’ll do everything in her power to save them.

This secret exchange sparks an escape that should have been impossible—and a love story that is unforgettable. But is love enough in the face of evil? And when Sofia and Isaac are concealed underground, holding their breath as the Nazis hunt them, will they survive?

My Review:

Does a doctor in Poland living under the Nazi occupation really have an option if he’s expected to save the lives of the SS? During the darkest part of the war, life for the Jewish is extremely tenuous. The doctor is not Jewish, but his wife and daughter are and he makes a pact with the devil in exchange for the lives of his family.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanSofia, a teen is devastated and feels betrayal for her neighbors in her father’s efforts for the Germans. She has witnessed the prisoners from Auschwitz as they are brought in to work the land for the Germans.

“…watching us is their favorite form of entertainment—the SS officers…”

Sofia and her mother have been insulated by the favor of her father, living on their family’s farm established generations before. But rules and laws begin to turn ugly.

There is the POV of Sophia, Isaac, and Olivia, each as they strive to survive the horror they face daily, the ravishes of hunger, disease, faith.

For Isaac, he believes “every single day feels like ten, but without a future to look forward to.”

Isaac and his sister Olivia have lost both parents and live like sewer rats until they dare to venture out. When they are taken prisoner, Olivia is sent in one direction, Isaac another as a slave laborer on the farm owned by Sophia’s family and it is there they meet and conspire to find a way to better conditions.

The characters are well-formed under the author’s pen and tear at your heart, the atmosphere so dark and foreboding, so frightening. You can see the barbed wire, the soldiers with their guns, smell the decay, the death. It’s an extremely emotional read, the tears are there, the reality of much that happened. It’s almost impossible to fathom, impossible to forget. For these teens, a life borne of cruelty. Sophia noted,

“The war has been ongoing for more than a third of my life, and I can’t remember being free. I can’t recall if I was old enough to understand the perception of peace before it went away.”

The conclusion is a quiet reflection of those who fought, steadfastly refused to quit, sought hope when it seemed forever out of reach. A difficult read but recommended.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: War Fiction, Literary Sagas, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09RK9ZWKR
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: April 28, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Shari J Ryan - authorThe Author: Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.

Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.

With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon’s Top 100, Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.

Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit: http://www.sharijryan.com

©20222022 V Williams V Williams

The Physicists’ Daughter by Mary Anna Evans – #BookReview – #historicalmysteries

The Physicists’ Daughter by Mary Anna Evans

Book Blurb:

New Orleans, 1944.

The Physicists' Daughter by Mary Anna EvansSabotage. That’s the word on factory worker Justine Byrne’s mind as she is repeatedly called to weld machine parts that keep failing with no clear cause. Could someone inside the secretive Carbon Division be deliberately undermining the factory’s Allied war efforts?

Raised by her late parents to think logically, she also can’t help wondering just what the oddly shaped carbon gadgets she assembles day after day have to do with the boats the factory builds. When a crane inexplicably crashes to the factory floor, leaving a woman dead, Justine can no longer ignore her nagging fear that German spies are at work within the building, trying to put the factory and its workers out of commission.

Unable to trust anyone—not the charming men vying for her attention, not her unpleasant boss, and not even the women who work beside her—Justine draws on the legacy of her unconventional upbringing to keep her division running and protect her coworkers, her country, and herself from a war that is suddenly very close to home.

His Review:

Justine Byrne was taught welding, trained by her parents. She knew things that most Americans could only dream of. She was given a job at Higgins Industries Carbon Division. She and the people in the division were making parts designed by others that they had never seen assembled into anything. Justine’s parents had been killed because of the technology they helped develop.

The Physicists' Daughter by Mary Anna EvansJustine is young and lovely and two suitors are attempting to win her heart. One is a spy placed by Germany prior to WW II. The Higgins Plant was hidden in the bayous of southern Louisiana. There was an airfield next to the plant where the top-secret parts were made.

Supervisors at the plant were men with infirmities that kept them from being enlisted in the military. They were usually self-important oofs who lorded over everyone, particularly the women. They made life miserable for the better-looking girls.

Saboteurs were sent in by the Nazi’s to find out what was being made at the plant and also to slow or stop production. This was extremely unusual for a young lady during the war. Parts that were broken in the fabrication were quickly welded by her and production continued.

CE WilliamsThis tale of the valiant efforts by women hired in all war industries showed the ability of women to do jobs formerly only held by men. The women were being paid more than they had ever been paid before, the same wage as a man doing the same work. Six, ten to twelve-hour days, left them only Sundays to rest and prepare for the following week. The book is very well written and I could not put it down! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Historical Mysteries
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
ASIN: B09TGB4BVK
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Physicists’ Daughter [Amazon]

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Mary Anna Evans - author
Mary Anna Evans

The Author: I’m the author of the upcoming historical suspense novel THE PHYSICISTS’ DAUGHTER and the award-winning Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries. My thriller, WOUNDED EARTH, is available in print, ebook, and audiobook editions.
I’m a university professor of writing, and I’m also a chemical engineer by training and license, with a degree in engineering physics thrown in for spice. This background came in handy while writing THE PHYSICISTS’ DAUGHTER, which features Justine Byrne, who works at a Rosie-the-Riveter-type job during World War II. I like to describe Justine like this: “The Nazis are no match for the physicists’ daughter.” As for the protagonist of my archaeological mysteries, I’d say, “Faye Longchamp digs up trouble.” If you like strong, smart, independent female protagonists, I think you might like Justine and Faye.
My other fiction includes several short stories, available separately as ebooks, and as a collection in both ebook and print form, called JEWEL BOX: SHORT WORKS BY MARY ANNA EVANS. YOUR NOVEL, DAY BY DAY: A FICTION WRITER’S COMPANION is available for novelists in both ebook and print form.
I am a co-editor with Dr. JC Bernthal of an upcoming book on the bestselling novelist of all time, the BLOOMSBURY HANDBOOK TO AGATHA CHRISTIE. It is very much a labor of love to the Queen of Mystery.
I enjoy reading, writing, teaching, gardening, spending time with my family, cooking, and playing my 7-and-a-half-foot-long monster of a grand piano. For more information on my work, visit http://www.maryannaevans.com.

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Publishing

Playing With Fire by Mary Burton – #BookReview – Women’s Crime Fiction

Playing With Fire by Mary Burton

Book Blurb:

Playing with Fire by Mary BurtonAn unsolved mystery ignites a deadly game of chess in this scorching thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton.

A year after the infamous arsonist Nero was found dead in one of his latest fires, journalist Darcy Sampson receives a tip that the body found at the scene wasn’t Nero at all. Determined to solve the case, Darcy heads to her small hometown in Virginia to track Michael Gannon, an arsonist investigator who refuses to believe that Nero is dead.

But when a new series of fires in the area have a remarkable resemblance to the arsonist’s previous work, Darcy and Gannon are in a race against time to put a stop to Nero once and for all.

But Nero is ready and waiting for them, and he intends on teaching both Gannon and Darcy one last, fatal lesson.

His Review:

A firebug is terrorizing the Washington, D.C. area. Michael Gannon is an investigator whose primary mission is to apprehend the perpetrator. This particular criminal flaunts his crimes and leaves a matchbook with a very unique logo to flaunt his abilities.

Playing With Fire by Mary BurtonNine fires and twelve people died later, the man is identified only by the name “Nero”. The entire D. C. metropolitan area is paralyzed with fear. He always seems to be one step ahead of the investigators. However, in one of the fire scenes, a man found in a fetal position with evidence of the accelerants used on many of the fires leads the coroner to surmise the firebug has been caught in one of his own fires. The fires in the DC area suddenly stop.

Sometimes the worst enemy for investigators and law enforcement are the news people who try to scoop or break the story. The issue with the current string of arsons is a reporter who discloses confidential investigation information to help spark interest in his bylines. The arsonist realizes that the investigation may be getting too close and stops to let the dust clear.

Darcy Sampson is a reporter who decides to leave the DC area and go back to her hometown. Michael Gannon has retired and chooses her hometown as the place he will settle down in retirement. They meet at the strange scene of a fire in her hometown. Gannon’s abrasive demeanor instantly ignites a love/hate relationship.

CE WilliamsNero, the arsonist, misses the fires and the competition between him and Gannon. He happens to choose the same small town for his next fire. The competition is on for another incredible run. Gannon soon realizes that “Nero” the arsonist is certainly not dead. Can the newspaper reporter and Gannon become successful in stopping the arsonist? Fortunes and large properties hang in the balance. This is a fast-paced and gripping novel. Recommended! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Women’s New Adult & College Fiction, Women’s Psychological Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction
Publisher: HQ Digital
ASIN: B09W8QYG7C
Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: May 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Playing With Fire [Amazon.com.uk]

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Mary Burton - authorThe Author: Mary Burton loves writing suspense, researching law enforcement and forensic procedures, morning walks, baking, books, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels of suspense and romance. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson.

Mary is routinely featured among the top twenty writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for romantic suspense, and her recent novel The Last Move claimed the number ten fiction slot in the Kindle eBooks Store.

Research is a favorite part of Mary’s day. She never tires of learning more about police work, evidence collection and analysis. She’s known for taking a hands-on approach, whether it means interviews with professionals in the field, forensic seminars or lessons at the firing range.

A Richmond native, Mary has lived there for most of her life. She is a graduate of Virginia’s Hollins University and worked in marketing before she began writing full time. Her first book was published in 2000 and she’s now the author of thirty-four published novels, five novellas and four works of contemporary women’s fiction written as Mary Ellen Taylor.

A member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Romance Writers of America, Mary is known for creating multiple suspense stories connected by characters, such as her recent The Forgotten Files novels. Her new book, Her Last Word, and The Last Move, break that mold.

When not traveling for research or visiting with readers at bookstores, book festivals and conferences, Mary remains very much a homebody. She and her husband spend time alternately enjoying and lamenting their empty nest and spoiling their four-legged babies Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Book Blurb:

In Darkest Fear, Myron Bolitar faces the most emotionally shattering case of his career. And it all begins when Myron’s ex-girlfriend tells him he is a father – of a dying 13-year-old boy….

Myron’s sports agency is struggling. Now more than ever, Myron needs to keep his eye on the ball, sign up some big-name clients, and turn away from the amateur detective work that is taking precious time away from the agency.  

But life is not going according to plan. Myron’s father, recently recovered from a heart attack, is facing his own mortality – and forcing Myron to face it, too. Then comes another surprise. Emily Downing, Myron’s college sweetheart, reappears in his life with devastating news: Her 13-year-old son, Jeremy, is gravely ill and can be saved only by a bone-marrow transplant – from a donor who has vanished without a trace. And before Myron can absorb this revelation, Emily hits him with an even bigger shocker: Jeremy is Myron’s son, conceived the night before Emily’s wedding to another man.

Staggered by the news, Myron plunges into a search for the missing donor. But for Myron, finding the only person in the world who can save a boy’s life means cracking open a mystery as dark as it is heartbreaking – a mystery that involves a broken family, a brutal kidnapping spree, and a cat-and-mouse game between an ambitious reporter and the FBI. 

Somewhere in the sordid mess is the man who once signed his name to a bone-marrow donor’s registry, then disappeared. And as doubts emerge about Jeremy’s true paternity, a child vanishes, igniting a chain reaction of truth and revelation that will change everyone’s life forever.

At once a riveting mystery and a spellbinding journey into the secrets that haunt families, lovers, and friends, Darkest Fear proves once again that Harlan Coben is a master storyteller like no other – and one of the most original talents in suspense fiction today. 

My Review:

Whoa, another series into Book 7 but my first. Yes, I’ve done it again and this is a series in which growth and change continue so this should probably not be read as a standalone, although it does sneak in some backstory.

Myron Bolitar has a struggling sports agency, so this series usually has a totally different focus.  He does, however, do some amateur detective work but that’s not the reason Emily Downing comes calling.

Darkest Fear by Harlan CobenEmily is a former college sweetheart. She informs him that her thirteen-year-old son is seriously ill and will die unless she can track down the possible donor, already identified, but missing. She’s frantic. Oh, and by the way, Myron is the father.

Apparently falling to pattern but with a much darker vibe than in previous series entries, Myron begins the search that quickly becomes complicated and you know will get more so.

There is a very rich, powerful family and it doesn’t take long before even the FBI is involved. Myron has quite the sarcastic wit and sense of humor, not tempered in the least by sidekick Win. To add to the mix, a new romantic interest in his life, which, of course, you gotta have in any detective series.

The storyline is hampered somewhat by a slow and convoluted start. Depending on how quick or how deep I’m hooked and also my multi-tasking, I’m apt to listen with half an ear if not thoroughly engaged. This one takes quite a while, introducing characters, then twists and turns and can switch from serious to wisecracking in the blink of an eye.

There are a few of the old tropes thrown in for good measure along with quotables:

“His blond locks had been parted with the precision of old ladies dividing up a lunch check.”

Now that’s funny! I must admit to enjoying some witty barbs. If you’re a Coben fan, you’ll no doubt enjoy this dark departure from the usual in the series—or not—but the sense of humor is still there.

I previously listened to Tell No One, not part of this series, and really enjoyed it. A copy of this audiobook was supplied also by my favorite well-stocked local library, this one narrated by Jonathan Marosz. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Suspense, Suspense Thrillers
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B000OYAJBC
Listening Length: 7 hrs 40 mins
Narrator: Jonathan Marosz
Publication Date: April 21, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Darkest Fear [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

 

Harlan Coben - authorThe Author: With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times author of thirty one novels including RUN AWAY, FOOL ME ONCE, TELL NO ONE, NO SECOND CHANCE and the renowned Myron Bolitar series. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas SAFE starring Michael C. Hall, Audrey Fleurot and Amanda Abbington, and THE FIVE starring Tom Cullen and OT Fagbenle. He is currently filming THE STRANGER, based on his novel, for Netflix starring Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea. Harlan was also showrunner and executive producer for two French TV mini-series, UNE CHANCE DE TROP (NO SECOND CHANCE) with Alexandra Lamy and JUST UN REGARD (JUST ONE LOOK) with Virginie Ledoyen. KEINE ZWEIT CHANCE, also based on Harlan’s novel, aired in Germany on Sat1.

Harlan’s novel TELL NO ONE (NE LE DIS A PERSONNE) was turned into the renowned French film, directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Francois Cluzet. The movie was the top box office foreign-language film of the year in USA, won the Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine Cesars (French Oscar) and won four, including best actor, best director and best music. The movie with subtitles is now available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD/Blu-Ray.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

[truncated—please see the author page for his full bio]

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

TV Netflix Series Along for the Ride vs #Audiobook #AlongfortheRide by #Sarah Dessen – Teen & YA Fiction

TV Netflix Series Along for the Ride vs Audiobook Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

TV Netflix Series Along for the Ride vs #audiobook #AlongfortheRide banner

Goodreads Choice Award winner

Intro

ClipArt-When pigs flyI’m sure you are gasping or at the very least rolling your eyes. As you know, I don’t do Romance or Teen and YA Fiction and yet here it is, so things do happen when pigs fly.

So let me explain what happened. Have you ever been in a hurry to go get the shopping done but just finished your last audiobook? And then, this time of year with so much time spent in the garden—where’s my audiobook? So, no, I didn’t dump it right away and opt for something in more of an adult thriller (other than facing current grocery prices).

Okay, then…yeah, I got interested; sucked in with the character of Auden. She’s eighteen, just graduated, and has decided to spend the summer with her dad and his new (much younger) wife and new baby in their little beachside town of Colby. Auden’s mother is not exactly the clingy type; she’s intelligent, extremely independent, and cerebral surrounded by fellow literary types. She’s the more successful of the two parents, her father working feverishly on his second book and not doing so as well.

Yes, I know you’re with me so far as the book has been out since 2009 which also tells you how long it takes for something to finally hit the little screen. The book is one of many from this author in the same vein.

So here I am, innocently finishing up the audiobook when I see it’s just landed on Netflix and if nothing else, I am curious.

Netflix Series

Emma Pasarow-actress
Emma Pasarow
Belmont Cameli-actor
Belmont Cameli

Along for the Ride released on May 6, 2022 on Netflix. It was written and directed by Sofia Alvarez and stars Emma Pasarow, Belmont Cameli, Kate Bosworth, and Andie MacDowell, among others.

Of the film, Netflix says, “The summer before college Auden meets the mysterious Eli, a fellow insomniac. While the seaside town of Colby sleeps, the two embark on a nightly quest to help Auden experience the fun, carefree teen life she never knew she wanted.”

Auden is, after all, the daughter of a successful academic, a serious student who had not participated in typical high school activities, friends, or related experiences. She was held remotely, the younger child of the divorced couple. It seems she never wanted for money as much as time and attention.

On one of her nightly loner excursions, she meets Eli who, also an insomniac, rides his BMX bike in and around the Boardwalk.

I warmed up to Emma Pasarow as the lead character pretty quickly, took a little longer for the same with Belmont Cameli. And bless her heart, Andie MacDowell, one of my favorite actresses, is just too old to play Auden’s mother (looking more like her grandmother). Maggie holds back acceptance of Auden and then suddenly becomes overly solicitous to the point of disbelief. While the book discusses the situation of her dad’s marriage, her academic focus, and lack of a normal high school experience, it seems the latter is the focus of this Netflix interpretation. Suddenly it’s playtime and there are numerous scenes of dancing and parties (alcohol, no drugs).

Along for the Ride-filmHer father’s character is played well. This viewer took a dislike to him as quickly as the book version. He’s narcissistic, uninvolved with either his new wife or baby, and focused 150% on his book.

Of course there will be conflict—Auden and Eli, Auden and her father, Auden and her mother. There is a dawning awakening with her mother. Her stepmother is another character played well and doesn’t have nearly the clueless ineptitude with her baby as she does in the book. She does, however, look for help with the crumbling of her marriage to Auden’s dad with Auden’s mother. (Talk about fairy tales!)

Well, we have a short and poignant boohoo scene, another party scene, dad goes back to Heidi and their new baby, the fight with Eli works out and he’s off to Barcelona, while she and Maggie ride into the sunset to the university where they’ll be roommates.

What? Did I miss the whole conflict resolution? It all got worked out during the last party I guess. Or maybe it was when I got up to let the dog out. Things changed mighty quick.

My Thoughts

As my daughter used to say, “gag me with a spoon.”  So much of the development of Auden is lost in the Netflix version. She goes on a “quest” to do the fun things she’d formerly missed out on—as in teenage bucket list? To an extent, it did somewhat change that stilted visage we first saw. I never really did get Eli and didn’t see a lot of chemistry between them. He had a dark secret that was divulged pretty quickly and I couldn’t understand how her presence made the difference that fast.

On its own, if you haven’t read or listened to the book, you might very well enjoy.

2.5 stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.
Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.
Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. .
. .

My Thoughts

The audiobook as narrated by Rachel Botchan has a slightly high, immature quality, annoying at first although I’m sure meant to convey the voice of a teen. Once used to that, the character of Auden begins to take on an empathetic quality and if the reader can’t identify with her, can engage in her character at arms’ reach and enjoy the journey to discover the life that is her father’s—one that she has not previously understood.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen-KindleHer father is even more distant than her mother, so intent on his agenda he has no room left for her. Her stepmother is at her wits end with a screaming infant with no clue how to care for it. It’s written off as colic and nothing for it but to let her scream. Heidi is almost immediately sympathetic. She is exhausted and has literally no support, nor does she feel she wants to relinquish the care of the infant (described in the book as six weeks) to any help.

Eli is mysterious and in his own world, but he is a good listener and Auden learns there is much she missed—something Eli shared with others that was lost—and still is. Auden is being introduced to the world of peers, friends, fun times, and the haunts or secrets of their little town as well as the beauty of it. She is also introduced to the world of bike racing and jumping and is finally taught to ride, something she eventually does with Eli in her prom dress after she is stood up the second time by the same guy (not Eli).

“And the bottom line is, what defines you isn’t how many times you crash, but the number of times you get back on the bike.”

She is visited by her mother surveying the stepmother’s boutique and her brother, more than once, when he comes back to introduce his fiancé to the family. She is a total shock to their mother in particular, and a complete opposite to any her brother had previously dated.

The conclusion happened in the blink of an eye, no problem too big to handle. Eli comes to terms with the death of his best buddy and heads off to Barcelona (where does he get his money??!), her dad returns to his young family, her mother with her smitten stalker, and all the university angst is conquered.

3.5 stars 

Overall Impression

The Book

There is more going on in the book than the oft-vapid teenage world portrayed in the Netflix version. The characters of the book were somewhat developed though not complex, although if you were searching for a solid plot—forget it. It’s a YA platform—fun and games. These teens also played at working (so maybe there was some responsibility). I loved the daily “dance break” both in the audiobook as well as the Netflix version. Okay, yes! but it was cute. 

Netflix

The Netflix version left me flat wondering why I’d just sat through the whole thing—because I wanted to compare it to the book? The characters, the ones they used from the book, had little depth. They skipped much of the heart of the book. Auden learned she could have girlfriends. What else…Auden could party like the rest. Hmmm, Auden learned her mother wasn’t so bad but her father was worse?

The genre listed for the (audio)book is “Teen & Young Adult Fiction on Marriage & Divorce. Oops. That latter part was glossed over in a hurry.

Anyone else see a resemblance between the author and the lead character (Emma Pasarow)? Also, there was an interesting little interview with the two main leads on the Netflix Book Club, “But Have You Read the Book?” with Uzo Aduba that you might wish to check out.

Conclusion

This time my vote has to go to the author’s book. Fast, easy (or listen) read—look for it—there is a message.

Book Details

Genre: Teen & Young Adult Fiction on Marriage & Divorce, Teen & Young Adult Parents Fiction, Children’s Books on Marriage & Divorce
Publisher: Listening Library
ASIN: B002DN9I8M
Listening Length: 12 hrs 46 min
Narrator: Rachel Botchan
Audible Release: June 16, 2009
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Along for the Ride [Amazon]

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Sarah Dessen-author
Author Sarah Dessen

The Author: I’ve been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I’d sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, “She has such a wild imagination,” which usually meant “I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth.” I have a tendency to embellish: I think it’s just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it’s hard not to do it all the time.”The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. “As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden—although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive—-and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.”

©2022 V Williams

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V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Warrensburg by Fleury Sommers – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Warrensburg by Fleury Sommers

Book Blurb:

Warrensburg by Fleury SommersHow far will a family go to protect one of their own against injustice? What will it sacrifice?

Moonshiners and small farmers, the Warrens are stunned when the state moves to sterilize one of their own for the “perversion” of epilepsy. Aided by a few close allies, the family fights back in the only way it knows. The price: jail, the breakup of the family, loss of home and farm, cross-country flight, and finally triumph.

His Review:

The Warrens had lived in Warrensberg since the Revolutionary War. Their daughter Millie had a difficult birth and was considered slow by the Warrensburg health officials. Because of her perceived disability, the County Health Officials decided that it would be best if she were sterilized. There was little empathy for poor mountain folk in the hollers of West Virginia.

The family knew that she was very smart and sociable and had no intention of having her “fixed” to satisfy some over-stepping county officials. After WWII her father was only getting $.54 a bushel for his corn crop. Even in good years this was not enough to put food on the table and maintain the farm. There was one product though that her papa made that was profitable and well received in the community. Moonshine!

The corn he raised was much more profitable if turned into the moonshine. The Revenuers were excited to catch him and destroy his still but everyone in the county enjoyed his product. The local sheriff looked the other way when the moonshine went to market after receiving his gallon.

The local storeowner had a number of folks who would buy all of the product papa produced. Prohibition had been enacted and the local city fathers and mothers wanted to capture the product and destroy the still. Most of the mountain people were producing similar products, however, Millie’s papa’s product was considered among the finest in West Virginia.

This story follows closely the plight of the poor mountain people in West Virginia and the ability of the local health departments to meddle in people’s lives. Keeping ahead of “The Revenuers” and the county welfare officials was a constant struggle for the family. The saga is a good exposé of government overstepping its’ authority and trying to control citizens lives.

CE WilliamsI read this book with interest in both topics. Overreach by government and the dangers to people with disabilities rang true to my experiences as a child. Anyone who acted out of the ordinary or even got a divorce could expect interference from county officials. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Historical Fiction  
Publisher: Quality Books
ISBN: ‎ B09TYH2M67
ASIN: B09VDR4J24
Print Length: 349 pages
Publication Date: March 11, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Warrensburg [Amazon]

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Fleury Sommers - author
Fleury Sommers

The Author: My grandmother came from a ranching family in Montana. She was proud of her heritage and loved to travel. Mother kept many of her artifacts, including cowboy chaps, Japanese kimonos, tortoise shell cigarette cases, photographs of stern settlers who survived Indian attacks and others. These objects, belonging to and used by real men and women, suggested to me that history was more than the simple and dry facts we were encouraged to memorize in school.

Later, I began to read history more seriously. I don’t suggest in any way that I’m a scholar, but it does strike me that many of the cruelties inflicted on people derive from rancid ideas, ideas that are popularly supported – at least for a time. The next question, of course, is what happens when people are confronted by such an idea and its consequences. When and how does the little guy take a stand?

I became a professional writer, first in newspapers where I won a couple of awards, and later in public relations where I received no recognition except for an ability to “bat out” copy on demand, a valuable asset in a busy shop. Later, my husband founded a public relations firm specializing in energy affairs and generously credited me as “co-founder,” although my role (and my value) remained much the same.

Years ago the narrator in a Jodi Picoult book (I forget which one) mentioned in passing that a character was a candidate for involuntary sterilization in Vermont. “Vermont?!!” I thought. “Couldn’t be.” I’d assumed those laws were primarily passed and enforced in Southern states. That thought stayed with me and was the germ that resulted in “Warrensburg,” a tale of a moonshining Virginia family’s fight against the eugenics movement when it threatened one of their own. “Warrensburg” will be published soon.

I don’t remember the precise genesis for “Beautiful Angels,” except that blaming the Jews for the bubonic plague was a popular idea embraced against all rationality and in the face of clear evidence of innocence. Yet, the embrace of this “truth” resulted in thousands of deaths by starvation and burning all across Europe. “Beautiful Angels,” is the story of a small group of unlikely allies, united only by their common humanity, who take a stand against the mob in their own small village.

My favorite books are those that are entertaining, but also resonate in some way—just like those chaps and tortoise shell cigarette cases did with me so long ago.

For more, visit my website at http://fleurymillssommers.com
https://www.goodreads.com/Fleury_Sommers

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron Howard and Clint Howard – #Audiobook Review – Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint Howard

 

(Amazon) Editors PickBest Biographies & Memoirs (Audiobook)

#1 Best Seller in Biographies of Movie Directors (Kindle)

Book Blurb:

“What was it like to grow up on TV?” Ron Howard has been asked this question throughout his adult life. in The Boys, he and his younger brother, Clint, examine their childhoods in detail for the first time. For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity – but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons.

With the perspective of time and success – Ron as a filmmaker, producer, and Hollywood A-lister, Clint as a busy character actor – the Howard brothers delve deep into an upbringing that seemed normal to them yet was anything but. Their Midwestern parents, Rance and Jean, moved to California to pursue their own showbiz dreams. But it was their young sons who found steady employment as actors. Rance put aside his ego and ambition to become Ron and Clint’s teacher, sage, and moral compass. Jean became their loving protector – sometimes over-protector – from the snares and traps of Hollywood.

By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, The Boys is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived “child-actor syndrome” to become fulfilled adults.

Happy DaysThe Andy Griffith ShowGentle Ben – these shows captivated millions of TV viewers in the ’60s and ’70s. Join award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and audience-favorite actor Clint Howard as they frankly and fondly share their unusual family story of navigating and surviving life as sibling child actors.

My Review:

Who doesn’t love Opie (if you are old enough to remember him) or Richie Cunningham (still not old enough?)? How about the movies Night Shift, Splash, Apollo 13, or The Da Vinci Code? There are literally so many awards and nominations, they have to be broken down into tables for acting, directing, writing,  Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globe Awards. A tremendous life achievement.

So when I saw The Boys in audiobook format, I had to give it a listen. Gees, what a charmed life! I gotta say, he was one extremely lucky kid. Not to say he hasn’t worked hard for it. He has—from the time he was a small boy. I must say also that it is a powerful story of his parents and I was awestruck repeatedly at the wisdom, sacrifice, and love his parents showered on their two boys.

The Boys by Ron Howard and Clint HowardYes, two boys, and I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know Clint Howard as a name or as Ron’s brother, but as a character actor. I do recognize his face though again, he’s not been leading man material.

As you might expect, Ron Howard delivers his memories with an easy, relaxed, and sincere tone. The stories for the most part were uplifting, revealing, and confirmation of the “what you see is what you get” person. It’s personal. Interesting in that even with the obvious spread in ages between the brothers, there were times when they remembered the situation differently. Their points of view shaded by their own memories and experience.

Clint’s memories and experiences as he grew older took a darker path, not that his moral compass tilted so much as his temperament was 180 degrees from that of his big brother—and his delivery reflects some of the lack of power he wielded under the shadow of Ron.

Not always in chronological order, the narration caught backstories as a way of leading into the next event that took their lives through the process of becoming major name-worthy persons. They both did some mighty sacrificing for a normal childhood and still managed to reap the kind of knowledge you don’t get in a book.

Clint lacked the focus, the drive to go behind the scenes that Ron had and as an actor sweated in each and every role.

Not delivered with the dynamics and sense of humor that Matthew McConaughey threw into his memoir, (McConaughey is an in-your-face actor), the brothers nonetheless combined their memories in a loving memorial for their dad (more so than their mother), who in his turn sacrificed his own acting career for that of his boys whom he carefully nurtured, guided, and protected in their road to the pinnacle of Hollywood. You couldn’t hope for a more powerful legacy.

I downloaded this audiobook from my lovely library and thoroughly enjoyed the journey of child actors that have endured through sixty-plus years of growth in the entertainment industry.

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Rich & Famous Biographies, Biographies of Celebrities & Entertainment Professionals
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B092BB6JSF
Listening Length: 13 hrs 18 mins
Narrator: Ron HowardClint HowardBryce Dallas Howard
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Boys [Amazon]

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The Authors:

(No listed bios on either Amazon or Goodreads author pages.)

Ron Howard on the set of Apollo 13

 

Ron and Clint Howard

Ron Howard (L) (1954-), born in Duncan, OK. Director, producer, screenwriter, actor. Married to Cheryl since 1975. First known as Opie from the Andy Griffith Show from 1960 through 1968. He also starred in American Graffiti and then Richie Cunningham in Happy Days. His heart, however, was in directing and he has an impressive list of credits. He has four children. For more information, see Wikipedia.

Clint Howard - actor-narratorClint Howard – (1959-), born in Burbank, CA. American actor, writer, and producer. Character actor best remembered for his role in Gentle Ben and later in Star Trek. Married to Kat. For additional information on Clint Howard, see his biography.

 

 

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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