Book-Review_The-Sandcastle-Girls

The Sandcastle Girls,

by

Chris Bohjalian

 

 

The Sandcastle Girls

by

Chris Bohjalian

 

The Sandcastle Girls, by Chris Bohjalian is a story about the Armenian genocide in World War 1.  Dare I liken it to the Holocaust of World War 2?  I have limited knowledge of the Holocaust, and I fear I am one of the many who had not heard of the Armenian genocide which was very similar.  A racial cleansing; only this time the Turkish army was the villain.

The Sandcastle Girls is written in the first person, which I generally dislike, and in two interwoven parts.  Part one is set in 1915 Turkey, with Part 2 being set in 1979.  The 1915 setting tells the story of a family’s experience and how they manage to survive the Armenian genocide in World War 1, Turkey.  The 1979 part of the story tells of a descendant who, through a chance viewing of a photo, sees someone who she thinks may be a relative in the photo.

This is a story which, at first, did not get my attention.   Still, there was something which kept me listening even though I missed the initial 1979 passages.   Each part was written and narrated in such a manner that I kept listening…and enjoying.

Narrators Alison Fraser and Cassandra Campbell were excellent.  Their voices are so different that not once did I have to think about which part I was listening to.  And as often stated good narrators and character voices can make or break an audiobook.

Even with a negative thought or two in the beginning I will rate The Sandcastle Girls a four star book.  The storyline moved along nicely, narration was excellent and ideal for a two-part story set sixty years apart also my knowledge of the Armenian Genocide is now vastly improved.

The Sandcastle Girls

a solid book.

At the time of writing (April 5, 2019)

Goodreads readers have rated

The Sandcastle Girls

an average of 3.88 stars,

from 33,222 ratings

and 4,595 reviews.

The Sandcastle Girls

may be purchased online at

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

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Book-Review-A-Casualty-of-War

A Casualty of War

by

Charles Todd

A Casualty of War, by Charles Todd, is set in the dying days of World War I, and sees Sister Bess Armstrong serving in a forward aid station on the Western Front.  While on leave she meets an officer and they strike up a brief friendship.  Next time she sees him is as her patient.  Patched up he returns to the Front where not long thereafter he is returned again with a stomach wound.  Both times he claimed it was a distant (British) cousin who shot him.

Shipped back to England and a psychiatric Captain Travis is found restrained because hospital staff thinks he is ‘mad’.  Bess disagrees and sets out to help him find his English half of the family.  Captain Travis’ family moved to Barbados generations earlier due to a family rift.

The welcome Bess and her chaperone received upon arriving in the village where the British side of the Travis family live, is less than welcoming, and it takes some time find discovered why.  Two attempted murders, one murder and an assault, all take place prior to the mystery being unravelled.

I enjoyed A Casualty of War, that partly being due to Rosalyn Landor’s narration.   Ms Landor brought the upper class English characters to life with each of her character voices.

Goodreads places A Casualty of War in the ‘Crime/Thriller’ genre.  I would suggest it is more of a crime/mystery novel.  Either way one looks at A Casualty of War it is an enjoyable story.

I have rated

A Casualty of War

only two stars.

Goodreads readers have rated

A Casualty of War

an average of

3.90 stars

from 2,390 ratings and 329 reviews 

A Casualty of War

can be purchased online at

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

 

 

Book-Review-An-Echo-in-the-Bone-Outlander-7

An Echo in the Bone

Outlander 7

by

Diana Gabaldon

An Echo in the Bone continues following the lives of Jamie and Claire Fraser and family.  This time the American War of Independence features highly.  The battles of Saratoga and Ticonderoga feature, with Wilmington and Lexington also being mentioned more than once.  According to Google this era was a turning point in the American War of Independence.

I found An Echo in the Bone a more interesting read than its predecessor.  Apart from war time adventures the Fraser’s finish up back in Scotland spending time with the Murrays at Lallybroch.  This visit, however, is a rather sad time as Jamie’s brother-in-law, Ian Murray, has an incurable illness.

On a positive note Young Ian also made the journey to Scotland and had some time with his father before he passed away.  With his father’s blessing young Ian departs Scotland for America to find the girl of his dreams.  Or perhaps it would be better to say he had found her it was just not official.  Young Ian’s biggest problem in his love life was that he fell in love with a girl of the Quaker faith.  After Ian’s time living with the Mohawks this could prove a problem.

I enjoyed An Echo in the Bone more than A Breath of Snow and Ashes which could have been many short stories loosely strung together.

Time travel and how 1770s Frasers communicate with their daughter in the twentieth century is stretching the bow a bit far, however it was an enjoyable read and I rated  An Echo in the Bone as a five star read.

I have rated

An Echo in the Bone

aread.

Goodreads readers have rated

An Echo in the Bone

an average of 

4.44 stars

from 100,339 ratings and 5,568 reviews 

Image result for An Echo in the Bone

An Echo in the Bone

can be purchased online at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

~~~~~

 

At the time of writing my review Goodreads readers have rated An Echo in the Bone, an average of 4.44 stars, from 100,339 ratings and 5,568 reviews.

Book-Review-Outlander-#1

Recently I realised that none

of my Outlander reviews appear

to have been published on WoollyMuses.

Prepare to be inundated by Outlander reviews

over the next couple of weeks. 🙂

Outlander

Outlander #1

by

Diana Gabaldon

Written

Aug 29, 2016

The Outlander series is based on a doctor (Claire Randall) finding a portal for time travel back to the mid 1700s.  Although married in the twentieth century.  To save her life she has to marry (again) in the eighteenth century.  From there on the book, and the series, proceeds.

 

This is the second of the series I have read.  I have read books #4, #1 and currently reading book #2 of the series and still enjoying the story lines.

However, if you are not interested in eighteenth century Scotland, France or America you may not find these books enjoyable.

I read Drums of Autumn, number four in the series and enjoyed it as a standalone novel.  The second book is also providing enough background information to be read on its own also.

And that is probably my only grumble…that I am reading some information that I read in previous books.  That aside, I do hope that I will not put the series aside before all books are read.

 

I rated

Outlander

aread.

Goodreads readers have rated

Outlander

an average of 

4.22 stars

from 695,114 ratings and 41,255 reviews

(at the time of writing March 04, 2019)

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander

can be purchased online at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

~~~~~

Book-Review-Virgins-Outlander-0.5

I have only realised this week that none

of my Outlander reviews appear

to have been published on WoollyMuses.

Prepare to be inundated by Outlander reviews

over the next couple of weeks. 🙂

Virgins

Outlander 0.5

by

Diana Gabaldon

Whilst an enjoyable novella, featuring Jamie and Ian from the Outlander novels, it was difficult to work out exactly where Virgins meshed with the Outlander series. Or, for that matter, why it was written. I fully expected Virgins to be slotted into the Outlander storyline. I will concede that I have only read four of the seven Outlander books, but I cannot visualise Virgins being part of future Outlander books, if for no other reason than the characters (Jamie and Ian) are much younger, and their Outlander personas are more developed, than in Virgins.

Still, after all that apparent negative comment, Virgins is a solid 3.5 star book for all the above reasons. As a novella and knowing the characters, I think it was an enjoyable read and worth 4 stars…which is about as high as I would go with novellas.

And after all my comments I have just noticed Virgins is Outlander book, #0.5, which is exactly where it should sit.

Read: August 2016 according to Goodreads.

I have rated

Virgins

aread.

Goodreads readers have rated

Virgins

an average of 

3.94 stars

from 9,785 ratings and 657 reviews

Image result for diana gabaldon virgins

Virgins

can be purchased online at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

~~~~~

Book-Review: Softly-Calls-the-Serengeti

Softly Calls the Serengeti

by

Frank Coates

Softly Calls the Serengeti was my first Frank Coates novel and in all likelihood my last.  After four or five tracks I was going to ‘toss it’ tomorrow.  As tomorrow never comes I continued listening as if it were background music…not really caring what was being said and only vaguely following the storyline.

Set in Kenya Softly Calls the Serengeti is the story of an Australian writer (Mark Riley) visiting Kenya to discover the whereabouts of a fourteen year old orphan boy to whom he has been religiously sending money for his upkeep and education each month.

Primarily the visit was due to the fact that Riley had contacted the orphanage, which was happily receiving his monthly donations only to discover his ward was no longer there.

During Riley’s search for his ward, there is not one, but two female interests who are in and out of is his life.  There is also a young Kenyan footballer/guide who has his own love interest.  All of these storyline lines set among Kenyan political turmoil.

Narrator Jerome Pride did a fair job, however it would be interesting to hear one of my favourite narrators attack a chapter or two of Softly Calls the Serengeti to see if their style could inject any life for this listener.

I read or listen for enjoyment.  This book was interesting not enjoyable, in my opinion and accordingly

I have rated

Softly Calls the Serengeti

only two stars.

Goodreads readers have rated

Softly Calls the Serengeti

an average of 

3.72 stars

from 64 ratings and 8 reviews 

Image result for Softly Calls the Serengeti

Softly Calls the Serengeti

can be purchased online at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon

~~~~~

 

Book Review-Girl-in-the-Blue-Coat

 

Girl in the Blue Coat 

by

Monica Hesse

Read: April 12, 2018

Girl in the Blue coat was my first Monica Hesse novel. 

Set in Amsterdam during World War 2 during the Nazi occupation.  Girl in the Blue Coat focuses on a group of young people who are either involved in the resistance or the underground/black market.

Girl in the Blue Coat gives a good sight into life in occupied Amsterdam.  A life were cannot imagine.  Apart from food rationing, Nazi rule other and similar issues, we also find that, as in other parts of Europe, the Jewish community are also being persecuted. 

Girl in the Blue Coat focuses on a small group of young Jewish residents of Amsterdam and their efforts to help other community members, young or old, during Nazi occupation.  It also tells of how they risk their lives while trying to improve life for others in their Amsterdam community.

“While I enjoyed Girl in the Blue Coat it was not a fast moving story.”  The previous comment was made after reading Girl in the Blue Coat, in April 2018.  However, I still rated it a 4 star read on my Goodreads library.

At the time of completing this review,

on August 12, 2018

Goodreads readers have rated

Girl in the Blue Coat

an average of 

4.03 stars

from 10,396 ratings and 1,672 reviews 

 A 
read.

Image result for the girl in the blue coat

Girl in the Blue Coat 

can be purchased on-line at 

Booktopia, Fishpond and Amazon