I Will Find You Review


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GoodReads Blurb:
I Will Find You, a tale of mystery and intrigue which starts in wartime Fenland near Ely and then moves halfway across the globe to Australia. John Taylor’s story is colourful, poignant and moving as it charts the journey of young Robbie Spalding and his path from a Dr. Barnardos Home in Cambridge to a new life on the other side of the world. Robbie becomes Nick Thorne and this account of his arrival into adulthood is more than a little tragic and filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Touching, funny, sad and filled with drama, I will find you is an authentic and pacey read, gripping and compelling, and will certainly keep the readers’ attention until the last page is turned. Expect to shed a tear for the casualties of war.
First off I would like to thank the Author, John M. Taylor for sending me a copy of his book to read and review, this was done so with the intent that I would give an honest review in exchange. And that’s what you all will find here, my honest review!

I will say I was intrigued from the description of the book alone and historical fiction especially one based on true stories. Taylor did seven years of research for this and the child migrant stories deeply resonated, the horrible truths of history are at the heart of this novel.

Some may not know but Aboriginal children were once taken by Australia’s white and western government, this was done so that they could be better integrated into Western society including the healthcare and education systems which were considered a cut above what was offered from the homes of the children. Of course doing this destroyed families and a cultural system that had been in place long before Western civilization touched Australia.

[And no matter what we do now I’m afraid it will always be a ‘too little, too late’ scenario…truly heartbreaking.]

This is spoken about in this novel but another issue was that of migrant children who were taken from their homes in say England as the boy in this novel and sent to Australia to be adopted. I would go into it more, gladly but the author does a brilliant job himself and I’m not going to spoil it for you all.

Taylor really sets you up for a story that takes you on quite an emotional ride. It’s a story that shoes not only what people did to the natives of Australia but to their own children and how one boy’s journey to figure out his history leads him through the lives of others. As said before, Taylor really did his research for this novel and not just with the darker parts of history but he made sure to do justice when writing about Aboriginal villages and ways of life and he never presumes to know more than he does about the culture or to write about things that are too culturally sensitive which is a great relief in this day and age.

The story is really well paced and extremely well written, I mean I barely wanted to put this book down the whole time. I needed to read more about Australia or Robert or find out what was going to happen in the Outback. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or even just looking for a book to really tug on the heartstrings.

If you have ever read The Thorn Birds this book spans the same sort of saga/epic story the only difference being this is the story and saga of one boy versus a family though he is not alone, and his journey will bring the story of others as he travels. Robert is on one quest, and that is to find his Mother.

While chatting with the Author and thanking him again, John sent me this great magazine article in relation to his research and his book and I’m sharing it below because I just think it’s such a good read and might sway those on the fence about the book.

Magazine Article.jpg

This was certainly a five star read for me.

The House on Rosebank Lane eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb: 

Edinburgh, 1953.

Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong.

But, seven years later – after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss – Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten – alone, with a young family to care for – must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive.

From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

Millie Gray does a great job giving us a look back at Edinburgh through the 50s toward the 70s, not only that but she gives you a truly heartstring tugging and simultaneously heartwarming tale of not just one woman but the others in her life. At first, I found it difficult to feel sympathy for Kirsten but that soon changed once you saw the radiance of her love as a mother. After that, I may not have approved of everything she did or didn’t do, but I gained respect for our main protagonist. I also greatly enjoyed the look back into the pasts of some of the other characters. Kirsten’s love for a mother isn’t just radiant but it’s real, she makes mistakes and deals with lasting consequences but you never once question the fact that she loved her children, and I think that’s what really drew me to this story, the heart of it all. You wanted to cheer them on, Kirsten, Dixie, Stella, Eddie, Jane, even Jessie! I was not expecting this to make me tear up, but it did and it was a satisfying read that I really didn’t want to put down until I’d finished it.

I would recommend for anyone who reads these sort of heartwarming and tear-inducing tales, Millie Gray has certainly done a brilliant job with it!

The object of this story wasn’t the romance but that did fit in nicely [and a good ‘slow burn’ if I may!] it was about the love of Motherhood, and even a bit of Fatherhood at one part. I can honestly say I don’t usually want to read ‘mushy’ or emotional reads but I wanted to read this one as it was a story located in Edinburgh.

This doesn’t drag on, and I think one of my few complaints besides that I didn’t always like Kirsten (and I wouldn’t say that was a complaint) was that I felt it was unresolved where Stella was concerned but I still greatly enjoyed it. I cried a little, got exasperated, sighed in frustration and smiled at the end. Makes for a pretty great read if you ask me.

Kaerou Time to Go Home Review

Thank you B. Jeanne Shibahara for sending this book to me! I am providing my honest review to you all on my blog in exchange!

GoodReads Blurb:

In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.

Meryl—Vietnam War widow—misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure—take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love in the simplest things.

This book was hard to define in simple terms, I did really enjoy it, especially at around page 25 I think something just really really clicked for me. There were elements here that I typically enjoy in a book, the history of things, the going back and forward of thinking of the past and progressing in the present, these are always huuuuuge pluses for me.

This story is more than just about Meryl, and in fact, the quote at the top of the blurb is my favorite in the book and is said by my favorite character, Ms. Kawanishi. The landscapes that Shibahara describe are utterly beautiful and it makes you want to go hop on a plane and go explore Japan. There’s an ample cast of characters and they’re all a variety of personalities.

Shibahara not only does a great job describing gorgeous locations, she also has a rather poetic or lyrical style! It actually took me a little while to get into it but it’s something I enjoyed after adapting to it [Note, probably about 25 is when I got used to the rhythm of it.]

The book is about finding love and about letting go of those we love as well. Meryl is delivering a flag to a man’s family who never thought they would get him home again, but she’s bringing them a beautiful chance while also dealing with the fact that despite her love for her husband she couldn’t condone everything he did and it makes her connect with the man she’s bringing home and his family. An unknowing level where thoughts are shared between her and the family as they have to face the brutality of what war cost in a time of peace.

There were some small issues, I wasn’t sure I always appreciated some of the stereotypes of some of the characters, or always completely enjoyed Meryl but as I said my favorite character was Ms. Kawanishi anyway, and I really thought this book was just a very lush one in its details of Japan and elsewhere. I would definitely recommend to those who like Eat, Pray, LoveUnder the Tuscan Sun, or The Sandalwood Tree. Not to mention the covers both front and back are absolutely lovely as you can tell from the featured image, front on the left, back on the right.

I enjoyed this and I foresee myself reading it again in the next couple of years and I am already planning on sending it to my sister who I think will really enjoy it too. [But her own copy damn it cause she doesn’t understand what the word borrow means] This go around I didn’t want to put a rating, I want you all to read the review and decide for yourself if you’d like to give it a read and if you want to discuss it more with me feel free to reach out to me!

The Bird King eARC Review

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GoodReads: 

– …Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret—he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

So you all just saw this yesterday, but, surprise! I’m waiting until Saturday to review Descendant of the Crane and I have another review already scheduled for tomorrow, so here we go, two days in a row of The Bird King.

I really couldn’t explain why I liked this book as much as I did, I mean other than because in my opinion it was a really good book but if I were to give out a list of reasons, I’m not sure what would go on those. Wilson has a flowery sort of prose that’s really lovely to read, so that’s one, but I think the main reason would be because her characters are so beautifully human (the ones that are human!).

They are beautiful, selfish, ugly, kind, pious and sinning, and they are wonderfully flawed each and every one.

Think about it, a protagonist who is selfish but yet selfless and it isn’t grating on your nerves or made to feel fake. That said, I think it’s great because Wilson has decided to give you a protagonist that you can choose to love or hate but that will still make the story powerful.

The antagonist is frightening because of just how real they are and I always find those always make the best ‘villains’ the ones that are too plausible.

Fatima’s best friend Hassan is gay, and in the 1400s, well, it was the sort of thing the Inquisition could ‘get you’ for. But more than that, as I don’t want to spoil anything I’ll not say more about Hassan, there is this great feeling of fluidity when it comes to the sexuality of the characters.  I would say Fatima herself is maybe even more pansexual than anything? [Think Jack Harkness, she likes what she likes, but this isn’t really a romance novel]

^ Speaking on that last []^ It was a freakin’ BLESSING for me to read a story that didn’t try to force a romance down my throat, I mean with Descendant of the Crane that book was amazing, start to finish, and did its romance right as well but I’ve had this slump with people trying to force romances [I’m looking at you Ready Player One] and this was great for me. You are getting to know a different sort of love. A love of a friendship that just made my heart swell.

Wilson writes a fanciful historical fiction set during the Inquisition, the Spaniards, Granada, a Jinn (or more possibly? No spoilers), monsters human and not, adventure, loss, and the price of freedom with the worth of freedom as well. Poignant and with such a feel of humanity for better or worse, this book was well worth the read.

I would say that you have to be ready for this book, to go on this journey because I think if you’re not ready for it, it might be the reason it’ll drag for you.

I know some complained about pacing but I think because I like this sort of pacing in novel it wasn’t an issue for me, I didn’t think it went slowly but you do go from a sort of ‘frantic’ part to I guess could be seen as a lull but to me it was still on the edge of my seat type of thing. The Bird King is beautifully written and it was another great read for me, so, it’s been a nice group of great books.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

**Content Warning:** Death, violence, and the chance the book will rip your heart out and stomp on it. But you know, no biggie. 

The Spitfire Girls ARC Review

First off, guys, I’m wheezing because I accidentally wrote Spitefire and I feel like that was my subconscious talking.

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Blurb: At the height of World War II, the British Air Transport Auxiliary need help. A group of young women volunteer for action, but the perils of their new job don’t end on the tarmac. Things are tough in the air, but on the ground, their abilities as pilots are constantly questioned.

There is friction from the start, between the new recruits. Spirited American Lizzie turns heads with her audacity, but few can deny her flying skills. She couldn’t be more different from shy, petite Ruby, who is far from diminutive in the sky. It falls to pragmatic pilot May to bring the women together and create a formidable team capable of bringing the aircraft home.

As these very different women fight to prove themselves up to the task at hand, they are faced with challenges and tragedies at every turn. They must fight for equal pay and respect while handling aircraft that are dangerously ill-equipped; meanwhile, lives continue to be lost in the tumult of war.

Determined to assist the war effort doing what they love, can May, Lizzie and Ruby put aside their differences to overcome adversity, and will they find love in the skies?

[^ Let me tell you if I read that last little line/rhetorical question, I may not have jumped so eagerly to read it.]

Pros:
-Freakin WWII Women Pilots, I mean, seriously, how awesome is that?!
-Women Pilots
-Women Pilots flying huge bomber planes
-Are we seeing my pattern here yet?
-It’s sweet and fluffy and a book you can pick up and read while waiting for an appointment without getting too consumed.

Cons:
-Cringe-worthy stereotypical characters: You have the brash rude and horrible American, the demure, sweet, insecure small girl, the stoic ‘I can’t show emotions’ Commander.
-Honestly, the American in the first chapter is just shown as headstrong but then suddenly when we see her next she’s a spoiled little princess, or at least that’s what Lane wants you to think and I ended up just liking her more because she was competitive, ambitious, and went after what she wanted.
-The rivalry between the American and little Ms. Perfect was vomit inducing, of course, the sweet quiet one is the favored one, who wouldn’t want an insecure pilot flying a bomber plane?
-Of course, we have to have the overly confident one go through a personality change -ugh-.
-She switches between three characters and it just feels like they have no depth and their love stories are mushy gushy, so if you like that [the mushy gushy], throw it up in the pros!

Really I’m just not a sweet and fluffy person but I can tell you one thing, had this been a movie, I would have probably thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, I wanted to give this 2.5 but I realized, why should I rate a book so low just because I’m an unbelievable cynic? I hate sweet fluff with no depth, but, you know what, sometimes it’s nice to read that and not have to deal with a book that will emotionally drain you, plus it’s nice that she chose to focus on these women in history. I just feel that others have and will do better with this time in history. I intend to look into more books about our female WWII pilots.

This book comes out on February 26, I read this in exchange for an honest review and received it via NetGalley.