Tag: 4 stars

Breathing Room

Author: Marsha Hayles
256 Pages
Published: June 5, 2012

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

Kim’s Review:

This book was a simple narrative about a little girl who has active tuberculosis and goes to a sanatorium to rest and recuperate and to keep from spreading the disease. I liked the perspective of thirteen-year-old Evvy (pronounced like Chevy). She’s a sweet girl whose life is thrown upside down by her condition, she doesn’t even get to keep her stuffed bear with her in the sanatorium because of germs.

However, she moves from the scared little girl, ripped from her parents and twin brother to a mature teenager who is willing to sacrifice for her friends. And the heartbreaking journey of the patients of the sanatorium hit me right in the gut! I decided to ask Ivan about Evvy’s chart (yes there are pictures in this book! YAY!!) and his prognosis was not good. I did my senior college thesis on a local TB hospital back in Greenville, SC, so I knew a little about the stays of patients at these types of institutions.

Tuberculosis is a scary disease and my heart went out to these people. This is not an action-packed book, there isn’t any mystery or crazy drama. I would recommend this to history teachers, and they should absolutely have this book on their shelves, or to anyone looking for an easy, historical read.

Purchase Links:
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Before We Were Yours


Author: Lisa Wingate
334 Pages
Published: June 6, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shanty boat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge–until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents–but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption. Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals–in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country–Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Kim’s Review:

I enjoyed this book. I was a little worried at the beginning since Avery’s family is so wrapped up in politics and I was waiting for the author to head off into a political rant in the middle of the book, but she never did. I did appreciate how the Staffords, regardless of their political standing, dealt with life in the spotlight. Those of us not in public service, are far too often over-critical and demanding of every aspect of a politician’s life. I liked how Wingate focused on the humanity and family of a major political figure and their response to public scrutiny. And as y’all know, I’m all about some historical, familial mystery, and this book delivered that in spades! I’m from a family who has traced its line all the way back to the Norman invasion, so we know exactly who we are and there’s not much left to be discovered. But Avery goes after her family history with a passion and I love it!

I’ll admit that I’d never heard of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, but I can’t say I’m surprised by the corruption and child trafficking. I was a little surprised by how deep the corruption went. That Georgia Tann was a business genius, but an evil one! She could fit in with any villain from any fairy tale! I was a little disappointed with the resolution of the story. There were certain loose ends that ended up staying loose and unanswered and I found that really frustrating. Finding out the identity of Avery’s grandmother was somewhat unsatisfying. I spent the whole book becoming emotionally attached to the Foss kids, but then with the ending, there were too many random add-ins and others left out, and that kept me from being totally happy. But overall, a good read that I would recommend to anyone looking for historical fiction or a good mystery.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Duke and I

Author: Julia Quinn
Published: January 5, 2000
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Amazon:

Can there be any greater challenge to London’s Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?—Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, April 1813. By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister—the lovely and almost-on-the-shelf—Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth—it’s all an elaborate ruse to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable. But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it’s hard to remember that their courtship is a sham. Maybe it’s his devilish smile, certainly it’s the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her . . . but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke . . . for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love.

Kim’s Review:

This was just a fun read! Yes, it is a romance novel, but it’s not trashy at all. The sex scenes are few and far between and honestly not very graphic. What I love about this story are the characters. Daphne Bridgerton is awesome! She cracked me up the whole time! The banter that she shares with Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, made me laugh out loud several times! The reason I gave this book 4 stars was because of Simon’s rather annoying plans of revenge on his dead father. After a while, I just felt, “oh get over it dude!!!!” And Daphne’s brothers, with their over dramatic protectiveness of their sister, were a little tiring. I get that the culture of the time was much different than now, so I gave them a pass. Overall, this was a fun, light read that didn’t take much brain power, but was enjoyable!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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