Book review: In This Grave Hour: (Maisie Dobbs Series #13) by Jacqueline Winspear

About In This Grave Hour

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 14, 2017)

“A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.”†ó Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939. At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs’ flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered. And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the last war,” a new kind of refugee – an evacuee from London – appears in Maisie’s life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the ìOperation Pied Piper evacuee train. They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come. Britain is approaching its gravest hour – and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

Purchase Links for In This Grave Hour

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Jacqueline WinspearAbout Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maisie Dobbs series, which includes†In†This Grave Hour,Journey to Munich, A Dangerous Place, Leaving Everything Most Loved, Elegy for Eddie, and eight other novels. Her standalone novel, The Care and Management of Lies, was also a New York Times bestseller and a Dayton Literary Peace Prize finalist. Originally from the United Kingdom, she now lives in California.

Find out more about Jacqueline at her website, www.jacquelinewinspear.com, and find her on Facebook.

REVIEW:

WW II is looming and Maisie and her fellow Londoners are preparing for life under siege from the Germans.  Sandra and Billy, Maisie’s employees are back again at Maisie’s newly renovated office and she has re-opened her business as a private investigator.  She soon receives a request to solve a murder from an unusual source, a secret service officer from Belgium.  She needs to prevent further murders and pulls in a few favours from Scotland Yard to assist her as she must tread lightly when investigating in diplomatic circles.

At the same time, children are being sent out of London to be billeted in the countryside for safety reasons.  Several children are lodged at Chelstone, Maisie’s home outside of London.  A little dark skinned girl mysteriously appears with a group of boys and no one has been able to identify who she is or where she came from. Maisie is drawn to this little girl whose name is Anna and is determined to find her family.   Maisie’s father, Frankie and his wife Brenda are beginning to worry that Maisie is developing a stronger than normal attachment to Anna and don’t want her to be hurt when her family is found.

I really loved the way the author uses language that was common to the era. Several of the expressions were quite amusing and the characters that we know from the previous novels appear in this one as well. It’s been a pleasure to follow Maisie from a young girl to a mature woman, through one war and now into another.  I suspect there is another story in the works and can’t wait to read about happens next.

Book review: The Stages of Grace: Life and Love in the Face of Alzheimer’s by Connie Ruben

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The Stages of Grace: Life and Love in the Face of Alzheimer’s by Connie Ruben
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction,   149 pages
Genre: Memoir, drama
Publisher:   Xlibres
Release date:  July 2015
Format available for review:  Print and ebook (PDF)
Will send print books to: USA & Canada
Tour dates: Nov 21 to Dec 9, 2016
Content Rating: PG (There are a couple of swear words such as “asshole” but no F words)

Book Description:

This book was written out of a desire to share with others who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease what I have experience as Grace’ caregiver and friend. I wanted to capture the emotions, the expected and the unexpected issues, the painful times as well as the humorous and loving moments that Grace and I have shared as a result of this disease. This is not mean to be a handbook for dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, but I hope that by sharing my feelings and experiences, readers may recognize they are not alone on this particular journey.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Amazon.ca

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Meet the Author:

Connie Ruben is an entrepreneur with well developed management skills. She has run several large companies, and prides herself on empowering others to work to their full potential. Connie also has an intimate knowledge of the challenges and joys of caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, as her mother-in-law Grace was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. While Connie still struggles to balance her work life and home life, her understanding of this disease has made it easier for her to negotiate the demands of being a caregiver, as well as a wife, mother, and employer. She has written this book in order to share the insights she has gained as Grace’s primary caregiver and friend. Most importantly, Connie wants this book to assure others that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be enjoyable, life-affirming, and emotionally significant.

Connect with the author: Website 

REVIEW:
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I had the opportunity to meet Connie at the 2015 Book Expo in New York and that is where I first saw her book about her life with Grace.
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Connie first meets Grace through Grace’s son (and her future husband) and immediately forms a very close and loving friendship with this lively and caring lady.
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Years later, in 2003 Grace receives a  diagnosis of advanced Alzheimer’s disease.  Connie is thrown into despair and confusion.  Grace has been her pillar, a mother figure and a close friend and the fear of watching Grace lose her ability to communicate and care for herself frightens Connie.   Connie’s relationship with Grace changes from that of a friend to primary caregiver and through trial and error and often humourous situations, she learns that despite the frustration and helplessness she feels, there are still plenty of unexpected happy and funny moments they share together.
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What I learned from Connie and Grace’s story is that in some situations, unpredictability and loss of control might leave us feeling helpless and frustrated.  We can’t do everything by ourselves so by accepting assistance and support we are able to navigate through unsure waters with more confidence.  Although not a guide to treating Alzheimer’s patients, this account gives us insight into some of the situations we may encounter with a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
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Book review: Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen

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Book Details:

Book Title:  Unlocking Worlds:  A Reading Companion for Book Lovers by Sally Allen
Category:  Adult non-fiction, 225 pages
Genre:  Books and reading
Publisher:  Griffins Wharf
Release date:  November 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send print books:  Internationally
Tour dates:  Nov 16 – December 18, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description: 

Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.

In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

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About the author:  

Award winning writer and teacher Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter 

REVIEW:

What a wonderful reading companion!

This  book should be on every reader’s library with an update every few years (I hope I’m not getting Sally all stressed out about this… 😀 )  The one thing I didn’t like was the cover. The contents of this book deserve a much more formal, attractive cover.  I read the ebook in PDF and found myself wanting write on the pages because there were so many wonderful quotes and books to read.  I found myself flying back and forth onto the Goodreads website to select new books “to read” and as a result, I will need a new library shelf just for the works I learned about from this guide.

There are two ways to approach this book; technical or emotional.  I choose the emotional approach because of the huge impact it had on my reading. Sally, an obvious lover of books describes her own addiction.  Here is a quote about her:

“When deep into a great book a need possesses me to carry it with me wherever I go, never to let it stray too far from my thoughts or person.  Also, I was at a particularly compelling point in the narrative.  What if an asteroid hit the parking lot just exactly where I had parked my car?  It’s best not to take any chances.”  (my feeling exactly)

Sally nicely explains why reading is so important to her.

“One of my preoccupations is improving my ability to communicate, and to do so requires understanding language’s infinite potential.  I appreciate authors who show me that potential”.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is a quote from Pnin  by Vladimir Nabokov on page 126:

“With the help of the janitor he screwed onto the side of the desk a pencil sharpener – that highly satisfying, highly philosophical implement that goes Ticonderoga-ticon-deroga, feeding on the yellow finish and sweet wood, and ends up in a kind of soundlessly spinning ethereal void as we all must”.  (….swooning)

I had already read several of the books Sally chose to include in her guide and was curious to read her take on them and one of them had me looking for a dictionary because I never thought to look up the meaning of a certain word in one of their titles (look up Penumbra).

She ends her book by explaining that, it really is impossible to read every book that comes out and that it is ok just to take a breather and not read when you’re really not in the mood to.  That enticing book on your pile will get read in time.

I would love to have a print copy of Unlocking Worlds just so that I can go back and scribble and underline it and enjoy it all over again.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

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