Sunday, April 7, 2024

April Showers Reading Hours!


April Showers Reading Hours

We certainly have had our share of April showers here in Pennsylvania...but that has brought a lot of indoor time enjoy one of my favorite pastimes - reading a good book.
Since this is National Library Week I thought I would share some books that I have enjoyed recently.

Just finished this as it is the pick for our book club next week.  Very fortunate that Kristin Hannah came to Lancaster, PA back in February for an author visit sponsored by the Friends of Lancaster Libraries.   Have been to presentations by several authors in the past few years - and this was a great event.  Kristin Hannah was interviewed by Adriana Trigiani - another of my favorite authors - and it was a wonderful conversation.

An intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided.
Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.
As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is over- whelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.
But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.
The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.
This was an emotional book to read...and at the author presentation question and answer period, many women came up to the microphone to talk about their experience during that time. Looking forward to our book club discussion next week!

I really enjoy historical fiction....and this was a little different - 

In New York City, you can disappear into the crowd. At least that’s what Gloria Downing desperately hopes as she tries to reinvent herself after a devastating family scandal. She’s ready for a total life makeover and a friend she can lean on—and into her path walks a young, idealistic woman named Estée. Their chance encounter will change Gloria’s life forever.
Estée dreams of success and becoming a household name like Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubinstein, and Revlon. Before Gloria knows it, she is swept up in her new friend’s mission and while Estée rolls up her sleeves, Gloria begins to discover her own talents. After landing a job at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York’s finest luxury department store, Gloria finds her voice, which proves instrumental in opening doors for Estée’s insatiable ambitions.
But in a world unaccustomed to women with power, they’ll each have to pay the price that comes with daring to live life on their own terms and refusing to back down.

Blending Estee's story with a fictional character made this a fun read.  And learning the origins of the famous cosmetic brand was interesting.

If historical fiction is my favorite genre...WWII is my favorite era.  This was a very moving novel, based on a real person who was a midwife in Auschwitz.
Auschwitz, 1943: As I held the tiny baby in my arms, my fingers traced the black tattoo etched across her little thigh. And I prayed that one day this set of numbers, identical to her mother’s, would have the power to reunite a family torn apart by war…
Inspired by an incredible true story, this poignant novel tells of one woman’s fight for love, life and hope during a time of unimaginable darkness.
Ana Kaminski is pushed through the iron gates of Auschwitz beside her frightened young friend Ester Pasternak. As they reach the front of the line, Ana steps forward and quietly declares herself a midwife – and Ester her assistant. Their arms are tattooed and they’re ordered to the maternity hut. Holding an innocent new-born baby, Ana knows the fate of so many are in her hands, and vows to do everything she can to save them.
When two guards in their chilling SS uniforms march in and snatch a blond-haired baby from its mother it’s almost too much for Ana to bear. Consoling the distraught woman, Ana realises amidst the terrible heartache there is a glimmer of hope. The guards are taking the healthiest babies and placing them with German families, so they will survive. And there are whispers the war is nearly over… Ana and Ester begin to secretly tattoo little ones with their mother’s numbers, praying one day they might be reunited.
Then, early one morning, Ana notices the small bump under Ester’s thin striped clothing…
This is the first in a series of books and I am on the hunt for the next one...The Midwife of Berlin.

I always enjoy a little bit of magic, a little bit of scary, and Nora Roberts never disappoints!  
1806: Astrid Poole sits in her bridal clothes, overwhelmed with happiness. But before her marriage can be consummated, she is murdered, and the circle of gold torn from her finger. Her last words are a promise to Collin never to leave him…

Graphic designer Sonya MacTavish is stunned to learn that her late father had a twin he never knew about―and that her newly discovered uncle, Collin Poole, has left her almost everything he owned, including a majestic Victorian house on the Maine coast, which the will stipulates she must live in it for at least three years. Her engagement recently broken, she sets off to find out why the boys were separated at birth―and why it was all kept secret until a genealogy website brought it to light.
Trey, the young lawyer who greets her at the sprawling clifftop manor, notes Sonya’s unease―and acknowledges that yes, the place is haunted…but just a little. Sure enough, Sonya finds objects moved and music playing out of nowhere. She sees a painting by her father inexplicably hanging in her deceased uncle’s office, and a portrait of a woman named Astrid, whom the lawyer refers to as “the first lost bride.” It’s becoming clear that Sonya has inherited far more than a house. She has inherited a centuries-old curse, and a puzzle to be solved if there is any hope of breaking it…
I really enjoyed this...and can't wait for the next volume of the trilogy to be out in November of 2024.  If you are not familiar with Roberts, give her books a try...she has all kinds - mystery, fantasy, romance, and a whole series under the pen name J.D. Robb.
After reading her Boonsboro trilogy we spent a great few days at Inn Boonsboro - based on her books and owned by the author. 
You can read about our wonderful visit here - 

Lastly...this one by Danielle Steel.  I call her books my "tub books" that are an enjoyable read, not too deep, and I can read them in a bubble bath!  
Oscar-winning actress Ardith Law is a Hollywood icon. Radiant at sixty-two, she is the epitome of glamour and a highly respected artist. But her success has come at a she has a strained relationship with her daughter, Morgan, who at thirty-eight still blames Ardith for putting her career before being a mother. Morgan is a successful plastic surgeon in New York City—and the distance from Ardith’s Bel Air mansion is not lost on either of them.
Ardith became a single mother when Morgan was seven, after her unfaithful husband died in a helicopter accident. In recent years, she has found amiable companionship with fellow actor Bill West. But Ardith’s comfortable world is turned upside down when she hires a temporary personal assistant, Josh Gray, while Bill is away filming in London. Josh’s rough-around-the-edges persona is the opposite of what Ardith is used to, but an unexpected tragedy brings them closer, stirring up conflicting feelings in her for this younger man.
In New York, Morgan is swept off her feet by world-renowned TV anchorman Ben Ryan. Though more than two decades her senior, Ben is handsome, charismatic, and just as smitten as Morgan. But when a blackmail scheme puts his career—and their relationship—on the line, Morgan doesn’t know where to turn. Perhaps . . . to her mother? As each woman navigates an unconventional romance, they cautiously approach each other on new terms and attempt to put aside their past for a new future.
This was enjoyable because the main character was older, and it was a good story about love not caring about age.

What have you been reading lately ?  Do you read "real" books, eBooks, or listen to audio books?  I do all three!  Do you purchase your books - or borrow from the library?  As a retired librarian I almost always get my books from the library.  Libraries are such a wonderful resource that many people do not use.  So many great resources for free !   I use Hoopla and Libby to download eBooks and audiobooks, Flipster to read magazines on my tablet, and love going to our new public library in downtown Lancaster to look at the new book shelf...I always come home with a big pile of great books!
Please leave a comment below  -  would love to know what you are are reading!  And give some love to your local library this week...they are under attack and under funded and need your support.
Happy National Library Week !


  1. Ann, I love some of the same authors as you: Kristen Hannah, Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele. I will be adding these to my reading list.

  2. Happy Library Week! These sound like interesting reads. Thanks for sharing this post with me and with my readers at the Will Blog for Comments #33 linkup. Hope to see you next week, too.

  3. Truly, you are a voracious reader and how else could you have spent this dull weather if not by reading some good books! Totally, National Library Week is one of the occasions when we gather to celebrate what reading provides us, a joy nothing else can substitute. Libraries and online databases provide educational materials for learning and research. If you ever want to go deeper into the topic or peer at academic literature, there is research material at the literally right at hand. Anybody assists either in work that is done for fun or in a research institution, libraries are brimming with information. Here is the key point: In addition to that, he suggests to seek help and find good specialists e.g., Buy Dissertation to obtain qualified support in the academic field which will maximize the chance for students to succeed in average response time.Happy reading.


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