Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review: Shadows Over Paradise by Isabel Wolff

I've been a big fan of Isabel Wolff ever since reading The Trials of Tiffany Trott many years ago. It was categorized as chick lit, but there was something deeper to the book, a stronger message of independence that wasn't quite as evident in a lot of the books that got labeled as chick lit at the time.

I've since read several other of her books and I've enjoyed seeing how her style and subject matter has changed over the years. I know that whatever the story, it will be well written and enjoyable.

I especially liked A Vintage Affair, which was similar to this book in that it had story lines in the past and present that reflected each other.

Shadows Over Paradise is the story of Jenni, a ghost writer who is meeting with Klara and writing her memoirs.  Klara is a Dutchwoman who spent much of World War II in an internment camp in Java under Japanese occupation.  Her experience is harrowing.

As Jenni learns more about Klara though, it becomes clear that Klara isn't the only one with ghosts in her past.  Both women have concealed tragic secrets for much of their lives, experiences that have adversely affected the choices they've made in life.

I liked this book a lot. It's very sad to the point of gut-wrenching at times, but at the same time a really beautiful story about survival and moving on in life. Also, I found it interesting to learn about this aspect of World War II because it isn't something I've read much about.

For a moment, I was very worried about some of Jenni's decisions near the end, but it all worked out in a way that I liked quite a bit when it was over.

Really good book, I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in World War II and stories about women surviving difficult times and making difficult choices.

I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Review: Grave Vengeance by Lori Sjoberg

Grave Vengeance is the third book in Lori Sjoberg's Grave series about grim reapers.  I really like this series.  I'm a big fan of paranormal romances, and I like these books because they're so different. I'm sure there are other series about grim reapers, but none that I know of. I mostly read vampire/werewolf stuff - and I love that stuff - but also nice to read something different every once in a while.

And even better that the hero in this book was a former KGB agent and the heroine an American spy. The action takes place in current times, but as reapers, they've lived for a very long time and have a history together - from the time before they died.  They don't like each other, they were enemies in their former lives, but well, after spending some time together, forced to work together, things change.

I really like stories like this. Also, right around the time I read this book, I had just started watching Agent Carter, so I was feeling very immersed in the whole spy culture.  That's a good thing.

This is a fun story, lots of action and the characters have some great chemistry, as is always the case in Sjoberg's books.

Looking forward to the next book in this series.

I received a review copy via NetGalley.