Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ghost Waltz: A Family Memoir by Ingeborg Day

Publisher: Harper Perennial, June 24, 2014, first edition in 1980.
Genre: Memoir, Children of WWII, Nazi Party.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Rating: 2 Stars for okay.
Source: Free copy from Harper Perennial in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion.

Under a pseudonym, Ingeborg Day, wrote another book which was later made into a movie, Nine and a Half Weeks.

A bio of author and review of books: Who Was the Real Woman behind "Nine and a Half Weeks?" 

Ghost Waltz is available at:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Summary:
Ingeborg Seiler Day, was born in Graz, Austria in 1940. During World War II, her parents were Nazi's. Her father was a member of the Nazi party. Ingeborg had few memories of her earliest of years which was during the war. As a child growing up during the post war years her parents did not discuss the war, if Ingeborg asked a question, her parents rebuffed. A year spent in America as a teenage exchange student introduced her to American culture, the American textbook story of World War II, and her future husband. When she came home to Austria, life was irrevocably changed because of the influence she'd had in America.
In her later years she wrote two books: Ghost Waltz and Nine and a Half Weeks. These books were memoirs of her life at certain stages. Neither book explores in detail her marriage, or children.
Ghost Waltz, explores Ingeborg Day coming to terms with her parents involvement in the Nazi party, anti-semitism and the Holocaust, and Austria's involvement in the war.

My Thoughts:
When the book begins Ingeborg explains she had two sets of parents. One set during the war, another set after the war. She felt as if she was "adopted". I felt this was an interesting way of explaining her parents role as Nazi's during the war years. I don't feel she "came to terms" with her parents nor her birth country. "It" plagued her all of her life. She felt a guilt and a shame which was not hers to carry. I wondered how much counseling she received during life? She died young at age 70 by suicide.
Ghost Waltz is a sad book, with no happiness in-between the covers.
Ghost Waltz explores a topic I've not read before, adult children of Germany-Austria Nazi Party members. Further, her parents antisemitism spilled over into her own ideology. But, I do not feel Ghost Waltz is a complete study in this area of history. Ingeborg Day's memoir gives the reader a small specimen. She is not an expressive person, she hides more than reveals.
The book left me unsettled with more questions than answers. I felt Ingeborg Day lived a hidden life. Concealed behind an exterior of rough sex, which was a mask hiding a fear of what others would think about the real Ingeborg and where she'd come from, as well as the inability to be truly intimate.
Ghost Waltz is a haunting portrayal of a life which could have been so much more. I'm sad she carried what her parents had believed in and done to her own grave.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Maranatha by John Mullen

Publisher: Olympia, November 28, 2013.
Genre: Fiction, England, Northern Ireland, Love story.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 328.
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars for Good.
Source: Free copy from Olympia Publishers in exchange for a review.

Available at Amazon: Maranatha.

Summary:
Sarah in only existing in a marriage of apathy and selfishness.
Her husband Brian exists in the home, but his brain is turned off. He is numb to his wife unless he needs something. Their two children have grown up in a home and have become apart of its fabric. Daughter Caroline is a college student and is obsessed and consumed with her life. She does not have room in her tiny heart for anyone else. Son Timothy is a high school student. He is numb, he's learned well from his father. Sarah is diagnosed with a serious illness. Her family should have been a support system. Instead, they go on as if nothing new has happened. Sarah's best friend is her lone source of comfort and encouragement.
During the process of recovery Sarah changes a course of direction in her life. A cottage on the coast in northern Ireland becomes a refuge, and a healing sanctum.

My Thoughts:
I read Maranatha in one sitting, one day.
Maranatha is a "feel-good-story." It's a story to be read and savored.
I love the character of Sarah. She is a survivor. At first sight she appears to be a timid, milky-toast, person; however, underneath the pale exterior is a loving heart and a strong will.
Her family is unconscionable to me. I don't understand their apathy and selfishness and zero love.
The first half of the book is depressing. In the second half, the story picks up not only in a positive cheerful outlook, but the feeling of hope comes through in its content.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Powder Monkey by Donna M. McDine, illustrated by K.C. Snider

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, May 20, 2013
Genre: Children's Books, historical fiction, sea adventure.
Age: 8-12
Format: Paperback
Pages: 20
Rating: 4 Stars for Very Good.
Source: Free copy from Donna McDine, and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour, in exchange for a review.

Summary:
Time period 18th Century (this is a guess).
Brothers James and Tommy Kitt, are abducted from their English family farm, by the feared Royal Navy Press Gang. They are pressed into service at sea. There is no choice. Family cannot rescue them. Life at sea is laborious and hazardous.

My Thoughts:
The first thing I disliked about the book is there are no page numbers.
A second thing I disliked about the book is I don't believe age eight or even nine is appropriate for the book. I have a grandson that is eight years old, he would not understand the term "pistol-whipped"and frankly I'm not interested in him have this mental image in his head at his age. Middle school ages eleven through fourteen I feel is the more appropriate age for the book.
What I liked about the book are the illustrations. When I look at illustrations in a children's book, I pay close attention to the facial expressions of the people. I feel the illustrations told a story all on their own.
I love reading sea adventure books. A life at sea aboard a ship is hard work, the work probably never ends, the cycle is repeated each day unless the men on ship are at war, and then there is a different cycle. Life for them is often brief. Their families at home may never see them again. I admire them, but they are also a mystery.
Powder Monkey gave a sober view of life aboard ship for a lad, this includes the manner in which the young sailors were treated, and during a time of war.

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Passages to the Past

Buy the Book:

Powder Monkey Blog Tour: 

Monday, August 25
Spotlight at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 27
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, September 1
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, September 2
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, September 4
Review at A Leisure Moment
Monday, September 8
Review at Bookish
Tuesday, September 9
Interview at Closed the Cover
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, September 11
Review at Impressions in Ink
Friday, September 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Friday, September 19
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

About the Author

Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, A Sandy Grave ~ Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, The Golden Pathway ~ Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Pre-editors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books.
Her interest in ocean life resulted in writing and publishing, A Sandy Grave (January 2014). Other books by McDine, Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010). A fifth book is in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
For more information please visit Donna McDine’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and Goodreads.

The Golden Pathway by Donna M. McDine, illustrated by K.C. Snider

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, August 12, 2010
Genre: Children's Book, Slavery
Format: Paperback
Pages: 24
Age: 8-12
Rating: 5 Stars for Excellent
Source: Free copy from Donna M. McDine, and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion.

Summary:
David has grown up in the American south, pre-Civil War era. His father owns slaves that work his farm. David's father is not an honorable man, he believes his vices are hidden from family. David makes the decision to take a stand against his father's way of life, and for justice.

My Thoughts:
I love stories where the protagonist rises above mediocrity, or status-quo, or standard culture, and takes a stand for justice. David is a youth, it took courage to help those who have no voice, in order rescue an individual and even an entire race of people. David's heart is kind and thoughtful, he is respectful of people, but does not hesitate despite fear to do the right thing.
The Golden Pathway is both a historical story and a teaching story. It teaches a child they can make a difference and not just when they become a grown-up. Further, it teaches the importance of character, wisdom, and the kind of legacy we leave.
I loved the illustrations. Once again, as in the previous book by the author/illustrator, the facial expressions and postures of the people tell the story (without using words).
There are no page numbers in the book and I missed having them.


Buy the Book:


Donna McDine is a multiple award-winning children’s author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, A Sandy Grave ~ Story Monster Approved and Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, The Golden Pathway ~ Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Pre-editors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books.
Her interest in ocean life resulted in writing and publishing A Sandy Grave (January 2014). Other books by McDine, Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010). A fifth book is in the publishing pipeline with Guardian Angel Publishing. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.
For more information please visit Donna McDine’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, andGoodreads.


The Golden Pathway Blog Tour:

Monday, August 25
Review at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 27
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Bookish
Thursday, September 4
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Friday, September 5
Review at Book Nerd
Review at A Leisure Moment
Monday, September 8
Review at Beth’s Book Nook
Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tuesday, September 9
Interview at Closed the Cover
Thursday, September 11
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at Historical Tapestry
Friday, September 12
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, September 8, 2014

Eisenhower: A Life by Paul Johnson

Publisher: Viking, September 8, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, biography
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 144
Rating: 3 Stars for Good.
Source: Free copy from Viking in exchange for a review.

Author page for Paul Johnson.

For more information at publisher: Eisenhower.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble 


Summary:
In the 20th Century, Dwight David Eisenhower, also known as Ike, is a person who stands "head-and-shoulders" above so many of the more talked about historical figures. It was remarked in the book, that Ike appeared to be taller than his erect 5'10 stature. He was a man who people were attracted to, they leaned in closer to listen to him, his famous grin charmed the most difficult of people. Eisenhower, covers his childhood in a small town in Kansas, to his studies and training at West Point, to the successful years in the army-including the battle at Normandy, to his stint as a college president, his years in the White House, and the few brief years of retirement.

My Thoughts:
My first thought when the book arrived by mail is "gosh this is a short biography!" I was shocked, floored, that a biography on Eisenhower would be 144 pages! How can a person of his magnitude in history be 144 pages? I never got over the shock.
The book itself is fine. It's interesting reading material. I read the book cover to cover in one sitting.
But, I came away wanting so much more.
If you are a reader who prefers short reads, Eisenhower is the book for you.
If you are a reader who loves to read thorough biographies, Eisenhower is not the book for you.
I do feel this edition is perfect for a student of public or homeschooling. For a student the book gives the concise history of Eisenhower, all the basics are covered from his life.
Because my dad was a World War II Veteran, and Veteran of D-Day Omaha Beach, and Veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Eisenhower is a favorite historical figure for me. I admire him.
One of the points in the book I enjoyed reading was Eisenhower's relationship with Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur as we all know was not a easy to get a long with person, his ego sucked all the air out of the room, building, and continent. The precarious nature of working with MacArthur is explored, but in brief.
Another point is Eisenhower's gifted writing skills in a speech, and his oration. He also was astute at dealing with the press.
The current people in the White House needs to study Eisenhower. Maybe I should send them this copy?


I found an excellent video of an Eisenhower interview 20 years after D-Day.


Video of Eisenhower commenting on John F. Kennedy's death. This is also excellent.


Link for more videos, many of them short: Eisenhower.

Link for Eisenhower's speeches from 1943-1961: Eisenhower.

Link for Eisenhower's speech on The US and the Middle East: Eisenhower.