Tag Archive: british



The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War IIThe Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so sorry I am finished reading this book! I wanted to live with these characters. No, I didn’t want to live during a war, especially while bombs were dropping. But I love living with book people who love to share books with those they love. Oh, yeah. I already live that, sans bombs!

Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator) keeps the story live. Not even a moment did I remember real life while in the book.

I love stories about females during World War II, but they are often soft mushy girls who do not seek their inner strength. They often fall in love with the guy and become arm candy or the like. Not our main character here. She seeks her own worth and, in the process, finds a fellow book lover, even before she has become addicted to the same.

Please, if you get the chance, try this book. I think you may love it as much as I did. I was lucky to pick it up on Libby, but I am seriously thinking of getting my own copy for when I want to curl up in a guaranteed good read. I hope you love it as much as I do.

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London Holiday (Americans Abroad, #5)London Holiday by Miranda MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book! Need a beach read or a nod to fairy tales with a twist? This is it. Though it was a little predictable, I still couldn’t go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning as I wanted to see what would happen.

In our crazy cyber-gossipy world, a princess and a journalist fall in love, quite by accident. Fun and adventure happen, lots of London is explored.

Beyond these words, I am afraid I will ruin your discovery of this gem if I tell you more. This book was just a lightweight read to fill the moments between heavier books. I probably won’t read it again but I am now a fan of this author and will read more by her. Enjoy!

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Mary Poppins: 80th Anniversary CollectionMary Poppins: 80th Anniversary Collection by P.L. Travers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was in fifth grade, I was a library regular. I would check out the limit of ten books at a time. Mary Poppins was a series I got into and read all of them. I never had seen Julie Andrews version. We weren’t allowed to go to movies in my family. Maybe that’s the reason I am so into movies now?

Anyway, I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations, still don’t care for them. I got irritated with Michael getting so much attention. I felt that this read through, too.

Something that I noticed that I don’t remember my childhood thoughts on. How prideful Mary Poppins was, and how grumpy/bossy she was. But now that it’s been a couple days since I finished this quartet of books I think I’m glad she was that way. She didn’t feel she needed to tell the family when she’d be leaving. She rarely admitted to the kids about her friends or her habits with them. It was like she had her own life apart from the wards of her job. I think she shows women and girls that they don’t have to tell everything and they can be independent.

Since I read these four books in a row using text-to-speech, I didn’t notice where one book ended and another began–except when she left and said she wasn’t coming back–but then she came back.

I don’t remember finding the adventures tedious as a child. But as an adult, I see they are far too similar and I lost interest sometimes.

Particular to this version, the Audible available as whispersynch to this book was just for the first book. Most folks would probably read on without a problem. I need the text-to-speech to take over and it was hard to make my Fire understand that. The good news was that I called Amazon and they made it all good. I had loved the Audible narration. I just didn’t have the money to get the rest of the books at that time. They let me remove it and then my text-to-speech with the British voice that always sounds like Julie Andrews got me through the rest of the books.

Now I feel ready to watch the new Mary Poppins movie.

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Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins, #1)Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up the combo-version for four Mary Poppins books. I got the Audible for the book for whispersynch. But I wasn’t careful and found out that the Audible version was just for the first book.

I called Amazon and Audible about the problem that I couldn’t read the next books with Audible or text-to-speech. They made it right and took back the Audible and so I will continue reading with TTS. But I wanted to make sure that folks understood that the narrator was fantastic. She didn’t play Mr. Banks very well but Mary Poppins and the kids she acted out quite nicely.

I read all these books as a kid so it is fun to read them now with an adult (some find that hard to believe) point of view.

Hope others get the chance to read/listen to these books!

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The Christmas HirelingsThe Christmas Hirelings by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yawn. Another gruff old rich guy who finds love. Bah Humbug!

The narrator, Richard Armitage, did a marvelous job of acting/reading this. It made a nice bedtime story. But mostly I was irritated that the story was about the mean guy finding love and not the children or their mother who worked so hard at making life loving and kind. Even the guy who instituted the children as hirelings would have made a better story. The rich old codger made me worry about the little girl he was so fascinated by. Sure it was ‘innocent’ still it was shudder-inducing for me.

Still, for a freebie from Audible, I guess I shouldn’t complain–much.

If you love the Dicken’s Carol garbage, you’ll love this.

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Wives and DaughtersWives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I just wrote on the Kindle version on GoodReads, I found the text-to-speech didn’t work for me. I had an Audible credit sitting there when my friend recommended this book so I pick this up. The Kindle and the Audible didn’t synch up so I gave up trying to read while listening and just listened.

The story didn’t grab me as much as the narrator’s voice and her ability to characterize the whole story. It took me a longer time than books usually take but I felt I needed to soak Nadia May’s storytelling in. She was fantastic. I could see the story as if I were watching it in a movie. It might make a fun movie.

Since this was the Victorian British Isles, the history of women shows. It shows how far we’ve come and yet how far we need to go until there would be real equality. Even the title represents the ownership of fathers and husbands. Yet it is a good example that young women today should read and take their time to soak in why many modern women are still not happy with our positions in life.

Still, just as a story it is fun. Often I would get bored with it and then Nadia May’s voice and excitement would pull me back in. I’m glad I read it. Give it a try.

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A Crown in Time (Thief in Time Book 4)A Crown in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cidney Swanson has done it again! This was a fun time-travel to Elizabethan England from 21st century here in America. It is the perfect ‘what if?’ with a mixture of thrilling moments fighting evil and or impossible situations and sweet moments of love. Imagine you could actually meet THE Queen Elizabeth!

Ms. Swanson presents some of the questions of time-travel and puts her own spin on things. Those crazy questions brought up in the past of seeing one’s self in the past, etc.

Meanwhile, there are three young women, newlyweds with spouses from other times. So well written that I found myself fighting a sore throat when the main character complains of same. Yes, it was coincidence but I worried about hypochondria. But after being out in public I realized it was allergies to certain perfumes had irritated my throat. Hot tea took care of it. But that is scary to think you can be so drawn into the book that you ‘catch’ their disease. Good thing I’m too old to feel the pregnancy symptoms! LOL!

If you get the chance, read this series. Even better start with my favorite series Saving Mars. Cidney Swanson can pull you into her books within a sentence or two and keep you up way past sleep time as you try to find a good stopping place.

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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard TimesThe Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As an addict of the BBC show, Call the Midwife, I couldn’t resist getting the Kindle and Audible versions of the book. As usual, the book is better than the show, but not by much. Books always give more insight into the thinking of a character, something film cannot capture properly.

Jennifer Worth’s memoir takes us to another time and the way people were then. Science, especially nursing and midwifery were new. Much was done by ‘old wives tales’ in the beginning but as medical science developed, giving birth sometimes took back steps. Ms. Worth shows us the mistakes and the achievements womanhood gained when men took over the most female of jobs.

But these aren’t just about the theories. We learn of Jennifer’s life as a nurse and midwife as she lived in the convent of nuns. The characters of the TV show are there in full glory. My favorite, Chummy, isn’t seen as much as I’d like (neither is Miranda Hart in the show as much as I’d like). But it is comical to watch her learn to be a midwife in her tall, elegant way.

I love how both the show (which seem to stick closely to Worth’s story) carefully lead us through patients lives and how pregnancy and motherhood impacted daily life post-WWII. Jennifer Worth’s writing is impeccable and yet poetic. It is fun to watch as she grows to become a stronger person and midwife as the book progresses.

Oh, and a note for the lovely narrator: Nicola Barber. Though it took me a minute to get used to her, I was so happy I did. She could do the cockney or the more proper British if needed and kept my interest piqued.

I would hope everyone reads and watches these as there is much to learn here. I can’t wait to read the next book.

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DodgerDodger by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was having trouble getting into my local electronic library. I know now that it was due to the card expiring. But I decided to try Washoe County and got in with my old card. This Overdrive version came up and I thought, what the heck? Can’t go wrong with a Terry Pratchett. (R.I.P)

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I seem to be reading a lot of books that are centered in the late 1800s –early 1900s. (Victoria, The Diaries of Ethel Turner, The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds, Out of the Past–sort of) so this fit right in. Mr. Pratchett brought into the story some very far-fetched concepts like how Dodger nearly gets a shave by the crazy Sweeny Todd and meets Queen Victoria etc. I don’t think what I just wrote is a spoiler as it is in the book blurb.

Anyway, since the only copy I could get was the audio version I spent a couple days catching up on projects while listening and occasionally laughing out loud. Though not as funny as other books by the same author this one is fun and the story one adventure after another. English humor is best!

I need to read more of his stuff like this. By the way, the narrator, Stephen Briggs, was fabulous!

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Victoria: From the creator of the ITV television seriesVictoria: From the creator of the ITV television series by Daisy Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this edition from NetGalley to read and review. It is an Uncorrected Digital Galley copy. Yet, these eyes didn’t see any mistakes.

This was very interesting. I thought at first that I wouldn’t like it. I neither like history books nor Romance novels. There is both ‘herstory’ and romance in this book. But not a lot. This is more a queen’s coming of age story. In that, I thought it well done and an interesting read.

I loved watching this young person, in her teens, deal with the angst we all have gone through with our parents and breaking out into our own lives. Except, most of us don’t have to assume the responsibilities of the throne and a whole nation while going through these growing pains.

In the acknowledgments at the end of the book, the author mentions she wrote this while making the television (I think it was) show. I will be looking it up to see it. I think it could be done well.

Though not the best book I’ve read, I think you will find this an interesting read.

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