Monday, 27 March 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS Review: The Orphans Tale By Pam Jenoff

The Orphan's TaleAbout The Orphan’s Tale

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: MIRA (February 21, 2017)
A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Taleintroduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 
Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.
Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

My Thoughts:

'The Orphan's Tale' by Pam Jenoff, is an emotive tale and entertaining enough. I did enjoy reading it initially, however at around 35% of the way through I did lose interest and unfortunately didn't feel inclined to finish it. This isn't a reflection of the book or writing style but more to do with me not being a fan of 'holocaust-lite' love stories.

Pam Jenoff is no stranger to fans who do appreciate this genre and judging by the interest and purchases at my bookstore, including some 'hand selling' to customers, it's doing very well.  It is a well written and engaging tale about two undeniably brave, resourceful women doing their best to survive in a time of great turmoil and coping with an ever present danger not only to themselves, but to those they care about. Their strengths lie in their resilience and ability to adapt to ever changing circumstances and sometimes being forced to make incredibly difficult choices. Equally 'The Orphan's Tale' is a fascinating and informative peek into the friendships, trust, loyalty and hardships of travelling circus life during this time.

With the backdrop of the Reich during World War II, 'The Orphan's Tale' will not upset readers, or delve too deeply into the horrors of the Holocaust, therefore, I'd definitely recommended it to romantic historical fiction lovers and for book group reads.

My Rating:

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of 'The Orphan's Tale' was provided by the Publisher and TLC BOOK TOURS in exchange for an honest unbiased review and to take part in this blog tour.
Praise for 'The Orphan's Tale':
“I read this novel in a headlong rush, transported by the relationship between two vastly different women during World War II: a Jewish circus aerialist and a teenage runaway with a baby. Deftly juggling secrets, lies, treachery, and passion, Pam Jenoff vividly brings to life the agonizing choices and life-or-death consequences for a hardy band of travelers under Nazi occupation.”—Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
“Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will embrace this novel.”Library Journal
“In prose that is beautiful, ethereal, and poignant, The Orphan’s Tale is a novel you won’t be able to put down.”Bustle
“A gripping story about the power of friendship to save and redeem even in the darkest of circumstances, The Orphan’s Tale sheds light on one of the most colorful and inspiring stories of heroism in Nazi Germany. This is a book not to be missed.”Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife
“Jenoff expertly performs a pirouetting tale worthy of a standing ovation. A circus of hidden Jews, a powerful friendship, The Orphan’s Tale proves that the human spirit defies hate, fear, and gravity with a triumphant ta-da!”Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children
Pam Jenoff Author Photo credit: Mindy Schwartz-Sorasky
Pam Jenoff Author Photo credit: Mindy Schwartz-Sorasky

About Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.

Connect with Pam

Website | Facebook | Twitter



Monday, February 20th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, February 20th: Barbara Khan
Tuesday, February 21st: Savvy Verse and Wit
Wednesday, February 22nd: Caryn, The Book Whisperer
Thursday, February 23rd: West Metro Mommy
Friday, February 24th: Reading is My SuperPower
Friday, February 24th: A Bookish Affair
Monday, February 27th: Building Bookshelves
Monday, February 27th: Just Commonly
Tuesday, February 28th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, March 1st: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, March 1st: Susan Peterson
Thursday, March 2nd: A Literary Vacation
Friday, March 3rd: Cindy Burnett
Monday, March 6th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, March 7th: The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, March 8th: The Romance Dish
Thursday, March 9th: Just One More Chapter
Friday, March 10th: Suzy Approved
Monday, March 13th: Reading Reality
Monday, March 13th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, March 14th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, March 15th: Bibliophiliac
Thursday, March 16th: The Maiden’s Court
Friday, March 17th: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, March 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, March 21st: Write Read Life
Wednesday, March 22nd: 100 Pages a Day
Thursday, March 23rd: Silver’s Reviews
Friday, March 24th: Not in Jersey
Friday March 24th: SJ2B House of Books
Tuesday, March 28th: Travelling Birdy

Monday, 20 March 2017

TLC Book Tours Review The Roanoke Girls, Amy Engel

About The Roanoke Girls

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (March 7, 2017)
“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girlsshocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
“I was immediately drawn into The Roanoke Girls, a haunting and riveting look at one family’s tangled legacy. You won’t stop reading until you’ve unraveled the darkest of Roanoke’s shocking secrets.”
– Laura McHugh, award-winning author of The Weight of Blood
“This is a poised and haunting novel, whose enchanting prose belies its dark and intense subject matter. An evocative modern take on Southern Gothic, with a compelling twist which will remain with you long after the book’s last sentence.”
– L.S. Hilton, New York Times bestselling author of Maestra
“An emotionally compelling page turner, The Roanoke Girls takes you inside the dark world of a twisted family and one woman’s fight to break free from the chains of her own history. This is family intrigue at its very best!”
– Wendy Walker, author of All Is Not Forgotten

My Thoughts:
The Roanoke girls appear to have it all, they're rich, stunningly beautiful and envied by all the townspeople. However, things are not as they seem. Over the course of the book, and as layers are sloughed away we find out what befell the girls in this family saga, and also solve the present day mystery of one missing Roanoke Girl.

Set in a fictional rural town in Kansas, 'The Roanoke Girls' is a deeply disturbing story. It is a complicated mix of sensual beauty with an underlying creepy darkness.  It's a distasteful storyline with manipulative calculating characters.

With a decades old history unfolding as the narrative moves back and forth in time, unpalatable secrets are revealed about the girls relationships within the family and with some of the townsfolk.  Engel has written a perceptively shocking, utterly compelling tale about the many affectations of love; innocent, lustful, cruel, selfish, controlling and warped.  Some of the characters were pretty unlikeable but with the progression of the storyline and revelations about the family's past, it became easier to accept, but not condone, their behaviour and treatment of others.

The interaction between the main character, Lane and 'wild boy', Cooper really resonated with me. Their relationship was electrifying and the sexual tension and pangs of lust were palpable. Allegra and Tommy's relationship couldn't have been more different with the hopelessly infatuated 'wholesome' Tommy being teased and tormented by the more predatory and sexually aware Allegra.

I loved 'The Roanoke Girls' right from the get-go.  Written in a style similar to Emma Cline's, 'The Girls' and likened to Virginia Andrews', 'The Flowers In The Attic', 'The Roanoke Girls' is a fabulous crossover debut for the YA/Adult readership.  Its a tough subject matter to write well about, but with a cracking good storyline I think Engel absolutely 'nailed it', and I cannot wait to read what she offers up next.

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I received a complementary digital advanced reading copy of 'The Roanoke Girls' by Amy Engel from the publisher and TLC Book Tours to take part in the blog tour.

Amy Engel photo credit Trish Brown Photography

About Amy Engel

AMY ENGEL is the author of the young adult series The Book of Ivy. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family. This is her first novel for adults.

Connect with Amy

Website | Facebook | Twitter




Monday, March 6th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, March 7th: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, March 8th: Bookchickdi
Thursday, March 9th: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Thursday, March 9th: Buried Under Books
Friday, March 10th: Not in Jersey
Monday, March 13th: Laura’s Reviews
Tuesday, March 14th: Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, March 15th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Thursday, March 16th: Books and Bindings
Friday, March 17th: Rebel Mommy Book Blog
Monday, March 20th: Fuelled by Fiction
Tuesday, March 21st: Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, March 21st: SJ2B House of Books
Wednesday, March 22nd: Write Read Life
Thursday, March 23rd: Luxury Reading
Monday, March 27th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, March 28th: A Fantastical Librarian
Wednesday, March 29th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Wednesday, March 29th: Patricia’s Wisdom

Friday, 17 March 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS Review of Eggshells by Catriona Lally

Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
Publisher: Melville House Publishing (14 March 2017)
Source: Publisher/TLC BOOK TOURS


"Vivian doesn't feel like she fits in - and never has. As a child, she was so whimsical that her parents told her she was "left by fairies." Now, living alone in Dublin, the neighbors treat her like she's crazy, her older sister condescends to her, social workers seem to have registered her as troubled, and she hasn't a friend in the world. 

So, she decides it's time to change her life: She begins by advertising for a friend. Not just any friend. She wants one named Penelope. Meanwhile, she roams the city, mapping out a new neighborhood every day, seeking her escape route to a better world, the other world her parents told her she came from. And then one day someone named Penelope answers her ad for a friend. And from that moment on, Vivian's life begins to change."

My Thoughts:
Set in contemporary Dublin, Caitriona Lally's debut novel, Eggshells is a peculiar tale about a dysfunctional, socially phobic woman who believes herself to be a changeling switched at birth for a human baby.  Vivian is determined to track down the faerie portal and return from whence she came. It is also a story about an odd companionship, struck up at Vivian's instigation, of two women who find it painfully difficult to interact, and fit in with society.

Oddness runs throughout in this, pretty much, plotless tale where nothing of substance actually happens.  Vivian makes lists of words she likes the sound of, and when she wants a friend writes, 'I want a friend called Penelope. When I know her well enough, I’ll ask her why she doesn’t rhyme with antelope. I would also like a friend called Amber, but only if she was riddled with jaundice.'  She places numerous posters on trees to facilitate in her attempt to find a Penelope 'friend'.  Penelope who isn't really Penelope but is equally as strange as Vivian, responds to her advertisement.

What started out as a promising story about an innocent whimsical character unfortunately ended up irritating me. I found the never ending witticisms and bizarre scenarios trite, and because of her aversion to her own personal hygiene, hard to stomach the thought of Vivian when she...'savours her meaty smell'...ewwww.  Vivian has an older sister also called Vivian...why? I didn't get to find out.  Anyway, it was just too much to find a smelly, disfunctional, grey haired woman endearing or charming in the long run.

However, Eggshells did have me questioning my thoughts about the main characters' fragility and unusual behaviour, and pondering what mental condition Vivian could possibly be suffering from, and that's a good thing right? Cos why should it matter what her problem is...maybe it's just her personality and nothing's actually wrong with her...well except that she's had little to no social interaction during her formative years, and told throughout her childhood that she doesn't belong here but in another realm.  Ultimately, I realised that the 'cause' or 'fix' is not so important, maybe more tolerance and understanding of those who behave oddly or differently to the 'social norm' is what's more important.  So, it had a profound effect on me which made Eggshells a cleverly imagined character driven story, with little happening but saying rather a lot.

I'd recommended Eggshells for a quirky, light hearted, but thought provoking read making it perfect for book group reads and deal for fans of the Rosie Project, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and A Man Called Ove.

Disclaimer: I received a complementary digital advanced reading copy of 'Eggshells' by Caitriona Lally from the publisher and TLC Book Tours to take part in the blog tour.

studied English Literature in Trinity College Dublin.
She has had a colorful employment history, working as an abstract writer and a copywriter, as well as a home helper in New York and an English teacher in Japan.
She has traveled extensively around Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
Caitriona was shortlisted for “Newcomer of the Year” in the Irish Book Awards in 2015


Tuesday, March 14th: Chick Lit Central
Wednesday, March 15th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, March 16th: Books ‘n Tea
Friday, March 17th: SJ2B House of Books
Monday, March 20th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, March 21st: 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, March 23rd: Books and Bindings
Monday, March 27th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Tuesday, March 28th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, March 29th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, March 30th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Monday, April 3rd: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, April 4th: BookNAround
Wednesday, April 5th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, April 6th: Just Commonly

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Waterstones Pompey Bookseller Recommends - February

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These are the books that we have recently read and loved:

Sharon: Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi
Binny: Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon
Emma: Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Kirsty: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Anna: Wind Pinball Haruki Murakami

Here's what Scott had to say about 'Oliver Twist' by Charles Dickens

"Having recently moved to Portsmouth, the birthplace of old Charlie himself, I've set myself the challenge of reading as many Dickens books as I can this year. I'm kicking off with Oliver Twist which is a story I thought I knew but have found to contain a lot more than I originally thought. The whole style is much darker and more complex than I expected and as always, Dickens' style of storytelling just immerses you fully into the bygone (but not forgotten) setting of Victorian London. It's a classic you can dip in and out of filled with characters that have become cultural giants - Dodger, Fagin, Nancy, Beadle and obviously the innocent angel faced Oliver himself - they're all in here and they're all fantastic to read."