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book review fiction

The Queen’s Secret: A Novel of England’s World War II Queen

This story is just what I needed after my last few reads. I think it got buried in the chaos that is Spring 2020, as I didn’t see much buzz at all before stumbling across it on my Kindle this week. Although I’ve read dozens of books about the Royal Family, this is the first to center on who we know as the Queen Mother.

In 1923, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married the Albert Fredrick Arthur George the Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. His older brother Edward chose to abdicate the throne and George became the king in 1936,

Although they never planned on being King and Queen they stepped up to the task. It was hard work during the war years. Queen Elizabeth visited troops, hospitals, factories all while being a loving mother to her daughters Elizabeth and Margaret.

The royal family shared the same hardships as the common people, rationing, water restrictions, Buckingham Palace was damaged during a bombing raid and the royal couple spent most nights at Windsor Castle.

One of the secrets that the title refers to is that the details of Queen Elizabeth’s place of birth are somewhat vague; she was born on the 4th of August 1900, and no one knows where she was born. Either it is some kind of scandal or maybe because the paperwork wasn’t as accurate then as it is now? Honestly, I don’t think this book even cleared it up for me. I enjoyed reading about the Royal Family from a different point of view. There is another secret that involves Edward, and I found that to be plausible. Overall there were many new details that, to my knowledge, have not been included in other Royal Biographies.

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The Zookeeper’s Wife

The cover “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper’s wife by Diane Ackerman is a the true story of Jan and Antonina Zabinski,  set in Nazi occupied Warsaw in World War II. As you may have picked up from the title, Jan and Antonina are a zookeeper and his wife. Over the course of the war the couple saved over 300 Jews and members of the resistance and underground.

The book is partly Antonina’s daily life taking care of the animals and people under her care and partly an intense lesson of the native fauna of Poland. The only complaints I’ve heard about The Zookeeper’s Wife are that the story tends to ramble, and some of the nature descriptions are too detailed. Personally, I like books that are very detail orientated, and a bit of a ramble doesn’t bother me at all.

I found the book to be a beautiful, heartbreaking, and educational. I look forward to reading more of Ackerman’s prolific catalog of books.

Categories
book review romance YA fiction

Majesty: American Royals #2

In many ways, this was a perfect book two. I hope that this is just the middle of a trilogy, as there were a few storylines that were left unresolved by the end. I loved the first book and re-read the entire book before I went straight into this E-ARC (thank you, Net Galley, and Random House Books). In the first book, the plot was very Gossip Girls -ish with the different romances being key to the story. In this book, Bee is the Queen of America, and we see her mature into the job. I feel like this story is incredibly timely as it addresses Racism, the Press in this country, and women’s leadership roles. If you were all about the romance- don’t worry, it’s still ongoing, and all of the couples do some growing up before the end.
The history geek in me adored this alternate timeline of America. In this book, we find out even more about how it all came about, and I found it particularly funny that the characters looked down on the European Royal Families and their issues. If you gobble up news of the real royal families, this series is for you. Go read the first book, while you wait for September 1 to roll around.

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book review YA fiction YA Non fiction

YA Review Bundle June 2020

The book you hand to your pre- teen or your grandma and both will learn in a non threatening ,super pink, and cute way. If all the confuse you ( I’ll admit to learn A LOT from this book) this is worthy of some shelf space at your house. This is the perfect time to read and discuss for Pride month.
I love books that take place in just one day. This story is perfectly timed to this election year, and I think many teens will be interested in the subject matter. I am all in for this trend. Voter fraud is something that young people need to be more aware of than ever.
In this story, Marva is voting for the first time. She has been prepping for this vote over the last two years and is educated on all the issues. Her friend Duke is voting for the first time also, and when she sees him get turned away from the polls, she steps in and spends the day going through the rigamarole that we call “adulting” in unraveling what he needs to do to cast a vote.
I’d happily add this to any American Government reading list for teens. This is a early July release.
Kit works at a thinly disguised Medieval Times type restaurant. Like most minimum wage jobs for young people it isn’t rewarding being a server, and girls aren’t allowed to be knights in the show. Until one day when Kit changes things. Other reviews thought this was pretty formulaic and I disagree wholeheartedly. I love the YA trope (?) of girl power.
I’m feeling all the feelings after finishing this one. Sixteen year old Johanna lost her Mom at an early age and then her Dad took off too. Luckily she had a set of grandparents to raise her. When she finds out that she killed her Mom with a gun as a young child it sets her spinning. I liked that her boyfriend was supportive and steady for her as she processed all her emotions and that a YA book is tacking gun control in such an honest and non hyped way. Five stars.